Have you heard the one about the mushroom who walked into a bar?  The bartender said: “Hey – here’s that fungi!”

My daughter told me that foot stomper the other morning as I was walking out the door to catch the bus.  She was putting it on a Valentine’s Day card she made for a friend, who recently did a presentation on fungi for a natural sciences-related homeschool class they’re taking together.  The front of the card shows a cross section of dirt with roots growing underground and two red mushrooms above leaning into each other to form a heart.  She does some great drawings and I hear it was a big hit.

Last Thursday it was my daughter’s turn to give her very first ever in her life presentation – on dyeing with natural substances – and I’m happy to report that my husband has survived the experience.  I say this because he was the one helping her with research, losing sleep over how to get everything done, taking her to visit a woman who has a small business dyeing yarn, doing all the dyeing with her, and trying to get her to organize her thoughts into something coherent and interesting to listen to.  Plus helping with the handout she had to make, that she was finishing that morning.

Not to mention that right from the start she could not be diverted from the idea of dyeing with native natural substances she could gather locally DURING THIS SEASON, which here in Boston in the winter seriously limits the possibilities.  And of course on top of that, our truck died so my husband couldn’t even drive to the woods for gathering excursions.  This raised the interesting question of whether it’s legal to gather bark from trees that can be easily accessed by public transportation.  We have no trees in our little shared yard, unless you count the 4-foot high dogwood sapling I planted last year.  She ended up dyeing with oak bark from our firewood and beets we’d grown (which technically aren’t native or gathered in the winter).

Her teacher said her presentation was good, but recommended that next time she have all her “props” out on display.  Apparently she kept all her dyed yarn, etc. in a box and had to root around every time she wanted to show something, because she wanted to show each dyeing variation in succession, leading up to the beet-dyed grand finale!