Thursday, April 10, 2014

Happy little announcement

Guess whose blog is going to be included in the United States Library of Congress web archives?

I had to do a little investigating to make sure it was real--thought it might have been a phishing scam. When it turned out to be true, I melted the phone line calling friends and family.

"The United States Library of Congress has selected your website for inclusion in the Library’s historic collection of Science Blogs. We consider your website to be an important part of this collection and the historical record."

To be included with the likes of Kathie Hodge's Cornell University Mushroom Blog (she got notified the same day) makes me proud indeed. I'm sure they found hers first, as they should have, and then checked some of the links on her blog roll.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

What happened to me?

We interrupt our normal erratic posting schedule to alert our viewing audience to the fact that many, many weeks ago, when I moved all my images to an internal back-up drive because I was running out of memory, I lost the nice Picasa folder order that was so easy for me to navigate, so now almost 15,000 images are sorted in hundreds of alphabetized folders which are pretty much useless to me in terms of finding stuff.

However, I did learn some things:

  • Go through your images soon after you download them and get rid of the ones you'll never look at again. Be honest--will you ever really need that second (or third, fourth, fifth, etc.) image that's two millimeters to the left? I found I simply do not need to save probably 4/5 of them. Maybe more.
  • Change the damn file names of the keepers. The default "IMG_6323.JPG" is not very useful.

All is not least they're still in their named folders. I just have to open every alphabetically-ordered folder, check the dates, and change the names of the folders to include the date. There's only a couple hundred folders! Piece o' cake!

Yours in Fungi,

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Great Big Amanita Rubescens Post, and I caught a turtle eating a mushroom.

Amanita rubescens small under larger cap
Amanita rubescens 6-23-2013

Mid-to-late June here in central Missouri was glorious, mushroom-wise.

There was a short mini-drought several weeks earlier that lasted about two weeks and scared the heck out of me, because last summer there was a long and terrible drought. No precipitation = little to no fungi. But regular early summer rain came, and the forest floor exploded.

There were several species in great abundance that I’d only seen here and there in previous years. The handsome Amanita rubescens was one of them.

Amanita rubescens button Amanita rubescens lost scales red on cap

Above, both are Amanita rubescens. The one on the right is shop-worn and has lost a lot of its cap patches (from heavy rain, I bet). But those red dents and divots (damage from bugs and animals, most likely) give it away. “Rubescens” means “reddening” in Latin which is how it got one of its common names, “blusher.”

Amanita rubescens heavy cap scales
Not-quite-mature Amanita rubescens

The toffee sprinkles all over the cap (above) are the remains of its universal veil, which enclosed the entire mushroom before it burst out of it. They are like pieces of a torn sheet. So if you deconstructed this mushroom you could rejoin all those warts, like kids do with maps of the world.

big blusher from trail

See that tawny orange thing right in the middle of the image above?

big blusher as found

It was the biggest blusher I’ve ever seen! Even though I hadn't seen many!

big blusher with foot big blusher with hand

There it is with my foot! There it is with my hand!

I didn't see any others like this one, so flat. And huge!

Unusual also in that it was in nearly perfect condition. Every other one I saw this summer had a blushing chunk missing, or a red bruise, or both.

big blusher cap edge

big blusher entire cap
Amanita rubescens fully expanded cap. Click to view large! Click any image to view large!

Amanita rubescens (2)

The big floppy skirt on the one above is its partial veil, which used to cover the gills. As the cap expands, the veil tears free from the edge of the cap and remains attached to the stalk. That’s the “ring” the field guides mean. But sometimes the ring falls off, so don’t get crazy!

I saw another one of those things you hardly ever see! A big ol’ box turtle eating a big ol’ mushroom, right next to the trail.

turtle eating mushroom trail view

Some kind of Russula, looks like.

turtle eating mushroom birdseye view turtle eating mushroom top view close

If you spend any time at all in the woods you see turtles. I'm a little surprised when I don't see a turtle. But usually I see a turtle seeing me and pulling into its shell, not in the middle of a big meal of juicy, succulent mushroom.

Next time I see it I'll know those pointy missing chunks were from a turtle.

turtle eating mushroom side view

He was getting pretty nervous about me sticking my camera in his world so I left.