Notes from Windward: #66

Shitake Sighting

Todd and camera checks in from Portland

      Walt here: this morning Todd caught the train out of Bingen to Portland where he'll use local transit to swing out to the airport for a flight down to California--I know that sounds complicated, but doing it that way saves a couple of hours of driving and about 120 miles of fuel and wear off of the trip to get someone to the airport in Portland. Even though we live out where even the squirrels have to hitch a ride now and then to make it home, we try and use public transit when we can to cut down on our use of fossil fuel.

Shitake growing out of an oak log;

      Amtrak drops off in downtown Portland, and it's a short walk from there to the Max, Portland's urban rail system. Enroute, Todd spotted a display of an oak log sporting a crop of shitake mushrooms, and stopped to snap a pic. Then while waiting at the airport, he used the airport's Wifi system to send the pic back for the Notes. There was a time when Windward felt isolated here in the deep woods, but with real time communications developed to such a degree, things have changed considerably.

Todd emailed:

      Imagine my surprise upon encountering this display of wood and fungus on my way to the 1st Avenue MAX station this morning.

      Since I had plenty of time, I made a quickie visit to the Portland Classical Chinese Garden enroute. Magical place of beauty and mystery in so many forms. Someday I'll stay longer and take pictures of some of the stone paving squares.

Hadda dig the camera out of my bag for the log, though...first time I could visualize what you've been talking about.

      And since there's this wonderful WiFi at PDX...


      What Todd's talking about is using our oak forest to grow mushrooms for the kitchen, a skill which could then be expanded into an income stream for an apprentice. One of the goals of the apprentice program is to develop a sustainable income stream sufficient to enable the new member to become financially independent. While Windward is not an income-sharing community--we'd be more accurately described as an expense-sharing community--there's a variety of ways that a person can generate income here without having to work a regular sort of job.

      Our oaks form what is known as a copse forest since when the trunk of an oak is cut down, the root system goes on living and sends up new shoots to regenerate the above-ground part of the tree. All around Windward you can find clusters of oaks, and each cluster is the result of an oak tree that was cut down years ago and regrew. By taking only the largest trunk in a cluster, and harvesting from no more that one percent of our land each year, we can harvest oak for growing mushrooms on a sustainable basis.

      For an overview of the types of options members can pursue at Windward in order to generate income doing interesting things, click on Chairs and Departments

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 66