The Day after the Storm…

Hurricane Ida presented us with 85 mm of rain (according to a neighbour’s rain gauge) and a quiet day at home. At times the rain was running off the roof in sheets, too much for the eaves-troughs to handle. We suffered no ill effects, no leaks, dampness in the basement or other issues… except the yard needs attention as the grass and weeds are thriving.

During my walk yesterday morning I could hardly believe the size of the choke cherries! I swear they increased by at least 30% this week. I need to research how I can utilize these free berries! Then I had a thought… I wonder how the mushrooms are doing? A quick text to my friend Laura confirmed that she was curious herself and within 15 minutes we were off to one of our mushroom patches, collecting baskets in the back seat.

It was a great time to venture into the woods. Mushrooms were plentiful but not all are edible. However, where there are poisonous mushrooms there have to be edible ones as well.

The woods were teeming with mushrooms, many decimated by slugs, rodents and insects. We found a lobster mushroom which is touted to be a real delicacy but, once we harvested this monster from a rotten tree stump, it was obvious that it was beyond the point of salvaging even a small portion to taste for ourselves. We hope to return to the area and find more, if not this year, perhaps next year will present us with a specimen that is worth waiting for.

I found two patches of so called hedgehog mushrooms (Hydnum repandum). The first patch presented me with perfect specimens, barely touched by slugs and just as the mushroom reference book pictures. I was sure I had a winner! A little further in there was a patch of Chanterelles. They are easy to identify by their distinct colour and structure. Just as I was about to turn and head back to the road I saw some gnarly looking apricot coloured mushrooms I wasn’t too sure about. The insects and slugs seemed to find them tasty, they looked a bit worse for wear. I picked them out of curiosity. I posted a few pictures on a mushroom identification group based in New Brunswick fully expecting them to be inedible when within minutes I was told that they are a type of hedgehog mushrooms referred to as “sweet tooth” (Hydnum repandum) and that they are quite delicious.

I oscillated back and forth, took a little bite from one which was not that great, I must admit. I think my imagination was playing tricks on me and for a moment I felt like my tongue was going numb. I read and reread the passages in both highly ranking mushroom ID books we own, and decided to take the plunge. I cleaned them well, sliced them and fried them in butter with a little garlic and onion powder. They turned a most delicious golden and emitted a fantastic smell. That was all the convincing we needed. We ate them for dinner… and we are still doing well about 12 hours later.

Exploring the woods and less travelled paths while foraging is something I have grown to love here in Nova Scotia. Instead of turning around after we filled our baskets I carried on, following a road we had been on before. Before the heavy rain, that is…

The sky was blue with amazing clouds, we emerged from the forest and the road was beginning to show signs of erosion. When I arrived at the puddle I was about to turn around. Instead I exited the car and picked up some rocks to throw into the huge puddle. The centre proved to be quite deep. I could not see the rock hit the bottom but the splash was quite high. I threw a few more rocks closer to the right edge. That convinced me to move through the water. I couldn’t resist taking a couple of pictures and once I made it, I stopped and took a picture to prove that I made it safe and sound. We carried on and I was glad the car has 4-wheel drive. It was only the second time I used that feature. The road had washed out significantly and Laura kept chuckling that “It looks just like a river bed, especially with the water still running off.” We crossed a small wooden bridge that had obviously been flooded during the storm. Debris had washed up along the edge of the bridge, it was quite the scene.

Eventually we made it back to the highway and continued home. We decided to check out our other mushroom hot spots another day. One road adventure was quite enough.

Thanks for riding along today. Wishing you all a fantastic weekend, Anna

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