Rain returned to our valley a few weeks ago and we've already received several inches. Our activities change with the weather. Most of the beds in the garden have received their nourishing winter crops - some sort of combination of grain and legume. There are still daily tasks in the garden, and winter projects that we’ll be chipping away at when the weather allows. Although the hard freeze that many of us experience doesn't quite penetrate this part of the planet, the cold, wet, gray that dominates the winter here provides a real sense of the cycle of seasons that is shared with the garden. It's time to rest, reflect, read, rejuvenate!
Mushrooms and Mold
With the rain come mushrooms! Although I’ve not been involved in much foraging, I’ve been the recipient of some of the forest floor’s bounty through others’ efforts. Until I become more well versed in safely acquiring these tasty morsels, I’ll rely on the expertise of others – not wise to risk novice consumption when a slight difference in color or texture can mean death instead of delight! The dampness also provides ideal circumstances for mold which is always ready to pounce on any neglected foods that we’re blessed to have a lot of! This regularly occurring event results in an oft-full compost bin. Although as children we are warned of the dangers of mold, and the aforementioned toxic mushrooms, this fascinating family of fungi has a vital role in the health of our soil. Some fungi form a symbiotic relationship with plant roots that grants access for the plant to much more nutrition. The fungi’s food source is what the plant discards, and in return, the fungi form chains that reach deep into the soil, significantly extending the range of root hairs and mining nutrients that would otherwise be inaccessible to the plant.
Several of the Ecology Action family volunteered at a fundraising event for MESA (Multicultural Exchange in Sustainable Agriculture). Some of my co-interns this year were able to be here in the States though a coordinated effort of MESA and Ecology Action. We share a vision of more responsible small scale agriculture globally, so it's no surprise that our "families" are tight. This was a substance-filled night - impressive global fare, formally shared experiences of "stewards" (interns), speeches by administration and board members, a keynote address by Eric Holt Gimenez who made his way into an earlier post of mine. More personal highlights of the night - the acceptance speech given by co-worker Ellen for "best host" which summed up the joyful community-building nature of our work. I continue to be so touched and blessed by experiencing this important work of creation care with other passionate hearts. The finale - a live salsa band - was equally enjoyed by Latinos and Asians and Americans.
And I recently shared a few days off with co-world-savers, Ryan and Luke. We survived the rugged Lost Coast! Click HERE to see.
More non-coast pics: HERE