Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Automatic Autumnal Analogies

Autumnal days are seriously up there with the main reasons to live in a place like Poland. Autumn is when the best of the berries are available, when the leaves start to change colour and when the magical, and previously unknown to me, world of mushrooms. I was banging on last year about Kurki and Rydz, or Chanterelle and Red Pine. Well, this year we also got very lucky, it was Mushroom-arama! There were mushrooms growing everywhere, some would even suggest from between Marty's toes, and they would be right, too! First things first we toured the house block, as the land has many birch, conifer and oak trees. All favourite habitats of mushrooms.
We found an old Boletus at the front of the house in Sokolka
A Bay Bolete forest dwelling shroom.
The underside is all spongey and gores blue when you cut them.
This one was a touch too dry to eat.
Like this one also being too dry to eat. But it does show you the spongey internal structure well.

So I had been bugging Marty for ages to take me mushrooming, but she is always scared because she isn't totally confident with identification. So we pulled in the big gun, Marta's Uncle Tomek. He is THE man when it comes to finding anything. Whether it be a new car part, a custom made staircase or mushrooms in a tick and mosquito infested swamp. He knows it all. People like Tomek are the reason that I wish I knew more Polish as I can tell that he has a million stories. So Tomek piled us into his van that is normally only for Al Pacino and Iskra, his French Bulldogs. We went off hurtling down the road, turning off onto a dirt road in the middle of the forest, still hurtling, narrowly avoiding trees, logs, rocks, huge swamp like puddles and then slamming on the brakes. Tomek says get out. So we do. There are mushrooms sitting in the middle of the road! How he saw them when going at about 50km/h, I will never know. They were Opienki or Butter Mushrooms.
The first bunch we stopped at. I thought it was huge.
Some looked small but they are the best of all.
Tiny equals tasty told Tomek to Tush and the tourist.
You just take the tops as the rest can give you an upset stomach apparently.
These are a little old and dry, but just look at those layers.
Then more old and dry ones I thought were a lot.
Then you find a tree like this! This is up to about 2m off the ground.
So after little over an hour we had a good haul for us and the family.
We found loads and really quickly, but that was mostly thanks to Tomek. He was joking that he saw more people in the forest than in the church on Sunday. Of course hunting mushrooms isn't as easy as you think, not because you will never find any mushrooms, but because there are many poisonous ones.
What pretty red and white! It doesn't mean something nice like the red cross or the Polish national team, but certain body cramps and death.
These ones may look like somewhere the smurfs would live, but are basically death in a fungus, a Panther Cap.
I had no idea what this was, but it had to be poisonous. Well it isn't, it is a Parasol mushroom and because I am no mushroom guru I left it. But it is actually a very highly sought after mushroom.
This one is called the Sulphur Tufts.
These actually look really similar to old butter mushrooms.
I don't know what these are, but they look scary, and the yellow thing could be a muppet! Either way if you want to know more about Mushrooms, Shrooms, or Mushies as people might call them click here. A great resource and maybe you can even find a completely new species!

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