Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 08/10/2016

Photo taken on August  6, 2016

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SW of Calgary
Anne Elliott
Rod Handfield's acreage
SW of Millarville
6 August 2016
Brown-Eyed Parasol
Lepiota helveola

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Poisonous Brown-Eyed Parasol / Lepiota helveola

Poisonous Brown-Eyed Parasol / Lepiota helveola
This photo was taken four days ago, on 6 August 2016, when I went on a mushroom foray at Rod Handfield's acreage. Though this was a fungi day (well, morning), we also came across a few wildflowers, too. I am not a mushroom expert, so this is the tentative ID given by the leader of our hike. A few other Lepiotas looks similar to me.

On this day, I found the whole day physically and mentally exhausting (a mix of stress and excitement), and I think I'm still feeling the effects four 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, 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 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 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 hallucinogenic, 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, catallytic converter and a few other things died several days 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!

Update re: car. Yay, I finally did it! Two days ago, 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 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.