starting a farm

Belly flopping with a clang and a bang, Part 3 of 3

Day three of talking about the major fails or falls that have come about since beginning this journey, topic: the equipment.

Where do I even begin with the crazy journey I have had with the industrial mushroom equipment from Canada? 

In my business plans and presentations as well as one on one dialogue I have had with many people, the mysterious mushroom equipment has come up over and over. And yet I really don't think anyone has quite understood exactly what it is that has consumed my world these past couple years. 


It all began in 2016 with a letter, a gift and a craigslist ad... I had made some major changes in my life, and after putting my dreams on hold for several years I decided to write a letter to share my vision and dreams with the incredible support group I have in my life. The primary focus was to motivate myself to bring them into being. But a really amazing friend of mine and my family family believed in me so greatly that a large check arrived in the mail a couple weeks after I sent out my letter.

At a similar time, an ad was on my local craigslist for industrial mushroom equipment across the water in Victoria BC. So me and my wee child hopped a ferry over and went to check out this incredible mushroom equipment, and stayed at a hostel... It was incredible, and humongous and yet I should have seen the signs from the get go, the owner of said equipment had me put a deposit down yet my bank would not relinquish the money to any ATMs. We ended up working it all out, but that was just the beginning of a long stream of things falling apart of not alining at all. 


From running out of gas on my way to meet this guy, to trailers loaded with equipment dragging on the ground, and paperwork not being sent to the boarder because of a tiny town in Canada going out of power... But I also gained so much, ever since I stopped letting that guy push me around, things have been up, the Semi driver was able to deliver it to my friend's house who's dad just so happens to be a machine guy, and he is going to be able to fix it up good as new after it has been sitting for the past couple years. Holy cow batman.

That is wonderful and all but the real gains were learning to be vulnerable and ask for help, because when I did I received so much, especially from my dad whom I would prefer to be "perfect" in front of, but once I do admit vulnerability is the best help in the world. 

I also was so strongly reminded about listening to my gut, and holding boundaries... The purchase of the equipment inspired me to seek help from our free local business advisor and write a solid business plan and jump into the Edg3 fund competitions with "both feet."It has also lead me to make amazing new friends, and strengthen other relationships as well.

The real lesson I learned was, even if I bite off more than I can chew, its ok to spit it out and start again with smaller bites. As I am now, and what's even more amazing is as I am figuring all this out, the equipment is going to be strengthening a relationship with another incredible female fungi farmer who just so happens to have more space than she can possibly fill up, while my mushroom equipment can make up 400-800 mushroom bags in an hour so in the end it was meant to be, and it happened for a reason, it's just life is never how we expect it to be. 

And so that is the story up till now of the big pile of mushroom equipment, this month it will be getting some much needed love and then some or all of it should be making a journey down toward MycoUprhizal so stay tuned. I am excited to see it up and running soon so soon.

Stay tuned my friends, so much exciting stuff is yet to come. 

MuShLove Lily, the pirate myconaught momma

Belly flopping in style... part 2 of 3

July 28th 2017 I submitted my application for Kitsap Bank's edg3 fund small business competition for $20,000 with mere hours to spare before the deadline... a computer click that sent me down the most incredible path of learning, and the spark that created this website. 

A couple weeks later I got the incredible phone call notifying me of the amazing news of being one of the 16 semifinalist! A new website, and voting period later and I got the next phone call moving up to the final five. It was an epic learning curve, and way too much time on social media, but gratefully I had a five day retreat from motherhood, and business to be inoculated by inspiration from some of the leading women in mycology and other mycophiles. 


The vacation was perfectly transformative, I got to see some wonderful old friends and gained such amazing new ones. Not to mention hope for the world I was able to bring home from all the work they are doing in this world, along with the pride of being treated as an equal by them in this fight to heal this world. 

My whole October was full after that event, from birthday to my favorite fall event Barter Faire so Edg3 was put on the back burner, and then something happened within my own personal world, specifically regarding my daughter and my world was turned upside down.

In desperation I threw together a slideshow before I wrote my speech and sent it in within the deadline. Then wrote a speech inside the conformation of the slideshow that was wayyyyy longer than the 5 minute maximum. Thankfully I got help my incredible professor Laura Starkavitch from whom I had taken public speaking in 2016, but the truth is my head was not in the game, literally.

The night of the final and live event I had a grand time with my booth , dressed to the T in my new favorite blazer over my favorite dancing dress, and teal tie dye leggings. One of my best friends and possibly the biggest cheerleaders in my endeavors drove all the way across the state to be there for me in my frantic dead phone frazzle, he helped me set up my booth, and just was in the perfect places at the perfect time, and I am eternally grateful for that, another dear dear friend whom had coached me on my speech showed up in the exact right moment to grab my child, and get a couple grams of food into my belly before getting onto the stage...


Unfortunately, stage fright and lack of practice I choked royally, my speech went too long, and there for I missed the most important business parts and primarily they heard about me and I life, but that's ok. Next time there won't be any slides, I don't fit well inside boxes, even the ones I have built for myself. 

As soon as leaving that stage a mountain was lifted from my shoulders. I really put way too much energy into the whole thing and that is where I came out the real winner. 

So even in "losing" I gained this website, this fun little platform for my writing muses, and the skills to edit and create powerful little videos (both fulfilling teenage dreams for my future of being a cinematographer and a writer). Through one of the people who was there that night, I will have a team of  several students from Wester Washington's Business school extension in Poulsbo helping me with the nitty gritty business stuff from April till June. 

Truthfully, I am overflowing with gratitude for losing. As I stepped away from that frenzy, I was able to breath again. I didn't start this business to cater to business people and bankers, yet I would love to build an abundant life from it eventually, and perhaps even financially make an impact on my community, but hours in front of a computer, and researching market trends had turned me into one stressed out and snappy momma, and I got into this so I can inoculate a better world for my daughter with her by my side.

Taking a step back this winter has been marvelous, and now with a new home space  to root down for the two of us things are good, my hands are getting dirty, and things are growing again. I have found new ways to step forward with less stress, let debt, that feel good and true to my own path instead of conforming to expectations. So right now I have tiny 3' X 1.5' x 5' greenhouse chalk full of micro-greens and mushroom bags, my 6' by 8' will be getting cleaned out this week and ready for this next season, and I get to share my passion of mycology on April 28th... perfect little steps in the right direction. 


So with gratitude I will move forward, and I look forward to sharing the evolution and growth.

Signing out with so MuShlove, this Mycophile Pirate Mother

A year to put in the books...

Port Angeles Celebration of Science 2017

Port Angeles Celebration of Science 2017

This past Monday mid morning I received a call from one of the coordinators of Port Angeles Celebration of Science & Technology fair asking me to return to nerd out about mycology this year and it send me through a time machine looking back over the last year and all that has transpired! Holy cow I am completely blown away by all that I learned, and accomplished last year, grateful for both the successes and belly flops because one year later I will be standing in the same spot sharing the inspiration of fungi. 

First off I took my father on a daddy daughter date to listen to the Mycological Rockstar Paul Stamens where I got to meet the man with a mushroom hat... if you haven't watched 6 ways that mushrooms can save the world you should check it out, it was a major factor in kickstarting my journey to working with fungi. 


I figured I should share a bit about the progress of the last 12-15 months... First off I built a womb to the vision I have been germinating for the past few years, 

Fungal womb aka Morel Compass's headquarters... 

Fungal womb aka Morel Compass's headquarters... 

then I filled reusable 6 gallon food grade buckets with my hopes and dreams interwoven with mycelium and organic local straw and waited for them to fruit...


and fruit they did, big beautiful multi colored bunches of oyster mushrooms.


enough to require more room to keep them cool...

Cooler given to us by the Clallam Bay Food Co-op 

Cooler given to us by the Clallam Bay Food Co-op 

and be able to bring them to the Local Farmer's market to sell...  (often selling out within an hour with my favorite little sales lady)


I also had the pleasure of eating many, and playing around with different recipes. 


A trailer was purchased, restored, and hauled over to water and boarder to pick up my industrial mushroom equipment, only to be abandoned for a month it after only half the equipment loaded had the trailer dragging on the road with a horrible screech.  


One month later a professional semi driver and his tractor brought it to me! He and my friends who have been storing it are the kindest people I have worked with regards to interactions stemming from this equipment. 


In October traveled to Wisconsin to the first ever Women in Mycology retreat hosted by the Midwest Herbal Women! Where I learned lots, relaxed lots, and really had the incredible chance to deepen my friendship with some of the most incredible women I know to be on this planet.

Ava Arvest of MycoUprhizal Olga Tzogas of Smugtown Mushrooms, Mara Penfield of Female & Fungi Rikki of the Mobile Moon Co-op, Danielle of DYI Fungi  Tess Burzynski of Fungi Freights,  Nicole McCalpin, and Alanna Burns

Ava Arvest of MycoUprhizal Olga Tzogas of Smugtown Mushrooms, Mara Penfield of Female & Fungi Rikki of the Mobile Moon Co-op, Danielle of DYI Fungi  Tess Burzynski of Fungi Freights,  Nicole McCalpin, and Alanna Burns

It was also on that trip that I got the incredible news about becoming a finalist for Kitsap Bank's edg3 fund a  small business competition that inspired me to create this website, and create my first video ever, along with learn much about social media, myself, and speak in front of a very large room of bankers and business people. 

Edg3 Fund Finalist.jpg

Here I stand at the Edg3 fund competition, 6 months after that glorious Science Fair, the evolution quite apparent in the table that is laid out before me... 


and proof of the shaky courage to share my dreams in front of a room packed full of business people and bankers and thankfully my most incredible support team of family and friends!


This is just the tip of the iceberg, because I must leave space for more to come. Spring has sprung, a year has come full circle, and now I have recovered the energy to focus on sharing more with you. I am excited to continue to share all that I learned and where I am headed from here so please stay tuned!

My final yet most important note, thank you so much to all your glorious folks who have helped over the last year, you believed in me when things were hard, and helped me step out of my comfort zone and create magic!

Mush Love ~ Lily the Pirate MycoMomma