The Mushroom Farmer — Prelude — Kentucky is a Brooder

Oh yes, she like to squat amid the regalia of her golden plumage upon her throne of failed compost.

Q: How can compost not turn into compost?

A: Give it more time. This is what Kentucky is doing. She is made of water and carbon, energized by sunlight; the same could be said of the failed compost pile except dial down the water and light. That is one dry, inert stack, held barely together by a flimsy wire cone. Its substance, composed of I don’t even know what. Surprisingly indestruco brown yard matter. Banana leaves, maybe. Empty fruit bunches from palm trees. That stuff isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and neither is Kentucky.

What she thinks about while brooding may be beside the point. Thinking? I’m a thinker: I think empty fruit bunches could be used as a medium for growing straw mushrooms. My evidence: I just read this on a helpful website from the Indonesian Palm Oil Association, full of nuggets such as you can convert fruitless palm tree bunches into biofuel, or let it rot nicely in place as fertilizer, or the mushroom thing. Have I, while writing this, also been online ordering syringes filled with straw mushroom spores? You know it!

Kentucky doesn’t think like that. My guess is, she thinks, “Whew, here I am back on my pile of nest-stuff.” And then she puts it into park and lets herself be. For hours. For most of the day. Same place, same hen. The golden feathers. The fuzzy little ears stuck on like decals. The aplomb. Sometimes she lets me scratch her neck. I get in there under the feathers and sure enough, her neck is thin but I don’t think of it as scrawny. I think of it as lifeline.

Kentucky, doing some freelance brooding out beyond her cage of not really failed but actually quite successful compost. It’s compacted by over 50% since March. I just don’t think it’s necessary to destroy Kentucky’s favorite nesting spot; we’ve got loads of other tasty compost.

Published by MarkGozonsky

Mark Gozonsky is the author of The Gift is to the Giver: Chronicles of a 21st Century Decade (Keppie Usage, 2022).

Leave a Reply