moon, meteorite or mushroom?

round mushroom 1

This Sunday, Rob and I had one of those days where we intended to get 50,000 house-related errands done and ended up staying home in our pajamas instead. Not that we were unproductive: I worked on various writing projects at the dining room table and he worked on his art back in the studio.

This is one of our favorite kinds of days – we relish the opportunity to let the creative juices just…flow. Around sundown, however, we both got antsy, so we headed out for a walk around the neighborhood and some much needed fresh air. The setting sun was creating a beautiful orange sky behind us, the air was crisp, and we were talking about how Fall had finally arrived…when suddenly, we came upon what looked like a ball right by the sidewalk. Or was it an egg? Or perhaps something made of styrofoam? We stopped to inspect. It was about the size of a small cantaloupe and had a slug creeping down its side. (See him in the photo, above, on the left?)

round mushroom

Upon closer inspection, we wondered if it was a moon, or a meteorite, or (I practically jumped up and down)…A MUSHROOM?

Of course, I immediately ran home to get my camera. I had just been lamenting the fact that this year hadn’t been very mushroom-y around these parts. Here it was the last day of September, and I hadn’t had a good mushroom sighting since May (which inspired me to write this very bad but well-intended poetry.) Previously, it seemed like mushrooms were popping up everywhere. I don’t claim to know a whole lot about fungi. I don’t go out of my way to hunt for them. Really, I’m just an enthusiast: I let them come to me and get positively giddy when they do.

We puzzled over this strange specimen. Just a few feet away, there was a similar shape, broken in half. I broke it a bit more with my foot – it sure felt like a mushroom and the insides seemed to have the right consistency.

round mushroom broken

After I did so, I spotted two more huddling together back in a thicket:

round mushrooms thicket

And another even bigger one hiding, off to the right:

round mushroom hiding

When we got home, Rob googled “huge white round mushroom” and we learned that it is called a Giant Puffball or Calvatia Gigantea. Then we cross-referenced it in my beloved, The Book of Fungi. Turns out these things are edible (no thanks!), have no stem (what?), and can become super-huge, the largest recorded one reaching 5 feet in diameter and weighing in at 40 pounds.

Stumbling upon these weird globes during an evening stroll more than made up for an otherwise shroomless season. It was a perfect “cap” to a creative day. Here’s to creativity, within us all and all around us.


Have you ever seen one of these things? If you were to stumble upon one, what would you do: 1. quickly get your camera like I did 2. run away screaming and move out of the neighborhood 3. take a bite?

Happy Monday!

21 replies

  1. um, whoa! i was totally believing “moon”, but mushroom?! that thing is huge! i have never, ever seen one that size. plus, i love the word “thicket”. makes me want to say it all day long.

    • You are right: thicket is a good word – I cannot tell you how tempted I was to crawl into that thicket to get a closer look/ get a better pic of those hidden ones ๐Ÿ™‚ Alas, I am not the brave photojournalist I’d like to be: no need to get all cut up and covered in burrs in that…thicket! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. 5 feet??? That’s totally bizarre! You’re right – they do look kinda space-y.

    Glad you had a good weekend! I love those around the house days too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I have to admit, we were totally in awe. And the way the sun was hitting this thing made it positively glow.

      Yup, I believe that everybody needs a “Pajama Day” every once in a while. Hope you had a great weekend as well ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I know, I gotta wonder what the people in the cars thought as the passed by and we were scratching our heads going, “Whaaaat?” I felt pretty self-conscious when I ran back for the photo shoot, but I know that’s what you gotta do when you’re a hard-hitting mushroom journalist.

  3. Pajama days are the BEST. Although around three or four I start to feel kind of randomly irritable. It never makes any sense to meโ€ฆ itโ€™s like getting agitated after a spa dayโ€ฆ weird and illogical. Plus, I am not married to someone who appreciates the finer points of a Sunday worth of silence and solitudeโ€ฆ so lucky you.

    I had to read the sentence about a 40 lb/5 ft mushroom twice. I cannot even imagine such a thing.

    • I know, days like those do prove that there can be too much of a good thing.

      I can’t believe that size either! I would just love to see an even bigger one than these – you know I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I’ve seen a picked puffball. Never encountered one growing though. No, I wouldn’t eat the one offered. People seem to love them. Just not me.

  5. Oh I LOVE days like you had here. When we’re both just chillin’ and enjoying the day, doing things we love, feeling those creative juices.
    And then you topped it all off with a humongous mushroom that could have been from outer space. It doesn’t get any better than that.

    We’ve got TONS of them right now in our yard. Not these big suckers… but regular ones with stems. What’s up with all the mushies. I don’t think I ever remember seeing so many of them. They’re super fun though.
    This looks like a giant egg in a “thicket” nest. Mushrooms make me laugh… I think they’re hilarious. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. You’re right – it was kind of like a “thicket nest” – the fact that we saw a few others helped us confirm that it was a little mushroom outcropping.

    They do fascinate and entertain me – and I read WAY too much meaning into them – i.e. – did we see these because we were more open to the universe after such a creative day? And the fact that you have a lot over there right now means a lot of good stuff is percolating, me thinks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I remember going and picking these “Moon Melon” mushrooms with my Mother and Grandfather….Mom would slice them thinly, peel off the “skin” and then fry them in real butter…and a dash of salt. Sooooo yummy….and guess what, I picked one this evening that I had been keeping an eye on for the last week….Oh what a treat. ๐Ÿ™‚

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