Monday, 13 July 2015

Antarctic Anomaly


In keeping with the recent Star Trek references on the blog I thought that I’d introduce readers to the Antarctic Anomaly which is hovering over the South Eastern corner of this continent! In Star Trek speak, an anomaly is anything that is unusual or can’t be explained and that story trick is quite often rolled out to wind up an otherwise complex storyline that would be too difficult to finish in under an hour. Everyone has heard of the story finishing with the ending: “And then I woke up”. It’s a bit of a lame ending and everyone knows it.

Anyway, an Antarctic anomaly is sort of like that because the Bureau of Meteorology promised an “Antarctic Vortex” with snowfall down to elevations of 600m (1,968 feet). Storms damage homes in NSW as heaters cause fires in Melbourne . The weather here has certainly been windy, cold and damp. However, to me the conditions haven’t felt extreme and it was much colder a few weeks ago, though perhaps not as wet. Other parts of the continent have felt the winter bite much harder than here though and there have been reports of snowfall up in the mountains of southern Queensland and northern New South Wales which are normally very sub-tropical environments. Here, the vortex has simply has driven me indoors.

One of the interesting things about living on a farm is that there are a lot of outside activities to do. The weather therefore dictates through every season just how much outside activities can be performed. By necessity I keep a very close eye on the weather. This week I managed to put in one single full work day on the new chicken enclosure before the Antarctic Vortex hit the farm. The rain began on that evening too just as the sun dropped behind the horizon and I hadn’t yet put either the chickens or the tools away. Needless to say both: the tools; the chickens; and I all ended up a little bit wet.
The construction on the new chicken enclosure continued this week
A few days earlier during this week, I’d spent a day at a business where everyone was sniffling and sneezing. That sort of thing doesn’t bother me, but then the next day I started sniffling and not feeling very well either. I could not deny that the future weather was going to dump some serious rain with that Antarctic Vortex, so I just “manned up” and despite my sniffles, I got to work with the construction before the wild weather hit.

The new chicken enclosure has now had the steel roof battens installed. A roof batten is a fancy name for the horizontal bit of steel which the roof sheets are anchored too and there are three of them on each side of the roof. Roof battens in this instance also perform the useful function of keeping the roof trusses (the A frame bits of steel roof) upright and braced. The black internal door to the chicken shed was hung that day too. And I even had time – between all of the whining about being sick (spare a thought for the long suffering editor) – to install some of the chicken shed steel sheeting. I felt pretty good about the work done and day’s hard work did much to relieve the suffering from my sniffles.

No further outside work was possible after the rain hit. However, given that there is already an existing chicken run and enclosure I thought that it might be useful to share some of the things that aren’t working with the current structure and what I'm doing about it with the new chicken project. It highlights many of the things that I have learned over the past four years about chickens, their sheds and their enclosures.
The current chicken shed and enclosure
The above photo shows the current chicken shed and enclosure and I’ve labelled a few points of interest with the letters A to E which I’ll now discuss individually:

A – The roof of the chicken enclosure / run is uphill of the chicken shed. Because of the angle required for the roof, it collects every single stick or leaf that has ever fallen onto it. Roofs should generally be designed to shed those materials onto the ground. The welded steel mesh that forms the roof also traps leaves and sticks in the mesh (and plenty of them can be seen in the photo). A solid steel sheet roof that is angled downhill will assist with shedding that organic material off the new chicken enclosure roof. It will also help to keep the new enclosure dry during winter and shaded during summer.

B – Observant readers will have already noticed the logs around the chicken enclosure. Those logs were put in place to stop the incessant digging by predatory animals to get into the chicken enclosure for an easy feed. On the internal side of the chicken enclosure the chickens were also thoughtlessly scratching away at the buried steel wire which was protecting them from foxes, dogs and cats. The new enclosure includes buried sheet metal encased in concrete which should eliminate that problem.

C – Poopy the Pomeranian showed me very early on that he could easily chew through heavy duty chicken wire – given enough time – so the current chicken enclosure has a double layer of that heavy duty wire and this seems to have resolved that issue. However often the dogs and the chickens give each other stink eye through the heavy duty chicken wire. Each of the different species wants to eat the other (seriously!). To add a further complexity, the rats can use the chicken wire as a ladder into the chicken shed and enclosure. The simplest way to resolve those problems is to have a skirt of solid steel sheet buried into the concrete surrounding the new enclosure.

D – A few years back I had to modify the roof of the chicken enclosure because the local parrots discovered that with a bit of effort they could get into the chicken run through a small opening underneath the roof drain. Once the parrots were in the chicken enclosure they gorged themselves silly on top notch free range chicken feed. The unfortunate thing about that situation was that the local parrots were just not quite smart enough to get back out of the enclosure again! I added another layer of chicken wire over the roof drain to keep the parrots out. However, the rats now use that roof drain as a super highway in their travels and I can no longer clean the drain of their manure. You’ll also notice that the roof drain is on an angle of about 20' from vertical which means that it overflows during very heavy rain – as it did this week. On the new enclosure the drains are on the outside of the construction.

E – The steel wall sheets do not cover the gap between the top of those wall sheets and the steel roof sheets. The gap is not big enough for the local birds to get into or out of the chicken shed, but it is big enough for the rats to happily frolic about at night twitching their noses at me in sheer pleasure for the tower that I inadvertently built for them.
Internal photo of the current chicken shed
F – I used steel reinforcing bars for the high up perches for the “cool kids” of the chicken collective (The Borg anyone?). Chickens that are in the higher echelons of the pecking order like to sleep higher up at night than the lower order chickens. Steel makes a better perch for such chickens because leg mites live in timber perches and those can become a nuisance for birds and can eventually even make chickens lame if they are left untreated for too long. Treatment usually involves smearing the chickens legs with a petroleum jelly which is not a fun process for either me or the chicken! Getting back to the perches, the problem with the current setup is that the jump between the top of the laying boxes and the highest perch is just a little bit too high for the cool kids and sometimes – well quite often, really – they miss the perch and fly back to the ground. It is hard to look cool for a top order, head honcho chicken when that sort of thing is going on and the under chickens snigger as they see it happening! An intermediate perch will be installed (at a location where I am also not likely to accidentally walk into it which would also be very uncool) where the cool kids can jump their way to the giddy heights of chicken coolness!

G – The very uncool kids of the chicken collective sometimes end up perched at night on top of the lowly plastic feed bin. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be a problem except that most days I have to open the feed bin and it is usually covered in chicken manure. The feed bin has to be stored under a hinged cover that the chickens can’t get onto and do their night-time business on.
The chicken run after many days of rain
H – In point D above, I mentioned that the roof drain overflows. Well, the excess water collects at this low point in the chicken enclosure / run. The best way to avoid that problem is to not have it in the first place and the new chicken project aims to achieve that.

I – The current chicken run has a very deep mulch which helps turn the chicken manure into soil. However after well over an inch of rain, the entire deep litter gets very soggy and can potentially turn anaerobic (which is a fancy name for an environment where the harmful bacteria that are happy to live in an oxygen-free environment thrive). Many years ago I installed a drain pipe to take away any excess water in the run at the lowest point. As you can see the white pipe has broken because the chickens scratch and dig around the pipe. Also the deep litter mulch tends to block up the pipe during a very heavy rainfall and sometimes the pipe can disappear entirely underneath a small mountain of soggy mulch. A solid roof keeping the worst of the rain off the deep litter as well as a concrete pit for the drain should rectify those issues.

There is plenty that does work well with the current chicken shed and enclosure and the ladies are far better off in there than in an industrial chicken farm. However, the new chicken shed project aims to resolve a lot of the current problems and make life just that much better for the ladies.

Back to the Antarctic Vortex though and the weather this week certainly dumped a whole lot of rain on the farm. A good storm tests all of the water systems and I noted that by the afternoon of Sunday, despite the lack of snow, the swales had started to fill up. A well-established Ficus tree and a much newer golden willow behind it were enjoying the wet conditions of the swale.
The lower swale began to fill up on Sunday afternoon
The rain provides an excellent opportunity for inside activities and one my favourites is home brew. I’ve been working towards being able to age my country wines for at least a year before consumption and have run into a bit of a problem. Already the farm has been hit with the awful problem of Peak Rocks and also Peak Jam Jars (bottles). But now, brace yourselves for the worst situation of all – Peak Wine Bottles. Seriously this is true, as the local waste transfer station has stopped anyone from recovering any materials at all - and they have thousands of the things. The much further away tip disposes of glass bottles into a huge dumpster where the bottles mostly smash anyway and I assume that the glass is shipped to China for reprocessing. So now, I’m having to go and purchase a product that people otherwise throw out every week (crazy days indeed!). Go figure!
Toothy keeps a close guard on the mead, ginger, quince and rhubarb wines whilst a loaf of bread cooks in the oven
In order to achieve that goal of ageing all of the home brew wines for at least a year, I’ve had to double the amount of steel racking which I use to store all of the wines, chutneys and jams. This is serious business! The very heavy duty black plastic storage bins were a freebie gift from the local daffodil farm and they are almost indestructible and help spread the weight load across the shelf.
The storage racking for wines, chutneys and jams has recently been doubled
In breaking dog food news, I’m still in the early experimental days of dog food production. It now takes about two hours of work per week to produce a week’s supply of 100 x dog biscuits and all of their breakfast mix. Every time the biscuits are in the oven I keep thinking that because they smell so good, they’d be better served as a savoury side order to a seafood chowder than to give to the dogs.
The dogs breakfast mix and biscuits wait to be cooked in the wood oven
Battery % full at the start of the day - Amount generated by the 4.2kW of PV panels during that day
Tuesday 7th July – 80% full – 2.4kWh
Wednesday 8th July – 78% full – 5.7kWh
Thursday 9th July – 85% full – 3.3kWh
Friday 10th July – 89% full – 4.7kWh
Saturday 11th July – 88% full – 2.2kWh
Sunday 12th July – 83% full – 0.9kWh
Monday 13th July –73% full – 2.1kWh

The temperature outside here at about 8.30pm is 4.1’C degrees Celsius (39.4’F). So far this year there has been 422.2mm (16.6 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week's total of 382.4mm (15.0 inches).

I've run completely over time again gas bagging about the chickens because it was a story that is important to share and now we have no time for the continuing adventures with the house construction. We'll continue next week with that house construction thread! Till then...

50 comments:

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Chickens: Son's chickens have not been laying. He killed 2 cockerels and the result is that he is getting eggs! It appears that the cockerels may have been eating the eggs. It surprised me but Son said 'Oh yes, once they have discovered this through eating a broken egg, they carry on.

I have just discovered a dead squirrel, a nasty death. It had come down the wall of my home and got caught between that and some chicken wire. One of its hind legs was hopelessly entangled, I had to cut it out. There had been a nasty smell about 2 weeks ago but I had failed to spot the source. I only made the discovery because I was removing the chicken wire. At least, with the removal of the oak tree, there will be less activity on my roof.

I did wonder whether I had been out when the squirrel got caught or whether it had gone quiet when I went out to see what was making a racket (noisy animals and birds being quite common.

An old stone bridge in the village has become structurally unsafe. There is talk of having to close it for up to 4 months. I bet that the Chinese could do the job in a week. It would only have been built for horses and carts but has been dealing with huge lorries. Now this is the busiest road on the Island and routes around it are lengthy (comparatively speaking) and on very narrow country roads. Cars will be fine, so would an occasional large vehicle. But definitely not the usual volume of huge stuff. This is going to be interesting!

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

First: A thought to spare for the suffering editor . . .

You've mentioned tourists more than once: do you get a lot of them around your place? And even in the winter?

I keep an eye out for being dehydrated, also. It's so easy to get that way and so many funny symptoms can be attributed to it.

@ Lewis: I have always had sinus trouble. The thing that works best for me is Eucalyptus Oil. I rub it on my skin over every sinus cavity, and around my eyes (careful there!), and on my forehead. Also, on the nape of my neck.

My, I love that New Chook Palace! Is its epic story coming out as a book first, or just straight off into a movie? I thought that your original chook pen was a palace. Now you're telling me that it's stinko?!

And, I believe that a chicken would eat a dog, and a rat, too, if someone helped them get started . . .

The used bottle situation makes me see red. I don't know what they do with used bottles at our tip (I'm pretty sure that they are recycled somewhere, which is something). I do know that when my youngest son get ready to make beer, he has already told all of his drinking buddies well ahead of time to save their bottles for him. Perhaps you know some winos? Look at all of those bottle on your shelves! Jaw dropping - and makes one thirsty, too!

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, here in the States, we have been effected by the Arctic Vortex, the last couple of years. AKA, Arctic Breakout. With guns blazing. Luckily, since we in the Pacific Northwest are tucked way up in the upper left hand corner, we missed it. But the Midwest... wow. Sorry you missed a pretty snowfall. Something ... light in the late evening and gone by early morning. We've got a bit of a drip going, here, right now. Just enough to wet the deck. And, now, the suns out.

Yeah, when you live in the country, your life tends to revolve around the weather. This week is shaping up to be an "out in the yard" week. Temps in the 70s and low 80sF. I wonder how Inge rode out the heatwave in Europe. I see the temps are back to a more manageable level. Of course, she being so close to the coast, it maybe wasn't too bad where she is.

As far as peak bottles go, don't you patronize a good Local that might throw a few bottles your way? If you ask nicely? A restaurant. Maybe offer to pay whatever the Australian version of a quarter or two to sweeten the deal? Maybe a semi-posh restaurant where you've dropped a few bucks? Check the dumpsters, out back. Dumpster Diving is an old and noble profession :-). Though, you may have to pay Guild fees :-).

Well, as far as the chook run goes, live and learn. Looks like you've done a thorough analysis of problems and solutions. It will be the perfect chook house and run. There may be a bit of fine tuning, but nothing major, I'm sure.

We'd talked a bit about the Roman soldier on the beach at Herculaneum. I see the Smithsonian Channel is going to run something called "Mummies Alive - The Hero of Herculaneum." Saw the trailer. Poor fellow came to a ghastly end (incredible computer recreation) and I hope it was swift. I hope our library gets it, or, I can find somewhere to watch it on-line. Lew

rabidlittlehippy said...

Hey Chris,

Do you have any preferences for wine bottles? I'm happy to save ours if you would like them and as we're about an hour away from yours (give or take) it's not an unreasonable hike. I'm not a drinker but we'd get through 2-4 bottles a week I think. :) Just normal screw top bottles. Email me if you would like me to put them aside. I think you have my email address. :)

It's great when we live and learn from our mistakes. I've learned several valuable lessons from our chook pen too and should the opportunity arise to rebuild, I will make several changes too.

Stay warm. It mightn't be snowing or as icy as forecast but it sure isn't what I would call warm.

orchidwallis said...

@Lewis

I loved the heat, would that it continued. I admit that there was a coastal breeze here.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I save my wine bottles for my son, but he doesn't want screw top ones. He puts corks in his wine and apparently needs bottles that have been made for corks.

Jam jars: I have enough for a life time, dating from when jam was bought for a large family. I was stunned by the sight of jars being sold for ridiculous sums of money. Surely there must be any number of the elderly who have jam jars in sheds as do I.

Inge

Robert Scott said...

If you built your chicken house with sloping walls like the Ettamogah Pub you might be able to stop rats climbing the iron skirt. If as I have previously mentioned, rats can climb a 1.8m high colourbond fence then I'm sure your skirt will be no trouble for them. Your best bet to keep them out is to use a small square mesh instead of chicken wire for the cage.

You can prevent rodents or small birds from stealing chicken food with a "treadle chicken feeder". There are lots of treadle feeders for sale on eBay.

Your use of steel will definitely cut down on mite problems.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, I don’t get that either. I had to look up what exactly anaerobic meant and it literally means a life form that can survive without oxygen. Like you though I suspect that that environment is a low oxygen environment rather than a no oxygen environment. I suspect that the lack of oxygen is what caused all of those items to survive. Somewhere I have a memory of reading about 20,000 year old or more logs that get pulled out of swamps in New Zealand, so I suspect the same thing is going on. The timber has an oil in it too which may be a cause as well.

Hey, don’t laugh, but there is a farm not too far from here that has a few camels. Can you imagine the job of walking them from north Africa or the middle east all the way to the UK? It seems like quite the extravagance when you think about it. They liked their circuses them Romans so who knows how a giraffe bone worked its way there? Strange times.

Speaking of which I’m on the train tonight heading into the big smoke and typing this on the lap top. Usually the trip is very pleasant but tonight some dude a couple of seats ahead is having what seems to be an argument with himself. It is quite atmospheric in a sort of urban way and I hope he does keep the argument to himself as he sounds quite annoyed. The joys of public transport!

It has been unseasonably cold, but it is not as if winter isn’t cold and wet up my way anyway. The wind is very unusual though.

Glad to hear that you survived your leg break relatively unscathed. Ouch, I’m feeling your pain. The clutch would have been a bit of a problem for sure! Nice to hear that you drove a manual vehicle too. I’ve never owned a vehicle with an automatic transmission (80% of vehicles sold here are automatics). Wow, how did you manage to hop up and down the ladders? That is quite the feat (pun!).

The wild strawberries here are like cardboard too. I’ve had a few good ones from time to time, but they seem to be rare.

Ahh, well, molting is part of being a chicken and here they continue to lay eggs during that process, but have to stop whilst they regrow their feathers as they can’t do both. They sort of come back on the lay during early winter. At least that is what happens here. It will be interesting to compare notes as your season goes on.

I hope you enjoy the book and it is a bit of a shame that they don’t discuss the companion planting with the marigolds. Please do let me know any tips you glean from the book. Despite the cold wet weather, the tea camellia is still going strong, although I couldn’t check it tonight (it is a day by day thing with that plant).

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

That was very clever of your son to work out what the cockerels were up to. I’ve read about egg eating chickens but have never come across one in the flesh. Apparently they are recidivists and I absolutely agree with your sons actions. Nice to hear that you are getting eggs now!

Sorry to hear about the squirrel. That must have been the week for that sort of thing because something – either a fox or a powerful owl – destroyed a possum which had the cheek to visit the farm. There was a bit of a mess to clean up that day for sure. How did you go cleaning up the squirrels body? I usually put bodies in the worm farm (that sounds a bit dodgy, doesn’t it?) so that they get composted and return to the soil.

Are you getting more light into your house or patch of forest now that the dead oak has been removed? I guess it would not have provided much shade having no canopy to speak of. Are your oak trees of the spreading variety or the taller variety? Where the oldest oaks are grown in the old hill stations, the oak trees are very tall and grow more like a eucalyptus tree.

Ahh, a dog would be very useful in such a circumstance because they would be only too happy to find the source of the odour and point it out to yourself. Does your son keep a dog?

No! 4 months seems like an extraordinary amount of time to repair a stone bridge. Such bridges were never designed to take the load of a lorry anyway and it probably would have lasted for centuries without that load stress. They had to repair and upgrade the local bridge into here too for similar reasons. It was a concrete and steel bridge to begin with though so the whole thing didn’t take too long – a couple of weeks at most. The stupid thing is that we have the same problem here but they drive B double transports (double length trailers with a prime mover) on local roads now and so many of them cut through the local township – right through the shopping strip – that the roads are being destroyed. It will be interesting to see how the whole repairs progress. There are many old granite stone bridges around here and they are quite attractive.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Don’t feel too bad for the editor, I was on the train tonight to drive her back from the big smoke after she enjoyed a night on the town with her girlie friends. But then that lot gets balanced out with work on the chicken enclosure, so I guess it is all yin and yang here! However, she does appreciate your thoughts and also suspects that she is long suffering! Hehe!

The tourists don’t specifically turn up to my part of the mountain range as the roads are just so bad. Still, there are a lot of bike riders, horse riders and bush walkers in these parts. And during the heavy down pour on Sunday, some dude was using the main road as a running track. Go figure. He looked very damp and miserable! The south western part of the mountain range that has the old historic hill station gardens, rock climbing spots, picnic spots and lookouts is feral on a weekend.

I managed to survive the crazy guy on the train and am now enjoying a burger and some chips. They add rosemary and sea salt to the chips and I won’t mention to Lewis that there is beetroot in the burger!

Dehydration is a real nightmare all year here. Does that happen up your way too or is it only in the hot weather? I always keep a stash of rehydration solution handy and oh yeah, many strange behaviours can be linked to dehydration.

Balm of Gilead is a great substitute for Eucalyptus oil and it has menthol in it and is quite clearing.

Thank you. We love the new chook pen too and I can’t wait to get the chickens into their new enclosure. It is the constant damp and exposure to the rats that worries me about the old chicken palace and it isn’t very good for their health.

Oh yeah. Chicken is not a vegetable and chickens are not vegetarians! Hehe!

The bottle situation is just wrong. I have some friends who supply me with bottles, but there have been developments on that front and I suspect that they were concerned by the “look” of supplying us with so many used bottles and have slowed down the supply over the past six months. Other friends drink spirits, and those bottles are not good for country wine as they are too hard to clean and yet others drink cask wine (an Australian invention). The casks make great floaties for swimming but are almost impossible to reuse! I’m in total awe at how the old timers may have possibly supplied hotels… Certainly even with all of those bottles happily ageing away, I am unable to drink much of it.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I hope you noted the beetroot reference. Your task should you decide to accept. Now I’m enjoying a frozen yoghurt – which is very enjoyable despite the cold and wet weather! The place is packed. Go figure…

Wow, the Arctic vortex would have been something to see – from a respectable distance of course! You have a truly amazing climate in your part of the world.

Yeah, it just didn’t get cold enough to snow. The vortex here has swung around again as is dumping another load of rain on the farm and when I left it earlier this evening it was raining very heavily. The dogs were happy to be inside and toasting themselves in front of the fire. Again, it just wasn’t cold enough to snow…

Rain and sun at your place equals a jungle! I hope the remainder of your summer has a little bit of heat and little bit of rain which is a nice balance. How’s the water supply going with the recent 4th celebrations? Hopefully fireworks were reasonably absent given the summer you’ve had?

I hadn’t heard of a heat wave in Europe. I hope Inge is OK? Yes, step foot in the country and the weather shall dominate your thoughts and even occasionally your conversation. Incidentally, the article I linked to suggested that one of the main mountains here was in a whole other mountain range far to the west of here! It was amusing for me to read. Ahh map reading and a general understanding of geography is a lost art!

There are no local restaurants and it would be socially awkward to source used bottles from my local café – and it would be even worse to be caught dumpster diving for bottles there! Oh my, 30 years later I’d still hear about. That’s a total non-starter. I was around the corner from a bottle wholesaler today and made a cash purchase, so Peak bottles is now in the rear view mirror. The whole thing is just annoying as it is somehow just so wrong to have to pay for things that people throw out. Just for your interest a new bottle costs $1.10 and the screw cap is $0.35 each.

Thanks very much. I’ve ironed out the major problems, but as per usual there will be something that I hadn’t considered that becomes a problem.

Oh, the volcanic ash cloud caught him? Did he have any other preserved things with him when he fell? I’m assuming your internet is good enough to stream shows? Hey, did your cell phone get any better or is it still patchy?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi hippy!

Nice to hear from you and that is a lovely offer that will buy you a guided tour of the farm! ;-)! Yes, screw top bottles with their caps are preferred (clear are better than either the green or blue glass – but any are better than none!).Screw top bottles can generally be refilled and sealed easily.

I’m not much of a drinker either and that is about the same quantity consumed here. It just looks impressive on the shelves, but most of it can’t be touched as it has yet to age. How the old timers produced that stuff in quantity is well beyond me. At 4 bottles per week aged out to 52 weeks that means that I have to produce and store 208 bottles which is 156 litres. That is a whole lot!

Well done. Yes it is amazing just how much you can learn with all of this stuff. Hope your chickens are surviving the Antarctic vortex and that they’re dry – if not toasty warm. It isn’t warm outside and was about 1.8’C when I left. Still not cold enough to snow though. Absolutely! It is not what I’d call warm either and the wood heater is earning its keep this week! Hope that you and your family are keeping warm too!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The bridge is already centuries old. No doubt the need to preserve its beauty will make the job more difficult.

The loss of the oak tree has made no difference to the light. It was to the north-west and there are many trees around. It was many branched which added to the difficulty of cutting it within the restricted space. At least I will no longer have to flinch at gusts of wind. It is amazing how noisy a tiny branch sounded when it fell on the roof.

Due to the heat we have had, the squirrel's body had completely dried out, it was just skin and bone. No doubt there had been maggots. I just returned it to the woodland.

My son has always had dogs. At the moment he has a lurcher, a mixture of collie, whippet and saluki. He is a very beautiful dog. A female lurcher puppy has just been acquired, I haven't seen her yet. She is a collie whippet mix and Son hopes to breed them.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - I'm happy you rode out the heat wave in comfort. Speaking of roads and detours ... I'm on a loop road, off of a two lane County road that gets a fair amount of traffic. Now, my loop road gets very little traffic. The odd punter from time to time. I can work in the yard for hours and not a single car passes. But, they've been talking for years about doing some work down on the highway and detouring the traffic down our road. Something I'm not looking forward to. Because of the way the few houses are situated on this loop, if anyone has a question about anything, they end up in my yard.

So, I have not been looking forward to the road work. They have done everything. Environmental impact statement, archaeological survey, repainted the stripes in the road, etc.. But, due to more pressing projects in the County and general lack of money, it's been put off, year after year. I saw the list of road work for this summer in the paper and we were not on the list. May never happen. I hope. This year the County had to dip into it's emergency fund to make the budget. $2 Million out of a fund of $6 Million. So, I figure the County will be broke in about three years.

As a side issue, and maybe I shouldn't bring it up on this blog, our State has recently legalized marijuana ... and, it's bringing in tons of tax revenue. Now, I don't partake myself, and, could care less what other people do. But our County has been dragging it's feet over licensing (one of the few in Washington State) and we're missing out on all that revenue. I even wrote a letter to the local paper about it. As I had referred to our County Commissioners as "weenies", I was surprised that they published it.

@Pam - I'll keep the eucalyptus oil in mind. Thanks for the tip. OK. The move "Fern Glade Farm." Who shall we cast as Chris? Russell Crowe? But I hear he's hard to work with. :-)

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Oh, I suppose they just loaded the camels on one of those big Roman ships and sailed them to Britain. When the Emperor Claudius showed up for the last act of the Roman invasion of Britain, so he could claim the triumph, he brought along a few elephants, just to wow the natives.

Did the dude on the train talking to himself have one of those communication devices stuck in his ear? Blue Tooth, I think. The first time I saw one of those in action (in the library, no less) I immediately thought of the Borg. :-)

When I bought my little truck, over 10 years ago, I insisted on a manual transmission. Mostly because they're cheaper to work on or replace if something goes amiss. Don't know if that is still the case as they are getting harder and harder to find. And there's something (I almost said masculine ... the ladies will throw stones :-) ...competent about mastering them. As if it proves you can walk and chew gum at the same time. :-)

Oh, when I was in the cast I'd just grab the ladder with both hands and haul my good leg up to the next step. By the time they took the cast off, the whole bottom was worn away.

I love beets on my burgers! Pickled anything is the way to go. But, as my teeth are in poor shape, the acid bothers them a bit.

Besides his sword, the Roman soldier had a pretty complete kit of carpenter's tools. As you probably know, most Roman soldiers had a craft or trade besides being soldiers. Masons, surveyors, combat medical aides, etc.. There's been a lot of speculation on why he was in Herculaneum. On leave visiting family or old mates who had retired? On a supply run? Visiting a girl? There's been some speculation that small groups of soldiers were used as a local police force during down times. Maybe his skill was such that he was lent by his commander to fix the door frame of some notable? We'll never know. The main Roman naval base was just across the Bay of Naples. Commanded by Pliny the Elder who lost his life in the eruption while supervising evacuations. And, he was curious. Unlike Pompeii that was mostly buried in ash, Herculaneum was overcome, mainly, by pyroclastic flows. Surges of super heated gases. I didn't realize until recently that it was only 4 miles from the volcano.

My internet is ... workable for streaming shows or video clips. Sometimes I have to wander off for awhile, while something loads. Generally, I avoid video clips and prefer text. The new cell phone works light years better than the old one, but, there's still the occasional problem. Sometimes, an incoming call won't ring on my end .. but the caller can leave a voice mail, which does come in. So, then I just have to call them back. No big deal. Doesn't happen very often. Lew

Cathy McGuire said...

Amazing job on the coop, Chris! I have been slowly trying to fix the various problems on my coop/enclosure as I discover them. The most pressing right now is that the chooks are excavating under the coop (it's on four concrete pediments; it's not a walk-in) and threaten to bring (one corner at least) the coop on their own heads! Silly birds... I shovel dirt under but they manage to dig again. I can't quite get down there to install more bricks/stones (which is what is needed) so I'm having to think of alternatives. I never realized chickens burrow! LOL... But your steel coop is really nice and sounds like it'll be safer than Fort Knox for your chooks.

I've been stealing too much time from the yard to finish my story for JMGs contest. Finally it's posted and I can breathe a sigh of relief! :-)

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I find dehydration to be a problem here year 'round. In the summer it's the heat, of course. In the winter the air inside is so dry because of the woodstove, and so one gets pretty thirsty then as well. Never hurts to be aware of the possibility of being dehydrated. I suspect a lot of trips to the doctor are unnecessary because people just don't realize that all they need to do is hydrate.

We have two ways into town from our place, each way is across a bridge, over a river. One bridge is quite large and never seems to need repairs, the other has to be closed for a week or two (like next week) because storm debris (trees, mostly) collects under it. When we get the all-too-frequent flooding, all bridges are closed for the duration and we can't get to town except through a detour of many miles. We also have a wooden bridge over a railroad track which has to be rebuilt every 2 or 3 years; they close that for 3 or 4 months. You'd think they'd at least try concrete. It's the railroad's duty to keep it maintained and I suspect they may be a little cheap.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@Lewis:

I think you've got something there with your Russell Crowe suggestion!

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Of course, down under we are very short of cork oak trees so we use either plastic corks, wine casks or metal screw tops on glass bottles. Metal caps are generally reserved for beers / ciders etc, but even those are being replaced by the screw tops.

It is a real skill to know what to keep and what to dispose of. I'm in the learning stage on that front. Unfortunately, those articles are all considered to be disposable (recyclable, technically speaking) down here and people rarely make their own produce, so they see no value in them. Living in a warmer climate (not that you'd know it this week), people forget the survival value of preserving produce for winter and spring consumption. Our lean time is the high summer when the extreme UV shuts down plant growth.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Robert,

Thanks for the explanation. For the readers overseas the Ettamogah pub is a real building and the walls lean outwards from the top.

Rats are very worthy of our respect. Plan B is to put in some steel sheet at the top of the structure underneath the roof trusses which should stop them from entering the roof space via the walls.

The welded mesh is a half inch by half inch which will exclude the rats but perhaps not the field mice.

The treadle feeders are an excellent idea.

Exactly the mites live in timber structures. I've used strong damp proof plastic course in the plywood laying boxes which reduces the effect of the mites too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Yes the bridge would be a beautiful structure and worthy of preserving. Lorries on the other hand aren't that attractive and B doubles are something even worse to look at again! The bridge would have been craftsman built and there are many of the old convict built stone bridges dotted about the country side. Check out this one in Tasmania: Richmond Bridge. It is a bridge worthy of respect.

Fair enough! I'm glad that you don't have to worry during wind storms as I've been there myself.

Wow, around here farmers hang dead foxes up on their fences and it is a salient reminder of just how many foxes are about the place. One of my neighbours lets their chickens free range and I've seen a fox lurking about. The dogs are very handy for sorting out foxes, but they only chase them as far as the property boundary. The foxes are about as cunning as the rats.

The whippet and the saluki would be excellent runners, but the collie I reckon might just be the smartest of the lot. I'm thinking of getting a blue heeler for the next boss dog as Scritchy is getting on in years and the boss dog needs to be of a certain size to keep the others in line.

I hope your sons dog breeding schemes work well as that sounds like a good mix of species.

Cheers

Chris


Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

It seems very unlikely from your description of the situation that the road will ever be upgraded. How would you cope with all of the traffic? It would drive me bananas as that would mean motorcyclists and bike riders wizzing past all weekend long. The speeds the riders hit coming down from the peak of the mountain range is way faster than the cars drive at! Yeah, I can see people turning up at your place and demanding directions to who knows where. Have you noticed that people don't preface such demands with: "Excuse me" or even finish with a "Thanks". What's with that? As a bit of a confession, if people are rude and demanding I generally send them off in the wrong direction...

Those actions all sound like a plan to make a plan! That sort of thing goes on all of the time and it is often a way for local government to look busy whilst they're not actually doing anything at all. Just sayin, but that's how it looks to me.

Didn't JMG once mention that historically letters to the editor were often as "troll like" as anything you'd see on the Internet. Perhaps with a better command of the language and grammar though than Internet examples nowadays? It sounds like common sense, although it probably puts a cut into income in certain segments of society and I've often wondered whether they'd actively campaign to keep such things illegal as it is good for their bottom line. If I was in that business (which I'm not), I'd do that as it seems like a common sense strategy to protect your earnings.

Humility must be the catchphrase of the day here or otherwise I'll get a big head! Dunno, but there has to be an actor who is a bit more dorky than him! hehe! Thanks, I'm chuffed to be even included in the same sentence.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah of course, I didn't think of that. I reckon getting a ship out of the Mediterranean would be a hair raising experience in those days. As you do, I guess - impressing the locals. I'll be the elephant didn't like the winters much.

Too funny as I thought exactly the same thing when I first saw them. And just in case you don't notice how connected those people are there's a flashing blue LED to attract your attention. Get a grip people! No the guy on the train was just very off and very angry, fortunately I'm a lot bigger than him so he didn't bother me and I let the lady sitting across from me know that she'd be OK. He had volume, I'll give him that.

You're a brave man suggesting that. The editor drives a manual too and as you say they use less fuel, are also cheaper to buy and maintain. I applaud your choice, but they are getting rarer here. I personally find automatic transmissions to feel a little bit sluggish. Plus motorcycles which I commuted on for about a decade are all manual (except scooters of course). I did blow a clutch up once though when I was young, but fixed it myself so that more than makes up for it.

Well done. Did anyone call you: "Hop along"? The ladder exploits sound quite impressive.

Respect. Sauerkraut would be good though too. Yum plus add in a Bratwurst or Kransky too the mix. Yum!

I didn't know that. Did they get to work on their trade whilst performing soldiering duties? You sort of answer that issue, but I guess they'll never really know the answer. His death was not dissimilar from what happens in a wildfire as the lack of oxygen knocks you down before the fire gets anywhere even close. 4 miles is way too close for many such experiences.

Good to hear that your Internet and phone are mostly OK.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi cathy,

Yes the chickens are avid diggers, you could say it is their main hobby! Yikes, I hope the chickens know what they're doing with that activity. Thanks. They need the protection down here as it is very dangerous for them otherwise as every other bird and animal wants to eat them.

Excellent work. I salute your efforts and feel a bit guilty I haven't completed my own work. Thanks for the reminder and I'm sure you will do well in the contest as you are an outstanding author.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Isn't that interesting about the winter. The summers are exactly as you describe, but the winters are so humid here that sometimes it feels as though the moisture is drawn out of yourself. You are probably right about the dehydration it can do all sorts of strange things to you physically and mentally too. I've seen people being very irrational from dehydration and that is when things are getting very serious indeed.

Great to hear that you have a good bridge in place because when the one here became flooded a few years ago it was a long way around the mountain range to get back home!

Yeah, timber bridges don't have the staying power of steel and concrete although I've seen a flood take out a concrete bridge foundation too so it depends on how much pressure from the debris piles up behind the bridge during a flood. Too true your railroad are just being cheap. During the last bushfire near here the old red gum sleepers burnt and they've systematically replaced the lot (at night) with concrete sleepers.

Stop it! hehe! My ego is growing! hehe! Many thanks. The rats bring me down a notch or four, so no fear there!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Screw tops and plastic corks are becoming more common here now. The Spanish have cork trees so their wine still has cork corks (sounds weird).

I am rather fond of foxes and they seem good at evading dogs. I think that they even laugh at them,from a distance. Do you find that dogs take on the personality of their owners? My son's dogs are always as laid back as he is. Having said that, he is large. A car driver got out of his car at some traffic lights in order to swear at him. My son only had to get out of his truck and the chap leapt back into his car!

@Lewis

I would legalise all drugs for the same reason that prohibition didn't work. Also it might stop the continuous invention of new 'legal highs'; these seem to become ever more lethal. Governments could enjoy taxing the drugs; a potential great source of income!


Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yeah, a detour would be quit a hassle. And, the detour duration is hard to pin down. Maybe over a year. If they don't finish up during a summer and autumn, the regular road will be closed over the winter.

Blue heelers are very nice dogs. Beau is mostly blue heeler and Beau is The Best Dog In The World :-).

My hen house is also up on bricks. And, the chickens are burrowing around them. I need to shovel some rock in there. I also noticed the other day, much to my horror, that Beau has been digging around one of the post and blocks of the back deck. Still The Best Dog In The World.

Let's see. A more dorky actor. Bryan Gosling?

Oh, yeah. Letters to the newspaper editor can be pretty troll like. It was the first time I ever shot off a response. LOL. The next day, I saw something else that got me going, but I reminded myself (as I do on the internet) that I don't have to respond to everything I see. :-). Can't believe some of the drivel I see in the letters column. On the other hand, it's a reminder that some of those sane normal appearing people around you are actually ... CRAZY! :-)

Your train experience reminded me of something that once happened when I took a trip to Seattle. I got on and went to sit next to a young lady, because she appeared to be the rider who would give me the least problems. She was actually reading! But, she said the seat next to her was for a friend. So, I moved across the aisle across from a young male hipster ... who promptly crawled into his computer and ear plug. So, no problems there. The "friend" never showed up. At the next stop a big, I think slightly drunk guy just threw himself into the seat next to her ... and, preceded to hit on her and play 20 questions all the way to Tacoma. Every once in awhile, I'd look up from my book and give her a sly smile :-).

Oh, the Roman soldiers got to practice their trades in any "down" time. The powers that be wanted to keep the boys occupied and out of trouble and keep them out of the local vicis (the little settlement that grew up outside ANY military post to separate a soldier from his pay). Soldiers built the famous Roman roads. Soldiers built Hadrian's Wall. Every once in awhile they find a little marble plaque along the wall that runs something like "The 5th Cohort built and brings you this stretch of The Wall!" :-). That also provided a certain amount of quality control.

Well, I'm off to town early today as I've been invited to an afternoon meal at a fellows house (he lives near) that I hadn't seen in hears. I'm bringing desert ... blueberry crisp. Topped with ice cream. Not that I'm getting any, as I'm doing the dairy free experiment. Butter in the crisp, and, of course ice cream is just ... dairy. I'm rather nervous. The guy teaches cooking for a living. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

St Swithin's day today. If it rains, it will rain for 40 days and nights. A dank, misty, humid day and I don't know whether it has rained or not. Is this legend only English or does it apply elsewhere.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge and Lewis,

Apologies, but I can't get to replying to your lovely comments tonight. Bed is calling! I'll let you in on a little secret: I wiped the diary clean for the next 11 days so that I can finish some of the many projects going on about the place - particularly the chicken pen. Wiping the diary clear for so many days in a row has been a bit of a nightmare and has required many late nights of work. Sleep is calling and I haven’t even checked out the ADR yet. I promise to respond tomorrow evening.

PS Lewis: The editor reckons Ryan Gosling is a good choice as he is a character actor who is immensely popular with the ladies and that's OK with me! ;-)! Plus he was in the film the Notebook which I quite enjoyed although it was bit of a bummer.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I have always been amazed at the amount of work that you get through, so am not surprised that you have run into problems with it. I wish you all the best as you get sorted.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - So, 11 days to just loaf around? :-). That was a (very poor) joke, in case you missed the smiley face.

Am slogging through the book on Darjeeling tea. It's all so complicated. But, I do find I pick up the odd tidbit as to tea culture. As in, how to determine your soil is just right. But, some of the rest of the stuff. The author throws around the word "terroir" a lot. A word I think I first heard about a year ago and now run across a lot in relationship to food. It's the whole system that contributes to the taste of an item. The weather, soil, maybe even the human culture around a plant. A true thing, I'm sure, but it just seems so ... trendy. There's one large bit where he raves on for a couple of paragraphs about a tea and comes off sounding like a wine snob. One tea plant in a year will produce about 40 cups. "...it takes 22,000 selectively hand picked shoots ... to produce a single kilo of Darjeeling tea." I'd better start thinking about plowing up the back pasture, to plant enough tea plants, to keep me in tea for a year. :-)

I am also romping through Bryson's book on Australia. Well, he sure does take quit a few pot-shots at Australia and Australians in general. But, he is so self depreciating and pokes fun at himself so much, you really don't mind. Laughing at oneself, I think, is very healthy. Something I didn't find out until late in life. I highly recommend it. :-) Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Ahh, substitute products for cork! It is interesting that you write about the cork oaks as I could potentially purchase a seedling tree from the local gardening club. What do you think about the idea of getting one growing here? There are a couple of very old examples of the cork oak trees much further north than here. Interestingly too, the French, Spanish and Portuguese folk have had quite the win as all Australian wines and fortified wines have been re-labelled so that they are not to be confused with champagne, port etc... which all originate in their traditional lands.

That is very good to hear and I'm rather fond of the foxes too. They perform a useful function as a higher order predators in the ecosystem here and are far less fragile to system shocks than the native cats (Spotted Tiger Quolls) which once roamed this forest before the devastating 1983 Ash Wednesday bush fires. The Quolls are very cute, but their local extinction left a hole in that particular niche which the foxes fill very nicely. The job has to be done, but the Quolls have specific housing requirements and apart from myself, no one up here wants to acknowledge that lack as it causes them to be confronted by too much work with the surrounding forest maintaining the primacy of the oldest trees!

Nice to hear that your son's dogs are laid back. Some of mine here are laid back, whilst the smaller ones seem to me to be very high maintenance and mildly obsessive, so it is a bit of a mixed bag, but overall I agree with your observation. My favourite is pretty laid back too and doesn't get involved in all of the various goings on in the pack - he rises above the general murk and dross ignoring it all with total and complete aplomb! ;-)!

I salute your son's dog for backing up his companion. That is the mark of a true friend and one of my dog's here does exactly the same. Some disreputable people have referred to him as "Cujo" (Lewis, I hope you understand the Stephen King reference!) but he always has my back.

Yeah, prohibition seems to be a waste of time and resources.

Incidentally, I spotted this article from Melbourne which both you and your son may thoroughly enjoy and be totally grateful that your son is not involved. The situation can only be described as both fluid and unfolding as we communicate: Developer denies responsibility for crumbling Mount Waverley construction pit

I'd have to suggest that that situation is about as bad as it gets. The - I believe - surveyor has been linked to a cladding problem on a recent high rise apartment fire which escalated from one apartment up the side of the building. Apparently, there were so many tenants in the apartment that they stored stuff over the exhaust of the compressor for the air conditioning unit which apparently then caused a fire which quickly scaled (again, apparently) up the side of the high rise building because there was apparently a non-flammable cladding on the building. Not a good look.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Truly, the Antarctic Vortex has felt as if it has rained here for 40 days and 40 nights so perhaps the legend is applicable in other parts of the world. Who knows?

Yeah, I never really fully recovered from being losing the time from rectifying the problem of being ripped off so something had to give. The seasons really dictate my work schedule and they are very inflexible. It would have been delightful to have inherited a farm complete with working infrastructure and training - but such was not the case here and that makes it more enjoyable in some ways.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

The detour would be even more of a hassle, if the council commenced the work and didn't quite get around to completing it - ever. The local council here insists on grading the dirt roads just a few weeks before winter and perhaps it is an unwise strategy. Once the road to the house was graded and then it rained a couple of inches and the road was virtually impassable. It does make you wonder what they're thinking - and you know it's nothing good... ;-)!

You are totally spoiled rotten for any other dog and yes, Blue Heeler's are generally very excellent dogs with pleasant dispositions.

Well, chicken does taste good so Beau can be forgiven as he is the best dog in the world. Just spotted a fox cub lurking around outside. They make this yip, yip, yip noise. The dogs here are busay toasting themselves in front of the wood fire (it is 3'C (37.4'F) outside tonight so I can't blame them.

Yeah, it is a hard lesson to learn that not everything needs to be replied too. Haha! You don't need to travel very far at all to meet people with attitudes that are 90 degrees from reality - such is our day to day experience. What do they say: Water off a ducks back. It is hard to cultivate an air of detachment and disinterest though. That is what being cool is all about I guess.

The bus trip to Tecoma sounds like a total busmare for the young lady! A mate of mine flew back from Europe and had a screaming child in the seat behind him a few months back and he described it as a flightmare!

Hey, you know this sort of stuff, did those local Vicis have an official commissariat where soldiers day to day supplies could be obtained?

Well having to both build and use the wall as a fortification would ensure a certain high level of quality was maintained, because if your skin depended on the outcome of your building skills then... Strangely enough, that reminds me of all of the fire resistance systems built into this house here. There is a certain incentive to getting it right. Nice to see that the legions produced long lasting plaques for their efforts.

How did the trip and visit go? Yeah, I'd be nervous too. A couple of my mates are in the process of setting up a cooking school and it scares me cooking for them - they're very good and we both always learn a lot from them. Still, they may feel the same thing visiting here as they grow a lot of their own produce too.

Haha! Loafing around, I don't think so. Very amusing too. Actually the farm is still in the grip of the Antarctic Vortex today (my fingers tips were frozen just cleaning the chicken pen this morning) so instead of working outside I went into the market in the big smoke and did all of my administrative tasks. It is amazing just how many administrative tasks are required to be done here just to get by on a day to day basis. Joseph Tainters theory of collapse via too much complexity is being tested to the limits down under!

Wow! Those statistics on tea are mind bending. The scale is phenomenal and mildly frightening as both of our tea camellia's may be drunken to death after only a few cups of tea... Seriously, I have the same problem with the home brew here. To scale to any significant levels of production requires huge amounts of resources and effort and I'm learning this the hard way by trial and error.

Oh yeah Bill Bryson is not backward in pointing out the silliness that goes on down here, but he has an enjoyable time romping through this continent. I really enjoyed his drunken night at the Daly Waters pub where he promised to house exchange with a couple of drunken Koreans. Such is the majesty and weight of the outback! He had some colourful observations about Adelaide too (the city of churches) which were quite amusing. Ben Folds the musician used to live there, he is and was a talented individual.

Did you see that there was a 10km (6 mile) oil spill over the Great Barrier Reef?

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Oh, yeah. "Cujo". Read the book, saw the movie, got the t-shirt :-). I think that was the first movie where I realized I'd have thrown the whinny child, out the window to the dog. A feeling that has come over me several times in other movies. Whinny child? Throw them to the aliens, and, preferably, early on so the adults can go about their business. :-).

One of my poor hens is molting and looks like hell. They still let her on the perch, but when I try and give her a bit of extra protean, they run her off. They're not actively going after her, but, just warn her off. Oh, well. Pretty soon they'll all look like hell and she'll have a coat of nice new plumage.

It was a train trip. :-).

Let's see. The Roman army contracted to suppliers for a lot of things. Huge workshops in Spain and Germany provided things like large quantities of pottery, or, say, swords. As today, the military contracts were very valuable and subject to a lot of graft and corruption. Food stuffs were contracted locally from the natives. The more Romanized you were, the more likely you were to get a contract. I suppose some things could be bought in the Vicis. But, we have a letter from Vincolanda from some poor grunt begging the folks back home for under ware and socks. Roman soldiers couldn't officially marry, but many of them had "wives" and families in the vicis. Who followed them from post to post. So, maybe the poor sod had gambled away his pay or, was stretched thin supporting a little family. Also during "down time" a lot of the soldiers did a lot of hunting. There were also merchant traders in the vicis. Some living in place, some itinerant.

The meal and visit went well. Everyone had seconds on the blueberry desert, but since every one but me was pretty smoked out (if you get my drift), I don't know how accurate a rating of my food I could get. :-). Our host had three great hounds, a golden lab and I don't know what else. Quit well behaved. Except for a bit of begging at table. Every one was gob-smacked that I could ignore this, and not cave in to the pathetic, big eyed yearning. I have a reputation for being a "cold one." If only they could see me baby talking my cat, dog and chickens! :-). Unloaded a Chinese cloisonne vase (1880-1910) on our host for $95. From my Uncle Larry's estate. I wasn't attached to it and it will round out this fall's propane fund.

I'm reading the part about Adelaide, right now. Sounds like a wonderful city. Haven't got to the Korean house swap, yet. I keep looking for the Fern Glade Farm section. :-). Haven't heard a thing about the oil spill. Not even a mention in the BBC News Australian section. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

That excavation disaster is horrific.

Our local bridge is going to have a 20mph speed limit + an 18 ton weight limit while they contemplate the problem. Let's hope that they don't contemplate for too long.

There are some cork trees on a local estate; they probably date from Victorian times. I wonder how long it takes before there is usable cork.

I prefer large dogs, small ones tend to be yappy and irritating.

I can usually silence screaming children with a look, when they pause for breath. My children tell me that they don't find this surprising! Actually I can deal with drunks and teenagers too. I don't really know why, can only guess that it is a combination of being extremely dominant but loving the people in question. Works with the mentally disturbed as well.

Inge

Angus Wallace said...

Looking good, Chris!

(Sorry I don't have anything constructive to say, but that I always love your work ;-)

Cheers, Angus

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis, Inge, and Angus.

I'm heading out tonight for some food. Yum! Thanks for the nice comments and I promise to respond tomorrow night.

PS: Lewis. Good to see that you sold the vase and that is a very reasonable price for both of you. A nice win-win!

PS: Inge. The excavation problem is as bad as anything that I have seen and I'm not sure anyone knows how to resolve it - some problems can't be fixed. Apparently it is quite the tourist attraction.

Cheers and we shall speak again tomorrow evening!

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yeah, my philosophy about selling stuff is that I want the buyer to be happy, but not too happy :-).

Don't know if you saw the news footage from the S. California brush fire. The main road from LA to Las Vegas was overwhelmed. About 20 vehicles burned and "motorists were running for their lives." There was footage shot from a helicopter. Towed boats in flames, 18 wheelers and a tractor trailer full of new cars.

The blackberries are ripening and I need to do an inventory of last years in the freezer to see how many I need to pick this year. The fennel is in full bloom and the pollinators are working them over. The seem to be the honey bees and something that looks a little more waspy. Last year there were 5 different kinds of pollinators. But, it's early times, yet.

Watched the first episode of "Rain Shadow" the tv miniseries about two Australian women vets. 1.) they sure are a lusty bunch in the Outback :-). 2.) I now know what a "long paddock" is 3.) In parts, I wish this production was subtitled :-). In the Bryson book, I have now arrived in Melbourne. Your big smoke, I think. One overall impression I'm getting from the book is that Australians, as compared to Americans, are a lot happier. Less neurotic. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Probably not the done thing to respond here to something you mentioned on ADR, but here goes. I looked at the article on myopia. I wonder whether eyes are being tested that wouldn't have been a while back? I don't believe in the lack of light idea. I became short sighted very suddenly at the age of 13. This was so startlingly sudden that medics drove me nuts asking me whether I had had a shock or something had happened. I realise that one case means nothing but as a feral child, lack of light was not the reason. I admit that I read a book a day but I also lived wild outdoors, year round. I now have a wonderful bonus, at the age of 80, I don't need reading glasses. This appears to be extremely unusual. In fact I am hard put to it to think of anyone I know, over the age of 55 who can read without glasses.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah Cujo was a bit bitey (Sean of the Dead reference)! Be grateful the dog wasn't a zombie. ;-)! Rabies isn't present on this continent and I was wondering whether you've ever had any outbreaks in your state?

The molting process is not pretty, but it is quite natural and you may even find other chickens eating the feathers for a bit of a protein boost. Seriously. One of the Isa Browns here will sneak up behind some of the other chickens and grab a feather and there will be this all-mighty sound of total outrage from the pluckee chicken. I'll bet it hurts! The regrowth is amazingly fast here - a couple of weeks at most.

Very interesting. It is good to see that nepotism and cronyism are not new ideas and have an incredibly long history. I tend to favour a meritocracy, but that is an unpopular view. People tend to feel that their own children can outperform their own achievements but somehow I feel that - with exceptions of course - that expectation is somehow unrealistic. It is a very difficult balance to both challenge progeny and protect them from harm at the same time and I feel for parents as they are spread so thinly across all of the competing economic realities that they have to face. It is very tough.

Seconds are the sign of an outstanding achievement in cooking! Well done. I hope they didn't blame the munchies (I have never smoked after witnessing my sisters issues with quantities of mind altering substances - the results are in and they're not good!)? How did you chef up the blueberries?

Dogs are always hungry - especially for food from other members of the pack. When visitors eat here, the dogs go outside as they are indefatigable!

Adelaide is a lovely city, although the tap water is terrible (sorry Angus but it is true). Pah! Bill Bryson missed that bit out and it is his loss! :-)! Hehe!

Barrier Reef oil spill: 14 suspect ships to be tested in leak hunt

Read more: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/barrier-reef-oil-spill-14-suspect-ships-to-be-tested-in-leak-hunt-20150718-gifce9.html#ixzz3gKXjeDgO


Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

That is a fair response which should minimise the structural damage to the bridge. But it is also a plan to make a plan too!

I don't have any experience with growing the cork trees but the specimen in the Castlemaine botanical gardens seems to be quite old. I tracked down some photos from the gardening club here which sells the trees: Cork Oak, Polish Giant. The photos to me show quite a young oak tree, but it is hard to tell.

Yeah, I am envious of your skills and salute your efforts. Down here things are all about the right to do what you want at the expense of the rest of the community so people are constantly pushing the boundaries. The other day a 3 or 4 year old child was playing a harmonica in the local cafe and it was like one of Dante's layers of Hell. Fortunately the parents exercised common sense and took the harmonica off the child. As a small child I would have been belted for doing such things in a public place - you'd think that there would be some middle ground - somewhere?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

Nice one and many thanks.

I noticed that you had a new blog entry up too: El Nino which strikes fear into my heart.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

It is a fine balance and you never, ever want the buyer to walk from you feeling like you'd ripped them off. Some people are cool with that, whilst others formulate dark and evil plans to extract their revenge. I fall into the pragmatic basket as it occurred to me that perhaps I may have to deal with the chainsaw dudes down the track a bit... That is what living in a old school community is like.

I checked out the brush fire news and sorry to say for the people involved but it is a little one. Why are people using drones in that area too whilst a brush fire is on the go? Weird times. The flame retardant is a very nasty chemical and it would be easier in the long term to let the orchard burn than have to deal with the long term consequences of that stuff in the soil and water supply here. I'd be pretty grumpy.

The bees love the fennel flowers and the small birds will go completely feral for the seeds later in the season. Good stuff!

It is funny that you mention that, but I once saw a sticker which depicted: Licola, Victoria - nightlife. Look it up on Google maps to get a feel for just how - in the middle of nowhere that place is! Too funny. I've watched some episodes of "Orange is the New Black" and sometimes I would like subtitles for that too! Hehe! Very funny. Accents are a strange thing because you sort of get used to hearing a diversity of accents - even though they're speaking the same language, sometimes it is very hard to tell. I believe that speaking is sort of like writing in that it is often helpful to be understood! hehe! Apparently single women living in rural areas are amongst the happiest of all Down Under - I read an article about it recently. One thing I noticed in my travels to other countries, cities are the same wherever you go, but the rural areas are a real eye opener. Many years ago on a tour I met a dude that was running a full on back yard still for rice wine (arak) in a remote farm in Laos and he seemed like a pretty happy dude.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

No that is fine as it is all in the public domain. By the way, good for you too!

That was a tough deal at a young age for you to have to work through and it is nice to hear that it ended up well for you. I only know of a few people that don't require glasses or contacts (or who have had eye laser surgery) at my age either.

There are probably many factors involved in the issue of myopia and the researchers focused on a single issue of exposure to a certain quantity of lux for a certain amount of time. Still 80% in China and 50% in the US is not good regardless of reason.

Incidentally, perhaps without your outdoors time your eye condition may have been worse? Dunno, but I feel for you. Many years ago I had a girlfriend that had lost an eye in an accident and was replaced with a glass eye as a child and it affected everything that she did. As a strange coincedence, my first girlfriend was blind in one eye (which I didn't know about until many months after we started dating). Apart from having trouble with calculating distances I couldn't tell that there was a problem - although she did crash my car...

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Heaven help you if you belt your child in public here. One poor father smacked his child who had tried to run into the traffic. To my mind that was a reasonable response at that moment. He received a lot of censure in the public press. one certainly daren't tell off other peoples' children. Don't remember whether I have told this story before: I stopped a boy drinking water from an outfall that I knew contained sewage. If looks could kill, his mother would have killed me. Mind you she was too far away to hear my courteous explanation to her son. I wasn't telling him off.

Eyes: When talking to someone and making eye contact, one is looking at one of their eyes. I discovered this because my husband had a damaged eye which he had trained himself not to use as using it gave him double vision. This was the eye that I looked at. Result, I was under the deluded impression that he was listening intently to what I was saying. In fact he was probably looking over my shoulder and thinking of something else. So I know that I look at someone's right eye. This may be why you didn't cotton on to your girl friend's glass eye. I wonder whether anyone has researched this? A project for someone if it hasn't been done.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Not really rabies outbreaks, but more the odd, isolated case. A small child died from a bat bite, here, maybe 20 years ago. Nothing I can remember, since then. Public health is REALLY on any possible cases.

Oh, I did a Blueberry Crisp, which if I remember, you call something else, down there. The blueberries, I added a couple of table spoons of corn starch, so it would set up. Oh, and a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. The host did pick up on the apple flavor. The crisp (oats, brown sugar, flour, butter ... and cinnamon and nutmeg. But, I substituted 1/3 of the spices with pumpkin pie spice. :-).

Any oil spill is bad, but, your latest didn't sound TO bad. Kind of like the California brush fire. Could have been far worse. I also wondered what the fire retardant did to the finish on the unburned vehicles?

Funny about the fennel. The chickens don't touch the plants, but I think they really go for the seeds. Not many volunteers get a start, down in the chicken corral. And, of course, I harvest out some of the seed. I love a nice warm fennel seed scone.

I think, sometimes, the accents are hard to catch as the actors have a bad case of mush mouth. Or, the sound equipment isn't up to snuff. My hearing is pretty good, but I appreciate the subtitles. Sometimes the delivery of some vital part of information .... I pause to give it a good read. I started wearing glasses at a pretty early age. But, I discovered something interesting. About the first week I started working at the library, I broke my glasses. But couldn't afford to get them replaced. So, I taped them up but they looked like heck. So, I only used them to drive. And, I noticed that my distance sight began to improve. When I finally got new glasses, years later, the eye doctor checked out my old prescription and discovered my eyes were quit a lot better than they were in the past. I still only use them for driving. My reading sight is slowly beginning to go. Mostly small print and the maddening tendency for publishers to print black on a colored background. I have a good sized magnifying glass with a handle, that I keep handy. I don't need it for regular reading ... just the really small stuff. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. - Noticed a little bit about the excavations at Vindolanda ... over the course of the years, they have found over 6,000 Roman shoes! Of one type or another.

Saw a picture from Orange, NSW of a kangaroo in a snowy orchard. It was quit pretty. Speaking of kangaroos, I think it was the state of Wisconsin that has banned kangaroos as service animals. Only one case, but the line had to be drawn, somewhere. Service animals are not very well regulated here. And, as you observed, people push the envelope.

High point in egg production, last week. 3.5 dozen. Not bad, with the heat, one broody hen and one going through molt. I think it's the extra yogurt I've been feeding them. Was 95F (35C) here, yesterday. Going to be a hot one, again, today. But, getting cooler tomorrow and we may have rain by thursday.

Well, according to Bryson, you can thank the Ballarat Acclimatization Society, in the 1860s, for your foxes. He goes on quit a riff about introduced animals and plants that didn't turn out so well. Also, due to Bryson, I now know what an ocker, is. :-)
Lew

P.S.: In the Darjeeling tea book, there's a bit about, during one of the four flushes, a tiny insect shows up " tea jassids (Empoasca flavescens) - commonly called green flies..." It eats tiny holes in the leaves and causes a bit of curling. The leaf around the holes oxidizes a bit. It concentrates the flavor and makes those leaves particularly valuable. Who knew? Probably hard to replicate in the home garden :-).

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Sorry, I mixed up the glass eye with the blind in one eye.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

No stress, it is all good as there was one of both. What is the chances of that in one life time? It is not like I went out of my way to find them, just sheer coincidence or perhaps it is a more common ailment than I'd consider?

Cheers

Chris