Friday, November 21, 2014

From the sewing table - Four tops and a frock

Confession: I've been on a small sewing binge lately.

It all started when I was looking around my craft room and realised how much fabric I had sitting there, bought way back yonder when I had every good intention of making something straight away. Pfft! Since when does this ever happen?  A decision was made to dive into those piles of fabric and turn them into something wearable. The bonus being that they could serve as a kind of muslin or test run of different patterns that I had been eyeing off but wasn't feeling confident about making with exciting new fabric in case the patterns needed tweaking with the fit.

Proceed to blow the dust of the sewing machine, because that's what is what's called for when one forgets to replace the cover after the last bout of sewing, back from goodness knows when.

Top 1. Pretty yellow floral fabric that I had bought at the op shop several years ago (oh my word, it really has been a long time!). At last, a use for the material aside from the dainty little girls dress that had been floating around in my mind since acquiring it (unfortunately my little girls are not so little anymore and would definitely not indulge this mother's dainty dress fantasy!). Not to worry, because this mother was happy to sew some daisy trim around the neck opening, thus satisfying all original intentions for the the fabric.

Result: A lightweight top for the garden, hiking or wherever the wind may take me on a warm, sunny day where sun protection is needed. And because the cuffs fold back, I don't feel obliged to tell anyone that I never got around to sewing on buttons and making buttonholes, shh. ;)

Top 1: New Look - 6205

Top 2. Made using the same pattern as top 1, sans sleeves. What is it about navy blue and white polkadots that just screams vintage and calls for some kind of frilly action? Pleased that I seemed to have found a comfortable, blousy top pattern that fit well enough without any fiddly darts to navigate through, I went forward and sewed my way through those navy polkadots, adding the essential cream ruffle that I had floating around in my mind's eye. 

Result: A top to wear when you're riding in a car with friends, the roof down, hair contained in a bright headscarf and  great tunes blasting from the speakers. Oh, yes, the perfect top for that. 

Top 2: New Look - 6205 again!

Top 3: Very similar to previous two tops but actually from a separate pattern altogether. Made using some printed cotton purchased from the quilting shop eons ago that was intended for another purpose altogether of the non clothing kind.

Result: A really comfortable top that is great to wear in the garden and still looks presentable for doing the school pick up, mad dash errand run and any other general running around that is called for. Patchwork cotton is certainly very easy to wear! I'll definitely be more alert to the options it presents in future fabric scouting expeditions.

Top 3: Simplicity 7223
The patterns!

Frock: A while back I was on an outing with my mum at a local quilt exhibition. Browsing through the stalls that were offering an array of quilting supplies, I spied a bundle of rolled up rayon begging to be bought. Needless to say, it came home with me and awaited it's fate in the fabric drawer. What to make, what to make? It flows kind of well, flowy like, so some kind of pattern was in order to accommodate it's flowiness. It's also a very nice thing when you can pick up a pattern from your local craft shop for a third of the price from time to time when their sales are timed just right!

Result: I call it the 'Sack & Belt' number. Simply because without some kind of waist fastening, the frock hangs wide in a potato sack like fashion. But, it was super fast to sew and so (sew?) simple too, being assembled completely in an afternoon, including the cutting out of the pattern! A good one to wear over leggings with boots, and again, really really comfy. I'm not completely sold on the fabric belt though..still thinking about that one...

Frock: Vogue V8915

Top 4: Quite possibly the first time I have worn a halter neck top in my life! The fabric was leftover from another top I had made when my girls were actually little. I just couldn't resist, just for fun and am glad to have made (and worn) at least one halter neck top in my life!

Result: Hmm, not something I would want to wear all the time, but for those hot, really really hot days in the height of summer when exposed skin is called for, I could certainly see myself pulling this one out to have it's turn in the sun. I also think it could be enormous fun to do a version in polkadots. Ahh, yes! Polkadots, my new favourite print! (I'm thinking olive green with white spots!! Oh, wait, maybe white with small navy dots, or even large white spots on tan..ahh, the possibilities!)

Top 4: Simplicity 5057

How about you? Have you been sewing lately? What kind of things have you been making? 

(Thanks to my 14yo for being so handy with a camera for this post)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Spring snippets

Gosh, since deciding to revisit my blog, I had no idea how challenging it would be to figure out where to start. There is so much to report! Spring has really made me feel like the weight of winter has passed (duh!), but really, embracing my inner cliched'ness, it felt like a particularly dark, cold and long winter.
Spring just brought about so much goodness and things that made me happy, so I guess I'll start there and post about those things that made my happiness abound..

#1. First up, and an obvious one, blossom appeared!
Loads and load and loads of it was available to be seen this year and the fruit trees have put on a magnificent display. As I type, I am actually thinking that I almost wont mind if the fruit set is not up to scratch as the blossom displays were so generous. *Note: 'almost'. Fruit would still be nice..very, very nice!

#2. The local show was on once again. I managed to scrounge a few things from the garden and the kitchen and throw together a basket of produce which, would you believe took out first place and a rosette! It was my first time ever at receiving a rosette, (and first time at even being game enough to enter the long admired 'basket of produce' category), so I was immensely chuffed.
The 'collection of produce' in all it's wilted glory (this photo was taken the day after judging, phew!). Collection includes: eggs, potatoes, rhubarb, spring onions, perennial leeks, garlic, lemon, chillies, calendula tea, dried beans,  dried lemon verbena (for tea), bread and butter cucumbers, sage, parsley, borage, oregano, lavender and rosemary. 
It was indeed a true scrounge as I found it was a particularly empty time in the garden for us here at that time (still?!). But I took away a lesson well learned as once I started looking, the more produce or dried goods I found. It just goes to show that often we have more put away or growing than we think! For a prettier picture before judging, scroll through my instagram account. Some crabapple jelly that I made also recieved a first but that doesn't count because it was the only entrant and I was also pleased to have it confirmed that I also grow prize winning weeds - a step up from last year, if I may say!

#3. The family and I had a wonderful week away down at 'the prom' (aka Wilson's Promontory). Several other families we are friendly with also go and it is so lovely to have this time away from commitments to just chill out and talk, spend time as a family and also meet each night with our friends for shared dinners. We hired a basic beach hut and enjoyed beachy frolics, wildlife sightings, rock scrambling, day and night walks through all manner of terrain - bush, beach, rainforest, wildflower meadows, rugged coastline and between each others huts! Truly a magnificent place to holiday, the scenery is something that can only be fully appreciated in person.
Magic! (and driftwood hunting)
Just a portion of our group..those that managed to get in quick for  their dinner. This night  the offerings were baked potatoes with assorted toppings and self serve Vietnamese rice paper rolls. A great way to feed a crowd of five families. 
These three girls of mine think this is 'the latest fashion!' It's a long time joke and now anytime we are in close proximity to seaweed they are soon draping it over themselves in most becoming ways. .

#4. Spring was the season of the pizza oven. We had a couple of stand out events around our oven that were the making of great memories. It's so nice to be able to use it again after the long, cold winter and there is just something about sitting back with the sun shining, the oven blazing, a g &t in hand and good friends to talk to that just melts away all trace of winter.

Things are looking all set for a crowd. Master photobomber also approves.

#5. Eggs reappeared on the menu after a cold season lull. First up? My favourite garden meal - egg and spinach pie!

#6. Finally, October was the month of the birthdays here with two of my daughters each having a special day. Particularly special for my middle girl as she turned 13 and now travels the road of teenagehood and all that comes with it. Hopefully that won't be too much though and I can only hope her placid nature sticks around to see her through the the next five or six years before emerging into adulthood. 

Spring. It's been so great to have you here again. Stop and stay a while, and allow us to soak up some more of your magic..

Monday, October 27, 2014

Where to from here, old friend?

Something has been niggling away at me for some time now and it's been hard to put my finger on it. I took a much needed break from blogging which I feel has served it's purpose, yet the niggling feeling still remains.

Reminiscing about the pictorial diary I once kept so regularly. No new notes to look back on as I attempt to make that top a second time around, or that pie that tasted so good way back then. Feelings that I somehow need to keep at this blogging thing, even though it is challenging at times trying to fit it into everyday life. It is worth it, for my own sense of self.

I miss the pictures.

I miss taking the pictures..

..and planning how to use them.

I miss looking back on the pictures

..and remembering the moment I was in when I took them.

I need the pictures.

And the notes.

Just for myself, because that was what it was always intended to be. Notes to myself to refer back on.

So where to from here, my old friend?

I think I want to rekindle the friendship. Ignite the spark back into what once used to make me so happy.
No rules, no schedules. Visits will be sporadic I'm sure. But my old friend will still be there. Always there.

Welcome back.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Slow Living Monthly 9 - July 2014

Hello! I'm very much looking forward to sharing my month here with you once again under the nine banners that form this link-up. Many thanks must also go to Linda from Greenhaven, who has stepped in to take on the hosting, so we can continue to share in the little community that has formed here. Please be sure to stop by Greenhaven to see what others have been up to, or to link up yourself. It's so wonderful meeting new people through the blogs!

July 2014

The bitter cold of winter hit hard this month and so it was out of necessity to stay warm, well fueled and nourished that I focused on soup after soup after soup. I have my old favourites that I often return to and find these the most comforting to dish up throughout these cold times. I am sure there is also something to be said for using bone broth as the basis for soups - it just feels good for the body and I'm not sure if it's psychological or not, but I really think it is boosting my immunity - so far no dreadful colds here..touch wood. A good standby, lentil soup was also revisited this month, which is great when veggie supplies are running low and one turns to the pantry for supplies.

Elsewhere, I revisited some sourdough baking, as it had been a long, long break between loaves and a friend had kindly gifted me some of her starter to save me the trouble of starting up my own again (after hubby emptied the fridge and my robust starter along with it!). Still wary of foods high in gluten, I have tried a few loaves with rye, buckwheat and spelt as the flour content. Although still containing gluten, these loaves I am finding are a lot less 'bloaty' than the full wheat loaves I used to bake..(and love so much!)..

Spelt sourdough made with rye starter. Sunflower seeds added to the dough. 

Yep, soups again. So much soup. Soup for today, tomorrow, the rest of the week and the freezer. Where on earth would we be without soup?

I have been making more of an effort to batch cook this month (due to necessity and time constraints more than anything else). Baking school (and work!) snacks while dinner is in the oven is my favourite way - it's amazing how much a person can cram in the oven when they really try!

Thinking craftyness, it was good to dive into the stash this month to finish of a vest when I ran out of the main colour on the home stretch. There is definitely something to be said for a well stocked stash. Looking forward to wearing this number..

Not so much what I have done this month, but what I really need to do - skin care is top of my list at the moment. Through my current workplacement I am finding myself in a situation where I am frequently washing my hands and they are becoming incredibly dry, sore and even cracked from the harsh soaps and alcohol based sanitiser. I simply must get around to making some more calendula salve and also some soap - I am inspired to revisit goat's milk soap, even though it means buying the milk. I don't know anyone locally who milks goats!

Slow times here in the garden this month. A little fruit tree pruning took place and some harvesting of herbs - rosemary, parsley and perennial leeks which always seem to be in abundance. While tending to a neighbour's chooks for a few days, I noticed the most glorious cumquat tree, and was pleased to bring some home, as they were just falling to waste on the ground, after providing their magnificent display. Hoping to tackle a marmalade soon..

I enjoyed spinning up a quick 100g of woolly fibre this month and crocheting it into my favourite hat pattern. There's nothing like a new hat to make a person feel good while out and about. And sometimes quick and easy really hits the spot!

July was a month of sadness in my circle as a dear friend traveled through the toughest of times. I hope that the small gestures I put out bring some comfort and a feeling of support for her. It is so very difficult to see someone you care for in such a painful place, without being able to do anything to change it. I hope she knows how much support she has around her. x

July was huge in discoveries for me. I am entering my fourth week of a work placement as part of my studies in aged care. While initially confronting (there is only so much a person can get out of books), I have since found myself feeling that this is exactly what I am meant to be doing and all the new challenges that come along are details that can be learned, discussed and added to my range of skills. I love the interactions with the residents, and the feeling that I am in some small way bringing something of value to them or providing a space where dignity can be maintained and small pleasures of life still enjoyed. It's enormously heart warming. 

See above. As a bonus we also received a lovely surprise snow fall, which makes everyone feel cheery, even in the dark times of winter. Having our neighbourhood turn into a winter wonderland was completely magical and exciting all at once!

Thanks so much to Linda for hosting this link-up. Do pop on over if you wish to join in or read what others have been up to!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Slow Living Monthly Nine - Introducing our new host!

Good Morning!

I have some very exciting news to share with you today. A person who I have come to admire and respect through our interactions on the blog has so very kindly offered to take on the hosting of the Slow Living Monthly 9 link-up. 

If you are a regular participant, then I am sure you will need no introduction at all to Linda from Greenhaven. Linda has been a regular face in the link-ups since they began in 2012, and is someone who is pursuing her slow living goals as opportunities arise on her journey. I really admire the effort and dedication Linda displays in sharing her journey with us on her lovely blog, and her insights as new discoveries are made. I hear there is even news about beekeeping in the pipeline!

So please make Linda feel very welcome for her first time hosting and pop on over to her blog: Greenhaven, say a big hi and catch up on what's been happening under the nine banners during her month. Of course all are welcome to continue linking up and I know that Linda will add her own personal stamp on the link up as time goes by, which I am really looking forward to seeing.

I hope to get my post up over at Linda's in the next few days - hope to see you there!

Christine x

Friday, July 25, 2014

Passing the baton

Good morning,

It's been far too long I know. I have a million reasons why I have not visited this space of late and yet none of any real consequence. I could be here though if I really thought I needed to. But I suppose that is it, the feeling that I perhaps don't rely on this space as much as I used to. A choice between immersing myself in a beautiful world full of memories, notes and pictures, or the physical world, with all of it's ups and downs, laughter and sorrow, smiles, tears, hugs, movement and conversations (not to mention fatigue, sleeplessness and the occasional ache or pain!). At the moment I am choosing this physical world. Which is not to say that I won't be back here at some time, although now is not that time. I will know when it is, and you may catch me dropping in then. 

In the meantime, I feel terrible about letting the Slow Living Monthly 9 link up slide, and don't think that it's fair that even though I am not here to host, those of you who enjoy linking up are missing out. So in the spirit of sharing, I am offering the link-up to one bloggy person who is willing to take it on. Passing the baton, so to speak, which could be rather apt, considering the commencement of the Commonwealth Games.

Are you interested?  Send me an email: slowlivingessentials(at)hotmail(dot)com

What would be involved? Basically the same as what you have been doing up until now, writing your monthly post using the nine banners, as found here. With the only exception, including a small piece of code at the bottom of your post that allows fellow bloggers to link in. I can either continue to use my link account to supply the code, or you may create your own account with a linking service of your choosing.
You may also change the name of the link up to suit the theme of your blog, however, by offering this link up, I request that the original nine banners remain in tact. You may add extra though if you choose to (I know a couple of you already do).

Still interested? Send me an email! If there are a number of responses showing interest in hosting the link up, I will choose one blogger who I think will carry it on well. Let me know! The alternative is that the link up dissolves into nothing and loses the little community that has formed within it. I think it would be awful to see this happen. Help save the Slow Living Monthly 9!

I would also hope to link up from time to time, too.

Do you feel ready to pick up the baton and run with it? 

Yours in Slow Living,
Christine x

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Food growing inspiration from Veg Out Community Garden - St Kilda

As I kick my behind get my act into gear and gather my thoughts for my current Slow Living Monthly 9 post, I want to pause my reflections for a moment and share a place I came across over the weekend. If you were ever feeling in a slump regarding food growing inspiration, one brief wander through this hidden treasure of a community garden in St Kilda, Victoria - just a stones throw away from the hustle and bustle of the Esplanade, busy Acland Street (Cake St) and the regular squeals from the scenic railway at Luna Park- will excite food growers alike and call to the repurposer within...

It had such a great vibe as soon as I walked through the gates..

The gardens are used by community groups and private individuals. In addition to the growing plots, Veg Out includes a chook pen, composting area, communal spaces and art studio..

For those who don't know..
I never seem to get tired of seeing rusty tins used for growing..

Fabulous murals..
I love love love this bike wheel!
Most plots I saw had a letterbox. Besides being extremely charming, they seemed to be the perfect place for plot holders to store gardening gloves, seed packets and the like! Snail mail between growers, too?
My absolute  favourite!
Happy growing!

Community Gardens St Kilda

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Slow Living Monthly 9 - May 2014

Slow Living Monthly 9 link up - an opportunity to review and reflect upon nine different categories of our lives. Nourish, prepare, reduce, green, grow, create, discover, enhance, enjoy. Join in if you wish! Everyone is welcome. How you ask? It's simple, just leave a link to your blog post using the nine categories (detailed here) and enjoy that sharing experience that follows. I am running well behind the eight ball this month but will try to get my post up soon. Have a lovely month people! xx

Slow Living - May 2014

May, May, May, what did you see us eating? Cold weather here means the appearance of sniffly noses and coughs so it was with great love I focused this month on building my family's immune systems up mainly by cooking nourishing meals with bone broths as a base. Osso bucco, lamb shank and barley soup, chicken stock in different types of soups all contributed to a feeling of improved well being, at least from  my observations ;) There is something really comforting about dishing up nourishing food to your family that not only hits the tastebuds but does great things for their insides, too. 

My dairy/gluten free journey continues to wind along it's unknown path and over the past couple of months I have found myself slowly re-introducing small amounts of dairy - homemade yoghurt, minimal cheese and lactose free milk, which all seem to be quite okay for my system to cope with. On to gluten and my ponderings over a paleo approach with my food, I have come to the conclusion that while cutting out all forms of grain would be a little extreme, my body seems to cope quite well with the elimination of wheat from my diet. Which means that stuff like barley and oats, which are not completely gluten free, can still be enjoyed - hooray! And without abundant gluten and therefore bread in my diet, I am turning to rice and potatoes to fulfill my lust for carbs..

I am 99% sure my next ponder will would I go with small amounts of low wheat sourdough? Stay tuned..

{banana muffins - gluten free} 

Wow, May really saw a a load of preserving going on! Out of nowhere our town had roadside harvests of crabapples, the branches gorgeously lining the streets with their brightest of red offerings. Out came the jam pot and batches of crabapple jelly were made. When I had had enough of this, I added mint to make mint jelly and then had a go at making some lemon verbena jelly using some lemon verbena from my garden - it was unusually pleasant! Quince paste is also lurking in my kitchen (I  fear for my blood sugar levels in the next month!), and on a healthier note, the last of the tomatoes along with some I picked up at the fruit shop were roasted with our (sprouting!) garlic and a few chillies and turned into a deliciously thick, spicy tomato-ey, garlic concentrate which I then froze in small containers. 

Not a great deal to report here..

This month, in an effort to not have masses of drying laundry clogging up our home, I strung up a length of rope under our veranda to use for drying sheets and towels. It is a fair assumption that any washing I hang up outside from now until October will stay there, as the rain is just too regular and the air too damp to dry them! I am feeling quietly smug as I bring dry sheets in that have not been rained on - whoop! It's only taken me six years to get onto this, crazy, huh! What I'd really like though is one of those hoistey, timber drying racks that I can raise right up into the ceiling rafters where all the warm air collects - this would send my smugness factor through the roof...quite literally!

Garlic shoots have emerged from the damp earth along with a bed of broad beans. Kale is doing reasonably well although my broccoli which I planted in the hopes of a winter supply has all gone to seed, agh! The chooks went off the lay and tomatoes and beans gave up virtually overnight with the arrival of the frosts. 

I am navigating my way through a knitting project at the moment that is giving me no relaxation. Wanting to use some of my handspun/handyed yarn in a project, I decided on a (simple?) vest in an argyle pattern. Masses of tangled wool and then running out of wool towards the end was seeing me pull my hair out in frustration. It was strange though, because the project felt like it was reflective of my life at the time and the challenges I am feeling myself facing. Coming to the end of the project now, in all it's imperfect glory, I am glad I persisted and no matter how unique it is, it is made by me and so many of my thoughts have been poured into it, I feel the need to wear it, to complete the cycle. Ah yes, and I also came to the unsurprising conclusion that mixing colours is absolutely not for me! Photo when I am completely finished with this challenging project.

Elsewhere, I spied our willow tree with the eyes of a potential weaver. Oh, how wonderful it would be to gather all manner of grassy fibers and twigs and weave them into something beautiful and functional! Perhaps one day..for now, just call me a wannabe weaver. 

I was blessed with the gathering of a group of women in my garden this month. Friday veggie group continues to be a strong element of my week, and having them gather around my table, filling my kitchen with their raucous laughter and chatting fills me with great happiness. Having some work tackled in the garden is really just a bonus, in my eyes.

Our local spinning group also hosted a "biggest morning tea" to fund raise for the Cancer Council. I do my best to participate in these events, having lost my own father from cancer two years ago. The group puts on a fantastic spread with everyone contributing and then offering an auction full of handmade goodness. Our small group did very well and raised $1100 for this cause.

Discoveries took place for me on a deeper level this month. Spending time to focus on my inner self was exactly what I needed and as the journey continues, I enjoy more and more finding out exactly who I am. Hopefully not too deep a thought to include here..

Hubby and I treated ourselves and spent a weekend in the top end (Darwin) at the start of the month, in celebration of his birthday. Exploring this area, just for the briefest time was something we had been meaning to do for the longest time. Back at home, as always it's the simple things that cause me to stop and smile, hitting the mark and saying something that makes my daughters' burst out laughing does if for me every time. Seeing the leaves drop from the trees and be replaced by foggy mists and frosty mornings. Walking the dog through the damp bush and stoking a hot fire. Giving someone's hand a squeeze in my aged care volunteer work and knowing that even though they may not remember it, the moment did happen and they felt it at the time. Wishing you a beautiful month. x

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Tips for mushroom season...

Mushroom season has hit our area with the arrival of heavy rains and the resultant damp earth. Before the weather becomes too cold with the bitter chill of winter, the ground sends up fascinating offerings to view and admire..and sometime even eat. After spending a few outings recently collecting such offerings I thought it would be a good idea to talk about mushroom hunting for anyone considering partaking in this most enjoyable (but cautious) activity.

I first learned to identify a handful of mushrooms a few years ago when a good friend and I booked in to participate in a fungi workshop offered through our local neighbourhood house. For anyone considering going out into the wild to partake  of some edible delights, I would definitely suggest booking yourself into a similar course FIRST, so that you are not relying on heresay when identifying your 'shrooms.

The workshop my friend and I went to was extremely informative and included an entire morning spent viewing photos and slides of all types of fungi, from the lethal to the edible. The workshop also had a spectacular display of locally gathered fungi in various stages of their development. During the afternoon, the group headed out to a nearby location for hands on fungi identification and tasting. You can read about this workshop, way back here. 

Once you feel you are armed with more than enough knowledge to avoid the dangerous (lethal) mushrooms, and safely identify those praised for eating, you will want to consider the logistics; where to go, what time of day, what to take and so on.

Where to go depends largely of your knowledge of the local area, or, if you are not within mushrooming range, knowledge of the area you intend to travel. Find out a little about the area you are heading into. Is the area elevated and subject to heavy mists/fog or cooler temperatures? Pack extra coats! Is it on a steep slope? Wear sturdy footwear. Is the area on a dirt road and is this accessible after heavy rains? Plan your vehicle or perhaps consider parking a safe distance away and walking. Common sense plays a big part here. :)

What time of day should I venture out? Often, the most prized hunting grounds are already well known by other 'hunters' in your chosen area. If you are serious about hunting your mushrooms, you may like to consider heading out early, before day trippers from further afield make it to your location before you. It can sometimes even pay to make a short session or two mid week if you are close by, when most day trippers are tucked up at home or work and not planning a trip until the weekend.

It is also not uncommon for cafes and local restaurants to gather wild mushrooms to include on their menus, or market stall holders to offer at farmers markets, so if your favourite area is also frequented by such folk, heading out the earliest you possibly can after a bout of rain, can prove to be more successful than waiting until the weekend.

What to take?

  • Aside from the obvious warm clothing and sturdy footwear, pack a coat and hat as mushrooming grounds are nearly always cold.
  • Fingerless gloves are another welcome addition because when you find a good patch, there is little time for hands to be sitting idle in warm coat pockets!
  • A small knife is a must, as when harvesting mushrooms, it is the etiquette to cut just below the surface of the ground, to leave the unearthed section behind to reproduce again the following season. Some people prefer specialty mushrooming knives that come with a brush attached to one end, however I find that a simple steak knife is quite adequate for my needs.
  • A basket with lid is also a welcome addition. I have hunted without bags, large shopping bags and open baskets before, but by far the best investment was a $3 wicker picnic basket from my local thrift shop that has two hinged flaps to open, thereby protecting the mushrooms if it happens to rain. The basked can also easily be hosed off once emptied, in readiness for the next session. 
  • A mushroom guide book (or app), mobile phone, map of the area, snack and water bottle and camera are also items worth considering. 
  • To begin with, I would suggest always hunting with another person, as with two people identifying, errors are less likely to occur. As you gain confidence in your mushrooming abilities, solo ventures will start calling to you, but remember to tell someone if you are 'shrooming alone, for safety's sake. 

When out there..
**Only take what you know to be 110% safe to eat!! It seems obvious, but you have really got to be absolutely certain that what you are picking is not going to harm yourself or your loved ones.**

Try and steer clear of other hunters, as it could be considered impolite to hunt alongside them. There is plenty of forest out there, so find another section to look in.

Only take what you need! It can be all too easy to come home with a basket overflowing with mushrooms that you don't get around to using, so please, only take what you intend to use and save the rest for other keen hunters. I believe that is the golden rule of foraging - always leave something behind for the next person.

Have fun! Once you know what you are looking for, mushrooming can be great fun and an enjoyable social activity or an opportunity for peaceful solitude. Either way, it's a great way to spend some of these autumn days before the seriously chilled blast of winter hits.

Do you hunt mushrooms? Do you have any tips for the new hunter that you'd like to share? What is your favourite way to cook foraged mushrooms? Please share in the comments section below!

Be safe out there and happy hunting!

**I choose to hunt only Saffron Milk Caps (Lactarious Delicious) to feed myself and my family. They grow well in our local area in the pine forests and are extremely difficult to mistake with any other mushroom. They have a distinctive orange appearance, ooze a saffron coloured sap when cut and their flesh turns an oxidised green when it is bruised. More information on this edible mushroom can be found here.**
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