Radical Mycology!

We live in one of the most fungally rich regions in the United States. Oregon has the largest single living organism on Earth in the Malheur National forest. It’s a fungus known by several names: Armillaria, scientifically; Honey Mushroom commonly; or, locally, as the Humongous Fungus. By 2015 it was three square miles large and a few thousand years old. It lives in the soil and spreads its filaments outward so that it grows one to three feet each year. It’s also killing the forest.

Or is it simply performing its natural function of recycling the trees back into the soil, but on a longer time scale than most humans are capable of understanding? Questions like these underpin the field of Mycology, the branch of biology that studies fungi, one of the least understood branches of life on Earth. Several recent books delve into this field from both the highly specialized scientific perspective as well as that of radical DIYers. Entangled Life, by Merlin Sheldrake, is a highly readable account of the author’s love for mushrooms and fungi as well as a tour through current trends in mycology to examine just how little we understand about these organisms. Similarly, Doug Bierend’s In Search of Mycotopia shows us the possibilities of fungal and microbial life. Both authors are trained experts and believe that understanding the fungus among us can radically alter how we experience our own lives as well as the world around us. Continue reading “Radical Mycology!”

Magical Thinking

Sometimes we need a little magic in our lives, whether we create it ourselves or look to others to create it for us. Let these magic-makers offer you inspiration, wonder, and escape.

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman is a classic of the genre. It introduces us to sisters Gigllian and Sally Owens and their efforts to endure the Owen family curse. The sequel, The Rules of Magic is about the Aunts in the 1950s & 60s. Also look for Hoffman’s forthcoming book, Magic Lessons (out in October) to learn the origin of the Owen family curse. Continue reading “Magical Thinking”

Digital Knitting

While Ravelry.com is arguably THE place to get knitting and crocheting patterns, Seattle Public Library has many pattern books as ebooks that are free to borrow, from beginner learning books like Teach Yourself Visually Knitting, to books on advanced techniques such as Knitting Brioche: The Essential Guide to the Brioche Stitch by the venerable Nancy Marchant. Here’s some stash-busting suggestions.

 

Knitted Tanks & Tunics: 21 Crisp, Cool Designs for Sleeveless Tops by Angela Hahn is a perfect place to find cool knits as the weather warms in the PNW. Find patterns for linen yarn as well as layering tanks in this gorgeous pattern book. Find more warm weather patterns in Knitting in the Sun: 32 Projects for Warm Weather by Kristi Porter. We sometimes take for granted the material we work with as crafters. Continue reading “Digital Knitting”

Library Podcasts with a Seattle Focus

Last week I highlighted some of the diverse podcasts the library has to offer on it’s website with no library card required. I wanted to discuss some of the other things offered on the Library Podcast page, specifically the variety of discussions on Seattle and Seattle history.

In Fall of 2019, the Library hosted discussions on the hidden history of the Space Needle, including Space Needle Redux: Knute Berger and B.J. Bullert Eye the Needle. Continue reading “Library Podcasts with a Seattle Focus”

Change In A Time Of Longing

While browsing Instagram the other day, I came across a post from Sonya Renee Taylor, author of The Body Is Not An Apology: The Power of Radical Self Love, that called out the collective longing to return to our normal state for what it is: a longing to return to a world that “normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack.” She goes on to say that we “are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.” Whether the full extent of how is apparent yet, there’s no denying that we are in the midst of great societal change and upheaval. And with change comes the opportunity to shape not just the outcome, but also the change itself. As one of our greatest writers commands in her novel Parable of the Talents, “Seize change. Use it. Adapt and grow.” Continue reading “Change In A Time Of Longing”