Nature's Secret Larder - Autumn Nature


Bushcraft Blog

Autumn Nature
18th October 2008

Sorry for the lack of blog posts recently.

I spent the other week running several wild food courses; it always amazes me just how much can be found even in the autumn and winter months. I will add a few more wild foods and useful plants and trees to the ‘secrets' section of the site very soon.

I spent a few days in a caravan in Norfolk this week; it made a nice change to wonder around some coastal paths and see what wild greens could be found.  The usual suspects such as Alexanders were quite abundant, as well as sea buckthorn and various seaweeds such as sea lettuce. Plenty of mussels and limpets were available too, although I have to say I always think twice about where I collect shellfish from, and if I don't know the area very well I feel they are best avoided - nothing quite like a dose of the shellfish poisoning to ruin a nice break!

Lots of turnstones were running around on the beaches, always nice to watch and take pictures of, but having recently sold my largest prime lens, these photo opportunities had to go missed this time. But whilst I lost out on these shots, I still had chance to take a few other snaps with a macro lens which turned out OK in a snap shot kind of way.

Autumn Nature


I also did a bit of fossil hunting and found no end of belemnites and other interesting minerals and fossils.

Whilst in Norfolk I took a good look at the famous Norfolk Broads reed beds, a plant that has been used by man for hundreds of years in one way or another.  Of course the main use was thatching, something that members of my family have done for years. I won't pretend to be an expert on thatching, as it's a specialised skill that takes many years to master, but I do occasionally use the Norfolk reeds to make a chewing gum-like substance from the reed stem. All around the broads I also found lots of wild fennel.  Most of this has now gone to seed, as to be expected at this time of year, but the small seeds make for a very good breath freshener and digestive after meals. In my experience they taste more of a very sweet liquorish, quite pleasing!

I was expecting to find lots of mushrooms, and that I did, but they were almost all fly agarics Amanita muscaria, a very pretty mushroom, one of folklore and fairy tales, but not one for the frying pan as they are quite poisonous, causing hallucinations and sometimes death. But its lack of edibility is surely made up by its striking appearance.  Fly agaric caps were once placed in saucers of milk to kill flies, hence the name ‘fly'. Shamanic trances were also brought on by use of this mushroom, or toadstool as some may call it, but I won't go into depth on this area as I'm sure it's quite illegal in the modern day.

Autumn Nature

Fly agaric Amanita muscaria

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Catch you on the trail



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