If a Mushroom Picker Falls in the Forest

If a mushroom picker falls in the forest, do the mushrooms hear, and if they do, do they cheer?  That was the comment that Chris, my walking partner and wife of 43 years made this morning.

Why may you ask did she ask that question? Well, we were on our morning walk up the road to the Clarke Farm to get some eggs. There, in the woods, next to the road, I spotted a mushroom. Because it has been such a tremendously terrible (am I sounding a bit Trump-ish?) year for mushrooms, any sighting is a “must look closer” opportunity.

Off the road I went, onto this rather steep slope, with a creek at the bottom.  I gingerly worked around this big cedar (should have known it would likely be nothing) until I came up to the sighting.  Chris asks “what is it?” I say “just a Russula”.  On my way back to the road, I slipped in to a hole next to the cedar root, up to my hip. It was my right leg, not my left  with the bad knee, but still the left knee complained loudly!!

Took me a couple of moments to determine that I wasn’t going down the slope into the creek, a couple more to look for something to help me out of the hole and a few more for the complaining knee that had to flex rather suddenly, to calm down.

I grabbed a sapling as a life line and hauled myself out of the hole. Too bad Chris or I didn’t bring our phones for a picture, or for that matter a call to 911….”my husband has fallen and he can’t get out of a hole in the forest!”

It’s funny and it’s not so funny.  We were watching the news last night and the stats are that a senior, in BC, falls once every 10 minutes.  Chris tells me I am now one of today’s statistics.

I do a lot of solo foraging and I always tell Chris where I am going or leave a note.  I always take a cell phone with me, and most places I go too have cell service here on the coast.

I am also, I think, in pretty good shape for someone 64 years old, although a bit clumsy sometimes.

So everyone, I took the fall for you today, but be careful out there.

What an Unusual Season

What an Unusual season it has been.

I have to say, that in looking back over the last several years,  this mushrooming season has been the worst I can remember.

I looking back at some of my Facebook posts and complaints I had made about pickings being “poor” in previous years, none of them compare to what it was like for me Sunday.

On Sunday, we had a group foray with  16 of us out in the woods looking for that bonanza flush of edibles.  There were no great finds, I will admit that it was the best foray for diversity that we have had this season.

We found chanterelles, IMG_0444 (1)Boletes, IMG_0465Gypsies, several dyer polypores;

numerous Russulas;  many cortinarius( as is the norm); a few good examples of Smith’s Amanita (the one often mistaken for the pine mushroom each year); a few lactarius deliciosus, and by one of our members a nice flush of pine mushrooms.IMG_0433 (1)

There was enough of pine mushrooms for everyone to take some  home and have a taste, which was very generous of those who found them.

With high expectation, due to the success of the day before, I decide to visit one of my secret sites where I often find pines.  I was totally disappointed with the foray. All I was able to find was one lactarius deliciousus, one small chanterelle and not one pine!!! Not only that, there was nary a whiff of a pine in the area.

For those of you who haven’t met me, I have a very good nose.  My wife often asks me to sniff test something that has been in the fridge a bit too long. Often, when we are out walking down the street, near a restaurant, I am sniffing the air, checking out the cooking  aromas. She says I was a dog or a wolf in my last life, I just  love smells, good or bad.

Sometimes, while sitting there,  I catch a whiff of something, and I will look at my wife. She gives  me the hairy eyeball saying “ so I farted…..get over it”.

As a result of the “nose” I can often smell the pines long before I actually see them.  When I am walking down the trail, scanning the forest floor and breathing deeply, that whiff  lets me know to start searching around for those “shrumps”…pines hidden under the duff or moss.

However, Monday, not a whiff, nada, zilch…and things were still pretty dry where my pine spot was.

Rain is due for the next several days, even the possibility of snow.  I am ever hopeful that there will still be a season, even a late(r) season. Also, there is still to come the incredible abundance of winter chanterelles and hedgehogs that we usually see late in the season.

As always, hope to see you sometimes on the trails out there. And thanks to Hagit Ammer
Nutritional Chef & Educator @http://www.kitchenrejuvenation.ca/ for some of her pictures in this post.