Thursday, May 05, 2016

Morel Madness!

About 20 years ago my husband said to me, "Let's go Morel hunting!"
I'd never heard of a Morel and thought it was some sort of joke.

"No," my wise woodsman husband said, "Morels are wild mushrooms that only come up in the spring and are delicious when fried in flour and butter."

I wrinkled my nose and thought this whole idea sounded disgusting. However, if it meant that we'd be out in the woods during early spring, I'd go.
We found these terribly ugly but cute mushrooms that looked like brains.  They were hard to spot and fun to find.

It was even more fun when we saddled up and hunted Morels.  Badger was always the patient mule and never in a hurry.
Rich cooked the first morels I ever tasted.
I was certain that I was going to die from eating them.

My grandmother always cautioned me against mushrooms when we were out foraging for things like lambs quarters or other wild foods.  "Most mushrooms are poisonous," she'd say.  I believed her.  Mushrooms and fungi were fun to look at but don't touch and definitely do NOT eat!

But.
I tried morels.  And they were so good!

And besides, hunting morels is just another great reason to get out in the woods during the spring time and explore.

Why yesterday I spotted one right away when I got near the creek bottom.  I was so excited.  No matter how long I stared, I couldn't see any more.

Until, I decided to set up Doe and Dino for some fun shots.

I thought this would be funny.  A Dinosaur holding a morel mushroom.  These are the early ones and they are so small!

However as I leaned in and set things up on this creek bank, my eyes spotted a pattern under the gooseberry bushes.


My assistant patiently waited while I leaned under brush and searched out more morels.


I probably missed quite a few, but I tried to be thorough.  I stopped to admire some Bishop's Cap and ...

found some more!


I was also very glad to have brought my Nikon with the micro/macro lens.

After searching some more, I decided to head home with my bounty.  It was warm in the valley and I had forgotten to bring some water along.

Besides I was anxious to show my goodies to my husband and see the delight light up on his face.

What is the secret to finding morels?  Good eyes.  I've read that you are supposed to look for dead elms, but I've found them growing near apple trees and pine trees.  I think the secret is just patience and persistence.

And knowing your morels.  Don't hunt them without an experienced person getting the wrong mushroom could be a mistake.



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