bruce and i headed to sudbury this morning, to get one last nature trip before he goes back to pittsburgh for the semester. the place i picked was the nobscot-weisblatt conservation land. astute readers will recognize it as the spot i was visiting before my motorcycle accident back in early june. as a matter of fact, the trip would go pass the exact spot of my crash, as well as the police station i spent some time waiting in. i jokingly referred to it as part of my trauma recovery treatment. i even recognized one of the police officers, who passed by us in a cruiser.
with all the recent rain, the forest was covered in mushrooms, which was pretty much the bulk of what we saw. nothing i haven't seen before, and after a while all the ones we saw were pretty much a handful of the same, ranging from the microscopic to the scarily large. the one interesting thing was some possible puffballs in aspic growing along the path by the long vernal pool; they resembled juicy eyeballs or maybe giant tapioca pearls found in boba ice tea.
i haven't "mushroomed" in a while (and by that i mean going out and photographing them), but i'm always amazed by their diversity. not just between different species, but even within its own kind there's plenty of variety. there's also the bonus of finding edible ones, but i've never eaten wild mushrooms before that i've found in the forest. it's not that i'm unsure about the identification; often times there's a lot of unsavory bugs crawling on and eating the mushrooms that makes them look unappetizing.
it didn't take us long to get to the summit of tippling rock. although not the highest point in sudbury (that recognition goes to nearby nobscot hill), we still managed to see the tops of the prudential and hancock towers in boston. we had lunch up there (i bought a buffalo chicken sandwich from the somerville subway before we left this morning). an old hiker surprised us while we were lounging, but that was the only other person we saw there.
as for my ankle brace, it wasn't too bad. maybe i was a bit more careful navigating the rocky slopes, but the foot felt okay. i tend to move slowly anyway when i'm naturing (the better to look for things). the only pain came from the brace chafing up against the back of my heel, but nothing a band aid can't take care of. it'll be another month before i'm brace free. in the meantime, i don't plan on it slowing me down too much.
after leaving tippling rock we decided to take a looping trail. one weakness of the preserve is the abundance of little side trails courtesy of the local boy scout troop. even with a map, it was still easy to get lost, which was what happened. although i had my gps, it's an older model that has a hard time getting a signal through the trees. fortunately bruce brought along his compass so we had a general idea in which direction we should be walking. we came across empty (locked) boy scout lodges, a burnt down house (all that was left was the chimney), and a large wooden octagon structure that looked like some posh private residence. eventually we found our way out of the forest and back to the car.
we stopped at sudbury plaza, where bruce tried to get some coffee at a starbucks we noticed from the road. when we actually got there we discovered the place was closed for renovations. while bruce went to get a soda from the nearby supermarket, i browsed the birding store, selling bird houses, baths, feeders, books - basically all your birding needs.
back in town i asked bruce if i could see the monarch butterfly caterpillar he'd been rearing, now a fully-formed chrysalis, awaiting its transformation into a butterfly. bruce hoped the chrysalis would hatch before he leaves for pittsburgh this weekend. after i went home, i got on the motorcycle and visited my garden. all the plants are a bit bigger since my last visit. the row of possible cosmos/ragweeds are definitely cosmos from the large forming flower buds. some of my tomatoes were changing color but none of them are ripe yet.
next i went to market basket to get some grocery. coming back, i went to julie's garden to do some watering. some of her heirloom tomatoes are nearly ripen, but they're all cracked for some reason (possibly uneven watering). i took two cucumbers before i left. i went to the cafe to drop off some cilantro (now at $1.49/bunch) before coming back home.
i made some V8 red clam sauce with linguine for dinner. the use of tomato juice was an interesting alternative but seemed like a poor man's recipe. later i had some of the seedless watermelon i bought from star market, a 16lbs. melon for just $2.99. there's some visceral about cutting into a watermelon, exposing all that red flesh inside, dripping with melon juice. i only managed to eat half of a quarter section, putting the rest away in the fridge after some major grocery rearrangement.