1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Face the Future--Conserve Energy, Inherit the World, and Become a Saprophyte!

Tapwell: But to my story.
You were then a lord of acres, the prime gallant,
And I your under-butler. Note the change now.
You had a merry time of it--hawks and hounds,
With choice of running horses, mistresses,
Of all sorts and all sizes--yet so hot
As their embraces made your lordships melt,
Which your uncle, Sir Giles Overreach, observing,
Resolving not to lose a drop of 'em
On foolish mortgages, statutes, and bonds,
For a while supplied your looseness, and then left you.

Wellborn: Some curate hath penned this invective, mongrel,
And you have studied it.

Tapwell: I have not done yet.
Your land gone, and your credit not worth a token,
You grew the common borrower; no man scaped
Your paper pellets, from the gentleman
To the beggars on highways, that sold you switches
In your gallantry...

--from Phillip Massinger's A New Way to Pay Old Debts, 1633--

Foraging, it seems, has become fashionable for some people, with more dollars than sense, though their harvest can turn out to be deadly instead of healthy. Is it hard times or just wanting to "go green" that inspires even some wealthy ones among us to act foolishly? Perhaps they think they are godlike in their ability to avoid financial disaster or to summon immediate, expert medical attention, but even they will eventually succumb to the supreme masters of the universe, the lords of the Kingdom Fungi. We are familiar with some royal members of that kingdom by virtue of their fruiting phase, the mushrooms, which thrive in the woods, in our lawns, and in our gardens. These saprophytes, as they are known to biologists, perform important tasks in the environment and really do more good than harm, as long as nature neophytes are wise enough to leave them alone. Mushrooms require little energy to grow or reproduce, and they offer themselves as interesting subjects for observation. The Fishing Guy photo-captured a squirrel devouring a delicious looking fungus but recommends, with good reason, being very cautious about consuming mushrooms found in the wild. Even though a squirrel seems to find them appetizing and can eat them without apparent ill effects, humans are more susceptible to their mycotoxins and cannot expect the same results. We might not be able to consume them all, but we will all--even the rich and famous--become food for them someday.


  1. What a neat post!!! Nice mushroom pics and text! I love the ones that look like shelves coming out of wood! Did you see the pics I posted 2 days ago of the fungus growing on and in my picnic table that is rotting? Mushrooms are so varied and to find and photograph for sure!

  2. Interesting perspective that we will "one day become food for them." My husband as well as some friends used to go mushroom hunting in the spring. Apparently, they knew what they were looking for--morels--because no one ever got sick from eating them! But I've always been a little hesitant:)

  3. I like that section of A New Way to Pay Old Debts. Revenge seems the sweetest to Tapwell and is it ever so apt now a days with all doom and gloom in the news. Never been a mushroom hunter but I enjoy looking at them.

  4. Julie, did you see the "face" in the first picture? I saw the mushroom growing on the side of the trail we usually take at Rend Lake and couldn't resist taking its picture. It looks like it might be trying to say something. I'll soon be over to your site and take a look at your mushroom pics. Thanks for visiting.

    Rose, I used to go mushroom hunting with my dad, and I can remember my mom refusing to let us kids eat them until dad had taken the first bite. After he proved that they were safe by remaining alive the next day, we were allowed to dig in. Still, I always felt a little uneasy about them.

    Tina, the play does have a happy ending, for Wellborn, anyway. He makes amends for his wicked ways and eventually pays his debts. No bankruptcy proceedings necessary and certainly no bailout!

  5. Wonderful photos! Mushrooms are a sign of a healthy ecosystem.

    I think there are some excellent edibles to be found 'wilding'. Many weeds have more nutrition than veggies bought at the suppermarket. However, mushrooms are not something I collect and eat from the wild. I don't trust my judgment even with morels which are fairly easy to ID.

  6. I find it strange that even though we were in a drought for most of the summer, I could always find a mushroom somewhere on our land! With rain the past few days, we have mushrooms galore! If only I knew they were safe to eat then we would be in the money so to speak... We could set up a roadside stand and sell them to others that were smart and put their money in a mayonnaise jar instead of in the banks!

  7. I loved this post. You have such a knack for putting a unique spin of things...enjoyed it...

  8. Marnie, good point about the greens and things. Freshly picked wild things are better for us, as long as they haven't been sprayed with herbicide or some other nasty chemical. I read something in the paper the other day about state and national parks becoming favorite havens for pot growers. They set up elaborate irrigation systems, tear up native plant life, spray herbicides and pesticides, and ultimately destroy large tracts of land and sensitive ecosystems. So be careful where you forage!

    Skeeter, I can see you as the founding head of a huge conglomerate of Mushroom Market franchises sprouting up coast-to-coast. You'll host two hit TV shows: a comedy/cooking show, Shrooming with Skeeter, where you create gourmet meals out of your finds from your foraging show, Spores Outdoors. And of course, you'll end up saving the world economy when your franchises go international. ;>}

    Thank you, Michelle! I never know what I'll come up with when I start taking pictures on our walks. Some pictures, like the one with the mushroom face, seem to beg for a story.

  9. W2W, a very interesting post. Went through all the links and the info. We hear about mushroom poisoning every year, in India's north-east. Despite the threat of death it is more of poverty than greed that kills the poorest in our villages.
    What I fail to understand is how, in the link story,the rich and the famous could( for this stupidity,) fall in the same category. Foraging becoming fashionable...aptly said.

    Great pictures too! Love that neat cluster.

  10. Dear Walk2write,
    This was very interesting. Thank you. I too enjoy seeing the mushrooms in the yard and in the wild. I am not a mushroom eater but I find them lovely to look at.
    I also enjoyed reading your comments. You are very funny...
    Thanks for the laughs.

  11. Kanak, I don't consider foraging to necessarily be a bad thing. I've done it myself on a few occasions, but I never have trusted my knowledge of mushrooms enough to gather them from the wild. There are just some things in nature not worth the risk of tempting fate. It's very sad that some people are so poor they have to tempt fate just to survive, while other people (who should know better) seem to do it for "kicks."

    Sherry, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. For some reason, Skeeter just tickles my funny bone and gets me going in the same direction. If there is such a thing, she should be a humor therapist. As for liking mushrooms, it's an acquired taste that develops from trying other varieties than those ubiquitous white things taking up most of the shelf space in the store. I like trying to "convert" my confirmed mushroom-hating son by sneaking finely chopped mushrooms into soups, casseroles, sauces, even pizzas. He usually admits he likes the taste, though he makes a face when he eats them. I think he just likes reminding me he can still be a stubborn boy!

  12. Wonderful post! No, I have no plans for foraging any mushrooms! Would rather enjoy them visually and take photos! I prefer getting my mushrooms from the grocery store--much safer! This was very interesting and informative, as well as having great photos!

  13. By the way, did see the "face" in the first mushroom...that was really interesting!

  14. Hello, I love mushrooms and their very interesting underground life! No foraging for me, except at the produce counters! I have a healthy respect for folks who know their fungi!

    Thanks, for the Dino video! It was fun..

    clay and limestone

  15. Thanks, TTL, for the comment and for following. I really am a late bloomer, especially when it comes to photography. I never enjoyed it that much until I finally dragged the digital camera out of the closet (purchased three years ago!) earlier this year and started finding interesting subjects all around me. For some reason, taking pictures opens my eyes to much more than what I see through the lens. And blogging only enhances and widens my perspective when I'm invited to see the world through the eyes of so many different, talented gardeners and nature-lovers.

    Gail, thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed the post and lovable old Dino. It's interesting that you mentioned him along with the mushroom post. Maybe it's because he was such a fun-guy. ;>}