Sunday, November 22, 2009


I'm finally getting over being sick, my housemates convinced me to go to a doctor. I got antibiotics for my sinus infection, and all is well in the world.

What about everything else? Well life is difficult sometimes, especially when it concerns change. So settling in to a new environment, new circle of people can be tricky. I've been living at the Talent Homestead (I prefer the name New Talent Homestead but nobody's buying it!) for three weeks no. And what have I accomplished? Well fist off, let me remind you that I've been sick, and that I've also been taking advantage of the fact that i have a place of my own and can do what I want, no WWOOFing, no schedules. Ok, I haven't done that much. I've already gotten some work, putting up solar panels, and painting a house that is going to be part of a Cohousing project here in Talent. I just lined up a few day work in Portland(that's weird!) helping plant stuff for a urban food forest. I've also applied for a couple of jobs to be a caregiver for older people. Let's hope I get some steady work!

In terms of my own projects, things are going slowly. I could start growing Oyster and shitake mushrooms tomorrow, all i need is the spawn(usually bags of sawdust thick with white strands of mycelium). I'm trying to find the most local source of spawn, and so far the closest I've found is 223 miles away in Corvallis, which is on the way to Portland so I can pick some up when I come back from there. Buying locally isn't just about supporting the local economy. it's also about finding someone who has mushrooms and mushroom spawn suited for this climate. Kind of like saving seeds with vegetables. I want to start growing mushrooms indoors ASAP, which doesn't really require this local spin, cause I can control temperature and humidity artificially. But I want to sheet mulch the hazelnut orchardand other areas on the property and inoculate them with spawn of different mushrooms as well, and it will be more successful the more local the varieties are. I could look for people with spore prints(basically a piece of paper set underneath a frshly picked mushroom which drop thousands of spores onto the paper) and create mushroom spawn of my own. It's not rediculous, but can be tricky because everything needs to be sterile if the mushroom that i want is to grow and not some other household mold. i want to play around with making mushroom spawn, but for oysers and shitakes, i think i'll just buy a couple of bags for about $25 buck each. I should be able to grow a lot of mushrooms with those mixed into coffee grounds and sawdust(both of which I can get for free) and then afterwards I can spread the spent mixture into a mulch of sawdust,wood chips, wood shavings,straw, more coffee grounds, newspaper, and cardboard outside and hopefully this spring we'll get tons of mushrooms!

My housemate Karen is going to be mapping the property. I know i said I was going to do it myself, but hopefully I can help her do it and learn from her. All that i want to do is hindered by the fact that by nature, i am a pretty lazy guy and have wasted years of my life watching tv and movies. Though i made a promise to myself that from now on, I'll only watch movies with other people, it's still hard for me to get up and do the things I need to do. When I'm working for other people, I easily prove myself in terms of getting a lot done all day long. But building up the motivation to do my own projects is still very difficult and something I'm trying to work on this year.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Journey Continues

I'm sitting in front of the wood stove in the living room of our new place. The house is already half furnished thanks to my housemates, who have lots of cool stuff. We already have a dining room table, chairs, a futon for the living room, all the kitchen stuff we could ever need. Great, now that's all settled, now what? I'm a little under the weather right now, I have an ear, nose, and throat thing, which has drained me of my energy. So I'm taking it easy for a while. I got some work yesterday with my housemate Grant. He's putting up solar panels for my friend Chuck. It was fairly straightforward, like building an erector set, only trouble is, I never had an erector set. So i felt a bit stupid, not knowing how to use a wrench, but I pick things up fairly quickly. I could have got more work today, but I feel so weak. I worry I might have Mono, but I hope that it's just a cold+stress. I'm hoping I can find more work too, I have some options to check out.

Then there's the garden, if we want to get our winter garden in, it's got to happen now. So we've got to get some beds made. Anne and Grant have a couple of raised bed frames at their old place that we can use. We just have to get them up here, fill em up and plant them with all sorts of leafy greens, and garlic.

The list of projects keeps growing:

Start growing all kinds of sprouts
Build a Cob oven
start collecting coffee grounds for future mushroom projects

Now I'm writing from the Ashland Food Co-Op, where it's snowing outside! Yay! I'm picking up my bike from the bike place, where it got a tune up. Today I become truly mobile. There's a bike path all the way from my place in Talent to Ashland, even to Medford the big city. Ashland is really bike friendly. Even the buses have bike racks on the front. They don't have those in Israel yet!