May 5, 2007 - Gulling Morel Mushroom Hunt
Early in May, Ed and Colleen Gulling asked Meg and me to join their annual Morel Mushroom Hunt on their farm. The farm is located near Savannah, IL, near the Mississippi River. As you can see from the photos, it's quite a beautiful spot.

They invite some friends, relatives, and members of Ed's practice. This is a selection (about one third) of the pictures I took. As usual, I try to keep the number of "posed" shots to a minimum.

They set up a tent and tables to make the event rather picnic-like, but you can see that this mushroom hunting is SERIOUS business! The entire group was totally focused on this solitary goal. Concentration wasn't broken for even one moment. Maybe I'm thinking of a different event.

You can see Ed drive his "Deere with a beer". They hooked up the wagon, let the younger crowd help load on some hay bales, and we set off for the woods in search of the stealthy Morel Mushroom. Actually, the most difficult part was making our way through the brambles. Of course the next challenge included the fact that few of us had any idea of what exactly we were seeking, other than it was something that looked like a mushroom.

There were no mushroom-shaped creatures jumping up and down, waving tiny arms, and screaming "pick me, pick me", so with steel-like determination we move on to the next whim. That consisted of driving around in the hay wagon until we came across one of Ed's deer blinds. Ed didn't object too strenuously when the boys asked to climb up, so up we went. It's only about 4 x 8 with a 1 foot wide bench and a trap door in the floor, so we had to trudge up in shifts. The boys had fun, though.

Once we got back from the hay ride, Ed drove the boys back out in his ATV, which he says isn't really an ATV. Okay. Some of us took a walk while one of the little people pretended to drive the tractor.

When Ed and the boys got back with some actual Morel mushrooms, proving that they did exist, I went back out with them (in the non-ATV). I got a few photos of the Morels "in-the-wild", so to speak, and a few more of the boys proudly picking them. This time we brought back several pounds of mushrooms, nearly filling a plastic grocery bag with them.

Shortly after we returned, the next expedition took off in the non-ATV, although I think they were more interested in just driving around than doing any intense exploring for fungi. While they were bounding off, Ed let the boys raise and lower the hydraulic bucket on the tractor. This may have been the first time they controlled that level of hydraulic power. I think they liked it! Once the "surfin' safari" returned, the day started to wind down, so we headed to the car for the long ride home.

One of the more disgusting sights was our viewing of a coyote which had been dead for a month or so. Of course I couldn't pass up a photo-op like that. The boys thought it was pretty cool, as did I. If you're going to be grossed out, however, don't click on the box at left!