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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Wed 26th Nov 2014 - All Saints' Church, Freshwater.

Sue's Photographs.

Team GG arrive - No, not in a hearse!

The "wall" of bramble

The problematic bonfire.

One area cleared.

After the bramble had gone - what a difference!

Still sending smoke signals at the end of the session.

Carrie's Photographs.

At the start...

and after Team GG had finished!

The best word to describe the weather for our GG session this week is borrowed from Carol Kirkwood (on the BBC weather) - "Mizzle". This weather adjective describes something between mist and drizzle, exactly what we had today! Our main task was to tackle overgrown areas around the paddock to the east of the church, down towards the Yar estuary. Some of this we had cleared before and this just needed a tidy-up but another part was new to us and VERY overgrown. Undaunted by the 10 foot high wall of brambles, Team GG were soon hacking away, cutting ever deeper into the undergrowth . Lighting a bonfire was problematical due to all the material being rather "green" and very wet but Peter, one of the church wardens, did a sterling job at getting it alight and keeping it burning! I am sure that the photographs above demonstrate how much progress was made during our time there, just amazing what was achieved.... well done to all! Other GG members were kept very busy in the main churchyard giving things a general spruce-up. Thank you to those who were on hand to demonstrate the church organ and to supply us with hot drinks and biscuits at tea break!

Carrie's Nature Find.

This week's find was spotted on a dead branch by Dorinda (see photo) and is called Auricularia auricula-judae  known as Jews Ear, Judas's ear fungus or the jelly ear fungus  It ranges from purple to dark brown or black in colour with a rubbery texture, and is most often found on dead elder trees but also on elm and beech trees. It was said that Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, hanged himself on an elder tree, which is the origin of the name.

This intriguing name stuck, as the taxonomic name Auricularia means ear and the epithet "auricula-judae" means "the ear of Judas."  It is pale brown in colour, and really does resemble a human ear in size, shape and texture. It is generally about 6 cm across, and when young is gelatinous and pliant, but as it gets older it goes black and hard. The spores are white and it grows singly or in groups on old wood.  It is one of the few fungi that has the ability to withstand freezing temperatures which is a useful attribute, since it develops new growths in January,  normally the coldest month of the year in Britain. It can actually freeze solid, and when thawed out shows no ill effects. It can be found all year long throughout Europe, Asia, the United States and Australia.

 The next GG session....Please note change of venue from the (original) printed programme! It is now at Arreton Down, Downend, near Newport (NOT One Horse Field) - see the online programme for full details.

Thanks to Sue and Carrie for the photographs this week and to Carrie for her Nature Find.

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