Yard Work and Mushrooms

More chestnuts than we know what to do with

More chestnuts than we know what to do with

September 28 – Early this morning we were out at the chestnut tree, looking for burrs that were starting to split, and picking them or dragging them down from higher branches with the fork on a long pole. We need early starts as the squirrels are out there too, collecting all the nuts that have fallen out of the burrs. Got a nice lot of them, and there are still quite a few that will be ready to collect. Of course those at the top of the tree are beyond reach and will all be squirrel food. Plans are to cut off a lot of the low branches so that we can get under the tree to mow without having to battle the branches. But I’m thinking that this will remove the source of many of the burrs next year, for there are a great many close to the ground. So what to do?

Hen of the Woods - before cooking

Hen of the Woods – before cooking

Hen of the Woods - after cooking

Hen of the Woods – after cooking

For breakfast this morning I had some Hen-of-the-Woods mushrooms, the first I have ever eaten. We found them in a clump on one of our trails the other day. Apparently I made the correct ID, for I still feel well this evening. Chris fried some up and I had them on buttered toast. She wouldn’t eat any. They tasted good but were pretty tough and took a lot of cutting and chewing. Maybe we had them in the fridge too long.

This is a strange looking mushroom, growing from a single center out into many fronds of grayish-brown with white undersides. I read that sometimes this mushroom will grow into a huge clump weighing close to 100 lbs.

There were a number of different kinds of mushrooms growing along that trail but none that I could identify, so I only picked this one hen. We do have several white amanitas growing in the lawn but they are strictly no-no’s.

We also went out to the yucca patch, prepared to clean things up out there, remove weeds and dead yuccas, and then trim the invading grass. We took along several tools and appliances to simplify the process. I found out that the heavy, long-handled tool our son got us years ago was not the right one for this job, so we ended up with a small axe. Since this patch is on a steep bank, working among the plants is a bit hazardous! After removing several dead yuccas, I found myself in need of a rest and went off to sit a bit, leaving industrious Chris to continue the job. All in all, I carted away about three wheelbarrow loads of trash and then we decided we ought to do something less strenuous.

Aminitas - we DIDN'T try these

Aminitas – we DIDN’T try eating these

This turned out to be pulling up our dead tomato plants and taking away the cages they had grown up in. This was easier than in past years, for this year I did not drive in any old pipes next to each cage to support it against any strong winds. The plants were actually too close together, and held each other up but also made it a bit difficult to go down the rows to collect the tomatoes. I have been instructed to plant them farther apart next year.

We got to see the lunar eclipse last evening, very clearly in all its stages. Chris tried to photograph it but couldn’t hold the camera steady enough, so she asked me to try it. I had the same problem, even when I got out a tripod and struggled with that but had trouble getting the legs in the right position. The best shots of that moon were made from our TV screen! The next eclipse of a blood moon will be in 2033, and maybe we’ll have better cameras and tripods to use by then. Will have to see about getting some soon! – DALE

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