STALKING THE WILY SHIITAKE
Tore myself from editing this morning and went out to thin the komatsuna, which is growing apace, but it turned out the sprouts are still too small for thinning. While I was out there though, subsequently pondering the oshoga (large ginger) in the next row, and whether to harvest it all or just leave it in the ground over winter, I glanced at the shiitake logs that I'd last checked thoroughly the day before yesterday (I also check frequently from the kitchen window), and saw that no mushrooms had emerged since yesterday's rain. (Shiitake may look slow, but they're not.) Then when I went up the new stone step to the small upper field to check on the koshoga (small ginger), I discovered that there is a higher intelligence to shiitake than I had surmised from their exquisite deliciousness alone. There were in fact about a dozen shiitake fruiting, one of them big as a small dinner plate, and one even bigger that had been fruiting for somewhat longer, till it was about the size and shape of a hand fan, but had been feasted on by birds and bugs and was now too bedraggled even to be called a leftover. The discovery I alluded to several clauses ago but immediately went on a tangent from lay in the fact that all of those mushrooms were growing in places where they could not be seen from the kitchen window or from the lower garden (a little x-files theme here, please...). The shiitake knew where I lived and they knew my recent habits of garden traversal, so grew accordingly. If I weren't so eclectic, habitwise, they might not have been lunch today; they might have gotten away with it. But I didn't want to penalize intelligence, so I left some of the higher IQ ones in place to grow and propagate, perhaps one day take over the world, maybe treat it right. The others were exquisitely delicious.