The Mushroom Farmer, Book 4, Chapter 4

Along with the end of the regular baseball season comes the end — or is it? — of the mf’s dream of growing mushrooms.

Oh, he has grown mushrooms all right. They are right outside, glowing.

Although no, wait, check that. They are right outside, withered and fizzled. Is this what normally happens to chestnut mushrooms grown from blocks of compressed sawdust purchased from a reputable vendor?

The mf has no idea. The cluster of magnificent mushrooms that arose a week ago was his very first cluster. He made one yum-yum-yum dinner the first night, mushrooms in a nice sauce with bowtie pasta, like climbing Everest without the cold and climb, just the achievement.

The next dinner, however, he overdidded it and discovered that too mush of a mushroom is not a good thing, gastrointestinally.

So that’s new learning, which, okay. Then yesterday morning he got back on that mushroom horse so to speak with a tasty omelet, sautéed mushrooms in wholesome butter with pumpkin blossoms and backyard eggs and, uh-oh, strike two, definitely some tummy distress and we’ll leave it at that symptom-description-wise.

Which leaves the mf at a crossroads.

He is down for a third attempt. Sure! The mf is nothing if not a three-strikes-and-you’re-out guy. Two strikes is not enuf. The infopacket that came with the compressed sawdust bricks that were all caramelly with mushroom spawn stated clearly that they would arise several times. Next time the mf will be ready with kasha and onions.

This is the approach recommended by his sagacious elder daughter. His younger daughter is sagacious too. He’s lucky that way. For example, they both implored him to go to physical therapy when his aging catcher’s knees were making him grumpy over the summer. Now he goes to physical therapy 2x/week and feels much, much better.

So similar results could ensue from waiting it out a bit, letting the GI tract settle, semi-forgetting about the whole thing, and trying some kasha varnishkes the next time those mushrooms erupt. It could be beautiful and delicious and digestible, we’ll see.

The mf does believe it necessary that he himself be able to digest his backyard mushrooms before he distributes them to friends, passersby who might pick them up off the little free-produce table he sometimes puts out near the sidewalk, or food banks. He does not want to be that guy giving friends, passersby, or food bank patrons food poisoning. That would definitely be off-mission.

The good news here is that the mushroom farmer’s wife clipped an article from The New York Times about a couple near Philadelphia with a farm where they grow crops exclusively for food banks. She said, maybe we can do something like this. The mf was like, yeah! Another dream come potentially true.

It doesn’t have to be mushrooms.

It could be kale. And onions actually do quite well in his backyard. Onions and garlic. Carrots are tricky but it’s good to have a challenge. He could become the fogck: farmer of onions, garlic, carrots and kale. Having his wife’s support in the enterprise would definitely be dream-come-true-y and the mf is psyched to pursue that dream in whatever time is available during the baseball post-season. He is rooting for a Dodgers-White Sox World Series.

Published by MarkGozonsky

Mark Gozonsky has been writing stories and essays since he was a music snob prodigy in early-1970's San Antonio, Texas. Since then he has written about not only music but also baseball, gardening, teaching, parenting, cycling and the... glory of love. Lit Hub and The Sun have published his work, and so has the Austin Chronicle. He lives with his wife in Los Angeles, where he teaches English to some of the nicest kids in the world at an arts-themed public high school downtown.

One thought on “The Mushroom Farmer, Book 4, Chapter 4

  1. So much to unpack…
    The take home: ” He does not want to be that guy giving friends, passersby, or food bank patrons food poisoning. That would definitely be off-mission.”
    Incidental reflections:
    What colors might a White Sox/Dodger fan wear?
    What might that logo look like?
    Things to ponder in the melancholy of the post season:
    How many days until the catchers-pitchers return?
    Make a list of Baseball songs. (BD already did this in his Radio Hour)

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