Friday, February 24, 2017

"What's wrong with your pond?"

Two winters ago our pond began doing some very weird things. Like after a torrential rain, water would properly drain over the spillway, but then it would continue to drain through the regular drain pipe long after it was supposed. The pipe's top would be sticking up out of the water, but somehow water was still getting through. Then water would stop draining, and the water would rise past it's high water mark but not to the point of the spillway, and nothing would drain out. It's not uncommon for the drain pipe to get stopped up with either debris or a turtle, but it is uncommon for the water level to continuously drop. After the third time it happened, we realized the pipe was rusting out or had a hole under the water level. A call to a pond management company confirmed it. And so in the early part of this year we had to drain a small section of the pond so the drain pipe could be replaced. And since we've had almost no rain since the procedure, the pond has yet to totally fill back up. Hence all the neighbors wanting to know what is wrong with our pond.

Digging out the dam where the pipe is located.

The dogs enjoyed the extra running space from the lowered pond. The geese? Not so much.

The old drain pipe...the original from 1960 when Mr. Bryan built the pond. The workers sawed it down and capped it off.

The new drain pipe is located on the side of the dam, and has a cover. No more stuck turtles! :)

And the view from on top of the dam

On top of the dam, looking down to where the water drains back into the stream.

The finished product.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Fogwood Farms

My sister-in-law Brenda, (aka "The Produce Lady), and her husband Rex own Fogwood Farms. They grow mushrooms and blueberries and ginger and turmeric. And in case you're wondering what ginger and turmeric are, they are spices. To be more exact, they are the root of a plant, but the root is usually ground or chopped. In Asia they are used frequently in all kinds of dishes.

But the mushrooms is what fascinates me the most, because prior to Brenda and Rex growing them, I never once considered that people grew mushrooms. So sit back, and enjoy your field trip of Fogwood Farms.

I've seen the logs in the distance before, but this time it's up front near the house and behind the driveway. Rows upon rows of logs...

Mushroom sperms comes in a bag (above), and when emptied into a bowl, looks like this:
(And no, I didn't think to ask if she had to prep it in any way)

 Rex has a special bit he uses to drill holes in all the logs, then Brenda fills up her "puncher" (I don't know what it's really called), then punches the button that releases the proper amount of sperm into the log.

And yes, Brenda loves her coffee, but this isn't's melted wax. Once a log is filled, all the holes are covered with melted wax (like brushing on melted butter) to prevent insects or bugs from entering the holes.
I got to help with two logs, and wished we lived closer so I could do more. It was quite fun, though I can see how doing this all morning would become quite tedious. Above is the stack of logs they hope to inoculate within the next month.
 This year they have a special greenhouse called a geodome where they've tried growing mushrooms through the winter...and it's worked. The ones above remind me of rolls.

Logs stacked in the geodome. The pile in the center is sitting on top of a vat of water.

And that's all the field trip. :) The rest of the time we looked at the rest of the house and chatted and ate lunch. I didn't realize how accustomed to the construction noise I had become until we were at her house with the birds and the insects serenading us. So if you like dried mushrooms, check out the link above.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wednesday already?

Monday we spent most of the day on taxes, only to get near the end and realize we didn't have everything we needed.

Yesterday we spent the day with Brenda and Rex (Bobby's older sister and husband). It was fun, pleasant, informative, and I came home with several possible garden ideas. I've intermittently spent the day trying to e-mail the pics from his phone, to no avail. A few minutes ago I gave up and decided to text them to myself, even though that meant losing some of the quality. And guess what...they all came through. Go figure.

Since it didn't rain, I spent part of the day outside cleaning up a little bit in my garden area, and planted a few sprigs of romaine lettuce and cabbage. If I had some potting soil on hand I would have done a little more, but I was getting tired and I don't, so I didn't. I still have two more things on my to-do-list before church, but I'm thinking they might not happen today.

We signed up for a Netflix account, and one of the shows we were watching is suddenly not available anymore. We could get the DVD through the mail order service, which we don't have, but we can no longer stream it. I'm not exactly very happy about that. Also, many of the movies I was hoping to see are available on DVD, but not through streaming. I'm not sure why that is. And it makes me wonder if we should call and switch our account from streaming to the DVD mail service.

Meanwhile I have four more weeks (I think) until my next sugar test. The last few weeks have actually gone way better than I anticipated, and I'm hoping by the time the test comes I will actually have established a few good habits. Wouldn't that be nice?

It's hard to believe this week is almost over, much less the month. My teachers used to tell us we'd one day feel that way and we needed to stop wishing our lives away. And now I get it. I guess that makes me officially old.