Fairy rings and h/a/y/ fungal fever

The fairy ring has returned, although it's not as sharply defined as last year.

The fairy ring has returned, along it’s not as sharply defined as last year.

This started out as another in my series of “I hate hay fever” posts. I had been having mildly worsening hay fever-like symptoms for two weeks, and coincidentally noticing a lot of mushrooms, toadstools, and similar fungal species popping up in lawns, flower beds, and the sides of trees everywhere I walked. Since I have a mildly severe allergic reaction to spores and molds as well as pollens, it seemed like a good guess that I was reacting to all the fungus “blooming” around town.

Same image, with a light line added to show the boundaries of the fairy ring.

Same image, with a light line added to show the boundaries of the fairy ring.

Two separate fungal blooms are happening in our lawn: clusters of small brown toadstools, and slightly larger white mushrooms. It is the latter that form the fairy ring tangential to the curb in front of our house. Last year the ring had so many of the white caps around its edge, that it was impossible to miss. This year, so far, there are a lot fewer of the caps, but the little clusters of them mark out a circular area, once again. Several of the white caps are a lot smaller than the others, and you can’t see them as well in the picture I took. Since the camera is catching it at an angle, it appears elliptical rather than circular. Anyway, I’ve added a ring to the second image to help show it. (Click either to embiggen)


Clusters of these brown toadstools are ubiquitous.

Clusters of these brown toadstools are ubiquitous.

I’ve been seeing the little brown toadstools in clusters everywhere. Here’s a close up on one such cluster on our street.

One day last week I had my annual physical in the morning, which went a bit differently than usual. I had scheduled it as early as they would let me, since one of the blood tests I have to have done regularly is a fasting-lipid test, so I can’t eat anything for eight hours before the test. I had hoped to get out of the doctor’s office (which is about a mile and a half from our place) early enough so I could catch a bus and get to my office by eleven. As it was, I got back home a few minutes after eleven. So I grabbed my things and hurried to the bus stop. On the way there I passed by an enormous mushroom coming up near a hedge that separates one parking lot from the sidewalk on a major thoroughfare. The cap of the mushroom was nearly softball sized, was a distinctive orange with yellow bumps all over it.

I could see the next bus coming down the hill, and I still had a street to cross, so I didn’t stop to take a picture. I send a fervent wish to the cosmos that the mushroom would still be there in the evening when I got home and ran for the bus.

I realized when I was showing the picture to friends later that I should have put something down next to it to give a sense of scale.

I realized when I was showing the picture to friends later that I should have put something down next to it to give a sense of scale.

Technically it was still there. Someone had pulled it up or knocked it over, but it was still laying there when I came by again in the evening.

I took some more pictures of clusters of interesting mushrooms on my walk home, but it was dark enough that the flash was required, and I don’t think any of them are worth your bandwidth.

The next morning, which was my work-from-home day, when I dropped Michael off at his work, I saw an even more enormous mushroom growing by the side of the road just off the driveway to the loading dock. I was already pulled up and around to head into the street to get back home, and we were running a little later than usual. So I decided not to stop the car to take a picture than, but rather get back home so I could log in to work on time. Fortunately, this mushroom was still there when I came back in the evening to pick Michael up (and drive over to order my new iPad, try to find a silicon case for his new iPhone, and meet up with Jeff and Jeri Lynn for dinner.

I hope the traffic sign and post provide an adequate idea of the scale in this one!

I hope the traffic sign and post provide an adequate idea of the scale in this one!

It was still there. Unlike the other one, no one had molested it, so I got pictures.

My hay fever symptoms kept getting worse over the weekend. By late Saturday night I had a scratchy throat and a bit of a cough. Hay fever doesn’t usually make me cough, but a cold does. On Sunday afternoon fairly simple tasks were leaving me exhausted, another clue that this probably wasn’t hay fever. My throat was getting better, and I hadn’t coughed all day, but Michael’s throat was hurting, and he had a cough. We decided between being tired, cranky, and not sure whether we were contagious not to go to the annual halloween party that our friends at Pandora House were throwing. Even though we had a good, in-theme pair of costumes, with a guessing game built in.

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About fontfolly

I've loved reading for as long as I can remember. I write fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and nonfiction. I publish an anthropomorphic sci-fi/space opera literary fanzine. I attend and work on the staff for several anthropormorphics, anime, and science fiction conventions. I live in Seattle with my wonderful husband, still completely amazed that he puts up with me at all.

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