My friend Julie called me and left a cryptic message. She was very excited and was bursting with news about “those white things” that I like. I had no idea what she was talking about. I called her back and still wasn’t sure what had her so excited. Eventually I figured it out. So I made a trip to her backyard. Last year she had found a puffball and her husband plucked it from the ground and put it in a bag in the garage and then called me 2 days later. No good. The puffball mushroom is considered a delicacy but must be eaten fresh (within 24 hours of harvest). They also have to be pure white and not discolored. They start to get yellowish or brownish when they are mature and that make them bitter and not good to eat. I ran over to her house.
As we rounded the corner of the house you could see them practically glowing as they were nestled in the ground cover.
Upon closer inspection the smaller of the two had already been nibbled on by the local wildlife – probably the squirrels. When I say smaller I’m talking cantaloupe sized. The larger one was the size of a honeydew melon. It too had several chunks missing where the critters that wander our neighborhood had stopped for an early Thanksgiving banquet. I’m not sure if deer eat them but I wouldn’t put it past them. The larger one was bound up in the vines of the ground cover making it nearly impossible to extract without ripping away her plants.
Although it was tempting to grab the smaller one, I decided to leave them both so that the squirrels, chipmunks, deer, raccoons, opossums, woodchucks, birds and assorted other beasts would have something to eat once winter really arrives. I made my friend’s husband promise not to remove them and to instead let them add to the banquet that is present in their backyard. (They have oak trees that produce a ridiculous amount of acorns, pine trees, and current bushes that line the perimeter.)
As I feast this Thanksgiving, I’m happy to know that the wildlife will be feasting as well!