I found 30 mushrooms last week, and they were all about the size of my thumb. Little gray ones are fine if you get enough of them to make a good meal, but I think it would take about 200 to feed two people. The bigger morels, which are usually a few days after the small gray ones, are surely only a day or so away, and by the time you read this, I expect to have found a bunch of them, and have eaten so many I don’t want to look at another one. Because of all the moisture, there should be a good number of them.
On Saturday, April 13, we took one of our daylong trips with a mid-day fish fry to Truman Lake, and crossed it in my pontoon boat with a full load of a dozen people. There were several species of migrating birds to be seen: blue-winged teal, mallards, gadwall, mergansers and even a pair of tiny bufflehead ducks.
One of the ladies on the trip found three beefsteak mushrooms, or red morels, each about the size of a large fist. Actually they are similar in looks to a brain of some kind, and more ochre or brown than red. The lady gave me one of hers, and people on the hike that morning questioned whether they were edible. “Of course they are,” I told everyone, “they are the earliest edible mushrooms in the spring and delicious.” Many writers and naturalists warn that they are a little bit poisonous to many people and can make you pretty sick. I always laughed at that assertion because I had eaten so many of them without getting sick.
So the following morning I sliced that one up like a tomato, and then cut up the slices and threw a good number of them into a skillet full of scrambled eggs. At two o’clock that next morning, I woke up with a considerable urge to find a bathroom, and at daybreak I was hit with what old timers referred to as “the dry heaves”, something similar to vomiting except different. So I am wondering if it is possible to be poisoned by mushrooms I have eaten since Rover was a pup, and if so, could it happen 18 hours after I ate them? I could ask my daughter, who is a doctor, but she limits my medical calls to once every three days, and I had just called her about one of my toes growing crooked, and wondering if it was dangerous to have a pulse rate of 90 in one wrist and 80 in the other.
The hike we took was a great success, as along the way we discovered a brand new eagle’s nest, and the male eagle really did some singing for us as he put on an aerial display. The song of an eagle is sort of a screaming, screeching sound, much like the music you hear at one of today’s concerts that kids go to. At any rate, we skirted the nest as best we could.
There is an old home place foundation in the woods on a ridgetop, and not far from it we found a cast aluminum keg, which had numbers on it and lettering spelling Standard Oil Company. Kathy Pirtle, who works for our Lightnin’ Ridge publishing company, looked up the numbers on her computer and found out that it was made in 1910. Because it was made of cast aluminum, it was very heavy, and not one bit corroded. I am supposing the people who lived there brought coal oil or kerosene back to their home via that 55-gallon keg with a horse and wagon.
On that day, as I motored across the lake, I saw something floating. I pointed to it, and my good friend, Rich Abdoler, was behind me in his boat, and he turned and picked it up. It turned out to be a brand new tackle box full of lures. Being the good-hearted soul that he is, Rich hopes to return the box and lures to whomever may have lost it if the owner will just call and identify it and its contents. Being the good hearted soul that he is, and the good friend he is, if we do not find the owner he will give me half of the lures inside just as soon as I find a tackle box somewhere and give him half the contents as well.
This all reminds me of the time when I was a kid in the pool hall and one of the old-timers there found a billfold on the street with $7 in it. He said that he would return it to whoever could identify the name, address and phone number on the driver’s license.
Let me use this column to mention that if you have nothing more important to do on May the 4 and 5, there will be a big mountain man rendezvous in the campground along the Pomme de Terre River below the Pomme de Terre Dam, at which there will be a half mile of vendors selling all kinds of stuff, with music from a variety of bands and all kinds of food and drink and a field full of mountain men giving all kinds of demonstrations and shooting muzzle-loaders and living in tents like they used to in the days when half of them were scalped by Blackfoot, Cheyenne and Sioux Indians, just for trying to trap a few beavers. If you think it is easy to describe all that in one sentence as I just did, just try it. I don’t think they charge much to get in, but they do not allow any full-blooded Blackfoot, Cheyenne or Sioux Indians. If, like me, you are only one-third Indian, you are welcome. Anyway, I will be there too, displaying my old wooden river johnboat and all kinds of things Ozark river men used a hundred years ago in their daily lives.
Then on May 10 and 11, I will bring the same old river man display to the festival at Cabool. I will tell more about that in next week’s column, in one sentence if possible. In both places, I will be giving away copies of our Lightnin’ Ridge outdoor magazine, so come by and get one if you have never seen it.
I know many of you readers listen to my “Outdoorsman’s” radio program on Sunday mornings, and I want you to pay special attention on April 28 when my daughter, Dr. Lori Dablemont Cohen will join me to talk about tick-bite diseases such as spotted fever and lime disease. Listeners can call in to ask her questions, and she will discuss the “mad deer” malady known as chronic wasting disease.
That will be from 8:06 to 9 a.m. April 28, on 560 AM radio, KWTO out of Springfield. You can listen on the computer at radiospringfield.com.
My website is www.larrydablemontoutdoors.blogspot.com and you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613.