The last few weeks have been difficult in the garden as relentless rain and cloudy skies have kept everything damp and difficult to work on. Grass can’t be cut, leaves raked, and any activities are a damp and depressing mess. While this weather is lousy for people, it is great for mushrooms as has been evidenced by the plantations of these slimy fungi (or are they animals now?) that have sprouted all over my property. Initially it appeared that just a few mushrooms were emerging from the detritus in the woods. But soon the spores of last year, which were plentiful, were rearing their gilled heads not just in the lightly trampled woods, but in my lawn, sides of the house, old stumps, etc.
Every day a new set of fungi popped up and mostly was consumed within a day or two. I hoped that the carcasses of deer, woodchucks, chipmunks, squirrels, etc. would litter my back yard. Or even better they would crawl back into their lairs and die a poisonous death. And perhaps they did. But there is no sign of that as the chipmunks assault my bird feeders daily and the deer romp around my fence.
What I can’t figure is how they know what to eat. I mean they don’t have any mushroom identification books. How can they tell a Death Cap verses Field Mushroom verses a Morel? (OK that is an easy comparison, but come on we are talking about rodents.)
Each day a new gelatinous mass erupts and I do my best to keep my granddaughter from grabbing a handful of whatever is coming up.
Mushrooms are one of the last surprises to crop up in the garden. Their emergence in the Fall is a reminder to me that as the days get short, there are fewer things to harvest and the time is near where my garden will bed down and I retreat to a book and warm fire for a long period of time.