September 24 – here comes the fall

The past few days have continued on much like the rest of September– after a damp Saturday, maybe about an inch of rain all in all, it’s back to dry sunny warm days and cool nights.  Looking at the extended forecast, it doesn’t look like much will change for the next ten days.  Foggy every morning, sunny every afternoon, low of 43-46 every evening, high of 73-76 every afternoon, no chance of rain on any of the days.  Consistent and pleasant, if a bit dull, and a bit disappointing for someone who is hoping to find fall mushrooms.

Going back to Sunday morning, a beautiful morning indeed.  The day dawned bright and sunny, the world twinkling and scrubbed clean by a day of rain.  The first sight I saw was the overgrown asparagus in our back yard covered with moisture from the evening, glowing in the early morning sunlight.Image

During the night, spiders had woven enormous webs all over the back yard, and they were also festooned with dew, shining in the bright sunlight.Image

Was there an unusual number of spider webs, or is it always like this and it’s the combination of overnight rain and morning sun that’s making them all look so dramatic this particular morning?Image

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It was quite uncanny…Image

There were masses of what looked to be spider silk on the ground, although I’m not quite sure what they were.  The sunlight reflecting off of all the trapped moisture almost gave it a prism/rainbow effect, quite pretty.Image

Early in the morning, I was going to get some milk, and I came across this odd pinkish/orange fungal-looking protuberance on a live tree.  I’ll keep an eye on it over the next few days and see what it grows into.Image

The rest of Sunday was dry and sunny; whatever system had dropped its rain on us was fully over.  The next day, I took a couple of walks in the woods, one with my son and one alone, to see if the combination of a day of rain followed by a day of sun would bring up more mushrooms.  For the most part, it was a pretty disappointing walk; even with an inch of rain on Saturday, there wasn’t much coming up.  I saw this patch of young mushrooms just off of my backyard, but once I got further into the woods, there wasn’t a whole lot to see.Image

All of the dry sunshine has been good for the fig trees, and we’re continuing to get several ripe ones each day.  Unlike last year, there is no one time when they all ripen at once, no one day where you can stuff yourselves with figs until you can’t eat any more.  Instead, each day we’re going out and picking a small handful of ripe ones.  There are lots of people snacking on the figs; even with five or six trees in the yard, there never seems to be enough.Image

I explored the morningstar back yard, thinking that Saturday’s rain might have brought up even more honey mushrooms.  It seemed like the ones that came up a few days earlier were the only ones there, and there weren’t any fresh new ones.  I was able to pick a small basket full of edibles in good shape, but most of the ones I found looked like this– rotten, or smushed, or both rotten and smushed.Image

Here’s an interesting find.  I just started seeing these plants, which look like indian pipe, but are bright pink, unlike the pale white plants I’m used to seeing.  I remember seeing them last fall as well, I’m not sure if the’re just a pink variety of Monotropa uniflora, or whether they’re actually a different species.Image

here’s a close-up.  Quite pretty.Image

Later in the afternoon, I had some time to myself, and I took a bit of a stroll on my own.  The woods didn’t seem to have much new to share with me, it was nice to stretch my legs and get some fresh air after all of the indexing I have been doing, but for the most part the quite forest just seemed to be the same as it’s been for the past month.  I had been hoping that the rain would have pushed up some new edible mushrooms, but despite the ground still being pretty damp, this single bolete was the only large fungus that I saw on the walk.  I will have some more free time this Thursday, and I will go for another stroll on that day to see what’s new.Image

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One response to “September 24 – here comes the fall

  1. I think your Monotropa is hypopitys, common name pinesap. It is parasitic on fungi that are mycorrhizal on trees according to one web site.

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