February 28th, 2012

mmmmmmushrooms!

My mushroom growing attempt appears to have been successful. After about 48 hours in the airing cupboard, the little dots of white were larger fuzzier dots of white, and after 2 weeks all the straw was held together in a giant lump of white mushroomness.

I gave one of the smaller bags to my mum, and put the other small bag and the large bag on my windowsill, in hopes that the lower temp and bright light there would encourage fruiting. I opened the bags to allow more light and airflow. After a few days I started to worry because nothing seemed to be happening, and the top of the bags kept drying out…even though the radiators in the house aren’t on that much, it’s still fairly dry in here. So I decided to hedge my bets and try a couple of different methods. The large bag, I put in the greenhouse. It’s pretty warm in there, and pretty humid, so I figured that would help, but I wasn’t sure if it would get too cold for them at night. The small bag, I left on the windowsill, but put it in the propagator that my carnivorous plants live in, in a separate tray so it wasn’t sitting in water.

I don’t know if the moving to humid places helped, or if just waiting did the trick, but now, 9 days after taking out of the airing cupboard, I have baby mushrooms on both bags!!!

The greenhouse bag I had a look in the top, and was greeted with these:

greenhousemush2
greenhousemush1

Cute baby mushrooms! Then I carried on working in there, and noticed this huge clump growing out the side of the bag.
greenhousemush3

The indoor ones weren’t as big, but still growing in a few patches:
indoormushrooms2

I moved them to their own propagator as the box to keep them out of the water wasn’t giving them much growing space.
indoormushrooms

I’m going to take some of the straw from one of the bags and mix with fresh straw, and see if i can get EVEN MORE mushroomy goodness to grow, so I can have them constantly and not have to worry about buying more spawn. Next time I might even just start them off in the prop so i can put it in the airing cupboard and just move it out with no messing around.

The greenhouse is doing well too now it’s warming up. The radish, spinach, and mixed leaves I planted the weekend before last are coming up.

greenhousebed

And the rocket and other salad leaves we planted in the winter are really coming into their own now. We’ve eaten a few as part of the thinning out process, and I further thinned them today and put the extras into another pot.

greenhousetroughs

I love my greenhouse so much!

February 25th, 2012

New bathroom, woo!

I’ve posted a pic of my bathroom here before. It’s generally relatively clean, but has a nasty ‘champagne’ coloured suite with gold coloured taps and beige tiles, and had a really nasty pink carpet. SERIOUSLY WHO THE FUCK PUTS CARPET IN A BATHROOM. And the paint was getting a bit peely and it just looked a bit crappy. Oh, and the shower leaked due to a really bad design of a bath with a raised lip at the shower end, so any water that went down the tiles at the back couldn’t go into the bath and ended up on the floor, and soaked through the FUCKING STUPID CARPET and started to weaken the board below. And the shower curtain was manky and mildewy and it was textured so it was really hard to get clean.

Here’s what it used to look like:

oldbathroomlabelled

Sadly a new suite and tiles were way outside my budget (and my DIY capabilities), but I knew I really needed to do something about the damaged floor board and peeling paint.

I was wandering around primark a couple of weeks ago waiting for bf to get off work, and I spotted shower curtains for £5. Not the most awesome pretty shower curtains I’d been dreaming of, but £5. So I got one. And then that motivated me to do everything else. I got some paint in a blue that would go with the shower curtain and not look terrible with the beige tiles and 5 different shades of wood, and found a cheap but good quality vinyl flooring remnant on ebay. I painted everything, then began the scary task of taking up the carpet. Luckily the water damage was only to one area of one board, and not to any joists, so I took up the board and replaced it (yay for having spare loft boards lying around so I just had to cut to shape and not buy any timber), then cleaned the floor a gazillion times and laid the vinyl. I discovered that b&q’s double sided vinyl floor tape is shit, and doesn’t really stick to chipboard OR vinyl, so it may need relifting and glueing down properly at some point, but fingers crossed it’ll be ok as it is.

Here is my new pretty bathroom! I am getting a new shower in the next week or so because the motor in the old one blew up and we’ve been making do with a non-powered power shower for 6 months, which is fine for cleaning yourself, but terrible for washing my masses of thick hair. And I’m crocheting a cotton bathmat in colours to match the shower curtain.

newbathroom1

newbathroom2

February 4th, 2012

Mushroom growing attempt.

So, I decided to grow mushrooms. I’ve done it before from a kit, but kits are expensive, and limited in choice. I decided to start with oyster mushrooms cos they sounded the easiest, so I bought some spawn from ebay.

spawn

The auction said you could use various substrates, but I decided on straw because it’s cheap and I happen to have a lot of it lying around for the chickens. I read all the info here and here, then got to work.

I didn’t want to venture into the cold dark garden, so I just grabbed the bag of straw that was in the garage. Only 530 grammes, when the auction said the spawn was enough to inoculate 850g of dry straw. But fuck, even 530g is a LOT of straw.

straw

I got some scissors and cut the straw into the recommended 2-4″ lengths, and shoved it in a pillowcase.

inpillowcase

I put the pillowcase of straw into a big pan then covered it with hot water. I was aiming for the normal pasteurisation of at least 70 degrees for at least 20 mins (to ensure the heat has penetrated right through the material), but my thermometer is broken so I just guessed.

inpan

While it was in the pan I disinfected the sink, then lifted the pillowcase out of the water and put it in the sink to drain and cool.

A couple of hours later, it was cooled enough, so I gloved up and layered the straw with small amounts of the spawn in food bags, and squished it tightly in. Then I realised it was going to take a lot of bags with that amount of straw, so I put the remainder into a tesco bag instead. I poked some holes in the bags and put them in the airing cupboard. I need to leave them there for a couple of weeks, then hopefully I can take them out and mushrooms will magically appear. fingers crossed!

inbag

Also in unrelated news I bought some make-up for the first time in years, partly cos i wanted sparkly eyeliner dammit, and partly cos it was £8 reduced from £30 and included mascara and eyeliner, both of which i had but really needed throwing out. And it’s pretty good, this pic was after about 4 hours of wear, and it’s still looking ok.

glittereye

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