The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

First 2018 freeze...maybe

Oak leaf gall

I can't quite decide whether to note down October 17 as the date of our first freeze or not. Our thermometer recorded a low of 34 and there was no visible frost up here on the ridge. But there was a thin skin of ice on the car windshield, and some of our pepper plants (but not others) got nipped. I guess that's the benefit of a ridgetop location --- we only get patchy frost while neighbors in the valley report a real freeze.

Jack O Lantern mushrooms

Whatever the decision on freezes, conditions are definitely autumnal now. And a hike at Lake Hope State Park turned up some lovely colors...if not on tree leaves. The image at the top of this post is some kind of gall I'd never seen before and I'm pretty sure the fungi are jack-o-lantern mushrooms...meaning that if I headed back in the dark, they should glow.

One year later

As a certified nighttime homebody, though, I'll just snuggle up with a warm cat and remember how different our life was a year ago. No plumbing, no power, no internet, no heat. How far we've come in twelve short months!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I think jack o lantern mushrooms can also be used to make a vibrent purple dye, but i can't find my book to verify.
Comment by Phyr Sun Oct 21 15:48:43 2018

I love Lake Hope! My family gathers there for Thanksgiving every other year. There are American persimmon trees around (one on the east side of the lake) and have found oyster mushrooms along the trail. The history of the iron smelters is very interesting, too.

Have you been to the haunted train tunnel?

Comment by Christopher Milton Dixon Sun Oct 21 16:06:12 2018

Hi Anna, nice picture of the Jack-o-Lantern and a great reminder of how similar these poisonous mushrooms can look at first glance to the edible and delicious chanterelle. For those interested, here is a really good video on how to differentiate the two:

Comment by Yuriy Wed Oct 24 13:47:26 2018

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