Morel season

We have managed to escape Chamonix and COVID-19 and make our way down to the barn. We had special paperwork to travel supplied by the Mayor of the Commune down in the Pyrenees but fortunately did not get stopped en route so never actually had to produce it. There have been a couple of leaks in the roof over the winter but the place is in pretty good nick and no mouse activity which is great.
There is so much more to do here than Chamonix and we have been very industrious since arriving. Half the weeding of veg and flower areas is already done. We’ve started strimming and already have loads of vegetables planted up. Some are in plastic bag “propagators” to get them to germinate earlier and others are under cloches (made from plastic water bottles) to protect them from frost.

The much sought after Morel mushrooms appear this time of year for about three weeks. They are associated with Ash trees of which we have a handful on the land so we decided to go for a wander with a stick and a bag. Our first find was a False Morel (Faux Morrille), this chestnut brown critter looks like a Morel and could easily be mistaken for one but, alas, is poisonous. Apparently one starts feeling sick and a headache comes on, this leads to a comma and sometimes death. When you slice through one of these there are many chambers in the stem and in the fruit body. A true/safe Morel has a single chamber in the head and the body. The others in the piccys are safe and some of the largest we have found. When we first started looking for Morels everyone said they were incredibly difficult to find. You could spend hours searching through grass and come away with nothing. These on the other hand were so large they could be spotted a good few meters away and one could certainly injure oneself tripping over them.
They are now cleaned up and in a basket drying above the wood burner.

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