Mushroom season is well under way and this weekend in the Middlesex Fells I came across the largest patch of ‘Chicken of the Woods’ mushroom (Laetiporus sulphureus). See below:
This lovely mushroom is apparently edible but I didn’t take any to try. Regretting that now. It should be cooked and even them there are some adverse reactions reported. Mostly stomach upset. It is not dangerous or deadly. It should also be eaten when young. This specimen was very fresh. Here is a closeup:
It was still very thick and wet and had not been attacked by bugs or deer yet (both of which will happily eat it – and I have seen deer in the area, although infrequently).
All in all it was a lovely walk that morning. Fresh cool summer air – and I was out before the flying bugs got annoying. When leaving the area I spotted another patch on the back side of the tree:
These two patches to the right were younger and probably still developing. All in all a great day out there. I’ve developed an interest in getting there early in the mornings when there are less people and everything is just fresher before the heat of the day disturbs everything.
So Solar Eclipse 2017 has come and gone. I managed to be outside for it – only partial here in Boston unfortunately. I put together a nice little shoebox viewer, which worked quite well. It was virtually impossible to get a good photo of it though, so no pictures. I was up Wright Tower in the Middlesex Fells where lots of others were out with a multitude of various ‘devices’ to see the partial eclipse.
So while I didn’t get a good shot of the sun being blocked, I did come home and hit up a web site with a series of satellite images of the US as the eclipse moved over the country. Below is a gif of the transit:
You can see the sun slowly rising over the western part of the country followed by a dimming of the light over Washington State and Oregon. The white splotch is presumably from the total darkness of the total eclipse area.
Most interesting is watching the speckled ‘cloud’, which looks like rising humidity as the day progresses, around the gulf of Mexico – Texas coast to Florida and up into Arkansas and Tennessee. When the totality of darkness moves through the area, this cloud disappears for a while, only to reform when it passes. Pretty cool effect!
Today I went on a nice little walk in the woods, just me and dog – like I do most weekends. Our favourite haunt is the Middlesex Fells, situated in the northern suburbs area of Boston. We’ve been going for about a year, so I have seen all seasons in the park/forest and know most of the trails quite well.
Oddly enough there is one area where I always seem to get a little lost. Not lost – lost. Just disorientated. In my own head I call this region the ‘Fells Triangle’ because I seem to lose all sense of orientation. Coincidently, this area also contains the site of an old silver mine. I’ve been looking for this mine and it turns out I’ve been looking in the complete wrong area for some time. The map of the area contains references to the old mine with a hill named for it and a path. In the picture below you can see in red the area I’ve been looking.
But it turns out it is located much closer to the reservoir, in the area circled in green. (I originally screwed this up and circled the area in blue – this is the wrong area and more proof this part of the Fells is weird and deserves its name as ‘The Fells Triangle’.) This green area is also where I always seen to get confused about where I am.
The mine is clearly labeled by the park with a sign up on a nearby tree. See below:
The flat depression in the center of this picture is actually a concrete slab that covers what used to be a huge hole dug out of the ground. Historic reports describe how workers used explosives to carve the mine but very little silver if any was ever found. I also recall reading how the miners used lots of water and since the location of the mine is closer to the reservoir waters, this all makes a lot more sense. There are also a number of concrete poles that are erected around it and look like they once carried planks of wood designed to keep people and/or animals out. The concrete slab is square and now well covered by nature’s debris and time:
I can only imagine how they managed to place this here. The concrete is reinforced with steel bars, which can be seen in a small hole that is in the center of the slab. The hole looks like it has been dug out by curious hikers who wanted to see into the remains of the mine:
There seems to be water at the bottom. I dropped some sticks into the hole and after a considerable time I heard it splash. I would estimate the depth to be more than 10 meters or the height of a three story building.
What possessed people to think there was silver here? Or anything of use? When I hit the ‘net’ looking for information on the Silver Mine I could find very little information. Now I’ve found it its tempting to hit google again and see what more I can find out. The whole thing just seems like an odd enterprise.
On the way there and back there was a number of wild flowers out. This time of year is great for hiking. The weather is starting to cool off, and like today the humidity can drop down quite a bit here in New England. But the summer flowers persist and look so much better in the less harsh light this time of year. I’ll post some pictures below. I have no idea what these flowers are or what the plant name is. I’ll try and figure it out and edit this post.
If you know more about the mine in the Middlesex Fells or the names of these flowers, feel free to drop me a line.