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flora, fungi and fowla

October 17, 2011

Fall is definitely in the air and everywhere else here.  We just had the first frost of

the season.  Saturday we went mushroom hunting with our friends Fred and Sheri.

Here’s our haul, 16+ pounds of chanterelles:

  

 

Jude insisted that the take would be even more impressive spread out on a counter

top, then insisted that her arm be used for perspective.  She had hidden all the beer

bottles that I usually employ to show size, much to the dismay of Fred and me.  

               

 

Sunday Jude was running out of space to dry the amaranth she’d just harvested, so

she insisted on hanging some from the ceiling fan near the TV, assuring me that it

wouldn’t block my view of the World Series or the LSU-Alabama game. She’s getting

getting pushier and pushier as I weaken from age.

 

 

She also used the dining room table to dry sunflower seeds, but I was fine with that.

           

 

Although amaranth and sunflowers definitely belong in the plant kingdom, mush-

rooms are such distant cousins that they fall into the fungi kingdom. Fungi actually

are closer to the animal kingdom on a molecular basis.  Ethnobotanist/philosopher

Terence McKenna believed that one species of ‘shrooms, Psilocybe cubensis, is

from another planet, here to educate us.

 

I’m starting to believe that chickens might also be from outer space here to educate

us.  They at least deserve their own kingdom, or queendom.  Besides their standard

duties of pest eradication, weed control, garden aeration, egg production and comic

relief, their social structure is fascinating.

 

Since the death of Sweetie/Houdina, her five surviving sisters have reframed the

pecking order.  Ma was the outcast, so often the victim of dust-ups with the others

that she wouldn’t roost with them at night.  Now she’s in their good graces.  Last 

night at coop closure, she was next to Brenda, the head hen.

 

S/H was a reliable egger.  She even laid one as she was strangling in the netting.

After her untimely demise, we got a consistent four a day.  We think Ma was likely

the one holding back.  Yesterday we had four eggs when we let the girls out for the

day, and another three when we put them up.  I’m glad they worked things out.

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