Morels and Magnolias

Has it really been over a month since I updated this blog? It certainly doesn’t seem that long. Weeks have been filled with reading up on recent research related to photosynthesis and hydrogen production, trying to zero in on some specific projects that I would like to focus on in my time at OSU. Weekends have been filled with explorations and garden work – the garden is now mostly planted, with only tomatoes and a few other warm-season crops left to go in.

Last weekend, the four of us in my house drove across the Cascades to the Wizard Fire – an area that burned last fall. We traveled in search of the elusive morel mushrooms, and while the mushrooms were good the pickers were out in force – about 25 people combing the area while we were there, with some commercial pickers systematically sweeping the forest floor to get enough to sell. We tried to avoid the picked places, seeking out steep slopes far from the road, and even then we could not get away from footprints and cut morel stumps. But we came home with 74 morels, most of them tiny – enough for one good meal. On Sunday, I helped Ali set up transects near Marys Peak for his research, and we found copious quantities of oyster mushrooms. Sadly, most of them had maggots, but there were enough good ones to add another wild mushroom flavor to our morel dish.

This weekend I plan to make a foray to another fire – this one down by Roseburg – to do some wilderness hiking and morel hunting.

And as for the magnolias, they are still blooming on campus, along with a complete rainbow of azaleas and rhododendrons. In the woods we have bleeding hearts, trilliums, and pink calypso orchids. This place really blooms in the spring!

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