Monday, February 15, 2010

Mushroom Fest

I had grand plans for PaleoPalooza in Philadelphia for this long weekend, but unfortunately the armageddonesque snow in the northeast demolished those plans. As a substitute for adventure, I went to the LA Mushroom Fair with Extreme Chef, particularly because the keynote speaker was giving a lecture titled "how mushrooms can help save the world". It was fantastic - weather was warm, I reminisced about the days in England collecting shaggy ink caps from near the pool (I may be clumping memories together, but that's the association in my head for some reason), and the lecture was highly entertaining, interesting and informative. The man, Paul Stamets, is a speaker and a half. If you have the opportunity to listen to him, it'll be worth your while.

I finished the sweater I started over a year ago, knit with my Rock Buddy's mom's vintage red wool. It was too warm to wear it, but here is evidence of it being finished!

These peahens were for some reason scratching themselves little "wells" in the dirt to hang out in. I thought it was a weird sort of nesting thing, but there were no eggs... so I have no idea what was up with that.

This plant is called "fire sticks" how great is that?

A blewit from the morning mushroom "foray". Note the blue-purple stem (I think it's called a stipe actually, not a stem).

Some other kind of mushroom some lady found. It has a nice ring around it - possibly called an "annulum" (I took notes at the very beginning, then got completely distracted by digging around...)

This is the mushroom I took notes on, but it seems inappropriate to give its genus and species when I have virtually nothing to offer on the other photos. So let's just focus on the white fluffy stuff at it's "butt" (that's what Paul Stamets calls it) - mycelium - which is the matter of mushrooms and is pretty darn neat if I do say so myself.

The mushroom foray leader, Florence Nishida, was brilliant. Among her wealth of mushroom knowledge that she shared with us, she mentioned that some mushrooms will break down just about anything. This reminded me of the curious mushroom colony that seems to have taken over the old cat tree I inherited from a neighbour a few years ago that has been sitting on my patio (since I thought it was too catty to allow indoors). Well, now it's both catty and mushroomy, and I really really really have to dispose of it.

Finally, we ended our day with a lovely Chinese New Year dinner in Pasadena, during which I drank "dried longan beverage", which tasted like maple syrup, which was FABULOUS!


Anonymous said...

great pictures! yesterday was fun. : )

the fungus coming out of the cat carpet looks like some sort of discomycete or something related to a wood-ear fungus! we'd have to make a slide to be sure. pick a few and let them air dry. whatever it is, it's probably coming from the wood.

very cool!

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Anonymous said...

The peahens were dust bathing.. Chickens and other birds alike do it.