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Our friend Larry "Tree" Lonik, "The Mushroom Man", passed away April 15, 2003
after doing what he loved best: stalking morels. Click here for our tribute and his memorial.
Larry Lonik Tribute

Click here for current conditions and past years:
2001200220032004 2005200620072008 20092010201120122013

Morel Lamp by Darwin
The ice has melted from the rivers, lakes, and ponds. The sandhill cranes have returned to the fields.
The earth is warming. The sun is rising higher in the sky.
And suddenly one morning, two little heads pop up.
early blacks
It's my husband, Bill, and me. We grab a cuppa and head for the woods. It matters not that it's raining.
Or chilly. Or still dark. They're out there. They're growing.
And someone else might get there ahead of us.
They don't. We eat well that night, and dream of mushrooms in our sleep.
Find the mushrooms!
Can you find 9 mushrooms in the photo above?
Some are bigger than others...
yellows morels and trash dolce morel
Bill and I both hunted morels before we met each other,
so that was just kind of a clincher...
morel phlox bouquet
Fishing was the first date,
Morel-ing was the second.
In absolutely no time
A life-long romance beckoned.

The first meal shared was bluegill,
Asparagus and morels -
A tasty start so magical,
They soon heard wedding bells.

Now these two have a ritual
Each year in the spring -
They head for the northern woodlands
To hunt for the Mushroom King.

Marsi Parker Darwin 1995
all rights reserved
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We love morels so much, we incorporate them into our work.
Now you can have morels close at hand all year long.
The perfect gift for the morel maniac in your life!

Morel Coasters by Marsi
I've been making these three dimensional coasters since about 1999. I draw a design, cut it out, and sand-etch it in stages to get the detail. You won't find these ANYWHERE else, unless you find mine in a gallery or see me at a show. Each set is one-of-a-kind, so design will vary.
A set of four plus a mirrored base makes a truly unique gift at $75.

Fan Lamp mottle glass
These "fan lamps" cast a beautiful glow in the evenings, year-round.
A single trillium is flanked by morels (blacks and yellows) using absolutely killer glass.

These babies look great lit or unlit, night and day.
They sit on a wooden base and are lighted with a nightlight bulb.
8" tall and 11" across.

morel fans
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For the bedside, we offer single and multiple nightlights
that can be plugged into the wall socket.
The cut-out, double sided multi-stage sandblasted units are done special order.
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My morel pendants are practically guaranteed to help you find more mushrooms.
For one thing, they are just plain lucky to wear around your neck.
For another, everyone knows it is best to fix that image in your mind,
and this is a built-in reminder of what you're looking for!
I use real tiny black morels (I know, what a waste...) for $20, and when I run out, or if you want yellows,
I use photos I've taken and you save a few bucks. They're $15. Add $2 for shipping, please.
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SOLD OUT. Let us know if you want to order.
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This lamp was a gift from Bill on our second wedding anniversary.
It's one-of-a-kind, designed and built by the master himself.
But for the right price, he might make a similar one for you.
Inquire within.
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Only Bill would turn a grass catcher
into a morel-catcher!
Don't you wish you could just mow your lawn
and harvest a bumper crop...?

A Happy Man

OK, turn your computer off now and go to sleep.*
They're out there, and you'll need your rest to find them.
Good luck. Let us know how you do.

*(or if you haven't had enough, keep scrolling for annual field reports and more...)

Glass    Slots    Croquet    Trout
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Let us know if you have a page you'd like to link.
Morels and More Morel Mushroom Hunter's Club Frank's Michigan Morels
Morel Mania The Great Morel Morel Heaven

We love visiting mushroom festivals and towns when we can....

A few photos from 2001 - not a great year...

but Spring 2002, on the other hand....
W * O * W
Bill & Kevin
After a slow start (we searched for days and weeks and miles for the early blacks, to no avail) this spring has been the best in years. Cool weather and plenty of moisture, and we are happy campers once again.
Big Yellow & Little Grey
This odd couple was found on the same day!
Mossy Morel Morel in Violets Cook Ready
We crawled on our bellies through the underbrush on Mother's Day weekend, but it was worth it -
Bill and I picked NINE POUNDS of mushrooms!!!
Mushroom Queen
Marsi the Morel Queen!
Toledo Scale Morel Bouquet Morels on Stove
the hard-earned bounty...YUM.
oh yeah, where did we find 'em?
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We thought spring would never come to Michigan this year. It was a lonnnnng, cold, snowy winter with no thaws. Then we had a cold April - frustration city! We picked a few blacks mid-month. Then came the blessed rain. The ground is spongy and now they're starting to pop. We found 137 greys in an hour on May 8. We're finding tight greys mixed with mature yellows. If the weather stays on the cool side we could have a good season. Fingers crossed....

yellow pair

Triplets plus 3
First we spotted the triplets on the right, then saw the trio on the left.
Bill cooks
My man COOKS!

Our old corgi dog Buster, "Buzz", was featured on TV in Boyne city when he was a pup.
We told the reporters that he and Nan, his aunt, were morel-sniffers.
(See the morel under his nose?)
This was her last season; she was 17. Rest in peace, sweet Nana.

Buzz is almost 10 and still going pretty strong.
Bill with the pups in Mesick

(Note: Buster went to doggie heaven the spring of 2008 at age 14. We miss Buzz and Nana mightily, but Cookie and Wrigley came to us in 2003 and 2004 and they're pretty good morel-sniffing corgis, too...)

Bill gets lucky twice: morels and a nice shed, right out back on our property.

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SPRING 2004 - Early Report

We had a lot of snow this winter and hoped for a good season, but it was a very dry spring, and we got a late start. Bill and a friend found these two blacks in mid-April, dry and shriveling already. Soon after, he found several greys.
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I started a new co-op gallery in 2005, West of the Moon Gallery, in downtown Chelsea, so the spring kind of got away from me. Thanks to the economy and a crook doing the books, we tanked in 2008, so I hope to have a lot more time to hunt (and report on it) from now on!

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Only shot two photos this year:

First one Bill found April 14, 2006 - that's early for Michigan. Morel rings!

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It was a wierd winter, with an early spring followed by snowfall (we had a green Christmas and a white Easter!) and then it was we got a late, slow start. A few blacks in late April. Then we went up north, around Mancelona, in early May and Bill found a grand total of 5 grays.
Back home we started finding them again, fresh grays and whites.

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We had some late frosts, producing frostbitten caps on some otherwise meaty morels.
There's a lot of lore surrounding morels and when and where to find them: damp places, shady spots, under dead trees, in old orchards, on deer trails, in disturbed places like old forest fires or in mulch piles...look when the oak leaves are as big as a mouse's ear, when the redbuds bloom, when the lilacs bud...
just take a walk, and keep your eyes open.
I've found them under stop signs in the city!

We also found a lot in high grass.
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We had so much snow this winter, and heavy rains in spring - 6" in April alone, compared to the 2" we normally get - so our hopes of a bountiful harvest this spring came true! As of Mother's Day 2009, we found blacks, greys, and whites.

But the odd thing about the hunt this year is where we found them - and that was EVERYWHERE! And I mean ALL OVER. Not only under our trusty dead elms, but under cherry trees, apple trees, white pines!

And in grassy areas...even in our own yard.

I did find a beauty a little later in May.I never found a "grey" this big.

In April of this year Bill's younger brother Brian, father of 4,
was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
He passed in October. R.I.P. Brian, we miss you, buddy.

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This has been the most gorgeous spring that we can remember. It came on early and never really went back to winter,as Michigan is prone to do. The whole month of April was snow-free - amazing! It's the end of April, and we've both been out several times already alone and together, and only got skunked once. Unbelievable.

The thing is that even when you get skunked in the woods, it's usually cool just to get out there and see what you can see. On this trip to our favorite "Black Woods" we saw mossy logs, woodpecker holes, strange lichens and fungi, even an owl pellet! I love seeing the wildflowers coming up, the hepatica, yellow violets, bloodroot, mayapples, jack-in-the-pulpit, trillium, marsh marigolds...

The only "find" we made, though, was this little tree frog,
hiding in the leaves just like a morel would.
But when we went out a second time...
even though it's been dry as a bone, we hit pay dirt.

Some of them were so dry it was like they had been dehydrated.
We call the really tiny ones "salt shaker morels" and I use them in my jewelry.
Salt Shaker Morel
And then Bill spied a likely dead elm in the distance.
I spied another, and we were in morel heaven.

The count was 85 mushrooms under those two trees for a total of 104 that day.
And then we got rain, blessed rain...and another 50 mushrooms.

We had bluegill, asparagus and morels for dinner last night,
and all the scratches, sore muscles, and bug bites are well worth a meal like that.

Always look for trillium....

One of Bill's old "mentees" Andy Berki sent us a photo of his lunchtime find,
pop can yellows!
Lunch Grab by Andy Berki
Unreal that they're so mature this early in the season in Michigan.
Says he found them on a south facing hill with lots of sun exposure...

We ran into Larry Lonik's brother Barry at the "Dance for the Earth" benefit for the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor. Barry, tragically, is allergic to morels!
But the family spirit lives on...

Almost ran over these beauties while mowing near our pines in early May!

I hunted with my brothers in northwestern Pennsylvania on Mother's Day weekend and we found several large ones along the banks of the old Erie canal.

Kevin Chris

The following weekend we took From the Vine author Sharon Kegerreis on a hunt, for the book on Michigan foods she's working on, and we found dozens of spent mushrooms.
It killed us that we didn't get there sooner.

It was early, it was short, but it was wonderful!

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OK, this has been the wettest, coldest spring we can remember. We keep telling ourselves that at least we aren't flooded and we haven't had killer tornadoes like so much of the country this year. We did suffer a couple of heartbreaking losses this past year: Bill's youngest sister Amy last October and my amazing dad,
"Cactus Jack" Parker, this past February. Love never dies.

But the fact is that we haven't had many chances to get out and look this spring unless
we wanted to get soaked to the skin, which we did a couple of times.
We've had a lot of good reports,
but personally we haven't had as much luck as past years.

Some early ones - some were frostbitten on the top, and small.

I went to northwestern Pennsylvania to see my sister
and my niece's graduations in early May.
My brother Kevin found a "fairy ring" of morels around his burning pit.
Notice how black the ridges are (upper left).
My brother Chris found some fresh ones in the woods.

See how the stem and cap are all one? That's a GOOD thing.
Shaken with some cornmeal, flour, and flaxseed, ready to go into hot olive oil.

With our asparagus coming in, we were ready for a feast.
Wrigley and Cookie are hoping for some...

I've found a lot more eggs under my hens than morels in the woods this year.

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Unseasonably warm weather beginning in February (!) and continuing through March and April (76 degrees Fahrenheit on St. Patrick's Day - unheard of in Michigan - and in the 80's a few days later) followed by a late killing frost spelled disaster this year, not only for us but for all the fruit growers. We didn't have a single apple on our trees.

I found these under some pine trees on the edge of our yard. Note the pine cone on the left - a fooler sometimes; you think you hit pay dirt and then realize it's only a cone. Violets are another good indicator that it's time to look around.

Some of this year's meager "catch."

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It's still snowing as I work on catching up with this site. Being featured in Michigan Home & Lifestyle magazine already has our juices flowing, though. We're on page 16 of the March 2013 issue, in an article by our friend Sharon Kegerreis called "Delicious Michigan." The paper bag in the photo spurred another mesh v. paper debate (don't get me started!) and they didn't use it.

They used this one instead. Not my favorite, makes us look like we're gettin' old.

One reason I enjoy maintaining this site is the people I get to "meet". I'd like to share part of an e-mail correspondence I had with a gal named Bonnie Derhammer. I think we're soul sisters.

"Just happened upon your site, searching for some info on identifying morels, and was completely enchanted by the poem and the stained glass lamps pictured here. The weather has been so wet this spring, I've been mowing our backyard a few feet at a time! After another full day of drying, I ventured out to see if I'd sink, and decided to do a little more. It was dusk when I put away the mower, but a waxing gibbous moon added some light, and as I ventured toward the house, something caught my eye from under the maple tree. It's been many, MANY moons since I last mushroom hunted in the woods by my Grandma's, and I referenced some books, but I'm looking for some experienced human input as to whether this is a true morel... I just might have to go get me a pair of mucking boots and go for a hike through the swamp to the creek and rock some fallen's all coming back to me now! Especially rule number one...not telling where!"

Even the guy at GoDaddy I just spoke to about renewing this domain is a morel man -
trying to grow his own out in Iowa! Let us know how it goes, Joe.

Keep your peepers open, and good luck!

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Marsi, Queen of the Morels, ha!
Shoot us an e-mail!

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