Archive for September 18th, 2016

Mt. Willard

Even though Fall colors won’t be at their peak for another 3 weeks, we decided to hike to the top of Mt. Willard, which has a panoramic view of Crawford Notch on the New Hampshire side of the White Mountains.

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The climb is labeled “moderate.”  At 1.6 miles each way, it only take a little more than an hour to reach the top if you are in average condition, and is certainly suitable for families with small children.  The hike can really be divided into thirds:  the first third the grade is moderately steep; the second third the grade is gentle, with lots of rocks; and the third and final stage (just when the kids will start complaining) suddenly becomes nearly level and very easy.  The granite viewing ledge is expansive, as is the magnificent view.  You can see the train tracks reaching far into Crawford Notch that are serviced by the Conway Scenic Railroad, and perhaps the Willey House far into the distance if the day is really clear. The Willeys were a homesteading family that met a tragic end in 1826.  You can read about it here

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After the hike, our pup Truman was quite tired out.  He fell asleep on the way home while sticking his head out of our car’s window, his ears blowing wildly in the breeze.

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Chicken of the Woods

Today at dusk my husband and I went for a walk.  It’s the same walk we do every single day with our dog, a routine 2 mile loop on our road that takes us to Evergreen Valley and back home.  Easy, pleasant, and scenic, it first follows the huge bog known as Little Pond and then passes an old abandoned golf course, a spring house, and two streams.  We grabbed a couple of succulent apples growing from abandoned trees along the road.  And then I stopped.  “Look! up on the oak tree!”

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There on the trunk of the oak, about 6′ up from the base, was a large deep golden mushroom. It looked like a cross between a cauliflower and a human brain. “I think that might be edible!” I cried.  “Let’s cut it off!”  So using a branch from the ground, we sawed off the mushroom from the tree, and carefully brought it home. It weighed about 1.25 lbs.

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I know nothing about mushrooms, and obviously one must be very careful about eating them until you can be sure of their identity, lest they be poisonous and possibly fatal.  Fortunately there is a Facebook group called Maine Mushrooms where you can submit photos, and many people in the group have the expertise necessary to identify hundreds of types of mushrooms.

“Chicken of the Woods!” people wrote.  “Score!”  “One of the most delicious mushrooms out there!”  “Enjoy!” “Good find!”

I promptly sliced it, seasoned it, and sauteed it in a cast iron pan.  The verdict:  possibly the tastiest mushroom I’ve ever eaten!  It had the texture of tender chicken, and the taste was very light and delicate, kind of a cross between chicken and mushroom.

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It was really a thrill for me to find it and then be able to harvest it and eat it.  Thank you God for providing us with such a wonderful food!

How I love the Maine woods!

P.s. if you don’t see any new blog posts within the next month, assume I was mistaken about identifying this mushroom correctly and that you are ready my final blog entry like… forever 😉