2006 was an unusually poor year for collecting mushrooms, apparently everywhere. There were some good days, but lots of bad days. It is not clear why. Maybe another result of global warming?
However, the Spring (and summer) Boletes were fairly plentiful, and for a while, the White Chanterelles looked like they would be a good crop. But in general, the basket was usually empty or almost empty.
I found my first Beef Steak Mushroom this year, the Fistula hepatica and saw a few Matsutakes. I didn't find any myself though.
Findings, July 6 to December 4, 2006 (top)
Thursday, July 6: After a few days of cooler weather, we decided to check around 5100 ft, to check our Boletus appendiculatus (correction, the B. abieticola) spots and to recheck a Calvatia sculpta spot again. We brought our youngest granddaughter with us, as she is pretty good at spotting mushrooms, being closer to the ground, I guess.
In short, it was a bit early for the boletes and a bit late for the C. sculpta.
Right out of the car, at the first spot where we usually find dozens, we found only one small Boletus apendiculatus (correction, the B. abieticola), and more searching only yielded one yellow amanita button, which my granddaughter found.
I then decided to go to the puffball spot and soon saw a large, white, spiky ball off in the distance, When I got closer, I found one Calvatia sculpta puffball plus two more, but both of these were a bit too old for picking.
On the way back to the main road, I saw
another road that we had never been up, where the area around it looked
similar to the first puffball spot. A short distance up the road, I soon saw
one puffball on my right, in the middle of another, shorter logging road.
Right out of the car, I found several small Boletus appendiculatus
(correction, the B. abieticola) buttons,
marked the spot, and continued
As I got closer to the puffball, I saw there were SEVERAL, but only two were worth picking. I tried to imagine what it must have looked like a few days ago, as there were large patches up to 5ft in diameter (the patch size, not the puffball). On the way back to the car, I found several more appendiculatus buttons, all about 1" in diameter.
I enjoyed kicking the real old puffballs and spreading the spores with the light breeze.
So we discovered a new puffball spot for next spring and a new butter bolete spot for early summer. I plan to recheck the buttons in about a week.
Friday, July 7: Today I went to up an campground close to 4800 ft., hoping to find more Boletus appendiculatus. It still was a bit cooler than a week ago.
I didn't see any appendiculatus, but as I was returning to the car, I found 2 1/4 of what at first looked like red-capped Boletus regius.
However these looked to me a bit different than the B. regius I have I found recently The cap didn't bruise at all, the pores bruised an almost black immediately, then dark brown, the flesh bruised blue to almost black VERY slowly if at all, the flesh in the cap WAS yellow, but the flesh in the stem appeared almost white and near the edge was yellow like the flesh in the cap. The stem did show reticulations and the taste was mild.
Weird regius! I will cook it up tonight, after saving a slice for the dryer.
Wednesday, July 12: Today I returned to my Boletus appendiculatus (correction, the B. abieticola) spot at about 5100 ft, plus to the newly found spot close by.
At the first stop I found quite a few, varying in size from about 2" to 5" in diameter. One large one close to a creek was almost white in color. I continued on to my newly found spot, and the ones I left behind and marked earlier were mostly removed by animals, but after browsing around the area, I found several more, and even found a small but fresh Calvatia sculpta.
Not bad for a quick trip to the mountains.
In a few days, I might go back.
Saturday, July 16: I went back to the same spots. Right near the truck, I found a few Boletus regius, but too many worms were already making themselves at home. I didn't find much else until I started to leave, when I noticed a nice Boletus appendiculatus (correction, the B. abieticola) near the side of the road. I stopped the truck and found several more in the immediate area. I kept looking around the area, but this seemed to be the only fruitful spot.
The next stop was at my new spot further down the road. Here I only found one of each, but I felt already had enough for the day. The B. regius was already nibbled upon, but I took it anyway and called it quits.
Most of the boletes had some worms in them, so I dried most and cooked only a few.
Thursday, August 3rd: It is a bit early for chanterelles. I usually don't even look for them until the end of August. However, remembering Judy Roger's statement that in August, after a wet spring followed by a hot summer, it is the best time to look for chanterelles, at least where the 25-year chanterelle study is being done in Oregon, I decided to try my luck at a few of my white chanterelles spots at 4400 ft. The wet spring and hot summer seemed to fit the conditions up here.
At the first spot, very close to where I usually park my truck, I didn't see any mounds, so I lightly scraped some soft dirt and found 5 or 6 small ones.
Encouraged by this, I continued searching at a few more spots.
Under the few mounds I did see, I found a couple more chanterelles, one Rhizopogon, and some beautiful yellow-capped Russulas. I also saw lots of what appeared to be decapitated Grisettes, and a few dried out ones.
I am hoping that the ones I didn't see will continue to grow, as the ones I did pick seemed pretty firm.
Maybe in a few weeks? It's a start!
Thursday, August 24: Not much to report up here in the Northern Sierras except to say we started finding more and larger white chanterelles at 4400ft, and it is looking like it might be a good year for them.
We decided to recheck some of our chanterelle spots, and right out of the car, we found several batches, still pretty small sized chanterelles, but in larger groups than we had seen in previous years.
As we checked some of the other spots, the mounds became a bit larger, with larger chanterelles, so we mainly concentrated on those. In the last spot, under the shade of a small log, Cecelia found 2 large ones, and very close by, I found 2 more, all about 3 inches in diameter.
Unfortunately, I brought the wrong basket, one without the knife and brush, so I had to pull then out, dirt and all. Fortunately, because the early season chanterelles up here are usually very firm-fleshed, I was able to rinse them slightly after scrubbing them with a stiff brush.
Total for the day: 1½ pounds cleaned, enough for a few dishes. Other than those and a few Rhizopogons, there were no other mushrooms seen. In a few weeks, we will try again.
Saturday, August 26th: On this day, Cecelia and I decided to take a long walk in the forest (at 4400 ft) to bury some of the chanterelle cleanings and to check some of our white chanterelle spots we missed on Thursday.
Again, right out of the car, we found several batches of small ones. We picked all that we uncovered, as it has been our experience that once they are uncovered and recovered, they don't seem to increase in size appreciably, and many we found were showing the signs of drying out. We continued our walk, going towards the spot where we had found the larger ones under a small log, and picked a few as we went along.
We only found one large one at that last spot, but found several more on the way back, at various spots we hadn't checked previously.
This time I brought a knife and brush and cleaned them before I put them in the basket.
This catch amounted to about a pound of very firm chanterelles. We also found what at first appeared to be an exposed, ornate-capped white chanterelle, but it tuned out to be what keyed out to be a tightly clustered Albatrellus ovinus. I don't think I have ever seen one like it. I am trying to get a spore print.
You can view the pictures here:
The taste was mild, and slightly yellowing when cut or handled. We also found one fresh but small Russula brevipes var. acrior, with its beautiful green tinged gills.
It's a start!
Sunday, September 12: On this day we took an old friend who was visiting us for the weekend, to one of our chanterelle spots at 4500ft., as he had never been out looking for mushrooms and sounded pretty interested in my plan.
We didn't see much until towards the end of our journey into the woods, and then we, including my friend, found a few large white chanterelles. Along the way we had spotted one worm-infested Gastroboletus subalpinus.
Near the last spot we found one Lentinus ponderosus, and as we walked back towards the car taking a different route, we found some young Phaeolus schweinitzii and a small but spectacular patch of Paxillus atrotomentosus, a new one for me (in this area).
The paxillus was hard for me to ID because I couldn't decide what to pick for the spore color, which looked kind of like yellowed-flesh.
After I did decide on the ID, I remembered seeing one on the specimen table at Breitenbush.
You can see some of the paxillus pictures /paxillus/
Wednesday, September 13: It has been a pretty poor mushroom year in almost all areas so far, but today we actually found more than one species, although not very many of each.
We took a trip up to Bucks Lake and browsed around the area, the most productive areas being along both trails along the creek that feeds the lake.
Most of the pictures and the names I gave for them can be found at http://www.fungi-zette.com/bucks091306/.
Expect a long download, especially with a dial-up connection, as that could take over ten minutes to download. I reduced the size of the images, but didn't compress them. They are about 125k each.
Saturday and Sunday, September 23 and 24: This weekend we had a nice visit from our new friend, Eva Syrova. On Saturday, we took her with us up to Drakesbad, above Chester, for lunch and a walk up to Boiling Lake.
On the way up to the lake, we spotted some very small Phaeolus schweinitzii, the Dyer's Polypore, and farther up the trail, a small batch of what looked like more-red-than-purple Laccaria amethystina. Soon after, we spotted what keyed out later to be a pair of malformed Boletus calopus that blued very little, and close to that, a solitary Gastroboletus turbinatus. We also found a polypore that Eva thought might have been a mature beefsteak fungus (Fistulina hepatica), but it did not seem to have the sour taste associated with that species. Closer to the lake, we spotted more than a few of the sticky Pholiota aurivella group in some dead conifers, and one old, dried-up Lentinus ponderosus at the base of another.
UPDATE: I later heard from Dr. Dennis Desjardin, through Fred Stevens, felt that the polypore WAS a beefsteak fungus.
We may have seen a few more mushrooms on that day, but I can't think of them right now.
The next day I took her to up an area about 4500 ft. where we picked a few small and very firm White Chanterelles. Hope we get some rain before the season ends!
But we found much more than we had expected for the weekend considering how dry it has been.
Thursday, October 19: Today we went out for a walk in the woods at 4500 ft, both for the exercise and to check out a few of our spots, hoping to find the first sign of King Boletes.
No King Boletes yet, but we did find one mature and wormy gastroid bolete, a Gastroboletus subalpinus, along with about 2 pounds of fresh white chanterelles. These were a pleasant surprise, considering how little rain we have had so far this fall.
The larger and most moist chanterelles were found in the thicker duff. When we first got into the forest, we found a solitary Russula brevipes which seemed pretty fresh, encouraging us to look a little closer.
The was one time I was very happy to find a Russula, as right next to it we found about a half dozen fairly large white chanterelles.
We continued walking and browsing, and found more chanterelles, plus small amounts of a few other species:
All the IDs were done in the field, so I am not sure what we actually saw.
If we only could get more rain!
A nice walk in the woods, along with being able to view the vibrant fall colors as we drove up into the area.
Saturday and Tuesday, October 21 and 24: Saturday morning, we decided at the last minute to try to make it to the MSSF foray at Yuba Pass. It was a beautiful day and we were ready for the trip. Besides, two of my friends, Norm Andresen and Hugh Smith, were going to be the foray leaders.
We got there a bit late, but could hear Hugh off in the distance, and soon caught up with the rest of them on the left side of the seepage area, behind the campground. We could hear that they were pretty excited about what they were finding.
On the way I gathered a few specimens and continued on the journey to be with the rest of the hunters. There were several different species seen scattered about, and a Boletus calopus was discovered shortly after we joined the group. We continued wandering on both sides of the creek, pleased with the numbers and species that we all saw.
Some of the species that come to mind are a the Rozites caperatus (Gypsy Mushroom), misc. Mycena, several Suiluses, Phaeolus schweinitzii, more than a few of the delectable Tricholoma flavovirens (Man on Horseback), lots of Russula xerampelina (Shrimp Russula), and later, a bunch of White Chanterelles.
After a good walk around the campground, we went up to the top of the pass and continued to a seepage area about 4 miles north of the pass. There we didn't see much there probably because of the dry conditions, so I mistakenly led them towards a wet meadow that was supposed to be a short distance down the draw. It was a long trip that didn't end up in the meadow, as the meadow was over a mile farther up the road. The water we did find was mostly frozen.
On the way however, we found lots of Ganoderma oregonense, and our basket
became pretty heavy for the long trek back.
We continued driving up the road, collecting more Ganoderma, and then took a
shortcut back to Bassets.
The road started pretty easy, but at times I was sure we were lost, as it
seemed to go on forever and I kept losing site of the other cars in the dust
We found a few more Ganoderma along the way, but made it safely back in time
for dinner. We decided to stay for that.
My mouth is still watering.
Hugh took lots of pictures and I put most of them (with high resolution
links) up on his web site, at www.hughsmith.org/forays-c.htm.
We are hoping
to add more species names as they are identified, so if you recognize any
TUESDAY: After hearing a report of some Boletus edulis being spotted at around 6000 ft, we decided to check out an area near Bucks Lake. Right out of the car we spotted what appeared to be an edulis, and encouraged by this, we continued to scout around the area for a few hours. That was the only one we found for the day, but we did see lots of white, tan, and orange Gomphus, two Sarcodon imbricatum, some still fresh Phaeolus schweinitzii, a couple of the beautiful Amanita muscaria, and some very colorful mushrooms I am still trying to ID. Nice day for a walk, and driving up through the area was a colorful treat, to say the least.
At home, I took some close-up pictures of the "edulis" we found and sent them to Fred Stevens, as the reticulations looked too stretched and the flesh (mild tasting) seemed too stringy. Fred felt it was still an edulis, so into the drier it goes! Later, Mike Wood said the same to me..
You can a few of the close-up pictures at
Saturday, December 4: Today we spent the afternoon at a BAMS foray (Bay Area Mycological Society) foray (our last foray for the year) which is around 2000 ft. elevation. There were more than a few species found by our small group as Hugh Smith took us to a few of his favorite areas. One of the first finds were some Matsutakes, which pleased everyone.
We had been out of town for over a month and were on our way back home, so we didn't stay for the whole weekend.
We saw some of the most brightly colored Ramarias I had ever seen, including a young purple-blue one. I even talked Hugh into tasting a garlic-scented Marasmius, the M. copelandi. He said it had an onion-garlic taste (see below).
We all had a great time together, and Debbie Viess and David Rust brought back lots of good specimens for the annual MSSF Fungi Fair in San Francisco.
Here is most of the species list, from Debbie:
Recipe for Mock Fried Abalone (top)
We found a few Lentinus ponderosus this summer, and I was determined to try them in a palatable dish.
I had just had some fried red abalone that our friend, Hugh Smith, had brought us the same day, and I thought cooking the mushrooms the same way might work with the Lentinus. The results were pretty good, and although they couldn't quite compete with the real thing, they were tasty and tender. The same recipe might work just as well with large oyster mushrooms.
This is what we came up with:
Mock Fried Abalone
Fill frying pan with about ¼-inch of oil and heat the oil. Slice the mushrooms 1/4" thick and soak for a few minutes in clam juice. Remove the mushrooms, drain, and dip in the egg. Roll them in the bread crumbs and place in the frying pan. Cook until slightly browned.
Drain and enjoy!
Featured Mushroom, the Marasmius copelandii (top)
This year, we found quite a few of the small and beautiful garlic-scented Marasmius, the M, copelandii. I (and my friend Hugh Smith) tasted one, and they had a strong garlic taste as well as the scent.
I think the next time we find any I will collect a few to try to see what they taste like cooked in a soup or pasta recipe.
Go to www.mykoweb.com/CAF/species/Marasmius_copelandii.html for more information