Mushroom trails and other stories

One can hope that the moist forest has lots of different mushroom species. A few days ago I discovered mossy maze polypore (Cerrena unicolor). I am looking for Turkey tail mushroom. The algae-covered mushroom feels hairy in sections, then smooth in others. It is strongly zoned which gives it a false appearance of turkey tail. Mossy maze polypore grows on live deciduous trees or conifers.The polypore was growing on a live apple tree. Flesh has white with grayish zone separating it from a hairy cap surface. Spore print is white. I need to find colored paper for testing spores that are white. I tried getting a spore match on a white paper plate and of course I couldn’t see the print. Turkey tail grows on dead deciduous trees or in wounds. Mossy maze polypore grows throughout N. North America. Source: Field Guide to Mushroom by National Audubon Society. Not all species live on trees.

NOTE:  A few day later my eight year old great-niece Amelia and I went mushroom hunting. We found a few more species. I still am unsure of species, but want to add photos and any notations that I have that may help with identification. Along the way, we stopped at the wild butterfly habitat for me to check it out.

Amelia and Toby

Amelia and Toby

It wasn’t long before I saw Amelia kneeling down by a white cross where Toby, the dog, was buried in the butterfly habitat in the nearby woods. I was surprised to find her there quietly visiting the deceased dog whom Amelia and the family loved. To see her innocence and love for one of the Creator’s creatures was a heartrending sight. She said she wished she could pull the rocks away so she could see Toby once again. I knew how she felt. I told her my own story of wanting to dig up my dog Tia just too see her again too. I explained that we had to let our loved ones go when they walked on. It was respectful to them. Amelia understood. It wasn’t long before we were hiking on the trail once again.

Mossy maze polypore

Mossy maze polypore (Cerrena unicolor) Leathery , stalkless, grayish. Hairy, often algae-covered caps. Smoky pores. Spore print white. On deciduous trees mostly, overlapping. National Audubon Society Field Guide to Mushrooms, 2004.

NOTE: More mushroom photos follow.

Mystery mushroom

Mystery mushroom

Red mushroom growing in wet forest area

Red mushroom growing in wet forest area

I finally see where the mourning dove lives. For weeks I have been watching the mourning dove in his/her favorite roost perched on the barn roof. Yesterday I saw him fly to my father’s nearby Norway spruce tree. My sister Ronnie confirmed that this is where mourning doves live. I find it interesting that the bird likes to watch the family when they are in the pool area. It is here we have garden fresh casual suppers, sitting around a umbrella covered picnic table. The cooing bird also likes to watch human activity in the front gardens. Often I am out there smelling flowers or taking photos of pollinating insects on flowers.

Gills and spore side

Gills and spore side

Grasshopper carries pollen on its feet

Yesterday I caught a green grasshopper with hollyhock pollen on his/her legs. Now I know that even a grasshopper can be a pollinator. My sister and I love old fashioned hollyhocks. Ronnie has a scattered collection of near black, maroon and pink. We both planted a brilliant dark pink hollyhock last year and new first year leaves have been spotted both in our gardens in WI and MA. I collected seeds from the plant in an alley in WI. It is by far the prettiest color I have seen.

Let’s hear it for the pollinators! Without them there wouldn’t be a bio-diverse world nor the wonderful variety of vegetables and fruits that we often take for granted. We celebrate a thanksgiving each time we remember to thank and protect pollinators.

Death and dying thoughts

Do you know the mourning dove song? The bird says, “Oh, pray for me.” This is what the song sounds like to me. I recently heard that the mourning dove reminds us to pray for the dying.

A few years ago, after my husband passed on (July 4), I have been consciously practicing a meditation on death and dying now that I am a widow and live alone. I am a mixed bag of spirituality in combination with being raised Catholic. Each night when I retire,  I practice praying for a happy death. St. Joseph is the patron saint of a happy death. Before I fall asleep I set my intentions on this meditation and I say a little prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep I pray my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. The meditation brings peace and acceptance. Why shouldn’t death be a happy experience? It is a blessing to be able to sink under a cosmic wave and just float.

I do not want to extend life by any artificial means such as resuscitation, operations, chemotherapy  or dialysis. I simply want to accept that each human dies, cell by cell, from the very moment we are born. I don’t believe in human suffering any more than I would let my dog and cats suffer an agonizing death. If I knew that I only had six months to live, I would want doctor prescribed suicide to help me leave the planet in a painless fashion as possible. I believe that being centered on ceremony is a means of bringing peace. I love to be within the sacred, be it ceremony on Earth or meditation.

I read an article about a ballot initiative that would give doctors legal permission to offer suicide assistance when a patient has only six months to live and has no hope for recovery. The measure is called the Death with Dignity Act. It will be on the Massachusetts ballot come November. I only wish it had been a reality when my husband was dying from cancer and only had six months to live. I will vote for this initiative. It most likely won’t benefit me in my life time but hopefully, it will give others the opportunity to make choices. This is where I draw the line and  follow my own truth. I am happy to be moving to Massachusetts where I can take a stand on this ballet initiative. Source: Catholic Free Press, July 27, 2012, pgs. 1-6. The article does not support the initiative.

Be happy insectamonarca friends where ever you are.

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