That’s right, Chicken of the Woods and Hen of the Woods. In my Oct 1 post, I was lamenting the fact that September was the driest September on record with 0.18 inches of rain, and October coming up is usually the driest month of the year, averaging 2.14 inches. On Fri the 3rd, we got 1/2 inch, and then the rain began steady on Monday all the way to today, Sunday, except for a break on Wednesday so we could see the “red moon” from the eclipse. So far, the tally at my house is a little over 3-inches of steady rain or drizzle. Forecast is another rain event before drying out this Wednesday. So, it has been a wet 10 days.
Thursday, after hunting with no luck for two hours around the house I had to go to a county commission meeting, and decided to drive up a creekside road on the way. I almost twisted my head off when I saw a line of orange extending from the creek up the bank. Chicken of the Woods on a moss covered log – my favorite kind because moss holds moisture. After jumping out of the car and sliding down the wet bank three times to (1) get my camera, (2) unload my mesh bag, (3) bring another bag full up, I ended up with a little over 30 pounds of the freshest and most tender chicken you could ask for.
The next day, Friday, I had to go to Knoxville, and on the way home (on a whim) I made a desert run near the house. I was going to check out an “oyster log”. I needed oysters for a recipe I was working on. I found a small Chicken beside the trail and decided to leave it until Saturday to see how much it would grow. I know this is against my philosophy of “leave no man behind”, but I did because it was so close to the house. Then I cut into the woods and found a small Hen at the base of a 6″ white oak snag. I left it to grow also, but first I marked the tree/snag with flagging tape.
Moving on toward the oyster log, I was looking around and spotted two white clumps at the base of a large oak. Moving closer, I was excited to see two more Hens. Although they appeared washed out by the rains, they were, in fact, in excellent condition – six pounds together. So, I now have four Hens for the year.
Went back Staurday and the Chicken had doubled in size and was still tendet. The Hen was the same diameter, but the “fronds” were fuller and more convoluted. I sautéed some for Ellen when I got home, and she pronounced them the best mushroom she had ever eaten. Now, this woman has eaten a lot of morels over the years. Must have been just in the moment.
Today, Sunday, I went out in my nearby woods and got another batch of fresh chicken, a couple of Hericeum, and a lobster. The odd thing is that since the rains began, I have not seen an oyster. Maybe later in the week after it clears.
So, the weather has been great for fowl. Later today I will be putting some of all the mushrooms in a “wild mushroom pot pie”. I got the recipe out of Garden and Gun magazine. I’ll post the recipe in a few days. Yesterday, I made escargot, morel and ramp soup. It’s a rich creamy soup that fills you up. I’ll be posting this recipe also. I used the ramp powder I made up this year, along with ramps that I froze. Worked out great..