Backcountry Wanderlust

Now that Autumn is here, I begin to think of camping. I don't think I'll make it this year, but I can think about it... My occasional day hikes have had to fulfill my backcountry wanderlust to a satisfactory degree.

A Sunday Drive Back from a Swimming Pool
I can look at clouds in the sky.

Photos from the Backyard
I can look at Purple Sensation Onion (Allium hollandicum) flowers.

A Hike in Roger's Reservoir Conservation Area
I can look at railway tracks.

A Hike in Roger's Reservoir Conservation Area
I can look at Bracket Fungus (Polyporus).

A Walk in the Neighbourhood Early in the Morning
I can look at a leaf's surface in the rain.

A Walk in the Neighbourhood Early in the Morning
I can look at a beetle on a Queen Anne's Lace flower (wild carrot).

A Walk in the Park
I can look at Sycamore bark.

Walk in the Valley - May 23, 2009
I can look at young Dryad's Saddle fungus.

- Algonquin Park, Pinetree Lake Solo Canoe Trip - September, 2008
I can look at this photo of Algonquin Provincial Park - Pinetree Lake in the early morning mist.

Flowers - Black Eyed Daisies - http://MungoSaysBah.com
I can look at Black Eyed Daisies.

Cheers,

Mungo

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Cool Weather - Late September Photos

The weather is getting nice and cool. Great camping weather. Hope everyone is having a nice weekend. This will be the shortest post for a while - just some photos I took earlier...

Cool Weather Late September Photos
Clouds in the Sky

Cool Weather Late September Photos
Little Gilled Mushroom

Cool Weather Late September Photos
Fluff

Cool Weather Late September Photos
Star of Bethlehem

Cool Weather Late September Photos
Cloud in the Sky

Cool Weather Late September Photos
Monty

Cheers,

Mungo


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Weekend Trip to Oakville - Photographs and Flora

We went to Oakville to see my parents on Saturday. Took a few photos with my new camera - both of James our little boy, and of some flora.

James at Sheddon - September 18, 2010
James in my mum's arms, watching the excavator at work, with my dad supervising.

James at Sheddon - September 18, 2010
Curious James.

James at Sheddon - September 18, 2010
James in my mum's arms, watching the excavator at work.

James at Sheddon - September 18, 2010
James and my mum.

James at Sheddon - September 18, 2010
James and my mum.

James at Sheddon - September 18, 2010
James carrying a nice stick.

James at Sheddon - September 18, 2010
James and my dad.

James at Sheddon - September 18, 2010
Spring and my mum.

James at Sheddon - September 18, 2010
James and my dad.

James at Sheddon - September 18, 2010
James and my dad.

James at Sheddon - September 18, 2010
James running towards me!

James at Sheddon - September 18, 2010
Northern Oat Grass (Chasmanthium).

James at Sheddon - September 18, 2010
Northern Oat Grass (Chasmanthium).

James at Sheddon - September 18, 2010
Ginkgo biloba

They are very long lived plants and can live thousands of years and are a living fossil (a tree that seems to be the same as a species seen in fossils and has no close living relatives) (thanks to Mervi of Saami Arts for this information).

James at Sheddon - September 18, 2010
Berries of Lily of the Valley - contains compounds less powerful, but related to the cardiac medication / plant Digitalis. Also a diuretic when made into a tea.

This must be used with caution and is better handled by an experienced herbalist as the berries can cause paralysis and severe respiratory distress. The cardiac medicine was usually made as a tincture from the leaves. It contains several active cardiac glycosides but all parts of this plant are toxic if mishandled (thanks to Mervi of Saami Arts for this information).
"Lily of the valley, along with scilla and star-of-Bethlehem, are early spring bulbs commonly used in gardens. All contain poisons called cardiac glycosides, which act rather like the drug digitalis.

Children, especially, have been poisoned by eating the berries of this colonial bedding plant.

An extract of lily of the valley was once used as a medicinal heart stimulant, but it has now been replaced in pharmacology by digitalis, which is an extract of foxgloves."
James at Sheddon - September 18, 2010
Sweet Alyssum is part of the Mustard family. The flowers have a wonderful honey-like smell, very fragrant. The stems and leaves can be used in salads.

James at Sheddon - September 18, 2010
Yellow Wood Sorrel flowers - tasty, tangy, edible leaves. Known as Shamrock in Ireland. I photographed some at Pinetree Lake in Algonquin Provincial Park in June 2009.

James at Sheddon - September 18, 2010
Hens and Chickens - tasty, succulent, edible.
"Hens and chickens (Sempervivum sp.) is a cactus-like succulent that looks a bit like a swollen artichoke. It’s known as a stonecrop, which appropriately means it grows in dry, rocky crevices. The Latin word “Semper” means “always” and “vivum” means “that which is alive,” a reference to its hardiness.

Hens and chickens is native to the Middle East and Africa but grows across North America and is cultivated as an ornamental in landscaped yards, though it sometimes escapes gardens to become feral.

The leaves are fleshy and have a crunchy texture. The flavor is mildly sweet with an astringent kick. It is surprisingly drying for such a water-rich plant, which creates the odd experience of quenching your thirst while puckering your tongue. Still, it is tasty raw. You can also use the plant medicinally to soothe skin irritations: squeeze the leaves to apply juice on insect bites and minor skin irritations."
James at Sheddon - September 18, 2010
Pond with goldfish flickering about.

James at Sheddon - September 18, 2010
Taken from the passenger seat of the car, under an airport flightpath.

James at Sheddon - September 18, 2010
Airplane descending for a landing.

James at Sheddon - September 18, 2010
Almost home, trees from the highway.

Cheers,

Mungo

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Old Books on Camping & Tents from Google Books

Google Books is a very interesting research resource, and a great one simply to explore through. I was browsing through it tonight and came across several interesting books which I have embedded below. They are all 'Full Preview' versions, so you can see every page of the books. Click on the 'More about this book' link at the bottom of each display window to see it in larger format. Enjoy!

Practical hints on camping By Howard Henderson - 1882



Hunting, Fishing and Camping By Leon Leonwood Bean - 1942



Camp life in the woods and the tricks of trapping and trap making By William Hamilton Gibson - 1882



Tents and tent-life from the earliest ages to the present time By Godfrey Rhodes - 1859



Cheers,

Mungo

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The Hunt: Harvesting, Cooking and Eating a Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom

The other day I went on a hunt in a local conservation area. I harvested, cooked and ate some of a Giant Puffball Calvatia gigantea. These are choice mushrooms, and considered highly edible when still white and firm.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
Giant Puffball, with characteristically cratered surface.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
This Giant Puffball shows the characteristically cratered surface, along with an almost bi-lobed body.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I pulled a Giant Puffball out of the ground, and you can see the very small 'root' that provides nutrition to it. This was about as thick as a graphite pencil.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
Carrying the Giant Puffball was surprisingly tricky. I didn't want to dent it, and at the same time, the weight of it began to make my arm sore. I mean, it wasn't probably more than 5 pounds, but it was bulky.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I put it on the cutting board, took out the frying pan and stared at the rounded beast before me for a few moments.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I started by removing the base. You can see the base interior beginning to turn brown - the eventual state of this Giant Puffball is a big powdery, dry, dark brown crusty ball, emitting spores into the wind as it crumbles into pieces.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I pared away some of the skin and harvested out the white, firm flesh.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
Here is a closeup of the marshmallow-like texture. It was cool to the touch, because of the moisture contained within the tissue.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I skinned the beast.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I cut it up into bread slice thickness.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I noticed quickly that I had way too much to consume by myself, and ended up giving some to my neighbour.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I dredged it in flour, salt and black pepper.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I shook off the dredging powder and laid the pieces aside. I was wondering what it would taste like, but soldiered on.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
Soon a rich scent filled the kitchen - and the mushroom began to resemble chicken strips.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
It smelled glorious. It didn't smell like normal button mushrooms, more like - well, more like chicken and zucchini.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
Into the frying pan, I put a little bit of olive oil, and butter. Once it was hot, I laid the strips of the Giant Puffball onto the pan. It sizzled.

Giant Puffball (Calvatia gigantea) Mushroom
I put it onto a plate, and gobbled it all down. It was amazing. I am going to do this again soon, and highly recommend that every single person reading this post, who lives near Giant Puffball mushrooms, immediately go out, harvest, cook and eat some.

Cheers,

Mungo

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