Hello fall and… October??
This snowy scene is from last Tuesday. It has snowed a little almost every day for the last week and the temperatures have been very cold, making this look and feel more like January than October! Even so, the high tunnel is staying just warm enough for a last few shiitake to get big enough to pick.
Every year it’s a guessing game about when to take the shade fabric down from our shade structure. We didn’t know we were going to be in for THIS much snow, but we did decide to take the fabric down last Friday, just before all the snow started. Thank goodness! Even though the weather folks think we’re going to get a few days in the 50s next week, I think the fabric is down for the year.
Whatever we call this wacky season we’re in, we’re not picking as many mushrooms outside so it’s time for projects!
One big project is a new fruiting chamber. We have a shed on the farm that has been with us since we were on the Maplewood property. It has been an inoculation space and then a storage shed, and now we’re going to convert it into a new, bigger fruiting chamber! We’ve been preparing the ground outside the pack-shed before the ground freezes and we can’t dig anymore. Some day soon we’re going to have to figure out how to get this rather large shed from its current spot (resting on stacks of pallets by the house) over to its new home. I’m sure that will be a fun story for a future newsletter! Stay tuned!
At the same time, we are preparing to get the pack-shed insulated. We are very excited about this! Some of you may remember stories from the past… taking my cup of tea out there to do some work, and the tea freezes in my mug… having to run a hair dryer on the computer monitor in order to get it to stay on for 3 seconds at a time because it’s too cold! Also, did you know tape stops wanting to stick when it’s too cold? We’re doing more and more work in the pack-shed in cold temperatures and it’s going to make a huge difference to have it a bit warmer in there.
First step: cleaning up and moving out almost everything so there is space to work! We’re in the midst of that and hoping the insulation project will happen within the next week or two.
This is of course in addition to continuing to grow and harvest mushrooms in the fruiting chamber, making our pates and butters so there are enough to keep you all stocked up, and starting our logging work for the year. Phew! A mushroom farmer’s work is never done!
(p.s. I’m on a little winter project to add stories from our newsletter to our website blog – which I’ve been terrible at doing! So I’m adding in some posts and back-dating them in case anyone wonders what’s up!)