mardi 15 février 2011

Sunny Day Dye Hunt

I recently bought a copy of "The Rainbow Beneath My Feet" after seeing the lovely mitten kits on this site.  I've always loved mushroom hunting.  I'm thrilled with the idea that I can hunt for both edible and dye mushrooms.  Today I had my first chance to go out on a hunt.  It's been very cold and I wasn't sure that I would be able to find anything, but I took my mushroom knife and paper bags anyway. 

My first find was a dead oak tree covered in these mushrooms.  I think these are "trametes versicolor".  They may not give me any good color, but finding mushrooms in the dead of winter was a triumph.  I only harvested enough to do some tests.  

A little farther down the road I struck mushroom gold.  I believe that these are "phellinus tuberculosus".  They look very promising.  I'm hoping for a warm golden brown.  Their flesh is a nice dark shade of caramel and is very dense in texture.  They weren't easy to pry off the trees.

The baby and I began to get tired of crashing through the underbrush and so we did a little lichen picking. 

 This is a hedge of prunelles a.k.a. sloes or blackthorn.  They seem to be particularly attractive to lichens.  Prunelles are also a good dye source. 

I turned over a fallen branch and, surprise, more mushrooms!  These are too little to use for dyeing but I love their color against the soft blue green of the lichens.

This blue gray lichen has a hammered looking surface.  My most recent test on this lichen is looking very promising.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a possible source of purple dye.  I won't be able to identify most of my lichens until I can find a good lichen book.  It's frustratingly hard to identify lichens.  They really are very subtle creatures.

We wandered back toward the house and on a whim I decided to cross through a field where I knew I might find some wild cherry bark.  I found the cherry tree, and we also found more little orange mushrooms. 

These last photos are of some mushrooms that I found on an earlier hike in the valley of the Vers.  I'm definitely going to go on more valley hikes when the weather gets a little warmer. 




 Here's one last photo of some spring flowers.  Just a few short weeks.......

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