It’s the middle of November and I can’t remember the last time it rained. Ironically, I think it was last summer. Our normally dry summer had more rain than our normally less dry Autumn. In Northern California, our hills are still dead-grass brown. Normally I’d say the horizon is covered in a carpet of gold velvet. Yet this year, I’m a little disgruntled with the brown horizon caused by the lack of rain. I know, I know. I should appreciate every moment of our gloriously perfect blue sky. And most days I do, honestly. However, this dry weather isn’t great when you’re looking for mushrooms. And at the start of “mushroom season,” that’s a bummer.
The only mushroom I’ve found is Pisolithus arhizus, aka the dyer’s puffball, aka the mushroom that resembles dog poop, aka the mushroom that explodes like a bomb when your kid stomps on it.
This past weekend we took a family hike into the woods to look for mushrooms. (I look for mushrooms, the kids just run with pointy sticks.)
As we hike through meadowland, on another perfect not-a-wisp-of-cloud-in-the-sky day, I watch my son stomp on something, followed by a big brown cloud.
Son: MOM! Look what happens when I stomp on this! (POOF)
Me: What are you…wait! Stop! That’s a mush–
Son: STOMP, STOMP, STOMP. (POOF POOF POOF)
Me: Stop Stomp– (POOF)
Me: That’s a mushroom I want! Don’t breathe in the brown stuff! Wait – Stop! I said STOP- STOMP! (POOF!!!)
By the time I’ve reached him, to physically stop him, I see a massive Pisolithus now squashed into a massive, powdery, brown, mess.
Me: Listen up kids – if you see that again – DON’T YOU DARE STOMP ON IT. That’s a dye mushroom. A DYE MUSHROOM.
Daughter: Don’t worry Mom, I saw another one on the trail.
Son: Yeah, but, um… Mom? I squashed that one, too. Did you know that mushrooms make awesome brown explosions?