There are key calendar markers that announce where we are in the outdoor year. In the fall, the first freeze signals the end of the ginseng hunting season and that the white-tailed rut is close. For me, a thundering gobble from a tom turkey always signals the start of the spring season and the popping of morel mushrooms means the end of spring is near. So far this spring, I have heard a lot of gobbling toms but to date, I haven‘t had much luck finding “springtime gold.”

For the last couple of weeks I have been making a “milk run” of sorts hitting up my mushroom spots. Morel mushrooms tend to not wait for me but rather adhere to their schedule. All that means is that it is very frustrating to look in a spot one day, not find any, and return two days later to find mushrooms that are past their prime.

Yesterday on my ‘shroom route my luck went in another, much better direction. The first morel that I found was a big one. When cut in half I knew that the mushroom would take up almost half of my cast iron skillet. It was a dandy and it wouldn’t take many like that to fill my pan or stomach if they were all that big.

I slipped around the woods keeping an eye on the ground but also looking up to make sure that I was hitting all the likely elm trees. A few minutes and 50 yards later I found two more jumbos. My luck was changing quickly. Even though I only had three mushrooms, they were all huge and I knew even if I didn’t find any more I would at least get one ‘shroom meal before the end of the season.

I started to work back to the truck and managed to find a few more. I could head home with enough to fry up. Just thinking about them sizzling in butter I could see, hear and smell the entire scene playing out in my garage. Usually when I cook in the garage I tend to keep the overhead door open. Given that I only had a few mushrooms, I couldn’t chance one of my cronies stopping in and having to split my good fortune.

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When I got home I enjoyed a great meal of morel mushrooms for an appetizer, mushrooms for the main course, and mushrooms for dessert. I know, pretty fancy right?

I could probably go for one more meal or two of mushrooms but the calendar says it’s time to move on to the next season. On the other hand, mushrooms AND crappies sounds pretty good.