C’mon. I’m a Fungi. Fun Guy. Whatever.

I’ve covered nearly all of our new 30 acres on foot and with a gun. In my travels, I’ve seen lots of mushrooms and fungi.  One of the major reasons we moved here is because we bleed money on food every month.  We’ve got four children and two of us.  I’ve got multiple food allergies and intolerances.  That’s why I’m skinny.  We spend about $750 – $1000 a month on food alone.  Along with what we intend to grow, I’m interested in getting to know about fungi.  And because I’m a dad, I have to make a ridiculous pun about fungi and being a fun guy.  It’s right there in the title.

The forested part of our land is overgrown, falling down and about twenty years overdue for a cutting.  We’ve got a lot of small birches that have been wind damaged or given way to the poor management practices of the previous owners.  One thing I’ve noticed a lot of are these little guys.


There’s a bazillion of them.  I decided to do some research.  They are called birch polypores.

From Wikipedia:

“Piptoporus betulinus, commonly known as the birch polypore, birch bracket, or razor strop, is one of the most common polyporous bracket fungi and, as the name suggests, grows almost exclusively on birch trees. The brackets burst out from the bark of the tree, and these fruiting bodies can last for more than a year. Technically, it is an edible mushroom, with a strong, pleasant “mushroomy” odor but a bitter taste. The velvety cut surface of the fruiting body was traditionally used as a strop for finishing the finest of edges on razors. It is also said to have medicinal properties.”


From medicalmushrooms.net:

“One of its most important health benefits is boosting the immune system. This is particularly important because a body with a strong immune system does not suffer ill health easily. The fungus also boasts antiseptic properties. It prevents infections when used as bandage. In fact, some testimonies by people who have used it are interesting and fascinating. Users have said that not only does the mushroom heal the wound, but that it also leaves no scar even when the wound was deep.

The Birch Bracket Mushroom is anti-inflammatory. This means that it is capable of reducing or entirely numbing pain without touching on the Central Nervous System. Such natural products are in great demand because many ailments cause inflammation at some stage, and often synthetic medications trigger unwanted side effects. In other instances, medications themselves cause inflammation and products from this mushroom can be taken alongside such medications to neutralize inflammation. 

Other reports (Keller et al, 2002) mentioned Piptamine as an antibiotic in Piptoporus Betulinus. In the studies, the extracts successfully wiped out the bacterium Escherichia coli. It also killed other harmful bacteria mainly Bacillussubtilis and Biomphalariaglabrata which was not spared either. This confirms that this mushroom is extremely important in the field of medicine.

Research done earlier on had confirmed the presence of nucleic acid in the mushroom that was able to attack and incapacitate the virus encephalitis (Kandefer-Szerszen et al, 1979). The mushroom therefore can claim to have anti-viral properties.

The mushroom, Piptoporus Betulinus, is hailed as being able to fight tumours. Research done based on white mice proved that the Polysaccharides in the mushroom are were to curb the advancement of Ehrlich solid cancers by 90%. They were also able to restrict the advancement of Sarcoma 180 by the same percentage. (Ohtsukaet al, 1973).”


Well, crap.  I guess I have to try some, right?

Another interesting fact, and pardon me for going geek, is the fact that Otzi the Iceman carried birch polypores on him.  If you don’t know who Otzi was, read up on him.  There are lots of articles and documentaries.  I’ve been studying that case for a long time and it is completely enthralling.

Mike, Oscar, Hotel….out.


PESTeL analysis of Squa Pan, Maine

DSC05125I have been remiss lately, and leaving our readers and my friend Mike Oscar in the lurch. I am currently learning series circuit resistance equations, and taking two online college classes (Communications and Interpersonal Relations, and Strategic Planning) through a local university – 4 classes away from my B.S. degree! Although anyone that knows me will tell you that I’ve had a degree in BS for a while now.

One of my assignments tonight was to do a PESTeL analysis of my current hometown. Political, Economic, Sociocultural Factors, Technological, and Legal – commonly done on various industries, but we had to apply it to the area we currently live. I’d rather do it on my hometown I grew up in, but I wouldn’t be able to drum up enough verifiable data to pass the class.

I grew up in a complicated area. Technically, I lived in Masardis, Maine. We lived around five miles from the town hall, which was a long way for a town that had a single building for the town office (open every Wednesday afternoon), fire station, sporting events center, and where Santa showed up the week before Christmas. I pretty much claimed Squa Pan… sorry, we recently discovered that Squa is the shortened form of Squaw, which according to a bunch of well-to-do non-Native Americans meant a word describing a Native American lady-of-the-night. Now I’m from Bear Pan, or Moose Pan, I’m not sure (although the Hotel clan generally had Moose in the pan, not bear). So, since my teacher would not have appreciated it as much as you, our dear readers, I will expound on the demographic makeup of The ‘Pan.


Political – No town hall, no mayor, no meeting place. Pretty sure we were mostly working Republicans, with the exception of those living on government handouts. So that puts us…. 10-25. Yup, it would appear that we were mostly Democrats.

Economic: See last paragraph.

Sociocultural: We were a pretty social bunch; we waved to everybody, and pumped our arms at the trucks and trains going by, so they would blow their horns at us. A few of us kids had face book – our face was always buried in a book. We had to! We only had 3 channels: PBS and channel 8 went off the air at 8:00 p.m., and dad wouldn’t let us watch the Canadian channel after that, because they got a little free with the boobies. His belief of boobs-after-8 carried into the internet age, where he forbid my brother and I to be on the internet after that time, assuming that all the legit websites packed up house at night and just left the dirty websites wandering around.

Culture? We had tones of it! We had a lumber mill that had been abandoned 40 years before, leaving rusty buildings and a monstrous sawdust pile for us to explore.



We had a junkyard, with a mechanic that would cheerfully launch into a barrage of fun new words to amuse our friends and keep from our parents. We even had a railway station that was easy to break into, and had lockers fully stocked with various magazines of a very educational nature to growing boys, how much more culture would anyone want?! Our mechanic could even speak a different language. Drunkinese is pretty tricky to listen to, but easy to learn, I hear.

Technological: We had oodles of technology! We had a sophisticated and rarely-used method of figuring out how much gas was left in the snowsled! Uncap the gas tank, shake it a little, and take a deep sniff. If you can smell any hint of gas fumes at all, then it is perfectly safe to take it on a 20 mile ride at night, through fields, woods, deer paths, and old bogans. Well, halfway through them, that is. If you’ve ever walked 5 miles to grab a gas can to drag back 5 miles, you will quickly realize that this is not a good way to gauge how far you gonna git.


My brother Salt Chuthers was also a technological pioneer in the field of particle acceleration. Like, how much do I have to accelerate to insert this gocart into the garage with the door closed? Or how fast do I have to go to insert this snowsled into this other snowsled? Or, depending on the season, either the gocart or the snowsled into this thick lilac hedge? He was usually half right at his estimation; I’ve never seen him bury it past the rear wheels/middle of the track in anything.

Legal – I hope none of you guys sue me if you figure out who I’m talking about! Just kidding. I write this in jest, even if it is mostly true. I love where I grew up. It’s where I got my name from the railroad that ran through my yard, the Bangor and Aroostook. I hopped on the cars and rode to different places, things that most 10 year olds don’t do nowadays. It’s where I came nose to nose with a bear in the woods, hid out from a moose under a car, and watched coyotes run across a potato field on many moonlit nights.  I still have scars on my fingers from working in that junkyard with my buddy, fixing up field bombers to drive around. The Tin Cup you may remember from another one of my tales,  that was just over the road on the ‘Pan side of the tracks.

Been stuck in river mud, buried right up to the axles in it. Followed sled tracks home, feet crunching on fresh fallen snow, only to follow those tracks back hauling a gas can with me, a bright moon shining on a deserted Polaris a few miles ahead.

I’ve made a PESTeL diagnosis – the PEST moved out years ago, but I’ll always be there in my dreams, fondest memories, and every time I hear a train horn or a big rig honk.