Thursday, May 3, 2012

Morel Hunting

Morel mushrooms

I do a lot of walking in the spring. It feels good to stretch out the muscles that have spent the winter months planted in a chair at the easel. In the month of May, most of my walks are with a purpose... finding morel mushrooms! The unseasonably warm weather early this spring has thrown things off a bit, but the mushrooms seem to be popping up now.

Of course, morels don't just appear everywhere. They never seem to show themselves until you've put in the appropriate amount of fruitless paces... and yesterday was no exception.

Squirrel corn

There was a little added pressure to find a few morels, as I had a friend coming over for dinner. Beef fillet on the grill would be wonderfully complimented by pan-fried wild morels.
With high hopes, I checked all my regular spots... nothing. Well, no morels. There are always plenty of other interesting things going on in the woodlots of western PA this time of year. Wild flowers are taking advantage of the sunlight offered by the not yet leafed-in canopy. Toads and frogs are singing near every swampy little puddle. And a lone gobbler hammers away on the hillside above me... reminding me of a time when I used to hunt turkeys with a dogged determination.
American toad

Finally, convinced morels were not in the cards for me today, I headed back to the truck. Less than a quarter mile from where I had parked, I stumbled upon several morels in a spot where I'd never seen them before. Go figure. Hopefully, I've put in my obligatory "fruitless paces" and the bounty will be a little easier to find for the rest of the season!

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