"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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Mushroom Season Advances
Copyright © 2009 by Bill Scifres

The weekend rain -- even the snow (up to an inch being touted) -- will do much to advance the mushroom season. First find was reported last week at Spencer, the perennial first-finder.

So what is likely to happen now?

Extended temperatures do not appear to be real conducive to bumper crops of morels, but don’t let that keep you out of the mushroom woods. I have found morels under those air temperatures -- even with snow on the ground.

At this stage of the morel season, I opt for southern exposed wooded hillsides, especially those that have a woven wire fence. The mushrooms I find in such places often are the little grays that sport the up-and-down ridges rather than the pitted caps.

As a matter of fact, I have found them as semi-libras (the stem joining the cap at about the middle of the cap.

A little later (only a few days if the temps improve) we will find the little grays that come in patches, then some small blacks (they may fruit earlier).

Good moisture tends to promote the development of the micellium, which stays moist longer under the foliage of the year before and other components of humus. Wind dries the top surface of humus, but down below there is good moisture for more than a week.

So even though leaf cover crackles, and appears dry, there still can be good moisture at the point where humus and earth meet.

DON FOLTZ DIES -- Don Foltz, former director of the Department of Comservation, who hired the first non-political director of the then, Division of Fish and Game (Woody Fleming), died over the weekend. His funeral will be Friday at Clinton.

Although Don is known for surrounding himself with people who knew of which they spoke, and telling them he would seek their advice on matters . . . that their advice had better be right . . . one of his best scenarios unraveled as he was interviewing Woody Fleming for the Fish and Game job.

To test the late Fleming, Foltz told him that two good Dems wanted to manage a game farm. The Department at that time boasted the biggest and best game farms in the world. Which one should he hire?

Fleming batted not an eye, nor did he hesitate with his answer.

Neither! Said Fleming . . . game farms operations are like pouring money down a rat hole . . . he said . . . adding that if Foltz wouldn’t let him close the game farm system, he would not take the job.

The rest is history. Fleming closed the game farm system. That part of the program was to be changed to education.

Several directors of the Department of Natural Resources have since made gestures in that direction. The need is still there.

CANNING BLUEGILLS -- A reader questions canning bluegills. He says my system (see http://bayoubill.com) does not completely cook up bones in pint jars. Could be they weren’t cooked long enough in pressure cooker, or smaller jars. Be sure cooker does not cook up water and that weight on cooker outlet jiggles to indicate presence of steam.

All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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