Rains make the mushrooms pop

With heavy rains dowsing the Sierras well into late fall and early winter, and with snow arriving later than usual, we were surprised and delighted to experience the explosion of mushrooms in our forest. Everywhere we looked it seemed as if new and different varieties of mushrooms were popping up.

forest mushroom

Each morning walk produced new discoveries along with a sense of wonderment about these beautiful and various mushrooms. Sometimes we’d discover a tiny white, almost translucent mushroom standing on its own or the more arresting Shaggy Mane (Coprinus Comatus) looking more like a cartoon character than a mushroom.

forest mushroom

Gregarious clusters of mushrooms with caps wider than an outstretched hand proliferated across larger swaths of the duff, while hundreds of puff balls virtually took over an old burn pile. Dead and fallen trees produced clusters of Turkey tail and other shelf fungi, psilocybe, and the strange and wonderful neon orange fungi called Witch’s Butter (Dacrymyces Chrysospermus).

forest mushroom

Each new mushroom discovery begged for a close up view, one where we’d have to kneel down to get a good look at the gills under the caps, the collars around the shafts, and the almost fairytale-like scene produced by our new perspective.

forest mushroom

Since we are new to the wonderful world of fungi, Identification can be a daunting task. Luckily, we’ve found the book California Mushrooms: The Comprehensive Identification Guide by Dennis Desjardin, Michael Wood, and Frederick Stevens to be an invaluable resource. We also tap into various online groups to help us learn.

forest mushroom

The snow is coming..

Winter is quickly approaching, and we have been working hard to construct a new well house before the first snows.


The ground has begun to freeze and the frost is pushing up through the soil at night. There are still a few crickets chirping in the forest, but soon they will have all burrowed below to ground to hibernate for the winter.


And the bears are still out and looking very healthy and fat from their fall feast of acorns and berries. But, they too will begin to enter their dens to hibernate through the ice and snow of winter.

black bear