The days are getting longer, the night air is staying warm and the forest is no longer a bare grave of skeleton trees! Summer days will quickly be upon us.
It's been a strange spring with so many uncertainties for so many people all over the world. With much of the American population put on furlough or laid off its left many of us wondering what to do with our time. Shopping malls, movie theaters, concerts, sporting events all things that I never thought I would see come to a grinding halt in my life time.
Because of all this Corvid19 did something that private institutions, non profits, and government agencies haven't been able to get the American public to do. Go outside! As inconvenient as it was to be spotted at my favorite foraging sites, I was equally happy to see people in nature. And as annoyed as I was that people might figure out what I was doing on my hands and knees in the middle of the woods (easier to see the morels), I was just as happy to see them out. I can't say enough how much nature has to offer us if we just to the time to take a walk in the woods and look around. Thinking back it makes me chuckle how many people I told I was looking for a geocache.
So, ramp and morel season is coming to a close. Probably within the next week the season will come to an end in the DMV area and we'll be left with a few weeks lull before the first fruiting of Chanterelles happens. So what's to do in between? I like to take that time to scout new potential foraging spots. By now all the leaves have come out on the trees so it makes them pretty easy to identify. With all the rain you can easily identify the wettest parts of the woods now too. This is helpful come July and August when it rains less and less and mushroom patches get fewer and fewer.
Mushrooms aren't the only thing to get excited for though. On my walk today, which is when I took the picture you see, I spotted berry buds starting to pop. May apples have started budding too which means their fruit will be ready to pick soon. What's a may apple? If you look on the forest floor in the picture above you'll see a "starish" shaped plant. That's a may apple! Everything about the plant is toxic, even the fruit in large quantities. Why eat it then? May apples are one of those unique fruits that taste like a bunch of things smooched into one small bite. It has a grape-pear flavor with a hint of citrus that makes a killer jelly or jam! Now I know I said that the fruit is mildly toxic, but the the effects aren't much worse than drinking too much apple cider or prune juice. Everything in moderation.
I've talked about a few things to come, but what will I be doing in the immediate future besides wondering in the woods looking at stuff? Over the next couple weeks I will be planting and inoculating so hopefully next year I can introduce to the world Permaculture by Heritage Foraging. Don't know what permaculture is, Don't worry you'll find out soon!