I've been in a quandary where to start and have decided to start with the best - pink pearls. It's been very windy recently. It still is. Windy and rainy with sudden and torrential buckets-tipping-from-the-sky downpours so there are lots of branches on the paths. It used to be that trees fell down when it was windy like this but weak ones have been felled over the last few years and iffy branches lopped. In some places, the land now seems bare but little trees have been planted to fill some of the gaps and the skyline will turn green again one day.
I don't usually suggest
.people click the picture - but in this case - well do!
Meanwhile the wind must take something and it's tugging down bush sized branches with lots of twigs sticking out, and long, thin, straight branches too. It was on one of these that I found the pearls. They weren't there three days ago. I photographed them yesterday. They will be changed or gone by tomorrow. I'd been walking along with Ming (Esther's husband) the day before, when we came across one of these long, thin branches. It was about fifteen feet long and barely more than an inch thick - and lying across the path so Ming picked it up (of course he did, it's what males do) swung it around a bit and tossed it to the side. Just as he let it go, I saw a pink toadstool right by his fingers. I jumped around a bit, exhorting him to wipe his hand on his trousers and not to put his fingers near his mouth. Toadstools strike almost unlimited precaution in me. Friends have grown tired of my camera. Sometimes, I am forced to leave it at home before they will go a step. Never mind - I went back yesterday. There must be something very enticing about this particular branch / stick because it had been moved again in the meantime. But I found it. The weather is windy, the weather is wet but the weather is also warm. See how the baby nettles have already begun to cover it?
Fungi grow fast. See the little pearls? Presumably these will soon be toadstools like the one in the picture. When I say 'big' I mean no more than half an inch high. It looks even smaller and flatter because of the angle but I try not to move anything when I photograph. Hardly ever will I even brush a blade of grass away from the lens. You get it how it is or you don't get it at all. And I'm counting us lucky that we are seeing it. If it weren't for the wind, the branch with its little pink toadstool and pearls would still be stuck high in a tree and while I may clamber up banks or paddle in ditches for the sake of this blog . . . I haven't gone tree climbing yet. I'll go back though. Not till Monday at the earliest. But I will go back. And if I can find it despite growing nettles and men and boys who can't pass such a light, long branch without waving it around - we'll see what happens to pink pearls when left in the woods to grow. There's another problem. Shortly before I arrived at the branch I'd passed a woman with an elderly border collie going in the other direction. Shortly after I'd left it I heard her shout 'Put it down!'. Her dog (a very nice looking one) had run back to see what I'd been looking at, clearly wondering if it would be of similar interest to him. Clearly it was. Clearly he doesn't share my compunction over disturbing evidence. Clearly he does, nevertheless, have a good eye for sticks. Keep your fingers crossed.
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P.S. There are lots more fungi to come in the next few posts. P.P.S. Because I know nothing about fungi, I make up names. This one, I'm calling 'Pink Cup Fungus' but I'm wary in case that is already the proper name of a different version. Therefore, I'll call it Cuppus Pinkus Fungus. It doesn't fit the way one is supposed to name plants so that will show a.) that is isn't really its name and b.) that I don't know what I'm talking about. There's a difference between observing and informing. This is an observing blog - not a well informed one! P.P.S. Here's me waffling on - and I've found a wonderful fungi site which is, though not authoritative (it emphasises there may be miss-identifications so it should be treated with caution) is, to my mind . . . brilliant. It's called Visual Fungi. Like mine, it is area based - but not here (South Dorset). It's further east (East and West Sussex). This is good because it leaves me with a feeling I'm doing something useful after all. Different terrain. Different fungi. And if there is an overlap, that is good too because it's interesting. For those who are not familiar with the geography of England, Sussex is far enough away for the terrain to be different but near enough for the climate to be roughly similar. I'll tell you something else about it too - not only has it got a sophisticated system for finding fungi on the site (by name, month, type, location, edibility!) each time you click the title on the home page the text pops up the same but the illustrations change. I wish I knew how to do that!