As Good As It Gets – 2015 Morels

stuufed afterNot 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 accompyoutubeanied 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!

spring1The 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.”

RAIN YELLOWSAfter 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.

spring2I’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 !!

 

GIANT

photoSteve deserves his own page. The rest of the story will appear later. We still have another day of hunting together with friend Rich. I will say that yesterday we found blacks, one half-free, 2 tiny tulip morels, and 6 yellows – all in the same general area. About 36 all together. This Big Foot was 7″ tip-to-ground. The other 5 yellows found were substantial but not quite as big.

Yellows were on the sloping edge of a small wet drain around multiflora rose. A place where they have been found in the past.

Yellow Morels

orchard2It’s a true friend that calls you and says, “There are bunches and HUGE!” My friend was speaking of the same small (7 trees) apple orchard she has let me in the past several years. This was yesterday. My guess is that, counting what we both picked and the small (less than 2-inches) ones left to grow, there were 150. Click the thumbnail to enlarge.

 

MorelGroupEllen and I stuffed six of these using Steve’s stuffed morel recipe – see sidebar for morel recipes. They were fabulous.

 

 

 

Morel2PairTwo pair of 5′s is a great hand

 

 

 

 

OrchardA 5-inch + from the orchard. I’m saving it for Steve who will be here tomorrow night.

Monday I picked some blacks both high and low elevations.

 

 

 

RAIN YELLOWSToday I hit the woods at daybreak in the pouring rain, and my effort was rewarded.