BY SAM VAN CAMP
The mushrooms are up and good finds are being reported. There have been a few perfect days this week and with all the water in the soil; the time for big yellow sponge mushrooms is at hand.
Actually this cool, rainy weather predicted through the weekend could be just the right thing for keeping them fresh while bring up more mushrooms once it warms up again.
I’ve come to expect the unexpected when mushroom hunting. What is considered prime mushroom ground is normally good but you might just find them anywhere. The biggest gray sponge mushroom I’ve ever found was found in a mulch bed. I once found a nice mess of yellow sponge while working a metal detector under a big oak tree. You just don’t know where they will show up.
Sometimes you don’t have to go any farther than your own backyard. I’ve talked with many people who have found large bunches of mushrooms in their yard, but if you fertilize, don’t expect to find many as the chemicals won’t allow for much mushroom growth.
This time of the year is a good time to get poison ivy while mushroom hunting or fishing from the bank; it is also a good time to get chiggers. There are some great pictures of poison ivy on the internet today and that may be the best way to identify it if you don’t know it.
Poison ivy will have three leaves and a woody stem; many times creeping up the side of trees. The larger the plant, the more you may be affected by its oils. When you get home take a good soapy shower especially washing your arms and legs along with your face and neck several times. Never wear the same clothes until they have been washed.
The best thing I’ve ever found for chiggers is Chigarid. When I apply a drop of this stuff on a chigger bite, the next day I don’t even know I had one.
The hummingbirds are late coming back this year. I’m sure the warm weather will bring them back shortly if not already. I’ve only talked with one person who has seen them so far this year. I hope you have your feeders out.
We are now in the 4th of five turkey hunting seasons. The turkey hunting season runs through May 16th in our zone so keep that in mind while trying to mushroom hunt on state properties which are closed to mushroom hunting until 1 p.m.
Sam Van Camp writes about the outdoors on Fridays and Sundays. Call him at 662-6559. Fax: 446-6648. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org