The Fungus Among Us

Northwoods Journal
Monday, September 1, 2014
Labor Day

After we went to bed last night I realized that we had forgotten to bring in the birdfeeders. With the kids sleeping on the pull-out bed in the living room, and the possible chaos if I disturbed all five dogs, I decided to leave them out. This hung heavy on my conscience because I kept thinking about those bear tracks Mark and Katy had seen going right down our road. Therefore, every noise during the night had me bolting upright thinking there was a bear in the yard. Then between 2:30 and 3:30 a.m. two different owls were calling. One I believe was a great horned owl and the other must have been a screech owl because it was doing the owl scream that is a bit disturbing. Around this same time I finally came to terms with myself and realized that even if a bear came and destroyed the feeders there wasn’t a whole lot I could do about it anyway so I may as well get some sleep. I was quite relieved when we got up in the morning and found all of them still perfectly intact!

There was a brief glimpse of nice weather and Katy and I were able to enjoy our coffee out on the porch, me with my camera in hand. I had fun watching the chipmunk checking out the log cabin birdhouse that we use for decoration.

Chipmunk checking out the log cabin.

Chipmunk checking out the log cabin.

I think he was ready to move in.

"Thank you Lord for this great new house!"

“Thank you Lord for this great new house!”

His close-up.

His close-up.

If you look at this shot, I believe those orange things on the stump are called slime mold.

Chipmunk on a slime-mold covered stump.

Chipmunk on a slime-mold covered stump.

Still not much in the way of birds. This pair of goldfinches have been our only regular visitors.

Female American goldfinch on the platform feeder.

Female American goldfinch on the platform feeder.

Male American goldfinch on the thistle bag.

Male American goldfinch on the thistle bag.

There have been a few blue jays and later in the day I saw a single chickadee. Soon the guys came out on the porch, too, which meant all the dogs wanted to come out which meant quiet time, bird watching and photography all came to a screeching halt. About this same time the hummingbird came whizzing by but there was way too much commotion going on for it to approach the nectar feeder.

After breakfast I made up a bowl of my famous potato salad. We planned to eat a big late lunch before the kids head home. Then it was time to take the dogs for some exercise. We took the three beagles and Katy took Schnitzel but Roxie stayed behind with Pete because she hates walkies! Mark drove up Stevens Spring past all the logging areas and up a trail that was very washed out from all the rain, to a trail we’ve hiked many times before. The most interesting thing we saw was all the many different types of fungus!

I have to give my daughter Katy credit because she actually gave me the title for this post. I was planning to title this post An Eye For Fungi, but as I was taking pictures Katy said, “The name of your next blog post can be The Fungus Amongus” (she said it like one word) and I thought that was much more creative than my idea!

There were tall fungi.

Tall, skinny fungi

Tall, skinny fungi

IMG_1885 (1024x768)

And fungi that looked like wood.

Bark?  Or Fungus?  It really was fungus.

Bark? Or Fungus? It really was fungus.

Fairy toadstool fungi.

Fairy woods fungi

Fairy woods fungi

Fungi of every shape, size and color.

An Asian parasol for the wood fairies.

An Asian parasol for the wood fairies.

I could have taken MANY more photos of different fungus but my peeps and the pooches weren’t keen of having me stop every five yards to take pictures of ‘shrooms.

We all thought this coral shaped one was cool.

Coral fungus

Coral fungus

And this one growing like hair up out of the stump.

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This one was near where we parked and is dripping with mud.

Muddy fungi

Muddy fungi

By time we got back to the FJ we were all dripping with sweat. Instead of having polar equator type weather today, we had tropical equator type weather – hot with about 99% humidity!

We’ve been seeing a lot of grouse this weekend and we spotted a few of them as we drove back down the hill.  I insisted Mark stop so I could get a picture, but I only got one chance.

Quail rushing away from the trail.

Grouse rushing away from the trail.

Not long after we returned to the cabin, we had 100% humidity and the sky opened up with quite a downpour. Since we were stuck inside, we decided to play some more euchre and this time we split the games – Mark and I winning one and Katy and Pete winning the other.

We had our late lunch around 3 o’clock because the kids wanted to be on the road by four. Thankfully the rain cleared up right before they were ready to load up. It actually looked like we might get some decent weather for the evening so Mark and I took the beagles and drove over to DeCheau Lake Road and found a place to hike. We started out in the long field that runs parallel to the road. Normally the field is planted with rye but this year there is something different growing. The stems were pinkish red and it had white flowers that were now turning black. We have no idea what this is. (Later, while driving we would come across another field planted with this same thing only it was younger, the stems hadn’t turned red yet and the flowers were still white.) If you can tell me what this is, I would appreciate it!

Field of....?

Field of….?

Later we saw what looks like a young pileated woodpecker. Again, I only had one chance at a photo so this was the result.

Juvenile pileated woodpecker.

Juvenile pileated woodpecker.

Actually, I did take two pictures, but the second one was blurry. 🙂

The clouds thickened up and the humidity increased again as we finished up our walk. We took the dogs back and fed them dinner then ran into town to the grocery store because Mark decided he wanted French toast for breakfast and we needed both eggs and bread to make it. After the craziness of the holiday weekend, Freddie’s was quiet and empty! Mark drove some trails on the way back so we could look for wildlife. After all, the DNR insists that all this clear-cutting is good for the wildlife so we should be seeing LOTS of it, right?? We only saw two deer and neither was in a clear-cut area. It was hard to not get depressed, between all the logging and then realizing this was our last drive of the summer. I can’t believe it’s come to an end already!

It started to sprinkle again when we got back to the cabin. The weather this weekend has been a bit of a downer. It was okay though because we were tired and ready to just cozy down and relax for the rest of the night. Tomorrow we have to go home and soon it will be back to work for me.

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9 Responses to The Fungus Among Us

  1. Bob Zeller says:

    Another fun post. Catchy title. :-). 🙂

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  2. The bird photos are very good, and the fungi photos even better!

    I think that the DNR is having a lot of land in your area logged in an attempt to get the elk herd to move east, away from I 75, well, that and for the money. But, I remember hearing from people when I was up there this spring that there have been many car-elk accidents the last few years, and people want something done about it.

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    • I haven’t heard about that, but then we don’t go very far west of our place. Considering how many elk hunting permits they give out now, I would think that is containing the elk herd pretty well. I had thought that the majority of the elk were in Montmorency county. The only elk I’ve ever seen west of us (like in Gaylord) were behind high wire fences. 🙂

      Do you have any idea what that stuff is that they planted in the field? We figured it must be some kind of food crop for the elk/deer but we couldn’t figure out what. It didn’t have any beans on it, like soybeans, and it wasn’t a root crop. We pulled one up to see.

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      • Sorry, I can’t help you out as to what the crop is.

        The crashes on !-75 were between Vanderbilt and Wolverine, and I heard that a woman died in one of the crashes. But, that could be a rumor.

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  3. avian101 says:

    It’s always interesting to walk in the woods, if you don’t see birds, you see insects, or fungi or mammals, or plants or flowers etc. They are there it’s only matter of looking for them. I liked your adventures in the North Woods Amy! 🙂

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  4. tootlepedal says:

    Great fungus shots.

    Like

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