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Slim



Joined: 05 Mar 2006
Posts: 4416
Location: New England (In the US of A)
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 17 2:02 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

When you say oak apple, are you referring to oak apple galls? What tradition are they involved/associated with?

I saw a largish solitary scarlet elf cup on a walk yesterday and it reminded me of this thread.

buzzy



Joined: 04 Jan 2011
Posts: 2977
Location: In a small wood on the edge of the Huntingdonshire Wolds
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 17 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Slim wrote:
When you say oak apple, are you referring to oak apple galls? What tradition are they involved/associated with?

I saw a largish solitary scarlet elf cup on a walk yesterday and it reminded me of this thread.


Ah, I carelessly forgot that some of our readers wouldn't be familiar with some of the older English traditions. Yes, I do mean Oak Apple Galls.In 1660, after the restoration of Charles II to the throne, the English Parliament declared 29 May "to be for ever kept as a day of thanksgiving for our redemption from tyranny and the King's return to his Government, he entering London that day." It was known as Oak Apple Day, or Royal Oak Day in reference to the tradition that the king hid in an oak tree after the Battle of Worcester to escape the Roundheads.

Everyone was supposed to wear an Oak Apple Gall, or even just a sprig of Oak on that day, and if they didn't they could either be whipped on the legs with Nettles, or (in Sussex) pinched on the bottom, as a penalty. Other names for May 29 are Oak and Nettle Day and Pinch Bum Day, though in some parts of England the nettling and bottom pinching are transferred to May 30 (it is said!).

One of the ladies I worked with some years ago used to say "The first of May is Pinch Bottom Day". Not sure where this came from.

Isn't history wonderful!

Henry

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 8337

PostPosted: Tue May 09, 17 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I think it is usually just a sprig of oak that was worn, although I don't remember it ever happening. We used to have to wear an ash twig in our shoe laces on Ash Wednesday at the junior school I went to or you could get your toes stamped on. It was dying out in the 1950s, so probably long gone tradition now, and may have been peculiar to that school or just this locality.

We have had the same problem with our bluebells. Why people need to trample in them every time they see a patch I really don't know, but it is seriously affecting ours.

The orchid is lovely. We have had a good display of early purple orchids again this year, and the twayblade is coming up to flower too, but it is nothing like as pretty as that.

buzzy



Joined: 04 Jan 2011
Posts: 2977
Location: In a small wood on the edge of the Huntingdonshire Wolds
PostPosted: Wed May 10, 17 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Here is a general view of part of the meadow, showing (I hope) that the Cowslips (and amongst them are the Green-winged Orchids) only grow on one side, near the top, of the ridges of the ridge and furrow.




Henry

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 8337

PostPosted: Thu May 11, 17 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Looks lovely Buzzy. The local downs have the flowers only on the steep ridges between the flat(ish) parts now as people walk so much on them. Several varieties of orchid have been seen there, but not sure how many have survived the people pressure.

buzzy



Joined: 04 Jan 2011
Posts: 2977
Location: In a small wood on the edge of the Huntingdonshire Wolds
PostPosted: Thu May 11, 17 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Here is one of the few fungi we found in the woodland leg of our walk:




Cushion Bracket (Phellinus pomaceus) looking, from some angles, remarkably like Hoof Fungus (Fomes fomentarius).

Henry

buzzy



Joined: 04 Jan 2011
Posts: 2977
Location: In a small wood on the edge of the Huntingdonshire Wolds
PostPosted: Mon May 15, 17 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

This week was a less cold, but rather damper, walk. Through woodland and a bit of field margin.

We saw lots of Early Purple Orchids (Orchis (probably!} mascula) of various shades including this perfectly pleasing pretty pale pink one:



We also saw a few plants of Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon). not, I'm pleased to say, the quite nice looking, but rather invasive silver spotted garden variety, but the genuine native:



We also found several leaf rosettes of Lesser Butterfly Orchid, but no flowers as yet.

The wood was surprisingly quiet on the bird front, and there were very few insects about, though there was one moth. I'll post a picture if I can identify it.

The mycologists found a nice mushroom, which they picked, and scratched and sniffed (yes, really) before deciding that despite being in the middle of the wood, was a Field Mushroom. There was much idle chat about frying pans, and bacon!

There was also non-flowering Nettle-leaved Bellflower - we were a month or two early for that!

The walk along the field margin to and from the wood was remarkable only for the quantity of dog mess - on the way in we even found one plastic wrapped bundle in the middle of the path, and we all tutted loudly (to tell the truth some used language much stronger than "tut"). However, on our return the bag had gone, we assumed that there is at least one more or less responsible dog owner about.

Henry

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 8337

PostPosted: Tue May 16, 17 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Lovely orchid Buzzy. Ours have been beautiful this year, although they are starting to go over now. I haven't seen any very pale ones, but they do range in colour from pink to purple. A couple of years ago we had a white one with green marking, which was quite unusual.

I am never sure whether the silver marked leaved archangel is a sport or garden invasion. We have it in one place in the wood, but I haven't removed it for that reason. The native one can get quite rampant at times. It is a plant that grows the first year in one of our coppice coups and can get quite lively.

Dogs mess sadly is a major problem. We end up with bags dotted all over the woods, and often a heap by the gate. 'They' meaning us are supposed to provide a dog waste bin, but as we allow people into our private wood, and it would cost us lots to empty, I don't see why we should. There is of course loose dogs mess everywhere too. The dogs tend to be all over the place too and often not even in the same wood as the owner.

buzzy



Joined: 04 Jan 2011
Posts: 2977
Location: In a small wood on the edge of the Huntingdonshire Wolds
PostPosted: Mon May 22, 17 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Today we visited a wood we don't often get to - I think we had to make special arrangements to go today, though it has a footpath running through it.

The walk was notable (in my eyes, at least) for the fact that I got stung on the nose by a bee.

We saw some pleasing woodland plants - Yellow Archangel again, lots of gone over Bluebells, Wood .Avens, Figwort and so on. There was a large spider sitting on a leaf in the sun (yet to be identified) and quite a few click beetles. On the walk back we found an oak tree in a hedge that was laden with Oak Apples:




Caused by the gall wasp Biorhiza pallida.

These are certainly large enough for next Monday!

Apologies for the tennis match effect.

Henry

sean
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 41572
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Mon May 22, 17 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Sorry to hear about your nose. Had you done anything to annoy the bee or was this an unprovoked assault?

buzzy



Joined: 04 Jan 2011
Posts: 2977
Location: In a small wood on the edge of the Huntingdonshire Wolds
PostPosted: Mon May 22, 17 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I think the only provoking thing I had done was to be the eighth of eight people to walk along that particular path. We didn't see the nest, just heard the hum - and I was a little behind the others and didn't hear their warning. Though once I heard the hum I didn't hang about.

Henry

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 8337

PostPosted: Tue May 23, 17 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Sorry to hear about your sting Buzzy. There are some colonies that do take exception to people near them.

Odd how you get loads of oak apples in some places and very few in others. Perhaps the wasps don't want to fly far.

We have a bumble bee colony set up in the tube of a bucket assembly from the tractor that we don't use. There always seem to be a couple of them around the top of the tube, and we wondered if they are acting as 'guards'. They are not the least bit aggressive to people and have no problem with us looking to see the state of the nest. It seems to be expanding, which is good. Bumble bee numbers are down, but except for the efforts of the badgers, I am glad to report they are doing well in the wood. With any luck the badgers won't work out how to get to this nest as it would involve undermining the assembly, tipping it over the right way and long sticks in the paws.

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