“Mushroom Mind”

By , July 31, 2019

Our mushroom season started early and unexpectedly on June 28th when I found a handful of chanterelles on one of the trails near the homestead. The next day, my brother, Dave, went to check his dinghy on a nearby beach, and came home with a decent sized king bolete!

chanterelle mushroom

A nice-sized chanterelle found in a new place near a “secret” patch on the homestead (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

The bolete appeared about two weeks earlier than the earliest I remember seeing around here. The next day, he found another one in the same spot!

Since then, we’ve been in “mushroom mind,” with our search parameters set for edible fungi (see “Seek and Ye Shall Find”: Setting Search Images). On Aly’s birthday, I wanted something special for dinner. We’d celebrated earlier, when all three of us were home, with her choice of meal, but on her birthday itself, I made a batch of wild mushroom barley soup she’d been reminiscing about a few days previously (see Wild Mushroom Barley Soup). Filling a recipe with mushrooms is a tall order when it’s technically preseason, but I managed to gather more than enough for the job.

Now, we’re so focused on mushrooms, we can think of little else. On a recent foraging trip, Aly and I passed a thicket of trailing currants that have already yielded a gallon of wine. I checked for new ripe berries, but Aly complained she couldn’t see berries, because her mind had been set to look for mushrooms. She had “mushroom mind.”

Since some recent small rains, things have really popped. Most of them are russulas, which we haven’t developed a taste for, and we haven’t found any more king boletes yet, but the chanterelles are still fairly strong, although we usually don’t even look for them until mid-August or so. We’ve even found a few hedgehogs, and see some hawkwings that are up and developing.

We have to keep reminding ourselves that what we’ve gathered so far represents a mere taste of what is likely to come in the months ahead!

unidentified mushroom

I haven’t identified this fungus, which probably isn’t edible, but it’s a striking sight on the forest floor (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

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