Sunday, May 8, 2011

Moving day(s) (or daze?)

We aren't the ones moving; the entire mushroom operation is moving! Or at least, it has mostly all moved now.

Some of you know about our troubles with the city last summer, getting cited for the mushroom logs in our yard etc. Jeremy has been keeping logs in various undisclosed yards in the neighborhood which has sort of worked out. Imagine having your garden spread out in 5 different friends' yards, up to 10 blocks away. You have to go to every yard on a regular basis and weed, water, tend, etc. What if you have row covers on and they blow off and you don't find out till you go over and find everything scorched or frozen? It's kind of like that sometimes. A little stressful. The worst part though is the expectation that eventually we'll get cited again.

Our next-door-neighbor is moving away, but keeping the house, so he offered Jeremy use of his backyard. Excellent! It seemed so perfect because Jeremy could keep an eye on things right next door and it would be easier to get to than something 10 blocks away. So he cleared out an area, set up a big shade structure, and started inoculating some logs in there. It only took two weeks for the city to find out (or at least for the mysterious complainer to complain) and we got the dreaded citation. That meant Jeremy had to take everything apart and find another yard (more likely two or three) to hold everything that was going to go in this yard.

Aaargghhh! That's enough!!

Jeremy started looking around for anyone with a bunch of land so he could have the whole operation in one spot, and in an area where he could do it without worry about having to move the whole thing. He found a great location with a group of farmers a little ways from here. He signed an agreement to rent a space of land that was a little less useable for them (too much shade I think) and he started setting up last week.

He gets the spot that runs along the tree line:

(bees nearby!)

He had to move that big pile of brush first and rake out a lot of debris:

Wednesday was the big moving day. He had a couple helpers throughout the day, but it was a long day!

Here he is with one volunteer moving the totem logs. Totem is one way of innoculating logs - you slice up enormous logs into three or four sections and spread the mushroom spawn in between the slices (like a multi-layer ice cream sandwich). The whole thing gets wrapped in a plastic bag (ours are biodegradable!) and sits for a few months as the mycelium spreads. Then you take the bags off, water them, and big, beautiful oyster mushrooms grow out the sides (at least in the case of these ones). In any case, these logs/inoculated logs are huge and very heavy. One log per hand truck.

Jeremy rented a big moving truck for the day so he could move as many logs as possible.

Then he drove out to the farm and re-stacked everything in the new area.

He only ended up making two trips with the truck during the day. It took so long to load everything up and then to unload it all (often only one log at a time because they were so heavy). And I think he only ever had one other helper at a time. (Where's a big crop mob when you need one!?)

He was still loading up the truck for the second trip around 8pm on Wednesday night, so I volunteered to help out, even though I'm a total wimp and can hardly lift any of these things! Okay, so there are some lighter ones I can lift, and I'm pretty good at using leverage and whatever else I can think of to move huge logs without too much effort. Jeremy and a friend and I finally got the last log out of the truck close to midnight. Oh we were tired and sore!

Jeremy had to return the truck so he's been making smaller trips with a friends' van. I think almost everything has been moved now. Jeremy has also been working on constructing an awesome shade structure and that will probably be done within the week.

We are grateful that Jeremy found a place to accommodate him, that it's not too horribly far away, and that everything is in one place instead of spread out all over.

But on the other hand, I am ashamed of our city and the fact that I feel like Jeremy was chased out. It's not like he's growing pot or funny mushrooms or something! But you'd think so with the craziness this has induced. I really hope Minneapolis get its act together and that Jeremy can move back closer to home in the years to come.

Although, at this point I can't imagine hefting all those logs all over again!


Jane said...

I can not believe you get cited for logs. What does the citation say is the offense? Are they saying they are unsightly? Nothing like paying tons of taxes only to be told growing food is illegal. Another blogger I read is not allowed to have a rain barrel, yet gets citied if her grass turns brown from lack of water. Go figure.

Aimee said...

No rain barrels allowed!? Getting cited for brown grass!? Geez!! That sounds worse than us.

We were cited on multiple levels. One, I think they didn't like the shade structures. They were ugly, or temporary structures aren't allowed, or soemthing like that. Two, technically you can't grow food commercially on a residentially-zoned lot. I guess we could have our own small collection of logs for our own use, but once you start selling them - illegal! And three, perhaps the funniest, we were cited for "improperly stacked firewood." I guess they don't see the logs as food sources, but as "firewood" and if it's firewood, it's not stacked right! I didn't even know there was a city zoning rule about how to stack your firewood. Geez.

That was for our own yard. I don't know what the citations said for a friends yard (from last year) and our neighbors yard more recently - but I suspect it was the same sort of rubbish.

Hope your mushrooms are going well! =)

Jane said...

Improperly stacked firewood? That is almost funny, if it weren't so sad that we have laws like this in America. Well I hope the new place works out, and in the mean time maybe you should run for office and get in there and change these stupid laws ;)

Mom said...

Yes Aimee, run for office! In Salem, it took several years to get the law changed so we could keep chickens, and then only 3 per household. I read where one person on the upcoming tour of chicken homes had some friends and neighbors come help her build her chicken coop, and one of them was a city councilman who voted against the ordinance! Crazy!

Aimee said...

It is amazing how political I feel I've become over some of this. I don't know about running for office - but I do think about how to change who is currently in office to someone who is more supportive! =)

I don't know why people vote against chickens except extreme lack of knowledge! Hopefully that city councilperson will be impressed and will be onboard when Salem increases the chicken limit someday...