He blewit, did he?

Wood blewits

Wood blewits

Dryads saddle

Dryad’s saddle

Another little stroll about the Estate hunting for mushrooms yielded some dryad’s saddle ( a bit late in the year and far too mature to eat as they would be quite rubbery at this stage) BUT, I did find some more wood blewits and this time they were very fresh. Such a beautiful fungus needs more of a description so I have added a very good piece from Wiki:

“Taxonomy and naming

The French mycologist Pierre Bulliard described the wood blewit in 1790 as Agaricus nudus. Paul Kummer placed it in the genus Tricholoma in 1871, the same year that Mordecai Cubitt Cooke placed it in Lepista. It was known by these names for many years. The widely used synonym Lepista nuda should no longer be used since Lepista has been synonymized with Clitocybe. The primary issue here is a debate about the correct type for the genus Clitocybe. Some, including Singer, take the type to be C. gibba. However, the majority of experts now take C. nebularis to be the type. If C. nebularis is taken to be the type, then Lepista becomes a deprecated synonym of Clitocybe, and Clitocybe nuda is the correct name for this species.

Description

Wood blewit

Wood blewit

This mushroom can range from lilac to purple-pink. Some North American specimens are duller and tend toward tan, but usually have purplish tones on the stem and gills. The gills are attached to the short, stout stem. Mature specimens have a darker color and flatter cap; younger ones are lighter with more convex caps. Wood blewits have a very distinctive odor, which has been likened by one author to that of frozen orange juice.

Wood blewits can be confused with certain purple  Cortinarius species, including the uncommon C. camphorates, many of which may be poisonous. Cortinarius mushrooms often have the remains of a veil under their caps and a ring-like impression on their stem. Wood blewits can be easily distinguished by their odor, as well as by their spore print. Wood blewits have a light (white to pale pink) spore print; Cortinarius, species produce a rusty brown spore print after several hours on white paper. Their brown spores often dust their stems and objects beneath them.

Distribution and habitat

Wood blewit

Wood blewit

The wood blewit is found in Europe and North America and is becoming more common in Australia, where it appears to have been introduced. It is a saprotropic species, growing on decaying leaf litter. In the UK, it appears from September through to December.

Soil analysis of soil containing mycelium from a wood blewit fairy ring under Norway spruce (Picea abies) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvetris) in southeast Sweden yielded fourteen halogenated low molecular weight organic compounds, three of which were brominated and the others chlorinated. It is unclear whether these were metabolites or pollutants. Brominated compounds are unknown as metabolites from terrestrial fungi.

Edibility

Just emerging

Just emerging

Wood blewits are generally regarded as a good edible, but they are known to cause  allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. This is particularly likely if the mushroom is consumed raw, though allergic reactions are known even from cooked blewits. It is therefore important to cook wood blewits before eating, as consumption of raw specimens could lead to indigestion. Wood blewits contain the sugar trehalose, which is edible for most people.

Blewits can be eaten as a cream sauce or  sautéed in butter.They can also be cooked like tripe or as omelette filling, and also make good stewing mushrooms. They have a strong flavour, so they combine well with leeks or onions. Wood blewits can be preserved in olive oil or white vinegar after blanching. Cultivated wood blewits are said not to taste as good as wild wood blewits.”

Next job, bashing in stakes and erecting guards

Next job- bashing in stakes and erecting guards

Work for the week was quite strenuous: bashing in the galvanised stakes was a lot more difficult than I had anticipated. I thought, stupidly, that, as there was a lot of boggy ground in this area of the Park, it would be reasonable to assume that I would  have to have the stakes extended from 60cm to 75cm. As it turned out however, the soil was a little bit tougher than we thought (clay on top and a thick lower stony/gravel layer which means this soil type is a St Lawrence soil series and is associated with the post-glacial rivers or streams that once littered the landscape).

Get on with it Sarah

Get on with it Sarah

We use a jig ‘specially made by Andy Klose Engineering to make sure the stakes are set in the right place so that the metal tree guards can be fixed to them. Occasionally the tops get a little burr on them and then it’s hellish difficult to remove the jig but, with a fair bit of knocking the sides of the jig and pulling like mad, we can eventually slide the two halves of the jig off the stakes.

How many workers does it take to erect a guard

How many workers does it take to erect a guard?

Who did this?

Who did this?

Who dunnit?! Who put the stake in upside down? If you look very carefully there isn’t a hole for the bolt to go through and it appears that some digging was going on to try to get the stake out! Mr Shane O’Reily was it you?! Having some annual leave to use up I have just been turning up in the mornings to make sure everything is ok and then again in the late afternoon see how the forestry team are getting on and to take some photos for the blog. Of course there’s a bit of banter and mickey taking then. The teams are only in on Monday, Wednesday and Friday but they have managed to race through the work; alas we won’t get it all finished by Christmas as I had hoped.

Taking a beating

Taking a beating

Even the sledge hammer is succumbing

Even the sledge-hammer is succumbing

One effect of bashing metal on metal (we use a metal cap that slides over the stakes which  helps protect the stakes) is that, as it deforms, the smaller cap (which had straight sides) is now beginning to spread out and dish in the middle. Also, the tube to the longer cap keeps breaking just below the weld which is quite normal. Welds remain strong but the metal either side suffers from heat stress so nearly always fail adjacent to the welding.  On Friday, quite astonishingly, the actual cap (which is over an inch thick) split in half…now that hasn’t happened before! Not only that but the sledge-hammer is now showing signs of fatigue! Same as us…

Working late

Working late

Nearly Christmas

Nearly Christmas

Gets a bit fiddly putting the bolts through the holes and getting nuts onto the bolts as the temperature drops. Just one more day’s work erecting guards on Monday next week before everyone is on holiday.

Out rabbiting

Out rabbiting

A lot more rabbits than we thought!

A lot more rabbits than we thought!

John and Alan were out ferreting again on the Estate a week ago; this time they were up in the Gloucesters near the beehives. There were quite a few rabbits there and, by the end of the day, they were well into double figures. Pinched a rabbit to cook for the Wympole Green Woodworkers down at Cobbs Wood Farm.

The Wympole Green Woodworkers party

The Wympole Green Woodworkers party

Rabbit and leek stir fry

Rabbit and leek stir fry

December’s meeting was more about Christmas spirit than making wooden items (although some were determined not to be put off). As most people were driving Jayne made some mulled apple juice with added ingredients in lieu of mulled wine. Actually it was remarkably good and the apple juice came from the apples we pressed at the Home Farm in the autumn. There was soup, ostrich burgers, cake etc but also some stir fried rabbit with leeks (can throughly recommend this). The competition I set last month was to make shrink pots- only four people entered and Alastair’s pot was deemed the best. One piece of good news: Paul’s thumb is healing well and I picked him up from home so that he could see everyone; he should be back to work in the new year.

Shrink pots

Shrink pots

How to make a shrink pot here

End of the day

End of the day

About Sadeik

You may ask why "Sadeik" well it means friend in arabic. Worked in Jordan a lot doing tree surgery you see. I have worked in forestry since I left school with a two years in Telecom. Went back to forestry and tree surgery as it may not have paid as much but was far more interesting and dangerous. Spent a lot of years mountaineering, caving and canoeing too. At 29 I went to Bangor University to study Forestry and soil science then did an MSc in Water engineering all very interesting. By a quirk of fate in 1995 ended up helping sort out the woodland and park at Wimpole, funny thing was then I only intended to stay six months or so, but 18 years later I'm still here learning all the time. That's the best bit, if I wasn't able to learn something new every year I would not have stayed and as you get older you realise that the grass is not so green in the next field after all. In fact my patch is getting greener while much of the rest is getting browner.
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