Monday, 9 November 2015

Pump up the Jam



Ah yes, the dodgy days of early 90’s electronic dance music are personified for me in the massive hit from the Belgian dance act Technotronics with their song: Pump Up the Jam (58.5 million YouTube views can't be wrong).

With the benefit of hindsight though, I can recall those days as being a bit of a pain. Seriously! I worked full time and studied at University two nights per week and by the time Thursday, Friday or even Saturday nights rolled around, the last place I wanted to be was at a club gyrating away with dance moves from the Peter Garrett (of Midnight Oil fame) school of dance moves (if you know what I’m talking about, you just know what I mean by that last sentence. Nuff said).

By the time the bells of midnight tolled, all I wanted to do was go to bed and sleep the sleep of exhaustion. Sneaking off from friends and heading home to catch some quality sleep became a lifestyle choice for me. The questions from friends less burdened than I with responsibilities were easy to dodge too: Great night man. Yeah, must have lost you lot in the crowd. 

Fortunately for me, they were usually inebriated so recollection of the details was always a bit fuzzy.

The girlfriend was a much tougher customer though. In situations involving late nights and thumping bass beats, ditching the girlfriend as midnight arrived was not an option and that meant unavoidable late nights.
What was generally amazing about those days was that I never once fell asleep at either work or University. It is worth noting that 2 hour long economics lectures can be dreadfully dull and had I gone to sleep, perhaps the lecturer may have enjoyed my feedback on their lecture technique in the form of my gentle snores?

The whole fandangle quickly became something of a deal breaker for me. It is instructive that most of the people I still know from those days now live quiet, sedate lives and I doubt very much whether they have the stamina to put in a hard day’s work at the farm here, or to rip up dance floors into the small hours!

Why are we discussing this obscure subject? Oh, that’s right, it rained this week. The rain was quite heavy and a small tornado even threatened the outskirts of the nearby city of Melbourne. It was an impressive storm and that is generally how a lot of the rainfall falls onto the farm over the summer months.

Heavy rainfall can test every single system too as that water carries with it a whole lot of energy. And if that heavy rainfall is delivered in a short period of time, then its destructive force is that much greater. If your infrastructure has been boogying away all night on the dance floor (and thus a bit tired and worn out), that infrastructure is probably a bit vulnerable to damage from system shocks such as heavy rainfall.
The recent heavy rain caused a bit of erosion next to a recently installed water tank
Most of the infrastructure here handled the heavy rainfall quite well. One problem was that the most recently installed water tank (attached to the wood shed) which holds 4,000 litres (1,050 gallons) of water, had not yet had an overflow installed. That water tank was already full prior to the heavy rainfall and so the tank simply overflowed onto the ground. The photo above shows that the collected water off the small shed had the power to cut a deep channel into the clay. That was only the water collected from a small wood shed, so imagine just how much water is collected from the very much larger roof space of the house during all of that heavy rain.

Thus, adding an overflow to that water tank became a priority over the past few days and I’m glad that the overflow is now installed.
An overflow to the recently installed water tank was connected up over the past few days
I haven’t yet backfilled soil over the trench with the large white water overflow pipe because over the next week or so I’ll connect up a pump, garden tap and bushfire sprinkler to the water tank, and some of the pipes will run in that trench.

Observant readers will note in the photo above, the corrugated steel sheet which houses the pump. Eventually, that same pump will lift water to a garden tap in the area above that small shed. The tap will be used to provide water to a yet to be constructed terrace of strawberry beds. Strawberries are a very productive crop here and as well as using that fruit for fresh eating and wine, I also produce strawberry jam. You could say that the water tank and pump will be used to: Pump up the Jam! (edit - nice tie back!)

The storm put on a spectacular show and I took a few photos of the sky because it was such an amazing display:
Red sky at night the evening before the storm
Fog settles in the valley on the morning of the storm
The storm
The sun eventually broke through the thick clouds as the storm drifted off to the east
The new berry enclosure (for blackberries and blueberries and also temporarily housing the tomatoes) is almost complete and the final concrete stair step into that enclosure received its final finishing touches on the day before the storm arrived.
The final concrete stair into the new berry bed received its final finishing touches this week
Earlier in the week, I received an email from Robert at his shop: Bee Sustainable in Melbourne letting me know that the ordered bee colony was finally available for pick up (I receive no benefit from mentioning this shop). Bees are sold in a nucleus hive box (which is a fancy name for a small bee box with only five frames rather than the usual eight or ten). The bees are feisty little critters and they were busting to escape the nucleus box and explore the farm. You can see their proboscises protruding out of the air vents on that nucleus hive. It probably goes without saying that it is probably not a wise move to put your hands or fingers too close to that entrance.
Look closely - Bees proboscises protrude out of the air vents on a nucleus hive
It was a bit too cold and breezy the day of delivery to transfer the frames across to the recently completed new experimental bee hive. In such a situation you can simply place the nucleus box on top of the experimental bee hive and open the door on the front of the nucleus box and the bees can come and go as they please. The bees will be fine in the nucleus box for a day or two as you can wait for more appropriate weather to transfer them across to their new hive. As a general rule, the bees don’t like having their entire colony exposed to cool to cold weather.
The nucleus box is in place on top of the experimental hive and the door has been opened so that they can explore the farm
The above photo is an action shot because I had to employ some of those Peter Garrett funky dance moves (edit - if you don't know what Chris is talking about, check out Peter Garrett Dancing Compilation  125,000 YouTube views can't be wrong) to quickly spring back and out of the way to avoid being stung by the now very annoyed bees. The next day was warm and still so the whole colony was transferred into their new experimental home.
The new colony was transferred into their new home on a warm and still day
Whilst I was at the bee shop I noticed that they were selling some funky new roofs for bee hives and I splashed out and bought one. The existing bee hive scored that new roof and another (third) box with eight additional frames for them to lay brood in. It was a good thing that I replaced the roof as I felt that the original flat roof maintained too much humidity as it was quite damp inside the hive box. As a fun fact, the bees spend a lot of their time and energies maintaining conditions inside the colony so that it is perfect for both storing honey and rearing brood. If the inside of the hive becomes too humid the honey can possibly ferment. Fermented honey is otherwise known as the drink: Mead. I like mead, but unfortunately it is not good for the health of the bees and they can become very sick consuming it.
The original bee hive received a further brood box and a funky new roof
And speaking of funky disco moves, a brand new bird turned up this week at the farm shaking its booty in its rave cave gear for all of us to appreciate: A King Parrot. I have never seen one of these birds in this area before and it amazes me that as the diversity of plant life increases here at the farm, so too does the diversity of bird, insect and animal life.
A King Parrot has decided to become a guest of the farm
The local marsupials hit the clubs the other evening for a dance off too. Well, it wasn’t really a club, it was actually part of the orchard where a very fat and comfortable looking wallaby faced off against a much smaller and younger kangaroo.
A very fat and comfortable looking wallaby and young kangaroo enjoy the long herbage in the orchard
When it comes to the show ponies of the plant world in this mountain range, few plants can compete with the orchids here. I spotted this spider orchid a few days ago after the heavy rainfall. Please note that the orchid is dressed in a muted colour scheme so that it can nick off at midnight without the other flowers noticing!
A spider orchid has appeared in the mown herbage after the recent heavy rainfall
The temperature outside here at about 1.00pm is 28.2’C degrees Celsius (82.8’F). So far this year there has been 682.6mm (26.9 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week's total 632.6mm (24.9 inches).

43 comments:

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, being a few years older than you, in my time it was ... D I S C O !!! I seem to remember a pair of blue dancing shoes with 3 inch stacked heels. And, a place called The Family Zoo which was very long an narrow. On cheap beer night, it took at least 45 minutes to wend your way from the front door, to the bog. A fire marshal's nightmare.

Of course, there were other times when I worked two jobs and it was 7am to 1pm ... home for a bit of a nap ... onto the other job by 7pm and work until 2 or 3 am. Home for a nap ... back at it at 7am. Gotta pay for those fancy dancing shoes, somehow!

That's some erosion, next to the woodshed. Let it go long enough and you'll have your very own Grand Canyon. You can rent mules to take day trippers, to the bottom and back. As they do here :-).

Well, that was a long meander to the tie-back. :-). Clever and worth the wait.

The bees are sniffing the air, detecting all the wonderful things in bloom that you grow there. The bees know. I'm sure you know that bees dance to indicate direction of good forage. They were probably checking out your moves and trying to determine what information you were trying to impart. There are people that dance with cranes.

The King Parrot is really a stunner. He'd bring a pretty penny in the parrot trade, here. A friend who moved to Florida, used to stride along Tower Avenue with a large white cockatoo perched on her shoulder. The other day, I was talking to my neighbor in the yard, and the little woodpecker was working the apple tree ... just a few feet away. Didn't mind us at all. Just went about his business. Saw a hummingbird at Chef John's, the other day. Advised him (or her ... it was a juvenal) that it was way past time to head south, and he better get a move on.

Starting Tuesday night, and through to the weekend, the forecasters are saying two large storm fronts are coming in from the northwest ... off the Gulf of Alaska. Not a Pineapple Express. But, because of the Japanese Current, that doesn't mean cold. They are forecasting wrack, ruin and destruction. High winds. Lots of rain. We'll see.

The new well house got Tyvek, yesterday, and the siding is on. Things move along. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

It never for one second crossed my mind that F5 tornadoes were a possibility. Not much could stand in the way of one of those. Out of interest, do people have underground houses in those areas or do they simply rebuild? Certainly a free standing house would not stand much of a chance of surviving that sort of a weather event because if the tornado can rip up the ground and the house is anchored to the ground... A smaller event, yeah, but not that monster.

Glad to hear that you enjoyed it. It was a very old school description of a library wasn't it? They had a bit of life in them which you probably wouldn't get with a whole lot of clacking keyboards. Thanks for the experience of your library system. Wow. Dust ups over internet access just blows my mind? Isn't there some sort of booking system for time on a library computer? The other thing I was wondering was how does the ogling situation escalate - like surely the outraged person would say something to the ogler and there the matter would rest? Like how does it become the library staff's problem? I'd imagine that there would be some sort of guidelines that people abide by? Well, as to the social worker on staff, we're currently in the process down here of pursuing similar economic strategies and creating a class of non-citizens (few at the top end or even the middle want to take a pay cut for the greater good of society).

Fair enough, I'm only noticing that some of the newer glass is very brittle - it looks the part but doesn't really go the distance... Glass is funny stuff - the windows here are all 10mm (0.4 inches) toughened glass (because of the fire risk) - apparently it is strong stuff although I'm not excited about putting it to the test. No! Who would have thought that people create fakes! I'll bet that is a disappointment.

That was my thinking too about the Sthil - local service and repairs. I honestly just can't see how the batteries could hold enough charge. One of the batteries here is 70kg (about 150 pounds) and it holds enough charge to run the line trimmer for about 5 hours flat out. I hear them about a lithium batteries being a revolution in technology and they are lighter in weight to be sure - but they're not that much lighter in weight. I tend to run for the hills when people start talking about a revolutionary new battery technology. Didn't Scotty say: "You canna change the laws of physics"? I'd like to be wrong on that one...

Sturm - like it! I reckon those meters only need to be indicative anyway. I've got a digital barometer and I wonder whether the accuracy in hPa is worthwhile. It does a nifty picture of clouds with rain (i.e. sturm!) and that is pretty useful. On a serious note, it took months to get that unit calibrated so that the 12 hour predictions were reasonably accurate. It is not usually wrong.

Yeah, maybe that was a poor choice of words. Perhaps I meant expensive instead. There are now plenty of feral colonies in the surrounding forest. Late last night on a walk I could smell the sweetness of the honey at one point.

I'm hearing you. Chef John is what is commonly known as a clothes horse! Hehe! Very funny. I tend to stick to certain clothes because I can't be bothered thinking about clothes as they are utilitarian to me. The editor tends to keep me socially acceptable! Hehe! You'll be a true gentleman in your new style - is Esquire the correct term?

Very astute to get to know who the new neighbour is, especially as you will surely be responsible for one or more of those mules sooner or later. It must be an interesting story, because what would someone do with mules?

It is amazing you're getting even that many eggs. Without the lights over winter, the chickens can get to as few as 1 egg per day. Makes for a difficult omelette!

Great to hear that your alternative water source is starting to take shape. I'm assuming that there is a pump somewhere to bring the water to the surface?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Haha! Last year I heard an interview with Giorgio Moroder who worked on an album with the French band Daft Punk (a very excellent French duo of musicians too) and on one track he told his story to the backdrop of Daft Punk music. I can still clearly recall him saying: Ya ve have ze discotechque! I'll see if I can track it down... ... He tells an interesting tale.

Daft Punk - Giorgio by Moroder

Lewis, that is doing it tough those hours and the short breaks in between. An old mate of mine is quite a talented chef and used to work in a pub kitchen for years. It was the long broken hours with a break between the lunch shift and the dinner service that finally made him chuck in the towel. It is a shame because he is an excellent chef.

Well, yeah, I was a bit worried that Scritchy would fall into the canyon and be seen no more. On a serious note, when I was looking around for cheap land years ago some of the blocks were near on vertical. I was looking at them thing that sure this is 70 acres with river frontage, but you'd need abseiling gear to get to the river. I was seriously worried that one of the dogs would fall off and roll down the steep incline... The erosion will get much worse without the overflow.

Thanks! Hehe! I don't always succeed but I do try to weave a common thread through the story otherwise people may start snoring gently! :-)! Hehe!

Doesn't it make you wonder what the cranes think of the people? Birds are quite intelligent in their own way - certainly a lot of them here spend a lot of time mucking around and enjoying themselves. I've got a whirly bird air vent over the worm farm and sometimes the birds will jump onto it just to be spun around and around. I'd get motion sick. Yeah, I know about the bee dance, however I thought that the bees were saying: Let's get him! Actually the guy that supplies me these colonies provides very gentle colonies. I've had an aggressive colony and the difference is marked. The aggressive one would attack me at about 50m (150ft) away. I can't say that I was entirely unhappy to see them depart...

Yeah, the King Parrot thinks so too! :-)! He's been returning quite regularly so he probably is now part of the revolving wildlife menagerie here. It got to 35'C 95'F yesterday (and 17'C 62.6'C max today - go figure) and all of the birds enjoy the access to water on such days and they all have a splash about cleaning themselves as well as a fresh drink of water.

Cockatoos can live as long as if not longer than a human. They're frighteningly smart those birds. The climate is doing weird things to the plants and animals to be sure. No doubts about.

Wow, stay safe and I hope that it brings some serious snow to your higher peaks.

Just out of interest, how big is this well house? Do you need the shed over the well so that critters don't get into the well? Or is it like a water bore here which is basically a big pipe shoved vertically into the ground with a pump at the bottom of it and cables and pipes going down into the well?

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

I was about to say that wallaby looks more like a pademelon. Then I did some googling and must say I am more confused now. Down here in Tassie I go with the rule that small/stocky and with round ears (and a slightly uncoordinated, clumsy movement) = pademelon. Larger, sleek and with skinny ears = wallaby variants. I don't have to worry about the difference between wallabies and kangaroos as I am reliably informed Tasmania has none (Surely some have escaped a zoo or similar...).

I am very interested to hear how the new hive comes along, I had visions of getting loads of honey with minimal effort one day in the future and am disappointed to hear of your low yields. My previous neighbour paid someone a few hundred a year to have a hive in her yard, apparently she is expecting her 50% share to equal at least 10kg each year. Might have to get in touch and see how it worked out.

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Those are truly gorgeous photos, I keep going back for a further look at them.

That crack is nasty though. Our clay cracks in the dry and closes up in the wet because the land slips then; opposite behaviour to yours?

Our magpies must be a very different bird from yours. They certainly don't have a lovely song. They are very intelligent and chatter; I reckon that they have a large vocabulary.

Very warm and wet here.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Our internet was out for several days and I found out some interesting things. First, I found out that the only things I missed were Fernglade Farm and The Archdruid Report and email. Second, I had need to reference some information and I discovered in which topics our home library is lacking. Will be off to the used book stores as soon as possible.

Thank you Chris and Margaret for the info on perpetual spinach last week. Will start some in the spring.

I don't like to see that erosion under the water tank, but you have fixed it I see. I had no idea that you used a pump/pumps to move water around. Very nice! I DO like the King Parrot!

More gorgeous photos. Thanks! What's that pole thingee jutting up in the photo where the sun comes through the storm?

Those bees are particular little fellows, aren't they? Rather like pets, but here's hoping they are going to be highly productive ones (not that the doggies and chooks aren't). I like your top-of-the-line beekeeping suit. What a great red roof; looks like a hotel, though I guess it's actually an apartment house (is that what you call them in Australia?). Drunken bees would be a very unwelcome sight.

That plump wallaby is such a hoot! He needs to get together with Fatso the Wombat and start a club, not for dancing, but for eating.

What an exquisite orchid. It has a face.

For part of the year we can't see the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west of us because of the woods behind the house, but now that most of the leaves have fallen - there they are! Beautiful, beautiful mountains. Not for sale - one house with a view, six months of the year.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Haven't heard much about people moving into underground houses in Tornado Alley. But, there seems to be more community and family shelters. Just a vague sense I get from reading the news. After some terrible losses at a school, there seems to be more interest in providing schools with better shelter than just "duck and cover" in an interior hallway. They can also double as community shelters. If you have an underground house, who's going to know how posh it is? :-).

The libraries always seem to be "behind the ball" when it comes to policy. Some of it is a naive hope that the public will behave themselves. Some of it is, I think, not wanting to use resources before a problem develops. It would be a long and boring story about the ins and outs of internet management in libraries. There is a booking system, now. Also, the library finally started charging for printing ... anything over 5 pages a day. But, that involves a simple (!) 10 step process to get a page to print.

Another example is holds. It used to be that if you had a hold, a clerk at the desk would get it for you. And, check it out. Privacy was the issue, supposedly. Then there was this whole disintermediation movement. Ideally, the customer would pick up their own holds, and use a self checkout. At that point, I said, to anybody who would listen (someone? anyone?) "Won't our customers steal from each other?" Amazing! That's exactly what happened. Now, dvds and some best sellers ... well, when the item comes into a branch, two hold slips must be printed for the item ... a dummy box put on the hold shelf, and a library employee must retrieve the item. Self checkout? Funny, either accidentally or on purpose, a lot of stuff just doesn't get checked out. "Oh, it all comes back ... sooner or later..." And, clerks spent a lot of time walking people through that self checkout ... again and again. Making sure the scanners are set at just the right angle to read the bar codes ... making sure there's paper in the receipt printers. Of course, the whole self checkout thing and hold pick up was used to justify cutting back the number of clerical hours. So, we're back to that old saw, again. Technology doesn't make less work, it just makes different kinds of work. I'm ranting. Enough.

Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Tea break :-).

Oh, the whole ogling thing. Theoretically, there are filtered, and unfiltered computers. All filtered in the children's and young adult areas. No one under 18 can use an unfiltered computer ... it's tied to their card numbers. Unless a parent gives permission. Then, you go into the patron record and make the adjustments. No, if someone thinks they see something naughty, they run straight to the librarian. Or, person in charge. You end up spending a lot of time explaining that in this State, the only illegal images are minors (under 18) engaged in actual ... congress. Artsy Victorian cherubs don't make the cut. :-). Nor does the Victoria's Secret catalog or the Sports Illustrated swim suit issue. There was also a lot of putting up of baffles, walls ... screens sunk below desk top level and peered at through a pane of glass ... plastic hoods to shield those subterranean screens. It's all madness.

I think as a collectible field, I much prefer pottery to glass. Pottery is more straightforward. Easier to detect frauds. Glass is ... complicated. Glass molds float around from company to company ... or, overseas to Taiwan or China. It takes a lot of scholarship (in short supply in "the biz") to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Who knows why the guy leasing the field has mules? Why does my friend in Florida feel the need to strut around with a cockatoo on her shoulder? Why did Bob the Bachelor Farmer have two donkeys in the pasture across from my place? One time, I teased Bob that he could set up a whole nativity, in his front yard at Christmas, using live animals :-).

I don't know the inner workings of the well. The well house, sometimes called a pump house, is about the size of your chicken house. I know there's a pump ... and, a pressurized holding tank holding many gallons.

Daft Punk is rather nice. "Well, Dick, I'll give it an 8. It's got a good beat and you can dance to it." :-) American Bandstand, reference, there.

Yeah, working those kinds of schedules are for the young. Sometimes called "split shifts." Or, you just have 2 or 3 jobs. Since full time work (with benefits) is so thin on the ground these days. Hard to keep all the balls in the air. And, some places like to have their employees "on call." Kind of like "just in time" inventory systems, only you use real people.

Well, I hauled a lot of rock, yesterday. The barometer is still going up, but I expect it will take a plunge, this evening. I had to do something about the quagmire down in the chicken run. And, the girls have been pecking away at the ground supporting two of the brick piers on the henhouse. So. My chicken yard slopes ... not as much as your place, but a decided slope.

So, I went to the abandoned farm (now that I have a key to the gate) and filled 7 2 gallon buckets with rock, 2 5 gallon buckets (not full) and experimented with a couple of feed bags. Also about 14 head sized rocks. It's mostly shattered granite. Noticed there were a couple of really nice big stones, if I decide to go all Japanese in a corner. Maybe John can help me move them :-).

Anyway. My idea was to construct a kind of "landing pad" between the gate and chicken house door. The distance is probably about 3 meters. And, the gate swings wide. So, I had some nice apple logs from the pruning. I laid those down in a semicircle. Held them in place with the big rocks, on the downslope side. Later, I'll add some smaller rocks to the mix. Bank it. Then I started dumping rock between the gate and chicken house door. Keeping the smaller stuff toward the gate, so it swings free. The whole situation is better, now. But, I figure I need about two more equal sized loads. It will be interesting to see how the whole thing shakes out and settles, with the upcoming deluge, this week. The ladies found the whole process, fascinating. :-)

Well, off to Chef John's for a good wash and water haul. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I never could get back to the computer to add that what I also missed, without the internet, were the smorgasbord of delightful sites that you list along the right side. Thanks, all!

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

I get what you mean. Pademelons are like a mini-me to wallabies. The wallaby in the photo is Stumpy the wallaby and she is fed on compost fed plants so she is a little bigger in girth than the average wallaby. Taking a rough guess she is probably about 5 foot tall. When I was last down in the Otway ranges, I spotted a few wallabies and they had patchy coats and were a little bit thinner than Stumpy - but it was winter. I wish she wouldn't eat the fruit trees - but that is life with a wallaby.

Thanks for the info on wallabies and kangaroos in Tasmania as I didn't know that. Forest (grey) kangaroos are quite pleasant, but I wouldn't want to annoy one of the 6 1/2 foot ones that visit here - the bulls are often having punch ups in the orchard and there doesn't seem to be much point in getting involved. The red kangaroos are found a long way west of here and they're bigger again. Worthy of respect!

If you want good yields of honey plant lots of flowers. And then plant some more flowering plants. Too often our forests only flower every couple of years and then only for a short period of time. An old timer be keeper visited here a few years back and said that there wasn't enough food for the bees and I reckon he was right - so I simply started planting flowers - lots of them... I may write about that this week, but I'll have to think up a story about it all.

If you find out about her actual yields I'd be very interested to hear (and whether the hive survives extracting that honey too)?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thank you for writing that as I enjoy sharing them too. :-)!

No, that crack in the clay was from erosion as the water flowing out of the water tank took away particles of clay in that one single rainfall. It is a bit unnerving how much damage water can do on land with a slope in such a short period of time. Most of the infrastructure here tries to slow the movement of water across the land - and mostly it succeeds. It is usually the new or damaged areas that are a problem.

The clay down below off the mountain range does exactly as per your part of the world too with the drying and swelling with the seasons. I read somewhere a year or two ago that the cracks in the clay allow water to seep quickly and deeply into the soil when the rain eventually returns.

Different parts of this state are subject to landslips and fortunately the local earth moving / excavator guy told me that this area is not prone to those. I have absolutely no idea how to deal with land slips... How do you (or other people) up in your part of the world deal with landslips?

They might be. If you get a chance, have a listen to this bird song and then we can compare notes: Australian magpie singing .

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Sorry to read that, but also I'm very chuffed to read that too. :-)! I thoroughly enjoy all of the comments every single day as they're a pleasure to receive and respond to. I'd feel a sense of loss if JMG stopped the ADR blog.

I see a crusty and dusty second hand bookshop (or an online source of secondhand books) in your future! It is not a bad idea to have a reference library at home and the hallway here is full of books (I occasionally have to cull the collection and that is a sad day).

Yes, definitely, they are great plants which will start from seed about mid spring. They're just like herbs in that may die off over winter but will pop back up again the following spring. My lovage which is a celerey substitute does the same trick as well as a lot of the other herbs.

The use of pumps is a bit of a worry for me (and I keep spares), but mostly I use gravity when collecting the water and then have to pump it back up the hill. One of my mates goes the other way around and collects water in a holding tank using gravity and then pumps it back up hill to some high level gravity fed water tanks - mind you they have almost 360,000 litres (almost 100,000 gallons).

I like the King Parrot too - it's a bit of a show off don't you think? But then if I looked like that I'd probably show off too!

I'm constantly amazed how observant the readers of this blog are and what gets noticed. There are two poles in that photo. One is a bushfire sprinkler and the other is my weather station. Top points for noticing - that earns you the elephant stamp!

The bees are nice pets and like the chickens and dogs they earn their keep in more ways than one. The pollination services from European honey bees are second to none. There are plenty of other pollinators here and the local bees work in a far wider range of weather conditions than the European bees, but they have zero chance of any honey. It is sort of like the older chickens in that they provide manure and training services (as do the older dogs).

Ha! Very funny. That is the gloves from my bee keeping suit, I just couldn't be bothered putting the whole suit on - but I did have it on when I transferred the hive. I'm not confident enough to have bees crawling all over me whilst I work with them - some people do - but I'm not one of them. Yes, drunk bees would be frightening - it sounds like some sort of horror film doesn't it?

We call them apartments if they have an elevator and flats if they only have stairs.

They're already in a club - it's called: Fruit Club and the first rule about Fruit Club is that you don't talk about Fruit Club! (Sorry that was a dodgy Fight Club film reference).

I was a bit nervous about showing the orchid because there are collectors...

Lucky you to have that view. Views are great, we just got very lucky with a quirk of the topography here, but most people don't have a view at all. It created a few problems for me, believe it or not.

Have all of your trees gone deciduous now? Glad to read of the love that you have for your land.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

A community shelter is probably a good idea. Like the bush fire bunkers down here, they are amazing complex to construct and if you can share that burden then everyone wins. Also if left up to individual houses, you never quite know if the construction is up to standard and given that people may be putting their lives on the line...

Terrible losses at a school - is not good. I think the local primary school here has a fire resistant area in its construction. I personally wouldn't want to hang around to see how this house would perform, but then if I'm caught out - and bush fires like tornadoes can happen at any hour of the day...

Every underground structure I've seen down here has problems with moisture ingress and the shelters are probably no different. Just for interest too, I was talking to some locals who have 40 foot containers buried on their land for such a possibility. They're cheap and very heavy and reasonably water tight. I don't know how people would go for air in an emergency as the fires can suck the oxygen like there is no tomorrow (think Dresden in WWII or Hiroshima).

What? Why won't the public behave themselves? Fair enough too. The libraries are essentially a bureaucracy so all of that is hardly surprising. I probably wouldn't provide the printers in the first place - it is a library after all.

Seriously the crazy systems I've seen set up all in the name of privacy is quite gob smacking. When is a self-checkout, not a self-checkout? When it has staff to operate it. You know I'm getting this vague feeling that someone, somewhere in that system sat down and performed an analysis and came up with the conclusion that it was cheaper to replace the stolen books and DVD's than employ a staff member to operate what should be a fairly simple administrative process. I just don't get that mentality at all. No you are definitely not ranting and I'm totally with you.

Down here, they are really pushing the concept of driver less cars, trucks, trains and planes. The thing that gets me about all of that pushing is that someone, somewhere has to work to earn a living so that they can buy stuff - because without that the so called consumer economy is toast. It is weird logic replacing people with machines and it makes no sense. The first pilot less plane that gets hacked...

Oh you have definitely been exposed to the pointy end of that particular problem. What a nightmare. I'd probably remove the problem by removing the computers - it is a library after all. How did computers even work their way into a library system in the first place. I recall the early pre-internet days when the only time you saw a computer in a library it held either a digital catalogue or one of those accumulation of newspaper articles on a particular topic. That lot appeared post micro-fiche and I often wonder what happened to all of those micro-fiche negatives and readers. But, having said all of that card catalogues worked well too. Researching an assignment was less prone to plagiarism in those days. I've heard that there are companies on the internet that supply assignments to Uni students these days. I could probably make a tidy living doing that if my conscience didn't get in the way...

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Thanks for the heads up about the glass. You know I'll never look at them the same way again. Pottery has been around here almost since the beginning of settlement. A lot of it down here is stamped by the maker. I'm proud to say that we exported pottery demi-johns made not too far from here to the US during the prohibition era (purely for health drink reasons of course and they were labelled correctly as such!)

I've now got this strange nativity scene mental image floating around in the recesses of my mind. A lot of human activity is beyond my understanding and most of it is interesting, but it does make you wonder whether it is worth taking the time to truly understand it - even if we could? :-)!

Fair enough, I don't rightly know how the water bores work here either. It just uses a lot of energy to lift the water that high.

The guys from Daft Punk have been at it for a long time and they are very talented. Apparently their album last year was such a worldwide success that the French music business turned a tidy profit (as distinct from the more usual loss).

Just in time employees are described here as under-employed. I seriously feel for younger people now days as they are getting done over. The split shifts would do my head in. But I work quite irregularly all over the place in many different businesses. Actually it is quite social but I have so many names to remember...

Nice to read about your excellent use of rock. Are you bringing those rocks back up the hill too? Certainly it sounds like penance for something bad that you have done in a past life. How did the chickens enjoy the rocks?

Sorry, I've run out of time to respond and will finish responding tomorrow morning!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The answer to how landslips are dealt with here is 'badly'. I don't bother but futile attempts are made, particularly on the south of the Island.

The sound of the magpie took me straight back to Australia. I would not call it a song though, sound yes. I remember being struck by the lack of beautiful birdsong in Australia. Our magpies have black heads and flashes of blue on wings and tail, otherwise very similar.

There is an old record of spider orchids in my woodland and botanists sometimes ask whether I have ever seen one. I have not. The butterfly orchid this year was a first one noted and I don't publish the fact (except I did here). It is illegal to take orchids or even their seeds. Is that so where you are?

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Pam,
Wanted to be sure that you knew that this perpetual spinach isn't a perennial at least not here in Northern Illinois. I plant early spring and depending on how cold it is I can still harvest in December. It would be interesting to see how it grew is a little warmer climate. Here it does OK even down to the mid 20's.

Hi Chris,

Will be very interested to see how your hive does this year. My husband checked his hives last week and three out of the six are dead - no dead bees around they are just gone. A week earlier all were doing well. He thinks he should have fed them as there was no honey left in any of the hives. He had put feeders on a couple hives that were weaker. We've not had any documented cases of colony collapse in Illinois but this looks a bit suspicious. Our weather has been warmer than usual so bees have been very active and there are (or were) a lot of them. However now that it's Novembers there's no natural food for them.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - A book recommendation ... "The Orchid Thief" by Susan Orlean ... or, anything by her. Great writer. Essays and non-fiction, mostly. As far as the movie, "The Orchid Thief" goes, skip it. Absolute rubbish. Instead of just being straightforward and making the book into the movie, they made a movie about turning the book into a movie. Brought a dvd home from the library, yesterday. "Area 51". Also, rubbish. One of those "found video" things. Can't abide them. They just seem ... cheap.

Well, libraries kind of went through this identity crisis at a point where use was falling. They decided to be all things to all people. And, kiss the .... ring of the public :-). So, in came the computers and printers. And, no standards of expected public behavior, any more. And, you kept hearing "This is what the public wants ... this is what the public demands." Horse puckey. A few vocal "early adaptors" and young librarians out to make a name for themselves. When Timberland went to self pickup of holds, and self checkout, I discovered the template was flawed. A 3 library system in British Columbia with a mostly Asian patron base. It just didn't scale up. Did anyone listen to me? No. :-)

Saw my landlord, yesterday, and the mystery of the mules, is solved. The guy who has the mules used to be a game guide, east of here. Mules are great for packing into the back country. There's probably a lot of sentiment, involved.

Well, the chickens seem very curious about the change in decor :-). But when they discovered they could keep their feet dry, they seemed won over.

Well, so far, our storm seems like a nonevent. The weather forecast changed, very quickly. Still storm warnings, all around us. But not here. Beautiful day, and if it holds, I need to get some feed. Veteran's Day, here. Lots of stuff closed, but the stores are open. Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

I noticed the lovely tulips in one of your pictures! As well as the gully going downhill from your water tank. Glad you were able to get it fixed before it became worse.

Re tornadoes and tornado shelters: I live close enough to Tornado Alley to be able to comment on the situation with the school in Oklahoma where the children died during a recent tornado. Oklahoma is one of the less regulated states here in the US. Apparently in some areas schools don't include proper tornado shelters because it isn't legally required and they cost money that the school district doesn't have. In other, richer areas the schools do have proper shelter areas. It's the usual dilemma: what do you spend money on? Tornadoes are small and it is unlikely that the school would be hit, so it may not make much sense to some folks to tax themselves to spend the money needed on shelter. Schools are largely funded through property taxes that must be voter-approved.

Around here and in most of the Midwest most single-family houses have basements, in part to serve as storm shelters. Our house has a basement and you'll find us there when there is a tornado warning for our area. A small one, EF-1, came through several blocks south of us in 2013. It did a lot of tree and electric pole damage but not too much property damage. That's the closest I've been to a tornado in 58 years, most of them spent in the Midwest. It surprised me when I learned that most houses in Oklahoma, the middle of Tornado Alley, don't have basements. But that may also be a cost issue. Most of the houses in the southern US don't have basements either even though they get more tornadoes than people realize. But again, cost plus maybe unsuitable soil. Far enough south and it's too wet for basements.

Most people out here don't worry about tornadoes unless and until they get hit or one comes very close. The likelihood of being hit by one is quite small over a human lifetime. I wouldn't want to live in hurricane-prone or wildfire-prone areas because it seems to me like there is more chance of being affected by one of them and a long time each year to worry about that, but I don't mind living in a tornado-prone area. But it may just be what I'm used to.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

How was the storm? Did it end up as a stomper or a fizzer, or even perhaps just a gentle drizzle?

Nice to hear that your chickens have dry feet for the winter. It will be interesting to see whether you notice that the dry feet has an impact on their health? Sometimes I've wondered recently whether the combination of ultra damp soil in their previous run caused some of that muck to become anaerobic? Dunno, certainly a the drier enclosure smells nicer. Good work with the rocks and the landing pad. Anything involving rocks is a big job!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks and glad to read that you are enjoying the sites too! Hey, isn't great being able to see photos from different places all over the planet?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Oh, that's not good, but perhaps there is no easy way to deal with landslips other than acceptance? Dunno. Down here, I try really hard to leave no exposed clay at all. Pretty much everywhere has limestone toppings, plants, compost or mulches on it and that tends to stop further damage. The heavy spring and summer rains is usually when the damage will occur.

Nice! Fair enough about the bird song. I'm trying to understand what you mean though and was wondering what is your favourite bird in your area for bird song?

That is fascinating that you spotted a butterfly orchid this year. Those are a very showy flower! Personally, I'm unsure of the wisdom of telling botanists or plant collector types about rare and unusual plants because they may perhaps collect them and then they are gone. My understanding about orchids is that they require particular soil life in order to grow, multiply and thrive and that would be hard to replicate elsewhere. I've read that historically orchid collectors used to roam the forests here. I also seem to recall reading that the seeds can lie dormant in the soil for years and decades just waiting for the right conditions... All up I reckon they're a bit rare to be mucking around with. What do you think about that?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Well, I'm now holding my breath because I ran out of time last night to reply to comments because the smallish ants were attacking the brand new bee colony. I put the hive on long legs above the ground for this purpose, and the ants were climbing up one of the legs. There were thousands of them... Grrr. I have now taken action to eliminate further ant risk and the legs now sit in moats (like those around a castle).

Sorry to hear about the sudden loss of your hives. When bees take off, they clean out all of the honey in the combs and take it with them. That is certainly what happened here two years ago during a prolonged and extreme heat wave when I used to keep the hive boxes in the sun (no longer - they're in full shade). As you were saying it was like looking at the Marie Celeste ship...

Feeding is a tough but good option to take. I'm considering writing over the next week or so about the succession of flowers that I grow here as bee food. The first year I had bees there wasn't enough food for them...

At least you still have three hives. As it is getting colder up your way, I hope the remaining bees can get to the feeders? The weather is certainly less predictable as time is going on...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for the book reference and I'll add that to the list as you gave it high praise indeed. Was Susan an actual orchid thief - as avid orchid collectors used to roam these mountains at certain times of the year, and I personally fear for the safety of the remaining orchids! - or is Susan writing a story about someone that she met?

Making a movie about making a movie would be very hard to stop from turning into a highly self absorbed affair? The very notion scares me, so thanks for the warning.

It is difficult to provide funding for the sort of organisation that fancies itself as: all things to all people. It is tough because who decides where the funding goes and what resources get priority and what is even the core mission of a library anyway? And then as you correctly write, small interest groups come along and exert their authorita! What a nightmare... Sometimes, I feel that old fashioned basic statements about why an organisation exists in the first place are as much in place to protect the organisation as much as the users themselves... Dunno, I reckon those things are boring but important. Honestly, a lot of things that are stretched don't easily scale up.

In an interesting side issue, it looks as though the leadership of the local gardening group has been wrested from the moribund hands of the previous person into a more dynamic and much larger group. I believe they have the motto: Less meetings, more fun, and more reasons for members to attend to the groups activities - certainly it wouldn't be hard to achieve that goal.

Nice to read that the mystery of the mules is now solved. I hope the guy remembers to feed and shelter them over the winter.

You are now speaking proper chicken language if the ladies are enjoying the change in their circumstances! :-)!

Enjoy your veterans day. The weather is stunning down here today, with a bit of sun, a bit of cloud and a nice cool breeze. Can't ask for better than that!

I don't know whether you read the other comments, but last night the ants decided that they would attack the new bee colony, so I had to go out in the dark and put the feet in trays were I could pour in water to create a sort of moat to keep the ants off the bee colony. And then as the ants moved out of the bee colony, I had to sweep them off the lid, the sides, you name it. I reckon another couple of days and the new bee colony would have been toast. It was a so - so strong colony, as I've seen both stronger and weaker colonies. I'm keeping my fingers crossed to see what happens...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thank you for the lovely words and those plants do look exactly like tulips, but are in fact Californian Poppies which haven't yet opened for the day. I have some tulips, but have to really hide them as everything wants to eat tulips. How they had tulip mania back in 1637 (or whenever it was, is way beyond me). Imagine if a rat had eaten a precious tulip that your family had staked its entire resources on...

Thanks, nature forces my hand on different projects all of the time, it is like a sharpening tool for me, but it is constantly exposing all of the weaker elements of this place.

Wow, thanks for the info on tornado shelters in schools. You may be surprised to find that it is a similar situation here with the bush fire refuges in schools. Some schools have them and some don't. The state government provides funding for schools here, but the schools expect parents to tip money in and there is also fund raising drives etc. However, down here on days of high risk bush fire, they shut the school down and that avoids the problem altogether. Although what parents who both work do with their children on such days is beyond me? Some work places forces their staff to take all of their annual leave over a specific time of the year and there is little flexibility at other times of the year.

That was a close call for your house. Just out of interest, I was wondering about the moisture proofing of basements as that would be a complete nightmare down here as the ground water table can rise and fall throughout the year - even the sheer moisture would be hard to keep out of a dwelling. And then the other thing that I was wondering about was that the building itself must be somehow suspended above the basement shelter and the engineers would seriously love that one!

Well, that all sounds like a reasonable response to me. Risk is something that you've clearly thought about and I would act exactly the same as you. The wild-fires down here operate on a more or less 40 year cycle and the last one here was in 1983 so any year now... I'm hoping that I have enough time to be able to continue to prepare and modify the surrounding environment enough so that that risk is abated somewhat (it is certainly possible - just hard work). It gets better every year and it is not just the property that I worry about, but all of the life here too depends on my actions. But then up north, they have massive floods which take out 40,000 houses at a time (my insurance bill went up quite a lot after the last one of those), extreme tropical cyclones, land slips in other areas. Our planet is a very dynamic system subject to change at very short notice! ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Landslip: I agree about keeping the clay well planted/covered; hence loving my trees. But new neighbours are cutting everything down, heaven help them! I have always had sufficient land to be able to move property back when necessary. Some people here have bought chalets right on the sea front on very tiny plots; insane.

I lived one time in Rye in East Sussex. Ships could sail up to the town walls in Nelson's time but now the town is 2 1/2 miles from the sea. I was told that this is because the land has tilted up. Fascinating and, of course, things are far more complex than rising sea levels.

Bird song: I think that many of our garden birds here are more musical than yours. Listen to them on the internet. My 2 favourites are skylarks and curlews. The curlews for their haunting sound.

Orchids: I have been told about their difficult requirements, even the spotted orchid is supposed to be fussy. Huh! I have hundreds of them, they self seed everywhere. They are growing in my vegetable planters, in the fish boxes amongst my strawberries, in with my French sorrel. They clearly like commercial compost! I am hoping to get more butterfly orchids and await next year with interest.

Inge

Damo said...

Re: Bee's. My friend in suburban Hobart just got 8kg of honey which sounds like a pretty good yield, especially with summer just starting. She reports that the taste difference is significant. I guess a suburban bee can get a lot of different flowers in a short radius.

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

Thanks for the heads up about perpetual spinach. It does sound to me as though it might behave as a perennial in my more southerly climate. I hope to find out!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Claire:

For some crazy reason they don't let us vote on whether or not we want our property taxes raised. And for some crazy reason they keep getting raised. Ah! I believe there is a connection there.

We have a full basement, but it is an "English" basement; it has windows on three sides and an (actually, two) exterior door. I would not want to hide down there in a tornado (we get the VERY occasional one), though maybe in the stairwell. Hurricanes are our problem. They can actually come this far inland with still a whole lot of strength.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

You are so right about the marvelous photos from all over the planet, and viewing them makes me feel like I'm on a vacation and someone else gets to do all the hard work!

I also have always wondered that about the 1637 Dutch tulip bubble: What if rats (chipmunks or voles here) ate your precious tulips? Did they perhaps post rat terriers amongst the fields?

I was going to suggest something in the nature of "moats". Good for you! You get the elephant stamp today!

Do bees hibernate in the winter or just stay in the hive, eating and beeing?

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, the storm seems to be "postponed pending further action." :-) Rain is supposed to start coming in, after 10 am ... wind should start picking up around 4. It's supposed to get pretty feral, over the next few days.

"The Orchid Thief" is about people she knows. Takes place mostly in Florida. She follows around a "reformed" orchid thief as he goes in quest of the rather rare Ghost Orchid. You learn a lot about the ins and outs of the orchid trade. A lot of her books are about interesting people she's met ... not big names, just interesting people that are all around us, that we are unaware of. Another one of her's is "The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup." A collection of interesting people.

Yes, I caught the comment on the bee moats. Well, you live and learn.

Interesting about the local garden club. I presume it was a bloodless coup d'etat? :-). Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Oh yeah, the tree roots of big old oak trees sort of hold the whole landscape together. It is not good that your neighbours are removing them. Isn't it funny how hard won lessons learned from the local environment are so quickly lost as the turnover of people from and into an area increases? Some people can learn the hard won lessons, however, most other people tend to try and force their preconceived notions onto the land. Yes moving back from a dynamic coast line is a wise idea. I recall seeing a Grand Designs UK where someone built on a cliff top and they were losing the cliff at a faster than expected rate. Having semi permanent infrastructure is one of the things I do here too.

Yes, it is insane because it doesn't take the local ecosystem into account.

Rye sounds like an amazing town to visit. The Wikipedia entry was quite interesting. I would like to have the chance to visit: The Mermaid Inn which originally dates to 1156, but alas such a chance probably wont eventuate. Absolutely true about the complexity. I noticed the article mentioned a couple of 13th century whopper storms in the channel that also deposited a lot of silt at the head of the river too.

We may have to agree to disagree on that one. The skylark sounds very much like the: Splendid Fairy Wren singing. The fairy wrens spend all day here bouncing through the shrubs and eating every single bug in the vegetable, herb and garden beds. Your curlews really do sound haunting. Thought you might be interested in this page from the Australian National Botanical Gardens: Sounds of birds and frogs

All of what you say about the orchids is true. They really do like compost and rich soils and yes, they do self seed prolifically - I just am a bit unsure about attracting the attention of the collectors because outside of this area, they probably won't survive. I'm observing the progression of flowers here quite closely this year because it impacts so much on the bees and other insects. It is far more complex than I previously understood.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Your friend is 100% correct. Suburban gardens - particularly ones with cottage gardens - produce huge amounts of honey because they have such a great diversity of plants that the bees always have something to eat. The best honey I have ever tasted came from a neighbour who has a mate with hives along the Merri Creek in the inner north of Melbourne. That stuff is awesome. I'm trying to replicate the sheer diversity of flowering plants here, but it is a slow process - but it is working. I'll write about the succession over the next week or so.

You can't generally extract honey from first year colonies as they take a bit of time to get established and find their feet. But a second year colony is highly productive. I just added a third box to my second year hive so that they can build a bigger and stronger hive.

PS: I really enjoyed your story for the Space Bats competition and take my hat off to you because I could not have written fiction as well as that: The Cupertinians

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

An excellent insight and I'd never quite thought about it that way, but you're absolutely correct. I've been wondering about that issue because I guess we can choose to create stuff in the short time that we have on this planet.

Incidentally the council rates are lifted 5% each year, but they had the cheek to send me a letter saying that they're not going to lift them 5% this year. And I thought to myself that common sense had prevailed at the council only to then find out that the rise was 4.9%...

Given the value of some of those tulips, I would have been sleeping alongside the tulip plants just to make sure. I'll bet there were some heart breaking stories in the aftermath. Makes you wonder what would have happened if Poopy had decided that he stomp over the tulips doesn't it?

Thanks for the suggestion anyway. The ants operate on the drier parts of the farm, whilst the worms operate on the wetter and richer parts. It is an ongoing battle between the two species as they fill the same niche. Mind you, the moats do seem to be working and I've taken a photo tonight through the looking panel to see what was going on inside the hive.

No they stay active in the hive. Depending on the amount of stored food, they may kick the drones out to die in the cold. But if the sun is shining and the temperature is above 10'C during the winter the foragers will issue forth and collect any pollen and nectar available whilst the housekeeping bees give the hive a clean out.

You have to be careful which frames you take out of a hive to extract honey from because if you create an empty frame between the bees and their honey food source, they may not be able to cross the distance between the empty frame and the stored honey frame during very cold weather.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I hope that the weather wasn't too extreme up in your part of the world - but it did sound sort of extreme from your description?

Mate, your grammatically exact usage of the word "feral" sounded Aussie As! :-)! Hehe!

Speaking of feral weather, I started responding to comments this evening whilst the chickens were doing their thing in the orchard. And the wind was blowing in from the south (i.e. Antarctica and the Southern Ocean) and the temperature was only 47'F and by the time that the chickens had put themselves to bed my fingers were numb and most words were misspelled and a bit of retyping had to occur... Brrr! I must be getting soft as the warmer weather kicks in here?

What a fascinating tale about "The Orchid Thief" and that is on the "to read" list. There are a lot of interesting people around, some live very quiet lives. The editor listens to a US podcast called: "Strangers" which she quite enjoys and she has explained some of the complex lives that the podcast focuses on. Someone mentioned another podcast "This American life" to me a while back as an interesting listen - which I haven't listened too. I occasionally chuck podcasts into the car stereo if I have to drive somewhere for a period of time. I actually started podcasting this blog, but there were ongoing charges for cloud storage of the audio files - or I'd have to get a website set up and all of that costs money (if someone wants to donate to cover the cost?). I was genuinely surprised at how much interest there was in the podcasting. Other peoples lives are fascinating and I really enjoy all of the comments and dialogue going on here plus the day to day updates of your life is really nice.

Yeah, learning is what it is all about and it is such hard won knowledge sometimes. I'm only just staying slightly ahead of natures lessons here. She is a hard task master!

It was interesting because I'd washed my hands of the group a few months back. You may be interested to know that it appeared to me to be more like extracting power from cold dead hands which is a fascinating look into our future. I think it is a good thing because the previous leader of the group appeared to me to become moribund and the members dropped off like flies. It will be nice to see some new energy directed into what is a valuable local group.

I travelled off the farm to see the sea today as it may be the last chance before the silly season (i.e. the summer) and the massed hordes descend upon the beach. The ocean is a very humbling beast because it is so massive and powerful.

I had a very weird experience on Wednesday morning too, because I was stopped in my car in quiet street in inner Melbourne by a van full of reasonably well armed police. Mate, they had flack jackets on. I got out of the car and met them halfway between my vehicle and their van and the policeman license checked me, checked the rego of the car and did an alcohol breath test. This was at about 9.30am in the morning, mind you. The conversation went well and we had a few laughs but I couldn't but help think that they mistook me for someone else as the tension seemed to drain away once they had my ID. Weird, really weird.

Just found out today, that the editors favourite uncle died too, so I'm off to a funeral next week. Such is life.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

Thank you for the space bat story feedback. It is very satisfying to hear when people like it! I must also correct myself re: Kangaroos in Tasmania. It turns out there are a small number of eastern greys (forester kangaroos) in select locations. The confusion may have arisen as apparently most were killed off in the 60's.

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of the Editor's uncle. My prayers are with you both.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Your moat will need a tiny drawbridge. And, battlements so the bees can pour boiling hot honey or wax on the advancing hoards of ants :-).

Well, the storm hasn't been too bad here. Rain and wind, but nothing in excess. Looking at the radar pictures, it looks truly frightening. An enormous storm that stretches from the bottom third of Vancouver Island, halfway down Oregon. Looks like it would swallow our State, whole.

Hmmm. Feral. Can't imagine where I picked that up :-). Think I mentioned that I seem to pick up vocabulary and accents with ease. Came in handy when I was "treading the boards."

Well, I've lead an interesting life. Just doesn't seem to be very interesting to anyone else :-).

That was an odd encounter with the police. Must have been something going on that your unaware of. Here, it's best to sit tight and let the police come to you. I'm always very polite and move very slowly. And, tell them exactly what I'm doing. "Title. It's in the glove box. OK. I'm reaching into the glove box, now." Etc..

I haven't been to the ocean, in years. It's just over an hour, from here. I've always thought it was best in winter, January or February ... mid week. When no one is about.

My sympathy goes out to the editor. It's never easy to lose someone you like, out of your life. The loss never quit goes away, but becomes something different that is, at least, manageable. Even though my old Uncle Larry was occasionally hurtful (especially when he was in his cups), on balance, I still miss him. And, I have a bit of his tat, which I treasure. He'll live on, in memory, as long as I live on. And, I pass along some of his funny quips and stories, to the younger crowd.

Off to Chef John's today. Haul water. Have a good wash. Two weeks and counting ..... Lew

margfh said...

I need to get moving and plant more flowers here. Previously I said we are pretty well surrounded by fields of soybeans, corn, wheat and some hay so there's not many flowers other than what are in the yards around here. If hay can't be cut the bees at least have flowering alfalfa though I've always been surprised that I don't see more bees in those fields. I grow chamomile for tea and that attracts lots of different pollinators but it's not a favorite of the honey bees.

For some years now farmers have been ripping out all the fence lines and hedge rows eliminating even more natural habitat. Our road commissioner insists on mowing the roadsides up the the crops. He likes the "manicured look". Some of us are working on him though it'll be an uphill battle. After all the trees and shrubs are pulled out they are pushed into bit piles and burned. One owner purchased an old nursery the next town over, pulled out tons of big trees and burned them. The smoke was so bad a nearby school had to be closed.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo, Pam, Lewis, Margaret and Inge,

Thanks for your thoughts and the lovely comments (especially Pam and Lewis, I appreciate that).

My main modem which connects me to the Internet via the mobile phone network (not just for me, but the business here as well) blew up last night! I'm now having to use my emergency backup, which is very slow, so comments may be a bit patchy over the next few days. Apologies, I'll do my best to reply to comments, but technology... The telephone company is sending me out a replacement, but it won't be here until about 3 to 5 business days.

Just an advance warning too: The next blog entry may be text only - uploading the pictures may be a bit challenging for the backup plan modem, but again maybe persistence will prevail. We can't let these little technology problems become a nuisance and my thinking is that if it has happened once, it'll happen again (the modem is only about 6 months old)...

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Technology is wonderful ... when it works. :-). (c. Lew)

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Commiserations on the modem blow up.

I went on the internet to listen to UK song birds, they really do sound better out here than on youtube. But I suppose that I have to back down.

Rye was a lovely place in which to live. It had an extremely varied population; I reckon that anyone could go there and find compatible company. The Mermaid Inn was a magnet for Americans, they used to have a photograph taken of themselves beside the sign saying re-built in 14.. (I forget the exact date). There is an old square in the town in which all the houses had interconnected attics and cellars at one time. These were escape routes for the smugglers.

Interesting that you say that orchids like rich soil, isn't that unusual for wild flowers? You are correct though, the ones in the compost have far larger flower heads. They have also migrated into pots in the greenhouse and these do even better.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis and Inge,

Things are very slow here, so I will respond - and hopefully have a new blog post tomorrow, so please hang in there and accept my apologies. What do they say about the best laid plans of mice and men...

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - No problems. No worries.

Used to have an English friend who referred to "The New Pub." I once asked him how new it was. Oh, it was opened in 1780. I was once trying to get across the idea of what we consider "antique" or "collectible" here, to a Dutch fellow. He finally got it ... "Oh, Grandma's things!" :-)

Discovered a mid 1990s series from the BBC "Pie in the Sky". About a police detective, who tries to retire to run a restaurant ... and keeps getting dragged back into cases. There was a funny episode where the local foodie group wanted him to make a "Star Gazer (or Gassey) pie. He was reluctant to bend to fads. It's a deep dish cased pie with the fish heads and, sometimes, tails sticking out. The theory is that the fish oils run into the filling. It was awful. I looked it up on the Net. It's a real dish that was developed, a long time ago, in, I kid you not, Mousehole, Cornwall.

Looking at the recipe, I think it has possibilities. One of those things like escargot that can either be really good, or really bad. Don't think I'll tackle it. There are so many things to make that are less chancy. And, life is short :-). Lew P.S. Well update. Tank is in ... roof's going on, today. Electrics going in this week. Progress.