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My sisters dog is notorious for peeing on things, with his favorite spot being the center of my bed. He peed on it very recently and then again a couple days ago before I’d even got the clean sheets back on it. Long story short, my bed was completely ruined. He managed to pee on my sheets, my pillow, and still leave a very very large puddle in the middle of the bed. I’ve also always been uncomfortable with that mattress, finding it much too soft. So I decided to go to the complete opposite end of the fluff-spectrum and get a very firm bed. There is an organic mattress/futon place in Seattle, and my mom has bought all of her beds there for the last 30 years. I went and bought a shikibuton there, which is the traditional Japanese mattress. Its only about 5 inches thick and requires tatami mats (mats made of woven reeds that smell wonderfully like green tea and grass) to be underneath it for support. Its an exceptionally firm mattress and I can fall asleep almost instantly on it. I’ve only had it for a few days, but I’ve gotten more rest in these last few nights than I ever did with my old bed.

When I went to Japan when I was 13 I slept on one of these and found it very comfortable. I also slept with a pillow made of wheat, and thankfully this mattress store had buckwheat husk pillows. I bought a small one, because I really only use a pillow if I’m sleeping on my side, and its been very nice. It shapes perfectly to where you need support, and if you like laying on your stomach its great because one side is made of organic latex.

This set certainly wasn’t cheap though. Along with the shikibuton, the tatami mats, and the pillow, I also bought a mattress cover made of organic wool. The bed itself is made out of organic wool and covered in organic cotton. If I had only bought the shikibuton it would’ve been cheaper than a regular mattress, but with everything else I spent about $1,600. For the amount of rest I’ve been getting from it already though, it was definitely worth it. I only slept 3.5 hours the night before last and I ended up staying awake from 3:30am until 9PM. At which point I promptly fell asleep and slept for 13.5 hours, lol.

I definitely feel reenergized ever morning though, and I feel really awake and ready to start my day every morning. Finding a mattress that works for you is important!

A New Store

I never seem to have the energy to post anymore, which is kind of unfortunate. This last month I switched out of my old starbucks and into a brand new one. I got to help open the doors, that’s how new it was! My old store was too toxic for me to remain at. This woman there bullied everyone and I finally decided I’d had enough, because my boss refused to do anything about it. It was extremely stressful and I hated working there. My new store is so much fun though! Everyone is friendly, polite, energetic. And our store is a drive through so we have moments where there are 11 of us on the floor. At my old store the most you could ever hope for was 5, and we never had enough to do. This store never allows you to stand still for more than a few seconds. Its always busy. We’re still so new that people keep moving things around though, and that’s kind of frustrating. Nothing is ever where it was a second ago. Everyone there is such a comedian that it doesn’t even matter in all honesty. I have fun every day and I’m always laughing.

That said I’m still discontented with where I’m at in life. I need to find a higher paying job so I can build my tiny house. I would love to go on a road trip once I have enough saved up, and just go adventure around for a bit. But that probably won’t be for several years, and by that point I’m sure I won’t even want to do it anymore. I’m not sure what I’m going to do, but making $700 a month is not working for me. If I could find a $40,000 a year job I would be perfectly fine. My tiny house won’t cost me very much to maintain, and I plan on having it be fully self sustaining so that they only thing I really have to do is buy myself food, and water if I’m on the road. My monthly expenses will be insurance for the truck to haul it around, the house its self, my phone and internet bill (which I’m sure will be substantially since I’ll never be wired for it), health insurance, and that’s about it. I’ll have to pay for food obviously, but I would love for the truck I get to be biodiesel so I can just make my gas from vegetable oil while I’m traveling. It’s all very good in theory of course.

Anyway, I’m off work today so I was hoping to go do something fun. I think I’ll go to a nearby national park and take the dogs for a walk. Or I could go to Seattle and buy myself some rings… Meh, a day in the sun sounds like more fun.

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.

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