The breeze came rumbling, tumbling down Flood Brook through the forest. I slip-slide down the hill behind my house in wellies up to my knees. With a cry of excitement or alarm, Tina follows.
The cat meows. Well, actually, Tina is always meowing. In fact, she may be the loudest cat in creation, but when you are hiking solo through the woods, it's nice to have a companion who "talks" back to you. Plus, she always has her eyes and ears on our surroundings while I splash through the water.
Down the brook to the south and then up the creek to the west- this is Burnt Meadow Brook, right in my own freaking backyard. Tina comes after me like a bullet, jumping from rock to rock as we crisscross lazily up the creek.
I was just here yesterday, in fact, so was Tina. We are headed back to an incredible, mossy log that I found TOOTHED JELLY FUNGUS on. As an amateur, yet enthusiastic mushroom hunter, I was practically knocked off my feet when I first discovered these transparent mushrooms relaxing on this already magical log frosted with moss and cladonia lichen yesterday. Completely by accident.
A little disappointingly, following a light frost the next morning, my perfectly clear fungus had a brownish tinge to their edges. But Tina and I still frolicked happily beneath their toothed caps like little elves.
We are in Hapgood State Forest nestled within the Green Mountain National Forest. It is a forest thick with underbrush- young pine trees crowd each other for light, sticky blackberry brambles scratch the ankles, and the forest floor is often choked with tree blow downs from storms passed. It is also crisscrossed with lightly used paths, some off-season cross-country ski trails, and littered with interesting fungi of all kinds. We have already found enough chanterelles and hedgehog mushrooms on our side of the brook alone for several out-of-this-world dinners. Harvesting edible, wild mushrooms makes Zy a happy, happy girl.
Also, I was playing with my macro filters, with Tina keeping a close and alert guard.
The fungus with the BEST name... Witches' Butter (Tremella mesenterica)!Witches' Butter is actually a parasite of the fungus that digests moist wood, which is why you will most likely find it on dead and decaying tree limbs.
One tasty chanterelle, the Yellowfoot (Craterellus tubaeformis), grows ABUNDANTLY along our brooks. The season for them is just about over, but I look forward to reaping a hefty harvest next year!
And a lovely little Earth Tongue that I got down on my hands and knees for.
Eventually, we crossed the waters back towards home. Do you know how hard it is to capture a picture of a very fast cat jumping through the air? Whatever, I couldn't do it.
And then, through the hemlocks, the most wonderful place on Earth, my home.