Friday, December 18, 2015

Mushrooms Now? Yes!

In the woods seeking trinkets such as acorn caps and turkey feathers to decorate the Solstice tree (Solstice is Monday at 10:48 p.m. Central Time; be there or be square) I saw from a distance white stuff on a fallen tree, and hoped for treasure, and found it: fresh, edible oyster mushrooms, not only this ruffly one but more on the other side of the log, a plateful. A mushroom fan never stops hunting and hoping, even in December. There's my glove so you can see it was sizable. Among the other fungi in the woods were tree ears (edible, but not tasty), and common inedibles such as turkey tails and false turkey tails (false turkey tails have smooth undersides). I was two days too late to get a "chicken of the woods" that had blossomed at the base of a tree. Frozen and then thawed, it was mushy, no good.

I knew the possibilities because in December 2014 I found a dead tree with ten pounds of huge oysters around its foot. That tree has since fallen and this year produced nothing. 2015 was a frustrating year for morels -- too cold, and then they weren't abundant; I found only one -- but a great year for chanterelles, carpeting the woods in June and July.

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