Monday, April 29, 2013

Update on Mushroom Hunting

We're finally starting to find a size-able amount of mushrooms around here.  I had several people comment on our facebook page that they wanted more information on how to find mushrooms, and how to know what they are doing when mushroom hunting.  Here is a nice reference to what edible morel mushrooms look like, and what "false morels" look like.  This website has some great pictures that show you the difference between the edible variety and the non-edible varieties (which do look very similar).  The only other advice I have it to find a nice wooded area, and look down.  I find it easiest to stand in one spot for a time and scan the area all around me before moving on.  

Happy Hunting!
-posted by Jayne

Friday, April 26, 2013


We can't seem to stop thinking about mushrooms this week.  It's morel season in Ohio... the red buds are blooming, the May apples are growing.  It's getting warm, yet the ground is damp... this means morels start popping up and it's time to go find them.  We go out every other day looking for them, and regardless of whether we find them or not, it is a great excuse to spend some time with friends in the woods.

My first mushroom find of the season... small, yet quite the prize.
Yes, it really is that small!
This past winter we sold honey at the Clintonville Farmer's Market and had the pleasure of selling next to Swainway Urban Farm, which produces these gorgeous Oyster mushrooms shown in the photo below.  Oyster mushrooms are so intricate and beautiful!  After talking with Jen about how they grow them, and also getting some advice from Margaret Wince of Somerset Herbs, I decided to try my hand at growing our own mushrooms.  Margaret recommended Field and Forest Mushrooms out of Michigan to supply the tools needed to get started.

I bought enough supplies to innoculate 12 logs, which is about 750 plugs.  I chose the plug method because it was recommended for beginners.  

Supplies: Mushroom Plug Spawn, 5/16" wood spade bit, aluminum tags for labeling

Here is a close up of the plug spawn.

We headed out to find the perfect tree along the stream.
I'm glad I married someone with chain saw skills.

Holes are drilled about 6" width, 2" apart in a diamond pattern.
Yes, that's my toddler below, playing with a tape measure.  Did you know that a tape measure can provide 45 minutes of contentment for a 17 month old?  I am not exaggerating.  I don't know why people buy so many toys for kids.

Plus spawn is gently hammered in the holes.

Plugs are coated with a hot layer of melted beeswax.  

From here, I need to do more reading on how to water/store my logs.  I know innoculation happens best between temps of 65-85 degrees, and the logs need at least 1" of water a week (by rainfall or a garden hose).  These logs should produce mushrooms in about one year, and can continue to produce mushrooms for up to 8 years.

You know the rule:  Cut down a tree, plant another one!
The tulips are in bloom, and the kids love to cut bouquets.

 Friday night was really cold, so we decided to cut an abundance just in case they would get nipped by the extreme temperatures.  Maizy took the job really seriously, and when I tried to get her to smile for the camera she said, "I can't Mom, I have to keep cutting these!!"

We've also been inspired by the song "Tea Party" by Frances England.  So we set up a little nook in the trees and had a tea party.  The kids informed me that you had to have milkshakes and graham crackers at a tea party.  I hope to add a little fabric tent canopy this summer, clear away some of the brush, and make this area a nice little get-a-way place for the kids to play.

We also began some renovations on the back of our house.  We're adding a laundry room, a mud room, and "breakfast nook" in the kitchen.  We currently don't fit around our kitchen table very well, so the extra space will help out.  I can't wait to show you the before and after photos.

But why is Uncle Perry digging in to the back of our house?

Isaac has been busy this week, moving bees to pollinate apple orchards, bottling honey, making splits with new queens, and making honey deliveries.  You'll see another blog post from him, coming soon.  Have a wonderful weekend!  It's our last Worthington Winter Market of the season.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A little arrow of Truth

-Posted by Isaac

I was out painting equipment in front of the barn yesterday and I got to watch the following:
A car pulls up to the farm stand, and a lady with her young son get out and make their way over. Maizy, just milling around and being Maizy, immediately takes it upon herself to give the boy a tour.
"This is Honeyrun Farm. We have lots of bees."

(She points at the old tanks and extractors)
"And lots of Honeyrun Farm... umm... stuff..."

Maizy shows off our junk pile
Maybe it's time for some Spring cleaning.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Purple Deadnettle

-Posted by Isaac

A quick blog post to show what the bees are doing as these April days continue to brighten and warm. This early ground-covering plant is called purple deadnettle. You can see the small purple flowers, and in this photo, a bee collecting pollen (center).

The pollen is an impressive bright red. The last few days have been good for collecting and the bees have been bringing it to the hives by the wagonload.

This is a rich source of protein for the growing brood nest.
The Good Life in early April: 

 This stuff is everywhere- fields, roadsides and gardens. It can stay around awhile but the farmers will spray it down soon, as other weeds start coming on.

Fields get sprayed, gardens get tilled.
Usually there is only about a one or two week window for collecting the delicious red pollen

 And for making pretty deadnettle bouquets for Mommy.