Monday, June 28, 2010

Mushrooms, Mottled with Purple

Unidentified Kentucky mushroom

Dozens of these brown and purple mushrooms have sprung up under the old maple tree. I suppose that the spores were lying on the ground, waiting for perfect conditions, and the several quick, hard rains of last week  activated them. Obviously, they like hot, steamy weather.

I have searched the internet for a couple of hours, trying to find an identified mushroom that looks like these. I've looked at photographs of hundreds of mushrooms, but I haven't found a single one that resembles these at all. Maybe these mushrooms are an unusual variety. Or maybe I'm not recognizing them when I see them in someone else's photograph..

It could be that I'm just not searching with the right terms. It's hard to describe them. Are they orange, copper, brown, or tan? Purple or violet blotches, spots, or mottling?

It wouldn't surprise me to learn that these mushrooms are usually found around old trees whose roots are rotting. Our old maple tree is in decline. It has taken a beating in several ice storms and it's leaning southeast. That's a good direction, if it must lean; our house is on the west side of the tree.

UPDATE 6/30/10

Here are a couple of views of the bottom of one of the mushrooms. I really had to search around to find one that was still fresh. All of them have gone dark brown on their top skins, and I only found one little mushroom that hadn't gone brown on its underside. It is smaller than any of the mushrooms in the photo at top. Isaac brought home a pocketful of Euro change from Germany, and the coin in the photo is one of those -- more or less the size of a half-dollar coin.

The flesh is yellow all the way through. The little dip in the outer margin of the mushroom cap seems to be a feature of the species.  In some of the larger mushrooms that I pulled up while trying to find a fresh one, the stem seems to be set to one side, because the dip was deep and spread-open.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

John M. Palmer's Christian County Connection

A governor of Illinois who grew up in Christian County

Christian County historian William Turner claims that important events and people usually have a "Christian County connection". This theory holds true with John McAuley Palmer (1817-1900), a Civil War general, the 15th governor of Illinois, and an 1896 candidate for the U.S. Presidency. Palmer arrived in Christian County when he was two years old and lived here until he was fourteen.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Corn-growing Weather

Corn is thriving in the heat.

The corn in this Christian County (KY)  field was planted before the flood in early May. Somewhere in the field, there are probably a few places where the corn plants are sparse, because the seeds (or the seedlings) were washed out by heavy rain or because the young plants stood too long in water and died.

Some of the corn around the county is much younger than the corn in this photo. Farmers had to wait a while for the fields to dry after all that rain. Fortunately, we have a long growing season in Kentucky, and the corn still has plenty of time to mature before frost. The main concerns about late corn are insects and the dry weather we often get in mid-to-late summer.

Corn likes the heat, as long as it has adequate moisture in the soil. We've had a couple of heavy rains in this part of Christian County just this week, so the corn around here should be growing like crazy.

My husband says some fields of corn are tasseling near Pembroke. Those plants won't be growing any taller. They'll be putting all their remaining energy into growing their ears. The amount of time that corn needs to reach the tasseling stage is determined by its variety. Some corn varieties are short-season, some are long-season, and some are between the two extremes.

Ag Web reports that across the nation,
Conditions for both corn and soybeans are in very good shape so far this year and ahead of last year. Corn is listed at 77% good to excellent, compared to 76% last week. (Source)
Read more about corn on the Purdue University website.
Read some farmer-talk about the state of the nation's crops.

Friday, June 18, 2010

June Heat

Yes, I'm whining.

Highs and lows predicted for Hopkinsville for the next five days:

 Sat. 95° F | 74° F (Heat advisory, heat index 105° to 110° F.)

 Sun. 95° F | 74° F (Heat advisory continues)

 Mon. 95° F | 70° F

Tues. 95° F | 72° F

Weds. 94° F | 74° F

Source: Weather Underground for Hopkinsville, KY, 9:00 pm, June 19, 2010.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Trip to the Cincinnati Airport

Photos from the Florence (KY) area

Springhill Suites lobby
Panera Bread
Knitpiks classroom
Florence Mall fountain
Two-story carousel
When Isaac went to Germany a few weeks ago, his group departed from the Cincinnati airport. We drove up there a day early and spent the night in a hotel near the airport (actually in Florence, KY). I wanted to be sure I wasn't in a traffic jam somewhere at the time Isaac needed to be at the airport.

The hotel (Springhill Suites by Marriott)had an interesting marine/modern decor. We enjoyed our night there, and I'm happy to recommend it, if you should ever travel in that area.

Keely had researched some places in the general area that she wanted to visit. First we had lunch at Panera Bread, a restaurant that we don't have in Hopkinsville.  Then we went to (surprise!) a yarn store called Knitwits. The store is located in a small house, and like every yarn store I've ever been in, it was photogenic.

From there, we went to the Florence Mall and wandered around for a couple of hours. The huge fountain is one of the mall's centerpiece works of art, but the 2-story carousel was cool, too.

The mall didn't have a bookstore, but a big Barnes and Noble was located nearby. We spent a while there, and then went to a Half Price Bookstore that we had spotted earlier. In hindsight, we all agreed that we should have gone to the Half-Price first! That was a great store! (Isaac tells me that when I pick him up, we are going there again. I am supposed to bring a box of books that he sorted out for the next garage sale. He's going to see if he can sell any of them at the Half Price store.)

By then, it was getting late. We were near the hotel, so we went back briefly and I took my antibiotic. Then we ate supper at IHOP, went back to the hotel, and called it a night.

The next morning, I was surprised that I had slept so well. We got dressed, ate breakfast, packed up, and headed for the airport where Isaac met his study-abroad group and flew away. Keely and I made a small but interesting side trip on our way home. I'll post those photos another day.

This little trip was precious to me, because my kids are no longer children. Keely is 24 and Isaac is 21. I don't know if I'll ever get them both loaded into the car and hauled off for an adventure again. It brought back happy memories of the many times I packed them into the car and we headed out to Kansas and Missouri to visit the grandparents. I like to think those road trips gave them a bit of an itch to see new sights and visit new places.

Keely and Isaac

Monday, June 14, 2010

Winter Person or Summer Person?

Too hot, too soon, for me!

Our five-day forecast predicts four days next week with highs of 90° or more and one day with a high of 88°. If the humidity continues as it has this past week, the heat indexes will be close to 100° every day. Ugh. It's only June. It's too early for this!

Lately, I've been trying to do yard and garden work in the evenings after the worst of the day's heat is over. Even then, the warm temperatures and high humidity slow me down a lot. I don't have the stamina for working in the heat that I once did. I wish I could have done the work when the weather was cooler, but the weeds hadn't grown yet!

I saw the above quotation a few years ago at the National Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian Institute).When I read it, I knew immediately that I was a winter person, not a summer person. I don't love winter, but I cope better with cold than with heat. I don't dread winter's cold, but I do dread summer's heat.

How about you? Winter person or summer person?

National Museum of the American Indian

Friday, June 11, 2010

Scenes of Early Summer

From Christian County, KY

Wheat harvest is beginning.
A day off for the workhorses.

Daylilies are blooming along the roadsides.

And a bit of news for the Croftonians-in-exile who read this blog --  Crofton (a small town in northern Christian County) had a flash flood yesterday about 2:00 AM. According to the National Weather Service, a law enforcement officer reported water as deep as car headlights at the junction of Highways 800 and 41 in Crofton. I heard thunder for several hours, but it never did rain at our house. All the rain must have fallen at Crofton!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Downtown Pembroke, KY

Post office, bank, and more

This photo captures at least 25% of Pembroke, KY's downtown area -- the post office and the bank. The bank is a branch office of BB&T. I'm glad that they have decided to use the old bank building.

Just to the left of this photo, several railroad tracks intersect the street. On the other side of the tracks, you will find a liquor store and a feed store. A general merchandise and bargain store sits across the street from the post office. Several churches are located in the general area, as well. More businesses are located along Highway 41.

Pembroke has a population of about 1000 people. The children attend Pembroke Elementary School south of town, and the teenagers go to Hopkinsville for middle and high school.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Fish Skulls Seen at Stadtprozelten

Horrific trophies of a Main River fisherman

I know that some of this blog's readers  like to fish, and I thought this photo might interest them. I took this picture in 1987 at Stadtprozelten along the Main River in Bavaria, (West) Germany. I've written briefly before about visiting Stadtprozelten on the Main with little Keely.

This photo was taken on the narrow lane that navigates the steep bluff above Stadtprozelten's rooftops.  The fish skulls were nailed to the side of someone's shed. I hope you can see the sharp teeth. I suppose that the teeth didn't protrude quite as far when there was still flesh on the bones. Still, that's not a mouth I'd want to reach into for a fish hook!

The Main River has some big Wels catfish, but the shape of these skulls looks more like some kind of a pike to me. Believe me, I am not offering an expert opinion.

Wikipedia article about Stadtprozelten
Picture gallery on Stadtprozelten's homepage
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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.