Winter Chanterelle Tagliatelle

It is very cold, and mist curls through the bronzing leaves of the forest canopy, turning trees into hulking shadows, half-hidden keepers of old secrets.  The feeling in my fingers is gone.  Dewdrops collect in my beard and eyebrows, and I cannot feel my nose.  I am shivering, and somewhat lost, but I do not…

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On Chestnuts, Oyster Mushrooms, and Ancient Mutants

One of the attractions of foraging is that it is possible to find flavours and textures that are unavailable in the shops.  Most wild mushrooms are so complex in their relationships to the land, to the other organisms that share that space, that they are difficult or impossible to cultivate.  You might find penny buns…

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How to Make Quince Cheese

The term ‘foraging’ can be a loose one.  The Oxford English Dictionary says “(of a person or animal) search widely for food or provisions.”  But you needn’t hike for miles in the wilderness in search of your ingredients.  That wide search can begin on your doorstep; in your own garden, in parks, on waste ground,…

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The Hedgerow in Autumn

The greens of summer fade toward the golds and rusts of autumn. This morning is a dim one, with thin mist curling across the meadows. The sun breaks the horizon. The mist takes on colours, hazing pink and orange as its fingers reach across the land. More rain is promised. Grey clouds hang fat and…

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An Autumn Lunch

After a long hot summer here in France, autumn has finally arrived. The sun has calmed its fury, and retired behind the clouds. Rain is forecast and will be relief to the wildlife and the farm animals alike. Three young roe deer flit daily across the fields behind the house, buzzards and kites fill the…

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Capturing a Taste of the Wild

An early lesson I learned when I began foraging was this: there is a difference between “you can eat it” and “you should eat it”. Depending on your tolerance for bitterness, hairiness, or astringency, there are some wild foods that are technically edible but also technically horrible. Conversely there are some incredible and unique ingredients…

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Counting Sheep

I’m standing in the meadow behind the house, clutching a stack of buckets. Before venturing outside, I pulled on a pair of shorts and stepped into my wellingtons, leaving a gap for my knees to peek through so they are now wet with dew from the damp morning grass. Drops cling to my eyelashes and…

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The Apocalypse Pantry

It’s not the end of the world.  As I write this, I am listening to the radio, where sombre voices are speaking of madmen rattling their swords, about missiles, about poisoned eggs, about droughts, floods, forest fires.  Stay indoors.  Cover the windows, cover your eyes.  Be afraid. And I am afraid. Yet, outside the open door,…

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The Hive, Part Three: Epilogue/Prologue.

The bees are dying. All was, or seemed, well.  We had weeks where the bees were busy busy.  Collecting nectar, the clover in the field surrounding the hive a-buzz with 40,000 tiny beating wings.  Bringing in pollen, little globes of yellow and orange and chestnut brown attached to their legs as they arrived home from…

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The Hive, Part One: A Boot Full of Bees.

Note: bees are complicated, wildly so.  I am not an expert, not even close, and much of what follows is knowledge I have gleaned from books and courses, and some is still controversial in the beekeeping world.  I have provided links to further reading for those that wish it.  I cannot take responsibility for external…

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