Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Mushroom Walked into a Bar...

...but the bartender wouldn't serve him. "We don't serve mushrooms here," he said. Dejected, the mushroom walked out. He came back in the side door, strolled up to the bar whistling, and ordered a gin and tonic. "I'm sorry," the bartender said, "but we don't serve mushrooms here." Even sadder now, the mushroom walked out of the bar and came in the rear entrance. He sidled up to the bar, keeping as much of his face turned away from the bartender as possible. Before he even asked for the drink, the bartender said, "Look, it doesn't matter how many times you come in here. I'm telling you, we don't serve mushrooms here."

"Aw, c'mon," the mushroom wheedled. "I'm a fun-gi!" (read: "fun guy")

Yes, folks, it was a bad pun, but I was attempting, in my lame way, to prepare you for the horrific picture you are about to see. You know how, when people talk about death, taxes, and other unpleasant subjects, they try to make a joke about it to ease the tension? It's sort of like that.

So okay, enough of the pleasantries and joking--let's get to the fearful topic of...fungus. You'll see I've included a picture at right of a mushroom that has been growing in my yard all summer. We had a couple of 'shrooms last year (please let me reassure you at this point that we are NOT eating them, and if you have anything remotely resembling the pictured fungus growing in your yard, I wouldn't recommend adding it to any dishes), but nothing like this one.

This fungus, dubbed the Voracious Mutant Rock-and-Leaf-Eating Fungus from Outer Space and viewed with great trepidation, has evolved into an amorphous blob of spongy goo. I dared touch it, and the slick, glistening surface is actually dry and smooth. You can see hints of mushroom texture on the outer edges of this fungus blossom. Please note that the rock and leaves are STUCK--no amount of tugging would release them in one piece. I think the fungus is actually consuming them. I carefully placed a quarter in the upper right quadrant before taking the picture (which has not been photoshopped other than to simply be resized to fit the blog) so you could get a sense of the gigantuhugimammothian size.

All I can say is I am glad I am moving. I do not wish to be caught in the house unawares when this glistening, slavering beast darkens the doorstep.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Catching Up

I know. It's been a long time since I have posted. I was planning to post more regularly, so I have quite a bit of catching up to do. I'll start with the tadpoles.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am using kitty litter buckets as rain barrels in my yard. For a while, we were getting quite a bit of rain, so the buckets were about 2/3 full.

Imagine my delight when I went out one morning to use the water from one of my makeshift rainbarrels and saw...tadpoles! Yessirree, I had lots of tadpole critters swimming around in my bucket. I wasn't entirely sure how they got in there, but figured a frog had jumped in the water from the tree stump the bucket was braced against and, well, laid eggs or did whatever frogs do to have tadpoles! (I must admit my ignorance here.)

Unfortunately, I didn't have an opportunity to take a picture of the friendly little swimmers since my camera is broken. The picture at left looks a LOT like my bucket (borrowed from the Aquarium Board Web site at http://www.aquariumboard.com/forums/articles/7.htm - pay them a visit to talk about aquarium stuff!).

Thrilled with my tadpole adventure, I went to work to discuss my new finding with my friend Michelle. "I am growing tadpoles!"

She could hear the excitement in my voice, and usually she is equally excited when I make a gardening discovery. This time, however, her voice was hesitant as she asked, "How do you know they are tadpoles?"

So I described the big heads and taillike bodies and the swishing way they were swimming.

"Um, I think they aren't tadpoles. They're mosquito larvae. Search Google for mosquito larvae images."

Heart sinking quickly (because I know Michelle is probably right since she usually is about all things gardening-related), I conducted said Google search and found--the picture you see above.

Mosquito. larvae. ugh.

She was disappointed, too. "I really wish they WERE tadpoles," she said.

Mosquito. babies. must. die.

So I went home, dumped out the mosquito babies' amniotic fluid, and stomped the larvae to death. And felt no remorse.

Does that make me a bad person?