We hadn’t been up in the woods to look for mushrooms this year and over the weekend Jeff mentioned that it would be good if we looked for mushrooms before we got a freeze. I agreed. On Sunday, late afternoon, I looked out the kitchen window and there was light shining down through the woods. It looked like the forest was beckoning us to come. I told Jeff “the woods are calling to us, let’s go!” So we dropped everything else that needed doing, we put on shoes and wool sweaters, I grabbed a basket, and we headed out the door. We were immediately seeing mushrooms everywhere, most of them were not edible though. There were a few questionable ones, so Jeff put a couple in our basket so he could bring them back home to identify them. I remembered years back I had found chantrelles in a certain spot, not very far from the house. I told Jeff I wanted to check there, but before we even got there we came upon a chantrelle patch! We were so excited! They were beautiful and only a few were past their prime. Bracken and I started picking them and putting them in the basket. Then Jeff made a good point that it would be best to break the ends off, so we didn’t get dirt all over our mushrooms (and make them harder to clean later.) A small knife would have been handy. After the first spot, we checked the place I’d found them before, and- sure enough- more were there. As we were harvesting those, I looked out in the forest and saw something that looked like it was glowing golden in the distance. I told Jeff there were more chantrelles over there and he looked and saw them too. It was tricky to get over there and we had to crawl underneath underbrush to get to the overgrown spot. That’s the magic of mushrooms. What else will get you crawling on your hands and knees on the forest floor? It’s a great excuse to do so. You become a lot more adventurous when there are mushrooms you want to get to.
Then we headed up the mountain. Honestly, it was a little bittersweet for me because it was bringing back so many memories. There was a time when I used to hike up the mountain almost every single day, to get my daily exercise and nature time all in one. But it was more than that. It really fed my soul. Our dogs always came with me and often I’d bring our goats along too. It was so fun to let them graze up there. If I felt out of balance, I could go on my quiet hike and by the time I returned home I would feel centered, at peace, and completely myself again. I continued my daily hikes while I was pregnant with Bracken (see my big pregnant belly in this post on a huckleberry hike), but not very often after Bracken was born. (Wrote more about it here.) I have many memories from those woods up that mountain, that I will always treasure. That was another chapter in my life, but now we’re creating new memories up there that I know I will remember fondly too.
We found huckleberries everywhere and snacked along the way.
When we got towards the top and could see the sky more clearly, the clouds were rosy pink.
Jeff got this picture of Bracken and I loved the happy-silly it exudes.
This was our day’s haul of chantrelles. That’s the most we’ve ever found at one time. Jeff sauteed them with onion and eggs from our chickens. We ate scrambled eggs with fresh-from-the-woods chantrelles for dinner and it was delicious.
I also found this reishi mushroom. There was a huge one, but it was out of reach, high up in a tree. Jeff said we could make a medicinal tea with the reishi mushroom.
Jeff found a few lobster mushrooms as well.
I got two pictures of my loves before we headed back down. Bracken was getting all stained with huckleberries.
Then it was time to head home. It started getting dark fast and was twilight as we emerged from the woods. Twilight in the woods is an incredibly magical time. But we were ready to come inside our warm house.
I’m so glad we followed the call into the woods!
We have some new chantrelle spots to check on next year.