Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Delta Clearwater

We did a quick overnight trip on the Delta Clearwater. We had to take advantage of two whole days without rain! Cousin B., Luna and Fromage in the canoe.

Eero in the little yellow kayak....

The Clearwater on a clear sky evening. So beautiful and peaceful....except for that I was starving.

Camp Irving at the 100 year old trappers cabin. Since first seeing this cabin four years ago, I have wanted to stay the night there. Cousin B and Fromage slept in tents....I stayed inside.

The interior. A little worse for wear, but like me, it cleaned up good! I slept on the cot nearest the barrel stove. I woke up during the night and saw the flicker of firelight playing on the cabin walls and felt total contentment. I am not a woman who needs 5-star hotels and any kind of luxury to be happy. Give me an old cabin and a woodstove....and lots of food.

The modern world was here, regardless! Cousin B got cell/internet on his iphone and sent emails. Yes, he found it ironic, too.

Cousin B caught a beautiful grayling right at the size limit. We wanted to put salt and pepper on it before baking it....but alas, no spices in the cabin. We did have Salt & Pepper potato chips however! We crushed some and stuffed the fish. Risky move, but it tasted great.

The grayling, deshabille.

Next day, in the opaque waters of the Tanana River. A faster current here...

Fromage and Luna back at home, tired from the adventure.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mushroom Hunting: Part 2

A spore print from the cap of an agaric with white spores. I set it overnight---very beautiful!

I found this beautiful lichen today...

....and look at the intricacy of it's sexy bits!

I met some really interesting folks in my class: Ana, an oceanographer, studying a new find.

This is Mark with an 'artist's conk.'
He's studing biology at University on the GI Bill.
(This picture doesn't do him justice...I think he's something like 6' 4".)

A great fungal infection (?) in a birch. Apparently, there is a type of fungal growth like this which is highly sought after. It is dried and powdered, then sold as a tea in Asian markets. One learns so many interesting things in fungi class....

Our teacher, Dr. Gary Laursen.
A really brillant and funny person!
He is one of those teachers that can make any and every class a good one.

Someone in my class was being a smartass with their collection.....too funny.

Mushroom Hunting: Part 1

I'm taking a weekend Mycology class: Mushroom taxonomy and identification! We spend two days out in the woods mushroom hunting. I brought my snares, spears and bucknife. Haha! No, really, I geared up for rain and more rain and took along a big woven basket to collect the fungal booty. It is a real thrill to mushroom hunt all kinds of fungi forms: agarics and polypores and slime molds, oh my! Above, the hunting grounds....

My instructor is Dr. Laursen, a very well known mycologist. He is a fantastic teacher and so ethusiastic about his love of fungi. On the first day of class he told us that we'll "pick mushrooms and handle them and smell them and play with them and roll in them!" He makes great jokes, like when discussing the so called "sexless fungi" and what a total bummer that is for them. Dr. L was actually my high school biology teacher and I am so thrilled to see him again! He's only gotten better with age.

One little sweet dude I collected, an agaric, or gilled mushroom. I took along my Canon Powershot A2000. I just got this camera in June before our big biycle tour, and I'm realizing it's limitations. I think it's predecessor, the Powershot A95 was just a better camera, overall. For the 2000, getting it to do the right thing in Macro mode is frustrating.....

A wee coprolitic fungi: one that grows in dung! Interesting note---apparently many of the psychotropic 'shrooms are dung-dwellers.... In this photo: moose nuggets.

Beautiful fungi growing on a birch trunk. I only took a small piece of this growth. I didn't wan't to disturb the beautiful overall form! This has GOT to go in a painting, someday....

Tiny little guys in the leaf litter. These dudes are the decomposers of the forest floor.

Back at school, our combined collections laid out. With Dr. Laursen's guidance, we separated everything into family and genus. Most of what we had were agarics, and we further separated those by spore color. We made spore prints and agar cultures from sterilized chunks of mushroom cap. Very nifty stuff!
Today, it's back out in the field. Our hunting ground is a camp about 30 miles out of town. It's been raining nonstop for a week! Excellent mushroom weather.

An altered shot of the collection papers. You know, I can make art with ANYTHING.