Saturday, September 20, 2014

DIY Magic Mushrooms......that's geocaches of course

We've all found them. You know, those “magical” little geocaches that scream “originality”, bring a smile to your face and your log reflects the effort gone into the cache and the container. I have the good fortune to own a few of these types of caches and it is very rewarding. Today, I want to take a look at a simple, yet very cool little cache that will make your seekers smile all the way back to to log their find. The Magic Mushroom Geocache, and you can make one yourself with today’s DIY!

Awhile back I wrote a DYI on building a mushroom A Fungus Among Us” (feel free to reference this post for additional instructions).  I wanted to revisit this topic because I found that the previous product that I used to create these mushrooms did not hold up in the field as well as I would have hoped. Even with an epoxy skin, moisture within the finished product would work against the longevity of its composure. I have tried a few different types of products over the past several months to remedy this problem. I found an “air dry” polymer based clay that dries like iron and has very low shrink “meaning low moisture”. Today we’ll use this product in making our mushroom from start to finish.
Geocache container called, “The Magic Mushroom"

An art degree is absolutely not necessary however; your adventure for fun is a perquisite. Similar to a kid with a container of Play Dough, you should have a blast building your mushroom. Geocaching gives you a reason to climb trees, explore caves, wade across creeks and now you can play with clay too! Life is good!

What you’ll need to make a mushroom geocache:

·         A small watertight plastic container about 3 inches long

·         4 inch nail

·         Polymer modeling clay

·         5 minute epoxy

·         2 or 3 Small flat tip (disposable) paintbrushes

·         Acrylic paints

·         Paint brushes

That’s it! Let's get started!

1.       On a clean work space, pull a small portion of clay from the block and start to knead it to soften it up.

Split it in half. One half will be the cap and the other the stem.

2.       Start to round and flatten the cap. Don’t make it too thin or it will be too fragile. Folks are going to grabbing this portion of the mushroom to pick up the cache. Make it tough and about ½ inch thick.

3.       Then roll out the stem and flatten it a little thinner but still tough.
4.       Roll the container in the stem leaving the threaded area free and clear. Seal and blend the stem.

5.       Attach the stem to the cap and mold your work of art into what you kind of want it to look like.
6.       Allow to dry for a few hours reshaping your masterpiece until you are happy with the end result.  As it dries it will firm up and be less susceptible to “drooping” into a less desirable shape.
7.       LET YOUR WORK DRY thoroughly. There will be some surface cracks and shrinkage and that’s ok but it takes several “dry” days for your mushroom to dry completely.  Don’t rush it. Fine everlasting art takes time grasshopper.

8.       Now it’s time to paint. I use water base acrylics because they dry quickly and blend easily. Again,
because you are adding moisture you’ll need to dry it for a few days again. A day or two in direct sunlight does wonders. DO NOT PUT IT IN THE OVEN! This slow drying process actually adds to its strength in the long run.

9.       You’ll want your mushroom to last a good long time and keep it’s good looks so now it’s time to add the armor. 5 Minute epoxy is my product of choice. You’ll be doing this in steps to avoid a mess. Mix just enough to do the cap, hold the stem and “paint” the epoxy on the cap of the project. Let it sit for an hour and then hold the cap and paint the epoxy on the stem. Let dry overnight.

10.   Under direct light inspect your mushroom. You’ll see some “dull” spots on the otherwise shinny new surface exposing areas that were missed. Mix up some epoxy and get them covered. If you live in a “hard winter” area like me, you’ll want to do a complete second coat or at least on the cap for added durability.

11.   Take the cap of the container and drill a hole smaller than the nail diameter, add a drop of epoxy and push the nail through the cap to work as a spike for the ground. Put some epoxy on the outside of the nail area where it meets the cap as well to hold it firmly in place. Watch not to interfere with the threading at all.

12.   In the end with just a little more epoxy, make sure the plastic tube is secure, the nail is strong and the entire area of the mushroom (watch the nooks and crannies under the cap) is sealed in a skin of epoxy protection.

13.   Let the entire project rest and cure for a few dry days.

14.   I like to leave them shinny but you may want to take the shine off with just a very light sanding of some #220 sandpaper. However, it will naturally dull if left alone.

15.   Load it up with a small ziplock and a new CacheCrazy,Com log and get ready for the fun to start!
Anyone can place a 35mm film container, magnetic key box, little bison tube or Lock N Lock and they are all cool in their own way but, they lack the “magic” one enjoys when they find this type of cache.  A handmade geocache is recognized by seekers everywhere and appreciated for its originality! Make some magic of your own today!

Have fun and cache crazy!


PS ~ My friend nucci6 had a similar issue with the old mushroom cache that I sent him. So, I made a replacement and I'm sending it to him. It will reside at GC2RZP1, The Mushroom Cache at Penn State University mushroom research center. A very cool location indeed for this work of art.

Show your total cachecoolness, use a CacheCrazy.Com log

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Did you ever have a hankering for something good to eat? I mean something really, really good, but you just couldn't find it anywhere! Well then Jungle Jim's International Market is the place to go.

Jungle Jim's is located in several states and we visited the one in Fairfield, Ohio.  Jungle Jim's has more than 300,000 square feet of shopping space. And if you can't find what your looking for at this store then it probably doesn't exist.

At the entrance are a number of animals waiting to greet you.

                     The elephants even spray water into the little pond as the waterfall cascades beyond them.

Once inside you are greeted by none other than "Jungle" Jim Bonaminio and you are given a map of the store. Sort of a street map of where everything is located.

As we walked around we came upon some cheese. Now this is not your average cheese log. This happens to be a 773 pound cheese log. Now that's a lot of cheese. It will age for one year and then it will be cut for people to enjoy.

They also have all sorts of wild game for the outdoorsman to try. Just take a look at this video of some of their foods. If you watch you'll even see a sign for python fillets.

They also have one of the largest wine sections around the area with plenty of beer to boot, but since we are not drinkers we did not stay in that area too long. Oh, did I mention they have a tasting bar there. We passed on that too.

They also have plenty of other bars there too. They have a cheese bar, a fruit bar, a cigar bar and many others. One of the places we did stop though was the Candy Bar. Pun intended.

                        How about some Pez Candies?

By now, since we had been tasting some food and had drank a lot of water on the way down here, it was time to visit the little boys room. What I wasn't expecting was having to use a port-a-potty in such a nice place. Well be prepared if you do go to have to use one.

Ladies here you go. Oh, and Men you're not off the hook either. And to top if off there is a throne you can actually sit on.

                         Now let me take you inside for a tour. This is what you see upon opening up the potty door. And the next picture is around the corner.

I couldn't believe they got all of that to fit into a port-a-potty. It has to have been the nicest bathroom I've seen in a long time.

We then went on to the place I really wanted to visit. It has to be the hottest place around. So hot they have a fire truck hanging around. That's right it was the Hot Sauce section. I've never seen so many different types of hot sauces. These ranged not only in heat levels, but in price too. Here are some of the types they have and then you'll see the price of some of them.

Notice that some of them are totally clear. They look like water, but I don't think I'd want to drink it, but then who knows?

Don't let your eyes deceive you. That REALLY does say $4999.00 per bottle. Yes I bought a bottle, but NO I did not buy any of those bottles. I'm more along the lines of $4.50 per bottle. Hey, I don't make that much money. Besides, my wife would have killed me. She thinks I have too many bottles already. Haha; you can never have too many bottles of hot sauce.

Well this has to be the best store I've visited in a long time. We did enjoy it and we did buy some real goodies. They even have real goat heads, as well as sheep heads in the freezer section. My wife has always wanted to try clotted milk so she did buy some. I'll stick to the hot sauce thank you.

On the way home we did stop at a very nice Veteran's Memorial to find a Geocache. It was a nice tribute to all who have served.

So if you have never visited Jungle Jim's I would highly suggest that you do. It's worth the trip. Besides, maybe you'll find something interesting to eat like Bug Candy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Why Not Wednesday ~ A Fungus Among Us


Be sure to check out CacheCrazy.Com on 
Saturday September 20th and 
I'll show you how to make an awesome  
Magic Mushroom Geocache. 
It's a DIY special!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hiking to St. Mary's Glacier

Editors Note: This awesome post was from Kim's blog, Snug Harbor Bay from July of 2011 but hey, it was so good we just had to bring it back again! Wait until you see the glorious pictures of family fun, awesome landscapes and geocaching too! Let's go!

We just got back from a quick little trip to Colorado.  I've been wanting to get out there for ages, so I cashed in my credit card miles for my ticket and for my birthday my husband bought my daughter a ticket so she could join me.  Talk about the perfect gift!

We crammed a ton of stuff into our 5 day mini trip, but I'm going to tell you about THE highlight first.  On Sunday we decided to take a hike up to St. Mary's Glacier.   The glacier is located just outside the town of Alice.  We drove up the mountain to one of 2 parking areas and then walked over to the trail leading to the top.  

This is what it looks like at the beginning of the trail...
The higher we went, the more rocky it became.  The hike wasn't bad at all.  If I were to do it again though, I'd be sure to wear hiking boots and take a walking stick.  I hadn't brought my hiking boots with me, so I did it in gym shoes.  Going up wasn't bad but I did a little more sliding than I cared to on the way down.  Lesson learned - no more trips without hiking boots and I need to buy a collapsible walking stick.

At the top of the trail was a crystal clear lake....

We posed around the lake for awhile, but the base of the glacier in the distance was calling to us, so before long we were headed up another trail.  Chablis & I took turns carrying the pack.  You can see "Travelling Snoopy" who always goes along for the ride.
At the base of the mountain it was in the high 90's that day.  
By the time we reached the lake, the wind was blowing with a vengence and it was very comfortable temperature wise.  We were anxious to go play with the snow in August.

Skiiers and snowboarders were hiking up and down with their equipment and enjoying the snow.

We continued up a trail leading to the glacier.  There was a steady stream of people up and down the trail so apparently we weren't the only ones trying to beat the heat that day.
Half way up we enjoyed this view....
When we hit the base of the snow, this is the view that greeted us!
We played in the snow for awhile....
And then continued climbing upward....

Yes, that lake in the background is where we had taken pictures earlier.

Each view was better than the one before it.  We kept scrambling around from rock to rock and kept snapping picture after picture.  Personally, I could have stayed up there for hours.  It was so beautiful up there, the sky was so blue and the air was incredibly clean.  All too soon it was time to start heading down.

We took a break by the lake to catch our breath, drink some water and take some more pictures.  

I decided that I should walk barefoot in the lake since I may never get another chance to wade in a glacier fed lake.  Within 30 seconds my feet were frozen.  That water was COLD!

After one last look around, we headed back down....
And wouldn't you know it, but there was actually a geocache hidden along a side trail, so we hurried over and found it quick....

I can easily say that this was one of the "best days" of my life.  I was hiking on a mountain and playing in the snow, higher up than I had ever been before, with my daughter, my sister and her family.  John Denver's song "Rocky Mountain High" kept running through my mind.   I was on Cloud 9 the rest of the day.  I would go back and do that hike again in a minute.  


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