Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fall Fungi

It is October-and October means the beginning of the cold, wet, darker days and hunting season. I like to be outside in the gloriously warm and long, lingering days of summer- on  a river bank or in the garden. When the damp weather sets in, I like to be on a cozy  couch with a book and a cup of coffee. My husband (and increasingly my sons) count down the days until they can hike around in the wet, dreary weather due to the previously mentioned month of "deer season". This has never had much appeal to me, because hunting and being wet and cold isn't really my "thing". Usually it works out just fine for Mama to stay home and catch up on chores and make a big pot of soup (and some hot chocolate ;) for the hunters to come home to. But I know as my boys get older and hunting season becomes a big deal for a far outweighing percentage of my household, I should probably learn to find some ways to be present and involved. My husband always appreciatess my coming along for the ride and it is a beautiful season up in the mountains. Since somewhat picking up photography, I enjoy the challenge and art of capturing the fall colors in photos. 

Another byproduct of time in the Great Outdoors that I have a fondness for is Fungi- the edible type. I love the rich, unique flavors of a great mushroom dish and always find it fun to try out new varieties at edgy restaurants. The crazy thing is mushrooms are a kind of rare and valuable commodity but super abundant around these parts, and in astounding variety too! How neat to have access to such fun, exotic ingredients in "your own backyard"? But on the flip side, mushrooms seriously freak me out considering their potential to cause some psychedelic hallucinations or even kill me. Soo..I'm not super confident to go out and pick a random basket full and dish them up as dinner for my family. Mushrooms are a enticing, yet scary mystery to me.  

I was so excited to find this awesome (and super thick) resource to help me in my fungi education. Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast: A comprehensive guide to the fungi of Coastal Northern California  by Noah Siegel and Christian Schwarz. And comprehensive it is! With gorgeous (as pictures of mushrooms can be), full color photos of each type of mushroom and a very detailed description as well. This is an impressively through and very educational volume that I am a little giddy to add to my shelves. Not only for my own personal use maybe doing some mushroom hunting but also as a nature study resource for school in the coming years. With the great photos to sketch from and technical information to take notes with- I can see this being a fantastic way to spend a fall excursion or two- identifying and recording some of the fungi in our area. 

 While I don't live in Northern California, the Southern Oregon Coast (where I do live) is very similar to the climate and terrain of that area and I think this book should more than cover the mushroom variety in my neck of the woods as well. I'll share a couple pages from the book that include some mushroom varieties I already know and love!:

The mushrooms on the righthand page are lobsters.

And classic chanterelles.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

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