Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Home Grown Mushrooms...mmmmm

I like most mushrooms, but not all mushrooms.  It seems that you either really like mushrooms or you pick them out of your food and kindly leave them on the side of your plate.  This is just my observation, maybe because I used to be a "picker."  But, like most people, my tastes have changed over the years and I usually really like mushrooms, especially sauteed in butter!  As I have explained before, my brother has a myriad of interests, mushroom growing an harvesting is just one of them.  He lives about a 10 hour drive from me, so I can't just go over and help myself to his mushroom harvests.  So, he very kindly got us started growing mushrooms, very easily, by surprising me with a TP (toilet paper) Oyster Mushroom growing kit. Yep, you grow the mushrooms on toilet paper rolls right in your own home!

 The "kit" from www.fieldforest.net came with three kinds of oyster mushroom spawn and very clear directions.

 You start with cheap, new toilet paper rolls and a large pot of boiling water.

 Dip the toilet paper in the boiling water....

 Place the wet roll of toilet paper in the vented plastic bags that are provided.  Fill the center of the toilet paper tube with mushroom spawn.

 Label and wait.  (There are specific directions to follow, but I won't go into details here)

 And wait some more...

 Kind of a creepy garden!

 Something is happening!

 Something kind of creepy is happening!

 Voila, beautiful Grey Dove Oyster Mushrooms

 Very delicious Golden Oyster Mushrooms which sauteed beautifully!
After the toilet paper roll experiment, we were ready for the real mushroom growing experience...outside!  My bother came through again and we started with Wine Cap mushrooms.  My husband and son prepared a wood chip area under an old apple tree, and look what happened..... Wine Caps!
They're supposed to grow in late summer, early fall, but for some reason we have spring mushrooms.  Maybe this is because we had an unusually early spring in Michigan this year!

 They grew alone and in bundles!  We are so excited!

 Our first real harvest!
 I wanted to make sure that these were really Wine Caps (Yeah, mistakes can be fatal!), as there were other mushrooms in the mushroom garden, too.  So, I learned how to identify them to make sure.  The younger, more protected Wine Caps have this beautiful "Port Wine" color, the older less protected Wine Caps are a "buff" color.

 Wine Caps have an annulus or ring around the stem called a "Crown."  This annulus separates  from the mushroom cap as it gowns .  The annulus protects the spores.

 You can see on this younger Wine Cap that the annulus is still connected to the cap.

 The gills and spores are a charcoal gray in color and often turn into a light violet color as they mature.
 A nice view of the different stages of the annulus.

 This picture  demonstrates the different colors of the Wine Cap a little better.

 So, for dinner we had really delicious mushroom soup, corn bread, and a salad.  A nice spring dinner.  The soup was rich and "velvety"...yum!

"Field and Forest Products"  have a really interesting catalog with many mushroom choices and a lot of mushroom growing information.   We tried growing the Morels, always a risk, and we rewarded with three!

Need a new hobby or want to expand your garden?  Try mushrooms,  it has been a lot of fun for us!

Hope you have a nice week, summer is just around the corner!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Spring Cookies

It is a truly beautiful day, spring is definitely here.  The sun is out, there's a cool breeze, everything is a lush green, and I got my first mosquito bite!  My garden is full of weeds, I am behind in my paperwork, and I am dreaming of summer vacations....yep, spring is here!

But, I have been having fun decorating cookies.  I made these for my husband's birthday a  couple of months ago.  Most of them are replicas of his stained glass creations.  It was fun and he was pleased!

I was making lavender cookies for may daughter and made a few more for my Mom.  It is her 84th birthday today, and, oh yes, Mother's Day is just around the corner.  She was happy!

Happy Birthday, Mom.  By the way, her name is Marilyn and her initials are MOM.  I guess being my Mom was her destiny!

I made these cookies for my nephew's baseball game.  He is on the freshman baseball team and we dropped by to see him play.  They won!  Yippee!  (Even better, we barely missed a major cloudburst, whew!)

My daughter loves lavender, so I made these cookies for her and mailed them 10 days after her birthday.  It's a good thing she's forgiving!  (These were sooo much fun to make!)

Can you tell that I taught myself a new monogramming technique? 

My friend was married last week.  It was one of the most joyous weddings that I have had the pleasure to attend.  When you're in your sixties...the joys of life can truly be appreciated!

I made these for her wedding luncheon.  The smaller cookies on the sticks were for the little girls in attendance.

The larger cookies were for the adults.  I love Hydrangeas and they turned out especially well on these cookies.  So bright and festive.  I can't wait to make more "flower" cookies.  I received a new cookie order the other day and will share them as soon as I figure out what to do!

Happy Mother's Day to all you Moms, Aunts, Grandmas, Great Grandmas, Godmothers, Big Sisters, Step Moms, Best Friends, Child Caregivers, Baby Sitters, and everyone who loves and is loved by a child.  It truly is bliss!

(Now, I want my kids to come home!!!)  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Abby!

Today is my daughter's birthday.  It is a special day for her and for me, too.  Even though my memory is not what it used to be...yikes...I remember every moment of the day she was born!  It was love at first sight!  So, to celebrate, I decided to share 1 picture of her for every year of her life.  Get comfortable! (I know it's a lot of pictures, but believe it or not, I had a really hard time whittling down the list!)

Abby, on the day she was born....10 lbs. 15 oz.

                                    About 3 months old...big blue eyes and a cute little smile!

Abby's first Christmas picture.

"Swimming" in Grandma's canning kettle.

Christmas...she liked to blow out candles.

A hot summer day with her Ladybug buggy.  She never really liked to play with dolls but we didn't know that then. 

At the pool in Cape Cod, Mass. 

In Oscoda, at Grandma's and Grandpa's cottage.

All dressed up for a party!

Testing the water.  Abby is a real water bug...she loves to swim!

Helping her Dad paint the garage.  (Think I got a little carried away with the protective clothing?)

It's not a secret that Abby has a rather large head.  So does her brother and her dad.  We just figured that they needed the extra space for all those brains!!!  hehe   When we brought her home from the hospital, I was surprised to find out that none of her cute little bonnets fit...we had to buy her an X Large.  That still holds true today.  So, when she finds anything that will fit her head, she wears it..even a Christmas tree!

There's nothing better then wrapping up in a warm towel after a swim, especially if your G'ma (Grandma Diane) does an expert job of wrapping.

Abby did a little modeling and had a great time with photo shoots!

We were definitely getting the idea that she may be a performer in the future!  This was the end of an entire "Singing in the Rain" routine, done in her kiddie pool.

A local photographer asked Abby to pose for this picture which he entered in a photo contest.  He added the shadowed outline of New York City on the bottom of the picture.   Quite a coincidence since that's were she lives now! 

Modeling at the "Festival of Trees."

We all love fall, and all the activities that go with it.  Abby loves orchards, apple cider, canning, and Halloween!

Freshman year in high school??  First day of school.

Abby is a musician, always has been.  Aside from dance, sports were not usually her first choice for school activities.  However, she was on teams for volleyball, golf, cheerleading, and dance/pom pom.

Abby has always loved horses, although she hasn't had one of her own.  She mainly learned how to ride and care for horses at camps.  We live in the city, definitely not a place for horses.  However, it has always been her dream to have a house with enough acreage so that she could have a horse.  I asked her the other day if she still hoped to have a horse some day and she said "yes!"

Off to Europe with her high school choir!

Voice Recital in high school.

High school graduation....I love this picture!

Paris..ooh la la

I am not sure where this picture was taken, maybe Dallas?  But, I love it for a couple of reasons....her hair wisps that always show up on humid days when her curls return, her pretty blue eyes, and the fact that she's blowing me a kiss!

I think this is Nevada ( I bet I get a call after she sees this blog to correct my errors!).  Abby really enjoys taking pictures and has become a really good photographer.

France (Chartre?)...nice pose, huh?

Yep, this is the real Abby!

Happy Birthday Abbers...I hope that you have a fantastic birthday!  It has been wonderful being your Mom, I love you more that you will ever know!   XOXOXO