Adventures in Mushroom Picking
“Those aren’t “níhcaloh,” José commented matter-of-factly in his thick Huelvan accent as he pointed out his collection of orange fungi skewered on a stick.
“But you said they were orange, these are orange.” I replied.
And they were. But they weren’t “níhcalo”, or in proper Spanish, “niscalos”.
Ok, ok.. let me rewind a bit…
Saturday, Beth and I went with our friend José to the “campo” (country) to have a picnic while he did some measurements of a lot in the “bosque” (forest) for his job. Upon arriving, José- a very simple, no-nonsense wilderness type- simply said, “You two go pick mushrooms.” So we did! Autumn is mushroom picking season here, so we were excited to find our little niscalos.
Now, a few things deserve to be pointed out:
A) We found it quite amusing that 2 Southern girls were in the middle of a forest in Spain,
B) Picking mushrooms,
C) With our friend who we finally realized while in the forest was a Spanish Lumberjack (more or less..)
Pretty hilarious! I would love to say that these were our níscalos, however Beth and my endeavors were unsuccessful and we only found tiny white ones that were inedible. Go figure… We had fun, though, and it was refreshing to leave the city and be in the country, finding out about nature and breathing in fresh air. It was the day of 20 million questions as my curiosity about the forest, the pine trees, the plants, and other things was soaring.
Our friend cuts down pine trees to make paper, tables, pallets, and other wood related goods. He was explaining that in order to let the new pines grow, it’s necessary to cut down the older ones that are crowding the space and keeping the light from reaching the new trees below the forest canopy. The pines were really tall and majestic- something we don’t see much of in the areas around Sevilla since it’s flat and desert-like. Sad to think the old trees will soon vanish, but new life will last longer than they will, and the cycle will continue
So, all in all, a great day in the country, picnicking, skipping around, hunting for mushrooms, and expanding my inner collection of pretty-useless-but-somewhat-interesting knowledge. Such as: Spanish farmers kill American ducks that appear in Spain because if they mate with the native Spanish ducks, that species will disappear since the American duck’s genes are the dominant ones. Or, you don’t put níscalos (or other mushrooms for that matter) in a plastic bag, but rather in a basket so that the spores can spread while you’re picking them.
“Eh… It’s just something I know…”