Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fall Mushroom Foraging

Last fall my husband and I headed out to a guided fall mushroom hunt with the Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Program. We had a good time hunting for puff balls and were the only team that found the elusive Hen of the Woods.

I don't know why I had a craving to find them this fall, but the other day I decided I wanted to find my own Hen of The Woods. I packed up the car, loaded the kids and went to a local Township Park for the "hunt". We didn't hit the jackpot immediately, with Hen of the Woods, however we found TONS of puffball mushrooms all over the park. The kids had a blast walking around looking at dead tree trunks, in the open fields and along the trails - I think they found all of the mushrooms before I did. I COULD however smell the mushrooms as we headed along our way and told them to look out, and it's likely that walking ahead of me netted the most fungi, but I won't complain.

Along with finding mushrooms, I told my children never to pick any, except if Mommy or daddy were right there and said it was OK, and I told them to NEVER EVER eat any. I even said that they could die from eating mushrooms - I would tell ANYONE that. The two types of mushrooms I was hunting though are the easiest to identify and don't have poisonous look-a-likes really, so with my trusty guide-book in hand I felt confident in our harvest. Anything I wasn't certain of I took the "when in doubt throw out" route...

What was truly amazing was the next week while at my son's soccer game, my husband and daughter were roaming around, and my daughter netted a large cache of puff balls that hadn't gotten trampled - they were right in the middle of all the soccer fields!

We had a blast walking through the park looking for wildlife, falling leaves and all there is to see and do (I enjoyed tiring them out too!). I love teaching my children new and exciting things to do, and they enjoy spending the time with dear ole' mom!

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