Most of these photos are not of edible mushrooms- my hands were too full of mushrooms when we were picking the edible kinds to be bothered with my camera- and PLEASE do not rely on my photos for identification of mushrooms in the field. There are a few edible ones in here: like the Black Chanterelles and the one that looks like a white beard. We collected another five edibles that I didn’t get distinctive enough photos of because we were hiking on the north facing side of a mountain in dying winter light. Quite a few of those I did photograph are very inedible.
As a family we have always loved finding wild food. K. was 8 when she became obsessed with a book by Ray Mears which had a large section on finding wild edibles. She started by making refreshing spearmint pine-needle tea, progressed to battered dandelion greens and eventually lead to snacking on bulrush roots.
Meanwhile M. and I began to become familiar with the mushrooms found around where we lived in England. Our first wild mushroom was a Giant Puff Ball the size of M.’s head. We were camping in a Featherdown Farm Tent at the time so the mushroom was cooked over a fire in copious amounts of oil with onions and organic free range eggs picked three minutes earlier from under the farmer’s hens. It took us three days to finish that whole mushroom! We graduated onto other mushrooms but our crowning success was an untapped field of Parasol Mushrooms which provided us with several years of free delicious food before we moved to California.
Since we landed here we have looked for mushrooms but seen nothing. Or at least nothing that we could definitively recognize as edible (besides one lonely bunch of Chicken of the Woods). So months before M.’s birthday I started thinking about possibly going on a guided workshop for his gift to find out about California’s edible mushrooms and last July at the annual Boonville 4th of July Festival I met Tom Shaver. Tom lives and works on a local sanctuary called Emerald Earth. Its a lovely communal style place where the residents are the owners/managers and a regular source of information for the whole community about sustainable living.
Tom runs a mushroom foraging course every December. This year it conveniently landed the day after M.’s birthday but was not possible because M’s parents were over for the week: they are very fit for their age but the landscape (steep muddy hillside) and nature of the hiking (several hours on steep muddy hillsides) would have been totally unsuitable. Tom was so gracious he asked if we could fit in at the last minute some time when the weather, mushrooms and his schedule would allow it. We were able to go as a family and slip and stumble our way around the hills behind the totally unruffled Tom and glean an amazing number of mushrooms. So many mushrooms that we have only just (two weeks later) finished off the last of them. Best gift ever and a really amazing thing to get to do as a family!
Genuinely: if you are ever up for a great day and some amazing food find a local guided mushrooming tour and learn something new! Our girls who are pretty much “I will eat it if I don’t see it” mushroom haters were happily tasting (and helping to prepare) strangely beardy looking mushrooms fried in garlic batter (taste and texture of chicken nuggets), and an amazing seafood smelling fungus that when sliced into wedges and battered could easily have passed for fried prawns! We have eaten eggs and mountains of Black Chantrells which were M’s personal favorite as well as an delicious Oyster mushroom omelette. Not to mention almost two entire meals prepared from the highly prized and delicately aromatic (supposedly aphrodisiac) Matsutake!
Tom at Emerald Earth usually runs one session a year in December and spaces are always filled and no I haven’t been paid or remunerated for this post in any way shape or form… but if a few mushrooms showed up on my door step at some point… well… lets just say they wouldn’t go to waste!
Over the last few months my supply felting yarn from the Knit Picks Palette fingering range has grown from a modest 6 balls to a whopping great bag of different shades. I’m not complaining… its amazingly versatile yarn. And did I mention it felts… sweet.
But when I last needed a specific shade of fingering yarn (that felts!!!) I placed my order from Knit Picks and when it arrived I realized that:
1: I already had that shade.
2: I had no idea what other colors I had because I hadn’t saved the paper labels and I had at least three other repeats in my big bag o’ Palette.
So I started my own system for cataloging the yarn I had. I wish I’d started doing this a year ago because it seriously saves me time. When I get a ball of yarn I cut off a little 2 inch segment and tape it on the appropriate page of my sketch book. In this photo is a specific page for Palette yarns because I have enough of that specific yarn to warrant it. Others just go on a page by yarn weight (lace, fingering, aran, worsted, bulky etc) with a little bit of washi tape. I write the color and name of the yarn on the tape and if i have more than one ball/skein I can write the number of balls or yardage available. When I am contemplating a pattern I can flick through my catalog of yarn to see what I have. And then when I run out of the yarn I can easily pull the washi and snipping of yarn out leaving a space for another ball. Its not a perfect system but it works for me… and maybe you?
My reading has been a little slap-dash, squeezed into nooks and crannies between more physical tasks. I have been reading (and being read too when M. feels like it) To Speak Well of God by John Pople. The Bible reading planner we follow takes us through the old testament once and the new testament twice through the year divided into three daily readings so the end of the year always sees us reading Job, Malachi and Revelation before January starts the planner over afresh in Genesis, Psalms and Matthew. I’m not sure if it is the reflective nature of the time in which I am reading through Job or just the wonderful mysteries to be picked apart in it but Job has always been my favorite book of the Bible to study and it fills my thoughts often in it’s themes of accepting God’s absolute authority. M’s favorite book is Revelation and he finds that if he starts looking for uses of a symbol in prophecy he almost always finds something useful in Job. To Speak Well of God is an amazing book and so insightful. Some bible expositors can get bogged down in sounding too “educated” which sometimes makes the subject more difficult than it needs to be. Pople’s writing style is intelligent but totally readable and if you have ever read a few chapters in Job and scratched your head or thought of it as just a long catalog of men speaking half truths before you get to God’s somewhat mysterious speech this book is full to brimming with totally bible based answers.
I’m linking up with the lovely Ginny over at Small Things.
Happy Wednesday to you all and I hope you have a wonderful New Year!
Happy first Monday of a brand spanking new year.
Have you made resolutions? I stink at resolutions: I am bound to forget it immediately and manage to achieve only the opposite of my intentions by the next new year’s resolutions. I would be better of making a resolution strictly forbidding the thing I actually want to do like:
“I will absolutely not manage to get my crafting room tidied up this year. “
So instead I have a little sign to hang in my craft room just to remind me of the things I really need to do :
This project is really fun to do, cheap and looks pretty awesome when finished!
A clip float frame I found mine for $2.00 at Walmart
Gold Spray Paint (or silver or whatever color you like) $3.25 – I like Krylon because of the amazing spray nozzle.
Gold Scrapbook Card (or silver or whatever color you like) mine is Recollections and I got it at Michaels $1.49- on sale
Contrasting Scrapbook card: glitter looks cool but is annoying to cut $1.49- on sale
Pull apart your float frame and spray the little plastic frame edges.
Cut your back ground card (I used gold) to letter size.
Now for the fun part!
To cut by hand print the black and white free-bee JPEG from the zip file below (it is in reverse already so you can print it directly onto the back of your contrasting card or onto printer paper. If you have a Shilouette or Cricut with SVG cutting software this is where you get to show off and cut the free SVG file in no time! If you just cannot be dealing with the cutting at all there is a color print version too. As previously: feel free to use and share the free file but please don’t sell anything made from my files without prior permission and please give credit to Sweet Little Wood if you share the files. Thank you darlings!
To cut the design by hand I printed onto printer paper and then cut down my contrasting card to letter size. I lined up the paper and card on my cutting board and taped down the edges of the paper trapping the card between my printed design and the cutting board. Use a really sharp craft knife (unlike mine!!!) and a ruler for the strait lines to make the process much faster.
Once you have cut your design make sure your float frame glass is clean. I found out the hard way that Walmart’s frames have a plastic back that scratches super easy… so just be aware of any plastic parts and clean **cautiously**. You could glue the card pieces together but I rather like the look of the two cards just sandwiched together: some areas gap just a little and create added depth. A useful trick to get the two sheets of card lined up in the middle of the frame is to place the glass face down a cutting board and use it’s lines to guide placing the card before putting the backing piece on top of the card. Lining it up by eye was really really unsuccessful for me.
Slide on the sides and Bobs your Uncle!
Drink Tea, Create, Sleep, REPEAT… That is my year planned out! Simple!
I’m linking up with Awsome Things Tuesday and over at Creating My Way to Success.