Tag Archives: platterful mushroom

June 7 – Andrea and the platterful

Over the last 48 hours, we got a near miss from Tropical Storm Andrea.  Which isn’t to say that we stayed dry– in fact we’ve had nearly three inches of rain over the past two days, but that we’ve managed to avoid major flooding.  But man it’s pretty soggy and boggy out there.

Here’s the view this morning at about 6:30, when I went down to the chicken yard to let the little beasties out for the day.  Image

And here’s the road out in front of Twin Oaks.  Honestly, I can’t believe how wet and green it is ’round here these days.  I know I keep saying it, but early June in Virginia can really feel a lot like living in a tropical rainforest.

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After letting the chickens out, I went back to bed.  When I woke up an hour later, it was pouring down rain, a long drenching soaker that lasted throughout the morning and well into the afternoon.  Here’s a view of the backyard looking out of my bedroom window, looking out onto the fruit trees and bushes, and the grass which my downstairs neighbor mowed during one of the rare moments when the ground has actually been dry.Image

In the hour before dinner, after the rain had stopped for a couple of hours, I took a meandering walk in the woods behind my house and over to the graveyard.  This creekbed (more of a slight depression in the land, really) is dry most of the time, and only has water right after a hard rain.  After 24 hours of precipitation, it was looking pretty full. Image

The tractor path leading from my backyard up to the cemetery was looking lush and extra-green this afternoon.Image

And the platterful mushrooms (tricholomopsis platyphylla) were oh so abundant.  This particular species is, according to the various sources I have been using, an edible but not very highly prized variety.  I’ve been picking and eating them, and would rate them all right, but not especially choice.  But boy oh boy were they out this afternoon.  This enormous specimen was the first I found this afternoon, just a few steps from my back door, but certainly not the lastImage

another one, in unusually good shape.Image

Each of these photos is of a different flush of platterful mushrooms (not just the same group taken from different angles).  And I didn’t photograph half of what I found today.  They were just everywhere!Image

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Moving along to the vegetable kingdom, I came across my first indian pipe of the year.  This odd saprophytic plant is quite common in the woods later in the year, but this is the first time I’ve seen one this year.  Image

And, as I finished up my walk by the pond, I observed that the milkweed is beginning to flower.  Although there are just a few flowerheads starting to open, the plant is very plentiful on the shore of the pond, and I imagine it will look quite impressive in a week or so when all of them start to flower.Image

close-up of the blooming milkweed flowersImage

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May 21– platterful & cicadas

This is going to be a short one; once again, the hue and cry of life has gotten the best of me, at the expense of this project.   I’ve spent the past day delivering tofu, practicing with the band, and getting ready for a week long trip to Texas for a friend’s wedding.  I figured that I probably wouldn’t get much chance to do any observin’ and writing.

This afternoon, as I was on my way up to band practice, I came across a mess of mushrooms in the back yard.  A closer observation revealed that they were the “platterful” variety (Tricholomopsis platyphylla  http://www.bio.brandeis.edu/fieldbio/Fungi_Miller_Stevens_Rumann/Pages/tricholomopsis_platyphylla_page.html)

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There were a whole mess of ’em, and they were quite large as well.  Image

I showed them to my son Sami, and he was of course quite excited about cooking and eating ’em.   That boy does love mushrooms!Image

And finally, an update on the dreaded “seventeen year cicada”–  they have definitely arrived!  Their telltale holes in the ground are visible all throughout the community, along with the dried-up husks of their first molting.  Already, it’s getting hard to avoid stepping on nasty mashed-up dead cicadas scattered here and there, being eaten by ants.  Not to mention the live ones, which, while less numerous than the dead ones and husks, are certainly not hard to find.  Their metallic screeching is audible throughout the day, but at this point it isn’t too terribly loud, mostly blending into the normal late spring Virginia cacophony of insect, bird, and frog calls.  In fact, I heard my first whippoorwill just last night, an unmistakable sign of the arrival of warm weather. Image

May 8 – after the storm

Wow that was a lot of rain!  It kept going off and on most of the night and all through today, although today was more drizzle than storm.  I took a trip to town, which involved driving along and over the South Anna River.

The lower cowfield, the one closest to the river, was covered in muddy standing water, as seen from the road.Image

You can’t see it, but there is a dam under all that water.  Usually, there is a small waterfall where the river flows over the dam.  When the water is low, it doesn’t even flow over it.  When the water is high, the waterfall can be pretty impressive, churning up a brown froth.  When the water is even higher, the waterfall is more of a ripple, a standing wave.  And when the water is really high (as it was this afternoon), you can’t even see where the dam is.Image

Yanceyville road was officially closed, at the spot where backed-up river water floods the road.  But I think that by the time I was down there, the water level had receded a bit from this morning, as it was actually not that hard to drive through.Image

On one side of the road, a neighbor’s woods were standing in backed-up river water…Image

And on the other side, the field was a shallow lake.Image

Earlier today, I had the uncommon pleasure of finding and eating a species of edible mushroom that I had previously not identified.  This one is a “platterful” mushroom, and I would rate it’s flavor as “pretty good, nothing too amazing, but worth eating if you can find a decent specimen.”  My son Sami was more impressed, saying it was the best-tasting mushroom he had ever eaten.ImageNow this one is intriguing to me.  I’ve been seeing them all over, and I’m going to try using a mushroom ID book to figure out just what it is, as soon as I’ve posted this.Image

Walking in the woods this afternoon, I came across this weird looking flower, a pink lady’s slipper, which makes a regular springtime appearance at Twin Oaks each year.Image

In the Kaweah back yard, the irises have been blooming like mad, despite the drenching they received over the past 24 hours.Image

There are light purple ones, purple and yellow ones, and bright white ones.  All told, they make quite a sight in the backyard.  We’ll see how long they last…Image

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Later in the afternoon, I took a trip to Acorn community with the kids.  While they took a bubble bath, I wandered around looking for more mushrooms, and found these crazy clusters growing out of a sawdust-strewn old wood lot, a spot where they had split and stacked firewood in years past.  After doing a bit of research, I think it’s an edible mushroom, H. capnoides (http://www.mushroomexpert.com/hypholoma_capnoides.html), but I’d need to do more research before I was ready to start eating it.Image

Here’s a cluster that had come loose, either because someone picked them, or something.  Image

There were about five separate clusters of these mushrooms growing out of the ground, pushing the old decomposed wood up and to the side.Image

On the way back from Acorn, we had to cross the S. Anna River once more.  Although not quite at flood stage (there was a safe few feet between the top of the river and the bridge), it was certainly running high.Image