The Hills Are Alive…

Alien invaders: Earth Life-form or Vogon BioProbe?

…with the spores of mushrooms.

I’ll be heading out after sun-up (the local sun-up when it peaks over our ridge about 9 am) for Fungus Glamor Shots. And maybe some foraging for edibles.

Some of the amanitas that arise from ornate beginnings like the one you see here will go on to grow almost a foot tall and about that wide across the caps.

There are hundreds of chanterelles, but the bright orange-red ones, which while edible, are apparently nothing to write home about, more to be added to an egg dish for the color than the taste. They are showy, though, speckling the drab slope with an uncommonly brilliant accent of red.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Ah, chanterelles! I squandered my opportunity to spread their spores on my land several years ago, when a friend gave some to me. They were so exquisitely delicious, I cooked and consumed all of them. I guess they can be purchased somehow, someway…. I hope. I would love to have chanterelles growing in my forest wonderland.

  2. After doing some research, I discovered that farmers have not yet been able to grow chanterelles, as they have other species of mushrooms. Lots of fungi have a symbiotic relationship with living trees but it appears that chanterelles have one that has resisted deciphering! I’d hazard a guess that the only way to “grow” chanterelles would be to get some and then spread their spores in places they would be likely to thrive. It might take a number of years before any mushrooms appear, but it might be worth the effort. I need to read Paul Stamets’ book, which I finally bought.

  3. I read the 2009 mushroon entries you linked us to, and saw mention of your intent to frame some mushrooms, and get some of your work on your bare walls. Well, is some of your work up on your walls this year?? I wish we still had a bare wall to hang some more recent photos, but every inch is already covered from past years. Your bare walls are a resource to be used! Enjoy your photos! Others might, too.