The year is coming to a close.

Christmas has come and gone, the turkey roasted, the perogies made, the cookies baked, the gifts exchanged and the additional 5 pounds added to the mid section. There is only one more sleep until the bacchanal which is New Years eve is to begin.

I started this blog just about 12 months ago, and my plan was to document “what’s growing out there?” every month of the year.   To date, I have had 24 posts, uploaded 183 pictures and the blog was viewed 1600 times.  Not bad for my first year.

Also, I have learned a lot about blogging and about mushrooms.  I have found mushrooms growing every month of the year.  Some times they were very scarce, some times very numerous.  This was one of those dryer years, with almost no rain from mid June until October.  Luckily, the rains began just before the mushroom festival and we were able to forage enough to put on a good display.

Our guest and speaker at the festival this year was Taylor Lockwood, a world renown photographer and film maker.

The season started late, but all in all was an average year, and there is always hope for next  year. This was my best year ever for finding pines, and also finding dyers for Ann and the other fabric artists.  By the way, in 2016, we here on the coast will be hosting the International Mushroom Dyers Symposium. Ann has worked hard to organize this and many SCSHROOM members  are busily collecting specimens for the dye-pots.

I also took a number of new SCSHROOM members out on forays, made some new friends and I hope help them to develop a greater understanding and appreciation for some of out local fungi.

As for what’s growing out there, I was out on Saturday, December 27th, doing a hike with the family and grand kids down Chapman Creek and we found a good number of Winter ChanterellesAviary Photo_130612582174360502

The weather once again has turned clear and frosty, so I am not sure what will survive into the New Year.

I am heading to warmer climes in early January, Kauai to be specific.  I hope to do some hiking in the highlands and hope to catch site of some “tropical” fungi.  While out walking on Oahu last January we did see a couple of agarics so you never can tell.

I wish you all a very happy new  year, and hope your forays are always fruitful and hope to see you some times on the trails.

I leave you with a couple of my favourite shots from this last season….

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And last of all …. the green!!!!

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Do You Think the Season is Over?

That is the question…is this it for the mushroom season?  We are just warming up from the second spell of some cold and frosty days and nights, as well as snow in some areas here on the coast.

Last Saturday a few of us hardy or should I say Fool-hardy souls went out for a foray in the Home Site Creek area, but alas, there was little to be seen.  The reason was that there was just a touch too much snow to see what was hiding in the moss. Oh we did find a couple of examples, a few hardy winter chaterelles, some very frozen russula’s and a lacaria or two. After an hour or so we called it quits and headed back to the warmth of Cooper’s Green community hall.

Luckily, I had gone out last Friday, in anticipation that it could be my last foray before the coming frost wiped out the last of the edibles.  Sure enough I found a nice patch of hedgehogs and a good bunch of winter Chanterelles.

Friday finds

All in all, not that bad a  year, as I looked at what I had put aside for the long winter, spring and summer until next falls mushrooming begins again…

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From the left, this years total harvest; my gallon jar full of winter chanterelles; next to that my dried pines in a two quart jar and then the last on the right, this years honey mushrooms.

Now at least half of these will be going to family and friends as Christmas gifts, as well as likely another good batch to be eaten over the holidays. Besides these dried ones, I also have a number of cooked and frozen packages of mushrooms from this year’s season. So really, even though we complained that this was not a good year, I did get my share and should have enough to last me through the lean times!

The other thing I forgot to mention was that I found a beautiful flush of Turkey tails about a week ago..

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I called this the “medicine tree”…nature giving us the medicine we need just as we head into the winter season of colds and flu. I picked about a quarter of what was on the tree, as many were small.  Hopefully I can keep going back over the winter and getting some fresh.  The ones I picked I let dry overnight then froze them for later use in teas and tinctures.

But don’t despair, the thaw is happening today and there may still be a few flushes of winter chanterelles to come.

The days are shortening and

soon  upon us the Winter Solstice

time to celebrate will food and wine

with laughter and joy and gift giving too

to brighten with lights the long dark nights

and celebrate the birth of the sun once more,

Happy Solstice, happy yule, merry Christmas to you all.

Hope to see you sometimes on the trail next year…coastal shroomer.