Monthly Archives: April 2013

Resource Thursday

I have been so busy reading the archives of my first highlighted resource below, I completely missed posting Resource Thursday on Thursday! So without further ado – here is a highlight of the new links added to our Sustainability Resources page for everything Local/Sustainable/Eco-Conscious and Green:

Sustainable Lifestyle & Blogs: The Walden Effect – 58 acre homestead in South eastern Virginia going on their 7th year back to the land. A fascinating glimpse into what lies ahead for us on Berry Mountain.

Permaculture Centers of Learning: Fingerlakes Permaculture near Alpine, NY USA

FOOD FOOD FOOD! Eat the Weeds on YouTube

Seed and Plant Suppliers: Bountiful Gardens

Organizations: Center for Wilderness Safety

Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Okay gang! Until next week – let me know if you have a good resource that we should know about.

Save the World. Learn and Grow.

Beautiful World Wednesday

Your weekly pictorial reminder why the planet is worth saving.

Save the World.

Teaching Tuesday: Edible Garden at W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax VA

It’s hard for me to find a more worthwhile endeavor than putting kids in gardens.

Teaching young people about the natural cycles of life, getting their hands dirty, showing them where food comes from? All of that is precious and valuable.

My friends Debby and Russell of Prior Unity Garden installed an edible courtyard garden today at W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, Virginia. Students from the school helped them plant the nut trees and berry bushes, then label them with signs explaining the species and their usefulness.

It was a gorgeous spring day in Virginia. Maybe more seeds than we know were planted today.

Save the World. Teach the Next Generation.

DIY Monday: Mushroom Logs

MMmm. Mushrooms.
Today I spent some time out at nearby beautiful Winfield Farm helping them set up their new farmers’ market mushroom log operation.

Unlike most of the lectures I have attended on mushroom cultivation, today we used BIG poplar logs for the medium of the shiitake spore. In all previous lectures, we were told to stick with oak logs, preferably no larger than 6 inches in diameter. Today the logs ranged from 18 inches across to almost two and a half feet and came directly from the property.

The bigger the log, the longer it will take for the mycelial bodies to completely colonize and begin fruiting into the tasty, tasty mushrooms we are waiting for.

However, if you pack a LOT of spores into the log? The wait time will be mitigated.

Therefore: Voila! A system of inoculation I had, heretofore, not known existed: Scarring and stuffing.

1. Instead of drilling holes into which spore is stuffed (either as sawdust or dowels), long trenches are chainsawed along the length of the log about 3 inches deep, about 4 inches apart. Roll the log to trench along the entire perimeter.

2. Soak the trenches deeply with water.

3. Pack the spore densely into a trench, leaving a bit of headroom at the top.

4. Plug the remaining headspace with a completely soaking wet natural fiber rope (either cotton or hemp.)

6. Make sure to cut the rope longer than the log so that it overhangs the end that will be eventually stood upon to serve as a wick for moisture coming from the ground.

7. Tack the rope along the length with stainless steel brads to keep it from shifting.

8. Repeat this process in the next trench until the entire log has been saturated.

9. Upend the log where it will rest so that the wick ends make contact with the earth.

10. Keep the log moist, as the mushroom spore will die if it dries out.

11. Wait a year (or two) – and enjoy your mushrooms!

Our mushroom expert Holli said that logs this size could continue producing for over TEN years! Fantastic! What a great reason to get some friends together the next time you see free fresh hardwood advertised in your neighborhood! Mushroom Party!

Save the World. Grow Your Own.

Fun Day Fridays: Berry Mountain visioning

Sometimes you are lucky enough to realize that the dreams you have always had have somehow turned into plans.

That’s what Berry Mountain is like for me: my dream self-sufficient homestead, a retreat from the world, a return to a simpler, more natural way of life, a gathering place for friends and family, a place to learn, teach, grow and grow old.

This Friday morning I spent sketching the 325th version of the Master Plan for our 30 acres, this time adding a second greenhouse and a new spot for a few more wine grapes.

Hey. Any girl can dream. This girl plans.

Save the World. Make your home.