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About fungrrl

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    Agaricus Newbie

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  • Gender
  • Location
    northern il
  • Interests
    Rescuing, retraining, & riding thoroughbred ex-racehorses, birding, gardening, cooking and foraging for wild mushrooms.

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  1. I'm trying to decide if it's too late here in Northern IL. I got about 40 off a newly dead elm about two weeks ago, and found some in another nearby patch, but another woods I hunt (where I've had some success) had zero. After a really wet stint in late April, it's been dry here, though we did get a nice drenching rain today, which will be followed by warm weather. Is it worth a shot? It feels kind of late, but I also get the feeling that some spots in the other woods are slow to get going - I noticed that certain flora (lilies of the valley, jack in the pulpit) were a bit behind my other spots in growth. So, do I hose myself down in OFF and head out Saturday a.m., or should I just be content with the morels I have in the freezer? That's the question.
  2. I'm on the verge! I've scouted a few sites and have found a few little peepers. These are anout the size of a grape:
  3. Nice finds! We're finally starting to warm up here in N IL. Sun and temps in the 60's, which brings me to a question - I know soil temp has a lot to do with fruiting. We're getting into the mid 60's during the day, but at night the temps are averaging in the mid-40's. I'm assuming this means I need to sit tight a while longer....Right?
  4. She does an amazing job - nice finds, and even better images!
  5. I ran across a photographer on Flickr who take some of the most gorgeous pictures of fungi and surrounding flora and fauna. On a cold day when you're months away from your next foray, these images will help tide you over. What a talent! http://www.flickr.com/photos/mycologista/sets/72157622978136360/ Enjoy, and while I'm at it happy holidays!
  6. This fall was a real bust for me - it was a very dry year, and I found no honey mushrooms or hens of the woods - both of which I've been able go find reliably the last couple years. I was late to a couple puffball spots, and found some small specimens that were past their sell-by dates. At the end of October, however, the gods smiled upon me. Coming home one night, as my headlights swung across part of my yard, I saw alien white things poking up form the grass. The ID took about a nanosecond: I had found my first ink caps, and they were super young and fresh. I scampered out and picked a mess of them the next morning for an omelette, and then had another of the same for lunch. All in all the patch netted about three dozen over the next few days. So I finally got a nibble at some fall mushrooms. It was nice to have something so yummy fall right into my lap, especially after such a dismal year. Now, the wait for the morels begins.
  7. Hi folks - I've not been on here a while because mushrooming has really been a bust for me this year. I spotted a few interesting things here and there - such as a chicken of the woods and some oysters in yards near my house - but the woods I hunt have turned up very little lately. It's been very, very dry here in Northern IL. Where I normally find lots of honey mushrooms, hens of the woods and puff balls, I found nothing this year. Nada. Zilch. However, we had a nice week of Indian Summer weather, with temperatures in the 70s and some nice drenching rain. I knew that I should get out there, but work was overwhelming this week, and I didn't have time to get out into the woods. However, a couple nights ago, as I turned into my driveway, I spotted something in my yard. It turned out to be a nice fruiting of shaggy manes, a variety I'd never seen before. I double checked the identiy and then picked a mess of them and made an omelette. I think these just bumped hens of the woods from my top 5 favorite foraged mushrooms to eat. I thought they were really delicious. And it was nice of the mushroom gods to send a few my way. I'm looking forward to next year!
  8. I was deadheading a pot of pansies on my porch, and admiring the new flush of buds that had appeared after I went through and thoroughly cleaned out all expired/expiring blooms a week or so ago. I'm wondering if "deadheading" has a similar effect on morels. Or, more specifically, if collecting young mushrooms (which may not have yet produced spores) encourages the mycelium to produce more fruit.
  9. Well, yesterday was indeed Good Friday! A very good Friday, in fact! A friend's boyfriend has been finding troves of morels at his cabin in southern IL. He very kindly brought me some, so I enjoyed my first taste earlier this week. However, it's been pretty chilly here (McHenry CO IL)for the last week, and we've even had some light frost. So I wasn't planning so sally forth anytime soon. Then came word from my friend that the boyfriend's son had found a slew of morels in Elgin, IL. Well, that is pretty dang close. My 74 year old Mom is here for the weekend, and while she doesn't get around like she used to (she was hunting morels the weekend before I was born!) the idea of finding some excited her, so I plotted a little foray into some accessible areas. We found one in a wooded lot that had been cleared in a city park, then found nothing at the next spot. At the third and final spot, however, we got a really nice haul! Two dozen young and fresh yellows. I left a number of them in the wood to get a bit bigger, even. SO here they are! We sauteed them up last night, and enjoyed them straight out of the pan and garnishing some asparagus risotto. Mom was just thrilled, and, as you might expect, the morels were absolutely delicious.
  10. We've had a ton of rain here and the temps are well into the 70's today, after being consistently in the mid-high 60's all week. I live in northern IL, and these conditions are of the late-May norm for us. I couldn't help myself, I went and nosed around a few spots, saw nothing (not even any baby pheasant backs, and those are usually the first things I see.) But I'm going to go wander around this weekend. You know. Just to see what I can see. Get some fresh air. You know.
  11. What a cool find! I'd love to see one of these in person. Well done, and thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures!
  12. The lot across the street from my house is vacant, and inhabited by some truly massive old oak trees. I eyeballed them diligently last fall, hoping to find a hen of the woods but, alas, nothing doing. So I sprinkled some detritus from other hen finds around the base of the oaks. And this year, lo and behold, a nice fat hen. Which I discovered too late because I didn't bother investigating that clump of leaves at the base of one of the trees. I'm wondering if my little hen-seeding tactic worked. Can they appear this quickly?
  13. I am surrounded by elms and they appear to be sprouting elm oysters abundantly. Some are too high up for me to get at but a stroll through the wood around my house a few days ago netted enough small, young 'uns to fill a pan for duexelles. They were ridiculously easy to spot - in the late afternoon light, they shone like beacons. They seem too good to be true, which begs the question - is there anything dangerous that could be confused with an elm oyster? My guides and the web suggests no. And these seem to be, unequivocally, elm oysters. They sprout out of elm trees (live and dead,) singly or in small clusters. It's the right time of year, we've just had some rain, the spore prints are white and the physical descriptions line up. So, does danger lurk, or are elm oysters really this easy to find and ID? Thanks.
  14. I picked a good-sized but still very immature hen the other day - it's barely started to develop lobes, and looks more cauliflower-y than anything. As I cleaned it, I noticed that it was unbelievably tender - and since it was so young, the base (also very tender) wasn't full of foreign plant matter and those icky black beetles that love to live in hens. I wasn't motivated to really cook, so I diced it, threw it in a pan with olive oil, shallots and a half a yellow onion to make some coarse duxelles to freeze. Oh, my. I just tasted it. The flavor is all hen - really tasty. But the texture! It's still tender and toothsome. Not chewy. I am going to be picking my hens a little earlier, methinks. I used almost the whole thing, which is not the case when I pick a fully mature hen. This is a new discovery for me. Anyone else do the same thing?
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