Not so much the number of morels, but the “Company and Cooking” made this season special.
Here’s a link to a video made by Amy, the Knoxville News-Sentinel photographer who accompanied Steve, Rich and I on a hunt last Thursday. The print version, by
Morgan Simmons, is subscriber only on the Knoxnews.com website.
With all the rain we had, and a cold winter, I expected it to be a bumper crop; however, it turned out to be mediocre for black morels based on the experience of myself and a number of other people. Yellow morels started out slow and then picked up. Overall, it seemed to be a good year in places. You just had to be there. As Ellen, the psychotherapist says, “Truth telling has to be with right timing and in the right place.” And that’s no lie!
The signs of spring were confusing at best. We would be in places where the tree and ground cover suggested the timing was right, but no morels. Some traditional spots yielded good results, but others other drew a blank. Go figure. Once again, the season was summed up by my friend Rich, “Morel hunting teaches me more about patience, hope and humility than church does.”
After our walk in the rain, I got a few yellows over the weekend, and then joined Steve and Rich on Tues at another place. Total was 230, mostly yellows. For whatever reason, allergies, fatigue or you name, it my portion was only 40. Of course, I am always the low man when hunting with this pair of morel hounds. I have to remember to be a closer shadow Again, lessons in humility.
I’ve said before, never leave a ‘shroom behind. Well, this year I learned that again. My friend Joe has a spot where they come up gray and then turn to yellow. When the first ones emerged, we said, “Let’s measure their growth.” We left my business card next to one for scale and took a day 2 picture and a day 3 picture. On day 4, the morels had been cut (by someone who is known to us). I haven’t and won’t go back there. For me, morel huntign is more than bagging as much as you can. It’s about sharing the excitement of hunting, a ritual of renewal in the Spring, and renewing friendships. I leave the rest to the “baggers”.
I’m about done for the year, and ready for getting back on my bike. I’ve got 2 1/2 months to get in shape for the bicycle road race event in the Tennessee Senior Olympics. I did lose about 5 lbs this morel season – lots of ridges climbed. After that, June 19, it will be back in the woods or chanterelles !!