A few fun surprises this week in the garden. Way back in May, I had inoculated the wood chips near the fruit trees with Wine Cap mushroom spores that were an impulse purchase at the Fedco Tree Sale. Then nothing happened all summer, so I figured maybe it wasn’t moist enough and didn’t take. But this week suddenly, beautiful big mushrooms started sprouting with a reddish tint to their caps. Being cautious, I checked the package again, and also researched Wine Caps on the internet–I was relieved to discover there are no poisonous look-alikes.
Since then we’ve had fresh mushrooms in our eggs and in a batch of spaghetti sauce. The mushrooms keep popping up all over the orchard. They should come back again each year now. What a marvelous thing to get food right from the ground!
Speaking of food from the ground, the squirrel was excited to discover that one of our volunteer sunflowers had seeds on it. Just like she would do on our bird feeder in the winter, she hung upside down to get to the meaty morsels.
Were they really there? Later, I checked for myself. Certainly enough for a little snack. I think this is the same squirrel that decided she should build a nest this week under our solar panels, in a spot behind a cross board that supports our deck roof. Not good! (Squirrels can chew the wiring and mess up the solar panel system, we discovered.) Each morning and evening Margy or I would climb on a ladder to pull out small branches and leaves and grass to undo what she had built. We’ve got a plan to prune off some branches on our ornamental crabapple that form a super-highway from the materials to the roof.
But one day, while I was on the ladder pulling out stuff, she came running down the gutter and stopped short when she saw me. I said to her, “You can’t build a nest here! This is our house. Go find a nice tree.”
I don’t know if it was my stern suggestion, or the pile of “stolen” nesting material that was scattered on the deck beneath the ladder, or sheer discouragement from all her work being undone each day, but the last two days she has not replenished her spot. (We’re still going to prune the tree though!) Maybe the sunflower seeds were a little something to sweeten the agreement. We try to find a balance with our plant and animal neighbors in this place. Giving and receiving in gratitude.
[This post first appeared at my blog Finding Our Way Home: A Spiritual Journey into Earth Community.]