You might want to skip over the first part of this column if you don’t like sad stories.
You might want to skip over the first part of this column if you don’t like sad stories. It explains why this time of year I get so hung up on finding mushrooms. It goes back to spring Easter egg hunts when I was a small boy. We never had enough money to really take a chance on wasting any unfound eggs, so my dad went down to the river and found a two or three dozen washed, round rocks and painted them. Every year at Easter he would hide them in the yard around our place. The old homeplace was pretty rough, and there were lots of places to hide Easter rocks.
Anyway, you get tired of hunting Easter eggs you can’t eat, so I quit by the time I was 9 or 10 and let my sisters find all of them. Nowadays I still get that craving I felt as a small boy at Easter time, and I can’t really go around some community Easter egg hunt without having the overpowering urge to run out there and push some little kid aside and eat a couple of those eggs.
So spring mushroom hunting holds this strange fascination for me that I can’t overcome, and when I ought to be out catching monstrous bass and slab crappie, there I am wandering around in the woods singing “Here Comes Peter Cottontail,” looking for morels. I find ‘em, too. I am so sick of eating mushrooms after a couple of days that I can’t bear the thought of it, so I start giving them away to folks who are less fortunate than I, though it is hard to find such people.
This advice for all mushroom hunters; they reproduce via tiny spores which must be left in the woods. So if you want them to come back next spring, don’t carry your mushrooms in plastic bags, use a net-type, porous bag so spores can drop as you carry them!
I like to look for mushrooms in some hard-to-get to woodlands around our lakes, too far for most people to walk into. I will take my camera and try to call up a gobbler or two, and if I am real lucky I will have shot two or three wild turkeys before the season opens… with my camera. Then, if I get so many mushrooms that I just can’t stand to hear that Peter Cottontail song anymore, I might take a few hours and tempt a big bass or two in and around some wooded coves, with a spinner bait. Now if that ain’t livin’ the life of a very lucky man, I don’t know what is. Of course, I feel like I have it coming, remembering the time when I had to hunt those darned painted rocks and fish for six-inch sunfish in the creek with a cane pole, and the only turkeys in the whole county were in my Grandpa McNew’s barn lot.
Page 2 of 2 - You might be interested in knowing that my record mushroom stood thirteen inches high, and each year I challenge readers to find a larger one. But you have to send a photo of it with a measuring stick beside it. I don’t take the word of anyone anymore. That goes back to my boyhood, when my dad told me that Peter cottontail had been killed and eaten by a distant neighbor’s coonhound.
Mushrooms can be fried and then placed on cookie sheets or platters and frozen separately, then placed in containers and thawed months later, warmed in an oven, and eaten. They are just as good months later when you do them that way. But you might remember what I wrote last Christmas, about how we all ought to make Christmas last by finding neighbors and friends top whom we can give mushrooms, and fish, and maybe a package or two of wild turkey meat. I haven’t forgotten that. I intend to see to it that others I know who can’t get out and find mushrooms can have some to eat, even though when I was a kid, those people probably got to eat Easter eggs and chocolate rabbits and never once offered me one!
My website is, www.larrydablemontoutdoors.blogspot.com. Write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613 or email me at email@example.com.