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chooken Between the Earth and Sky
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Looking to find mushrooms in cow pastures but have no clue how to go about it?There are a bunch of things to consider and precautions to take when hunting out on fields. I will go over all I know and what I"ve learnt to hopefully help some people out.What am I looking for?The very first thing you need to know is what your looking for. A very well known dung growing mushroom is the Psilocybe Cubensis mushroom. It"s got a whole bunch of other nicknames such as the Gold Top, Golden teacher, Cube .etc I"m going to focus on this mushroom as it"s what I"m most familiar with. Panaeolus Cyanescens, or Blue Meanies also grow from cow dung. They are quite a bit more potent than Psilocybe Cubensis, but also smaller.Identifying Panaeolus Cyanescens:http://www.chathamtownfc.net/9466/Copelandia-cyanescensIdentifying Psilocybe Cubensis mushrooms:http://www.chathamtownfc.net/9567/Psilocybe-cubensisWhen I find a Cube, I find it pretty easy to distinguish them from other mushrooms. The gold top is usually a dead give away. When I get home from a hunt, I always identify each one individually. It"s better to be safe than sorry. When identifying this mushroom, I check for any blue at the base of the stem (where it was picked from the ground) and check for a veil near the top of the stem. This is pretty much enough for me to be sure it"s a cube. If you want to be super careful, you can take a spore print by placing the cap (without stem) over some white paper for half an hour and there should be a purple-black spore print on the paper.Do these mushrooms grow in my area?This page lists which Psilocybin containing mushrooms grow in different areas of the world:http://www.chathamtownfc.net/8461/Which-psilocybin-mushrooms-grow-wild-in-my-areaIf you"re not sure what grows around you, that is a very good page to check out.What should I wear?Black if you are gonna be there at night. There isn"t really much point of wearing a certain colour in the day unless you want to camo it up, but that"s a bit overboard.What should I take?A bag or basket. Most people say to take a paper bag because the mushrooms sweat if put in a plastic bag. But I"ve always found paper bags to be too weak. The mushrooms make the paper wet and it breaks pretty easily. Plastic isn"t really all that bad, the mushrooms stick to it a bit and do sweat, but at least it holds together. A basket would be the most ideal thing to carry them, but it"s a bit odd running/walking/riding with a basket. It"s probably the best option for a car.Scissors do help to pick em. It keeps the stems together a lot better once they have been picked (they usually fray if they were snapped). To be honest though, I don"t take scissors... I probably should and it would help the stems stay together, but I always forget.If the field you hope to search has stagnant water around or a stream which doesn"t flow at certain times, there are most likely going to be a lot of mosquitoes around. I always forget to take insect repellent, but it"s probably one of the most necessary things I should take. There is nothing worse than crouching down to a big patch of cubes only to not be able to stay still because you"re getting eaten alive.Always take water. Walking through hot steamy fields after a rain is the worst thing when you have no water. I"ve been (not totally) lost when just bush walking and it was horrible. I knew where abouts I was going, but there were a lot of things in the way and even when I got out, it was a fair bit till I got water.Where do I look?Well, the first thing you want is a field with cows or a field which has had cows in it. This is the base of what you need. If the field is dry with hard dirt, it most likely doesn"t produce many mushrooms, if any. So a good thing to look out for is green grass as it usually shows that the field gets a fair bit of water.One handy thing I figured out is that farmers usually tell you quite obviously that there are mushrooms growing on their fields. You might not realize it at first, but if a farm has signs up saying no trespassing, it is usually a very good give away that there are mushrooms on the farm. Why else would someone want to trespass on a farm (besides cow tipping )?If you don"t know of any farms in the area, a great place to start is google maps or google earth. You can map out a routes, find tree lines, rivers and almost everything you need to know. A lot of the time you can also see cows too. Once you think you have found a good area to check out, swap over to bing maps and get an aerial view of the fields. This gives you a better detailed view of terrain and the surroundings.Update:Google Maps has recently added aerial view as well now, so no need for bing.How do I get in? What time do I go?When you have a farm you would like to check out, go have a look at in person. I like to ride, as you can go slow and see things you might miss in a car. Obviously if it"s too far to ride or run/walk to, you are probably better off just driving. Keep your eye out for gaps in the fence or trees you can use to get over the fence. My favourite farm actually consists of a fair few fields. The one on the main road has pretty high fences, but just around the corner, the fence turns into the usual low barbed wire fence which you can jump, climb through or slide under. Gates are also a great entry point as they aren"t electrified or sharp, but they are more likely to be near a house.If there is some extreme Guantanamo Bay shit in your way;Barbed wire is easily passable by old carpet. Throw a piece or 2 over a section of wire and your good to climb.This is getting into urban exploration things now and really shouldn"t be necessary. Just remember, in theory, everything is passable.Before going in, park your car (if you drove) in a place which isn"t suspicious. Even if you have to walk a little bit, it"s better that coming back to a car with a farmer sitting next to it wondering why you were on his property. If you rode, tie your bike up somewhere out of the way. Or do what I do and dump it in some long grass.Depending on the time you go, you might be able to just climb the front fence. It really depends on the situation. How many cars are going past? Who can see you? How fast can you get in? Will you be seen while trying to get in? Once you in, can you be seen? In this situation, treat every pair of eyes is a snitching untrustworthy devil.Sus it out as well as you can before you head in. If it"s night, you shouldn"t have much of a problem with cars or people seeing you. If it"s day, try and head around behind a tree line, over a hill, just out of sight. Use your common sense.What about wildlife and other fun things I shouldn"t poke?Where I live, the things you need to worry about are:Angry CowsAngry BullsAngry KangaroosSnakesSpidersTicksLeachesElectric fencesDogsNow, cows and bulls usually only get grumpy around the time they have calves. Here, this happens to run along side mushroom season (Spring through Summer). To avoid getting trampled (and I have come very close before), stay near a fence if there are cows around. If there isn"t a fence, long grass and trees work pretty well. If the Cows decide they don"t like you, just hop under/over/through the fence or into the trees/grass. Kangaroos really aren"t a problem. They usually hop away when you come close. If one stays watching you and doesn"t move, it is most likely the male. Don"t fuck with it, they kick very hard. If you don"t bother them, they don"t bother you.Snakes. Easy, keep your eyes open and don"t bother them. If you get bitten, try and get a good description of it and get to a doctor or hospital.When walking through trees, grab a stick and wave it in the air in front of you to knock away any spider webs. Then you won"t have a problem with em If you do happen to walk into a web, dance like a crazy man while scrubbing you hair to make sure there is nothing on you.Ticks. These are fun little guys. Every now and then just check your legs for little flat black things crawling north and flick them off. Especially check after walking through long grass. When you get home, strip naked and check your legs, genitals, hair and other warm areas for any black things. If you find one, dab a little bit of alcohol or tea tree oil on it to kill it, then twist and pull it out anti-clockwise with tweezers. if you miss one when you did your strip search, you"ll usually feel it a day or so later (they get itchy) and you can take em out then.Leaches. I haven"t run into a leach since I was a kid, but from what I remember, you just put salt on them, they dry up and fall off.Electric fences are where all the fun is at. I touched one for the first time (3 times) the other day and it surprisingly didn"t hurt. It felt more like a flick than pain and took me 2 shocks to realize I had my hand on it. Around here, they are usually a white piece of fabric with a metal wire running through it. But there are also just plain metal wires. I just treat any non barbed wire fence to be electric.If you need to climb through an electric fence which you can"t jump or slide under, push a bottom wire down with your shoe and hold the wire above it up with a stick. It"s always worked for me.Do remember, there are different kinds of electric fences and some will be stronger than others, so try your hardest not to touch them.Dogs. A lot of people own dogs and I"m sure most farmers do. I"ve never encountered one on a farmers property, but I"ve heard them barking on the other side of a creek (which they would be able to cross). I"m not sure if they were barking at me, but I just got out of their line of sight, on the other side of a hill for a little while and all was good.If you knew one was around, but it didn"t know where you were, staying down wind and keeping quiet would help. If I was confronted by one, I would probably go to walk away and see what it"s reaction was. If it growled at me or something, I"d probably get away from it if possible by climbing a tree or something. I doubt running would be much use. I"m really not too experienced with dogs and it would be great if someone could pass on some techniques.What"s a good way to search a field?If it"s just a small field, walk in a grid pattern across it. Make each line you walk about 10m apart from each-other.On bigger fields, I like to walk in a kind of large S pattern. If there is a tree or mound around, use that to get a bigger view of what"s around. I"ve also found mushrooms like to grow closer to a river or stream or lower part of the field (probably because of the extra water).Overall, you really need to adapt to your area. I like to start in the afternoon, work my way around a pretty large circuit and when I get back to where I started, it is night.Just get your plan going to suit you and your area. Depending on how Rambo you are, you can prevent being seen in the middle of the day pretty well and if your not scared of a bit of cross country, it can open up a fair few new opportunities.If you are caught, use your head.If you have a bag of mushrooms in your hand, you"re pretty much boned.If you can see someone coming towards you from a distance, you can either run into the bush to flee/hide or get rid of any mushrooms you have and approach them. If you approach them, give a story about how you were bush walking and got lost. Ask him where you are .etc If he doesn"t believe you, the most you can be taken for is trespassing (could be different in different areas/countries).Good luck to anyone out there. You aren"t there to scare the cows or litter .etc Be responsible and respectful.