Dorey with Lincoln County Zero to Five helps employees at the library in Libby freshen up the place. Photo courtesy of Lincoln County Public Libraries.


Lincoln County Librarians staying busy & offering new services

By Brian Baxter


Despite COVID-19 restrictions, our library ladies are keeping things going in our county libraries. Current resources available include many virtual / digital Overdrive and Libby application programs available to patrons. Folks can place holds on eBooks and audiobooks, using their 14 digit library card numbers. Other online resources include story times, and science projects. Director of Lincoln County Libraries, Alyssa Ramirez said that their Facebook page lists some of these resources.

In talking with Ramirez, she let us know how they have been keeping busy lately. “While we’ve been closed, the libraries have taken this time to make some much needed improvements to the libraries. The Libby branch has been rearranged from top to bottom, with the focus of better utilization of our spaces and safety,” she said.

Regarding the Eureka branch, Ramirez said, “The Eureka branch has had some spring cleaning done as well and will have a new sidewalk due to the hard work of Commissioner Josh Letcher.” All branches are eager to begin reopening.

Troy branch manager,  Sharee Miller said, “We will commence reopening phase one next week on May 5. I am excited to begin the reopening. I have missed my patrons. I am also cautiously optimistic about returning to full services in the near future.”

A little advice from William Penn, born October 14, 1644 in London, England may be timely. Penn was an English Quaker leader and advocate of religious freedom, who oversaw the founding of the American Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a refuge for Quakers and other religious minorities of Europe. He was quoted as saying, “Haste makes work which caution prevents.”

Director Ramirez said that curbside delivery service will begin on May 5, and patrons are encouraged to place holds on items online at lincolncountylibraries.com or call 293-2778 in Libby, 295-4040 in Troy, and 297-2613 in Eureka. She elaborated and stated that they will stay in Phase one for at least a couple of weeks, as they want to see the community response to the stay at home order and monitor any potential influx of cases. Then, if the number of cases remains stable, they will look into moving to Phase two.

When that stage begins, they will offer appointments for patrons to visit the library for no more than twenty minutes. The libraries need time to sanitize their high touch areas frequently. When asked about her hopes for the near future of the libraries, Ramirez said, “We miss seeing our patrons and providing fun programming, but health and safety are our paramount concerns. I’m proud of how the community has come together in such an uncertain time.”


Dorey with Lincoln County Zero to Five helps employees at the library in Libby freshen up the place. Photo courtesy of Lincoln County Public Libraries.

Morel Mushroom season begins to bloom across Lincoln County

By Mati Bishop


Morel mushroom sightings are starting to happen around Lincoln County. From the Yaak Valley to McGinnis Meadows, mushroom hunters are checking their favorite spots and getting their first taste of the 2020 morel mushroom season.

If you are planning on hunting morels, make sure to get a free permit from the U.S. Forest Service office. When you harvest your morels for personal use, you are required to cut them in half when you pick them to ensure that they are not resold. If you choose to harvest morels commercially, a permit is available for that from the Forest Service at a cost of $50.

2019 was a quiet year for forest fires in our area, which means that morels are going to be a bit harder to come by than they would be in a year where there were fresh burns from the summer before.  Even if you are not a diehard mushroom hunter with carefully guarded secret spots, you can still have fun hunting for and finding morels if you know what you are looking for. Here are a couple of pointers that we hope will help you have some success:

Focus on south-facing slopes of areas that have burned within the past few years. The sun will warm these slopes earlier and help the soil get to the correct temperature for the morels to bloom.

The first two sunny days after a rainy day are the best times to be out looking. The moisture helps the blooming process and the warmth of the sun encourages fast growth of the mushrooms.   If you can be out when the ground is wet and warm, you will have better chances of success.

Look for Elm, Ash and Poplar trees. Although you can find morels under a wide variety of trees, these tend to have a better symbiotic relationship with the mushrooms.   Start by finding these species of tree in the areas you are hunting. This may help you to find patches that could see blooms return year after year.

Spend as much time in areas that you think will have morels as you can.   Finding morels is awesome and eating them is even better, but if you enjoy the hunt you are far more likely to spend the time needed to find your own special patches.

Once you have your mushrooms, you will want to clean them and then either cook them or dry them. They do not keep for very long in the refrigerator.  You can use a food dehydrator to dry your mushrooms.  You can also spread them out on a black trash bag outside on a sunny day. Either way, you will get savory morel morsels that you can rehydrate and use for special occasions or any time you get the craving for mushrooms.

The best part of morel hunting for most people is morel eating. They bring a rich earthy flavor to a dish. Many enthusiasts like to fry fresh morels with eggs. Dried morels work very nicely into stuffing, risotto and soups.   You can work them into just about any recipe that you would use regular mushrooms in. Make sure to save and use the fluid that you rehydrate your dried morels with, it is a rich and tasty stock for any dish you would use vegetable  or chicken stock in.