It’s Pine Time

Yes sir, the season is late, but coming along nicely.  I was out four times last week, and each time I found a nice variety of edibles. I am finding the last few golden chanterelles, usually hidden under logs, in holes and hidden in the deep moss.  These have been a good size as I think their choice of a hiding place has prevented their discovery.

Many of my favourite sites have been picked clean every time I have visited them. This seams to be the same story from many of my schroomer friends. This year started late and has been lean, so I think  many have strayed from their usual patches in search of sufficient numbers to satisfy their addiction.

I too have gone further a field, into areas new to me and have found some very promising territory. I have also gone higher in elevation and have made some great finds. However, timing is everything…you either hit it right or you just miss it by a few days.

Case in point, three weeks ago I was out hiking along a creek and was seeing just a few honey mushrooms starting to fruit.  They were young and in many cases too small to harvest.  I was then off the coast for a week in Las Vegas, making a deposit in the casinos. When I came back a week ago, I was down the same creek and the honey’s were finished…big, dark brown and soggy…way to far gone to even consider.

Rainfall, temperature and timing….the holy trinity of things necessary for fruiting and harvesting.  Get these three right and you may find that bounty.

There is also  blind luck. You are walking down a trail, the pickings have been slim to nothing, the terrain and habitat looks promising, but you find nothing.  Then for some unknown reason, you decide to turn to the left or to the right, step over a log and there they are…a host of golden trumpets sticking up out of the moss!!! Or like last week, for no apparent reason, stopped to catch my breath after a long hard slog up this steep trail. I took my waling stick and pushed the moss aside.  Out popped three beautiful Chanterelles!!

But enough of this technical stuff…I have to talk about why I have been out almost every day for the last week.

I have now and again talked about the feelings I have when out in the “Green”…I had that feeling again Sunday while out finding those pines with Chris.

I am currently reading “Free Inquiry” a magazine published by the Council for Secular Humanism.  This months theme is “What’s Religion Good For?”Three Views…

I was raised in a catholic home, but didn’t take my first communion until I was 10 0r 11. I guess you could say  I came to religion a bit later than most Catholics, who get their indoctrination by 6.

Maybe because of that, I was always on the fence as a believer, not totally convinced about all the hokus pokus. What that Catholicism did was give me fear.Fear of sin, fear of death, fear of the devil and  hell.

Fast forward about 50 years, and now I can say with a fair amount of certainty, that I  I am not a believer in the mythos of organized religions. Also most of the fear of death, the devil and hell I have put aside, as has the Church.  Did yo know that the Church is now saying that hell dosn’t exist? Years of wasted fear and missed opportunities down the drain, but more on that at some later time.

I am however, still on the fence about the whole mystery of life and death and human consciousness.

I have never felt the hand of God reach out and touch me, nor did I hear that “calling” as some people seem to have, to make them want to become priests or nuns.

I do feel something though, when I am in the”Green”…in the deep old growth forest; on a high mountain side or laying on my back in a tall filed of grass, looking at the clouds drift by, birds singing, insects chirping and the wind sowing through the grass.

My thinking on this has come to this thesis…the presence we feel is life itself.  We “feel” the presence of others when we are near them; the presence of our parents when we were young and they hold us in their arms; the presence of our lovers as we lay in bed next to them; our children as we hold them as we carry them asleep, to their beds; our cat or dog as they lay at our feet or in our lap.

When I am in the “Green”, I feel this large and expansive presence… all the life around me, holding me in it’s arms.  The electrical vibration of all the living beings, plants and trees that surround  us.

This sense of a presence, greater than us puny humans, may have given our ancient ancestors who came down out of the trees and onto the savanna’s of Africa, a sense of awe and fear.  Being simpler creatures,with little ability to reason and needing to identify this mystery, they may may  have called it “God”.

If there is a God, then my “god” is the “Green”, although it doesn’t need  us to pray to it and build temples to honor it, nor will it intervene on my behalf to smite my enemies.  At the end of my life, my body will become one with the “Green”, my bodies’ composite parts melding with the living earth and in a way becoming eternal.  All my parts will be continually recycled through earth, wind, sky and water. Oh, and don’t forget the mushrooms!!!

That is why I have been out so much this last week, plus the bounty of mushrooms…

Here are a few shots of what I have been finding..

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Chris with her fists full of her first pine finds.

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The pines up close and personal.  I think I like these are best cooked very simply now…sliced very thinly, then sauteed in butter and olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.  I did a whole whack of  them done that way last night then froze them in ziplock baggies.  They tasted great, the full flavour of the pines coming through the with the bonus of the kitchen smelling  great for several hours after.

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The winter chanaterelles are everywhere and so abundant.  Do try some if you haven’t yet.  They dry really well and re-hydrate to almost like fresh. Great in soups. stews and turkey gravy.

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I am still finding quite a few Gypsies, although many are water-logged and a bit beyond their best…button stage is prime.

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There were also a lot of admirable boletes surprisingly, and also because I was a bit higher up and it has been cooler, no bugs so these were very clean.

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I saw this and thought “why is this red painted pipe here in the middle of the forest?”.  It ain’t no pipe but a root from a Western Red Cedar.  Very striking in the “green” to see this red.  Then I thought, it kind of looks like the way the “Sith’s” looked in the Starwars movie – “The Phantom Menace”.  So I dubbed this a “Sith Larva”…maybe the origins of the red devil myth? Hmmmmmm.

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The “Green” as I was talking about earlier, but a picture doesn’t do justice to the image…their was a fine rain falling off the upper canopy down onto the forest floor.

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Human- Green- Sun interaction

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Transubstantiation of human – into Light -into  Green.

So there you go…get out there into the “green” before the frosts send our darling back to sleep for another year. Hope to see you on the trails someday. Coastalshroomer.

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