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Mushroom Update

I have even more mushroom pictures for you, with the most drastic and interesting of them actually being from yesterday and today! You’re supposed to mist them every day, so I checked them like normal before work yesterday. This cute little blob had exploded out of one of the holes I had cut!

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I left for work and came back to find it had grown half again as big within the last 12 hours.

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Those pictures were all taken 6 hours apart, with the last one being only 18 hours after the first one. The dark brown things that are sticking out of the container (which is that cat litter container I told you about) are paper towels I stuffed in the holes to make sure the coffee grounds wouldn’t fall out. The towel is almost completely hidden in the last picture. Each of the dark spots on the mass of mycelium will become a mushroom. I don’t know how I’m going to eat all of them!

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Here’s a less intimidating picture of some cute baby mushrooms that have sprung up elsewhere on the container. The mycelium on top of the container is still mostly white, but a few patches of pinning mushrooms have shown up. I’m very excited!

Spring has come so early this year! The cherry blossom tree is already in full bloom, and the tulips are all ready to pop open. The local tulip festival has been pushed up a full three weeks to accommodation the early flowers. Rain levels are low too. We’ve already declared a drought in three counties in WA state. I’ve planted 7 trees in my garden this year to help with shading and flowers. My county has a “conservation district” organization that hosted a plant sale and I managed to accidentally order 60 plants instead of the 8 that I meant to. I didn’t realize everything came in groups of 5 and 10, so I ended up with 30 trees, 20 shrubs, and 10 ferns. I kept about 25 of them and gave the rest to my aunt to plant in her garden. Everything I bought was native, and I got a variety of things to feed the birds and the bugs. It will take a few years before anything is big enough to make a real difference, but I’m excited I’ve finally got a few important things like willows and red flowering currants in the garden.

I’ve got some “mushroom” pictures for you all! I started growing these on… March 11th. I bought 2.5lbs of oyster mushroom spawn from a company online, and mixed it in with coffee grounds from work. I put some in a big cat liter container I got from my cousin, and the rest went in a small yogurt container so I could really watch it grow. All I did was mix the spawn in with the grounds, adding a little bit of water and some wood chips every so often, and then I put them in the containers and kept them covered. Here’s a few pictures!

The myceilum started out by slowly colonizing the grounds, doubling in size each day until the surface of the container was covered in white. The larger container (which is the green thing in the first pic) took a lot longer to be fully colonized, and I actually started poking holes down into the grounds to make sure it was wet enough. I misted the surface every morning before work and every evening before bed. I also shot some water into the sides of the container where I cut holes for the mushrooms to grow out of. After I poked holes in the middle of the coffee grounds I filled them up with water. mycelium has grown in those holes so quickly that water no longer soaks into the grounds. I’ve poked a few holes elsewhere in the grounds to make sure the middle of the container is filled with mycelium too. It will be another few weeks before I actually get any mushrooms, but its been really fun to watch this all grow. The mycelium feels very similar to a mushroom, but its a little more fragile and slightly softer as well. Its crazy to see it grow soft hairlike patches some days and then others it will be a solid mass of fungus.

I’m sure I’m not growing these the best way possible. Coffee grounds are so easy to come by for me that I wanted to use them simply because they wouldn’t cost me anything. I think next time I’ll try a different growing medium and see how that works. Now that I’ve got the mycelium I can pretty much grow these mushrooms for ever. I accidentally broke off a piece of the mycelium that had grow high up onto the container when I took the lid off to water it, and I just put it on a spot of grounds that hadn’t been colonized yet. The next day there were small hairs sprouting all over the broken piece and it was working its way into the exposed grounds. It’s so fascinating to watch!

An Update On 2015

It’s been several months since I posted; I can’t believe it. I moved back home and am back at my old starbucks. Time seems to be flying by but I”m not really sure I’m going anywhere with it. The only interesting thing I’ve done in the last three months is tried to grow mushrooms. They’re completely different from anything I’ve ever worked with and I’m not entirely sure I’ll be very good at it. If I can get just one mushroom out of all of this then I suppose I’ll have succeeded though. I bought spawn offline for $18 and then “planted” it in some used coffee grounds from work. It was fun just to mix it all in, and watching it grow has been crazy. The first day there were just a few white spots and now the entire container is covered in white. It’s crazy how fast the mycelium grows! I’ll post pictures when I get a chance. I never seem to have enough time for anything. I work all day and come home and suddenly it’s time for sleep. I never even have the energy to do anything until I’m supposed to be going to bed for the night.

I’ve been asked to volunteer at a school my aunt works at as an administrator. Its a private school and they’re considered very progressive, with class sizes under 15 and a campus on 12 acres of woods. Tomorrow I get to tour the campus for a second time and I’ll be meeting with the teachers to talk about what everyone is thinking. I’ve never done anything like this before, so I’m a little nervous. I’ve got a few pages of notes on what to plant and when, and I’ll be looking up more information on everything as we get closer to actually putting things into the ground. So far I’ve got the go-ahead for planting crops, getting a worm bin going, getting bee habitat made, and building some bat houses. I’m not entirely sure what any of this will look like though. Do I create the curriculum to give to teachers? Am I teaching the kids about the topics before they go and build bat houses/bee boxes? Are we building that together? I just don’t know what this is going to look like at all and so far its feeling like a mess. Communication has been a real issue already, so I want to get a really clear understanding of whats expected of me. We’ll find out what happens tomorrow!

Oh, here’s a random little “highlight” from my week. One of my favorite customers who I’ve known since I started working at my store (1 year ago on the 3rd of this month) thought I was in my 30s. He asked me about it this week because he wanted to reference something from the early 90s from before I was even alive. I was like, I JUST turned 21 a month ago! He didn’t believe me and I had to show him my ID card. He told me I was just so mature he thought I was really in my 30s. I told him he was an asshole and that he needed to get out of my store, lol. My average assumed age has been 26 since I was 18, with 29 being the absolute oldest ever. I couldn’t believe it.

The only other exciting thing I’ve done this year is bought a Surface Pro 3. I just bought it this weekend because my Macbook Pro was failing and I thought it would be fun to get something new. It cost 6 weeks pay but so far its been really fun. I think once I get fully settled in I’ll really enjoy it. I like how versatile it is, and because its so lightweight and compact I can sit in almost any position and still use it comfortably. Anyway, its late and I meant to be going to sleep now. I’ll try to post again soon!

The Best Day This Season

My aunt works as an administrator at a very small “hippie dippie” elementary school. Kids there work with teachers to decide the curriculum and the day to day events, and the school is in the middle of 12 acres of woods. Last year a garden was installed, but teachers haven’t had much of an idea on what to do to keep it going. My aunt asked me to come over and tour the facility, and potentially spearhead the garden projects as a volunteer. So I went over there Friday to take a look. Their garden consisted of 13 wooden raised beds, wood chip pathways, and 4 rain barrels. There were a few sad kale plants, and some strawberries that were still in their pots sitting on top of the dirt in the beds. The rest of the campus was much more promising, with several play areas and an outdoor class room in the heart of the woods. It’s exactly the kind of school I would’ve loved going to as a kid!

I spent a couple hours on Thursday finding fun pictures of projects on the internet, and typed up a single page of ideas. I met with the head and assistant head of the school (and my aunt) to talk them over. Ideas included a worm bin, a bat house, a bee/bug hotel, a brush pile for snakes, and a few arrangements for planting food crops so they look fun, like a bean teepee. Everyone loved my ideas and saw how they could easily be integrated into several different areas of the curriculum. My aunt even said I was over prepared, which is one of my absolute favorite things to hear. I’ve been asked to come back with more ideas and some more in depth components at the end of next month, where I will present everything to the entire faculty. It’s not a very big school, but its still something like 20+ adults, all of whom are old enough to be my parents. So it’s a little intimidating, but I’m excited because everything I/they want to do is extremely easy stuff that will be perfect projects for the kids to do and learn from.

From there I went straight over to Starbucks to work a 5 hour shift. I slipped right back into my work like I had never left, and customers were happy to see me which was great. I loved being back in my old store. The cherry on my day was one of our regular customers telling me I had the best skin she’s ever seen. She asked what I did to keep it so smooth and I told her I started by shaving the top layer of it off every morning, haha. Then I use some avon moisturizer and I’m all set!

The day went surprisingly quickly, and we managed to close the store in 25 minutes! I even got to close with my best friend in the store, the assistant manager. We had some help from one of the new hires. I forget his name, but he’s a senior in high school and he seems pretty cool. I’m only going to be working there a 2-3 days a week but I think that will be enough to keep me busy and allow me to get my dose of starbucks fun, haha.

An Update From Home

I’ve been home for just over a week now. I have to say, I’m not enjoying it. My house isn’t any messier than it has been in my entire life, but after living for a couple months on my own in a room that was immaculate and completely devoid of clutter, its driving me crazy. My first night back I stayed up until 2 AM rearranging the kitchen and the cupboards. You can’t find anything you need in this place and there’s stuff EVERYWHERE. My mom is genuinely a hoarder. We got in an argument this morning over moving a bookshelf from one side of the room to the other! It was finished by my mom saying she couldn’t afford to do anything and that she’s loosing her job soon (and I’m not exaggerating when I say she’s been saying that since we moved into this house 5 years ago). We were supposed to go for a walk today but she decided to shut herself in her room after telling me my opinions were “bullshit”.

That opened the way for a very nice breakfast with my sister though, and I do actually appreciate that. We talked about how crazy our parents are, and I apologized for being awful to her a couple years ago. It was nice to be able to talk about things again.

I’ve also stopped shaving, something I’ve only done once before. I’ve got three weeks of relative aloneness, so I figured now would be a fun time to see what I look like with facial hair. I normally could shave twice a day if I needed to, so its coming in fast. The longest I made it last time was 10 days, so I’m hoping to break that record this time, haha. I’ve also started going on walks! I feel bad not being able to play with the dogs all the time because of the weather, and even when we are playing its not like they’re getting constant exercise. So for the last three days I’ve made sure to do at least a half hour walk around the neighborhood with them. I almost didn’t go today because I was out of the house for so long running errands with a friend, but I decided i might as well go tonight. It was wonderful getting to see the city after dark! I live up on a hill but there are buildings in the way so I don’t get a very nice view from my house. There’s a nice street a few minutes away though and it has a great view of the valley and the hill on the other side.

I’m glad to be back home with my dogs, but living with my mom is definitely a bigger struggle than it was before. I’ve got a few big projects to do around the house this coming year, so I’m hoping I find a decent job to cover all of the expenses, haha. I did tell you I was going back to my old store right? So I’ll be working a few days a week there just to give me a small amount of income, but I’ll be looking for something bigger and better on my days off. Getting stuck at Starbucks is the last thing I want.

Anyway, my neighbor has invited me over for a movie, so I’m gonna head out! Jus thought I would write to let you all know I’m doing well. I feel like I don’t write those kinds of posts very often so its nice when I get to!

When You’re Swamped And Still Bored

So, I’ve been in my new place for just over a month now. School is dreadfully boring. Theres way too much homework to do, and none of it is educational. We’ve got upwards of 6 chapters a week to read for work related to lectures, and then we have a whole other additional book to read (every two weeks) for group discussion. Class meets for 5 hours a day, with an hour break in the middle, Tuesday, and Thursday. Mondays we don’t have class, Wednesdays we only meet for 2 hours, and then Fridays are 6 hour days. And my teachers move at such a glacial pace that I ended up being about a week ahead in all the readings. I’ve stopped doing homework at home and started doing it during the lectures, because if you’ve done the reading then they aren’t covering any new material (or even improving on the material you’ve read).

Nothing about what they want from you is clear, and we literally have 15 minutes of announcements EVERY time we get together for class. So we’ll get together in the morning, go through whatever announcements, go through class, break for lunch, and then come back and have to go through another 15 minutes of announcements. And they print out eeeeeverything. The other day we got a handout showing a pie chart, but the chart had nothing labeled on it. So it was just a picture of a circle with different colored wedges on it, and the image was up on the projector anyway. Keep in mind my class has 68 people in it.

The other thing that really irks me about this program is that the teachers will talk about something and then immediately say “but we’ll cover that later, so don’t worry about it”. Um, no. If you’re going to bring it up as an important part of this discussion and say “this is something you need to know for later” then you need to teach it to me now. Oh and for the first group reading assignment that we had, I brought 9 pages of notes to class. NINE pages. The rest of the class brought 2 or 3 at most. I was so thorough that whenever anyone referenced the book all I had to do was look at my notes and I could tell them what page in the book they were referencing. That’s just how I read books for school! Any time theres something interesting or could be relevant to a lecture, I write down the page number and the quote. It was a little obnoxious. Someone called me an encyclopedia and told me they definitely needed to be friends with me this quarter, haha.

I’m so bored and ahead with things that I ended up getting a job. I decided to go back to Starbucks because I didn’t want to have to be trained elsewhere while trying to mange school. Its actually kind of funny how this all worked out. I walked into the store nearest my place and asked if they were hiring, and the barista there said they were, but that the manager wasn’t in. She took my name and phone number and encouraged me to apply immediately because they desperately needed someone. I applied that night and went in the next day to see if the manager was in. She wasn’t so I figured I would wait a few days and then go back. Well, on Tuesday I got a call from the manager of a starbucks in the mall, which is only a few minutes farther away, but the workload would be more than twice what I was expecting. I was a little annoyed that he had called me in the middle of my lunch since he had my hours of availability and I had clearly marked the time he was calling me during as busy. He wanted to set up an interview with me during the day, and suggested three different times that would work for him, all of which were during the middle of my class. He ended up suggesting an interview that night at 5, which was something I could manage. He wanted to do it at 4, but I have class until 4:30 on tuesday so that wouldn’t work.

Anyway, I go and do the interview with him and throughout the whole thing he made me feel completely incompetent. I worked at Starbucks for 6 months and was the partner trainer for the last month I worked there. He made me walk him through the process of making drinks and ringing in customers. I was like, ok, I’m a fully trained barista who can close a store in 20 minutes and was literally doing the work of three people at my old store; do not try to belittle me by telling me the way I do things is incorrect just because I’m not using the key vocab you want. He asked me about the volume of my store, and how many transactions we did an hour; which is information I wasn’t privy to at all. He also wanted me to promise to work black friday and christmas before he would really even consider hiring me. I agreed to it, mostly because I didn’t feel like I had an option, and he told me he would reach a decision by monday.

From there I drove straight over to the store closest to my house and as soon as I walked in the barista recognized me and the manager came out to interview me on the spot. I didn’t even have to say anything about anything, haha. She told me the reason she hadn’t called me to do an interview right away was because she wanted to call my manager about why I had quit and not just directly transferred down. I explained that I wasn’t sure what school would be like, since this program is supposed to be one of the most rigorous on campus, and didn’t want to risk working and going to school until I was confident I could handle it. She said she understood, and told me that my old manager had talked about what a great employee I had been, which was really nice to hear after having to defend myself to the idiot at the mall. I walked her through my availability hours (since she hadn’t even looked at my application) and asked about having a day or two off once a week so I could go see family, which she was totally open to. The guy at the mall wasn’t too interested in that, and that was super annoying since I only wanted to work 20 hours a week anyway. After about 10 minutes of talking the manager at the store nearest my place said she would love to hire me and took down my name and birthday so she could look me up faster. She said she would pretend she didn’t know she was stealing me away from the guy at the mall, and that she would start the hiring process that night so it would go through faster, haha.

That was all on tuesday, and I haven’t heard back from her yet. I’ll go in tomorrow after class to ask how things are going and to see if I need to do anything. I’m excited to start working again mostly because I have absolutely nothing else to be doing right now. I literally spent the whole of today just sitting in my room doing nothing. I didn’t even marathon any shows or anything. Days like this really irritate me because I don’t want to be sitting around doing nothing but I also don’t really have anything else to do. So I’m hoping this job fills up a bit of my time. 20 hours a week really isn’t that much. Depending on how it goes I might bump it up a little bit.

Anyway, this post is way too long now, so I’ll sign off for the night!

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