August 6-9 – big chickens

The nighttime sounds of midsummer, rhythmic swell and throb of cicadas, the slightly labored hum of the exhaust fan.  Tonight it really feels like it’s been summer for weeks and weeks, and we still have weeks and weeks of summer to go.  It’s been hotter the past few days, I knew it was too early for the cool weather to last, although still not unpleasant.  When the boys and I took an after dinner dip in the pond, the water was cool and refreshing, unusual for early August.

I haven’t been able to take lengthy walks around the woods this week; I’ve observed what I’ve been able to observe as I’ve gone about the community on various chores and errands.  And mostly what I’ve observed is chicken of the woods mushrooms.  The two next to Morningstar, tiny sprouts a few days ago, grew into a pair of prime specimens. Image

Almost too pretty to cut…but not quite!Image

The boys and I harvested these twin beauties, and took them home to clean ’em up for Thursday’s dinner cook.Image

They took a picture of me with the mushrooms…Image

…and I took a picture of them.Image

Then my younger son took the camera and shot a bunch of close-ups.  This one was my favorite.Image

Friday was hotter, but nothing extreme.  In the morning, and again later in the afternoon, I made my way down to the chicken yard for the various chicken chores.  On my way back in the afternoon, I was walking by our junkyard when I happened to glance over at a pile of rotting scrap wood and saw yet another familiar flash of orange.Image

Another good specimen–a bit past its prime, but perfectly edible.  This one went to the Friday dinner cook.Image

Later on, the boys found some boletes, which I wasn’t sure were edible.  We decided to try and find some other ones for comparison, so we set out for a spot where I had previously found bi-color boletes.  I did find one, overgrown and full of bugs, which wasn’t much help.  But shortly afterwards, I spotted another familiar flash of orange, yet another chicken of the woods!  One of the things I like about this mushroom is the way it simply grows around plants that happen to be in its way, incorporating them into the flesh of the mushroom.  You can see it pretty clearly in this picture with the saplings on the right.  This one wasn’t going to the dinner cooks; it’s downstairs right now ready to be turned into breakfast.Image

as it’s remained relatively dry, and been somewhat hot over the past couple of days, there really hasn’t been much else in terms of mushrooms in the woods, certainly nothing like what was in evidence a month ago.  The one exception has been in the wood splitting yard near Nashoba, where lots of fawn mushrooms have been growing out of the woody debris.  I’ve been so busy cooking and eating the chicken of the woods that I’ve only managed to harvest a few before they got overgrown and buggy, but I’m sure there will be more.  I’m not sure of the ID on the whitish one at right.Image

Just a typical mid-summer view of our backyard garden; kiwi bush on the left, laden with not-quite-ripe fruit,  butterfly bush at center, and our largest fig tree on the right.  I saw a single ripe fig all the way at the top of the tree this afternoon, but as it was about 12 feet off of the ground, had to leave it be.  I think that after we’ve picked these trees clean over the next couple of months, I will prune them all back to chest height so that there aren’t so many out of reach figs in future years.Image

After dinner, I spent an hour with the boys down at the pond, my first trip down there in some time (first it was too hot, then I was in New York, then my back was all messed up).  I found the water to be much cooler and less scummy than is often the case in early August.  A truly pleasant surprise.   I had intended to take some photos, but this was the night my youngest son (age 4 1/2) decided to learn to swim on his own, a sufficiently exciting event that I forgot about everything else. As we made our way back home, I snapped a photo of orange sunset clouds above our safely netted blueberry plants; pleasant end to a mostly pleasant day.Image


3 responses to “August 6-9 – big chickens

  1. just saying again that I’m loving these posts….thanks

  2. I look forward to every new discovery and fine fungus. Keep up the wonderful writing and great photos!

  3. you all are too kind! Right now, it’s been raining all and on all night, and I’m looking forward to getting out there later this morning and having a look around.

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