April and May- showers & flowers

The spring blooms are orchestrated in sequence, some enduring hard frosts, others blowing away with the wind. I love seeing everything bloom around our place and in the mountains.

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From the service berry & syringa, to all the different fruit trees, the violas, larkspur, crocus, camas root, and lilacs. The buttercups, balsam root, lupine, paintbrush, and shooting stars.

IMGP4588I love flowers. I love seeing them in the fields, the mountains, my garden, and in a vase on the table.

Mother's Day special bouquet

Mother’s Day special bouquet

Bring on the showers if it means more flowers. We had such a dry April and didn’t get rain until mid-May. The lawn was getting crispy and plants in the garden were wilting without regular hand-watering.

Spring storm on the horizon

Spring storm on the horizon

Finally, the rains came, and they’re still here. We are finally getting enough rain to green up the hillsides, freshen the flowers and bring that amazing smell of rain.  The last week has been the perfect blend of rain and sunshine.

Killgore's Orchard in White Bird

Killgore’s Orchard in White Bird

Enjoy the smell and view of flowers wherever you travel this spring and early summer. Take the time to stop and enjoy their beauty.

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Maybe pick a bouquet for your someone special.

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Riggins Rodeo & Morels!

The month of May starts out with the Riggins Rodeo, one of the first in the state. My family and friends have been camping at rodeo time for over 30 years. We all come out of winter hiding and gather for a few days of spring enjoyment. Riggins RodeoWe are now into the second generation, and this tradition is rich and vibrant with life. It’s the new generation that makes us realize that it’s important to take the time to enjoy the riches that life has to offer. The time away from work and time with family and friends; these are the good times to relish.

IMGP3878May is always so busy in the garden, yard & sun room, but it’s also the moth to make time to spend with family and friends before we all get swept away with summer. This is my favorite month to get out in the mountains for hiking and morel hunting.

IMGP0769We love to get out and wander around in the woods looking for morels. It’s like being a kid on a treasure hunt. When all the elements are just right, it’s as if you can hear the mushrooms popping out of the ground. This is one of those years.

IMGP4471The best part about morel hunting is the slow pace. Like most hunting adventures, if you’re going too fast, you’re probably missing out. Slow down and stop to smell the flowers.

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Coralroot Striped Orchid

Here are a few morel hunting tips:

  • Find the right location- partially north facing aspects with the right adjacent community- fir trees, heart leaf arnica, trillium, glacier lily, huckleberry bushes, calypso orchid (fairy slippers), striped coralroot orchid, etc…
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Clematis

  • Harvest responsibly- Never pick the whole mushroom, cut just below the cap & leave the base in the ground (I use my fingernail, some us a small knife). Tap the mushroom before picking & shake in your hand in an effort to release the spores & ensure future growth.

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  • Leave the old and the very young. Only pick mushrooms in their prime. Leave the older ones that are releasing their spores, buggy or starting to slime back into the soil. Let the little ones live on. It’s not necessary to harvest every mushroom in the forest, pick the best sensibly & let the rest go.

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  • Use a basket for your harvest. This allows the spores to drop through as you walk, gives the moist specimen plenty of air, and doesn’t crush them as you build up your basket full. Avoid bags if possible, especially plastic. Morels are delicate, handle with care.

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  • Morels like hidey-holes where they are protected- old stump holes, around fallen logs, at the drip line of firs, etc… Take that extra step and peer over the logs and into the depressions in the earth.

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  • Most of all, have fun finding your own special hunting grounds and take your special friends and family to enjoy. Keep your sacred hunting grounds to a select few, though. This is just how it is. Everyone should get out and discover their own special place and relish the feeling of self discovery & successful harvest. It takes time, but this feeling reaches deep into the heart & soul. It is worth it!
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From here the morels are separated for drying

  • We don’t wash our harvest unless absolutely necessary. There shouldn’t bee too many bugs if they are fresh & no dirt if the stems are cut properly. If there are any dirt or bugs, they will fall out when they dry. Set the mushrooms out to dry on trays- don’t let them touch & give them plenty of air flow. Any that are in need of quick drying, place them on a dehydrator and cut in half if necessary. You can place in a paper bag after dry and shake to remove any additional debris, if needed. Store only the most perfect morels together. Any others store separately.
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An all Idaho harvested meal- Elk burgers, morels & young onions.