1.29.2011

Shiitake Log Inoculating Day!!

This morning I woke up early and so excited to meet new people and learn about this whole shiitake mushroom process. After about eight cups of coffee I was ready to hit the road. I picked up Jason and we get to this beautiful piece of property, called Taylor Creek Farm about 10am. 
The couple that owned the farm, Michelle and Chuck,  are awesome. We immediately got a tour of the land. They had built the nicest chicken coop I had ever seen (not that I have seen that many) entirely out of recycled materials. It was really amazing. Then we looked at a few ideal spots for the logs to lay after inoculation. Talked about different approaches to grass fed cattle, genetically modified foods, and the ideal way to provide for your family.  
These people knew what they were doing and weren't playing around. From building a greenhouse to mixing their own soil, they already had a good lead on the upcoming year's crops. 
After a few other people arrived we were ready to begin this inoculation assembly line shiitake party! Melissa and Jacob started drilling the holes, then the log came on down to myself and Michelle where we were the inoculators, then we sent it on down to Jason and Andy who had the official job titles of "the daubers" - then it was time to tag the log with the strain of shiitake and today's date.  We ended up doing around 50 logs.
I was surprised at how much we got accomplished in a matter of around 4 hours. It will take on average 6 months to 2 years to have mushrooms. Now let's wait and see......
Jason and I have made some new friends and are continuing to learn about different types of sustainable agriculture.  I also just read that Whole Foods, Organic Valley, and Stoneyfield Farms have surrendered to Monsanto. Unless everyone starts learning NOW how to grow your own food and save seeds, what you eat will be completely out of your hands. Be smart - and if you are oblivious to what it takes to grow your own food like me, then get out there and learn!

1.28.2011

Grow Shiitake Mushrooooooms? What is THAT?

So I get a message asking if I want to go to Hartwell to inoculate some shiitake mushroom logs. Sounds strange. I don't even know what that means. So of course I agree. Then I start 'Googling'.  Ohhhh. OK. Looks pretty cool! Annnd I just happen to be training for this race called "Tough Mudder" and in the race you have to run part of the way carrying logs. This is perfect! Turns out we will be inoculating around 100 logs. I don't even eat mushrooms, but this is the year I am making a change. This year I am committed to trying EVERYTHING we grow/ harvest/ trade.
Jason met this couple in Hartwell when he sold them some chickens. They had been apprenticing on a farm and wanted to be able to have their own fresh eggs. 
I ask Christian and my friend Lauren if they want to learn how to grow shiitake mushrooms and they both are in for the learning experience.....can't wait to get down and dirty with some manual labor and learn about something that I know nothing about but I will keep you posted!

1.22.2011

Winter break is over - Let's make a plan for 2011!!

So it has officially been five months since we had a "true" farming experience. Jason has informed me he had access to some new land we could possibly use for our garden space. We decide to have a planning dinner. We planned on cooking and eating only what was grown/ bartered from Jason's farm. 
I get there and the wheels start turning immediately. We hop in the truck and ride through a couple of pastures to find the perfect spot (preferably next to a creek so we can have total natural water source). We find two ideal spots both next to creeks. Now to get the soil tested by the local county extension office to see what we will be working with. 
After looking at the land, I realize that instead of cooking dinner at Jason's like planned, I am actually going to a local church to have a chicken mull dinner. If you are unfamiliar with what that is, it is a type of creamy chicken soup made with only chicken, milk, and salt and pepper that you eat with saltine crackers - you can only get it in and around Athens (about a 30-mile radius) at a few places, and is absolutely unique to Georgia. I know what you are thinking...it doesn't SOUND appetizing at all, but it is delish!! So dinner was good and Jason's mom, dad, and two children and a niece and nephew accompanied us. The conversation was great and revolved around processed foods and additives as well as genetically modified foods. 
Working farms like Jason's family had decades ago don't stand a chance in today's world. We talked about Dr. Gerson for a bit when the topic of two friends of the family had types of cancer. If you are not familiar with Dr. Gerson, you should look him up. He treated ailments and illnesses with NUTRITION. He cured disease with NUTRITION. This is what we decided we wanted to do differently with 2011. We decided to devote this year to nourishing ourselves. It is a big step and takes dedication and actually paying attention to what we put in our mouths. 
After dinner we went back to Jason's house where there were mounds of pecans just waiting to be munched on. I had brought over some chocolate and we made delicious yummy concoctions with the pecans and other goodies. After terrorizing the children at Jason's house, my work was done. It was time to go home and let Christian (my boyfriend) sample some of our homemade goodness! Until next time......