Identify My Mushroom

Mushroom – Edible Or Not?

While walking my dog Leo this morning (17th October 2014) I found this cep – toadstool – mushroom under a silver birch tree. I haven’t seen one like it before so I photographed it with my mobile phone.

I just looked up ‘cep’ in the Oxford Dictionary and got this description:

An edible European mushroom with a smooth brown cap, a stout white stalk, and pores rather than gills, growing in dry woodland and much sought after as a delicacy. Also called penny bun.

I think white stalk is the only thing it didn’t have since the stalk was spotty. I could have missed a delicacy, or a poisoning.

Could it be a Bay Bolete? Perhaps I should see if it is still there tomorrow and re-examine it.

Comments welcome, especially if you think you can ID this mushroom.

Update 18th October 2014

2014-10-18 09.54.45a
See new mushrooms close to the original amongst the leaves.

I revisited my mushroom this morning. It was still intact. A crease had appeared across the top caused by the underside of the cap expanding. Perhaps you can see it in the picture below:

A crease in the cap and more mushrooms growing.
A crease in the cap and more mushrooms growing.

You should also note that more mushrooms have sprung up overnight. I counted 22 (not all in the picture above).

I rubbed my fingers on the underside of the cap. They were covered in many minute brown dots which I presume were spores.

Update 19th October 2014 – They’ve Gone!

2014-10-19 09.45.37a

They’ve nearly all gone. They have not been kicked around the place . I think they have been picked. This adds to my suspicion that they may be edible. I presume the smaller ones I saw yesterday had grown and those left that can be seen here were too small to take.

Update 20th October 2014

2014-10-20 10.13.44a
The original Bolete type.

Today more mushrooms have emerged. The ones above are the Bolete type, but there is another variety there today as well. See below:

2014-10-20 10.14.11a

This species has gills and as yet is not identified. As you can see below these have been kicked around. Maybe by a dog or someone who just wanted to turn a few over with their foot to look at the underside.

2014-10-20 10.17.01a

I could see many more mushrooms coming through the ground over a wider area. They are all near two young Silver birch trees. The ground has now been damp for a couple of weeks after rain and showers following a long dry spell.


Can Trees Be Transferred To Other Formers?


At the end of my article entitled: Are Trees Ectoparasites That Grow On Wood? I asked this question: Can Trees Be Transferred To Other Formers? The first article discusses how trees may or may not be parasites that grow on wood. I now wonder if the growing part of a tree can be completely stripped from the wood upon which it grows and made to adhere to, and flourish, on anther former: e.g. a concrete or steel frame.

Application – Transferring Trees To Other Formers

Why would anyone want to transfer trees to alternative formers other than the original wooden trunks they grew on? Maybe to create timber of a particular shape. It would have to be supple enough to be fitted to the new shape, but if it continued to grow it would presumably deposit wood onto that new former as the years progressed and its living fibres died to form new timber underneath. After several years that new timber could be harvested with its desired shape.

Tree In Alvaston Park 1

Are Trees Ectoparasites That Grow On Wood?


I have asked myself for some time, “Are trees ectoparasites that grow on wood?” (An ectoparasite grows on the surface of something.) Mainly this is because only the outer layers of a tree are alive. The inner part of the tree – the wood or timber – is dead. It was alive in previous years but in later years it is only the support for new growth. Consider all the old hollowed out trees: e.g. those hollowed out by wood rot. The outer layers continue to grow year on year. It is only when the outer layers are severed so that sap cannot get up the tree from the outer layers of the roots to the outer layers of the twigs with the leaves attached that the tree dies.

Are Trees Ectoparasites That Grow On Wood?

I Found A Good Example

Tree In Alvaston Park 1
Linden Tree Viewed From The Front.
Tree In Alvaston Park 2
Linden Tree Viewed From Behind.

I have recently seen one of the best examples of tree growth behaving like an ectoparasite on the surface of wood in my local park (Alvaston Park, Derby, UK). You can see it here in these two pictures of a linden tree showing the front and back of the tree.

This one tree has two strips of living bark running up it. The front view shows quite a narrow strip running up it, and the view from behind shows a wider strip. The tree has been truncated at the top by the park keeper at some time.

The Oxford Dictionary describes a parasite as: An organism which lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other’s expense. So on the strength of that description a tree is not a parasite since it isn’t living on another organism. The wood is dead.

Can Trees Be Transferred To Other Formers?

See my article of the same title: Can Trees Be Transferred To Other Formers?

Pine Martens Are Saving The Red Squirrel

Pine Martens Are Saving The Red Squirrel


I found an article in The Telegraph entitled, “Red squirrels are fighting back against the greys, experts claim.” It implies pine martens are saving the red squirrel as well as a grey squirrel trapping program which was introduced to reduce the grey population and give the reds a chance of survival.

The red squirrel shown in the featured image was seen in Doxford, Northumberland.

Pine Martens To The Rescue

Pine Martens Are Saving The Red Squirrel
A Scottish Pine Marten

Apparently predatory pine martens are saving the red squirrel (see image above) as they are inclined to eat grey squirrels which they find nice and plump. The pine martens can catch the greys because they move slowly. This has been found in a study of red squirrels in Northern Ireland where the pine marten isn’t so rare as first thought.

Northern Hemisphere Solar Panel Orientation

Solar Panel Orientation In The Northern Hemisphere


In the northern hemisphere solar panel orientation is unsuitable because they mainly point south. This enables them to generate the most electricity when the sun is highest in the sky and is shining straight down (or as near to that as possible) on the surface of tilted panels. This approach does allow the panels to generate the greatest possible amount of electricity, but not at the best time of day. This is because there are problems connecting intermittent sources of electricity to the grid. It seems midday electricity isn’t required so much as afternoon electricity. (I’m not sure what is required in the morning.)

More Info on Northern Hemisphere Solar Panel Orientation

Find out more detail about northern hemisphere solar panels pointing the wrong way in this article from The Telegraph.

dyson slim dc18 filter cleaning

Dyson Slim DC18 Filter Cleaning


This article describes the Dyson Slim DC18 Filter Cleaning process for the Pre-filter and the HEPA Post-filter.

Many devices in this world which pump air have air filters installed to prevent dirt getting into mechanical parts and clogging them up to the point where they perform badly or fail.  The air filters clog instead and have to be replaced or cleaned at regular intervals. The Dyson Slim DC18 is no different. It has two air filters:

  1. A Pre-filter (before the motor) which requires periodic cleaning by the user every 3 to 6 months under normal usage. This sits on top of the Cyclone within the Cyclone Assembly and is placed between the Cyclone and the motor. It prevents dirt entering the motor bearings or clogging up the space around the rotor.
  2. A HEPA Post-filter (after the motor) which doesn’t require user attention. This sits on top of the motor and filters the air leaving the DC18. It captures allergenic particles which have been drawn into the cleaner and prevents them being reintroduced to the local atmosphere.

The method of cleaning the Pre-filter, on all the Dyson machines that I have seen, requires the air filter to be washed with water under a running tap. This is an easy way to clean a filter which is designed to be flexible so that it can be squeezed to remove the water it absorbs in the washing process. The dirt is washed away and doesn’t get into the air which would cause a breathing hazard for the user.

Diagrammatic Breakdown of a Dyson Slim DC18

Here is a very clear diagrammatic breakdown of: The parts of a DC18. I have named parts in my description to conform with it.

Air Flow Through A Dyson Slim DC18

dyson slim dc18 filter cleaning
Select image to enlarge it in another window.

Fig. 1, above, shows a block diagram of the air flow through a Dyson Slim DC18. This shows where, in the scheme, the filters are located.

Gaining Access To The Pre-filter

Below, in Fig’s. 2.1 to 2.3, are three images showing how the Pre-filter fits into a chamber on top of the Cyclone Assembly. Following the order of air flow through the DC18  this filter is situated between the Cyclone and the motor which pumps the air through. It catches particles escaping from the bin via the Cyclone and prevents them entering the motor.

dyson slim dc18 filter cleaning dyson slim dc18 filter cleaning dyson slim dc18 filter cleaning

Descriptions of the three images in Fig. 2 above:

  • Fig. 2.1: Bin & Cyclone Assembly with the Cyclone Cap closed.
  • Fig. 2.2: Bin & Cyclone Assembly with the Cyclone Cap open and the Pre-filter inserted.
  • Fig. 2.3: Bin & Cyclone Assembly with the Cyclone Cap open and the Pre-filter removed.

dyson slim dc18 filter cleaningFig. 3 shows the Pre-filter with its dimensions (seen upside down). It comes in two parts. The Filter proper, which is made of various water resistant layers of material moulded into a flexible ring of rubbery gel, and a plastic cylindrical container which fits over it.

The container has instructions printed on it, explaining in diagrammatic form how to clean and dry the filter, but it’s mainly a device with a handle enabling the user to extract the filter from the machine.

dyson slim dc18 filter cleaningFig. 4 shows the two parts separated. The circle of plastic in the centre of the cross is shaped like a thin section through the surface layer of an inverted cone so it can be gripped to pluck it from the machine. The seemingly sticky rubbery edge of the filter grips the inside of the container enough for the two to be lifted out together. Then they can be separated by pressing the filter pad to push out the filter while holding the container.

To remove the Pre-filter for washing:

  1. Remove the Bin & Cyclone Assemblies from the DC18 as if to empty the bin.
  2. Ease the Cyclone Cap Catch forward with a finger or thumb to disengage the Catch from the Cyclone.
  3. Lift the front of the Cyclone Cap (it hinges at the back).
  4. Lift the Pre-filter out of the Cyclone Chamber by gripping the blue cylindrical container’s handle (described earlier).
  5. Hold the Pre-filter container at the edges with fingertips and press the Filter proper out by pushing it with the thumbs on the white upper layer of material.

Dyson Slim DC18 Filter Cleaning Process For The Pre-filter

To clean the Pre-filter proper:

  1. Pluck visible dirt such as fluff off the filter with the fingers and dispose of it in a bin.
  2. If available use another vacuum cleaner (e.g. a Dyson Animal) to remove surface dirt.
  3. Thoroughly wet the filter under a running tap and squeeze out the water which should look dirty. The filter is very flexible. Squeeze it all ways and release it so that it absorbs more water.
  4. Repeat the squeezing and releasing action many times under running water until the water comes out clean.
  5. Finally squeeze out as much water as possible and leave the filter  in a warm place (NOT on top of a radiator) to dry. This could take a whole day.

To reinstall the Pre-filter:

  1. When the filter is completely dry reinsert it in the blue container (white side first).
  2. Place the Pre-filter module in the Cyclone Chamber white side up, blue side down.
  3. Close the Cyclone Cap. The Catch will click into the closed position.
  4. Reattach the Bin & Cyclone Assemblies to the DC18.

The HEPA Post-filter

The HEPA Filter is a Post-filter because it filters the air passing through the DC18 after it has passed through all parts. Its purpose is to filter out fine particles, particularly those causing allergies, and prevent them entering the atmosphere. For example a vacuum cleaner without a HEPA Filter would suck allergenic particles out of a carpet which would then pass all the way through the machine and its basic dirt filter and then be blown into the atmosphere of a room to then irritate its occupants who may be allergic to them. A HEPA filter fitted to filter the exhaust air of a vacuum cleaner keeps people with allergies safe.

The DC18’s HEPA Filter is intended to last for the lifetime of the cleaner and the user is not expected to perform any maintenance on it. However it can be removed and cleaned on the surface or replaced if a new one can be obtained.

Removing The HEPA Post-filter From The DC18

dyson slim dc18 filter cleaningWhere is the HEPA Post-filter? Fig. 5 shows how the HEPA Post-filter is situated immediately above the Motor Housing and covered by a transparent container with rectangular holes all around the top edge to let out the exhaust air from the DC18. The Collection Bin and Cyclone assemblies fit directly on top of it.

The transparent container is held down to the Motor Housing by four bayonet catches which are locked in place by an anti-clockwise twist (viewed from above). The image shows the two front catches. There are two more at the back (all are evenly spaced at 90º intervals).

The DC18 is constructed so that the transparent HEPA Filter container cannot be easily removed with a clockwise twist to unlock the bayonet catches. There is a tab at the back which engages with a hole in the back of the Lower Cable Winder. See the images below:

 dyson slim dc18 filter cleaning dyson slim dc18 filter cleaning dyson slim dc18 filter cleaning dyson slim dc18 filter cleaning

Descriptions of the four images in Fig. 6 above:

  • Fig. 6.1: Back with lower cable winder in situ.
  • Fig. 6.2: Back with lower cable winder removed & HEPA Filter Container in the locked position.
  • Fig. 6.3: Back of lower cable winder with lock hole circled.
  • Fig. 6.4: Back with lower cable winder removed & HEPA Filter Container in the unlocked position.

The Lower Cable Winder can be removed by unscrewing its 2 x T15 fixing screws which require a screwdriver with a TX-STAR security bit T15 to remove them.

After removing the Lower Cable Winder the HEPA Filter Container tab is released (see Fig. 6.2). It fits in a rectangular hole on the back of the Lower Cable Winder which locks it in place and prevents it being rotated and removed (see Fig. 6.3). After the tab is released the container can be rotated (see Fig. 5). Then when the bayonet catches have reached the limit of their clockwise travel the container can be lifted up. The HEPA Filter will remain inside it as it is lifted off the DC18.

To remove the HEPA Filter from the container turn it upside down and observe that two of the bayonet catches are on springy stalks because the container has slots cut in it on both sides of each catch. When the stalks are pushed outward the filter can pass by the catches. To perform the act of removal turn the container upside down and with the forefinger of each hand pull out the stalks until the filter drops out under the force of gravity. It can then be examined, replaced or vacuumed to get any visible dirt off it. In my case there was some small piles of dust on top of the motor and on the bottom of the filter. See Fig. 7, below, the HEPA Filter separated from its container:

dyson slim dc18 filter cleaning

Reinstalling the HEPA Post-filter

Reassembly is the reverse of disassembly:
  1. Insert the HEPA Filter into the Filter Container.
  2. Mount the Filter Container on top of the Motor.
  3. Turn the Filter Container anticlockwise to lock it in place.
  4. Reattach the Lower Cable Winder with 2 x T15 screws.
broken fence post

Supporting Broken Timber Fence Posts


A friend of mine has a fence at the bottom of his garden made from six 6′ x 6′ (1.8m x 1.8m) interwoven panels erected on a three feet high bank of soil. His neighbours garden starts beyond the bank of soil. So work could be done on the bank to support the fence. The panels are fixed to 3inch2 (75mm2) posts dug into the bank of soil. Over a two year period the posts snapped one by one, at or just below ground level, due to wind pressure and rot. This has left the fence with broken timber fence posts throughout. Because they snapped one at a time the other posts held the fence up but the panels attached to the broken timber fence post were floppy and moved about in the wind begging to be repaired. So I repaired it only to find another snapped a few weeks later. Over time they all snapped and had to be repaired by the same or similar method. One end post has a simple horizontal stay going from midway up the post to a tree about two feet behind and to one side of it.

Ideally the posts would be replaced but I offered to do a quick fix as each one broke. I attached two diagonal stays from the middle of each post and two horizontal stays near the bottom. These stays cannot be seen from my friend’s garden because they are behind his fence. They have lasted for a year on all the posts with one exception. Continue reading

From investigation and reason comes understanding.

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