Amy briefly describes that ecotopia, the Hostel in the Forest, in her blog, and provides a link. We had a wonderful weekend there skinnydipping in the lake, watching the summer thunderstorm from the safety of our treehouse, dodging copious chickens, and avoiding the plentiful argiope spiders that hung between the branches. I spent much time foraging for mushrooms that I hoped would bless my table, and recent rains had brought out fungus in great numbers, feeding my hopes of finding mycological treasures, especially chanterelles. The most dramatic find was a troop of amanita muscaria v. alba, the white version of the soma mushroom said to have shamanic hallucinatory properties, though it's usually categorized as poisonous. I picked a large one and gave the little Buddha statue in the tree house a rather dramatic umbrella. I also gathered a number of boletes, sauteing an all white button in butter in the Hostel's communal kitchen, but its extreme bitterness disappointed, meaning I was likely dealing with some kind of Tylopilus. Another violet/black with white spore tubes also proved to be bitter, while a spongy pink-capped, yellow spore-tubed variety I began slicing had too many maggot holes to bother with. I soon gave up, leaving the remaining specimens in the cooler for further study at home.
We left Sunday afternoon, Amy to her friend Dottie's in King's Bay, as she was flying out of Jacksonville to NY to attend a retreat, and me with Dottie's boyfriend Thad, who plays lead guitar for local country punk heroes Ninja Gun, currently hard at work on their second album. On the way out, I spotted a spray of chanterelles along the ditchbank. Thad stopped and I gleefully gathered young, tender chanterelles from two locations just before the gate, and we were on our way, listening to Ween, Giraffes, Soft Boys, and GBV all the way home.
On Monday I decided to use the chanterelles and I kept it simple: linguine in butter with chopped garlic, chaterelles, sea salt, pepper, and freshly grated parmigiano reggiano. Delicious. The next night, I examined the boletes, tested one, and found it to be delightful, perhaps a butter bolete. At any rate, I sauted it to accompany a ribeye steak and the leftover chanterelle linguine. Mushroom mission accomplished.
Note: reports on mushrooms that I found and/or cooked represent my personal experiences, and in no way should be taken as recommendations for readers. This is not a guidebook. Eat wild mushrooms at your peril.