The past few weeks in central NC have become a veritable puffball fall.
Lawns, fields, roadsides and ditchbanks have been adorned with hundreds of these spherical gems.
For the experienced mycologist, such a bloom can be a mycophagist's boon.
The skull-shaped and purple-spored puffballs have a relatively firm, mild flesh that takes well to whatever seasonings or other foods it is paired with.
Of course, nature will provide an alternate ending if no mushroom eaters enter the scene.
In just a few days, the puffy white flesh transforms into a massive sack of powdery spores, just waiting for the passerby that will release them to the wind, ensuring another bumper crop the next time conditions are right.