September 8 – spore printin’

The few days since we got back from Louisville have been as hot and dry as any this year– we were actually having a bit of a late summer heat wave/drought!  We got a decent evening rainstorm last night which should help out, maybe push up a few more mushrooms, but up until then, things were starting to look a bit parched.

On Sunday morning, I went for a mushroom walk with my son Sami.  Our goal was to find as many different kinds as possible–whether they were edible or not– to find ones which were relatively young and in good shape and lay them out on black construction paper to make spore prints.  Since it had been so hot and dry, we weren’t able to find a whole lot of young fresh mushrooms, but here’s what we were able to come up with after 20 minutes of wandering in the woods.Image

Later in the morning, I drove to town to pick up some things for dinner.  All the way to Louisa, the road was lined with countless thousands of these bright yellow wildflowers.  There were so many that in places it looked like continuous stripes of yellow along both sides of the road.Image

Lots and lots of ’em!Image

Back at Twin Oaks, I pulled over to get a closeup of the flowers, to aid in identification.Image

After doing a bit of research, I’m thinking that what we’ve got here is Jerusalem Artichoke, which in addition to being incredibly abundant, apparently also has an edible root.  Maybe I’ll try digging some up this afternoon to try it out.Image

I had been planning on checking out the spore prints in the evening, but at the last second I was given a free pass to a local music festival, so that’s where I went instead.   While I was there, it rained pretty hard at Twin Oaks (although fortunately not at the festival), and I was pleased to come home to find the ground damp and the air filled with sweet fresh post-rainstorm smell.

This morning, I went to check out the prints, only to find that Sami didn’t want to wait, and had taken all the mushrooms off the night before, so they got a bit messed up (nonetheless, I appreciate his 4-year old enthusiasm).  Here’s what the page looked like this morning.Image

And here’s a close-up of one of the better-preserved prints:Image

The previous morning, we had encountered a flush of oysters and decided to leave them to grow overnight rather than pick them when we didn’t have time to cook them.  This morning, I went out to harvest them for breakfast.  Lovely oyster mushrooms!


On my way, I passed the polypores growing out of the stump.  I had suspected that they might be beefsteak polypores, and as they have grown, it indeed appears that’s what they are. Image

I harvested the smaller one on the right, and peeled off the slimy skin on the underneath, revealing this cool shell-like pattern.  This specimen was young, fresh, and quite good even without being cooked.  Altogether it made a tasty addition to a lovely breakfast of toast, fried oyster mushrooms, and a big orange tomato plucked from a plant right outside our back door!Image


One response to “September 8 – spore printin’

  1. yum — we had chicken of the woods for dinner a few nights ago, and I thought of you! I think you were the first one to introduce that fine delicacy to me!

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