Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Springtime in Sacramento

Billie show off some of our bounty from our recent hunt.

We had a great day morel hunting. We picked at least ten pounds that dried into about about six quarts of dry mushrooms with a few left to eat fresh and give away fresh. It was a long day. We rose early in able to meet our guide from the Mycological Society of San Francisco. I know that if you go with Norm then he has done a lot of the research about where the "spots" are this spring. Morels fruit after forest fires the following spring. The rain and timing is critical because the window of opportunity is narrow. Early May is the best time to set aside time for the hunt.
We met Norm at 9:00 Am and caravanned through a maze of forest service roads to the spot. The picking was good. It should still be good for another two weeks depending on the rain and the elevation.

Morels just before I picked.

We picked into the afternoon an then hit the road again. I was driving because we needed four wheel drive and the higher clearance of my pickup. Billie has a phobia that terrifies her when driving near exposed places like cliffs and bridges. I do the mountain driving mostly. I am OK driving but my eyes need to constantly be wetted with drops to see clearly. My left eye is also a little blurry. I am perfectly alert and capable but my eyes could get worse. We drove about sixty miles of Highway 49 which was in full spring bloom. We stopped at a few historical spots along the way and had a nice tourist experience.
When we arrived home my eyes must have had worked overtime searching for morels and driving because for the first time they started to hurt. It felt like I had been poked in the eyes. Later that night I finally took a Vicodin and a little later I took another. That helped a lot. My eyes recovered and I haven't had any pain since.
This past Monday after clinic, I had an eye appointment with a doctor who is familiar with eye complications due to GVHD. I was worried that I was developing cataracts or some other serious eye disorder but it turns out that I have some scarring caused by GVHD. I may be able to wear glasses that will mostly correct the problem. I am using drops to put the kibosh on the scarring. I also had a little minor surgery on my left eye. The doctor peeled a square 3/8 inch patch of membrane that was attached to my cornea. I was impressed that he peeled it off in mostly one piece. My vision in my left eye has improved some and may improve a little more after I heal from the surgery.
I am dealing with the side effects of high doses of Prednisone. My appetite is great but my motivation to get up is quashed. If I don't keep moving, my body starts to waste. I can feel my muscles, especially in my legs getting sore and cramping like I ran a mile hard after not running for years. It keeps me awake too.
The only thing I find that helps the soreness is to get up and go. Gardening keeps me moving but for my legs I have been going on evening rides with Billie on our town bikes. I really enjoy those rides where we just tool around town looking at homes and gardens and occasionally stopping at a cafe or store. After we get back, my feet feel less sore and the soreness in my legs is gone. Last Sunday we toured around town including breakfast out and then a meandering ride through the neighborhoods. I follow Billie mostly and she sets a nice pace. Here is a link to a Google map of our ride that we did last Sunday. The evening bike rides are good for me to counteract the wasting. I am craving lots of protein too.

Billie is checking out a nice little bungalow that we saw along the way last Sunday.
Click for details.

The garden is coming along well. I planted a few more beds including some hops rhizomes in three varieties. Yesterday we received some Hayward variety kiwi plants that I plan to grow up the back side of the house near the hops. The kiwi and the hops should do a nice job of keeping a hot stucco wall cool.

This is Mesclun Lettuce and string beans behind.

The hops rhizomes have sprouted.

Dry Morels

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