In spite of the lack of a post last week, we did continue the project. It was a little tough given our schedules, but we found that a little advance preparation goes a long way toward success.
Wendy began foraging a day early. So, even with a schedule full of dance photos and rehearsals, we managed to feed ourselves from the land. For breakfast, we ate sauteed greens with chive flowers and blackberry jam we made with foraged berries last year.
That was where the advanced searching ended/ We weren't sure what dinner would be, but we trusted that it would. I found a break in the schedule and took the opportunity to visit a public land trust for the first time since we started foraging.
Precious and I spent an hour walking its fields and wooded paths. As we walked the fields, I noticed plenty of milkweed, which was to become part of the meal. The most incredible find, however, was a couple of small Reishi mushrooms. This was the first time I had found these gems. I was not even sure of the ID when I found them, but knew they looked familiar, so I took checked the stump and noticed that there were many more fruit popping out, so I took a couple of small fruit bodies. I was giddy. In all honesty, with my limited mushrooming experience, I believed, at the time, that I had found Chicken of the Woods.
That is often the way it is with us. Something calls to us, we answer, and then we try to figure out what we have. In this case, a quick check in "Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms of New England and Eastern Canada by local author, David Spahr showed that this was not what we thought. I thumbed through the book (a photo of the mushroom was on the cover so I knew it was in there) and stumbled upon the ID. Then, as we describe in "Browsing Nature's Aisles" (which you can buy here by clicking on the link on the left), we sought out more 2 more resources. The first was a quick internet search, and the second was confirmation on a Facebook group for mushroom ID.
Reishi! I have heard all about the amazing health benefits of eating this and using it as an anti-tumor medicine. Fortunately, none of the clan here has cancer, or other major health issues, but we still wanted to honor the spirit of the being, who spoke to me.
Wendy searched for a recipe and came up with this idea ... Reishi soup. She cubed the tender pieces of the mushroom and boiled them, adding greens and spices. It was delicious. The balance of the harvest was dehydrated to be used in a more traditional way.
Which brings us to this week ... bear in mind, the girls had dance rehearsals each night of the week until 20:00 or so, ahead of their dance recital. Planning ahead was not really an option, but we figured with the recital out of the way, we could spend Sunday fishing and foraging our meal ... until ....
Our son, his wife, and two children made an unannounced, unexpected visit from Kentucky. They drove the many hours to be here for the final nigh of the girls' recital. It was a complete surprise to my girls.
On a side note, driving down the road to the recital (at 50+ MPH) I spotted some mushrooms on a tree on the side of the road - I am fairly certain they are the Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus) I have been seeking. Of course, once I have them in hand, I might sing a different song.
How does that change anything you ask ... well, they are coming over this morning for Father's day breakfast. So, the project will be put on hold for good reason. We will take a rain check and make up the date another time.
We are so grateful for the experiences and bounty that the Earth and Great Spirit offer us each day.
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