• Dale Bowman

Morels, a freshly plowed field & buds: Ramble with the Lady

I went looking for morels on Sunday, our last day around Table Rock Lake.

Even that far south, it ``did not smell right'', as my late father-in-law used to say when it was too early to find them.

But Sunday was our last full day at my mother-in-law's, a trip with a mix of vacation, family visit and helping to sort through my father-in-laws stuff.

Over the years, my father-in-law showed me a few morel spots. I have no delusions, both knowing him and knowing morel hunters, that he had shown me any primo spots, but he had shown me spots none the less.

As I walked the Missouri hills and looked in the likely spots, I knew it ``did not smell right'' and it struck me what he must of smelled when it was right. He had been a farmer much of his life and I am sure when it smelled right that it smelled like a freshly plowed field.

As an old English major, I reach for fecund to describe what he meant.

Whatever you call, if you hunt morels, you probably intuitively or consciously know the smell of ripe earth that means morels.

It was good to be home again, as much as we love the time in Missouri.

The birds sounded the same. Mourning doves cooing as Lady, our family's mutt and I set off. A few robins hopping and bopping around grassy areas. In the distance, a train horn sounded.

As we crossed the side rail separating the town from the wildness of the town pond, I could hear Canada geese on the town pond. There were plenty swimming on both old clay pits. And some were nesting that I could see.

I saw a small diving duck, but did not see it quickly enough to ID it.


On the trail, formerly a side rail, above the south pit, I really noticed that trees and underbrush had begun to bud out and, in a few cases, leaf out.

On our trip to southwest Missouri, the redbuds really blew up while we were there. But as we drove north, not too many showed.

Back on the edge of town, a rail guy was working the switch manually. I talked briefly to him and said that a guy, Steve Krull, said he thought Lady was a Carolina dog. She does look exactly like a Carolina dog, but I think she is simply and purely a mutt.

Downtown, the voting sign was on the city hall door. I did not think we had anything to vote about. Humm.

Back home, the kids were all up and about. Apparently, the three still at home are more than ready to get back to school.

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