Sunday, April 6, 2014

Attack of the Weird Dog Vomit Mold

That title needs a bit of clarification. This is not a post about vomit from a weird dog. It is about mold that looks like dog vomit. It is weird. And it attacked me.

This has been a very odd winter for California. It rained early. Then it didn't rain at all. For a very long time. In the time it was not raining, it was really cold. For a very long time. Then it got warm, then it rained and rained. It got cold and hailed. Now we're back to unusually warm.

All this wacky weather did some strange stuff to our yard. We started noticing large blobs of bright yellow goo in the front yard. It looked like dog vomit. Or diarrhea. Something bright yellow, from a dog, and not good. We should have shoveled it up and thrown it out. But it was cold, then it rained, then it hailed. So we left the dog vomit slime/mold/spores/alien creatures where they lay and hoped they went away. They dried up, yet still we did not remove them. We are very optimistic people.

Last night I was planting some Rhaphiolepis to replace the gardenias that were wilting at the sight of the dog vomit mold. After I got them in the ground (I must say that our sheet mulching is creating some killer dirt, killer in a good way) it was time to water them. The spray hit the dried up dog vomit mold and a plume of reddish brown powder arose from the earth like a mushroom cloud. I should have ran for my life. Instead I stood there in awe, and then sprayed it again because my only weapon was water. Since spraying it was what started the dust bomb of atomic proportions in the first place, water was the last thing it needed. When the water didn't work, I continued to spray. We are very optimistic people.

Last night I developed a scratchy throat and was sure I was getting sick. This morning, still a scratchy throat but added in was a weird heavy feeling in my lungs. Then the fun began. Being plagued with spring allergies my whole life, I am no stranger to pollen induced allergies. But I would have to say today was easily in the top five worst allergy days of my life. Not as bad as the worst pollen day ever - spent outside in Reno while the sage brush was blooming. But it was close.

Way too much allergy medication later, and after a shower and a dose of the Nettie Pot, I've dropped down to one of the top ten worst allergy evenings of my life. So if you see something in your yard that looks like a dried up pile of dog vomit, run and don't look back. Don't investigate, and whatever you do, don't spray water on it. This pile of dog barf bites back.

The bright yellow color faded to the color of bark.
Kind of creepy when mold knows to use camouflage.

On a much brighter note, I planted this new variety of Lamb's Ears.
They are big and soft and adorable.
Hmmm, maybe that's what I'm allergic to?