Our latest foray into the back and beyond proved exciting—the Tapinella atrotomentosa (which I still want to call Paxillus atrotomentosus, or Velvet Pax) are beginning to appear in the usual spots, on mossy old stumps and decaying logs. I even found a few in the roots of an old cedar—I usually see them on Douglas fir. I’m not the only one attracted to these beauties, however. These little gnaw marks are clear evidence that I’m in competition with squirrels.
Because I’m selfish with my dye mushrooms, I decided to try a trick I’ve employed in my vegetable garden, to keep cats out of my freshly dug garden beds: I gathered up a bunch of twiggy branches and made a protective little cage over this button in the hope it can grow intact to a usable size.
In the meantime, my first dyepot of the season, using the bits of Velvet Pax the squirrels decided to leave for me, is now under way, along with marathon mordanting sessions. Bring on the dye mushrooms!
3 thoughts on “And the cycle continues . . .”
Do squirrels like to eat Velvet Pax? These bites don’t look like squirrel bites to me and I do not know this mushrooms species to be among one of the many sought after by squirrels. However I would be interested to know if you observed this or have other evidence of squirrels eating these.
I assumed these were marks of squirrel nibblings because the teeth marks seemed to be the right size (not that I’ve seen a squirrel’s teeth up close!) and because we see more squirrels than any other rodent in the forest. We do have mice and voles, but their teeth wouldn’t be big enough to make these marks. We have raccoons – would they gnaw on a mushroom like that?
Hmmm if you observe a rodent leaving marks like that I would be very interested.
To me from your photos the marks look like they were left by a slug eating a young mushroom. As mushrooms grow these bites have a tendancy to magnify. It’s eerily reminiscent of a scene from Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland; “One side will make you grow taller,” the Caterpillar explained to Alice, “and the other side will make you grow shorter.”