Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Wild Morel Hunters

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It's been a brilliant morel season on our farm. I went out about 10 days ago determined to find morels after about eight years of missing them during their brief springtime appearance. I walked for three hours along the sides of our two valleys seeing not a single sign of this highly prized mushroom.

I was in a sort of Zenlike trance, listening to the burble of the stream below, the sweet notes of newly arrived woodland warblers, revisiting parts of the farm I've not seen in months or even years. No morels? No worries. It would not spoil a nice walk in the spring woods.

Then it hit me: old orchards—morels often grow really well in old orchards. We'd had the requisite rainfall followed by warm days. I changed course toward the ancient apple orchard along the east-west ridge west of our house.

There, beneath the skeleton of a dead Golden Delicious apple tree I found a huge, slightly old morel. Then another. I ran to gather up Julie and the kids to share my discovery. We feasted on morels and homegrown asparagus that night.

The next day I took Liam out with me to look for more 'shrooms. As I suspected, he was an excellent morel hunter. Once we found a single morel, he could easily find the others that so often grow nearby. He was WAY into it. A pound of morels later we headed back to the house, like the happy, lucky hunters that we were. I was so pleased to be in the woods with my sweet son.

Here are some images of our successful hunt.
Liam's hand curling around his first-ever morel—one he found all on his own.

If there were a morel catalog, Liam could be its cover model.

His sense of smell is his most highly developed sense. Liam smells everything.

And sometimes the smelling goes too far. Liam always makes us laugh. Yes we wash the morels before cooking and eating..


On May 15, 2008 at 7:06 PM NCmountainwoman said...

Great shots of Liam. I love morels. They are also great for breakfast with scambled eggs.

On May 15, 2008 at 10:01 PM entoto said...

Liam has me laughing. Glad you washed those.

On May 16, 2008 at 6:21 AM Jayne said...

What sort of flavor do they have Bill? Don't think I've ever had one. How lovely that they grow there in your own back 40!

On May 16, 2008 at 6:31 AM Bill of the Birds said...

They taste earthy and kind of sweet. And I'm not a huge fan of regular mushrooms.

On May 16, 2008 at 11:37 AM Rondeau Ric said...

Liam is growing, he no longer has a little boy face.
Maybe we can make the Big Sit this year and see the kids.
Are they going to ND?

On May 16, 2008 at 11:09 PM Bill of the Birds said...

Yep the whole crew is going to ND, if the air fare is fair.

On May 17, 2008 at 6:20 AM Kathi said...

Liam is quite the character. I would buy whatever you were selling if he was on the cover of the catalog.

So sorry I can't make it to ND; I'd love to go "Birdin' with Bill" (and Liam) again.