This wasn’t exactly a barn raising, but it was done with similar speed. It is true that I have prepped the site since last fall – to put in ground anchors and post anchors, prep posts and hook up cabling, but prompted by our summer weather in late winter, we raised the shade structure last Thursday. After putting in the center posts and stringing the last cables, my volunteer and I tightened every cable clamp and then the turnbuckles. When one ground anchor pulled up we put two in its place – and in better spots. Then we pulled hundreds of lbs. of shade fabric up onto the structure, pulling a few feet up at a time at each bay again and again until the leading edge met the ground on the other side!
The result is a sublimely open shade structure. With clips at the perimeter to hold the shade fabric, we will be able to open the walls partially or completely for ventilation. You will see lots of open space; if I can get all my logs inoculated, this unused area will be filled with freshly inoculated logs. Speaking of that, I need to get back to work!
This is a photo of what things look like out at the farm these days. Not prepossessing at all. The shade structure is down, and I work on it from time to time, since it is being improved and expanded for next year.
Still, the most remarkable thing to me as I walk around there is that these inert looking logs that haven’t done anything for six months will actually produce mushrooms in a couple of months. I have a few years of experience by now, seeing the first seemingly inert logs produce their first spring mushrooms, but I still have moments of incredulity that they will do this. At this point, it’s a matter of trusting and waiting.
This is a stack of logs in the side yard of our 1/8 acre Minneapolis home – before I moved the stack out to the farm on Monday. This is the second of several such stacks to accumulate there after being inoculated.
By the time these logs are moved to the farm, I may have moved them from where they are felled to a friend’s garage, from that garage to the inoculation workshop, from the workshop to the side yard nearby, and from the side yard to the Maplewood farm.
When I have spent a couple of hours moving logs, I find myself fantasizing about a much simpler trip from a wood lot on one part of a property (where trees are felled) to another part (where logs are inoculated) to a last part of the same property (to a “laying yard” where logs are rested and fruited).
There is one thing I might miss with less log moving: when would I get the time to fantasize or contemplate? Yes, there are some good things about urban farming after all!