Friday, June 30, 2006

Old Man Mushroom

Yesterday I spent half the the day painting the downstairs bathroom and hallway. The other half I spent just wandering around the front yard, taking photos of all the odd mushrooms that have sprouted up since our soaking rains. I know most people don’t even notice mushrooms and if they do, they think they are disgusting or evil [somehow associated with witches, etc.]. Rick and I started mushrooming a few years ago when we began noticing them on our mountain property. They can be fickle from year to year there depending on the rainfall. No rain; no shrooms. They can be fascinating to watch as their life cycle is very short; here today, gone tomorrow or even sometimes here this morning, gone by evening. Their various forms and colors are amazing.

Just look at the strange one I found the other day. It popped up after the rain in the morning and was shriveled up by afternoon. It had a sponge-like consistency and you could almost see it breathing, it was that creepy! Another popped up just this morning but it’s not quite as large as the previous one. Maybe it will grow during the day. You can see the withered one from the other day right next to it. It’s icky looking I’ll admit, but you have to be in awe of nature when it produces something like that! This one has a sticky, wet brown goop covering the head. The one the other day must have had the same goop because it did have a small patch still stuck to it. Maybe the flies are eating that part? It stinks, too. Ewwww. Here are several different pics of it. One a close-up showing the porous nature as the sun comes through. Fascinating. Maybe you won’t think so and wish I would get off this mushroom kick I seem to be on!
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey  Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Here is another one I found interesting. I am always seeing faces in things I guess, because the side of this mushroom looks like the profile of an old man with a long moustache to me. Okay, use your imagination here. You know those folk art carvings of old men Santas and the like, right? This one is all dressed in white with a white cap on his head. On the right side of the mushroom you can see a fairly high forehead, the protrusion of his brow and the indentation of his eye below that. Then his nose sticks out in a bulbous manner and you can see his long moustache going down his cheek and the indentation of his mouth right underneath. C’mon, you’ve got to see this too?
Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Okay, enough fungi for this morning. I’ve got to get busy and remove all the painter’s tape from the woodwork, put the bathroom back together, do some laundry, clean the house, make up the spare guest room [Carolyn is coming for the weekend! Note: She was the person who helped us move all the dogs and kitties here.], take a swim and get some sun, do some weeding, prepare dinner ahead of time [Eggplant roll-ups stuffed with ricotta and monterey jack cheeses], and then WHEW! sit down with a glass of wine and relax while waiting for Carolyn’s arrival.


The first one is a Mutinus elegans, otherwise known as an Elegant Stinkhorn.

Spectacular! I have seen the stinkhorn variety once before in the UK, but not the bizarre white waxy one - I can see the face, it reminds me of an illustration I have in a children’s book.

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