Saturday, 31 October 2009

Sloe Walk

Had a lovely walk in the Rusland Valley yesterday with the additional treat of coming across this blackthorn bush which was laded with sloes. It looks a very old bush as it is covered with moss and abundant grey lichen, which I think is the shrubby Ramalina farinacea. The lichen indicates good air quality round here and as it is near a place called Windy Hall this certainly indicates a lot of fresh air. I don't think last year was a good year for sloes as the ones we can across were poor specimens. This year they are plump. Plastic bag out and we gathered about a pound, which left loads left on the tree for anyone else with a desire to make Sloe Gin.

The temperature this week can only be described a balmy, a wonderfully warm autumn. (This time last year it had snowed). The air was still and the breeze crackled the dry leaves on the trees as we walk through the woods. The birds sang and the sparse late flowers felt as though they were wishing us goodbye for the year.
A profusion of Scarlet Hood (Hygrophorus coccineus) greeted us as we walked through the fields towards the end of the walk. These fungi like to grow in grass and the cap fades to yellow as it ages. You can just see the yellow edges on these ones.
What of the sloes we picked. Today I bought a bottle of gin, pricked the juicy sloes, put them in the gin and added the sugar. Now I turn the bottle every day and wait. I knew someone who used to put the bottle under her bed and the last thing she did before she went to bed was turn it. One way of remembering to keep turning the bottle.

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