Amphibian Angst

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This red-spotted newt was a reluctant participant yesterday as the thunder rumbled closer and closer.He appeared under the same cluster of Jack'oLantern mushrooms I showed you a few days ago--with another amphibian hiding therein.But to create the shot I wanted, I had to stage the orange vertebrate over and over on the fading orange mushroom and hope to stop the blur of his motion.What I notice looking at the full resolution image is that the tiny black spots that adorn these creatures so familiar to … Continue Reading ››

Meet the Shrooms: A Forest Family

Purple-gilled Laccaria (Laccaria ochropurpurea)
Purple-gilled Laccaria (Laccaria ochropurpurea)
Meet the Shrooms--a couple and their small child (in the middle) that we encountered on the Middle Path after this week's welcome rains.She, gesticulating on the right seems to be pleading with him, on the left, to blahblahblah, while he seems to be...Sorry. Woodland Whimsy strikes the already-deranged and cloistered Forested Firsts.

Fungal Fancy

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We did not get out to view the bioluminescence of this cluster of Jack'o'lantern mushrooms last night due to the much-needed rain.It is raining still. And the [ look carefully ] unknown salamander, I suppose, is happy as a pig in mud, sheltered from fat drops and hungry would-be predators on its perch under the large orange fungal umbrella.This mushroom is (apparently often) mistaken for delicious edible orange chanterelles, but only by those who don't bother to … Continue Reading ››

Through the Looking Glass: A $1 Paper Microscope

foldscope900I heard an interview with the inventor on NPR last week and had to pull over to jot down the term "fold scope" lest I forget. I really don't think I would have forgotten after all, since this fellow from Stanford is not only a mechanical genius, but also expressed in his NPR interview that kind of science-education hopes that resonate with me.And above all, he holds great stock in the role that curiosity and discovery must play in our lives as science-and-nature literate citizens of a planet that could be … Continue Reading ››

Faceless Nature: a Familiar Lament

Child’s Play: Holding the World in the Palm of Her Hands
What they hold in their hands today--iPod or millipede--can make all the difference in where their center of importance will be in their adult lives.
Some Fragments readers might have read my Facebook post last week, where I expressed no surprise but disappointment that a nature hike was offered at the County Fair, and response was predictably underwhelming.Some might have thought I was whining out of bruised ego that my offered time was ignored. But no. What lies at … Continue Reading ››
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Photos and Front Porch Musing from Floyd County Virginia