Our life living off the land in our log cabin, breathing fresh mountain air, and getting back to basics.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Getting Back To Normal

I know, normal is a relative term...

Our friend Wayne left early this morning, so our day was spent doing the usual things we do after a guest leaves to get ourselves back to normal...like cleaning the linens, putting things back where they belong (our place is small, and our guest room is also our office, so we tuck things away here and there to make room and inflate the awesome air mattress we have which then leaves little walking space) and doing other normal daily chores that were slightly neglected.  We also wanted a little time to unwind (you know, having guests and ensuring they completely enjoy their visit keeps you on your toes most of the time, even with the closest of friends or family) so we decided to take a long ride on Big Bear (ATV) up into the Nantahala National Forest behind our cabin on this gorgeous day...soaking in the beauty of the woods and hunting...yes, you got it...mushrooms...which ended up not being such a normal afternoon after all. 
     
We found several of our favorite fungi in the normal spots we hunt.  Our first unusual find was in this piney area...that's Johny in the bottom center of the picture...gives you the scale of how big this forest is...
 ...and he shouts up to me (I was hunting along the roadside because I didn't follow my norm of wearing jeans and made the mistake of wearing shorts and I'm not walking through those woods with bare legs...my dad would say, "you know, the Papa in Berenstain Bears would say 'let this be a lesson to you' ") "you aren't going to believe this!  I think this is a Hen of the Woods!"  He comes to get my camera to take pictures and tries to get me to walk down there, but I was not chancing it...he, on the other hand, has no concerns about his legs, though of course he is the one whose gotten poison ivy more than once...

 ...ruffly looking and huge...
 ...he then harvested the huge fungi and carried it up to road.
Once home we determined it was a Meripilus sumstinei or giant polypore, often misidentified as Hen of the Woods...it must weigh a couple pounds!  The mushroom is edible when young, so he is going to try it (he is the tester, if all goes well, I'll try it next time around).

He also found these Lactarius volemus (or Fish Milky because they smell like fish, not a pleasant odor at all) that are said to be choice eating by several experts.  I've never tried them but Johny did last year and he said they were absolutely delicious.  He only took a few and left many more that we will go back for (yes, I will wear pants this time).

And then he shouts "wait 'til you see this" and holds up a huge Lobster mushroom...not the norm because they are usually 1/3 this size...and there were about four or five more exactly like it, which we will also collect when we go back.

There is something really exciting...and not the norm...about finding something new that is edible (we find lots of new non edible mushrooms).  We do, of course, use caution even though a mushroom is identified as edible, and eat only a bite or two the first time to be sure we don't have an adverse reaction to it...in a way, this ensures the normal enjoyable experience of eating fungi! 

I know my writing about mushrooms is becoming a bit of the norm, but this is the time of year they can be found, and we love mushrooms...I hope you are enjoying the discoveries...before we know it they will be gone!

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,
Lise

6 comments:

Judi Morris said...

I've never see a mushroom so HUGE! Mountain Man is awfully brave LOL ~ I don't think I would eat it, but I guess in doing your research he feels confident!!! It's true too that no matter how close, friend or family, you just really don't relax while they visit :) Enjoy your "normal"! Judi

Susie Swanson said...

Couldn't help but have a big laugh over this one. That is the most huge Mushroom I've ever seen. Hope he didn't get Poison Ivy. Hugs, xo

Malcolm and Ciejay Burgess said...

Lise, I never grow tired of seeing and hearing about mushroom treks, when living in Alaska and Oregon and now in Thailand I loved hunting and eating fresh mushrooms and with the rainy season here now we have lots , thanks for the report and pictures. Keep em coming

Malcolm and Ciejay Burgess said...

I did hope you got it .

Dad/Pepere said...

Nature is so smart...first you get a lot of rain and cloudy weather and...wham...you get loads of mushrooms! Enjoy! Hugs!

Lise said...

Thanks Judi, the normal was nice. The mushroom was not, LOL!

Susie, happy to say no poison!

Malcolm, I'm so curious about the different types of mushrooms you find in Thailand...I'm sure some are the same, but I would imagine there are some interesting varieties there.

Indeed dad! Hugs back:)