Shroooommmsss!

While bringing food out to the Pump Shack kitten this morning, something in the trees nearby caught my eye.

Some of the biggest tree mushrooms I’ve ever seen have shown up in just the past day or so!

They are bigger than my hand.

As I continued my rounds this morning, I kept an eye out. With the rain we’ve been having lately, I found quite a few more.

Some were quite high up, but large enough to spot quite easily. Others were hidden in holes in trees, but still large enough that I could spot them from below, even when high enough that I had to really stretch to get a photo!

Even another of the maple logs has sprouted a bunch!

These mushrooms are all growing only on maples. None on the elms, spruces, willows, etc. Just maples.

Except this one.

I almost missed it at first, thinking it was a pebble! The stump it is growing on is from an old spruce tree. This mushroom might be a puff ball mushroom. I haven’t seen one of those in many years! I used to see them quite often in one particular area, when I was a kid. My later brother and I used to have a blast, finding the ones that were ready to spawn and stomping on them, causing them to explode in clouds of spawn that would drift away.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this one to see if it really is a puff ball. I hope so.

The Re-Farmer

Prepping the old dog houses

Yesterday, after picking the crab apples, I had time to start working on the old dog houses, as part of our winterization plans for them. We were getting severe thunderstorm alerts and, looking at the weather radar, it looked like these ones were not going to miss us, so we rushed to get a bunch of things done outside. The girls put the sheets of metal roofing back on the old garden shed that had blown off from the last storm, but there was no way to nail them in place, so they strapped them down, instead. Then they helped me move aside the dog houses, so I could work on the space under them.

The main issue was that the ground is not level, resulting in one of the dog houses tending to rock back and forth.

This was part of why that was happening.

Nothing like a big ol’ tree root to mess things up!

To try and level it, I first used a garden fork to dig things up and loosen the soil. After that, I used a garden rake to try and level the area as much as I could.

Which the kittens absolutely loved.

I then put the sheets of Styrofoam insulation back, but lay them out differently this time, after noting some issues from how we had it before.

I happened to have a sheet of dollar store tarp in the garage, so I used it to basically hold the 4 sheets of insulation together – and I hope it will serve to protect it a bit from the cats, who like to use the foam to sharpen their claws! LOL

Then I snagged a daughter to help me move the dog houses back again.

The kittens love it!

I have a couple more sheets of insulation that I plan to slide under the dog houses, so the kittens aren’t going to be able to play under there for much longer. 😀 Later, when we get a straw bale to cover our septic tank, I plan to add start around the dog houses. We are also looking at ways to use the sheets of black tarp that I cleared from the old wood pile to further shelter and winterize these for the cats.

Not long after this was done, we did get hit with a pretty wild thunderstorm. We promptly lost our internet, and even the power flickered off and on several times, though we never lost it completely. I later saw photos taken in town, where there was some flooding in the streets.

Looking at the long range forecasts, we might get storms throughout tomorrow and into early the next morning, before things clear up. We’ve had enough rain that I might actually have to mow the lawn one more time before putting the mower away for the winter!

The Re-Farmer

Crab apple picking

Catching up on stuff that I intended to post about yesterday…

I finally got a chance to pick some crab apples.

I had help.

It was starting to get pretty late in the season to pick these. A lot were already on the ground, other had signs of being eaten by birds. There were some I could not safely reach, even with the ladder, but that’s okay. The birds will enjoy them.

The one tree that was giving larger, sweeter apples this year resulted in about 2 1/2 gallon buckets of apples.

There is one other tree that had larger, sweeter apples last year. Though the apples are much smaller this year, there are lots of them. When I do my rounds, I have been tasting them. As the season progressed, the apples on this tree did start to develop that sweet-tart taste crab apples are known for. There are a couple of other trees with lots of apples on them, but they are pretty… unpleasant.

I decided to pick some from the one tree with good apples. Just a bucket full, I figured. So I dragged the ladder over and went to set it up under the most apple laden branches.

There… weren’t any?

These apples have been getting a very deep red as the season progressed, and there had been lots of them, but suddenly, there were hardly any at all.

Of course, my first thought was to check the ground, to see how many had fallen, but the ground was clear of fallen apples.

I finally went to pick some. Most were already too far gone and starting to rot at the stems. This is all I got.

Barely enough to cover the bottom of the bucket!

You can see one with a hole at the stem that I accidentally picked. Most of the remaining apples I saw had much larger holes like that.

I am guessing that the apples were eaten by something. I’m good with feeding critters. What I found interesting, though, is that it was just this one tree. There are trees on either side of this one that are full of apples, and I can see apples on the ground beneath them.

I guess whatever has been eating the apples from this tree found it tastier than the others, too!

Anyhow.

For the larger amount of apples, I am planning to make jelly. For the smaller amount, I’m going to try making apple cider vinegar.

We shall see how they turn out! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Critter of the Day: photogenic

My critter pictures have finally reached September. We’ve been taking far few pictures of late; the action outside our living room window has dropped significantly. I expect it to pick up later in the fall, when our winter birds return, and the deer start coming back to the feeding station. 🙂

This picture was taken on Sept. 1. That morning, Creamsicle posed quite nicely for us. 🙂

Such a big handsome boy he’s growing up to be! I love the little orange bits on either side of his nose. 🙂

Also, you can see our house in his eyes!

Exposed

We had a full moon last night and I went out to experiment with some long exposure shots using my phone’s camera.

I have a mini Gorilla Pod that I bought before the move, but haven’t had a chance to use other than testing it when I first bought it. I was able to use it to attach my phone to our driveway gate for a few shots, then at one of the wagon wheels on the fence beside the gate for a few more.

First, my favourite of the bunch.

This was taken from the wagon wheel beside the gate, using the manual setting on the camera. To be honest, I can barely see the numbers on the screen, so I was really winging it when adjusting the settings. For this one, it was taken using f/1.5, 4 second exposure, ISO-50.

This one was taken just a few minutes earlier, from the gate.

It’s a terrible picture, but it demonstrates just how much colour and brightness a long exposure can capture, even in the dead of night!

f/1.5, 30 second exposure, ISO-3200.

While I was taking shots at the gate, I flipped the camera and took a shot of the sky. So this next photo was taken in the exact same location as the bright photo above; just pointing the camera lens straight up.

I was really surprised by how blue the sky turned out! Other pictures I tried later, with longer exposures, from further down the driveway had a black sky. Possibly because this area was much brighter from the full moon?

f/1.5, 10 second exposure, ISO-1600

I’m rather liking this little Gorilla Pod I have! One of these days, I’ll even be able to use it for the purpose I bought it – once I reclaim my crafting table. :-/

The Re-Farmer