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Issue 18

July 2022

Greetings Enchanted Nature Community

Welcome To The Enchanted Nature Newsletter

The Dog Days

Penny - our Enchanted Nature mascot!

Our enchanted friends all over the US can agree that we are definitely in the dog days of summer for sure. There have been record high temperatures all over the map. The miserable temperatures can lead some people to believe that the term "dog days" has something to do with laying around in the shade with your tongue hanging out. 

Some may think that it references weather that isn't even "fit for a dog". The term actually has to do with astronomy.

Stonehenge, Summer Solstice,

According to The Farmer's Almanac, the dog days of summer are from July 3 - August 11. At this time of year, the Sun is in the same region as the brightest star visible from any part of Earth. Sirius is a star in the constellation Canis Major,  also known as the Greater Dog. 

Seasons, Dog Days

The increased summer temperatures occur because of the Earth’s tilt. It does need mentioning that those temperatures are getting more intolerable every year due to human caused influences on the environment.

During the peak of summer, the tilt of the Earth causes Sun’s rays to hit at a more direct angle. Additionally, it happens for more hours each day and this results in longer, hotter days.

We want to wish you all safe and enchanting adventures.


We received some FANTASTIC photos from our readers for this month's newsletter. 

Thank you to all who sent their pics!

Dyer's Polypore, Phaeolus schweinitzii

Tammy Miller sent us these pics of a Dyer's Polypore (Phaeolus schweinitzii) mushroom. It can be used in making many different fabric dyes. 

Thank you for the cool pics and HAPPY BIRTHDAY Tammy!

Phaeolus schweinitzii, Dyer's Polypore

Phil and Eileen Feim submitted this picture of what we believe to be an oddly shaped Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus). Nice close-up. Thank you for the pic!

Laetiporus sulphureus, Chicken of the Woods

Don Depoy sent us a pic of a jelly fungus that we believe is Tremella encephala

Many mushrooms in the Tremella genus are used in high-end cosmetic lotions.  

Thanks for the interesting picture Don.

Please continue sending us your pics and queries:   

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

Pics from the Writers

We have had the luck of spending time with some WONDERFUL folks this month. 

We have also been enchanted by some beautiful expressions of nature.

If you remember the last newsletter, we were having a regular visitor. 

This bear took the "welcome mat" literally.

This month, another "little" visitor also felt welcome to visit our porch. We enjoy all of our guests.

Dame's Rocket

In a welcomed change of pace, we enjoyed an expert tour of the Massanutten Mountain area. 

Our guides were the internationally-acclaimed music duo (and dear friends) Me & Martha

Thank you both for an unforgettable day!

We celebrated the Fourth of July playing music in 

Shenandoah National Park on Skyline Drive. 

The fireworks in the lower elevations were beautiful after dark.

We met some kind and friendly folks on our tours this month.

Black Bear Trashcan

It was an absolute pleasure spending the day with you all: Randy, Linda, Dan, JoAnn, Penny, and Joe. 

We truly enjoyed each of you, the conversation, and the laughter.

Dunkel, the adventure dog, was a very welcomed participant. Thank you all for a fun day. 

Please let us know when you're in the area again.

Here's Chris exhibiting a Destroying Angel (Amanita bisporigera), 

one of the few potentially lethal mushrooms is the region.

Linda and John got the "Gung Ho" award! They weren't about to let rain, 

humidity, or heat slow their enthusiasm for being enchanted by nature. 

It was wonderful spending the day with you. We truly enjoyed you both.

We sincerely hope to see you again soon. 

Vicki snapped a couple of pics of beautiful wildflowers.

Epargyreus clarus, Silver skipper butterfly

We also had the good fortune of making some new friends and rambled around their gorgeous property. 

We discovered some amazing fungi. Thank you so very much Eileen and Phil!

Cantharellus cinnabarinus, Cinnabar Chanterelle

We found patches of Cinnabar Chanterelles (Cantharellus cinnabarinus). This Chanterelle is generally a smaller but no less beautiful or delicious variety.

We found these interesting club fungus along a creek.

Thank you for the pic and for being a fabulous foot model Phil.

We also found many Jack O'Lantern mushrooms. 

These mushrooms are sometimes unfortunately mistaken for the edible Chanterelle mushrooms. 

You want to avoid eating these, because they cause intense gastrointestinal distress.

THANK YOU both again for the wonderful hike and for the SENSATIONAL culinary delights.

You Know Jack?

by Victoria Vacher

This is an excellent time to discuss Jack O'Lanterns. Yes, Halloween is still months away, but we're not talking about carved pumpkins. With Chanterelle season in full swing, we need to become familiar with one of its look-a-likes that can cause some very unpleasant side effects.

Omphalotus illudens, also known as Jack O'Lanterns are fascinating fungi! 

They are NOT edible but they do...glow in the dark

We know that this mushroom is a look alike of the delectable Chanterelle (Cantharellus sp.). There are however many distinct differences that will aid you in identification. Most importantly, Jack O'Lanterns grow exclusively on wood, they are saprobic fungi, which means they are decomposers breaking down organic matter. 

Chanterelles grow only in soil (watch that there isn't wood underneath the soil!). Secondly, Jack O'Lanterns have true gills and Chanterelles have decurrent ridges. Jack O'Lanterns can grow to be quite large (10") while Chanterelles remain smaller. Jack O'Lanterns tend to grow in larger clusters than Chanterelles that are scattered. And as we said earlier, Jack O'Lanterns glow in the dark! 

Organisms that produce/emit light are called bioluminescent. They are magical, spooky and mysterious!!! Another common name for this particular mushroom is "foxfire". 

The chemical compound that makes them glow, Luciferase is, in fact, the same compound that makes our favorite insect, the lightning bug/firefly glow! Luciferase is found only in the gills of this mushroom, not the caps or stems. If you want to observe this interesting phenomenon, you'll have to stoop down in a very dark environment, let your eyes adjust, and watch for the faint neon green glow. It is theorized that they glow to attract insects that will carry their spores to other areas like honeybees carry flower pollen.

As with many other mushrooms, medical science is researching the healing properties of Jack O'Lanterns. Irofulven, a compound found in Jack O'Lanterns shows promise to help with some hard to cure cancers such as: Ovarian, Pancreatic and Prostate. It also seems to have antibiotic qualities. 

Here's hoping the mushrooms at our feet are the answer to our problems now and in the future!

As always, we want to remind you to never eat a wild mushroom 

unless you are 100% positive that it is safe to do so. Happy Shrooming!

Please be safe! 

Be kind to nature and one another.

Enchanted Nature News

Enchanted Nature Tours inc. is planning our next mushroom class. We will cover wild edible identification, toxic mushroom identification, cultivation, medicinal mushrooms, and cooking. If you are interested on being notified when we schedule the next class, please  contact us.

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


You're invited to enjoy an afternoon with us and we're sure that "Our Local Friends" would love to meet you too. These are small local businesses that we support and feel confident recommending. Keep an eye on the page, as we expect the list to grow.

You Are Water

is this month's video theme


It is essential to the very existence of life on Earth.

Water covers about 71% of the surface of the Earth.

Water falls from the sky.

We drink it.

Water provides seafood and nutritious aquatic plants.

We bathe in it, swim in it, wash our property with it, and often take it for granted.

The human body is 45-75% water.

The water that flows through and is part of you is also part of the planet. 

This means that the Earth is flowing through and is part of you...and you are part of the Earth.

Take a minute to relax, reflect, and appreciate the importance, and connective value of water.

Music: Skyline Records - Planxty George Brabizon performed by Trapezoid



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 end each newsletter with a short video of a natural scene. 

Hopefully the videos will provide you with some of the benefits listed above.

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." 

Please be sure to share this newsletter with your friends. 

Word of mouth is the best advertising.

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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