Monday, 8 December 2014

A hive of activity

Scritchy, the miniature fox terrier who is notable for her recent misadventures at the farm, has been in even more trouble this week. She rules her dog pack with a white short haired iron paw, claiming all the best food and nesting spots and generally directing the other dogs to do her bidding. Ordinarily, this would be an advantage in the canine world. Not so, this time around.

I’m truly unsure what happened to Scritchy, but last Thursday I picked up a new bee colony. Bees can be easily annoyed at the best of times and relocating a hive is a really good way to annoy them. I set the bee colony up and left them to their own devices to settle into their new home.

Scritchy however, had other plans. Curiosity probably got the better of her and without first sending one of her minions, she obviously decided to check out the new bee colony herself. I wonder whether she thought that she would make new friends with the bees. Anyway, the bees expressed their displeasure at being relocated to a new home by stinging Scritchy on the face.

Last year at this time, I too was stung by a bee on the side of my face, so I had sympathy for Scritchy. After being stung, she brought herself to my attention and looked very woe begotten. Her face looked like a Pufferfish:

Scritchy post bee sting impersonating a pufferfish
Observant readers will spot the skin on the inside of her ear which is very red and inflamed. She was one very itchy dog and clearly distressed, so I slipped her a quarter of an anti-histamine tablet and she promptly fell asleep for a few hours whilst the swelling subsided.

The following day (Friday) was quite warm. The bees were settling in, sending scouting and harvesting parties out and about and I installed the rest of the galvanised iron roof sheets on the new shed. By early evening, just as I was high off the ground and installing the steel ridge capping (which is simply a fancy name for the bit of steel sheet that stops water from getting into the shed roof at the very highest point of the roof), a few intermittent splatters of rain began to fall from the sky and land on both myself and the roof of the shed. The rain was not very heavy though and I was able to finish off the roofing on the new shed without falling off it!

Later that night as Scritchy and I were walking about the property, I spotted several frogs on the wall of the house eating insects that were attracted to the garden lights.

Southern brown tree frogs on the wall of the house eating insects
The frogs are southern brown tree frogs and are quite common here and are often heard, but rarely seen. Usually they climb up onto the house when they are seeking shelter from heavy rain. I thought at the time that it was interesting, but didn’t really think much more about the frogs.

Southern brown tree frog on the wall of the house
As usual, when the wildlife starts doing unusual things, it would be wise to take note and ponder what it all means. Anyway, later that night, it started raining, and then it rained a bit more, and then just kept on raining. As I write this, the rain has slowed and may be coming to an end. All up 77mm (a bit over 3 inches) of rainfall was gratefully received here at the farm over the past few days.

Courtyard with new shed in the background
Outside work has come to a complete halt during that rainy period.

For the benefit of the readers of this blog, during breaks in the rain, I took a series of photos of some of the water catchment systems whilst they were in action.

Rainfall in this area tends to only run across the ground when that soil is compacted. Everywhere else, the rainfall – no matter how much – will be absorbed into the ground water table. A good example of compacted soil is the road. Most people divert water from roads away from their properties, however here I divert that water from the road into the orchard. The photo below shows the water running down either side of the road:

Water running down either side of the road
The big rock at the bottom of the photo sits on top of an underground large 300mm (1 foot) concrete pipe (the technical name for this is a culvert). This pipe channels the water from the road under the driveway and into a swale. The purpose of the swale is to slow the movement of water so that it can drain into the ground water table, increasing the water held there in the ground. It just so happens that this swale is at the top of the orchard. This simple system saves me the effort of having to regularly water that part of the orchard. And the water collected from the road is a massive volume as the road covers an area of 400 metres x 5 metres = 2,000 square metres (or 2,392 square yards). That’s a whole lot of water which gets stored in the ground away from the harsh summer sun!

Water from the road collected in the swale at the very top of the orchard
The other compacted areas at the farm are just outside the house on the white rocks which have been slowly compacted over time. Water has to be drained away from that area.

Drain channel taking water away from the front of the house
The netted strawberry bed next to the drainage channel is highly productive. Also, you may spot the barbeque grate (leaning on its side against the rock wall) which I use as a sturdy removable bridge to cross the drainage channel.

That drain channels water past the large water tanks and downhill into a swale. Again the purpose of this swale is to slow the movement of water and allow it to infiltrate into the ground water table. When the main house water tanks become full and overflow – as they are now, they also dump any excess water into this swale.

Lower swale filling up with water
That drainage channel only takes half of the water from that location just in front of the house. The other half of that area is piped under the white rocks and drained into the citrus orchard. The 150mm (half a foot) pipe drains water into a very large pit of composted woody mulch so that it quickly disperses into the ground water table. It works so well that I don’t ever recall having to water the citrus fruit trees in that location despite the conditions.

Drain pipe emptying into mulch mound in the citrus orchard
There is a very juicy Eureka lemon in the top right hand side of the photo.

I took the opportunity of being stuck inside to convert the strawberry and rhubarb harvest into jam. Oh yeah, it’s good!

Jars of strawberry and rhubarb jam
Bottling (canning) of apricots for winter consumption has also commenced and I preserved 12 large bottles of apricot fruit too.

Preserving apricots for winter consumption
Many thanks for all of the well wishes in last week’s blog for Scritchy the troubled boss dog. She made a full recovery from both episodes and is feeling much better now, thanks.

Scritchy reclining at ease in her favourite nesting spot
How did I get here?

My grandfather had a large house and at one stage it must have had a tennis court in the rear garden. The only reason I could tell that it must have been a tennis court was because there were neat asphalt (bitumen) paths with the occasional paint marking between the dead straight rows of mounded vegetable beds.

You see, my grandfather clearly had no real economic need to grow his own vegetables, but because he’d grown up in the Depression era he had a clear understanding of just how tough things could get. He always said to me: “Those that can see ahead, get ahead”. Honestly, as a child, I thought he was talking about driving a car, but I think I understand him better now.

Did I mention that the garden beds were in neat, absolutely parallel rows dug out of an old tennis court? It was uncanny how well planned that garden plot was. Back in those days, a raised garden bed was nothing fancier than a raised mound of soil into which vegetables were planted. None of the rows contained the same crops either, as they contained anything and everything when it came to edible plants. I have fond memories of browsing on fresh radish with its sharp, but zingy taste straight from the ground.

I don’t ever recall him spraying anything other than water. Weeding generally involved me being directed to remove certain plants that had taken root. The whole garden was simple and productive and it introduced me to a world of wonder and delight. To a child’s mind, the ability to take a plant and make more plants – some of which you can eat – is a true source of wonder and I owe the old guy a debt of thanks.

Many years after my grandmother died, my grandfather remarried a younger woman who had a family of her own and as often happens with the original family I saw my grandfather less and less until just before his death. Of all the things he had faced during his life – including that of a bomber pilot in WWII – he mostly feared retirement. He avoided this fear by dying several weeks prior to his retirement date.

To be continued…

The temperature outside here at about 3.30pm is 13.7 degrees Celsius (56.7’F). So far this year there has been 805.0mm (31.7 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week’s total of 732.2mm (28.8 inches).


Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Cathy,

I believe a blogger ate your comment as it never made it through for moderation. That does happen. I seriously couldn't imagine for even a micro second that you would write anything that would breach the moderation rules here! You are a lady of the first order. How's those bees going in their top bar hive?

Hi Lewis,

Oh yeah they probably wouldn't either, what a hassle. They certainly didn't like me, so you're in good company. The original part of the house was built in 1890, so I matched the original brickwork and purchased second hand bricks. The wall took weeks to lay too as every brick was a different size just because they were so old. I looked at this thing every day as it progressed and went, this is like a work of art. Pah, the philistines.

Yeah, there are some strange people out there. No that long ago, I remember a couple of children that refused to eat anything that had been grown in the garden. I was going like, where do you reckon your food comes from. Oh that's right, a factory. I'd forgotten. Definitely a strange brew.

As I said Slavatore was a street smart guy. Personally, I would have enjoyed the trip. Mind you, I would have enjoyed poking around their Orto's to see what was going on and what they had stored in the cantina. I'm sort of muddling through here, so make lots of mistakes, but having an enjoyable time too.

Actually I opened up the farm to the local seed saver group tonight + friends and had a really enjoyable time. The people were so nice. Plus we made fresh lemonade and red velvet cup cakes which are to kill for. Plus my famous kingston + peanut biscuits (I think you call them cookies?). A fun night was had.

I asked my insurer about open days and they said if I charge entry, it's a business and I have to get a separate public liability policy for that event. What a headache. I'm thinking about opening up the farm later next year as part of sustainable house day, but don't want to end up having to pay an insurance premium which costs... Crazy stuff.

I hope you ate plenty of the prunes? It is great the feeling of stewardship you get with such places as a kid.

Thanks for the memories. Apple trees are as hardy as. The apple tree was very clever to establish itself near the creek. Was the fruit good eating?

Sorry, I had to interrupt the reply to enjoy a cup cake which was on offer. My take on the matter is that it is wise to act quickly before the offer is revoked.

That is an excellent mental exercise. I joined a local meditation group a few months back and do a similar thing with an imaginary forest. I think I must have read too many dodgy fantasy books as a youth. Strangely enough, I've had to really work at creative visualisation techniques, but it gets easier with practice in that mental mode. Occasionally I imagine the goings on of the local wildlife and try and see the area from their perspective based on what I’ve observed.

Ahh. Sue Hubbell has explained coyotes. They’re wild dogs. They sound an awful lot like dingoes which actually got onto this continent via Aboriginal trade with Indonesia many millennia ago. The dingoes displaced the marsupial which filled the same role, but was probably less adaptive: The Tasmania tiger (recently extinct due to a pelt bounty). There are also native marsupial cats called Spotted Quolls which were last seen around these parts before the Ash Wednesday bushfires of 1983 when their habitat was completely destroyed. They could be re-introduced from outside areas. The convicts used to keep them as pets, but people get a bit funny about that for some strange reason and prefer felines – which are good animals too.



orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I wish that I could give the rain here to anyone who needs it. My land is mainly pure clay and the water table rises over the top even though the land is sloping. If we get a very dry summer (haven't had for a while though)the ground cracks and you can put your arm down up to the shoulder; never mind watching where you put your feet.

A future development in the area has cleared their land into a desert. The wildlife had nowhere to go other than my woodland. The result is too much wildlife and there have been territorial fights all summer.

The rats have been the worst. They took my potato crop (never happened before). I didn't realise because all the greenery looked fine. They had tunnelled down and removed the potatoes. Instead of 9 months worth, I had only enough for 3 weeks. Curiously they didn't touch the Jerusalem artichokes which were intermingled with the potatoes.


LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris; Better keep an eye on Scritchy ... disasters come in 3s. :-)

That's quit a water catchment and distribution system you have. Water isn't quit the problem here. But still ... we do have some dry spots in summer that seem to be getting more severe. I've been thinking more about swales, close to anywhere I plant vegetables. If we had another 8 day water outage, along with a dry spell ... well, that could be a real disaster. My land doesn't have the slope yours does, but, it does have a bit of a slope.

That lemon reminded me of a section in one of Hawes' books about preserving lemons in sugar and salt ... sounded interesting.

We don't really grow apricots, here. Too wet. They're mostly a "dry" side of the mountain fruit. But, I think there are a variety or two that will grow here. I've seen a tree or two around.

Yeah, I don't understand guys that have a problem with retirement. There's always been stories around about guys who retire, and then drop dead a week or two later, from no apparent cause. Of course, you also hear stories about how hard retirement can be on wives. Always having the old guy underfoot. I saw a bumper sticker ... "My husband retired ... half the money, twice the work." :-).

Yeah, coyotes are like dingoes. There's been some concern on the East Coast. Coyotes and wolves are hybridizing. Coyotes will enter urban areas. Wolves, generally, not. This more wolf like coyote WILL enter urban areas.

Nell must read these posts over my shoulder. After saying what a good night cat she is, last night was totally berserk. Well, I discovered early on what has her so upset outside the window. She went bonkers, not long after I turned in (just as I'm drifting off) and I discovered that it's the big black and white cat from up the hill. Just laying on the porch rail a few feet from where Nell was peering out. It ran off after I tapped on the glass, but by then, Nell was pretty wound up. I was having a hard time sleeping, anyway. Then, early this morning, well, earlier than I wanted to get up, she decided I should be up and doing. Might be time for her to have another early morning "time out" in the bathroom. That, she seems to get.

Well, I have to make an unexpected trip into the "Little Smoke", today. More later. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Lots of rain + clay. What a combination. The clay does the same thing in the elevated plains down below. The cracks form in the clay during the dry so that when it rains again, the rain gets stored quickly underground.

I bet the clay then swells up and the cracks close up? You can fix that and turn all of that clay into a loam by adding lots of organic matter over the top of the clay. I don't know whether you are the sort of person that has the patience to wait or not, but in two years all of the fungi, bacteria, nematodes, worms, weeds, grass everything really will break up the clay and you don't have to dig a single spade of soil. It will also incidentally solve your flooding problem too.

I've been reading about the water catchment areas in the UK that have that problem too, but on a massive scale. Easily fixed, but it just takes time and a change in farming practices.

Sorry to hear that. I reckon developers interests will only be ignored when it makes sense to do so and maybe not even then. I've been coming around to the thought recently that inflation is expressed in our economy via an increase in the price of housing and that somehow we've been seriously conned into believing that this is not actually the case because increases in house prices shows a return on an investment. It is a very unsubtle difference.

That doesn't help you with your woodland and territory disputes. You know that the more I feed the soil here, the more wildlife turns up for a feed. There can 6 wallabies lurking around at night here!

What are your dominant tree species in your woodland? Do you get a lot of diversity in plant and animal life? Have you ever eaten chicken of the woods?

The rats have certainly given you pause for thought. Does the flooding affect their numbers given they're hiding in tunnels?



Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Man, I was thinking the same thing. I hope saying it out aloud doesn't give Scritchy the kiss of death...

Anyway, she has to learn caution.

The chickens are happily mooching around the orchard tonight. They have a bit of cabin fever. I even kicked the broody ones out and oh boy, are they grumpy or what! hehe!

Swales don't really require large slopes or need to cover a massive area. I feel for you losing water for 8 days...

I find the swales work best with long lived plants that grow larger root systems. Shallow rooted annuals require watering or companion plants that can bring up the minerals and water for them. That's one reason I plant a lot of comfrey and borage about the place. Incidentally the local seed savers group correctly identified the particular borage plant I use here, so I'll put a bit about that in next weeks blog entry.

Preserved lemons are really yummy and great to cook with. However, the last batch I produced started bubbling so I'm unsure whether I added too much sugar and not enough (or maybe I completely forgot) salt. Anyway, they started fermenting, so I fed them to the worms and was a bit dispirited by it.

Yeah, apricots need lots of sun and heat and probably wouldn't do well in your part of the world. As an interesting side note, I had to move every single apricot tree from the shady side of the orchard to the sunny side just to get them to fruit. The nut trees went in the opposite direction as they were getting too much sun. There is just so much to learn sometimes.

The bumper sticker is awesome. I reckon a lot of guys define themselves by their work and role as a provider. It really doesn't leave much space for other activities which is a shame. I can always spot those lot because they can't do small talk and honestly they bore me silly. A couple of my mates have that problem and I say to them: "you've got 5 minutes, talk about your work, get it out of your system and then I won't hear another word about it". Over the years I've found that honesty and limitations are the best policy.

And, don't get me started on friends that work in IT... Oooh, I'm ranting, apologies! hehe!

One of the things that I like about living up here is that it takes 1,000 words and much hedging around and enquiries before a question can be asked. I reckon we may have been born at the wrong time!

I'm unsure whether you've heard of this case, but have you ever heard of the famous dingo situation Down Under: Death of Azaria Chamberlain

Whatever the truth, the poor mother did her time 20 times over and then some.

The coyote hybrid has street smarts and no fear. What a survivor.

Yeah, cats can be pretty hard on each other. My last cat had his ear split in two by a massive tomcat that used to sit on the fence between the two houses and urinate into the back yard. It was so big this ginger tom that it flipped upside down my dog and pinned it to the ground.

Not good.



orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Yes, the cracks close up.

My woodland comes in 2 kinds. One is the ancient woodland which means that it has been continuous since about 1630. It is also classified as SSSI (site of special scientific interest) This means that I am almost totally restricted from doing anything. The other is fields that have become woodland. My son lives in a shack there with a bit more freedom.

The trees in the ancient section are principally oak and hazel. Also ash, wild service,silver birch and goat willow. Actually different willows interbreed so I am not to sure about this. In the other section there is also spindle, hawthorn, blackthorn and holly. The sloes from the blackthorn go into gin with sugar to make sloe gin.

I have not seen chicken of the woods, a fungus I believe. But I pick and eat wood mushrooms, parasols, horse mushrooms and shaggy inkcaps. There are various others growing but I play safe.

Oh we have tried, for years, putting stuff down on a cleared area (previously field). It always reverts to pure clay. My son doesn't understand it at all and has banned me from using the word 'loam' in his hearing.

Nothing except poison affects the rats and we try to avoid this.

You mentioned the Azaria case to Lee. I was in Darin some years back and saw the appalling prison that her poor mother had been in. Corrugated roof, in that heat!


LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris; Well, we may be in for some serious weather here. The wind started rising here, last night. Gusts to 20mph. Lots of rain. Same today and according to the forecast, will probably last into Friday. With maybe a bigger windstorm on Thursday. Flood watches and warnings all around the State. Interesting. Forecast day and night temps are just within a few degrees of each other, hovering right around 50F.

Speaking of brick and clay, etc.. Down in Vancouver, Washington, there was a local business. The Hidden Brickyard. Odd name, but the family that owned it was named Hidden. Back in the 70s, a mate of mine got a job working there. He was also a potter. So, one of his jobs was to watch the kilns at night when they were doing a firing. And, he got to add some of his own pots to the mix. One of my favorite memories is a summer night, curled up in our sleeping bags, keeping an eye on the kilns.

When I moved here in '81, there was an identical brickyard. Since, torn down. Seems like just about any town of a certain size had a brickyard. Back in the day.

Sad that the insurance industry might put the kibosh on your "at homes." I sometimes think a certain breed of lawyer sits around dreaming up horrendous (and rare) scenarios to justify increased insurance rates. But people are so "sue crazy" these days. Like winning the lottery :-). The job I had guarding the dam and reservoir? It used to be open to the public for fishing and swimming. But increasing liability insurance rates ended that.

Oh, yeah. The enormous prune tree had some good fruit. The apple I used to lay on, not so much. A "spitter" as my landlord calls them. At the lot, there was also a huge lilac bush. it was kind of hollow in the middle. You could burrow in and hide. :-).

I looked up the Kingston biscuits. Seems like a flexible recipe. Can't say I'm particularly wild about coconut. Without that, they still look pretty yummy.

I saw an article on the Net, yesterday. The olive oil industry is in trouble. Italy was mentioned. Weather, pests, disease. Of course, over the last year I've seen the same kind of articles in relationship to chocolate, coffee, bananas and oranges.

I've been thinking about the calendar, recently. I know it's what you've been raised with and are used to, but I think south of the equator, the month names should be shifted. So that Halloween falls in your Fall and Christmas in your winter. :-). Surely, if they can screw around with daylight hours, they can shift the calendar? :-)

Yeah, I've been fooling around with Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy. Which involves a lot of meditation. LOL. Pollan had a funny little riff in his gardening book. He had problems with carrots. So, he decided to "think like a carrot" to figure out what he was doing wrong. I guess he "became one with the carrot." :-). It worked. he suggests the technique for figuring out problem plants. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I hope you're OK. Stay safe.

Make sure Beau doesn't fly away in wind too. ;-)

That is an odd, but understandable name for a business. There would have been a lot of skills in operating those old kilns and throwing the pottery. They still make bricks locally, but all of the pottery comes from south east Asia. Pottery works used to be quite common here until very recently.

Incidentally as an interesting side note during the prohibition era in the US, Bendigo pottery (which still operates north of here to this day), used to export pottery demijohns to the US labelled as storage for health drinks. Maybe possibly not that far off the mark?

Yeah, now they have McDonalds instead...

The insurance one is a tough problem. If I open the farm to strangers, I have to charge entry in order to avoid being over whelmed. If I charge entry, them I'm a business and have to take out business insurance otherwise if someone injures themselves, then I may be sued and possibly end up losing the farm. It is a crazy situation and it probably doesn't help that litigation lawyers advertise heavily. There 's no pot of gold here...

The prune here is fruiting for the first time, so I'm interested to taste them, although I've read people mostly dry them. Some apples can be heavy bearing and some aren't. They also mostly bear fruit on a biennial basis anyway.

The lilac bush looks very showy. I've never seen one here. Good stuff and dense foliage, just the thing for a cave for a feral young bushranger!

Yeah, I sometimes I forget to add the coconut and it doesn't add a whole lot to the flavour. Roasted unsalted peanuts and chocolate baking chips do though. The funny thing about cooking is that sometimes I forget to add ingredients (the old memory problems, you know) and sometimes it turns out better. Then I have to re-engineer whatever I did. Eliminating the sodium bi-carbonate was one such ingredient. a) I don't like the tast and plain flour is OK with me; and b) the biscuits went flat when I cooked with the stuff rather than rising like you'd expect. Plus it looks like it walked out of a chemistry lab and that isn't a good recommendation for cooking.

Yes. That was reported in the business section of the papers here. The local olive oil industry is huge and has the largest olive tree farms in the world. The stuff is quite good quality too so they are itching to crack into the world markets. Disease in plants across the planet is rife, still we have a lot of plants to choose from to eat, if we ignored our preferences for a narrow range of plants.

Globalisation is not what it is cracked up to be.

It is a good idea, but even in winter it rarely snows here let alone the rest of the continent. Christmas here is just weird because it can often be quite hot and yet we get fed images of snowmen, reindeer, guys in heavy red suits, penguins (which of all of them are here, but there are no icebergs). I reckon you are getting the picture. Heavy meals are a drama. I did an orphans Christmas last year with some good friends and after a heavy lunch, bit of alcohol, warm sun, they all crashed for an afternoon nap. It was a good opportunity to raid their extensive library of good books though.

It is a clever exercise isn't it? It forces you to think about what a carrot needs and then observe it in action? The visualisation bit is quite difficult, but the funny thing is if I'm reading a really enjoyable book, I'll get a movie like image of the story which goes along with the written words. But I have to enjoy the book. If it's a chore, then...



Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for the description of your beautiful woodland. It must be a delight to live amongst such ancient woodlands.

There are a lot of mushrooms growing here, but unfortunately no one thought to ask the Aboriginals as to what was toxic and what wasn't. The knowledge is gone. I get white truffles here too and occasionally find them hiding just below the surface. Again, no one knows whether they are toxic and the risks are very high that they will be.

No, loam is real. It all depends on just how much organic matter you bring in. Most people don't bring in enough. To give you an idea and something for your son to think about, I've brought in 450 cubic metres (588 cubic yards) of mulches and/or compost. It might sound like a lot, and perhaps it is a touch excessive, but over 8 years it isn't that much work.

One of my favourite authors from Down Under who walks the talk is Jackie French and she says, when you think you've brought enough mulch in, bring in some more because it isn't enough.

You could get all science like on your son and do a trial patch of really thick mulch on your property and leave it for 2 years and see what happens.

Now I feel a bit uncomfortable because George Monbiot wrote an article quite a while back about protecting ancient woodland on the edge of Sheffield that was under threat of development. I was going this is horrible, how could it be happening? Then I thought I'd have a look on google earth and the first thing that jumped out at me was how small this remnant forest patch was. It was literally smaller than the local picnic ground here. You have to understand I can see broken and unbroken patches of forest here to the horizon which is about 80km (50 miles) away and there just isn't that much in the way of people out this way. I then took a closer look at the photos of the ancient woodland and noted that few of the trees were older than about 30 years and I started wondering whether he was pulling everyone’s chain so to speak or this really was ancient woodland.

So unfortunately when you write ancient woodland, I'm completely unsure what you are talking about so that is why I'm trying to get a mental picture of your area.

The UK has the same land size as the state that I live in, but with about 12 times the people, so please don't take offence; I'm really just trying to get an understanding.



orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Oh yes, difference in scale between the UK and Australia. I am on the coast and suffering considerable erosion so no longer know what my acreage is. I'll guess about 32 acres. The ancient woodland is about half or less; it is the land that is eroding.I am not allowed to protect it. The powers that be call it 'managed retreat'. Don't know where management comes in! No doubt the word entitles them to a grant.

Some of the oak trees are very old but the clay makes for shallow rooting and storms bring them down.

I forgot that I also eat boletus fungi but haven't seen any this year. It is a tragedy that so much aboriginal knowledge has been lost. I was once told that what may be edible in one part of Australia can be poisonous elsewhere. So you would need info. from aborigines of a given area.

I had forgotten Jackie French. I have a copy of her 'Backyard self-sufficiency' Shall have another look at it


LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris & All - I went on a jag last year reading books by Rutherford. He writes these big door stop novels like James Michener. His first was called "Sarum" about the countryside around Stone Hedge. Also "London", "Paris" ... and one called "The New Forest." His books are pretty good reads. Sprawling multi-generational novels. His New Forest book starts around the Norman Conquest and brings us up to just about today. I now know more about English oaks than I wanted to know :-).

For a lot of different reasons, this storm (actually, there are two of them) are very hard to predict. Latest says the Oregon Coast will get the worst of it, tomorrow.

I don't worry so much about Beau being blown away. He's pretty grounded. Now the chickens ... them I worry about. When I first moved out here, I heard there was a flock of turkeys a couple of miles east of me. I've never seen them. Except, after a very bad blow, a turkey hen showed up in my back pasture. I think she had gotten separated from the flock and had blown in. She was around the place for about two years. Haven't seen her in a long time.

Hmmm. I wonder why we weren't making our own demijohns? There's always been a pretty lively pottery industry in the states. Arty stuff and lots of utilitarian ware.

Italian Prunes have always been big here in the Pacific Northwest. Some people call them plums, but they're not. They are good eating when they are ripe. But, they've got to be very ripe so they spoil pretty fast. This house was built out of the salvaged wood from an old prune dryer. Probably why it's so tight.

I like lilacs. The scent is something else. I lived in a house once that had several different varieties. Pinks to purples and some white. They had slightly overlapping bloom periods, so, I had blooms of one variety or another for a couple of months.

Cooking is mostly an art, not a science :-). Baking powder and baking soda sometimes bother my stomach. But, I like to make cornbread. Don't know where I got the idea, but I started making it with yeast. I got a very respectable rise. I'm going to keep trying that in recipes, instead of the baking powder and soda.

It's been pretty breezy here, today. Gusts in the upper 20s mph and one period where it was gusting up to 38. I think that's when I lost my power. Just a flicker that lasted just long enough that I had to reset all the clocks :-(. Wonder what tomorrow will bring, when the next storm comes in? Lew

Cathy McGuire said...

I love the bee adventure, and I'm so glad Scritchy is better. My bees seem to be huddling inside due to rain and cold...not too bad - 50's F this week, but I'm waiting on that wind/rainstorm that Lewis mentioned - might have up to 65mph winds here (and 80pmh at the coast! yikes!)I've battened down as much as I can, and all the preps are ready in case power goes out. I"m hoping bees are just clumped and not dead (my first year - I don't dare open the hives to check until it gets warmer)... I'm so impressed with your set up! (which is what I said in the comment that got eaten) You're really moving ahead with self-sufficiency, and it's really amazing. My place is more like "muddle through farm" - even a half acre seems too much at some times... but being a poet and an artist, I don't count organizing and staying focused as my strong points. LOL. But when I look around at what others aren't doing, I feel better - at least I don't even blink at the announced windstorm/power outtage... oh, and your jam looks great, too. I still have lots of frozen berries that I need to turn into jam or something soon...

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Many thanks for your understanding in differences between here and your part of the world. I'm really trying to gain an understanding of your world, the scale here affects that understanding.

Yeah. I saw a Grand Designs UK (which is more popular here than in the UK) recently about a house built along the coastline where the block was slipping into the sea. Oh my! The councils response was just odd in that they disallowed any restoration or prevention works and yet still allowed them to build on the land. During one massive storm the block lost 15 years of anticipated managed retreat (?) land to the sea in one night. There were aerial photos of houses that had slipped down the cliffs.

I feel for you. Not good.

There is a certain love hate relationship going on with that show because I built the house here myself and had to overcome some serious obstacles - not because it is a big house - but because the authorities didn't want to allow me to live here, so they imposed slightly over the top restrictions which no one else up here has had to comply with. Every episode, I say to myself, this is not going to end well is it? hehe.

Ahh, of course, flood plains make for shallow rooted trees. That happens in the plains down below here too. Up here, the trees grow very tall, but the wind knocks their heads off and the trunk simply regrows.

Exactly. I'm sure I'm walking amongst many edible plants, but I simply don't know so I grow as wide a variety of edibles as possible. Some local plants are known to be edible and I grow a few of them. The local Tasmanian mountain pepper will knock your socks off! Seriously it brings water to my eyes.

Glad to hear that you have heard of Jackie French. Her farm is an amazing place to visit. You'll hear me whingeing about the high temperatures by mid Jan to late Feb, but Jackie's farm copped 3 months in a row of 40'C+ (104'F) degree days in a row one year. Min you her farm is at the bottom of a valley so the nights would be cooler, but still. I have the utmost respect for her. One of my favourite books of hers is: "The wilderness garden".



Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

You slipped in a book recommendation. hehe! I'll check it out in the shops over the next few weeks. Many thanks for the recommendation. I don't know much about the Oak species, but the English Oaks grow well and tall around here.

I hope that your place is Ok in the storm.

The next few days here will be mild to warm - good outside weather.

I'm not sure why, but it was the prohibition era so who knows what crazy stuff went on. It would be hard to hide the demijohns here - there are about 8 on the go right now.

Wow. Great to hear about the history of your place. So the prunes were dried before they were consumed. A lot of fresh fruit has to be almost over ripe before it is fit for fresh consumption.

Thanks for the plant recommendation. I'll see whether I can track one down, they look great and all of those flowers have to be good for the insects?

We're artists with the cooking! Nice work. Bi-carb tastes kind of weird to me so I avoid the stuff and self raising flour like the plague. It just isn't a good thing. Once I had a lump of the stuff that didn't get mixed in properly and it was horrid.

PS: It is cherry season here right now and the local cherry farm is doing farm gate sales. Good stuff. I tried preserving some once in a brandy crock and the stuff was so sweet that it gave me headaches from sugar overload. So fresh eating it is for cherries.

Cornbread and seafood chowder is seriously to kill for. My understanding is that it is US inspired dish?

Stay safe and anchor the chickens as that is some serious wind gusts.



Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Cathy,

Thanks. Scritchy recovered quickly after a long drug induced sleep. I'm enjoying getting updates on your bees too and really respect that you went to a top bar hive. Did you start with a top bar or receive the bees in a nucleus? This year I received a nucelus in spring and a full hive the other day.

Transferring the bees over from the nucleus to the hive was fun - except they didn't see it that way!

Nah, hopefully the bees will be fine as long as they have enough honey stored in there. I wouldn't open the hive either in those conditions as it would probably be terminal for them.

Two days after I got the new hive here it has been rainy and cold with just the odd patch of sunshine where they then come out of the hive. I hope they had enough stores to get through this time...

Many thanks, that is high praise. Muddle through farm! hehe. Very amusing. I'm muddling through here too, the threat of impending disaster provides a serious impetous to keep the projects moving along at a brisk pace. I'd already considered the next few projects, so there is always something goin on. At the open garden a guy that I really respect said that I'd done more in 4 years than he had in 30 years, so I was really chuffed by that.

Yeah walking around with a push mower for three days gave me an appreciation for just how much stuff the wildlife eats here. They just can't keep up in spring. Half acre is a very nice size. I still haven't sorted out the scythe yet...

Yeah, of course you're miles ahead of the game. Perhaps longer term you may end up being the go to person in the area (the plant lady? - it has a nice ring to it?).

Thanks about the jam too. I sorted all of the preserves out into racking last weekend as I was tempted to make more, but thought that order needed to be installed into the chaos that is the preserves here. It is such a small house, I'm running out of space to stack things, thus the sheds... One thing at a time.



Stacey Armstrong said...

Evening Chris,

I know you have been doing some research about bee-keeping. What sort of housing did you decide for your new bees? My apologies if you already said.... I may have missed it.

I am really enjoying reading about how you arrived at your current location. It's amazing how my own early memories of my grandmother's garden have influenced where I find myself currently. There still isn't anything like eating food straight from the garden.

Things have been a little crazy here. Over 150mm of rain in the last couple of days. Our small creek over flowed and took out a culvert and a section of the driveway to the barn. Exciting times. My partner and I have spent a portion of today ditching and redirecting some of the water.
I can categorically call this a 'rain event' and an opportunity for improvements.

Long live Scritchy!

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris; Just a'waitin on the storm. The wind is supposed to start rising here after 4. it gets dark so early, these days, that the chickens are usually in by 4:30. Right now, it's a beautiful sunny day. We may get gusts to 50mph.

Lost in the storm news is the fact that Seattle hit a high of 65F yesterday. The warmest temperature for December as long as they've been keeping track. it hit 64F, here. I'm sure I mentioned that over the summer our overnight temperatures also broke records. But, it really wasn't noticeable, unless you pay attention and live out in the boonies. Great for the tomatoes. the nights were not uncomfortably warm, but way above average. I'm sure this well turn out to be another "hottest year ever", at least for Washington State.

I did a quick look around the Net about Lilac. How odd. Related to olives. I was curious as to if they were popular in England, hence, you might have some around your older English cities in Australia. No information. But, the white ones (Albas) are sometimes called "French Lilacs." If you get some, you might want to give them a lot of space. They are a little invasive. Not overly so. But, they do spread a bit. And, yes, the bees love them.

Yeah, cornbread and chowder are probably American. Pure speculation, on my part, just because corn came from the Americas. Corn bread and chili are also wonderful! Of course, I was confused for a long time by the English habit of referring to almost any kind of grain as "Corn." I'm reading ... "The Romans shipped in vast quantities of corn from Egypt ... " And I'm thinking, What? What? Corn didn't get to Europe until after Columbus. But I sorted it out.

There are some knock out cherries that grow here in the Pacific Northwest. We had a cherry tree and an Italian Prune in the backyard when I was a kid. There are some cherry trees around this place, but they're some kind of feral variety. They don't produce much and taste like ca-ca. :-). The birds get most of them, and are welcome to them.

Well, I guess I better do some more storm prep. Lay out the candles where I can find them. A flashlight handy. No nap this afternoon, as, if I loose power, I'll just turn in early instead of sitting up reading. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Stacey,

Yeah, the research indicates that the top bar hives are the best for the bees, but out of sheer lack of time, I've gone for 8 frame Langstroth boxes (the standard really).

They're happily buzzing about the place here today in the warm sunshine.

Nice to hear that you have similar experiences. Grandparents often give more quality time, because they can hand children back to their parents at the end of the day!

Fresh garden produce is the way the stuff is meant to be eaten.

150mm is a huge amount of rain in a short period of time in temperate areas. Yeah I've done the whole running around in the rain making drainage ditches. It is a surprisingly good way to find out where all the water goes to during a storm. It took years of that sort of thing here. It is not fun especially in winter! Brrr.

That is the spirit, you are a stoic at heart! hehe!

I hope the storm isn't too severe and that you get some well deserved winter sunshine.



Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I won't tell you that it is blue skies here today and just a slight cool breeze.

You are not far from the shortest day of the year either. Did the chooks get a run outside today or has the storm been too severe?

How is your place holding up anyway? I hope you are OK?

65'F (18.5'C) degrees would be a hot day for winter here. Do you often get an Indian summer - sometimes here we get a hot spell just before winter kicks in in earnest.

If they're related to olives then they're probably hardy as. Actually olives are considered a feral pest plant north west of here. I wouldn't complain if a feral olive turned up here.

Thanks for the tip about the plant, I'll have a look out for it.

Thought so about the cornbread and chowder! Whoever came up with that recipe was a true culinary genius.

The English were really weird about naming fruit. Everything is apples this and apple that. Like custard apple - which tastes nothing like apples and pineapple - again. There's a few more too. What were they thinking?

Apparently, I was reading that tomatoes were originally considered to be a toxic fruit, but I suspect people were eating the leaves.

Yeah, some seedling cherries are not good. The birds don't seem to mind though and they make a good decoy fruit. The local birds here prefer the sour fruit, rather than the sweet, but they'll still give everything a nibble.

I hope everything is OK up your way? 50mph gusts are pretty strong. I reckon the extra energy in the atmosphere from global warming increases the wind energy, but I'm no expert on such matters.



LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris; Survived the storm, got the t-shirt :-).

Boy, that was a quick, hard punch. The wind started rising around 4PM and by midnight it was pretty much over. I lost my power from about 5 to 10. Water is out, again. Don't know why. Hopefully, for not as long as last time.

The Oregon Coast had 90 mph gusts. There were two people killed in Oregon. One kid in a car hit by a falling tree; a homeless guy who's tent was crushed. 70mph gusts in Portland. Some buildings damaged. Here we had gusts just under 50mph. The trees were really thrashing around. The clouds here usually come in from the west. This storm came in from the south. The clouds were low and very pretty. Frankly, I kind of like a good windstorm. The excitement!

The chooks had a good day out, yesterday. The storm started about 4 and sunset is about 4:30. So, they were already in and hunkered down by then. Think they were a bit stressed. Only two eggs this morning. Usually there's 5 or 6.

Oh, yes. We occasionally get an Indian Summer. LOL I read something about someone complaining that they'd get a freeze that killed everything, then get three weeks of glorious weather that would have extended the garden. We also, very rarely, get what is called a Chinook Wind here.

They are rare, but I've experience a few. They're also pretty exciting.

There's New England Clam Chowder which is milk or cream based. I love that stuff. Then there's Manhattan Clam Chowder which has a tomato base. I don't really care for that. There is Salmon Chowder (like New England but with salmon instead of clams) which is really really good. Yum!

Ah. Waters back on. Thought I heard a gurgle. I was a bit concerned as I hadn't refilled my water jugs after the last outage. Bad Lew! Only had a gallon left over. Got my cuppa :-).

Now if I could just get my telephone land line up and running. Intermittent outages, so hard to pin down. Now when I go to the website to report my problem, it tells me my account is "deactive." I may try a cell phone, again. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Glad to hear that you survived the storm unscathed.

I can't believe the water is out again at your place - and then back on again.

90mph is almost one step off a cyclone. Given that the storm came in from the south, was it warm? The northerly winds here are always warm. Actually, I don't mind a good storm either, they usually bring a whole lot of rain which is always needed. Plus the lightning and thunder put on a good show.

I'm a bit embarrassed to mention this, but speaking of good shows, one of the local areas has one street that always puts out a ridiculous quantity of Christmas lights. I'll try and get a photo over the next week or so, because I noticed something that you'd probably never see - A kangaroo and emu LED light combination wearing santa caps. I can't make this stuff up.

Glad to hear that the chooks got a good run outside before the storm hit. The chooks here are out in the orchard until almost 8.50pm now. Not far off the longest day...

Yeah, the freeze would make gardening difficult. Your climate is almost as variable as down here. Wow, the Chinook has some energy. That wind in 1972 produced a massive change in temperature.

As an interesting comparative the air temperature changes here at about roughly the same rate with altitude as a Chinook 10°C/1000m (5.5°F/1000 ft). Ahh, that is the pineapple express too. Interesting that it affects Canada more strongly than your area which is further south (this is perhaps no bad thing as the temperature changes would be very great). Many farm animals here can get stressed and die when a big blast of cold air hits the region from the Southern Ocean during a summer. hehe! The folklore about the Chinook was pretty funny. Oh yeah, four seasons in one day.

Pah, tomato base is just wrong for a chowder. Cream or milk base is definitely the way they make it down here. The funny thing is, you don't see it much here, but in Tasmania (the island state to the south of here), the old eateries around Hobart serve seafood chowder and it's good stuff. They also make a scallop pie down there and that is really good stuff.

In Port Phillip Bay here near Melbourne, they grow lots of mussels and those are really yummy seafood.

Nice to hear that you finally have your cuppa. I'm assuming this is a tea? The tea camellia's are struggling here and I really have no idea why. The coffee shrub went toes up too, but the one off heavy frost did them in. Are you a morning or afternoon tea / coffee drinker?

Yeah, that ain't good! I use the mobile service for internet coverage here as I don't have a fixed landline. It's more expensive using the mobile service, but the cost of connecting up to the copper underground landline was out of control. At least I can physically see a couple of towers so the connection speeds are really quite good.

I know some people who have to use satellite and that is a really bad internet option.



orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I am drowning under things that I want to write. So shall use up a few smaller items and get back to the land on another occasion.

The US west coast storms were shown on our television and I am glad that Lee is okay.
That bookshop in Portland: At one time, my sister lived in Corvallis, Oregon and took me to Portland. It is a stunning bookshop. The other thing that I have never forgotten, from that holiday, was the sea lions cave in Oregon. It has to be one of the wonders of the world.

Chowder: I had always thought that it was Irish in origin, clearly I was wrong. We don't have it in England but every Café and restaurant, in Ireland, sells it; always with cream.

Bees: I have never kept bees but a friend of mine (deceased) spent years trying to breed back to the native black bee. He got his black queen/s from a monastery. The more yellow Italian bees were imported to the UK and took over. I believe that they were found to be less aggressive. He said that when the weather was dull and wet (most of the time here) the black bee goes out but the Italian bee sulks in the hive.

I understand that the Australian native bee doesn't sting; sounds like a bonus. Has it ever been tried in a hive?

Lilac: when I was a child, we used to suck the base of the tiny florets for a smidgeon of sweetness.

Prunes: I had thought that prunes were just any old dried plums. I have never heard of prune trees before. I live and learn.

Children who are fussy eaters: Long, long ago a little girl visited us who didn't eat. My children were gannets. As the child played with her food, my childrens' noses got closer and closer to her plate. She put an arm around her plate to guard it. Then my young asked her whether she wanted her food and she started to eat rapidly. Unfortunately her mother returned at that point and said 'Do you like it darling?'. The response was 'No' and the plate was pushed away. I think that this story tells one all that one needs to know about child fussy eaters and what to do about it.

Enough for now Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris and Inge; My "girls" (the chickens) have calmed down and are back on track. 6 eggs this morning (from 11 birds, some in molt). Just before the storm, the temperature was around 48F. When the wind started to blow, it bounced up to 60F and about halfway through, settled around 55F. "Pineapple Express" (I think a more fun and colorful term) is being replaced by the "classier" "atmospheric river." Silly. "A rose by any other name..." Maybe the Pineapple industry objected? :-). Dole Corp. has a lot of clout. :-).

Those Christmas lights sound too funny. Yes, I can see a sleigh with 12 kangaroos pulling it, one with a shiny bright red nose! Brother Bob the Bachelor Farmer, who passed away? He was kind of an animal hoarder. I used to tease him that he could do a living Nativity on his front lawn. He didn't think if was very funny.

Close your eyes. Book recommendation coming up. Grisham, who writes the lawyer novels, wrote a one off called "Skipping Christmas." Was also a movie that I've never seen. About a suburban couple who decide to take all the money they usually spend on Christmas, and take a cruise, instead. And the intense pressure they come under from society. It's a little book.

Years ago, I used to drink a lot of coffee. Being of partial Finn extraction and all. Then I discovered that it leaches calcium out of your bones and Vitamin C out of your body. So, I switched to a half decaf brand. Not too bad when you got used to it. Then, becoming aware of the benefits of tea, I pretty much phased out the coffee. Which can give you bad headaches. But replacing it with tea mitigates that. So, I generally alternate between a good green and Earl Grey. I drink a lot, all day long. Funny, about every two weeks or so I indulge in a pot of coffee. Usually after someone in a move says to another character "Would you like a cup of coffee?" And, I say yes and make a pot. The mind is a funny thing. I do like the high octane stuff, like Kona, but indulge very rarely.

Yes, the Oregon Coast is very beautiful. A lot more interesting than the Washington Coast. Great rocks and headlands, tide pools. And, yes, I visited the Sea Lion Caves when I was a kid.


LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont: Traveling with my Dad wasn't very much fun. He got 2 weeks vacation every year (plus one he saved for hunting) and we'd alternate between visiting California, and visiting Nebraska, Montana, and once, Minnesota. South or east there was always a swing through Reno on the way back. A little gambling.

Dad would get off work on a friday afternoon around 3, we'd load up the car ... and arrive in Nebraska on Sunday afternoon. 1,250 miles later. After about 3 days he's get antsy and we'd be on the move again. At the same pace. Rarely, mom would put her foot down (terrible rows) and we'd get to see some roadside attraction. Once, the Seal Lion Caves.

Well, I did a little looking around, and prunes and plums both belong to the genus Prunus, but are different plants. Prunes, generally, dry better and have a freer stone. But worldwide, the nomenclature is ...confusing. The funniest thing I saw was "A prune is a plum, but a plum is not necessarily a prune." And filberts are hazelnuts unless they're called cob nuts. The last a term I've never heard. Filberts are quit an industry in the Pacific Northwest.

So endeth the epistle for today. :-) Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

PS: Yikes! Sorry you got smashed in the snoozola by a runaway sign! Going to sue? :-). Anguish, lost wages, trauma and drama? Tell them you're Italian and it caused an overwhelming figuras (sp?). :-)

Yeah, I try and watch myself around here. I've stumbled and gone down a couple of times. But the worst ... putting up some chicken wire. I stumbled, didn't go down, but somehow twisted my shoulder, hip and knee. Low level pain for MONTHS!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis and Inge,

Many apologies but time has gotten completely away from me this evening to reply to your comments. Dinner is still far away and it is 9.35pm now (the sun sets at about 9pm here now).

Today was hot but cloudy so got up early and worked all day taking advantage of the lack of sunshine to put some finishing touches on the new shed and worked through to about 8pm. There are even lights inside and out now!

I genuinely fear that my replies this evening may possibly make little to no sense due to sheer tiredness.

Thanks for the your excellent comments and I'll reply with the new blog tomorrow.



Cathy McGuire said...

On the top bar hive - I built it according to various instruction videos on YouTube (I put links to them on the bee segment of the new Green Wizards blog)and installed one of the two bought colonies (expensive here - $100 plus!!) - which promptly swarmed (next day!!) I was soooo crushed by that... and the place I bought them said they'd located a swarm that I could have if I could catch it - so I did... but I put it in a second box hive,figuring I'd messed up on the top bar (now I realize I'd probably just poked and peered at the swarm much too much the first two days... or, who knows?) The ironic thing was that some swarm located the empty top bar and moved in!! So I ended up with three hives, only one of which I pulled honey from (but then on my last check before winter, they looked to have eaten all the remaining honey - so I fed most of it back)... this year, if I lose any of the colonies, I'm gonna try and spruce up the boxes, put a welcome sign out, and hope... much cheaper! Or, if someone finds a swarm, I'd go after it. This spring I'm supposed to get my left hip replaced (right was replaced in 2013 and dislocated 10 times before being "fixed" - not really; it's still weak, so you can imagine I'm not enthused) so I'm guessing I won't have major time/ability to fuss with hives... Life just keeps throwing curve balls... but that's part of muddling through, I guess. Speaking of which - sorry to hear about the signage attack - tell the shop to use bells to get your attention next time, not savage signs. ;-}

Cathy McGuire said...

@Lewis -
Glad to hear you fared okay in the storm. I was very relieved that it basically swerved around Sweet Home (my town) and I didn't lose power. Four towns to the east of me got pummelled, though. And those coastal storms are why I didn't choose to settle on the beautiful OR coast.

I'm amazed you're still getting eggs in winter! Do you have lights in your coop? I get one egg/day from 10 hens, and that won't get better til the days get longer... but I like to give them a rest, so I don't use lights.I may buy more of the breed that is still laying, for next year, though.

@Chris: Apparently, I was reading that tomatoes were originally considered to be a toxic fruit, but I suspect people were eating the leaves.
The early tomatoes were more toxic, and in fact too many aren't great for you, because of the nightshade connection... but the hybrids and various "improvements" have made tomatoes less toxic, and plumper, etc. Potatoes, peppers and eggplant are also nightshades, and some of us with arthritis shouldn't be eating them (but they are sooo good!)

Cathy McGuire said...

I either have no time to post on any blog, or suddenly I'm prolific! ;-}

I had a question - I'm working on a post-decline novel (after getting two short stories accepted in After Oil - very encouraging!) and wondered if any of you might be willing to read and comment... what if I posted a chapter a week on my old blog (which is full of cobwebs, but oh well) - could anyone spare the time to read it? I'm up to Chapter 16, though I still have some annoying "more here" notations... maybe I'd feel more pressure to keep going (you know with house and yard tasks, it's very hard to allow time to write - I don't know how JMG does it!!)

Anyway, that's my question - what do you think?

Cathy McGuire said...

Hi, Cherokee -
Did one of my three posts get disappeared? I wrote to you about bees... don't want you to think I ignored your question...