Jack O’Lanterns on a Stump

I found a surprise while hiking in the mountains last week.

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How lucky to find a lovely grouping of Jack O’Lantern mushrooms on a fall afternoon.

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These orange Omphalotus olearius may look yummy, but they are poisonous.

These were perfectly positioned right beside the trail.

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I have heard that the gills glow green in the dark, but I have never seen this.

The leaves had not transformed to their lovely fall colors yet here in North Carolina.

I am glad the Jack O’Lanterns stepped in to add color.

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Yellow Umbrellas

I spied some yellow umbrellas under a Key lime tree.

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If I were a fairy, I would have sat under one to drink lemonade.

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Since I am only a busy human, I had to continue with my menial tasks.

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But I can dream while I work

of sitting under a yellow umbrella

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beneath a Key lime tree

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Lemon-yellow Lepiota/ Lepiota lutea

drinking lemonade in the shade.

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A Blue Mushroom

I am always on the lookout for some fun fungi.

One of my favorites is the Indigo Milky Cap mushroom, Lactarius indigo.

I think they are lovely.

The inside and sap are true indigo blue.

These show up under our oaks in the fall.

This one has a distorted shape. It is rubbery and tough.  I never eat wild mushrooms. I love my liver.

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Mud and Mushrooms

You may have noticed my latest posts are a little mushy.

It’s this R A I N.

Oh my. It has caught me at a bad part of my maintenance cycle.

I did get some weeding done, but ran out of mulch.

So that means W E E D S.

I am amazed how much growth has occurred this week.

I wish I had placed measuring sticks by each Hosta.

There are some upsides to the downpours.

I found some perfect animals tracks in the mud.

and then there are the mushrooms.

And let’s not forget the necessity for new garden clogs while my many pairs of shoes dry

after washing them.( Attention: Shrub Queen)

These are Backdoor Shoes.   I will let you know how they hold up.

Here is the second daylily to bloom. Dixie Boy.

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See Everything by Looking for Nothing

This life lesson started out with a lost lens cap.

It fell out of my pocket in the woods.

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So if I don’t find it soon, it will be covered with leaves.

There are no paths in my woods.

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I meander around without much notice of my location.

These are my woods. I can’t get lost, but a lens cap can.

I felt obliged to go look for it. It would be easier to find a needle in a haystack.

I took my camera, as usual.

I was looking for a round, dark, man-made object.

Here are my pictures from the search.

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Round, dark, man-made objects.  Blah!

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Today, I went into my woods looking for nothing.

I found everything!

Moss, mushrooms, fairy houses, lichens…

and (NO LIE) the lens cap.

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Open mind… Open eyes…

See everything while looking for nothing.

Go with the FLOW.

Tree of Life

My sister and I found all these different life forms growing on and in one old tree.

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This tiny pine was growing ten feet up between branches.
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The hole in the trunk was full of cobwebs and one lovely white mushroom.
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This mushroom was deep inside the hole in the trunk.
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Lichens and mosses covered the old bark.
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This huge bracket fungi was up about twelve feet high on the trunk.
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Small plants nestled around its roots.
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This dried up lichen looked like leaves.

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It was like a treasure hunt.

This tree is a treasure.

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The Poisonous Path

I went into the woods this evening

to try to locate a lovely bracket fungi that I had photographed previously.

I needed to look up to find it,

but one must always look down while walking in the woods.

This is how I found the path…

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of white mushrooms.

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Yes, they are poisonous Amanitas.  They are lovely but deadly.

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Fear not. I was following their path, not eating them.

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A circle of these is called a fairy ring, so I thought of this as a fairy path.

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If YOU found a fairy path in the woods wouldn’t YOU follow it?

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Every ten feet or so was another cluster of lovely, glowing, white mushrooms.

It went on and on until I had to pause in awe.

There before my very eyes was the Mother of all mushrooms.

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It was big enough to wear as a hat.

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It was a magical adventure. I am so lucky.

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The FLOWER follows a poisonous path through the woods and survives to tell the tale.

What can we learn from Fungi?

There is devastation in Texas, Mexico, Florida and many of the Islands below Florida.

Once all the power and water are back on, there is a big souvenir pile left.

Debris. Non-biodegradable. Non-reusable. Trash.

Soggy sheet rock, insulation, plastics, moldy furniture, ruined appliances and cars…

Dig a hole? Throw it in it?  Have you forgotten the water table below?

Nature experiences its own devastation.

Who cleans up?

Fungi.

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They break down the dead trees and leaves and return the nutrients to the soil.

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This isn’t the end of the story.

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Things eat the mushrooms. They are food for the living, while living off of the dead.

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That’s called a cycle. The circle of life.

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Until we humans figure out we are all part of this same web,

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we may end up in one of these holes we keep digging.

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