I am happy to report that, so far at least, mush­rooms grown inten­tion­ally seem to grow as rapidly as those grown unin­ten­tion­ally, i.e. those that grow in your lawn.

Remem­ber how I just started my mush­room patch a cou­ple of days ago? Well, lookee here.


That shi­itake mush­room is about the size of racketball!

Take another look. (This is the beauty shot.)


I mist the mush­room patch about twice a day, although the instruc­tions tell you to mist it “sev­eral times a day.” I do keep the humid­ity tent in place. And although you might think that the mush­room patch should reside in a dark closet, the instruc­tions say that you just need to keep it out of direct light. So that I don’t for­get it and acci­den­tally kill all those pre­cious mush­room spores, my mush­room patch is liv­ing on the floor of the kitchen next to the cab­i­nets. So far, the lit­tle dogs have taken no interest.

In other news about pet projects…

Remem­ber Steve Mar­tin in the movie The Jerk excit­edly yelling, “The new phone book is here!!! The new phone book is here!!!”

I did my own Jerk impres­sion the other day, yelling “The new cheese press is here!!! The new cheese press is here!!!”

The lit­tle dogs were con­fused, but unim­pressed. I think the UPS guy was just a wee bit curi­ous about why I was skip­ping back to the house with the box.


I waited about three or four months for this cheese press from the New Eng­land Cheese­mak­ing Sup­ply, which was hav­ing some ven­dor issues get­ting these made. They were excel­lent about com­mu­ni­cat­ing the dif­fi­cul­ties and I decided to hold out for this cheese press. I have been work­ing my way through Ricki Carroll’s book on Home Cheese Mak­ing with excel­lent results, so I trusted the source. In fact, we have become addicted to all sorts of home­made soft cheeses thanks to Ricki. My friend Angela said the neufcha­tel is like crack and she can’t stop eat­ing it.

Off to adven­tures in cheese mak­ing now!


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These sweet­peas morn­ing glo­ries look like nice flow­ers, don’t they?

Yes, yes. I know that I tend to have a laissez-faire gar­den­ing phi­los­o­phy. Some other jack-booted gar­den­ers would have whipped them into lovely sub­mis­sion long before now.

In fact, I had plans of an elab­o­rate trel­lis sys­tem to allow them to climb up to the sec­ond floor of the house, where they clearly want to be. It’s still on the spring “to do” list, which has become the “didn’t get done” list. I did, at least, keep them from swal­low­ing the lilac that is try­ing its best to share the space with them.

But still, they are lovely, yes?


Well, here’s the thing. These sweet look­ing sweet­peas morn­ing glo­ries are not con­tent to dom­i­nate this cor­ner of my gar­den. Like some over-charged Hol­ly­wood movie star, they want it all!


They decided to try and beau­tify this large pile of sticks and weeds that I shared a while back as one of my True Con­fes­sions series.


They seem to think the com­post bin is a fine place to put down roots as well.


Here they are try­ing to get into the door of my laun­dry room. For­tu­nately, we don’t really use this door. Can you tell? (And did you notice that I called this “MY” laun­dry room? That’s not because I’m the only one with laun­dry to do, by the way.)


They are also try­ing to get in the house through the kitchen window.

“Hummm. This orchid looks like it could use some sweet­pea morn­ing glory company.”

Let this be a warn­ing to you. If you like sweep­eas, well, you bet­ter LOVE sweet­peas morn­ing glo­ries or be pre­pared to put on those jack boots and get out your tor­ture equipment.

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Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, will be released later in 2014 from Taunton Press.

Bumblebee is about her life in rural Maryland, her garden, cooking, dogs and pet chickens. She also blogs about food and chickens at Eggs & Chickens. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for visiting.


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