Morel Conspiracy

Yes, I believe the mushroom Gods have been in conspiracy with Mother Nature. The first of March we had a week of night temps in the 50’s and then two weeks of night temps in the 30’s, including two freezes a week ago. It has rained when cold and dry when warm. The seven day forecast is no rain and 70+ degree days. The woods are drying out quickly. Wow!

It’s not surprising that even though some people somewhere have found enough morels to suit them, none of my friends have. Personally, I have found one tiny black morel that was dried and bug eaten. My total is that and an additional 12 yellows. I’ll be foraging, with Rich, one more day – Tuesday – in the mountains, and then it’s surgery on the left eye.

Rich2Rich1Even with the scarcity, we found three “stuffer” yellows yesterday, Saturday,  at the same location we, along with Steve Peek,  found four big stuffers last year. The picture above is Rich with his two jewels. Holding them out front makes them larger optically. That’s an old fisherman’s trick. The same technique works with “dry land fish”.

We maximized our meager Friday find with fresh ramps, fresh asparagus from Rich’s garden and some farm eggs from a friend, and we made a big omelet.

All was not lost. We foraged some ramps for Rich to take back to our buddy Steve in Asheville. We weren’t able to get him out for a wheelchair foray, but we tell each other “Steve stories” as we forage.

Food1Food2

One-Eyed Morel Hunter

morel20162Well, not literally, but recent cataract surgery certainly mimics it. On March 24 I had the right one removed, and on April 21 the second one goes. In the meantime, none of my existing glasses work. The best arrangement is taking the right lens out of my backup bifocals. That keeps halos away at night, but hunting mushrooms is problematic because one eye is always blurry and working hard trying to compensate. Also, to protect the healing right eye, I use safety glasses while walking in the woods to keep twigs morel20161from zapping the surgeons handiwork. So, morel season is a challenge. Never the less, here is a picture of my first of the season, and wait ’til next year!!

Reports of black ones have been non-existent to scarce. This week, two friends have also found nice yellows. It may be that the vacillating temperatures have bypassed the black morels. I have found none in the two “early” patches that I always check beginning on mid-Match. We should have a good reading of the yellow morel possibilities this week.

Depending on the distance of the viewed object and type of glasses used (none, reading, of modified bifocals) I have to “feature” either my left or right eye. The result is constant winking with one eye or the other.

Signed: The one-eyed winking ‘shroomer (until 4/21/2016). Apologies for the pictures. The software has changed and I can’t get the images rotated properly. I’ll work on that, but maybe it’s just my squinting and winking and not the software.

Ramps Peek(ing) Up

I chose the title because my good friend Steve Peek loves them so much. I went to Asheville recently and had a great visit with him. Here’s the picture I took yesterday of a Ramps2016patch Steve and I know well. We don’t dig it, because of where it is, but we love how beautiful it is when April comes, and we always admire it. Notice my small knife for scale.

Even though my Bloodroot hasn’t put up a leaf yet, Spring is just around the corner, If we get the five straight 70 degree days, who knows what we will see.