Amazingly enough, Hen of the Woods does not necessarily have to grow in the woods. I have found it in lawns, too. Many friends call me when they find an odd mushroom or fungus growing in their yards, and hardly anything competes with the oddness of the one that I collected this week. I found a maitake on a neighbor’s front yard several years ago, but when I knocked on her door to ask permission to take it, she wasn’t home. When I returned to try again that night, it was gone—in her garden trash bin, she said. I fished it out and it fed me for the winter, it was so large. Now she calls me when it returns.
I’ve been fighting a long block, not able to choose among the many writing and art projects I’ve begun something I feel passionately enough about to devote the year or two it takes to finish one of them. Even the children’s books, which involve hundreds of watercolor illustrations (several for each one I actually use), take years for me to complete. Usually I have no problem with this, but this year I couldn’t decide.