For those of you mushroom lovers out there, one of my favorites is making its appearance a bit early this year. The coral mushroom is one that even I can find, and finding enough for a nice side dish is seldom a problem during good years. Here at Sunburst we find them on our hillsides and up on top of the hill in the wooded areas growing in rocks and on soil directly in the leaf litter. Most of the time the mushrooms are at least as big as a pool ball, and often as big or bigger than your fist. The ones around here range in color from the pale ones in the pictures to a bright yellow with an orangish hue. Look around closely once you find one, there are usually more nearby and finding clusters of two or three is common. The first time you eat them go lightly as some people may experience a little gastrointestinal distress if too many are eaten (I know how you like me to mention your name in my blog Valerie). To cook them Amy usually deep fries them cut into bite sized pieces rolled in flour, or they can be mixed with eggs for breakfast or cooked in spaghetti sauce or cream of mushroom soup. Unlike morels which can be tricky to see, finding corals is as simple as taking a walk through the woods and looking around. If they are growing in your area at that time they will be hard to miss. Good luck with your mushroom finding, and as always be sure you know what kind of mushroom you have before you eat them. We have several books and were just discussing whether a mushroom Amy found today is a chantrelle or not. We weren't sure so in the trash it went.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Now that things have calmed down a bit here at the ranch and we are working normal hours for a retired couple in their late 70's, Amy and I have had time for some recreational activities OZARK STYLE. A couple of Amy's friends and her like to get together once a week for a little girl time. This started with a movie watching experience on Amy's birthday and has quickly evolved into a cornucopia of hillbilly activities. One morning they sheared a couple of our sheep which was long overdue and came up with a new slogan for our business. Sunburst Ranch, where the women are women and the sheep are scared. Looking at the haircuts they gave those sheep, they should be scared. The next week they decided to take to the woods for a squirrel hunt. I fixed Amy up with a .22 and instructions on how to use it, and off she went in pursuit of her quarry. With Jessi shooting a .410 and Sherri and Amy shooting .22's they came home with 2 squirrels, both shot with the .410. They also came home with a new understanding about how game can seem to disappear when you are trying to hunt it. All of you hunters out there know exactly what I am talking about, and it is nice to have a wife who now understands that while you might have deer in your front yard every day, when you go to hunt them it is not always just a matter of walking out and shooting something. Amy's thirst for blood led us to the discussion of purchasing a gun for her that could be used for all kinds of activities. We soon decided on a 20 gauge semi-automatic shotgun and several days later went to pick up her new Charles Daly youth model (I think he must import them because they are made in Turkey). That afternoon we took the gun out and patterned it on a cardboard box, and gave Amy her first taste of shotgunning. She was a crack shot at 30 yards, but unfortunately rain spoiled our chances of shooting any clay pigeons that afternoon. The next day with both kids at school I set up my thrower in the front yard and out we went to shoot a few clay pigeons. Amy's first shot at a moving target. I started by throwing a few birds with Amy just tracking them with an unloaded gun to get the feel for what she would be doing. After a few of these it was time for the real deal. Now I have shot a fair amount of clays and realize that it is not always that easy, and with her only shooting a shotgun once and never at a moving target I was hoping she would at least hit one or two so as not to get frustrated. I carefully placed the bright orange disk on the thrower and held the string in anticipation of Amy giving me the signal for the throw. PULL! she yelled and soon the disk was zooming through the air anticipating a safe landing out in the freshly mowed grass. BANG! Amy pulled the trigger and to her delight the clay pigeon exploded, the result of expert instruction I am sure. "Son of a B*I*@H" I shouted not believing what I had seen. I was hoping she would hit some, but this would really put the pressure on me. I proceeded to throw more clays for her, and when she remembered to load a shell into the chamber she hit over half of the clays that I threw for her, otherwise her gun went click and she cussed and I laughed (at least 4 times). With this outing being a success Amy decided her next girls outing would be a clay pigeon shoot in our front yard. The girls came over, all packing heat, and commenced to shooting clay pigeons. I was fortunate enough to be the trap master, and enjoyed watching their hits and misses, while using this as an opportunity to train Finn with some retrieves around gunfire. By the time we were done the girls were shooting pretty good, and Finn was sitting steady to shot, until I would send him after a thrown retrieving dummy. Let this be a lesson to you when you come down next time. The real housewives of the OC all have guns and they know how to use them. Stay tuned as my next installment should include Amy's first teal/dove hunt.