Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"In a true dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning." 

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

Monday, August 23, 2010

Free Stuff, Gotta Love It.....

There is nothing I love more than free stuff.  Well, there is, but I really, REALLY like free stuff.  Our mailbox usually has some sort of free sample or other freebie daily because the Old Hippie is a bit obsessive about his free stuff.  Sometimes the mailbox is packed.  What I HATE are the freebie teasers that make you fill out time-sucking surveys and other various crapola.  I wanted to pass this one for Cheetos along to you, totally free, no survey or anything.  Go here to sign up.

Here is another easy one for free meals at IHOP. 

Peace, love, happiness.... and free stuff,
Earth Mother

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Autumn is coming, time to look for Lion's Mane Mushrooms!

In case you haven't met, let me introduce you to the wonderful, the treasured, the delicious, the illusive... Lion's Mane Mushroom (hericium erinaceus).  I'll start by telling you this:  They are absolutely scrumptious when diced and sauteed with butter and onions, AND TASTE LIKE LOBSTER.  No kidding!

In case you have chosen to steer clear of wild mushrooms for fear of eating a poisonous one and ending up in the hospital *or DEAD*, don't worry!  There aren't any poisonous varieties that look like the Lion's Mane Mushroom, so you are reasonably safe in that aspect.  I have read that it is available fresh or dried at Asian food stores, but I have never seen any there.  Kits for growing them at home are available at Fungi Perfecti online.  They have an awesome catalog, by the way. 

Look for them in the late summer and fall on dead or damaged hardwoods, particularly the American Beech.

We only found one last year, and it was only the size of a baseball.  We are doubly motivated to find a huge one this fall!

They have an animal-like look...  like they could just turn around and crawl away.  Lion's Mane Mushrooms have long been considered a medicinal mushroom in traditional Chinese medicine.  A double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled trial showed improved cognitive ability.  It has also been used as an alternative treatment for cancer, with some studies showing positive results.  Medicinal benefits aside, it is simply delicious!

We found this hot mama while searching for Lion's Mane Mushrooms.

Also some sort of wild Magnolia...

And one of these...

Oh, I hate snakes!  When hiking, the Old Hippie always leads the way, and he completely doesn't notice them on the trail.  I can't tell you how many times he has stepped right over them, oblivious, then I spot them on the trail between us!  He is charmed for sure.

And this was the creepiest thing.  He crawled into my tire... and disappeared.  Very unsettling!

Lion's Mane Facts

  • This species has many names including the bearded tooth mushroom and the pom pom mushroom. It is sometimes called the hedgehog mushroom, although that name usually refers to a different species altogether, Hydnum repandum.
  • All species of Hericium are considered saprotrophs, meaning they feed on dead material. Hericium erinaceus is also a parasite, meaning it attacks and kills living trees. So you are doing the tree a favor by harvesting them.
  • They're found in late summer to fall on dead or dying hardwood trees, especially oak and beech. They grow in North America, China, Japan, and Europe.
  • This doesn't look like your typical mushroom. It has no real cap and no stem. Instead it sports long spines (greater than 1 cm) coming out from a single clump.
  • Their color is mainly white, although they become brown or yellow with age. Their spore print is white as well.
  • This is not a common species of mushroom, so finding one may be a rare treat. They grow higher up on trees rather than at the base, which means that they're also often missed during a mushroom hunt.
Happy mushroom hunting!  Please let me know if you are lucky enough to find one this fall!
Peace, love and happiness,
Earth Mother

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Return of the Monster Burger, HaPpY BiRtHdAy Old Hippie!

We have a yearly tradition.  Each year on the Old Hippie's birthday, I make a gigantic burger, just for him.  The seasonings that I use are worchestershire, Cavender's Greek Seasoning, and McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning.  I should have weighed the patty before cooking... maybe next year.  I'm guessing it is between 1.5 and 2 pounds.  We generally don't eat a lot of meat, so this is a very special occasion.

Here it is!  Complete with cheddar, provolone, mayo, onions, pickles, tomato, avacado and sprouts on a cheddar-jalapeno bun. 

This is the first year that he did not attempt to eat the entire burger.  I say "attempt" because he has never actually finished one!  This way he saves room for the Coca Cola Cake (also a tradition). 

HaPpY BiRtHdAy Old Hippie!

Peace, love and happiness,
Earth Mother

Friday, August 13, 2010

Shooting Stars and Other Sundry Things...

We were very excited about the Perseid meteor shower peaking last night.  We placed our reclining lawn chairs out front where the view isn't obstructed by any trees, opened a bottle of wine, and we waited.  It wasn't as spectacular as I had hoped, but we gave it up a little early.  I kept dozing off!  The Old Hippie saw two good ones with dust trails, but I missed both of them. We saw about a dozen total.

The heat is on!  A couple of weeks ago, the forcast said 105F, but it actually got up to 108F.  

This is what I saw through the French doors last night after we came in from stargazing.  

A Spring Peeper!

So cute... and then he was off like a rocket.

I got this freaky little plant as a Christmas gift, but I don't know what it is.  Anyone know?  It is definitely not aloe.  I was told that it would get much bigger and put off babies (or offshoots if you prefer the botanical term) like an airplane plant (chlorophytum comosum).  It has not gotten any bigger since Christmas, and no babies so far.  The unexpected mushroom was a nice surprise!  I am thinking that I need to transplant it to a bigger container.

Happy weekend!

Peace, love and happiness,
Earth Mother

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Isaac Bonewits 1949-2010

“This morning, August 12, 2010 at approximately 8 AM ET, Isaac Bonewits passed away peacefully in his sleep. All his brothers and sisters arrived at his side last night. His family and friends surround him now.”
Read more here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Flutterbys, I Mean Butterflies...

I had some very lovely visitors in the garden over the weekend, like this Pipevine Swallowtail.  They love my zinnias!

I think this is called a Common Whitetail dragonfly.

A Cloudless Sulfur...

I don't know what this is.  Any ideas?  The wings are so fast they didn't photograph.  At first glance I thought it was a bumblebee, but it is not.

This Common Buckeye came by to visit...

And brought a friend...

Then they did a little synchronized dance...

Too cool!

A bunch of Taxiles Skippers made the rounds.

Three things I'm loving right now:

1.  My zinnias!  

So much enjoyment from a 99 cent seed packet!  They make wonderful bouquets all summer long, and the blooms multiply exponentially when you cut them!

2.  Sedum! 

I love this stuff.  Sedum is so very low maintenance and forgiving.

3.  This song!  Walk With You by Dispatch

Thanks for stopping by!
Peace, love and happiness,
Earth Mother

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Resin Incense Tutorial...

Resin incense has been used in worship for centuries in churches, mosques, and temples, but most people who are familiar with cone and stick incense have never known the pleasure of using pure resin incense. I decided to post some detailed instructions on how to use resin incense because this was something I had to research and learn through trial and error.  It is very easy, if you know what to do!  It is the purest way to burn incense because unlike cone and stick incense, it contains no fillers.  First, I'm assuming that you know to take all the precautions that you would when you burn a candle... keep away from anything that could catch fire, keep away from pets and children, use in a well-ventilated space, and never leave it unattended, yada yada yada....

These are the things you will need...  a pair of small metal tongs, a lighter, and a raised, heat-proof dish.  Look for one made of metal or stoneware that has legs.  You don't want to damage the surface beneath it!  Terracotta works well.  I use a terracotta saucer on top of a metal candle holder.  Most likely you have something that will work, so there is no need to go out and buy an expensive incense burner.

Self-igniting charcoal disks.  
You can find these online or at stores like Earthbound Trading Co. or Romancing the Stone.  They are around $2.00 for a roll of ten or twelve.  WARNING:  DO NOT use grill charcoal for incense!  It puts off toxic fumes!  Fresh, dry charcoal lights quickly so keep it sealed and away from humidity.

Resin incense that can be purchased at metaphysical stores or online.  
I got a big sampler pack from these guys at a festival, and you can also purchase good-quality resins at AzureGreen online. I like to use pure amber (shown in the apothecary jar) that has been crushed or shaved off into small pieces.  Look for low-quality, cloudy amber that is cheap, because it burns just the same.

Some people put down a layer of sand under the charcoal to help it burn evenly and to prevent the dish from becoming too hot.  I have never had a problem not using it, and clean-up is easier without it. 

Hold the charcoal disk with the tongs and light the edges in several places.

Be prepared for sparks!  Make sure you don't set fire to tablecloths or curtains!  This is really dramatic in the dark.

Place the charcoal in the center of the dish with the rim facing up.  You will see the sparks move through the charcoal, and it will start to glow.

After the sparks have stopped, place a few resin pebbles onto the charcoal.  One pebble at a time will work nicely if you are indoors, because you don't want to set off the smoke alarms!

The resin pebbles will start to melt and produce smoke.

The charcoal will start to turn white around the edges, and it will burn for an hour or more.  You will  have to keep adding pebbles because they burn up at different rates, depending on what resin you use. 

This is another dish that I use for incense.  It was 25 cents at a yard sale.


I never use this one on a table cloth because it doesn't sit up high enough to be safe.  Dry herbs like lavender, rosemary or sage can also be burned on the charcoal disks.

Okay, so those are the basics of using resin incense.  I will gladly answer any questions that you may have.  If I left out anything, or if there is anything that you would like to add, please leave a comment.  Enjoy!

Peace, love, and happiness,
Earth Mother

Monday, August 9, 2010

Feeling Better & Weekend Treasure...

After several days off from work, I am feeling *almost* back to normal.  I woke up feeling pretty well, so I decided to go out for my morning run for the first time in six days.  I went about a mile and hit the wall, so I guess it will take time to build my energy level back up.

The Old Hippie came home with some really cool salvage finds this weekend.  

I LOVE this old iron stand!  I can see this all cleaned up with a ceramic platter or some mosaic piece on top to be used as a bird feeder maybe... maybe a plant stand in the garden?  

The Old Hippie really scored some major points with this old cauldron!  One leg is broken off about an inch, but I can work with this.

My guess is that this is an old doctor's office or lab table.  Not a scratch on it!  All it needs is a set of casters for the legs and it is ready for use in the garage... or planting shed... or craft room... who knows!

Okay, I'm not sure what this is...

The base is wrought iron and will clean up nicely.  Any ideas?

Tomorrow's post will be the promised tutorial on resin incense...

Thank you for your comments.  They are the light of my day!

Peace, love & happiness,
Earth Mother...