The orange sky fought with the incoming clouds but soon allowed a peek of the sun. The sun, however, would be short lived.
The orange sky fought with the incoming clouds but soon allowed a peek of the sun. The sun, however, would be short lived. The clouds were becoming heavier and loomed ever so close to the eastern horizon. Soon they would overtake the morning light.
Despite the threat of rain, I headed to the forest anyway. It’s puffball season now, and I looked forward to finding a few. I believe the search for puffballs in more enjoyable than eating them. Walking through the woods and finding a basketball-sized puffball is quite the thrill. Finding puffballs is a much easier affair then finding the morels of Spring, especially when you can sometimes spot a puffball from 50 yards away. All the same, it is a fun fall-time activity.
Upon entering the woods I am greeted by a flock of Robins, 25 or so. They are in a Maple Tree and very active. A few warblers are also present, but I am unable to identify them due to the darkened atmosphere and the fact that they have lost most of their summer colors.
The forest is still mostly green. It is that muted color of green that suggests that the color change is near. In about a week the full change will be here. I do, however, see glimpses of good things to come. Tiny splashes of yellow and red, while few, are present. I walk on.
It isn’t long before I spot the first puffballs. It is a group of three, but I am still 40 yards away. They are not the big giants that I hoped for but puffballs nonetheless. I keep moving.
The cloud cover thickens even more, and the woods grow darker. When the transformation takes place in the coming days these very woods will be a sea of yellow. When that happens, it will be a glowing light, which will hold, even on the darkest of days, like the one I have here today.
Way up ahead I spot another puffball, this one too, a smaller one. It is growing under a fallen tree branch. The branch is pushing down on the mushroom giving it the appearance of two.
I decide to head to a small ravine where last year I found six puffballs growing within a few feet apart. They were all basketball-sized and as fresh as could be. In years past the ravine has always been a good location for fall mushrooms, so I anticipated my arrival. However, once there, I find nothing. But it is still early in the season so I will keep returning.
The mosquitos are still a battle. A slight buzzing by the ears and the occasional landing on the hand. Looking forward to the freeze and the departure of the bloodsuckers until the Spring.
Puffballs come in a variety of sizes, from dime-sized to the basketball-sized giants. In fact, I have one in my yard right now that is the size of a 50-cent piece. But I want the giants where one slice of the white flesh can fill up a skillet.
I see nothing of hooved critters. The deer are nowhere to be found. I see their tracks, littered throughout the forest, but the physical specimens are absent. I will be back another day, however, and I will concentrate on finding the deer then. Right now, my mind is on the ground and the white globes that are found there.
I find a few more smaller ones and then decide that I have spent enough time in the woods. My time is shortened because I have forgotten my thermos and my daily intake of caffeine is low. I could use a cup of coffee right now. The coming days will only get better and I will be there.
***When picking puffballs, you will want to make sure that the inner flesh is pure white. Once they yellow, they should not be eaten.
*** There are also a number of other mushrooms in the fall woods, some are edible, some are not. Please make sure that you identify your target 100 percent, and if you are unsure just let them be. Consult with a professional if at all possible.
*** The lovely Goldenrod of fall has passed. Now nothing more than a faded memory.
***Keep in mind now when entering the fall woods that archery season for deer and turkey is now in. Be safe out there.
*** I haven’t talked about fishing much, but the fall season can be some of the best fishing of the year. Not only some of the best but some of the biggest fish of the year. I’m not sure what the coming days will be like but get out when you can before the ice works its way in. I need to get back up to Minnesota for some trout fishing here in the next few weeks before it gets too cold.