We live in an apartment surrounded by forest. When we moved here last year, mushroom season was at its very end. Now that the rain has slowed, we went on hikes through the wood in search of edible mushrooms.
Except for a handful of ink caps and morel earlier this year, the weather has been very bad for mushrooms. They do like wet and rain but even mushrooms have a limit.
The rain has also brought endless slugs that want to eat my mushrooms, too.
Pepper has been in heaven, though, as the blackberries are in full fruit, and he’s learned to pick them. We didn’t teach him, so he must have already known by instinct or he watched me and learned.
For me, the foraging itself is the most rewarding. I almost don’t care if we find anything. There is so much beauty in nature. I could spend hours just roaming, watching, and listening. My feet are getting tougher with every forest walk, too. It feels so freeing.
We found so much life in the forest. Birds, mice, frogs, and so many critters. Everyone was busy using the good weather to build, forage, and explore. But no humans in sight.
A lot of this forest is protected or semi-protected, so we always have to watch the borders a bit.
We found endless mushrooms just past their prime. But we were here for food. And finally, we found some birch boletes that were still firm and pretty. The slugs definitely had their share, and then some.
Two large birch boletes were all we found that night, so we tried again a few days later.
The rain had led to much undergrowth, so moving took time. My husband often found mushrooms while I fought through the underbrush. Pepper is short, so it was a two-people job to keep track of where he was steeling blackberries.
The most teasing were mushrooms that looked great from above but had stems filled with maggots or slugs.
Pepper doesn’t like water but the duckweed on the temporary ponds confuse him enough that he gets wet. He tries to clean himself after each dip. I think he hopes to get around the shower when we get home.
While we again found only a handful of mushrooms, we found a lot of blackberries. Enough blackberries that I took a small basket for another walk the next day. And the next. And the next. I am definitely getting more today.
So far, I’ve eaten them all but I hope to find enough to make some jam this year.
We are still new to foraging, so I’m paranoid. We go through the keys in my books one by one again at home.
If anything doesn’t look right, feel right, or I just have a bad gut feeling about something, they go back outside. I try to return them to a suitable habitat to spread their spores. Mushrooms are resilient little things. If we only have few, I add them to meals. If there are more, they get their own dish.
Unsurprisingly, desert was a huge helping of blackberries. I am still amazed how much better wild blackberries taste.
With the sun finally out again, Pepper and I run around, play, and roam. With the sun out, everything feels possible. Everything.