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Tuesday, May 30, 2023
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Making the most of a half hour

By: Jeremy D. Wells

Carter County Times

I’ve been trying to get out into the woods to check my morel spot for a couple of weeks. I expected the mushrooms to be up early, with our unseasonably warm late winter, but then the weather decided to take a turn toward the cool again.

Despite these low temperatures, I’d seen plenty of folks in counties south of us posting photos of their finds. Once I saw them being posted from Carter and Greenup County though, I knew I needed to check my spot.

I also had work to do. Between that and rainy weather, I wasn’t sure when I’d get out. After all, once the weather broke, I had plenty of yard work to do, and we had the holiday weekend coming up.

I finally found the time to get out on Easter Sunday, but I almost didn’t go.

Sunset was at 8 p.m. By the time we finished our family dinner, got home, and I was able to finish up the yard work I needed to do it was already 7:30. It’s about a ten minute drive from our house to the property with the mushroom patch. It’s another five to ten minute hike up the holler to my spot. That gave me a good ten, maybe 15, minutes to look around before the light faded too much to see clearly and I’d have to start picking my way back out.

I wasn’t sure if it was worth it. The hike is thick with multiflora rose and other briars. I’ve seen and heard many coyotes in those woods. And, though we’ve had some warm days and lots of rain, we’ve also had cold evenings, with temperatures dropping down into the teens.

After I finished mowing I debated whether I wanted to go out for about a minute before I told Nicole I was going to give it a shot unless she had something she needed me to do. She encouraged me to go and, after stopping briefly to drop our garbage in the can at the end of the road, I headed out.

The sun had already disappeared over the crest of the hill by the time I got to my patch, but there was still plenty of light. I cast around for a few minutes, checking the moss banks under the briar bushes where I usually find a few and, seeing none, was about ready to call it quits when I looked down and there between my feet found my first morel of the year.

If you hunt mushrooms, you know what happened next. You find one, and you get the fever. You don’t want to stop looking. It doesn’t matter if the weather changes and you start getting wet, or the sun is going down and you’re having a hard time seeing; you want to look for more. But I was losing light, and I didn’t want to pick my way out of those woods in full dark.

In the roughly ten minutes I had I was able to find five decent sized mushrooms.

Not a huge haul, and I’m convinced there were plenty I left behind, but it’s five mushrooms more than I’d have had if I hadn’t taken the chance. That’s not a lot, but it’s not nothing either. And I can think of worse way to spend the last minutes of sunlight than making time for a quick walk in the woods.

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com



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