Caffeine: the most potent artificial intelligence drink!

Caffeine: the most potent artificial intelligence drink!
Deep in the Lair of the Perpetually Curious Fox

Friday, 19 September 2014

Will be offline for a while.

Having a relapse of last year's C difficile infection. If you're theistic, pray for me. If you're not, remember me in your good wishes.

Off to battle, now. Let's hope I win again!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Berry Bird Island: Bog Cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccus), Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum), Labrador Tea (Rhododendron tomentosum), Sunburst Lichen (Xanthoria elegans)

Today was relatively warm-ish at 13 deg C with clear skies and no smoke, and the boat hits the water. Off we went to one of the Western Mirage Islands, just 25km ish south of Yellowknife Bay.

The high number of songbirds (mostly blackbirds) is due to the fact the island is not often visited, as landing a craft here is almost impossible, unless you have a Zodiac. Which is good, as this means not many dogs have been to the place and the birds and berries are left well enough alone.

Bog Cranberries (Vaccinium oxycoccus)

Lots of them.

In the mossy beds on the rocky facets

Tinier than the cultivated ones, and oddly sweeter.
The bluish black ones are Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum)

Cranberries and Crowberries.

Labrador Tea (Rhododendron tomentosum)

Mini bushes of berries and Labrador tea huddle together for a plant Selfie....

Very berry - no wonder there's a songbird colony here.

Try not to mistake Bearberry (Arctostaphylos alpina) for Cranberries.
They look somewhat the same to the untrained eye. Bearberry is also known as Uva-ursi,
and the leaves are sometimes smoked in a mixture called Kinnikinnick

Shadow of me on a Rocky Berry Field.

The Captain snoozes

These elegant beauties are Sunburst Lichens (Xanthoria elegans)

They love nitrogen from the bird poop. Shit life for some, glorious ones for others.

They do look like sunburst on the rocks.

Personally, I like plants, fungi, lichens and animals more than humans. I'm just odd that way.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Finally some clear skies, just in time for winter

After a few rains and cold nights, the fires are down enough the skies are visible again. We had our first snowfall (unseasonably early this year for Yellowknife) on Monday 2 weeks ago.

It's rather sad, as the late spring, cold, smoky summer, and early winter has ruined a lot of my crops. How dependent we are on the produce, that are dependent on the unpredictable climes.

I am not kidding when I say there are only two seasons up North: Winter and Bugs

Shadow Selfie

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Fungi of Yellowknife

As always, practice care in foraging for wild foods. I did not eat any of the mushrooms I picked close to town due to the mining activity close to the area - I only collect them for identification purposes and taking spore prints to double check species.

When in doubt, DO NOT EAT!

Birch Bolete (Leccinum scabrum)

Leccinum scabrum, sectioned

Lactarius torminosulus (Woolly Milk cap, northern variety)

Light tan gills

Haven't identified this one yet - lost the fungus on the way home, duuh!
Much suspect this to be Boletus pinophilus due to the reticulation on stipe, and the fattened base.

I am still kicking myself for losing this fine specimen.
I blame the mosquitos and blackflies for my incessant flapping about and dropping things in the bush.

Yet another Birch Bolete! Worms love them, too.

Big one!

Taking a break from mushroom hunting.

You need bug shirt here in the summer and autumn.
See that mosquito just over my left shoulder, marring the lake background?

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Northern Timber Wolf tracks (Canis lupus occidentalis)

I am delighted to find Wolf tracks in my rambles, probably the opposite reaction to most hikers and ramblers. To me, it is an indication of a healthy ecology, where the prey-predator relationships are working as it should. From the size of the paw print, it could well be the Northern Timber Wolf, and from the number of different sized paw prints surrounding it, it's a sizeable pack!

All the more reason to carry bear spray when out on rambles. Do not fear the Wolves and Bears and Cougars, respect them and their habits, and you will be safe. Hike in groups, obviously, if you're like me (tasty snack size for predators).
The length of the paw print, from base to tip of toes is about 14 cm, and it is 10 cm wide.

A pack of Wolves just been through this trail a few hours before we did.