Monday, July 31, 2017

Walking Vs Running: Finding the Nature We Miss Everyday.

Time for Cheryl to Slow down...
 With Cheryl officially useless,   we are now forced to engage in slightly less strenuous activity.  Namely:  we walk the trails instead of running/biking them.
And Forage for Black Berries.

This is a fun activity for me, because I get to play "The Nature Guy" as I monologue about all the things I know in the woods.   And I get to make things up if I don't know....    Cheryl nods her head in agreement either way, so that makes me feel important.

Deathcap Toadstools...Good for throwing at friends.
Amanita phalloides  Note Gills and skirt on stem.
Today was fun!    We talked about our problems,  ( Cheryl's inability to run)  and all the things that we sometimes notice, but never stop to take a closer look.   Today,  it was a cluster of large Mushrooms we had passed by yesterday.

We found these guys right next to the trail.
I only know of a handful of edible mushrooms.   Namely:  Morels, puffballs, and Shaggy Caps.  I also know a few poisonous ones.  The Deathcap Mushroom!   (Which is what we discovered here.)  There are lots of common names,  but they are all part of Amanita phalloides Family.
Young Deathcap.  Pretty Yellow! 
Note:  Gills hidden under skirt.  
  They all look fairly similar, with skirts around the stem,  gills under the cap, and stem emerging from a bulbous root.  We used to call them "toad stools" and play with them as kids.   ( Usually throwing them like frisbees.)  And never eating them.  (The Obvious ones are red,  but the ones we found were yellow and white/brown.)

Boletus edulis   Note the spongy underside.

             Looks like a bun top.             
Right next to them, though,  were these:  Boletus edulis.  Apparently,  these guys are a delicacy! They look like a round bun (common name: The Penny Bun Mushroom) and have a  sponge-like porous underside from the cap.

 AND  get this,  they often camp right next to our favorite poison mushroom Amanita!   Now most people might find that a little scary, but I find it comforting.
Better angle of underside pores.
 Because that makes the Boletus edulis that much easier to Identify.

Note: No skirt on Stem.
These are a delicacy, next to the poison ones.
  While reading the Wiki, I find that this mushroom is a serious find in the world of Gourmet...  We should have brought some home to test/taste.   Then again, I do not usually bring home mushrooms I am unfamiliar with.  And even the ones I know...sometimes I simply do not eat them. (...and I like morels!)

Pleurotus ostreatus The Oyster Mushroom 
You can see the old vs new ones. 
And last,   Pleurotus ostreatus.   Also known as the Oyster Mushroom.  This tree was completely covered with them!   I can see how they got their name.    The large section I'm holding was only one of the many sections on the tree.

Young ones growing on Trees
 This one was soft and spongy...which is the best to harvest I guess.   And yes,  They also are edible!  ( I did not know this until I looked it up!)   Once again,  we did not bring any home, because....all mushrooms are poisonous!
Wonder why they are called Oyster mushrooms?
Right?   Well,  out of three obvious species...  Two were delicacies and one was a deadly toxin.

Shaggy cap. 
  If you want to take a chance with your life eating mushrooms,   I guess the odds are slightly in your favor.  (66% to NOT die!)  As for me,  I'll probably stick with Morals and Button mushrooms from the store.  ( Call me Chicken...)  Until I brave a dish served up by someone who knows the best and truest way to ID the Species.

However,  this small educational  experience has tapped into my curiosity.   I have tried (based purely on what I researched)  Shaggy Cap mushrooms.   I didn't die...but they did not taste so"super awesome"  that I would ever want to cook up a batch again. (not bad,  just kinda bland.) Still,  it is comforting to know that there are foods out there that you can forage for in a survival situation.  ( Knowledge is power!  Yeah!)
Elderberries.   Can you eat these?
Hickory Nuts.  Can you eat these?

Raccoon.  Can you eat these?
In the mean time,  I'll stick with Berries and nuts.   It is funny just how much I actually DO know about the great outdoors.

I guess that is one of the advantages I had by being raised by a family of hilly-billy rednecks.   At least Mom never forced us to eat Raccoon.  (Seriously!  I'm sure we would have if our cousins had ever offered it to us.)  And in case you did not know,  Elderberries are "toxic" in a "tummy ache" kind of way.   But people still insist on making wines and jams with them.  I'll have to post the other things we have been up to in a later post.   This one is getting a little long.   But, Hooray for Edible Mushrooms that do not kill you or cause hallucinations.

Just slightly poisonous.

They glow in the dark! 
UPDATE!  Upon further study,  Looks like the oyster mushrooms I discovered back in the fall were Jack-O-Lantern mushrooms.  ( I think...)   Good thing I did not eat any... I guess they will give you a violently upset tummy.   Which only makes me more cautious AND curious.   I want to get out and find the REAL oyster mushrooms.   Quick note:   Jack-O-Lantern mushrooms glow in the dark!  How cool is that!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Cheryl Takes a Broken.... Er.. Break.

Cheryl Prepares to Embrace Pain!
I should have been more specific when I asked for luck for Cheryl's Bix 7 race.   I should have specified "Good Luck" as the kind of luck we were looking for.    As it turns out,  Cheryl's luck has truly changed....  for the worse!
Cheryl running....In pain!

After taking two full days off after her "niggle" hip flair up,  She chose to run a short run today, just before heading to Davenport for the Bix Packet Pick-up.   As "luck" would have it..

 The "feels pretty good" turned to "I think my leg is broken!"  in as short as 3 miles!   Cheryl almost did not make it to the car.
Cheryl running ( and almost beating..) the Pain... I mean...  Plane

I warned her about racing today.... and racing that darn crop-duster again.  But does she ever listen to me?   Nope.

Curing the pain with ice cream.
The good news ( or silver lining..or whatever it is called to take the sting out of tragedy.) is that we figured this out today instead of half way through the Race tomorrow.   Even Cheryl admits it is better than melting down in the middle of a crowd. ( Remember Boston?) So,  after that wonderful experience,  She decided to call off the Bix 7 this year.  I guess it happens to even the best athletes in the Olympics.

To cheer her up,  we decided to head to Muscatine.   Since racing is out,  and no packet pick up was required,  we still plans to drop in on Tee's and pick up a sundae and hot dog.  Nothing cures depression like a hotdog.   Oh!  And a sundae, I guess.

So now she is worried that there is a very real possibility that she might have to skip out on the next race as well.   With only a month before the Madison Mini-Marathon,   she might not have enough time to fully recover for a half marathon.  All this just when the weather was turning for the better....

What ever the ice cream did not fix.  
Maybe later, we will crack open a bottle of Toppling Goliath Sosus.   What better way to dull the pain, and treat the depression of not running... than with beer?   It works for so many Americans....  Right?

And now the real challenge is for me.   Yes I have the challenge in having to deal with an injured runner.   In a small 600 sq ft apartment.  It is deadly business!  I should know!  I have had to deal with this before at the end of 2015.  It was like living with a Tiger with a tooth ache for three months!   Unlike the cat,  I can not scurry under the bed when Cheryl gets irritable.  (Believe me, I have tried!)  But there may be things that we can use to distract her.  Perhaps if we purchase a bike.....  We shall see.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Some Origami Prototyping.

Thicker Viscosity 
This week, with very little going on, and even less money to go on with,  I decided to play around with some origami concepts.   Basically,  I wanted to experiment with some better paper and paper making.   While trolling around online,  I discovered a hint that I might have not been making my Methylcellulose potent enough.  I had to make it thicker...  Almost as thick as glue or corn syrup.

There are several ways to apply it, but the method I chose ended up in a very rough looking paper.   But I was able to salvage a bit of it to work with.
Brian Chan's Lizard CP.

And then I tried folding it.   Not to bad.  Still with its challenges,  but it is very thin and strong.  I like it!   I have not been able to get a piece large enough to tackle a seriously challenging bug,  but I think the strength of the paper hints I'm on the right track.
Final Shaping.

Not bad  😎
As a prototype,  I attempted Brian Chan's lizard.   I only have the crease pattern and this was my second attempt at one of his models ( also from a CP.)   I am very happy with my success!   And I always thought Brian Chan's model was one of the most accurate versions of a lizard out there.

Chicago Dogs!
As for the the rest of us,   Cheryl continues to run.... except today.   She is hoping to recover from a "painful" hamstring.   And since she has a race ( Bix 7) coming up,   she does not want to jinx it by "pushing through the pain!"   Best to rest and recover a bit before something "serious" breaks.

World Famous!

Kinda Spicy.
While at Muscatine last weekend,  we decided to try the legendary Chicago Dogs.   While certainly big and tasty,  I doubt I will be making them a regular item.  ( kind of spicy)   But it is always fun to try new things.

We love all things Japanese...except these.

So that is all for now.   I guess the Japanese beetles have been kind of bad this year.  Too bad,  I kind of like the way they look.   Very colorful.  

Wish us luck at the Bix 7.    Hopefully Cheryl will not need it.  There is no medal and this is just a fun run for her.   Something to get her out of "training mode" for a few hours.   And best of all,  we get to visit Tee's again.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Happy 21st Anniversary! With Dancing, Origami, And Dancing Origami...

Celebrating 21 years!
Is it worth celebrating? 
 Yep, today marks 21 years for us.   Not bad for two young people with no clue.  Cheryl has been concerned that we would forget this year.   If we had only been strong enough to insist on July 7,  we would be in a better position to recall the date.  But, alas, there can be only one date.

21 is not really a big deal.  Compared to 20... or 70!  (which is the goal ultimately)  By that time, we might not even recognize each other though.   I'm already suffering from mental fatigue and forgetfulness.
Racing the sun.   

Crop Dusters out and about. 
But before that day comes,  here is what we have been up to.   (Part of the blogs purpose is to help me remember.)  It has been hot and humid.   But Cheryl insists on running anyway.   Yesterday we ran 18 miles.    Yes, it was VERY hot and she had to walk part of the distance.   We planned on getting up early to combat the high heat, but it was simply not enough.   As the sun rose, so did the heat, humidity and bugs!  But we managed to soldier through.

Racing the plane?
The Crop Dusters were out again.  I'm guessing they were fertilizing the soybeans one last time before fall. Cheryl wanted to race the plane,  but the plane is so much faster than the trains of Davenport.

No more Tree barrier
Looks like they pushed it off. 

They also  cleared the fallen tree off the trail.  Cheryl did not have to climb over it this time.

Only 20% chance...they said.
Sudden Rain storm in Iowa
They told us a couple days ago, that the chance of rain was almost nil.   Guess again!   While out by Muscatine,  we got hit by a freak rain squall!  Almost zero visibility,   20 degree drop in temp. And lots and lots of rain.    And then.....

Boom!  Nothing.   Around our house,  totally dry.   It is unfortunate we could not enjoy the cooler temps for very long.   The heat climbed back up to 90 in no time.

Origami Dancers
Chili Dog!

Since Money is always tight,  we chose to keep our Anniversary celebration small,   choosing only one rock band and inviting only 300 people.  Our party was thrown at Tee's,   because their Chili Dogs are awesome!  And they enjoy my Origami displays.   We also had our usual  sundaes.   No sense in holding back too much.  We'll just have to run extra long tomorrow.... if the weather holds out that is.

   Hope everyone is having a great week so far.   I also have a goal to post one of my books online.   Cheryl told me I should self publish the thing and be done with it.

Are cats good at editing?
 I re-read it and fixed the numerous spelling and grammatical errors that I could find. ( At least I hope I fixed them.  I'm probably not the best editor out there...but I'm free!  And that price is the best I can afford at the moment.)

It seems their fur gets in the way. 
  I also have to work on the title and book cover.  Cheryl has graciously offered her services there.  Since her price is similar to mine,  I can hardly turn it down.  Let's just hope we both get more than what we are paying for.  I would probably even accept the help of the cat!  However,  cats are not very good spellers, having limited vocabulary, and can not type with those dinky paws. He likes to spell AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA a lot.  ( not very helpful.)


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