What the rain brings: a beautiful sound to fall asleep to, a chance to puddle-stomp, the opportunity to wear brightly coloured, heart-printed boots, greenery, worms, and mushrooms!
A few years before our daughter was born, my husband and I were on a multi-day hiking excursion in the Olympic Mountain Range (Washington, USA). We met another group who had just set up camp and were preparing their supper. Dried pasta? Dehydrated soup? The last of the soggy trial-mix? No. Mushrooms. Giant mushrooms, foraged early that day with a side of salad greens (also courtesy of the woods). “Well now, that is amazing!” My husband and I thought. “We simply must learn how to do that.”
And we did. Several pounds of literature later, we were ready to forage the mushrooms of the north Pacific Coast. Our guidelines: don’t eat anything that even loosely resembles something poisonous, and no munching until spore prints have been analysed and the massive anthology (too heavy for the backpack) has been consulted.
Eventually, we became experts at hunting select favourites–king boletes (porcinis), lobsters, chanterelles, and fairy rings. As these became “the family staples” we learned where to find them, how to easily identify them, and, what to do with them. Mmmmmm…
After our daughter was born, mushroom hunting continued to be a favourite family past-time. When autumn months brought the unending drizzle (which really is unending on the west coast of BC), we would rejoice. Mushrooms are here! Boots went on, rain gear went on, and off we went. We hunted mushrooms in parks less than half an hour from the city, in the woods, and even on excursions to the playground, the duck pond, and on my walk to work.
Our daughter learned to find mushrooms about when she learned to walk. She’s good at it–closer to the ground, you know? There’s no greater joy for a young child than being out in the wilderness on a real-live treasure hunt that ends on your dinner plate. For this reason, our family loves the rain.