Monday, October 3, 2011

Crazy, mad life

A wee little table and stool

I've been busy. That's why nothing new posted here for a couple of months.

There was work, the garden, the dog, vacation, canning, pickling, zucchini marmalade, eggplant parmigiana, cabbage.

Well, you get the picture.

Crazy, mad stuff.

Like life.

But I'd been meaning to write about my latest endeavor: learning to identify mushrooms.

There have been so many mushrooms popping up for weeks and weeks around the yard and in the woods where I walk the dog every day that my head can't keep track of them all. It has been an education just seeing all the different forms and either being grossed out or fascinated - or both.

I found a book while on vacation, an Audubon guide to mushrooms that has helped immeasurably. But I still have managed to identify maybe three kinds for sure. It has been nature's equivalent of throwing down the gauntlet at me: You cannot identify all of these.

I can only try. Otherwise, I am just enjoying how cute most of them are, popping up wherever they want.

And then I get to ponder the unponderables, such as the concept that the plant is all underground, living its life, only sending up a mushroom when conditions are ripe to reproduce.


Check out the column if you want to read more. And let me know if you recognize any of the pictures. I'd love to know what it was.

Mushrooms in Hemlock Hollow

Really, really big mushroom, probably about 9 inches tall.


Anonymous said...

Hi Janine - I read your article in the Bangor Daily. I'm an amateur mushroom forager in Hancock County and wanted to a correction - mushrooms actually are not plants at all. They're in the fungi kingdom, completely separate from the plant kingdom - i.e. they don't photosynthesize, etc. Hope you have fun with your foraging and getting to know these beautiful and fascinating organisms!

Janine Pineo said...

Hi, Anon.

Well, I can only blame the book. It stated quite plainly that mushrooms are a form of plant. Then it went on to explain how it is different from the photosynthesizing varieties.

The mystery deepens.