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Issue 26

January 2023

Greetings Enchanted Nature Community

Please enjoy our latest  issue of The Enchanted Nature Newsletter

The Music of the Earth

Those of you that are close to us, know that we enjoy playing music with our friends and community members. Music can be enjoyable and entertaining. It can also be relaxing, upsetting, consoling, depressing, uplifting, inspirational or a variety of other emotion causing genres. There is a music of the planet that many people are unable to hear these days because the noise of humanity has become nearly ubiquitous. 

The music of the planet comes in many genres too. From bird songs and ocean waves to loud traffic noise, airports, inconsiderate people... and the noise that we intentionally turn on to avoid hearing our own thoughts.

For most, there are very few moments throughout a day that allow for a complete lack of human generated sound. 

Take some time to assess the sounds around you. Are you hearing the birds, the breeze and water flowing? We have, and have had, many friends and family members that go to bed unusually late or wake up exceptionally early to enjoy the "peace" that occurs when the rest of the world is sleeping. PEACE, a word that has many definitions, seems to be a rare occurrence for most of us these days. No matter where we go, what we do or what is going on in our own mind, peace increasingly seems to be a rare commodity. For a lot of us, your greatest peace comes from watching a YouTube video with headphones. We often force our brains to "tune out" the "noise". A quick web search for the term, "noise pollution" will show that we are affecting each others' health in very negative ways.

As indulgent as it would be to sermonize about loud exhaust systems on vehicles, not playing sound systems loudly enough for everyone around you to literally "feel" or just keeping our voices down in public settings, we will refrain. Full confession, we are part of the problem. We run power tools, drive vehicles, like to have fun with our friends and occasionally enjoy going to a noisy venue that might upset the people living in the immediate vicinity. We also try to be as considerate as possible. With great freedoms come great responsibilities. Taking a plane flight causes noise over a very large part of the population but traveling by air is part of the modern world. The normal response from many is, "Why did you move there" or "Then move... if you don't like the noise". We are all here together. Inner peace is the goal. As with every goal, it can be a long journey and we wish you all the best. Take the time to become enchanted with any source of nature that you can find. You deserve it!

While the rest of the world is intentionally creating NOISE without consideration, you can set out to create beautiful sounds, good vibes and to look for ways to make the world a better place. Simply picking up a piece of litter is a wonderful addition to the world's condition. We can all make the world better by honing what we say, the songs that we play and being considerate of others.

Thank you all in The Enchanted Nature Community for contributing to making the world a better place!

If you're craving some peace or know somebody that is, come and be enchanted by nature with us:

From Our Readers

Thank you all for your contributions to The Enchanted Nature Newsletter. If you see anything of interest in nature, take a picture and please send it along.

Giant Puffball, Calvatia gigantica

 Tammy and Paul Miller shared this picture of some

Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotis ostreatus). 

Thank you both for consistently sharing your photos!

Martha Hills and Don Depoy shared a couple of pictures of mushrooms they found while hiking.

You two always seem to share some hard to identify fungi. 

We LOVE it! 

For those of you that aren't familiar with this nature-loving musical duo, 

you can see them playing here: Me and Martha Vid

We spent a lot of time trying to identify these mushrooms. They appear to be old Velvet Foot mushrooms. The season, appearance and other characteristics all fit but the growing substrate didn't match. 

Pat Spahn, an amazing wildlife photographer, submitted this picture of Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellas). Ruffed grouse are intriguing and beautiful birds. They are becoming more rare due to over-hunting, habitat loss and the fact that they spend most of their time on the ground. After mating, the female also nests on the ground which makes them more susceptible to predators. One of their most recognizable traits is that the male will turn a log, large rock or mound into a stage and perform a drumming noise made with his wings to exclaim his dominance in the territory. This is the music of the Earth indeed. 

The term, "Pecking Order" comes to mind with this beautiful bird.

Fellow naturalist and friend, Jack Wilson shared some beautiful photographs of 

lichen that he studied while in Chincoteague, VA

Lichens have a reputation for being extremely slow growers. To find a lichen covered pine cone is quite interesting. The foliose formed lichens beside the pine cone created a stunningly beautiful scene. Thank you Jack!

Here's a closer shot of the lichen. Notice the cupped shape formations. These are called Apothecia.

Apothecia, Lichen

Here's another shot Jack provided of lichen with aphothecia. Lichens are a collaboration of at least one fungal partner and one partner that performs photosynthesis. These apothecia are the reproductive part of the fungal component (think mini-mushrooms), sending spores in search of a compatible partner of an algae or cyanobacteria.

Many thanks for sharing your excellent close-up pics Jack!

Below are pics shared by our friends and fellow mushroom foragers Phil Crilley and Eileen Feim. 

These are what we call, "British Soldiers". It is a lichen and the red parts are apothecia. 

At first glance, it looks like a tiny winter wildflower.

Thank you for sharing the colorful photos Eileen and Phil! 

This is a perfect example of taking your time to observe.

There is beauty in the forest. Even in the 

coldest season, nature can provide very enchanting beauty.

Our good friend Ella Roach shared these beautiful pictures from her enchanting adventures.

Lattice Puffball

Beauty in the forest!

Here, Ella saw a photo in the making with two minute Lattice Puffball mushrooms sprouting tenaciously from rocky ground. Look at the size of the Pine needles compared to the mushrooms. The moss (sphagnum moss maybe?) lends a beautiful green to the pic. WOW! Thank you Ella.

Ella also shared a couple of other enchanting finds. 

Below we see a White Spotted Slimy Salamander, Plethodon cylindraceus

What a cute little fellow animal we share the planet with:

White Spotted Slimy Salamander
Fossil, Augusta County, Churchville, VA

WOW!! What a great pic Ella. 

There is so much going on in this photo that it's hard to know where to start.

Evidently a plant got uprooted exposing its mycelium covered roots. The clump of white, mycelium filled soil, centered in the roots is obviously an amazing ecosystem begging for a microscope. The clumpy, clay soil where that plant is surviving is providing less than perfect conditions. The exposed fossil is AMAZING!!!

The remaining evidence of life, buried in stone from MILLIONS of years ago, now exposed by a plant turning over. 

We don't even have to be there to be enchanted by this find. 

Many, many thanks for sharing with the Enchanted Nature community Ella!

Please continue sending us your pics and queries:   

You can also text your pics & questions to (540) 324-8778.

Pics from the Writers

Here we have a lovely piece of decaying wood that I believe is Cedar.

Cladonia Lichen

A delicate Cladonia Lichen is putting on a show

Lycopodium, Clubmoss

Dendrolycopodium obscurum is a clubmoss that resembles miniature trees.

By: Christopher Vacher

Once in a while, we like to remind everyone (and ourselves) about safety precautions when taking a hike. With cell phones, we now have the ability to maintain communication in an emergency. Of course, that depends if your phone has a signal. Many of the places that we hike have no cell phone service. This is nice because the phone won't ring but it increases risk. How many times have you just gone for a walk in the woods without proper preparations? We all do it. That's why it's good to remind ourselves once in a while to take precautions.

You need to plan in case you or someone gets hurt. You also need to plan in case you get lost. The key word here is, "plan". If you have a plan, you can implement it if something happens and hopefully come out of the woods alive. Keep in mind that if you require rescue, the rule of thumb is 1 hour of effort for every 1/4 mile that you are from the trailhead. A short walk could turn into a long day.

Tell someone where you're going and when you expect to get back. Check the weather. 

What you wear and take in your pack matters. Temperatures can drop to hypothermia levels, even in the summer. Pack extra food and water. If you're a beginner hiker, you might find some helpful tips in our free Beginner's Guide to Becoming A Naturalist

A pair of extra shoelaces are highly recommended. Your feet are your mode of transportation. 

A compass, a map, a knife and first aid supplies should be in your pack as well. 

The most important thing that you can take on your hike is knowledge.

Knowing what animals and plants to avoid is highly recommended.

The University of Virginia in cooperation with Virginia Master Naturalists released two free books that you can view by clicking on the picture. 

Poisonous and Venomous Animals in Virginia 

Tree Buds, Why Trees leaf out in the spring

We have a lot more free books on our Free Resources Page

There are dangers and risks involved in hiking, but the rewards are worth it. Having some first aid knowledge is absolutely necessary. If you frequent remote areas, we recommend taking a wilderness first aid course. Even if you don't have to treat yourself or hiking partner, you may use your skills for someone else that you meet on the trail. 

Being prepared to save a life is far better than being unprepared and losing one.

If you're interested in taking a wilderness first aid course, we highly recommend Medic Solo.

The course is in-depth and the instructors are top-notch. You can learn more by clicking the logo below. 

We wish you all many safe and enchanting hours in nature.


*Enchanted Nature News*

Give the gift of nature! We now offer gift certificates. They can be customized and emailed for any occasion. The gift certificates are available at our Trading Post

If you have any nature, gardening, or horticultural questions or comments, feel free to send them to

If you're interested in Mushrooms, check out the weekly posting at:

We are offering two mushroom classes on Tuesday, February 7 

or Sunday, March 5.

We will cover identification, 

cultivation and cooking


is this month's video theme

Findings reported in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, suggest that keeping a few snapshots of greenery around yourself might be beneficial. When participants viewed the natural images in the experiment, their stress levels lowered, thanks to the activation of their parasympathetic nervous system – which controls certain rest functions. "Viewing green scenes may thus be particularly effective in supporting relaxation and recovery after experiencing a stressful period and thereby could serve as an opportunity for micro-restorative experiences and a promising tool in preventing chronic stress and stress-related diseases." Take a deep breath, hold it, and let it out slowly as you relax.

If you're ready to explore the forest,

 come out for an adventure with us 


There are many proven health benefits to spending time in nature. It has also been proven that just looking at images of nature can provide multiple health benefits including: reducing depression, speeding healing, improving your immune system, preventing dementia, improving your mood, and increasing happiness. We plan on ending each newsletter with a short video of a natural scene. Hopefully the videos will provide you with some of the benefits listed above.

If you don't see the video, link to the it here:

Stay safe and enjoy nature

If you haven't taken the time to explore our website, please do.

There are a lot of free educational resources to enjoy

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