Erin took this picture with her phone. It’s incredible what phones can do these days, maybe some day genetic testing in the field will be possible.
- 5-19-17 – 5-20-17
- 70 degrees, sunny
Things are heating up and Morels are popping. Erin, our daughter, the dog and I headed out for an overnight mushrooming mini adventure and we were not disappointed. Over the two days we spent looking, we gathered around 120 Morels totaling 2lbs almost exactly, not bad for naturals considering we had a small child and a dog who is more of a trail dog than a hunting companion.
On Friday we hit up a trail in one of our spots and within a minute or two I had already picked my first Morel. It didn’t take long to find the next few either. I hopped off the trail expecting to find Morels everywhere but to my surprise, I found zilch. There were a few spots of snow in the shade but for the most part, it was gone. I’m assuming the trail itself received more sunlight thus was a bit warmer than the surrounding woods. We were at 4000ft. and up here it was still getting quite cold at night.
We continued down the trail happily picking Morels along its edges for a quarter mile or so. As the trail gained in elevation the mushrooms were fewer and further apart. After a hundred yards of finding nothing, we turned around. We wondered how many we would spot on the way back and were greeted by a number of these shifty fungi we had somehow missed. It doesn’t take much for a Morel to be obscured from sight, it only takes a leaf or branch to hide it from you. Erin spotted a number of them that I had walked right by as she walked behind me, no doubt due in part to the discrepancy of height between the two of us.
- 50 degrees, partial sun to drizzle-light rain
I have a problem, I’m addicted to Morels. Erin and I have put some serious miles down the last two weekends, driving up and down mountain passes and zig zagging our way through forest service roads. The urge is unbearable, one that is only quelled slightly by the meager yields we have so far harvested. Twenty-one Morels this weekend, that brings our total for the season of twenty-eight.
“Brady” I said to myself “it’s not a competition, relax, enjoy the hunt.” But, it is a competition and I’m at twenty-eight. Lots of people have found more than me, and they laugh at my season total. These folks have accumulated more weight in spores than I have in the spore bearer. There is a good chance though that the average person among me has found none and I relish in this fact.
Mushroom hunting isn’t really a competition but anyone who’s done it knows how guarded and secretive you get when questioned about the subject. I imagine that this traces back to ancient times, to protect what is yours and when you poses so few things it would seem this behavior may be stronger especially when regarding something so tantamount to survival as a food source.
Just fry them up already!
- 55 degrees
They’re here, they’re here! I have officially found my first Morel of the season, seven to be more precise and they were as delicious as I had remembered. I can still taste their delectable flavor and can rest easy in knowing that the essence of the Morel now resides in my body, helping to build the future me. We have bonded, man and fungus. Wait, I’m not sure if that sounds right but it is essentially true, this is a fungal infection I hope sticks around for a while.
Kim Traverse, PSMS President
Lichen study might pass for exoteric if it weren’t that lichens are almost everywhere- on the sidewalks and streets we use daily, on the walls and trunks of trees that we walk past, clinging to the branches of those trees and on shrubs. From the shore to the top of mountain peaks, lichens coat the rocks and sometimes cover the ground. They are part of every ecosystem except the deep sea and can live in the harshest places on the planet- the driest, the coldest, the hottest- at least one grows underwater.
A False Morel, Verpa bohemica often time fruit just before Morels do
by Brady Raymond
- 55 degrees
My expectations weren’t too high setting out this last Saturday, but I had an inkling that fungi flourished on the Eastern slope of the Cascades. Many of my friends and family were finding Morels back in Southern Michigan and that got the bug in me enough to head out and poke around a few of our regular spots. We decided to gauge what conditions were like at 1800-2800ft. east of the pass. The temperature still seemed a bit cool but moisture levels seemed good.
Remember me? I just wanted to let you know, I’ll be back before you know it.
Insert angelic choir swell, maybe something in Major 8 Major
It’s all mine.
I thought, to get folks into the spirit of the hunt that I’d link up a few articles about Morels from last spring.
‘Tis The Season
The Last Morel(s) Standing pt.1
The Last Morel(s) Standing pt.2
Fooled ya! Don’t fall for the Verpa trap, unless of course that’s your thing.
Fried eggs on english muffins with oyster mushrooms and fresh herbs
by Erin & Brady Raymond
Saute the oyster mushrooms in butter on medium high until they start to look crispy. Once they look done, put them on a plate with a paper towel to soak up the excess butter while cooking the eggs and toasting the english muffins. This breakfast comes together pretty quickly and the fresh parsley and thyme really set it off.
Often times keeping it simple yields delicious results, case in point. It was exciting to find our first oysters of the year too, and that surely made such a simple recipe that much more rewarding. We noticed a number of small oysters growing on a log, too small to harvest, just before we found this nice little clump (pictured below). The weather has been perfect as of late and I’m sure anyone who takes the time to look for dead Alder trees will find themselves eating some oyster mushrooms too.
It’s a Peziza, right?
by Brady Raymond
Fungal diversity in the PNW is lower in the spring than in the fall, yet interesting mushrooms are to be found for those willing to look. To be fair, our regions mycofloral diversity is only lacking in the fruiting bodies, the mycelium of all the fall players still lurks below our feet and imbedded deep within dead wood, building and storing energy for their inevitable fall flush.
by Brady Raymond
photos by Daniel Winkler
The Bridle Trails Survey is underway and shaping up to be a unique opportunity, not only to hone your mushroom identification skills, but also to participate in a bit of citizen science to better understand our region’s funga. The two main goals for this project are to hopefully christen the next generation of mushroom identifiers and to preserve specimens for the herbarium.
A lot of work has to be done before this project can fully take flight, this includes creating a custom voucher sheet for the study as well as a system for filing of specimens. Linking all the data to specimen photographs and making it available online needs to be figured out as well. Creating a curriculum and a way of testing knowledge is also important in churning out the next generation of identifiers.
Keep a look out for interesting mushrooms year round. The cold of winter and hot dry summers don’t usually scream mushrooms but whispers of them do exist for the observant.
A Pep Talk for Beginners
by Brady Raymond
February at first thought doesn’t usually bring to mind mushrooms here in the PNW, but it is a great time to start honing your skills for the months to come and the bounty that is sure to follow (hopefully). The winter months do yield some mushrooms to find and although usually more scarce this time of year, it can be less distracting for someone trying to learn mushrooms. During prime season it is tempting to trek one more bend on the trail, or cross the next ridge in hopes of finding that forty pound Sprassis or basketful of Boletes but if you’re new to mushrooming why not get a head start on learning the basics about mushrooms now.
One of the first things a newcomer should do is obtain a reputable book on the subject. If you are unfamiliar where to start PSMS sells books at our monthly meetings and at our annual spring and fall shows. It is recommended to get a book that encompasses your area and I would recommend having a couple books if funds allow. Here is a link to a previous post I wrote talking about books a little more; Where to Start, Tips and Tools for Learning Mushrooms.