Saturday, January 30, 2010

culturing :)

I've been culturing!

I got the spring buzz a few weeks ago and started growing out some of my cultures that had been in storage for 2 1/2 years....
It was great because it coincided with the UW Farm starting a "fungi on the farm" committee, which I joined, of course.
*I grew these on a medium of oatmeal agar and Bacto agar (an antibacterial).
Here are a few photos:
Pleurotus pulmonarus, the Phoenix Oyster

Hericium erinaceus, the Lion's Mane

and Pleurotus ostreatus, the Oyster, or Tree Oyster

Once the cultures were healthy and strong, I mixed sawdust and spent beer grains about 50/50 and added water.

I sterilized this mixture in autoclavable bags, and allowed to cool. This took longer than expected.

Then, I set in small chunks of the mycelium, cut directly from their dish and zip-tied the bags closed.

I had a helper :)

Now, we wait.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Winter Dye Party pt. 8 and 9

Folks, the winter dye party has come to a close in just under a week since it started :(
I've made short shrift of my mushroom supply, but feel better prepared to know which species (and how many) to collect this summer. Can't wait to see what I find...

So, for my last mushroom dye posting, I got some wild orange colors!
I made one dyebath of Cortinarius semisanguineus (top) and one of Cortinarius uliginosus (bottom), to compare shades.
I was expecting more of a red or pink, but got vivid orange/pink. Almost too vivid :)

Well, here are all my colors from the last week:

One of my most fun weeks in a long time; I was so stimulated and preoccupied with dying. I couldn't wait to get home and make another dyebath, and then I couldn't wait to get up in the morning to check the color!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Winter dye party pt. 7

More yellow! I love yellow :)

The bright lemon yellow in the center was achieved after only 15 minutes in the dyebath!
The orangey-yellow on the right was after 45 min/1 hour in dyebath.
The other colors to the left are previous dyes for comparison.
So, this fungus was Inonotus hispidus, another polypore that forms "shelfs" on wood.

winter dye party pt. 6

The latest successful mushroom dye comes from Echinodontium tinctorum, a brick red polypore (I forgot to take a before photo). I picked up a small piece last fall at Easy Pass thinking it may be useful...and it was!

It gave a light orange, almost creamscicle-like or pink-ish with alum and cream-of-tartar as mordant.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Winter Dye Party pt. 5!

Remember the copper penny blue?

I love how this one came out (top right).

Hard to believe you can get a color like this from pennies and ammonia.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Winter Dye Party pt. 4

I got a yellow!

I used a mix of boletus (which have pores/tubes to release spores instead of gills).
I used Boletus mirabilis and Boletus zelleri with 1 scoop alum and 2 scoops cream of tartar.

top left: Polyozellus + copper penny
top right: Copper Penny Blue (pennies + ammonia)
lover left: Boletus + alum + cream of tartar
lower right: Paxillus + alum + cream of tartar

Friday, January 22, 2010

Winter Dye Party pt.3

I am hooked on mushroom dyes. That's all there is to it.
I've been doing a new dye every night this week (I'll slowly post results, once a day). Some have been great, and some not so successful.
So far, the unsuccessful one was some polypore (I couldn't identify) that I collected in the fall. It was slightly red and I hoped it might work well to dye...but it was a dud.
**A tip I've elucidated for knowing if something will dye or not, is the dyebath will be opaque. All these opaque molecules will attach to the fiber, and the leftover dyebath will be less opaque.

Now, on to the latest dye results!

I used a Paxillus sp. (not edible, despite what some people say)

and I used Alum and cream of tartar together as the mordant. I used about 1 spoonful alum and two of cream of tartar.

It gave a rust color:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dye results

So, the black chanterelle Polyozellus multiplex did indeed give a moss green!

I'm so proud of my first mushroom dye :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Winter Dye Party pt. 2

Moving on from the Copper Penny Blue dyebath...
Tonight I will dye using mushrooms for the first time! I'm getting everything ready right now!

I'm using a variety of fibers (though wool should work best).
And I'm using Polyozellus multiplex, the black chanterelle, with copper pennies. I should get a dark moss-green.
Who knows what that will look like for sure...but I hope it's pretty :)

I tied the yarn loosely and ran under water, slowly making the water warmer and warmer until hot. I then put it in a pan of water with a spoonful of detergent and heated it without boiling for almost an hour.

I then rinsed the yarn in hot water, slowing making the water cooler and cooler until warm. I set in another bowl of warm/hot water until the dyebath was ready.

To make the dyebath, I crumbled up dried Polyozellus multiplex from Easy Pass 21 September, 2009 into a pot. I added enough water to cover the yarn that would be there and brought to a boil. I then simmered the mushrooms for an hour and then cooled the mixture. This is where I am now.

Now I will strain the mushrooms out, add the washed yarn and simmer without boiling another hour. I hope it turns out a nice color :)
I'll let you know tomorrow when it dries!

Monday, January 18, 2010


On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I did some cleaning and recycling.
I had saved these two rice bags for a few months and finally sewed them into something useful....Adam's new lunch bag :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Meat of wheat

Seitan, Seitan, Seitan...
my meat of wheat :)

Over here at the homestead, we eat meat sparingly (3 chickens a year, a few packs of bacon, salmon, etc.)
We do, however, make and eat seitan quite often.

It's easy to make, and the main ingredients (wheat gluten and nutritional yeast flakes) are, in my opinion, essential to every food storage plan.

I modified the recipe from Post Punk Kitchen...

1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten flour
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 cup cold water
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 or 3 garlic cloves
simmering broth:
cold water
1/2 cup soy sauce
red pepper flakes
bay leaves

Add wet to dry in a large glass bowl. Quickly mix with a wooden spoon until incorporated, wet, and sticking together. Add a few spoonfuls more wheat gluten if necessary.

Knead with palm of hand for 8 min or so until quite elastic.
Shape into a log about 4-5 inches wide and 8 inches long.

Let sit for 10 min.
Fill a large pot with enough cold water to cover the seitan. Add soy sauce, pepper flakes, and bay leaves.
Cut seitan log into 3 pieces. Place these three short cylindars into pot of water.
Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for 1 hour. Use wooden spoon to turn the pieces every 15 min or so.

Seitan may puff and change shape as it cooks. After 1 hour, remove from heat and let cool. I store these seitan pieces in their simmering broth in a glass tupperware type container.

To cook, thinly slice a piece of seitan, or cube it for a different feel, and saute in a little oil in a pan.

I like them crispy.
I add this seitan to all kinds of dishes - most often to "seitan salad," a big salad with beans and rice, cooked seitan, and nutritional yeast dressing.
Mmmm, YUM!

Nutritional Yeast Dressing:
(I am estimating amounts by volume)
1/3 parts vinegar, I mix apple cider vinegar and any other kinds, too.
1/3 part oil, I mix olive oil and vegetable oil
1/3 part nutritional yeast flakes

2 spoonfuls of yogurt or sour cream
pinch of:
red pepper flakes
dried basil
dried oregano

And that's it!
Shake it up and store in fridge.
Sometimes I add a little water as well.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Auriscalpium vulgare

A friend at work showed me this awesome find:

Auriscalpium vulgare

It's a toothed mushroom growing on a mushroom of the same species from the previous season that grew from a Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) cone .

Ahh, life's too wonderful :)

Here is a better photo from Mykoweb

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

night moth

One of my favorite Christmas presents was this old fashioned, wood carved "night moth" cookie press.

If was given me by my lovely sister Candice from House on the Hill Springerle and Speculaas cookeie press company.
Well, all my presents were my favorite...
Here are some of the most photogenic:

Tomato sauce mill :)


New blue clog shoes
Thanks for all the presents and good times together :)

Monday, January 11, 2010


Early Saturday morning I asked Adam if he wanted to go shooting. He was so happy! He sleepily grinned and said "pew pew" clutching his invisible dream gun...
Adam loves to go shooting and I have only been once with him due to scheduling conflicts that he interpreted as avoidance.

It was my first time at the outdoor shooting pit in Sultan, so I was a little gun shy...but I had a fun time, learned A LOT, and will definitely be more confident next time :)

I actually do want to know how to safely handle, carry, and shoot a gun; it's just that they are so sharp and heavy it makes it difficult and intimidating some times.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

family crest?

When I was in Montessori, I remember making some Christmas plates by coloring in marker on certain white paper circles and then my teacher turned them into plastic plates.
A few months ago, the ladies in Relief Society organized a plate making night and I realized it was the same type of thing I had done in preschool.
Of course I went. And I ended up making the funniest Christmas plates for Adam.
They are sort of a family crest, if you will.

There is me and Adam with our family bird Lemon-Lime on his shoulder. Adam is holding an "old fashioned" computer, since he loves computers. We've got jars of pickles and jars of jam; mushrooms; and Martin-our first and favorite duck all under a handknit Barlow banner!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Thousands protest against global warming.....

Adam found this on Bill StClair's Crypto-Anarcho-Libertarian blog. I'm not sure who is the original source, though.

Monday, January 4, 2010

tiny slippers

Here is the next version of knit baby shoes/slippers.
These were simple, each shoe was worked all in one piece meaning no seams to sew or multiple ends to weave in. The free pattern is from SockPixie, and can be found here.
I have more baby shoe patterns lined up...more soon!