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Thursday, 15 December 2016

Drawing diary: November


These drawing diaries have slowly transformed into nature nerding sessions and I'm totally okay with that. Usually, I keep my blog posts strictly on the topic of gaming, but I've found it's really nice to have a place to talk about my daily, analogue life every now and then (and post photos of pretty things). My Drawing Diaries are best suited for that. I've added the label Nature to the appropriate posts, so you know beforehand you'll not only have to suffer through those drawings, but through my nature fangirling as well.

I've considered removing the "drawing" part of the title, but for now they are a great reminder for me that I actually need to draw stuff.

Drawing wise, I made some illustrations for my blog post Pokémon Go's Halloween event:


The first illustration I made was this one of Gengar celebrating my departure to Sweden (where there were no pokémon to catch). It's not exactly of high artistic value, but the Gengar makes me grin with its mix of looking derpy and evil at the same time, and it did its job as blog post illustration well.

The drawing below came into being from wanting a second illustration for that blog post, but having no creative ideas about what to draw. Funnily enough I like the result a lot more, also as a standalone picture.


That's all I drew in November, though. The rest of the month was pretty uneventful. My health continued to be poor and I barely have managed to do anything for my studies. I've been in so much pain that I had to take morphine for the first time in my life. All this sitting home and feeling terrible has brought the usual gloomy thoughts along. I've kept myself positive by writing blog posts so far, but I really have to restructure my day and go kick some ass to keep away that lurking depression.

Although it's really nice to be able to vent in my drawing diary posts, I don't want them to become whiny. So this is where we go on to the next section: nerding out about nature with Rav.

Cladonia spec. (heidelucifer, "heather matches")

I used to love hiking in the mountains, and cycling around with friends to look for rare plants and animals. Ever since I became ill I haven't been able to do it much, so going for a walk on a nearby heath with Conrad and my mother filled me with happiness (okay, this sounds really cheesy, but it just does). I was hoping for some mushrooms because it had rained a lot the days before, but honestly didn't expect much so late in the year. I was wrong, though, and soon came to regret not taking my mushroom book with me!

I knew this heath as a production pine forest back in the day, before it burned down. It was really cool to see that it has since developed not just as a heath, but also as an interesting nature area. For those from the Netherlands, it's the heath near Den Treek, east of the N227.

The first subject worthy of nature loving adoration were the lichen (picture above). I don't have a lichen book, so I don't get much further than the genus for the lichen above (there are multiple species that look alike), but I always love their happy red dots. They do look a bit like matches (which is the Dutch name for them - I'm too lazy to look up the English name for all the species I encountered, so you'll have to do with my crappy translations from Dutch!).

From left to right: Phaeolous schweinitzii (dennevoetzwam), Scleroderma citrinum (gele aardappelbovist, "yellow potato fungus") and Clavaria argillacea (heideknotszwam).

Then we actually saw some mushrooms, too. My mother was super impressed by the oak sprout growing from the brown mushroom to the left (it's hard to see on the picture, but it is there). An acorn must have fallen on top of it and started growing, so the mushroom itself must've been around for a while. I took a picture of it for her, but I had no idea of the species and didn't have much hope of finding out which one it was, as it looked pretty old and rotten. When I got home and had access to my mushroom book, though, it turned out it likely was the most uncommon species we had seen today.

It probably was Phaeolous schweinitzii (dennevoetzwam, "pine foot fungus"). When it is young, it looks very different: it is soft en dark yellow at first; then it turns rusty brown (as on the picture) and eventually black. It lives on the roots of pine trees, firs in particular. It is probably growing on the root of that chopped off pine you see on the picture. Nerd alert: it makes me fangirl that it's actually at the foot of a pine, as it says in its name. Too perfect!

The really sad specimen in the middle is not something I would usually take a picture of, but I earned some nerd points by being able to tell my mum (who was intrigued by it) that it was the common earthball. I do think the Dutch name, "yellow potato fungus", is much more fun! (For the record, they're supposed to look like a yellow ball, but this one is so old it's decaying and starting to tear apart.)

The yellow tentacles (right fungus of the above picture) coming from the ground made me fangirl, because when I first saw this species, about 15 years ago, I was told it was rare. However, I soon became the laughing stock of the company, because...


...they were everywhere! Conrad and mum dispersed over the heath, pointing down every now and then: "Rav, here's more of your rare mushroom!" They really cracked me up. I just love these alien like little yellow tentacles. In Dutch they are called "heideknotszwam", which is "heather club fungus". You can probably guess why: it's because of their typical club form. There are other "club fungi" species in different colours that are much rarer. I still would love to find the black version one day.

When we were about to return home, we saw a group of people standing around something in the forest. Of course we were curious what they were looking at, so we checked it out. Turns out it was this (they had no idea what it was):


This huge thing is the grote sponszwam ("big sponge mushroom"). It's larger than a football. Isn't it just glorious? It is edible, but it felt a shame to destroy such a cool thing. Also, I wasn't encouraged much by my mushroom loving (as in, culinary) friend who says it's impossible to get all the insects out because of its sponge structure. Still regret I didn't take a small piece with me, though, just to taste.

Did you see any cool mushrooms this autumn? If you blogged about it, feel free to drop a link in the comments and I'll definitely check it out.

26 comments :

  1. Rav! I hope you are feeling a little bit better today <3 It sucks to hear you are still not feeling well :( I'm glad you had a great time on your little stroll with Conrad and your mother, though! Your photos are stunning! I actually have never seen mushrooms like those before LOL!

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Jennifer, and for your kind words! It goes up and down, but luckily generally slowly improving. I've switched from morphine to less extreme painkillers and it's going okay.

      Cool that you like the pictures! I didn't have a real camera with me (wasn't expecting anything, really), so I took them with Conrad's phone. And we were quite lucky to find such cool not-your-typical-toadstool type of mushrooms. :D

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  2. Those "yellow tentacles" give me the creeps for some reason. I want to say that I once saw a tentacled plant attacking people (hmm... the Tom Baker Doctor Who years keep springing to mind for some reason), but all I can think of is the Earth rising up to attack the unwary.

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    1. I'm almost tempted to go pick one and put it in your new year's card's envelope, now. But I guess it's not fun if you already know. :P

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  3. I am so sorry to hear that you've not been feeling well, and I'm glad to hear that you had a nice outing. I'm not too into mushroom-hunting...probably because I don't believe that we have the neat-looking fungi. I also cannot get the corniness of my high school biology teacher out of my head - for example, Lichens are called that because the Liken to be together. *rolls eyes*

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    1. Oh my, okay, that pun is terrible; it's not even funny! I can understand you're scarred for life! Sorry to bring it all back to you. :P

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  4. Oh I am jealous, I did not look at all at mushrooms this summer :(, and the heideknotszwam is super cool. So next year I will join you with looking at mushrooms, than we can be nerdy together ^^. It seems like a really nice place to go on mushroom excursion ( I probably already looked at mushrooms there before). And yeah the sponszwam is terrible to clean :P.

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    1. Yes, we totally missed our mushroom nerd session this year! Although we did see some in Sweden if you remember (but most were gone, since autumn comes early there). Yay for the heideknotszwam! *high five*

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  5. It seems you have some cartooning talent in your arts arsenal. That might be an outlet for your frustrations.
    Thank you for the beautiful photos, as temperatures dive below zero and the snow piles up here, how nice to see beautiful green, magical scenes.

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    1. Drawing definitely helps to relax. I should do it more often.

      I'm jealous of your snow, now! These pictures were from November. Now it just mostly looks brown and grey out there. Although there is beauty in that, too.

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  6. Artist, photographer, and gamer. Where is the end to the talent? Hoping that your health takes a positive turn.

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    1. Thanks, Roland. I wish the same for you!

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  7. Kinda late but I hope your health gets better soon!

    Anyway, I like that Gengar. The sweden flag is a pretty nice touch!

    Cool pictures too. That potato mushroom I'd never figure it was a fungus. I'd imagine it was some kind of weird fruit or something.

    That field with the heather yellow club almost looks like someone planted a lot of them. They just look placed in such a deliberate manner. Probably just to troll someone who thought they were rare!

    I'd never guess that big sponge mushroom is edible. It looks very alien and very un-appetazing. On the other hand I am terribly picky at eating so I am not the best person to comment on that, I guess.

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    1. Yay, I'm glad you like gengar! Water paint is stubborn and not easy to handle, but I do like things not ending up perfectly as well (although I've probably already said that 100 times).

      Regarding the "heather club fungus": that's an interesting observation. I don't know how this particular fungus grows, so what I'm about to say might be utter BS, but I can see some explanations as to why they are dispersed like they are. The part we're seeing is only a very small part of the mushroom; most of it is underground, and some species can cover huge areas. So it could be that what we perceive as a lot of mushrooms, is in fact one organism.

      Another possible explanation could be 'communication' between them, for instance by leaving certain chemical compounds in the soil, signalling that it's too close to make another there.

      We should really ask this to Marinka, who actually is a biologist. I'm just an enthusiast.

      Haha, and I'm picky at eating, too! It just love trying out freshly picked mushrooms - the ones that cannot be mistaken by any others, that is. I may not even like all equally much, but it's cool to try.

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    2. Now I have been asked to give biological advice: so I checked out my mushroom book. The "heather club fungus" lives from dead material (dead leaves, roots etc) it decomposes everything. It mainly occurs together and can occur in large groups. I think that this is just one organisms that made many mushrooms. Mushrooms are actually the apple from a tree, so the fungus in the soil is much bigger. I guess it appears in the open spots between vegetation so that the spores of the mushroom can spread better by wind.

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    3. Thanks for the professional feedback, Marinka! And yes, they were definitely mostly growing in the open spots between vegetation, so that's pretty 'smart' of them. Now one wonders how they know where to pop up, since they don't have eyes or anything. Of course it's probably something like "are there semi-deep roots here? Better go up somewhere else". Signalling chemical compounds could play a role again.

      That's what I love about science: always more questions!

      P.S. Rakuno is probably making mental notes never to wonder about anything biologically related in the comments now. :P

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    4. Actually, I find the discussion interesting. Although I admit I will probably forget everything by tomorrow. :p

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  8. I wasn't aware that it was possible to get this excited about mushrooms but I'm happy you did. :D

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  9. Such gorgeous photos! As a former Biology major, I get super geeky over nature too, haha. I'm definitely jealous that you have so much incredible nature to explore so close to where you live.

    On another note, if you end up wanting someone to whine to, I'm all ears! I know all about holding that depression at bay. I'm sorry you've been in so much pain and I hope you get out and start kicking ass again soon<3

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    1. Thank you! I didn't know you did a biology major, that's so cool. I'm really happy I moved from the big polluted city back to my small hometown. Now there's nature around me, even if I'm just sitting at home. Unfortunately, the Netherlands is the most densely populated country of Europe, so there's not all that much nature. But it already helps a lot to know where and what to look for.

      I'm sad to hear that you're an expert on depression. Whining every now and then helps, but I don't want to burden people with my problems either. You probably are familiar with that feeling. Everyone has enough going on in their lives already.

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  10. Really cool mushrooms/fungi! I'm a huge nature nerd myself, so I love when other people post about the flora and fauna around them. :D
    The "tentacles" are awesome, I've never seen anything like that here. Looks totally alien! Never seen one of those big sponge things either.. Did you touch it? Does it feel like a sponge too? I understand not wanting to destroy it, although it would've been fun to know what it tastes like.

    I usually post a lot of photos during autumn, and last year I did a whole post with just mushroom photos: http://imaginarykarin.com/mushrooms-in-autumn/

    Also, the Gengar is really cute :)

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    1. Oh, I remember that blog post! I thought I had commented on it, too, but apparently I did not (fail!). You can really tell you're using an actual camera for your pictures - whoa! I especially like the 2nd and 4th pictures.

      The sponge mushroom does feel a like a sponge, but a wetter and softer. A bit eerie, really.

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  11. Love the photos. They almost have a fantasy feel to them for me.

    Gengar is cute too with that mischievous grin.

    Here's hoping that your health will allow you to get out a bit more often.

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    1. Yay, so glad you like them! Thank you. :)

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