Mushroom Musings

Knowing that New Hampshire isn’t that different than Minnesota, I figured there must be morels, possibly in the wooded acres surrounding our home. The remembrance of a dinner, created by a friend’s classically-trained French chef husband, complete with morels he picked out of his very own woodsy Minnesota backyard, led me on self-education path late one night, after the kids were tucked into bed. Mycophagy has always intrigued me, but a healthy fear has kept me from acting on my interests. Still, that dinner……

I’ve not yet made it through all the internet pages offering sound advice and photos of poisonous look-a-likes. Besides, I have an even healthier fear of bear, and ever since my husband and son spotted one in our yard, I’ve lost the drive to wander through neighboring woods.

In the meantime, morel-empty-handed, my research may have led me to my a mushroom which I seem to have in abundance – it may be every bit as good as morels. Almost.

There’s a tree in our vernal frog and fairy shrimp pond that sprouts an unusual growth which has long intrigued me.

In looking through New Hampshire morel locations, I happened upon a New Hampshire site listing Oyster mushrooms as being available in New England woods, especially after a good rain.

Rain is what we’ve had for days and days on end, and if it ever stops long enough, I’ll be able to fight my way through the brush to verify whether or not I have my own huge crop of Oyster Mushrooms.

Now would be a good time to have my father-in-law visit. He’s spent his life looking down, or up, wherever he walks, having a natural curiosity about anything and everything, especially if it’s green, floral, has buds, no buds, tall stems, short stems, large leaves, small leaves, well, you get the point. The advantage that’s given him is he’s a walking reference journal. You can hand him anything asking, “Dave, what’s this”, and he’ll sort through his memory bank, faster than Google, classifying whatever comes his way.

He has one added benefit over Google. He isn’t afraid to taste or smell, if that furthers the cause of discovery. Well, that is, until our phone conversation last week when I mentioned my growing curiosity about the possibilty I could have a bumper crop of oyster mushrooms right ouside my door.

I’d already pictured he and my mother-in-law hopping into their RV, driving half-way across the country, unable to resist the thrill of a new plant, a new hunt, exploration, and discovery! I reminded him of how much fun Sarah, his granddaughter, always has exploring with him – like the time he taught her to look for winterberries under leaves of blueberry plants. I tried my best, that day, as a matter of fact to get photos of their faces, but they were too busy ignoring me, so I ended up (so to speak) getting the best shot I could, given the circumstances.

As it turns out, I had a better imagination and sales pitch then he had desire, given the fact he also has a healthy fear of mushrooms. Unless I find a local expert, it looks as though the “growths” on my tree will stay just where they are, not swimming in a pool of olive oil, slices of organic garlic and a good-sized lump of melted butter…..

Mushroom clipart

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