Monarch Caterpillar

Monarch Caterpillar

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Lots of rain leads to lots of mushrooms

Our summer started off wet and cool and seems like it might end that way as well. But, with lots of wet weather comes an increase in the number of fungus that can be spotted in yards, along trails and growing on trees. Some of my favorites from this summer:
Tremella reticulata
I picked these today while out running as I did not have a camera along and really wanted to know what they were. The larger of the two specimens is about three inches around and was growing on the root (or adjacent to) of a birch. The other specimen is made up of two branches each a couple of inches long and was found near a different species of hardwood. They were all over the place alongside the Superior Hiking Trail off of Beck's Rd.
Tremella reticulata or White Coral Jelly Fungus
Seen on hikes earlier this summer:

Sac Fungi

Phyllotus porrigens - Angel's Wings (?)

Underside of Angel's Wings

Itsy bitsy sac fungi found in the soils adjacent to Mission Creek.
The fungus pictured above and below was growing in one of the slumped areas along Mission Creek. This was one of the hardest hit areas in the 2012 flood. I found these along the area that was rehabbed to become part of the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon and Minnesota Voyageur Trail Ultra course in the Fond du Lac neighborhood.
Smaller then the tip of my finger, that's a pine needle in upper right corner. 

As you may be able to guess I am rather fascinated with tiny mushrooms. The two above were found growing in a bed of moss.

 The group below are such a great red color.

I found these growing next to the lilac in my front yard while doing some yard work.
Xylaria sp?, possibly Xylaria polymorphs or Dead Man's Fingers (Sac fungi)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Walk Along 210

I volunteered at the Voyageur's Revenge mountain bike race today. The temperatures dropped steadily throughout the day, making it a cold day for spectating, but great for the racers. I was posted about 1.5 miles up Hwy 210 where racers left the trail on the south side of 210, rode for a short time on the pavement, and then crossed back into the trails on the north side. 

After the various races were over I opted to walk back down the highway and took a few photos along the way:
Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)

Close up of the flower.

Including flower spikes and leaves.

Coreopsis species (C. lanceolata?)

Coreopsis species (C. Lanceolata?)
By the time the races were over the temperature had dropped into the mid 50's. Cold enough to cause the bees to be a lot easier to photograph then normal.

Cold bee on thistle

The new Mission Creek mountain bike trails look like a lot of fun to ride and I anticipate heading out there soon for a little two wheeled exploring. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Almost Summer

But you could fool us here on the edge of Lake Superior. Well, other then the swarms of mosquitoes.

Weather has remained cool and wet leading to trails that are rapidly becoming too saturated for (ethical) use. And just after they become useable once the frost left them!

Wildflowers are blooming which leads to great discoveries on any outing on the trails.
Clintonia/Bluebead Lily/Corn Lily

Mayflower/Wild Lily-of-the-Valley

Apologies to Rick and Wayne for misidentifying this one yesterday:
Rosybells/Rose Twisted Stalk
 Still need to key this one out as I am not familiar with it:

Strawberry species

 I haven't properly keyed this one out yet either, but know it's general identity:
Wild Pea or Vetch or Vetchling


Viola species

Sarsaparilla species - flowers are beginning to fade
 Another unknown. Widespread along the Carlton Trail

Pale Corydalis

Large-flowered Trillium
 Large-flowered Trillium as it ages:

Nodding Trillium


Yellow Ladyslippers

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Free to Good Home and the results of a nice day

Cleaned out under the porch yesterday, gaining access to my walk out basement and opening up space for the mower, bicycles and garden supplies to be stored out of the weather. In the process I found a few items that need new owners:

Porch swing, still solid just needs a place to hang.
Edit: swing has gone to a new home

Hand crank ice cream maker, in rough shape, maybe leaks. Off to the dump in two days if not claimed.
Edit: ice cream maker has been disposed of.

Bike rack - works well on the back of sedans and hatchbacks. Can hold two bikes. 
Free to good home - you transport.

The magnolia blossoms really enjoyed the warm temps and opened wide:

 I took a break from cleaning out the area under our porch and mowing the lawn to explore the woods below our house (I had spied something blooming as I drove by and wanted to find out what it was). As I followed deer paths downhill I came across this:
Rope swing
I had completely forgotten our girls had a fort down there when they were little! Next to the swing was an old foot stool/table and an odd shaped bucket we had found somewhere and given to them to use. I put the bucket to good use after stumbling across one of the many dump sites that litter our hillside (there used to be a lot more homes in the area and folks just piled their garbage "out back").

Five unbroken, vintage glass bottles. The tall one on the left has "Duluth Bottling" embossed in the glass.
The white flowers I had seen near an exposed outcrop of rock were a mustard species. There was also evidence of a large area of Lily-of-the-valley (more proof of old home sites). On the way back up the hill I passed through the area that is used for garden/yard waste by our neighborhood and found this in bloom:

Phlox species? 

 In the afternoon I took a break from household chores to go for a nice 12 mile pedal on the Munger Trail. It was warm at our house, tucked into the hillside but very cool down at the Lake. The Munger starts in West Duluth, near the bay and so receives some influence from the winds off of Lake Superior (currently blowing over at least a mile of ice). As we rode inland the temperature kept rising and by the time we reached the Ely's Peak area it was in the upper 70's , maybe even 80 F. It felt nice to drop back down to the cooler temps on the ride back.

The Munger Trail is lined with Large-flowered trillium and Large-flowered bellwort right now (both species easily identified while riding a bike). I regretted not bringing a camera along, although I think Mr. Wildknits was grateful as it meant no stops.

After the ride I switched into running clothes and headed up hill to the Piedmont trailhead for my first run in two weeks (not counting a short excursion last Saturday that was less then a mile and proved I was not ready for running yet). My friend Sam and her dog Cedar came along as well. It was a nice outing on some hilly, technical trail and was proof that the stubborn muscle issue I have been dealing with for the past three weeks is finally on the mend.

I am off to play outdoors again today while the sun is still shining!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Yard flowers, and a little excursion up north

Spring continues to proceed along the north shore. With a few warm days, and the ice retreating further and further on the big Lake, the land is starting to respond. Hillsides are washed with a haze of green and if you look close, plants are emerging and flowers are beginning to bloom. 

Last weekend I spent Friday - Sunday in the Lutsen/Grand Marias area. While my day didn't go as planned I had a relaxing trip and quality time with my running family. 

Scenes from Palisade Head:
Appears the local Peregrine falcons had lunch atop the cliffs.

Look closely, do you see the pollen trapped on the spider web?

In my yard the rhubarb is rapidly getting larger, with one clump almost at harvest stage. And our magnolia is blooming!

I love the subtle hint of pink.

 I noticed while scoping out my overgrown flower beds that the Mertensia (Virginia Bluebells) are also blooming:

And one of my favorite spring ephemerals - Wild Ginger (which is technically in my neighbors yard):

These little violets make it hard to contemplate mowing. Maybe if I take on the task I can work around them? Though they are located on one, of many, difficult slopes in the yard.

The hops are up! And almost two feet tall already. I don't think they had even emerged last week.

Birds continue to arrive in the yard, some just passing through on their way further north. We had a pair of Red-breasted Grosbeaks for a few days and the Goldfinches continue to stick around. Various sparrows are about including White-throated sparrows and Song sparrows. A Blackburnian warbler was spied on the trail above my house (spur to the Superior Hiking Trail). There is a Northern Mockingbird in the neighborhood and I also noticed our Catbird flitting about.

With a bit more time on my hands I have made some good progress on the sweater I am designing and knitting. I have about four inches of the body completed with currently 288 stitches on the needle. I am working my way up from the bottom edge and will be increasing to 318 sts by the time I reach the armholes. As I work I am writing out (and developing) the pattern, with hopes of having something publishable by the end.