May 9 – sun and ‘shrooms

After all that rain, we were due for a lovely sunny day, and today was that day.  I mean, just look at that sky!Image

I had to do some indoor-type indexing work in the morning, but around 11 AM, I just couldn’t stand it any more and I went out for an hour to bash around in the woods and look for mushrooms.  It was quite a change to see the sunlight streaming down through the forest, after many cloudy days.Image

I walked down to the creek, which was running a bit high, but nowhere near actual flood stage.  This photo isn’t even our main creek, but the “Tupelo branch.”  The water was pleasantly cool and running unusually clear.  From looking at the bent vegetation and pushed-around leaves, it was apparent that a couple of days ago there was a LOT more water running through here.Image

Here are a couple of pictures from the main creek, which was also unusually clear today.  I’m thinking that so much water ran through the creek bed during the huge storm the other day (I learned that we got over 4 inches of rain in 24 hours!), that the creek bed was scoured out of its usual accumulated dead leaves and vegetation.  It was really quite pleasant.

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really pretty morning down at the creek, with the sun all shining down through the trees.  You can see in this photo where the recent high water dramatically undercut the bank, leaving lots of newly exposed roots.Image

And in this photo, looking down through the clear water, you can see all the shiny flecks of mineral in the stream bed.  This whole region used to be a gold mining area.  Sometimes, I see all these gold-looking flecks in the creek bed and wonder if it’s bits of gold that somehow people just never quite found in the past.  There certainly is a lot of it–wouldn’t it be ironic to discover that all these years, Twin Oaks was sitting on top of an enormous vein of gold?!?Image

And now to the mushrooms.  I saw a few, including a fresh-looking Reishi that was growing about 25 feet from my house, in a spot that I walk past at least 10 times a week.  How I managed to never see it before is a bit of a mystery to me.

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Near the creek, I came across a large cluster of these guys, which I am guessing are some sort of inky cap, a member of the Coprinus genus, probably C.  atramentaria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coprinopsis_atramentaria).  Some members of this genus of mushrooms have an unusual poison which won’t make you sick on its own, but will if you drink alcohol within a few days before or after eating the mushroom (which makes it especially unsuitable for me!).  Image

But they sure are cute!Image

For the past week or so, I have been finding a lot of these mushrooms growing out of hardwood logs, which I haven’t been able to identify.  I finally spent some time with guidebooks and websites, and I’m pretty sure that they are the “Smooth Pholiota” (Pholiota veris).  Unfortunately, mushroomexpert.com (http://www.mushroomexpert.com/pholiota_veris.html) says that this mushroom “appears in late spring, just after morel season.”  Damn.Image

I also found a bunch of the widespread “fawn mushrooms,” although most of them were a couple of days old and were all soggy-mushy from the rain.  There were a few in tasty-good shape, including this attractive specimen growing from the side of a rotting stump.Image

As I went to photograph the mushroom, I saw this earthworm determinedly making its way up the stump.  Why an earthworm would be climbing a stump, several feet above the ground, is entirely mysterious to me.  I asked the worm why it was climbing the stump, but being a worm, it didn’t answer.IMG_4361

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