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Saturday, 6 August 2011

Three days catch up

Days 3,4 &5

Well got a bit behind with the blogging limited time around wifi and general lack of organisation on my part!
Beginning to realise this is definitely going to be a challenge especially as we get to America and also while we are in the Scilly's so I am trying to keep some more obvious and easy to find stuff for then.


So while in the new forest thought i would do some mushrooming. I certainly found some interesting specimens. On wednesday it was incredibly hot so after a short trip to a very crowded beach we headed back to the coolness of Ringwood forest so the dogs could have a charge about. It was there I found my first mushroom which I thought was going to be the choice of the day. It was a brown birch bolete and although edible it is not the greatest of edible mushrooms. However the day was speeding along and nothing other than the obvious apples and blackberries were appearing. Anyway we went on another walk over the forest to the pub and this is where I found Wednesday's wild food. To my delight I found sheepskin sorrel a plant I had never found before but very distinctive due to the "ears" at the bottom of the leaf. Not as potent in the lemony, sharpness stakes as common sorrel but lovely never the less. Funnily enough we have just arrived on Dartmoor and I have found a massive patch in a friends garden - odd how you never see a plant then once you find it you seem to find it everywhere.

So Thursday was a challenge in that we were still camping and having been so incredibly hot the day before we were somewhat surprised to be kept awake half the night by torrential rain which just kept on to eventually take up the whole morning. We barely left the tent except for the obvious so never actually made it out until 3pm - the joys of not working! Anyway we were on our way back to town when I decided to stop by a river just to see what I could find and thinking that I would need to resort to nettles, suddenly there they were - a small patch of red currants over hanging the river. So of course I clung precariously to the edge and picked them all to eat for tea. They were lovely and i was very pleased with my find - two days and two foods I wasn't expecting to find.

Yesterday was a travelling day from the New Forest to Dartmoor via Exeter to see a school friend I hadn't seed for over two years. Anyway that meant not much foraging time so it was on the drive from Exeter to Frenchbeer in the middle of Dartmoor that I found todays food. I was trying to navigate via the small map on my iPhone, listen to music, avoid hitting another vehicle or drive into the hedge while foraging so not too busy then. Anyway I rounded a bend and was looking at the hedge and thought I saw a familiar leaf shape. The foragers emergency stop and a handy passing place meant could check if my eyes were deceiving me but they weren't. It was Jack in the Hedge or Garlic Mustard but it looked in it's early stages rather than the blown seed burdened plant that is normal for this time of year. I wasn't sure whether there had been some hedge cutting going on and this was new growth. Disappointingly it was not great, the garlic smell was there but as one would expect of a plant that is best eaten in spring it was by now rather bitter so I ate it but it wasn't one of my better finds.
That is the problem I am finding in that all the spring greens are past there best and many of the summer fruits are not out yet hence the challenge that I referred to earlier. I think Dulcie's is much easier personally!!

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