Monday, 25 May 2015

Predictive text


Some of the trees here are massive. Near the recently constructed wood shed is a medium sized Eucalyptus Obliqua tree which most likely germinated after the 1939 bushfires. That dates the tree at about 75 years of age. There are many trees here that are much bigger and older again, but this particular tree is the one of the largest trees close to any buildings on the farm. 
Big tree close to the newly constructed wood shed

A week or so ago, there was a bit of lively discussion amongst the commenters about all things relating to Eucalyptus trees. One point that was raised was that Eucalyptus trees have a habit of dropping limbs without warning. Well, I’m not saying that the particular discussion put the “kiss of death” on my brand new wood shed and water tank – but it was a close thing.

One morning I awoke to see this (and it wasn’t even remotely windy, just wet):
A large limb fell from a nearby Eucalyptus tree almost destroying the new water tank
Looking at the above photo of the tree that is still standing, you can get a good feeling for just how high that branch fell from! I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to be underneath that branch when it fell.

It was a bit of a week of dramas because not only did the chainsaw and push mower both decide that crucial parts would break, but two of the dogs disappeared off into the forest one cold night.

There are no fences here and the orchard backs onto tall Eucalyptus forest. The dogs rarely leave the clearing that is the farm. Mostly the here dogs patrol the forest edge, sit in the sun enjoying themselves, keep the wildlife off the orchard during the day, and have a good bark to alert me of the presence of a person unknown to them. My expectations of the dogs’ behaviour are certainly not onerous and they themselves perform useful functions on the farm and everyone seems to be generally happy with the arrangement.

Toothy the dog is a long haired Dachshund which is a breed that was bred to scent, chase, and flush out burrow-dwelling animals. Toothy is also originally a rescue dog from the Lost Dogs Home and I was originally unaware of this particular breed trait. Well, there are plenty of animals in the surrounding forest that enjoy living in burrows. Burrow dwelling animals here include wombats, foxes, snakes and rabbits. With the exception of the rabbits, the other three animals could easily injure, maim or kill a long haired Dachshund. And, Toothy knows that risk.

Toothy, being the intelligent creature that he is minimises his risk during such extra-curricular adventures by employing some friendly dog muscle to back him up. This is where Poopy the very large Pomeranian comes into the story.

Pomeranian breeds are generally intelligent dogs, with an unusual and perverse streak of wilfulness. They also tend to be quite courageous beyond their stature – some may even say foolhardy.

It was a lovely late Autumn day and the sun was shining and there was not even the hint of a breeze. The call of the burrow became too much for Toothy and somehow he convinced Poopy to go a-hunting off and away into the surrounding forest.

Both Poopy and Toothy know, based on past experience that they’ll be in serious trouble if they head off into the surrounding forest on a long dog adventure. That is why they are never allowed out of the house together. But somehow on that sunny afternoon they managed to get their first opportunity in years outside together and so off they went. It was like a scene from the film “Top Gun” where the maverick pilot is explaining his unrepentant actions away to a superior officer: “I saw my opportunity and took it”.

Once realisation had dawned on us, there wasn’t much we could do but wait for their return. It was the usual weekend afternoon: bird calls, trail bikes and the distant sound of the occasional gun shot. The sun eventually set and the clear night skies caused the temperature to drop to as low as 1.4’C (34.5’F). A massive shooting star even fell from the sky into the valley below leaving a smoke trail behind it whilst it broke up into several chunks.

Then at about 8pm, Poopy returned looking very dispirited and with a limp. Needless to say he was immediately nabbed and thrown into the dog enclosure where he skulked into his kennel looking very dejected. The cheeky minx wanted his dinner too. I don’t think so!

Toothy on the other hand was nowhere to be seen. Given Poopy’s general hang-dog vibe and Toothy’s absence, I concluded that Toothy had come to an unpleasant end somewhere out in the forest. It didn’t help that calling for him by his name didn’t produce any sound or his presence. And the forest was unusually quiet that evening except for the nearby call of a very large Powerful Owl.

I started to get a bit concerned at that point and got into the car a drove around the nearby roads on the off chance that I could hear a distressed dog call. A few dogs in the valley below were incessantly barking and the occasional fox and cubs call could be heard somewhere off in the forest, but Toothy has a distinctive voice and that was as absent as he was.

After I returned home, I grabbed Poopy and put him on a lead, grabbed some provisions, a compass and headed off into the surrounding forest to see whether we could track Toothy. Poopy was instructed to go find Toothy and he took me to a couple of wombat holes which I’d previously been unaware of. He even sat down near one wombat hole surrounded by tall trees with an understory of ferns and continued his unhappy look. All Poopy really wanted to do was go home back to his warm kennel, and maybe some dinner. So we trudged back home through the cold, dark tall forest dejected and accepted the fact that Toothy had come to a nasty end.

It is worth mentioning that wombats are the equivalent of an armoured personnel carrier because they have a very hard plate along their spine. Wombats live in burrows and they have never been troubled by dogs or foxes because they can use their hard plates to simply squash foxes or dogs against the roof of their burrows. The average wombat is a formidable creature and it is little wonder that they are spread right across this continent.

After what had seemed like hours searching for the recidivist dog Toothy on a very cold and dark night, I went to bed feeling pretty unhappy that I would no longer enjoy his companionable presence.

At about 1.30am, the little tip rat (Toothy) decided that the surrounding forest wasn’t really as nice as a warm hearth, a good meal, dry clean fur and companions and decided to make his presence known by stomping around on the veranda and waking me up. I was truly glad to see that he made his way back home again.
The prodigal dogs return, Poopy and Toothy both return for a solid feeding and warm bed
Back to farm news. Now that the firewood shed has been completed and is about 5/12th full of firewood, I commenced building the rock walls around that shed. Some of those rocks weighed more than I do, and they act as a retaining wall between the machinery shed and the firewood shed.
Construction starts on the retaining wall between the machinery shed and the firewood shed
In the photo above, you can see that I’ve recently also obtained several security screen doors for the forthcoming reconstruction of the chicken shed and enclosure project. The screen doors were purchased at the local tip shop for about $25 each and one of them would have originally cost many hundreds of dollars to produce! I was quite astounded when I stumbled across that particular security door and wondered why the person would have originally disposed of it? Still, it is their loss as it will look very impressive on the chicken run (and most importantly, it will be reasonably rat proof)!

Over the weekend I also had to travel to a nearby town to collect the corrugated sheet steel for the forthcoming chicken shed and enclosure project. A bulk lot of the recycled sheet steel was available for purchase there, and given the difficulty of obtaining second hand steel for the recent wood shed project, I thought that it would be best to strike whilst the iron is hot, as they say (no pun intended).
Corrugated sheet steel waits to be installed on the forthcoming new chicken enclosure and run project
As the new chicken run and enclosure has yet to be commenced many of the current chicken system failings are only too obvious to me. The recent heavy rainfall has caused the deep litter mulch in the chicken run to become very congealed due to excessive quantities of chicken manure (nitrogen and phosphate). Chickens like to scratch and at the same time produce a nitrogen rich fertiliser, so to rectify this problem, I dumped a half cubic metre (0.7 cubic yards) of composted woody mulch into their run today. Hopefully (soil geek alert!), excellent soil will eventuate.
Half a cubic metre of woody composted mulch was brought into the chicken run today
Very observant readers will note that in the photo above, Scritchy the boss dog – who is very unimpressed with either Toothy and Poopy and his bitten them on many recent occasions just to let her displeasure be known – is circling around the chicken run doing her best to assist with the application of woody mulch. Big Plymie the very large Plymouth Rock chicken looks as though she wants nothing more than to eat Scritchy the boss dog and that is pretty much how life on a farm goes. Also, is it my imagination or do chickens always look mildly angry?

I don’t usually mention this but at least one day per week of my time is spent reducing the amount of fallen forest litter in and around the surrounding forest. It is a big job. Given the uncertainty surrounding recent predictions for the forthcoming El Nino, the state government has this week commenced a very large burn off within the nearby forest and that is perhaps the first within my memory. Even some of the larger land holders are taking cleanup action.
Today a large land owner on the edge of the forest here below commenced a massive burn off
Plants always tend to adapt to changing environments and climate and it is interesting to note that one of the rhododendron plants here has produced several stunning flowers on the eve of winter.  They usually flower in spring.
A rhododendron plant has unusually produced a flower on the eve of winter
Apologies everyone, but I’ve written so much on this week’s blog that I’ve run out of writing time so we’ll get back to the house construction thread on next week’s blog. Promise!

The temperature outside here at about 8.45pm is 7.2 degrees Celsius (45.0’F). So far this year there has been 310.6mm (12.2 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week's total of 285.6mm (11.2 inches).

41 comments:

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

My, what a week you've had! You really tell a good tale; your doggie drama had me enthralled. Ha! Dachshunds! My Uncle Bubba (name not his fault; my mother stuck him with it when she was little) has always had dachshunds and , my goodness, the list of mischief they have gotten into is a mile long. More than all the other dogs put together.

You live in a wild and dangerous place; bit of paradise, but with teeth. Reminds me to thank you for the link last week to Craigielea Cherokee Mountain Resort. I enjoyed it so much and went all through it. Beautiful, intriguing, and charming region.

Chickens always look angry to me, also. It's those beady eyes, and the way that they pounce on anything moving. When we had them the whole flock of them would follow behind the lawnmower, grabbing anything than ran away from it, even small snakes (in the grass - ha!). Their feet have always astonished me - they are so prehistoric looking.

Whoa, those tree limbs! That sure was a big one! You are so lucky that it missed your latest construction project. More than once, we have had them fall and smash car windows. One of the drawbacks to having wonderful shade in the summer and unlimited firewood.

I don't think that there is any way that chickens can NOT turn what they dig into good compost.

As for your hex: if it is so, then you yourself have the means to counteract it. In fact, I suspect that you already have.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I am delighted to hear that your canine adventurers are safely home.

Don't like the sight of that branch on the ground, it is too evocative of my problems here. Not sure that I want to be at home when my tree is tackled. the bulk of the branches overhang my roof.

You asked about climbing plants. There aren't many. The main one, ivy, is absolutely everywhere. Bramble comes next and then honeysuckle. Greater bindweed is a nuisance. We don't have wild clematis, it is a garden plant here.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Whoa! That limb coming down was really a narrow miss. Both the places I'm looking at in Idaho have big trees around them. If I move, one of the first things on the agenda is to get a tree guy in to assess them and do some pruning.

I am so glad the Poppy and Toothy saga came to a happy end. I see them more as Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer :-). Some "experts" claim we anthropomorphize our animal friends, too much. But, I do think they have a whole range of emotions that they express in different ways. Can't say my chooks are angry all the time, but, sometimes get pretty ticked off. Usually when I want them to do something they don't want to do.

A shooting star fell in your valley? Really? Smoke trail and all? You sound so off hand about the whole thing. Happen much, down under? :-).

For some strange reason, our local library system seems to have gotten a clutch of Australian films, recently. Some older ("Walkabout") and some just a couple of years old. Got the first one the other day. "John Doe: Vigilante." It raises some disturbing questions about crime and punishment.

"San Andreas" opens here, on friday. I'd kind of like to see it on the big screen. After it's been playing a week or two and the crowds die down. But, getting a fix on which showings have the least attendance is next to impossible. All you get are recordings if you call the theatre. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I'm glad that Toothy is back too. Exactly. Nell runs serious risks up your way at night, what with a pack of coyotes and the occasional bear at night. Who knows what motivates them to head off on an adventure. I would have replaced Toothy too as he is a good rat and mouser dog and generally well behaved (mostly).

Oops! Glad to hear that your broody hens were OK. The night time activities of all of the various creatures here would most certainly end up with them dead in that scenario.

Not good and I hope that you are now feeling better - if not on the way to recovery? Food issues are sometimes I suspect a real thing and other times people adopt it as an affectation just to be different. Humans are incredibly adaptable.

Big food sounds like Big Brother... And war on Big Food. It is a bit: how is the war with Oceania going? Actually on a serious note, do you have food labelling with ingredients listed and product country of origin? I get the impression that you may not. There is a big push here to water the current laws down and they've already started importing food in from China of all places - like apples. What's with that? I'm not too far south of the country’s major area for apple production. It is weird because we're a major food exporting country too. Still, I'm glad to hear that people are starting to become concerned that it is being noticed.

Ahh, three days and I'd start to get a bit of cabin fever. How are you holding up? We call that mizzle down here as it is a combination of drizzle and mist. ;-)!

Thanks for sharing those memories. It sounded like fun. Yeah, that age thing is a relative concept. Like did we ever look that young ourselves? Hehe! Dunno, but I sure don't feel old, although I do feel the pressure of the passing days.

All is now clear. I've never seen asphalt used on a roof. Tiles, slate, wood shingles and steel - yeah, but never asphalt. Of course that makes sense; the guttering would fall off under the weight of the accumulated snow. Nice to hear that they are getting serious rainfall at the tail end of spring. Is that normal for them? The climate up north of this continent has just about gone haywire - although few people want to discuss the implications of that. I'll post some links over at the ADR for some recent examples.

Fair enough. I purchased the land here because it was cheap and no one else wanted it. Wood heat has a lot going for it.

Wow, so east of the mountains would be expected to be wetter than average over the summer whilst the coastal side will be hotter and drier. Interesting. No one really knows how it will play out here, so I'll keep you posted as I hear further updates. Those three risks are the exact same ones here, and two of them are wildcards with the major exception of the forest fuel loads which can be influenced by our actions.

Same here. We are both wandering nomads who just happen to be where we are located at!

As you mentioned the zombie film "Warm Bodies" I watched it whilst you were traveling and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun, although fast moving zombies are a tough opponent. I like how the humans and corpses bonded over killing off the bones - a nice touch.

Also, I'm embarrassed to say that the previous discussions about the 1980's film Caddyshack encouraged me to watch it and I'd have to give it the following expedited review: "Cringe worthy". I just made that word up, but I reckon you get the picture. I made it through about 25 to 30 minutes before switching it off. You know, when I was a wee lad, I thought that the film was hysterical - what was I thinking? Didn't Bob Dylan sing that the times they're a changing...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Ah the wandering cat problem. Cats are interesting creatures and the very shifty amongst them can scam two consecutive households for food and attention. I have a friend that had that exact situation happened to them. Cats are very intelligent creatures.

Your story brings back memories. Years ago I met a young kitten that was clearly only a few weeks old, alone and suffering the cat flu. He'd had the common sense to turn up at my gate one cold winter’s morning. This is really how it went: I looked at him and said, "if you walk through that gate, this house is yours". And the cheeky, but quite ill feline sauntered through the gate.

With a reliable diet and some care he pulled through the cat flu, but was always a very snotty cat. He used to sneeze on the glass and if the sun baked that snot, then it would set as hard as epoxy resin. The chunks on the glass were really hard to explain to friends. The boss dog at that time - who was a genius in that role, unlike Scritchy - took the sickly cat under her protection and the cat in turn grew up to think that he was a dog.

When the boss dog eventually died about a decade later, the cat also died of a broken heart only a few weeks after her. It was very traumatic for the entire household.

It is now interesting because I have a dog that now acts as though it is a cat, so the wheel has come full circle!

Top work with the dog kibble and I do hope that you blog about your results. So far here not all of the dogs are as excited by the pumpkin base in their new dog food as I am...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Many thanks and that is high praise indeed.

Yes, Bubba is really an unfortunate name or nickname for an Uncle. Did he live up to that name? Exactly, naughtiness is bred into that dog species. You'd think that a dog with such short legs wouldn't be capable of such mischief, but the reality is not good.

It is a beautiful part of the world, but also a very challenging place to live. Craigielea was once a health resort during the Victorian era and the mansion was eventually abandoned. The old timers used to believe that fresh air in such high elevation and remote spots reduced the probability of contracting disease.

Seriously at one point in time after WWII there was only a single soul living at this entire end of the mountain range and strangely he had a fear of snakes so he set fire to the entire mountain side every single summer. That fear burnt out a lot of the old historic cottages, however some still remain in the small old township.

Yeah, exactly. Chickens are very prehistoric and you can see them sizing you up going: My pedigree dates back to the dinosaurs, how's yours looking? Chickens would love to eat snakes. The kookaburra's catch and eat them here and a family of those birds lives on the farm. They'll follow me around if I'm digging too and I'll grub up any witchetty grubs for them which they'll swoop on. Once I fed one of the birds so many grubs that it became a bit full and I could grab the kookaburra bird and then let it go. It wasn't very disturbed by the interaction as it just hopped away waiting for the next grub.

Thanks very much. I didn't really tell the half of it, but am tackling each problem as they arise. The mower and chainsaw are back home again today and the repair shop did the job on the cheap so perhaps, the hex wasn't a hex at all, but a sign things could have been much worse otherwise, sort of arrangement. Dunno, but things are starting to look up. Not all of the problems were resolved in my favour though as I was ripped off on one occasion from someone I’d known for a few years, but have managed to rectify all of the other occurrences. It has been a nightmare, but then that is life.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Many thanks for your thoughts. Yes, Poopy and Toothy are now both in the dog house and have some restricted benefits, not that they understand such concepts. Adventure escalates risk and they both upped the ante so to speak.

Oh yeah, I hear you. There isn't much worse than to watch a tree climber or feller taking down a big tree when it is next to your home. So much to go wrong, so quickly. My advice for what it is worth, head out and have an enjoyable day to yourself and don't be tempted to stand around watching. There is really nothing you can do if it goes wrong. Your son would probably have a touch more objectivity in relation to that matter? Often with such matters, I send the editor off and away for the day as it is hard to shut off from the shared concerns and they become something of a distraction.

Tree climbers can be very careful as long as they have the time to do the job slowly.

You'll be happy to note that I am poaching separate lots of quince and rhubarb this evening. The house smells like candied quince and rhubarb, especially after some boiled over in the wood oven. Yum!

Yes, they are all present here too. Bindweed is a nuisance. Ivy is in the area and will climb up even the tallest Eucalyptus trees and it ends up looking as though the tree has a green woolly jacket on!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Pruning is a better outcome than assessing, because as an old timer from around here once shared with me a great chunk of wisdom: They never get smaller.

There is no insurance coverage for the tree limb wiping out the new water tank either and the tanks are almost impossible to repair.

Yeah, exactly, Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer heading off for an adventure. That was my thinking too. It makes you wonder how they both could possibly have been bored here?

Hehe! Chickens can be very touchy about things not turning out the way they believe they should. Upsetting the chicken world view is how I like to think about it. However, sometimes the chickens are relieved too. I'm treating Rumpole the boss chicken for a swollen abscess under her eye at the moment with dog eye anti-biotic and she seems to be coming good. She may not recover her full eyesight though. I suspect that she has been in a fight and it chicken land is harsher than Mad Max world...

It is a rare clear night sky when you don't see a shooting star. That one was particularly big though and I was sort of hoping that it hit the ground. I can walk outside most clear nights and see the Milky Way as a twisting ribbon of light across the night sky. There isn't really that much light pollution and Mount Robertson to the south of me blocks out the light from the city of Melbourne. I don't really take that for granted though. What is it like up your way? A few weeks back I took a photo with the 300 lens on the camera on maximum zoom of the Southern Cross constellation and all of the stars turned out in the photo like the globes that they really are. If you are interested I can post that photo next week and you can get a feel for just how dark it is down here at the bottom of the planet?

Speaking of which, I once saw a lightning fork hit the train signal box in the valley below which then blew up. It looked amazing like the San Andreas film but without all the computer graphics and it probably seriously delayed the train! However, lightning which hit a neighbours tree a few years back also fried my Internet modem so perhaps it wasn't that good a thing after all. Still, the lightning that hit the signal box in the valley below looked amazing! Yeah, it was really bad too, but wow it was amazing to see... Sorry, I'm very conflicted about that event! Hehe!

That film sounds very Dexter - a new book is shortly to be released! I hope you enjoyed the film? If you have the time, I watched an interesting film last year called: Wish you were here, about a Thailand adventure that went horribly wrong for a few Aussies. That was a good story. Romulus my father, is a film (and book) well worth your time too. The film industry is very small here, but they do OK.

An excellent strategy. Opening week is a nightmare to be avoided at all costs. That film opens here Thursday the 28th. I'll be interested to hear your review? I don't mind a massive smash ‘em up film either. Speaking of which I was thinking of heading out to see "Ex Machina". The reviews have been quite good and it has the red haired guy from the film "About Time" - although I do recall that you didn't enjoy that as much as you would a massive disaster film!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I have a purple clematis at the end of the porch. It should bloom, pretty soon. Saw a sky blue one, last year, I wish I would have picked up. There is ivy around the place. It doesn't seem to spread, much. Now the honey suckle, is another matter. My father had a climbing rose that climbed up a cedar tree to a great height. :-).

Food labeling, here, is pretty good. There are Federal laws and State laws. Of course, there are about 15 ways to state "processed sugar." You have to be a little savvy. A couple of years ago, we had a State vote on labeling GMO foods. Due to the incredible amount of money poured into the election by big food, it failed. According to the article I mentioned, Big Food is backing off that. The number of people who want to know if their food is GMO or not is reaching critical mass. Sometime in the last year, my supermarket started carrying an organic, non GMO baked tofu. Quit nice stuff. A couple of years ago, I picked up several jars of relish. A store brand, on sale. I got it home and noticed on the label that it had come from China! What? We can't even make our own relish, anymore? I now pay closer attention. What I like about my local fruit and vegi store is that they mark most produce with origin. And, have told them several times that I appreciate that. If it's not labeled, they can tell you.

Yeah, food issues are ... interesting. I've always been a bit skeptical of my friend in Idaho's supposed gluten sensitivity. But, I did some reading on it and I think a lot of that isn't celeriac disease (which is actually pretty rare) but has more to do with the varieties of wheat that are grown now, and how it is milled. We went out to a very busy restaurant with a rather distracted waitress. My friend had a bad two days. The only thing we could figure out is that her gluten free waffle, wasn't. My digestion is back to normal. Along with my diet.

Besides asphalt roofing, many buildings here are roofed with straight asphalt. Mostly commercial buildings with almost flat roofs. You'll see a funny little cart that heats the asphalt and lines running up to the roof. I find the smell of the operation kind of nice. Most people don't. And, of course, most of the roads here are asphalted. Crews do repairs here in the summer. When the cost of oil goes up, so does the cost of asphalt. A lot of municipalities can't afford to do the repairs. Thousands of miles of roads (mostly rural) have been allowed to revert back to gravel. I think the planned highway work, near me, has been shoved back another year. More pressing needs in other parts of the county. Like replacing bridges after the last round of floods.

I can see stars here, but there is a bit of light pollution. Can't see the milky way. Of course, anytime something interesting is happening in the sky, it seems like we are clouded in.

Oh, I know what you mean by "cringe worthy." In college I quit liked a film called "Eat the Rich." So, years later, I got a VHS version of it. Gathered a bunch of friends for a movie evening ... and ... it was awful. Some things just don't hold up. Glad you liked "Warm Bodies." I hear the author (from Seattle) is writing a prequel. Have noted the movies you mentioned and will see if my library carries them. The film was very Dexter. Can't say I "enjoyed" it, but it sure held my interest. Time to let my little dinosaurs, out :-) Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Going out for the day, when the tree is cut, is a nice thought. However it is my home and my tree so I shall be there; my son will be away working.

Ivy grows right to the top of trees here as well; then it flowers.

You gave me praise for having a washing line; in fact a washing line would be the norm here. I take mine down in the winter because nothing would dry in the woods but other people use them all the year round. There really is a massive difference between the way rural and urban dwellers live. Surely people use washing lines in your climate? Both my Australian daughters do.

Inge

susan said...

I'm glad to hear all went well with the adventuring dog debacle. I've only ever had two dogs as companions - the first, a friend of my childhood, was a short haired red dachshund who loved digging deep holes. The other was a black and white, very handsome mixed breed that we told people was a 'great speckled batcatcher'. In those days when leash laws hadn't yet been enacted he would often go off on his own for part of the day. I think he was writing novels on trees. It was when we lived in Vancouver, BC that he disappeared for three wretched days. Like your Toothy, he returned late one night, but unlike Toothy, he was badly injured. We got him to the vet the next day where he stayed for a week having his wounds drained. The doctor determined he'd probably been attacked by a mountain lion and that the three days he'd been missing was how long it took him to get home.

That really is one impressive tree next to your new water tank. Thank goodness it was spared.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I'd never heard of purple clematis before. The clematis here has fluffy flowers which are a dull off-white colour. Yours is a much more attractive plant. Ivy is the same around here too as it doesn't tend to spread much. Yes, honeysuckle can get a foothold here too, although you don't see it around much at all. If it produces nectar then it may be a useful bird and insect attracting flower. The honey eaters love all of the salvia plants (like pineapple sage) about the place and are constantly flying between all the low shrubs. They're too fast to get a good photo of the birds at their activities.

That is very good to hear. It is nice that your local fruit and veg store knows about the origin of the produce displayed for sale. Top work. The local Queen Victoria Market generally displays country of origin (and often area too) for most items. The local stuff is usually more expensive by a considerable margin. I buy ginger for the ginger wine and the local stuff is quite pricey. Local garlic is the whole next level - but at least it tastes like garlic.

I reckon everyone gets a bit sleepy feeling and a little bit congested in the sinuses after consuming gluten based products. There are genuine people with gluten intolerance and the celiac condition, but a lot of people are also "on trend" which doesn't assist the matters. Everyone tends to get a different reaction; some like your friends are more severe. There are plenty of other grains to eat that don't produce that reaction, but our agricultural systems are set up to grow wheat, so that's what we get.

Yeah, I saw that type of roof in episodes of Grand Designs UK. No one has a flat roof here so it was a bit of an eye opener. Serious storms would challenge the roof loads and they may possibly fail or leak at the very least - especially as the summer sun took its toll on the asphalt. When I used to ride a motor bike, I had to be very careful parking it on the centre and/or side stand in summer as on very hot days the asphalt could melt and the bike would simply fall over... Ooops!

Your story of roads and bridges is a sign of decline; fortunately they may not get around to building that highway... Here's hoping anyway! I mentioned the bridge problem over at the ADR after the recent super storm that hit the Hunter Valley in the state to the north of here. The town is still cut off from my understanding and the road is apparently going to be completely re-routed. Same, same but different! ;-)!

Well, you do tend to get a lot of rain up your way and it does require the odd cloud or fifty. Hehe! Years ago, I spotted one of the recent comets that passed by. It put on a show. Sorry to hear about the light pollution up your way, the Milky Way is an amazing thing to see twisting like a ribbon across the night sky. They've got an observatory on the next mountain range to the north of here - which isn't that far at all.

Oh yeah, I remember "Eat the Rich", it was very silly from memory (stockbroker soup anyone?), but it did end up being a cult classic - along a similar line to some of Peter Jackson's earlier films (him of Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fame). Meet the Feebles was entertaining in parts, but difficult to watch. Disclaimer: That is definitely not a recommendation!

Stay away from the film Wolfe Creek. That one would give me nightmares...

I'm feeling a bit out of sorts tonight, so I'm looking forward to a quiet day tomorrow and maybe will get stuck into part 2 of the Shaman story. Who knows?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I salute your stoic attitude and I'd be there too if I were in that same situation, just off to one side and out of the way a bit - well maybe a whole lot. Make sure to offer them a tea during their breaks. Are they planning to climb the tree and slowly cut it up or simply fell it? Most people that work with large trees tend to be very careful people. It is an unpleasant and risky job but I have a great respect for their skills - it is way beyond me.

I've seen the ivy flowers and the leaves very high up in a tree here, but never at the top of a tree. Wow, you have much better soils than here.

Of course, that makes perfect sense. I made the comment for the benefit of other readers who may not have considered that option for clothes drying. Of course your daughters both probably use the ubiquitous: Hills Hoist! I used to climb up on them as a child and swing around and around on them. They were lots of fun. I use a couple of clothes horses nowadays and simply move the clothes horses outside when the sun is shining and put them in front of the wood heater so they dry well right throughout the year. The solar photovoltaic system generates a lot of electrical energy, but electric clothes dryers would be an awfully large drain on the batteries. I sort of feel sorry for people with the US arrangement of home owners associations which stop that sort of outside thing.

Years ago, when living in the trendy inner city, I used to scandalise the neighbours by leaving the washing horses in the front yard which received the full afternoon sun. Then one of the old timers told me one day how much he respected me doing that and enjoyed the fact that it was sticking it to the younger neighbours. Before that conversation, I didn't even realise that it was a social problem - didn't stop me though...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Susan,

Many thanks and I'm glad to that it all ended up well. Toothy took a risky gamble that night.

Dachshunds love digging holes, if only we could somehow harness that energy...

What a great name for a dog breed! Well dogs tend to think their canine thoughts and you are probably correct that they would involve trees. Imagine what a tree must look like to a dog, it would be awesome.

Sorry to hear that your batcatcher had been injured in his adventure. What is impressive is that he survived a possible encounter with a mountain lion. One of those would probably do us all in...

The older taller trees here are very impressive and much of the forest work that I undertake (willingly) goes towards assisting their health and life span. On a positive note, the branch falling off the tree provides a brand new hollow on the large tree as a new home for birds, bats, possums, gliders - whomever is tough enough to hold it. The younger trees lack that housing. I was relieved to see the water tank and shed undamaged too.

Cheers

Chris

August Johnson said...

Hi Chris,

Actually, any image of stars should show as pinpoints if the focus is correct. The angular diameter of stars is so small that they can't be resolved as disks by any but the largest telescopes with hideously expensive active optics systems. If they show up as a disk, it's because they aren't quite focused. The planets will show as disks, however.

August

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The tree will have to come down in pieces, it is very widely branched. Even if it wasn't, there is no space to drop it in one go.

I am being driven insane by a neighbour who wants me to write a letter for him in a boundary court case. I don't mind, but I never want to see another map in my life. I have always loved maps until now. There has been no ordnance survey done here since before WW2 and the land has slipped. New buildings are simply drawn on the old maps, by the land registry. Worse, the island was one of the last places to require land registry. I guess approx. 1981. So there is massive inaccuracy!

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I have several clotheslines running across my covered back porch, which means that I can leave things out to dry even if rain is threatened. I would prefer to have the lines out in the sun, but every scarce inch of sunny spot is used for food growing - so no go. In the winter I, too, hang things by the wood stove or in a warm back room ( where Eldora the Dragon has her lair). It's funny, but I seem to see more veg. gardens and clotheslines in town than I do out here in the country or in the suburbs. It appears that city dwellers are trying harder to bring back "rural" practices than country people are. I love seeing chickens in the city; so much fun!

I agree it's nice offer the workmen tea; I feed them, too. It never fails to astonish them that I do so. I think they probably need something while working so hard and we are a ways out from any restaurants. Some of them (especially the younger ones) neglect to bring anything with them - maybe not being used to how long some of these jobs take - and you can tell they are flagging.

All sorts of creatures pop out of tree holes here. I had a toad climb out of a hole in a dead tree recently and I asked him: "How on earth did you get up there?" He was a toad, not our usual tree frog.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Around here, it's mostly business buildings that have flat roofs. I had to get up on the roof of the bookstore a time or two, to do some maintenance. The asphalt held up remarkably well. It was the flashing on the parapet tops that had been ripped off by a windstorm. Gutters and downspouts were also a problem. Half a walnut shell started catching stuff and plugged a downspout. Getting up there was an adventure. Dodging electrical wires .... onto the roof next door and then over the parapet wall. When I grabbed a brick to haul myself over, it just came away in my hand :-).

Of the couple of films / books you mentioned, our library only had "My father, Romulus." I put a hold on it.

Well, if they never get around to repairing that road, I won't mind. While it's going on (and, it might take 9 months or so) traffic will be detoured right past my place. While I was gone, about 1,500 homes and businesses in Centralia were without internet or phone service for 5 days. I saw a friend of mine, today, who was quit wound up as he claims there was a lot of foot dragging as the repair crews wanted to be occupied during the Veteran's Day holiday, as they would get triple time :-). The local McDonald's could only take cash for the duration :-). The local school districts only connection to the outside world was one emergency cell phone. Yes, the infrastructure truly is getting fragile.

Not quit an infrastructure issue, but it was in the news today that there was a huge security breach involving our US Internal Revenue Service. The take on the whole thing seemed to be that it was "Just bad luck." With a shrug. The complacency is mind boggling. Things don't work, people don't do their jobs and companies provide no service. But, we're just supposed to take it in stride. When I get wound up about such things, I'm just being an old crank :-). Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi August,

Thanks for the correction. Bummer too as the photo looks awesome. You'd probably enjoy the dark night skies around this part of the world.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for the explanation. That probably is the safer way to go too. English Oaks grow in unusual ways here. Often you'll see a very low and wide spreading tree with massive side branches. But in some of the old hill stations, the oaks will grow very tall as they compete for light with the other nearby tree species. They end up being not too dissimilar from the eucalyptus tree in the photo, but with a much greater shade canopy. They're very impressive especially as some of them have 150 years of growth under their belt.

Oh no! Welcome to my nightmare. I found that out the hard way too as when I submitted the plans to the building surveyor for a building permit (the planning permit is first obtained from the council) for the 1890's terrace house, I discovered that in the time between 1890 and about 2004, that surveying accuracy had increased substantially. Common sense should have prevailed when the land surveyor discovered to my horror that the actual 1890's terrace houses failed to be built on the correct title boundaries. So I was left with the conundrum as to whether I would have to purchase 180mm strip of land off my neighbour in a property that was only 5,000mm wide, who at that time just happened to also be a very bad person - sharks had nothing on them.

Land costing what it does down here, I simply had to build the extension wall in from the original property boundary neighbours wall and leave a large gap between the two properties. I couldn't afford the purchase price of the land parcel from the neighbour and had no desire to demolish the other adjoining neighbours buildings. Incidentally, that neighbour also later built an 8 metre high wall that completely blocked all sunlight for about 10 months of each year. The hassles of neighbours...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding of English law (and the same applies here) is that if you've occupied the land for more than 7 years, ownership vests to the occupier? Perhaps this may be at the core of the issue? Dunno, really. I did not utilise that law because of the complexity surrounding it and the fact that the neighbour was trying to shark me for money - which I didn't have...

All through the project they kept coming back like a zombie with requests for this and that and it became very tiring in the end and was one of the deciding factors for the move here. Some people eat and go the toilet - from a social perspective - in the same place and the inner city of Melbourne is full of that type. Very expectational, but it wasn't always like that and in the past I'd had some great neighbours... A lovely elderly Yugoslavian couple used to bring me fresh yummy biscuits when I was working on the house and I always looked out for them and helped them if they needed it.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

An excellent system for clothes drying. You know, I reckon that just having the air move across the clothes dries them as well. In high summer, I have to make sure that the sun doesn't start to bleach the clothes when they're drying so in the shade is not a bad idea at all.

Yeah, I see lots of that too. In some of the post WWII migrant inner suburbs of Melbourne I spot the most amazing diversity of fruit trees, grape vines and vegie patches. You don't have to go far to see avocadoes, apricots, pears, apples, citrus, even unusual stuff like almonds which you wouldn't expect. There are no restrictions on either vegetable patches or chickens - rooster, yes. Great to hear that that stuff is going on in your part of the world too. It is a really good thing.

The afternoons with no lunch is a very hard ask if you are doing hard physical work. Nice to hear that you offer your tradies food and water. It is always appreciated. The old campaigners never miss the opportunity for a lunch (you can count me in that one too)! ;-)!

Wow a toad in a tree would be very cool to see. I've never quite understood the difference between toads and frogs. They live in the ground here and sometime you can be digging and this dark lump of soil starts bouncing away. I usually grab them and put them in a very shady spot near to a water source. Nice to hear that you get tree frogs too as they are very important creatures for eating many of the bugs which annoy us.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I wouldn't have guessed that about the flat roofs. I wonder how they drain all that rainfall that you get up your way without flooding into the building? It would be a nightmare to seal effectively. Yeah, the flashing and guttering would be the weak point in such a system. It is a big ask to send an employee up onto the roof of a commercial building. Was it your business?

Too funny about the brick. The reason I say that is because once I was up on top of a second story older style building and I grabbed the brick parapet and it literally rocked and looked as though it would fall off onto the neighbours house. So I hear you! Scary stuff. I had a custom steel flashing made which covered the whole parapet which wasn't that long and that stopped it ever being a problem again. Rebuilding that parapet would have been a real hassle. Not impossible, just very very difficult and it was so high up. I hate heights too. How did you go on the roof with the heights?

I enjoyed that film. They guy that wrote it is now a Prof. of Philosophy I think and the book / film is about growing up with a difficult father and mother. I enjoyed it, hope you do too? Stay away from Wolfe Creek which was based on the real world Peter Falconio tourist incident... Not good. We have a bit of a reputation for unpleasant things happening to tourists. It can be a dangerous country.

Ouch. Not good. Those repair crews do it hard as they have to be on call 24/7 365, even when there is risk to their own homes and families. I don't begrudge them the extra pay and it really isn't in there best interests or safety to rush any job. Really big storms and fires down here can knock out the infrastructure for days and sometimes into the weeks. There is a reason I'm not connected to the electricity grid you know. It is a thin veneer our infrastructure.

Nice to hear that the road has been delayed. Lets hope it doesn't happen at all! hehe!

I didn't know that you could even pay at McDonalds with a card? Fascinating, still I must completely boycott them because there is no beetroot in the burgers and you have to have beetroot in a burger - just sayin... :-)!

No you're not cranky at all. Cranky is being on the phone for 6 hours to a telco trying to sort out a simple billing problem. You know what though at one point about four hours I dropped the F bomb - to my eternal shame - and you know what. The overseas call centre dude said: "Excuse me, Sir?". He was very polite in the face of my rudeness and then he hung up on me! Oh no! The editor said I went bright red like I was about to pop. hehe! Oh well, what not to do, 101...

Hadn't heard about the IRS hacking problem. That isn't good because those dudes have an amazing amount of information on a whole lot of interesting people. The tax office here has the largest computers in the Southern Hemisphere... Frightening stuff. They've been sacking people left, right and centre there too (about 3,000 so far) and when I call them, as I have to, they've turned into this sort of snarling, surly bunch of...

It's all good.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Yes we have something (squatters' rights?) but I believe it to be 12 years without a challenge. That is going to be invoked in this case. It is not uncommon here because the arrival of the land registry was so recent on the Island. Our land was unregistered and it took 2 years for me to get it registered. Fortunately this was completed before my husband's death or it would have been even more of a nightmare. The coming case involves land that I owned at one time. I did sell it on but clearly the next owner didn't register it and has since died. I could probably claim it but 'no thanks', I am fine as I am. So I don't mind helping the current claimant. Though really I would like to keep right out of it.

I am not very informed about asphalt but it is not unknown for our roads to melt in a heatwave if the asphalt has just been laid.

Inge

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

I've noticed you have poly rainwater tanks, but it occurred to me that many people in bushfire areas have galv as they don't melt. Did you consider this?

Those prodigal dogs: I've heard someone's been feeding them dodgy food -- perhaps that's to blame? ;-) Glad they're ok though.

That stone retaining wall looks great.

Do you have wild birds "stealing" your chook food? We have loads of top-notch pigeons, and I'd like to make an area that only the chooks can access. I know some people nearby who have made a small cage that the chooks access by a ramp. When a chook stands on it, its weight opens a hatch that lets them inside. I'd like to do something similar at my place -- could be worth you considering if you're building a new chook pen.

Cheers, Angus

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - You mentioned wondering about what economic bubbles are likely to pop, over at ADR. Just about anything that can be securitized with sub prime loans. Real estate is ongoing, just more under the radar. The one's I hear about most are, of course, fraking. Student loans. And, much to my surprise, sub prime auto loans.

I'm not good with heights. But, when necessary, muddle through. The building that the bookstore was in, I think I mentioned I also camped out there. Being an old theatre, the roofs were very high. 3 stories? You had to get on a lower back roof, from the property next door and then up to a higher roof that took up about 2/3 of the building. I tried not to think about the many feet of empty space to the floor of the theatre, under a very thin roof. Hired a mate to help me out. Handier than me. Also, good to have someone around to dial 911 (our emergency services) should something go wrong.

Basically, the owner of the building, who lived up north of Seattle, had inherited the building, and, a few others around town. His philosophy seemed to be, not to put a penny in the building until it fell down around my ears. I talked to him by phone, once a year when lease renewal time came around.

Like so many other things, the tax system here is in flux. And, there have been layoffs. Several years ago, all the post offices carried a full array of tax forms. Then they stopped. The libraries picked up the forms as a public service. Now, the tax people won't send forms to the libraries, except the very basic one ... which, luckily, I use. It's all an effort to get everyone to file on-line. Or, pay someone to file on-line for you. I still mail mine in, but I wonder for how long.

I'm interested in the "Romulus" film as, from the brief library description, it seems to be about an immigrant family to Australia. The story sounds similar to the experience of the family in "Extra Virgin." I'll probably watch "Walkabout", tonight. And old film (1971) that I'd heard about, but I don't think I've ever seen. And, since the library got a nice crisp new DVD of it, why not? :-) Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Oh, I think it is 7 years here – but I could be wrong, but basically it is the same law. We inherited your legal system, but obviously it has split off in its own direction, although I believe UK case law is still cited in Australian courts. Not that I would want to go to such a place... It will be a cold day in Hell!

That was my gut feeling, which is why I mentioned it, otherwise the neighbour wouldn't make the request in the first place. Boundary or fencing disputes can be a pain. Two years of exposure to bureaucracy and the uncertainty of it all, seriously I take my hat off to you as they would have exhausted my tolerance. Still, it isn't like you had the choice to not tackle them. It is fascinating that the government left the title process go for so long.

That reminds me of a story. There is a large island in one of the two very massive bays in this part of the world called "French Island". It is a koala sanctuary, but there are a few permanent residents on the island and a ferry goes between there and the mainland. My understanding is that there is no council operating on the island so it is a bit wild west. Kylie Minogue used to have a family compound there, but I believe they sold it recently. Anyway, there are no made roads either and a few years back the state government went over there and fined most of the vehicle owners because they were driving unregistered vehicles. It seemed a bit harsh as it wasn't like the vehicles were coming to the mainland any time soon.

Hmmm, yes an unscrupulous person might indeed do that, glad to hear that you wouldn't. I wouldn't either. There would be repercussions in such a circumstance and how much excitement does a person want to invite into their life? The quiet life for me.

Maybe a statutory declaration stating the facts in simple English will save you the hassle of getting involved?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

Yeah, galvanised steel water tanks are the holy grail in bushfire areas. They'll survive fine as long as the fire isn't too close or too hot or something falls onto the tank.

The really big steel tanks you see about the place actually have an inside bladder so the steel is really just holding the bladder in place. In really hot fires the bladders melt down to the water line and can fail at that point as they are no longer held vertical by the steel lip at the top of the side walls of the tank.

Poly tanks melt down to the water line. I've got sprinklers on all except the very large poly tank. I should be installing another sprinkler over the next few weeks. I ordered the pump today and ran the 12V cables out to it.

Concrete tanks can be destroyed by fire as they inevitably have cracks in them and the water turns to steam during a fire and then pop! Gone.

Poly tanks are the least worst economical option in such a scenario.

Very funny on both counts! :-)! Yes the prodigal dogs return... I'm glad they're OK too.

Thanks very much, the 12V cable went behind that retaining wall today, so I can start to finish the wall over the next week or so and put some concrete steps in.

Yeah, that happens. The rosellas are the worst too, but pigeons would be equally the same. The current chicken enclosure is completely sealed from outside birds, however the rats run feral. The next enclosure will be an attempt to keep the rats out as well... Who knows how that will turn out. Some of the chickens are more adaptable than other species. Surprisingly the silkies are quick learners, but the door system that you wrote about sounds like a very good idea.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Well you hear new things every day and it would never have occurred to me that there is even such a thing as a subprime motor vehicle loan. Seriously, that just floors me. Student loans are tough as I've always felt that they are exploitive on the young and vulnerable. I had to repay a student loan and it was really hard to recover from that burden as the increase in salary from being a “professional” didn't cut it and there were still further education hurdles to jump and each one cost progressively more. I had mates that had no qualifications at all and they earned more than I did and worked less hours. I could smell a rat, but sucked up the story in my younger days along with everyone else.

Too true, what a lovely way of putting it: muddling through. Heights make my head spin so yeah I muddle through too. Yeah you did mention that you used to camp out at the store, but that may have been in the “Of the Hands” days. An excellent blog too. A very solid and tidy move having someone else there during the climb. It must have been a massive book store. Did you have floor to ceiling book shelves with timber ladders or step ladders? I recently visited a bookshop in a town to the north of here (Bendigo) that was in an old church. What a beautiful building and the shop looked great as it had a second level of books that followed the edges of the building, whilst the internal space was completely open to the ceiling. Very cool.

I've met those sorts too and it can be a mixed blessing as they don't hassle you, but if anything goes wrong then it is hard to get them to spend any money repairing the faults. But then they don’t give you hassles either… A few friends of mine used to rent a house for about a decade which was eventually demolished so they didn't have to repair anything or even clean the place when they left. Unfortunately, house prices here being way crazy, they've had to move further and further from the city and it is now about a four hour return drive to visit them - pack a lunch... Needless to say, that doesn't occur much these days. Most of my friends have been pushed ever further outwards from the city due to housing affordability problems. It scattered pretty much everyone I knew, but I've met a heap of people locally here and finally set up shop here so to speak. You sort of have to adapt. Have you thought about Idaho further? As a suggestion, which you can feel free to ignore, travel there during the worst of the seasons to get a feel as to whether you'll like it or not. One of the things I like about here is that it is reasonably temperate with cool nights.

Yes, exactly the same thing has happened here in that the post offices used to stock tax forms. Nowadays they want you to lodge your stuff with them online, which is OK if you have Internet access. I wonder how many non people are starting to pop up about the place, because that is a whole of government approach? The funny thing is that they used to post monthly and quarterly paper copies of the sales tax (they call it GST here) but now just expect you to get online and lodge it electronically. I'll bet rates of compliance are down as it seems sort of weird to expect payment for something but not to send an invoice in the first place? Even an email wouldn't be a bad idea, but no - just do what you're told and don't complain!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

I haven't seen the Walkabout film but David Gulpilil is a very accomplished actor with a very long history. The story line sounds pretty good too, so I'd appreciate a review. I reckon you'll enjoy Romulus but remember that immigrants often suffer mental health issues as there can be a bit of dissonance between their expectations and the realities.

Oh yeah, I went out last night and saw "Ex Machina". Must say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was written and directed by him of the 28 days later film. Thought, that would get your interest. ;-)! My advice, don't believe that a robot could like a human, just sayin... Who cares what robots have to say anyway? Fortunately Google is telling us both below that we're not robots!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I appreciated your thought-provoking and informational comments (top and bottom!) over at ADR. Much food for thought in the perception of whole financial systems.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Water tanks. OK. Don't worry so much about filtering it ... besides, I'd use mine probably more for the garden and washing up. Drinking water I'd probably run through the counter top filter system I have. I worry more about algae and not having the tank freeze and crack. Insulation might solve both problems.

My bookstore had shelves about 7 feet tall and I had a few small step ladders scattered about. The two big chains I worked for had the rolling ladders. They were quit cool. Storage up above. Oh, the church bookstore sounds quit nice. Every once in awhile, on the Net, you see photo essays of "the coolest bookstores in the world." Or, some such.

Rent prices are ever on the rise. What gets me is that there's so many buildings around that are empty, the the owners won't lower the price to get them rented. Tax write off? The rent on my store was a steady $25 dollar a year increase. The owner (in our yearly conversation) was always moaning about maintenance costs and property taxes. One year, he tried to really jump it. I did a little research at the court house and told him a.) he hadn't put a penny in maintenance in 15 years and b.) exactly how much he paid in sales tax. Told him how much, to the penny, he was making off the building, every year. I think I got a certain amount of respect and he backed off. Back to the usual $25 per year. But you're right. The cities are bad for young folks right now, ever being pushed further out. If the rents don't push you out, the rising property taxes will.

Here we have AARP, American Association of Retired People (I think.) They run day long workshops at the libraries, during tax season. They'll do your taxes and electronically file them, if they're not to complicated. I did that once, and now just plug in the proper lines.

"Walkabout" was very good, I think. Being filmed in the late 60s, it was a little Hippy-dippy, but not too much. The photography was wonderful and the acting, really good. My DVD had "extras." There were some parts of the film, some bits that didn't make much sense. But, as the actress (in a recent interview) said, films are like paintings. If you understand every little bit, they're not as good. Still ... There was also a documentary about Gulpilil. Parts of his life are very hard, living with a foot in both worlds.

Immigrant "dissonance between their expectations and the realities." One guys opinion, but I think a lot of terrorists have this problem. As with our two brothers in Boston, when I read about them, I see America not living up to their expectations. The streets were not paved with gold and when the younger couldn't become a rock star and the older couldn't make the Olympic team ... Also, in some of these cultures, the male children are raised as little princes. Self entitlement is high. Your most recent terrorist also had a lot of life disappointments. Couldn't even join a motorcycle gang because they thought he was "weird." The fairly mentally healthy just roll with the realities. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Speaking of Google, I heard a radio story, yesterday, about some new, improved Google search that will know where you are, what you're doing and know what you want before you do. Or, some such. One of the reporters commented that he thought it was a bit creepy :-). Before I went on my trip, I spent a couple of hours ferreting out where the second hand / antique stores were, and, a bookstore. Mapping it all out. When I got there, none were to be found. Finally found an antique store and the guy ran through my list "Closed, closed ... this guy is dead ... closed." The bookstore had moved, but I managed to find it. My Yahoo mail has been warning me for months that my browser is old and the mail will revert to some dreaded older version. Well, it arrived. A lot less complicated, works faster and doesn't have all the distracting bells and whistles I don't use, anyway.

Yes, I'm still thinking about Idaho. Went to a meeting last night and an interesting though that emerged was that perhaps instead of looking for positive signs or omens, it's better to move forward slowly and see what kind of obstacles are thrown up. I know I should make another trip, but the thought of that 1,000 mile trip ... LOL. I really don't want to make it til the truck is loaded.

I still have the tea plant in the kitchen window. It is throwing out leaves like crazy and doing very well. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thank you for contemplating those thoughts. It is a near impossible thing to grow the economy via debt during a time of real wealth contraction and increasing unemployment whilst trying to control the inflationary process that surrounds growth via debt policies. It is quite the achievement really. :-)! Oh yeah add in increasing inequality of wealth too and you have quite the toxic soup...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, don't be too troubled about minor amounts of algae as it is in all our water systems anyway. Now excessive quantities of algae may be a problem, so if the water doesn't look or smell good, it probably isn't. But water barrels should be fine. I don't know about the freezing issue as the thermal mass keeps the tanks toasty warm even on the coldest days, but then it doesn't get that cold here. You'd think that concrete tanks would be a bit of a problem with freezing though?

The rolling ladders are very cool for massively tall book shelves. Some of those cool bookstores would be interesting to visit. Books are very strange down here, because they're quite expensive and it is actually cheaper to purchase a book online from the UK than to get it locally - even with the postage. Something just isn't right there. However, there are a huge number of second hand bookshops which are fascinating places to visit and have some real finds hidden away in the back corners.

I don't get that either. Often commercial buildings are sold, the business tennants if they're not on a lease with options, have the rents jacked up, they then leave and the building remains empty for months if not over a year. What is with that? It makes no sense to me at all... I once read of a cafe that I regularly haunt when I'm in Melbourne and they eventually had to move because the owners jacked the rent up to $450k per year. It was a triple fronted shop, but still it takes a lot of coffee to pay that sort of rent and they'd been there for decades...

I always advise people with simple returns to just use the free systems provided. They're quite easy to understand, but the first time is hard for people really. There is no money in that business.

Yeah, I've heard that he has a bit of dissonance living between the two worlds. That would be hard. Glad to hear that you enjoyed it and I'll try and track down a copy. You know, we live between two worlds now ourselves? There is a certain amount of dissonance in that experience too.

Oh yeah, too true. Sorry, I'll reply to the remainder of your comment tomorrow as I'm heading out tonight. A full on real deal Chinese restaurant with some friends.

Cheers

Chris



orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Herb Bennet (geum urbanum) has been flowering for over a week. I am late with that one because I didn't know what it was. Also there are a myriad flowering grasses but it is an area in which I am a completely ignorant. Have always been told that oak trees spend 300 years growing, 300 years just living and another 300 years dying. My tree is not that old.

My jungle will shortly get a bit of attention. A man who works for me off and on is returning after a gap. He has just bought a new house and has been busy bringing it up to a standard that appeals to his wife. He is very very cheap as he wants to work in an idle fashion while contemplating his surroundings. This is great for me though I am always offering to pay him more but he refuses this offer.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I picked up on your comment on concrete tanks freezing. Something I hadn't even thought about. Maybe if I knit a giant tea cozy? :-).

I looked up a couple of books on Amazon, last night, that I kind of had a hankering for. One on an artist, one on a kind of collectible kitchen containers (Pyrex). The cheapest price, for both, was $50. Those were for new. The used ones were even more expensive. Gives me pause. Especially since I'm spending this month, kind of on the lean, to recover financially from my trip.

Yeah, the rent structure on commercial and housing is kind of nuts. I think a lot of it is the tax write off. But, some of it, is, I think, the whole idea that "brighter days are ahead." Why sign a cheaper, 5 year lease on a building I own, when, things MAY turn around in a year and I can get more? I forgot to mention, when I was negotiating with my landlord, I also had taken a quick survey of a six block stretch of my street. It had a 30% vacancy rate. Something I mentioned as a not so veiled threat that I could move on to cheaper digs.

Oh, yes. Dissonance all around us. You can ignore it, roll with it, try to figure it out, etc. :-)

Chinese! Lucky you. A friend took me out to lunch the other day and asked where I wanted to go. My standard reply? "Anything ethnic!" We ended up doing Mexican. On the rare occasions I go out, I want something I don't make, day in, day out at home. I can make the ethnic stuff at home, but it's about as rare as going out! :-)

Saw another new film on the library list. "Babadook". A horror film, and I may not have picked it up, but, it's Australian. :-). I think there was a Babadook story in that short story collection "Dreaming Down Under." Which, by the way, from my point of view, only, was kind of a washout. Maybe 3 or 4 stories I really liked among 25 or so. There is a scene in "Walkabout" involving camels that MAY have been only a dehydration vision. But, I thought it could also be a ... Western form of Dream Time for the children. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, I recall the Boston pair and to be brutally honest and from my perspective it seems a very strange way to express dissatisfaction with the prevailing system. Lashing out at others for the very understandable cognitive dissonance seems a very unproductive exercise to me. Dunno, but my take on that dissonance is perhaps to channel it into ways that fly under the radar so to speak. The domestic economy has perhaps the greatest scope for avoiding undue influence, I reckon. For example, every time a demijohn of whatever concoction is set up and on the go at any point in time, I think that is sticking it to the man. For did not Gandhi say: Be the change you wish to see in the world? The Boston pair merely sought to blow things up and that is a common aspiration for many young and disenfranchised, some just want to see the world burn and all they can think about is lashing out – which is not very productive when there is so much work to do.

The Sydney guy was much the same. He was trouble and if the bikie gangs knocked him back as being too "weird", then... Interestingly too as things slowly ratchet down here the bikie gangs have been getting a surge of interest in enrolments (is that the correct term?). I referred to a local article over at the ADR a few weeks back discussing that very issue.

First born son. I hear you, man! Expectations can often exceed reality, but then I've noticed that many parents have expectations about their children that exceed the realities of their own lives or even the capabilities of the children. The old timers used to have a saying for that: "The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree". An astute observation.

Exactly, rolling with whatever is presented to you appears to be a very common sense and practical strategy.

Ahh, well the search engines record your particular searches and can customise the information provided to you without you even being aware. A long time ago, a friend showed me a comical cartoon of a person wondering about Facebook (which I'm not on) and it displayed the caption: "You are the product". Nuff said I reckon...

Thanks for the update. It is all good and that is very sound advice, which I'll consider too. It is hard to know what to do given any fork in the road. Yeah, 1,000 miles doesn't excite me either. Have some sympathy because that would drop me into a desert. ;-)!

Nice to hear about the tea camellia. The one here has grown quite a bit over the past few months and still has some flowers. I haven’t tried the leaves though.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

What a lovely and useful plant. It is fascinating to hear about the different plants in your part of the world. It is interesting also to read just how many of them have medicinal and/or traditional usages.

Herb Robert (which is of the geranium family) is flowering here and happily spreading about the place. Mind you, the geraniums are pretty feral here and many are still in flower despite the cold wet weather. The European honeybees will still send out foragers on sunny days here too.

Too true about the oak trees. They are some of the most beautiful trees here and I've grown quite a few by seed although they are very slow to get established.

Sometimes it is nice to have people working for you that can enjoy the environment too at the same time. My only minimum expectation is that they are not a hazard and that contemplation time is factored into the final bill. You are very lucky with that arrangement. It was the chainsaw dudes that ripped me off a few weeks back and it was particularly disappointing as I'd known them for many years now and they freely traded on that social relationship... Oh well.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

How cool would that be? One giant tea cozy to rule them all! hehe! Don't think that it would help much with the freezing up your way though, but you give it a go first! hehe! Nice one. Imagine trying to knit that monster...

I hear you, the chainsaw dudes sort of cleaned out the coffers here, so much like your recent road trip it is now "Family hold back" at the dinner table until the cupboards are replenished. Funny you write that about Pyrex, but that stuff is really very hardy glass ware and I always keep an eye out for second hand sources. It isn't quite indestructible, but almost. I reckon the edges chip well before the whole unit fails. What is your experience with them?

Of course and that is a very wise strategy, which I'd pursue too. It isn't a threat, but simply reality. You know 30% is slightly less than 1 in every 3 shops being vacant. Ouch. You see vacant stores in strip retail precincts here more often too in recent years. It always surprises me that no one seems to notice that. The cafe that I mentioned sat empty for over a year whilst it was being advertised at $180k per annum. Yes, reality must have sunk in. My understanding is that the tenants opened their books for inspection by the landlord but to no avail. Apparently the owner was a tax barrister too. It was just weird. Maybe he didn't care? But it makes no sense at all to me.

Rolling with the punches seems to be the way to go.

Oh yeah, it was good and the real deal too. You know you're up for a good feed, when you and your friends are the only people of European descent in the entire massive restaurant and the place is packed wall to wall with people. An awesome night.

Nice to hear that you enjoy Mexican food too. So do you prefer the nachos, tacos, quesadilla's, burritos or the con carne's? Don't hold back as I love Mexican food. Yum! Spare no detail!

Didn't know that about that film. I'd seen posters for it here and the name sort of captures your attention.

Fair enough, all of your criticisms sounded entirely valid to me about the book. I read a similar style of book recently called "Songs of the Dying Earth" which was edited by George R R Martin and it was thoroughly enjoyable - but then I'm a bit of a rusted on fan...

Well camels are part of the Dreamtime so that is probably a fair analysis. The unexperienced can die out there, no doubts about it. Just guessing but I reckon they made it back in the film. If it was a French film, they would have died a horrid death out in the desert. I once saw an awesome French film called the Vanishing. Wow, it was spine chilling, but then somehow Hollywood redid it and they showed the very unexpected ending in the trailer. What is with that? The film was meant to shock you.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris and Lew

I love pyrex and have had some pieces for over 50 years. It does indeed chip.

The local towns are awash with empty shops. Where they are occupied, it tends to be charity shops or 'poundland' or 99p shops. All very depressing. The funniest one that I have seen said 'We buy your gold whatever its condition'!!!

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Watched "Romulus My Father", last night. Well. Just to trot out the old Tolstoy saw "All happy families are alike, each unhappy family is unhappy in it's own way." Mom was quit a piece of work. I don't think she was so unhappy because of the immigrant experience, I just think she was generally unhappy with life in general. My Mum was like that. I think she always felt that life had just ... let her down. Too high of expectations. I ran across a scrap book she kept, in the late 30s when she was a in high school. Of course, it was a time of high patriotism and Hollywood was cranking out "feel good" movies. I think (know) she was a bit naive. Somehow or another, I developed a nice wide streak of skepticism, early on. The landscape of the film looked pretty much like Idaho. Except Idaho has more volcanic outcroppings and sage brush. :-).

Speaking of bees, I was dinking around in the yard yesterday, came in a dinked around on the computer for about an hour. When I went back in the kitchen, there were about 8 or 10 honey bees on the inside of the window! Don't know where they came from or how they got in.

Oh, Pyrex is wonderful stuff. I started out collecting a pattern called "Butterprint." Blue and white, with vaguely Amish / farmer and wife figures. Chickens, wheat and corn bundles. I has the same theme as my "good" dinnerware set. Metlox Provincial Blue. Amish looking farm life. Yeah, Pyrex might chip and will break if you drop it just right. But it's thermally pretty stable. Oven to fridge. I have one piece I thought was chipped. The metal spoon had just worn it down a bit. Staining can be a problem. Turmeric, blackberries or blueberries. Beets. But, we have this stuff called "Bar Keepers Friend". A mild form of Oxalic acid. Works well on rust stains and lime deposits.

I also started picking up other patterns of Pyrex. It just has to be blue and white. If I find it cheap. On my trip I found a piece of snowflakes on a black background. Kind of rare in good shape. The black doesn't hold up well. They didn't make it for very long.

I noticed there was another bookstore in Centralia, the other day. Wonder how long they'll last. Centralia can look profitable at times, but the businesses come and go with great rapidity. In my darker days, a new business would come in and I'd think "Doomed, doomed."

I'm a nachos kind of a guy. :-). I like the crunch. I experiment with all kinds of weird combinations, at home. Throw down the chips ... always tomatoes and garlic ... anything else available and hold the whole thing together with shredded cheese. There's a place in town where I can get nachos with shrimp. I have some Chinese cookbooks that will turn out reasonable Chinese American dishes. I have other cookbooks that are more "classical" Chinese. I've tried both, at home. Of course, both American, Chinese and Italian have been "Americanized." But, over the past years, there's an uptick in "authentic" ethnic cuisine. Somewhere, recently, I read "If a cuisine becomes noticed, does it become less authentic?"

Let's face it. Movie sequals (or, tv series for that matter) and remakes never quit measure up to the original. And then there's all that market testing and focus groups. You show a film to an audience .... two endings. The happy one, and the what would probably happen in real life one. Sometimes, in the DVD extras, you get the alternate ending. Enough. Need nachos. :-) Lew