After my last blog I decided to try mushroom foraging myself. I used to go out years ago in Charleston, usually to no avail. So why not another adventure? Growing up in once-rural New Jersey I have had more than my share of poison ivy, poison oak, bee stings, ticks, and mosquito bites. None of these compare to what ya'll have down here.
I hopped on my motorcycle for a ride last Wednesday. After heading down Bluff Road I decided I would head to +++++++ Park in search of edible mushrooms. To my surprise the foraging was fruitful and I came across chanterelles, wood ears and a few coral varieties of mushrooms. The sun was high in the trees as I walked on twigs and pine needles looking for small clearings of oak where my prize would most likely be found. Life was good and I headed back to Columbia at dusk.
The next morning I woke to slightly itchy legs, feeling as if they had been feasted on by a few mosquitos overnight. As the day wore on I came to the realization that they might not be mosquitos. Chiggers! Though I have never had chigger bites before, I based this on the stories that I have heard over the years.
The next few days were not fun. I wanted to jump out of my skin and the thought of cutting off my legs crossed my mind. Basically, it entailed listening to wives' tales about chiggers and remedies for the itching. I also feared overdosing from the plethora of ointments, creams, nail polish, vitamins, and pills that were on my legs and flowing through my veins. Also, every time my wife looked at my legs she started gagging. Through sickness and health and straight to the couch for me.
After a day or so my forager walked in and I asked him the question, "what do I have to do?". His sage advice was "not to get bit by chiggers in the first place." I asked how long they would take to go away and he said, "one to two weeks." Well, shit.
If you do decide to go foraging, bring a mushroom book so you don't kill yourself eating something dangerous. And watch out for chiggers!
My girlfriend and I came in for dinner a few weeks ago and spoke with you afterwards. I have to thank you again for a great meal, and for sending me and Sarah home with two incredibly delicious gifts. We will definitely be back soon. Hope to see you then.