Sunday, October 18, 2020

Mushroom hunting season has started

 The past week was no gardening week. Out of 7 days, 5 were rainy and they kept me away from the garden completely. But, the 130 litres we got so far this month and the last couple of warmer days brought out the mushrooms. Although it's still too cold for boletuses, the parasol mushrooms are growing like mad. The parasol mushroom season is short so yesterday my hubby, Srećko and I went mushroom hunting. 

Parasol mushrooms always grow on the same spot, in a valley between two steep hills so the climb up and down is a struggle, especially when wet but totally worth it.

The valley was filled with parasols and it wasn't too difficult to fill the bag. Some of them were really wet, but that doesn't bother us. We just leave them to dry on the paper towels, then freeze them whole and they are as great as the dry ones. We also harvest small ones which we bring home and leave in the water over the night. They open up and are as big as the fully opened ones. 

We saw lots of mushrooms while we were going home but didn't harvest any of them. Some of them aren't edible and the rest of them we didn't have anywhere to put. Our bag was full.

Magpie incap

Parasol mushroom too small for harvesting


In the end, we brought home a bunch of big parasol mushrooms, a few smaller ones and a couple of sweet tooth mushrooms. I gave a couple of mushrooms to my mum to fry them, made a couple today with baked chicken, froze the rest and I'll make sweet tooth stew on Monday. 

If the morning temperatures don't drop too low we'll be hunting some more. The season has just started. 

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Raining and digging

 When you live in a place surrounded by 4 different hills (the Alps on the west, Ivanščica on the north, Sljeme on the east, and Samobor hills on the south) the climate is a bit different than in the rest of Croatia. Although we still have that Meditteranean impact with the very warm summers, the Apls influence also brings us lots of cold air, turning our climate into an oceanic one. Also due to the hills I've mentioned earlier and the elevation of our own hill the rainfall in a bit different. Here when it rains it rains for days. We get long dry periods with lots of stable weather. It can happen that all through Croatia there is rain but in our small bubble of a few kilometers, it can be missing for weeks. Once the bubble bursts we get more rain than the rest of northwestern Croatia and the clouds keep on forming. Also, we can have periods of intense fog that last for days, sometimes even weeks without a single minute of clear view. The last longest fog period was in 2017. When we had 17 days of complete fog with temperatures around freezing point. At least the view when the fog started to clear was amazing.

Like I mentioned earlier when it rains it rains for days and this is exactly the position we're in today. Out of 10 days of October 6 were rainy days with 60 liters of rain so far. September was dry giving us only 55litres throughout the month so these 60 liters in a couple of days are a lot.

Of course, this brings problems to the garden. The excess of water makes the garden extremely slippery and there is no way to do any work. I need at least two dry days to do anything and with rain every other day there's no way to garden.

Luckily we got a small break from Thursday to Saturday(it's already raining again today) which allowed me to get to the garden yesterday. It was still a bit slippery, but not as much as the day before. 

As I said in one of my past posts the two beds I've dag earlier are not enough for all the vegetables I want to sow before the winter. So I had to deep dig at least two more beds before November so that I could sow spinach and garlic and transplant chard. I was planning to clean one of the bean beds and a pepper bed and dig them. But when I got to the garden I've noticed that the peppers are still blooming and producing small peppers and I couldn't force myself to pull them out. I'm aware of the fact that they won't give me too many peppers but I just felt too bad removing them. So I took down the old pole bean bed. The purple pole beans stopped producing beans last week and although this is a very narrow bed it will be enough for the garlic.

I knew deep digging will be a struggle this time, due to the wet soil, but I wasn't prepared that it will be so hard. The soil is like the sticky tar and getting it off the spade required a lot of shaking and banging. I can honestly say that once I got the bigger bed done I wanted to give up as I was starting to get nauseous from the work, but after a short break, I finished the smaller bed anyway. If it were a normal sized bed there would be no way for me to dig 2 beds in one day.
But I did manage to dig them and now I'll wait for this rain to stop, give them a couple of days to dry, and then I'll sow the rest of the veggies.

I still have 8 more beds to clean and deep dig, but I won't hurry with them. I have until the end of December to do it. I don't think we'll get any snow before January, and if we get some frost it will at least make a thin crust and make it easier to deep dig.

My garden still has fruits. Although less than before we still have some veggies to harvest.
So when I finished with the digging I've harvested some beans, cucumbers, peppers, lettuce, or I should say some dirt with a few lettuce leaves,  apples, and raspberries. I also brought home some flowers. I don't usually bring cut flowers in the house but they were in the way while I was digging so I got them.

The raspberries continue to amaze me. I've been harvesting them for over a month now and they are still giving fruits. I have no idea what happened to them. They used to give raspberries once a year, usually from June till the end of July, but now I harvest the young canes in the first year from August till the first frost and again in the next year from May till July. While I'm still harvesting the two yeared caned the young canes are already flowing giving me an almost non-stop harvest. They are already a mess, with a bunch of yellow leaves and overgrown branches but they are still flowering and giving fruits.

Oh and I forgot to mention, we have a cat now. 😂

Two months ago our next-door neighbor died. She had an old male cat that was left behind and we didn't know what to do with him. He is a very old cat and with health issues and he has no control of his bowels due to the error in neutering so nobody wanted to adopt him. So we came to an agreement that he would stay in her yard and we would feed him. 

First, he started sleeping in our yard, so we got him a cat house(which he refuses and sleeps in a box), then he started to eat on our yard table, and then he completely moved to our house. 😂
Srećko is not too happy about it, he hates cats and the cat knows this and continues to annoy him on purpose, standing a few cms from Srećko just to piss him off. 

I have a feeling if he could he'd shout: "Could you stop bringing home stray animals, am I not enough?" 😂😂😂

The Srećko's watch post(yes we made a hole in the wall with a door so he could have his own entrance)