Every Fall we have one or two Puffballs in our yard. This year we have seven! They grow into volleyball sized rounds almost overnight, but it takes several weeks for them to “puff” spreading trillions of spores into the air. Puffballs are fungi, specifically Calvatia gigantea. They are edible and quite tasty — if you know the right time to harvest them. Puffball Steaks, thick, found slices, can be sautéed with herbs and are a meal all by themselves.
I photographed the seven Puffballs yesterday, and surprisingly they were each in different life stages. Starting with the pure white globes and moving through the transition from white to speckled to spots to brown, and finally the dark brown, collapsed puffball which has loosed its spores into the air.
I followed them a female Monarch Butterfly as she flitted from milkweed plant to milkweed plant, laying eggs on the tender leaves. She stopped several times to get some nectar for energy. Then she flew down the street to lay eggs elsewhere.
This lovely native bush is in full bloom in early July. The blooms look like the brushes for baby bottles, hence the name. But this species is native to Illinois and its full name is Bottlebrush Buckeye. It spreads out and fills the shaded area. Some branches are low to the ground.
The sky was like a watercolor painting, with soft hues and colors. The clouds were sparse, but lovely. They looked a bit like popcorn in places. As the bright orange sun set, the colors and drama deepened. These were taken at Herrick Lake Forest Preserve.
As the sun sets in my neighborhood, the brown oak leaves still on the trees turn a brilliant orange. As I walked I saw this brilliance framed perfectly by trees. Nature’s Golden Hour art framed for us to see!
Making a starburst image of the setting sun, is not difficult. But finding the right circumstances, weather, timing, and framing can be difficult. In this case, I didn’t plan it. I saw it, grabbed my camera and tried to find a view without the pesky water tower!
The temperatures seemed to drop overnight. The leaves are mostly on the ground. Then comes that first snowfall. I was at Houghton Lake when this all happened. And of course, I captured a few images of the lake in November, and a few of trees without leaves and leaves with snow.
Bright yellow maple leaves greeted us today at Morton Arboretum. These images were captured mostly in East Woods where maple trees abound. It was late afternoon, with sunshine being overtaken by clouds. Everywhere we looked there was yellow, bright yellow. I love the East Woods! (A few Impressionist images are included!)