Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Word On Mushrooms


The coral mushrooms have been in great abundance.

 And this one the greatest size. Perfect.

 A fuzzy ear. 

I found a cache of oysters, but the recent rains and a day too late had me leave them for the flies.

 Then some more.

Have you seen oysters with frilly edges?

No loss, really, because we then hit the edible jackpot. Small, but clean, no bugs, and delicious. I ate some raw -it was perfectly tender. Sauteed as well, with butter. More than the flavor, its texture was like chicken.

 These were a fantastic find, bright white in the dark woods.

An interesting slime mold on decaying wood.

Which then sprouted these fungal growths.

Near the slime mold grew these little pink-salmon rounds.

I'll have to check back in on them to see how they've grown.

I think the two above are the same -young Chinese Snow Fungus, Tremella Fuciformis.

Orange mushrooms in the dark.

Some particularly fine-colored Turkey Tail, Trametes versicolor.

We had a hope that these, a field if little white fingers, were the holy grail of mushroom hunting. No, not morels, chantarelles, or any other such edible. What then?

Phosphorescent mushrooms. Rex and Betsy had seen glowing mushrooms one night, years ago, in the woods of his old place. Alas, these were not. At least not yet.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

First Walk

The weather has been odd, on again off again raining, sometimes cool, sometimes almost tropically moist. We arrived in the evening after three days of travel, two nights of camping, one stop at Allerton State Park in Illinois (post later). First thing, after morning coffee, was to hit the woods to get reacquainted.

Betsy investigating the vernal pond for tadpole activity.

Garlic Mustard, as prevalent here as anywhere east.

One thing we had noticed was the cottonwood seeds. While driving, literally, like a snowing.

Rex's humor litters the woods, and betrays his awareness that several neighbors travel his trails.

It refers partially to this.

Jewelweed grows in some locations near the wetlands woods boundary.

Any idea what this plant is, growing in shady woods, growing about 18 inches tall?

These are the leaves.

And, any ideas on the name of this fern, the predominant fern of these deciduous woods?

The small wetland has standing water, which I have never seen at this time of the year.

It has been a very snowy winter, and wet spring, as many of you know from the reports from Mississippi River towns, and now Missouri River towns. Here, at our place in the Big Woods, the excess rain results in constant sump pumping and a brook-like flow in drainages that are normally dry by now.  The drainage burbles. Or is it babbles?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What I Won't Miss

I had  a week of with some Echinacea.

And one of my lilies has bloomed just in time for me to see it.

A weed here and there, but gracing my garden nonetheless, Achillea millefolium.

Feral Cat, Felinus painintheassus, loves the side yard, everything about it, including the cold frame.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Or the Borage Aphid Trap.

Recently I noticed that the aphids have been attracted to the borage which has self-seeded around the garden.

This particular plant, in the front yard, between the asters and the rose, is hosting quite a colony.

It's worth clicking on the image for a super-sized photo of the small ants tending to their herd.

Same day, different bug. What is it?

Sunday, June 19, 2011


I took the time to clear our three tree pits last week, having watched them fill with weeds, desirable and otherwise. There were flowers growing, some of which appeared quite cultivated. As I weeded, a young girl, maybe 7 or so, stopped to ask what one of the weeds in an uncleared pit was called. I said that I wasn't sure, maybe pennycress (Thlaspi arvense). She said, no -its' Shepherd's Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)! Ahh, I said, I think you are right and I better get you on my payroll. Her mother then stepped in to say how she had taken a class with the Wild Man, although she was a little concerned. We began talking about the weeds that I was pulling, and she implored me not to pull the plants that she had planted! OH, that's where those cultivated-type weeds had come from. She informed me that she had "seed-bombed," had I heard of that? Of course I had, as much as I've heard of the Wild Man. And so the reason there were peculiar flowering weeds in my tree pits was discovered. And the mother and daughter moved on and I continued to clear.

The next morning, Tuesday morning, my wife went out to plant some seeds in a tray that will eventually be transplanted to the pits. Why is Tuesday morning relevant?

It so happens that every other Tuesday, a small group of  NYers meet on a road in Prospect Park to pick up the trash. Read that story here, or here from the woman who started it all. Our last outing, on a warm, humid pre-summer morning, took us into the heart of the wood where the sex life of men is laid bare on the humus. I found it ironic, on that very morning, that I should find a freshly filled rubber and wipes in one of our three tree pits -the one I had just cleared of weeds the afternoon before. 

In an attempt to keep the tree pits cleared, I put stakes and twine around the edges (not seen here). Dog walkers leave the biggest nasty in the tree pits, followed by the local feral cats, and then the convenience trash.

So I put up a couple of pictographic signs, laser etched into laminated cedar shakes.

The knot in the shake is well placed, eh?

And today, a water truck came to pressure wash each pit. How nice.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

June 13

Rows for the hungry.

Burial mounds.

A testament to the drought-tolerance of tomatoes.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pea And Broccoli Pull

I pulled the broccoli and transplanted the remaining small plants to the fall-season broccoli bed. It was also time to pull the peas, although I was hesitant because they were still producing. But, it was now or never for the paste tomatoes, which were growing stiff and yellow in little pots. 

I was hungry, at the beach farm long after my intended stay, and I was fortunate to have every last snow and snap pea, and some pea flowers and leaves to feed on. As it turned out, the peas had become the target of aphids, which helped me feel better about pulling them.

Although I munched almost thoughtlessly, I noticed tiny, suspended eggs on one pod.

And then on a leaf, along with an aphid or two, more eggs. The peas had become a weakened host, and I was glad to let them go.