Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Shiitake Mushroom Harvest

Remember when Bill and I prepared those logs about 2 years ago with the mushroom plugs? They take about 2 years to "mature" or whatever it is they do, then you can harvest for about 10 years after that. I'd kind of forgotten all about them until Bill looked at them a few weeks ago. Well....
The mushrooms are coming! The mushrooms are coming! Actually this is harvest #2.

Here they are washed and drying... guess what's for dinner? This is just one of two cleaned batches... yeah, a big harvest. I'm going to be pretty sick of shiitakes after a few nights of these. We'll have to give away a ton of them.

The first harvest had a ton of little bugs in the gills and it took alot of rinsing to get them all out. The weather was still warm so that's probably why there were so many. But we've had temps dropping into the 40s at night in the past week. No bugs this time. We also took the logs up to the lake and dunked them into the water overnight (brrr). Left 3 logs up there and brought these 4 home.  2 weeks later, they exploded with mushrooms! I expect at least as many in the next 2 weeks. Anybody know any way to preserve them other than drying?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Weaving adventures

Maybe I've bitten off more than I can chew by choosing something hard like this undulating twill. The warp is tencel and the weft is a fingering weight merino wool, I think. I messed up the threading, skipping a whole segment, and it became really noticeable once I got going, so I had to unweave a few inches to fix that... there are 2 other places where I think I switched two threads but I have to really look for those places so I just left those in... perfection is so overrated anyway. Besides, unweaving is no fun.
I've learned how to use two shuttles/colors and to treadle two patterns (tabby with the left foot and the twill with the right). It's fun to watch the curves appear. Notice my perfect tension... and I forgot to use warping sticks or paper or anything. Hope the weaving police don't show up.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Getting set up for weaving... here is the swift on the left and the ball winder to the right. Mom and Janie, I fixed the swift's missing top by using one of those wide rubber bands from broccoli along with cotton string. Seems to be working so far! The swift takes a skein of yarn and unwinds it as the ball winder re-winds the yarn into a ball (also called a cake).

Here is my new (old) loom. It's a 32" weaving width 8 shaft-10 treadles Loomcraft. It feels so much sturdier than the Norwood or even the Artisat, mostly because this isn't portable! It is firmly ensconced in the dining room but out of sight of the great room so Bill doesn't have to actually SEE it. His only comment so far was just that it was big. Heh. Locking pins are holding the beater stationary for now. It came with the tilt seat bench.

Here's the back of it. The back beam flips up for when I need to thread the heddles. I also have a home-made replacement warp beam that's more like the cloth beam... maybe I'll switch it out if I can't get used to this large one that's already on here.

For Mom and Dad (and Janie), this is the wedge trick I read about that helps to elevate the shafts to different levels to make threading the million heddles a little bit easier. I don't think a doorstop would be big enough after putting in this nearly empty cone. I just raised the shafts and inserted this in the space in the middle (bigger end toward the front of the loom).

Hopefully you can see how the heddles on each of these 4 shafts are at staggered levels - I think this will be better than trying to paint the heddles different colors.

When I get this all threaded and get some weaving done, I'll post a picture of what this scarf is going to look like. I am doing a draft from this article online http://www.weavezine.com/content/flowing-curves-part-1-overshot-and-weaving-overshot

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Growing mushrooms

Several weeks ago, a tree fell in the woods just as we were getting out of the car. What a racket. Bill decided to order this mushroom-growing kit... heh, whatever, yall know I tend to just go with the flow with Bill. Apparently you need to use freshly fallen/cut trees for this. He cut some large sections of the tree to use as the base for the mushrooms. The rest he cut up for firewood. You can never have too much firewood.

Then, as per instructions, he drilled holes all over the tree sections.
And pounded in the mushroom plugs. They were about an inch long and less than a half inch thick.
I helped. The kit came with hard wax that I melted a little at a time and then "painted" on over the plug to create a seal. I guess this is to keep the moisture in and the bugs out.

Here are the sections we did. They sit out in the woods in the shade like this for about a year and then supposedly we will have a bumper crop of shiitake mushrooms. I still think I'd rather get mine from the grocery store.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from Bill and me!

We tried yet again, to get a decent picture of the 3 kids. It started off okay...

Then the high jinks took over... and Mae got a huge fit of the gigglies...

which Steven and Will love to keep going...

Hope you all have plenty of merry happening in your house!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

One of my favorite pictures

We're missing Will, but I love this picture of Steven and Mae taken after her graduation from 8th grade. Click on it to get the full impact of two happy faces. Sigh. It does a mother's heart good.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Washington, DC trip, part 2

So, continuing on with the 8th grade trip to DC, we spent some time in the Air and Space Museum. Recognize the Apollo? Amazing to think that was all the room they had in there. Click on the picture to check out the little cots they strapped themselves into.

These innnneresting water sculptures were outside. Lovely for the little kiddies to get their beginner's anatomy lessons.

We went to the Botanical Gardens. This was the only thing I wanted to take a picture of there. What a great idea for an arbor or walkway. I loved checking out all the varieties of plants in there. Otherwise, it was a bit ho-hum in comparison to Duke Gardens in Somerset, NJ, or the NY Botanical Gardens.

This was one of many, many benches Mae anointed with her bottom and her heavy sighs in DC. Actually this was the only pretty one. It would have been even better without the dividers in the bench. Mae discovered that if you don't place your bum correctly, you get a butt crack divider, ouch!

We did the Tour of Monuments from around 7 - 9 pm. Mae was definitely running out of steam and we visited every other bench along the walkways. She's standing in front of the WWII Monument (which is huge) and the Washington Monument is visible behind it. Mae is facing the Lincoln Memorial on the other side of the long Reflecting Pool (remember in Forrest Gump when he finished speaking just as the sound comes back on and Jenny wades into the water shouting, "Forrest!")

We walked through the Korean War Monument. The statues were all spaced out in kind of an elongated V to show, I guess, how they walked through an area. They all had capes over their uniforms, but you could see guns and radios and other things sticking out. The expressions were pretty grim. It was kind of depressing overall.

On our last day, we went to Arlington National Cemetary with a small detour into the Women's War Memorial. Here is Mae standing in front of the "Women Go To War" part of the women in WWII display. The class brought flowers to recognize her great, great aunt Allie B. Williams who was a WAC in WWII. We ditched the rest of the class and stayed here while they walked through Arlington. Mae couldn't see all the crosses to get the impact of how many there were, so we watched a movie about women in the armed forces through the years. Okay, I admit it, I sat with Mae on a bench... in an air-conditioned room while they had to walk through the cemetery in 85 degree humid heat. Heh, heh, heh.

On our way back to NJ, we stopped at the Naval Academy in Annapolis for lunch and a tour. Whoa! This is definitely something I'd recommend to others. Our tour guide was fantastic and as the former Director of Admissions for the Academy, he gave our group quite a bit of advice. One of the many things he said that stuck in my mind was that, on average, after college we live about 72 years. The amount of hard work we put into 4 years of high school and then 4 years of college - those 8 years - have a direct effect on how we get to spend those remaining 72 years.
This picture is of the residential dorms. I can't remember the name, but it has 8 connecting wings and is absolutely gorgeous inside and out. Big dorm rooms too.

The last thing we saw in Annapolis was the crypt of John Paul Jones. It's in its own circular room under the chapel. I wish we'd had more time to walk through here because he's quite the interesting historical figure in our history - "I have not yet begun to fight."