Pushing forward through the issues

So my first batch of mushrooms are incubating, despite a series of problems and setbacks.

This weekend was pretty busy for me. Saturday I spent the day cleaning, and I also spend some time building one of the sets for this mushroom project. Lots of expanding foam work, now it is built up I need to give it several days to set before I start cutting and shaping it. Later that evening I managed to get the substrate mixed up and sterilized.  The intent was to inoculate on sunday after we had finished up the mushroom incubator.

Way to kill the cooler Chris….

Sunday, bright and early my friend was over and we got to work on the mushroom farm. He spent the morning making tweaks and modifications to the Jagermeister machine, while I started working on the arduino portion and building out the circuit board. Everything was going well, he took off and I was running solo. I had to drill some holes in the Jagermeister machine for the buttons, the input jack for the probe, etc. I was trying to be careful and watch the pressure of the drill but sure as shit it dropped through and punctured the main cooling coil on the jagermeister machine. So, can it be fixed? Yeah…. I can fix the hole for sure, but we would need a HVAC specialist to get it vacuum out and refill it with refrigerant.

So $70 later, we have parts ordered to go about the cooling a completely different route. More on that build as it goes. I was pretty embarrassed and demoralized about killing the cooler, and really just did not want to mess around with that stuff for now and needed a break and a win.  Right around that time my friend Chris called me up and told me to head over his place to work on my computer build.

Hell yeah!

Shifting gears to computer builds

So i had some extra money, and my friend Chris was helping me with part selection for a computer build which I mentioned in my last post. The budget was not very impressive, but in the end I think I have a pretty killer machine, and with no small level of gratitude to Chris and his generosity. Not only was he willing to donate his time to help me with this, he also donated some parts to the cause which really knocked my build cost down. Chris is a gamer, and has easily has the most impressive computer gaming rig I have ever seen. The 2nd hand parts he donated to the cause apparently are not good enough for him, but still very very excellent gear. He included 16gb of corsair vengeance ram, a Intel I-7 4770k (same as in the iMac), a nice beefy 700w power supply, and a computer case.

I provided the Motherboard, CPU fan, and a pair of NVIDIA Quadro 4000‘s, and Windows 8.1, and a 480gb SSD.

About an hour and a half of building and the system was up and running. So far so good.  The NVIDIA Quadro 4000’s run pretty hot. Apparently this is normal, but I’m adding extra heatsinks and will reapply the thermal paste inside them and add an extra couple fans to the case.  The goal is to drop the temp by 10c across the board, from idle to max load. Right now they peg at about 86-87c, i would like to see them no higher than the mid 70’s.

I have a new computer monitor as well, a 27 inch Acer K727HUL and holy hell I love this monitor. I went from a 17 inch 1080p to 27inch 1440p. Talk about a increase in monitor real estate!

While the NVIDIA quadro 4000’s are not the newest and greatest, the performance increase with these is awesome. Render speed has increased about 5-10x, and where stacking multiple 1080p footage with transitions and extra audio channels used to bog my laptop down, this system handles with ease. It even handles 4k footage with no sweat. This was a big win for me! Now I figure I owe chris some heavy duty website building time for autopilotengaged.com  which he has been wanting to turn into an informative blog site for astrophotography, similar to what I am doing with Biolapse.

 And back to the Mushrooms

Sometimes a victory is needed for morale, so monday I was determined to get these mushroom substrate jars inoculated so i can continue with this project. After monitoring the conditions within the cooler I determined I could move forward and we can finish the cooling mechanism later. We have several more months of colder weather in colorado, so cooling is less of an issue than heating.

I re-sterilized the mushroom substrate about 10am, and after I had put my son to sleep I spend one more cleaning session in the bathroom wiping all the surfaces down with antibacterial Tilex. next, I gathered all the materials I would need for inoculation then hopped in the shower for a long super hot shower. The steam should help drop a lot of contaminates out of the air. I couldn’t help but think of Walter White and laughing when I found myself standing in the bathroom wearing nothing but a towel, latex rubber gloves, and a surgical mask while sterilizing the needle on a large syringe with a torch with about a dozen small jars wrapped in aluminum foil stacked neatly in front of me.

The shit I do for art.

I had 11 substrate jars, I was able to inoculate 7 of them before i ran out of spores. I put all 7 of the inoculated jars as well as 3 of the non-inoculated jars in the incubator. I wanted to put some without any spores in there as well in case there is contamination I should be able to make comparisons against the non-inoculated jars.

Now I wait. Within a week I should start seeing some fungus growing, I will want to keep a sharp eye on them and take notes. With any luck they will all fruit beautiful mushrooms which I will probably shoot in front of a chromakey backdrop. I need to take notes on the growth and speed, plus it will be at least a few months before I am finished building all of the set portions. I will also need to collect spores from this batch so I can re-produce this process and cultivate more mushrooms without having to buy spores each time.


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