Mushrooms in the Aftermath

A couple of days after Hurricane Irene blew through, the boys and I went up to Redoubt Four which is about a mile from our house. It’s a Revolutionary war lookout point with a tremendous view of the plain level of West Point.

The Hudson River was running well over its normal banks after all of the rain to the north in its watershed.

We were supposed to be up there looking for leaves to examine for the younger boys’ science lesson, but we got distracted when we started finding mushrooms on the forest floor. Check out the variety we observed in a very small area amongst the mess on the forest floor after the storm…they made me think of a poem.

Mushrooms after a Storm

Sentinels stand amongst the knobby toes,

Of squabbling trees that pilfer light,

Bound for realms of rubble strewn beneath,

by winds which stirred branches into fight.

Below the battle scene, shadows slip and slink,

Across impartial moss assailed by the plopping,

Of organic copters, oak tree bombs,

and leafy paratroopers dropping.

Supple helmets weather the beating.

Fungal sentries stand their random posts,

Uniformed in tidy varied hues of earth,

Tranquil among their weary, war-torn hosts.

They remain.

We also found a pretty impressive assortment of lichens, which are a symbiotic relationship between algae and fungus.

Josh was the first to find unexploded ordinance from an oak tree.

But brothers will not be outdone. Si found twins.

The stuff homeschooling moms’ daydreams are made of…nature journaling atop historical ruins in a nearby wood.

Birthday Storms

At the end of August, hurricane Irene showed up for Ric’s birthday. At first we were unimpressed.

Then the rain really started.

It’s hard to photograph rain, but do you see the sheets running off the side of that house? This was very early in the storm. We stopped trying to photograph the rain when the wind picked up.

The “rain garden” started filling almost immediately. Believe it or not, there’s a big drain under all of that water.

We had a pretty swift current moving through our yard for the next two days.

We brought the potted plants from the porch into the house for the storm…

…and what you can’t see in the picture below is the cricket that came in with the pots – a VERY noisy little cricket that chirped his heart out late into the night. I think he was singing “Happy Birthday” to Ric, but Ric didn’t appreciate it very much after about 20 minutes.

Fast forward two months to JP’s 14th birthday – the end of October – when the weather is usually nice. Not this year! We spent his birthday sitting in a cold house without power while 15 inches of snow began to accumulate outside with winds that have my toes curling as I think about them two weeks later!

The power went out just before lunch so we played cards all afternoon, ate junk food and added layers of clothing as the temperature dropped…

…and the snow fell.

Down the hill from our house, Army was playing a football game. We decided that we weren’t very sad after all about the fact that the tickets were sold out when we tried to buy them.

Thankfully I had baked the cake in the morning and JP certainly had plenty of candles for his birthday. In fact, he got to read by them!

The house was pretty chilly by the time we called it a night.

Sunday morning it was gorgeous! Bright and beautiful! We were fortunate enough to have had our power restored during the night. Several nearby communities had to wait until Tuesday or later.

Remember that transformer box you could see in the hurricane pictures above? Hard to find it in this one, huh?

Not the place to sit and have tea on this particular morning!

Last time we lived in this neighborhood (with old houses) we had the good sledding hill in our yard, and somehow we managed to land that quality in real estate again for this tour.

By Monday the doves and the dog were happily back to their routines in the yard and the snow was melting fast….just in time for my friend Kate to visit!

The next birthday in our family happens at the beginning of Mach. We will advise local friends to stock up on canned goods and bottled water!

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