Saturday, May 15, 2010

Our mushroom hunt

Because we returned so early from Costa Rica this year, I was looking forward to getting morels, a delicious mushroom that can be found in the Midwest. By definition, morels are wild; so far they have not been domesticated.
 Unfortunately, from the morel procurement point of view, it was very warm earlier in the spring and the morel season was mostly over by the time we got here. In past years we have gone to the Muscoda (pronounced MUSK-a-dee) Morel Festival. I called Mushroom Headquarters earlier in the week and learned that any mushroom seekers would be advised to arrive early on festival weekend. However, mushrooms were being sold daily at the Muscoda village hall. We decided on a preemptive mushroom foray on Friday since frankly none of us is that good at getting up and going places early. So my mom, sister, Russ and I went on a little car trip, hunting mushrooms. We arrived in downtown Mucoda.
I had reserved a pound when I called but not knowing how much my mother or sister would want, I assumed that even if supplies were limited they could get some. Wrong. There was one bag there in mushroom headquarters and it had my name on it. A test of my character (a morel dilemma?) loomed as I wondered if I was able to share my morels. We decided to walk around the village in the hope that more mushrooms would come in. First we looked at the entrants in the morel contest. (Not for sale.) These were entered in the "smallest" category. How did the mushroom hunter find them? Even spotting a normally sized one isn't that easy.

Muscoda is a quiet village but there was a certain buzz in the air as people prepared for the festival starting the next day. We met Captain Dirty Bad Bob selling books and cracking jokes. Since we have a pirate ancestor (and actually own a book to prove it) we felt we had a lot in common.
Bad Bob pointed out it was difficult to be descended from a pirate since many of them didn't live long enough to have offspring. I guess we were lucky—our pirate ancestor was captured in the American colonies and went straight in exchange for his freedom. He produced legions of descendants eligible to join the DAR as my grandmother did. After our walk around town and several garage sales, we checked back at Morel Central and were happy to find that a few more mushrooms had come in. As we rode home through the Wisconsin countryside we enjoyed the general lack of traffic and the excellent condition of the roads, as well as the beauty of the spring hillsides.

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