Angry Adder

Angry Adder

Just when I thought it was safe to go back in the wood pile…

Yesterday, shortly after my brother had picked up some wood from the pile he keeps outside my house and then left, I noticed a cat playing with a snake on the road. It was pawing it and as the snake lunged it would quickly withdraw its paw. I thought it was a smooth snake until getting closer. It turned out to be the most livid adder (Vipera berus) that I’ve ever encountered.

Despite being Europe’s only poisonous species they’re usually quite docile, but this one started hissing and arching its head at me from several metres away. The cat had enraged it so much that it had clearly become dangerous. As it was a mere few feet from my garden, where my Jack Russell and kids play, it could have had dire consequences. I was really tempted to kill it, something I don’t like doing as I usually don’t have a problem with snakes, but as I was dressed to go out on a motorbike ride and the engine was running, i couldn’t be bothered with skinning it and defleshing – without which the skin would go to waste.

So the snake’s still there, in the rocks someplace. Hopefully, this hot weather will change and it will hibernate and wake up in the spring in a better mood. Otherwise it’ll end up on my barbecue and around my wrist…

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Champignon mushrooms!

Champignon mushrooms!

Finally, we’re starting to see some edible fungi, although still not in any quantities worth mentioning. Winter is fast approaching, which means mushroom season – if there even is one this year – will be short.

We found a couple of rings of champignons (Agaricus bisporus), or the common button mushroom favoured as part of the English breakfast, but most of them were too small to harvest yet. Both rings centered on a big daddy mushroom, as pictured, and then had little baby ones growing a foot or more away. We’ve had plenty of storms and rain over the last week, now we just need some sun to induce fungal growth.