The fungi are getting out of control here. I’ve worried a couple of times in the last few weeks that they’re on the verge of becoming self-aware.
My roommate and I just spent a couple of hours eradicating mildew from the windowsills and bathrooms. That was a couple of weeks overdue, and it felt good to do.
The front yard is a little more vexing. I’ve been attacking the mushrooms out there every couple of days with a garden trowel, digging up a couple at a time and then tossing them into the street with a flick of my wrist. It’s quick and easy: Kschrrt! Whhht! But it kind of hurts, because I love mushrooms.
The ones that really stand out, so to speak, are the ones that look kind of like uncircumcised penises. They first show up as little lumps about the size and shape of quail eggs, but with rough leathery surfaces (Wikipedia tells me that this surface is called the “universal veil”). I’ve seen, two, three and even five of them clumped together. Then one of them shoots up overnight and is suddenly three or four inches tall in the morning. You don’t have to look too hard to find one of them with his two little brothers hanging out next to him. Then he wilts and melts a day or so later, and then a little brother shoots up. The wilting/melting happens quickly, because these things are mostly moisture and air. The mass of one of the balls expands into a shroomstalk of five times the volume.
I have two or three of them out there right now. Three weeks ago, when it was a little rainier, I’d have a half-dozen out there some mornings.
I wish I knew what to call all these different varieties. This particular kind looks like a newly sprouted netted stinkhorn, but it doesn’t get the nets that netted stinkhorns get, and it doesn’t really stink. They even smell strangely pleasant, maybe a little like something I might stir-fry, when I’m able to forget that the damn things have taken over my yard. So I just call them “yard-cocks.”
Back when it was rainier, I’d get gigantic hemispherical clumps of golden-orange mushrooms, which were much worse. Each clump was six to 15 inches across, with one- to two–hundred stalks. Those smelled pretty bad when they were alive, and they absolutely stank when they wilted and then rotted. After putting up with them for a couple of days, I went on a rampage with my hiking boots and the garden trowel, and almost completely filled up a kitchen-sized trash bag. I must’ve collected about 15 pounds of the damn things. I’m kicking myself of not getting any pictures. I tried a few Google searches just now and didn’t come up with anything that looked even remotely similar. They didn’t look particularly ugly – just kind of like humongous brains sitting in the middle of my yard.
In the last week or so, I’ve noticed several less-obtrusive varieties of mushrooms. Some remind me of tiny black clam shells. They seem to grow within a few inches of the yard-cocks, so I’m wondering if they might just be different body parts of the same organism. A couple of other varieties look more conventional. You can see all of them below in the slideshow below.
Never in my life have I had so many mushroom varieties right in front of me. These are all in my front yard, which is only 30 or 40 feet wide. I live in an apartment complex of about 100 units. Each building is four to six units. They’re almost like little cottages.
I’m pretty sure they’re all feeding on the roots of a tree that was cut down or ripped out two or three years ago. I think I know right where the stump was, even though most of it got taken out. It was smack in the middle of my little yard. The ground is kind of soft and spongy right there, and the grass hasn’t fully grown back yet. You can actually see a little piece of a root sticking out in one of the pictures.