Harmonious Homestead
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A Mycophilia Interlude

oyster mushrooms outdoors Our #diykitchen renovation project should be taking all our time, but we're distracted by babies. Tiny seedlings, baby chicks, and these exciting newborns.

Way back in the late autumn, I built a bed of wood chips, straw, and oyster mushroom spawn. It was old, suspected non-viable spawn from Swainway Urban Farm worthwhile only of a couple hours effort towards experimental outdoor mushroom growing.

wild oyster mushroom bed

When I saw tiny chocolate lumps, I knew they were mushrooms but they looked nothing like the oysters Swainway Urban Farm cultivates regularly. As the outdoor primordia grew, covered by fabric to shade and retain moisture, the tops flared and developed their characteristic scent of the sea. We have a bed of wild growing oyster mushrooms!

oyster mushrooms

Coincidentally I was reading Eugenia Bone's Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms as our oyster mushroom mycelium was running. My brain soaked in Eugenia's journey from a culinarily-motivated hobby hunter to a seasoned amateur mushroom expert. Written like a memoir but full of scientific accuracies, Mycophilia goes deep inside the worlds of wild mushroom harvesters, research mycologists, psychedelic mushrooms, and gatherings that include all aspects of mushroom love and lore.

Mycophilia sheds light on the wild and mysterious kingdom of fungus. Fungus live among and within us, in many ways that we barely understand. A few species can kill humans, many are benignly inedible and several are among the healthiest (and tastiest) things to eat. Fungi have potential for remediating oil and toxic spills and they are critical to healthy soil. Eugenia Bone shares all these facts and more in her easy-to-read, fascinating book, recommended for anyone who wonders about mushrooms.