Coastal Casts: mushroom hunting
Howdy everyone! The ocean has been great lately if you are a fish because no one has been able to get out and catch you. In fact, this coming Sunday, we are expected to have seven to nine-foot wind waves with 22 foot swells thrown into the mix. Yep, great days to be a fish.
Speaking of fish, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife adopted their rockfish rules for next year and once again we are only allowed five fish per angler per day. Normally I would holler from the tallest mountain peak about how this is wrong and explain the fallacies in their logic but the fact of the matter is that only four people showed up to the meeting.
Out of the thousands and thousands of anglers who use our oceans every year a measly four people showed up. I have no choice but to make the assumption that this is not important to the anglers of Oregon so I shall keep my sentiments to myself.
Commercial crabbers continue to do busy work in the hopes of the delayed commercial season opening for the first of the year.
I’ve spoken to a few folks that tell me the Elk and Sixes have been pretty slow lately but all the rain that’s been coming down should bring in more steelhead soon so we have that to look forward to!
Oh, and crabbing in the bay remains good to very good as of late and if you head out this way you’ll be rewarded with some tasty crustaceans!
Speaking of tasty things, my little ones and I have been out in the woods chasing mushrooms lately and while we are not hitting the motherlode like we did last year, our hard work is paying off with a meal or two each time we go out.
Our target mushroom is the Chanterelle because our hunting area has more of them than most other edible types and most importantly the Chanterelle is possible the easiest mushroom in the kingdom of mushrooms to identify. I will not bore you with descriptions and genus and species stuff here today because there are a hundred resources online that do a far better job than I could but rest assured they are some of the easiest to spot and tastiest to cook.
My eight-year-old can now positively identify Chanterelles and does not holler out at each mushroom she finds regardless of its species. My five-year-old on the other hand points out Every. Single. Mushroom. Do you know how many thousands of mushrooms there are in a half hour to an hour walk through the woods? I do.
For Thanksgiving I made a giant bowl of turkey mushroom gravy and just thinking of it right now makes me want to pick up that bowl and drink out of it like a giant mug. Yeah, I know that’s a terrible visual and I know said gravy would be almost a month old by now but hey, whatever, it’s that good.
Often, after a day of Chanterelle hunting, I will clean and slice our catch, put ’em in a pan and reduce them down, drain off the excess water, add some olive or avocado oil and butter, spice them with Cajun spice and black pepper and commence to eating these amazing fungi. That’s it, I can eat a plate full of Chanterelles and not want or need anything else!
The best part of mushroom picking, next to eating them, is just being out in the woods and enjoying the peace and calmness of nature. My little ones and I try to make at least a few trips each season and we always leave with tales of treasures, critters seen, late season flowers hanging on to the last vestiges of warm days and huckleberries begging to be picked and eaten.
We usually end our day with a campfire and something cooked over it and by the time we are done daddy smells like smoke and mushrooms, the little ones are fed and happily napping in the back seat and my thought turn to our next adventures. Hmmm, maybe eating the mushrooms is the second-best part after all.
A couple days after our last mushroom safari my five year old was tasked in class with making a drawing of whatever it was she wanted. I’ve included it in this weeks story and in all my years it is the best rendition of anything I have laid eyes upon, by the weeks end it will be framed and hanging in my office. I’ve also included a photo of our day for comparison and as I look at both of these my face hurts from smiling so hard.
Grab someone you love and get outdoors and play, there’s no promise of tomorrow. I hope to see you out there.