Neurodivergent and life calling

Who would have thought? If someone would have told me I’d be spending the majority of my time picking mushrooms, looking for mushrooms, talking about mushrooms, eating mushrooms, teaching about mushrooms, reading about mushrooms, posting about mushrooms, making medicine from mushrooms, taking photos of mushrooms, smuggling giant puffballs in my jacket like a pregnant woman on a Ryanair flight last night, dressing up like a mushroom, going to Portland next month with @radmycology going to the jungle to hunt for zombie fungus, making my living from my true passions and feeling more connected to myself and the world than ever before, etc etc I’d have thought you were definitely mad!

But it turns out that I am most CERTAINLY mad! And in the most spectacular and beautiful life affirming way! 🍄

Thanks @theculturedclub for sending me this. And thanks to all who indulge me in my many madnesses. And to those who have the patience to hold my hand for the more challenging ways in which my madnesses present themselves. You know who you are! ♥️ I love you! 🐢

And on a separate but very same note- I was recently diagnosed as Neurodivergent (ASD spectrum) and ADHD. And I am sharing that with you for a couple of reasons.

  1. It was extremely reassuring to have the diagnosis and I never imagined it could be.
  2. Women in particular are often undiagnosed and even more so, as adults
  3. It’s a part of me that makes me different and excel in some things I do but also I realise now more than ever, has had a price tag throughout my life that has been an extra heavy weight on my shoulders, for me and for those close to me.
  4. Medication- pharmaceuticals which I would almost never have considered in all of my 44 years (unless absolutely necessary) have changed my life, my mental health, my emotional stability and my wellbeing more than I ever could have dreamed and I think it’s important to break down barriers of judgement and fear about this.

♥️♥️♥️Thank you for reading this! It’s shared from an open and honest heart and I hope you can see the value in this ❤️❤️❤️

Courtney and a giant puffball she smuggled onto a flight

mushrooms #mushlove #fungi #neurodivergent #adhd #workshops #foraging #medicinalmushrooms

Mushroom Perspectives and photography

Just wanted to highlight some of my favourite mushroom shots that I have taken. Usually this involves playing with perspective.

Should you wish you use or share any photography from my website, please do ask and or credit me! Thank you!

The regal and powerful Fly Agaric mushroom, photography by Courtney Tyler
Shaggy ink cap deliquescing
yes, they were everywhere. Wicklow, Ireland 2021 Fly Agaric Amanita muscaria.
Splitgill Mushroom photography by Courtney Tyler
Winter Chanterelles close up gill detail
One of the deadliest mushrooms in the world, looks and tastes so innocent! Destroying Angels Amanita virosa – found in Wicklow, Ireland

Milk Kefir – A healthy fermented milk product – An important food as medicine

Directions on How to Make Milk Kefir. 

First you must obtain the grains. These can be purchased (one reputable supplier is the Cultures for Health website) or if you ask around in your community you should find someone who would be happy to share their grains with you.

milk kefir grains

I’d recommend finding some milk kefir grains on the Irish Fermentalists Facebook page- there is often someone near you willing to share. They are not actually a grain at all but a yeast/bacterial fermentation starter. They look like small grains of cauliflower.

The next step is to obtain the best quality milk you can find. This can be organic, raw, unpasteurised cow’s or goats milk. Or, any milk that you are used to drinking will do, as long as it isn’t UHT milk. The grains do best on dairy milk but it is possible to culture nut or soya milks- but you’ll have to read up about how best to do this so that the grains don’t starve over time. Bear in mind that even if you normally avoid dairy products like i do, once the milk has been turned into kefir it will contain little to no lactose so everyone should be able to tolerate it unless there’s a milk allergy to casein. From what I’ve read some of the casein also gets broken down during the fermentation process.

The next step is to place approx 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of grains into a glass jar with anywhere from a cup to 500 ml milk, or whatever amount your family will consume in a day or two. Cover the glass jar with a coffee filter and a rubber band or a clean tea towel and leave it somewhere it won’t be disturbed or forgotten for the next 24-48 hours. Look in on your milk kefir every now and then, give it a stir, and do a taste test. It’s ready whenever you like the taste of it. Normally it will thicken to a consistency like cream or a runny yogurt and have a pleasant yeasty aroma. Depending on the warmth of your room and the grains to milk ratio it can take anywhere from 12 – 48 hours to be kefir. If you find the liquid has started to separate into curds and whey- don’t be alarmed- just stir it all in, strain out the grains and refrigerate the kefir. Next time you could leave it a little less time. The taste will become slightly more sour over time, taste it at various stages and see where you like it best. Strain out the grains with a strainer and repeat the whole process. The milk kefir will keep in your fridge for up to 3 weeks. It’s ok to add the next days kefir to the same container if you still have some left from previous days.

A little about milk kefir in my experience:

Milk Kefir is a fermented dairy beverage- full of health promoting properties. I know that doesn’t make it sound hugely appetising. But, bear with me.  This drink has been around for thousands of years. If you imagine yogurt, it’s not much different in appearance and nature. Kefir and yogurt are both good for you in that they contain a healthy dose of probiotics that line your intestines and feed your gut flora and in this way contribute to a stronger immune system. A healthy gut is where it all starts.  Kefir has the advantage over yogurt in that it also contains healthy yeasts along with the bacteria. Both products, especially when made with full fat milk also contribute to your daily calcium, protein and vitamin needs.  Best thing is, it’s so easy to make at home.

I used to spend a small fortune on quality probiotics from the health shops. I no longer buy them as I get a wider range of these same probiotics along with other strains from fermented dairy products along with kombucha and lacto-fermented veggies such as sauerkraut and kimchi. It feels reassuring to know how to provide my body with what it needs from natural foods rather than relying on what I need to otherwise buy in a bottle from a health shop.

Are you one of the many who suffer from dairy intolerance? I also have never tolerated cow’s milk well, although  I was well into my twenties before I realised that this was the problem. It seems to be that my body can’t break down the lactose in cow’s milk well, and drinking cow’s milk, or especially cream makes me feel a strong headache, sore and bloated tummy, along with strong stomach pains, digestive problems and IBS symptoms. For many years I avoided cow’s milk dairy products (I could tolerate goat’s milk no problem- it has a smaller fat globule that makes it easier for humans to digest than cow’s milk does) but in recent years learned that both milk kefir and yogurt- made if possible with organic milk- were no problem to me. In fact there are studies that show that drinking milk kefir can help heal the issues that cause the dairy intolerance. I now find after a year of drinking milk kefir most days I can now tolerate more cow’s milk products such as a small amount of cheese etc than I’ve ever been able to do!

The kefir grains break down the lactose and casein in milk and convert these to glucose and galactatose. They also convert the lactose into B vitamins along with the probiotics.

Some of the other benefits I’ve personally seen from drinking milk kefir are: an improved digestion, less bloating, less prone to cystitis and yeast infections, and surprisingly but nearly best of all is that I found that my hay fever and seasonal allergies were vastly improved this year. I’ve struggled with an almost overwhelming allergy to pollen in the summertime. What’s worse than being allergic to nature! The increased beneficial bacteria in my gut helped ease my allergy symptoms.  These benefits along with the savings on expensive probiotics are what have convinced me that kefir is a product that could benefit many people.

Check out the pdf that is provided for free from the Cultures for Health website. They have a really informative website which highlights many fermented foods and their benefits. They also sell the cultures of kefir grains among many other fermented cultures such as yogurtkombucha, piima, cheese, etc. They have some free e-books that are available for download which I’d highly recommend if you’d like to learn more about how to prepare kefir and all the things that you can do with it in recipes etc.

Enjoy!

milk kefir grains

Kombucha Instructions

Kombucha 

Kombucha is one of my favourite drinks. It’s a fermented sweet tea. The first time I saw Kombucha

I swore then and there that it would never pass my lips! That was about 15 years ago and thankfully I gave it a try in recent years. While the culture that ferments tea into Kombucha can look a little daunting, it’s grown on me to become something I look on with extra delight, it’s an ugly fascinating tasty and healthy science experiment!

The Kombucha culture is called a SCOBY which is an acronym for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast= S.C.O.B.Y.

The basic premise is simple: obtain a scoby- again ask around in your community there’s bound to be someone who also brews Kombucha and can pass a scoby onto you. If not, you’ll have to buy one or make your own. If you’d like to make your own you can buy a bottle of commercial ‘live’ plain kombucha and grow one from that. It’s not complicated, you can google it to see the process. I’ll make another post about this specifically another day.

Feed the scoby a quantity of sweet tea that’s cooled to room temperature. Let it sit/ ferment for between 5-25 days until its at a perfect balance between sweet and tart. Usually I find approximately 5 days is perfect, but this depends on a few factors such as the warmth of the room and the ratio of scoby and starter to tea. After day 3, taste a little bit of the tea each day until its a taste you find a pleasant balance between sweet and sour. The sugar will be digested by the scoby and converted into probiotics and B vitamins and you’ll find the tea is less and less sweet as each day goes by.

My favourite reference book is a free download from the Cultures for Health website. If you sign up to their newsletter you can download their compilation of e-books one of which is about Kombucha. This has the most concise and useful information that I’ve found- even better than some books I’ve bought- and best of all it’s free!

Since I’ve been drinking Kombucha I’ve found a healthy replacement for fizzy sodas that are laden with sugar and chemicals. If Kombucha goes through a secondary fermentation and you add fruity flavours it can turn out far nicer than any commercial and too sweet drink on the market.

I’ll share my exact kombucha recipe with you next and a few other recipes that I’ve come across.

In the meantime this link from Cultures for Health is the recipe I follow. You can read more exact instructions here.

And this is the most important part, that you follow these ratios. With some other ferments I feel you can be a bit loose with measurements- but with kombucha it’s more important to be exact.

 Container SizeTeaSugarWaterStarter Tea or Vinegar 
One quart1½ teaspoon loose tea or 2 tea bags¼ cup2-3 cups½ cup
½ Gallon1 tablespoon loose tea or 4 tea bags½ cup6-7 cups1 cup
Gallon2 tablespoons loose tea or 8 tea bags1 cup13-14 cups2 cups

Here is a typed instructions from my Herbalism teacher Judith Hoad:

Kombucha brewing instructions

Enthralling Seductive Powerful Amanita Muscaria The Regal Fly Agaric Mushroom

https://www.instagram.com/reel/Chw2yttLeZ1/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

I made a gorgeous reel of shots and images and moments with this mushroom, click the link above to see it.

An ode to the all powerful and beautiful Amanita muscaria Fly Agaric. 🍄🍄🍄🍄🍄🍄🍄🍄

An absolute favourite of mine. A stunning creature to behold, she takes my breath away every time I am lucky enough to happen upon her.

She’s seductively enthralling, beautiful and powerful.

A mushroom that is many things: toxic, shamanic, an entheogen, a powerful effective external remedy for pain, amongst many other effective remedies as well, a delicious food once detoxified, and more than anything just enthralling to behold.

Learn more about this mushroom in a full day workshop- there are 2 formats coming up soon:

A full day intensive wild food and medicine exploration into the food, medicine and magic of Fly Agaric with myself and @fergustheforager both in Ireland and the UK.

And my Fly Agaric workshop based in Wicklow, Ireland. There are a few dates of both options coming up, but places fill up fast!

Please note: of course we don’t offer shamanic experiences of this mushroom. We do dispel the myths and fears and share many stories, mythologies, facts from fiction, art, food and medicine.

Don’t miss out if you’re interested. Booking links are here: https://hipsandhawswildcrafts.clr.events/

flyagaric #amanitamuscaria #mushroom #fungi #herbalmedicine #hipsandhaws #courtneytyler #ireland #wicklow #wildfood #herbalmedicine

Say why you do what you do

I found this exercise in an old notebook. I did an excellent business course though the LEO (Local Enterprise Board) last year.

The exercise was this: “write your elevator pitch in 25 words or less, and say it in terms of what the other person receives from your offering or product or service.”

This is what I wrote:

“I am passionate sharing how nature nourishes, connects and grounds me. To offer an experience that ignites others’ curiosity for the wild with food and medicine.”

26 words:) I did alright I think! This is a true reflection of what is alive inside me and what makes me purr with contentment and follows my passions and skills.

Books you should have: Radical Mycology by Peter McCoy

It took me awhile to get my hands on this book. First of all it was expensive and then after that, it was even harder to find online! I’m in Europe and it just seemed unusually difficult to get a hold of.

I bit the bullet and after many hours found a valid link and invested in this book. When it arrived I squealed in delight. It’s a substantial tome and well worth the cost. Chock full of all the ways of “Seeing and Working with Fungi” it is a reference that you should not be without!

I haven’t read the book cover to cover; it’s a big book and very easy to dip in and out of chapters that most interest you.

Imagine my delight when Peter himself messaged me on Instagram to invite me to propose some workshop ideas for the Radical Mycology Convergence in Portland, Oregon in October 2022. And my absolute delight when these were accepted and I was being flown to Oregon to participate!

Anyhow, back to the book. The publishers are offering a short window for a discount on this incredible book. Here’s the link to buy the book. The shipping prices to Europe are still cringe-worthy, but I was comforted that the book is absolutely massive and very heavy. I bought it as a birthday present to myself (which we should all do more of:)

Very honoured to participate this this years RADICAL MYCOLOGY CONVERGENCE in Portland, Oregon, USA October 2023

Radical Mycology Convergence Oct 2023 Courtney Tyler – view my bio here: https://radicalmycologyconvergence.com/pages/teacher-bios

I am excited to announce I will be presenting this October at the Radical Mycology Convergence (@radmycology).

I will be offering 2 workshops: Medicinal Mushroom Extracts and Mushroom Coffee.

I’m also extremely honoured to be on the Medicinal Mushroom Panel and at this event with teachers I so respect and have learned so much from such as @radmycology Peter McCoy, @christopherhobbs1 , Robert Rogers, Kevin Feeney, William Rubel, @amanitadreaming and so many others!

You can learn more about this special event at radicalmycologyconvergence.com#radicalmycology#rmc2022

#fungi#wildmushrooms#medicinalmushrooms#mushroomcoffee#herbalmedicine#foraging#wildfood#wildfungi#mushrooms

You can view the full schedule of workshops here: https://radicalmycologyconvergence.com/pages/workshops

Thank you Peter for this opportunity of a lifetime. I couldn’t dream up a better mushroom festival offering than this! I am very honoured to take part! And excitedly checking the schedule for all of the workshops that I also hope to attend!

Michael White of Rural Courses

We are lucky to have enticed Michael to spend some more time on the emerald isles. He’s going to be launching more of his workshops in Ireland. I’ve attended many of his workshops and can report that I find his teaching manner really professional, friendly, thorough and he shares his lifetime of experience in all things self-sufficiency.

We have just launched our 5th and 6th Medicinal Mushroom Intensive Workshops together and one in late October in the UK. Michael will teach some autumnal forages in Wild Food and Fungi and hopefully a Hedgerow Wild Wine Course soon. And more of his offerings will launch in Ireland in 2023.

Click here to view and book any of Michael’s upcoming workshops: https://ruralcourses.clr.events/

Rural Courses website is: https://www.ruralcourses.co.uk/