Fungi

Mushrooms have appeared in abundance in our area in September. Mushrooms are actually reproductive structures that seasonally sprout from networks of fungal cells in the soil called mycelium. These fungi are critically important in the forest ecosystem as decomposers, soil would not form without them. About 120,000 species of fungus have been identified, however it […]

Hops and Brewing

Cascade Hops (Humulus lupulus) Humulus lupulus, or hops, is a perennial viney plant in the hemp family. Its cone-shaped fruits are one of the four key ingredients in modern beer (water, malted grain, hops, and yeast). Hops add bitter flavor and provide anti-microbial protection for beer. A wide variety of herbs have been used throughout […]

Lily Pads

Watershield (Brasenia schreberi) The pads of watershield are slightly smaller than other common lily pads, and they are more elliptical. It blooms throughout the summer, but we did not notice any of the smaller pink-purple flowers. Its most interesting and noticeable feature was a thick coating of very slippery mucilage (slime!) coating the underside of […]

Old Technology; Is Newer Necessarily Better?

Departing from the usual for one post to advocate an unconventional method to mow lawn — the old-style, non-motorized reel mower. I got one of these mowers for the first time about four years ago, and was surprised at how well it worked. Since then, I’ve used this type of mower a lot; the images […]

Kayak Excursion Big Bass Lake

Big Bass Lake is largely undeveloped, and was terrific to explore in kayaks on Sunday. In it areas of open water are connected by shallower channels. The shallow channels and the water edges are crowded with lily pads and other vegetation. Yellow Pond Lily (Nuphar variegata) In Big Bass Lake these Yellow Pond Lilies (a.k.a […]

Solstice Panoramas, Spittlebugs and Cow Parsnip

Disappointed at overcast skies during the latest sunset of the year. Panorama photo during kayaking today. Still overcast, but with dramatic effect on the sky and water. Spittlebugs This is a strange thing that we noticed on several different plants during today’s dog walk — masses of bubble-foam. Online search quickly identified this as the […]