August 15, 2012

of mushrooms and mosses

The other night I went for a walk through the woods, all by myself. Actually, the dog came crashing along with me, but the rest of the gang stayed up at the house clearing up after dinner and getting into pajamas while I set off into the trees.

We are still getting to know this land of ours. Finding the paths along the creek that offer the least resistance to ambling without needed to walk in the water, learning which ground only looks squishy and which spots will actually swallow up your shoe with a squelch, exploring the best places to sit and dream and the best spots to find kindling sticks (I'm trying to gather as I walk these days).

On this particular walk I noticed that we are overrun with mushrooms of all types at the moment. And since then I've noticed more and more.

Bright colors, peeking up from the brown and green of the forest floor. Tiny, pin-prick red dots, comical domed caps, yellow and brown and amber. Evelyn thinks they are thrones for our fairies.

We also have a plethora of different mosses. Some feathery and fern like, some spiky and a few that look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.

I would love to learn the names of them, the mosses and trees and flowers that grow here. And most especially the mushrooms. I learned to love mushrooms late in life, well into my adult hood, and now I'm making up for lost time buy devouring them whenever I can. But I'm weary of picking wild mushrooms, too many readings of Babar, I suppose. I remember reading a book set in France where the local pharmacist would identify the wild mushrooms for you, somehow I doubt that either the newly retired local pharmacist or the folks from Kinney Drugs who took over his store would oblige.

Any mushroom experts out there with good recommendations for books or websites? It's not one of those things you want to take a chance on, you know? But I'd love to make some wild mushroom stroganoff one of these days. For now, I suppose, I'll just enjoy them as bright spots of color amongst the green.