February 10th was a lovely, cool and overcast Sunday afternoon, perfect for wandering around in the woods with Daisy and Duke. We came across this strange mushroomy thing growing at the base of a huge dead tree. Other shelf fungi were growing up the trunk of the tree, but they were smaller, so this is not just a stalked version of those shelves. The stalk looked like gray-blue velvet, while the top looked like wood. When I tapped it, it sounded like wood, too. Soft wood... maybe "corky wood" is a better description. The stem is on one side of the shelf-like fungus. When I brushed the leaves away I found that the base was enlarged as it entered the soil, as if the top was so heavy it needed extra support. I haven't found it in any of my field guides, but I will continue looking.
Here is Daisy on a ledge over Meetinghouse Creek Valley. Duke had just headed down the steep hill to play in the creek below. Daisy turned as if to say, "I'll stay here with you, Mom."
The day also included some interesting finds near an old home site. I love finding mini greenhouses in bottles, and have been known to try to bring them home to enjoy. This is alway a disaster, ending in a bottle of dead stuff. These little treasures cannot be moved. They have come this far because the light and environment is perfect where they are. If you ever find one, my advice is, leave it!
When I came across the next thing (below), I had no idea what it was. I studied it a while, and finally pulled it out of the leaves to figure it out. What do you think it is?