Thursday, November 10, 2011

October Snow brings more tricks than treats!

"It was only going to be a dusting!" 

I happened to just catch a snippet of the news on Friday afternoon and was shocked to see a snow storm headed our way with 6 - 12 inches forecasted. Friday night was spent putting on the snow blade in the dark, just in case, and it was a good thing as we woke up on Saturday, October 29th to heavy snow falling -

Note that most of the trees still have leaves. 

Power went out around noon and as we meandered around the house to past the time, we suddenly heard an abrupt knocking at the window and were shocked to see some wild turkeys pecking and eating some berries that had fallen from the Green Hawthorne tree.

 As startled as we were, they headed off towards the woods, past the truck,   . . .

 . . . leaving these huge tracks behind. Stepping outside to take these photos, you could hear branches crashing through out the woods. 

The next day, we had bright sunshine, clear blue skies and brilliant white snow  . .  .

 . .  but we could then see all the damage . . .

We lost about 10 branches total, many falling from the tops of the trees and bringing other branches down as they fell. One massive branch from the old maple covered the driveway. 
We were fortunate though, as many folks were out of power for days or lost entire trees. 

Below is a snowfall total from Accuweather for the Northeast breaking records everywhere. No one in this area we talked to can even recall having snow in October. 

Apparently, power outages have increased in our area by 60% in the last few years. 
Is it system issues or more intense storms?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Funky Fungi

Earlier this fall, between September 8 and 9, Tropical Storm Lee passed through, bringing buckets and buckets of rain, dumping over 7 inches and causing flooding throughout the Delaware Valley region and beyond. Normally, in early September, we have about 42 inches for the year but this year we had over 49 inches. 

This excess has also translated into more fungi and mushrooms to enjoy, such as  . . .

Elegant Stinkhorn (Mutinus elegans)
The top of it is covered in brown spores that are spread 
by insects, that are attracted to it
 due to its strong smell. 

  . . . and this Brain Fungus - not its official name - it is hard and hand sized and grows up in the grass. It had bites in it from the deer but must not be too tasty as it was left for not . . 

 . . . and these Puffballs - they were all over in various shapes and sizes. This one is hand sized and stalked. They are of the division of fungus called Basidiomycota and produce a cloud of brown dust like spores called statismospores as seen below when you step or poke at it. 

 . . . and also this type of  Puffball, but it is not stalked and grows up 
from the ground on a small stem that dies away. 

Here are a couple online mushroom identification guides: