Mmm… puffball slurry!

Okay, I should have done this yesterday, or at least earlier today, but too many other things kept distracting me away. So now I finally have it started.

Puffball slurry.

The spores in the packet are done the same way as the morels were; as little grains.

The package instructions said to put water in a gallon glass jar. I don’t have a gallon sized glass jar available, so I ended up using one of the gallon sized jugs from the distilled water we get for my husband’s CPAP humidifier. It’s food grade plastic, so that should be fine.

The instructions called for distilled or any other non-chlorinated water, so well water it was. Then they called for a pinch of salt (?!?!) and a small spoonful of molasses, which was then to be mixed with a clean wooden spoon until the salt was dissolved.

Such a strange mix of precise and imprecise instructions! 😀

Well, there was no way to use a spoon in the jug I was using, so after adding a bit of salt and a pouring in a blob of molasses, I put the cap back on and shook it until the molasses was dissolved. The salt dissolved pretty much right away, so that wasn’t an issue.

The instructions then said to “brush” the spores in, but since the spores were in those handy pellets, I just dumped them in. Now it is supposed to sit, undisturbed, for two days.

Actually, the instructions said to place the slurry “… where it will be disturbed…” 😀 I suspect translation issues!


Two days would actually be Saturday night, but since I’m not going to go pouring puffball slurry around in the dark, Sunday morning it is!

Like the morels, it could be a couple of years before these fruit, and it’s entirely possible they won’t take at all. No loss in trying, though, and if it works, we could find ourselves with puffballs big enough to cut into steaks! 😀 Much easier than the little ones we normally get around here. 🙂

Meanwhile, I have taken today as a break from heavier manual labour to give my body a chance to recover a bit. My husband, darling that he is, has been treating my hands with his zapper (needle-less acupuncture). One hand is pretty much back to normal now, but the ring finger on my right hand is still a problem. I may have actually injured it, somehow, aside from the usual arthritis. Whatever I did to it, I can at least say with confidence that nothing is broken, and I can at least still type. It’s a good thing I’m left handed in most things, too.

Aside from running some errands, we’ve been working on processing that big bag of dill my brother and his wife gave us. Our entire dining table is covered with towels, and my younger daughter and I have been working it in batches, as we’ve had the chance. There are a lot of mature seeds in there, and we’ve been talking about what to do with them. We want to basically set aside an area for the dill where they can self-seed to their heart’s content, and we don’t have to worry about them popping up when we’re trying to grow something else. We seem to have settled on the area next to the low raised beds that are being set up. It has been partially cleaned up, and because of various old tree stumps and roots, as well as spreading roots from those cherry trees that are not right for our climate, it’s not like we’re ever going to expand garden beds further in. If, for some reason, that spot doesn’t work out, I can think of another area where it might work to have a dill jungle. 🙂

I am hoping to get back to taking down more dead trees and breaking them down for the high raised beds we will be building over the next while. I also want to do a thorough weeding of the empty beds, and letting them sit to allow any missed weeds to start growing, so I can pull them when it’s time to actually move the top soil and build the beds. We don’t have a lot of material left to use when refilling the bottom layers of the beds, but we will soon be able to start raking leaves, which will be good to use. Plus, we should be able to get another lawn mowing in before the end of the season, and have fresh grass clippings as well. So for now, the more dead trees we can cut and process, the better.

Little by little, it’ll get done!

The Re-Farmer

Well, that didn’t happen as planned!

Oy. What a day!

My main goal for the day, having used the weed trimmer all over the inner yard for the past two days, was to get the mowing done. So I checked over the riding mower, topped up the oil (it burns through oil rather quickly) and the gas, and got it going. I didn’t even have to recharge the battery this time. 😉

I barely got 30 feet of actual mowing when it simply stopped.

Not the motor. That was still running. It just stopped moving.

The chain has fallen off again.


I didn’t want to deal with it then. Putting the chain back and tightening it is not an issue. The problem is finding a safe way to access it, with the materials we have.

No worries. I broke out the push mower. It would mean a LOT of walking, but I don’t mind that.

My husbands prescription refills were due to be delivered, so I had the gate open for the driver. I decided this was a good time to mow outside the gate.

Which is where I found these.

Little puffball mushrooms!

I’d run over a couple with the mower, but once I realized they were there, I worked around them. They are edible at this stage, but I am leaving them be. I’d rather they reach the spore stage and spread. 🙂 They are so small, I’d rather get an area infused with the Giant Puffball spores we have, and hopefully be able to have steak sized mushroom slices. 😀

After mowing the area on either side of the driveway outside the gate, I started working on the level area between the fence and the ditch. The far end of this is where we want to spread the pollinator wildflower mix of seeds we have, so I wanted to start preparing the area by mowing it, and cutting away the saplings that are starting to spread into there. I really don’t want that area to get filled with trees. That was allowed to happen on the other side of the driveway, and it really affects visibility.

I started cutting along the the barbed wire fence first. Where it was open enough, I would even go under the wire a bit.

I didn’t even get halfway down the length of the fence, when I somehow managed to get the barbed wire stuck in the mower. It slid over the top of the plastic cover the air filter fits into, then somehow managed to slide in between the plastic cover and the motor, getting stuck.

So I shut the mower off and fought with the wire, trying to get it out. A barb was basically right in the middle, and kept catching, but every time I tried to move the mower so the barb would be at a wider gap, it would roll right back again as soon as I tried to use both hands to get the wire out.

Eventually, I got it out, but in the gap, I could see a couple of wire pieces had come loose.

Of course, it wouldn’t start after that.

After fussing with it for a bit, I took the mower back to the garage so I could take the cover off. After fighting with it for a while, I realized I would have to take off the plastic cover with the air filter, but I couldn’t for the life of me see how it detached. Also, while I could see where the end of one wire piece was supposed to be attached, I couldn’t see where the other one was supposed to be attached. The user manual had nothing about the engine. I went online to try and find a diagram, but while I found some with one of the pieces – which I finally found a name for; a governor control arm – none had both. For my specific brand of mower, all I could find was a pdf version of the owners manual I already had. I knew the general location the piece was supposed to be attached, but I could not see what and where it was supposed to hook up.

This was the point that I decided I needed some guidance. I was able to contact my brother and his wife and arrange to go over. The timing worked out perfectly. I was just starting to load the lawn mower into the van when the driver arrived with the prescriptions.

I’m glad I did.

My brother has the lovely set up that allowed us to work on the mower at a comfortable height. They also had company, so I had two people available to figure it out! 🙂

After taking the cover off the air filter and checking out what was loose, we had to take the whole piece off. It turns out there was a reason I couldn’t see how it was removed. The screws were hidden under the air filter.

I have to admit, I actually felt rather encouraged when neither of them could figure it out at first, either! 😀

Here was the problem.

Once it was open, my brother was able to get the end of what turned out to be the control arm for the choke, back where it belonged. The green arrow is where it had come loose, and it was a pain in the butt to get back into place!

The governor control arm is the piece below. The end with the purple arrow had been in the hole on the governor where the other purple arrow is pointing. That end had still been attached.

The other end had been attached somewhere around where the blue arrow is pointing. Somewhere around there, there should have been a hole for the end of the control arm to slide into.

After much searching and moving things as much as could be done without having to unhook the fuel line, we came to a conclusion.

The reason we couldn’t find where it was supposed to be attached, was because something had to have broken off. We couldn’t actually see what looked like the rough edge of broken plastic, but there could be no other possibility.

My brother was determined to get it going for me, with at least a temporary fix. After searching around among his supplies, he found a length of ceiling tile wire. He used it to create a small loop for the control arm, then wrapped it around that plastic part the blue arrow is pointing to, under another control arm with a spring on it (not visible in the photo). I can’t remember the name of that one, anymore.

Once the wire loop was attached, it was still difficult to get the end of the governor control arm in place. That thing has no flexibility! Eventually he got it, though. Then everything was put back together, and the mower got tested out.

It started like a dream. Even better than when I’d started it earlier!

There is still the possibility that the wire might vibrate out of position or something, but that gives me time to try and find the part. Which is going to be a bit of a challenge, since none of us have any idea what it’s called.

By the time that was done, I got invited to stay for supper, which was very sweet of them. 🙂 Especially since supper included smoked ribs! 😀 I didn’t want to stay too long, though, as I knew it would be dark before I got home, and this time of year, there are a lot of deer crossing the highways.

Once home, it was full dark, and I didn’t even bother unloading the mower. I’ll leave that for tomorrow.

I think, however, I will finish mowing the inner and outer yards first, before moving back to the strip along the road!

The Re-Farmer