Friday, June 17, 2011

Morel Mushrooms....maybe better than Huckleberries

We have had an extremely WET spring but there are always good things that come out of adversity if you take the right attitude.  The excessive moisture has brought an abundance of mushrooms in the area hillsides.  I have never been mushroom picking, although my Dad and brother were always going out and spotting those yummy morsels.  A new young friend showed up with 8 and 1/2 pounds of morel mushrooms and my taste buds were salivating like mad when I saw them. 

After questioning him for every bit of information we could get, we THOUGHT we knew just exactly where to go to find these wonderful delicacies.  My son who is an avid huckleberry picker, to the point that we have nicknamed him the "Huckleberry Hounddog" arrived from Seattle and he and I set out to stake our claim.

Heading up Shay Hill, I now know why the Subaru Forrester has won the hearts of many who dare to go where others cannot or wouldn't even venture to go.  It was like a little tank crossing all those washed out ravines.  I was really impressed and it got us to the top of the mountain. 

I hate to admit it but we kind of got "skunked" when it comes to the volume of mushrooms picked but we really hit the jackpot when it comes to scenery.  The views atop the hill were outstanding, could even see for about 30 miles of the Coeur d'Alene Lake.  The spring flowers were abundant, fresh air never been fresher and it was just great to get out into the beauty area. 

Although we did not come back with many morels, we arrived home with a whole new appreciation of mushrooms as we had spotted over 8 other varieties and had no idea of they would be delicious or death!  Thus, onto the computer to study mushrooms, found a book at my Mom's house about the differant varieties and best yet, found out that there is a Mushroom organization in Spokane, WA that offers monthly meetings and field trips.  Guess where we will be going in the fall? ? ?  Life is just one big learning experience after another.

Natural Beauty- Obnoxious Weeds-or Land of OZ -- You Decide

Each season brings new beauty to the area but I think that spring is by far the prettiest in this area.  We have a huge field right across the road from our home and it brings so much joy each time I look out a window or walk out the door.  Many times the view is of 20 to 50 deer grazing in the fields, or a fresh blanket of white snow, but in the spring we are fortunate enough to get "wild lupin".  I absolutely love gazing at all the purple and lavender flowers and am amazed to hear complaints about how we need to get rid of these obnoxious weeds.  Obnoxious weeds, I think they are a sight for sore eyes after the long winter! 

Even better yet is to take the dogs and grandkids for a walk in these magnificent fields.  The dogs enjoy running through the stuff while the kids enjoy picking to their hearts content.

If I were to try to grow these in my yard they would most likely not do a thing, yet left alone for Mother Nature to tend to them....they flourish.  I always feel like "Dorothy" heading to the city of OZ.  JayJay may not look like Toto, nor I like Dorothy but it is still magical.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Runners invade St.Maries for St. Joe River Marathon

Race day has finally arrived and close to 400 runners laced up their running shoes to participate in the inaugural run of the St. Joe River Marathon on June 12.  The majority of the runners are from out of town.  The event chairman, Jesse Baker was quoted saying "It's great to be able to put on a race for the locals, but we want to bring people into our area to see how great our town is."

Organizers of the race were excited with the response to the race, this being the first year and only about 100 runners were expected to take part.  He said he believes it's the area and nature of the race attracting runners.  "Runners want to experience something new and the beautiful area is also a driving factor."

One such runner is Kjell Schioberg who has run more than 60 marathons in his life.  Yet, when he runs the St. Joe River Marathon he'll be running on gravel for the first time.   Mr. Schioberg was born and raised in Hamburg, Germany and recently joined the staff at the Tribal Wellness Center in nearby Plummer.  He ran in the Ironman professionally for four years along with racing in South Korea, China, Malaysia, Japan,
Canada, Austria, Germany and Singapore.  "They were all exotic places," Mr. Schioberg said. 

The St. Joe River Marathon will be his third marathon in four weeks.  "It's all new.  I've heard it's a beautiful course.  It's right next to the river.  I don't listen to music when I run because I just like to be out in nature and be with myself," he said.  Well, the St. Joe River is one of the most beautiful places to be so he will surely enjoy himself.  With many more participants than expected, it gives this event planning committee something to think about for the future.