Posts Tagged ‘Mold’

Hogweed 1

Hogweed in Northern Michigan

“Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself?”

– Henry David Thoreau


Oh how we rejoice in the beauty of nature!  And summertime in rural Virginia couldn’t be more invitingly lush and green.

Then my brother called from California to warn us about an invasive weed recently found in Virginia.


It grows exceedingly tall and some might say, “pretty”,  but you don’t want to cut Hog Weed for indoor  arrangements.  Even if you just brush against as you pass by, your skin may suddenly become sunlight sensitive to the point of third degree burns!

And if you get some of the sap in your eyes, you could literally go permanently blind.

Read about Hogweed  here!  It is in a number of states now and Virginia is the latest.

Now if Hogweed wasn’t enough (and forgeddabout Stink Bug infestations) but have you ever heard of SLIME MOLD?

Slime Mold

Slime Mold – Nickname “Dog Vomit.” Ewwwwww!

This weekend I looked around the mulched beds in our front yard and saw a giant spread of a horrifyingly ugly mold.

It was a sickly white globby thing!

I expected it to ooze out bigger and bigger and to eventually smother every living thing in its path.  Yes, you would definitely see SLIME MOLD in a very scary horror movie.

I was terrified.  I didn’t want to touch it.  I didn’t want to move it.  “Well, maybe I will water it,” I thought.  A hard spray to the monolithic gooey mass created a copper colored cloud of deadly dust.

  • Am I inhaling this?
  • Will I die of an alien fungus and who would know?

My fearless friend Amy was here but even she was intimidated by the ugly slime.  She agreed to turn a pot over on it so we wouldn’t have to see it.  I had nightmares that night though.

  • What if it seeped out the sides of the upside-down pot?
  • What if it could figure out how to get inside the house?
  • There was a hole in the bottom of the pot for drainage but the hole was now “up” and was I feeding The THING with oxygen and enabling it to grow?
  • Would it crawl out the drainage hole?

Thank Goodness for “Hey Google!”

Turns out that SLIME MOLD (affectionately nicknamed “DOG VOMIT”due to the similarity in appearance) is not dangerous to humans or pets or even plants if it doesn’t smother them with love.

Slime Mold is only horrifyingly ugly, which demonstrates that sometimes Mother Nature is indeed, benevolent and even compassionate.

Watering will cause Slime Mold to float around in the air (in that big copper cloud I unleashed) and spread (the result of my watering efforts).

And so my friends, my own personal ugly Slime Mold took up new residence on top of an Impatiens flower in the same bed.

According to my panicked research, the way to remove it (the Slime Thing) is to dig it up with a shovel, put it in a plastic bag (like you would dog doo) and discard the whole thing in the trash.

Bill grinned and bore it and just pitched the one celled organism into the woods where it will surely find some new decaying vegetation on which to build a life.  We are not killers after all.

Such are the gifts of nature to be found in the Virginia countryside!

I did see a mama turkey and her six young-uns running for the woods yesterday.  Maybe they heard about the Slime Mold Invasion.

So, what’s new in your neck-o-the-woods?






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Mold MasksLast week was our Anniversary!

Time does funny things to anniversary celebrations.

  • We used to agonize over finding perfect gifts and cards.
  • Then it changed to just gifts – no cards.
  • And from there it was cards only – no gifts.
  • Then we decided to buy something needed for the house like new sub flooring and drywall to cope with an outbreak of mold.

But now, to celebrate another year of wedded bliss, our diabolical friends came over for laughs and libations before we all went out to dinner at the Natural Bridge Hotel.

And this is how they met us at the door!


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Random Randoms from Virginia

It was the week that was.

It was the week we found a mushroom growing in Bill’s den.

And it started with a Plumber who repaired a leaky pipe inside the wall and then found mold growing under the house.

And that led to a Carpenter who removed a large area of carpet and subflooring.

And that led to an Insurance Adjuster who found more mold in the adjoining bathroom.

And that led to a Mold Expert who verified the mold spread.

And so the Carpenter returned to tear up and replace the affected bathroom floor.

And all of that led to a Painter who repainted the den,

which led to a Cleaning Service coming tomorrow to tackle embedded sawdust.

And somehow in this week that was, the den and the bathroom are REPAIRED and hopefully MOLD FREE!

But we are still not done.  Must now find a carpet to replace the chopped up remains.

And that will lead to a Carpet Installer to begin the new week ahead.

What we have learned from our visiting Mold Expert:

Bleach does not kill mold.  It used to but it doesn’t any more.

From http://www.maids.com “To kill mold: Pour 3% concentration hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle. Saturate the moldy surface completely and leave it to sit for ten minutes. Next, scrub the area to remove all of the mold and mold stains. And finally, wipe the surface down to remove residual mold and spores.”

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Mushroom Underside

Mushroom Underside

I was and am alarmed, embarrassed, and totally MORTIFIED!

On Saturday I discovered a mushroom growing in my spotlessly clean house!

A beautiful white opaque mushroom was happily embedded in the carpet at the baseboard in Bill’s office/den/t.v.room/napping place/man cave.

Admittedly a manly retreat like Bill’s might offer a peaceful atmosphere for a mushroom to grow up in, but why?

On first sight.

On first sight.

And why am I creating this post?   Maybe the mystery of the spores has addled my brain.

Because where I come from (muggy Florida), we had to be vigilant about preventing mold and mildew.  That means being spotlessly clean.  Keep a closet door closed too long in the era before air conditioning and you  inspired the growth of dreaded MOLD (stuff that is dangerous to one’s health)!

So I grew up learning to be spotlessly clean.  Please believe me. I am “spotlessly clean.”  There is also air conditioning now.  And really…… I am spotlessly clean.  I keep a spotlessly clean house.  That is the truth.  Really.  A mushroom growing in my house??????   Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

And so begins a journey of discovery about how a spotlessly clean house could nourish a lovely mushroom.

We called Bryan the Plumber first.

We love and admire Bryan anyway, but even more now because he came over right away early this Monday morning.

Bryan cut up the wall and identified a leaky pipe that was bringing fresh water to our master bath commode (via the den wall) and he replaced the pipe.  “That should stop the source of the moisture,” he said in his most reassuring voice.

New Pipe Replacement

New Pipe Replacement

I love reassurance but  rather prefer guarantees.

Bryan also identified a huge stand/pod/bevy? of mushrooms growing from our subfloor underneath the house!  Who knew there would be a whole FAMILY of mushrooms?  And under our house?

Note:  There is only so far I will go with spotless housekeeping.

And so, we called Dennis the Carpenter.

We already love Dennis too because he is coming right out tomorrow at 8AM!  Dennis will remove more drywall to inspect for further damage.  He will also remove a patch, a chunk or a whole area of carpeting to inspect the sub flooring and decide what next to do.

I expect Dennis will also be reassuring (without any guarantees).

We hope Dennis will inspect the sub flooring in the crawl space under the house too.

I have a new high regard for plumbers and carpenters for their brave and arduous work challenges.  But now I wish for a magic solution that will exterminate all those lovely mushrooms beneath the house.

All of this will be costly we think.

So we called our Insurance Company.

The insurance company gave us a Claim Number.  Evidently Claim Numbers matter but to me that means we have to wait in line.  And  soon they will assign an Adjuster.  Under the circumstances one of their claims agents told me they “understand the urgency” in getting things repaired even if it is done before the Adjuster can take a look.  They suggested I take lots of pictures.

Ah!  Pictures.  And I may as well do a blog post as a kind of documentary evidential piece to present to the Adjusters in our lives.

The saga of the Mushroom in the Man Cave will be continued.   Bill is temporarily carrying on manly activities in another room usually reserved for grandkids’ visits.  He doesn’t seem to mind the big stuffed puppy in the corner.

Meanwhile, if any of my blogging friends have words of wisdom to impart, or stories of such gruesome experiences, please share.




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