It seems like, in Central Virginia, the last week of October is the peak of fall foliage season. On Tuesday, I drove the tofu truck to Charlottesville for my weekly delivery, and the entire way there and back, the interstate was a corridor of spectacular reds and yellows and oranges. I’ve had this experience in previous years, being surprised that for a couple of weeks in the year, a 40 minute drive along a usually fairly nondescript stretch of highway could be so spectacular. On Wednesday, I was once again going to C’ville, to spend the afternoon in town with the boys, and I took a few photos of the fall colors, but they hardly match the experience of driving past mile after mile of brightly colored trees, glowing with bright warm autumn sunshine. Here’s some of what I’ve been looking at over the past couple of days:
Here’s the forest edge, photographed from my back yard. For some reason, the fall colors haven’t been quite as spectacular at Twin Oaks as they seem to be in town or along the roads and highways around here, but it’s still pretty scenic.
That morning, as I was eating breakfast, one of my housemates mentioned finding a honey mushroom in the Morningstar yard. I asked if she had seen a whole bunch or just a few. Although she said she had only seen one, I have learned from past experience that if you see one, then there are likely to be hundreds coming up. I had some free time in the morning, so I headed over with a bowl and a knife, and discovered that the lower half of the orchard was absolutely covered in honey mushrooms! The area had been mature woods, and was cleared about four years ago to make a solar clearing for the building (which was having mold issues, partly because it never received direct sunlight). I’m thinking that down under the ground, there are lots of great big roots rotting, because a few times each year, the yard explodes with hundreds and hundreds of honey mushrooms. Too often, I don’t discover them until they are getting old and unappealing, but this time I was able to get harvesting just as they were coming up.
In addition to many many honey mushrooms (I actually wound up filling three bowls), I came across a flush of oysters growing from a stump that had been cut flush with the ground. When the woods were cleared four years ago, the stumps were all inoculated with oyster mushroom spawn, I wonder if these came from that inoculation, or whether they’re just growing there naturally. Either way, I’ll pick ’em!
As I was going to town on Wednesday, I tried to take a couple photos of the foliage along the interstate, but none of the shots really conveyed what a beautiful drive it is at this time of year. This gives a bit of an idea, I guess.
Later, as we were all walking through the city, I came across a fence covered with these bright purple beans. I don’t think they are edible, but the colors are so striking that I had to take a picture. I don’t know what they are, but they look pretty amazing.