Saturday, October 31, 2015

Oregon Adventures XVI

The Edible Mushroom Retreat
This past weekend, we went on an edible mushroom retreat at Drift Creek Camp.  Yes, this is the camp that when I picked Ezra up from it this past Summer he said, "I ate berries and they made me throw up!"  Then, all of this happened.
We had free time the first night, then a presentation in the morning on what to look for and what to watch out for.

Then they fed us well so we wouldn't be tempted to eat mushrooms on our hunt, then sent us out searching.

The presenters did some mushroom hunting on the way to the retreat and found this King Bolete.  It's edible!

A Big Leaf Maple leaf - which Juni brought in and had inspected by the mushroom expert, who found fungus on it!  

I heard there were a lot of banana slugs out on the coast and was very pleased to find two.  This one found a mushroom before we did, it was slimey, he can keep it.  Ezra happily informed me that he had licked a banana slug earlier in the day to make his tongue go numb.

The slug licker over Drift Creek

Here's a fun little mushroom we found, no idea what it is.  We finished so early, we had to kill time before the expert returned from his hunt to ID our finds.

 Juni still loves little toads.

Ben checking out the salmon

 Can you see them?
Finally, all the other hunters returned with their goodies.  Here the mushroom guru was putting Ezra's 'rooms into piles of edible and non-edible.  He found one Chanterelle, several Honey Mushrooms and lots of poisonous ones.

Here someone found a good selection of coral mushrooms.  Our leader told us he has friends who eat the colored coral, but the white ones are diuretic.  He said he doesn't eat any of them.

Some people found A LOT of mushrooms!!!

That's it for those in a hurry, but for anyone wanting to learn a little extra about mushrooms, see below.  I love to share what I learned!  None of the pictures below are mine, found them all on the internet, so you know.

Fungi (which he pronounced "Fun-jee"): 

Here's how they eat!
Three ways:
1. Mycorrhizol: Half of mushrooms and almost all truffles are mychorrhizol.  They form a symbiotic partnership with trees.  The tree gets nutrients, the mushroom gets it's food from the tree's photosynthesis abilities.  No one has successfully reproduced these kind of mushrooms in a lab, they are only in the wild.

2. Saprobic: These are decomposers.  Did you know that wood would not decompose without these? There are two types.  One digests cellulose which produces "brown rot" 

and one digests lignion which produces "white rot".

3. Parasitic - These attack living plants causing disease or death to them.  Honey mushrooms are one we found that are edible, but are parasitic.

When identifying mushrooms, there are a few things to note to help you identify them.  
Do they have gills?  If so, which type?

Or do they have pores? Like the King Bolete!

Or teeth?

Next, look at it's stem...
These are Matsutake mushrooms and are highly prized in Asian cooking... 

...and should not be confused with the Smith's Amanita, 
which can cause kidney failure.  See the bulbous stem?

Does it have a ring/veil?  If so, does it go up or down?  One he showed us went down like the one below and was edible, the other, looked just like it, but the veil went up and causes profuse sweating.

Make note of it's habitat.  Did you find it in dirt, on a tree, what type of tree?  By the way, he mentioned lawn mushrooms as generally being inedible.

Crafty moms, take note! The final way we were taught to identify a mushroom was by it's spore print.  Anyone can do this and easily with any type of mushroom!
Cut off the cap of the mushroom and set it cap down on some paper.  If you have two, put one on dark paper and one on light.  Cover with a bowl for four or more hours and then remove.  You will be left with beautiful spore prints that are great for helping identify the mushroom as spore color can be the only difference between edible and poisonous doppelgangers. 

It is always safe to assume that mushrooms are poisonous.  It is wise to not consume any that you have picked without approval of a veteran mushroom hunter (ours was a third generation mushroom hunter, has his PhD in mycology and wrote a book on Truffles): Dr. Matt Trappe.  Also, many edible mushrooms are only edible after cooking, so never eat one raw that you've found in the wild!  

We haven't eaten our edible mushrooms yet, but will be sauteeing them in butter tomorrow.  It will be the last time we eat wild mushrooms until we return to another mushroom retreat.  Oh, and if anyone is in the market for a good book on mushrooms, he recommended this classic, "Mushrooms Demystified," by David Arora.  For kids, I still love, "Katya's Book of Mushrooms," by Katya Arnold.  

Have a FUNgi day!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Oregon Adventures XV

 The view down our street - it's almost a dark purple tree!
 Conifers are abundant here, but the beautiful deciduous trees are what remind us of Fall in Ohio.

On Friday, the school behind us had a jog-a-thon and we got to participate since it is P.E. related.
 Run, Ezra and Juni, run!

We joined a second library for the sake of convenience.  This one is right by our CC campus in Albany.  We felt a little like the Beverly Hillbillies as we discovered their checkout process, you just scan your card, then set your books on this contraption and it automatically checks all your books out.  You can set up to 10 books at a time on there!  When you return them, there's a chip reader in the return slot, so before they fall into the bin, they are checked back in!  Welcome to the 21st century, Wigtons!

Phoebe and I had a date yesterday and went to the locally famous Gerry Frank's Konditorei.  She ate almost all of her giant piece of chocolate cake.  I had only half of my peanut butter chocolate cake and I still have an upset belly from it!  We had fun planning her upcoming birthday and chasing ravens in the parking lot afterwards.
Cute Phoebe facts: She frequently says, "I'm growing my hair long like Rapunzel so I can decorate your house for Christmas, Mommy."  She likes PINK, princesses, Elsa in particular, kittens, puppies and horses.  That is four year old Phoebe in a nutshell!

Today (Sunday), we had a lovely morning at a church we've courted 3-4 times and are now off for a family bike ride.  I will add pictures when we get back.  It's a lovely day! 

Juni had a little intrepidation at first but bravely held on and overcame her fears.  

Ben and I are working on the second half of the songs for the kid's school memory work for Classical Conversations.  We have about 10 songs left to do before Thanksgiving, we are right on schedule.  

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Oregon Adventures XIV

Our Junia turned 7 at the end of last month and here are some memories from her special day:

Her new CC friend, Julia, has a twin brother and both spent the day with us.
We went back to Air Salem and this time, I didn't take ONE picture, thankfully Ben did.  See Ezra's birthday blog post if you want reminded why I didn't take pictures this time.

Then we went to a buffet called, Izzy's, for a fun lunch.  Juni was sung to by the staff and got this exciting piece of cheese cake, which I ate for her, since she didn't like it.

She was much more excited later that evening when she got the cake she had chosen herself: CHOCOLATE!  That's my girl!  Actually, her Daddy likes it too, and since his birthday was the day before, we relit those candles and sang again for him and they shared the cake.
Fun Juni fact: When Juni was one her front tooth had to be pulled when it broke above the gumline in a bathtub slip.  Now, the remaining front tooth is loose!  She has waited a long time for this!  We will keep you posted.

OK, for the first time in a long time, I am caught up!  The pictures below were taken today.  That's right! Today.  This is what we did today.   Just have to keep saying it!  It's way more fun to blog about current events than old ones.

Today, the girls and I went to Oregon's Mennonite Festival!  We went mostly for the children's auction, where kids get paddles to bid on fun things (see Phoebe's win below).  But, it's famous for their quilt auction.  We looked at all the pretty quilts and listened to the auction for a while.  All proceeds from the festival go to world hunger relief.
 I noticed a very elderly lady leaning against the back wall, behind bleachers filled with auction goers as she wrote down the sale price on her program listing all the quilts.  I could see her wheels turning, plotting out the most lucrative quilt for next year's auction.

 We also played in a maze made of hay bales, which made me sneeze.  We bought lots of apple cider and had fun together.  I saw people from all the different Mennonite churches we have visited.  One sweet older gentleman greeted me and said how good it was to see me again.  I do wish I remembered which church we met at, he was very sweet. 

Ben and Ezra met friends in McMinnville at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum while we were shopping.  This is Ezra in front of the Spruce Goose, the world's largest wooden airplane.

Ben said their collection rivaled that of the Smithsonian.  He was very impressed with what he saw today.  This is the SR-71, the world's fastest airplane.  This is Ben's favorite aircraft and he loved finally seeing one in person.

Ezra was pretty impressed too!  This is a full size replica of the Apollo Mission Lunar Lander. They got to try landing it using a simulator.  According to the simulator, only 14% of people attempting the landing do it successfully; Ben nailed it first time and was the only one today to do so.

 This evening Ben and I unpacked boxes of more things we own.  We have been married for 18 years now and have accumulated far too much stuff.  We are making every effort to reduce some of this baggage.   Moving is exhausting, goodnight!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Oregon Adventures XIII

Have we mentioned that Oregon is beautiful?

What we miss from Ohio this week: OV Harvest (best olive oil and balsamic vinegar in the world, sold right there in downtown New Philadelphia, Ohio) and our church, LifeBridge Community Church (best church in the world).

School is underway.  Just like everything else in our lives, it too, looks COMPLETELY different from a year ago.  Thankfully, one thing has remained consistent, Classical Conversations (CC), our classically based homeschool group that is a nation wide program.  We go once a week and the kids do presentations, learn new material, do science experiments, art projects or music, and play with friends.

Ezra (in yellow, on left) attends a weekly Lego Robotics Club for homeschoolers 

 At home, the Wiglets like to do school in their "spaceships" when possible.  When we do CC memory work review, they like to fly to "CC-topia" and visit "Englishia" and "Mathland," etc. where they meet a strange person at each place who oddly enough looks just like their mother, but each speaks with a different accent within their mother's repertoire.  They love this, even though the "stranger" is constantly quizzing them.  Works for me!

A new adventure just began last week for us, Ezra and Juni now go to the elementary school behind us everyday (except CC day) and participate in music and P.E.  They enjoy this a lot, and the school has been very welcoming and made efforts to consolidate their classes as much as possible.  I have enjoyed riding my bike with the kiddie trailer to and from to drop off or pick up Juni each day.
Our trips to the school have given us the opportunity to see (just in one week!): 
Crawdads in the creek, 
tons of dogs being walked,
 a Stellar's Jay,
 a tiny snake, 
and this giant slug! 
This is preferable to a tiny slug and giant snake, yes?

Zoomin' in!

The Stellar's Jay took our breath away.

Another change for us is the kids are growing up.  Before we left Ohio, their future aspirations were to become a paleontologist (Ezra), a milk maid (Juni) and a mermaid (Phoebe).  Now, Ezra wants to work for Garmin, Juni wants to be a scientist and Phoebe a vet!       

  Ezra makes a new original Lego creation and food creation every day, he can make whole meals now.

 Juni is currently obsessed with science and is constantly working on new experiments, crafting or reading.

Phoebe is everywhere all the time, but is consistently girly.  She gets to have her nails painted anytime she sleeps through the night, which like the books, "If you give a mouse a cookie..."  If you give a Phoebe nail polish, she almost certainly has to find a princess dress to put on, and once she has a princess dress on, she is reminded she loves to twirl around and asks you to put on some music...and so on and so on and hopefully in the end, she exhausts herself so much she sleeps through the night...and earns more nail polish the next day.