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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

It Begins... a Little Late

We've seen hardly any fall color here up until the last few days. Suddenly, there are small bursts. An occasional single beautiful tree.

fall leaf colors

Here's a little lake, named... wait for it... Little Lake.

fall leaf colors

Actually, I like it a lot when there are bright trees interspersed with the green ones.

Tomorrow is supposed to be nice again, and I'm hoping to dry clothes on the line.

See Hawkins Road
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Monday, October 5, 2015

Honey Mushroom

Today we have a mushroom that I am pretty certain of the ID. It's honey mushroom, Armillaria mellea. It's all over the place here, this year. It grows in clusters around the bases of live or dead trees, or stumps. Here are three different clusters. The color varies from white to pinkish to yellowish to deep honey color. Size of caps: 1-4 inches across

honey mushroom

honey mushroom

honey mushroom

Here's a cluster pulled away from the tree so you can see the gills. Also, note the rings.

honey mushroom

Are you wondering how the rings form? Look at these young ones, with just a button for a cap. See how the one in the middle looks like it doesn't have any gills, and the skin just flows smoothly down into the stalk? As the cap grows and opens that skin tears away, and the remains look like a ring that is attached to the stalk.

honey mushroom

There are some lookalikes. Usually, a rule of thumb is that if it has a ring you shouldn't eat it. However... this one is edible (see next paragraph) and one of the similar ones isn't and doesn't have a ring. Supposedly, if it has white spores, it's honey mushroom, not one of the others.

That said, I have four mushroom guides. One says, "not recommended." One says, "choice." The other two say "choice with caution," because some people can't tolerate it. One says the small caps are the best. I think if I were going to try it, I'd just have a small bit at first.

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Sunday, October 4, 2015

White Mushroom Mystery

There will be no real or even close answers here today. Just interesting pictures and a lot of questions.

This story begins over a week ago with a picture I took of this clump of mushrooms mostly because they are pretty. It almost looks like a flower. The entire cluster is maybe 3 inches across, and 2 inches high.

clump of white mushrooms

I did have enough sense to take a picture of the underside, which has gills. So that eliminates the polypores and boletes, but still leaves a whole lot of possibilities. I was not smart enough to brush aside the leaves at the base to see if the gills extend down into the ground or if there is a short stalk below them. I did not smell it. I did not break the skin to see if it changed color when bruised. I wouldn't have done it with this one, right beside the path, that was so nice to look at, anyway.

mushroom gills

So... I didn't even begin to try to figure that out. But on my work hike Thursday, I found this mushroom. Each of those specimens is large, about 4 inches across and 5 high. Not too pretty with all the dirt on them.

white mushroom

But when I got a picture of the back side (you can hardly call it an underside), what a surprise! Long, long gills. I thought at first they went right into the ground, but then saw there is a short fat stalk.

mushroom gills

Are they the same species? Maybe. Ones in the book that end up like the second one seem to begin with the edges rolled out like the first one. But only one candidate seems to get as large as the second one. And I didn't get enough info in either case: spore color, bruising color, odor, shape of the base of the stalk...

Looking through 4 mushroom guides... here are my best guesses, but I definitely have no certain idea.

Maybe- Giant Clitocybe, Clitocybe gigantea, edible
Maybe- Fleecy Milkcap,Lacterius vellereus, not recommended
Maybe- Short stalked White Russula, Russula brevipes, edible but acrid (huh, I thought all Russula were poison)

And... all of the ones I found seem to grow more in a fan shape than a typical capped mushroom, which suggests that all these guesses are wrong.

And that, my friends, is why this is a game for me, not a survival test. There are four species of wild mushroom I am certain enough of to actually eat, puffball, inky cap, chicken mushroom, and oyster mushroom. Not a one of them looks like these!

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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Spirit of the Woods Hike- Bowman Lake Oct 2015

Saturday was the monthly trail hike. This time at one of my favorite places, Bowman Lake. Here's the group photo, thanks to Loren.


It was a chilly morning, but great for walking. Somehow this picture makes the lake look more somber than usual, but the view is a little different, so I'm sharing this one.

Bowman Lake

We did a loop that is about six miles long. Elizabeth points out where we are on the map.


Sometimes, just sometimes, a fallen tree is an asset rather than a problem. This one is going to need a chain saw, and it hasn't been cleared yet. However, it provided perfect lunch seating for ten. And so convenient... right down the length of the trail.

lunch on a log

Grocery shopping after, home, zombie land. Gave up and went to bed.

See the previous Spirit of the Woods hike at Bowman Lake
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Friday, October 2, 2015

Trail Work!

It was the right time to get the fall clean-up done on my section of the North Country Trail. In the spring I had Om drop me off and I walked straight through the whole section. I knew there was more work to do this time, so I split it into two days with a campout in the middle.

Here's my trail work gear pack.

pack with saw

I began yesterday afternoon at the south end. Hiked in 2.5 miles to the spur trail that leads to a campground. I didn't get the spur checked in the spring. But not the first day. Instead I turned around and walked back to the car. One of my favorite pieces of trail in this section is on an old railroad bed. Straight and level, but through a swamp. Very pretty and with lots of interesting plants to see if you protect from bugs enough to slow down and look. No bugs this weekend.

NCT Pere Marquette railroad bed

I picked up the car and drove to the campground where I spent the night. Cooked dinner, read till dark, slept.


This morning, Loren came and took me to the north end of my trail. She and her pups (you've met Corky, the little black one is Koa. She's new, and recovering from being spayed) walked with me for a little ways, till the first cross road. Thanks, Loren!

hiker and dogs

Most of my trail is not particularly remarkable, but that doesn't mean it's not beautiful and satisfying to the soul.

North Country Trail

If you click the link below for the spring trip, you'll see the picture of a small area that had just burned. The Forest Service put the fire out quickly, and here's what the area looks like after just one summer. Amazing!

growth after fire

I did do a lot more work than on the spring walk. There was a LOT of clipping to do. All the areas that are growing up in oak sprouts (a blowdown area from a few years ago, a timber harvest area, and the burned area) needed extensive trimming where the oak was encroaching on the trail. Over the two days, I spent 9.5 hours walking and working. That is exactly one mile an hour. That's fairly normal for trail work, I think.

This is the most difficult thing I had to clear. Notice the trail goes right through the middle of this.

trees down on trail

No problem. Well, it would have been easier if it wasn't right at the end of the day when I was already tired. Took six cuts, but I got 'er done!

North Country Trail

Hiked to the turnoff, and then out the spur to the campground and my car.

Now I'm off for a night of work! Yes, I took a nap this time.

See My Trailfor the spring duties
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