Mushrooms: “Lime” and “Gypsum”, are they needed?

I’ve been reading and watching a LOT of information in the past couple of months about growing mushrooms (any kind). There are forums that have been running for decades, some new ones, and lots of videos on YouTube.

I’ve learned in that time that there is rather a lot of misinformation, beliefs, superstitions, and some very good information based on science and experiments.

Mushrooms often grow on recently dead wood, some grow on manure and wood, some grow on the roots of living trees in a symbiotic relationship. A few even grow on dead bugs or animals. For some reason, people imagine that they “need” all kinds of nutrients that aren’t found in wood. They really don’t. They evolved to eat wood. (Same thing goes for house cats and meat. They just need meat, no veggies, no grain, no potatoes. They eat plants to help themselves vomit.)

When people want to grow mushrooms at home or for a business, they try to find methods and recipes for “substrates” (mixes of growing materials that the mushrooms like to eat) that are easy to make and cheap to source. Others experiment with all kinds of substrates, and throw in things like bee pollen and coffee grounds. Some people absolutely swear that by adding ____ to their mix, they get great results, and have done so for years. Those beliefs don’t really help advance the science and facts of growing mushrooms.

Two items in particular get mentioned often in both spawn and substrate recipes: Lime and Gypsum. The problem with these terms is that they are generic and have multiple meanings, and that leaves a lot of people confused about what is really meant. They are added to “help the pH”, though most aren’t sure how exactly.

Here are some terms and factual meanings:

pH is a measurement of hydrogen ion concentration, on a scale of 0 to 14, 7 is considered neutral (neither acid or base). Below 7 is acidic, higher than 7 is alkaline.

Gypsum is the dihydrate of calcium sulfate (CaSO4 2H2O). Gypsum does NOT usually affect pH. This is contrary to a lot of postings about why it is added to mushroom grain spawn or substrate. Instead what gypsum provides are calcium and sulfur, which mushrooms may like. It is added to grain spawn (rye, oats, wild bird seed, etc) to keep the grains from sticking together, and to provide calcium. Calcium carbonate might also be used as a calcium supplement.

Gypsum is typically used in agriculture to help break up clay soil, provided one also adds significant organic matter. Most gardens don’t need it, just more organic matter (compost).

Here is a link to a PDF by Washington State University about what gypsum does and does not do for soil:


“Lime” can mean several things, because there are different chemicals each called “lime”. One kind is used to buffer pH, another is used to pasteurize or sterilize straw substrate, other kinds should not be used for mushrooms at all.

The kind of lime usually added to adjust pH is calcium carbonate (CaCO3), and the carbonate ion part is what raises the pH (makes more alkaline) by neutralizing acids (hydrogen ions). This should be used sparingly in mushroom substrate. Most mushrooms apparently like the pH to be fairly neutral, or just slightly alkaline. 2% lime CaCO3 is considered good for oyster mushroom substrate, according to this research abstract:…

Here are the various kinds of “lime”:

Calcium Carbonate “lime” (CaCO3) is NOT for pasteurizing – this is limestone, marble, chalk, eggshell, coral or oyster shell. This material is used as a pH buffer in substrate and media. This type of lime does not cause a major change in pH, but acts as a buffer. This means it holds the pH steady as the mushrooms grow. This is the preferred amendment for substrate to ensure the substrate does not go too acid during the growth cycle.

Calcium Hydroxide Ca(OH)₂ or Hydrated Lime or Quicklime will create a pH increase but is used primarily for pasteurizing or sterilizing substrate. Don’t add this as a nutrient.

High Magnesium Lime, Builders Lime, Dolomite Lime, or just Dolomite CaMg(CO3)2 has high magnesium and WILL NOT WORK for growing mushrooms. It will stunt growth (according to the link above).

= = = = = = = = = = =
Wood ashes, bleach, or soap can also be used to pasteurize straw also. The idea is to kill off bacteria and molds that can hinder your mushroom growth.

This website has great info on growing mushrooms at low cost:

Yanmis YF-7 two-relay timer

I bought a Yanmis YF-7 from Amazon about a month ago and am finally getting around to playing with it. It can be powered by a 9V battery and has a programmable timer for controlling two on-board relays.

[EDIT: Unit failed. I had it in a drawer for a few months, took it out to try using it and it won’t turn on. It just heats up like it has a short (none visible) and nothing is connected to it besides a 9V battery. Sadness is mine.]

The main problem I’ve found so far is that there is no documentation for it. They sent no manual with it, and an internet search yielded just a tiny amount of information from the German Amazon website, and then from competitor’s models that have similar programming. They did say that I could email them for a manual, but I don’t like giving a live email address out. I’d much prefer that they had a link for downloading a PDF manual.
Click here for a PDF of this document

So, I will post what I find here, and try to keep it updated with the latest information.

YANMIS YF-7 USER GUIDE by W. Jason Woodrow 2019

Yanmis YF-7
Part Number: Yanmisepv0txaurd
UPC: 746771544984
Description: Multifunctional Delay Relay, DC 7-30V

9V model buttons

The unit can be powered by a single 9V battery. The unit has two relays each with a red LED on the board that indicates which one is currently powered. They operate independently, and can operate simultaneously depending on programming.

When the unit is powered-on, by default it will display dashes on the LED display “- – – -” meaning all timers have run out of time.

The buttons at the bottom are K1, K2, K3, K4.

K1 held for 1 full second will enter program mode.
In Program mode, P will blink in the leftmost column. Choose which program you want, based on the number. P-##. Lowest ## is 11, highest is 48.
Settings are saved as they are made.

P: choose program from 11-18, 21-28, 31-38, 41-48 (excluding 19, 20, 29, 30, 39, 40), 32 programs total (although there are 3 that appear to be duplicates of others).

K2 increments the left digit
K3 increments the right digit
K4 decrements the right digit
Holding any of the these buttons cycles through the numbers

A timer (controls Relay 1)
B timer (often controls Relay 1)
C timer (controls Relay 2)
D timer (often controls Relay 2)

In program mode, press K1 briefly to display the A timer. See the chart below describing how the decimal affects the time. Press K1 briefly again to show B timer, etc. D timer is the last setting.

When display shows four dashes “- – – -” you have exited program mode and saved the settings. To enter Program mode again, press and hold K1 for one full second.

NOTE: In timer mode (A, b, C, d) K4 moves the location of the decimal or removes it. K2 increments all three digits, K3 decrements all three digits. Holding K2 or K3 cycles through the digits.

This part is a little confusing, and it can affect the way the other timers are interpreted by the device. If you stick to one method for all the timers, you’ll get the most consistent results.

A004. (decimal showing after last digit) is 4 minutes (Range is 1 to 999 minutes)
A004 (no decimal showing) is 4 seconds (Range is 1 to 999 seconds [16min 39sec])
A04.0 is 4 seconds (Range is 0.1 to 99.9 seconds [1min 39.9sec])
A4.00 is 4 seconds (Range is 0.01 to 9.99 seconds)

Through testing each mode, I was able to figure out if it started the timer based on power-on, trigger pulse high, trigger pulse low, or trigger steady power. A couple of modes were too odd to completely figure out.

For Triggers, I used a wire to feed from the negative power input to the two triggers (called Signals in the picture).

P-11: Trigger 1 keeps Relay 1 activated as long as trigger power remains. Same for Trigger 2 and Relay 2. Timers are not used.

P-12: Each trigger toggles the relay closed or open as many times as triggered. Timers have no function

P-13: Trigger 1 closes relay 1 for time set on timer A. Trigger 2 closes relay 2 for time set on timer C. B and D timers have no function.

P-14: appears to be the same as P-13

P-15: appears to be the same as P-13

P-16: appears to be the same as P-13

P-17: appears to be the same as P-13, except that the timer only shows “—-” (4 dashes)

P-18: Triggers inactive, Timers A & C start at power-on.

P-21: Trigger 1 runs Timer A then closes Relay 1 until power-off. (Trigger 1 can run timer again, but relay remains open until power-off).
Trigger 2 runs Timer C then closes Relay 2 until power-off.

P-22: Similar to P-21, except power to triggers have to remain on (cannot be a pulse). Timer will reset if trigger loses power.

P-23: Pulse to Trigger 1 runs Timer A then activates relay 1 until next trigger pulse which powers off relay 1 and starts timer A again. (Relay is off while timer runs, relay activates when timer reaches 0).
Pulse to Trigger 2 runs Timer C then activates Relay 2 until next trigger pulse which powers off Relay 2 and starts Timer C again.

P-24: Trigger 1 power must stay on, runs Timer A then activates relay. When Trigger 1 goes low, Timer A runs for time set on B and then closes relay. HOWEVER, see note below.

Trigger 2 power must stay on, runs Timer C then activates relay. When Trigger 2 goes low, Timer C runs for time set on D and then closes relay. HOWEVER, see note below.

HOWEVER, it also depends on how decimal is set on timers A and C.
A04.0 B07.0 C02.0 D03.0
A runs for 4 seconds, then runs for 7 seconds (Timer shows A during 2nd time)
C runs for 2 seconds, then runs for 3 seconds (Timer shows C during 2nd time)

A4.00 B07.0 C02.0 D03.0
A runs for 4 seconds, then runs for 0.7 sec, so it is like decimal was moved on B to B0.70
C runs for 2 seconds, then runs for 3 seconds (Timer shows C during 2nd time)

P-25: Toggle. Trigger 1 power must stay on, runs Timer A then activates relay. Stays activated when Trigger 1 goes low. Trigger 1 power must stay on, runs Timer A then deactivates relay.
(Same for Trigger 2 and Timer C)

P-26: Any change of state to Trigger 1 starts Timer A. If power to Trigger 1 is left on, Timer A will trigger when power is removed from Trigger 1. Or trigger can be pulsed with same effect.
Same for Trigger 2 and Timer C.

P-27: Same as P-23

P-28: Power on starts Timer A, then Timer C, Relay 2 activated, Timer A again, then Relay 1 activated. Relays stay activated until power-off. Triggers no effect. (I don’t understand this one’s purpose)

P-31: At power-on both relays activate, runs timers A, C, deactivates Relay 2, A, D, deactivates Relay 1, B, D, B, D, activates Relay 2, B, C, deactivates relay 2, B, activates Relay 1, D, A, C, A, D…. (I don’t understand the purpose of this one)

P-32: Loop. Trigger 1 power must stay on, activates Relay 1 runs Timer A, then deactivates Relay 1 while Timer B runs. Loops as long as power is on trigger.
Same for Trigger 2 and Timer C and D.

P-33: Loop. Same as P-32 BUT only needs a pulse for trigger. Next pulse to trigger cancels timers. Trigger 1 pulse activates Relay 1 runs Timer A, then deactivates Relay 1 while Timer B runs.
Same for Trigger 2 and Timer C and D.

P-34: Similar to P-31, except after activating and deactivating both timers, it stops. Triggers inactive.

P-35: Pulse to Trigger 1 starts timer A, then Relay 1 activates with Timer B, then stops until next trigger.
Same for Trigger 2 and Timer C and D.

P-36: Same as P-35, but Trigger power must remain on.

P-37: Pulse to Trigger 1 starts timer A and activates Relay 1, Timer B starts and Relay 1 deactivates, then stops until next trigger.
Same for Trigger 2 and Timer C and D.

P-38: Pulse to Trigger 1 starts timer A and activates Relay 1, Timer B starts and Relay 1 deactivates, Timer A repeats once more and activates Relay 1, then stops until next trigger.
Same for Trigger 2 and Timer C and D.

P-41: Trigger 1 goes LOW, Timer A starts and Relay 1 activates. Stops when Timer A finishes.
Same for Trigger 2, Timer C and Relay 2.

P-42: Trigger 1 goes LOW, Timer A starts. Timer B starts and Relay 1 activates. Stops when Timer B finishes.
Trigger 2 goes LOW, Timer C starts. Timer D starts and Relay 2 activates. Stops when Timer D finishes.

P-43: Same as P-42

P-44: Nothing seems to happen at all.

P-45: Power-on Relay 1 on for Timer A, then Relay 2 on for Timer B. Stops after Timer B.
Triggers not effective.

P-46: Trigger 1 HIGH, Relay 1 on for Timer A, then Relay 2 on for Timer B. Stops after Timer B.
Trigger 2 not effective.

P-47: Same as P-46.

P-48: Loop. Power-on Timer A on and Relay 1 activates, Relay 1 deactivates for Timer B. Timer C on and Relay 2 activates, Relay 2 deactivates for Timer D. Keeps doing this.

PTZ camera replacement

I just replaced an 18-year-old Pelco analog PTZ camera with a brand spanking new digital PTZ (Hanwha XNP-6320RH). Besides new cabling, here were a few odd issues I encountered:

1. The old camera had an RS-485 connection with 4 wires. The new camera had only 2 wires. I put both negatives together as one and both positives together and cabled it that way. I had to go into the camera settings webpage and tell it to use the settings of the old 485 controller (in this case Pelco-P protocol at 2400 baud), then it worked fine. Some new security installers like to remove the 485 controller and use a mouse instead. I find that approach cumbersome, and my customers do too. They were happy to have their controller working.

2. The DVR is an older Pelco Digital Sentry Version 1. When I set up the camera, it could not see video. I checked the camera webpage and it was working. After a reboot, I recalled that this system requires that the camera date and time match the recorder date and time. I went back to the camera settings webpage and synced with the viewing PC time, then told it to sync to a local time server (the DVR itself). Then the video appeared on the recorder.

3. The PTZ draws more power than a standard digital camera. When I first hooked it to a POE switch, it kept clicking but not turning on. It came with a POE injector, so I hooked it to that and it was happy. So I just hooked the switch to the passthru port on the injector and was good to go.

The visual difference between the old and new cameras is extreme. The old one was fuzzy and felt like a 1970s TV signal. The new one is crisp and detailed, and has great infrared night vision. Happy customers!

Fluorescence of stuff

Fluorescence is what happens when one frequency of light falls on a substance, and another frequency of light is returned. Sometimes a viewing filter is needed to exclude the light being used to illuminate the substance so only the fluorescent light can be seen.

After seeing a TV show about finding semen stains in hotel rooms using a blacklight, I started doing some reading about what kind of light works best. I found that in many cases a cheaper blue flashlight combined with an orange viewing filter (orange glasses) is the best combination for showing several fluorescent substances. This works best in a darkened room.

The idea here is that an orange filter will remove all light that isn’t orange (only lets orange through). So the blue light is excluded, except when it causes something to give off extra light (fluoresce). The effect is that you see a mostly very dark orange image, but then a bright greenish looking stain that really pops out.

The TV show only showed that some stains were visible, but there was no way to really identify WHAT the stuff was. In fact, here is a short list of things that will fluoresce under this lighting:

NOTE: Most fluids need to dry before they will fluoresce.

Soap (soap scum, droplets)
Soda pop
Cashews (actually several food residues)
Chewing gum residue
Semen/Vaginal fluid
Detergent residue (clothing soap often contains chemicals that make white cloth appear more white under light)
Some insect poisons (ant and roach powders)
Cleaners (like Mr Clean)
Sun screen (some kinds)
Tonic water or club soda (quinine)
Citrus juices
Rubber cement
Lots of dry powders, certain narcotics

It also will light up insects like scorpions, if you have those around. This is one way to find them in the dark.

From the list, it is clear that just because something glows doesn’t mean it is dirty or worse. Cleaners and soap glow brightly, so remnants of these can be on walls and objects. Conversely, just because it does NOT glow doesn’t mean it is clean from germs or possibly harmful chemicals.

Since I have two cats, and they vomit at least once a week, the blue flashlight and orange goggles are purrfect for finding spots that aren’t obvious. Just because the visible goop was removed doesn’t mean there isn’t a stain. Getting the remnant stains removed can be challenging since some cleaners leave a glowing residue. If the carpet has been cleaned and there are still glowing spots, you did your best. Let it go…

Here are views of soap, soap residue, and urine residue (using blue light and orange filter):


College students have been known to leave hidden messages or elaborate drawings on walls that are invisible under normal light, but show up brightly under black light (ultraviolet or UV).

Checking around a computer (rug, chair, keyboard, mouse, desk, etc) can show splashes of something otherwise invisible. Could be soda, I suppose…

Orange goggles
apx $7

Blue flashlight
apx $15

If you delve into forensics more, you will find that they have lights that can change color and other filters for viewing in order to better show certain kinds of substances. It is also a common statement that fluorescence only really helps detect stains, but doesn’t positively identify them as a particular substance (not everything that glows is semen, as is obvious once you look at the list above). Positive identification comes from chemical and DNA testing in a professional lab.

Here is one website that covers some of the various kinds of light and filters, and shows examples of results:

Q-SEE QCN8099B camera pinout

I had to work on an IP camera that had the pigtail cut off. It is a Q-SEE (Hikvision) QCN8099B camera, and had a pigtail with an RJ45 jack built-in. However, the wire colors that the company used inside the camera were not the standard colors normally encountered in CAT6 cabling. And there were only 6 wires instead of 8, and the wires were very thin which meant I couldn’t punch them to a jack directly because they were too fragile.

I figured out that there were two pairs being used for communication, and one pair being used for POE.

cam wires3

I cut apart the remains of the jack which still had wires attached to it.

From this, I determined which colors went to which pins, and used a cross-reference to the T568B standard to figure out how to splice the wires to a CAT6 cable.


I taped the ends of the CAT6 cable and camera cable together to remove stress from the individual wires. I used 3M Scotchlok UY2 connectors to splice the wires of the CAT6 cable to the wires of the camera. (I didn’t get a picture of the splices)

Initially, I tried connecting the resulting cable to a POE switch to see if it would recognize the camera. But Q-See likes to keep things proprietary, so I drove back out to the location of the Q-See NVR and plugged the cable into the unit. After a minute or so the camera came up!

I found no pinout documentation online, nor any info about a default IP address for these cameras. It appears that they were made for use only with their own brand NVR. I’ve seen other blurbs that say “Just type in the IP address into a browser”, but that assumes I know if it has one, and what the address is.

Melted Doorbell

I honestly didn’t know that doorbells could melt. I had installed one at a worksite only to find out a few days later that it wasn’t working. I had wired it to a magnetic switch so that it would ring when someone opened the door, to notify the worker inside that someone else was there. Problem was that the power stayed on all the time the door was open, rather than sending a short burst of power. Sometimes the door was propped open for deliveries. Oops.

I ended up buying a timer circuit for it that powers-up, counts to 3, closes a power relay for about 1/3 second and then opens it again. The reason for the first delay is so that annoying people can’t stand at the door opening it and closing it to make the bell ring repeatedly. Yes, they do that sort of thing. Each one thinks it’s funny. The guy inside, not so much.

A picture of the melted mechanism shows the cheap plastic core for the right solenoid coils melted and froze the sliding pin in place.
melted doorbell

A picture of the programmable timer I used. I got this Uctronics gizmo off Amazon for about $12. It can be programmed for all kinds of functions. I already had a 12vdc source at the location, so this was a perfect match.


I have a home doorbell that currently only goes Ding, but no Dong. This may have happened to this one when a tweaker showed up early one morning and was mashing the doorbell button. I heard an odd DIINGggg…. and found him out there in a drug crazed state doing odd things. The police and ambulance came to take him away. But now my doorbell only goes Ding. He may have melted the other part by holding down the button. I haven’t bothered to look at it yet.

Toyota Rav4 beeping…

I think the engineers for the Toyota RAV4 thought “Let’s design a car with an interior from 1980. And let’s make sure that it beeps A LOT”.

I pull up to a stop sign BEEP BEEP WATCH OUT!!! THERE’S SOMETHING NEAR YOUR CAR!!! DON’T HIT IT!! It is actually detecting the stop sign on the driver’s side as something too close to the car. It won’t stop beeping until I’m able to move onward.

If I park the nose of the car near our fence, the next morning the car will beep at me *as I am reversing* to leave the driveway BEEP BEEP DON’T HIT THE THING IN FRONT OF YOU AS YOU ARE REVERSING!!! BEEEEP BEEEEP

If I pull up to my garage and don’t turn the car off in the correct order by first pressing the brake, putting it in park, and then turning it off, it will still turn off the engine but then BEEP BEEP BEEP YOU HAVE TO PUT IT IN PARK FIRST BEEP BEEP YOU DIDN’T PRESS THE BRAKE FIRST WHILE YOU PUT IT IN PARK BEEP BEEP HEY IDIOT TURN THE CAR OFF BEEP BEEP NO YOU CAN’T LOCK THE DOOR WHILE I’M BEEPING AT YOU NEEENER NEEENER BEEP BEEP YOU OPENED THE DOOR BEFORE THE ENGINE WAS ALL THE WAY OFF BEEP BEEEEEP BEEEEEEP.

Mind you, I turned off the beeping that happens if you start to cross over a line, real or imagined by the vehicle.

Just last night I discovered a new beep. I bought an 8ft plank of lumber and was taking it home. The end of it was resting on the passenger seat near the headrest. As I began driving, BEEP BEEP BEEP! What now?! THE BOARD ISN’T WEARING A SEATBELT! IT COULD DIE!!! BEEP BEEP and then it became more insistent BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEPBEEPBEEPBEEP so while I’m driving I have to reach over and grab the other seat belt and latch it to stop the infernal beeping.

It has AWD. That is the only real reason we got it. I had a nice Kia Soul and it did mostly what I wanted, except for the awful UVO audio that squelches the beginnings of each spoken word (navigation, audio books, phone calls) so that you won’t hear a hiss when there is silence. That feature renders a lot of speech unintelligible. Maybe they’ve corrected that since 2013. I’m not holding my breath.

Trouble (and solution) getting Hanwha XNV-6011 to record on Pelco Digital Sentry

Korean military supplier Hanwha bought the company Samsung and has been updating some of the products with their new brand and some new features. The company for which I work uses a lot of Samsung IP cameras, and now Hanwha. Up until yesterday, I’ve had no issue with connecting to the cameras, either through the generic ONVIF method, or through RTSP streams.

I recently bought 4 new Hanwha XNV-6011 mini-dome cameras, installed them, and went to add them to our aging Pelco Digital Sentry NVR. I had no issue viewing the cameras in a browser, or in VLC Player, but the Digital Sentry unit consistently refused to show any video. It worked fine with the previous version, the Samsung SNV-6013 mini-dome. The new camera is supposed to be ONVIF S compliant, which is what the Pelco unit requires.

I went in circles checking and double-checking to make sure I hadn’t typed anything wrong, and still no video from these cameras in the Digital Sentry. I tried placing the username and password in the RTSP URL, but that didn’t work either.

Then I started looking at the various settings available on the camera itself, and found one that allowed me to use an RTSP stream without authentication. Since my camera networks are all private IP based (can’t be viewed from Internet), this wasn’t really an issue, so I checked that box and the video instantly appeared on the Digital Sentry!

I still don’t know why this was an issue, since the Digital Sentry had the proper username and password.

Mushroom logs

I’ve been experimenting with growing various kinds of mushrooms on hardwood logs. I started in September of 2016 when I inoculated a handful of logs with “plug spawn”, that is, short dowels that have specific mushroom mycelium growing on them. Mycelium is the part of the mushroom that is hidden inside the wood (or ground if it is the kind that grows in the ground). I chose the following kinds:

1. Turkey Tail on oak log
2. Lion’s Mane on oak log
3. Chicken of the Woods on oak log
4. Reishi on oak log
5. Shiitake on maple log
6. Nameko (or so I thought. More on that later…) on maple log. This plug spawn looked oddly blank, or just like plain damp wood.


I purchased spawn from,, and I also purchased beeswax to seal the holes and help retain moisture and keep out competing fungi.

The downside of using logs is that you often have to wait at least a year, maybe two or three before you see any visible mushrooms.


2016 gave us a particularly early, cold, and long frozen winter in the Vancouver, Washington area. I wasn’t sure if my mushrooms had survived or not. When June 2017 rolled around, I decided to double up and inoculate the same logs a 2nd time, just in case. I also had a couple of Douglas Fir stumps in which I put Phoenix Oyster plug spawn.

Through the hot summer, I kept watering the logs, and even gave them a soak in a small kiddie pool. Soaking all of them together turned out to be a mistake, which I’ll go into later.

By August I started seeing visible growth of mycelium happening on the Turkey Tail log, and a bit on a couple of others. By late September, the Turkey Tails mushrooms were about the width of a quarter-dollar. By mid-October I realized that all of the oak logs were growing Turkey Tail mushrooms. I knew I had purchased a variety, so chalked it up to soaking them all together, and Turkey Tail being a particularly aggressive mushroom.

Turkey Tail mycelium 8-9-2017 B
(First obvious mycelium growth on the Turkey Tail log)

(Turkey Tail mushrooms on an oak log. Snap them off and collect them, dice them up or use heavy scissors. Too tough to eat, these are used to make a broth and extract.)

I never did see any of the other kinds of mushrooms produce at all. The maple logs aren’t even growing Turkey Tails. I read that Nameko can take years to show up. I bought some more plug spawn from the same company, and was again wondering about it being so entirely free of obvious mycelium growth. This is the stuff that is supposed to carry the mushroom spawn into the log, and it if has no mushroom spawn, I am wasting time and money buying it. I took a picture of the package of damp dowels alongside a bag of another company’s bag of plug spawn and sent it to the vendor Mushroom Mountain asking what was up with the blank plugs.

no mycelium

No response at all from Mushroom Mountain. It has been months and still no response. I am certain they twice sold me blank wood with no mycelium. I gave them a bad review on Google and discontinued business with them. I hope the other spawn I ordered from them that had mycelium is actually the varieties I ordered. I even kept the little bag of dowels until this week, and no mycelium ever showed.

In October 2017 I was able to take several plum wood logs. This wood is very dense! The logs are 2 to 3 times as heavy as other logs I’ve used. I inoculated them with Blue oyster, Maitake, Shiitake, Reishi, and Lion’s Mane. Around Halloween, I ordered a bag of Nameko sawdust spawn (spawn grown on sawdust instead of dowels) from Field and Forest Products, along with the tools needed to do the inoculating. I inoculated 4 logs with Nameko and sealed the holes with wax. I also chose to put some into one of the Douglas Fir stumps I had. I also put some in the old log from 2016 in which I thought I had put Nameko previously. Sawdust spawn carries more mycelium into the log than plug spawn. The holes are larger, and the mycelium amount is greater.

few logs
(This out of focus shot shows the plum logs inoculated and waxed)

sawdust in holes
(This shows a plum log drilled and inoculated with Nameko sawdust spawn)

tool and bag
(This shows the bag of Nameko sawdust spawn white with mycelium, and the tool used to insert a measured amount of the sawdust into drilled holes in logs)

NOTE: I switched to using cheese wax instead of bee’s wax because I found that hornets and maybe bees have been stealing the wax and leaving my plug spawn exposed. I had never read that they do that, but I witnessed it, so made the change. So far, the cheese wax has been ignored.

The weather has become freezing as it is almost Christmas, but the logs have had two months of mild temperatures for the mycelium to become established, so if the mycelium likes plum wood, I should start seeing some obvious mycelium growth around Fall of 2018. I figure that Japanese varieties should do well in plum.

The Turkey Tails are still growing on the oak logs I have from before. I harvested some of them and made a tasty broth (hot water extraction) by chopping them up finely and boiling in a pot of water for about 4 hours. I also did an alcohol extraction of them by placing them in a mason jar and filling it with vodka and sealing it for 2 months, shaking it daily. The broth and the extract are said to contain substances helpful for fighting diseases and boosting the immune system. I figure they can’t hurt, so I’ll try them. At least the broth is tasty! I also bought a large Maitake mushroom from an organic store and am doing the same broth and alcohol process with it.


UPDATE: 8/31/18 After babying these logs for nearly a year, lots of mild weather and rain at the beginning, there are no signs at all of mycelium growth. The hot weather we had recently cracked a few of the logs and there is no growth on the inside either. So I’m calling this experiment a failure. The only ones that grew were the Turkey Tails. I still have some alcohol extraction of those with some purchased maitake. If I decide to grow any in the future, I’ll stick with sawdust bags since those seem to work fine.

Uber – We don’t want to hear from you

A couple of days ago, I began receiving Uber (the private taxi service) emails for a guy named “Troy” to my gmail account that clearly has my own name, not his. I tried to find some kind of link in the email for “Hey, if this isn’t the right email, please let us know”, but there was no such link. If I reply to the email, Uber replies “Hi there. We’re sorry. You’ve contacted an address that does not accept incoming email.” Then they direct me to their FAQ. Oh, and I can sign up if I want to contact their tech support.

Hey Uber, since you didn’t bother to use email verification when people sign up, I could put anyone’s name in and have them receive annoying useless emails from you. Whee.

Same goes for Lyft. I started getting emails from them also, with no verification that they had the right address.

Then I got an email for a Jon White who purchased an Uber gift card, and he has an email address that bears no resemblance to mine at all. Yet I received it.

Uber, your technical abilities suck publicly. Start using email verification when people sign up like everyone else has been doing for 20 years. And make it easier for people to contact your tech support with issues without signing up for your service. I’m not only not a customer, now I never want to be one.

So for now, I will just block them and their gift card service.

Update: I stopped receiving Uber and Lyft messages, but someone named Ron White (probably not the comedian) is still trying to use my email to sign up for things. Or he’s stupid and isn’t checking his auto-correct.