The coolest thing I learned about mushrooms is that some of them have teeth! I'm not much of a 'shroom eater and with it being my first time hunting for them, I joined the hike hosted by ECWA along with a group of Mycologists and students just for the sake of experiencing nature again. Our hike leaders were experts, and gave excellent direction on where to find them; "go for the mounds where you see pine needles poking out," I was told.
While scattering through piles of leaf litter and rolling over fallen logs, my hiking partner, Melody, and I found a variety of fungi, adding to the huge selection the group collectively gathered. Our collection included puff balls, Amanitas, Turkey tails (false or smooth, gilled, and porous) and other bracket shaped fungi. Someone even found an animal skull.
We learned how to ID mushrooms by looking at their caps, stems, what they are growing on and whether they had pores, gills, or spines (also called teeth). Also, we were informed about the different types of fruiting bodies, and the mechanisms they use to spread their spores. I was excited to find out that some of the mushrooms I found were edible (pictured above, Hedgehog or Sweet Tooth Mushroom; Hydnum repandum). I happily let Melody have them so she could cook them for dinner.
Overall, this hike was a very educational experience and I used it again as inspiration to create new art with a street graffiti, cartoon-like style (see gallery of inspiration and the design's progress slideshow below).
I had the opportunity to check out the artwork of self-taught Artist Francis "F.A." Sonnie this weekend. He is based in Sierra Leone, but that does not stop the international travels of his collection of village paintings. More than 25 of his lively acrylic on canvass paintings are here in North Carolina for an exhibit being held at The Palace International (1104 Broad Street Durham, NC 27705) November 4, 2013 through January 6, 2014. There are a variety of sizes to choose from and donations will benefit Africa Yes!, a nonprofit funding women and community projects in Gbeworbu, Sierra Leone. The slideshow below shows a peek of some of the art. Visit it in person during The Palace International's regular business hours (closed on Mondays) or feel free to join the Opening Reception in a few weeks: Monday, Dec. 2nd, 5:30-7:30p.m.
My newest illustration has allowed me to practice my line work and watercolor painting techniques. After exploring a new part of town this past weekend while hiking with a group of fellow naturalists and stewards, I felt inspired to start drawing (see progress pictures below). Hosted by the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, there are many activities on their calendar year-round. Take this Saturday as an example, which is their Community Stewardship Day at Glennstone Nature Preserve where volunteers will come to help with trail maintenance, removing invasive plants, and cleaning up trash around the detention pond. With it being my first experience on any of ECWA's preserves, I found it to be delighting. I learned all about North Carolina's habitats, tasted the [surprisingly] citrisy taste of pine, and flat out enjoyed Mother Nature. For more information about ECWA, visit http://www.ellerbecreek.org
About the Author
Why do I blog?