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Building against all odds

Hi folks. It has been seven weeks since our last newsletter! For the past many years, I've managed to keep up a regular newsletter every week from May through October, and bi-weekly the other half of the year. I enjoy sharing farm updates with folks (I know many of you enjoying hearing about and seeing all the nitty gritty details) but I decided weekly newsletters was just too much right now.

In addition to being no-staffed, understaffed, and other shenanigans for three and half months, I (the farmer's wife) have been dealing with a herniated disc in my neck for four months. It's hard to sit at a computer for a long time. Since I have a full-time off-farm office job, the last thing I want to do when I'm done for the day is switch to a full evening of farm office work - dealing with emails, sending newsletters, updating our website, etc. So - we've been dropping the ball on just about everything for the last several months!

Part of me wants to make promises about "getting back on track" soon, getting organized again soon, and being better at staying on top of everything. But I'm not going to! I can only do what I can do - and that is true for all of us. And today, I felt like I could do another newsletter.

Those of you who aren't on Instagram and don't follow us there have no idea what's been happing with our new building!

The new building was delivered in several piles about the end of May:

After that we had the gas line (running underground to the packshed) moved so it wouldn't be under the new building. Then the excavators came out and moved a culvert down the road a little bit, excavated a lot of dirt out of the site, then poured in lots of sand and leveled everything out. A quick job with this huge equipment!

The builders arrived at the beginning of June and started putting up all the posts for the building.

This is after the unfortunate incident when the builders augered through the underground electrical line! It only partially broke so we were able to get a patch and temporary power back. A week later, the underground line was retrenched and repaired so building could continue.

There were a few delays due to thunderstorms and rain (but no delay for excessive heat!) and the small crew got back to work putting the building up!

Done! Okay, not really! We need to figure out some plumbing issues, get concrete poured inside the building, attach the two buildings together, get the building insulated, frame in the five fruiting rooms, do all the HVAC, etc! Phew!

We had a lot of money set aside to do this project. Unfortunately, due to an unexpected tax bill, the unexpected electrical fix, and a few other things, we don't have as much as we need at the moment. We really wanted to get in all the plumbing for a bathroom so we could have a second bathroom on the farm and so we could have an official commercial kitchen on the farm someday, but that plumbing job keeps getting more and more expensive. We may have to abandon all of that for some day way in the future so we can at least finish the building. We're considering our options at the moment so we'll see what happens.

In other news, we officially wrapped up log inoculations last Saturday. While it feels good to finally be done with that, the unfortunate news is we only got to half of the logs we planned. We have around 2,000 logs that didn't get inoculated and will go to waste. We just didn't have the staff we needed to get this done. We are thinking about what to do in the future as this sort of thing keeps happening to us, year after year. I think the solution may end up being fewer logs and not "no logs." I am pretty sure we're the only source of log-grown mushrooms in the Twin Cities. If we stop doing it, that's it!

We are really appreciating our two indoor grow rooms right now. The weather this spring and summer has been so weird, so wacky, there have hardly been any log-grown mushrooms yet. We did have a bunch in early May that we just couldn't get to because the shade structure fabric was on top of all the logs making mushrooms hard to pick and we were understaffed. The shade structure is finally up (hooray!) and there just haven't been many mushrooms to pick. It has been windy a lot which dries the logs out. The indoor mushrooms provide, while we wait. And hopefully in the next week or two we'll get started on force-fruiting - the shiitake should grow just fine in the high tunnel, away from all the wind!

Indoor shiitake going bonkers!


FARM TOUR! July 16, 2022

Mark your calendars everyone! We will be part of the 2022 Eat Local Co-Op Farm Tour this coming July! Details about all the farms involved and a map are on the Co-op Farm Tour website.

This has been an annual event for many years organized by many of the co-ops in the Twin Cities. There are farms all over the region that will be on the tour. It's a great chance for folks to get out and see where your food is grown! The tour is from 10am to 4pm. Mark your calendars and we hope to see you then!


Spore discovered a new food he adores! I got this big block of suet - bird seed, sunflower seeds, and bugs all held together by suet (basically fat). Of course he likes it! I think he ate more of it than the birds. I had to keep yelling at him to get down and stop eating that! Ha! Oh Spore.


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