All this morning, people were talking about the “derecho,” a storm system that started somewhere in the upper midwest and was making its way towards the mid-Atlantic. I had never even heard the term “derecho” until about a year ago, in late June of 2012. On one early evening that month, we experienced what at first seemed to be a standard early summer storm approaching, with distant thunder and lightning and wind blowing from the west. Only (and without any advance warning), the wind picked up, and picked up more and more. We had had a couple of dry weeks previously, and the air was filled with dust, insects, and tree leaves. By the time we were slammed with a wall of rain, the wind was at hurricane levels, and big trees were snapping in two or uprooting all through our forests. The whole thing lasted no more than 20 minutes, but it did tons of damage all throughout Virginia. So now, when a derecho is forecast, people are paying more attention.
As it turned out, the main brunt of the storm passed north of us, in Maryland and Pennsylvania. We got some wind and fairly torrential rain for a few minutes (see below) followed by hours of off and on showers and rumbling thunder. Nothing like last year, and in my rambles around the farm this afternoon, I didn’t see any storm-related damage.
I did spot another turtle, I think it’s the sixth one I’ve seen this week. I don’t know if they’re “on the move” this time of year, or if I’m just randomly crossing paths with them (or maybe with the same one over and over).
I encountered a bunch of these at Monticello, and another bunch today just outside of our dining hall. I did some research, and turns out that this species is called either scaly inky cap, or feltscale inky cap (Coprinopsis variegata). Wikipedia has a surprisingly good article on it (most of them are pretty useless). These are sorta edible, only they have a compound that becomes toxic when combined with alcohol. So if you’re a teetotaler, you can get away with eating them, but I don’t think it would much agree with me.
Some flat Crepidotis mushrooms. Early in my mushroom-eating days, I came across a few of these and thought I had found oysters. I checked in with a more experienced friend, who informed me that they were indeed oyster mushrooms. I at some, and found them to be bland and tasteless. Later, I realized to my horror that they weren’t oysters at all. I was a little bit upset at my friend, and mostly upset at myself for eating a mushroom without doing lots of research first. As it turned out, it was a good way to learn the lesson, as I had no ill effects whatsoever, other than a loss of confidence in the mushroom-identification abilities of anyone other than myself (which probably isn’t such a bad way to approach the eating of mushrooms). Ennyhoo, they’re pretty, although I wouldn’t recommend eating them.
Every year, at this time of year (right around Anniversary) a while section of the property stinks of chestnut trees. They have a strong, slightly sweet & sour odor which some folks say reminds them of semen. Any journal of the change of seasons at Twin Oaks would be incomplete without a mention of these flowers, which are a strong signifier of a very specific time of the year (Twin Oaks anniversary) for many people here.
Right around dinnertime, I walked through the shittake patch, to see if anything was sprouting. There were just a couple of sad looking shittakes (I think they’re more of a spring and fall mushroom), along with some big, healthy looking platterfuls. I took a shot of the bottom of one of them, as it was in such good shape (compared to some of the beat-up ones I’ve been finding), then just for the hell of it, I messed with the image with the editing software until it looked like this.