On 24 July I came across my first sighting of False Saffron Milkcaps (Lactarius deterrimus) under a very large spruce tree. Their green staining and the orange stains they left on my fingers made them intriguing from the start. There were just a few back then and they weren’t very big. Since then a lot more have appeared in the same area and it has been interesting to watch their progress.
The last time I went to look a white club or coral fungus had appeared mixed in the milkcaps.
Apparently these milkcaps are edible, though not as good as some others according to Roger Phillips. I haven’t tried eating any.
At this time of year I think Devil’s-bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis) is my favourite flower. I’m glad our recently visiting sheep didn’t eat them. There are now four naturally spread areas of them in the garden so we get more more flowers each year. I hope that continues.
After spending all of Monday in the garden our visiting sheep decided to wander down the lane and down the hill to the actual road. I still don’t know if the messages I left for the farmer had got through to the shepherd but it seems that a very short time after the sheep appeared on the street (which is called The Soundings because it is built where there used to be a boat-builders’ yard; there are still traces of the ramps by which boats were launched into the loch), the shepherd had come to investigate, had walloped in a sturdy new post to hold up the decrepit fence at the bottom of the field and had taken the sheep back to the rest of the flock. No sheep appeared in the garden today.
Ten weeks on from breaking my wrist it is still stiff and achey and my hand is still feeling the effects of the traction applied, so I’ve treated myself to a new hedge-cutter. It was recommended by someone who also has rampant hedges to deal with and who also broke her arm. I reckon you can’t do better than a personal recommend and the woman in question, one Kathleen, told me she loves her G-Tech Cordless Hedge-trimmer. My hefty old Black & Decker is also a good tool but it’s, well, hefty (even well hefty!) so using it will have to wait till I’m back to full arm and hand strength.
Meanwhile the hedges have gone mad because Toad is not a gardener and he particularly hates using my well hefty hedge trimmer 😉.
It’s supposed to stop raining today so I hope I’ll be able to attack some hedges this afternoon. Meanwhile I’ve had some sheep to deal with. Yesterday four ewes and two lambs had separated themselves from the rest of the flock that are (were yesterday morning anyhow) in a field over the burn to the north of the Boggy Brae garden. Early this morning when I came down to make some tea three of the same ewes and one lamb were right outside the kitchen window on the terrace.
Yesterday I herded the sheep up to the top corner. They jumped over the fence easily, even the lamb though it hesitated initially. I heightened the fence there with some branches. I thought that’s where the sheep were getting into the garden. This morning I realised they had another route.
After breakfast the sheep were down in the boggy lane below us (I followed the baas) so I wandered down in my wellies (read that as “mi wellies”) carrying a long cypress branch from one of our wood piles. Its purpose was to make me wide enough, so to speak, to scoop up four sheep.
They were very obliging and walked up the lane (that boggy, grassy, docky, monbretia-infested bit is a lane, believe it or not) towards the field gate. The gate was shut so they hopped over into another garden* walked to the far side of it and jumped over a decrepit fence into the field again. I think this has been their main escape route. In soggy weather such as we’ve been having it doesn’t take long to muddify and bit of well trodden ground.
The people who use that bit of garden* have apparently been having a bit of a clearance. There was evidence of a big bonfire (I noticed the smoke the other day) and the remains of at least two gunnera plants.
I left a message with the Home Farm asking them to send a shepherd round so I can show him/her where the escapologist sheep are getting away from the rest of the flock.
The * after the word garden is because, although a few houses below the field make use of it and incorporate it into their actual gardens, there is actually a long, low, scalene-triangle-shaped bit of land between the field fence and the official tops of their gardens that isn’t theirs. It isn’t clear to me from local grapevine stories whose that small patch of land is. I’m not sure it’s clear to anyone.
The Orange Birch Bolete (Leccinum versipelle) that I spotted three days ago under the front bank birch (first pic below) is now a lot bigger and apparently has been tasty to various wee beasties. For scale, those are Devil’s-bit Scabious leaves near it.
The troop of Brown Rollrim mushrooms (Paxillus involutus) under the big birch up top has increased its number. Some of its number have increased their size; the one in the bottom right pic below whose width was my hand span. Some of them had another fungus growing on them.
Down below the garden, and over the boggy lane as the land falls steeply under a huge spruce tree, where I had previously spotted a few False Saffron Milkcap mushrooms (Lactarius deterrimus), there is now a much bigger troop of several groups. I love the saffron colour (that bit is not what’s false!) that the scratched stems and broken flesh of this fungus show.
Thinking as I walked back uphill to the house that I hadn’t seen a Brown Birch Bolete yet, I spotted one. We usually get quite a few of these. I’ve seen roe deer eat them occasionally.