One Hail of a Storm

July 12th was a typical hot summer day. Until late afternoon. Then black clouds billowed out of the northwest wiping out the sun and trailing thunder so loud it hurt the ears.

It was fury unleashed as the storm pounded the house and turned deck and driveway white with hail.

When the cacophony finally stopped about half an hour later we ventured outside. Nearly 4 cm of water — more than 1.5 inches — sat in the rain gauge. Flower and vegetable gardens resembled huge tossed salads.

In the woods we found the remains of a recently opened wood lily, one petal still clinging to the stem. Pockets of moss held handfuls of white stones (that were still there two days later).

A mossy bed of hailstones

In spite of the damage much of the gardens will recover. That’s the nature of plants.

As for the woods? They were transformed — filled suddenly with light, branches sparkling crystal-like with rain, mist floating in the air …

After the storm

… the wonder of a storm.

Advertisements

In Search of Fungi

Just Add Water featured mushrooms that sprang up following our recent heavy rains.

Before the woods dried out I sought them out again. I was not disappointed.

I found them growing along animal trails, in thick feather moss, on rotting wood, in squirrel middens — tall, short, thin, thick, solitary and bunched together. Such an array.

These intriguing fungi spend their lives underground. For brief moments they pop up into the world of light, produce spores, then retreat again to darkness. If we’re lucky we catch a glimpse of this wonder.

P.S. The fungi in the featured image were growing on a rotting branch. I turned it upwards to take this photo — then carefully replaced it back in its original position. Let’s walk lightly with as little disruption as possible.

Just Add Water

Earth-soaking rains

Transform parched soil.

Now in damp stillness

Caps and stems

Emerge

erupt

pop up

Dot the forest duff

Like tiny lights or parasols or stools for tired toads.

Mushroom mania.

Caught in the Rain

The expression “drowned rat” came to mind when I found this bedraggled bumblebee.

Over the last two days more than 5 cm (about 2 in) of rain has fallen in sudden heavy downpours. Not everyone found shelter before the storms hit.

Its usual soft fuzzy hair is plastered flat, exposing the shiny black exoskeleton — a new view of a familiar garden visitor.

A bad hair day? Definitely.


Bumblebee   Bombus spp.

Tall Bluebells

Not many flowers in bloom yet, besides dandelions and wild strawberries.

I was delighted to spot these little rain-bedecked blossoms on the edge of the woods.

Bright blue flowers on a drooping stem.

Depending on where you live, you might know this plant as northern bells, chiming bells or tall lungwort.


Tall bluebells   Mertenisa paniculata