Wild mushrooms, edible or poisonous?

I have discovered several species of mushrooms at our cottage in Ontario, Canada and am wondering if any are edible.  They range in color from very white, to almost white, to white with blue, brown and black tinges, to beige, to golden brown, to orange, to blood red.  They range in size from very tiny, less than 1 inch to up to 5 inches.  They vary in shape from perfectly round and symmetrical to lumpy and bumpy.  They range in texture from smooth to necrotic looking…

Most of the websites I have checked out are not very specific with lots of disclaimers.  I would appreciate feedback from any experts out there…

How do you handle adversity?

This is a good lesson for all of us, no matter what stage of life you’re in, to show that how you handle adversity is very important.  When a  young woman found out her husband was cheating, she went to her grandmother for advice.  This is the message the grandmother gave her…

Enjoy the message, and think about whether you are a carrot, an egg or coffee when you deal with adversity.

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Dock spiders

This spider is huge!  I assume it is a she as the ball to the right of it is a mass of baby spiders that dispersed when I got too close…

I took the picture at the shoreline, well away from the cottage.  Dock spiders, also called fishing spiders or wharf spiders, live at the water’s edge as their name suggests.  They are the largest species of spider native to Canada; a female can reach up to 4 inches including her leg span.  This one was close to that.  Males are smaller.  Dock spiders can glide on the water and even submerge in the water to catch their prey.  They do not spin webs to catch their prey like other spiders.  The weblike casing around the babies is like a baby nursery that the female creates to protect her young on the shoreline when the eggs are ready to hatch.

Fortunately, dock spiders do not usually bite humans and will retreat when they hear us.  Their prey consists of insects and even small minnows.  So, eat away spiders, just stay away from my cottage…

Beware of wild parnsip, but leave the goldenrod

Wild parsnip has made its appearance in Eastern Ontario, introduced from Asia and Europe for its edible root.  A tall wildflower or weed with yellow flowers, it can cause severe blistering and burning when the sap within its stalks comes into contact with skin that is exposed to sunlight.  As goldenrod is also a tall wildflower with yellow flowers, and very common along roadways in Eastern Ontario, I thought I would compare the two…

Wild parsnip has lobed, sharply toothed leaves, a grooved stalk and yellow flowers that form a flat topped, umbrella-like,seed head…

Goldenrod has elongated, swordlike leaves, a smooth stalk and plumes or spikes of yellow flowers.  Once you compare the two, the only thing they have in common is the color of their flowers. Goldenrod is harmless, and growing in a field or along a roadside can be quite beautiful.  Some claim it is the cause of their seasonal allergies in late summer, but others claim its leaves and flowers have medicinal properties, even helping to alleviate seasonal allergies.

Armed with the details of what these two plants look like, I searched through our cottage lot for signs of wild parsnip.   I did not find any wild parsnip, but did find several clumps of goldenrod…

I have seen clumps of wild parsnip in the vicinity of several gardens I work in though, the largest area is within the Beaverbrook area of Kanata, behind Borduas Court and Carr Crescent, between this residential neighbourhood and the Kanata Lakes Golf Course.  This clump of wild parsnip has gone to seed, meaning the flowers have faded to a beige brown color and the seeds are blowing in the wind, spreading through the neighbourhood.

There is a path between the two streets with wild parsnip close to the edge of the path.  The plant growth along the path appears to have been mowed recently, but mowing often causes the dangerous sap to leak out of the stalks, especially if a weed wacker or whippersnipper is used.   I would hesitate letting my dog or children walk along there!.

If you spot any wild parsnip in your neighbourhood, notify your local authorities, and do not attempt to eradicate large patches of it yourself.  To remove one or two plants, you can try to dig up the long taproot, but be sure to wear long pants, sleeves and waterproof gloves.  Try not to break the stalk, place it in a black plastic bag, and leave the bag in the hot sun for a week to kill the plant.  Remove the gloves last and wash them several times with soapy water.  Clothing can be washed in the laundry.

Beware of wild parsnip, but leave the beautiful and harmless goldenrod.

How hot is it in Eastern Ontario, Canada?

This picture of the temperature gauge on our BBQ at the cottage was taken yesterday late afternoon.  You can see the temperature reads well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, before the BBQ was turned on…

 

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It was a great weekend to be at the lake!  Unfortunately, we are back to work today with the weather still very hot.