It's that time of year when we look back and review, as well as look forward and make plans.
For us, 2011 seemed like the most hectic year in memory. We had pretty major construction projects going on, at our home near Port Orford as well as our cabin near Mount Hood, plus we had a lot of travel; our two longest trips were to Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi in August, and a trip in early October that started in Washington, D.C. and extended itself north through Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey (where we visited long-time friends), then west through Pennsylvania and Ohio (where we made a pilgrimage to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, and highly recommend it!), then south through the eastern corner of Kentucky, Northern West Virginia and the Sheanadoahs in Virginia, before returning to D.C., then home. Luck was with us all the way. The fall colors were at their absolute peak, and although we have not yet had the pleasure of visiting New England at this spectacular time of year, what we saw would be very tough to beat!
We're looking forward to 2012.
All this resulted in our doing a bit less mushrooming than normal. In the spring, we were late for the Montana Helvellas, and also missed most of the warted Puffballs around Mt. Hood. Then, on another trip, we completely missed the spring Boletes and Morels; we simply weren't there when the mushrooms were. We can't say whether it was a "good" spring or a "poor" one, but it wasn't good for us, except for the simple pleasure of being there.
This fall, we mostly confined our mushrooming to areas around our home, near Port Orford, and based on what we saw, it wasn't a very good year. Sure, we found all the mushrooms we normally do, but not nearly as many as last year, or most years. The lack of timely rains was the likely culprit. To compound our failures, our absolute favorite, the Cauliflower mushroom (Sparassis crispa), was conspicuous by its absence.
One quick trip to Mt. Hood yielded a lovely Coral hydnum, as well as some nice Chanterelles, both White and Golden, but again, not nearly as many as normal; worse, a jaunt to our perennially infallible Matsutake spot came up empty-handed, a first ever. Maybe we were early, but I suspect not. Again, the lack of timely rains was certainly a contributing factor.
But we found enough to get by, if not to be as generous with friends as we normally are. And as usual, we enjoyed our time in the woods, and saw things that made us glad to be alive.
We felt we had a good year with our website. We improved our timeliness, though we still have room for further improvement. We were proud of the additions to our recipes section, as well as our restaurant reviews, which are fun for us and we hope are interesting to our readers. Business was up for our retail section, and we think we've made some very worthwhile improvements to it, with new items added and several new additions planned.
So all in all, a good year, and - ever the optimists! - we look forward to an even better one in 2012!