We are still waiting for the big tomato crop to come in, but it seems that all the tree fruit in Michigan is ripening early (if at all—let’s not talk about the cherry crop in Northern Michigan), so Chris and I thought we’d go out and check on the pawpaws. At our first stop, which happens to be in a field of a friend’s cattle, inside an electrified fence, I found a few on the ground. I picked those up and shook the trees a bit. (Remember, you cannot pick pawpaws, but can only pick them up—they don’t ripen nicely off the tree.) Meanwhile, the cattle noticed me. They must’ve been hungry, because at first they walked in my direction, and within a minute they were thundering toward me. Chris said, “I’m glad I’m on this side of the fence,” and opened the gate for me to slip out. About a hundred thousand pounds of cattle stood there, a few yards from me, asking me where was their dinner. I left many pawpaws behind. This is the nicest crop of pawpaws, and I am figuring that the cow manure doesn’t hurt the fertility of the trees.
We moved on down the road to a little forest not too close anyone’s house, and I hiked through briars and collected about twenty more pawpaws. The dangers there were thorns and broken glass (bottles tossed from cars.) I exited the woods only a little bloody.
At my mom’s house we found three puffball mushrooms, small ones, out by her fuel oil tank. It’s kind of nice to have a small puffball, since a big one is such a commitment. Above are pictured the pawpaws and puffball, alongside a locally procured award-winning beer. I ate the first installment of puffball with scrambled eggs for dinner.
My niece Kellee came over today and told me that she’d been hiking in Michigan and had found both chanterelles and chicken-of-the woods mushrooms. Not sure about the black walnuts; they’ve been falling for more than a month, but they seem hollow. The elderberries are now ripe, so we need to get going on the 2012 elderberry wine making this coming weekend. Jamie Blake has been taking lovely artistic photos of elderberries with her smart phone. Here are two of them.