helen99: There's a fungus amongus (There's a fungus amongus)
There was a meeting of the Mycological Association of Washington (MAW) this evening. The speaker was Susan Hopkins, who gave a talk on making textile dyes from various types of mushrooms. During the talk, she distributed a handout titled, "The Best Mushrooms for Color: A short Selection of the Best Mushrooms to Dye Wool". My favorite mushroom dye was made from the Hapalopilus Nidulans, which turns a vivid purple when mixed with a strong alkaline like ammonia or potassium hydroxide. That's something I'd like to try - it's a local mushroom so I may be able to find some around where I live. From class notes: The dying process )
This link shows other dyes that can be made with local mushrooms, some of which I may be able to grow myself. I've had some luck with growing Reishis, which make rust colored dye. Mushrooms for Dyes, Paper, Pigments & Myco-Stix™ by Miriam Rice contains additional information about mushroom dyes
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Tonight for dinner, mushrooms sauteed in olive oil and then seethed in rum with a little garlic, salt, and pepper. A persimmon for dessert. That was delicious.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
So one of the things we were planning to do for our Permaculture garden this spring was an Espresso Oyster Mushroom Patch and a Reishi Mushroom Patch. Normally I would rely on Rialian to do this, since he loves growing mushrooms. But most of the planting season he'll be away, so it's up to me. Yep, I am venturing into mushroomery.

Yesterday the two spawn packages arrived in a box. Today I went and got a 5-gallon bucket of coffee grounds from Starbucks for the Espresso Oysters -- they throw their grounds out every day, so they are relatively fresh and free of extraneous mycelia. Anyway, here is the procedure for Espresso Oysters:

Espresso )

The other box in the same shipment contained our Reishi mushroom patch (Ganoderma Lucidum, the Mushroom of Immortality). That's right, folks, I now have "The Mushroom of Immortality" growing in my home. This should be good. Here is the description.

Reishi )

So... that's my first attempt. I'm not sure about the Reishi, but I have high hopes for the oyster patch - they're very easy to grow.

Next I have a plant coming in from Edible landscaping. I ordered several plants from them last month, and am not sure which one is supposed to arrive on Monday - I only know one is supposed to arrive then. It will be a surprise! I can put the leftover coffee grounds in the compost and use some of the compost when I plant whatever it is.

So anyway, that's our permaculture garden so far. Aside from the mushrooms we want to put in mostly perennial trees and bushes that don't need much maintenance, love water, and can grow in the shade. On the sunnier, drier side of the house we are going to put in some maypops, some hearty kiwis, tomatoes, and cucumbers. In the straw beds that Rialian prepped this winter, I'll be putting in some Arugula plus other stuff which I have in my outline. One of the things I want to figure out how to do is some nice-looking trellising without spending a whole lot... Suggestions welcome.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
This week's search report contained the phrase, "lunatic living in fucking great mushroom".

Clearly this was the work of [livejournal.com profile] fendahleen's highly secret operatives.

Fun Guy

Mar. 31st, 2006 11:33 am
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
After spending some time reading the book "Mycelium Running" by Paul Stamets, I began comparing certain technological developments to the growth of a a mycelial mat. Take cell text messaging, for example...

It's largely silent and invisible. It occurs any time and anywhere there is a signal (optimal growing conditions). Mostly hidden from outer view or hearing (buried about an inch or 2 underground), little messages (mycelial tendrils) come together to form larger planned events (a solid mycelial mat). The hidden accumulation of messages (underground mycelial mat) is there long before the event (fruiting bodies/mushrooms).

Open source development has the same feel, with several independent open source projects sometimes coalescing to form an event, an application, a distribution, whatever.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
From Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets:

"The powerful enzymes secreted by certain fungi digest lignin and cellulose, the primary structural components of wood. These digestive enzymes can also break down a surprisingly wide range of toxins that have chemical bonds like those in wood. Such mushrooms can be classified into 2 subgroups: brown rotters and white rotters. Only about 7 percent of mushrooms are brown rot fungi; of those, about 70 percent are polypors. Brown rot fungi's extracellular enzymes break down the white, pulpy cellulose, leaving behind the brownish lignin (hence the name. These fungi cause checkered cubical cracking and shrinking in wood, which is commonly seen on downed conifer trees. Examples of brown rot mushrooms are:...

(insert long list of mushrooms along with their Latin names here)

...and dry rot house wreckers (such as Serpula lacrymans and Serpula himantiodes)."

One of the astounding things I noticed when I first removed the bathroom wall was that all the fiberglass insulation had turned to dirt. Not just crumbled insulation - dirt. I think they may be onto something here in terms of bioremediation.

Mushrooms have been used to restore decommissioned logging roads to a natural state. )
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
All the criminals obligingly stayed home, sat still, and grew hair on the day that would have caused them to have a trial on 3/3/2006.

We were all sent home from jury duty at 3:00 today.

I know a lot of people thrive on the courtroom drama and the vaguaries of the criminal justice system, but for the same reason that I can't be around hospitals without feeling really sick, being around courtrooms (or even thinking about courtrooms) does the same thing. I'm glad appearing for the day and reading by a window seat in the jury lounge was all it amounted to.

I spent the entire day reading Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World by Paul Stamets. That book was the perfect antidote to "courtroom/hospital sickness" that I experience... Maybe because it represents the diametric opposite of those energies. I highly recommend that book - especially for [livejournal.com profile] silvaerina_tael, who spent some years studying wetlands remediation and waste management. It's scientifically written and based on 30 years of experience with using fungi, particularly mushrooms, to remediate contaminated habitats.

In other words it treats the system instead of the symptoms. Like I said, the diametric opposite of courtrooms and hospitals...

Actually, though, I'm in favor of doing both - treating both the symptoms and the system (I just feel more comfy at one end of that than the other for my own purposes).

April 2010

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