Nov 9, 2011

lichen, chaga and others

these shots are from the cottage from last week. the woods should be at least a little frosty by this time of year, but with nighttime temps of +10C...everything is still pretty green.

it seems mom missed a few lingonberries...

mosses and lichen of all sorts, and colors!

i remember from my childhood that reindeer lichen was used in between the inner and outer glasses in windows. the lichen would suck up all moisture and the windows would remain frost-free in the winter, with modern windows this isn't necessary anymore. the reindeer lichen only grows 3 to 5 mm per year so any bald spots (from picking, etc) will take years and years to be replaced.

more about lichens here.

these looks like tiny finger sticking up from the ground...

this bad picture is of an inonotus obliquus, i.e. chaga mushroom, or pakurikääpä in finnish. dad had heard someone say something about about how much this costs at a health food then remembered seeing one along the walk she takes...we went there with an axe, after making sure it was ok to take it from someone else's land (it is, as chaga is considered the same as other mushrooms and berries, and it is everyman's right to pick those in the woods). however, if getting the chaga would entail cutting down an entire tree...that's a no-no. this particular chaga was on a half rotten stump of a birch.

it turns out this chaga mushroom is a cure-all for everything, cancer, ulcers and tuberculosis among others (and i'm not making this up). there are scientific studies, and it's been as folk medicine from the 16th century. it's been sold as super-food, mainly used stewed like for tea, more of it here, and here (in finnish).

we were talking about the chaga over lunch at the cottage and my older niece told that one of her teachers is an avid user of it. my niece is now under instructions to find out how to handle and consume the chaga.

this here is usnea, part of the lichen family. folk lore says it indicates the air quality (no usnea, bad air). during the last 10 or so years, usnea has really started to grow around the cottage, so for some strange reason the air seems to be getting cleaner over there. maybe those filters in the paper mills are actually working...

the next 2 pics were taken on nov 3rd...catkins aren't supposed to show up until spring, right?

as isn't this bellflower / campanula.

this creature is, however, getting ready for winter...

...and fattening her(?)self up with seeds that dropped from the bird feeder.

it is very strange for the lake to be this calm, for several days, in november.

like a mirror.

mom and dad fish with nets, this lone signal crayfish got caught it the nets. it got to go back to the lake as the crayfish season ended on oct 31st, and it really wouldn't have been worth the trouble to cook just one...

these here are dad's pride and joy. pride, the english lady, on the left, and joy in the right. there is 2 km of road to the cottage that dad needs to maintain, that includes clearing it of snow. the pride, a massey ferguson 35 from circa 1960, has seen its better days, but provides plenty of exercise for dad (fixing and adding the detachments and chains for tyres). the MF is used for the first snow and fine tuning the leveling. when the weather is bad and there is lots of snow, the zetor 7045 tackles those jobs. the cabin in the zetor heats up...

back at the shack the dog has taken to sleep on his chair again. winter must be coming as the dog doesn't use the chair for sleeping in the summer...

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