If you live anywhere in or near the Canadian Maritimes, then you are aware that PEI just got a HECKLOAD of rain. Heavy, sideways rain. It would let up to a faint mist at times only to return to a level of torrential downpour a short while later. Floods, leaks, new ponds in people’s yards… Oh the joys…
I wish I’d had my camera with me yesterday. It was the first beautiful day in a while, so the homeschooled boys & their 3yo sister and I headed into the woods to see what wild mushrooms we could harvest. Since we arrived on PEI seven years ago, we have always taken a short cut through the woods to Confederation Trail that from what I gather has been maintained by people in the area since god knows when. There are two bridges going over streams, and a rope and wooden railing for people to hold onto so as not to slip on moist soil or over roots when hiking uphill. So we headed into the woods and onto this trail only to find both bridges rammed up against trees and the streams gushing like rapids. Seven years of ran, storms, winters, and only now did we get enough rain to actually lift the bridges and move them. Crazy. So we went the long way around. The boys plan to return and fix the bridges so the trail can be used again. I call this homeschooling. I mean, think about it: the study of weather, natural disasters that occur, bodies of water, a little hands on construction involving measurement (math), and community service in the process. We’re set. 😉
We made our way into the woods where I showed my assistant (3yo) how to distinguish between “nice” chanterelles and chanterelles that the bugs/slugs had gotten to. I have to say, this kid was more discerning than most adults would have been, and fearless when it came to going further into the forest to find more. I am proud. The boys and the dog explored the forest freely as well. It was fun.
September is the month that meadow mushrooms appear everywhere. My neighbour had a bunch on her lawn, which she let me pick, which I thought was nice. You can’t mistake meadow mushrooms for anything if you know what to look for. And they taste delicious. Free yummy food… Got a full brown bag of them. Sweet.
The ironic thing about the chanterelles is that I don’t actually like the taste of them. I LOVE hunting for them and picking them, especially with the kids. It’s relaxing. It soothes me. It’s interesting and educational for them. It reconnects me to nature. I could do it all day long. But I don’t like eating them. Other people do. Other people view them as gourmet mushrooms. Nuggets of gilly gold. So I barter with such people and score things I actually enjoy or can give to others as gifts. Which is what we did yesterday after cleaning and trimming all of them.
I am not looking forward to winter, because we become trapped indoors. Fall is the best on PEI. No mosquitoes or black flies, lots of plants to harvest, the temperature is perfect, and crisp evenings mean bonfires with friends. Soups, stews, slow cooker meals… Apple picking, baking, a glass of wine in the evening…
Hands-on exploratory homeschooling. That’s another thing I love about this time of year.
And ‘shrooms. 🙂