We were out at the land this weekend and Emily happened upon this huge mushroom! I do not think I have ever seen a mushroom this big before. I have seen shelf mushrooms on trees and hen-of-the-woods before, but of traditionally shaped mushrooms, I do not think I have ever seen one bigger!
I looked through my mushroom books and nothing caught my eye so I do not know what sort of mushroom this is. Does anyone else know? It had seen better days but I loved the little triangular ridges with the yellow triangles inside. It looked sort of pretty which I know is sort of strange to say about fungus. I don’t know about you, but I am continually amazed at the diversity of life that I have in my little corner of the world. Simply amazing!
Edit: I think this is a Calvatia cyathiformisThis entry was posted in Nature and tagged Nature by warren
Well, just like the last time, I noticed that there were a bunch more pretty flowers…and some other scenes that just really struck me about how pretty WV (and more specifically my little part of WV) really is. I hope you enjoy them even half as much as I did!
(click on each pic to enlarge…I think they are even prettier that way!)This entry was posted in Nature, WV and tagged Nature, WV by warren
Here are some more nature pics I took recently. I was driving up to the property by myself the other morning and for some reason, I took a few minutes to slow down and notice what a pretty trip it is once I get off of the main road. I stopped every hundred feet or so (it seemed) and took pics of some of the beautiful sights and scenes around me. I hope you enjoy even half as much as I did!
(click on each pic to enlarge…I think they are even prettier that way!)
These are all growing in the ditch lines on the old dirt road on the way up to the property. There are so many more things growing up there…I wish I could spend more time exploring…I can only imagine what grows wild. I just never noticed how much blooms this late in the summer…I always think of spring as the time of flowers…boy was I wrong!This entry was posted in Nature, WV and tagged Nature, WV by warren
I know this stuff is a nuisance to most people. In fact, when I was in college, I worked as a lifeguard at the Cook Forest State Park swimming pool (which I believe is gone now, sadly…my Mom worked there eons before I did). There was a ton of fun to be had as a lifeguard and the forest itself was beautiful. If you ever need a place to visit in PA, consider Cook Forest.
Anyhow, the superintendent at the park hated bull thistle. The pool opened on Memorial Day each year and in PA (at least then), it could still be quite cool. They also filled the pool from a deep well which ran about 50 degrees…it took awhile to be swimmable even if the air was warmer. So, when we had really cool days, the chief would come by and send some of us out to rid the park of all bull thistle. I hated that job and at that time, I vowed to never view thistle as an enemy again (at least not until I have power equipment to deal with it). You see, we cut it by hand then and it was not an amusing pastime.
All of these pictures were taken at our place and the thistle are pretty rampant. All sorts of insects love them though and I have no strong urge to deal with the thistle so, for now, they will remain an insect paradise and a great source of late summer color!This entry was posted in Nature, WV and tagged Nature, WV by warren
Many of you have probably heard the nursery rhyme about the old lady who swallowed a fly. I do not remember it from my childhood but our kids loved to hear us tell them the story. It’s an old story but may freak out some folks (as a proper nursery rhyme should!)
So, as my father-in-law and I were pulling honey supers off of the hives last week, I noticed a funny little spider loitering. Spiders often loiter around bee hives. Roaches do too but I shall speak no more of them. I hate roaches. Actually, all sorts of bugs hang around bee hives to pick up the detritus naturally generated by the colony.
So, I watched my spider friend for a few minutes and sure enough, in a quick move, he reached up and grabbed a bee that I had injured in the harvesting process. I may be wrong, but I think that is the first time I have seen a spider make off with a bee! I am always amazed by the circle of life (or whatever you want to call it) that goes on around a bee hive. Aside from the colony itself, the bees support other nearby bugs as well as providing pollination services to many trees and other flowering plants. Most importantly, they provide me with honey!
Anyhow, I love to just watch the bees and take time to see what happens around the hive. There is quite an education to be had there. If I ever swallow a fly (or a bee), I am definitely going to swallow a spider too!
In case you are not familiar, here are the lyrics to The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly rhyme…There was an old lady who swallowed a fly
It’s amazing what all happens under your feet (if you aren’t careful) all the time. Abigail and I were sitting on the steps the other day talking about stuff and we happened to notice a family of ants going on vacation. We have had a good number of ants in the house this year (don’t tell Emily that I broadcast that…she would be mortified) and they have been all over outside too. Anyhow, these critters were fascinating to watch as they scurried around each other headed to the beach or the soda can or wherever ants go on vacation.
People will never solve disputes quite like ants I think. They come face to face and one guys left and the other goes left too…you know, since they are face to face. Anyhow, conflict resolution was quick and easy and really made their movement a ton of fun to watch. I bet I took 10 minutes of video of ants walking back and forth. You just can’t beat entertainment like that! Abigail and I had a blast getting ourselves down to eye level with ants and talking about stuff. It’s funny how ants can calm a bad case of ants in your pants!This entry was posted in Nature and tagged Nature by warren
Well, lately I have been ticked on actually. This has been a rough year for the garden (have you noticed I haven’t written much about the garden? We have one but it is pitiful) and for my trees and air conditioner but it has, apparently, been a great year for ticks. I don’t know about you, but I hate ticks more than about everything (except roaches…I really hate roaches too). They are disease carriers, they get into nooks and crannies and then burrow in, and they suck…really, I mean it. They suck.
I know I could buy a herd of guineas or dust my entire property and that of my neighbors with tick-icide but it appears that we are just going to have to live with our tick friends. I wonder how many ticks live on my property alone? Between my space and that of the folks who border me, I suppose there are several hundred acres of tick-haven. I am not typically a cruel man, but I am sort of day-dreaming of baiting traps for ticks and then sharing a huge bonfire with friends as we toss the traps into the raging fire. Gosh, I hate ticks!
Well, I guess there is no good way to get rid of the nasty creatures so we will just have to make the best of it. Come to think of it, ticks may not be so bad at all if you follow Brad Paisley’s lead…
I don’t have a butterfly tattoo but…
As with most of the country, it has been hot as blazes here in West-by-God-Virginia. Since the heat may continue on until Christmas, we decided to continue to plow onward with the work on the cabin, although at a slowed pace.
On Independence day as well as this past Sunday, we worked on hanging siding on the third side of the “deluxe shed”. In a new record, we made it out to the place at 8:30 am. You see, we usually mess around and do other things…like eat at Panera…we do that way too often.
We usually have to stop by one of the home improvement places and get supplies…of course, it’s the weekend so we usually sleep in too. Anyhow, with the temps, we decided to break tradition on all accounts and start early before it got hot. We did start early, but we did not beat the heat.
So, we took tons of water and wore sunscreen and hats and all of that stuff. Across the span of the two days, we were able to hang the siding on the third side of the “luxury deer stand”. It is coming along nicely.
There are other builders in our neighborhood also. We tried to get to know the neighbors but they are not terribly friendly.
The bottom of the cabin is exposed still and some bald-faced hornets have decided to take up residence and build a bigger-than-i’d-like paper nest. I found out that this style of hornet is really a yellow jacket variant which is in the wasper genus. For anyone not familiar, wasper is Southern for wasp. Many folks actually say it sort of like “washper”. Anyhow, the Wasper family have moved in and are not at all friendly. We’ll have to deal with that later. I will collect their home and display it as a trophy in the deluxe shed come fall…This entry was posted in Bees, Cabin, Nature, WV and tagged Cabin, Nature, WV by warren
Last Friday, we headed to PA to help celebrate my aunt and uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary. We have always been very close to them so it was a really great time…once we got there.
We left about 3 hours later than I had planned. It’s a 6-7 hour drive so that makes a big difference. Anyhow, about an hour into the trip, my mom called and asked if we were alright. I thought she was nuts but she told me that they were watching the Weather Channel (as all good worried parents tend to do) and that there was a terrible storm in WV. I told her we would be fine and all that. Not ten minutes later the sky became black like I haven’t seen in a long time and it became scary windy. We slowed down to a crawl and kept going. There was no use stopping…WV is pretty un-populated and any place that did have shelter was already without electricity…almost instantly.
So we drove through it from Flatwoods, WV to Waynesburg, PA…around 110 miles. It was only really bad for about 50 miles but it was really really bad in that stretch. North of Pittsburgh, it cleared out and we could see stars.
Anyhow, fast forward to our return trip on Sunday. We had been warned to get gas before we got to Charleston so we figured we would get it in PA and then try again about 70 miles outside out Charleston. It turns out that the electric was out from about 100 miles outside of Charleston so there was little gas to be had. We saw some folks who were obviously travelling, just sitting at gas stations presumably waiting for electric to come on so they could fill up and continue their trip.
Luckily, we had plenty of gas because when we got to Charleston, there were lines at the few stations that had both electricity and gas. People were fighting apparently which is not surprising considering some folks were waiting 2 hours for gas in 95-100 degree humid temps. When we arrived home, we found no electricity and some large branches down. Our neighbor had a larger tree come down which brought down a pole and lines. They had the lines propped up with a 2×4 to allow them to get in and out of the house. Lots of people were without water as well as power which made this deal pretty serious for a lot of people.
All-in-all, we are pretty lucky. We still do not have power and may not until Sunday or Monday. Still, we have no damage and are able to stay at Emily’s parents’ house who do have power. I definitely feel bad for folks across the state, though, who have no such escape. Fifty-three of the fifty-five counties in the state have damage and are under a state of emergency (I think that’s what they call it…whatever the technical term is). West Virginians are great folks though and will weather this literal storm just fine…a little more aware of how much we depend on the electric and water.
EDIT: I wrote this a day or so ago before we got power back. Thursday at 4 pm our power was returned so are mostly back to normal aside from cleaning up debris
EDIT: Here is a cool flickr feed of some pics taken by the power companyThis entry was posted in Nature, WV and tagged Nature, WV by warren
I have no idea why that title struck me but there we have it. It will make some sense in a minute…bear with me. So, we ate far too much food tonight after a full day of body surfing and skim boarding…with no broken bones! It was still early so we decided to take a stroll on the beach, narrow as it was. Our location on Topsail is strange…at low tide, the beach is quite wide and pretty nice to be upon. At high tide, however, the ocean comes within a few feet of…whatever you call it…where the beach ends.
So, we decided to take a walk on the narrow beach this evening and we happened upon a group of folks who were into something important…well, we figured that a body had washed up on shore. Luckily it wasn’t that. Apparently, last night a momma loggerhead turtle had laid a nest of eggs on the beach and the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center staff were busy relocating the turtle eggs from the narrow beach location further up on the dune nearby. They had a number of folks present…almost like they had done this before. One guy was there to answer questions. He told us that there are 26 miles of beaches that make up Topsail island and that every quarter mile or so, there is a turtle egg site. That makes just over 100 nesting sites. Volunteers walk the entire beach every day during the laying season to make sure they find all of the nests. They relocate nearly all of those sites to safer locations away from foot traffic and storm surges. In each move, two folks work on digging the eggs and placing them into a bucket to carry to the new site. It is a state law that the eggs be counted and confirmed during the move. Their starting and ending locations are gps mapped and one egg is harvested to maintain a DNA record.
By collecting and tracking DNA, staff have determined that loggerhead turtles do not necessarily return to the exact same nesting spot each year but that there are apparently a few spots they use. One staff member said they had tracked one DNA signature between Topsail, the Outer Banks and one other place I can’t remember. Pretty cool I’d say!
The Q&A staff member said that 93% of the eggs hatch but that only 1 in 4000 or so live to maturity. Their biggest predator/enemy is humans of course. Between fishing, pollution and stupidity, humans apparently take quite a toll. Fishing vessels are now equipped with turtle escape devices (TEDs) to allow captured turtles to safely escape so steps are being taken to lessen human impact some.
So, the staff dug 157 eggs from the nest we observed and gently placed them into a new nest. They covered the site with a welded wire fence to prevent predators from digging and marked the site to prevent human interference. All in all, it was a really great encounter we had on the beach and I have been thinking about the turtles all evening. They are endangered and it makes me sad to think that someday we may not be able to witness such an interesting and truly cool scene. I guess it’s good to see things like this and to take pause now and then. It’s good to get a little loggerhead in your head I think!This entry was posted in Awesome, Nature and tagged Awesome, Nature by warren