Harbingers, by Hardscrabble Farmers

Francis Bacon said, “Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.” Nature is being ignored in a multitude of ways, and there’s going to be hell to pay. From Hardscrabble Farmer at theburningplatform.com:

“The study of plant diseases for their own sake is proving an increasingly intricate game, to which modern scientists have devoted many wasted hours. Such studies would be amusing if they were not tragic, for no disease in plant, animal, or man can properly be viewed unless it is looked on as an interference with, or to speak more plainly, as the distortion or negation of that positive aspect of the growing organism which we call health.” ― Albert Howard, The Soil and Health: A Study of Organic Agriculture

Every year right about this time large clusters of chicken of the woods mushrooms appear on the root base of one of the big white oaks at the end of the esker. Laetiporus, an especially flavorful mushroom with an otherworldly orange hue, only appears once it has been well established within the heartwood. Basidiomycetes are indicators of a tree that is entering terminal decline and once this process begins it is simply a matter of time until it dies.


I feel bad about losing the oak, it is a stately one with a massive butt free from any branches for at least fifty feet having grown in the shelter of the slumping side of the glacial kame. There are probably close to four hundred board feet of lumber in the trunk and two or three cords of fire wood in the limbs alone. I expect that we should cut it soon if we are to get the most out of it, but for now we slice off huge hunks of the sherbet colored shelf fungus to roast, saute’, and dry for soups every couple of days.

We’re getting into the part of the year where the first clusters of red leaves appear on the soft maples down in the wet areas and the blue has gone out of most of the green, even in the garden, shifting towards the yellow spectrum of decline. I don’t know if most people can even see it, especially when the weather remains warm into the middle of September, but it’s there all the same. The weakest of the rock maples will give off color early, sometimes in single branches, sometimes all over and at once as if to throw in the towel on Summer before the Sun reaches its midpoint between zenith and nadir.

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One response to “Harbingers, by Hardscrabble Farmers

  1. This is excellent, thanks for sharing it.


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