Friday, October 28, 2005
Doug and I went out for a walk after it had been raining for days. The sun finally peeked through one evening and it was so nice, out we went. I stopped and took a picture of a perfect mushroom I saw. We continued walking. I noticed more mushrooms ---different mushrooms! I took more pictures. Now my interest was peaked. I would disappear into the trees and shrubs and when Doug would turn to talk to me, I would be in the bushes kneeling down taking another picture. Earlier that day, our neighbor's goat happened to come over. Doug had hooked him up to Chevy's long dog run to wait until we had a chance to walk him back. We did not expect the owner to show up to get him. It was such a nice evening, Doug got a rope, secured it around the goats neck and we started off to take the goat back home. I saw so many mushrooms as we went along! Soon Doug was pointing them out to me too. Huge ones, teensy ones. I took over 25 different pictures. Soon Doug left me far behind. When we got home I had wet, cold knees. Since that day, I have done some mushroom reading. I found out the climate has to be WET and at least 50º(F) cool, in order for them to flourish. Our fall weather is perfect for mushrooms. I learned that we don't have Alaskan mushrooms, there aren't Australian mushrooms, or Californian mushrooms, etc. Mushrooms appear to be native all over the world! Each decaying organism has it's own kind of mushroom. The mushrooms break down organisms into food that a tree or other plant can utilize to grow strong and healthy. One article I read at http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF11/1161.html told that according to Eef Arnolds of the Netherlands, there is a catastrophic decline of mushrooms in Europe. They don't know why, but think it might be because of air pollution, and this was written in 1993! I like to have mushrooms in my salad, on pizza and they are yummi in spaghetti sauce. Kind of sad to think these little things are declining. It is not evident here. This past fall, there were so many mushrooms and so many different kinds! I saw some with little bites out of them, maybe a mouse was eating them. I figured, that must be an edible mushroom but I would not want to try it. Bugs like them too for eating and they lay thier eggs in them too! bleah! The very showy mushroom, Amanita Muscaria is also referred to as the mystical mushroom. I have always been told they are poisonous and stay well away from them. I read online that some people smoke them and get high! Siberian reindeer have been seen eating them and squirrels store them way in their coffers! There is even suggestions that the Santa Claus and his reindeer story is related to smoking amanita muscaria 'shrooms. Something about Shaman's and how they delivered the red mushroom, and when reindeer eat them they --fly high! After our nature walk and after reading about the lowly mushrooms, I must say that mushrooms are alive and well in Alaska, at least it looks that way to me. ....but I am not a "fungal ecologist." There is a spider in this picture, can you see it?