Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Round Bales

Today is Outdoor Wednesday...
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Autumn is the season of harvest.  Round baling is one way of putting up hay to feed the livestock throughout the year.  A field full of round bales is an impressive sight, to be sure.

Round bales fill the valley floor.
"Not everyone uses round bales, but they are becoming more common every year...

...The shift to using round bales is easily understood if you have spent much time putting up square bales...

...When comparing the cost of putting up hay as square bales versus round bales, round bales usually win." 

This round bale is about five feet tall!

~ Edward B. Rayburn, West Virginia University Extension Service Specialist

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

An Old Dog Learns Something New

It's Outdoor Wednesday!
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After four and a half decades on this planet, I am delighted to discover that my garden can still surprise me.  The weather in Ohio has been peculiar this year - that is to say, it has been completely normal.  You never know what you'll get.  We have a saying that goes roughly like this...

"Don't like the weather?  Wait around a bit.  It'll change." 

Thus it has been in 2011:  crazy wet spring, brutally hot summer, an October when you didn't need the furnace until late in the month. 

And so, in all her inspiration, Mother Nature has provided me with these over the past two weeks:

They are beautiful and strange and somehow frightful all at the same time.  These plants - which are actually mushrooms - resemble a striped carrot coming out of the ground, yet they are hollow on the inside!

A quick Internet search provided the answer.  Commonly known as a Stinkhorn (I didn't get close enough to confirm), Mutinus Elegans is actually found throughout North America east of the Rocky Mountains.  Despite this fact, however, I had never seen one before!   It's wonderful to know that just when you think you've learned it all, something new comes along to delight you.

Sidenote:  while researching this plant, I came across a website that I would highly recommend:  MushroomExpert.Com 

Definitely check out the Stinkhorn Hall of Fame 
You will be AMAZED!