The Mushroom Project

IMG_3519I have been adding more mushrooms to my diet lately. It has been an adventure in the supermarket and the kitchen. The strong, almost wine-like aroma of Maitakes versus the potato-like smoothness of the white and tan Beech: These are the discoveries I’ve made lately. It’s a good idea to cook mushrooms separately while getting to know them. The reason is that their personalities are as unique as people. See who likes sage. See who likes parsley. Find out who can hold up to extra-virgin olive oil and who wants a light coating of grape-seed oil. Like me, you may also find yourself seduced by their shapes. I had to try growing them.

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It started with a Google and then a YouTube video. How do you get these suckers to grow? Childhood excursions took my family through Pennsylvania’s mushroom country, and the penetrating odor was like a galactic digestive disorder. The ones I wanted to grow weren’t like that.

IMG_3543Lots of mushrooms grow on logs, and it was perfect. The oak that fell on our house last summer was just sitting there. In fact, it was growing its own mushrooms already.

Turkey Tails grow on rotting oak, and their colorful bands make them fun additions to terrariums. Eventually they fade to tan or gray.

Turkey Tails grow on rotting oak, and their colorful bands make them fun additions to terrariums. Eventually they fade to tan or gray.

Come to find out, that is not a good thing.The logs have to be freshly cut, only a few weeks old at the most. We did some pruning and then borrowed a neighbor’s kiddie pool.

  1. You order mushroom spawn that comes coated on pegs.
  2. You harvest your logs per the specs on the supplier’s webpage.
  3. You drill the holes in the logs also according to the instructions.
  4. You soak the logs overnight to kill other organisms on the log and prepare a good host environment to be colonized by fungus.
  5. You put the pegs in the holes and cover them with melted wax.

The logs go in a shady spot, and then you water them as frequently as the supplier suggests. Mushrooms come up in about 8 months. Easy. Right?

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I melted the wax and tried to apply it in a turkey baster. It went fine, but I ended up having to trash that kitchen tool afterward. There was no unclogging the cooled wax. The application took place on my driveway, and it was the most sexual demonstration for the creation of a-sexual treasures. I chose Shiitake plugs, and I couldn’t help put laugh. Ejaculating wax over and over on a cool Sunday morning is a centering activity if ever there was one. It’s unsavory, amusing, and done in the vein of a manic coupon clipper. Whole Foods will come to me for mushrooms, I thought.

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We will have to wait and find out, but in the mean time I have them on the brain. When you have something on the brain, you are centering your energy in that direction. You will find yourself drawing what you think about to yourself. In an upcoming separate page called Centering Your Nipples, you’ll see just how fun that can be.

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