Derek’s been working hard, and for the past few years he has been a creative director for Knoxville’s Rhythm & Blooms music festival. So, he’s pretty much tied up during the first two weeks of April. I have missed ‘shrooming with him, but the way things turned out this year I was able to take him to a spot I knew about to hunt yellow morels on his birthday.
It rained heavy all morning, which was just a prelude to the deluge that occurred that night and the next day. It was bad enough that Derek helped wet vac the basement after dinner. The next day it reflooded, and I wet vacuumed around 500 gallons out of Ellen’s sewing room. We had around 6+ inches of rain over the weekend. Derek’s shop/studio in Knoxville flooded also. Was there any good news? The pictures tell the story. Check Derek’s bag sag . .
We ate the small, weak and lame mushrooms on a ribeye steak, mixed in with peppers and fresh ramps. Ellen and I kept a dozen to fry tonight, and Derek took the rest home. We had 170 all together, in all sizes and conditions. Even with the flooding, Derek and I agreed the experience remained a great , and certainly memorable, birthday. A great father & son foray !!!!!
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.
Even 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.
Well, 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 from 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.