Butterflies, mushrooms and moles

I’ve heard that in some parts of the country this summer is not a good one. The northwestern part of the country is suffering from drought and forrest fires and the northeast has had unusually high temperatures. It seems to go in cycles, but during the summer at least to me it seems that there are more bad summers than there are good ones.

Fortunately, here in Mississippi we are having a good summer. This week it is turning hot, but generally speaking it has been a moderate summer and one with a little more rain than is expected.

I believe it is because of the weather that three things are noticeably different. Our house sits among a grove of oak trees although it is not all my property I mow about 6 acres. While walking in the yard and mowing I’ve noticed an abundance of three things.

The first is butterflies. Ordinarily you see a few now and then, but this summer you see them almost every time you step outside. It isn’t just one kind, since there are all shapes, sizes and colors.

Next are the mushrooms. Right now there are at least 6 different kinds of mushrooms in our yard. There are white ones, rust ones, taupe ones and red topped ones just to mention a few. There is one enormous one by our walk that has been changing colors during the day. It isn’t just this week; it has been this way from back in May. If I only knew which ones were edible we could really put this crop to use.

Last are the moles. Again, moles in the yard are not a novelty, but they are everywhere you go this summer. Many years ago, in Cincinnati, we had an invasion of cicadas and at the same time the moles came out of nowhere and were digging everywhere. I am reminded of that, except there are no cicadas in sight. The year after the cicadas there were a few mound-building moles that showed up. Well, believe it or not they started popping up about a week ago.

If anyone knows why these three things are happening it would be interesting to hear, but I am really just reporting what to me is a very unusual summer. Has anyone else had any similar experiences this summer?

It’s the weather. You said that it had been moderate so far, with more rain than usual. Moderate weather is great for growth and allows things that are temperature-sensitive (like fungi and caterpillars) to have a longer-than-average growing season. Just a WAG here, but was the spring wetter than usual, with no severe cold/warm snaps? That’d be my hypothesis-that no climactic change helped the mushrooms, caterpillars, et al. that would normally be killed off in a freeze. Nature usually overproduces to compensate for die-offs. so if it’s been unusually fecund lately, that woudl be what you’re seeing.