Monday, April 27, 2015

Behold: the dog stinkhorn

Ah, the mushrooms of Medlock. Often there are many in late summer and early fall.

But it's spring, and like puppies after a long winter, the dog stinkhorns have come out to play. Behold Mutinus elegans!

At first, the stinkhorn is pretty nondescript and button-like.
And then it's Martha, hide the children, for things are getting weird!
Another view, from pod to emerging stinkhorn to one that probably got kicked over, showing the hollow, spongy inner works. An engineering feat, without a doubt.
In a post titled "Nastiest. Mushroom. Ever." the Brooklyn Botanical Garden explains that "After sprouting from an egglike bulb, the orange or red stalks produce a slimy, carrion-scented spore coating near the tip. Flies are attracted to the scent, and after feeding on it, they fly off and dispense the spores wherever they land."

If these pictures are not enough, Cornell University has a time-lapse video of the full horror, from emergence to the inevitable keeling over. As a group, these stinkhorns seem to have very distinctive shapes...

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Greenspace planning for Scott Circle lots

FEMA floodplain buy-outs by DeKalb County have created an opportunity to develop greenspace on Scott Circle, along the Medlock Park boundary. As many have noticed, a number of houses (seven, to be precise) have been demolished over the last few years. What should happen to these spaces? What are our options going forward? As discussed in our Spring 2015 newsletter, MANA and Druid Hills Youth Sports have contributed funds to gather neighborhood feedback. Casey Boudreau, MANA Parks and Greenspace chair, has some updates for us.
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Dear Medlock Park neighbors and users:

Thanks to those of you who were able to attend the meeting Thursday night about the vacant lots on Scott Circle which will become part of Medlock Park.  Attached are the presentation done by representatives from Kaizen Collaborative (the landscape architecture firm hired by MANA and DHYS to help us with plans for the new space), feedback that was captured during the meeting, and a meeting summary.

Feedback offered during the meeting.

If you missed the meeting there is still opportunity for you to provide input to the process!  Please send an email to with your top 3 ideas of what to do with some or all of the spaces.  You can either pick from the list developed by the group or suggest new items as well as provide any additional comments.  Please note this email will not be monitored regularly, so you may not receive a response but please note we will include all input in the final analysis.  

The deadline to provide input is Fri May 22.  Another meeting to present the results and have further discussions on  next steps will be held in early June - announcements will be sent out in mid May with the date and time.

Thank you in advance for your help to improve our neighborhood greenspace!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Galling beauty

The wool sower gall grows on oak trees. A white pom pom with magenta spots, it's hard to miss, and harder to file under "parasitic wasp hatchery" because wait, it's kind of beautiful.

I'm just a little oak with my pom poms on. Let me root root root for the home team...
Wait. Now it's looking like a snowman murder mystery...
According to this source, these fluffy confections are nurseries for a parasitic wasp (Callirhytis seminator). The wasp lays her eggs on the host tree, the larvae hatch and secrete some wondrous stuff that creates a colorful cover that shelters their development. For more photos, go here.

There's always some neat surprise waiting to be discovered in the 'hood!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Hail, yes.

That was some scary weather this evening! Sheets of rain that made it look like mist outside, and such winds. We have some trees and power lines down.

Some parts of Medlock are still in the dark but others have power again. Our thanks to GA Power for working to get everyone powered up asap.