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SW of Calgary
Anne Elliott
Aspen Bolete
Rod Handfield's acreage
SW of Millarville
6 August 2016
Leccinum insigne
for eating

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Two of a kind

Two of a kind
Marie, hope you manage to see today's postings - was thinking of you while I added them. We had a great morning, didn't we? Thank you so much for always calling out to me when we were in the forest and waiting for me to catch up, to make sure I missed no beautiful finds! So much appreciated.

I believe the ID for this mushroom is Leccinum insigne (Aspen Bolete), but this is only a tentative species ID as many of the Leccinum species can only be differentiated microscopically. Seeing as both were picked (for eating), they must be edible. I always find a walk like this rather frustrating. It doesn't work too well when you have people who are photographers and people who are interested in picking mushrooms to eat : ) The latter tend to always be ahead and by the time you catch up to them, you can't see what has already quickly been picked and of course it is usually difficult to get a photo. I managed to get these two people to briefly hold their finds. The fungus on the right had already had the stalk trimmed at the base. This was private land and some of us know the owner, Rod Handfield. In places like the national or provincial parks, one is not allowed to remove anything from the area - but some people still do. You see people with large baskets full of picked mushrooms for cooking! This is especially an east European 'thing'. They have grown up with this tradition and seem to know which fungi are edible or not. Some poisonous mushrooms can look very similar to edible ones, which is why there is warning to never, ever eat any kind of fungus unless you are an expert! As our local Naturalist always says: "All fungi are edible, some only once!"

All three photos posted this morning were taken three days ago, on 6 August 2016, when I went on a mushroom foray at Rod Handfield's acreage.

On Saturday 6 August, I found the whole day physically and mentally exhausting, and I'm still feeling the effects three days later. It was a great day, too, thanks to friend, Sandy! She very kindly picked me up around 8:15 am and we drove SW of the city and SW of Millarville to Rod Handfield's acreage. For a number of years, this has been one of my favourite places to explore, as Rod's forest tends to be full of all sorts of beautiful finds. It is one of the two best places that I know for mushrooms, the other being Brown-Lowery Provincial Park. This year has turned out to be great for fungi after all, thanks to all the endless, torrential rain we have been getting the last few weeks, apart from the scattering of sunny days. This year has so far had such weird weather - a very mild, dry winter, a spring that was as dry and hot as a summer, and now a wet, thundery summer. We were expecting this year to not be good for mushrooms.

We met up with a group of other interested people, most of whom we didn't know, and we searched the land for fungi. Right at the start, I was telling Sandy that on the last visit there, maybe four years ago (17 August 2010, so six years ago - how time flies!), we had seen a beautiful Fly Agaric / Amanita muscaria mushroom growing just a few feet from the start of the walk. Sure enough, there were several growing in exactly the same spot on Saturday, which was so exciting. Later in the walk, we saw two other patches of absolute beauties of this poisonous species. The rain was spitting during our walk, and the forest was so dark, but amazingly, some of my photos came out well enough. Thanks so much, Karel, for organizing and leading this trip and for sharing your knowledge with us!

Sandy and I left the group around lunchtime, to go looking at vehicles at one of the dealerships. In the last year and a half, I have had to put far too much money into repairs for my poor old 17+ year old car and finally, I knew that I had no choice but to replace it. The muffler, catalytic converter, and a few other things wore out maybe a week ago and instead of spending a fortune on repair, I decided I would rather put that money towards a new vehicle. I had been thinking about replacing it the last few years, but now, enough is enough! Just hoping that my car lasts long enough for the drive to the dealership. The noise it makes is just awful, from the broken muffler and from a dreadful rattling noise, so it will be a most embarrassing ride, lol. I'm down to deciding between two models and it is not an easy choice.

Update re: car. Yay, I finally did it! Yesterday, friend Sandy and I returned to the dealership just after lunchtime. I had to drive my old car there so that they could do an appraisal on it and tell me how much I would get for a trade-in. Before I went, I was feeling more confused and uncertain which car I would decide on. The few that the dealership had were not a colour I would want to drive or else they didn't have the right things installed. I was so relieved when I was told that I could order one to my liking/needs and that the waiting period would be 2-3 weeks. Longer than I would have liked, but bearable (though I know I will be climbing the walls by the time my new car arrives!). The very patient, non-pushy salesman said why not take my old car home and use it just very locally till then. So, thankfully, I still have a (very noisy!) vehicle with which to go and get groceries, which was my main concern. No birding or mushroom trips, though, which will not be easy to bear. Having said that, I need to add that I know I am very fortunate that I am in a position to be able to replace my vehicle - feel very grateful and lucky. Thank you, again, Sandy, for helping me through this highly stressful (to me) ordeal!! It made an enormous difference .... THE difference.


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