Video: Creating a Woodland Blewit Mushroom Garden

To cut down on mowing—and make my land more biodiverse—I’ve been converting sections of my lawn into extra perennial flower beds, vegetable plots, and even mushroom gardens. One area now includes oyster mushroom logs and lion’s mane totems.

And I recently inoculated my old potato patch with woodland blewit mushroom spawn. (Check out the video for the whole process. You’ll also get an update on the mushroom garden surrounding my decorative pond.)

Read more: Watch a video on installing a decorative pond! 

Known as Clitocybe nuda or Lepista nuda, woodland blewits are choice edible mushrooms. They naturally occur in moist, shady conditions and can thrive on many types of organic matter.

“The food source for a blewit is leaf litter and decomposed woody debris,” notes Tavis Lynch, a field mycologist and the author of Mushroom Cultivation: An Illustrated Guide to Growing Your Own Mushrooms at Home. “Pine straw also works really well for blewit cultivation.”

To set up my blewit patch, I first cut back the weeds and turned over and broke up the soil. Next, I added pine needles and leaves from last season. Then I crumbled up my blewit spawn and sprinkled it over the planting bed.

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After that, I added a layer of finished compost, straw and less finished compost. I topped this with another layer of blewit spawn and more mulch, straw and spawn.

Read more: Grow your own lion’s mane mushrooms using the totem method!

Although we were about to get a good rain, I watered the planting bed by hand. I followed up with one more thin layer of finished compost. Finally, I topped the whole thing with plastic sheeting to help lock in moisture.

I’ll keep this in place for a couple of months, peeking beneath it periodically to make sure my blewit patch isn’t too dry.

Now, if I’m lucky, I might have my first harvest as soon as this fall. Still, it can take up to 18 months before blewit spawn begins to fruit. “Blewits are a lot less predictable [than other mushroom types],” Lynch says. “But, when you do get blewits, you’re not just going to get four or five. You’re going to get 400 or 500.”

When I start to see what I think are blewits, I’ll need to make sure they are, indeed, blewits. Before cooking up my haul, I’ll consult some of my mushroom guidebooks and make a mushroom spore print. (A woodland blewit spore print should come out a pinkish-buff color.)

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Fishing on Lake Koocanusa

Picture it: You’re out on picturesque blue-green water watching the sun rise as you cast your first line of many for the day. After a full day spent fishing, in the evening you return to board your houseboat and cook a fresh-from-your line fish dinner. The next day, you get to do it all over again. Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?

That dream can be your reality on Lake Koocanusa! With more than 80 kilometers — about 50 miles — of water to explore, it’s no wonder fishing on Lake Koocanusa is so popular. Kokanee Salmon, Rainbow Trout, Bull Trout, West Slope Cutthroat, and even some Perch and Bass are some of the fish you might find when you pull your line out of the water.

In the middle of summer, the sun rises shortly after 5 am and doesn’t set until nearly 10 pm, which means you can be out on the lake and fishing before your first cup of coffee. You  truly can spend all day fishing if that’s your version of a perfect day!

Maybe the rest of the family isn’t on board for an all-fishing-all-the-time trip, that’s ok!  Add a fishing boat when booking your houseboat to ensure you’ll be able to sneak away and access all the best fishing spots while the rest of your party enjoys everything else your houseboat has to offer.

Be prepared, you will need to get a British Columbia fishing license before you can fish anywhere on Lake Koocanusa. Once you arrive at Sunshine Houseboats Marina for your trip, the Driftwood Store offers all of the tackle needed for fishing the waters of Koocanusa.

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Poll: Vast Majority of Americans Support Online Data Protection Legislation

consumer Public Opinion

Poll: Vast Majority of Americans Support Online Data Protection Legislation

A new poll from Morning Consult found that 83% of voters say that Congress should pass national data privacy legislation this year. Democrats (86%) and Republicans (81%) expressed bipartisan support for Congress to prioritize a federal privacy bill. The poll also found that voters place similar amounts of responsibility on both federal and state lawmakers, as well as federal regulators, to regulate data privacy. With respect to regulating how companies collect, store, and share personal information, 72% of voters said Congress is either “very responsible” or “somewhat responsible” while 79% said the same for federal agencies and 75% for state governments. Nearly 9 in 10 adults said it was either “very” or “somewhat” important to protect their most sensitive identifiable information under a privacy law, including Social Security number (89%), banking information (89%), biometric data (88%), and driver’s license number (88%). EPIC has called for comprehensive baseline federal legislation and the creation of a U.S. data protection agency, and has advocated for strong state privacy laws.

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Guide to Caring for Livestock on Your Homestead –

People purchase livestock for many reasons. Some might want them as a pet. Others see them and buy them because they’re cute. However, when you’re living on a homestead, livestock is necessary. As a homesteader, it’s your goal to live a sustainable life while providing for yourself and your family in the best ways possible.

Caring for livestock is no simple task, but they provide a wealth of benefits. Besides giving you meat on the table or milk in a glass, you can use their manure as fertilizer, grazing animals aid in pest control, and others can help you better manage your land. They take a lot of work to care for them properly, but the benefits you reap are worth it.

If you’re just starting with some new livestock, you’re thinking of purchasing a cow or goat, or you’re an experienced homesteader and just need to brush up on your knowledge, then you’ve come to the right place. Here’s your guide to caring for livestock on your homestead.

Ensure You Have the Finances to Support the Livestock

A single animal costs more than you might think. Think of all of the things you need to care for it — including housing, feed, water, veterinary care, and transportation. It all adds up fairly quickly, so you need to fully ensure you have the necessary finances to support however many animals you want to purchase.

Set aside ample income for your livestock. They are an investment that is highly beneficial as a homesteader, but they will cost money over time. While owning livestock can bring in revenue, it may take a few years of barely breaking even to support your homestead.

Livestock is not significantly more cost-effective than store-bought meats or dairy products. You’re paying to care for them, whereas at a grocery store, all you have to do is pay however much a pound of meat or gallon of milk costs.

The cost of care and butchering is, of course, included in that price, so in reality, you break even more than make a profit. However, homesteading is all about sustaining and providing for yourself, and by raising livestock, you’re doing just that.

Decide How Much Livestock You Need

Before investing in livestock for your homestead, you should decide how many cows, sheep, pigs, goats, or other livestock you need to sustain your family entirely. Determine what it is you’re looking for in livestock. Some animals provide you with food, and others can provide you with milk. If you need both, then you may need more than one animal.

For a single person, you likely only need a few animals. However, if you want to make a living off of your livestock, you’ll probably need more than one in that case as well. For example, a dairy cow can provide you with a calf each year for meat purposes as long as you breed the dairy cow. For profitable income, you will more likely need a herd of dairy…

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5 Maintenance Tips for Keeping Your Garden Looking New

Living through a global pandemic gave people a newfound appreciation for spending time outdoors being surrounded by nature. Those of us who were lucky enough to have gardens suddenly had enough time on our hands to make use of these outdoor spaces while also sprucing them up. 

Maintenance Tips

However, the truth is having a beautiful outdoor space isn’t just about hiring the best landscape gardener to design a natural oasis. Naturally, our gardens are open to the elements, which can potentially cause these once perfect-looking spaces to quickly look tired. Even the amazing-looking gardens you see in magazines are a constant project requiring maintenance. If you want to keep your garden looking beautiful throughout the year, here are a few tips that should help in terms of maintaining your outdoor space

Get Rid of Weeds

One of the first signs of neglect in a garden is the presence of weeds. It is, therefore, in your interests to keep your outdoor space weed-free. Having a high plant density in your garden will prevent weeds from growing by limiting space for them to develop. Mulch can also be used to stop weeds from sproutings. If you are looking to remove existing weeds from the garden, do it properly by using a weeding trowel to remove them from their source at the roots rather than simply pulling off the leaves. 

Water the Plants Correctly

You’d be surprised at how many people neglect to water their plants, or don’t do it correctly. Soil should be kept moist, which requires watering once or twice per week. It’s also best to water your plants in the early morning or evening when the soil is cooler, and the water is less likely to evaporate as quickly. If you know that you are a neglectful gardener, consider investing in a sprinkler system that allows you to regulate moisture and control the watering schedule. 

Be Mindful About Your Lawn

Lawns are difficult to maintain, and you should be aware that they require constant attention to keep them looking good. Hot weather can be really damaging, and if the temperature rises, you should avoid mowing the lawn to prevent the soil from drying out. The best time to water your lawn is before 8 am. If you are not accustomed to the early mornings, then a sprinkler system will be essential here. 

Know Your Limitations As a Gardener 

When designing your garden, spend some time thinking about how much time you can see yourself outside doing the maintenance required to keep it looking good. If you aren’t the most green-fingered of people, opt for hardier plants such as succulents that thrive without needing a lot of attention. 

It is important to understand that having a good-looking garden requires more than one visit to the nursery where you spend a fortune buying plants. It requires daily maintenance. This can be fun and therapeutic if you are willing to get stuck in but if you don’t it can become a…

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Guide to a Successful Holiday Houseboat Vacation

Looking to spend the holidays away from home this year? A holiday houseboat vacation on Lake Mead, Lake Powell or Lake Mohave might be just the right getaway you need to avoid the hustle and bustle of the busy season.

Here’s how to tackle the holidays according to our staff at Forever Houseboats:


Christmas lights

Bring a few twinkling lights to string along your rental. It’s the perfect decoration because it provides an extra warm and cozy feeling to your space—plus the beautiful reflection off the water is an added bonus!


A wreath adds just the right amount of holiday spirit to your houseboat. Hang it up somewhere where all crew members will catch a glimpse of it as they enter the cabin.  


You must not forget about the mistletoe, a traditional staple in holiday décor. Spark a bit of romance on your vacation by hanging up a few mistletoes above the doorways.

Meal Planning

Designate roles

On a houseboat vacation, it’s important to designate roles to each member of the crew to ensure there is no miscommunication and everything runs smoothly. Create a spreadsheet that includes each meal and who is cooking it. Then, rotate it between the cleaning crew so the duties are shared.

Plan your meals

Since you won’t have access to a slew of restaurants and grocery stores while floating on the lake, we highly suggest taking the time to plan out your meals. Snacks are great for a short period of time, but eventually your crew will want a decent home cooked meal, especially during the holidays. Our houseboats come with fully equipped kitchens—including an oven, fridge and stove—and a grill on the deck, so you’ll have everything you need to whip up a good dinner. Keep in mind you’ll want to pack all the spices, ingredients and condiments you want…

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EPIC, Coalition Urge End to DC-Area Facial Recognition System

facial recognition surveillance

EPIC, Coalition Urge End to DC-Area Facial Recognition System

In a letter to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, an EPIC-led coalition of privacy, civil liberties, and good government groups urged the Council to end the National Capital Region Facial Recognition System (NCR-FRILS) project and disclose all documents associated with it. In a Washington Post article covering the coalition letter, EPIC Senior Counsel, Jeramie Scott, argued that “facial recognition is a particularly invasive surveillance technology that undermines democracy and First Amendment rights.” NCR-FRILS is a facial recognition system used by police departments and government agencies in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area. The system runs comparisons against a database of 1.4 million local mug shots. The project was never publicly announced and was only revealed during the prosecution of a Black Lives Matter protester last fall. EPIC previously submitted a series of open government requests to police departments in the DC-area seeking more information on the system.

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Flowers Nourish The Soul At Buzzed Blooms Farm

“For us, farming meant food,” says Austin Graf. He looks back on growing up on a small farm with a kitchen garden and some beef cows. “Farming was our way of helping make ends meet.” Those early roots helped pave the way for Graf’s journey to running Buzzed Blooms, a sustainable and seasonally-focused flower farm in Manchester, Tennessee.

He says that he’s always felt “the connection to the land and wholesome food” that comes with farming. However, he never really saw it as a viable career—until serendipitous circumstances ushered him into the field of flower farming.

We spoke to Graf about the sustainable dynamics of micro-farming and accepting the calling of a flower farmer. We also touched on the nourishing nature of blooms.

Indebted to Patchy Cows

When Graf pinpoints where his interest in farming began, he credits the role of what he calls “patchy cows” in the story.

While accompanying his dad to meet livestock brokers, Graf recalls how they’d “give my dad a hard time. The whole county had black Angus beef cows. But our farm always had the most colorful patchy cows around.”

He adds, “My dad did that for me. I felt bad for all the other cows that nobody seemed to like.”

Read more: Check out these 5 miniature cattle breeds that are perfect for small farms.

From Patchy Cows to Fainting Goats

Graf continued to take his early farming steps, and his interests transformed.

“As I got older, patchy cows turned into spotted Nubian dairy goats that I hand-milked morning and night throughout high school,” he says. “I learned to make homemade cheese and soap. I got chickens for fresh eggs. And I continued gardening.

“Then I started discovering livestock preservation and adding rare breeds to our farm to preserve them from extinction,” he continues. “At one point we had a full dozen Tennessee fainting goats. It was just what I loved.”

Serendipitous Flowers

These days Graf runs a flower farm. The career choice, he admits, came “by pure chance.”

After graduating college and taking a gig in marketing, Graf found himself growing restless. He missed the farm life.

Graf persuaded his brother to let him use a 10 by 20 foot garden. He then “threw some dahlia tubers in there. They were on clearance at the grocery store, so I thought why not?”

When everything else but the dahlias in Graf’s garden perished, he did a little research and “stumbled across flower farming.” Graf discovered that cut flower production was actually the second most profitable crop per acre in his state. This, he thought, could develop into a lucrative avenue.

“Suddenly everything I’d ever known about farming changed,” he explains.

After starting with a packet of zinnias, Graf received an offer for what seemed likes a “dream job” that would require giving up the garden. “I chased the dream,” he says. “And guess…

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Regenerative Farming | Seven Ways to Use Social Media

The wonderful thing about endorsements is that they’re usually free. These can be collaborations with other brands in your field, influencers, or customers that love your product.

Every endorsement helps improve your following and enlarge your product base. You can band together with other farmers to get more exposure. 

Perhaps have something like a Weekly Wednesday, where each farmer in your group shares a brand each week. All of you will gain exposure, and your group will keep growing.

You can also encourage customers to endorse your products. Offer them an incentive to share and promote, and they will. Whether the reward is an entry into a contest or a discount coupon, everyone loves a good score.

Finally, contact influencers and offer them a product pack with things you sell. If they like the products, ask them to endorse you. If the influencer is popular enough, their endorsement can convert into many sales.

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15 Herbs to Propagate From Cuttings & How To Do It

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