All posts by Stephen Barstow

Golpar ready to use

Cleaned this year’s golpar harvest, my favourite spice…used in a range of dishes, see here: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?s=golpar

Real golpar is the ground seed of Heracleum persicum (Tromsøpalme), an important spice in Iran. I use a mix of wild and cultivated species of Heracleum (hogweeds): H. sibiricum, H. maximum, H. sphondylium…and naturalised H. persicum

The return of the waxwings

Most of the thrushes were gone today, replaced by a flock of about 120 waxwings (sidensvans), picking up from where the thrushes left off!
The first two videos show waxwings eating apples opened up by fieldfares and blackbirds yesterday and also eating guelder rose (krossved) berries, so far not touching the elderberries (svarthyll).

Earlier in the day, the waxwings were hunting insects on birch trees and occasionally high into the air in pursuit of insects:

…and the morning after, they had discovered the yew berries!

October Chantarelles

This week,  somewhere in Trøndelag, we stumbled on a large number of chantarelles (kantarell). The aim of the trip was to pick winter chantarelles (traktkantarell) for drying. Imagine our surprise to find a huge number of chantarelles. I’ve never found so many so late in the year! There were many winter chantarelles too, but we decided to pick them next week!
Walking up a very steep slope and suddenly this was the view in front of us:

The final haul ready to dry!

Thrush invasion

Unusually large numbers of thrushes, mainly fieldfare (gråtrost), redwings (rødvingetrost) and a few blackbirds (svarttrost) in the garden at the moment, mainly on the rowans (wild and planted for the birds) and apples (need to harvest earlier than normal this year).
This year is a bumper year for rowans near the fjord, but poor a little inland due probably to frosts which didn’t affect us! Late frost at the time of fruit flowering iis very unusual where I am near the fjord (due to a combination of warmth from the fjord and the fact that there isn’t night at this time!). This has concentrated thrushes near the fjord where the food is!

Thrush invasion

  1. Blackbird on apples

2. Redwing and fieldfares on rowan

3. Fieldfare on rowan (this tree was more or less stripped of berries during the day)

Yew berry year and the vine

There are an enormous number of yew berries on the tree next to the kitchen window this year  and this video shows how a vine (probably Vitis coignetiae) has found its way towards the light high up in the yew, which is Taxus × media “Hicksii”, the Anglojap or Hicks’ yew,  which is a hybrid of Taxus baccata and Taxus cuspidata.
Most will be left for the birds, bringing both waxwings (sidensvans) and blackbirds (svarttrost) close to the house!

The Grooved Bonnet

A new species for the garden is The Grooved Bonnet (Sølvhette) or Mycena polygramma, a bioluminescent fungi important in decomposing organic matter, recycling nutrients and forming humus in the soil, growing in the wild part of the garden next to a hazel. No bioluminescence seen though! Thanks to Berit Elle for the ID and Per Marstad for the verification!