Domesticated, with mushrooms
It doesn’t take long before one realizes that I am a homebody who enjoys nothing more than plomping myself in a chair and watching the birds out the window, one who considers the day’s best exertion to be a quiet hike around the city.
I’m still a birding novice, eager to watch anything that’s not a robin, crow, seagull or Mallard duck. Recently, I’ve seen bobbing little buffleheads; Anna’s hummingbirds with their magnificent purple heads; three red-throated house finches; bushtits; two bald eagles, which are surprisingly plentiful in Magnolia’s Discovery Park; American wigeons; Northern shovelers, which look like tricked-out, long-billed cousins of the Mallard; and a handful of others. I confess that I don’t mind hauling around my bird book and binoculars around, though I’m also quite content to leave them perched by a window for some domestic birdwatching.
I feel similar about mushrooms: Foraging for wild mushrooms was a highlight of last year, but I’m no elitist who would knock homegrown mushrooms. So, last weekend when I was at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, I purchased my first mushroom-growing kit (this blue oyster mushroom kit, specifically). You could also check out the company’s fairy- and mushroom-animated home page, where you’ll be played the song “Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow” — but the site gives the appearance of selling another kind of ‘shroom…
The kit contains a block of straw that’s already been colonized by mushroom mycelium. For a few weeks, you mist the straw block often with non-chlorinated water and suspend a plastic bag — the “humidity tent” — around it, which keeps the moisture level high.
Hopefully, in another week or two, we’ll be harvesting our first mushroom flush. And, I’m crossing my fingers that the mushrooms won’t give us “poisoned dreams, distorted dreams, mushroom dreams.” The folks that wrote that song were undoubtedly high.
Sometimes it’s not always possible to make time for treks out in the mountains, but I’m learning how to appreciate the wilderness nearby.