Walk with me! We probably should leave the puppy home because I want to go into the mountain to hunt for some chanterelle mushrooms and we might run into a rattlesnake. Lets take the pick-up up the mountain a ways and we can walk a logging road I know that’s closed off with a gate.
Here we are. Don’t worry about rattlesnakes. The logging road is still pretty open and we can see a snake before it surprises us. Jim Chestney, the go-to rattlesnake expert for Fish and Boat, tells me during the summer months rattlesnakes both male and female move from their den sites to summer on the forest floor looking for food and mates. Only the gravid or pregnant females remain at den sites where they bask in the rock formations.
Look, there’s a little cluster of chanterelles. Do you see their bright orange trumpets? Some mushroom hunters call the color apricot. I suppose they’re close at apricot but I like the orange color in our woods. Lets pick them.
Wow! There’s some more. They seem to be growing right out of that moss bed. Last year after finding a small bagful I found another cluster near here and smack in the middle was a big yellow phase rattlesnake. It didn’t seem to want to crawl off, so I decided he wanted them more than I did. I had enough without that batch anyway.
Lets keep going. Maybe we can find some more. Here, smell this one. I think it smells like apricots. Don’t you?
The other year my friend Phil made a light soufflé with eggs and chanterelles. It was good but I think I’ll roast a pheasant breast and make a tomato sauce from our garden tomatoes. I read a recipe using olive oil and red wine to cook the mushrooms before adding them to the sauce.
Blended together with the tomato sauce and ladled over pasta and pheasant, it should taste great.
Lets cut across this spring seep and follow that other logging road back to the truck. With all the rain we should see what’s been coming to the spring for water. Look! Some deer tracks! What do you think? They look like mom and the kids dropped by for a drink. See the size difference between the doe and her fawn’s tracks? I saw a fawn the other evening and they still have their white spots.
Last Wednesday was the first full moon. Did you see it? The August moon is known as the dog day moon.
Grandma Ferris always told us it was because the weather was so hot and humid that all the dogs did all month was dust themselves under the porch and stay out of the sun.
The real reason the August moon is called the dog day moon is because Sirius the Dog Star appears during the month just before dawn. Sirius is one of Orion’s hunting dogs and follows him across the autumn and winter sky.
Other names for the August moon include the green corn moon, woodcutters moon and the sturgeon moon. The Zuni call it the “no snow on trail moon” and the Oto call it the “all elk call moon.”
Did you know that on Aug. 31 the moon will be full again, which means there are two full moons this month? We’d better be getting back. Here, take some of these mushrooms.