Sunday, November 29, 2009

Touch Me, I Dare You


Search engines must hate me with my teaser titles that have absolutely no relevance whatsoever to the subject matter.

Let’s talk fungi.  Jelly fungi, to get specific, and in fact, I can’t get more specific than that this time, as I’ve failed to identify what looks like tree brains oozing out of bark.  I found them irresistibly intriguing, so much so that I just had to touch them.  Dear husband was with me, and not only did he have to tolerate this weird fungal fetish of mine, but was actually dared to participate. 


Now you have to understand, this is a man who hates mushrooms, enough to run from a room if he smells them cooking.  But what sort of man can resist a dare?  Come to think of it, he’s touched all sorts of strange and forbidden things at my goading.  Snakes and frogs, for instance.  He also hates snakes, and declares frogs ‘slimy’, toads also, which displays a certain level of ignorance (he knows better now).  But I’ve caught snakes, specifically a lovely brown rat snake that was in danger of being roasted in the fire (it was warming itself by dangling off a branch that overhung the fire pit).  And while I had no hard time at all grabbing it (they are harmless, unless you are a rat) I couldn’t manage to pull the thing off the branch without stretching it to death.  So, it was my husband who had to overcome his primal fear and carefully unwind the tail from the branch allowing me to deposit said snake in a safer (but less warm) place.  He does now admit that snakes are not slimy.


So, on a lovely late autumn walk, here I go find grey jellies growing on trees, and they are clear, and gooey and jiggly to boot.  (click on the photo to enlarge to get the full effect).  And I just had to touch them; I couldn’t resist.  And, like ancient Eve, I insisted that my husband touch them too in spite of his misgivings. And they were, um, odd.   Not slimy at all; dry on the surface, but very soft like skinned over pudding, all liquid inside.  And there we were, the two us, bent over on the side of the trail, stroking a tree, when a whole troupe of cyclists came peddling by.

My husband, by my count, is a brave man.

More mushrooms at the Mushroom Pages.

PS.  Please, if anyone can identify the jellies, I would love the help.  Just couldn’t find them in any of my books.


Jennifer Rose said...

what an odd looking thing o.0 no idea what they are, i've seen them on trees before but always thought it was some kind of mold. brave man! but how can a person hate snakes?! (i know its a common thing sadly :( ). I've converted a few people that were terrified of snakes, by the time I was done talking they were holding my ball python (wish I had him now) and didn't want to let him go (he usually coiled around a person's hand and did nothing but sit there). most people were amazed how he felt, always thinking they are slimy.

Michelle (artscapes) said...

This has been a good year for fungus!
Lots of "Yellow Brain" around here...

Chrissy said...

Hmmm, I am not so sure that I would want to touch them....they do look a bit slimy and some fungi do oooze slime. Ghostbusters must have used them for the film!
I do not like snakes, my son had a boa, I have held it under duress, whilst I know they are not slimy ~ snakes belong in the tree and not in my hand! Strangly, I am unconcerned by frogs and toads except that they pee on you!lol

kaslkaos said...

Jennifer: he's a softee. He helped me rescue said snake, and got mad when he saw a hurt snake, etc., just has that instinctive aversion (I have it for spiders) and he's managed to over come it on occasion, at my instigation, of course. I, of course, would have loved the opportunity to hold your snake. I did (at Science North) get to hold their giant black rat snake at a demo, and husband touched him too.
Michelle, the only consolation for all that rain is all the weird and wonderful fungi found. You can eat some that! (nothing I'd try though)
Chrissy, sure you would. You would trust me, and then discover they were dry and soft and strange. As above, I have my 'things' too, like spiders, and leeches. Okay, most people hate leeches, but I get truly weird at the thought of them.
Frog pee's not too bad. Snakes (grass snakes) leave a stink that can't be washed off (which is why I rarely catch snakes anymore)

Jenny said...

Those are truly wonderful! I hope I don't brand myself as horribly weird if I say I would actually like to touch them. (Don't have any idea why...)

I had a different sort of sensory experience on a recent hike. I came across a fallen log that had dozens of puff-balls attached to them: the kind that when you touch them, they release a mist of delicate powdery mold. Dry instead of slimy, but still interesting from a tactile point of view. Almost like a living bubble-pak.

Chrissy said...

Ingrid, for ID take a look here, I think this may be it...or similar

Witches butter, lol

kaslkaos said...

Of course, I wouldn't consider a fellow fungiphile weird. I'm impressed with your willingless to engage the five senses in unfamiliar ways. I love your description, and want to squeeze in and say, 'hey, leaves some for me' (I do that whenever I hear someone popping bubblepack too).
We, all of us, filter our world, and perceptions of it, through catagorizing things, things to look at, things to eat, to smell, to touch. Some things fit into a few, but rarely all five (unless we are in love), so it's always a little strange, as adults, to go exploring things with all five senses.
BTW. if you ever find a Shagbark Hickory tree, you can play it like an instrument, each strip twanged has it's own pitch and timbre...more fun in the woods.

kaslkaos said...

Thanks Chrissy. Looks possible. My books only have the bright orange witches butter, a variety so common, I've never bothered to photograph it. The grey stuff intrigued me, and the link you provided implies it may be one of many variations. Hmmm...edible, something I'm not about to verify.


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