June 7 – Andrea and the platterful

Over the last 48 hours, we got a near miss from Tropical Storm Andrea.  Which isn’t to say that we stayed dry– in fact we’ve had nearly three inches of rain over the past two days, but that we’ve managed to avoid major flooding.  But man it’s pretty soggy and boggy out there.

Here’s the view this morning at about 6:30, when I went down to the chicken yard to let the little beasties out for the day.  Image

And here’s the road out in front of Twin Oaks.  Honestly, I can’t believe how wet and green it is ’round here these days.  I know I keep saying it, but early June in Virginia can really feel a lot like living in a tropical rainforest.


After letting the chickens out, I went back to bed.  When I woke up an hour later, it was pouring down rain, a long drenching soaker that lasted throughout the morning and well into the afternoon.  Here’s a view of the backyard looking out of my bedroom window, looking out onto the fruit trees and bushes, and the grass which my downstairs neighbor mowed during one of the rare moments when the ground has actually been dry.Image

In the hour before dinner, after the rain had stopped for a couple of hours, I took a meandering walk in the woods behind my house and over to the graveyard.  This creekbed (more of a slight depression in the land, really) is dry most of the time, and only has water right after a hard rain.  After 24 hours of precipitation, it was looking pretty full. Image

The tractor path leading from my backyard up to the cemetery was looking lush and extra-green this afternoon.Image

And the platterful mushrooms (tricholomopsis platyphylla) were oh so abundant.  This particular species is, according to the various sources I have been using, an edible but not very highly prized variety.  I’ve been picking and eating them, and would rate them all right, but not especially choice.  But boy oh boy were they out this afternoon.  This enormous specimen was the first I found this afternoon, just a few steps from my back door, but certainly not the lastImage

another one, in unusually good shape.Image

Each of these photos is of a different flush of platterful mushrooms (not just the same group taken from different angles).  And I didn’t photograph half of what I found today.  They were just everywhere!Image



Moving along to the vegetable kingdom, I came across my first indian pipe of the year.  This odd saprophytic plant is quite common in the woods later in the year, but this is the first time I’ve seen one this year.  Image

And, as I finished up my walk by the pond, I observed that the milkweed is beginning to flower.  Although there are just a few flowerheads starting to open, the plant is very plentiful on the shore of the pond, and I imagine it will look quite impressive in a week or so when all of them start to flower.Image

close-up of the blooming milkweed flowersImage


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