Friday, February 3, 2012

Not just in ice machines

How do we miss the late great Marvin Zindler?  Let us count the ways...

But it's not just ice machines that are prone to developing slime.  When the weather turns warm, damp and dreary like it has been for the past couple of days, you may see another species of slime appearing in your own yards, particularly in mulch beds.  It's called egg slime mold or dog vomit mold, and it's quite a striking sight:
Your first clue that this is something other than dog vomit may be in the sheer size of the patches.  There is NO WAY that our dog could barf that much, and she's a champion barfer.
Local gardening expert Randy Lemmon has a rather hilarious entry on this stuff.   I particularly enjoy his reference to the 1973 near-panic in Dallas that this stuff caused, as people reacted in fear, believing it was from outer space!! 

It's not from outer space and generally it's harmless, although inhalation of the spores will make an average person start sneezing and can be particularly undesirable for asthmatics.  It's extremely fast-growing (the patches above, both about a foot across, developed in a matter of hours) but it tends to fade quickly as well.  So there's usually not a compelling reason to treat it with chemicals.  Personally I find the stuff fascinating.  Here for your viewing enjoyment is a collection of photographs from the patches currently distributed throughout our yard, a static montage that I will title "Symphony of Slime".  Rest in peace, Marvin.

When it first appears, it's bright yellow, as in the first photo above.  As it ages, it begins to develop spores and turn different colors, mostly brown or green, although depending on conditions, I've seen bright orange patches as well.

No, this is not spinach quiche, although it looks exactly like the recipe that I made the other night.  Seriously - check out the picture in that link.  And check out the recipe as well - it was awesome.
Here's a patch that is up against our fence.  It seems to go through a phase whereby it splatters parts of itself around its immediate area.  It grows so fast that you can almost watch it develop.  One day if I find myself with some spare time, I think I'll pull out a lawn chair and sit next to one of these for an hour or so, just to see what happens.
This is what they often look like after they've run their course and gone to spore. 

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