[fvplayer src=”” splash=”” width=”1920″ height=”1080″]

I LOVE morels!  With the odd weather this year, I expect morels to pop up early this year.  We have a pear tree flowering in our backyard so I wouldn’t be surprised if the morels are up very soon. I think they actually pop up after the group reaches a certain temperature for a certain amount of time in the spring…. but as a kid I thought they came up under may apples.  I would look under all the may apple plants searching every time we went out.

Searching for morels was a spring activity for everyone in our family every year!  All of my aunts for sure had their secret spots (they still do), and we all would track where the mushrooms were found last year to know where to search next year.  Every possible story was followed, including making sure to pinch the mushrooms off so that the stems were left in case that would cause more to grow.  We would find them growing in our large yard also and my mother would insist no one mow during the whole mushroom season.  My parents would push sticks into the ground near each mushroom to see if they would grow larger.  As the season went on, sticks would mark spots in our yard and we would have daily trips out walking through the wood to find morels. Dinner every night included mushrooms, and there was always a bowl of salt water in the fridge with mushrooms to get the bugs out before washing and cutting up the mushrooms.

My aunts, uncles, and cousins that lived in the non rural areas would all come visit and we would visit the not so secret spots.  The mushrooms marked in the yard were saved for little kids to have some mushrooms that were easy to find –  Almost like mushroom hunting training!  Some of the spots were easier to walk through and access, some tougher, and some led to discussions with trespassers who were found sneaking onto our property.

One year while taking my middle son who was probably about five, my mother had told him that the land would one day be his.  Shortly after they ran into people that had trespassed to come hunt on our land….  My middle son proceeded to confront them…..  luckily it turned out OK, but that usually doesn’t go well.   My father has confronted people in the past that have told him they had the owners permission to be there.  I always have to wonder if they are that bold or just that confused about whose property they are on.

People go through extreme measures to keep their spots hidden.  Long before I got my drivers license, my aunt would give me her car to drive and have me drop her at her mushroom spot with instructions when to come back and get her.  She would hike in to her mushroom spot, but didn’t want anyone to know where the entry spot was.  Luckily living on a farm I learned to drive really early!

To cook the mushrooms, we usually just roll them in flower and fry them in butter a little salt and pepper.  My mother would first dip them in egg if she wanted to stretch the amount of mushrooms.  I’ve tried to reproduce them, but mine never come out the same as my mothers.  – Of course I’m sure I’m using a little healthier oil and probably less salt for sure…..  My family still eats them.  Every year we start with just a few for the first meal, and then eat more the next meal…..  According to family stories anyone can be fine one year and allergic the next, so start small.  There are also some people that are allergic their first try, so anyone having them the first time, we just let have a few…. Also from the same family stories.  My mother tells about being pregnant with me, and my grandfather Richter refusing to let her eat morels, just in case.

Personally I love them though!  My husband doesn’t seem to like them, which for me just means MORE for me!  Two years ago during a mushroom hunt our family got our first pet tree frog.  We now have our toad, but mushrooms are completely to blame for the fire bellied toad in our house.

Down on the Farm

Last weekend we took a trip home.  It was a wonderful trip down memory lane….  We went mushroom hunting, played in the river (I got scream at for that one), and even saw my cousin Larry with the Super Banana.


Growing up on a farm as foods came in season we ate those foods EVERY meal until they weren’t in season anymore! Morel mushrooms were one of those seasons.  (Sweet Corn is another that has turned me into a corn snob… forget that out of season stuff you get at the grocery store).   Morels are only available a few weeks each year, can’t be grown commercially, and everyone guards their spot.  My Aunt Linda used to have me drive her 01910f64245647ecdeb96d83027f9ac96bea5bff53_00001to her spot long before I got my license so that I could drop her off and pick her up later.  016141b23c0ee9d7e7b622c6fb0918634b47587a2bYou would hate to leave any evidence of where your favorite spot is!  Mushrooms tend to grow in sunny spots where decaying old trees are coming up.  This year I managed to catch a frog too.  Konnor also tried to track a deer down, he followed the tracks through the woods.  I remember my dad showing me years ago which tracks are female and which are male (I don’t remember any01604c22409db7b24236e76fc7f45b70164a773f5emore which are which), it’s amazing how you can tell from the tracks.





Out in the woods I was reminded of all the times we would try to walk across logs (on ravines)  – I still am amazed that my brother and I never broke a bone in our childhood.  We would head out in the woods just to walk.  Across streams, through brambles, and with no particular destination in mind.

After mushroom hunting on the way home, I stopped and hopped in the river.  It was really cold – but what a memory.  It brought back memories of walking in the river, canoeing, and looking for shells.  My mother was concerned about all the trash (broken glass, needles, and everything else) that has now ended up in the river….  The river water did feel really good after walking around in the woods while it was hot out!


Finally after getting home my cousin Larry Wayne showed up.  He had his dad’s tractor the Super Banana with. My Uncle Lloyde used to take that tractor all over to tractor pulls and my dad would make us attend whenever they were at the local fair.  The tractor was loud!  They hook the tractor to a sled and you see who can pull the sled the farthest down the track.  My Uncle had ended up in the Hall of Fame for Tractor Pulls with his tractor, and that’s where Larry picked it up.  The tractor had been put away in the late 70s and yet it was still running!  It has 4 Hemi engines and was surprisingly no where near0126ac4d06f8b415ec580e346ddc94799740dd3eaf as loud as I remember from my childhood.

I also remember my dad challenging Uncle Lloyd to a tractor pull with his farm tractor.  My dad still claims he would have won if my cousins hadn’t hooked the sled to the farm tractor’s axle!

On a side note, Larry has the same birthday as me!  10 years before I was born, Larry was born on the same day.  Then Larry’s first daughter was born on his 30th birthday, and my 20th birthday!  Same day!  Our birthday is a popular day in our family.

Mom has also added a little fish pond that Konnor enjoyed feeding the fish.  Growing up our fish pond was huge and my dad had dug it with a big farm tractor, but the little one is nice for Konnor.  – My dad would move the pond when he felt like it, and have it stocked with bass and catfish.  There may still be catfish in the last one he dug.  They originally were trained to come up to the surface when he walked out to the pond – then he would feed them dog food.  It’s amazing to think that you can train a catfish to come to the vibration of01624546fcf3616ca41e1708b7e9a03c0037deb97a footsteps!

We took a lot of pictures and everyone was exhausted by the end of the day!