Dampness Brings Fungi and Fallen Trees

The summer drought has broken, and it’s rained three weeks in a row. The tanks are full and the ground is saturated. Plus, lawns all over the area are sprouting mushrooms. Lots of them are those somewhat poisonous ones I wrote about in July. But, if you keep looking, you’ll find many others.

Today, Mandi and I have been hanging out a bit on the porch at our office in Cameron. I have found a lot of interesting things to photograph there, and I’ll be sad to no longer have my office there after this month. But, not to worry, we will still own the place, and will have good friends living there who like nature as much as I do!

deadtree
It just fell down. And though it was not in a forest, no one heard.

Anyway, less than an hour after we were last on the porch, Mandi shouted, “Sue Ann, come look at this!” I ran over, camera in hand, of course. Well, look at that! The very dead tree that we’d been meaning to cut down had broken off at the ground and fallen. I guess it won’t turn into a woodpecker house now! It fell pretty hard, and one branch dug into the dirt. We didn’t hear it, though.

This kind of thing is common after a drought period. The soil loosens up around dead trees, then when it gets all moist, the tree easily topples.

fun2
A very small mushroom.

As we were standing around, we continued to marvel at all the mushrooms and other fungi that have been popping up. The tiny fellow above also has a tiny worm buddy, but I cropped it out. Oops. You see so much if you look way down, though!

fun1
I could look at this stuff all day. Maybe I need to needlepoint it.

The best source of fascinating fungi are the trees. The house is old, and the original trees that the owners had planted are either dead or dying. This beautiful false turkey tail (which is what I’m calling it until told otherwise) is on the tree that got cut down to about 8 feet up, and has sent out suckers. It’s the one with a possum nest in it. Ain’t life grand?

fun4
I’d never seen this one before. When you look at it, does it appear to be brains or coral?

And these extremely cool ones that look like coral, I believe are called brittle cinder, and should turn gray later. Right now they look like brains. Really pretty in person, though. They are growing on our wonderful, ancient stump. We’ve been watching it as it decomposes the past few years. There is always something interesting helping break it down, like liriope, painted leaf, and other adventurous green plants from nearby.

fun3
Too bad these are so blurry. Still, I like the name of deceiver. If, in fact that IS what mushroom these are. I am not the best at this, at least yet!

And these little deceiver mushrooms are part of the gang, too! They are another small, nondescript one.

Not shown are the two other types of mushrooms currently on the old stump, which are the parasol mushrooms from the lawn, and some other skinny, rather slimy one that has apparently sent off its spores and is going back into the humus from which it came. That’s a lot for one former tree. It’s still supporting life!

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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