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Farm Tales

My adventures in farming (good and bad.. lol)

Farm Tales
Firstly, let me tell you a little about myself. My name’s Kari and I am an import. What’s an import you say? It means that I either am from another country or the city. In my case it’s the city. Being a city girl, I had very little knowledge of farming or farm ways, so I have been flying by the seat of my pants.

I used to spend my summer holidays at my grandmother's farm, but it was only 10 acres and what is called a hobby farm. There were chickens, a dog, and a big garden. My uncle Mike who lived there was a confirmed bachelor and had a berry business, dealing in strawberries and raspberries. My brother Wayne and I used to help pick them, but ended up eating more than we put into the baskets. We would eat them until we were about to explode, only then would we put some in the baskets, but only until we had enough room for more in our stomachs. We were not very useful, but we had fun.

My grandmother taught me how to pick wild mushrooms, and it remains a passion of mine to this day. My brother and I made some good memories back in those days, some of which I will probably get around to telling.

Years later I remember driving home from a friend's and seeing some kind of big machine in a field, making a lot of dust. I thought to myself, ‘What the hell is he doing out there, at this time of night?’ I shook my head, but later found that he was combining and that it was harvest time.

Anyway, I got married and moved to a real working farm. Let me tell you about some of my experiences.

Mushroom Fever

My grandmother taught me how to identify at least eight different kinds of wild mushrooms. I guess that she was either a very good teacher or I must have been a very good student, since I haven't poisoned anyone or myself yet.

This particular story is about honey mushrooms, which grow in the fall, around September. A few years ago, I went to our other farm -which is about 7 miles away from the home farm - and thought to have a look see if the conditions were right for the mushrooms to show themselves. The last few years had not been ideal for them, so I had my doubts about that year as well. I came prepared anyway, equipped with a basket and a box to put anything I was lucky
enough to find in. My hubby Ed, had come along to look at whether the crops were getting ready to harvest. Ed has a great eye for spotting mushrooms, I have trained him well.

As I entered the small area that was known to have the honeys in past years, I spotted a few and as I went further, there were even more. I kept saying,"Ed... Oh my God! Look! There is more...and… Oh my God! Over there... " I got so excited that he started to laugh at me.

I soon filled my basket and as Ed went to empty it into the box in the truck, I thought, "I have to phone Mom...she has to see this." It happens to be her favorite mushroom. By that time, Ed had come back and we continued to fill our containers. I told Ed that we needed to get back home so I could call my Mom...to come out there and help me with them.

When we got back home, rushed to the phone and called Mom.

"You have to come out here now... I have found The Mother Lode." I said.

"What are you talking about?" She asked.

I told her all about the mushrooms and how many there were, and that I needed her help. She agreed to be out there the following morning. Mom lives about 360 km away, so that should give you an idea of how we feel about wild mushrooms.

She arrived the next morning and we drove out to the other farm with Ed in tow. The first thing Mom said as we walked into the area was... wait for it… "Oh my God! Look at these mushrooms!"

Ed started to laugh again. "Like mother like daughter."

So we spent the next few hours filling our many containers saying "Oh my God!"...a lot, but that was only the beginning. When we got back home there was the task of preparing them. These were the kind that you have to clean, then boil for 20 minutes, rinse them, put them in fresh water and boil them yet again. Only after all that work are they ready. You can then fry them or just freeze them for later.

After all our hard work we were able to sit down to a feast of fried mushrooms and onions. Ahhhh! Now that was a little bit of heaven. Mom went home with her share of her favorite mushrooms.

Lucky for me, there are different kinds of wild mushrooms from early spring, like the famous morels, puffballs, lobster (my personal favorite), bolets, ceps, parasol, meadow mushrooms, oyster, and of course the honey at the end of the summer. There are lots more but I like to keep to the ones I know.

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