November 1 – Halloween colors

Fall colors at their absolute peak today.  I know that central Virginia is not famous for autumn foliage like New England or places like that, but on a day like today, it seems that the foliage show is no less spectacular than it is in regions further north.   The weather the past few days has really been quite perfect, staying above freezing at night, right around 70 degrees during the day, alternating cloudy, sunny, and blustery, with a few droplets of rain here and there.  Perfect fall weather, and I had the good fortune to spend most of the day outside yesterday, walking through the woods and soaking up the season.

Lots of photos in this post, I spent much of the morning walking from my back yard through the woods to Old Mountain Road and back, and a good part of the afternoon picking blewits down by the creek.  I don’t have much more to say about them, except that it this particular day is about as pretty as the forest gets around here.  Last night and this morning (Friday the 1st) have been windy and blustery, and already I can see that many of the bright leaves of October have been blown off of the trees, but these photos were taken before the wind really picked up, and serve as photographic proof that central Virginia can hold its own when it comes to fall colors.Image

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In this photo, I liked the way the beech tree is wrapping itself around the oak.  It reminds me of the strangler figs I used to see when I lived in Florida, or on trips to the tropics. Image

I hadn’t expected to see many mushrooms, as we haven’t had any significant precipitation since last week’s hard frosts, so I was surprised when I started finding blewits popping up here and there.Image

Our old grain silo.Image

Old Mountain Road, at the height of fall foliage season.Image

Pretty trees along the edge of Old Mountain Road.Image

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In Monoccan woods, I came across this fallen tree with some very strange fungus growing on it.  I have never seen this sort of fungus before.  Image

Here’s a close-up.  It’s hard and woody, feels almost more like part of a tree than a mushroom, but the shape and appearance is clearly some sort of shelf fungus.  Odd.Image

Red maple tree, right on the edge of our propertyImage

More fall colors in the forest.Image

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On the way back, I walked along the edge of the creek, and started seeing lots of blewits.  Some of them were too far aged to be worth eating, their insides all eaten out by bugs, but I was able to pick a fair number of ones in good enough shape to be worth eating.Image

This handful wound up being about half of what I found by the time I made my way back to ZK for lunch.Image

Our beech grove.  The beech trees don’t lose their leaves in the fall– they first turn bright yellow, then fade to rusty orange, but stay on the trees through the winter.Image

fall colors down by the creek.Image

In the afternoon, I found myself with more free time (nice to be between indexes for a while), so I went out to pick more blewits.  Many of the ones I had found in the morning were right on the edge of edible, and I figured that if I waited another day or two, they wouldn’t be worth eating.  So I went out for a couple hours in the afternoon and picked a big bag of them.  Unfortunately, about half of what I found was not worth keeping– if I had gone out looking a couple days earlier, I would have had quite a sizable harvest!

While looking for blewits, I came across a lot of this type of mushroom, which I haven’t been able to identify, but wanted to include a picture, because they were quite abundant.Image

Blewits, I’ve found, do not photograph well.  They usually just look all white and washed out.  This one was one of the more well-preserved individuals that I found, but to be sure, blewit hunting is not an especially visually stimulating experience, mostly consisting of slowly walking through the thick woods near the edge of a creek or low-lying water retaining area, searching for a telltale glimpse of tan peeking through the layer of dead leaves on the ground.  They are so tasty, though, that it’s well worth it.  I’m guessing that there won’t be any more until we get some rain, but I was able to find enough on Friday afternoon to liven up several meals.Image

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2 responses to “November 1 – Halloween colors

  1. just a reminder that this old grammy up here is loving reading your posts…..and seeing your snaps………I hope you keep it up

  2. At this point, I’m pretty committed to seeing it through to the end of the year. I’ll be up your way in a few weeks, hopefully I’ll see you then!

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