29 April 2009

Return of the Mushrooms

The Mushrooms have returned! Seems they were just waiting for a bit of rain. Even more prolific than last year, they're popping up all over the lawn.Good reason to not mow the lawn -- a job I detest that goes against every grain in my being1.

Their flavour is not to be compared with pathetic store-bought fungi, but what I really like best is the idea that I did absolutely nothing to grow them! Oh, I helped them along a little by ensuring that I spread some mature mushrooms around the garden last year so that they would spawn in fresh places, but aside from that it's just been a question of gently plucking them from the ground.

I like the idea so much that I'm going to try and extend it...

The South end of the veggie garden is the boundary of our property bordering the road. Along the fence-line there are a bunch of trees: mostly Australian Blackwoods (Acacia melanoxylon) that are not only and invasive alien species, but a bloody nuisance. The only good thing they do is suck so much moisture from the soil that not even the Kikuyu2 grass thrives. And, as I get rid of the Blackwoods, bit by bit, the Kikuyu wants to return. My plan is to burn what's there off, and immediately plant a mix of Comfrey3, Globe Artichokes and Jerusalem Artichokes4. Maybe some sort of N-fixing groundcover, too.  Where I eliminate the Blackwoods, indigenous pioneer trees readily sprout, and I'm happy to have them! The idea is to establish an area where -- like with the mushrooms -- I do nothing much. And then "hunt" my harvest rather than work at it. Even though I may only get a much smaller harvest, it seems worthwhile, since the (small) aera in question is a wasteland right now, and I don't intend to put any energy into the system beyond getting it established in the first place.

In like vein, there was a significant (2- or 3-dozen?) Guinea Fowl infesting the Chicken Run this afternoon, cleaning up the remnants of the Chook food, I'm sure. I tried -- much to the delight of OB the Hunting Hound -- to bag one with the Pellet Gun, but said Gun is too pathetic (and the shooter struggling with new varifocals!)  to pull the deal off. So I'm thinking about how to devise a Trap... Progress (or its lack) shall be reported here. Watch This Space!

If I ate red meat, there's a herd of wild Bushpig that wants culling. According to one neighbour, our garden is visited infested of an evening by no less than a dozen Wild Boar6, and, according to another, one of these is "the biggest Bushpig I've ever seen!"

I like the idea of Wild Food!

[1] It's not a very huge swathe of lawn. Mainly around the house and areas we frequent so that there are no good hiding places for venomous vipers. I know that I should get sheep and ditch the mower, but then I'd have to find a way to keep them away from the fruit trees and field crops. And I don't eat red meat, so there's no incentive in that direction.

[2] A weed that brings to mind many rude words. Almost impossible to eradicate, but at least nominally indigenous.

[3]Because I like Comfrey. OK?

[4] I just acquired some Jerusalem Artichoke roots last year after many years of searching. Whether I like them enough or not remains an open question5 -- they've not thrived in the drought, and produced only a few small tubers this year.

[5] Even if I don't like them, I'm sure I can brew them up into booze. ;-)

[6] ...or local equivalent...

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