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It’s better than bad, it’s good!

Bought this at a smallholding fair. It’s a grow-your-own ‘shroom kit.

Dude sells wooden furniture pegs — you know, like the ones you bang together Ikea furniture with — covered in different varieties of mushroom spores. Sells ’em in little burlap bags, along with instructions and a correctly-sized drill bit.

What you do is, you take a freshly-cut hardwood log (needs to be fresh because the mushrooms live on the moisture and sugars), about four inches by two and a half feet, and drill a series of holes in a diamond pattern. The holes are a little deeper than the pegs. Bang the pegs in, plant the log in a cool, damp spot and…wait a year, eighteen months.

I bought hericium Erinaceus, which is supposed to taste like delicious lobsters.

But where in the Sam Hill do you get freshly cut hardwood logs? Anyone who sells wood will swear on his granny’s silver noggin that everything he’s got is two years old or more and seasoned all to hell.

We had begun eyeballing out neighbor’s orchard and planning a midnight raid when we remembered a local smallholder who sells apples. He had a perfect pile of wood…only it was six months old. Two months or less is optimum.

Oh, well. It’ll have to do.

Then the drill bit snapped off in the log before I got all the holes drilled.

Well, hell. This shit grows wild. In the woods. How hard can it be?


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 22, 2010, 10:51 pm

Points to anyone who recognizes the title.

I’m not sure what kind of points.

Grow-up-and-get-a-life points, perhaps.

Comment from Mitchell (The Artist Formerly Known as Enas Yorl)
Time: September 22, 2010, 11:05 pm

Ren & Stimpy!!

Yeah, I have no life.

Comment from Mitchell (The Artist Formerly Known as Enas Yorl)
Time: September 22, 2010, 11:07 pm

Growing “wild” stuff unwildly is wildly hard. I have no idea why that is though. Good luck!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 22, 2010, 11:12 pm

Oh, well done, Mitchell.

Comment from cobrakai99
Time: September 22, 2010, 11:23 pm

I am way too late. The log song is my favorite. The survival instructors in the AF always want you to be extra careful with shrooms. Many are poisonous, they are hard to identify, and offer little nutritional value (except some vitamins and minerals). But the good ones taste so good especially on a pizza or burger.

Comment from Lipstick
Time: September 22, 2010, 11:56 pm

Ha! Did you see the Mystery Science Theater version of Mitchell? I laughed my hiney off.

And congratulations Stoaty, I think you’re way cool 🙂

Comment from Mitchell
Time: September 23, 2010, 12:04 am

No, I somehow managed to miss that particular one Lipstick. I’ma gonna have to find that one now though.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: September 23, 2010, 1:10 am

I’m fortunate. Our local greenmarket has a vendor with MANY varieties of cultivated wild mushrooms (OXYMORON ALERT!) for sale. Otherwise, no doubt, mushroom kits would join the various vinegar crocks and barrels, the pasta roller & drying rack, the canner and canning jars, the sauerkraut cutter and crock, the. . .OK, I’ll spare you the rest. I REALLY need to start getting rid of stuff before it all turns on me!

Comment from Monotone (The Elderish)
Time: September 23, 2010, 1:20 am

See, the way to grow wild stuff is to stick in the ground, then after about 2 years of not giving a shit you see if its still there. May or may not take over your yard and begin growing up your house….

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: September 23, 2010, 1:33 am

You’d recognise our place, Can’t Hark 😉

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: September 23, 2010, 1:43 am

Hey, I even have a NatureMill kitchen composter! Not to mention two Happy Farmer Bokashi compost containers. And. . .and. . .and. . .
Having just done the “help mother transfer from Independent Living Facility to Assisted Living Facility” thing (meaning that you know who got to do all the packing and getting rid of stuff) I am now in acute “get rid of it!” mode in my own home. Don’t suppose you’d like any of the fancy stuff mentioned in the above post? We can dicker on who pays the transatlantic shipping charges. . .
{eyeroll!} {Only about half kidding}

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: September 23, 2010, 2:00 am

Actually, that offer is open to ANYONE. . .but it would involve exchanging e-mail information at the very least. Sigh. Back to Freecycle.org!

Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: September 23, 2010, 2:07 am

It all sounds like grand fun to me, Hark! I’m still in the accumulating mode–I’ve spent so much of my life too broke to do so, so I’m having way too much fun with hobbies and such to stop just yet.

I’d love to play on growing some ‘shrooms, except that it doesn’t seem like it makes sense given that I really do not like them AT ALL.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: September 23, 2010, 2:15 am

Nina, I’m just hoping to get things to the point where I know what hobbies I want to pursue, and have the space, time and energy to pursue them. Want a pasta roller?

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: September 23, 2010, 2:30 am

The whole idea of harvesting wild mushrooms is rather interesting, but you really need to know what you are doing. The wrong shrooms can have you seeing polka-dotted grizzly bears while your heart shakes itself apart.

They did a bit on it on Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, and it was rather impressive what you can do with the different varieties of wild mushrooms available for anyone who knows what they are up to…

Comment from Deborah
Time: September 23, 2010, 3:08 am

That is one bizarre-looking mushroom, Stoaty. I’m reminded of Little Shop of Horrors. 🙂

Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: September 23, 2010, 3:14 am

Hark, I actually use a pasta machine all the time, but not for pasta. 🙂


Comment from Og
Time: September 23, 2010, 3:25 am

I tried that once with Shiitake mushrooms. I cut down a small oak. The log drilling was quite an unpleasant chore. I made a small stack of logs down by the creek and then forgot about them for about 6 months and then I remembered them on a walk one day and there they were, ready for picking. So I harvested some, brought them home and noticed they were infested with some type of worm in the gills. Washed out the worms and fried them up. They weren’t very good. Didn’t bother to pick any more.

What makes a smallholder a smallholder?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 23, 2010, 10:33 am

Hm. Per the Domesday Book a smallholder is a “Middle class of peasant, usually with more land than a cottager but less than a villager.”

These days, it would be someone with more than an allotment, but less than a full-sized, fully functional farm. Whatever that is. A smallholder might specialize in pigs or apples or might just bump along with a bit of a farm stand and another job on the side.

There may be a real, technical definition; the above is just an observation.

Comment from surly ermine
Time: September 23, 2010, 12:57 pm

Oooo, I love cooking with shrooms. I don’t have the balls to try the wild varieties. Let us know how it goes.

We had a huge fairy ring pop up in one of the pastures a few years back. Huge caps! Never seen it again since.

Comment from EW1(SG)
Time: September 23, 2010, 1:35 pm

Og asks:

What makes a smallholder a smallholder?

and Weasel answers:

A smallholder might specialize in pigs or apples or might just bump along with a bit of a farm stand and another job on the side.

which is a very good technical description of its own right.

I suppose I will refrain from adding my own definitions, since they are unlikely to elucidate the meaning more clearly for Og, and in fact would likely obfuscate the vocabulary immensely. No matter how much fun that appears it might be at the moment.

/There now, does I gets pointz fer restraints, huh, huh, can I pleez? 😉

Comment from Dennis
Time: September 23, 2010, 3:40 pm

Hmmm. Seems like a lucrative racket. Sell a bunch of people some wooden pegs and a drill bit (the pegs have spooors on ’em, wink, wink)and tell them to cut down a tree and pound the pegs into it and then leave it out in the back forty. If it hasn’t worked in 18 MONTHS (!) come back and see me. Heh.
The Wild Turkey I can find, and it would be the main reason that I wouldn’t be able to remember or find (if the errant thought ever did return)the resultant rotten log.I suspect if you ever get past all that and return to Jeppetto’s (sp?) workshop, he’d tell you to “give it another 6 months”.
On the other hand, the chickens seem to be working out.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: September 23, 2010, 3:55 pm

Dennis –

What a cynic. I suppose next you’re going to try and tell me that the magic beans I traded the cow for aren’t really magic.

You just wait 18 months!!!!

Comment from Bill (now the .000357% of your traffic that’s from Iraq) T
Time: September 23, 2010, 5:59 pm

Our survival instructor said, “When in doubt, watch a rabbit. Anything he eats will be safe for you to eat, *except* wild mushrooms. They can eat ‘shrooms that’ll kill you.”

I asked, “Instead of watching the rabbit eat, why wouldn’t I just kill and eat *it*?”

Shoulda seen the look he gave me…

Comment from Anonymous
Time: September 23, 2010, 6:17 pm

Totally off the “How to make mushrooms with nothing but a hammer and a freshly cut log” topic….

I hereby hijack this thread and turn it into the “Yes, fun fact of the day: A favorite snack for chickens is apparently a bowl full of stink bugs.” topic


And just how does a stinkbug diet affect the flavor of the Barbie’s Dreamhouse” sized eggie wegs that are merrily popping out of Lucia’s egg hole?

I am certain that inquiring stoats and weasels want to know…

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: September 23, 2010, 6:55 pm

Bill: I doubt that he was expecting a student to think logically. OR he was a bunnyhugger, and was trying to kill you with the lasers in his eyes….. 😉

Comment from David Gillies
Time: September 23, 2010, 8:37 pm

My sister was a smallholder. or market gardener to be more accurate. It’s amazing how much produce you can get off two acres if it’s intensively enough cultivated. Back-breaking work, though (try hand-picking a ton of runner beans or pricking out 25,000 pansy seedlings.)

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: September 23, 2010, 8:39 pm

It’s true, Dennis. It can take as long as 18 months, which is plenty of time to put distance between yourself and the mark.

Comment from Bill (now the .000357% of your traffic that’s from Iraq) T
Time: September 23, 2010, 8:47 pm

Naw, I threw him off his pace, Scoob. His previous block was “field-expedient hunting weapons” and we wrapped him around the axle by getting into a discussion about whether a prussic hitch or a square knot was best for making nets.

Never schedule guys who taught SERE to attend a weekend Basic Survival Course…

Comment from chicken farmer
Time: September 24, 2010, 9:20 pm

Mushrooms? Look here.
I used freshly cut beech logs (actually 6′ lengths of big branches taken from trees in a local managed estate) The Shiitake are phenomenal.
How to grow your own field mushrooms.
Get about 200-300 pounds weight of fresh or semi-fresh (i.e. not yet rotting, you want anaerobic rot for the heat it generates) horse manure and tip it into a prepared pit at least 2′ deep, cover with 2-3″ of sterile potting soil (a couple of bags from the local Garden Centre should suffice). Cover and leave for 2-3 months, planting should be in early Spring. To plant, buy some BIG, open-cap field mushrooms, chop finely and dig into the horse manure under the potting soil. Keep the plot moist but not sodden, keep protected from the weather but not close-covered. Do not water when the fruiting bodies (the mushrooms) appear (3-4 months) otherwise they’ll go slimy. Cut an inch below soil level when mushrooms are the size you like. Enjoy!
The plot will produce 2-3 times a year for 3-4 years.

Comment from chicken farmer
Time: September 24, 2010, 9:31 pm

Re: SERE, in Africa we were taught to watch the baboons and the vervet monkeys to see what they ate. If they ate it, then so could we, including all the various insects etc!
If all else failed we could always eat the baboon or monkey!

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