A little of this and a little of that

I know it’s been a tough fall for those like us who love the thrill of wild mushroom hunting. I felt like Mother Nature crapped on us this year, if I can be so bold as to state it that way. Actually, I’m hoping such a brash statement might scale up all my future article ratings from a G to a riskier PG-13, which I’ve heard can increase readership. Who knows, later articles may include such borderline dicey phrases like “darn it all”, or “what the H***”.  For our younger more impressionable readers H*** is actually a reference to the word Heck, just in case you were wondering. There is always hope that Oregon’s weather conditions will improve before it’s time for spring mushroom hunting season. Otherwise, my use of colorful expletives could increase to a borderline “R” rating. If that happens, I’ll begin each of my articles with a rating suitability warning.

When Sandy and I did go out mushroom hunting after the fall rains actually started, we noticed something new and undesirable was starting to happen. The waterproof pants we had purchases back in 2010 were no longer waterproof. The jeans we wore under them were damp and it wasn’t even raining that hard. So, after we returned home, I started looking online for replacement pants when I saw an article that emphatically stated “Don’t throw away your money on buying new waterproof pants when you can re-waterproof your existing ones for a lot less money”. OK, the article’s opening line may not have been exactly like I’ve quoted but my rendition will work as a reasonable facsimile to it. The bottom line was, for the total of about $22, I could revitalize the waterproofness of four pairs of leaky pants. After careful consideration and comparative product review reading, the one I selected was from Nikwax. The kit I purchased contained two 10oz bottles to use in our washing machine. One to fully clean our now non-waterproof pants and the other to re-waterproof them. The Tech Wash cleaner is an import component in this two-step process as it removes dirt and grime more efficiently than laundry detergent and leaves your pants free from all residue. I can honestly report that the overall results were as close to a miracle as I have seen since finding a cluster of Matsutake in Lorane Valley fruiting under a Douglas Fir tree in non-sandy soil. For full disclosure I must report that several Matsutake mushrooms were injured as a result of that miraculous find. Let me just conclude by saying; Nikwax, if you can hear me now, please feel free to send me a discount coupon or any other perks as I am not above receiving financial gratuity for this positive endorsement of your product.

As it is mushroom season, or so I’ve been told, I feel an obligation to at least talk about mushrooms. On December 2nd Sandy and I drove to the coast to see what we could find. The temperature was in the 40’s but fortunately it was only slightly breezy and not raining. I cannot report on any bonanza spots with mucho mushrooms but we did find sporadic scatterings of both edibles and non-edibles. One of the mushrooms that really caught our attention was Cortinarius vanduzerensis. It has a chestnut-colored cap and a fibrillose (shaggy looking) lilac stem. While this mushroom is quite attractive, it is actually slimier than any Gomphidius species I’ve ever found. Every millimeter of it is covered in slime and trying to pick it is an exercise in futility. While the edibility of this species isn’t really known, the genus Cortinarius does contain poisonous species so it is best to admire this one and stick with eating those we know very well.

Here is a picture of our edible collection which included; Hydnum repandumCantherellus formosusLacaria lacataXerocomellus zelleriAgaricus subrutilescens, and a piece of a lobster mushroom (Hypomyces lactifluorum) that someone had already picked but left behind. We did need to travel to a number of spots with different terrain types to find these, as well as a number of other non-edible species, but it was an enjoyable outing.

So, as we move deeper into the holiday season, remember to give thanks for the amazing opportunities we have to get out into nature and set aside our worries and concerns and immerse ourselves in the wonderful places Oregon has to offer. For now, Sandy and I want to wish each of you a  Joyous Holiday Season and a Happy New Year.

Take care, stay safe, and happy mushroom hunting.
Ron & Sandy (who supplied the mushroom pictures in this PG-13 rated article).

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