Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Be Still, My Beating Heart

I don't know where to start, so I will simply post this picture and go from there:
For about 2 weeks now, I have been walking the woods with my trusty sidekick, Sophie, scouting out areas where morels might grow.  I knew the season was coming up and that the conditions were so right for them this year...wet, cold and with some periods of snow on the ground (see previous posts!).  I have never found a morel, but have eaten them (and swooned with every bite) and have been told that they can be found in Texas.  Indeed a neighbor has found them on their property and a ranch where I sometimes work has had bumper crop years. I know they've been found in Gillespie County and lots in the country outside Austin but, as I said, conditions have to right.      
I just knew this was my year. I felt it in my bones.
I've been working out of town for the last 6 days on the ranch where the bumper crops of morels have been found, so "dry land fishing" (as I've heard mushroom hunting called) was a big topic of conversation.  When I finished work today, my friend Steve told me,
"If you find some, call me and if I find some, I'll call you! We need to know the season has started!" 
It has been cold and dreary all day and has rained about an inch in the last 12 hours, but once I got home I couldn't help myself.  I put on a sweater and my new rainboots and headed out with Sophie at my heels.  I  half heartedly looked in a few places, but thought that tomorrow would be the day to REALLY start looking.  It is supposed to be warm-in the low 70's- and sunny.  But the walk was going along so nice and although I was a bit cold, I thought I'd go check a few of the places I had scouted out.  I walked probably a half mile through the woods and came to a rocky slope with small trees.  I just stood there.  I am completely serious when I say I FELT them.  I knew they were there.  I just stood there looking around.  My eyes locked on a spot about 2 feet in front of me.  There it was- a small morel not much more than an inch tall, poking out of the ground.  My heart stopped.  I crouched down and saw it was 2 morels, one much smaller.  I picked the larger one and stepped back to a flat rock and sat down.  My heart was beating as I sat and looked over the leaf covered ground.  About 4 feet in front of me and to my right, I saw a large one. I said out loud, "Oh my, oh my..." which brought Sophie running.  I stepped carefully over to the one and saw it was FOUR morels.  I picked the two largest and went back to my rock, turning them over and over in my hands.  I must've sat there for 10 full minutes, just amazed that I REALLY had found some morel mushrooms.  I was getting cold, so I decided to head back home.  One last time I walked to where I had found the first one and stepped just beyond it.  There, at my feet, were 2 more.  I picked the larger and, after marking the spot, headed back through the woods towards home.
Tomorrow will be quite a day!

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