Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Of Falsehoods and Fungi

Our beagle alarm clock went off late this morning and Wanda and I got an extra hours shut eye. What started out as a cloudy day on the mountain has turned sunny. A sign of hope.

The people who have the Orchard Gap Deli as suddenly as they offered withdrew the offer for us to lease same. The reason given was somewhat "lame". The real reason remains a mystery. Somewhat disappointed, love of my life and I have come to the conclusion it's a good thing. Better for them to show their true colors now than later after we got into the thing. Before I moved here I had an almost naive feeling that people generally kept their word. After my experiences job hunting and now with this, my faith in peoples veracity is rapidly declining.

April came and went and I did not find one morel. Several people reported finding an enjoying what many consider the most desirable of all mushrooms. Maybe it's because I didn't know where to look or maybe it's because they disguise themselves well among the leaves.

I've had a love of wild mushrooms ever since I was a kid and Jess Devers, the local grocer in the small town where I spent some of my youth took me mushroom hunting. We would return with bags of unusual but very tasty fungi my grandmother would fry up for dinner. I once found a puffball mushroom over 24 inches in diameter. I think my grandmother canned about 6 quarts from it. One of the wonderful things about living on Groundhog Mountain is there are wild mushrooms growing in the yard.

Wanda, ever the cautious one, had trepidation about eating them. Her fears were calmed when I took all the necessary precautions about identification, taking a spore print and the rest of it. As they say "There are old mushroom hunters and there are bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters."

What I find, much to my delight is the Corrugated milky (lactarius corrugis) . These will start popping up this month and continue through August. They are listed as "choice" in the guides and they are. The nice thing is these grow in profusion, right outside my door. This year I anticipate a freezer filled with these delectable morsels.

Another variety I find here, though not as common are Oyster mushrooms. These appear on fallen oak logs in the summer. There are others, boletes and such which I wasn't able to identify our first year here. This year will find me with my several guidebooks becoming more informed about what is edible and what is not. Who I really need to find is another Jess Devers.


Blogger Leslie Shelor said...

Bummer about the deli! it does sound better than you know now, but still a disappointment. Better luck with the next venture!

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Lifecruiser said...

Oh, my, mushrooms is not really my expertise field, even though I can feel like one sometimes ;-)

Sorry to hear about the Deli plans. Why am I not surprised... I get this kind of disappointment from people all the time, so I've almost stopped to believe people until it comes true. Sadly enough.

Happy mushroom hunts :-)

4:01 PM  
Blogger threecollie said...

I didn't know you could can puffballs. Interesting.
We get some huge ones and can only eat a tiny fraction of their total weight.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Hick said...

Cool post. Do you have a favorite mushroom recipe?

7:14 AM  

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