Tuesday, November 30, 2010

what I call love

When you believe so whole heartedly in a place, you will do almost anything. Waking up in freezing cold snowy weather to greet the pitch black (save for the stars), don a down jacket and rubber boots, commence to hauling water by 8am, searching for cinder blocks hiding under the snow, standing outside with a cup of steaming coffee watching a 55 gallon drum of water heat up while the sun rises in the sky; this is not far from a deep entrenchment of love. This was the second workshop that G and I offered at the Nature Center on growing oyster mushrooms, the only difference is this time we went through the fairly intensive process in the heart of winter. After spending exorbitant amounts of money to ship the spawn the previous year, I decided on carrying the 15lbs of oyster spawn from Oregon through the airport. Equipped with letters from lab managers, tariff codes and an extra hour of time intended for delays, I was ready to defend my stock against perplexed security officials.  Here is where I would insert the comical security story but to my amazement I walked through scanners, beepers, the officials unstopped and arrived to the ERNC with a two beautiful fully myceliated bags of Pleurotus ostreatus spawn. Chosen for cultivation temperature (requiring the lower end of the spectrum for oyster mushrooms) the hope is for successful flushes of nicely clustered blue hued oysters in these first time Alaskan homes. Re-routing the workshop to inside the nature center after realizing the added chaos that the venture to yurt in the deep snow with 20 people was going to be, we moved furniture, laid out tarps, and sterilized tables.  The center took on an earthy organic smell with the mixing of grain with warm pasteurized straw and was filled with inquisitive minds and amazing questions. It felt good to be back.

Monday, November 1, 2010

beaten paths and conk discoveries

A conk mushroom T found while walking in the backyard
October finished itself out with a week of rain. The Oregon that I was anticipating has finally showed face. The days over this last month busy, long, unstructured- with always something more that could be done. I'd had forgotten how learning new things can consume you, what it felt like to spend hours studying, that reading takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to textbooks. I'm amazed at what it feels like to be around so many people again. I found my way out of town this afternoon, to a mountain that overlooks the entire area. Expecting to find a spectacular view, instead I found the peak shrouded in a heavy mist, damp enough that I felt in on my skin. Instead of a view i found exactly what I was looking for. Nothing and no one. I wandered my way around a mountainside that my feet had never walked before. Leaving the path as quick as I could, I had forgotten the joy that I find in straying the beaten ground. For about an hour I wandered and watched.  On the ground,  up toward the the sky, the mist that obscured the forest. I watched the clouds move about the trees. I still find myself alert to the crunching of steps, to sounds that may indicate there is a bear standing with me. Only here it's not the bears I need to listen for, no I suppose I should be listening for the hunters instead. My heart still wants my ears to listen for the bears. Eventually finding my way back to my solo car in the parking lot, the mist had deepened into a heavier condensation but still sat content as a cloud moving with the wind  rather than falling from the sky. I made my way slowly back to my civilization, another month of this year comes to a close.