The Great Outdoors – Foraging and Shinrin-Yoku

My dearest Gary once said that I am at my most relaxed when I am outdoors.

A month or two back I was on a mission, that mission to find somewhere where I could forage for pine mushrooms.  This meant time out with a special friend, who, I must say, I’ve had a few adventures with.  Maggie is loads of fun and loves a bit of adventure, so a date and time was set.

On the day, I met Maggie at hers, transferred my baskets to her truck and we headed off, chatting, laughing, catching up and looking for a suitable place to forage.  Many plantations were off limits due to logging, but when we had almost given up, the last one on the list was logging free.  She parked the truck, we gathered our tools (baskets and knives, and entered the edge of the plantation.  As we collected our bounty of mushrooms and pine cones we both found ourselves becoming more and more relaxed in our surrounds, wandering off in different directions, and coming together again, this led us to chatting about forest bathing and the benefits afforded by such a simple pastime.

I was a little surprised to hear that Maggie had never foraged for mushrooms and wasn’t game to try the ones that I had collected. But that was Ok, I brought them all home and cooked, pickled and dehydrated them, Mushroom Bourguinon anyone?

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Shipwrecks of a Bygone Era

The stunning shoreline of the Ninety Mile Beach in Gippsland, Australia separates Bass Strait from the Gippsland Lakes, with the sandy beaches, edged by sand dunes, stretching for approximately 94 miles or 151 kilometers.  In years long past, this pristine stretch of  beach, uninterrupted by rocky headlands, provided no safe harbour for sail and steam vessels when storms and gale force winds hit, leaving the coastline scattered with many offshore wrecks and the occasional onshore wreck.

On a recent trip to the area we chose to head to one such onshore wreck, that of the barque ‘Trinculo’, where the skeleton of the wreck is still visible on the beach near the small coastal village of Golden Beach.

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Dragonfly or Damselfly

As I was preparing the food for a late New Years Day lunch to share with Christopher and Olivia, I noticed a dragonfly caught in the web of a spider just outside the kitchen window.  I continued the preparations but after they had left to return home, my mind went back to the poor dragonfly, so I went back to investigate.  Upon close inspection there appeared to be a little movement, so found a thin bamboo skewer and very gently removed the delicate creature from the holds of the web!

Once removed, I, with unusually steady hands, worked to try and remove as much of the web as I could – I was so afraid that I would hurt or damage the delicate creature!  Eventually, hoping that I had done enough to give it a chance of survival, I took it to the lemon scented geranium just outside the back porch, and placed it on a little cluster of leaves.


I returned several times and make sure it was OK, but it appeared that it could not move from where I had placed it!

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Carefully I removed the tiny creature from the leaves and brought it back inside, where upon closer inspection there appeared to be tiny pieces of web still attached, and the web was acting like glue!

Finally, with patience, a careful hand, and time, the lace like wings started moving with much more freedom, and its fragile legs no longer appeared to stick to anything.

With hope I moved the tiny creature to a windowsill, and with great delight, I watched as it flew away.

With its delicate wings spread, the tiny creature is free to fly away.

This morning I asked, was it a dragonfly, so a little research, and I think maybe it is a damselfly rather than a dragonfly.

Until next time…