Sunday, February 19, 2017

More Clams, More Mushrooms, and Camping on the Coast

"One thing I know, no matter where I go, I keep my heart and soul in the boondocks!"- Little Big Town

Before I begin to tell the story of our coastal foray the other day, I have to say, I have bad news as far as my bipedal mobility is concerned. I went out for a quick ride on my skateboard the other night to get my blood pumping as I had been working on the final touches on my most recent draft of my dissertation proposal the whole day. Fifteen minutes later, my wheels locked up in a crack in the pavement and I went flying forward, striking my kneecap on the pavement. A CT scan and a few X-rays later revealed that I had sustained several fractures to the patella. That's right, my kneecap was in five pieces!

Painful is a massive understatement! But I have subsequently undergone knee surgery and am currently on the mend. 

It may be a while before I have a decent new foraging story for you as I cannot walk, but in the meantime, here's my recollection of a great weekend with my lady-friend Diane, our buddies Nick and Jeremy, and a few other good friends and family who stopped by for the day. 

Diane and I hit the coast on a Friday and set up the tent near sunset.

We could see that the tide was way out and that the evening clamming could be quite good the following day. *It is illegal to harvest clams any later than a half hour after sunset in the state of California so we would have to wait until the following afternoon to dig.
We made an excellent pasta the first night and relaxed around the fire after harvesting some local cypress wood to burn.
The next morning after pancakes, coffee, spam and eggs, we headed to a secret spot to meet up with our buddy Jeremy for a little mushroom hunting.

 It's quite easy to pass by a patch of cryptic black trumpets huh?

The forest floor was covered with edible fungi. Though at first we did have to hike a bit to find the right mix of shade, moisture, and mix of conifer and tan oak duff.

But soon after we were loading up on black trumpets, winter chantrelles, hedgehogs, and even a few oyster mushrooms!

 Jeremy found his first black trumpets!

Diane got her first trumpets, hedgehogs, and winter chantrelles!

After a massive bounty of excellent fungi, we made our way to the edge of the woods with just enough time for cooking up a little wild harvested lunch before heading back for the clam harvest.

We sauteed some of the mushrooms in oil and garlic and added them to bread with a spread of goat cheese and a dash of balsamic vinegar (a simple seasonal snack that is always well received). We also ate the last piece of king salmon that I caught on my dad's boat a few months back (and he subsequently smoked for me). We were all smiles!

Jeremy headed back to Sacramento to dry his massive harvest of coastal fungi!

In the meantime, Diane and I made our way to the coastal mud flats to meet up with Nick, my brother, Jeff, his son, Robert, and his sons for a little clamming. My older brother Justin, of course, showed us all how it was done ;) He had a limit of 50 littleneck clams in half the time the rest of us were able to dig 30 a piece!

We used modified water jugs for buckets to hold our quarry, and though we didn't get as many clams this time as Diane and I did the time before, we still cleaned up and went back to camp with plenty for an incredible wild mushroom-little neck clam chowder (with enough clams for a subsequent clam sauce spaghetti with Diane's roommate Cindy). 

It was Nick's first time clamming and he got a nice harvest! He enjoyed it so much he took his girl back out last weekend and did it all over again!

Wish me luck healing up so I can meet you out in the woods soon. In the meantime, get out there soon on your own, with friends, family and loved ones, and have yourself a lot of laughs while pursuing the delicious harvests that only wintertime brings!

Keep the old ways alive!