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.......