August 26 – walk ’round the block

Been quite a week for your humble author!  Last Friday, I went with my Klezmer band up to New York City, where I spent the weekend playing music, listening to music, and drinking too much.  Not much nature to observe up there, nor time to observe it.  I got home on Sunday night totally spent, and slept long and well.

This afternoon, I was scheduled to do my monthly road clean, leading a group of visitors halfway around the block to pick up trash.  I was curious to see how things had come along since the last time did this job, so on a sunny and hot–but not too terribly humid– afternoon, we set out, trash bags in hand, to clean some road.  On a neighbor’s field, just past the boundaries of Twin Oaks community, I saw a ‘fairy ring’ of meadow mushrooms.  I’ve been looking forward to the appearance of these mushrooms all summer.  I know they are considered quite common, and are one of the most frequently collected species.  And it was cool to see them all growing in a ring, just as I’ve read about (but never seen myself).Imagehere are the same ‘shrooms, a bit closer….Image

and a bit closer still.  If it hadn’t been the very beginning of my walk, I might have just hopped the fence and picked a bagful of them (if I had a bag).  Image

Here’s an interesting sight– jewel weed and poison ivy, growing right together. I’ve heard that Jewel weed is a good preventative for poison ivy, as long as you rub it against your skin immediately after touching the ivy.  Fortunately, they often grow together, making it convenient to find the one if you happen to brush against the other.Image

Lots of late summer wildflowers along the side of the road today.  Sometime soon, I will do a post just on all the late summer wildflowers.  I should have taken more photos, but I got distracted by the work and conversation.Image

There were also many many mushrooms along the road, as you would expect from this season.  Many boletes, although most of the ones I saw were dried out and inedible.  This bicolor bolete was a nice find, and one of the few that I actually took home for the pot. Image

One new type of mushroom that I’m just starting to see now is the parasol mushroom, another common late summer/fall species.  This particular mushroom is considered one of the finest edibles, but because it can be confused with some other species (like the deadly Aminitas), it is not recommended for casual mushroom collectors.  I didn’t eat this one, but did find a couple more later in the afternoon, and after doing a bit more internet research, I’m starting to feel confident enough to try it out.  It is apparently one of the most delicious of wild edible mushrooms, for those who are sure of their identification.  I’ll try eating some in the next couple of days and let you know what I think.Image

Another bicolor bolete– although there were a couple brown spots below, the inside of this one was clean and bug-free. ImageAnd, last of all, one of the oddest mushrooms around, the beefsteak  polypore, a moist, bloody-looking specimen that looks like a living organ growing out of the base of a dead tree.   My favorite mushroom guide, “Edible Wid Mushrooms of North America,” by David Fisher, has an interesting bit on the culinary properties of this mushroom.  It’s worth a read.Image

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