The Elusive Morel Mushroom

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  Here on the Cumberland Plateau the Morel mushrooms are sometimes referred to as  "Dryland Fish."

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   Morels can appear overnight and are a gift of the early spring woods. I have heard all my life an old saying that says when Oak tree leaves are the size of mouse ears it's time to look for Morels.

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    They can be very hard to spot even to the well trained eye! You have to really key in on what your looking for and it definitely gets a little easier with experience. I've had days when I've walked several miles and haven't found any at all and other days I feel as if I've hit the mother load!   Anyone who knows me knows this is my favorite time of year!

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  Morels are often found around certain types of trees depending on what area your from. So I definitely recommend learning the different types of trees if you want to become a seasoned mushroom hunter. Here on the Plateau I like to watch under fruit trees, Tulip Popular ,Cedar, White Pines, Sycamore, Hickory, and Ash trees just to name afew.

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  If your lucky enough to spot a Morel take note of what type of trees are nearby and the area because usually they will grow in the same general area year after year. 

   These mushrooms will not grow unless the soil and weather conditions are just right. A wet and warm Spring is generally a good sign of a great mushroom season. 

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   Usually the first Morels of the season tend to be darker and found on the Southward or South Westward slopes because in early Spring the ground in those areas usually seem to warm up faster. Soon to follow you will start finding them in other areas as well. The Morels in the later part of the season tend to be more yellow, white, and grey. The Morel mushroom season is very short usually only lasting 3 to 4 weeks.

 Some mushrooms are very toxic and afew can be fatal ! So I recommend being 100% sure you know what your doing when gathering any wild mushroom.                                      Even with Morels there is a False Morel that is very toxic and to the untrained eye can be very misleading.       (So be very careful and learn how to tell the difference!!! "

NEVER eat any mushroom that you aren't 100% sure is safe!

                   ~Backwoods Adventures~                  

 

 

February's Snow Moon

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This year we had a special event take place in the night sky on Feb.10 ! We just had an amazing Full Moon called the Snow Moon but at the same time we had a Lunar Eclipse and also had a Comet passing by.  

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  This months Full Moon was named the Snow Moon many years ago because this is the month we usually get our heaviest snow. 

  Some of the Native American tribes also referred to this Moon as the Hunger Moon because it was a very hard month for the Native Americans due to the fact hunting for game becomes difficult  because of heavy snowfall that is often on the ground.

         

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Hiking along the path that my Great Grandfather C.D. Phillips traveled so many times.

   This hiking trip I was honored to have the chance to follow the footsteps of some of my ancestors.

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I visited the spring that my Great Grandfather C.D. Phillips (born June 1st 1866) used to drink from and carry water from to his home. Later my grandfather Ethridge Phillips used this same  spring and once my dad  Earnel Phillips was old enough one of his chores was to carry water from this spring to their home and also lead the milk cow and  horses to an area to the right of the spring that was used to water the stock a safe distance away from the family's drinking water supply. 

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     Near this spring is also an area where they would collect clay to use for several projects. This clay is so white that they would often use it to make a white wash to paint the walls inside their home. 

   If your out hiking and run across a very old homesite here on the Cumberland Plateau chances are if you look close you will find a spring nearby. Often these springs are contaminated today. But years ago these springs would often determine where a family would decide to settle and build their home. They were prized and taken very good care of and cleaned out often to keep from getting clogged up. Now a lot of them no longer flow water above ground or are unsafe to drink from. It was nice to see this one is still there and flowing fresh cool clear water!

( I do not recommend drinking from any spring or water source today without filtering it or boiling it unless you know forsure the water is pure, clean and safe.)

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My Great Grandfather CD Phillips       My Grandfather Ethridge Phillips and barely visible my Great Uncle Erbin Phillips.

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My Grandfather and Grandmother Ethridge and Winnie Phillips and 3 of their  children including my Dad  Earnel Phillips, my Aunt Maxine and Uncle Robert.

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