What have I been doing? Finding Dragon Bones and Stinging Nettles.

I am having a bit of writers block just now, or else it may be that because my laptop was in the shop for more than 6 weeks I have just got out of the habit of writing my blog.

I have a writer friend who tells me that writing is like any job…you have to up each day, take a shower, get dressed, eat your breakfast, drive to your office, turn on the computer and sit down and start writing.  Even if all you get out is one sentence a day’ the paragraph gets built, then the page followed by the chapter..

Its rare, Tom tells me, that the story or the poem gets created out there in the void between your grey cells. There is a process of creation that takes place on the paper in front of you. Like taking a piece of wood which you start to whittle away at. You take a bit off here, a bit there and soon it starts to resemble something, so to follow that lead.

I am sure many of you have heard it said that many artists “visualize” the object in the chunk of rock or the piece of wood, and that all they are doing is removing the parts of the rock that obscure the object.

Maybe, but I think it is as Tom says, you need  discipline, and the more disciplined you are the easier it is to complete the task.  I thin k it is  similar to an exercise routine, if you keep at it, it sometimes seems effortless. However if you take a break from the routine, it always seems harder to get going again.

That is kind of how I feel now, but the pattern is still there and the fingers are moving again and the thoughts are being laid down on the page. Here I go….

What have I been doing? Well, I have been out there and have been seeing lots of fungi. Many are out lot earlier than usual, likely due to the incredibly mild winter we have had, Nice, but worrisome as  there is almost no snow-pack and the woods are quite dry. We have had some very dry summers that last several years and two years ago we almost ran out of water.  I am hoping for more regular and consistent rain over the summer and early fall.

In February I  went out on a walk ” ELF “(The Elphinstone Logging Focus) on one of their information hikes to raise the community awareness about the need to protect important and sensitive ecosystems. They took us up Dakota Ridge to are area of Forest that they called the Chanterelle Forest.  It is part of the Wilson Creek water shed and has been slated for clear cutting.

This was a very beautiful piece of the forest and truly was great habitat for Chanterelles, as we found and picked quite a number of the winter chanterellesAviary Photo_130612582174360502 WP_20150125_13_58_38_Pro

Just this Monday we were out in Hidden grove and saw these false morels

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And a Russula…WP_20150330_10_28_17_Pro

In February, a friend who is a wild forager, took us to her secret place in West Sechelt to show us where she picks her wild ginger and stinging nettle..WP_20150210_10_11_35_Pro WP_20150210_10_11_46_ProWP_20150210_10_18_23_Pro

The first two images are of the ginger and the last one is the stinging nettle.

The ginger is very aromatic and spicy which I dried and use to make a very nice warming tea.  Nettles are also good for a spring tonic and can be made into a tea or even eaten.  Cooking them in boiling water deactivates the compounds in the leaves that cause the sting.  We took some small ones home to transplant so we didn’t need to trek way off into the bush to find some.

We were sworn to secrecy to not reveal where this site was so don’t ask.

I can tell you  were down close to the inlet and that we saw may bones and clam shells strewn around. Upon closer examination the site looked like an old  midden. The soil was incredibly black and just full of organic material strewn with clam and muscle shells.  Made me think that this may have been a foraging site that the local first nations people had visited in the past. It also seemed to be an old homestead of some sort as well.

Here are some of the bones we found.  Many were salmon bones but some we could not identify. Especially the first two shots with the skull and jaw bones.

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Anyone have any idea what the skull bones at the top may be? I am calling them either dragon bones or sea-serpent  bones.  Let me know what you think they may be. We thought sturgeon; sea gull or even otter? When we did an on line search nothing seemed to match up . The others are definitely salmon bones and in particular, jaw bones of the salmon.

This is the first time I have seen the bones of fish up among the trees on the banks of the creek. There was a program I watched, The Nature of things, where the program talked about the importance of salmon to the health of the forest eco-system.  The program was called The Salmon Forest.  About how the salmon helps to fertilize the rain forests.

The other exciting thing I did this winter was to go to a presentation about our local truffles and to accompany a truffle hunting dog, Dexter, on a truffle foray here on the coast.  Dexter is puggle- pug-beagle cross. He found loads of truffles, although they were deer truffles and not the choice white or black Oregon truffles that we are suppose to have here.

I have also had a couple of feeds of spring oyster mushrooms which again are very early as they usually start to flush at the end of April beginning of May. Take a walk along a creek with lots of alder and see if you can get a few yourself.

That’s it for now, Hopefully I am back on the routine and will write more often, get out there and start looking as I hear that morels have been spotted in the Davis Bay area.  Hope to see you on the trails some day . Coastalshroomer

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