Walking by my kitchen window the other day, something caught my eye. Past the birdfeeders and under the azalea bushes and mountain laurel that grow along the rock walls of our steep yard, was a mushroom. A shiitake, it looked like. I was confused because it's pretty early for mushrooms, plus it appeared to be growing out from under some ivy (shiitakes grow out of wood, not the ground).
Then I realized what happened. When the roofers came to replace our roof back in the fall, they heaved my mushroom logs into the bushes because they were in the way and what the hell were all these logs doing lined up vertically in a row anyway? The logs were fine where they ended up, all nestled in ivy—mushroom logs aren't terribly picky as long as they're not in the beating sun. I wasn't going to bother to retrieve them until after the April showers.
But then all of the unseasonably warm weather we had last week must have triggered the mushrooms to fruit. Two of the logs produced a whole bunch of big, beautiful mushrooms. Because the logs were horizontal instead of vertical, the mushrooms grew in a different orientation than previous flushes. (Mushrooms grow toward the light even though they don't rely on the sun for energy like plants do.) The best part was that, because of the early showing, the mushrooms were way ahead of the slugs and bugs. That meant I got to have these perfect specimens all to myself, critter-free! Recipe to come.