I recently watched a video about finding morel mushrooms. In the video, the presenter brought up the fact that a good forager takes note of all the little things go on around them when they find a morel mushroom: what plants are blooming? Which trees have leaves and how big are they? What are the soil conditions in the area? Etc. It occurred to me that that is probably true of all wild edibles, so I've decided to keep a foraging journal. I'm sure it won't be a daily thing, but over time, I hope to add enough data that I can begin to recognize a few trends.
Today, I had a chance to head out into the woods for just a little while. I was hoping to spot a couple of morels. I still have yet to find one. In fact, the only fungi I saw were a couple of specimen of devil's urn (Urnula craterium).
I also noticed that the mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum) were beginning to bloom. I find their large white flowers to be beautiful, and it is interesting to me that they there is only one bloom on the plant. I have heard that the ripened fruit is edible, but every other part of the plant, including the unripened fruit, is quite toxic. Furthermore, the ripened fruit is pretty popular with deer and other animals, so it is difficult to get to them before the animals do. All in all, they seem like more trouble than they're worth. In fact, even if I had one, I doubt I would try it. They just seem too risky to me.
I also found that the buckeye trees (Aesculus glabra) were in bloom. I'll have to remember these for later. I have fond memories of buckeyes from my childhood. My memaw use give them to us and tell us that they would bring us good luck. I still pick one or two every time I find them.
These pretty little purple flowers were popping up here and there. I'm not sure what these are, so I'll have to do some research on it. Wild violet (*Viola papilionacea *) is a possibility, but I'm pretty slow to accept my own identifications. Further study is needed.
It's also the time of year for oak leaf galls to be found on the forest floor. This leaf had three of them!
When I got home, The Little Homestead Helper was upset that I went hiking in the woods without her, so I took her back into the woods on our pasture. Yesterday while back there, I found that the mushrooms on my oyster tree were pinning out. I was quite impressed with the growth they've exhibited in just one day. I'm thinking they'll be ready to harvest in another day or two. They'll still be small, but I'd rather have smaller, bug free mushrooms than larger infested ones.
Finally, I picked a whole bunch of purple dead nettle and put it into the dehydrator. There is tons of it in the yard. There is also tons of henbit and chickweed growing right now.
As for the morels, I am seeing on the Facebook mushroom group that they are popping up. So, I guess these are the things that may signify that morel season is upon us.