Thursday, May 15, 2014

Unity Farm Journal - Third Week of May 2014

Last Fall, Kathy and I inoculated 165 logs with 11 different subtypes of Shitake.   The typical “spawn run” of Shitake is 1 year, so we expected our first early flushes of mushrooms in October.  Imagine my surprise when I found that 5 subtypes fruited last weekend.    Here’s a picture of WR46, one subtype, with my boot in the background.   We carefully harvested all the mushrooms and we’ll prepare the fresh mushrooms to compare and contrast their flavors and textures.

I’m in China from May 18-24, but we’ve prepared our new outdoor mushroom beds for inoculation of additional almond mushrooms when I return memorial day weekend.   This warmth loving mushroom is already growing in our hoop house which is typically 80 degrees+ this time of year.     In New England, we’ve been careful to avoid outdoor planting before Memorial Day given the possibility of freeze.   Almond mushrooms cannot survive below 35F

We’ve built “fodder boxes” - hardware cloth covered 4’ x 8’ frames to protect newly planted grass from ducks, chickens and guinea fowl.    Now that we’ve finished the grading around the barnyard, we’ve planted a tough, drought resistant fescue.   The fodder boxes will enable us to “open the salad bar” when the grass is mature enough to survive a poultry feast.

Although I have a brief May trip to China and a few days in Japan in July, I have limited my international travel to ensure I have time for all my varied life responsibilities.   Rather than bring the family to Asia, we’ve worked to bring Asia to the family, turning a portion of Unity Farm into a moss covered Zen garden.   This year marks my 30th wedding anniversary.   For my 15th anniversary, I transported a 500 pound granite stone bench from a quarry in Western Massachusetts to our backyard in Wellesley.   Now that same bench and a Japanese lantern are the focal points of the Zen garden, surrounded by native cedars and rhododendrons.  

The trail signs arrived to complete the bridges I built for the vernal pond trail, cattail hollow trail, and forget-me-not glen.     I look forward to the day when visitors can explore the hidden wonders of the 15 acres

Finally, I’ve finished clearing the 10 fallen poplars that were knocked down during hurricane Sandy.    The wood will not leave the property - it will soon become wood chips that will be returned to the forest trails.

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