Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Fungi, the short life of wellies and dancing in slippers

Well it looks like autumn has finally arrived. Not only have we have we had frosts and - urrghh - soggy snow, but a trip to our local woodland gave us the full Autumn experience...

I'd like to impress you by telling you that I could identify all of these fungi, but actually I can't. A few years ago we went on a guided 'Fungal Forage' and even the guy who was suppposedly the expert couldn't identify many of the things we found. So, I don't feel so bad about my ignorance.

Here's some of the bracket fungus we found on the - presumably dead - tree branches. There seemed to be loads of dead wood lying around and I was tempted to gather a huge bundle and take it home for a bonfire. Not practical of course : the children (well some) had already complained about having to walk so far to get to the woods (I've now resolved to take the car less and make them walk more) and I didn't think any of them would be chuffed to have to carry home bundles of wet branches and logs. Besides, damp wood never made a great bonfire.

And here's a puffball-type fungi. As you can see it was well camouflaged against the leaf litter. I discovered it when it 'puffed' out spores as my foot brushed against it. Couldn't get it to do it again (I guess it had run out of 'puff'), otherwise it might have been great to video it.

Ok, who am I trying to kid: it would have made a pretty boring video...but it would have been nice to try.

And here are some 'pink' fungi. I suppose with the distinctive colour I should be able to identify what they are, but I can't find our fungi book anywhere. I'm not even sure if we have a fungi book, but dh was looking for it the other day, so perhaps we're both imagining things.

I was planning to do some spore prints with the few fungi that we picked, but I have a suspicion that they'll probably sit, sweating, in their carrier bag until I realise what 'that bad smell in the house' is.

Remembering all those home ed things I'd planned to do if we ever took a walk in the woods (but usually never got around to) I encouraged dd1 to do some 'leaf things'. So we did leaf rubbings, leaf paint prints and sandwiched some leaves through the laminator too. The laminator did make a bit of a crunching noise as some of the thicker ones went through, but it seems to have survived the process. Is it just me who puts fat things through the laminator?
Now, feeling like we've ticked something off my mental list of 'things we ought to do', I can allow myself a brief, smug, home-educating mother moment.
Ok, it's over now.
Obviously the brief smug mother moment went to my head because I then felt I could take on the world. Well, not exactly take on the world, but take all 3 of my kids shoe shopping. At half term!!! Bad idea.
But, on the plus side, I'm so glad we don't have to actually buy proper shoes; you know, proper black boring school shoes. Certainly one of the benefits of not having kids in school. The funny thing is, for the first few years of home educating I still bought my kids boring black school-type shoes every autumn. Why? Must be years of subtle subconscious programming; I was driven by the same urge that takes over every September and makes me go out and buy new stationery and pencil cases and other rubbish that I don't need. And the daft thing was, my kids wouldn't even wear the shoes. Instead they lived in wellies and trainers.
So, shopping for wellies and trainers it was. Oh, and slippers. Personally can't see the point of slippers - wear another pair of socks if your feet are cold, or comfy shoes, but dh has a thing about the kids wearing slippers. Maybe I should let him take the kids shoe shopping next time.
Talking of wellies -well actually I was talking about slippers, but anyway- I was just wondering how ds1 manages to wear his wellies out so quickly. He gets through 2 or 3 pairs a year! Surely that's not normal? With this last pair, both of them have split down the back. Other pairs have worn holes in the bottom. I'm starting to think he must be sleep walking in the darn things.
Back to shoe shopping. Well, it wasn't too horrendous an experience, though the boredom quickly took over when ds1 refused to have any of the slippers or wellies on offer. Can't blame him really; he's nearly 10 and doesn't really want 'pirate' wellies or 'spiderman' on his slippers.
My bribery ploy (shopping survival strategy) was to promise them a look round Gamestation at some point. This kinda backfired as it reminded ds2 that his elder brother has a ds lite and he only has a gameboy advance. As if my technohead child needs reminding!. So we had sulky, grumpy, and occasionally violent outbursts for the remainder of the shopping experience, pacified only by a look at the mountain bikes in Halfords. Sibling rivalry. Got a lot to answer for.
[Hmm..hope ds2 isn't expecting a mountain bike for Christmas.]
Anyway, at least one child was happy with their purchase. Here's dd1 dancing in her fluffy pussycat lighting up slippers. At what point in my parenting life did I give up on the 'just buy them plain non-commercial shoes'?
I wonder if they do them in my size.

Ok, better finish this now. The dog, who was sitting on my lap and was performing the role of hot water bottle, has now moved and I'm getting cold. Also dd1 has just come in to tell me she's been downstairs for ages and I still haven't got her breakfast. There goes that smug mother moment....


Carolyn said...

I LOVE fungi...such beautiful colours and shapes. I just can't eat it because of its truly uncanny resembalence to slugs when cooked....yuk!!!!

Raike said...

Shoe shopping with three kids…. I can imagine it.