Friday, April 26, 2013

Mushroom Farming?

So maybe not this year...we did give a try this year to growing Shitake mushrooms.  We just received the spawn plugs the other day and got them "planted" ASAP!
Mushroom spawn
 This is the tray of spawn.  I was not sure what to expect and when I saw our mail lady come up the drive I was so excited because I knew these were what she was delivering.  It is very important to be able to put the spawn into the logs as soon as possible.  Lucky for us both K and I were home and our friend E was around to lend a hand and some logs! 
A few weeks back, K was clearing some land and was cutting some alders, beech and apple trees so we kept some branches to use for the mushroom project.  E also had some ash and beech so we used a few different logs to see which was going to work the best.  We will have to wait until possibly fall or for sure next spring to see what the results will be. 
The next step is to drill holes into the logs for the spawn to go into.  These holes have to be 1/2 inch in diameter and set at a certain depth to kept air circulation around the spawn.  These plugs had a styrofoam top to them to protect them once they are placed in the log. 
Precise measurement and accuracy helps for a successful harvest
Placing the spawn

The spawn goes directly into the drilled hole and the cap is just flush with the log. 
Mushroom Farmers?

K and I enjoying the new experience of planting Shitake mushrooms.  We will see what happens hopefully in the fall for our first harvest!

All plugged up...a before picture
This is what the logs look like all filled in with the mushroom plugs.  Can't wait to see what happens next!

After picture
This is what the logs are supposed to look like once the mushrooms start their growing.  We will see if ours does the same. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Under the Hoop House

Green all over!

Greens under the hoop house...success!

Seedlings taking a sunbath and hardening off to get ready for planting
Lots going on at this time of year.  It looks like Spring may have arrived here on the South Shore...lets keep our fingers crossed that it has.  Seedlings are coming along nicely and now it is our job to get the garden ready for them to get out and grow some more.  This week the plan is to put out the Red, Yellow and White cooking onions and also maybe some pea seeds along with some more Spinach and Kale and we will see what else! 

This week our Shitake mushroom spawns are also arriving.  We are going to give it a try to see what happens.  We probably will not see any results until next Spring which is a long time to wait...although if it works...well worth the wait!  We will post photos when we are in the inoculating stage.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blue Gold

Our completed sand water filter

After speaking with our new friends from Blueberry Hill Farm, we decided to take on this project and make our own slow sand filter for our water.  The photo above is our completed model.  We used a cleaned out cooking oil (which is food grade) bucket to create this filter system. 
Copper pipe with holes leading to spigot
The next step was to put a pipe at the bottom with some holes drilled in it so the water can filter out through the tap.  K also added some rocks to assist with further filtration.
K then put a barrier from the pipe to sand which happened to be for us a piece of unbleached organic cotton to stop the sand from going into the pipe and into the water. 
Cotton cloth put in before the sand  

 He then added the sand (which happened to be silica for us as that is what we had) for the water to slow filter through and to catch all the impurities into the sand.  The sand removes pathogens and suspended solids from the water.  We let water run through the sand a few times to rinse it through. 

Pretty simple and a great and economical way to filter your water.  The filter can remove up to 95% ofdirt and cloudiness, and up to 95% or iron.  With our first few weeks of it, we love it and it feels like the water just tastes cleaner.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

HillTop Hoop House

Say that ten times fast...

Planting in the Hoop House
So we decided to give this a try as we wanted to put something in the garden.  K and I put this together a couple of days ago with PVC pipe and heavy duty plastic.  We kept the plastic down for a couple of days to help heat up the soil and boy did it get warm in there!  Not sure of the exact temperature, but it was cooking.

Today we planted some radish, spinach, mesclun mix, mache and cilantro.  Looking forward to seeing what will happen.  K started working the soil in the rest of the garden to get ready for some upcoming planting.  Sure hope the weather keeps getting more spring like!    Next year we are definitely looking into setting up a larger option for season extension on both spring and fall.  The wheels are turning as to what and how to do it and we will keep you posted.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Late is better than Never

Ok...I know this is about me....I do love my new slippers though.  It took me a while, but I managed to find a pair of sheep skin soles with the fleece on the inside, found the wool at a great shop in Halifax called The Loop, and by the way, had excellent customer service and a wonderful neighbour to put them all together for me.  I wish I could say that I made them...perhaps the next pair.

Thats all...just wanted to share my slipper happiness!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

What I ate this winter....

Part of the tomato harvest
This title reminds me of a grade school essay of "What I did this summer".  How this title came about is K and I were discussing our harvest of last year and everything that we saved, canned, froze and bought.  It was pretty interesting to analyze our eating and to see what we had utilized from harvest in September until now. 

Let me take you back in time a bit...last June, K and I had a conversation about buying our staples in bulk for a number of reasons.  The first being cost and the second being to help us make sure we had supplies on hand in case we could not get into town.  So we went to Halifax and purchased our flour, rice and oatmeal along with our stash of harvest foods from the garden in various forms in the freezer or canned or stored.  Here is an idea of what our cupboards looked like

Oats - 30kg
Flour - 75kg
Rice - 18kg
Potatoes - 10lbs
Squash - 30lbs
Dried Beans - 10lbs (lots of homemade baked beans!)
Blueberries - 15lbs
Strawberries - 10lbs
Raspberries - 5lbs
Tomatoes - 24 x 1L jars of sauce, 6X500ml jars of salsa, 10L of salad d'hiver, bags and bags of frozen tomatoes
Beets - 8 x 1L jars of pickled beets
Garlic - 10lbs
Onion - 20lbs

We would have never thought we would eat that much stuff...but we do and also other items that are not listed.  We are going to do this exercise again this harvest and keep a more detailed record.  Perhaps you should as well....