Saturday, November 12, 2011

flowers in November, seed dissection, wrecked mushrooms: a good day

Attentive readers may have noticed that I’ve been a bit glum about the onset of fall this year – certain that the fun was over, there’s nothing to see here, move along, move along, see you next spring. Fortunately, the woods behind our house have been whispering to me over the past couple of weeks. “Pssssst.  Lady. Up here. Mushrooms. Mosses. Things you haven’t seen lately. Pssssst.”

(Am I the only one out there who perceives life this way?) (Oh, right: doesn’t matter. You’re in charge of your perceptions; I’m in charge of mine.)

Anyhoo, I wandered around today, some in the normal spots, and some up in the woods, attentive to those little whispers. Here’s the haul:


Pachysandra, invading the woods from its homebase around the magnolia tree. We last saw pachysandra on May 6th, when the flowers were forming and dare I say it, swelling.


Asters continue to delight with their fuzzballs.


The pieris bush. This is the one whose flowers look like spider-infested barnacles. And there is a bug, of some kind, right in the middle of the picture. Thank you, O Macro Lens, without thee this bush would just be a blob on the edge of the lawn.


Would somebody please tell the vinca that it’s friggin’ November already?


Screw you, says the vinca. I can do this all week. I’m not proud…or tired.


Spider sez, mind your own business. See that little thingy in the lower right? Stay tuned. Those things are EVERYWHERE.

I came across a lobelia, of the Indian Tobacco flavor (Lobelia inflata), on my way up into the woods.


Lovely inflated calyx, to use the verbiage in my flower guide.


No wait, really? You didn’t get the memo, either, huh? Wow. I’ll keep an eye on this, because I’m not sure if it’s just opening up, or just closing down. When open, the lobelia flowers I’ve seen around here look more like this.

Remember the mushrooms growing in a stump up the hill? Well, someone went to town on them. I am not sure if mushrooms spontaneously fall apart, or if critters are involved, but at any rate, check this out:


Carnage, either way.

I spent a fair amount of time sussing out the mystery of a tiny turkey-foot shaped object that I have noticed in the bazillions over recent weeks. They’re everywhere – on the deck, on leaves, on our shower mat…P1170007

Here’s one.

I have suspected the birch trees, just on general principle. But I’m not sure if it’s yellow, gray, or white birch. (We have all three. Plus there’s black birch generally around here, but not in my usual wanderings.)


Look, another one.

I finally figured out that that’s probably the conveyance part, and the actual seed is this thing:


(A double-duty photo. Please to admire the fantastic shroomage.)

I also discovered that if you take an innocent birch catkin…


…and rip it to shreds, you’ll see that my theory is more-or-less right.

Here we have the two bits still stuck together.


As exciting as this is (and isn’t it?) the best part was when I came across a stump I visited earlier in the summer. It’s completely covered in moss and canada mayflower. I realized that even though the mayflower has long since produced its flowers and berries, it’s still around, and once I knew what to look for, I saw the evidence everywhere.


Translucent white leaves are all that remain.

On the way back down to the house, I found the first gentian I ever saw – here’s what it looked like back on August 9th – it didn’t have flowers yet.


And here’s what that baby looks like now:


I’m not dead yet!

The running report: Achilles tendonitis notwithstanding, a girl’s got to run, and the next half marathon is coming up in a few months. Which reminds me, I should probably register for it before it’s too late. I knocked out what passes for a long run these days – 5.3 miles – and right around now, the cats are starting to pester me for dinner. So, sports fans, I’ll see you tomorrow.

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