Fungi

It’s been a while since I posted anything here. This metaphorical drought is partly due to a physical drought. Until two weeks ago, we have only one rain shower since early May.  My garden was a complete failure. After initial attempts at watering from the creek, I couldn’t keep up. Because our “soil” is mostly sand, the water just disappeared within hours under the sun and 30ºC heat so it would have taken all my time to keep it watered.

I’ve figured out a plan for irrigating next year, but it was too late once I realized it was needed, so got almost no vegetables this year. Luckily, I was too lazy to plant all my new perennials so they were safe in the greenhouse and I’ve started planting them so they can flower next year. Most will be safe enough once established, though I lost quite a few established perennials and even small bushes this year.

A few days after we finally got some rain, by way of torrential downpours, the forest floor sprouted many fungus fruiting bodies.

I’m not that great at identifying fungi, so you’ll just have to enjoy the pictures without knowing exactly what they are.

Small fungus
Small fungus
A bit larger
A bit larger
Maybe oyster but not risking eating
Maybe oyster but not risking eating
More tiny ones
More tiny ones
Nearby one had much larger cap
Nearby one had much larger cap
Hiding in a hole
Hiding in a hole

Fungus 6

Yellow cluster
Yellow cluster
Pink umbrella
Pink umbrella – a little larger
More delicate
More delicate
Slug food
Slug food

Black mushroom and milkweed seeds

I went for a walk in the woods looking for colourful fungi, but there are none left that I can find.

I did find this black one, though.

Black mushroom
Black mushroom

Then I took some pictures of milkweed seeds.  Any monarch butterflies coming this far north next year should find plenty of plants to lay eggs on.

Milkweed seeds
Milkweed seeds
Milkweed seeds 2
Milkweed seeds 2
Milkweed seeds 3
Milkweed seeds 3

 

Desperately seeking signs of spring

After yesterday’s ice storm, I put on some warm clothes and went hunting for signs of spring, beyond the couple of clumps of snowdrops that came up.

After yesterday’s ice storm, I put on some warm clothes and went hunting for signs of spring, beyond the couple of clumps of snowdrops that came up.

First, a lone, brave winter aconite.  OK, it has the dreaded “winter” in its name, but it counts, surely.  At least it does in Canada where it was under a foot of snow only two weeks ago.

Winter Aconite
Winter Aconite

The “spring” theme is a bit blunted by the fact that some of those “pebbles”, like the one in the bottom right corner, are hailstones.

OK, there are no more flowers, but you can find colour in other places, like this alternate-leaved dogwood:

Alternate-leaved dogwood
Alternate-leaved dogwood

I like these dogwoods, they grow wild and have large sprays of flowers later in the spring, coloured berries in autumn and provide colour all year round with their bark.

I think the next picture is a hyacinth emerging, though not 100% sure as I planted some strange lilies near here as well.  But the leaves are nicely coloured too.

Hyacinth
Pink-tinged Hyacinth

I went across our rather precarious and slippery bridge (well, two cedar trunks side-by-side), across the Pigeon River and found that the marsh marigolds were already getting prepared, although just starting; this bank is usually a mass of flowers.

You can usually count on the fungi to provide some interest, some are very hardy.  In spite of being rooted (OK, hyphaed) to the spot, they are more close related to animals than plants.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but will anyone disagree that the first one below is quite a bit less attractive than the second?  (That’s why I called them “interesting”) rather than “beautiful”.

Fungus
Fungus
Fungi
Fungi
New bracket fungus
New bracket fungus

We can’t do without fungi.  We need them to break down the trees so that more can grow, although I did hear that one reason we have all the coal we do is that fungi in the Carboniferous had not yet learned to digest lignin, so perhaps we could sequester more carbon without them.

Here’s some new food on the way for them – a victim of yesterday’s ice storm:

Eastern Red Cedar split by ice
Eastern Red Cedar split by ice

This is the only one I found in our woods but there were lots of trees down along the roads when we went shopping.

♪ If you go down to the woods today… ♪

A big surprise: there were lots of deer droppings along the paths, all preserved by the snow, but this is from a bear:

Bear scat
Bear scat

Once back across the river, a quick look at the fish pond.  They survived the winter and there is already a lily pad unfurling.

Fish pond
Fish pond

Finally, a few daffodils sprouting but just as I got back, the hail started in earnest.  I think Buddha would have liked this because the red clay in the background used to be a statue of him.  Supposedly weather-proof but perhaps they were thinking of a different climate.  Still, there he is, decayed among the new shoots of life and the hailstones of destruction.

Daffodils with Buddha head
Daffodils with Buddha head