Monday, 27 August 2007

The creeps

Yesterday was spent on an ex tempore mushroom picking trip into the woods. The picking was quite fun as there were so many different species for gathering and the challenge was to keep them separate as they need to be prepared in differing ways. Some to be cooked in salted water, some to be fried separately according t species and some to be dried in the sauna. As we do have a sauna I use it for drying mushrooms and some herbs as it is a space readily available and mostly empty unless when heated up for having a bath and it was not Saturday yesterday which is the traditional day for having a sauna.

Our trip was great fun and I got some smashing photos of the mushrooms collected, some berries and other stuff growing in the wilderness and the collectors picking mushrooms as well. The day was spent in splendid sunshine with none of promised rain showers in sight although it has cooled down a bit from previous days.

There was one thing that really did annoy me in the woods, I mean spiders there are anywhere so them I just have to cope with but this nuisance is fairly new here in Finland, the elk fly. Much has been told about them in the media and they most certainly have arrived from the east and have now spread all the way to the Ă…land archipelago but I had not quite understood what they were about until googling them after arriving home yesterday. The elk fly is a species of flies that suck only the blood of elks and lay their eggs into the hide of the elks, although some stories have been told about them possibly also be interested in reindeers as well, but this I have not got confirmed as yet.

I thought they did bite humans as well sucking our blood and was weary about having them crawling around on my person. The elk fly land on elks or in this case humans and, loose their wings and begin to crawl around to find a place to suck blood and lay their eggs. They are quite flexible even though they have a hard shell like most insects, and they are almost impossible to squish to death, they just keep on crawling on you over and over again after you think that you surely by now have killed them.

After yesterday having googled the elk fly I found out that they hardly ever bite humans and are in no way harmless to us unless you happened to be allergic to them and they accidentally bite you. I really do no understand why people buy special hats to avoid the elk fly bites as they do not bite and why there would need to be an elk fly repellent. What’s the point of having a repellent if it does no harm to you?

As it happens, the elk fly is a master of hiding and still hours after quitting the woods we still found some crawling around in our clothes and hair back at home even though we thoroughly went through all our clothes when leaving. It still gives me the creeps just thinking about an elk fly crawling around on me!

I am quite with the Internet; having the information needed, freely available ready at hand when needed; now there are just annoying mosquitoes, elk flies, spiders and ticks to mind when out in the woods just annoying but nothing dangerous. Well one occasional and nowadays quite rare poisonous viper. You hardly ever come across anyway as they tend to avoid us humans, we just accidentally step onto their territory or on top of them in the worst case.

Anyway, I am quite pleased with yesterday’s catch of mushroom now we are stocked up with most mushrooms we are able to eat in one year. Maybe we should do one more trip as you never know if there next year will be any mushrooms, as some years have been exceptionally dry summers, like last year.

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