Walking around, thinking about stuff

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    Karma repair time. Also, I get the feeling people would like to see more of this kind of thing from me, and less of the other. I’ll try.

    Note: Some images here are brought to you by my magic camera. Others are from around the Internet.



    You can’t hardly take a bad picture on the beach at Lincoln Park. On any given day, this place presents the photographer with a new trove of the most excellent subjects.

    Drift logs seem to take on a new character with each passing week as they weather in the surf. If you were a marine biologist, you could tell how long each one had been at sea – and even which waters it had traversed – according to the number and type of marine creatures that had made their homes there. Some logs are merely encumbered with the growth of a few barnacles, while others have been afloat so long, and have become so riddled with teredo worm* burrows, as to suggest a fanciful new species: the terrestrial sponge.

    As a photographer, I prefer the look of large trees that have been tossed up after spending only a short time in the drink. Stripped of their bark and left on the upper beach to weather slowly, these majestic old fellows make the most elegant studies in texture, color, and pattern.

    Add some lichens or maybe a light dousing from the tide and voilà . . .

    *Actually a mollusc, not a worm



    Beautiful. You are an amazing photographer.



    This uprooted trunk is outside the tidal zone, but it may well have been on the beach at one time. Its luxuriant coat of lichens (shown here in fruiting stage, I believe) probably owes its vigor to the particular microclimate in which the trunk is located. This spot is right next to the “LOVE” rock, a location that is exposed to plenty of rain, salt air, and yes, even sunshine.

    A rare treat for a mycologist, I’d venture.



    Thank you, funkie! I like to think I’m a decent photographer, but the point I’m actually trying to make here is that almost ANYONE can be a good photographer. That is . . . if the subject is Lincoln Park.




    The Velvet Bulldog

    Thank you for sharing these fabulous images, and thank you for reminding me to get out of the damn house once in a while!



    You’re welcome, TVB.


    As if the beach weren’t enough, the forest to the east is whole ‘nother kind of magical.

    There, tides of season act the part that ocean does below, piling heaps of new, unlooked-for treasure daily at our feet . . .


    Betty T

    It helps to have a good eye for natural beauty and you deffinitely have that. The pictures are beautiful! Keep them coming.








    If anyone would like a high-resolution copy of any of my photos, all you have to do is ask.



    This is a wild oyster mushroom growing in the “crotch” of a pine trunk along the trail.

    Oyster mushrooms are edible, as are many species of fungi that grow directly on wood. However, wild oyster mushrooms do not always resemble the cultivated ones, so identifying them can be tricky. As you can see, this fellow is going solo, whereas the ones you see in stores are always in clumps. This guy is also snow white, as opposed to the off-white/grey color of the store-boughten ones.

    What a wild mushroom will look like changes widely with the variables of temperature, sunlight, soil conditions, and so on. I have a colony of oyster mushrooms growing in my worm bin, for example, and they look just like the specimen above. However, my colony was started from a “grow log” I had tossed into the worm bin several years ago. Oddly enough, the mushrooms growing in the worm bin don’t look at all like the ones that grew from the log; yet they’re genetically identical.


    In case you’re wondering, I generally don’t pick mushrooms to eat, even when I’m certain they’re edible. They’re so beautiful growing in the wild, I’d rather look at them than eat them.




     Shrooms, shrooms, the musical fruit

     The more ya eat, the more ya . . .





    Ha ha. Just teasing.

    Amanita muscaria

    Common name: Fly agaric

    Mildly hallucinogenic

    You won’t die if you ingest these guys. They are mildly toxic, though, so I really don’t advise eating them.



    In the early days of my editing career (such as it is) I worked with an author whose thesis was that A. muscaria played a central role in our cultural development.

    This rather obsessive young man was convinced that everything from religion to computers had been created by people who were under the influence of the same stuff he was. And to prove it, he’d combed through hundreds of historical texts to extract references to all kinds of mushroom-inspired epiphanies.

    Or so he thought.

    When I looked into these references of his, I discovered that he was inferring the existence of mushrooms much too readily. Wherever he found a description of some protean event where there was the least possibility for psychedelic mushrooms to have been involved, he would reflexively insert the venerable A. muscaria into the picture.

    For instance, if some ancient Greek historian wrote, “before the Elyusians went into battle they first ate of the red ambrosia” – my guy would say, “Aha! That’s got to be A. muscaria he’s talking about! What else could it be?”

    If he found in Isaac Newton’s journals some obscure reference to mushroom soup, he’d say, “See? Newton was high the whole time.”

    And so it went.


    I’ll give you three guesses as to whether I ever made any money off that project. It was certainly interesting, though. And I did learn quite a bit about A. muscaria* in the process.



    * Not to be confused with its cousin A. virosa and friends. Collectively known as the “death angels.”

    Photo source: http://tinyurl.com/br9a4kk



    Heh-heh. This is more than you ever wanted to know about mushrooms, isn’t it? Well I don’t care. Even if it’s true what people say about me (that I’ve been invaded by spores) that doesn’t change the fact that mushrooms are an incredibly important part of the ecosystem and you damn well should be learning more about them.


    In a manner of speaking, mushrooms, plentiful as they are, are just the tip of the fungus iceberg. They are the “fruit” of something called the mycelium, which is like the root of a plant. Mycelia can grow to vast proportions underground. A single mycelium organism in eastern Oregon has been estimated to be dozens of square miles in area. It is considered the world’s largest living thing. At well over 2,000 years old, it is also one of the oldest living things.

    Aw, gee whiz: http://www.extremescience.com/biggest-living-thing.htm

    I was thinking about stuff like that the other day as I was shooting some Blushing Bracket fungi (Daedaleopsis sp.) in the woods near my house.

    Fortunately, the PNW is a haven for these beautiful fungi, since the environment here is moist and temperate, and there’s always plenty of trees for the fungus to grow on.

    Bracket fungi (also known as shelf fungi) grow only upon the dead bark of trees. They typically invade trees that are mature (for a tree) and are on their way out. However, you shouldn’t underestimate trees any more than you should underestimate fungi. The tree in the photo above had been split and knocked over in a windstorm several years back, and from ground level it appeared to be dying. Yet in the intervening time, several vigorous new branches have shot straight up from the toppled trunk and are giving the old fellow a new lease on life.



    My Precious, these woods are filled with things of beauty and sadness.

    I stumble on a scene such as this and pause, artist that I am, to behold it, where another might along the same path and pass quickly by, atremble not with poetic ecstacy but with pangs of hunger, cold, and want.



    this is definitely not more than i wanted to know about mushrooms..

    keep those fungi coming:)



    A few more shots from the same location.

    Here’s the underside of a Blushing Bracket fungus:

    Detail showing the pore structure:

    (Note the tiny mushroom at the bottom left. At full size, it’s only about half a centimeter tall.)

    Most fungi species release their spores through gills that develop on the underside of the cap. However, a few species, including the Blushing Bracket fungus, release theirs through pores.



    in other words, a spore pore?



    glad to see you haven’t lost your sense of humor Jan



    Nice pix, DBP. I took a few snaps of a particularly nice spread of Chicken of the Woods from my backyard a couple years back. Thought they’d fit in here:



    every time i scroll down i notice something i didn’t see before:)



    wake: something’s gone wrong with your link, obviously. E-mail if you need help fixing some html, or I can host the picture on my own domain.



    Fruiting bodies of a slime mold . . .



    Slime molds are not fungi; not even close. The two groups do have a few things in common:


    ٭ They’re not plants since they don’t photosynthesize 

    ٭ They are both commonly found in rotting vegetable matter 

    ٭ They can both reproduce via spores


    –That’s pretty much where the resemblance ends, though.

    Slime molds have a much more complex life cycle than fungi and can travel under their own power in two separate phases of their development.


    Slime molds were once classified with the fungi, but they were removed from that “kingdom” when their life cycle was better understood. Some taxonomists argue that they should be classified with the protists (single-celled critters) since they have an amoeba stage, but then, how to account for the fact that they eventually settle down and reproduce with spores?

    It’s pretty weird actually. And it gets weirder:

    When a slime mold mass or mound is physically separated, the cells find their way back to re-unite. Studies on Physarum have even shown an ability to learn and predict periodic unfavorable conditions in laboratory experiments (Saigusa et al., 2008). Professor John Tyler Bonner, who has spent a lifetime studying slime molds argues that they are “no more than a bag of amoebae encased in a thin slime sheath, yet they manage to have various behaviours that are equal to those of animals who possess muscles and nerves with ganglia – that is, simple brains.”

    And weirder:

    Atsushi Tero of Hokkaido University grew the slime mold Physarum polycephalum in a flat wet dish. Around its initial position representing Tokyo, he placed oat flakes corresponding to the locations of other major cities in the Greater Tokyo Area. As Physarum avoids bright light, light was used to simulate mountains, water and other obstacles. The mold first densely filled the space with plasmodia, then thinned the network to focus on efficiently-connected branches. The network strikingly resembled Tokyo’s rail system.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slime_mold

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