The chicks are one week old! They all survived the USPS trip here and a week of hot weather which has actually been a great benefit. Chicks need 95 degree heat the first week. I don’t know that I have ever gotten through the first week with no fatalities before so we are celebrating. The photo is a little fuzzy. It was hard to take the picture and hold the chick at the same time, but you can see that the baby fuzz is beginning to turn into feathers. This chick might be a New Hampshire Red – or it might be a Buff Orpington. Hard to tell the difference at this stage.
On my Saturday rounds I stopped at my neighbor’s house to trade fresh laid eggs for a box of winecap mushrooms. Al Canali and his wife are wonderful cooks, and gardeners. Mushrooms are Al’s latest enthusiasm. He took this photo of the winecaps before harvest.
I took this photo of the Winecap farm after harvest. It is located in the damp shade under arching shrubs. All it took was good compost, wood chips and Winecap spawn. Al’s descriptions of how easy it is to grow Winecaps have inspired me. I think I have a perfect spot.
After inspecting and tasting the Winecaps (delicious and nutty!) then visiting the Winecap farm, Al took me to his mushroom nook. He said he originally envisioned a Mushroom Nation, then thought a Mushroom State would suffice. He later thought a Mushroom Town would be adequate but now says he is satisfied with his Mushroom Nook where he has over 100 logs inoculated with shiitake and oyster mushrooms.
This area gets only two hours of sun a day, but it could be even shadier, Al said. You can see he has his bathtub for soaking the logs before (or maybe just after) inoculating them with the mushroom spawn. You can just see the handle of the copper drill behind Al. Each log is drilled with multiple holes which are then filled with the spawn.
Al explained that the white streaks indicate that the log is well inoculated, and that mushroom should result.
The light colored spot on this log is a ‘ping’, a sign that a mushroom will appear here soon.
Al has labeled piles of logs for warm weather and cold weather mushrooms. Last year he said they had so many mushrooms that they ate them fresh, dried them and made duxelles, a mixture of minced mushrooms sauteed in butter with a little onion or shallots and a bit of wine, which they froze and were able to use over a long period of time. I’m not ready to drill logs or find a shady nook on my sunny hill, but the idea of winecaps growing in wood chips is enticing.
The report from my garden is that bloom is bustin’ out all over. The peonies are opening. Most of my peonies are shades of pink.
This may be my only deeply colored peony, although I did plant a Coral Charm a week or so ago.
The rugosa roses are always the first to bloom and have been out for about a week, but all of a sudden this rose burst into bloom. There is a lot of ‘all of a sudden’ this spring in the garden. As I look around at the beginning of rose bloom I am wondering whether we will have to change the date of the Annual Rose Viewing. But I am not ready to make a decision yet. Stay tuned.