Writer, zoologist and gundog enthusiast, Pippa blogs on life in the countryside

Mushrooms, labradors, and a last burst of summer

I have a healthy respect for funghi.   I am fairly sure that I could learn to identify all the edible species that lurk in our countryside as well as the next man,  but I am not about to bet my life on it.  Whilst mushrooms are delicious, I am quite happy with those lovely chestnutty ones that grace the shelves of Tescos.

Himself on the other hand,  being of adventurous spirit,  set off recently for a morning of mushroom foraging with two mushroom enthusiast friends.    Fortunately the guys did not return with their baskets laden so I was not obliged to decline my share.  I  don’t know whether or not it has been a bad year for mushrooms generally,  but  they only found a few edible specimens.

Despite a distinctly autumnal feel to the weather recently,  today has been extraordinary.  Scorching sunshine and blue skies.   One of the beanfields has now been cut and I took two labs out to do some retrieves on it this morning.  It was so hot (26° ) we only stayed out for ten minutes or so.

I was making use of Mr M as a dummy thrower before he goes off to college next week.   I am trying to bring gunfire gradually closer to a little lab bitch that is just getting over her gun nervousness, and today we brought the shots to within 50 yards of her before the heat drove us off the field.

I shall be doing a lot more retrieve work over the next few weeks, partly because it is a great way to get the dogs fit ready for the coming shooting season.

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