Max’s wood pile on the move

Back in January, we cut down a huge eucalypt – part of the long-term preparation for renewing the dam and fencing the paddock to put some sheep in.  Several WWOOFers worked hard splitting & stacking wood, but Max did seem to be the most enthusiastic and was very happy when it was finished.

chestnut farm WWOOFer firewood pile

Last week, after the wood had been out in sun & rain for nearly 11 months, we decided it was dry enough to move to the wood shed, where it can bake over summer and will be ready to keep us warm next winter.

Here are Moritz and Chloe loading up the ute, which works very well as a motorised wheelbarrow.

Once at the woodshed, the load can be put into wheelbarrows directly from the tray, or dumped… gotta love that tipper function!

Here’s Moritz unloading and trying not to be self-conscious about being photographed… either that or he’s remembering some funny story he heard last night.

and, of course, we all love a few shots of a fine wood stack – great work by Chloe & Moritz in fitting the whole of that huge outdoor pile into the shed.  I didn’t think it would go, but they stacked the shed to the gunwales!

Mushroom logs

I’ve wanted to have a go at mushroom logs for years – since hearing Rowan Reid talk about growing shitake on Shining gum (Euc. nitens).  It’s taken time, but here we are…. putting some Oyster mushroom spore plugs into elm logs.  The elm was part of a tree taken down in a local street a few weeks ago.  We waited at least three weeks for the natural ‘anti fungal’ chemicals in the wood to dissipate – during that time I ordered the plugs which arrived quickly and sat in the fridge until yesterday.

A tray ute with the sides down makes an excellent workstation for many jobs!  Clara is painting the ends of the logs to seal them (so ‘wild’ fungi doesn’t invade the log).  The old electric fry pan tilted on an angle provides a ready supply of melted beeswax to seal over the plugs, once we’ve popped them into the holes drilled in the logs.

Masking tape wrapped around the correct size bit means you only drill to the depth desired.   The plugs are tapped into the holes then covered with a dollop of melted beeswax.

Holes are about 150 mm apart along the log with rows maybe 60 mm apart – but no one was measuring!

The logs will be stacked off the ground in a shady outdoor space.  Oyster mushrooms take 3 months or more to fruit, so we’ll have to be patient.  Luckily, there’s plenty else to keep us busy as Spring cranks up!