M is for Magnificent Mushrooms (+ 18 insets)
(+ 18 insets above in notes!)
I have been arguing with myself until this moment where this picture should go: "W is for Wonderful White" or "M is for Magnificent Mushrooms". But M just HAS to be for Mushrooms, right?! Yes, I have many pictures of mushrooms, but this one stands out from all the rest. So, with this upload, the matter is finally settled!
These mushrooms are called Ivory Waxy Caps, but they are also known by the name "Cowboy's Handkerchief" because the droplets and moisture you see are actually slime that oozes from this fungus to keeps it hydrated and also serves as a deterrant to any wildlife which might be considering these mushrooms for a meal. I hope that I never encounter a handkerchief used by a cowboy. *shudder*
Explored on March 29, 2014. Highest placement, #1.
Chocolate Mushroom with Mushroom Bokeh
I took this picture on the last day of my 365 Project, and it's wonderful that I can put it on a pedestal by itself! I must admit, it could be frustrating when I had a string of good luck during the day and captured many images which could each be a "First Position" picture, only...I could only choose one, and the next day I'd have to pick one from that day, so those nice pictures would never get top billing. However, now I can pick and choose, and it's so nice!!
I was walking along the top of our ridge when I nearly stepped on this pair of chocolate mushrooms. It was fun playing around with depth of field and angles. Even after having my macro lens for over two years now, I am still amazed at the effect that it has with bokeh!
Explored on January 7, 2014. Highest placement, page 2...
[Storytime!] 365/365: "The discipline you learn an…
1 more picture in a note above! :)
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I can hardly believe that this day has finally arrived. #365 of 365 of my amazing photography project, and I have arrived overjoyed and also a bit relieved. I MADE IT!! To all of you out there who have completed this project, I SALUTE YOU!!!! It was not easy! But it was everything I could have hoped for, and more.
My biggest hope was that I would learn to be a better photographer, and I believe that I am. I'm able to get the picture I want much easier now, with much higher quality on a more consistent basis. I understand my camera's distance vs. depth of field vs. size of object. I wanted to learn more techniques and to become more confident, and I've achieved that too. (For example, when I began this project, I rarely used our macro flash--now I rarely leave the house without it!) I am more observant, a better judge of good subjects, and can see potential where I couldn't before.
This project forced me to be incredibly disciplined, and to never ever lose sight of my goal. I carried the daily chore with a happy bounce in my step, comfortable with restricting the time I spent taking pictures so I didn't burn out. I was careful to make sure I had enough time each day to take, process, and upload my picture(s). It helped to have a 100% supportive husband, who was there every day to encourage me and to remind me about time if I was side-tracked with something else.
I went into this project armed with the knowledge that burn-out is the #1 killer of a 365 Project, so I was very careful to set limits to keep my passion burning every day. I read about the pitfalls from other people who've taken part in this project, and planned for months before I started, because once I set out to achieve a goal, I absolutely will not be stopped from achieving it. In the end, I never missed a day, and on the one day we had no internet, I emailed my picture to my husband's phone and we uploaded it to my account! I have to say though: I only had a part-time job doing freelance projects during the year, and I simply do not know how anyone can do this project with a full-time job. Those people are incredible!!! My hat's off to you crazy people! :D
I want to say THANK YOU to each and every one of you who have followed along with me on this wonderful adventure. The support and encouragement, your kind words and super comments have meant so much to me. I am humbled. Along the way, I've made so many friends, and I've learned from your photography, seeing what you do, and trying to emulate some of the mind-blowing pictures that I see every single day. Without a photo site like ipernity (and previously, Flickr), I would not be half the photographer I am today. Thanks to all of you. I am blessed to know you all. :)
Finally, about today's picture: I thought about what I should do for my last picture. I wondered if I should go somewhere special and try for something scenic and stunning. But then it hit me. I began this project with a little snow-covered mushroom, and because mushrooms are one of the subjects I'm most well-known for, I thought a mushroom would be perfect for my last picture.
I decided to go out alone so I could spend time thinking about this project as I walked, reflecting on how much has happened to me as a photographer through the year. I bundled up because it was cold out--but not below freezing, happily--and made my way slowly and carefully up the muddy, steep and slippery trail to our ridge. Even though I knew I planned on finding mushrooms, that didn't stop me from capturing the many lovely and wonderful things I found along the way. Wonderful miniature circles of white fur-lined orange fungus, stunning PURPLE shelf fungus, and beautiful droplets glistening on cedar and pine branches were some of the things that caught my eye.
And of course I found mushrooms! Wonderful chocolate beauties with lovely bokehlicious backgrounds, and a tiny pair clinging together with a droplet of water holding them together, and I also found one with a cute little hat! I was very happy with the mushrooms I'd found, but as I neared the end of the trail, I noticed a tiny blur of white on a moss-covered Oak trunk, and after taking two steps further, I slammed on the brakes and backed up. "What WAS that?" (See what I mean about being more observant than ever?) I knelt down at the same time as I began to coo in joy. "Oh MY!! Look at this happy family!!" I could not believe my luck, for this sight was exactly what I had hoped for but could not possibly expect. The tallest of these mushrooms is just 1/2" tall, and I carefully pulled a few bits of moss away to show these beautiful white mushrooms off to their very finest. It really is amazing to me because it's freezing cold here and has been for many weeks. And yet, these resilient mushrooms have grown as happily as if it was much warmer! I had to shake my head in wonder at my good fortune to find this perfect family to showcase for the very last picture of my 365 project. I am overjoyed. :)
I have one other picture today for New Year's, and the image was taken this afternoon! Enjoy! :)
Robert "Bo" Bennett started "Adgrafix", a graphic design firm, right after graduating Bryant University in 1994, with a bachelor's degree in marketing. In 1995, he sold the graphic design business, but kept the name for his webhosting company. As a self-taught programmer, Bo created one of the first (perhaps the first) affiliate systems and web-based webhosting interfaces in 1996. He built Adgrafix to a 5 million dollar revenue a year business, then sold to Allegiance Telecom in 2001. Amazon: Bo Bennett
Lovely Little Mushroom with Leafy Bokeh
I found this mushroom about 5 minutes after I got up onto the hillside and actually, I almost stepped on it! It was fun getting images from various angles and depth of field, but when I saw that the bokeh showed the shape of the Oak leaf perfectly, I was delighted! :)
Micro Mini Mushroom
After I took the picture of the wasp galls on the Oak leaf, I looked over at the small Oak saplings right next to me. I now know where to look to find the itty-bitty mushrooms that grow on these trees, and it didn't take me long. At the base of the sapling I found this darling little mushroom, about 1/8" in diameter! So cute and perfect! :)
354/365: "Anything becomes interesting if you look…
2 pictures above in notes! :)
I was so busy today that the day flew by, and I suddenly looked up in shock to see that the sun was nearly down! Eeek!! I dashed outside and knew I needed to get my Picture of the Day right away if I intended on an outside image, as darkness was quickly closing in and the thick clouds above were heavy with impending rain.
For me, finding a nice subject usually requires me to "become one" with my surroundings. I need to slow down to feel the world around me, and I need to relax in order to see the natural beauty that reveals itself as I slip into the moment. When this happens, my senses become keener and I notice things I wouldn't normally. This "zone" is very special and makes me feel like I'm part of the natural world, as opposed to being just an observer. However, being in a hurry doesn't work, and the problem today was that I was really racing against time, so it was a challenge to keep myself from rushing. My solution was to race down to an area in the lower forest where I thought I might find something special, and then I stopped and just looked around, moving forward slowly and keeping my eyes open as I began to sense the forest.
I made my way towards the little footpath that the dogs and I walk on and then I saw a stump ahead, which made me smile because I remembered there was something special on it. Walking up to it, I found several polypore bracket fungi adhered to the old Oak stump, and I was again fascinated by them. If you look at these from any distance, or from above, all you see is a beige, boring lump. But if you crouch down and get really, really close, you will see that there are coral-like pores all over the underside! (see the inset image for a close-up) This particular fungus is especially interesting because the right side that looks like wood is actually old, dead fungus! I don't know if it died from something or if it's the previous fungus and this fungus is growing on top of it. Really cool to find and a neat Picture of the Day! I took several pictures and as I stood up, it began to rain. I made my way back to the house as it got dark and stepped inside just as it began to pour! What timing!
Gustave Flaubert (French: [ɡystav flobɛʁ]; December 12, 1821 – May 8, 1880) was an influential French writer widely considered one of the greatest novelists in Western literature. He is known especially for his first published novel, Madame Bovary (1857), for his Correspondence, and for his scrupulous devotion to his style and aesthetics. The celebrated short story writer Maupassant was a protégé of Flaubert. Wikipedia: Gustave Flaubert
353/365: "Creativity is not the finding of a thing…
2 picture above in a note! :)
Today it was much warmer than it's been for weeks, about 35°F, oh my! :D It's amazing how long the snow has stuck around, since we got nearly 4" about two weeks ago but none since. It's been cold enough that it hasn't melted in the shady areas, which I like because it's pretty.
I went out without the dogs today and headed down to our dark and shady lower forest. I really hoped that I'd be able to find some mushrooms, but quite frankly, I was pretty sure there was no chance because it's been so cold. So instead, I thought I'd just cruise around and check things out.
Crossing the tiny, seasonal stream that's dry, I approached a fallen oak tree that I'm very careful around. You see, the top half of the dead tree broke off and fell to the ground, but it was caught in two younger trees on the way down, and this monstrous thing hangs precariously in the air, with much of the weight held up by its dead branches that fork the ground like legs. The two, much smaller, unfortunate trees which have been holding up the rest of the weight are strained and groaning under the mass. It is only a matter of time before gravity wins and the 3-foot thick, 10-foot long trunk come crashing down. So, I am careful to keep my distance.
Today I approached warily to look for interesting subjects to photograph. The first thing that caught my attention was an interesting insect egg case which looked similar to a praying mantis but wasn't the same...very fascinating! It was adhered to a pair of poison oak stems clinging to the main tree trunk. (I will show pictures of the case another day. :) After that, I continued peering around, looking at the branches, the trunk and the leaves. When I followed the main tree trunk down to the ground, I saw a patch of snow at the base of the main trunk. Then I did a double-take because I could hardly believe my eyes! Smack-dab in the middle of the snow was a mushroom poking a hole through and looking around! MY WISH WAS GRANTED!!
The fact of the matter is that I've been hoping to find exactly this sight since I began this project. I have a tiny, snow-capped mushroom that is actually my very first 365 image, but I have always wanted to find the opposite: a mushroom in a field of snow. And today I found it. It's a dream come true and I'm so happy I can hardly contain myself! :D (I am also including another picture to show the mushroom at a slightly different angle so you can see the hole it's poking through!)
When I worked my way around to the opposite side, and got the picture you see here, I saw a flash of beige on green and took a look: NO WAY! ANOTHER ONE!! On one of the branches that was holding up the massive trunk, a wee mushroom was growing in a sea of moss. HAPPY DAY!!! And in fact, there were even more mushrooms on the ground, but I already had pictures of these two and it would have taken a lot of work to clean up the area. More importantly, it would have meant spending a lot of time near this potentially deadly area, and there was no reason to put myself at risk. Literally, this trunk must weigh hundreds of pounds--and I don't want to be around when it falls!
James Russell Lowell (/ˈloʊəl/; February 22, 1819 – August 12, 1891) was an American Romantic poet, critic, editor, and diplomat. He is associated with the Fireside Poets, a group of New England writers who were among the first American poets who rivaled the popularity of British poets. These poets usually used conventional forms and meters in their poetry, making them suitable for families entertaining at their fireside. Wikipedia: James Russell Lowell
Explored on December 20, 2013. Highest placement, page 5.
Tiny Mushroom in a Moss Forest
This is the mushroom I found growing in a sea of moss on a thick branch which is supporting the massive trunk which will eventually fall to the ground. I'd say this little guy is about 1/2" in size, and isn't it funny how enormous the moss looks?! They look like bushes! :D
This picture ended up taking a bit of work to process. I shot it at f/18, which meant the background was quite clear. I tried so many things to mess with the background, but in the end, the best solution turned out to be usine Topaz Lab's Lens Effects: Bokeh SLR Lens suite of filters. There are many lens choices and apertures to experiment with, and I chose the "Canon 85mm f1.8". In order to use it though, I had to use my method of removing some of the mushroom in that layer. Otherwise, the filter effect creates a large blurry halo around the mushroom. However, I think the result has turned out pretty well with plenty of massaging to work the mushroom into the image. I hope you like it! :)
Diamond Encrusted Mushroom and a Frosty Stump
I'm going to tell you right now, this is a photoshopped image! :D The mushroom you see was laying in a bunch of grass and weeds, and I was only just able to get a picture without leaves obscurring the mushroom. I thought it was so beautiful though, I tried to think how I could share it. Then I remembered that I'd taken some pictures of a very cool stump that was bristling with frost, and to my great happiness, I happened to take one picture at an angle that would work for the mushroom! So, I carefully cut the mushroom out of its grassy image and then darkened tha background in the stump image, cut out a layer to go "in front" of the mushroom stem, so that I could nestle it into one of the gaps in the stump, and placed the mushroom in place! :D
To me, this is a nice way to be able to share two images I wouldn't have bothered with if I didn't put them together! And what's extra cool is that I didn't even think about this possibility when I took pictures of either of them. It just worked out. :)
338/365: "Patience and tenacity are worth more tha…
2 more pictures in notes above ! :)
This morning Steve and I got up before dawn so to make it in time for our early eye exams and I think all of you would have snickered at how well I portrayed a zombie! :D We were out of the house by 7am and could not BELIEVE how cold it was--20.5°F degrees!!! And even though Steve had the car warming up for 5 minutes before we left, we needed to scrape the frost off the windows because it wasn't melting! :D
I looked mournfully at the beautiful frosty morning as we drove along and wished I could be out there taking pictures...of the two huge flocks of Canada Geese in the frozen fields...the light shining through everything and sparkling beautifully, the misty hillsides...it was so lovely. But who was I kidding? I really just wanted to go back to bed! :D
Though I hoped I wouldn't have to, my eyes were dilated for the exam, which meant I wouldn't be taking pictures until after the medicine wore off. Forlorn, I bid my hopes for frosty pictures goodbye, but I wasn't too sad because there would be plenty of opportunities in the coming weeks for more frosty goodness!
After I got home, I had to wait until 1:30 pm before my pupils shrunk from eerie basketball-size back to normal, and since it was beautiful outside, I told the dogs were were headed for the ridge, and all of us exploded out into the beautiful cold day to seek adventure and good times! :D
The ground was hard and crunchy here and there and though it wasn't frosty, it was still very cold at about 38°F degrees. I wondered if I might find some frost after all. Making my way carefully up the steep trail to the top, I avoided the smooth and slippery path which was slick and muddy. I'd done my share of sliding on that mud in the past, and was very careful to pick my way up cautiously with my camera and macro flash.
We headed to the far end of the ridge line, all of us exuberant and happy, and along the way I found a couple of beautiful "caught" leaves glowing in the afternoon light and I also found a manzanita trunk that had twists in it that reminded me of a straight candy cane!
As we neared the far end, I slowed to a stop in front of "Snakey's Log", because for some reason, it often has something wonderful for me to photograph under it! Moosey gave the log a sniff and I told him, "Move along, Mister, this is my log!" :D Lifting it up, I found a surprise! It was a very large, red centipede, curled up and beautiful. I managed to get many wonderful pictures before it slowly disappeared into a hole, but I won't be sharing those today. For fun, I gleefully showed Steve when he got home and chortled mirthfully when he looked and yelled, "EWWWWWWWWW, GROSS!!!" *cackle* Big baby. :D I recognize that my fascination with creepy crawlies is not shared by a lot of people so when I do share some of my "icky bugs", I'll save it for a day when I can warn you and let you decide if you want to see my pictures! :D
However, Snakey's Log had ANOTHER prize for me...a large group of mushrooms growing on it and peering up from around the sides! SO COOL!! I got many pictures, and no, not sharing them tonight either, but maybe in the next couple of days.
And yet...a third prize, which I AM sharing...and it's picture #2 tonight: another shining amber droplet with a sea of melting frost bokeh behind it! How wonderful to get another nice picture of these mysterious little droplets!
After replacing the log and beginning our return walk, I stopped at a pile of logs to check them out for mushrooms....DOUBLE PAY-DIRT!!! Not only were there mushrooms, but they were covered with frost!!!! Hooray for patience and tenacity!!! I thought I might get lucky but I wasn't sure. Here then, is my Picture of the Day. A beautiful, frosty mushroom, who waited in darkness for me to upend its log so I could find it wearing nature's finest jewelry! :)
Thomas Henry Huxley PC FRS FLS (4 May 1825 – 29 June 1895) was an English biologist (comparative anatomist), known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his advocacy of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Wiki: Thomas Henry Huxley
Explored on December 5, 2013. Highest position, page 4.
337/365: "It cannot be seen, cannot be felt, Canno…
2 more pictures in notes above ! :)
I planned to get out of the house early enough this morning to catch the frost, but I dawdled too long and it was all gone by the time the dogs and I bounced out the front door. Just in case, I headed down to the shadiest part of the "light side" of our lower forest, hoping I might get lucky. Nope. Just a tiny bit here and there, but I'd missed the real show. Oh well, it's going to be very cold the rest of the week, so I'll try again tomorrow! :)
As the dogs had a fine time nosing around and looking for icky things to chew on, I began studying stumps, logs and branches. Our Oaks get positively COVERED with various lichens and fungi, and there seem to be endless varieties as I pay more and more attention. Every stick, every log, every piece of bark, has the potential of showing me something interesting and new! I feels like I'm in a gigantic toy store in the woods, with hidden surprises everywhere, just waiting to be discovered!
It didn't take long to find my day's treasure trove! Examining a couple of logs without seeing anything special, I reached over to grab a fallen branch and toss it aside...when my mind registered "CIRCLE" and I froze in mid-toss. I have trained myself to look for circles, ovals, and rounded shapes over leaves, and this has really helped me to find mushrooms. In this case, the circular shape was exceedingly small, and it took me a few seconds to race along the branch with my eyes to find what got my attention. MUSHROOM! There it was! Tiny and shriveled, this little mushroom was a brand new discovery for me! In the past, I've never found mushrooms on the thinner Oak branches, only the thick ones. But here it was! And then...I spotted another! And MORE! In twos and threes, many little mushrooms were poking out through the various species of lichen and moss attached to the branch! It was like a little village of fungus, all of them so precious and tiny, ranging in size between 1 mm and 1.5 cm! I had a hard time knowing where to begin, there were so many wonderful little shapes, positions and fun groupings! My biggest challenge was finding a way to balance the unwieldy branch without mashing mushrooms and still being able to get the angles I was after. Many pictures later, I was satisfied that I got my Picture of the Day, so I lay the branch back down, and just for fun, took a very good look at the tree's trunk and a living branch...YES! Lots and lots of tiny mushrooms!! I thought to myself, "I bet they've been here all along, and I've just never noticed them until now!" Isn't it just amazing how much there is to see out in nature?!! :)
When I got home, I found myself becoming overwhelmed at the sheer number of magical little scenes I'd been lucky enough to capture successfully, and it was really hard to narrow down my favorites. In the end I decided to go with this picture because the mushrooms are so cool looking the way they are peering down from their woody perches, the gloom deepening into darkness behind them. I found myself thinking of one of Gollum's riddles to Bilbo, one of the many they trade back and forth in the heart of the Misty Mountains. I have always loved those riddles, so I used the one I was thinking about as the quote for today. (If you don't know the answer, it can be found here: Lord of the Rings Wiki: The Hobbit: Riddles in the Dark
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. J.R.R. Tolkien
Explored on December 4, 2013. Highest placement, page 3.
332/365: "There's no happier person than a truly t…
3 more pictures in notes above ! :)
I hope you all had a lovely holiday, if this was a festive one for you! Steve and I celebrated quietly and had a very wonderful day! He played video games and I took the dogs up the hill for another exploration picture hunt!
WHAT A DAY!! So many wonderful mushrooms and interesting fungus, I can't wait to get them all processed. Unfortunately I'm rushed for time so can't write much this evening, but I had a great time finding subjects. :)
Today's Pick of the Day is an impossibly tiny mushroom I found inside the crevice of a rotting log. The only reason I saw it was because it was white against dark brown bark and had shiny droplets on it that caught the light. To my amazement, I found that it was on a stick and so I was able to carefully take it out for more pictures. One of the insets shows a picture of it before I took it out--LOOK AT THE DEWDROPS!!! AMAZING!!
Joyce Meyer (born Pauline Joyce Hutchison; June 4, 1943) is a Charismatic Christian author and speaker. Meyer and her husband Dave have four grown children, and live outside St. Louis, Missouri. Her ministry is headquartered in the St. Louis suburb of Fenton, Missouri. Wikipedia: Joyce Meyer
Explored on November 29, 2013. Highest placement, page 3.
Me and Little Belle
Here I am holding the stick that "Little Belle" is attached to. The part of my thumbnail that you can see measures 1 centimeter...you do the math!! :D SHE IS SO TINY!!!! :D
Oh, I had such a hard time choosing my Picture of the Day today!!!!! I LOVE THIS MUSHROOM...but I can't have two as my Pick, so sadly, this one goes second. Isn't it cool????!! I've never seen a mushroom even remotely like this before!!! :D
Explored on November 29, 2013. Highest position, page 7...
331/365: "We live only to discover beauty. All els…
3 more pictures in notes above ! :)
Yesterday I wandered up one part of our hillside, and today I decided to take the dogs with me up the other side and then along the ridge line trail. I'd originally planned to take better pictures of a lovely little lichen I found yesterday but I decided to explore instead.
The dogs and I went up behind our shop and disappeared into the forest above the house, the oaks almost all devoid of leaves now. As the dogs nosed around, I puttered along, looking under logs and examining everything that looked interesting. So many cool subjects to photograph today! I found some beautiful amber droplets under a log, a cute little insect nymph of some sort, and ten different mushrooms in singles and doubles! :)
Creeping off the trail and examining rotting logs, I looked down and suddenly found the magnificent, huge pair that you're looking at. Easily 4-5" in diameter, they were just barely poking up through some leaves, so I spent 10 minutes carefulling excavating around them, pulling off leaves and twigs, clearing out the fore- and background to get a clutter-free picture. Regarding this pair, I think that just about every mushroom out there is pretty, but some of them are truly magnificent. To me, a frilly cap and lovely gills are just so amazing and I will never tire of a sight like this! :D (I've included another view from above to see the color of the cap: inset image only)
Khalil Gibran (full Arabic name Gibran Khalil Gibran, sometimes spelled Kahlil; (January 6, 1883 – April 10, 1931) was a Lebanese artist, poet, and writer. Wikipedia: Kahlil Gibran
Explored on November 28, 2013. Highest placement, page 4.
The Pearl and the Clam
I love to turn over logs, bark and thick branches on my adventures, and whenever I do, I prepare myself to jump back in case I disturb a rattlesnake. I've never seen one on my outings but we have found one on the property before, so I have to be careful. I am always excited about what I might find, and I often find something neat. Carefully overturning one log revealed the web-encased droplets on my main image, and when brushing away leaves, I discovered this beautiful tiny clam-shaped mushroom, no larger than 1/4" in diameter! Next to it is the beginnings of another mushroom, and sitting on top of it is a pearl of water! What a pretty pair! :)
327/365: "You go through life wondering what is it…
2 more pictures in notes above ! :)
It was very cold this morning but the sun was shining, and this afternoon it had warmed up enough that I decided to take the dogs up on the hill for a proper walk and photo hunt!
What a lovely time we had, with a smiling Molly in the lead most of the time (remember she has just 3 legs and it's a steep hike up that hill!), tail held high and waving grandly! While the dogs had fun romping, I found many fun things to take pictures of...a really cool stump with lots of texture, a bunch of mushrooms, lovely pine needles, a baby centipede, a black beetle, tiny white fungus with tiny pores and I even found bird's nest fungus in two stages: newly formed and showing its nest!
I found these cool mushrooms under "Snakey's Log", which seems to attract all kinds of interesting things to it. (snakes, lizards, scorpions, insects, etc...) Today there was a beautiful black beetle which I photographed, and as I was about to put the log back into place, I noticed this curious family of mushrooms growing on its underside, leaning out to get a better look at me! HOORAY!!
Roderick David "Rod" Stewart, CBE (born 10 January 1945) is a English rock singer-songwriter and one of the best selling music artists of all time, having sold over 100 million records worldwide. Wikipedia: Rod Stewart
Explored on November 25, 2013. Highest position, page 5.
325/365: "Nature hath framed strange fellows in he…
5 more pictures in notes above ! :)
This year I really noticed that it's been warmer, and I kept waiting for frosty days to arrive and they just didn't. We got some very early morning frost on a couple of days but it melted quickly, and then nothing at all. Last night it was finally extremely cold and I could tell it would be frosty today. When I got up, I looked outside, and the world was twinkling with sugar coating everything! Hooray!!! (I was amazed to find out that the last day Medford, Oregon's weather has recorded frost was March 24. That's 240 days, the longest nonfreezing period since the weather service started keeping Medford records in 1911! And the last record was LAST YEAR, which was 230 days...can you say global warming? *sigh*...)
I bundled up in my warmest sweaters and a coat, donned a hat and pulled rubber boots on over my thickest socks, and out I went like a kid running into a candy store! Where do I start? Everything is so gloriously sparkly!!!
Crunching gleefully over the frosted grass, I began heading for a metal fence, since those are always such fun to capture frost on. But of course I was stopped in my tracks by a beautiful frosted mushroom. Walking past the oak tree in the meadow, I stopped to take a picture as it stood cloaked in the frosty fog, so beautiful. (see the inset above) Then I captured some leaves bristling with frosty crystals, and finally meandered over to the fence. No more frost, but no worries, because I spotted some frosty nails that I couldn't resist! Then I looked up and saw the moon, and got a picture of that too! I heard some geese fly by quite close by, and readied my camera, but never did see them in all the mist!
I decided it was time to head back, though truthfully, it was my frosted toes that made that decision! As I began walking back, I looked down and found a great prize! One of nature's most unusual fungus species happens to grow on our property, and it's called an earthstar! Related to a puffball and round when first growing, the outer layer opens up and splits, creating the "legs" you see, which eventually raise the puffball-spore sac above the ground to help disperse the spores when it opens! Is that cool or what?!
I carried it over to some moss and was pleased to get frosty images of this interesting fungus for my Picture of the Day! Finally, as I was walking back, I found another pair of frosty mushrooms that I'm also sharing a picture of tonight!
William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 (baptised) – 23 April 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His extant works, including some collaborations, consist of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, the authorship of some of which is uncertain. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Wikipedia: William Shakespeare
Explored on November 22, 2013. Highest placement, page 2.