10.21.2013

Magical Nature Walk + a Fungi Look & Find

It always amazes me how an ordinary walk through the woods transforms through the eyes of a child. On a short hike along a familiar trail this weekend, my children found this "woodland fellow":
...added to this "stick sculpture" (which has been there for some time now):
...and discovered "magical sand rocks," which were crumbled and sprinkled over many a plant and tree, giving them magical growing powers, among others:
With so much magic around us, it was no wonder we spotted an abundance of mushrooms, too! We found this familiar fungi all over the forest, along with some beautiful moss (not a fungus) and lichens (a combo of fungus and alga):
Fall is a great time to spot mushrooms, as seasonal rains and moderate temperatures allow a great diversity of these unique organisms to pop up right now. We only took pictures on our walk; however we dug up a couple of mushrooms growing in our backyard garden to make a "spore print" when we got home.
{This particular shroom didn't leave much of a print, so we'll be on a the lookout for a different type to try again.}
 
Try It!
Remove the stem of a fresh mushroom & place the cap, gills-down, on a sheet of white paper. Place a glass upside-down on top of the mushroom, to keep air currents away. Let it sit for at least overnight, then remove the glass and lift the mushroom cap. You should have a "print" that reflects the pattern of the mushroom's gills or pores. Spore prints can be useful in identifying mushrooms, but are also quite beautiful. To preserve your print, spray it with an acrylic fixative.


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