In which we brave the elements and find food as well as Certain Death

"It's dumping cold rain and the trails will be awful, 
and I don't want to pack wet tack for the ride.  
Let's go mushroom hunting!"

Aarene & Duana: partners in death
To say that we are "new at this" is to understate things rather a lot.

Monica aka "the Instigator"
Monica caught the foraging bug last fall at the Foothills Ride, when she rode with Paul, who is (among other things) a fabulous cook and a firm believer in finding food wherever food may be found.

She learned from Paul (and from a little independent research, to make sure she remembered the details enough not to poison anybody),

Right hand, camera left:  a chanterelle mushroom
Left hand, camera right:  certain death

and she taught us.

It didn't take long for all the Usual Suspects to catch onto the fun of finding "gold" in the woods.

So the other day when it was way too nasty to ride, Duana and I headed out with the dogs to do a little mushroom hunting.

Roo and Selah: faithful companions

Du was more bold about traipsing off trail than I was.  I'm still a little careful--my hip is totally sound now, but falling down would still kinda suck.

Roo doesn't approve of going off trail,
and follows along to help anyone who might get lost out there.

The treasure is tempting, though.


Pretty soon, our eyes learned the trick of seeing just the right color and just the right shape peeking out from the forest duff.

Good stuff.

Of course, chanterelles aren't the only fungi out there right now.  The Swampland is home to many, many mushroom-y wonders, most of them extremely poisonous.

We aren't mycologists, not by a long shot.  I can correctly identify morel mushrooms and chanterelles, mostly because those two are really unique and don't have any close look-alikes here.

But while we were out hunting, we couldn't help noticing, and admiring all the cool stuff.  Since we don't know their proper names, we made up our own.

Roadkill Bullfrog - certain death

 If you know their real identifiers, feel free to leave notes in the comments.

Tree Clams - certain death

Floofy Dog - mostly harmless

Baleen - certain death

Cute Little Eyeless Alien - certain death

Soap Bubbles - certain death

Nipples of Venus - certain death

Teeny pancake and dog (you figure out which is which)

Ineffective Umbrella - certain death

Bad Hair Day - certain death

Insurance Salesman - mostly harmless

At the end of the walk, the dogs were happy

"hahahaha, got all wet and didn't have a bath!"

Roo loves the towel

And we had treasure!

trumpet shape, frilly edges

false gills (ridges)

Roo was exhausted.

But the Usual Suspects were just getting the hang of it!

The next day, we were trotting down the trail when Fiddle and I screeched to a halt.  

More treasure!

We didn't ride as fast or as far as usual

Too busy looking for mushrooms

And when I got home, Santa Jim was ready to make something wonderful.

We dried the mushrooms on newspaper

They are already full of moisture, so we clean them with
a dry paintbrush rather than with water

Chopped up

In a skillet over very low heat, with olive oil,
a few gentle herbs, and some course salt

Stirred gently into a creamy cheese sauce, and served over fetticine

We're packing up for the Dry Side next weekend.  We'll be at the Jubilee Ranch Endurance Ride.  

We have a forecasted 80% chance of sunnyblue, 100% chance of apples, and 0% chance of mushrooms.

But that's okay.  We'll have fun anyhow.


  1. the dish looked delicious.. Mushroom hunting is one of those things one does not want to do without an educated eye! I had heard that there is in fact a Copy cat Morel mushroom that is certain death!. Not sure what it is called or if it is in your neck of the woods, but we do have them here in NW MT.


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