Monday, November 8, 2010

The thrill of the hunt

Last weekend I took lil' Fantaboulous out to her grandparents house. Her Grandparents live between Eugene and the coast, on fifteen acres of land right on the side of a busy highway. The reason I brought her out was the mighty Oregon Chantrelle.

The Chantrelle is quite common on Grandpa Awesomecool's land and easy to identify. It is also really fun to find, its like an Easter Egg hunt for adults. Even mini-Fantaboulous likes to go looking for the tasty shroom, even though if a mushroom is in the same room as her dinner, she wont touch it.

We hiked up into the great wooded mountains where the feisty orange fungus lurked and began to hunt. The Grandparents had marked out some areas of the mountain on a previous expedition of where the had found "loads of Chantrelles, more than we could pick." We found the taped area and began to look around, after about fifteen minutes, I had found two mushrooms.

"They are right over this ridge." They kept saying. We kept hiking and hiking, and nary a mushroom was to be found. The grandparents kept making excuses and saying "They were here last time..."

I finally found a small patch poking out of some loose pine needles and began to gather, I called lil' Fantaboulous over so she could participate, but before she could get there Grandpa Awesomcool pounced on them like a fat kid on a cupcake, and grabs everyone in sight.

I broke away from my parents with lil' Fantabulous to see if we could find some without my mushroom hungry parents grabbing them all. I found another patch of mushrooms and let my 13 year old began picking them in earnest.

Then my parents little mutt of a dog, runs over to us. The thing looks like a doberman crossed with a pitbull, but is the size of a tea cup poodle. The thing acts like a five year old who has been freebaseing pixie sticks. It begins to jump all over us, trying to lick our faces, while manically and precisely stomping on every single chantrelle in the immediate area. So I grab the little bitch(because that is what she is) and toss her into the bushes. She bolts back out and plays "steamroller" on the few remaining mushrooms.

A little while later I find another patch of shrooms and give lil' Fantabulous a third chance to gather. However, she began moving around like a butterfly with ADD, picking up every mushroom that was distinctly not Chantrelles.

"Dad! Come over here! Look at this one! Have you seen one like this before?"

I walk over and look. "Yeah, I have seen those ones, pick the Chantrelles honey."

"Dad!Come over here! Did you see this one before? It looks like a boob!"

I walk back over. "Yeah, that's great Honey, I have never seen those before. Lets just pick the chantrelles though. OK?"

"Dad! Dad! Dad! Come over here, quick!"

"Why? Did you find another weird looking mushroom? Because I am only interested in Edible mushrooms. Don't call me over unless you find some chantrelles."

"No, Dad, come over here! Its important, come here!"

So I march back through the wet brush. "What is it?"

"Look at this bug!"

I sent lil' Fantabulous to go pick mushrooms with her grandmother, and went off with Grandpa Awesomecool. I tried to stay at least 50 feet from my dad, to prevent him from poaching all the shrooms I would find. We kept finding small patches, while wandering farther and farther from Grandama and lil' Fantabulous. After about 30 minutes Grandpa gets a call on his cell phone saying that they had found "A huge patch of mushrooms" and that we "Should come back right away!" to pick them. So my dad says that we should wander back the way we came.

I kept telling him "they are going to be finished by the time we get there!" But dad insists on heading back, and so we go. After stopping for a few small patches that Dad missed on the way, we finally hike all the way back to where we started.

"We finished picking them all, there actually weren't that many after all." Says Grandma Awesomecool.

"I found a pretty rock!" Says lil' Fantabulous.

Then the rain came down in typical Oregon fashion, in sheets and sideways.

"Well...That's enough of that, lets get the fuck out of here." Says I, and we do.


  1. Though my co-workers are not nearly as excited that I have resumed laughing out loud randomly through the day, I am happy you have returned. Even if it's temporary.

  2. Its hard to think of things to write about now, I have less adventures in the US.