7 000 000 000 000

when we came to look at the land for the first time last year there were a few tired and crumpled puffballs in the first field, but disturbance and grazing had done for them this year, not a single one in sight...until, as is often the case, it was the doing of a tedious, much-put-off task that threw up the reward



a neighbour, mildly overobsessed with fungi, had also been on the look out, but it wasnt until plucking up the largest of the kale that was showing signs of going beyond its best that i found a single, greying, partly collapsed dome

chop the top off, scoop out and fry the insides in butter with a few herbs, pop it back in and fill up the cavity with cream and or wine and bake with the top back on, and you get a delicious wedge of wild harvest

the human body carries approximately 7 000 000 000 000 bacteria on its surface, most working in semi natural balance to our marginal advantage, and the giant puffball, measuring its usual 1 foot or so in diameter, manages to squash a similar number of spores into its head - little potential mushrooms released in clouds as the parent overmatures



wrapping it in a couple of large kale leaves, i took it down to the relatively undisturbed patch behind the polytunnel, hoofing it around (more ronharris than ronhaldinho) between the few fruit trees to release its wafts of chocolatey talc, hoping for 1 or 2 of its 7 000 000 000 000 little offspring next year

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Go to Otter Farm | by Mark D