Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Big Lagoon

Big Lagoon was my family's inspiration for moving to Humboldt County. I always begin my visits on Huckleberry Lane. The huckleberries were cut back pretty hard earlier this year (to give the cabins a better view of the ocean), but they seem to be doing fine. They look a little boxed in, though.

Then I walk along the street to the lagoon parking lot and onto the dock to see how high the water is.

It's high. And definetly too high for some of the silverweed (yellow) and grasses along the shoreline.

This photo is of a photo on an interpretive sign. Big Lagoon was extremely rich in wildlife. It was good to the Yurok. (There's a rancheria on one side of the lagoon.) I saw a man with a bicycle fishing in the lagoon, but he wasn't catching anything. Birds are everywhere. Especially cormorants.

If you turn left away from the lagoon, you see this sandspit, which divides the lagoon from the ocean. I thought about the ocean, but honestly, I tend to prefer the forest, which is in the opposite direction.

So that's where I head. One of the first plants to command attention is this, false lily of the valley. These berries are still young, with gold specks. I saw many older berries too, which are deep red and translucent.

The forest at Big Lagoon is much different than the one at home. The woods are DARK. It's a Sitka spruce forest that is way too crowded and many of the trees are dying or dead. Still, it's one of my favorite places. It is so quiet and eerie.

And the forest floor is spongy and deep green.

Ah, there's one of my favorite ferns, Polypodium scouleri. They normally grow up in trees, but this may have fallen with part of a tree. It's a good size plant, if I'd wanted I probably could have barely lifted it off the ground. I've often thought that this species might make a nice houseplant, grown in bark like many orchids are.

Speaking of orchids, here are two little Rattlesnake Plantains growing under an orange mushroom.
My camera is good at lightening things up, but remember, it's dark in here.

I can't help but admire the mushrooms. On my way into the forest I saw a couple Boletes edulis and some Wine Agarics. When I saw this one, I was amazed. Evenually I tried lifting it so I could see the underside and realized it was a rusty bottle cap. But I left it there because it's still a wonder to behold.
So was this, the underside of a real mushroom.
And this too. A tiny landscape within a tall forest.
This looks like a nice family.
These mushrooms reminded me of soccer. Some were as large as my hand.

The forest wasn't always so dark, apparently. There are many other trees dead and decaying under the spruces. This, I'm confident to say, was a wax myrtle.

This mushroom had the look, feel, and size of a gumboot chitin. Amazing.

Here's a slimy couple.

Daisy in the pasture.

Sun with radiating twigs.

Perhaps the most beautiful mushrooms were the species below. They were everywhere. They had this ultraviolet look to them and there's something so cool about the fringe around the cap.

I almost always check on my secret patch of Calypso orchids when I'm at Big Lagoon, but they were dormant.
But I did find this objet trouve nearby. It was a lamp.
I may be leaving Humboldt County for a while. I quit my job last Friday (let's just say the business was nuts) and went down to look at UC Davis (in Yolo County). I'm going to be applying for the master's program in horticulture. My brother and his family live in Woodland nearby. I'm looking for a job around here and down there. Davis was nice, but it's a completely different environment (it's in the hot, dry valley). But I'm incredibly excited about the idea of going down there. The facilities look amazing, the people I met were friendly and passionate about what they're doing, and there has always been something about oak trees that has fascinated me.
My parents will still be here, so I'd live close enough to still visit and tend our forest and coastal prairie from time to time.
Well, we'll see what happens.


Ellen said...

Those are some gorgeous mushrooms, lots of which I've never seen in the PA woods. And that Polypodium scouleri is gorgeous! I grow several Polypodium as houseplants but I don't know this one. Good luck on the change you're making.

Gardener of La Mancha said...

Thanks, Ellen. I wonder how easy the polypodium would be to propagate from rhizome cuttings.

I haven't yet tried your plum torte. It's too late getting them at the farmer's market so I may have to wait till next season. This makes me sad. Maybe I'll break down and get some at the grocery store.

chuck b. said...

Cool mushrooms! I'm linking this post.

You must have seen the perennial garden at UC Davis..? I blogged my visit there last summer. Very cool stuff. And the Old City Cemetery in Sacramento was amazing too.

Gardener of La Mancha said...

Chuck, I went back to your posting, and ya, I did see the perrennial garden (The Storer Garden). The Mexican Grass tree certainly was the most memorable plant, to me. You can bet that if I end up at Davis I'll be working in the arboretum. It would be so great! I noticed that in your posting the Shields Oak Grove was fenced off for the birds, but it was all clear for me (I don't know what they did with all the birds) and it was amazing. That's where I want to take a nap every afternoon.