Chicken of the Woods

On Thursday evening, Eileen and I took in a foray at Griffy Woods with a group from the Fungal Flashmob group on FB. Expert mycologist Steve Russel led us over hill and dale to ID a wide range of fall fungi. IMG_9170


We found a large growth of Chicken of the Woods, Polyporus sulphureus, often a parasite of oak trees. We found this one near the beginning of the foray, a few hundred feet from the parking lot. It was growing on the north side and south side of the tree, and a third was fruiting about 20 feet in the air.

This specimen ended up sliced and fried with Panko breading and garlic, a great main course. It was amazingly like chicken in both texture and taste, without the dead animal flavonoids in chicken.

A variation or subspecies of the chicken mushrhoom, Laetiporus cincinnatus was described in 1998 by Tom Volk at Univ. of Wisconsin. It’s main distinguishing feature is a white pore surface underneath, rather than the typical bright yellow of Polyporus sulphureus.

Summer Music

Mitch listening to music on the B-Line
Mitch listening to music on the B-Line
The music scene is much more relaxed in the summer here is Bloomington, there is no doubt. Here I am in a recent photo from the HT, relaxing to the sound of Sarah’s Swing Set during the opening of the B-Line Trail through downtown. I also saw Fiddle n’ Feet and Jim and Ann along the way, it was a great nite for outdoor music.

New bike racks in Bloomington!

For years the Bike-Ped commission has been recommending (and getting) more bike racks as a way to encourage bike use in Bloomington, and as soon as they are installed, they fill up daily. There is just not that much space left on the sidewalk, and so the city has installed on street bike parking in two locations. We have been recommending this idea (replacing car parking with bike parking) for years to little avail. Now thanks to the work Bob Costello, owner of the Laughing Planet, the city has responded and installed on-street parking in two locations, in front of Soma and the Uptown/Trojan Horse.

They took one parking space, and made room for 10 bikes to park. The business owners saw the mathematical logic in this trade-off. Most car trips carry 2 or less people. Ten minus two equals eight more people able to park close their businesses. This makes great sense for the downtown merchants, perhaps others will see the advantage of increased bike parking in the downtown area.

On-street bike parking in front of Soma
On-street bike parking in front of Soma

On-street bike parking in front of the Uptown
On-street bike parking in front of the Uptown

Here’s Boyce’s blog about the new spaces:

Bee Petting, 2009

I began the relaxing hobby of bee petting couple of years ago, after reading about the idea in one of Tom Brown, Jr.’s books. (This is not for you who allergic to bees, you know who you are.)

It helps to have love in your heart for the bees, they are very cute, and important in the web of life. They act a bit like cats, standoffish and cool, obviously they have better things to do than mess with humans. But they will allow you to pet them, if they have time!

I’ve been petting bumble bees at Sprouts Garden in the hyssop and mint patch. These are big ones with lots of fuzzy hair, black bodies with a yellow spot on the back that is widely variable in size, shape and intensity of color. They flit from flower to flower, grasping the plant with with there four back legs. Once settled, they extend their probiscus into the tiny flowers. Then they use their smaller front legs to pull the flower up over their heads so they can reach the nectar at the bottom, it is quite amusing to watch.

Most of them are predominantly black, but there are some like this one below, who are mostly yellow. Some have all black thoraxes, others are striped as below. Some are big, some little, and all are busy (as a bee).

Yellow head bumble bee on anise hyssop
Yellow head bumble bee on anise hyssop

These are such focused little creatures! I sometimes accidentally push them off route while trying to pet them. They make an extra buzzing sound, then rush off to the next flower. They are not easily diverted from their tasks, even by a giant trying to stroke their fuzzy little backs. Stinging me is the last thing on their tiny minds, of this I am sure.