First Snow

Here in Southern Maine we have received our first significant snowstorm. We have about ten inches of snow, currently. A very light and fluffy whiteness that permeates the landscape.

shiitake mushroom
Shiitake mushroom in snow.

I have left this mushroom to mature and follow its natural life cycle, rather than interrupt the natural process, for the other natural process of consumption.

We are moving closer to Christmas and all that it implies. With COVID19 this year we don’t expect company for Christmas. Our three kids are grown and live in Boston, near LA and one literally rambles all over the country in a semi truck. We do not see them much when there is no pandemic and seeing them now is down to zero.

I have 3 piles of logs on which I grown shiitake mushrooms. This past summer there was one massive bloom and a second one, later in the fall, after immense rain. I don’t try to control the fruiting but let it occur naturally. Each year I cut about 20 four foot long logs, about 6-9 inches in diameter and inoculate the logs by drilling 5/16 holes and tapping plugs that have been inoculated, into the holes at about 6 inches apart in all directions.

I purchase the plugs at Northspore, a Maine company in Westbook. Each pile has slightly different shiitakes. Some are more favorable that others. The process works well. I typically wait to just before the sap flows to cut the logs. I have used beech, red oak and silver maple (swamp maple). They all seem to work well, though the red oak is the most dense and I suspect would have the larger yield.

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