Tonight I took a lap around my property just before it got dark. The most interesting thing to photograph was the mushrooms.
Tiny mushrooms
After supper, David and Beth were boasting to one another. I don’t remember how the boasts started, but David told Beth, “I could beat you with one arm tied behind my back.”

Puffballs

Puffballs


I asked him to clarify, “With whose arm tied behind his back?” He indicated that it probably didn’t matter, and since he outweighs her by nearly two to one, I think he was probably right.
Orange mushrooms

Orange mushrooms


That’s when I learned it was probably not a contest of physical strength. David called out to Beth, “e4” which is chess notation for a very common opening move. She answered him, “e5!” and the game was on. No chess board mind you.
Triplets

Triplets


The conversation then morphed into us speculating about whether one of us could beat David in chess if he were blindfolded. I was not sure if either of us could beat David, even if he were blindfolded. Beth was excited to try, so out came the board. I watched to make sure Beth executed David’s moves correctly and that she called her moves in proper notation.

Beth dropped her queen in short order, and David captured it. I was impressed. After that her only hope was that the board would get so scrambled that David couldn’t remember where all the pieces were.

Lonely in a lush kingdom

Lonely in a lush kingdom


It was a vain hope. He checkmated her in short order. I’m still trying to get my head around that.

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Here are some photos I took last weekend. Since I don’t have a lot of things to say this evening, I thought I’d let the pictures do the talking instead.

Unidentified, but very red mushroom

Unidentified, but very red mushroom


Unidentified mushroom

Unidentified mushroom


I like the way this one reminds me of a fan – you know – the type kids make by folding paper.
Sugar maple (Acer saccharum)

Sugar maple (Acer saccharum)


I liked the color on this leaf.
Western conifer seed bug (Leptoglossus occidentalis)

Western conifer seed bug (Leptoglossus occidentalis)


After I took this photo (and many others) Beth and I captured this bug. I have identified it as a western conifer seed bug (Leptoglossus occidentalis), and I think that’s probably correct. It eats pine sap, so we added some very resinous pine cones to the jar we put it in. It has now survived in captivity for six days and is showing no signs of flagging.

The jar itself is a one-pint mason jar, but instead of using the metal disk in the lid, we are using a couple of folds of paper towel. The bug can’t get out of that, and it lets air go though easily enough. I like that setup.

It snowed here last night – we got about an inch. It’s mostly gone now, but the deck is still covered with slush. I didn’t get any photos though, because I didn’t wake up until it was time to leave the house. Then we had to rush Beth through the morning routine, leap into the car, and get moving. She was only two minutes late for school, so I guess that wasn’t too bad.

We are supposed to get another six inches of snow tomorrow evening. We still have plenty of foliage on the trees too, and the weather predictors are saying that’s not a good thing. More leaves mean more wet, heavy snow will be caught by the trees. They are expecting lots of tree damage (and power outages) as a result.

I will surely get some photos of the snow if it comes.

On Labor Day last week, Beth and I walked down to Sandogardy Pond in the pouring rain. I was in my rain gear, but Beth was not. She had already been playing outside in the rain, and I didn’t think she could possibly get any wetter. Penny came along too, and she didn’t mind the rain at all.

Unsurprisingly, the beach at the pond was abandoned. One of the first creatures I saw was this Sirenia crypticus (Or so I name it).

Sirenia crypticus

Sirenia crypticus


OK, that’s not really nature as I promised in my last post. But it should help us ease back into it.

Then on Friday I took a walk around my property. The weather was decidedly more clear, and I came away with some interesting shots. Here’s a mushroom (possibly some sort of chantrelle):

Inverted Mushroom

Inverted Mushroom


I liked the way the gills stood out on this one. I’ve been shooting a lot of mushrooms lately, as we seem to have them in spades. Also, there are not many flowers left (other than those in the Asterid family), so the mushrooms make an irresistible subject. I had Penny along while I was shooting, and she managed to kick me the ball just as I was taking this shot:
Penny, her ball, and an agaric

Penny, her ball, and an agaric


I usually manage to keep Penny out of my backgrounds, but when I looked at the composition of this one, I purposely framed her into the shot. The ball rolling by was a bonus.

Out at the end of my driveway by the road is a small stand of wild woodland sunflowers.

Woodland Sunflowers (Helianthus divaricatus)

Woodland Sunflowers (Helianthus divaricatus)


I have to be careful with these, as they are coming up smack dab in the middle of a patch of poison ivy. I haven’t done anything about the poison ivy though, because I don’t think I can eliminate it without eliminating my sunflowers as well.

Incidentally, Beth managed to get into some poison ivy week, as she has a small affected area on her right wrist. I expect she got that in the woods though, where she and the neighbors have been playing in the canopy of a fallen tree.

David, Beth, and I went down to Sandogardy yesterday too, but I’ll save those pics for another day.

Yesterday evening, Va and I went on a mini vacation to Kittery Maine. We left the kids at home. We ate dinner in Concord on the way to Kittery and stayed in a fairly nice hotel right across from the outlet mall(s). We slept in, watched Myth Busters until 10:00am, checked out, and then did some shopping. I bought a lid lifter for my dutch oven at the Kittery Trading Post, and she bought… I dunno. Stuff. We got home a little after noon.

Before we left I tramped around the yard and woods (in the rain) and gather as many different types of mushrooms as I could find. I came up with 15 different species or so. Then I sat down with my mushroom field guide and made a stab at identifying them. All that was in preparation for this evening’s Pathfinder meeting. We finished up the Fungi honor.

This mushroom sprouted up in the yard this week.

Mushroom, newly sprouted

Mushroom, newly sprouted


That’s not terribly unusual, as we have mushrooms all over the place. I just thought this one was particularly well-formed. Then today when I went out, it had changed:
Same 'shroom, two days later

Sproing!


It opened up like an umbrella. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen mushrooms that looked like these, and I also was aware the the ring around the stem could be used to help identify the species. But what I did not know is where that ring comes from. I think it’s pretty obvious from these two photos – the edge of the umbrella tears away from the ring.

A little while after I took this second photo, David came outside and pointed out the change. I guess it struck him too. I went to show him the ring (which he had noticed), and when I touched it, I found that it was not connected to the stem at all! It slides up and down the stem quite easily.

Whooda thunk it?

I collected a couple more tablespoons of berries tonight too, and made another (failed) attempt at recording the frog barks. I got a pretty decent haul of blackberries (for this place anyhow), and I could have had more blueberries, but I figure they ought to ripen a bit more first. I guess I should do as much picking as I can on Sunday, because the next week is Honors Week for our Pathfinder Club.

I like to start the Pathfinder year with Honors Week. We meet each night for three hours (or so) and work on an honor – start to finish. We have to be careful about which honors we offer though so that we actually can finish. We open it up to anyone who wants to have some fun, whether they want to join Pathfinders, check us out, or just learn something about a (hopefully) interesting subject. It’s free. For new members, they get the opportunity to earn five honors right off the bat so they don’t have to walk around with an empty sash.

This year we’re offering these:

  • Bones, Muscles, and Movement
  • Kites
  • Communications (semaphores)
  • Paper Quilling
  • Spiders

I’m going to teach Communications. I guess I need to study it a bit first though! David suggested and offered to teach Spiders, but he has still not finished last year’s school work. Neither has Jonathan, but there’s hope that he might soon. David is still pretty far behind though. I told them both at the beginning of the summer that they would not be participating in Pathfinders until they finished their school work. I was sure hoping it wouldn’t come to that, but it’s looking more and more like it will. My good friend (and former Pathfinder Club director) Cheryl remarked “that’s tough love.” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that phrase, but up until now, I always thought it meant being tough on the kid. But man – this is going to be tough on ME. I have to follow through on the threat, and it is not easy to do.

David will surely miss Honors Week, and he might also miss our first two campouts. I sure hope he puts his nose to the grindstone! If he can’t go, I’m going to miss him!