Earlier this week, the farmer was chastised by one big mama voice and three small little voices for going into the woods without us to hunt for mushrooms. A trip up into the hills is usually a family affair, something none of us want to miss out on. And to hunt for (and find!) yummy wild mushrooms is just icing on the cake that is walking in the woods for all of us. So, promises were made, and Sunday morning came with a little Jeff Tweedy and warm waffles to start the day off, after which we gathered our gear and headed for the forest.
There is something magical about unearthing a tasty edible mushroom, or anything, really, that you can gather from the wild and use for food or medicine or both. The food we plant and gather on the farm does feel like a gift from the earth, but that given to us by the wild feels like treasure!
I remember my early mushroom hunting experiences back in Nebraska. Guided by a treasure of a woman and friend, I learned to spot seemingly invisible morel mushrooms along the tree lined river. I was hooked, not only because those morels tasted so good, but because the activity itself is such a joy. Every year when spring came and the lilacs bloomed, we would manage to find at least a few of these treats. The last year we lived in Nebraska and Olorin was almost 3, he proved to be the best hunter of us all–sometimes its better to be so close to the ground!
This weekend, even with the help of little eyes, we came home without more mushrooms. Unlike papa’s trip earlier in the week, in which he found basketfuls of golden chanterelles, we found only the treasures of exploration.
The beauty of the woods in autumn.
Water flowing down the hills again.
And because it is fall and it is Oregon, the trip was part sunshine, part rain. We were getting a little wet and a little cold, so we came home and enjoyed some of those lovely chanterelles papa got with the humble lentil (one of my favorite fall foods) all tucked into the orange deliciousness of some acorn squash. So even though the kids and I didn’t get the privilege of filling our baskets in the woods that day, we still got to taste its goodness when we came home.