The temp was 12F which is cold for this part of the world. But this morning I wanted to see an icy waterfall, so I put on my warmest clothes, took my coffee, camera and tripod and headed north on Hwy 276.
Like most falls that drop more than a few feet, there is a constant mist soaking everything nearby, encouraging moss and ferns to grow. However, when the air temp has been well below freezing all night, everything is sheathed in ice. Here is a series of photos I took this morning. The blurriness of some is because of ice on the lens filter which I had to scrape off with my fingernail. It made a “romantic”, vignette effect … completely unplanned, but nice. As usual, I slightly increased the contrast and deepened the colors to make it look more like what I actually saw. Compare these with ones taken in the fall.
Looking Glass Falls is a few miles north of Brevard on Hwy 276 and is visible on the right side of the road with easy concrete stairs going down to near the base, making it VERY popular when the weather is nice. However, I was the only one there this morning.
Your logs are completely maintenance free, after you find a good location for them.
Here’s a quick checklist:
Set it outside in a mostly shady spot, like the north or north-east side of a structure or under some trees.
Don’t put it under cover, since it should get rained on.
Keep it off the soil by setting it on some rocks, bricks or boards.
It is very important that your logs do not dry out by prolonged exposure to direct sun or high temperatures.
Optional: Colonization of a freshly inoculated log is accelerated by keeping it in a cool (room temperature) place indoors, in your basement or in the garage, wrapped in plastic for a month or two during the coldest time of the year. Then set outside in a shady spot as described above.
Don’t let it freeze hard the first few weeks. A solid week of freezing daytime temps might kill a freshly inoculated log, but you probably won’t see that if you live in WNC.
After they have incubated for a 8 months or so, you can “force” a flush of mushrooms by soaking them in a stream of tank overnight, or putting a soaker hose on it for several hours. This is a good thing to do too in hot dry weather.
That’s it, they should produce a first flush in 8-12 months, and keep producing sporadically (usually after a wet cycle) for 1 or 2 more years.
This is one bottle of several that I added cherry and apple juice to for the second fermentation. It made a wonderful color which I tried to capture in this HDR photo.
If I ever create a commercial product, each bottle would come with a scoby like this one so anyone could start their own continuous supply if they wanted to. It is also important that it is drinkable “straight” which means it has to have the right balance of sweet, tart and fizzy.
This section is the home of PappaRon’s real food basic recipes.
Stuff I regularly make for myself or friends and family.
Meatloaf (with smoked option)
Pulled Pork (or any meat)
Roasted Chicken (easier than you think)
Savory Rice (cooked in bone broth)
Oxtail Stew (beefiest thing on the planet)
Borsht (mixed garden vegetable soup)
Shishliki (marinated lamb kabobs)
Stuff In A Pan (use a frying pan like a wok)
Deluxe Tomato Sandwiches
Sides, Beverages and Intermediates
Nutritional Coffee (feed your nervous system)
Best Popcorn Ever
Just a few miles north of Brevard on Hwy 276 is this most accessible, picturesque and classic waterfall.
You can literally see it from your car, but it is worth getting out and walking down to on the well maintained boardwalk any time or day of the year (especially in the early morning when it’s not crowded with tourists).
Here is one of my old favorite photos that awakened my interest in digital photography on a bright spring day. I knew from then on, that nature photography would always be a part of my life.
All the photos on this site are mine, unless otherwise stated. I will try to make them high quality and integrated with the content. Technically I could call myself a professional photographer since I have gotten paid for some of my work. As I build my portfolio here, I may start selling prints because I’m sure some will resonate with fellow gardeners and nature lovers.
The landscape near my adopted home town of Brevard NC is dominated not by the mountains and the waterfalls (which Transylvania County is famous for), but the broad fertile plain of the French Broad River. It is one of the oldest rivers in one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. Its meandering character contrasts with the many waterfalls and narrow valleys surrounding it.
We are in a fertile valley on a plateau nestled between the Southern Blue Ridge Escarpment (along the Eastern Continental Divide) to the south and the Southern Appalachian mountains to the north and west. It is geologically stable, and hurricanes and tornadoes lose their fury before getting here.
This land must have seemed like a paradise to the original human inhabitants who probably lived happily here for thousands of years. The plentiful rainfall, fresh water, varied terrain and fertile soil creates many diverse habitats and a rich ecology. If I was the leader of a tribe, I would take advantage of the abundance of animal and plant life for hunting, fishing, clothing, cultivation and medicines and make a “permanent” settlement.
… more later … this post is a work in process
If you want to go way back in time here are some good links to help visualize the geologic history of the southern Appalachians. Here is a series of 5, 10 minute videos. Here is the Wikipedia page.
Yes, you can do that very easily in your backyard. Brevard has an excellent climate for this, being in a temperate rainforest.
All you need is:
– a small log (or several), 4-8 inches in diameter and about 4 ft long
– some mushroom spawn
– some melted wax
Then drill some evenly spaced holes in the logs, stuff the spawn plugs in the holes and cover each hole with wax.
Put the logs the shade, away from the bare earth and wait about a year.
Depending on conditions, and whenever the mushrooms decide, you will get several small harvests of fresh, dense, organic mushrooms for up to four years (the thicker logs last longer). It is best to check a couple of days after a rain.
Periodically, I plan to host a mushroom log party where I will supply the spawn, logs and tools and you will do most of the work.