Growing Mushrooms Inside Your House

Some Pacific Northwest people have gone outside to get mushrooms during this recent bumper crop of fungi, but not us.

Did you know you could grow mushrooms inside from a kit from Cascadia Mushrooms?

I had no idea until after taking a farm tour, my dad brought this plain, brown block to us to try it out. And no thanks to me it worked!
growing mushrooms insideKits are 100% Certified Organic blocks of enriched, sterilized hardwood sawdust fully colonized by mycelium, a hardy strain of Shiitake. Just have your husband spray water on it twice a day and BAM! here they come!shitake mushroomsEarly on, we had a super-achiever.big shitake mushroomThe Hubs We harvested the bounty today and will resoak the block for another round of ‘shrooms. It’s reusable for many more times.harvested mushroomsAnd if you’re really lucky, someone will use these delicious, fresh mushrooms to make you breakfast!eggs and mushroomsMmmmmmmmm.

Odes to Autumn

Before October ends, I had to get these photos of our local Bainbridge fall colors out. I’m so glad I took these shots because we had strong winds blow a lot of these leaves off just a day later. I hope you enjoy them!
fall colors on Bainbridge Island
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
― Albert Camus
fall colors pond
“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”
― Henry David Thoreau
pumpkin patch
“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face.”
― John Donne
fall color tree
“It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life.”
― P.D. James
fall colors
“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne

How to Go Ziplining (for anxious, whiny babies)

Are you like me?

Have you become a parent, settled down into home life and couch-dom and gained weight accumulated more and more anxieties? While at the same time drinking wine and enviously watching others soar through life on tv, confronting gravity and their fears?

That plus the ease of regretful emails is why my friends and I went ziplining when we recently met up in Utah.

Yes, I sent the email…but I didn’t think any of them would say yes. We’re all 40-mumblemumble-year-old moms with young lives relying on us. But once the ball got rolling, it apparently couldn’t stop. I couldn’t bail when it was my idea, right?

To help us acclimate, we started with a short, lower zipline. Continue reading

Old friendship is less of a plant and more of a chair.

chairThis weekend I’m meeting up with tequila and Mexican food three friends from school for some girl time. We originally met in Austin, Texas but none of us lives there anymore. We scattered, like people do after graduating, and then we scattered again. Some of us mostly me had several times of scattering before stretching roots out and you mostly them were well-advised to write addresses down in pencil (remember those address books with actual pages of paper?).

So it’s been 25 years since we first met and that has me thinking of what form this friendship of four women has taken. Our little circle has grown from four women to now include four husbands (all original, first husbands!), eight children, a fabulous dog *ahem* and perhaps a few cats.

But considering how far we all live from each other and yet how we all are putting our lives on “pause” to get together this weekend, this friendship at first glance reminded me of that bush in the yard.

You know the one. It sits off at the side. You can see it from the window if you lean up near the glass. You watered it a lot when it first came into your life but somewhere along the way you quit giving it the attention it deserves.

But it didn’t care. It managed to keep growing, or at least not die, despite your utter negligence.

But that bush is a distant thing and this weekend doesn’t feel like a distant thing. The fact that this gathering is even happening after several years of absence feels more like that old, comfortable chair.

This chair has four strong wooden legs with sides that rise up for you to lean on when you get tired or when you just need to shift a bit. And it has a cushion that over the years has gotten a bit warped, lumpy and imperfect.

But it still offers a soft place to land and hugs you, maybe even better than it did.

Sure, the upholstery may not be fresh, crisp or even-toned like it was brand new, but its worn spots show where tired hands have rested and where the heaviness of a body has been supported.

And even if we’ve ignored this chair too long, stacked magazines on it or moved it to a little-used corner, we need to remember it’s still a functioning chair waiting for us to uncover it and curl up in or hang a leg over the side.

It’s still a solid chair. Let’s dust it off.

Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival – Come see!

It may be after Labor Day and you may not be wearing your white shoes anymore come on, people!, but Mother Nature’s still squeaking out some glorious warm days in the Pacific Northwest.

We took advantage and headed to the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival (an easy, 1 1/2 hour drive from Bainbridge Island) on one of those days.port townsend, waThe place was packed, three boats thick, on the docks.

You may not know this cuz no one listens to me around here! but the Hubs used to be a liveaboard on his own 65′ wooden boat (motorized) in Alaska, so it was with great trepidation I made this outing with him.
wooden boatAnything could happen, right?

He could get smitten with another bloodsucking, bank-draining, time-hoarding, soul-crushing wooden boat. He could talk so long with boat owners I’d need IV fluids and a stretcher. He could get fascinated with the tool demonstrations of metal cutting wood and then cutting it over again, and again. and probably again and we’d never leave!

While the Hubs talked to the boat people, the Kid and I went aboard boats. Some had the living situation all figured out.wooden boat master suiteWe saw several built-in bathtubs this ALMOST changes everything.wooden boat bathtubMood lighting, anyone?

We did eat pretty well.paella manAnd took in some fantastic views.bow view wooden boatEvery boat should have a hammock, don’t you think?wooden boat hammockAre you, or have you ever been, a boat person?PT wooden boat festival