Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Brother's Mixed Blessing

When I went to my niece's birthday part yesterday, my nephew asked me if I wanted to see their mushrooms.

My brother lives in the house previously occupied by my grandparents. In the yard are two giant, majestic old oak trees. They are the only such trees in the neighborhood. Charles led me to each of the trees and showed me the massive clusters of mushrooms clustered around its base. My mother told me they were edible mushrooms, but couldn't remember what kind they were. Seeing the massive size of the things I said, "Hen of the woods?" she said yes. That was exactly what they were.

My brother is pleased with his mushroom crop as they grow plentifully around the base of both trees. Since he is the only person in the neighborhood with old oak trees, it is a rarity. He has been experimenting a bit with how to cook them. He let me taste one he had in the kitchen. It tasted like a button mushroom, but had an acidic aftertaste.

The problem is the rarity of the mushrooms in the neighborhood has opened him up to some poaching. I asked him if foragers ever come to his yard and try to take some. He said he often has to chase people away. He said a couple of weeks ago he saw a woman slunking around his property in broad daylight with a plastic bag. When he ran out and asked her what she was doing, she quickly walked off and he noticed all of the mushrooms were gone. It's not the first time that he has found his trees cleaned of mushrooms when he himself hasn't picked them.

The nerve of some people! I know foragers are a strange lot and will look long and hard for their mushrooms and are fiercely protective of their turf. I never thought that they would walk into someone's yard in broad daylight and proceed to help themselves to someone else's mushroom. One would think they would at least ask first.


StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

That is absolutely shocking! The nerve of some people. Your brother needs to buy a big mean dog (or a shotgun)!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Can't believe it! Next time tell your brother to spray the mushrooms with laxative!

Lo said...

That's so great having mushrooms right in the backyard... you tell your brother to guard those with his life. :)

Maria said...

I can't believe people would actually do that. Crazy!!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

SGCC and Cookie - Excellent solutions.

I think because he has a few of these giant formations circling his trees, people assume he has more than he needs. I'll bet they even assume that he doesn't know they're edible.

Bro is not an unreasonable guy and he does have more mushrooms growing than he is likely to actually eat (especially since his kids tend to take after their aunt when it comes to food pickiness), I'm sure he'd share if people asked. I'm just amazed people don't ask and just help themselves.

Emiline said...

That is horrible! He needs to put a cage around the shrooms.

Aren't hen of the woods pretty rare? I've never had one.

Lore said...

I had to read it twice to make sure I got it right!!! I still can't believe it.

The Blonde Duck said...

How rude! I'm with Clumbsy!

Sue said...

That's not foraging! That's stealing!