About me

Friday, December 30, 2011

A space alien crash landed

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Changing of the guard

Maybe a microclimate

I was out for a walk about yesterday afternoon towards sunset, and I espied with my little eye these fellows hunkered in the pine straw. 


It's been seasonably cold lately, and it'll only get worse, leaving me to wonder hos a fungus can pull it off in such weather.


My only guess is that the road is built up, and this west facing side drops off about 30 feet. Perhaps the side exposed so directly to the setting sun gets and stays a little warmer than the surrounding area.


Mind you, I do not anticipate testing that hypothesis with a camping trip.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

There were stumps

Can you tell I've been stalking about the neighborhood lately?

On today's walk, I noticed that the grounds crew had been grinding stumps. I don't know why. It just seems that people value an unnatural sameness. Everywhere. Heaven forbid the gravy have a lump. Does know one recall that lumps are often where the good parts are?

Regardless, the stumps are gone. Rendered in a day how they would become on their own in a decade. I don't see the improvement, but that's just me. However, I do see a few mushmoons. Very large and gnarly mushmoons.



This one is growing sideways. I suppose it had started growing, and then the soil was disturbed.


And then there's this one, growing from where a stump was removed much earlier. Peeking through the grass, sufficiently far from the sidewalk to, perhaps, survive. 


Of course, they all have to get through the coming cold, which is going to be a little more chili than the typical mushmoon would prefer. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

December surprises

So I stepped out for an all too short walk this afternoon, and what do I espy in the mulch but some sneaking little mushmoons pushing their heads out just in time for this weekend's frost.



Someone's foot already beat me to this one.


And a few were quite gnarly, much like me, in this brutal winder-coming season.


And then a surprising color, a seashell wannabe, lurking by the edge of a holly. 


Then the phone rang.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Beneath our feet in Charleston

We generally rarely know what lies just inches beneath our feet. Life has scratched out an existence on this planet for a very long time, and we moved in only recently.

Regardless, we were working in Charleston several weeks back, and we had the unexpected pleasantness of an afternoon off. This just doesn't happen often, and when it does, we're often in a place where there's little opportunity to get out, even if there is someplace we might want to see.

Charleston has seen occupation long before the English landed, but we don't have much record of that, and I found myself traipsing through the hallowed grounds of where those early settlers left their dead, many of whom were children. Here, we knew what was beneath our feet. Bones. Lots of bones. Probably buttons, buckles, and other fragments of human existence.

The question, then, is what lays beneath those feet. We might never know.

Yet, life goes on. It always does. The bodies ascend by root and limb. The leaves return. The flowers bloom. The bees sniff. The honey collects. The toast is served. The child grows. The adult dies. The progression continues.

Here, we see a small part of that progression.



And over to the side.



These guys live in the filtered sunlight, and they certainly do not feed on bullshit. Well, at least not until my old bones rest here.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Biguns

Yes, we grow them big down here, especially in the cooler season after the first hurricane.  Behold these sprouting by the bus stop over by the A.M.E. church with a grave and obelisk all to its own.

To the one side


And to the other

Not to be outdone

And don't forget over to the other side where the gravity surge occurred.

And if you're wondering just what makes big, here's my #13 for comparison.  Think one foot's worth of mushroom.  Non-edible, of course.

And then the loner, much like me.  Alone.  Alone in the pack.  Unloved.  Unlovable.  Better off that way.  Not sharing the ice cream.  Or the aged dog turd.  Generally and demonstrably forgettable.

But not to worry, there'll be more.  Lots more.

Unless the bus traffic picks up.

Post-Pride Gleaming

When the rain abated, we headed back to the car, dreams of a late lunch dancing in our heads.  As is often the case when I lead the pack, we took a less than direct route to the car.  I rarely see this as a real problem, and more often, I see it as La Mano de Dios en Mi Vida, but that's an essay from another time that we won't bring up here.  Suffice it to say that we had a rousing discussion regarding used mattresses.

After the first mattress, I saw this by the sidewalk.

The gleaming in the peeking sun that followed the tropical downpour rendered a dazzle I usually do not associate with mushrooms, and in this instance, I attributed the gleam to the combined glory of 15,000 like-minded people some three blocks away.

Nonetheless, I thought maybe the better camera would take the better picture, and here is what I received for the hardware swap.

So much for that extra effort. These peonies wannabes were not to be captured this day, at least not in a form outside my mind's eye, and there, just there, we behold a scene of stellar luminescence.

Friday, September 23, 2011

After the hurricane

It's been a few weeks since Irene blew through.  I was out of town that weekend, but I hear that we, mostly, had a blustery day.  Our neighbors to the east and the north were not so lucky, and they will likely date from Irene.  NYC took a bye when the degraded eye arrived a very few hours after high tide. Word is that had the water been one inch higher, Manhattan would have been a whole lot wetter.

Many will tell you that the day after a hurricane often presents some of the most beautiful skies of the season.  That is generally true.  Bluer.  Cooler.  Dryer.  There's also the relative change and that collective sigh of relief.

Irene's passing brought us some rain and some cooler weather.  In the weeks following, the landscape greened and bloomed.

The mushrooms were not far behind.  These two are modest examples of the volley ball-sized mushroom I saw  at the dollar flick.  Sadly, it was night, and the light was not sufficient for my cell phone camera.  I hope you can forgive me.


Farther down the street, we have a couple of oddities.  We never know exactly what is beneath our feet, and I like to think of these two as the fingers of some dead man rising to claim his vengeance for an untimely death.  We won't tell him that his assailant is also long dead.


They also come as singles.


Many of us come as singles.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Irene: Before and after

Last week, just days before a road trip and a hurricane, I took a walk along a way that I'd not visited in a couple of months.  This route include a pass by a cemetery that predates the Civil War, and yes, I like to stop there and reflect.  I discovered a new resident who had moved in some six weeks earlier, and a few steps away, this old fellow had survived the funeral and burial.

The summer heat, even in this shaded grove, had not been kind to this old fellow.  Yet, he survived.  Tendrils reaching into the hard red clay.  Residual moisture sought and retained.  I dared not touch lest I disturb that delicate balance and shorten his days in this world.

And so I left this city, this state, and flew to Chattanooga for work.  The hurricane brushed the city, and unleashed her wrath on the coast.

I returned.  Vermont was washing out to sea.  I settled in, and yesterday evening as the light of day faded from the realm, I went for a quick walk.  Yes, I had lottery tickets to buy.

Along the way, peeking from the freshened grass growing by a chain link fence, this fellow smiles.

As my native buds might say, Mother washed her hair, and now life goes on.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Surprise on a walk

It's been a long two days, and although I would benefit from some stair work or even stepping over to the gym, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.  Very weak, and I settled for a walk up to the Shell to fetch a Diet Coke.

Along the way, I was thinking that it'd been a while since a mushroom had popped up, and given the recent heat, I expected it'd be a while longer before another risked poking it's head out.

I was wrong.  Again.  I'm getting used to it.  There's something odd about the environment up by the dollar flick because I keep finding mushroom in the mulch there, even at the harshest of times.

Today, there was a veritable family of the beasts raising their heads.  Here's the one that first attracted my attention.


Just a few feet away, a few more were making their way into this world.


This is, apparently, a mixed neighborhood.  Some little white round mushrooms were popping up right there among the family of brown flat ones.  One or the other is apt to be labeled the Great Usurper.


And of course, one had sprouted a few days earlier, and the 100-degree weather did it's duty, leaving what looks to an ET head under the bush.


So my question is: What is it about the mulch at the dollar flick that promotes mushroom growth?  I doubt we ever know, and it's surely not the popcorn grease.  Not even the mice are eating the discarded popcorn.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A disturbance in the pine straw

Within 20 feet one one another, we have the two, both at the edge of pine straw mulch in an areaq where no pine trees exist, except for the few that've sprouted from the seeds that rode in with the straw.

The one.  It might as well be a lost yeast roll from a local restaurant, except there is no such place.  The best we can do in this area is the dollar movie with it's expensive, and very yummy, popcorn.


And no, I didn't notice the lack of focus until just now, but that's me through and through, a lack of focus.  Hundreds will concur.  They'll also shake their heads in sad dismay.  Such the waste, they'll think and, maybe, say.

The other.


Sneaking up from the edge of the pine straw.  It's very shy.  It's also toast by now.  We have an afternoon temperature of 100F.  Not many mushrooms are going to hold on with that much sunshine smiling on them.

So what do you suppose possessed these two to sprout in the edge of the same mulch, if 20 feet separated?

Were the spores lurking in the soil, just waiting for the opportune moment?  Did they come in on the bales of pine straw?

I like to think they both settled down through the air, perhaps dropped from the wing of something above and unseen, drifting downward for however long it took, until finally coming to settle in the edge of the straw, just where the straw is thin enough for the spore to reach the soil, but still thick enough to shade the soil until the spore can sprout.

And that happened twice.  Yep.  More likely, they fell from the curly tail of a flying pig.  I'll go with that.  And space aliens.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

All alone

I was supposed to be wrapping my head around the full moon Friday evening when I went out for a walk at the end of the day.  Instead, I found myself wrapping my head around solitude.  To a large extent, those who value silence and solitude are often maligned in this society as being inept, maladjusted, and most alarming, unimportant.  You're not likely to hear that the next serial killer was a gregarious extrovert who let everyone know months earlier how he was going to rape and pillage an urban mall.  Nope.  The news reports will fixate on how no one saw it coming, how the man was a loner, and how no one really trusted him because they never knew what he was really thinking.

A good friend of mine, a very successful college professor, said at dinner a few years ago how, if he were to find himself in prison, solitary confinement would be something he would seek.  I nodded my complete understanding as his spouse just rolled her eyes.

We live in a loud and gregarious world, a world not given to thinking before acting, a world not given to the examination of consequences, a world filled with people who talk too much about too little, a world with little or no appreciation of quiet.

How many can drive to work surrounded by their own thoughts?  How many need the radio going just to stay sane?

I once traveled with a fellow who is substantially extroverted.  He's also quiet socially adept, so you can't pin the bull in a china shop moniker on him.  However, he thrives on social interaction.  He draws energy from it.  He's the guy who will strike up a conversation with strangers on an airplane as an effort to pass the time.

I'm the guy with a complete arsenal of responses designed to end that unwanted conversation.

It took a few years before my traveling companion came to realize that one can be effective in social business situation without being the social butterfly.  Oddly, we don't travel together all that much anymore, and I suspect he's returning to his previous misconceptions.  See how I fill in the gaps of what I don't know by fabricating something from nothing?  I should start a silk purse business.

So there I am, traipsing through the world of west Raleigh, glad to be alone with my thoughts, though wishing there were a little easily controlled moderation on that point, when I looked down. It wasn't there yesterday.


I know it's an overnight sensation because I walked this same path one day earlier.  It sprouted and grew over night, and now the heat of the day is taking it's toil.  It does not appear to have another day left in it.

It also sprouted and grew alone.  Now, it dies alone.  That's not a bad thing.  It's just a thing, thought it's the kind of thing that makes so many sad.  I wonder if it finds no company preferable to poor company, and I suspect it does, but we will never know.  It has left us by now.  The fairies will have to dance elsewhere.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Not quite a yellow bell

But it is a brave soul.

Yes, I went out in to 110 degree heat index.  On a bike.  (It was that, or just head on over to jail for what I was thinking.)  As I was turning around to come home, I saw this down in the grass by a curb.


Here's another angle on this precursor to Friday's full moon.


No, I do not know who left the cigarette.  I didn't even see it until just now when the upload finished.

I suppose a frog or something peed in that little patch of grass.  There has certainly been insufficient rain to bring about a sprout.  Maybe the yellow ones are just stronger.  I doubt it, but it could be.  Perhaps that yellow glow offsets the withering summer sun in which I stood to take this picture.  If so, I didn't feel any of the redirected heat.  Of course and as many will tell you, I'm not all that sensitive, especially when there's a mood going.

One of those days

Everyone has one of those days, at least now and again. People who say they do not are liars, just like the spouses who say they never argued.

Today, I'm having one of those days, and no, it's not work-related.  It's ISP-related.

My building is advertised that as wired for cable and DSL.  That is true.  However, the devil is in the details.

Southern Bell has, apparently, decided that they will not offer DSL service here.  They did that last summer when I was a subscriber.  Note the use of past tense there.

Before that, I used Time Warner Cable, TWC.  This was sorta OK for a while, at least until I grew suspicious of customer service telling me about sunspots when I called to ask about digital static.  SyFy monsters can sound really odd with digital static.  I terminated the digital TV service and gave them back the digital recorder, but retained Road Runner.  The problems with service interruption continued.  They liked to blame my wireless router.

Then there was that afternoon when I overheard the telephone conversation from the service guy.  My cable was spliced.  A lot.  End of story for TWC.

Fast forward to last summer when Southern Bells decided we were no longer worthy.  I checked out Clear, and it appeared that their wireless service would be equivalent to DSL.  It was about my last choice, and I set up the account.  It was sufficient for a while.

At this point, it's about a third of the advertised speed.  I expect to be calling some state agency at some point.

Anyway, what has this to do with mushrooms and mushmoons?

Rather than start a screaming episode on the phone with Clear's ever so inadequate and unempowered customer service, I walked up the the local convenience store for a Diet Coke. 44 ounces.  A little diversion for me will probably make the world a little better for all involved.  Besides, if I'm going to piss and moan about something, it might as well be something useful like a cold Diet Coke on a very hot day.

Along the way, I looked for the mushrooms I photographed last Sunday and then lost, but could not find them.  I suppose the mother ship really did come for them.  However, I did find these.


And from another angle (without my butt hanging out into five lanes of traffic).


And finally



A worked did something here a few days ago, and spread straw from God knows where to cover the disturbed soil.  I suppose the idea is to control erosion while the grass seeds sprout and take root.  In 100-degree weather.

The straw came with mushroom spores, all from a far off place.  That should make some interesting cross-pollination.  However, looking at the weather forecast, the mother ship had better come soon because these mushmoons will quickly dry up and blow away.

Too bad coaxial cable spores didn't arrive with that straw.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost

The Holy Trinity right there on my sidewalk.


I was pedaling on my way to an appointment with no time to spare, but I stopped for this picture.  The Holy Trinity right there for all the world to see.  That left me thinking how three was, and still is, a lot more than just Christianity's Holy Super Trio.  Others earlier had their own meaning, but geometry won it for me.  Three points define a plane, at least in Euclidean geometry.  (The fancier stuff has different rules.)

Anyway, I took the picture and skedaddled, arriving at my appointment 10 minutes early.  Sometimes, it all works out a little better than I expect.  On my way back, I remembered the mushrooms, and especially the another set with the triplet all mashed together with a single sprout way off to the side.  I skipped that extra picture earlier so I wouldn't be late.

Well, guess what is not there now?  In the span of three hours, poof, they're gone.  All of them.  Not even the residue of mushroom too long in the hot sun.  Nothing.  Yes, I rode back and forth three times on the bike looking for what was, but is no longer, there.

I suppose the mothership returned for her children.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Here and gone

Just enough rain last evening to sprout and grow.  Just enough heat today to fry you to a crisp.


Yep. About like usual. Welcome to my world.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A mistake

OK, so we all agree that God makes no mistakes.  I made a mistake.  I was walking along, gauging how long feets would hold up as I noodled on past the arb.  From the corner of my eye, I saw it, ignored it, turned around and walked back, looked again, took the picture, and yes, scooted onward.



What someone was thinking, I might never know, especially if I'm lucky.

Fast forward a few days.  I open my email, and there's a message from Diana with a picture attached.  She doesn't know what I found in the grass, but she stared at it until she found something.  She does that.  A lot.  Here's what she found.



Yep, she found me from a previous life.

Monday, June 6, 2011

This should count



The less than informed peeps who pretend to manage the woods at Jordan Lake had a controlled burn some few years ago, leaving this charred stump that now feeds bracket fungus.

Think mushmoon on a cloudy night.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cheap flick mushmoon

Right there by the sidewalk, far from the kicking feet, directly between the orange stripes for the coming buried cable.  No, that is not cracked pepper on the top.

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Tasty mushmoon

It just didn't pay, sometimes, to have good taste. How is a toad supposed to sit on a broken stool?

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Colorful mushmoon

A brighter color, probably painted by a teen fairy to celebrate a birthday. The grass and cow itch are none to happy with dusting duty.

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Shy mushmoon

The desert at Jordan Lake is an old trash dump covered in dirt where life struggles to reclaim its space. Here, at the edge, a shy one grows. It's off the beaten trail and lightly protected from the afternoon sun. It will probably live and die as expected. Unless a fat toad sits on it.
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