Dreaming Mushrooms


Mushroom spores afloat, four season song
Morel, Chanterelle, Turkey Tails Boletus
Amanita Laccaria Earth Star and Fetus
Wispy whispering heard while walking, singing come along

Grow mushrooms, we love it here it’s damp and humid through the year
Grow mushrooms, learn fungal ways, deep in these woods where water plays
Grow mushrooms, trees rustle and sway, grow mushrooms great forest says
Grow mushrooms, birds trill and chwee, grow mushrooms, it’s meant to be

Yes!  What was painted eleven pregnant years ago becomes this years adventure; beginning with well, mushrooms of course, and trees::are there trees without mushrooms, mushrooms without trees?  Some grow below from out of earth, though there’s leaf beds involved, peeled bark, sawdust where woodpecker’s been busy, cardboard which is another tree sourced material; ssems like most all originate with trees . . . . we set out questing Quercus, Maple, Betula.  Maple, Sappy Betty, Heavenly Alianthus, Poplar, Hickory and Apple received us and gave us the go ahead.  We asked whether to handcut or chainsaw?  They replied, Percolate on this while venturing on::

Visiting with friends who’ve been cultivating mushrooms outdoors for nearly two decades we walked out to their setup and gave it close attention.  Shitakes on hardwood, upright, vertical, above creek on slope, summer shade.  Oysters laid on ground, resting horizontally not-such-hardwood:: Alianthus/Tree of Heaven, above creekside, understory, shade.  Learned about plugs, how they permeate through the holes drilled to fill the log within with mycelium, from which mushrooms emerge out of the log as a whole, not one polite mushroom growing out of each hole, the holes are simply conveying spore inside wood.  Would that we could plug hemlock where woodpecker’s drilled holes already, 5/16″ wide?  Well, we’re going to give that a wouldy wood would with spares.

But first to procure spawn; shitake, oyster, and resihi.  We chose Fungi Perfecti as the source to begin with, even though they’re all the way across the country.  Dreaming mushrooms will proliferate here in this happy hollow, we’ll learn how to gather spores from what grows, spread them around . . . maybe, maybe they’ll have their own dreams, do their own song and dance toward living, coexist in reciprocity, we’ll see first we’ll seed the giving trees.

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Sunny cold day for working comes:: handcut tree we thank thee. Michael and Ahmad take turns with axe, work together, first time tree cutting for both.  Our neighbour joins in with chainsaw where Hickory and Birch grow creekside between too many trees for us first timers to want to cut down solo; he knows the ways to do the work, trees drop between gaps just so, without falling on any other trees or shrubs.  Magic hands has this mountain man, shares his knowings as showings.  Cut fallen trees, limbs, any stretches with 4 -8 inches diameter, into 3-4 foot lengths, stack them Northside for a month to rest.

While waiting for spawn to arrive, do online reading on mushrooms, cultivation, drilling, plugging, get familiar with what we’ll be doing.  The day came for marking diamond patterns on logs, drilling 1 1/4″ deep, 5/16″ drill bit, whirrrrrrrrr; logs laid on sawhorses, girl’s held down the ends to keep them from galloping off and away.  Drilling’s the longest part of this work, laborious.  Plugging’s the fun part!  Hammering music, ratataptaptap, working in pairs, musical chairs around the sawhorses.  Plugged till we ran out of drilled logs, nine, and the bag of blue oysters is almost gone quite fine.

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Ahmad had a fire going where he had soy wax melted and ready . . . cheese wax and beeswax, we’ve heard, attracts bears who make tears through logs, so; the tin can and paintbrushes in hand we daubed wax over plugs, sealing out sources of contamination . . . left some unwaxed to learn the difference, mushrooms growing wild do pretty swell without waxing; have an idea to find out by trying both. Then we moved the logs over to where they’re napping creekside on some wood beams leftover from when we built the cabin; keeping them off the ground.  Now we keep them watered weekly, with hose siphoning pond, during dry weather for six months or so, when they’ll wake up from dreaming and we’ll harvest fungus; in the meantime we drink birch bark tea.  Birch wood shavings decocted by themselves are yummy, though I also brew them mixed with a bit of dandelion root, burdock root, licorice root, sassafras bark, and vanilla bean decocted; delicious warm and cold: it’s root beer without the fizz 🙂

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