Kitsap Roots

Gather. Share. Grow.

Morels in our front yard

I have a story to tell. When we bought our house five years ago, this is what the front yard looked like.

Our home in the beginning

As you can see, that fir tree in the middle of the front yard was in a bad place. Judging by the age of our house, it's likely that this tree was planted there intentionally. I'm sure it was adorable when it came from the nursery, and they nestled in the ground. But here's the deal. Trees grow.
It was about ten feet from the house, so in time it would have become a hazard in a windstorm. Another problem is that the drain field for our septic system is in the front yard. The roots from that tree were far-reaching, which is not what you want for a properly functioning septic field. It was also just not what we wanted to see when we looked out our front window.

We decided not long after we moved in that the tree had to go. So one Saturday, Jason got out the chainsaw, and the tree came down. It was a triumphant homeowner moment for us. That was our tree, and we cut it down.

The next step in cleaning up our front yard was to deal with the stump. Well, renting a stump grinder or hiring some help wasn't in our budget. Instead, we went to the hardware store for a bunch of landscaping stones. We built a simple fire ring around the stump and for the next few years, that was where we sat and enjoyed clear nights and family time.

Fire ring

Last spring we got a pleasant surprise. Our burnt out tree stump had given us an unexpected gift. Right outside the fire ring, little mushrooms started popping out of the gravel. Now, neither one of us are expert mushroom hunters, but to our untrained eye, those were morels.

Morel mushrooms

We know that unless you are entirely sure what kind of mushroom you're looking at, it's not worth the risk to consume it. So we quickly consulted all of our foraging friends as well as did extensive google searches. It seemed we were indeed in the presence of morels. They looked right, it was the right season, and they were growing along the root structure of our burnt out tree stump.

Well, we took a leap of faith, carefully cleaned and sliced our mushrooms and sauteed them in herbs and butter. I can honestly say I have never harvested wild mushrooms before. It was indeed nerve-racking, but judging by the fact that I sit here a year later telling this tale means they were indeed morel mushrooms.

The tree stump was removed last summer along with a number of the large roots, but I'm hoping that some of the underground fungi remain. If any morels decide to grow this spring, I will let you all know.