My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Friday, June 27, 2014

SkyWatch Friday: Thunderstorms & Toadstools

I've only got a couple of sky photos from this week, so I thought I'd also toss in a couple of photos of some very weird mushroom/toadstool interlopers I found in our front flower bed this morning and see if anyone out there might help me identify them. I've never seen anything like them growing here before, and they seemed to spring up out of nowhere during our overnight thunderstorms (magic mushrooms, maybe?) Anyway, I thought "Thunderstorms and Toadstools" was a much nicer title than "Mushroom Clouds," though I confess that was the first title that popped into my head! :-)

It's been a week of unsettled weather, to say the least, and unusually humid for our usually dry climate. I took this first photo Wednesday evening as the sun was going down behind the mounting storm clouds - I thought the contrast of the dark clouds against the sunlit blue sky was striking. I suppose those three white streaks of varying widths are crepuscular rays, but they didn't look like any sunbeams I'd ever seen before...

After several days of flirting with and skirting our area (but wreaking havoc in neighboring ones, as well as with my sinuses!), last evening the thunderstorms got down to business. We were surrounded by severe thunderstorms that were trouncing those in their path with large hail, high winds, heavy rains, and a lot of lightning, and we were under a severe thunderstorm watch all evening. I'm sure it was thanks to the fact that BW and I ran our Defcon 5 Storm Drill late that afternoon - bringing everything inside that wasn't actually rooted in the soil - that all we ended up getting were some breezes, gentle rain, enough thunder to make our dog Tess nervous, and an amazing lightning show in every direction. Oh, and these very ominous skies...

The little white specks are raindrops, lit up by my camera's flash

Hey, it's Friday. There are skies. You know the drill… 

Now about those toadstools. There were about half a dozen of them hiding beneath the foliage of one of our violas and one of our bergamot plants. They were growing at the very base of the plants, in a couple of cases so entwined with the plant stems and roots that it was hard to extricate them without digging up part of the flowers. I was just weeding the flower bed yesterday and swear they weren't there then! 

Here are the two largest ones, which measured about 3" tall and a little over 4" wide...

Shown with one of my beloved Merrell Mix Master Glides for scale! :-)

And here is what their stems and gills look like (you can see a stem of the bergamot plant, whose roots were entwined with the toadstool)... 

So, anyone know which agaric (gilled mushroom) these might be? I tossed them, of course, but it would be a shame if it turned out they were edible, especially since we're planning to make this for dinner tomorrow! :-)

Have a great weekend, everyone, and Happy Canada Day to our neighbors to the north on Tuesday, eh? 


  1. Love your skies. Moody and dramatic. And fortunately relatively gentle where you were concerned at least.
    Also a fan of the (to me) nameless funghi. And that recipe - which I may have to test drive.

    1. They were definitely dramatic! We were relieved they were mostly just showing off and never got as vicious as they looked while they were over our heads!

      That recipe is one that our vegan friend Pam plucked from my Recipes to Try board on Pinterest, made, and shared with us. We both agreed it was lacking something, but had potential! I plan to make mine with somewhat different ingredients (like soy milk instead of rice milk and cannellini instead of the beans she used which I've now forgotten!), and we'll see how it goes!

  2. Gorgeous sky captures and the toadstools look huge. Have a happy weekend!

    1. Thanks, I especially liked the stormy sky, lots of drama there - just wish I could have caught some of the lightning!

      The mushrooms were large, but my shoes aren't THAT big. LOL

  3. I'm no help when it comes to the mushrooms. We've been getting more than usual here lately, along with a lot of humidity (80% today with temps in the upper 60's). The alfredo looks really good with the added mushrooms!

    Those storm clouds look extremely ominous. How strange that it was so anti-climatic! Poor Tess, Sophie can relate to how she feels about thunder. I really love the first picture. The colors are beautiful and the result of it all is quite striking!

    1. We mowed our yard today, and I "harvested" a record number of toadstools (which wasn't nearly as high as the number I left behind!) And there have been other very weird fungi growing in our front flower bed, and little bugs that have eaten our kale to a nub and wreaked havoc on our basil (our first year for kale, but last year we had a gorgeous crop of basil - makes me sick!) It's been a strange June, and it's ending oddly - tomorrow is supposed to be windy and 66º for a high, but it's predicted to be 90º by Friday. That's quite a difference in less than one week.

      The alfredo was really good, and even better the next day!

      I know, we get storm clouds that look like the End Times® (lol), but barely even spit on us or make the flags flutter. Then we'll have wimpy clouds that will try to kill us all. Strange it's Sophie who is afraid of thunder (it never occurred to me that cats might be affected that way!), I would have guessed Rowan would be the one. I'm glad you like that first photo, sometimes the pictures don't turn out nearly as dramatic as the sky actually looked, and this was one of those but it came closer than I'd thought it might! I do love the color contrasts!

  4. Amazing sky shot! And some cool toadstools too.

    1. Thanks, and yes they were - high-end furniture for toads, I'd guess. (If we had toads here!) :-)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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