Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Fungus Amongus

Last Saturday, my friend, Tara,(yes, she is the infamous chicken hat wearing chicken dance dancing friend):) and I attended a WSU (WA State U) workshop called Forest Farming for Fun and Profit. The course was to learn how to grow commercially viable mushroom species.

I had always wanted to go out mushroom hunting for morels and chantrelles, but didn't trust myself with identification.

The course was taught by WSU Extension Forester, Jim Freed and Julia Coffey from Fungi Perfecti. It was a fascinating introduction to the world of mushrooms. It was held at a beautiful farm, Ed's Apples just outside of the town of Sultan.

I had no idea all the beneficial uses for fungi. From medicinal to restoring roads from logging in forest lands. Fungi can remove all kinds of toxins from the body as well as the environment. They are even testing a species, turkeytail, that is shown to help with fighting cancer. Check out their online catalog for all the great educational, medicinal and fun items.

The owner of Fungi Perfecti has even written a book on how mushrooms can save the world, the books title is Mycelium Running

Here in the Pacific Northwest we can grow about a dozen species, including oyster, shiitake, and maiitake, using many of our native trees. Outdoor log-cultivated mushrooms are considered to be higher quality and are nearly twice as high in health-promoting polysaccharides as those grown indoors on artificial substrates.

They talked about using several different growing mediums such as logs, stumps and sawdust. (They even have a kit for growing them in your coffee grounds!):)

After the lecture we went outside for a demo on how to prepare and inoculate logs as well as harvesting techniques and care to help promote optimum production. We were even given a few plugs of shiitake mushrooms to start with.

If you get an opportunity to take a class like this I highly recommend it, I found myself fascinated throughout the 4.5 hours.

Below are some pics of the demos.....

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Emu Haiku

Emus in Winter
Yearn for the Summer Sunshine
Frost in Their Topknot

Never did I realize just how much I would miss having a computer until both my home and work computers had to go into the shop for different reasons. They took almost 6 days to get back....I was definitely going through some blogger withdrawal!
I can't believe how behind I am on all the goings-on at everyone's blogs. :( I almost need a vacation day to get caught up....

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Just another soggy Sunday........

Yup, another rainy day in WA. no surprise really. Except the weatherman DID say it was supposed to be a mostly dry weekend (granted it was said last week and it IS a weatherman doing the prediction). I was really looking forward to cleaning out the chicken coop and barn from all the "leftovers" from the critters during the snow party.

No such luck, guess I'll have to wait. Darn. :P I decided to do a little picture taking during feeding this morning.

I'll start with the most shocking picture....I don't normally take pics of myself (let alone let anyone else take one) and I definitely try to at least run a brush through my hair beforehand. Not this time. Here I am in all my glory, no make-up, sweats and messy hair. Ginger didn't care though, I love how animals enjoy visiting with you no matter what you look like. :)

There was plenty of soggy poultry waiting to be fed.....the guineas looked the worse for the wear.....madder than a wet guinea? (or does that only work for hens?)

Didn't slow down the chorus of "buckwheating" going on....

My Narragansett tom thought the rain was so much better than the snow, much easier to strut his stuff....

Is this a face only a mother could love (or a turkey hen)?

Hey! Take a pic of ME! I am after all the handsomest male on the farm (this rooster did seem to demand I take his pic):)

There also were many soggy sheep, Bevin says "I hear it's dry back home in OR!!"

Matisse says "let's get the donkey to distract her and maybe we can escape and hitchhike back to OR.....or maybe go further South and go hang out on a CA beach....

The smart ones of the barnyard were these three girls, hanging out on a stall door. I honestly think they thought I would come over and hand feed them their breakfast.

The other smart ones were the kitties, Coopurrr and Hooch, snuggled up on the front porch.

My Witchhazels are starting to bloom, they have to be my favorite wintertime plant. The colors are so vibrant and defiant against the gray cloudy days.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What next?? Locust???

Do I dare ask?? Someone has definitely pissed off Mother Nature! (really, Ma, I don't ever want to see a locust swarm....just so we're clear on that).

Once again, here we have a case of be careful what you wish for.....having had enough of the snow, I think I might have mentioned that I would rather have the rain for awhile, and warmer temps.

OK, maybe I should have specified, light rain and normal winter temperatures.

Instead we received torrential rain (over 10" in a day in some locations) and very warm temperatures for this time of year (thanks Hawaii). Snow levels went way up, and with the rain melting all the snow as well as adding to our already swollen rivers and streams....

Welcome to the first flood of 2009 (hoping it's the last as well).

Here's a couple of pics looking down from our hill to the river overflowing it's banks below into a farmers fields.

Here's where that water was going....across the road that gets me to town and work.

This was just the first "little" puddle that I also went through to see what the real river was up to.....

By the looks of things it was up to over 4 feet....those white posts are 5 feet high.

The river was still rising when I took these...the water flowing inward towards the mountains.

I drove down the other way, towards the town of Sultan, I knew the road would be closed that way too.

I'm guessing this car wasn't running when the river came up....or they would have moved it to higher ground. Though I did see many pictures on the news of people that tried to drive through the water and were stranded.

A few of the homes were designed with floods in mind.....not sure how I would feel about the river surrounding my home.

The creeks were over capacity and brought many of the hillsides down with them.

Here are some pics of the river, I missed some of the trees that looked like toothpicks being tossed about.

I guess I'll have time to do a couple of blog posts today and read up on all the posts I've been missing out on, on my favorite blogs.....looking at the positive! :)