October second today, and once again it’s been a week or so since been able to sit down and write. All of the photos I have now are from before September 27th, although not much has changed since then.
Late September is something of an odd ‘suspended season,’ still too warm and green to feel like fall, but certainly no longer feeling like summer. The days quite a lot shorter than they have been, and getting noticeably shorter every day, losing light almost immediately after dinner. And, more than anything, it’s been dry. Aside from a day of light rain on the equinox, the month of September has been almost entirely rain-free, and you really are beginning to see and feel it everywhere, the grass beginning to parch and the leaves beginning to prematurely brown without even changing colors. The past few days have almost felt like October in California, sunny dry and dusty.
This picture is from last Friday afternoon, the 27th. On that day, I took a walk in the woods with my 4-year old son, who is just beginning to ride a bicycle and is very excited about it. From this picture you can see that the leaves in the forest are still mostly green, although there is a definite yellow tint.
Late September isn’t much of a time for wildflowers in the woods, and I’m certainly not seeing many. There is one notable exception, this bizzare red and pink specimen, which I’ve been watching for the past few weeks. Just recently, they began to split open, and they sure are odd!
As you might guess, the fungal life has been nearly non-existent this month, which I’ve found a bit sad, as I was definitely looking forward to this time of the year when so many species can be found. On this particular walk, I spotted this lone specimen growing a little ways off the path. At first, I thought it might be some sort of Bolete that I hadn’t seen before.
It was a Sweet tooth, or hedgehog mushroom, a popular edible that I had been looking forward to finding this year, the first one I’ve found. I cooked it up the next day, and it was really quite delicious.
I also checked in on the beefsteak polypore that I had found a few days earlier near ZK, and found that it’s been growing as well. Outside of these couple exceptions, there really hasn’t been much else out there.
I’ll sign off with one more photo of the very beginnings of fall color, as of September 27. At the time I’m writing this (October 2), the foliage has already advanced notably, just in the past 4 days. This past Tuesday, and again today, I drove into Charlottesville, and noticed that the fall colors have really begun to kick into gear in town, and to a lesser degree in Louisa County. This seems very unusual to me, being that it’s just the first couple days of October, I wonder if it has to do with the lack of rain over the past 6 weeks.