Monday, May 4, 2009


One of the radio podcasts I listen to has a segment on the Santa Monica farmer's market. I have to admit that over the past couple of weeks I have been just a tad jealous to hear about all of the wonderful new spring produce that is available at the market. Our own farmers market will not open for at least another month or so. Oh to experience fresh fava bean sauteed with spring leeks! As usual for NE though, if you just look around a bit you can find your own kind of spring wonderfulness here.

Today I guilted Keith into accompanying me on a search for some morel mushrooms. Neither of us really knew for certain if they existed around here, but I was determined to find out, and as it turned out Keith was willing to accompany me. We set off in our little Jetta with the dogs in the back and made our way to our nearest "river". We walked around for quite awhile, at first thinking maybe there would be no Morels after all. Then Keith spotted them: a bunch of beautiful brainy, chorally looking things. They were sort of out of place in the middle of a field of green grass, but they were sitting there plain as day! We excitedly picked them and threw them into our bag. After about an hour or so of further hunting this is what we hauled in.

It was a fun way to spend a beautiful, warm spring evening here in Nebraska. The dogs frolicked in the the river beside us while we carefully hunted mushrooms. There wasn't a soul around for miles which was nice and peaceful and of course meant more mushrooms for us! Tonight we enjoyed a delicious morel sautee. It may have even been worth all the ticks we brought home with us.


Terry G. said...

Food Network had one of their people go on a Morel hunt. She found about 2/3 as many and sold them for over $100(probably at one of those upscale farmers' markets we use to rip off city folk!!)And I always thought Morel hunting was like snipe hunting; you know, just an excuse to get the girls into the woods!! Well I am sure Lucyfer and Athena loved it!!!!

Terry G. said...

Hi Shaleah:

Don't have your email so this is my means of contact. Re: our compost discussion, below is a summary of the science. From my experience: When I put a trash bags of leaves on one of my bins then removed it in a week, the first 2 inches were rotting and smelly; also if I brew manure tea longer than 12-14 hours in hot sun, the water gets deoxygenated and bacteria death causes foul odor. So I think NOT covering and aerating(turning) periodically is the key.

Composting microbes are aerobic -- they can't do their work well unless they are provided with air. Without air, anaerobic (non-air needing) microbes take over the pile. They do cause slow decomposition, but tend to smell like putrefying garbage! For this reason, it's important to make sure that there are plenty of air passageways into your compost pile. Some compost ingredients, such as green grass clippings or wet leaves, mat down very easily into slimy layers that air cannot get through. Other ingredients, such as straw, don't mat down easily and are very helpful in allowing air into the center of a pile. To make sure that you have adequate aeration for your pile and its microbes, thoroughly break up or mix in any ingredients that might mat down and exclude air. You can also turn the pile to get air into it, which means completely breaking it apart with a spade or garden fork and then piling it back together in a more 'fluffed-up' condition.

Happy Gardening!!!