Leisurely Progress

Vegan hopping john

Vegan hopping john and brown rice

The first order of business when we got back home was to catch up on medical appointments. My doctor informed me that my cholesterol was sky high. Since my body has zero tolerance for statins or livilo, that means my only options are diet, supplements and exercise.

So, I am planning three vegan days per week, and cutting back on meat and cheese the other 4 days.

Fortunately, Ron loves my vegan meals as long as I promise him a steak and a pork chop once a week. So tonight we had hopping john and brown rice. Ron went back for seconds, which assured me he wasn’t feeling deprived with the meatless meal. 🙂

I also found a highly recommended handyman who charges very reasonable prices to do the projects on the house that I can’t do. Needless to say, he is backed up, but should be here next week to put in the new back door and give me an estimate on the utility closet. So we are slowly on our way to getting the place ready to put on the market.

Ron is having cataract surgery Wednesday. The following Thursday I go in for a preop consultation about eyelid surgery. My drooping eyelids interfere with my vision enough that Medicare will pay to have that fixed. Then Ron will go in for the other cataract surgery, then this fall it will be my turn.

At least we should have all that done in time to head to Florida again next winter.

Between repair jobs this summer, we plan to schedule week-long getaways whenever we can work them in.

lbmWe have had tons of rain, so I know the mushrooms are going crazy out in the woods. I haven’t made time to check them out, so maybe I can squeeze a mushroom hunting expedition in tomorrow.

I did find a LBM (little brown mushroom) in one of the campgrounds we were in. I’m not sure which one. I didn’t try to identify it because it’s a tedious process for me and I didn’t have the inclination to spend that much time on it. At first I thought it was a deadly gallerina, but the gills are wrong for that. Anyway, it is definitely not one I was tempted to eat!

We have found the solution for Sunny’s incontinence problems.  It’s a belly band with a sanitary napkin inside.  It’s not very glamorous, but it works.  I thought he would hate wearing one, but he is so used to me putting sweaters and jackets on him that this is just another thing that Mom makes him wear.  🙂

Coleman Lake, the Pinhoti & the Beach

There are several trails in the  area including hiking and horse trails.

There are several trails in the area including hiking and horse trails.

We plan to leave for Coleman Lake tomorrow.  Since there is no cell service there, I thought I’d post a preview, and will update the blog when we are back in civilization again.

The main activities in the area are birding, camping, hiking and horseback riding.  There’s a primitive horse camp not far from the Coleman Lake campground.  I’m not sure about the fishing.  But when we were there a few years back, one family went frog gigging and harvested 17 big frogs that night.

Coleman Lake swimming beach

Coleman Lake swimming beach

For me, the main attraction is mushroom hunting.  There’s a tremendous variety of habitats from dry hardwood hills to primeval-looking swamps covered in fern.  I’m sure I won’t be able to identify most of the ones I find, but I sure will have fun trying!

For long distance hikers, the close proximity of the 335 mile Pinhoti Trail should be of interest.  It ties in with the Benton McKaye and Appalachian Trails and is part of the Eastern Continental and the Great Eastern Trails.

Gulf State Park right on the Gulf.

Gulf State Park right on the Gulf.

After that, we’re planning to head for the beach the latter part of April.  I changed my mind about the Mississippi beaches when I read that the water is brown and muddy like it is at Galveston.  So now the plan is to go to Gulf State Park in Alabama.

It has excellent reviews.  The water won’t be as clear as it was at Ft. Pickens, but it should still be nice there.  And I’m pretty sure our dogs will be allowed to walk on the beach with us.

So it looks like I will finally, finally, break free of the winter-weary cabin fever blues and go camping!

A Walk in the Woods

Ron and I meandered through the woods looking for mushrooms again this afternoon.

The woods are still wet after the rain.  But still, no oyster mushrooms, no crown tip coral and no hen of the woods, even though they have all thrived here before.

Maybe one good rain wasn’t enough to convince the mushrooms’ mycelia that the drought is really over.  🙂

I did find a couple of small white mushrooms — one deadly amanita and one I didn’t bother trying to identify.

Nevertheless, it felt so good to tromp through the woods on a crisp, windy fall day.  I felt so happy and alive when we got back home!

Deadly amanita

Unidentified

Rain Evades Us

Here we are in Georgia:

Persistent drought

And here’s a picture of all the gorgeous rain that’s predicted for our area…. only it is moving northeast and most of it looks like it will miss us on animated doppler radar.

The rain is moving northeast, so will miss our area of exceptional drought.

Oh well… it’s nice to see rain that close anyway.  Someday our time will come.

The mushroom hunting season will be winding down soon. Looks like I’ll have to wait for next year.  🙂

Hen of the Woods (Maitake) “Bacon”

Hen of the woods mushroom "bacon"

Hen of the Woods "bacon"

I’ve been working dried maitake mushrooms into our menu lately for their awesome medicinal properties.

I reconstitute them for 20 minutes in warm water, then use the tough stalks to make broth, and the more tender tips in other recipes.

The broth is great for cooking brown rice in and for making gravy.  The mushroom itself can be a little chewy, so I cut it in thin strips before cooking.

hen of the woods mushroom broth

Maitake mushroom broth

The other day I wanted something different, so I cut the caps into small strips, then fried them until crisp, sprinkled them with salt, and drained them well on paper towels.  They were very savory — intensely flavored — and would work wherever you would normally use bacon crumbles — over scrambled eggs, in salads, and my favorite–sprinkled over mashed potatoes and maitake gravy!  They are superb, and addictive!

I did one batch in virgin olive oil with a little butter, and other batch in peanut oil with a little butter.  The peanut oil batch was definitely the best!

bolete

Here's the bolete in my earlier post in its mature stage. Inset is when it was younger.

Here’s an update on the bolete I wrote about in my last post.  I found a fully mature version near where the others grew.  The cap has changed to brown.  The only way you can tell it is the same mushroom is by the stalk and the yellow pores.

The interior of the mature mushroom — stalks and cap — were riddled with bugs, though.  I will spare you a photo of the gory details.

I normally stick to chanterelles and boletes, and avoid gilled mushrooms except for a handful of distinctive ones that I know are safe.  There are so many dangerous ones that it’s not worth taking the chance on misidentifying one.  But I thought I really ought to branch out and start trying to learn more about them.

So I photographed these mushrooms in several stages of growth.  They had white spore prints.  I believe they are in the Amanita family — a family that has many fatally poisonous members.

amanitas

Amanita family mushrooms

Our weather is predicted to be in the 90’s for the next two weeks, at least.  So I won’t be out doing  much mushroom hunting until it cools down a little.

P.S. David Fischer has identified these mushrooms for me as Amanita “close to A. rubescens,” as far as he could determine from my small photos.