Friday, September 28, 2007

Gold Mine in our Yard

Yesterday I had one of the funniest things happen to me here at our house!

It was a cool, rainy morning and I was upstairs working at my computer while the kids were at school and Dave was at work. Suddenly the doorbell rang so I went see who it was. Aha! My 76 year old neighbor and her daughter! I like this neighbor...she is the one who came to church with us for a year until her health deteriorated and it was too hard for her to get out. But now here she is leaning on her cane, on my front porch.

As I unlocked the front door I was thinking, "What could've possibly brought her out today?"

"Good morning Pani Connie!", the neighbor greeted me. "We've come to show you the mushrooms growing in your yard!" she said with a sparkle in her eye.

"What?? Mushrooms in my yard? And you want to show them to me?" I had these confused thoughts inside myself, while on the outside smiling and nodding my head at my neighbor and her daughter as if this was a normal, every day conversation!

To understand this conversation you have to know something about many of our Czech friends. They are absolutely wild about...mushroom picking! For many, it is an annual fall hobby...passion even! They go all over the countryside, in search of their beloved, prized mushrooms.

But guess what the neighbor's daughter had spotted in our yard the day before? Yep, the beloved mushrooms!!!

But what are they doing in OUR yard???

The neighbor (from here on out known as "Pani L.") says that they especially love growing in moist grass under birch trees, and believe it or not, we have a whole grove of them out in our yard. For some reason, this year they have started "mushrooming" (couldn't help the pun!) all over our yard under those trees! Pani L's daughter, Marta, was visiting another neighbor next door and happened to notice them under our birch trees!

Pani L. and Marta wanted me to come out and see them so I quickly grabbed a coat and put my shoes on and trotted right out after them to see what all the fuss was about!

Oh how I wish you could've been there to see Pani L and Marta out there under the birch trees! I have never seen people so excited about...mushrooms!!!! They were even taking PICTURES of them with Marta's camera!! She kept saying, "None of my friends will believe this!"

It seems that this particular variety growing in our yard are the highest prize of can fry 'em, you can make a sauce with 'em, you can make soup out of 'em, you can dry them...and supposedly they are positively delicious.

Pani L and Marta kept telling me all the different ways that I could use them, while at the same time I was trying to figure out how to respond culturally correct to them about this miraculous (as Marta put it!) discovery in our yard!

Finally I got up the courage to say, "Um...we don't really eat mushrooms like this".

At first they were aghast! "But do you know how positively delicious and healthy they are, and all the ways you can use them?", they asked me.

At this point I decided the quickest way to deal with their thoughtfulness to show me the mushrooms was to ask them a question.

"Would you like to pick them and have them for yourselves?" I offered.

Oh boy! That was the right thing to do! Their eyes got so sparkly and they started picking them as fast as they could! Even Pani L., who could barely get around on her cane out there in the tall, wet grass, was bent over picking them!

I ran in and got a bag for them while Lily, our dog, hunted in the yard with them. It was just all so comical, and yet endearing! How I wished that I had my camera too, and could've captured this momentous occasion!

It was also positively sopping wet out jeans were soaked and I had to change them when I got back inside. And it took the whole rest of the day for my shoes to dry out. But when I mentioned to them that I was sorry they got so wet they both exclaimed, "OH! But it was worth it!!!!"

I giggled about this incident the whole rest of the day!

Who would've thought that there was a such a gold mine in our yard??? Well, at least our Czech neighbors seemed to think so!!!


  1. What a great story! I LOVE it! Thanks for sharing! I too do not understand the passion for mushrooms. I don't like them at all. They (the Poles) think I am even more strange NOW! :)


  2. Connie,

    I feel bad that last year I probably ran over all of those wonderful mushrooms on the riding lawn mower. I guess that won't happen again.


  3. great story Connie! i totally understand! 3 years ago i was in eastern Poland and we were staying in a hostel... and all of the other people in the hostel (Poles)came back with TONS of mushrooms and spent all night talking about them, comparing them cutting them and drying them... on the same trip we were fed mushroom soup (which my American roomate could barely swallow)...good move to offer them to your neighbours!!

  4. I wonder if we could sell them....