VIking-PIrate-NInja-GYpsies. Go ahead, try and find a stereotype for us.

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Diversify and Strengthen.

The Open-Source Protein project continues on.

Fungi, like most *every other living thing* need variety.  Some of the tried and tested complementary substrates have been

WINNERS
– Root vegetables (carrots, leeks) and tubers (yams/sweet potatoes)

Yerba Mate (p. ostreatus consumes it faster than anything else we’ve tried)

– Cat hair

– Fresh kombucha scoby

– Moose manure (tried in a different location from the other cultures.  Mushrooms for me, yeah.  Moose-leavings?  Nahh)

LOSERS

– Dried kombucha scoby cleaned with a vinegar wash.  The fungus simply routed around, though it never molded

NEWS

The first jar of culture that we naturalized with cat hair has sprouted a cluster of fruitbodies in the past day and a half.  New blend of coffee/yerba-mate are developing strong mycelium.

2 jars have been naturalized in the developing compost pile.

IDEAS

1.  Red-wrigglers (vermicompost) also like coffee grounds, and many species of mushroom will readily feast on worm-castings with all the rest.  Waiting for it to get warm enough that the worms come up into the compost more.

Hypothesis:  Worms (great soil-builder/decomposer) and p. ostreatus mycelium will form symbiotic bonds filling in complimentary ecological niches.  Increase rate/thoroughness of compost process.  If a developed culture is installed in middle of raised garden beds, the oyster mushroom mycelium will also form symbiotic/mycorrhizal  bonds with the vegetable roots.

2.  Seeing as how p. ostreatus can digest crude oil and nuclear waste (?  Trying to find source), and kombucha can partially break down rubber and lower-grade plastics (it turned the rubber gasket on a flip-top locking bottle to a nasty goo.  Bottling with caps is a lot better), one wonders if the two can work in tandem to accomplish bio-recycling (related to bioremediation).  If the kombucha scoby can be inoculated with that culture they found in South America hat digests nylon, like it can with kefir, the sky’s the limit.

POIDH

Oh!  And before I forget. . .if you happen to find a (**legitimately licensed, of course) copy of  the 2-volume set of “Edible Forest Gardens” by Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier, READ IT.  There are very few “should”s in this world, this is one of them

Another step. . .

The jar of mycelium that had kombucha culture introduced to it has naturalized and is rapidly consuming it.  On a roll. . . .

NOTE TO SELF

SAVE POST BEFORE PUBLISHING

 

M’kay

Open-Source Protein part II

Kevin here.

So there’s a story involving some hurricanes hitting Norway in the winter of ’11-’12, infrastructure disruption, and mail that was way late.

My parents sent us an oyster mushroom growing kit produced by the good fellows at Backtotheroots.com as a Christmas gift.  I am a major fan of the company and what they are doing, and I have cultivated mushrooms in the past. . .the major block for continuing production (or for starting production in the first place) is the cleanliness issue.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a slob, and I enjoy living in a clean house, but the cost for starting and maintaining a sterile lab environment are prohibitive to most, not to mention the investment of time that is required.  So this project (“Open-Source Protein”) is setting to the task of finding a method (or family of methods) to start and maintain cultivation of this wonderfully healthy source of protein.

So in the 2 months since we finally received our package the loose timeline is as follows:
The project starts

T+7 days:  We followed the instructions (cut a “+” and soak the culture-bag.  Mist twice a day, expose to indirect sunlight) to no avail.  The culture block started secreting a yellow brine, with no other activity

T+9 days:  A snap decision is made to save the culture, which is only secreting more of this discharge into its bag.  Some jars filled 2/3 with coffee grounds are sterilized in a pressure cooker.  12 hours later, with a clean knife wiped in a strong vinegar solution, small sections of the culture block are cut off, and crumbled into the coffee grounds.

T+12 days:  Two of the jars of coffee grounds have been successfully inoculated, one of them is showing the first signs that it has been infested with the dreaded Trichoderma mold.  It is immediately disposed of, and the tupper box holding the other two jars is wiped clean.  Turns out that sterilization isn’t the way to go, especially with open air (non-sterile/lab conditions) culturing.  I’m not so used to being over-effective at things 😛

T+16 days:  Several more jars have been inoculated (thanks to the local café for their spent coffee-ground donations.  We can’t drink THAT much coffee, try as we might).  The two jars from the first batch are fully covered with mycelium, and are now being naturalized to other foodstuffs (a small sliver of a fresh, well-brewed kombucha culture in one, and  some cat-hair in the other (hair contains protein, and oyster mushrooms can eat most anything, they just have to develop the enzymes first).  Now the great ironic fun:  The original block (which we’ve been continuing to mist/fan 2wice a day and keeping in a clear tupper box) finally started to fruit!

There are now 13 jars with healthy cultures growing on coffee grounds.   1 jar/culture has been soaked, and is in the fruiting chamber with the original culture.

Next Step

Harvesting the ‘shrooms off of the original culture in a few days, and cooking them up (mmmmm, tasty. . .).  Naturalizing some more cultures to various complementary substrates (Ash/poplar sawdust, book paper, human hair, etc) and hoping the jar that was soaked will fruit.  Stay tuned!

Open-Source Protein

Many individuals and groups of people around the world are creating, modifying, and improving high efficiency gardening techniques.  We here at Soria Moria are  working on getting a window-garden set up (for herbs and leafy vegetables), and laying out plans for a raised-bed garden outside.  These assorted projects have many goals in mind, but some of the key themes are

– Ecological sustainability

The impact on the environment should be small enough that the ecosystems involved/affected are not permanently or adversely affected

– Economic solvency

The cost to the individual to produce their food should be less than the costs to import/ship the food from the sites of production.

– Robustness

You don’t have to be a doomsday prophet to realize that infrastructure is sometimes disrupted (and the more centralized/hierarchal the infrastructure, the longer the rebound time).  Storms, trade embargoes, war, strikes, and more can affect the flow of food to consumers.

– Health concerns

Currently there are battles being fought against the multinational corporation Monsanto (producer of Agent Orange) for their use of patented genetically-modified crops, and the whole ensuing legal headache that wreaks on individuals and smaller producers.  But even food crops that are not being used to bully individuals in patent litigation are sprayed with pesticides, artificial fertilizers, and preservatives.  Growing food at home or within your community is a way for many to avoid these threats.
Some of these inspiring and promising setups are

Freight Farms
Green Bronx Machine
Sembradores Urbanos

While this is all fantastic, and greatly needed,  man cannot live on leafy-greens alone.  We also need protein.  And if there are ethical problems with plant crops, boy howdy are there problems with meat products.

Raising one’s own animals for meat/eggs, or finding ethical hunters willing to sell their excess meat is not a feasible solution for everyone, especially in urban areas.  So how do we incorporate protein into a high-efficiency production system?  One of the most promising answers to this question is hemp, but due to the smear campaigns in the U.S. during the 1930’s, hemp/cannabis was banned.  Hemp seed is an amazing source of protein, but thanks to the laws enacted/enforced by nation-states at the behest of their corporate bedfellows, most cannot acquire this, or grow it for oneself.
Enter: the Oyster Mushroom (pleurotus ostreatus).  This amazing saprophytic organism contains anywhere from 15-30% protein, a whole load of amino acids, and many other beneficial nutrients besides.

The fine folks at backtotheroots.com sell grow-your-own kits of oyster mushrooms which give several harvests of oyster mushrooms, but more importantly:  They give you a decentralized source of healthy protein.

Let me explain.  A living culture can be used to spawn several other cultures, which can be fed with coffee grounds, food waste, you name it.  Most mushroom growing strategies involve a working knowledge of lab-style sterile work, a squeaky clean grow room, and a tendency towards OCD.  This project will cover the propagation and nurturing of the oyster mushroom culture to produce an amount of protein that satisfies all the points outlined above for vegetable production, in a way that does not require the rigid parameters most often associated with mushroom cultivation.

Updates (with pictures!) to follow

 

Update!  (with pictures)

Click on the photos for more description

Spent coffee grounds

litt mange ting som skjer ja!

Har skjedd litt for mye i løpet av sommeren. Vi kom oss aldri av gårde, av mange grunner, hovedsaklig pga. Kevin som veldig plutselig fikk ett MS attakk, og hele sommeren ble brukt på papirarbeid for å sikre han medisiner. Det har gått bra, tross alt, og etter veeeeeeeeeldig mange teite ting som har skjedd, har jeg bestemt at fra nå av, skal det være rein plankekjøring! Nok nå, ingen flere ting å sloss for på ei stund.

Uansett, så har vi vert så utrolig heldige å få flytte inn sammen med vår kjære, vakre og smarte venninne Maya, langt inn i Finnskogen! Innflyttinga skjer i løpet av uka, så det er nok av ting å gjøre. Denne bloggen blir dedikert til vårt nye hjem, Solbakken, og Maya er også en del av ViPiNiGy nå 🙂

Bilder, oppdateringer og små filmer av alt vi driver med vil komme! Og neida, vi har slettes ikke slutta å sjonglere, nå har vi hele vinteren å trene på, så til sommeren igjen er vi kjempeflinke!

Kombucha

Kevin er i full gang med kombucha prosjektet sitt! Kombucha er en bakterieholdig drikk, på lik linje med kefir og kulturmelk, men uten melkeprodukter. (selv om det er fullt mulig å lage en kambucha-kefir hybrid, men vi kommer tilbake til det seinere.) Kombucha er brygget på søt te, og trenger tid og kjærlighet.
Mange bruker kombuche som ett alkoholfritt alternativ til vin, eller å drikke daglig for å holde fordøyelses-systemet på ett stabilt nivå.

Kevin planlegger å lage mange forskjellig smaker av frukt og bær han finner i den norske naturen. Eple, blåbær, tyttebær, molte, rips, solbær og rabarbera er noen av smakene han vil teste ut, og kanskje vil kombucha være tilgjengelig for salg litt etter vert.
Er det noen som vil smake litt kombucha, er det bare å huke tak i en av oss når vi er ute og driver med skøyerstrekene våre, og vi gir deg gladelig en smaksprøve.

Vil du vite mer om kombucha, finner du mer på wikipedia.

(bilder vil komme, jeg lover!)