Doomed from the start

Back in the spring, we embarked on our first mushroom-growing venture. So far, it’s yielded exactly one shiitake mushroom, but we have high hopes for a crop in the spring. This is how you grow shiitakes: drill a bunch of holes in some oak logs; hammer in dowels infused with shiitake spawn (which you buy […]

A minor mycological miracle

Understanding doesn’t preclude wonder. Take airplanes. I know how they fly. I understand Bernoulli’s principle. The wing is curved on top, and flat on the bottom, so the air molecules over the top accelerate and the pressure above the wing drops to less than the pressure below. At speed, you get lift. Sure. Next time […]


After burning god knows how many gallons of gas checking our super-secret hen-of-the-wood spot once or twice a week for most of the summer and all of the fall, we finally hit pay dirt.  Not just one, but two big, young, firm mushrooms.  Cleaned and trimmed, our haul was well over two pounds. They’re sauteeing as […]

The shame of the secret ingredient

We all have one. It’s that elusive special something that makes your chili, or strawberry preserves, or banana bread, so very popular. And you never tell, but not because you’re afraid that everyone you know will be able to replicate your chili, or strawberry preserves, or banana bread and you won’t have any friends. It’s […]

My conditioning regimen

My husband is a commodity trader and spent most of his career on the exchange floor, trading coffee and crude oil. When you trade in a pit, you have to be aware of everything that’s going on in a ring that’s about fifty feet in diameter and contains some 300 traders. Who knew that commodity […]