Archive for May 16, 2009

Frost warning and Houby Days morel winners

Meteorologists might call it a frost advisory, but here’s my warning: if you’ve planted tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers or other plants that might be susceptible to frost, including annuals in planters, bring them inside (the ones in pots, that is) or use an old sheet or otherwise cover the others. Forecasts call for temps in Eastern Iowa to dip close to freezing both tonight (Sat., May 16) and tomorrow night (Sun., May 17.)

Now, on to more morels. Houby Days is taking place in Czech Village this weekend, a celebration of the mushroom (houby in Czech.) I heard mixed reviews about the morel crop this year, some saying they’re finding hundreds and others saying last summer’s flood messed up this season in Iowa.  Among the activities in Czech Village – on 16th Ave. SW in Cedar Rapids and some events across the river, including an egg and houby breakfast – was the annual houby contest, featuring morel mushrooms. Trophies were awarded for the largest, most unusual, smallest and best display. Here are the winners:

Largest morel (10 1/2 inches) from Mike McNeal, Cedar Rapids. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Largest morel (10 1/2 inches) from Mike McNeal, Cedar Rapids. (photos/Cindy Hadish)

Skylar Strawn, 11, of Cedar Rapids, with his award winning smallest mushroom, (in the plastic bag, attached to the larger one) which he estimated at 1/2-centimeter.

Skylar Strawn, 11, of Cedar Rapids, with his award winning smallest mushroom, (in the plastic bag, attached to the larger one) which he estimated at 1/2-centimeter.

Butch and Toni Velky of Swisher, with most unusual winner - 6 mushrooms growing together - which they dubbed "Bohemie Six-Pack"

Butch and Toni Velky of Swisher, with most unusual winner - 6 mushrooms growing together - which they dubbed "Bohemie Six-Pack"

Tom Slade, Solon, and Tyson Gosnell, Shellsburg, carry away their best display award winner, which included at least 250 morels. The two revealed where they found them: "In the woods."

Tom Slade, Solon, and Tyson Gosnell, Shellsburg, carry away their best display award winner, which included at least 250 morels. The two revealed where they found them: "In the woods."

There was no award for cutest display, but Debbie Eickstaedt and Theresa Shaver of Cedar Rapids undoubtedly would have won with this fawn.

There was no award for cutest display, but Debbie Eickstaedt and Theresa Shaver of Cedar Rapids undoubtedly would have won with this fawn.

Looks like the weather was right for these morels, which are actually carved out of pine wood by Ron Takes (in tan jacket) and Tom Brislawn of Troy Mills.

Looks like the weather was right for these morels, which are actually carved out of pine wood by Ron Takes (in tan jacket) and Tom Brislawn of Troy Mills.

Finally, if you want to know even more about morels, my brother, Gregg, passed along the following link to a paper by Lois Tiffany of Iowa State University and Donald Huffman of Central College:  http://amcbt.indstate.edu/volume_27/v27-4p3-11.pdf

Advertisements

Leave a comment »

Swine flu made me do it and finding more morels

     Here’s the deal – I don’t have the time, the ego or the Ashton-Kutcheresque lifestyle to be really great at Twitter.  But when one of my sources in my job as health reporter for The Gazette – the Iowa Department of Public Health – announced it would start Tweeting swine flu updates, I had no choice but to jump in and join. (and yes, we now call it H1N1 flu – please no calls from the pork industry – bacon’s yummy!)

    So now you can follow me on Twitter, though I cringe saying that, partly because of that ego thing, again, but mostly because I’m a very private person. I won’t be Tweeting about the great things my sons did for me on Mother’s Day or the cool “Life is Good” t-shirt my sister surprised me with (thanks Henna!) or heaven forbid, what I’m making for dinner. Unless it’s these awesome morel mushrooms my new best friend Dave gave to me.

Morel mushrooms from Dave (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Morel mushrooms from Dave (photo/Cindy Hadish)

So basically, I promise I won’t bore you with the mundane details of my life. On the other hand, in my job as a reporter, I do get to go to beautiful places (including many area gardens this year, I hope) and meet fascinating people (like Dr. Johan Hultin, who dug up bodies in the Alaskan permafrost to decode the origins of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic: see The Gazette this weekend.) So, if that’s the type of Tweet tidbit that’s interesting to you, look me up on Twitter.

Leave a comment »