From the Backyard Woods

1/26/17

I swear the deer have tails like dogs on this island. I've never seen tail fur expanded and so far sprawled, like an open paper fan. Three of them ran through our front yard woods this morning and we sat in awe of them before our family hike. Deer might be the most gorgeous animals in the world to me. Their fur so rich and dense in texture. It feels simultaneously soft and strong. I want to be that. 
Here are a few backyard finds from the week. We had a few rainy days which made for the perfect environment for winter fungi. Turkey tail, Chaga, Velvet Foot (Enoki), Oyster, and many others thrive through winter. These beauties grew on a dead log on our backyard and were tucked beneath a giant covering of logs like a shelter. Oysters are fan shaped, usually 2-10 inches across (5-25 cm). Often grow in a shelf-like formation with overlapping clusters. Smooth, with no warts or scales. Usually white to light brown with firm, white flesh. The gills are white, and are attached to and running down the cap and stem (decurrent). They may not have a stem. If they do it will often be stubby and off-center if the mushroom is growing on the side of a log. If it's growing on the top you will see a more well developed stem. No ring around the stem, and no sack around the base. They smell a little sweet like licorice. I had no idea that moss is preserved under the snow, through winter. Such an incredible gift to see. 

 
 

As always, never consume a mushroom you can't 100% identify. Want to know what to forage in the winter in your area? Go to https://fallingfruit.org/ A massive, collaborative map of the urban harvest uniting the efforts of foragers, freegans, and foresters around the world. Absolutely incredible! 


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