Went to take the trash out, and saw something that looked like a small cow-pie.
Interesting. Don't get many pygmy cows 'round here. I tried to flip it over, only to discover that about half the cow-pie was buried.
I have never heard of burrowing cow poop.
At that point, of course, it was a question of science, and I started digging at it with my foot in earnest.
It turned out to be a round object a bit smaller than a softball, partially buried in the dirt. The top still looked very much like a khaki brown cow-pie, and the bottom was dirty, shot through with bright white hairs.
I am guessing some kind of mushroom--what else could it be?--but it's really like nothing I've ever seen. The "earthball" mushrooms I see on-line seem to mostly sit on the surface of the ground, instead of halfway under it, but perhaps I'm reading the descriptions wrong.
It almost makes me think of some kind of North American relative of the truffle, although it looks incredibly unappetizing.
I would probably have conducted further experiments--there are two of them a foot or so apart--but I was soaked to the skin by then, since it's pouring rain, as I think I mentioned.
Maybe I have three mushroom species.
Cracked it open, revealing a white rind, and a dense, finely grained spongy texture inside, in dark grey. I've scanned it, and here's what I've got.