Aspen Oyster Mushroom – Also Quotes and Quips

The Aspen Oyster Mushrooms in the following photos were growing on our dying/dead aspen trees. Some of the mushrooms were growing near the ground and some many feet up the trunk. The clumps were ‘many inches’ wide and each would have been enough for several meals if I had been so inclined. Which I wasn’t.

All mushrooms are edible. Some only once.

Life is too short to stuff a mushroom.
– Shirley Conran –

Never crowd a pan with too many mushrooms. They give off an enormous amount of moisture. And there’s nothing worse than a braised mushroom, other than a lot of braised mushrooms.
– Simon Schama –

Kids are now eating things like edamame and sushi. I didn’t know what shiitake mushrooms were when I was 10 – most kids today do.
– Emeril Lagasse –

Mushrooms… are the closest you can get to eating dirt.
– Tom Colicchio –

…but I also can’t prove that mushrooms could not be intergalactic spaceships spying on us.
– Daniel Dennett –

Advice is like mushrooms. The wrong kind can prove fatal.
– Charles E. McKenzie –

Marriage is like mushrooms: we notice too late if they are good or bad.
– Woody Allen –

Not being ambitious of martyrdom, even in the cause of gastronomical enterprise, especially if the instrument is to be a contemptible, rank-smelling fungus, I never eat or cook mushrooms.
– Mary Virginia Terhune –

Mushroom ‘Groaners’:
Help me – I’m in truffle.
Questionable morels.
Please scoot over – there’s not mushroom.
Why did the mushroom go to the party? Becaue he’s a fungi!
-Louis Tomlinson –

In all institutions from which the cold wind of open criticism is excluded, an innocent corruption begins to grow like a mushroom – for example, in senates and learned societies
– Friedrich Nietzsche –

A mighty porterhouse steak an inch and a half thick, hot and sputtering from the griddle; dusted with fragrant pepper; enriched with little melting bits of butter of the most impeachable freshness and genuineness; the precious juices of the meat trickling out and joining the gravy, archipelagoed with mushrooms; a township or two of tender, yellowish fat gracing an out-lying district of this ample county of beefsteak; the long white bone which divides the sirloin from the tenderloin still in its place.
– Mark Twain –

… we have spotted a roadside sign: ‘CHAINSAW CARVED MUSHROOMS’. Troubles promptly forgotten, Stuart falls to gawping at the road ahead. What could it all be about? ‘As one victim to another,’ his body language seems to marvel, ‘What’s a mushroom done to deserve that kind of abuse?’
– Alexander Masters –

Plant Profile
Common Name: Aspen Oyster Mushroom
Scientific Name: Pleurotus populinus
Growth: Saprobic (lives on decomposing dead or decaying organic material which it uses as food); grows in shelf-like clusters on dead and living wood of Populus species, primarily quaking aspen.
Location: Prairie/foothills region north of Calgary Alberta

I’m a vegetarian who doesn’t like eggplant parmesan. Isn’t that awful? I’m also sick of portobello mushrooms. People are like,” A vegetarian’s coming to dinner,” so they serve those.
– Candy Crowley –

The TSA must think we’re mushrooms. You know, the way they are trying to keep us in the dark, and the way they keep feeding us a fertilizing agent that comes from the south end of a north-bound cow.
– Douglas Wilson –

Compared to a novel, a film is like an economy pizza where there are no olives, no ham, no anchovies, no mushrooms, and all you’ve got is the dough.
– Louis de Bernieres –

Dandelions – Too Many to Love

If you find yourself worrying, go outside, take three breaths, address a tree and quietly say, ‘Thank you.’ If you can’t find a tree, a dandelion will do… Nature is magic.
– Robert Bateman –

“A Dandelion.” Not millions of dandelions that blanket your yard and smother the grass and all other flowers…
A single plant can produce up to 20,000 seeds. The have a deep tap-root, up to 3 feet long (but usually 6-12”), which allows it to survive drought and competition with other weeds.

Photo on the left is one of our ‘dandelion fields’ (in 2011) when there was still more grass than dandelions. Today it is almost solid dandelions.

Dandelion seed head – original Macro Photo

The ability of dandelions to tell the time is somewhat exaggerated, owing to the fact that there is always one seed that refuses to be blown off; the time usually turns out to be 37 o’clock.”
– Miles Kington –

Cluster Filter

Some people need flowers, some people need dandelions. It’s medicine, it’s what you need at that time in your life.
– Sandra Cisneros –

Impasto Filter

Some ideas, like dandelions in lawns, strike tenaciously: you may pull off the top but the root remains, drives down suckers and may even sprout again.”
– Elizabeth Bowen –

Line-ink filter

By the time we left college, I had become my own image: a dandelion in the flower bed of society. Kinda cute, but still a weed.
– Anne Fortier –

Filter by Topaz Studio user Telbarin

Don’t hover around lives that you are supposed to touch only for a brief while. If you don’t know how to drift away, ask a dandelion and it will show you the way!
– Indhumathi –

Attitude Adjustment Time – Not Weeds – Wildflowers!

In Arizona, we live in a community that encourages low water use desert plantings. This means gravel yards instead of grass. Landscaping is done with cactus, succulents and plants that don’t use much water. Residents are also expected to keep weeds under control.

This past spring, the vacant house and lot next door to us quickly become overgrown with a carpet of weeds. Most of these weeds had tiny flowers, so the overall effect was greenly messy. As the Arizona sun got high and hot, the weeds started to die, and the yard started to look brownly messy.

I was less than impressed with living next door to a weed seed factory… but my attitude changed when I photographed the plants with my macro lens! Suddenly they were wild flowers!

Crypthantha (If you hover over each photo, you can read the caption. Click on the photo to see the full size version.)

A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.
– Doug Larson –

Common Fiddleneck

Crabgrass can grow on bowling balls in airless rooms, and there is no known way to kill it that does not involve nuclear weapons.
– Dave Barry –

Erodium

Plant and your spouse plants with you; weed and you weed alone.
– Author Unknown –

One person’s weed is another person’s wildflower.
– Susan Wittig Albert –

Phacelia

So many weeds, so little Thyme.
– Author Unknown –

California Poppy – there was only one of these plants in the weed patch, but the bright yellow flowers really stood out!

It’s a wildflower if you want it and a weed if you don’t.
– Author Unknown –

Lupin – these are quite common roadside flowers in the spring, but they were few and far between in the weed patch.

Same Flowers, Other Filters


How is your ‘Garden of Weedin’ doing this summer?

Lady’s Slipper Orchids

I’m not really finished my ‘Time Off Break’ – I just forgot that this post was scheduled. The timing is good though. These orchids, which grow in a rural ditch, were ready to bloom in the next few days – but the county mower came through yesterday and chopped off their heads.

I know it is probably not the best time of year to transplant them, but I picked out two small clumps and dug them out of the ditch. Hopefully they will survive in my yard! If yes, I’ll post pictures!

Photo altered with an HDR filter in Topaz Studio
Photo altered with a Fine Wine filter in Topaz Studio
Photo altered with a Contrast filter in Topaz Studio

My Story about these Alberta wildflowers is at Lady’s Slipper Orchid – No Match for the Mower

Lady’s Slipper Orchids – No Match for the Mower

Yellow Lady’s Slipper Orchids growing in the ditch opposite us. You can see our trees at the top of the photo. At the far right of the photo is the stalk of a flowering Meadow Rue.

I’ve blogged about the Lady’s Slipper Orchids several times:  Lady’s Slipper Orchid – Surprise in the Ditch and Lady’s Slipper Orchid Mimics the Old Masters. In that post, I mentioned the fate of the orchids when the county mower bears down on them.

This year the mower arrived earlier in the season than normal and chopped off the Orchid flowers before they had a chance to go to seed. It would be an understatement to say this made me very sad. I had been visiting them and taking pictures of them every morning when I went for my walk. It was while I was photographing them that I discovered the delicate flowers of a meadow rue nearby. (Also a plastic lid and a red straw, which I’ll remove once I don’t need them to accurately mark the location of the now decapitated flowers…)

I first found the Lady’s Slipper in 2011, and while I would have loved to have one growing on my property, I contented myself with visiting them in the ditch (especially since they have established a dozen or so new clumps so close to our place.) The mower changed all that. I’m going to research the probability of success if I transplant one or two of the plants onto my property…

As for the Meadow Rue – turns out I have hundreds of them in our woods, now that I know what to look for!

Plant Profile
Common Name:  Lady’s Slipper Orchid (yellow)
Scientific Name:  Cypripedium parviflorum
Hardiness:  Zones 3-7 – found in many parts of Canada and the United States. It is a hardy plant.
Growth:  A Perennial that varies in height depending on location. In the north it can often be found in open locations with full sun. In other locations it will be found in cool rich woods.
Blooms:   Large deep-yellow flowers with long yellow-to-brown corkscrew lateral petals. Blooms over a 2 to 3 week period in early to mid spring.

Arizona Wild Flowers

Spring Wild Flowers in and near McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Arizona. The challenge in taking these photos was that I only had a camera with a zoom lens and it was a breezy day. In essence, I was trying to hold the camera still while zooming in on a moving target… while watching for snakes…

Arizona
McDowell Mountain Regional Park – Mexican Gold Poppies

McDowell Mountain Park is located northeast of Phoenix, Arizona in the Sonoran Desert. Elevations in the park rise to 3,000 feet along the western boundary at the base of the McDowell Mountains.

Arizona
Mexican Gold Poppy

Eschscholzia californica ssp. mexicana – California Poppy or Mexican Gold Poppy
Golden Yellow to Orange – four petal flowers with finely dissected bluish green leaves.

Arizona
Coulter’s Lupine

Lupinus sparsiflorus – Coulter’s Lupine
An Annual with violet blue pea-like flowers that spiral – hairy, upright flower spikes. The leaves are green and narrow.

Arizona
Indian Paintbrush or Purple Owl’s Clover

Arizona

Castilleja exserta – Exserted Indian Paintbrush or Purple Owl’s Clover
An Annual with magenta flowers that have a narrow, hairy, beak-like upper lip and a broader lower lip with 3 yellow-tipped pouches.

Arizona
Brittlebush

Encelia farinosa – Brittlebush
A Perennial, Deciduous shrub with yellow flowers in branched clusters. The leaves are alternate, woolly, grayish in color, and oval to triangle-shaped. Brittlebush is valuable for rehabilitating low maintenance landscapes, critical stabilization areas, and disturbed areas such as those that have been burned.

Arizona
Gordon’s Bladderpod

Lesquerella gordonii – Gordon’s Bladderpod
In rainy years, this spring wildflower can carpet the ground with yellow flowers. The flowers have 4 rounded petals. The leaves are grayish green and covered with fuzzy hair.

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.
– Milton Friedman –

Let me tell you something that we Israelis have against Moses. He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil!
– Golda Meir –

I bought a cactus. A week later it died. And I got depressed, because I thought, Damn. I am less nurturing than a desert.
– Demetri Martin –

Right Place, Right Time

Every now and then (but not if I’m in a line-up at the store) I’m in the Right Place at the Right Time! Here are three photos to illustrate what I mean.

In 2011, I wrote a post titled Lady’s Slipper Orchids – Surprise in the Ditch. At that time, the orchids were growing in a ditch – about a 5 minute walk from us. Not a great distance, but they were easy to overlook in the tall weeds and their blooming season was short. I only saw them once again after that.

A few days ago, I was very surprised to find the pretty yellow orchids again growing in the ditch –  but this time right at the end of our driveway!

It would have been easy to miss their yellow flowers, surrounded as they were by clumps of yellow dandelions. But, they must have whispered to me… “It’s your lucky day – we’re your  neighbours now!”

I’m a Canadian ‘Snowbird’ who spends part of the winter in the USA. Last winter I went to an Estate Sale at the house next to our Arizona home. One of the items for sale was an old sewing machine in a cabinet. I ignored it – I already had a sewing machine.

The next morning, after the sale had ended, the sewing machine had been moved out to the garage, en route to who knows where. The sales agent appealed to my thriftiness by pointing out that the machine, the cabinet and a box of sewing supplies could be mine for a mere $10. Sold!

Later, when I opened the box of supplies, I found this small Canadian Flag lapel pin nestled in with the bobbins and thread. I’ll never know why the elderly American woman who owned the machine had this lapel pin, but I do know that the pin whispered to me – “This sewing machine was meant for you!”

Here is the link to my story about the Great Horned Owl Family  that has been living in a tree near the front of our house. Though we have often seen the adult owls on our property and last year I briefly glimpsed a pair of owlets, it has been a once in a lifetime event to watch three owlets ‘branch’ and eventually fledge. The owl parents really did pick the right place and the right time for us!

Do you have a ‘Right Place – Right Time’ story to share?

 

Grass, Bees, Thistles – Half a World Away in Belchen Germany

When the Internet publicity began, I remember being struck by how much the world was not the way we thought it was, that there was infinite variation in how people viewed the world.
– Eric Schmidt –

The Belchen (35 Km south of Freiburg) is a mountain in the Black Forest of Germany. The Belchen Cableway takes you up to scenic viewpoints and hiking trails.

If you do a web search for The Belchen, you will find lots of photos of the scenery, but no photos of a bee and some thistles on the grassy slopes of the flanks of the mountain. You also won’t find very many moderately funny or interesting quotations about variations. Until now…

I’ve been getting a lot of science fiction scripts which contained variations on my Star Trek character and I’ve been turning them down. I strongly feel that the next role I do, I should not be wearing spandex.
– Marina Sirtis –

Creativity varies inversely with the number of cooks involved in the broth.
– Bernice Fitz-Gibbon –

Time rushes towards us with its hospital tray of infinitely varied narcotics, even while it is preparing us for its inevitably fatal operation.
– Tennessee Williams –

No patent medicine was ever put to wider and more varied use than the Fourteenth Amendment.
– William O. Douglas –

More varied than any landscape was the landscape in the sky, with islands of gold and silver, peninsulas of apricot and rose against a background of many shades of turquoise and azure.
– Cecil Beaton –

Country people do not behave as if they think life is short; they live on the principle that it is long, and savor variations of the kind best appreciated if most days are the same.
– Edward Hoagland –

How many vacation photos have you taken that could just as easily depict something in your neighbourhood or backyard?

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Variations on a Theme.

Blue-Eyed Grass – Easily Overlooked

With tiny flowers only 1/4 inch (6mm) wide, that only open in the morning, it is easy to see why I’ve only found Blue-Eyed Grass in my Alberta yard on three occasions.

Alberta
Blue-Eyed Grass Flower

This time my transient wild flower popped up in a bed close to the garage. I just happened to pass the bed in the morning, when it was in full bloom. The flower closes tight in the afternoon, and that makes the plant almost invisible among the other grasses.

Alberta
Blue-Eyed Grass – closed flowers and beginning of seed formation
Alberta
Blue-Eyed Grass – seeds forming

Plant Profile
Common Name: Blue-Eyed Grass
Scientific Name: Sisyrinchium montanum
Native to: A perennial that grows in open meadows all across Canada; Midwestern and North Eastern U.S.A.
Growth: Loves full sun and medium to moist soil, but is drought tolerant, can grow in shady areas and is extremely resilient. Grows 10-50 cm tall.
Blooms: Purpley-blue star shaped flowers with yellow eyes; blooms from May to July.The flowers open early in the morning and close by midday
Comment: The grass like leaves are a reminder that this plant is a member of the Iris family.

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Transient.