058 A real break

058 A real break

With the year coming to a close, I finally get a real break. I went for a few nice walks with Pepper and my husband. We even found some mushrooms. But first, I need to check on the garden house roof repair.

(Pepper and) I are just quickly here to check on the garden to see if the roof survived the next–two? three? I’m losing track!–severe storms. It’s just been one after the other the last few days.

We are just here to quickly check on that, and I am really nervous. Wish me luck.

First, roof. Let’s go. Please be alright. Please be alright. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, it’s all up. This is looking good. Yes, all good, all good. Huh. Almost all good, but good enough. Just a lavender plant down.

With the lavender restored to the sill, Pepper and I went to check on the garlic bed. Everything was looking good, and while it was still gray, the sun had risen while we were here.

My husband and I put on a lot of clothes, and headed outside to enjoy the a little less gray day.

It didn’t take long to find the first mushrooms.

There were wood ears all over these trees, and I got excited collecting a few here and there. Technically, the wild enoki my husband found were a lot more exciting, but I had a lot more fun collecting these. Any excuse to climb a tree, really.

Though I was way more excited about cooking with the enoki and oysters we found, of course. For once, we’d come home with enough mushrooms for a full dinner. Yay! Success!

We haven’t had much luck finding mushrooms in “mushroom season” but give us a supposedly empty winter forest, and we’ll come home with supposedly bad-tasting (but delicious!) fall oysters, and a bag of enoki and wood ears. I’ll dry the wood ears for later use, and cook dinner with the rest of this lovely tableau.

We thought we’re more successful in winter because there is less competition. I no longer think that’s it. Our go-to oyster tree had been eaten clean by wildlife. We were definitely sharing the bounty.

Maybe it’s that we started foraging in winter, and are most comfortable with the identifications then. There are still plenty of mushrooms we have no clue about, but there are so much fewer chances for mixups.

While there was little actual sunshine, the sun poked out of the clouds here and there, and there was light for a bit.

There were signs of the recent storms everywhere we looked. But a lot of it had been cleaned up already.

One of the identifying characteristics of these enoki is that they are slimy. Not enticing, to be honest.

We cook them the same way as the fall oysters: sauté first, then bake. This ensures they are cooked through and firm.

I am very sensitive to gooey textures, so eating these right now would probably not even be possible for me. After a trip to the air fryer, they are delicious, though. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. No goo.

The next day, after waiting for weeks, I got to see the actual sun. I know, this shouldn’t be such a big deal. Just before sunset, another brewing storm pushed away the clouds, and the sun shone. With only 7.5 hours of daylight, and even less sunlight per day, this was a real treat.

Like a happy child, I ran around the field with Pepper, held my face into the sun, and laughed. But the sun was setting, and the wind picking up, so we could not stay long.

So long, and thanks for being here.