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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Thunderstorms and Surprising Finds

Post thunderstorm this evening

Post thunderstorm yesterday evening

Morel Mushrooms and the "dog yard" rhubarb

Morel Mushrooms

Young snapper crossing the driveway

This has been the week for thunderstorms and surprising finds here on Oake Lake. The skies are brilliant enough without the intense weather but add a thunderstorm or two and the sky lights up with some quite amazing cloud formations and colors. Thankfully, we had no hail in our area, however our southeastern neighbors were not as lucky. Reports were made of 3 feet of water running through the streets due to clogged sewer drains. They were clogged from the leaves that were stripped from the trees when the 2 feet of golf ball size hail pummeled the area. June is historically when we receive the hail storms. Years ago, the apple orchard was hailed out two years in a row on the very same day; June 10th. Needless to say, we have our eyes on the sky even more so at this time of year.

With the beginning of June and hail season also comes the migration of the turtles. The painted and snapping turtles make their way from Oake Lake up to the property to lay their eggs. I was surprised to spot the first turtle yesterday. It was a snapping turtle that appeared to have hatched out last year. The turtles make their way into the strangest places. Dog kennels need to be periodically checked and the play area is given a once over every day before the dogs get let out to play. Many a turtle has fallen victim to the curious sled dog and ended up with a few distinguishing battle scars on its shell from those furry beasts considering it a chew toy. Thankfully, no turtles have been mortally wounded and all do seem to return sporting those custom marked shells.

Morel mushroom season begins when there has been enough warmth and sun to bring the soil temps up to 63 degrees F. Looking for nearly two hours a couple of weeks ago, we found nothing. A surprising find of a cluster of 10 Morel Mushrooms came about during a bike ride around the lake today. They were clumped together, in a sunny patch of ground and directly under a dying Elm tree with bark beginning to flake. The spores of the Morel are released from the bark of certain types of dying trees, one being the Elm. Morels, fried in butter, are a delicacy. They go for $50.00 a pound in the stores and can be found at high end restaurants in the city. Interesting what a little bike ride in the country can uncover.

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