Mail Call: Letters to the Editor in our November/December 2018 Issue

Readers’ letters to the editors with stories of mushroom hunting, home improvements, growing watermelons, and more.

  • david and friends with pile of mushrooms
    David and his buddies brought home almost 60 pounds of morels from one hunt.
    Photo by David Burks
  • Bees on a flower in Israel
    Judy snapped this photo of a bee on her visit to Israel.
    Photo by Judy Welk Rader
  • innovative railing for a home
    When her father needed a railing for his home, Nancy got creative and helped build this innovative railing.
    Photo by Nancy Konopka
  • watermelons growing from scraps
    Over a dozen watermelon grew in Grider's yard after he threw away some watermelon scraps.
    Photo by Grider Denney
  • trial of raising backyard chickens
    Carol's self-built chicken coop that became a chicken playground, leading to some perfectly shaped eggs.
    Photo by Carol Tanner

  • david and friends with pile of mushrooms
  • Bees on a flower in Israel
  • innovative railing for a home
  • watermelons growing from scraps
  • trial of raising backyard chickens

A Taste for Adventure

My infatuation with mushrooms began when I was teenager ("Finding Morel Mushrooms," March/April 2018). A local farmer shared some of his mushrooms with us after a hunting excursion, and it was love at first taste. I didn't know it then, but that was when the elm blight was hitting hard in our state. Though the blight was deadly to the elms, the trees became beacons to the avid mushroom hunter. Most agree that when one is hunting morels, a great place to look is around dead elms.

When my buddies came home from Vietnam in 1973, we decided we needed to cut loose and hit the woods in search of those delicious morels. Since it was a little late for mushrooms in our area, we decided we would head to Michigan to a locale we now refer to as our "Private Patch." We headed out on our adventure in a camper truck, ready for the hunt.

At the end of our adventure, we had a whopping 58 pounds of morel mushrooms in our possession. This was after we fried up multiple batches to snack on during our extensive hunt. With both our stomachs and our coolers packed to the brim, we headed home.

My mom knew how to store morels long-term, so she cooked and froze my share. We ate them on and off that year, but the best meal was when we cooked up a huge batch for Christmas. That meal remains one of the best Christmas dinners I've ever had.

For the next few years, my wife and I, along with another couple, went back north to hunt the morels, and though we found plenty to eat, we were never blessed with such a find as what this picture shows.

David Burks
Thorntown, Indiana

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