6 Reasons You Can’t Find Morel Mushrooms

Some wild mushrooms are easy to locate and are so large that single specimens can easily weigh 15 pounds.

Morels are different. 

They’re not easy to locate.  Their season is short.  And multiple specimens are required just to provide a single meal.  Still, morels are among the most coveted of all wild fungi.

Every year countless foragers eagerly head to the woods in search of these treasured mushrooms, and every year countless foragers dishearteningly leave the woods without them.

If you are someone who cannot seem to find morel mushrooms no matter how hard you try, check out the following video.  In it, I discuss 6 common reasons why people have trouble locating these elusive fungi.

You can watch the brand new video here.

Like clockwork, this migratory bird sings in my neck of the woods three to four weeks before morel mushrooms appear.  Are you familiar with this harbinger of spring? Check out the latest Instagram post to learn more!Click to view post

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

Delectable Native Edibles

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Andrea DeLong-Amaya

tradescantia flowersYou may be one of the growing numbers of home gardeners who have put shovel to soil in the effort to nourish themselves and their families with wholesome, organic, fresh, and ultimately local vegetables and fruits. It is empowering to know exactly where your food comes from. And, while gardening is perfect exercise…it can be a lot of work! What if you could grow food plants that all but took care of themselves? Or better yet simply harvest, with caution of course, from the wild.

Native produce? Yes! The plants I’m about to tell you about are all easy to cultivate within their home ranges and, once established, may not require any attention outside of harvest. There are many virtues of raising locally native plants, such as decreased use of water, fertilizers, and pesticides, and promoting regional identity, and providing for wildlife. But those aren’t my main…

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A Spring Equinox Meditation: The Mysteries of the Dandelion and the Three Currents

The Druid's Garden

Fields of dandelion Fields of dandelion

One of the hallmarks of spring is the blooming of the vibrant and colorful dandelion. Emerging as soon as the coldest of the temperatures ease, the blooming of the dandelions affirm that the long, dark winter is indeed over and summer is just around the corner. In today’s post, and in honor of the Spring Equinox and the incredible dandelion, I offer a spring tonic and meditative journey to celebrate the Spring Equinox and learn more about the mysteries of the dandelion. This is one of my monthly AODA-themed posts, so I hope you enjoy it and have a blessed spring equinox!

About the Dandelion

The blooming of the dandelions is a special time of year. For us here in Western PA, dandelions bloom just as the final frosts are easing, and are a sign that we can start planting some of our more tending crops in…

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Cheesy Dandelion Spirals: Serpentine Spring Magic — Gather Victoria

Note: This recipe was originally shared on Gather Victoria on Patreon. It was originally a recipe for Imbolc but for reasons that will soon become apparent- I thought I’d share it here for St. Patricks Day! St. Patrick was said to have driven all of the snakes out of Ireland – which is odd. While…

Cheesy Dandelion Spirals: Serpentine Spring Magic — Gather Victoria

A Prescription For Swans (new video!)

The arrival of spring can easily be seen on a lake.

Melting ice, blossoming poplars, and migrating waterfowl are among its most faithful signs.  Like an unerring calendar, the lake reminds us that the darkest days have expired and a season of growth awaits.

While walking the shores of a local lake one chilly morning, I observed and heard several signs of spring.  One sound in particular, emanating from the center of the water, caught my attention.

As I approached the sound, its intensity changed from a periodic “coo” to a chorus of whistles.  Too early for spring peepers and wood frogs, I thought to myself, but not too early for something else I had hoped to find.

Tundra swans.

I peered through the cattails and alder shrubs to confirm my hunches.  The icy lake hosted hundreds of tundra swans that had stopped for a visit on their journey to the Arctic.  With a camera in hand, I decided to document the experience while musing on the subtle power of swans to heal.

If you’re interested in seeing tundra swans up close, check out the new video!

Less vocal and numerous but still a sign of spring’s impending arrival are these diminutive diving ducks.  Have you seen any buffleheads this year?  To read about my recent encounter with a small flock, check out the latest Instagram post!Click to view post

In case you missed it, here’s a recent interview I did with The Mushroom Hour podcast.  In this interview, we discuss many topics including nature connection, reciprocal living, and supporting land conservation trusts.  You can listen to the interview through one of the following links:

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

Sacred Trees in the Americas: Spicebush (Lindera Benzoin) Magic, Ecology, and Sacred Uses

The Druid's Garden

Spicebush leaf and berry in August in Western Pennsylvania

As I continue to explore some of the most important understory trees in the US East Coast and Midwest region, we turn our attention today to the amazing Spicebush (Lindera Benzoin).  Historically, Spicebush was an incredibly important plant, medicine, and spice both to Native Americans and early white settlers in the US and yet today has largely been forgotten in history. Spicebush is a native understory tree with a large range in North America, spanning from Maine to Florida and all the way across the south and Midwest to Texas and up to Ontario. While I’ve taught this plant routinely on my plant walks, and what amazes me is that nobody can even identify it, much less recognize how it might be used. Spicebush has an incredible flavor, medicinal value, and offers much in the way of magic and mystery. It…

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Sacred Trees in the Americas: American Hazel (Corylus americana) Magic, Ecology, and Sacred Uses

The Druid's Garden

American Hazelnuts in a cluster getting ready to ripen

For three years, I have had my eye on our American hazel bushes here at the homestead. When we first moved to the property, much of the understory was damaged with the logging the previous owners did and it took time for the hazels to recover.  Thus, for the last few years, I’ve watched the hazels grow taller and larger each year and kept looking excitedly for any signs of nuts setting. This past fall, I was delighted to find handfuls of delicious wild American hazelnuts and connect with the incredible wisdom that they offer.

While Hazel is a critically important tree in the mythology and magical tradition of Druidry and in Europe more broadly, The Hazel is one of the sacred trees identified by the druids as a tree tied to wisdom and the flow of Awen, and it is…

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Eat 84 Grams Of Mushrooms. Here’s Why

Mushrooms have come a long way in recent years.

Formerly classified as primitive plants in the taxonomic sense and as white vegetables in the culinary sense, fungi have since risen above their woefully outdated labels.

In the ecological context, we’ve learned that mushrooms are anything but primitive.  In the nutritional context, we’ve learned that mushrooms are dietary superstars.

Subsequently, it seems that there are just as many reasons to appreciate mushrooms as there are to eat them.  Human health, it turns out, is one overlapping reason.

Corroborating this motive is new research published in the journal Food, Science, & Nutrition.  In a recent study, researchers concluded that eating a small serving of mushrooms can have measurable and positive effects on human health.

In a brand new video, I discuss four important findings revealed in this study.  If you’re interested in learning the ways in which mushrooms can improve your health, check it out!

Like fungi, the American beaver has made considerable progress in recent years.  Formerly classified as extirpated in many states, beavers can now be found in urban parks.  To read about a morning encounter I had with North America’s largest rodent, check out the latest Instagram post!Click to view post

I was a recent guest on The Mushroom Hour podcast.  In the interview, we discuss many topics related to nature connection, supporting land conservation trusts, foraging wild water, and more.  You can listen to the interview through one of the following links:

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan

Magickal Properties and Uses of Viola, Violet Magic

Good Witches Homestead

Viola is a quiet, little magic. She springs up in fields, lawns, and at the edges of forests. Before her companions begin to bud, she’s blooming away, gathering in the cool, damp spring days. In spring’s quiet while everyone else has yet to awaken, Viola works her magic.

Violas come in a variety of colors and shapes. The ones herbalists are most sweet on are a species called Viola odorata, although we may well fall in love with some of her close cousins, too. Viola odorata sports blue blossoms. Viola tricolor, like the ones in my garden, bloom in deep purples, sometimes sporting a few yellow or white petals. Sometimes they’re called Johnny Jump-ups, Hearts-ease Violets, Sweet Violets, or Pansies by garden centers, sometimes just plain violets. Part of what makes V. odorata and her medicinal cousins particularly special is her scent.

Viola odorata or Violet is a…

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The Trick To Finding Edible Winter Mushrooms

Cloudy skies.  Frigid temperatures.  Frozen soils. 

Winter in my neck of the woods is a faithful provider of all those conditions and more.

Most wild creatures left the scene months agobut a handful of them — fungi included — remain active and reveal themselves to anyone with a desire to look.

Take Flammulina velutipes, for instance. 

Also known as Enoki, this wild edible fungus actually thrives in cold weather.  While many wild fungi retreat as temperatures fall, Enoki fruits prolifically with the help of antifreeze compounds produced within its tissues.

Enoki is also a fairly predictable fungus.  It associates with a particular tree that commonly grows in eastern North America.  If you know the name of this tree, you’ll have no trouble locating wild Enoki mushrooms.

In a brand new video, I discuss a few tips to help you identify and find this tree in the wild.  If you’re interested in learning more, check it out!

Another wild creature that hasn’t fled the scene completely is the Cedar Waxwing.  I recently observed a flock of these beautiful birds feasting in a local apple orchard.  To read about this encounter, check out the latest Instagram post.Click to view post

Thanks for reading and watching, and thanks for your continued support!

-Adam Haritan