Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

What happened to all the Mushrooms?

We normally have an abundance of wild mushrooms every autumn. Well when I mention mushrooms, I mean the white table mushroom (Agaricus Bisporus) that most have eaten or cooked with at one stage or other.

This year, because the weather was so strange, there was hardly a sight of a mushroom all autumn. They occur naturally in August or September when it is still warm and humid, and when the nighttime temperatures drop near freezing. Then they spring out of the ground, and you can find them especially where cattle have been trampling because there’s no grass to cover them there!

With our buckets and buckets of mushrooms, we take enough for ourselves and use the remainder to give to friends and family, who in turn give us things like tomatoes and gooseberries and other nice things they have too much of. So we all gain. So this year, there is none, and we are all disappointed. Trading for us is made a little more difficult, because others bring us their goodies while we don’t have much to give. Hmmm, well we gave away a lot of apples so I suppose we’re not too badly off.

The mushrooms taste wild, and have a strong taste, and are much nicer than those you buy in the shop. Neither are they button mushrooms, they’ve generally opened by the time we find them, so we must check that maggots have not gotten in by cutting the stem and checking for holes.

Mushroom soup made with full milk is something we all love through the winter. They would go into stews, or when fresh would be fried on their backs with a little salt in the cup for extra flavour, or they might just go into a stir-fry, or be roasted with some meat. We eat lots of them when they are fresh … and of course at times we have just too much of them. So they are washed, chopped and frozen in bags. They keep very well in the freezer. I know there are still some there since last year … but they don’t compare to those that are freshly plucked from the ground.

  • In the picture above are not white mushrooms, but some other type of mushrooms that we don’t eat that were growing behind our house a few weeks ago. We have lots of different types of fungi growing mostly in wooded areas here. Of course there are loads of typess that are edible. I think fifty seven in Ireland grow naturally, and many many more around the world.
  • Mushrooms purchased in the shops are invariable grown in climate controlled tunnels. It’s a labour intensive process, where compost is worn out quickly. They’re not grown here much any more, but there used to be lots of mushroom farms around. They mostly come from Eastern Europe or Asia now, because it’s cheaper for the consumer.
  • Below is a nice time-lapse video of a mushroom opening. I had been looking for a video on white mushrooms, but most of them seemed to be of magic mushrooms. It’s to be expected I suppose.
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Autumn Hydranges

With a shrill blow of the breeze, one knows that the autumn is here with a vengeance. Until last Sunday the temperatures were good, the air was calm and the sun was shining. While most other flowers on the plant have faded and withered and faded, this Hydrangea flower survives and sticks out like a sore thumb. It is not very colourful, maybe that is a reason why.

In the background the beech and sycamore leaves build up on the drive to the front gate. It is a lovely sight, but when it comes to cleaning up the whole mess … oh, someone help me please me. When that golden wet mush that sticks to the ground, it’s so hard to move.

October Weather

We had one of the worst and wettest summers we’ve had in a long time, but the weather here has been smashing since the middle of August. Everything is so easy when there is no rain, but we know that it’s never far away. I suppose really I’m afraid to say anything in case I turn the gods against me and they send a thunderstorm out of nowhere and drown us all! To be honest, we’re due it… but I don’t want to see head nor tail of it. Granted we’re supposed to get some light rain next Monday, but back to dryness again after that. Funny thing is that if the weather kept good, we’d be able to milk at least until December 1st with the cows on grass full time. But the rain will come at some stage, and send us inside and start the winter off for us.

The good weather means that the cows have been milking exceptionally well this last month. Two weeks ago, I was calculating that we’d be milking until November 15th … but because the girls are doing so well, I calculate that I’ll have my milk quota for the calendar year full on November 3rd. So the question for me is whether to take the gamble on whether there will be a super-levy fine for going over quota. Ah, I will write about that in the next few days… it is complex and sometimes difficult to judge.

Scorchio & White Hairy Legs

SCORCHIO: The term coming from The Fast Show which was on the box a few years ago. They had this dodgy Greek weatherman, and every time he was on it was “scorchio, scorchio, scorchio”. The weather never seemed to change. A group of us were in Turkey a few years back and the temperatures were over 40C for a few days. That really was scorchio. The value of the word reached near onomatopœiaic  proportions as we enthused later as to it’s usefulnes. (all this while being beaten down by the sun and alcohol). Lots of fun at the time from such a simple word.

Likewise in Cork at the moment, it is scorchio! Blue skies as far as you can see, and weather in the twenties …. scorchio. So for the last two days I’ve been revealing my legs to the world again, They’ve been in like winter hibernation since last October, though they got the odd airing for training in the dark evenings, or matches at the weekend … but no-one was looking. So now they’re out, and everything feels much better with the extra vitamin D that I’m getting (I hope that’s all I’m getting). Actually my skin feels tingly this evening. I’m not sunburned, but it’s just that feeling of wellness. Now if only i could get that all over!!!!

I’ll have to be careful not to get the stereotypical farmer tan lines: tanned head, arms (up to T-shirt), knees (below the shorts & and above the wellies). hahahaha … I’m laughing at myself again. no matter what i do, i know it’s going to end up like that. If you can’t beat em, then join them

**note: No picture of my legs …. Best ye not be traumatized over what would normally be a routine everyday experience.

Blossoming in the Spring Sunshine

It’s always a wonderful sight when the apple trees in our orchard come into blossom, and the weather is just right. Hardly a hint of a breeze and the sun beating down on us. There’s lots of flies, wasps, butterflies zooming around the place, pollinating as they go. Hopefully this weather will keep up for a few more days and we’ll have a nice big crop of organic apples in the autumn. It’s an old old orchard. It was old when my father was a boy. So we reckon the trees are over a hundred years old. Some have knocked by storms in the last few years, but not many.

We use the orchard to start off the calves when they’re coming out from the houses inside. They go stone crazy when they’re left out, and they’re very hard to control, but the ten foot high walls around the orchard sort keep them inside until they’re ready to move onto a new patch of ground. The lads in the picture above were just left out yesterday. They’re all just over a month old, and doing well for themselves.

Last year one of the calves jumped one of the walls that had partly fallen (it was still five foot high!!) and made a run for it down to the town. I caught him tired and breathless after a few minutes, just as he was getting into the town. so I ended up walking him the whole way home. I was tired and breathless after that!

It’s a great ease to them out. They’re generally healthier, and take up a lot less of my time.

30-40 years ago, my grandfather used to keep about 50 greyhounds in there. He was big into racing them and has lots of trophies to show for his efforts. It is too much work for us now. Seeing as I’m trying to lighten the work load a little around here, they just don’t fit in any more.

Fuel on the fire

It’s rained a lot in the last few days, after a long warm dry spell where the grass was starting to burn up … in APRIL. that is unheard of around here. anyway with ground temperatures of about 14C at the moment, grass is jumping out of the ground. yippeeeee. lots of cheap food for the cows. unfortunately it brings with it lots of management problems,trying to control the quality of the grass in front of the cows. Still it’s better than not having enough grass!

I’m also trying to get some slurry out. I’ve been unable to spread for the last month cos it’s been too dry (poor uptake of nitrogen due to evaporation), then too wet for a few days (leeching into the ground) and now that it’s dry again, we’re back to the evaporation problem. Ideally the evening would be a good time because it would stop the sun beating down on it, but i’ve a match at 6:45pm … so i’ll have to start the cows at 4:30 to be out the door in time 😦 No rain forecast for this evening either, a little tonight. tomorrow looks like it will be a good day, but warm at 18C. i’d like a nice drizzle now!

On top of all that, my mum wants me to get it out sooner than later, because we’ve a houseful of visitors for the weekend. No pressure needed thanks. I think nine extra souls in the house on Saturday night. God help us!!