Fall Shrooms and a Feral Cat

I was putzing around our woods today and came across this solitary, lovely mushroom.  I can’t be sure what type it is – largely because I left most of my field guides in the library at the bird observatory.  Another reason for a road trip in the spring..

But, I did spend some time trying to find it on the internet, and my best guess, just by looking at photographs, is that it is one of the ‘shaggy mane’ species – but who knows for sure?

I was taught by a botanist a long time ago that sometimes, the only way to really identify fungi is by their spores. I’m sure that’s not the case with every species, but there are so many that look alike. Birds are infinitely easier.

The cap of this mushroom looks very Halloweenish – like layers of cheesecloth or spider webbing or something.  The black ring around the bottom is a nice touch.  I’ll check on this one tomorrow and see if it opens up flat or stays the way it is.

I also came across these little cuites, attached to a rotting log. They were on the other side of our dog fence, so I didn’t get any closer, but at first they looked sort of puff-bally (that is too a word) but when I looked closer, a few of them do have very short, stocky stems.  No clue on these.

In other news, we seemed to have acquired a feral cat.  She won’t allow us to pet her, though we did manage to drop some flea repellent on her shoulders one day while she was eating. She laced into us both with those lightning-quick front claws, so we’re calling her Lacey.  We’re assuming she’s pregnant, being a feral female calico in a neighborhood with several feral males running around.  What are the chances?

We’ve made a place for her to sleep in our backyard shed, and we’re hoping that eventually she will become trusting enough that we can catch her (and any forthcoming kittens) without being sliced to bits.  She wanted to come with me today and had a good time climbing trees and running circles around me, so we’re making progress. We’ll have her spayed if we’re successful in gaining her trust. 

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