Mom at home scientist

Ecology of my motherhood; analyzed, frugal, and (mostly) natural.


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Katya’s Book of Mushrooms- a book review

This fall I taught our local homeschool co-op STEAM class and focused on fungi. I borrowed every book that I could get my hands on from our local library and requested an extra dozen. I was pleasantly surprised by this book showing up on my shelf, Katya’s Book of Mushrooms, by Katya Arnold.

Katya’s Book of Mushrooms is a story of Katya’s passion and love for mushrooms and discovering them in the wild. Her book is not a field guide, so shouldn’t be consulted for foraging tips nor should it be used to identify mushrooms as edible or poisonous. Using delightful illustrations, drawn by the author, she tells mythological stories of her forest friends, and illuminates their ecological role there.

As a forager myself, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of information on morphology that is used to key out a mushroom identification, although it does not help with making any species suggestions. I think this is a good feature for the intended audience of children from 5-14, as they shouldn’t be making edibility judgements without an expert’s opinion.

This delightful book illustrates many commonly found mushrooms of North Akatyas book of mushroomsmerica, and yet has information from Russia, as that is where Katya Arnold was born and spent her early years.

I highly recommend Katya’s Book of Mushrooms for science units to introduce a child to fungi and instill increased awareness of the presence of mushrooms around us in nature.

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ON BEING DECIDUOUS

By Jennifer Hubbard

I shed you leaves
for bare limbs
shapely against a cold sky.
In spring you fed me with your sap
intoxicating syrup, from apical bud
to my deepest root hair.
I helped you grow
from previous sapped
mutualistic relationships
while reaching for the sky
strengthening my grip in the soil
until the sun reached solstice
and evening crept back
inch by inch
lengthening shadows anticipating
a future without you.
Leaf scars formed
between green leaves.
And you,
your change so subtle
a flush in your blade
a paling cuticle
and piece by piece
the wind you jealously guarded from me
took you away.
I look down as I reach up
watch you spin and float away
Time falls back
the first frost descends
and you
decay