The adventuresome life of a Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland dog in Northwestern Ontario

Posts tagged ‘ants’

Fungal Friday 5

Yesterday morning, on our way home from a very interesting walk (we made a new friend!), we were quite surprised to stumble across a Nuclear Power Facility for Ants!

I figure that if Ants have the technology to build huge (relatively speaking) cities underground, then they somehow need to produce energy to fuel them, right?

I figure that if Ants have the technology to build huge (relatively speaking) underground cities, then they somehow need to produce energy to fuel them, right?

I was a bit nervous about giving the structures a sniff, but Elizabeth explained that there was nothing radioactive about them. These are a type of mushroom commonly called ‘Puffballs’. Some two-leggers actually eat them!

According to our research, puffballs are only edible when they are in the immature stage, like this one.

According to our research, puffballs are only edible when they are in the immature stage, like this one.

We aren’t going to try them out this year. Elizabeth wants to learn more about them first.

When this particular species matures (we haven’t identified it properly yet because Elizabeth is too busy getting the garden in to do all the look-ups. SIGH… Dependable help is so hard to find!), it turns to a brownish-grey colour and develops a little hole in the top.

The spores are all inside the mature puffball. The hole allows the spores to escape and scatter whenever pressure is applied to the puffball surface. Poof! Like magic! BOL

The spores – what mushrooms have instead of seeds – are all inside the mature puffball. The hole allows the spores to escape and scatter whenever pressure is applied to the puffball surface. Poof! Like magic! BOL

Elizabeth told me that when she and her brother were two-legger puppies, they would stomp on mature puffballs to release a cloud of spores. She says you have to do it just right, otherwise you just squish the globe. The sport of puffball stomping. Who knew? I would try it myself, but I’m afraid I’ll just end up having a sneezing fit. My nose is a lot closer to the ground than theirs were even back then!

We are finding other weird and wonderful members of the fungi tribe on our woodland walks, too. They seem to like the cool, moist weather we’ve been having. We took some photos for you…

The first ones we found on our Sunday walk were quite strange. I didn’t even see them until Elizabeth noticed a bunch that I had knocked over while I trotted through a patch of Sphagnum Moss. The yellow colour caught her eye.

We think this is Clavulinopsis laeticolor. These are really small - the largest just two or three cm in height.

We think this is Clavulinopsis laeticolor. These are really small – the largest just two or three cm in height.

They were so odd looking that she took a few more photos:

Clavulinopsis laeticolor

Clavulinopsis laeticolor 2

Feeling that we needed to be a bit more scientific with our photos, I thought I’d leave a strand of my wool in the foreground for perspective.

Then we found some little white ones nearby. The things you begin to see when you start observing the forest floor!

Don't they look like a family heading out for a picnic on a Sunday afternoon? These were even smaller than the yellow ones!

Don’t they look like a family heading out for a picnic on a Sunday afternoon? These were even smaller than the yellow ones!

This slightly larger type looks thirsty to me. I think we’ve seen some larger mushrooms similar to this on other excursions.

I wish Elizabeth knew her mushrooms better. She says one day she'll start making a study of them...

I wish Elizabeth knew her mushrooms better. She says one day she’ll start making a study of them… For now, she just enjoys looking.

We will leave you with this pretty group:

These much larger mushrooms reminded Elizabeth of whirling dervishes. What on earth is a whirling dervish?  ~:o/=

These much larger mushrooms reminded Elizabeth of whirling dervishes. What on earth is a whirling dervish? ~:o/=

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Colonization of the Neighbourhood

It’s been a busy summer in our area of Northwestern Ontario. Especially on the weekends.

I don’t know what it is about two-leggers around here. All week long they are somewhere else. Then they come back on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. They bang around, get their wood-eating or grass-chewing whining/buzzing machines going, roar around the river on their floating tin cans and water skimming devices…

GRRRWOWFF! It makes me tired and headachey just thinking about it.

Yep. All week long they’re somewhere else (thank goodness) then on the weekend they come out and say how lovely it is out here.

~:o/=

Don’t get me wrong. I like two-leggers. Most of the ones I’ve met, anyway. And most of them out here get along with me just fine. But they can be so… so… disruptive!

Elizabeth says that when they came here almost 45 two-legger years ago, there were only three houses out this way, and five little cottages scattered further west of us. Now there are more than 50 houses along the road! She says that there have been many environmental consequences to this colonisation. I don’t doubt it. I’ve noticed quite a few in the 28 dog-years I’ve lived here.

I noticed one incredible one this morning on our walk. Thousands of another type of colonist have moved into a new development right here on our estate! And BWOWF! Talk about environmental impact… These guys put the two-leggers to shame!

Unwelcome Colonists Create Reverse Oasis on Campbell Estate

Unwelcome Colonists Create Reverse Oasis on Campbell Estate

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