I've mentioned before in this column that I find myself down to the wire at times with a deadline looming and no inspiration. Well, this week is not the case. Here I am nearly a week ahead of the deadline and I'm writing next week's column.
That's because the topic mushroom hunting - is on my mind. As much as I've been thinking about it, I think my son, Sean, has been preoccupied with it even more. Maybe part of all this is that we've been trying to get a time where everyone participating can make a trip work.
Besides working with the two of our schedules, there's Sean's wife, Heidi's schedule, as well. The only one whose schedule isn't a problem is the littlest mushroom hunter two year-old Tate. And the only schedule we have to worry about with him is the sleeping schedule. Tate hasn't hunted mushrooms yet, but he's excited none the least. When he and I were talking about mushroom hunting at lunch the other day, he was bound and determined that he was going to shoot them much like we shoot imaginary bears in the backyard. Later that night while tucking him in to bed, Sean told me that he said he couldn't wait to go mushroom hunting. Grandma is going along, too. Not so much to hunt as to watch Tate when he gets too tired, or wet, or bored.
So, with all of that said, we are planning to go out on Friday, May 16, after work, to our favorite secret spot. It is a competition of sorts. Who am I kidding? Sometimes it is a competition of major proportions. Who will find the first? Who will find the largest? Who will find the most?
Sean has been sending me links to mushroom hunting websites with the latest in reports. I have pulled out the lucky mushroom hunting walking stick. The one with the mushroom carved in the top. This year, I am going to try a canvas shopping bag instead of a plastic bag. The plastic bags don't hold up at all when walking through multiflora rose or raspberry patches. And I know that the more full the bag gets the more smashed the ones on the bottom become. I've heard of folks using mesh bags. The theory being that the mushroom spores fall out and reseed the area. Unless you gather a bunch of fully mature, overly-ripe looking mushrooms, I personally don't think you're accomplishing that.
And this year, I'm going to pull out the pocket knife and cut the mushrooms off at the ground rather than pinching them or pulling them with dirt and all. It will make the cleaning easier when I get home. Of course, in the heat of the mushroom moment when gathering frenzy takes over, we'll see. I'll let you know how that turns out.
Well, I've got to go and finish up a few things before I lock the office door and heading for home. I'm meeting Sean and family at 5 PM. He just sent me another mushroom report. Somebody calling themselves Scrappy on the mushroom website just posted a report of harvesting 84 pounds of mushrooms! It's going to be a great evening. Even if we don't find one mushroom, it's going to be a great time.