Get the buckets!

Weather map

One of my favorite weather pages is Mike’s Weather Page.  I stumbled on it several years ago when I was trying to find information on the “hurricane spaghetti models.”   Those are what they call the different projections that agencies put together when a hurricane develops.  They can be wildly divergent and often do look like spaghetti.

But Mike has a lot more than hurricane tracks.  He has an amazing number of weather maps posted from various agencies, like the one above which is from NOAA.  This is the “Next Five Day Rain Forecast” map and I have only included the east coast of the U.S.  Look closely and you’ll see a bright yellow section in the western hills of North Carolina with the notation 17.3.  Well, that’s 17.3 inches and is right over my house!!!  Well, not exactly, of course, but close enough.

I’m on high ground and not worried but there are many people in the Carolinas that could face some real hardships in the next few days.  And who knows where Joaquin will actually end up because the Spaghetti Models are still, pardon the expression, all over the map. ❦Spaghetti models

 

Image #307 – Blue Velvet Fungi

Blue Velvet Fungi

Blue Velvet Fungi

Still in the Carolina mountains but the days are slipping away. Summer officially ends tomorrow. The leaves are starting to change color and litter my yard.  Soon I will join the birds in heading south.

My pictures this season, like my posts, have been sketchy at best. Today’s offering is a photo that was taken a month ago and sat in the camera, patiently waiting. It is Blue Velvet Fungi that I unearthed while moving some branches. It was in full bloom, an absolutely delicious shade of blue that this photo barely captures.  The next shot gives you a close-up.

Blue Velvet Fungi - Closeup

Blue Velvet Fungi – Closeup

Amazing nature…it doesn’t care about pictures, blog posts, newsletters, speeches or meetings.  It simply does what it does best…astound. ❧

Image #306 – Color of the Day – Banana Caterpillar

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A Banana Caterpillar

My friend Joe Bruneau likes to post “Today’s Color” on his Facebook account.  Today’s color is banana and I thought that was interesting since I found this almost banana-colored caterpillar on my deck rail this morning.  I think this is his face but for all I know he could be mooning all of us.  😀    ❦

Images 302-304 Blue and Orange Mushrooms

Have I mentioned that I live in a rain forest?  Most people think of rain forests as tropical, mainly in places like Brazil and Africa.  But the Nantahala Forest, where my home is located in Franklin, NC, is close to being a temperate rain forest (more than 55 inches of precipitation annually and a mean temperature of 39º to 54º F).  It is very damp at times and this is one of them.  You can almost wring the moisture from the air and I have found myself tapping the hygrometer dial on my weather station, convinced it must be stuck on 100%.  It isn’t.

But for this mushroom loving gal this is THE place to be. The ‘shrooms are popping up everywhere, in a rainbow of colors and shapes. I have taken to walking early in the a.m. to see what emerged overnight.  And while many may be termed mundane as far as mushrooms go, others are spectacular.

Take this blue mushroom.  It is, I think, an Anise-scented Clitocybe but, honestly, it is so hard to know when the field guide gives you this: “dingy green to bluish-green,  sometimes blue or nearly white”.  Well, that’s a lot of latitude.

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The shape seems right. I never thought to check its scent and by the time I had read the field guide and returned to check its scent it was gone. The field guide did mention it was edible and we have many fat squirrels and chipmunks around here.

Here is a photograph of its underside. The gills were spectacular in the morning light.

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And if blue mushrooms are too dull for you check out these beauties.

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They are no taller than a dime and they must not taste very good because they have been very long lasting. They are, I believe, Orange Mycena (Mycena leaiana). Once again our friends at Wikipedia provide some fascinating details.

Mycena leaiana, commonly known as the orange mycena or Lea’s mycena, is a North American species of saprobic fungi in the genus Mycena, family Tricholomataceae. Characterized by their bright orange caps and stalks and reddish-orange gill edges, they usually grow in dense clusters on deciduous logs. The pigment responsible for the orange color in this species has antibiotic properties.

That last sentence caught my eye. Another site I visited while learning about rainforests taught me that 1 in 4 ingredients in our medicines are derived from rainforest plants.  We really need to stop destroying them. According to one site, an area of a rainforest the size of a football field is being destroyed each second.  ❧

 

Image #300 – In Its Prime

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An Amanita?

Everything has a prime…that time in the life cycle when all things “click.”  For humans the “prime” is elusive. Counter-intuitively, it seems there can be multiple “primes” when a life cycle spans more than six decades.  But for the mushroom on my hillside in North Carolina time is short and I believe I captured a Prime moment.

I snapped this picture yesterday. The ‘shroom almost yelled out to me.  It was poised, center-stage, in a brilliantly lit patch of decay.  By the time I fetched my camera the key-light had moved on but the mushroom was still an incredibly powerful presence.  Strong and vibrant, reaching for the sky.  It is, I think, some form of Amanita. When I returned today it seemed shriveled.  It had flattened out and something had nibbled on it.  My forest friends eat hearty in the summer, with all manner of mushrooms available along with berries and new buds.  Most mornings I awake to find deer munching on the apples from my trees. I don’t mind. There are plenty of apples and the only inconvenience is that the deer take all the low-hanging fruit so I must work harder to get the fruit that is left.  Working harder makes me realize I have passed my prime…at least my 6th decade prime…or so I think today.

I have been here for a week and have an almost visceral feeling of decompression. This small patch of land on Fawn Hill is a haven, a place to relax and enjoy just the being of life…however long that may be. ❧