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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Color My World Sunshine-Bright

Bright yellow rubberized raincoat cheers me up.

Standing water
It’s shaping up to be a rainy day today in northern Michigan. Is this good or bad? Lake levels, going by the shore of Grand Traverse Bay, still seem low; on the other hand, inland fields are full of rain and snowmelt puddles the size of large ponds. Is the ground saturated? Tricky question where so much soil is clay, because clay forms a barrier that traps water so that it can't move further down, except where it can run downhill, as a lot of it is already doing this season, heading for little creeks that eventually feed into Lake Michigan.

Running water --

-- headed for the Big Lake
We had very welcome sunshine on Monday and the warmest temperatures so far this spring, with open water  appearing on Lake Leelanau and remnants of ice (turned a punky green) gliding slowly toward the Leland River, the outlet for the whole 8,607-acre (North and South combined) inland lake.

North Lake Leelanau

It wasn’t until evening that I had a chance to see the disappearing ice on Lake Leelanau because I spent most of the day indoors at the bookstore, climbing up a ladder and back down again, moving the ladder, pouring paint and spreading it on my new wall, as well as on a couple areas of old stucco wall (above the front windows and where the old woodstove used to be years back) that never got painted the last time around. In the photo below you can see, up at the left, a small bit of dirty beige yet to be covered. The stucco areas, at least, and maybe the new wall, too, could use a second coat, and that’s my job for today. But what a cheery change! And doesn’t the new wall look just the color of sunshine?

A peek through our new interior door into Clare's gallery space shows you her new wall color, too. We're still waiting for first crocuses, but Dog Ears Books and Red Mullein Gallery are already colorful.

Out in the woods on Sunday I did run across one very bright spot of color on the ground and would have taken longer to ponder and photograph the sight, except that Sarah discovered something more interesting to her: a fairly fresh, predator-ravaged dead skunk. "Leave it!" and move on seemed the wisest course of action. I've reordered the Audubon North American mushroom field guide, but I don't expect to be bringing these bright red cups to the table. Something about their color shouts "Stop!" almost as loudly as the odor of skunk carcass shouted "Leave it!"

Mystery fungus
Author/book note: Those who missed Loreen Niewenhuis last Thursday and/or those who want to see and hear her again, along with a slide/video show of her latest adventure, will have a second chance in July when she comes back to Northport as part of the summer author series at our wonderful local library. I also, of course, have the story of her adventure at Dog Ears Books now – even a few signed copies, while they last.


P. J. Grath said...

Peziza coccinea???

“This brilliant fungus is one of the beauties of the woods. Though small it attracts the eye by its deep carmine in striking contrast with the somber carpeting [of the woods]. It is frequent when in season. A half pint of it may be gathered from a few acres. Its substance is tenacious, taste pleasant. Mr. Massee mentions that it is abundant in some of the woods near Scarboro, England, and is regularly collected and sold along with moss for decorative purposes. Exquisite effects may be produced by arranging the brightly colored fungi among moss and leaves. “Fairy Cups,” they are called. Rosy must be the lips that do not pale beside them.”

- from One Thousand American Fungi - Toadstools, Mushrooms, Fungi: How to Selecta and Cook the Edible; How to Distinguish and Avoid the Poisonous, by Charles McIlvaine & Robert K. MacAdam. Dover, 1973; orig. pub. 1900.


Kathy said...

Pamela, it looks like you are a little ahead of us this Spring, although we're enjoying really warm temps and wild melting this weekend. Your bright yellow raincoat picture is precious! Love it. Also wishing I had some mud boots.

P. J. Grath said...

Blooming daffodils should make the blog by Monday, Kathy. I could not live without my barn boots and several pair of "duck shoes." Don't like wet feet (or wet socks) but love getting outdoors in all weather.