Treating water as precious: one of the MF’s goals. He has bathwater waiting to be sump-pumped out of his bathtub.
Here’s how you grow mushrooms in a textbook. First, you pour boiling water on the textbook, for purification.
It’s one of those cases where you dream a dream for so long that it takes a while to realize it is now reality.
Who’s laughing now, slugs?
Just as Yawning Tardy No Computer Kid did a good job analyzing diction in Salvage the Bones, so too is the one single dinosaur kale plant doing a good job of unfolding broad crinkly deep green leaves.
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.
It is as though an octopus has occupied the foot of the orange tree. Here is life and intelligence of a different order, all the more alive and bright for being different.
To be in the presence of a ready-to-fruit Chestnut mushroom block is to feel presence of a great and wild Otherlyness.
The mf is now 60 years old and he is not climbing trees willy-nilly anymore.
Before the mf left, he was frantic to weed Row 6, which was choked with crabgrass. The crabgrass in particular recalled the zig-zag stitches of Frankenstein’s monster, that lonesome and vicious brute. Row 6 altogether made the mf feel the sharp-tooth wound of raising a miscreant. It was neither this nor that. Yes, nigella thrivedContinue reading “The Mushroom Farmer, Book 3, Chapter 14”
The chickens really liked the home-grown oats the mf and his grown-up daughter took turns flinging upon the compost heap.
He would like to stick his face right up to where he has planted corn and scream, “Why won’t you grow!”
Hah-hah on lead poisoning, he had been thinking.
Will it trigger Armageddon to plant a supermarket yam?
The mf had plenty of opportunity to observe billowing clouds and blue-blue sky because there were no kids performing antics or sulking, and all the grown-ups were standing around dumbstruck by the emptiness.
The mf was still getting used to the single sunbeam glinting off the angelic-looking woman’s short blonde hair and reflecting her calmly cheerful demeanor but not her tactfully invisible angel wings and harp.
I proclaim this current door a huge improvement.
Ghost pumpkin seedlings looked down on the mf from vegetable heaven. They shook their first true leaves and called him names.
Isn’t it funny how the mf, alone among humankind, ignores the answers that are right in front of him.
“I do my best,” he protested. “I try hard.”
“Yes,” she agreed. “But you don’t know what you’re doing.”
The first words that come to mind when reporting on the mf and his 7th period’s tofu-and-broccoli stir-fry lesson are: “OH THE JOY.”
The mf thinks, “It’s okay, this will teach them that science is built on failure.” However, this is not a history of science class. It’s an ELD class, where you’re supposed to be building well-defined skills such as supporting a claim with details.
You could look at the side garden as a cornucopia; you could also look at it as a mess. The mf thinks of this as versatility while also worrying if he will ever be a serious farmer. I personally think it is good for him to do a bit of worrying as a sort of vaccine.
The mf held onto a one percent hope that beneath the shriveling brown strips of banana tree bark, he would find the lost city of Atlantis as represented by a thriving colony of Champagne Oyster mushrooms
I can see him now, the last lingering emanations of sunset fading, faded; the mf still out in the wayback of the yard, getting repeated facefuls of chicken wing while struggling to secure the temporary coop.
For years the raised beds have been a dismal gray dusty failure zone, inhospitable to carrot, beet, potato; acrimonious to buckwheat, oat, alfalfa.
With Walden, the mf has abandoned his beloved practice of looking things up and simply inserts “antiquated tool, carved from wood.” Even if he understood, he wouldn’t understand.
Clucky, the prettiest hen; Clucky of the golden feather necklace; Clucky the most chill bird…
The penumbrae came upon the mf suddenly, along with immediate understanding they had been with him ever since he became alive. “That’s a prismatic lens flare,” the mf’s self-dispensing optometrist spoke into his ear. “Very much so,” observed the mf’s True Inner Self, the Standard-Bearing mf among the many varietals of personality inhabiting his brainpan.Continue reading “The Mushroom Farmer, Book Two, Chapter 3”
Oh silly mf. He could easily be doing the dance of the fulfilled right now!
The mushroom farmer is eager to discover if his chickens have survived the deluge.
The broccoli seedlings he had put out for the taking were all taken, and so too were the carrots, gone-gone. Somebody else in the neighborhood now had a more verdant garden. That’s a huge light-attractor for the mf, and so is the vivid orange and blue combination of the few remaining oranges at the bottom of the blue plastic bucket.
The mf is a birthday balloon flying away and away and away, transforming from lost toy to miracle of flight to speck in sky to nothing. Come back, mf! We need you!
He had a renewed sense of purpose now: to make his sidewalk produce giveaway better than the neighbors’.
Openly hoping for a reunion with his Black Doppelganger, the mf decides to plant lettuce in the parkway. So he loads the wheelbarrow with compost from way back in the chicken coop, adds a healthy bucket of worm soil, tops it off with coconut fiber and trundles to the front of his house. “Back toContinue reading “The Mushroom Farmer, Chapter 20”
Say this for the mf, he had spotted the bedraggled purple cauliflowers and delicately transplanted them into this spot where they were now not merely unbedraggled but also thriving, thriving, thRivNG on a cold peak COVID-19 pandemic Southern California winter morning of more clouds than sun; rain hanging in air barely mid-50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Oh, the ramshackliness. Mid-torrent, the mf had struggled mightily to erect a shelter for his drenched hens. Plan A had not panned out. The hens were so wet, they were walking chicken soup. How they felt about being so wet was, the mf inferred, perturbed. They would like not to be this wet nor soContinue reading “The Mushroom Farmer, Chapter 17”
Additional fallen Canary Island date palm fronds are required for the chicken coop, where the hens got drenched overnight in a lightning storm centered a few miles to the south of the cozy bed in which the mf kept his little doggie Blip company during the thunder. Blip quivered but did not shudder, comforted asContinue reading “The Mushroom Farmer, Chapter 16”
Things happen and continuing happening; for example, after further machete action upon long, long, 12-feet or longer poinsettia stalks, the mf cuts a poinsettia bouquet for Marfa. She loves and cares for flowers, it would not surprise the mf un poquito if Marfa nurtures each of the machete-cut stalks in peat moss or other starterContinue reading “The Mushroom Farmer, Chapter 12”
“It’s raining,” said the mf to their friend Marfa, who was cleaning their oven. Oh Marfa: she cleaned like the wind, as neighbor Agnes had rightly declared. Marfa looked up in surprise and doubt. Mr. mf was always joking. What did he mean? But this time it really was raining. You could see the splashesContinue reading “The Mushroom Farmer, Chapter 11”
The pandemic on the day before Christmas Eve on the mf’s inner exurban sidewalk in Los Angeles is no joke. Everybody within 20 feet of each other — and no one comes any closer — says a hello that implies, Godspeed. It feels holy to say hello to your neighbors when you live in theContinue reading “The Mushroom Farmer, Chapter Ten”
Maybe next time, the mf would remember to till the soil before planting. Why did he forget this time? Oh, this pandemic has people in a tizzy, even people who seem not to be in a tizzy.
Things have happened. Big things; little things: things. For example, mushrooms have started growing. Not the golden oyster mushrooms, which the mf planted earlier in the week to much inner fanfare on dead bamboo leaves wrapped in a one-ply plastic shroud. He has checked beneath the shroud, once, inobtrustively, not to seem in a rush.Continue reading “The Mushroom Farmer, Chapter 8”
He can’t possibly think that 100 pounds of fruit would feed two million hungry people indefinitely — can he?
The mf’s go-to ethical rule of thumb is that we don’t have to repair the entire world, but we have to do our part.
Is the mf doing his part?
There could be no mistaking the mf’s excitement about impregnating dead, soaking wet banana leaves with golden oyster mushroom spawn. He was all but twitching. Grinning, yes. Beaming, yes. Agog is a good way of putting it. He had covered the soggy dead bamboo leaves with a plastic sheet to help keep them moist. NowContinue reading “The Mushroom Farmer, Chapter 5”
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.