June 25 – heat & bolete

So, this  past Tuesday was the hottest day we’ve had yet this year, the first day that was already kind of muggy as soon as I woke up, and got downright sweltering by midday.  I’m sure that in a month, a day like this will feel refreshing by contrast, but I haven’t quite built up my tolerance for sweaty sweaty heat yet this year.

Here’s one of the mushrooms that’s been popping up all over the place during the past few days.  I’ve seen a lot of them that are all withered and smushy and nasty, this is the first one I’ve managed to pick/photograph that was in really good shape.  I’m pretty sure it’s a Blusher mushroom, one of the very few species of edible Amanita.  Most of the websites/guides I’ve looked at say that it is edible (and some claim that it’s quite good), but all caution that you should be 100% sure it’s not a different species of Amanita, some of which are deadly poisonous.  Although I’m quite sure of the ID, I think I’ll still pass on eating it.Image

Here’s another pair, which I spotted early on Tuesday AM, before loading the tofu truck.Image

As I was leaving the warehouse to drive to C’ville, I spotted this enormous bolete on the side of the road.  Given the size, I can only imagine it was one of the prized  King Boletes, the king of mushrooms, as I don’t think any other boletes grow this big.Image

I mean, seriously, this was as big as my hand (7 inches from thumb to pinky).  Unfortunately it was riddled with bugs, and not even remotely edible in that state.  I’ve found a few king boletes around here, but none that weren’t full of bugs and worms.Image

When I got home from delivery, I had a couple hours before band practice; I thought about going for a long hike, but it was so hot that I just passed out  in a puddle of sweat.  When I woke up, I realized that I just had about 45 minutes left, so I shook myself awake and set out into the woods.  The first thing I came across was this fascinating/horrifying/beautiful/disgusting sight.  Some recently dead mammalian-type critter skull, with punk rock hair, covered with flesh-eating roach-like beetles.  Was I still asleep, having some sort of horrible nightmare?!?Image

It was so hot in the woods, I walked down to the creek and splashed through it’s knee-deep water, enjoying the contrast of bright sunshine on the ferns above and dark subterranean tree roots below.Image

Here’s the place where the two branches of the creek come together.  It’s interesting to see how the waters on the right side have pushed down all the light-colored rock and the rock on the left side is so dark.  It reminds me of the place in the Amazon where the Amazon and Rio Negro rivers come together.  Although much, much less impressive. Image

Soon enough, it was time to climb out of the creek and head up to band practice.  Along the way, I came across another large Bolete, which I’m guessing was another Boletus edulis.  Unfortunately, this one was also filled with extra protein.  I’m hoping that at some point this year, I manage to find one that I can sample, as I hear it is really one of the very tastiest mushrooms out there!Image

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3 responses to “June 25 – heat & bolete

  1. BarbaraGhoshal

    So…what kind of skull was it? Glad you’re passing on the mushrooms that just might not be good for you and yours.

  2. It could be raccoon skull. Does not look much like fox. Please be wary of raccoons that are behaving differently, Unfortunately we do have rabies around here. The beetles are the larvae of a common carrion beetle. The green plant in the last mushroom picture is ground pine, Diphasiastrum digitatum. Before there were flashbulbs, the powdery yellow spores were collected and used as a flash powder. Fun to try with kids.

  3. Actually, most Amanita sp. have not been proven poisonous, and there are plenty of edible ones, but the deadly ones keep people feeling like they’re mostly poisonous. To understand them better, i recommend learning the sections, which will shed a lot of light on the subject. BTW, I really like your mushroom focus. I recommend joining MushroomTalk (http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/MushroomTalk/) and PlantForagers (http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/PlantForagers/), both of which will jive w/your focus, including helping to ID most of what you find.

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