Tag Archives: mushrooms

Today’s Office

It was supposed to be a lovely post. A photo of my campsite in the ponderosa pines with an undergrowth of blueberry bushes. Then there was the mule deer doe that hangs around the edges of the campground. However, I’m down to a cellular hotspot with only two bars of service. I spent two hours trying to get the photos included, but no bueno. In fact, I have my doubts whether this text only post will upload, so here goes nothing.

It was hot yesterday. Somewhere in the nineties. This is tough on bulldogs, but we have power here, so the AC helped a bunch. They were restless most of the night. Otto decided to get up somewhere between 4:30 and 5:00 this morning. It’s either listen to him pace and whine with no hope of going back to sleep, or get up. My MO is to get up. When it’s time for breakfast, it’s time for breakfast.

Frankie rarely eats when we go out like this. Otto was content to clean his bowl, then hers. I picked it up before he got a double breakfast. Old What’s Her Face got to sleep in a little, then she gave them some hamburger and an egg, so Frankie isn’t starving.

I plopped down under the awning while it was still dark. The first order of business was to deal with the final critiques for Lanternfish. I don’t need wifi for that, and it’s all resident on my iPad. It can save to the cloud when I get home. Good suggestions, and it’s in the fermenter for a couple of weeks. Then I have to read it from start to finish, because there are always things that get missed.

Next order of business was to send out a chapter for Mrs. Molony. For some reason, while slow, that went off without a problem.

I’m still going to add a couple of paragraphs to this story. They aren’t needed, but there is a minor theme that could be addressed. I’ll let my critique group decide when they see the final chapter.

That left me the short story with Jason Fogg. It’s time for it to come out of the fermenter and get the last reading. Only I found two boneheaded errors. I fixed those, then put it back in the fermenter. I’m on vacation all week, so during the staycation part, I’ll make sure it gets submitted.

We took a drive today and saw quite a few deer. I only took the one picture and it didn’t upload anyway. I hoped for an eagle here on the lakeshore, but he never showed up.

There are still quite a few mushrooms in the darker parts of the forest. I hoped to do a snoop for a good one to add to my breakfast, but the mosquitos were pretty bad. I’d sprayed myself with repellent, but my wife was having none of it.

I did see one I’ve never seen before called Dead Man’s Fingers. It was a pitiful example, and looked more like a bunch of thin black spikes. I have a hunch it wasn’t mature yet. This thing looks like zombie fingers poking from the earth if you find a good one. I fully intended to look for one, because I wanted a photo. But Old What’s Her Face insisted we leave.

Tonight we dined on grilled lobster tails and some kabob vegetables. I’m washing it down with a bottle of stout right now. We’re having a good time, but the post would look better with pictures.

 

Update: The guy camped across the street from us is a piece of work. He is there with a girl of about thirteen and a son at about four, if I had to guess. Then grandma is with them. He’s one of those guys who is on his phone all the time. He tries to sound like a big deal, and has that wheeler-dealer mentality. He called his boss and is going to miss work on Monday. I couldn’t help but overhear. Something about the ex-wife and how he had to hire a babysitter one night because he had some function to attend. Then he was contacted by Central District Health. There is a trail of Covid-19 exposure going through the alleged babysitter. He said he has to take Monday off to get his entire family tested, but none of them are showing any symptoms.

I’m not totally freaked out, and they are about fifty feet from us. He’s been down at the dock fishing with the post-toddler. The dock is swarming with people. He’s also been in the neighboring camp telling them about his fishing prowess. Not one mask in sight.

If I’m not mistaken, the rules are to stay home until you get the all-clear. Not to go camping and mingle with other people, because you might not have Covid. The teen had the little one and was pointing into our camp. “Look at the puppies.”

No. Don’t look at the fucking puppies and keep on your side of the god damned street.

He’s a tent camper, too, so that means they’ll all be using the restroom facilities.

Between you and me, I think the guy was lying to his boss. He’s that kind of bullshitter. I’m not willing to take that chance, and if Otto misses out on making one friend he’ll get over it. We have social distancing on our side, and we’re outdoors to boot. I’m not letting any of them near my stuff, or allowing them to pet the dogs.

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A decent weekend

I never managed a single word of new fiction this weekend. Old What’s Her Face and I decided to go mushrooming on Saturday.

It wound up being a beautiful day in the mountains. It was sunny and warm, even though we had to drive around boulders as big as Buicks on the highway into the back country. The winter thaw rolled them onto the road. There was also a snowdrift to crash through, and part of the dirt road was underwater.

We saw a couple of deer and one turkey in the low country. The bulldogs were thoroughly worn out by the trip home. My wife bought this interesting pad for the dogs. It is supposed to cool them down when they lay down on it. It seems to work pretty well. No batteries or anything.

We wound up finding two morels. That’s it, not even enough for a decent omelette, but we tried today anyway. It looks like we’re going to have to find another hunting spot. The old forest fire in that area is about eight years old now, and maybe a more recent burn would be more productive. Pretty country and lots of fresh air to go around.

I worked on another of my “Expansion Packs” posts for Story Empire, but it isn’t where I want it yet. I have a couple of weeks to make it decent.

I also worked my way through a pile of critiques I received for The Viral Blues. It isn’t fancy, but counts as progress all the same.

After talking to my parents and finishing breakfast we made a Home Depot run. Old What’s Her Face wanted some hanging baskets for the back patio. I added a few light bulbs to the cart. Not too exciting, but it’s life for an author.

I have Wednesday off, so might manage a word or two then.

Hope all of you had good weekends too. Mine was pretty decent even if it wasn’t sexy.

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Not exactly truffle dogs.

We just got back from camping. We spent two glorious days in the wilderness without wifi or cellular service. All of the campsites were full, including a couple bushwhacker style ones we enjoy. This time we wound up far back in the woods. We only saw one other vehicle pass by in two days.

The dogs actually got to play off leash. They do this every day in the back yard, but around other campers I always control them. They really enjoyed the forest, and never tried to roam out of sight.

We hoped to find morels. This is the weekend we usually go, but I told my wife we were going to be too late this year. The seasons seem like they’re three weeks ahead of other years.

We had a huge western thunderstorm friday night. I have to admit I love these. Sitting in the camper during a deluge, or under the awning just clicks with me. It knocked down the pollens too, and I appreciate that.

Storms usually bring on fungus blooms, and this one did. Just not the morels. I found this one though. It’s very picturesque, but I’m pretty sure it’s one of the deadlier Amanita species.

We went to my wife’s favorite spot to search for morels. Unfortunately, there were none to be found. We’ve never been skunked here before. Frankie was more interested in finding the right stick to chew up. She doesn’t like them on the ground, but if they protrude from a log or a tree it makes her day.

Otto was just happy to follow dad around and look at whatever dad found.

This was the view about a mile from camp.

It looks like there should be buffalo out there, but not in Idaho. Unless it’s the border of Yellowstone.

We grilled up three lobsters Saturday night and ate like kings. They weren’t big ones, and we split the odd one between us.

Mosquitos were out in force, and we’re going to have to replenish our Deet supply before we go out again.

I managed a little writing time. Words flew from my fingers like never before.

The crew managed to escape the giant jellyfish, which the root monsters named Big Boogah. (Yes, Boogah means just what you might think it means.) They escaped in dramatic and adventurous fashion too. There were many who played a role, including some quick and dangerous thinking, and one feat of strength that impressed a few crew mates.

My pirates managed a big party to celebrate escaping the jellyfish, and the tropical storm. They’re headed for calm seas now, but they aren’t going to find them all that calm.

They uncovered a thief aboard the ship, held a mini Courts Marshal, and dealt with the perpetrator. Chamberpots were redistributed, and I must remember to use the term thundermug. This sounds like an appropriate word for the root monsters to use.

There is something going on with this story that I can’t quite put my finger on. Some stories use world building to gain a long popularity. I’m talking Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, and the Harry Potter stuff. I feel like I’m getting close to that ground here.

My crew has many broken characters. I’m only giving glimpses into their pasts, but it feels like enough to entice readers to want more. Readers will get a peek at a vast world that can let their imaginations roam after they’ve read the story.

I’ve been accused of white room, or white page syndrome before. My personal goal behind the scenes is to flesh out more of the setting, and I think it’s working.

On the other hand, I’m having a hard time finding a midpoint for this one. This is usually where the bottom falls out, the big plan is a failure, and they have to regroup somehow. Don’t get me wrong, some of this is planned out, but it won’t happen until closer to the end of the story. (I’m going with it for now.)

My next event will involve another sea battle, but some unusual evidence will turn up. I’m going to have to do a bit of research into brass cannons, and how big they got using brass. Obviously, steel is stronger, but brass was pretty popular.

Then I’m going to take them to Serang’s country to pull off a bit of a con game against their enemies. This will let me build more of her sad story into the tale, but only bits and pieces enough to carry the story. Of course a bit of color and pageantry should also be in the mix.

I’m off tomorrow. No idea whether it will be a writing day or not. I kind of hope it is.

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Great day in the woods!

We started our day at 9:00 AM. Mushrooms don't sneak away and hide at sunup. We took a lot of people, and it's nice to get a slightly later start. It's a long drive to my normal spots, and with family, you stop more often. It's all good, I'm more into the experience than the score these days. I've had many a fish-less day along the Snake River, and never regretted one of them.

My first spot is kind of hit and miss. For the last few years it's been miss, and this was no exception. It's right alongside a turnout on the highway. Competition usually beats me to these.

It was lunchtime, but nobody wanted to stop for lunch. We went to my second spot. It was loaded with fresh morels and we gathered a good haul. My guess about the early weather patterns was right. We decided to brave Landmark Summit. This is just under 7000ft in elevation. Most years it doesn't open until the Fourth of July. It was dry as a bone today. One year, my brother and I went up there in late May and found eight feet of snow. Not this year.

My wife and I have a new spot out in the middle of nowhere on the other side of the summit. This year it turned out to be the mother lode. We all spent part of our time pointing at morels just so the grandkids could pick them. This usually means more dirt for Grandpa to clean off, but it was worth it. My grandson started his day complaining that there was no WIFI. By the end of the day, he was a regular pioneer.

Grandpa caught a tiny little frog, and everyone insisted I show the kids. I made them swear they wouldn't hurt it. They decided to fight over it, and parental interference prevented frogacide. Tiny froggy hopped away with a good story to tell.

We found quite a few snow morels today. One of them was the size and shape of a human brain. I left my phone in the car, because it tends to fall out with all that bending. I wish I had a photo for you, because it was cool. Snow morels are considered inedible at best, and poisonous at worst. They actually look nothing like an actual morel.

The weather was beautiful, sunny and not too hot yet. I think I felt two raindrops all day. My back and knees are going to make me suffer tomorrow. At one point, I got down on all fours and picked twelve plump morels without moving an inch. Still, it was a lot of bending down, squatting, and crawling over deadfall. At least oyster mushrooms have the courtesy to grow on tree trunks. Not these morels. The little buggers are right down in the dirt.

Far enough away that they stay anonymous

Our picnic wound up being an event. My son made some baked beans from scratch, and we threw in a skillet to warm them up. My wife made her grilled potato salad, and we grilled hotdogs and chorizos on site.

The little kids ran around like wild animals while we cooked, and while we cleaned up. Something tells me they'll sleep well tonight.

One of two huge bags of morels

The only downside was on the way home. I was following another vehicle, my son was following me, and my daughter and her friend brought up the rear. We drove past a county sheriff, and he pulled the girls over. He told them they were speeding, but we were all in a row driving the same speed. I have a theory his probable cause amounted to two girls driving while cute. He never ticketed them.

That and the wood tick I pulled off my shirt. I've already paid my dues to them. I spent a couple days in the hospital and drank a couple of bottle of IV fluids back in the 1980s. I think I've served my sentence with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. At least he wasn't burrowed in when I found him.

I started putting this post together at 10:00 PM. I allowed myself one hour for Game of Thrones. We put everything away, but still have a skillet to wash. I spent two hours cleaning mushrooms and putting them away. That doesn't count the batch my daughter–in-law took home. One bowl I set aside and didn't freeze. Grandpa is having an omelet tomorrow morning with a touch of Swiss cheese and fresh morels.

I hope all of you had a great day too.

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Running out of supplies

There is no joy in Mudville, or Boise for that matter. I’m fast running out of everything I stored from 2014.

About a week ago the last of my precious morels got used up on a hamburger. It was a good burger, but can’t happen again until about June.

Today the last of my peaches disappeared at lunchtime. I ate peaches until they ran out my ears, then I dehydrated a bunch for winter. I’ve been throwing them in a pinch at a time with my pumpkin seeds for lunch. I’m trying the seeds as a remedy for prostate issues (for those who stop in sporadically). Today, all my dried peaches are gone.

There are still a few medlars on the tree. This odd little relative of apples and pears needs to almost rot before you can eat it. The correct term is blet. I’ve tried a dozen methods to get them right, and leaving them on the tree seems to work best. When the stars line up, they are wonderful. The process is the exact same process that astringent persimmons have to go through before they are edible.

There is rain predicted. I wonder if there will be enough to bring out the oyster mushrooms along the Boise River.

 

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Meanwhile, in the Real World

Old What’s Her Face* and I decided to head into the mountains again today. Too much blogging and publishing stuff makes Craig a dull boy. I’m sure I missed reading some of your posts today.

Last time out it was early and dry. We’ve had a bit of rain lately, followed by some sunny weather and decided to give the morels another chance. Our usual places were wash outs; not a single mushroom in sight, including the kind we don’t want.

We decided to head for a semi dangerous canyon I know of. It has avalanche danger year round, but I’ve really cleaned up there in the past. The snow was gone and the road should have been good.

Fifteen miles before we got there we saw a sign that said “Road Closed Ahead.” I assumed they meant my spot; we decided to go part way and trust to luck. This place burned about five years ago, and burns are the best places. We found one small spot that looked like it re burned last summer. We were over 7000 feet in elevation.

We wound up with a small haul, but they were great big ones. I’ve seen times when you could fill a large Gott cooler, but this wasn’t one of those times. With the weather as weird as it has been, I think we were pretty lucky. The ones we found were already dry, but that’s no problem with morels. They rehydrate in anything. You can use cream, chicken stock, beef broth, wine, whatever.

Let’s look at some pictures.

The Morel in its Natural Habitat

The Morel in its Natural Habitat

image

A Fair Haul for 2014

The Mother of all Morels

The Mother of all Morels

When I washed them, I could feel them rehydrating in my hand. I shoved them in the refrigerator for now. We’re off to Old Chicago to work on my next beer tee shirt.

The funniest thing that happened today was Old What’s Her Face eating pork skins on the way home. She got crumbs down her bra and said, “I got chicharones in my chee chees.” She then proceeded to lift up her shirt and bra to clean the crumbs out. I’m sure the oncoming traffic appreciated it almost as much as I did.

* Not my wife’s actual name

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No luck with fungi

Old What’s Her Face* and I slept in this morning. We decided to check our favorite morel spot and see if any were out. There wasn’t any reason to get up early, since they don’t run away at sunrise.

Morels are one of the finest mushrooms in the world, and they grow wild here in Idaho. We usually find them in June and July, but the weather this year has been strange. Mostly, we just wanted to get out.

I remember crawling under the burned out root ball of a ponderosa pine about five years ago. I plucked out a grocery bag full of morels as big as my fist. You can find quite a few, when you find them at all.

We went to a little place called Warm Lake. Traffic was pretty heavy for the holiday weekend, but as we found increasingly smaller roads it thinned out. It was sunny and warm, and generally beautiful outside.

The ground was surprisingly dry. This time of year it’s usually pretty damp, foggy, and even muddy. All of the LBMs (little brown mushrooms) I found were wrinkled and dry. Note: only eat a mushroom you can positively identify. LBMs have been the cause of many hospital visits.

I found one really pretty false morel. It isn’t hard to tell the difference, but these are for looking only.

I’ve had my best luck where the ground has been disturbed around ponderosa pines. There was a huge forest fire near Warm Lake a few years ago, and it disturbed the ground. Experts say to look where and when the trilliums bloom. I found trillium in abundance.

Sadly, this pitiful specimen was the only morel either of us found. It looks like one of the small grey fire morels. It was about the size of my little finger tip. I decided to photograph it, and leave it to encourage its friends.

image

Not even enough to make scrambled eggs with tomorrow. Maybe next trip. We decided it’s date night tonight. I have to get this posted and get cleaned up.

* Not my wife’s actual name.

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