Finding Black Morels – The Wild Mushroom Season Begins
This is the year of earliness – from the heat wave that hit us at the end of March (March!) to the apple blossoms opening at least two weeks ahead of schedule. I found the very first black morel on April 14.
Last year, itself on the early side, Bill found the first black morels on April 25th, but this year a prime indication – the fall of the forsythia flowers – suggested a look would be worthwhile, so off we went to a reliable spot, somewhat north of us but close to the river. No luck.
Indications there were more mixed: few wild columbines were blooming and the hepatica was still spotty. We only saw one in flower
But one of the great things about walks in the second and third growth woods is the vast array of cultural artifacts left from the days when the land was open. Mushrooms may be lacking, but there’s always something to see.
Even after the cellar holes have filled in and the stone walls tumbled down, each spring uncovers bits of dishes, thick old bottles and horticultural hangers-on like clumps of refined hybrid narcissi, blooming away in the underbrush surrounded by barberries and poison ivy.
No morels, no problem. I’ll just photograph these. No tripod. Down on the knees. Multiple tries in hopes of one coming out not-too-shaky. Bill is calling, “time to go.”
“ Okay, honey, just one more,” I say, and then as I switch positions to get up. There it is.
Sneaky bastards. Bill has written a black morel hunting guide that helps considerably, but missing more than you find just comes with the territory.
Hepatica flower and Leslie’s foot photos by Bill Bakaitis