Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A wonderfully boring day...

howdy! It's been a strange day delivering. Lots to do this morning and absolutely nothing in the afternoon... litterally spent from 12.56 pm to 3:35 pm sitting in a park in Euless TX. Now, Euless is just north of Ft. Worth... actually it's part of the H.E.B area, (that means Hurst, Euless, Bedford) and the southern edge of those three towns edge on Ft.Worth. Now Euless is actually a nice little town, despite the fact that people in Ft. Worth tend to refer to it as Useless.

It was a nice little park, but after about 30 minutes or so, every park gets a little boring when you're by yourself waiting, so I remembered something that my Grandma used to say. "Everything is interesting if you look close enough." So I decided to look closer.

First I noticed the trees... Mixed varieties... some ancient gnarly old mesquite, which I really like...
There's also some very nice native scrub oak, but not terribly old, they don't have the 4 foot wide trunks and twisted branches of the real old timers, some good pecan trees... small nuts on them though so probably wild ones rather than the larger fruited orchard varieties, and a few live oaks scattered around, but these were between 25 and 50 years old, practically adolescent for a live oak.

Of course in the trees, there were more than our fair share of squirels chattering away, more that our fair share of grackles, a few cardinals and even a red capped woodpecker, who let me get fairly close until I tried to lift the camera. Guess he's had enough of the paparazzi... Under the trees, especially the pecans, there were some mushrooms, and close inspection shows that there's two different kinds here... Both Amanitas and both poisonous... the smooth one...

and the furry one (which hasn't opened all the way yet...)

So, anyway, I kept walking around and noticing things... It's really amazing what's all around you all the time, but you don't see because you just don't look. Now, the lawn of the park itself is really about one of my favorite kind of lawns around... It's part bermuda grass, mixed with St. Augustine grass, mixed with weeds. I like weeds. They're interesting. I know, it's absolutely un-American, but the sight of a dandylion in my yard doesn't give me fits. So, there I am, and there was a plastic shopping bag blowing by, so I picked it up, then I started picking up little pieces of litter, which are inevitable in about any park and which I always pick up. Grandma again I guess, but I always feel compelled to make sure that everyplace is a little bit better when I leave then when I got there. I'm not a nut about it, but if more people were like that, imagine how much better the world would be?

Anyway, it's good that I was picking up things, because I found a 4-leaf clover.

Now, I used to be an absolute demon 4-leaf clover hunter. I used to have about 30 of them pressed in the family bible... I used some of them on the matte around a pic of my niece once, and I don't know what happened to the rest, but this is the first one I've found in probably 20 years. The problem is that I'm in Texas... this really isn't clover country. There are a few native varieties, but they're clumpy, rather rank plants, white clover really requires less heat and more winter than we get here... but when I was a kid in the midwest, people used to sow white or pink clover in their yards. The clover would catch nitrogen in the air, feed it into the soil and help keep the lawns nice and green. Of course, now that everybody seems to be trying to grow a golfing green, anything not grass is forbidden, but when I was a kid clover in the lawns made a nice soft and green lawn to run barefoot through... unless the clover was blooming and you stepped on a bee.

I stepped on lots of bees growing up. I stepped on everything growing up, they had a hard time making me wear shoes, or anything much besides shorts for that matter. Mom would always cover all the cuts and scrapes with mecurichrome or iodine... so when I was a kid I looked like some National Geographic illustration of some wild brown-skinned, fuzzy headed native who for some anthropological reason painted his feet purple and red... but I digress...

Now I know that a four leaf clover is really not that remarkable. Any gardener knows that any plant may, for reasons unknown, throw up a wonky leaf. I personally have an opuntia in the yard that threw up a pad with variagated white stripes on one side of the pad. The variagation constricted the growth on that side, and contorted the pad into a strange taco shape. These little genetic glitches happen all the time, to plants, to animals and even to people... they're really not that big a deal... but regardless of the fact that I KNOW it's just a fairly common and harmless mutation, it doesn't change the fact that I found a four leaf clover and it really wasn't that bad a way to spend 2 1/2 hours in the middle of the work day...

And now, this post is entirely too long... so I guess I should let you get on with your life.

UPDATE: The smooth mushroom up there is evidently not an amanita but most likely a Chlorophyllum molybdites, a poisonous relative of the edible parasol mushroom... but I'm not completely certain.

The shaggy mushroom in the lower mushroom pic is an Amanita thiersii. Most sources say it is poisonous, or that the edibility is unknown, but under no circumstances to try it... There is one documented case of poisoning caused by it... evidently it's poison causes kidney failure. It was origionally thought to only exist as a southern mushroom, in Texas and parts of Mexico, but was recently found in Illinois and Lawrence, Kansas. Despite the fact that I found it growing near Pecan trees, it actually doesn't seem to be associated with any tree, and is usually found growing in lawns as solitary specimens or occasionally in rings.


  1. You know what??? I think you are a very nice guy and quite amazing! I love how you spent your time...and taking all the pics...especially the mushrooms! Love that fluffy one! I've not seen one like that before in REAL LIFE!!! You will have to do more close up inspections of things and post them for us to see in the future!!! Thanks, Claude!

  2. Thank you Julie, it's very nice of you to say...

  3. The photos are great. I don't like the scrub oak much though. Or any kind of oak tree that I've seen so far. At least I think it's oak--the kind that has the moss hanging on it in the South. I just think it's creepy!
    Interesting what you can find just hanging out. I bought one of those Casio Exlim cameras to carry in my purse just for such a purpose. So far, I've only used it once. I don't get out much in this heat!