Hello from the toasty hot farm! The big news is that we finally wrapped up 2021 inoculations! We really wanted to clear 4,000 logs so Jeremy and Craig inoculated another pile of logs on Friday and we got to 4,038!
It would be MUCH better for the logs and for us if inoculations were done by sometime in May, or even by the end of April. That is always the goal and it seems like something is always happening to delay us. But I continue to be optimistic - I'm sure next year we're going to make that goal!
As I mentioned last week we have started our force-fruiting season which is very exciting. Unfortunately, 2019 is still following us around. Back in 2019 we started a new process of incubating logs in our shade structure instead of moving them all out to the woods. It saves us a lot of time and energy to do this and it's nice to have the logs close at hand for when they start naturally fruiting in the fall.
In 2019 the process was still new to us and we had a lot to learn - like the logs aren't as protected as they are in the woods so we have to do more to keep the wind off, and we need to water them more. We had also just finished the expansion of the shade structure to house all these logs when the tornado came through and wrecked the expansion. We didn't have time right away to put it all back up so those incubating logs were directly under the shade fabric and maybe in some spots not covered. They didn't incubate as well as they could have, unbeknownst to us, so when we first forced them in 2020 they didn't fruit at all! We were panicked for a little bit there! We ended up fruiting all the 2018 logs first to give the 2019 logs more time and then they fruited okay. Phew!
Now here we are in 2021 starting to fruit those 2019 logs again...and they aren't doing well. We aren't sure why. Is it because the 2019 logs were just too stressed and they're all bad? Is it because our weather this year has been so awful (hot and dry!)? Mysteriously, the first week of 2019s fruited okay, but the second week was very poor. Only time will tell, but we're feeling pretty stressed out about this. Our yields and sales will be down significantly if we only have half the logs available to us actually fruiting. My fingers are crossed and I feel like that's all I can do.
In other, non-mushroom, news, we finally have chickens again! We had chickens for almost 10 years and then we took a "little break" that turned into 4 years! But what self-respecting farm doesn't have chickens?? =) We wanted particular breeds and I guess everyone else did too so there was quite a delay. We ordered them in mid-March and they just showed up last Thursday.
We got Light Brahmas, Ameracauna, Speckled Sussex, Silver Laced Wyandotte, and apparently a "surprise chick," which is a gimmick of the hatchery we ordered from. They are adorable peeping fluffballs right now.
I think this is an Ameracauna - they have adorable fluffy cheeks.
They sleep a LOT.
And they tend to sleep in whatever position they're in when they suddenly feel sleepy. I've seen them do this a number of times - big leg stretch, and then pass out!
We've got them under heat lamps in a big stock tank. It will probably be a month before they're big enough to move into their actual coop and adventure outside... or maybe 6-8 weeks. It's been so long I can't remember!
But for now they're very cute and we spend a little time with them every day, taking our minds off other worries.
I think it's even a bit too warm for Spore, who has been laying around sleeping a lot the last several days. But he still chooses to sleep in a patch of sun on the floor!