Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My point of view a post by Michael

Hello my name is Michael you probably know me from one or two of my Dad's posts
and I'm starting my own blog (maybe) called "Mycol" . But enough of that, let's get started.

Yesterday we went to Muir Woods. Here are some photos:
I wasn't sure about this one. It could be deadly or delicious.

I like the base of the stalk.

These were so "yum".

They're a fungus not a reptile.

Plenty of shrooms. The oysters were.....take a look at look at the caption. You think I skipped trees? Nope.

Who is this guy?

Looks like a mile but probably a quarter of one.

That path looks better
So yep pretty beautiful.
What's that?

What? A picture? Meh.
Others see a playground. Such as Max.

You may have noticed I'm kind of a mushroom geek. Dad is too. Thanks to me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

San Francisco wilderness

If you live in San Francisco and want a quick taste of wilderness there is one place you can reliably go to get out and experience nature.

This Muir fella seems like a good guy.

If I had one complaint, and I guess I do, it is there are too many people.  The price of proximity to San Francisco and all the cool things there.  Today was an expedition out on the nicest predicted day this week.  The rest of the week is supposed to be rainy and windy and unpleasant.  You have to take advantage of the nice days.  It also served as a mushroom hunt.  We all are getting into the whole mycology thing.  Sorry if you don't like mushroom pictures.  Things might get ugly for you from here out. 

Oh yeah, there were some pretty nice trees too.

Nice boardwalk.  Boardwalks usually mean lots of people.

Spent a lot of time in his National Forest.  Nice to finally meet his tree.

They picked a nice one Mr. Pinchot.
It was a misty, moisty morning.

But aside from all of this natural beauty falderal, there was some mushrooming to be done.  Hey kids, find daddy some of those ones that make you see all the pretty colors!  Kidding mom. 

We did find some really cool stuff though.  And we learned a bunch about the local flora and fauna in the process.  Darn it daddy, always messing up a good time by making it educational. 

Stopping to study a nice mushroom.

OK, one more misty tree picture.
And on to the mushrooms.  A bolete, collected for further study.

Some coral fungus, Max turned out to be an amazing fungus spotter.

He specialized in teeny, tiny mushrooms.

Don't forget to enjoy the forest while you search, kids.
Teeny, tiny. That is a Max finger.

Do you know how hard it is to spot a tiny purple mushroom?
Max was running ahead quite a bit.  Suddenly he came back toward us pointing off trail and making a car alarm noise.  We followed along to see what all the fuss was about.

Hark, what light through yonder window breaks?

Tis the tree, and the oysters are the sun. 
Can you just feel Michael's excitement?
Yep, a big old tree of oyster mushrooms.  Yes, we collected 4-5 of them to take home with us.  Yes, we ate them.  Pretty good, really. 

The happy couple.

Psilocybe cyanescens?
The day was growing darker and we wanted to get back home before dark, so we turned around and made our way back to the car.  It had been a great hike and a good time...wait.  What the heck is that thing over there in the parking lot?

For reference, my knife is 5 inches long closed.
Or that one over there!  Michael, come look.

For reference, Michael is 8 years old.

Caught these two nearby before they emerged from their veil.
The large ones there we identified as Amanita Calyptroderma, AKA, the Coccora.  Which is rated a s a choice edible mushroom and a prized find.  It is closely related to, and often confused with, Amanita Pholloides (AKA The Death Cap).  So we took it home for more identification work.  We identified it with 95% certainty.  Which is not quite enough when you are dealing with the idea of potentially feeding your family something called The Death Cap.  Into the trash it goes to await further knowledge acquisition.  Oh well, we still ate the oysters though.  It was a good day and a learning experience all around. 

Just a note.  I think tomorrow might bring a special blog post.  Something a little out of the ordinary at the ole' Adventure Nickel.  Stay tuned.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Your cup is full.

Just a quick post about an interesting encounter a few minutes ago. 

Yesterday Sarah took the boys the San Francisco Mycological Society fungus fair.  I had to work and was bummed.  Oh well.  Michael has been casually studying mushrooms for a while now and knows quite a bit.  It seemed to me he might not have gotten as much out of the event because he thought he already knew so much. 

The thing is, he already does know a lot.  He probably knows more about mushrooms and fungus than 90% of adults in this country.  I remarked to him that he had learned a ton over the past year, just imagine how much those guys at the fair knew.  Heck, they have been learning for decades.  I told him a summary version of the old koan about having a full cup:

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring.
The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!"
"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"

 I told him it was amazing how much he had learned and asked him how much he thought he could learn if he would just empty his cup.  I said this as I was walking out of the room.  From just inside the next room I heard this:  "So, how do I empty my cup?"

Let me tell you, that question will slingshot you right back into the room and into a conversation.  So we talked for a few minutes about listening to reply versus listening to learn and how even in every day average conversations there are little things that pass by that you could learn from if only you were really listening.  I also told him about how his daddy sometimes had problems with wanting to show how smart he was by talking and talking and not listening as much as I should.  It is a constant effort to just sit, be present and listen to learn, but it is almost always worth it. 

Those moments are great.  Teaching your kid the value of listening in a moment where they are actually listening. 


If this is the only lesson he learns today, but he really learns it, today will be a huge success.