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A hunting we did go

June 1, 2014
Kevin Williams - Grundy County Conservation Operation Director , Reinbeck Courier

Last week, I told you that I was anxiously anticipating my first morel mushroom hunting trip of 2014 and I promised to report back on how things went. I know that there are many of you who have been waiting to hear because several people have called to find out. (OK - that's not true, but I like to think many of you wanted to do that). Well here it goes.

I am happy to report that it was just as much fun as I was hoping. More so even. Here was my criteria for a fun time that evening:

1) Good weather. There was no rain. The temperature was perfect. My only complaint is it got dark too early.

2) Find some mushrooms. The first hillside we checked had a few. The second south facing slope had 30 or 40. Altogether we probably ended up with over one hundred.

3) Tate has a good time. Yes and no. Tate is two and a half. When we rolled into the yard to park the car, there was a playground nearby and suddenly mushroom hunting took a backseat to playgrounding. No problem. Grandma volunteered to play with Tate on the slide and swings and monkeybars. She really doesn't like the thought of going where ticks are. (I didn't tell her that there was probably just as good a chance at finding a tick at the playground as the woods.

So, without Tate along, we headed off on the hunt Sean, Heidi and I. A few little gray ones on the first hillside. That second hillside yielded a few right off the bat. I ended up near a dead elm tree and that's where the lion's share of the mushrooms were located on that particular spot. I called to Heidi, "Hey you gotta come over here and see these." She asked if there were quite a few. "Yeah, I see 14. No 16no, 18." I replied. By the time I had finished those words she was beside me.

When we finished admiring and then picking that patch, I sent a picture of it to my wife to see. In a minute she replied, "Tate wants to mushroom hunt!"

Shortly, they joined us. While we were waiting for them, Heidi found another one and Sean planted a second nearby. These would be Tate's first mushrooms. It took a little bit of looking. Quite a little bit but he found one then the other. He was excited we were excited. We had bags but Tate had insisted on bringing his bucket. Into the bucket they went.

The remainder of the evening was spent walking and visiting and picking mushrooms. I should say that we found most of the mushrooms, but Tate got to pick them. His bucket was full to overflowing when we were finished. As we were walking back to the car, we could hear shots in the distance. Someone was target shooting we assumed. Each pop would be matched with Tate asking, "What is that?" Over and over again it went. Then, closer than the shots came a bellering sound from a cow in the nearby pasture.

"What that?" Tate asked with some anxiety in the little voice. I must admit that it did not sound like any moo sound that anyone has ever made while reading him a book. That's a silly cow his dad told him. "I not going mushroom hunting ever again," Tate announced.

I am happy to tell you that Tate was not scarred for life by the episode and has since decided that mushroom hunting is still fun.



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