For over two years I have wanted to join the local Mycological Society and go with them on their mushroom hunting forays.It seemed like every time they were having a field trip I was either in labor, or had a newborn, or we were travelling, or something else was happening that prevented me from going. But this summer, we were home, I'm not pregnant and my baby is a happy, portable 7 month old.
So...Early Saturday morning I got up and headed out with Violet to my first meeting with a local Mycological Society. We drove for a bit over two hours in the pouring rain to the meeting spot in a state park, thankfully the rain stopped just as we arrived. I put Violet in the backpack grabbed my basket and headed into the woods. We walked and collected mushrooms for a few hours, and the rain held off until we were making our way back into the picnic shelter where we were going to meet. At which point it began to pour on us! Violet had fallen asleep in her pack, but I had thought to bring a small umbrella with me just in case, so I popped it open and she actually slept through the entire storm! A while later everyone met up again at the shelter to compare and identify our finds. I had so much fun! It's not often I get a chance to go out exploring with other people (besides my immediate family) and learn so much in such a short time. First, all of the mushrooms were laid out on tables separating them into gilled and un-gilled varieties. And from there the experts set to work identifying them and labeling each species. One of the things I learned is that some of our very most abundant mushrooms in our own woods at home are some of the very deadliest! I learned to "positively" identify several edibles...but the thought of feeding mushrooms to my children that I collect myself without one of those handy experts to verify that they are indeed one of the choice edible varieties, still makes me nervous enough not to try it just yet... I think I'll study for a while longer before I feel very confident harvesting and eating my own mushrooms!