Saturday, May 9, 2009

Elusive, and yet predictable

Here, in the second week of May and after five days of showers and thunderstorms, mild daytime temperatures in the 50's and 60's, and just as the lilac are in full bloom, morel season has arrived. This is not an overconfident prediction, but a certainty. We went out this morning with our collecting bag and headed for a favorite, and usually productive trail in Hidden Valley along the swollen Shepaug River. An hour later, having seen kaykers, walked by mature ramps now several weeks old, seen pink lady slippers almost ready to unfold, there was nothing in our bag.

This is how it usually is for us. Were we too late, too early, or just unlucky? Back in the car to River Road and Steep Rock proper. Some years ago we came upon a spot that has produced every year, though never as many as the first time we picked here with Tommy. It didn't look promising, at last not at first. But there it was, followed by seven more small specimens of what are popularly known as white morels. They aren't very white, but they're a lighter shade than black morels, which aren't black.

I don't know why this is always so exciting, but it remains a thrill. It's not much, but Wellie made a lovely morel risotto and I grilled some asparagus. We were all quite satisfied, and Hoover and Rufus licked the plates.

Maybe we'll find some more on our walk tomorrow. Hope springs eternal.

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