memorial day ~

I saw this on fb and thought I'd share:


 Until next time ...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


river and sturgeon ~

It was a beautiful day.  The temps were only in the 60's but the sun was shining and I wasn't complaining.  It was just right for putzing around in my flower beds for a change of pace.

I also had my first harvest of the season ~ some fresh chives :)

I had just finished up with chopping the chives and bagging them for the freezer when my son Sam showed up at the house.

"Mom, can you give me a hand?"

I clapped.

He said, "Not funny.  Will you drive the truck back from the boat landing for me?"

Now that I can do.  

The Flambeau River is about a half mile from our house.  We had the neighbors boat sitting in our yard all week, waiting on Sam to take it down to the landing to launch it for them and take it upstream to their camper trailer.  I would drive back to the neighbors property and pick him up and drop off the boat trailer.  

The neighbors will be up this weekend ... so we needed to get this done for them. You see ~ normally they would do it on their own; but last November Mike (our summertime neighbor) had a bad car accident and isn't getting around as good as he used to.  So Sam volunteered to get the boat in for him and back up to his campsite and to put onto the boat lift.  
Also, Slim's brother built some more steps and a ramp and put up a rail for him to make it easier for going down to the boat dock.  Also, nice wide steps and rails were put in so it'll be easier for Mike to get from his trailer down to the yard and fire pit area (where he spends so much time up here)  from his camper.  He hasn't seen it yet ~ I'm sure he'll be pleasantly surprised.  

When we finished the boat business we, Sam and I, decided to go back to the dam and have a look around.  The dam is just down stream from the boat launch.  After so much rain (and snow melt in May) the river is full to the banks.

~ Pixley Dam ~

This wayside park was built by our 4-H group when I was just a teen.

I have a lot of fond memories of this place ~ swimming in the creek that comes in on the right, fishing the river, clearing the underbrush to make the park, remembering the worse case of poison ivy I've ever seen that my Mom got from it too.  My Dear Hubby too has a lot of fond memories of this place.  He was once a dam tender at all three of the hydroelectric dams on the river. We have spent a lot of time at the Pixley and Crowley Dam with the kids too on fishing expeditions.  

After checking out the water levels at Pixley Dam ~ we decided to drive down to the Crowley Dam a few miles downstream.

~ Crowley Dam ~

At Crowley too, we were quite surprised to see how high the water level was.  Usually there is a bank about 15 feet wide that you can walk on right up to the dam.  Now the water was right up to the bottom step of the hill going down to the shoreline.  No bank fishing here.

~ Sam pointing out some pine pitch on the step and telling me not to step in it.~

Sam was standing at the bottom of the steps and looking upstream ... I was at the top of the steps taking his picture ... WHEN ~
~ when another guy showed up behind me and says, "Holy Sheeze!! Look at the size of that fish!" "That's gotta be at least a 50 inch sturgeon."

Of course, by time we looked we didn't see it.

BUT ~ when I got home and downloaded my pictures I decided to zoom in on that  last picture I took of Sam.

Sure enough ... there it was by the bottom step:

Do you see it?

Show's how much we were paying attention to our surroundings!  

Until next time ...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


mushrooms ~

~ Wine Cap ~
- image from the internet -

Yesterday I attended a workshop for learning how to cultivate mushrooms at Awesome Acres / hosted by Trish Seubert.

~ the fruiting shed ~

Trish's workshop was on the inoculation of the Shiitake Mushroom, Double Jewel, on logs.  She was using Plug Spawn - which looks like a wooden dowel.

She has a nice set up ... rollers for the logs to set on ... 

Holes are drilled into the logs the length and width of the plugs in a diamond pattern the whole length and circumference of the log.

The plugs are then hammered into the holes.

Followed by a brush of warm wax to seal the holes ... 
... don't forget to wax the ends too.  

~ then off they go after getting a name tag to get stacked for a 6 - 18 months, depending on the strain ... I know ... up to a WHOLE YEAR! Talk about a long incubation period ... doesn't an elephant take that long?
~ the laying yard ~

Trish explained how the stacks need to remain low to the ground for moisture retention.  Makes sense to me.

After a year the logs are ready to force into fruiting.  They will do it naturally if the temp and humidity conditions are ideal ... but forcing them to fruit gives you mushrooms when YOU want them :) which is ideal for marketing.

The logs are shocked.  They are soaked in a tub of cold water for 24 hours.  Trish uses a 4 foot long stock tank for this purpose ... because that's the length of her logs.  (you can see the tank in the second picture)

Then they are placed in the fruiting shed ~ until the beautiful little mushrooms appear.

The are stacked standing so you get mushrooms 360 degrees around the log.

A fruiting shed really isn't a requirement of raising mushrooms.  They can be left outside.  Trish says she does it this way because of convenience.  She really has a nice set up ~ complete with a misting watering system in the fruiting shed.  I think I want one :)

See the little shiitakes starting on this log.  She had soaked them on Wednesday and on Saturday they began to fruit. Awesome! 

A 40" log will yield around 2-4 lbs. of mushrooms for several years.  Each flush of mushrooms will average 1/4 to 1/3 lbs and each log is capable of producing fruit about a dozen times a season under optimal conditions.  Each log will produce 4 to 8 years before becoming fully spent.

Trish also had a buffet of mushroom dishes to share. Shiitake Dip, Stuffed Wine Caps with turkey sausage and pork sausage, Pickled Oysters and Shiitakes, a kettle of mushroom soup (I need that recipe!) and some apple bars for dessert.
They were all delish!

Then ... back home to my place ~ Dear Hubby and I, along with our daughter Staci did our mushroom inoculation.  We did another method for planting ~ called the Totem method.  We are planting two different strains of Oyster Mushrooms.  

~ Blue Dolphin Oyster ~
- image from the internet -

~ PoHu Oyster ~
- image from the internet -

Our supplies ... the Sawdust Oyster Spawn, logs (cut and numbered - I'll explain), rubber gloves, plastic bags,  pipe and twist ties. The saw for cutting the pipe.

First ... location ... location.... location.  Can't stress that enough for the growth of mushrooms.  You need an area to grow them where you haven't seen other mushrooms growing.  We do not want our spawn exposed to other strains of mushrooms.

Our spot ... off the edge of our yard amongst some small balsam trees that will provide an adequate amount of shade throughout the day.  We cleared most of the woods litter from the area.

Next ... the inoculation of the logs.

You take a heavy black Contractors garbage bag.  The reason for the contractors bag is because you want something that will hold up to the weather for the next 3 months.  
In the bag you sprinkle a cup of the sawdust spawn on the bottom and then place your first log.  (cut about 12" long and 12" in diameter)

Notice the number on the log.  We purposely number the logs as they are cut so we can stack them by numbers to assure a perfect fit when the next log is set.  You start from the large butt end of the log working your way up as you cut.  This is for stability ~ nobody want's a floppy totem :)

On top of the bottom log you place a layer of mushroom spore sawdust.

Topped by your next numbered log ~

more sawdust ...

... the reason for the rubber glove?  This spawn if from a sterile environment and you don't want to expose it to any body chemicals that may be on your hands.  

Next the cap.  This log is only cut about 6 inches thick.
On top of the cap goes a piece of pipe ~ which is the breather hole.

The bag is then pulled up and secured with tie straps.

All done with the oyster mushrooms ...

The totems will remain in the bags for 3 months ... then the plastic will come off and they should begin fruiting for several years to come.  We should have our first harvest around the end of August.  

- image from the internet -

Next up ... we'll be doing our Shiitake mushrooms on the logs and planting our Wine Caps in the straw/wood chips. 

All guarded by: Mr. Moose

For more information on growing mushrooms visit
This is where I ordered our mushroom spores from.
They have tons of info.

Until next time ...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.


tweet ~

Only a week ago ...

 ... this poor robin was desperately looking for food.

FINALLY ... the snow is gone ~

 ~ do a little dance ...
 ... stop and listen

 ... dance a little more ...
 ... stop and listen ~
 ... oh yeah ... this is the spot ~
Hello Worm ...

Happy Bird!

While the robin was dancing around it was being watched by the pretty goldfinches ...

I put the hummingbird feeder out and within 10 minutes I had a hummer (sorry - no hummer picture) but I did get some shots of this pretty Baltimore Oriole who flew in about 11 minutes after the feeder was up ...

... now to figure out how to get to that sweet nectar ~

 ... ahh ~ that was easy enough ... just sit upright.
It's so nice to finally being able to have our spring.  The weather is already up in the high 70's.  No complaints from me or the tweets :)

Until next time ...
So it goes in my neck of the woods.