There’s a Fungus Among Us

There’s a Fungus Among Us

A mushroom walks in to an ice-cream store. “We don’t serve to mushrooms here” says the man behind the counter. The mushroom asks, “Why not? I’m a fungi!

Yay it’s finally here! For the last three years Patrick has been wanting a mushroom growing kit but there was always a reason it wasn’t the right time. Not enough money, not enough time, enough money enough time, not enough desire by the parents that would have to deal with it.

Mushroom Growing Kit and Patrick

So a few weeks ago I was perusing my seed catalogs and came across a 50% off coupon for one item, offer expires in three days. This is perfect, the mushroom box is regularly $39.99, I was already getting four container blueberry plants from the same company, so now I’ll get free shipping on my order over $50. Half off the mushrooms, free shipping, it looks like fun, perfect.

Patrick is my most outdoorsy kid. He’s the one that needs to be going, doing, touching, moving, from the time he gets up till the time he crashes. It’s safe to say that if he had been my first child, he may have been an only child. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not a “bad” kid. He’s not disrespectful or rude, not belligerent or thugish. He’s just active. Very, very, active. It takes all four of the grown ups in our house to make sure he’s 1)safe, 2)stimulated with educational endeavors because he’s going to be doing something it may as well be educational, 3)safe and 4)did I mention, safe.

The garden is his playground. He’s the one that will go out with me no matter what time of the morning or evening. He’s the one that never complains about the garden “chores”. Moving mulch? No problem. Clearing ¬†brush? A breeze. Raking leaves? Sign me up. It’s only right that he gets to reap the rewards of all that hard work. This year he’s getting his own garden. Patrick’s Green Garden. Precisely because of his willingness, eagerness to help in the garden and because he loves the garden almost as much as I do. He’s thrilled about it and so are we. Even the Parsnip and he’s not easily thrilled, about anything.

The mushroom kit arrived and we’ll be starting it this afternoon. I’m sure I’ll be posting progress reports when they get a little more exciting. Right now it’s a box of compost seemingly. Not at all exciting.

Strategy Number One, Scared Straight

Last summer the front yard would periodically bloom with clusters of huge mushrooms. Really huge, the largest I had ever seen. It got so we would have to tell Patrick everyday, “Don’t eat any of the mushrooms out there” He loves mushrooms, and they did look exactly like the ones we eat. Finally, after sidestepping the issue, “Patrick, they are not good for you”. “Patrick, they are not the right kind of mushroom”. “Patrick, leave the mushrooms be”. I had had it. “Patrick, if you eat those mushrooms, it might kill you”.

The whole truth is that I have no idea if the mushrooms that spring up in our yard are any different than those we put in our omelettes, but I also know that I have no desire to find out one way or another. I am a foraging chicken and that is the truth. While I may nibble a leaf or two if I think it’s something related to mint, I would not serve my family a salad with it only to find out it is related to mint but it’s also toxic. Tomatoes are related to Belladonna, one is a tasty treat, the other, your invitation to Jesus.

So, then Meghan was angry at me. “You didn’t have to scare him that way”. She works a lot so she didn’t realize we had been having the “Don’t eat” discussion for days before I brought out the big guns. After a quick recap of the week, she softened and even added, “If I see you around them, I’m telling mom.” It turns out she needn’t have bothered, the point had been hammered home. He can be overheard loudly proclaiming to cousins, “We grow poison mushrooms in our yard”. Sigh…that’s all, just sigh.

Strategy Number Two. I resort to being my mother

When I wasn’t living with my grandparents, I lived with my mom, brother, and step-father. My mom was not the “nurturing” type. I don’t have fond memories of cuddles or loving heart to hearts. I respect her for being a woman that did what she had to do to “keep it together”. She was adamant that my brother and I get the best education she could arrange. She, herself had left school when she was 15 to have my brother. She modeled educational perseverance by returning to get her GED and even getting an associates degree when she was in her early forties.

She did try her best to foster our imaginations whenever she could. For example, long after I had set Santa and the Easter Bunny aside, I still would periodically write letters to the “little men” that lived in the old manual typewriter we had. Somewhere in a box in storage are the letters I received back from those little guys. I think they sold their place and have retired to Microsoft in Seattle.

One thing that stuck with me was after a rain, when the mushrooms would pop up, my mom would say, “That’s where the fairies danced last night’. I loved that.

So, after traumatizing him with tales of dreaded poison, I fell back on a winning mom nugget. “Patrick, that’s where the fairies danced last night”. I added, “They mark where they’ll have their feast tonight”.

I know today’s post has been more about growing kids than growing mushrooms, but that’s how it goes sometime. I did want to give you the next part of the Ark of Taste list. Today is peppers.

I grow fish peppers and Sheepnose Pimiento. The Fish Pepper is stinkin’ hot so beware that. They’re great for pickled peppers, or drying for Thai dishes. Just be careful when you mess with them, wear gloves and eye protection. The Sheepnose Pimiento is good in dill pickles as well as Pimiento cheese.

Jonathan just came and told me Patrick wants to sleep outside to watch the fairies feast and dance. He want’s to know where the sleeping bags are. Sigh…isn’t rain forecast?

Have a fungus paisley day!~KeriAnne





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