Mushroom Mania

A little over a month ago I took a hands-on mushroom cultivation class taught by Peter McCoy. He sent us home with a bag of straw inoculated with pearl oyster mushroom spawn and a bag of sawdust inoculated with reishi mushroom spawn. Yesterday we harvested the first bunch of pearl oyster mushrooms and it looks like the reishi is about to fruit.

In the class, McCoy showed us how to handle liquid mushroom cultures in a low-tech technique called PF Tek invented by Robert McPherson, aka Psylocybe Fanaticus. McCoy will speak at the next meeting of the Los Angeles Mycological Society on Monday, March 21st at 7:30 p.m. via a livestream you can access on YouTube.

The oyster mushrooms we’ve grown this winter have been so delicious that I’m going to get myself a pressure canner and get the PF Tek method happening at the Root Simple compound.

What’s great is that you don’t need a yard to grow mushrooms. We grew this batch of oyster mushroom in the bathroom and affectionately call them the “bathroom mushrooms.”

At over 3,500 posts on this blog we sometime get amnesia here at Root Simple. I completely forgot that McCoy was a guest on episode 77 of our podcast, currently on hiatus (I have thoughts about bringing it back, by the way). 

A Litter Box Enclosure

With great hubris, allow me to toss my thinking cap into the realm of litter box design. I say hubris because only the cat that has the right to hold an opinion on the form, location and orientation of any litter box.

Commercially available litter boxes I believe, and I think our cat friends would agree, are made for the convenience of humans and the profits of the pet store industrial complex. Nobody talked to the cats about them. Most are too small and they’re all ugly. For years we’ve been using a 28-inch by 15-inch plastic storage bin. It worked fine from the cat’s perspective, but stray litter gets kicked around and behind the box, staining the bathroom floor and walls where the litter box resides. Frankly, it’s gross.

So I set about to make a larger box in which to house the same plastic tray. Essentially, I enclosed the plastic tray with an open topped box with a circle cut out so that cats won’t have to jump over the box (they are in their senior years). The tray fits inside an inner shelf to prevent loose litter from falling down into the bottom of the box.

I had grand visions of a neo-classical litter box temple housing the aforementioned tray but this vision got simplified in the interest of ticking off a long requested project on the honey-do list. My table saw and router table made fabrication quick and easy.

In some ways we’re the worst possible test for this litter box concept. We have two cats who have never had an indiscretion outside the litter box in the over 11 years we’ve had them. I’m aware that some cats react with horror and anger at an ever so slight change in litter box placement or aesthetics, as if even an errant moon beam hitting a slightly moved box will cause a fit of piss fueled revenge.

Should this box fail in any way I promise to be a good blogger and post an immediate update. Wish us luck.

We’re Moving!

My friend Nik sent me this listing late last night. He found out about it from a real estate agent friend. In the suburbs of Atlanta, you’d never guess from the unassuming exterior what’s going on inside.

At half the price and almost three times the size of our present 100 year old bungalow in gritty Los Angeles, I gave some serious thought about a, shall we say, “lifestyle shift.” And if you think this living room delivers, wait until you see the rest of the house.

Shag conversation pit. Check.

You also get this room with a large interior fountain smack in the middle. Inside? Outside? Do these categories exist?

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any groovier, you get to the master bedroom and, well, of course you need a circular bed and mirrors.

But, wait, there’s another bedroom in which you realize that, in order to do this house justice, you’re gonna need to institute weekly “key parties” even if you find the idea distasteful. How else to do justice to a curved, mirrored ceiling, framed in shag, facing a shoji screen. Not sure why the previous owner has a small dinosaur skeleton opposite the bed.

I covet the curved underground workshop. I’d add NORAD themed decor for a missile silo vibe.

Swap out the pool table in the bonus room for a foosball table and you’ve got your own tech startup office.

Lastly, you get a kind of half-assed tiki themed garage.

I told my friend that if we turned this into our retirement commune I’d wake up every morning and spend the rest of the day laughing. Those laughs would begin with the absurdity of the house but, I have a feeling, turn into a darker, existential laugh recalling the Charles Fort quote, “If there is a universal mind, must it be sane?”