A recent trip to local mountains resulted in A spotting the first of what turned out to be three nice cauliflower mushrooms:
Cauliflower shrooms have a slightly citrus-y scent and a firm texture and, despite it being a pain to clean the dirt and duff out of the various little curls and cavities, one of my very favorites of the wild edibles we know and are comfortable harvesting. While this example appears pretty brown, which might indicate age, it was firm and bug-free. Once home, we sliced, cleaned, and sauteed one of the heads in a bit of butter and then simmered it with a little water until tender, finishing with both spices, salt and pepper, then a squeeze of lemon juice. Nothing more required.
We also found a few oyster mushrooms and apparently missed a large fruiting by a few days or a week. Most of the oysters were dried out and leathery. Still enough for topping a pizza came our way. So, a few edibles, some of the first that we've come across in these recent drought years.
The oysters weren't the only mushrooms that we found past edibility, we're pretty sure this is one of several lobster mushrooms we came by that had turned soft and buggy:
"Lobster mushrooms" are actually a fungus which colonizes and converts existing mushrooms to a different form. Here you can see some of the structure of the original 'shroom under the lumps and thickening:
These weren't white and crisp, but rather brown and buggy. A few years ago, we had an excellent dish of rabbit and lobster mushrooms at Local 360. If we'd have found these guys in time, the rabbits would have had to look out- we might have tried to re-create it. Perhaps later or next year.
As a last note on recent observations in the higher, wetter country, does a bear sit in the woods?
Of course- in this case, just like a big dog. I've also seen them in the very human-like pose of sitting with their legs straight out in front of them.
By the way, "All that the Rain Promises and More" is the title of my favorite mushroom guide, a pocket book by David Aurora, who also wrote the seminal (but definitely not hip-pocket) "Mushrooms Demystified".