Saturday, August 12, 2006

Rain, Rain, Come Again!

Things are dry here in sunny central Pennsylvania. The heat has been unrelenting, and though humidity is high, it hasn't been enough to keep soil moist. Leaves crunch under my shoes as I shoot forthward down a mossy path.

I can see summer tilting toward autumn more and more each day, and while the change is welcome, I simply cannot believe how fast this year is flying past me! Milkweed shoots are now fully matured, and large warty pods decorate the upper part of the plant. It won't be long until they burst open, sending fluffy white seeds into the breeze for future generations.

As mentioned in previous entries, the harsh rasping of insect life has seemingly replaced the pleasant twittery of the local birds. Only on occassion is the redundancy broken by the soft warbling of a Red-Eyed Vireo, or the merry vocal scat of an Indigo Bunting. I know the birds are there however. Merely silenced, I often catch a glimpse of them foraging for the abundant insect life who have seemingly replaced them! I suppose that while hurridly feeding their growing fledglings, it's best not to waste precious time singing! I'm sure it can probably create unwanted attention around the vulnerable youngsters!

Despite the absence of mushrooms, I did manage, however, to find a few members from the "polypore" branch of the mushroom family. Polypores are the mushrooms that grow from bark, logs, and branches, often appearing shelf-like in design. A few members have an off-center stem, and none are deadly-poisonous. It is a group that holds ONE of my favorite mushrooms, the SULPHUR SHELF or "CHICKEN MUSHROOM":

Sulphur Shelf (Chicken Mushroom)


Sulphur Shelf is a georgous addition to any decaying log, and it's a member of what we shroomers call "The Foolproof Four". I detest the 'foolproof' notion to such a point however, that I have yet to taste it's chicken-like meat. Why? Because I have a few sources that say Sulphur Shelf (also called Chicken Mushroom) growing on conifers, locust, and eucolyptus trees cause reactions in people such as swollen lips and gastro-intestinal distress!

That factoid aside, there aren't many cases like that, and if you just make sure to pluck it from the bark of deciduous trees, you will be fine! It makes a tasty replacement for chicken in most recipes!

Others were found, but a lack of any interesting mushrooms caused me to turn my eyes toward the white-tailed deer, and insect world. I found yet another shed deer antler along the fencerow along my favorite nature-snooping spot! It's look for them, and never find them. You look for mushrooms, and you find two by accident!

So, we'll see what happens. Hopefully I can get some photos of some insects, and even some deer, (alongside the usual flowers, plants, and mushrooms) before summer dissapears completely.

Stay tuned!