It hit 45F today and was clear and sunny. Sure and for true, the sap was flowing. If this persists into tomorrow I’m going to start tapping maples. Today, Willowisp and I went for a hike and I gathered twelve pounds of chaga–so much I couldn’t fit it into the messenger bag I was carrying. Trekking through the snow in the Old Wood was tricky. It is not so deep but it is dense, almost like thick mud just now. At one point I found a deep place and sunk in to my chest. I was having a hard time pulling myself out of the muck and faithful Willowisp ran over to me and laid down in the snow right in front of me, allowing me to use his withers as a handhold to haul myself out of the sucking, dense stuff. What an incredible dog!
I seem to have chaga-dar–it’s like I can douse the stuff. Following my instincts, I found three trees bearing nice fruiting bodies, which are currently drying below in the cottage. Buyers should contact Daphne at her Wildwood Bounty site. Canadians can pay be email or cheque (email is preferred), and she has nearly finished setting up credit card payment for European and American customers (who can also pay by money order or cheque). All our chaga is hand processes on an anvil, entirely natural, and you receive a crumble of the whole chaga–which is the healthiest way to have it.
Left, I have used a hatchet to chip away a fruiting body’s protective rind and you can see the yellow and orange living, healthy mycelium. This mycelium infects and parasitizes the tree, spreading all over under the bark as the years go by. Over a couple decades, it will ultimately overwhelm and kill this birch. In fact, I’d say this particular birch does not have many winters left, but it should fruit a couple more times. When it at last succumbs, I will harvest the tree for firewood.