Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Okay, enough with the preachy poetic stuff. Let's get back to the fun of raising, tending, preparing, and eating yummy earth-grown things! I have piglets to praise, bees to buzz about, and other farm projects to share. There's a wee Golden Comet pullet-chick snuggled into my shoulder, peeping quietly at me as I type. (She was brought into the house for a wee-wash-up of the sort chicks sometimes need. Once she's fully dry and warm, she'll go back to join the others under the heat-lamp in the barn.) This fuzzy, bustling, chirrupping little bird anchors me firmly in that multi-tasking yet fully-present and delighted state of being toward which all farmers strive.

In the midst of all this busy-ness, I'd like to introduce my favourite new blog: Midnight Cookies. The writing and kitchen wizardry are the result of a fruitful pairing: a Tir na nOg Wild Girl and her culinarily-gifted Sweetie! (Aye, this proud mama is utterly biased, but also fairly certain you'll enjoy our "borrowed daughter" and her blog as much as we do.)

The most recent "Midnight Cookies" post is inspired by mushrooms. So, it happens, are we. Here on the farm, we've been reading Paul Stamets' phenomenal book: "Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World." We got so excited we ordered several packages of mushroom spawn to start our own patches of gourmet mushrooms. It seems like a perfect solution to two of our ongoing land-management questions: what can we do with a perpetually boggy, shady area that defies all attempts at cultivation, and how shall we most profitably dispose of the non-native silver maples and weedy alders creeping into our woods? Maple and alder trees, it turns out, may be cut into logs and used to host several varieties of sought-after edible mushrooms. A wet area useless for fruit trees and berry bushes may be quite suitable for mushroom cultivation!

We'll let you know how it goes, but--contrary to popular opinion--mushrooms don't just spring up overnight. The mycelium must first be well-established. Our first harvest will likely come 9-12 months from now, when the patch has been carefully tended and conditions are right to initiate the first crop. After that, though, we may be able to enjoy several years of mushrooms from the same patch. It's a whole new learning curve, a whole new area of farming. We may be nuts, but we also intend to be well-fed!


Mama Pea said...

Sounds as if you're doing a good job of making lemonade out of lemons! My better half has always been interested in learning how to raise mushrooms (one of those things that's been on his list for 'bout 40 years) so I shall keep him up-to-date on your adventures.

Your homestead must be bursting at the seams with all your animules and other interesting projects. (Won the lottery yet so you can stay home and be a full-time farmer?? If only I could make it happen for you, I would.)

Baker + Braiser said...

Thank you for the advertisement! Can't wait for all of our combined potential fungal, barn raising, wind powered, recipe writing future plans!