Tag Archives: Mushrooms

Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Saprotroph, edition)

A group of Ink Cap saprotroph mushrooms in the backyard… thinner than paper…

They come up in hours at night, burn away in the sun hours later after dropping their spores. So, I thought that’s all I would see. Instead, the backyard has been taken over by these guys.

Laudie-dog is scared of them, even though they seem to have contributed to her getting over her fear of heights:

Laudie-dog has not been shrooming, by the way, as these mushrooms are harmless if one doesn’t drink alcohol at the same time. These mushrooms are called Tippler’s Bane. Laudie isn’t a tippler.

Anyway, I know these aren’t exactly flowers, and I know they these are the ultimate “Natura morta” presentation to Our Lady, but – Hey! – this oldster is still fascinated by all that is nature as all that is nature shouts out the glory of God, with things being as they should be, each thing having its place, each cooperating with all other things to make it all work.

“Natura morta” or “Dead nature” is badly translated as “Still Life,” as in paintings that include fruit and flowers, things that are dead because they cut off from the supply of life from a plant or tree, and therefore are for the moment especially to be valued because of their passing beauty, the reference to “the flowers of the field” made by our Lord Jesus, the Divine Son of Mary.

I myself have often been the subject of analogies to mushrooms of all kinds, you know, someone who is kept in the dark and fed, well, you know…

Why give such a saprotroph to Our Lady? Isn’t that an insult? Not at all.

On the one hand, saprotrophs, in and of themselves, have a beauty all their own.

We, on the other hand, have only our sin to claim as our own, and that sin makes us less than the animals, less than anything, including saprotrophs, which instead feed on us and turn us to dust when the time comes, and it will come, much much sooner than later.

Good thing that Jesus even takes away our sin, so that we have nothing, as the neighbor to the hermitage told me recently.

And that last point, then, is what giving saprotrophs to Mary is all about, namely, it is about the wounds of Jesus witnessed by Mary, we casting our sin unto Jesus and, revealing the glory of the love of the only Begotten of the Father, we see His mercy upon us, having us die with Him, but this time on the Cross… under which Mary stood.

All that comes to mind with a saprotroph. :-)

Of course, we don’t need to overthink it when giving a flower to the Immaculate Conception. We can just do it.

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (If these were chickens edition)

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These were seen near the hermitage on the last kind-of-day-off. (I haven’t been able to target practice for the last number of weeks, so any day-off isn’t really a day-off.)

If this is a dead red oak tree (hard to tell because the mushrooms are so thick) there’s a good chance that these are little baby Laetiporus sulphureus, otherwise known as Chicken of the Woods shelf mushrooms. “Chicken” because, just like rattle snakes, they taste like chicken. They can get big (from Wikipedia:).

chicken of the woods

Each shelf is like a chicken breast, prepared just the same way. Delicious. I used to fry these up on the wood stove in the hermitage.

O.K. These are not quite “flowers” if you have to be technical about it. But, if these were Chicken of the Woods and I was a kid with a chainsaw, I would cut the tree so that it wouldn’t quite fall all the way down. I’d get the bed of the truck near to one end and tie up the log with a chain to the back of the truck so that when the rest of it fell it wouldn’t hit the ground except for just the far end. Then I would drag it back to the house and prop it up on one end with some other logs, and then watch the proliferation of chickens, as bright as any flowers could ever be.

Then, when the chickens are all eaten up, the log is still great for firewood if you chop it up right away. Otherwise the roots of the mushrooms will rot the wood fast.

I don’t think Jesus’ good mom would object to such a monstrosity in her garden. It might even put a bit of a smile on her face. Sometimes a little imagination, a little thinking outside the box goes a long way.

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