Groundhogs and orange peels

First the unsurprising news: Lockdown continues to be a drag and I am not enjoying it much. I had the very creepy feeling of “wait, didn’t I buy those a couple of weeks ago?” in the shops the other day looking at Easter eggs; never has the sensation that my sense of time and where I am in it are still mentally centered around last spring been so strong. The days progress, trudging their terrible sameness into a muck of no news, no desire to communicate, lots of umms and ahhs trying to make conversation on the phone to my parents since I can’t go to see them. My brain resists and is grumbly and irritable, it has an occasional flash of irritation being on the same walk looking at the same things but that’s nothing like the huge wave of bleagh that is sitting at the same computer, in the same chair, in the same kitchen with the same distressing lack of the appearance of exciting snacks in the fridge. It’s not boredom, I luckily don’t really don’t get bored, it’s just the sense of being stuck in endless groundhog, too busy in work to properly attach to a new interest or improve an old one for better internal brain wallpaper. It’s the sameness that’s stifling, even in my mushroom and forest world while I am delighted with my finds I can’t work up enthusiasm to share them because, well, hasn’t everyone already seen these things a trillion times, what’s the point? I clearly need to just do stuff anyway, because I will drive myself mad if I don’t stop concentrating on the idea that I’m locked out of the places I want to be.

So. Yes. There are walks I find cool and interesting (at least to me) things. Birds still flit and flutter, water seeps and trickles, pebbles crunch, branches sway and whisper. It’s all still wonderful. I had intended on trying to write up the various mushrooms I have come across as individual posts but apparently I can’t do that without a bit of an old whine these days 🙂 Let me see what I can talk about today then.

On a recent walk I thought I spotted some orange peel fungus. It turned out to actually be some frosted orange peel. I think I mentioned before that I suspect I have been ignoring orange peel fungi for a long time, precisely because of the assumption it was the result of casual, if biodegradable, littering. I have found some on this particular walk a few times so I wasn’t *completely* mad to have jumped to the conclusion. This is what it looks like (forgive photo quality)

Scientific NameAleuria aurantia
SeasonAugust to November, I’ve found them in December.
CapDoesn’t have a cap per se, they grow like discarded curls of orange peel. I’m told they can be flat but I’ve not seen it.
Undersidea bit paler, no visible pores, gills or teeth.
StemThere isn’t really a stem, just a thicker area where it began to fruit from.
Spores White (but I didn’t do a spore print so I don’t have a photo) and they come from the top of the fungus.
EdibilityYes, apparently quite nice too. I’ve not seen enough of them to feel like I could nab one to taste it yet, and don’t like taking mushrooms that could provide with plenty for everyone later. Nice and easy to identify too.

Other things I’ve been noticing along the way: Ice, one of my favourite things about this time of year, but which tends to not cooperate with photos. I passed a green field and was a bit confused as to why there was a weird white lumpy mass sitting in the middle of the grass away from the gate. It taunted me, just out of clear sight, across a crusted with ice, but still largely unattractively muddy patch. Turned out – after some unbecoming and distinctly undignified wriggling through the gate – to be a discovery of a mini crystalline stronghold for a micro superhero. Or, you know, some ice that formed around grass and twigs that were being constantly lightly misted with water from a hose pipe to an animal feeder that has a small leak in it. Behold! (and some general ice loveliness on puddles. )

I love the tiny troll ice clubs the grass turned into.

The wood I visit usually bookends one end of a boardwalk across the bog, and in this gloriously frosty weather we get sphagnum really luxuriating in redness. I also spotted a gorgeously cute little outcrop of devil’s matchsticks on a decaying part of the boardwalk itself. This is cutest form of the cladonia lichen (Cladonia floerkeana ) with the fronds? branches? tipped with little red caps, known as ‘podetia’. Like all lichens, the Devil’s matchstick is actually fungus and algae in a symbiotic relationship, which amuses me since I was watching Venom last night.

Oh and there was this mushroom pretending to be a flower. I don’t know what it is yet but it is incredibly cute

And an absolutely stupid amount of birch polypores, but that is a post for an other time.

Okay I don’t feel quite so stuck now. Yay for remembering I have a blog, etc.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. You, my dear, are one of the coolest people I know and when this plague has passed I’m spending more time face to face with you. Unless you kick me out, you’re obviously entitled to do that if I get too irritating.


    1. theoreadexpress says:



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.