Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Morel Mushrooms and Deer Ticks

Morel Mushrooms
Tis the season for hunting these delicious bits of fungus in places where the dead elms lay....and then boastfully returning to town with an "I've got a secret" attitude.

Not so with two young "shoomers" who shared their discovery with us day before yesterday.  Hubby and the fuzzy one were out in our yard when a pickup stopped at the sidewalk.  A young couple, who live down the street from us, asked if we like morels.  Knowing his wife would probably pee in her pants to get some, hubby said sure.  He came walking in the house holding his baseball cap plump full of these 'shooms.

My family hunted morels in our farm timber every spring, and the way we liked fixing them best was with scrambled eggs.  It was our house rule to clean and boil them before frying.  Daddy insisted we boil the grit out of their honeycomb tops before putting them on the table.

That reminds me of eating pheasants and squirrels when we were kids.  We were warned to watch out for BB's so we wouldn't bite into one and break off a tooth.  Eating food from the wild has its perils and precautions... another one is taking care not to get a fish bone stuck in one's throat.  We kept slices of bread on the table when we ate fish, just in case one of us did.  The bread, when swallowed, was the best way to dislodge a bone.

Hubby cooked his capful of morels to perfection, scrambling them in eggs just for me.  The capful shrunk down to a fraction in size, but I shut my eyes and made the most of their distinctive taste.  It's that business of less is more.

What a thoughtful gesture for a young couple to share their woodsy adventure with us, an older couple, who probably won't be tromping through the woods anymore looking for the morels.  The amount of deer ticks in the woods this year is probably the main reason we don't care to go.  In fact, hubby noticed a deer tick crawling on the guy's shirt collar.  My guess that is that if there was one tick on him, there were more frantically looking for a fleshy place to attach.

Deer Tick
It's that darned Lyme Disease that deer ticks spread.  The disease is named for a town in Connecticut named Lyme.  In 1975, an outbreak of juvenile arthritis cases was discovered to be caused by a tick-born infection.  Deer ticks are about the size of a sesame seed, and their back ends are a reddish color and their legs blackish.  They feed on the blood of white-tailed deer, and that's why they're called deer ticks.

Early symptoms of Lyme disease are so much like the flu, it's hard to recognize.  Usually the first clue is a slow-spreading bull's-eye-type rash where the tick attached.  If not treated with antibiotics, other health problems can develop....like facial paralysis, sore joints, really bad headaches, heart palpitations, and other neurological changes and disorders.  In other words, it's nasty.

We're very watchful that the fuzzy one doesn't pick up any kind of tick.  We pet owners must use tick prevention and tick-killing products to keep our little sweethearts healthy.  They are completely defenseless in these matters without our help.  It's that business of do unto others.