The other night I dined like a monarch on a chanterelle omelette, something I thought never to eat again when I moved here. Chanterelles are among the finest of wild mushrooms, and the come up during the first wet weather of autumn. They do not grown on what used to be the land of this farm, but on the quite different land, a quarter of a mile away, which used to belong to the neighbouring farm. There the edges of the fields still bear rich traces of the biodiversity which it used to enjoy before it was overwhelmed with sheep. There are still double field boundaries, too, where the two farms were divided.
On the other farm, there are still orchids in summer, and violets in spring, and vast swathes of marsh marigolds. Now in the autumn, there are wonderful fungus, so many that despite a fine book on them, I simply do not have the spare time to identify all of them. There are a few field mushrooms, and some boletus of staggering size, closer to a serving dish than a dinner plate. There are the striking and unmistakable fly agaric.
On my land, where I would so welcome something striking, the only interesting thing is mace reed. The thing which amazes me is that the boundary is very sharp. There is a ruined gateway between the two farms, and a fence. Below there is great richness – above almost total sterility. Three good paces and one is in a different world.