May 24, 2017

A Rainy Walk In The Woods...

Pheasant Back aka Dryad's Saddle Mushrooms

The best way for me to relax is to get out in nature. I love to take a walk in the woods. That's what I did yesterday...in the rain. I thought I'd try to find some morel mushrooms, and as with many morel hunters, my first outing for those succulent morsels was a bust. But it wasn't a complete loss!

Pheasant Back aka Dryad's Saddle Mushrooms

While taking a break from stooping, searching the ground for morels, I stopped and stood up straight. Tucked behind a branch was this glorious sight. I'm not very well-versed in edible mushrooms, but I do know from looking at the underside, this was not poisonous. However, I wasn't sure what it was, so I grabbed my iPhone and took a few photographs.

Then, I sent a message to my friend, Larry. He and I used to be councilors when I was also state secretary on the Wisconsin Conservation Congress in the 1990s. Now he's the chairman of the WCC, and we're still in touch. I know he was out last weekend, searching his own property for (and finding!) morels.

Pheasant Back aka Dryad's Saddle Mushrooms

He told me he thought it was a Pheasant Back mushroom (aka Dryad's Saddle), but I should check further. When I got back to the house, I went online and learned that, although the Pheasant Back is usually found on dead trees, they are occasionally found on live trees - as with the ones I found.

They're best harvested when they're small - and these are nearly as broad as my shoulders - so I likely won't take these this year. But you can bet, I know exactly where these were found, and I'll be back again next May for them when they're still small and tender.

Spring Sprouting Hickory Leaves

As I walked back toward the house, I stopped to check the hickory trees. The rain was falling harder, but all the plants on the farm are soaking up the water, and spreading their leaves. The hickories (I've found more!) were no exception. 

Hickory Leaves

Some were further along than others, but Hickory Hill Farm is definitely turning a lush and lovely green. We've mowed twice this week because the grass is growing by leaps and bounds - and the dandelions have gone to seed! We were glad they gave the bees a nice head start this year.

Unknown White Flowering Bush (Wisconsin)

I have yet to identify this tree, but I'll keep looking until I figure it out. So much I've forgotten over the past sixteen years. I'll learn all over again what I can't remember now. I want to know each and every plant on the farm; where it's located; and how it changes through the seasons. Whether it's raining or sunny, this land is now home to us. I'm getting to know every inch of it.

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Createology said...

Lovely mushrooms you found. I do not know edible vs poisonous at all. I do like to eat mushrooms. How fun to search for them on your walk in the rain. Isn't Nature amazing? Our weeds and "grasses" are sprouting fast and furious since we had so much rain. Trying to find an affordable Gardner to help us out is quite a challenge. So happy for you Home Sweet Home Donna...<3

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