Monday, 18 January 2016

A day at the beach



A gentle lapping of the waves. Sun warms your skin and later burns. Gulls lazily whirl in the air calling out to you for an easy feed. Cold water shocks as it first hits your body. Hot sand burns beneath your feet. The occasional cooling breeze drifts in from the water and brings the smell of salt on the air. Ice creams and cold drinks provide relief from the heat.

It would have been nice having a day at the beach, instead this week I was up in the mountains and forests of this south eastern corner of the Australian continent. That however doesn’t mean that I can’t throw a beach party at the farm! And the European honey bees this week were the lucky recipients of that beach party.

The heat has been unrelenting this summer and so every day I provide water for all of the insects, birds and animals (and every other living thing on the farm) in different spots on the farm. The European honey bees finally discovered the birds water supply and so I threw those bees a beach party by adding more water during the late afternoon! There are even a few small waves in that birds water supply for the bees to enjoy.
This week the European honey bees finally discovered the birds water supply
In this part of the world, the heat brings bushfires and this year is no exception. The only upside from those bushfires is that the massive amount of air pollution tends to produce the most amazing sunsets:
Air pollution from the many recent bushfires produces the most amazing sunsets
We’re now three weeks out from the summer solstice and I feel that change is in the air, maybe.

It is still hot though. Last Wednesday showed a temperature in the shade of 41.6’C (106.9’F):
Last Wednesday’s temperature of 41.6’C (106.9’F)
And then it blew really cold. At about the same time the very next day after a cool change dropped the outside temperature to 8.6’C (47.5’F).
Last Thursday’s temperature of 8.6’C (47.5’F)
Not to worry though as today it was hot again with a maximum of 36’C (96.8’F).

When the cold change came through I realised just how accustomed to the heat that I’d become. In the evenings I usually let the chicken’s free roam around the orchard. But it was so cold that day, that I remarked to the editor that the chicken’s would definitely not be free roaming through the orchard that evening. Alright I do have to fess up at this point as I had used some very colourful potty mouthed expletives that shall not be repeated here (remember we’re trying hard to keep this blog family friendly!)…

One day the European honey bees were enjoying a beach party in the very hot sun, the next day they refused to make an appearance and instead kept to their warm and toasty hives! As a fun fact, my understanding is that the bees will not generally leave their hives to forage when the air temperature is less than 10’C (50’F).

Regular readers will recall that I have been previously having troubles with the plastic bushfire sprinklers because they had seized up and so I had replaced those plastic sprinklers with brass and stainless steel mechanisms. There are five bushfire sprinklers permanently set up and ready to run at a moments notice. Of those five bushfire sprinklers, one was not working correctly – even with the new brass and stainless steel sprinkler head. It was a complete mystery to me.

In such circumstances when presented with a mystery of this sort, I compare the individual components of similar systems that actually do work to the components in the system that do not work. The next step in the process is for me to gain an understanding of how each component in the system should work.

And what I found alarmed me. Most water systems use valves. A valve is a fancy name for what is also known elsewhere as a tap or a spigot. The job of a valve is simply to shut off the flow of water at that point in the pipe. Without valves, most water storages would soon be completely drained because there would be no way to stop any stored water flowing out of the water pipes leading from the water storage (i.e. water tank, water pipe, dam or pond).

The problem with the bushfire sprinkler was with the valve used to turn the sprinkler on or off. It had been a few years since I’d purchased a half inch valve and in that time in order to save costs, the manufacturers of those valves had reduced the thread from 18mm (0.7 inch) to 12mm (0.47 inch) and the bushfire sprinkler mechanism was jamming in the now much shorter thread.

I even travelled to a few different local suppliers to confirm that the shorter 12mm (0.47 inch) thread on the half inch valve was now the new standard. The bushfire sprinkler would not work without a larger thread, so I had to purchase a hex nipple and an equal socket to add to the valve and now the bushfire sprinkler works perfectly. What a nuisance.

The photos tell it all:
An older half inch valve with an 18mm (0.7 inch) thread

A newer half inch valve with a 12mm (0.47 inch) thread. A hex nipple and an equal socket ensures that the bushfire sprinkler works
There were no days at the beach for me this week as the work on converting the old chicken shed into a firewood storage shed continued. The brief change to cooler weather meant that the very arduous task of landscaping around the new firewood shed could take place without falling over from heat exhaustion.
The area behind the old chicken shed had three terraces cut into the clay. Two of which can be seen in this photo
The area behind the chicken shed originally had three terraces cut into the clay. The terraces were there when I purchased the block of land and local history has it that an old shed used to sit on that site. The shed was used as a shelter from the weather by the old timber getters that worked this area. The shed had clearly been destroyed in the Ash Wednesday bushfires that swept through this mountain range back in January 1983. As I dug into the clay this week I extracted all manner of useless rubbish. As an interesting side note, a few years ago I unearthed and removed the remains of an old 1940’s looking burnt out vehicle not far from this site.

It had always been the plan to remove the terraces and restore a more natural looking slope above the chicken shed. However removing the terraces meant a lot of digging and moving of clay (i.e. hard work). The job also involved mixing in the many years of chicken manure that formed a very decent looking soil on those terraces. 

After the entire day from the morning into the early evening spent digging and moving soil, the job was done and the site looked pretty neat and now you’d never even know the terraces used to exist.
After a long day of digging and moving soil by hand, the terraces have undergone a disappearing act!
There is no where’s Toothy? in this week's blog because this week we can play: where’s fluffy? There is a small white Silky chicken in the above photo.

The very next day, I spread a cubic metre (about 1.3 cubic yards) of manure over the area so that when it does actually rain again the soil formation processes will begin. Hopefully over autumn and winter that area will be planted with a mix of small shrubs and flowering plants.
The recently landscaped area above the old chicken shed received a cubic metre (1.3 cubic yards) of manure.
The editor and I didn’t get to enjoy a day at the beach this week because we were cutting, splitting and storing next winter’s firewood in that new firewood shed. At the end of another long day the new shed was about 90% full of seasoned firewood.
The new firewood shed was about 90% full after a day of cutting, splitting and storing firewood
Observant readers will note two things about the above photo. Firstly, I’m looking quite flushed after a hot day of work. And secondly, just as the photo was about to be taken a cheeky house fly landed on my forehead!

The chickens enjoyed the leftover organic material and massive quantity of insects from the area that the seasoning firewood had been removed from.
Chickens enjoying the leftover organic material and massive quantity of insects from the area that the seasoning firewood had been removed from
A rough estimation of the water storages on hand today showed me that they were about 70% full, which I’m pretty happy with given how hot and dry the summer has been. In the past week or so, I have started giving some of those water reserves to the plants. The zucchini (courgettes) have been enjoying the combination of extra water and serious heat.
The zucchini (courgettes) have grown incredibly this week
Plenty of the plants here are very drought and heat hardy and the agapanthus and oregano (mint family) plants are some of my (and the European honey bees) favourites. In the photo below on the middle left you can also see a very large local fern (Dicksonia Antarctica) which is also very heat and drought hardy despite its Latin name.
The agapanthus and oregano plants love the dry and heat and are flowering in profusion
The garden beds immediately below the house have not been watered this season and they are flourishing just on the usual rainfall due to the very heavy feeding that I have provided them in recent years. Those garden beds also provide lots of habitat for the many small birds, insects, arachnids, and reptiles that live in them.
The garden beds immediately below the house have flourished despite the heat and low rainfall
The experiment with the coffee shrub in this cool temperate climate has been a bit of a struggle because I planted it just prior to the first heatwave so whilst the shrub doesn’t look like it has enjoyed a relaxing summer at the beach, it isn’t dead either…
The coffee shrub is looking a bit distressed by the heat and lack of rainfall, but at least it isn’t dead!
The stone fruit is coming to an end this year about one to two months early because the additional heat has simply assisted with ripening the fruit. The plums are one of the final stone fruit trees to bear fruit and the fruit on this King Billy plum tree is almost perfectly sun ripened and ready to be picked.
The fruit on this King Billy plum tree is almost perfectly sun ripened
The next really big crop is tomatoes and the photo below shows just how much the tomatoes have grown since last week:
Tomato Cam™ shows just how much the tomatoes have grown since last week
Observant readers will note the replacement locally made sprinkler which now has to be placed on an elevated position on a table so that the water is spread evenly through the enclosure.

The cherry tomatoes are starting to really swell and put on some size. I expect that the first of the ripe tomatoes may be ready sometime in early February.
The cherry tomatoes are starting to really swell and put on some size
The temperature outside now at about 10.00pm is an enjoyable 17.4'C degrees Celsius (63.3’F). So far this year there has been 7.8mm (0.3 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week's total 1.8mm (0.1 inches).

62 comments:

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Nice that the bees found a convenient watering hole. A billabong?

That's a spectacular sunset, photo. Another one for the Fernglade Farm calendar :-). Or, at least a screen saver.

The heat sounds truly awful. I'd be living in the basement. I'd wondered about our solstice, vs your solstice. I'd always thought maybe our winter solstice was in cinque with your summer solstice. I'm sure it's all very complicated and astronomical, as to why this isn't so.

Who makes those kinds of decisions as to reducing the size of the threads on the valves? Shouldn't they be identified? Lists kept for when tumbrel time rolls around? :-).

I'm surprised you overwater your tomatoes. Overwater, as in, from above ... not in the sense of too much water. Advice here is to always ground water tomatoes (and a lot of other plants) to avoid fungus and other diseases.

Did your hens squabble over the good bits? This morning, Old Mrs. Barnvelder, and, I think, Broody Hen really mixed it up. I think Broody Hen tried to take a nice fat worm away from Mrs. Barnvelder. And, she wasn't having any of it :-). Mrs. Barnvelder grabbed a wattle and held on! No blood was spilled. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

I really enjoyed the old Mad magazines, although I can’t now recall where I sourced them. Spy v spy was very funny too. Wasn’t there a local band that named themselves after that comic? If you enjoyed that level of silliness you may also enjoy National Lampoons rip offs of “Doone” and “Bored of the Rings” – plus how good was the film Animal house? Very, very funny and also very wrong. Need I mention: Double secret probation? ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Glad that you enjoyed the poem and were also startled by it! :-)! At the suggestion of JMG, I’ve been reading Nikolai Tolstoy’s very thoughtful and well written book: The quest for Merlin. And it is a fascinating read about an historical character that for all sorts of reasons refuses to fade into obscurity because I feel that the Merlin offers a more realistic narrative that comports with my lived experience than the current offerings, but more importantly that particular poem reminded me of your part of the world. I believe it is from the heroic age of the UK (about the sixth century AD). :-)!

Thanks for the explanation and the same thing happens here in low lying areas with a high water table. Up here where the water table is harder for the tall trees to reach, the trees lose their tops to the wind. Both situations are notable events in the life of a forest.

Oh my! I don’t know about that at all… Good luck to them anyway, and I do hope that they achieve their sought after objective.

Of course, that is true, but man has also sped up the rate of changes in environment so the two really go hand in hand from my perspective. However the whole discussion is a bit chicken and egg really.

On another altogether different note, it is a very warm night here and I’m replying on a laptop whilst sitting out in the orchard. About 20m (66 feet) away are two kangaroos, one of whom is a young mum with a joey in her pouch. The joey is reaching out of the pouch for a bit of a munch on the ground covers in the orchard. It seems to be dark early tonight which may mean a storm is approaching.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Really? Wow, you are in for a treat, although I do have to admit that my senses aren’t up for a Tarantino film. He is most famous for the film: Pulp fiction and it is very good, but he directs with a loose hand as to the timelines which may annoy some and delight others.

Your lexicon is strong with the force my friend! Hehe!!!! Thanks for the word, I haven’t come across that one before.

Kathy Bates is an outstanding character actor and all things being equal, you may have read the Stephen King short story: Misery? Kathy was the protagonist in the film and she certainly owned that role. It sure gave me nightmares… It does make you wonder whether Stephen King had actually met his “Number One” fan at some point in the past for the inspiration of that story? Massive creepy factor, but then what else does one expect? Hmmm?

Who knows what was in that stinky goo? :-)! Shitake mushrooms are my absolute favourite and yeah life gets in the way of mushroom cultivation. On a serious note, I reckon we’d all enjoy a field trip with Paul Stamets – I’d just sit back and let him talk – which I reckon he’d be able to do for hours too. Maybe chuck in the occasional question to rev him up a bit when he started to flag. It would be so much fun. Have you ever noticed that his hat is actually constructed of tissue from fungi? A very clever bloke that one.

Your chickens are in some sort of chicken utopia! Well done them as that is a very respectable haul for your time of year. I’m down to about 7 eggs per day but are looking to add a few more serious laying birds next month.

The brambles would certainly enjoy the feed from the dead possum. Incidentally, you have something of a mystery on your hands because that is the second carcass in as many weeks. Must be something in the air? Have you checked your local nuclear fission reactors for a possibly melt down scenario? Just sayin… What do you reckon the cause is? Generally I can put a cause to dead animals here.

That is very funny and just what you’d expect from a UK series. Actually I’ve always enjoyed French films too because they don’t shy away from the dark and unexpected ending. Have you ever wondered about the insistence in our culture on the happy ending? I mean life isn’t fair, I think it is mildly strange that we have some sort of expectation that our stories reflect a reality that isn’t the same as that experienced? Dunno. You may be interested to know that the complete Brother’s Grimm collection of fairy tales is in the to-read collection of books. It just gets longer all of the time…

I’m glad to hear that Chef John had not decided to also put an upwards facing torch under his chin so all you saw was his disembodied head right up against the door. Very spooky! I wish your local goat dairies the best of success and will be very interested to hear your reports as to their wares!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate, you've got the lingo down pat when you use the word "billabong". It's a mildly dodgy word isn't it? ;-)! Oh well. That word always puts me in mind of the: Once a jolly swagman, camped by a billabong, under the shade of a Coolabah tree. The thing that always struck me as mildly untrue about that story was that the jolly swagman eventually drowned himself in the billabong and my gut feeling was that he received a rough sort of justice for stealing the sheep (jumbuck) and the powers that be were covering their tracks thinking that the drifter would not be missed. Dunno, but the poem is certainly a morality tale of some sort.

Billabongs actually exist. They're very cool aspects of the landscape too, but in order for them to work, the rivers have to be allowed to flood in season and people get a bit weirded out by that natural disaster. On the other hand I do understand that feeling because there was a large grass fire just outside a town to the north and west of this mountain range - and the winds were blowing the fire to the south east... So I was a bit mildly freaked out this afternoon. Home lost after out-of-control grassfire at Edgecombe in central Victoria Fortunately, it is now reported that the Kyneton fire has now been down-graded. That's a relief because it was quite hot and windy here today and the fire was originally blowing in this direction.

Thanks for saying that about the photo. Last year a golden orb spider strung a huge web up on the veranda and I took a photo of it superimposed on the sunset and you wouldn't believe it but the spider (or more likely another one) has moved back into the exact same spot. Do you get those sorts of spectacular sunsets in your part of the world?

Well in the truly hot parts of the continent they do actually live underground and I've stayed at two of those places over the years. One was in Coober Peddy in South Australia in a house that was once a converted opal mine. The land owners get the choice of paying for the tunnelling for their house and keeping the opals found in the process or the excavator assumes all costs but takes all the rewards. It is a strange place with a sort of western borderland feel to it which I quite enjoyed. The other place was White Cliffs in New South Wales and I stayed in the underground motel which was quite pleasant. I can't recall what they were mining there but it may also have been opals. Both dwellings were actually quite pleasant, cool and clean.

The situation with the valve is always disappointing... Have you encountered such rubbish before? I've read that the correct terminology is: Crapify...

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

What a great question. Watering here involves no more than 10 minutes of overhead watering in any one day. The fruit trees generally are watered directly by bucket onto the soil around their trunks only if I feel that they will die without that water. Most advice is commercially oriented where they have access to much more water than I could ever feasibly dream of, and so they give the plants too much water in the first place and far more than they actually need - which is a big risk up in your part of the world. Most plants don't need that much water as nature rarely provides huge constant downpours of rain. I've been to the Amazon rainforest in Peru and seen firsthand how it rains in fits and starts rather than a constant rainfall.

Oh yeah, it is nasty and vicious in the world of chicken! But Big Plymie usually wades into the action and sorts disputes out before they get out of hand. Grabbing the wattle of another bird is a very upfront and hands on. At least no blood was spilled. Did another bird dive in and grab the worm during the tussle? There is such a strong pecking order in the land of chicken.

Scritchy has been telling me that a storm is fast approaching and I hope that she is correct? Anyway off in the south western side of the continent: Flash flooding follows fires as locals in WA south-west experience heaviest rainfall in decades. Manjimup is export truffle country I believe!

Hey, I thought you may enjoy this one too: All five bright planets to align for the first time since 2005. It may be a bit cloudy here tomorrow night, but I'll keep an eye out.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

You do an amazing amount of physical work even when the weather is very hot; all very impressive. Here we have had a really hard frost which is still white at midday with the sun shining.

My new neighbours are putting in their fencing. It is Australian stock fencing which I am told only arrived in this country 2 years ago. Can't say that I care for the look of it but am assured that it will look better as it weathers. They have moved the boundary about a foot on to my land but I have okayed it. A gate has been put in so that we can have a cup of tea with each other without having to walk a quarter of a mile round. The gate has been placed according to my request as to position. Thus stopping a straight sight line all the way through. I don't like straight lines.

Their ground is a total swamp as they have removed all the ground cover and lots of the trees. They had to help me through their mud! Actually I am surprised that the ground hasn't collapsed under their property.

I try not to be too mystical about it but I do believe in treading gently on the earth. Nature/Karma can be unkind. They arrived in the evening to be here permanently and found that their electric wires were down because a tree had fallen on them. Of course one could say that all their tree cutting had caused the wind to reach a tree which had not previously encountered sufficient wind to require stronger root growth.

They are a very nice couple with loads of money but insufficient understanding of the geology here. Mind you they claim that they have done all the research!

Oh dear, I don't sound very nice.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I've always steered clear of "Misery." Both the book and the film. I don't know. I know enough about it, that it just creeped me out. Bates, in King's "Delores Claiborne", was genius. That book and film was more of a cold case murder story.

No nuclear plants in the Pacific Northwest. There was one, down on the Columbia River, but it's been closed down. There was a clutch of them, between Olympia and the coast, but they went broke before they came online. There is a lot of nuclear waste, way up the Columbia at Hannaford. They built bombs there and stored lots of nuclear waste. There's a weapons depot (I drove by it on my way to Idaho), again up the Columbia for chemical (and, maybe biological) weapons. They're there, slowly rusting away.

I was also a devoted Mad magazine reader. Hmm. In the 1950s. Maybe that's why the lot of us, have, perhaps, a clearer and more skeptical view of the world? Not to believe the hype and appearance of things, quit so easily? Which is why I don't have much patience with Rom Coms. Life (at least mine) isn't all happy endings, on that front.

Ah, yes. "Waltzing Matilda". The Australian national anthem :-). You can pick up a lot of Australian slang, from that song.

Per usual, we probably won't be seeing much of anything interesting happening in the sky. Cloud cover. Got a quick glimpse of the moon, the other night. That's about it. About the only time we see the sun, is at sunrise and sunset. And, yes, they can be spectacular.

Watched four bald eagles, riding the air currents and being very playful, with each other. Mating season? A bit early, for that, I think. Mrs. Barnvelder got her tasty worm. She is the boss chicken!

Crapify is a very good word. Slightly naughty. And, pretty well describes what we've been talking about as far as everything from tools to sprinklers.

Well, last night was the maiden voyage of the H.M.S. Anzac Biscuit. They are quit addicting. Is there a 12 Step Program? :-). Learned a lot. Next batch will be better ... as far as form goes. Smaller .... they spread quit a bit. And, leave them on the paper to cool a bit, before moving to cooling rack. Soft and hot, they crumble, easy. I ended up with a bowl of bits and pieces, which were fine with milk. This being a barbarian country, there was no golden syrup to be had. At the suggestion of the Net, I substituted maple syrup. But really, with only 2 tablespoons in a batch, my tired old palate really couldn't detect it.

A biscuit by any other name ... is a cookie :-). I'm sure with all the different Anzac biscuit recipes out there, and all the oatmeal cookie recipes out there, that there is quit a bit of overlap. Oh, and I didn't have any coconut on hand ... really have never cared for it. So, I substituted and equal amount of dried cranberries. Just diced them up. Lew

Jo said...

Love the bee beach party! You really look after your animals! I stepped on a bee and got stung on Monday - I couldn't work out what a bee was even doing on the very dead grass that used to be my lawn, until I worked out that it had probably gone to drink at the spot near the garden tap where the hose meets the lawn. Like you, my plastic tap fittings are leaking, and water runs down the underside of the hose when I am doing the watering.

Clearly I need to a) go get some long life brass fittings for the hose, and b) create a beach party for the bees!

Btw, no visibility here this morning in Launceston, over eighty fires alight all over the state, and the smoke is appalling. I live on the side of a hill and usually have a view across the city to the mountains. Yesterday visibility was a couple of suburbs, today it is to the next street. The smoke smell is overwhelming. No rain likely..

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thank you. Hard physical work in the hot weather is possible to adapt to. The problem with it is that it can become hard to pace oneself and remember to take breaks and drink plenty of water. Over winter physical work is easier because you can just keep going for hours and hours.

On the other hand, I've never worked outside during a hard frost that hangs around all day long and sometimes into the next day. I actually don't know how to adapt to work in those sorts of conditions as your extremities can get cold and numb and that is when accidents can happen quickly. Do you head outside in those frosty conditions; I'd appreciate hearing of your experiences with them?

Speaking of frost, I'm trying to sort out the firewood supplies now because I've never made it through a complete year here yet without running out of firewood supplies. I don't actually know how much firewood I use in a year. Last year, in early spring I was raiding the firewood piles that were seasoning outside in the weather and that is very sub fluffy optimal! Just out of interest did your son ever cut and split the dead oak tree into firewood for you?

I wasn't 100% sure I knew what you mean when you write: "Australian stock fencing"? My gut feeling is that it involves perhaps bush poles, steel star pickets and several runs of wire some of which may be barbed? If that is the case, I don't much like the look of it either. Fencing is something that I don't do here - other than the chickens for obvious reasons, the berry beds and the yet to be constructed strawberry beds. It is a losing game in that in the long run like everything else, it falls apart but down here it seems to be somewhat quicker than other bits of infrastructure. Have your neighbours provided any hints as to the sort of animals they are intending to keep?

I endorse your point of view about straight lines as they rarely appear in nature. It is also heartening to read that they installed a gate based on your suggestion that is a good indication of reasonableness and willingness to co-operate. ;-)!

Mud! I hate mud. Seriously. Mud rarely makes an appearance in a wild area other than landslips. I do everything I can here to ensure that mud is elsewhere. ;-)!

Someone far wiser than you or I once said: Few battle plans survive engagement with the enemy and that observation seems somewhat valid to me? Dunno, you may believe otherwise? To me nature looks like a 10m (33ft) tall kangaroo just waiting to stomp the living daylights out of us at the earliest sign of a mistake. :-)! Apologies, that was so very wrong. Anyway, research all depends on who you read and what their biases are. Nature rarely allows for a great margin of error. In your neck of the woods, I certainly would not have removed as many trees and especially in a way that exposed the soil to the sun, wind and rain. Nice people make mistakes too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Sound advice that is! Misery was gruesome - both the film and the written story. Ooooo! Have never come across the Delores Claiborne story before and will look into it. Thanks very much as it sounds like a truly complex story - much like life really without the rolling pins of course - that may be difficult to explain! Hehehe! :-)!

Oh! That is not good. There is waste and then again there is WASTE! It is sort of weird how we live in a toxic world of all sorts of waste. There is one nuclear reactor on this continent for producing medical isotopes and research. It is a long way from here and I've heard that the "waste" is stored in 44 gallon drums on site. That seems like a very temporary solution really. I don't believe that our society has ever really thought much about the concept of waste and what it really means because we don't want to pay the price.

Oh yeah Mad magazine was very good at sending up and questioning the underlying memes in stories. I used to pour over them when I was young and enjoy every silly cartoon. Humour does seem to be an insulator.

On a serious note, I've been recently reading Nikolai Tolstoy's thoughtful book: The quest for Merlin and this afternoon the little light bulb went on and I realised that the story of Yoda in the Star Wars films was actually a direct rip of part of the Merlin story. Isn't it amazing how a story like that can survive almost 1,400 years? It does make you wonder about the power of stories and narratives?

Too funny, well it was at one time almost voted in by the population as the national anthem. But then so was the song "Down Under" by the 1980's band: Men at Work. There is a very sad tale about copyright sharks with that particular song. I barely know the words to the actual national anthem: Advance Australia Fair. When I was a young child at primary school I had to sing and stand to attention: God save the Queen. Seriously.

Wow, I'd give you a bit of the sun from here, but that may be a bit difficult. ;-)! The sun down here is like Prime Ministers, don't worry about it we've got plenty more where they came from. Winter here can be very similar and you don't see the sun for days or weeks and the constant drizzle, fog, mist and very high humidity can be challenging. Speaking of which, I saw the first fog of the autumn season this morning in the valley below. It is still hot but I reckon we're in a totally new and different season now (there are probably about 6 distinct seasons here). Do you get that sort of variability in your part of the world?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Nice to read about the eagles and Mrs Barnevelder. It has been a dramatic week in the music industry too, did you hear about Glenn Frey of the eagles fame? I enjoyed their body of work and they only played just on the other side of the mountain range at hanging rock last year too.

It is a naughty word isn't it? But I reckon it is how inflation is being made to disappear! My trusty portable electric oven broke last week and now I'm having to perform surgery on it. It amazes me just how many small appliances I'm having to perform fixes and repairs on.

Oh yeah, they are good aren't they? Not quite good enough to motivate me to run up hill and face an entrenched Turkish machine gunner, but still very good all the same! :-)! On a serious note, I am glad that you gave the cookies / biscuits a bash and your addition of cranberries is pure genius. I eat one of those biscuits every single day with my evening coffee and they are really yummy! You've reminded me of a funny story because a mate of mine is a serious foodie - and I'm mildly scared to cook anything for them. They sent me a recipe and asked for cranberries and I substituted black currants - which I had tonnes of - and I still feel mildly guilty that they never noticed and said how good it tasted! :-)! Dried cranberries cost a fortune down here...

The fire just north of here is under control and the weather has turned slightly cooler and it even rained this morning. Honestly, I'm now at the stage when even 1/10th of an inch of rainfall is an exciting prospect. Hopefully, the big tropical low dumps a bit more rain over the next few days. It is very dry here.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Thank you and I do hope that you were OK after the bee sting? You have to sort of remove the sting from the sting site, but it is fairly obvious and large. If you are having a reaction to the sting, I've noted that anti-histamines are quite effective in reducing the swelling.

Plastic stuff is rubbish in a garden... Brass is good, but much more expensive, but the UV stable plastic garden stuff is quite good and long lasting. I leave a few elevated dishes of water out for the insects as well as the main bird wash and drink station on top of that large water tank. They all appreciate access to fresh water during these long hot summers. The animals enjoy large ceramic bowls of water dotted about the place - which I picked up from the op shop. Feed them and they will turn up in your garden!

So sorry to hear that. Yes, I've been watching those fires increase in size and number in Tasmania. It has been a crazy hot summer here too and yesterday the fire was only just north of here (there is a link above to the Kyneton fire). The smoke can get quite thick too. I very much feel for you, it is tough and I don't know what else to say other than stay safe.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

The bees use our birdbath all the time even if there's been plenty of rain. There's a ring of bees around the entire edge and all over the small rocks in the middle. I have to fill it daily unless we've had a good rain that day.

After several days of -10 (-23.3C) at night and low single digits during the day yesterday seemed almost balmy at 12 (-11.1 C) degrees. No wind and sun helped. Chickens and cats all emerged from the barn and taking the dogs out for a walk was a pleasure. Found an online calculator to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius and hoping my numbers are correct).

@orchidwallis

Neighbors can be a challenge but seems like you are working on a good relationship with them. Our neighbors (the Christmas inflated figures winter wonderland fame) are very good and helpful neighbors but don't "get" a lot of things. We've been working to get the road commissioner to stop mowing the roadsides so often as there's quite a few native plants that show up. We had some success but a few years ago someone dumped two dead dogs (who had been shot) in the long grasses in the ditch and the neighbors called the township to ask that they go back to mowing. It was on our property and we were disappointed that they didn't even talk to us to say the least. Still having convinced them that mowing isn't a good idea on several fronts.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris:

If anyone deserves a day(s) at the beach, it is you and the Editor. I hope that it comes to pass someday.

That is one of the most beautiful sunset scenes I have ever seen. It's a shame that its splendor comes from such a menacing source. It seems to me that your weather is often similar to that of the moon . . .

I would say that I can't believe that you have had so much trouble with the workmanship of your sprinklers except that, as all here have noted, shoddiness abounds. A little too many opportunities for learning new skills! Lives are at stake here. Are those sprinklers advertised as being of use against the effects of bushfires?

Sorry not to be playing "Where's Toothy", but "Where's Silky" is almost as fun.

That's a lot of firewood in that shed! I get you on going right through it, though. I have no idea how much wood we have burned this season. Yesterday we brought in, and used, 4 wheelbarrow loads. It has been 10'F (-12'C) at night.

We are buying zucchinis right now. I should have dried some last summer. i did that one year with another kind of summer squash and they did very well later for adding to soup and stir fries and, I would imagine, breads.

Your "bloomies" look just like a botanical garden.

I am trying to imagine a Godzilla kangaroo . . .

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@Lew:

Four bald eagles! You are so lucky! Though maybe not Mrs. Barnvelder, if she is looking down at worms, and not up at eagles.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

Your mention last week of moving land is not something I have had experience with. When I think of land "moving" (shifting?), I think of dunes being built up, or deltas, or erosion. We have a deep clay soil here; it takes a lot of amending. It's why there is still a local brick industry. 99% of the falls I've had have been slipping on this wet clay. Whenever I see an uncovered spot, I at least place woodshavings or dry leaves on it until something grows over it, or paving stones or such are put down.

I think that your new neighbors will turn out to be a blessing.They sound very nice and probably eager to learn once they realize how little they know. Nature should teach them that pretty quickly. What age group are they?

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Jo:

That is a horrifying description that you gave of the fires and smoke. Stay safe!

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Jo - I had the same problem with a leaky hose. You might check to see if it's lost it's gasket. It's a round, thin, rubber looking bit that slips inside the hose connection. They fall out very easily. Hardware stores usually carry replacements, not very expensive. So sorry about the smoke. We had a few days like that, here, last summer. W. Washington State. It was a ghastly few days.

Yo, Chris - I've read a lot about the Arthurian legends. Have quit a few books kicking around, about it. Don't know if I've read that one. Will have to see if our library has it. Might be picking up a film at the library, today. "Merlin and Arthur." (or, maybe it's "Arthur and Merlin." :-). I was interested because of my interest in The Fall of Roman Britain. All the Arthur stuff, happened very soon after.

Our national anthem is a real throat ripper. You have to start singing it, deep in the bass range ... if you're going to have any chance of hitting the high notes at the end. Several well known singers have made a real hash of it. My favorite version is by Trini Lopez :-). There's always some low level grousing about changing it to, maybe, America the Beautiful, which is a lot more manageable. Of course, there is always a movement to change the Washington State song (Washington, My Home ... not a toe tapper) to the more popular and memorable "Louie, Louie." By Washington State's own Kingsmen. Has my vote.

We have two seasons here. Drought and Deluge :-). Not really. We pretty much have the standard four.

Well, the Eagles. Chef John stopped by, last night (pronounced the Anzac biscuits, "Good." ... I know what you mean about feeding anything to a foodie) and was appalled that I wasn't in black and hanging crepe over the Eagles. They just never "grabbed" me. Sad, I know.

On the Anzac biscuits ... only one with coffee? Might have to check with the editor on the truthiness of that statement :-). Oh, I meant to mention that there was a little song and dance part of the recipe that had me curious. At least in the recipe, I had. You dissolve some baking soda in a small quantity of water and add it to the warmish butter and syrup. If I'm going to dirty another pot, I want to know why :-). Apparently, that was pretty common in a lot of older recipes. Back before double acting baking powder ... or maybe you didn't have it on hand ... or it was expensive. Baking soda is single acting, but if you put it in boiling water, it boosts the CO2, production. So, you get a better rise. Wonder how much baking contributes to global warming? :-). Am I the only one in the world who substitutes yeast for baking powder or soda, in some recipes? Chef John looks very skeptical when I tell him a get a good rise in my cornbread.

Well, I hope you get a good wet down, over the next few days. A break from the heat and a bit of peace of mind over the fires.

Noticed an article on an archaeological dig, down you way. In Tasmania. They're going to be excavating the old soldiers barracks at Triabunna, which was the access point to the penal colony on Maria Island.

Off to the Little Smoke. Not so many stops, today, but enough. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

That is very thoughtful of you to leave water out for the birds and I'm glad to hear that your bees are also enjoying the water too. It is the same here in that the water spots have to be filled up daily, but it is interesting seeing who is using the water.

I know a guy that leaves a bath tub of water out for the native animals and they actually jump into it and have a splash around on a hot day, and I've actually seen wallabies elsewhere doing that!

Oh that is so cold! Brrr! But as you say, you do get used to it. It is 30'C (86'F) here today and I've been splitting and stacking firewood for most of the day... The numbers look about spot on.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thank you and I also wish you a day at the beach too! :-)! Actually I prefer the beach over winter when the storms are rolling along and you can walk along the beach and enjoy the wildness of it all.

Oh yeah, the weather deals me some serious strangeness. I'm the drop in temperature between one day and the next was starting to make me feel mildly ill. This part of the world is famous for four seasons in one day.

The sprinklers aren't advertised specifically for that purpose as the importers probably would get a bit scared of people suing them if they went wrong under such do or die conditions - so they sort of say nothing about it at all. The quality of the products that we get supplied really are getting worse so as to keep prices down. I dunno about that in the long term though, I reckon it is a disaster. There is a well known bakery around these parts that sold beef pies with all organic produce. They were good, but they were also $8 or maybe $9, I forget. Anyway, they had to stop making them not because people weren't eating them, it was because they had too many complaints about the price. Seriously. The bakery has a delightful name: Red Beard and they have an old and historic Scotch brick oven on the premises. They're good.

Brrr! Again that is really cold. Yeah, I'm hoping to get a good feel for just how much of that stuff I use every year, because I honestly don't know. Last year, I was so far behind in the schedule of works that I was stacking the stuff in May (which is late autumn here) and I do know that that was a very bad idea as the wood shed was only 7/12ths full. Starting early on the problem seemed like a good idea to me this year.

Oh, buying zucchini's. I hear you and by early summer, I have to do the same. However, I just kept them on the kitchen bench all winter and they just didn't seem to go moldy until very late spring. Dunno.

I love the flowers too and all of the colour soothes the soul.

What about a Gigantor Wallaby stomping through the orchard. One of the little rotters broke some of the lower branches on an apple tree a few days back. I took a photo and will include it next week...

Cheers and keep warm!

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I do hope that you enjoy the film. It sounds pretty good. How do you know he's the King? (apologies, bad Monty Python joke there Hehe!). The book is worthwhile reading and the author traces all manner of historical documents and texts and has an uncanny ability to tie them together into a coherent picture and then he presents his arguments. The author has been a fan of the subject for many long years. Out of interest can you make any definite recommendations for a book on the Arthurian story? It is interesting because in the 7th century, the background is a tale of the decline of the older religions and the ascendency of Christianity. It is certainly interesting.

Haha! I'm totally with you on that and am listening to that classic right now: Louie Louie - The Kingsmen. Many songs sound dated, but that one is still very fresh, got my vote too. :-)!

Oh yeah, don't be afraid - be very afraid! Foodies are a tough to please bunch and things that you never thought would be an issue, can be an issue. A tough school and glad to hear that you received the nod of approval for your Anzac biscuits. Yeah, the editor was more of a fan of the Eagles than I. Honestly in those years I was listening to the likes of Billy Joel and Pink Floyd - a very strange combination to be sure but Dark side of the moon and Shine on you crazy diamond were both outstanding releases. I listened to plenty of other music too.

Well, it used to be more than one - and this is not some strange diet thing - it is just that the dogs decided that they too enjoy Anzac biscuits and slowly over time by two biscuits have become on for me and one for them. And they still want more...

A good question. I don't add baking soda to the recipe because although it is meant to rise, I've found that they flatten out instead. So I just forget about the problem altogether and don't add the stuff. I've never seen or heard of double acting baking powder (it does sound like double secret probation doesn't it! :-)) I reckon the yeast idea is a good one although you would have to leave them (or your cornbread) to rise. It would work and taste better than baking soda.

Hopefully. Who knows. It is now 33'C (91.4'F) outside so it is a bit warmish really. You've got me wondering about the weather - I can get a bit anxious about that at this time of year for good reason. The rainfall prediction map has moved the storm a bit west so I should hopefully get somewhere between 15mm to 25mm (0.6 inch to 1.0 inch) tommorrow. YAY!!!! I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Oh Maria Island is on the east coast of the island state - and I've been there. It is a beautiful island and it may have been a little less full on that Sarah Island on the west coast - but probably not much. If you hear that they find anything interesting please let me know.

Enjoy your trip into the little smoke today! I've been splitting and stacking firewood all day and I reckon I've got a headache because of the heat... Being inside is nicer.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

It is warming up again, the frost has gone and more rain is expected. We are unable to get on with necessary outdoor work because we don't think that the ground should be walked on until it stops being a swamp.

The Australian stock fencing has me doubled with laughter, it is identical to the stuff that we have, separating our woods from the road. Son says that the only things he hasn't seen before are the metal poles to which it is attached. The wife told Son that they are putting up deer fencing on the other side. He said 'There are no deer'. So she admitted that it was to prevent people stepping over. So there you have it, dogs in people out.

@Pam

I am hopeless at guessing peoples' ages. But I think upper end of 50s.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

You and your smorgasbord of prime ministers!

Hey - that's Margaret with the -10'F (we're the 10'F) and the bees. I see where I have been remiss about putting extra water out for the bees. I had assumed that they would just drink the dogs' water (which they do), but I can see that more is needed actually within the garden itself.

The only way that I can afford organic dishes like the beef pies you mentioned is to make them myself. I think that quite a few other people are finding that to be an economical solution as well.

I didn't think that wallabies were able to cause tree damage - shame on you, apple tree basher!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

I have never tried substituting yeast for baking soda or baking powder. As Chris asked, would you have to let the recipe rise a bit to get the same effect?

Hey - to any other Americans (or anyone else): Every 6 months for the past 2 years our health insurance has gone up 25%. 25% more each time! We just got a new bill with another increase. We will now be paying $931.00 per month for two middle-aged people in good health. We have searched and searched for a better deal, but they are all about the same and, as we've been with this company for many years and made only one small claim which was for our son when he was a lot younger, it seems rather unexpected.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

When just reading this article: Treasurer Scott Morrison urged to let students pay off study debt with super, in your comment at ADR, I could only think - My, God! I feel distinctly ill. Slavery at its best.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I watched "Arthur & Merlin" (2015) last night. Hmm. Another one of those "historic" films, where everyone is just a bit to clean for the time period. One thing that impressed me about "Lion in Winter" was the scene where Elinor and Henry enter a castle courtyard and are busy dodging the chickens and horse poop. Arthur was the standard issue studly young man and Merlin a rather adipated hipster. Too much running back and forth over rocky ridges, shot from an aerial view. Free from the library was ok, but otherwise ...

Books on Arthur ... fiction or nonfiction?

It occurred to me, today, that sometimes, people mistake disinterest for dislike. And, get all wound up over it. Doesn't matter if it's music, cheese or religious persuasions. I wonder if one can only hold so many enthusiasms, at one time?

Oh, I quit like Billy Joel. I have a cd or two, kicking around, and throw them on the player, every once in awhile. My music "tastes" are, also, all over the place. Some groups, I only like a song or two. "Talking Heads", anyone? :-). Got to have memorable lyrics and be a real toe tapper. Every once in awhile, I go on a Cajun music jag. Heavy on the accordion. Half the songs seem to boil down to "I love a girl ... her mama doesn't like me ... we can't be together ... makes me sad." Seemed there was a lot of that going around, in the swamps and boyous, of Louisiana. :-).

On my way to town, yesterday, just halfway down the hill I saw a raccoon. Spooked him further down the hill. The right direction. Away from my chickens. After not seeming any raccoons for years, suddenly, they are here. It occurred to me, this morning, that perhaps it's my fault. By putting pressure on the possums, I have opened up a niche for the raccoons? Neighbor said he saw a Bob Cat (smaller version of a cougar) at that deer carcass, last week.

My group is having it's anniversary, tonight. Going to have a dessert potluck. So, I made up a big batch of blueberry crisp / crumble, last night. Didn't want to mess around with the problems of transporting ice cream, to go on top, so I picked up a can of that whipped topping. The guilt will kill me :-). Says on the can that it's made with "real cream!!!". Yeah, sure. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

More rain! Oh my! Did the Welsh town equal or exceed the record number of rainy days in a row? Walking on the very damp and swampy conditions tends to compact it which increases the problems, so that is a good idea.

Humidity is 99% here right now and today 9mm (0.35 inches) of rain fell in a nice long drizzle most of which went straight into the ground. It is quite nice really to finally see a bit of rain. The fruit trees will explode with growth over the next few days as it looks as though the next week will be cooler.

Hehe! We call the metal poles - star pickets. They are very hard to remove from the ground once they have been hammered into it. I have a tool just for that purpose because there is no other way to remove them. I enjoyed their moment of honesty and respect the fact that you asked them the hard questions. Nice work. I can't imagine that you have too many people stepping over in your part of the world? It is rare here - other than the recent guy on his horse most people are reasonably respectful.

It is always interesting to me to see what new people in a rural area do. My neighbours recently planted some advanced tree ferns and they look great.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Oh yeah. Five Prime Ministers in five years - one of whom was the most popular in recent decades. The results are in and they’re not good! I'm quite fond of saying, "Don't worry about them, there is plenty more where they came from!" Honestly, it is hard not to apply the term "Banana Republic", but that term was already used by a now long ex-Prime Minister Paul Keating. There are some classic quotes in there as he was quite eloquent as well as intelligent and was at the same time fond of calling people "scumbags"!

The actual quote was:

"If this Government cannot get the adjustment, get manufacturing going again, and keep moderate wage outcomes and a sensible economic policy, then Australia is basically done for. We will end up being a third rate economy... a banana republic."

That quote nicely summed up the ADR this week, does it not? The student debt debacle is a powder keg waiting for someone to light it. I know people younger than I, who have student debts in excess of $50k and I wonder to myself how they will ever recover financially from that and whether the debt produced an appreciable increase in their incomes? I started University part time at night on the very first year of full fees and they ate my savings. Back in the day, members of the accounting profession were taught by way of apprenticeship and I see nothing wrong with that. In the past I trained up an accounts person who showed great potential and desire to learn, to an accounting role and I had to fight tooth and nail behind the scenes to make that happen. In doing so, I gave a very wealthy guy what he needed, but it wasn't what he wanted, but me being me, I dismissed his concerns and instead focused on the job at hand. It was a complex decision and time. The funny thing was I met someone years later that worked at the same place and he actually pointed out to me the incongruous nature of my decision. Of all the things to notice that was the one he raised…

Ha! 10'F is still very cold from my point of view! :-)! That's -12'C. Brrrrr! I wouldn't even know what to do in such conditions, but at least the house would be toasty warm but the solar hot water heater panel would be draining the stored heat just so that it didn't burst (mind you there is plenty of stored hot water heat over winter because of the firebox and wet back). Oh my. That is cold.

Yeah, giving bees access to more water is a great idea and surprisingly it will increase the productivity of your garden. I reckon it is a safe bet to say: Feed them and they will come.

Exactly, that is an awesome solution. The food that you make yourself is always a good idea because you know every item that has gone into it. Unfortunately, everything takes time to prepare but that is a small price to pay, I reckon. But, you do get better at it as time goes on.

It is sort of like when I first started writing for the Internet audience and I was immediately trolled and had no control over the moderation. It was horrific. Who were these people and I reckon they wouldn't dare say that to my face! Anyway, after a day or two of feeling rather upset, I absorbed them into my worldview and then ignored them. Here, they don't get a look in and so are quickly bored and go elsewhere! ;-)!

Cooking from scratch is a lot like that. It is initially quite difficult until you learn the ropes and then it just becomes second nature and just sort of something that you do in your day to day activities. What do you reckon about that?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Hehe! Oh yeah, those Monty Python dudes were spot on the money in their witty observation in the film: The Holy Grail. Oh, I almost typed the Holy Grill - but then that would be the other underworld wouldn't it? Hehe!!! ;-)! Or the hamburger world – yum, beetroot in hamburgers! There is an old song here where a guy works in a hamburger joint and he is a bit of a player, and a young lady comes in and asks for a hamburger minus the meat patty – and he quickly retorts: Hey, that’s a salad roll!

I get the Arthur character, but Merlin. Dunno, my understanding is that he would have looked more like a Radagast sort of a character? Dunno, what do you reckon about that? Reading in between the lines of the book on that subject I get the impression that he was respected, held in awe, but there is also this underlying tone of mockery when Merlin is being written about. Anyway, what do they say: history is often written by the victors.

I'm personally struggling with the image of the hipster as Merlin. From my perspective hipsters try too hard to show both a masculine presence and presence as a cultured gentleman. Perhaps there is an element of irony in there too? I don't rightly know, but for all of the outward expression of defiance, they do seem to be toeing the dominant narrative in their actions.

Honestly, I was mildly surprised to read how hands on Merlin was because in one part of the story an account was given of Merlin where he crushed a guys head in by throwing his antlered helmet and scoring a direct hit. That is pretty brutal and it hardly describes a person of a passive dissuasion.

I will accept your review at face value. Non fiction, please?

Mistaking disinterest for dislike seems to me to be an expression of narcissism taken to extremes. As an example: If I like me, why do you not? Sometimes it is wise to keep some people at a distance and you never know. It may even be a gut feeling thing. Dunno, what do you reckon about that?

As an interesting side note, the only time I've ever seen anyone really fired up about cheese was about raw milk cheese. Oh, and once long ago I had an old friend get really fired up about the subject of vegetarian dogs. Sometimes people don't argue about the things that really upset them. On the other hand, I rarely avoid the confrontation because the cost of the confrontation is often much less than the cost of avoiding it - but then it all depends on whether the situation or issue will recur. Oh, we've delved into the depths of personal philosophy again? There must be something in the water for sure! ;-)!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

I hear you about Talking Heads - it makes perfect sense. For some reason the band Tears for Fears pops into my head too for no real reason: Tears for Fears - Mad World. I quite enjoy a bit of Cajun music too (and food too for that matter - how good was the film: Chef?). That observation is very amusing! ;-)! I reckon parents seem to want their children to achieve more than they could, but I honestly don't understand that desire. An old adage comes to mind: The apply rarely falls far from the tree – and what may I ask is wrong with that?

You may be right about the racoon as all of our actions have consequences. Since the rats have been moved on here the sugar gliders have returned - in force. At night I can hear them trilling to each other as they flit in and about the trees. I reckon if there is feed and housing, then sooner or later something will turn up to live in and eat it.

Yummo! I hope your anniversary is enjoyable and the blueberry crisp sounds very nice! I'm unconvinced on that score about the cream, but few will notice the difference, so enjoy. :-)!

It rained here today and is still raining right now. The poor chickens will perhaps not get a run in the orchard tonight, which I'm not unhappy about. I went into the big smoke yesterday as the editor was out on a girlie night on the town. The walk through the city was very nice as it wasn't too hot for a change. It gave me a decent amount of time to read all of the comments over at the ADR this week. People’s hopes and fears over there make me a bit scared for the future.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

This is a trial run. I have had 2 goes at this and both vanished into the ether, so I am keeping it short.

The Welsh village failed to pass the record of 89 days, they only made 85.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Well I think that that went through, so here goes again.

Yes, Son is cutting up and removing the old oak tree for his own use as I don't have a wood stove.

I love cold weather outside as long as there is no icy wind to take the skin off ones face. However I can't work outside as I suffer from Raynaud's and have to keep my hands well bundled up.

Thanks for the info. on star pickets, a terrible racket as they are bashed in. I guess that even if they are difficult to extract they will still move down with the land.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

I had to look up deer fencing in the UK, and the star pickets, to see how they compared to ours. Deer fencing plus star pickets are what we used for one area to keep the dogs in. I can vouch for how extremely difficult the metal pickets are to get out again. Basically, once the dogs had all gone to their justly-deserved rewards, we just left them in the ground (the pickets; though the dogs are presumably still in the ground, too) until we needed them for other projects. The freezing and thawing that they got made them easier to handle and even I could wrestle quite a few out, though not all. The deer fencing is what we used for the dogs, and also for our deer-proof garden fence - one 4 foot (1.23 m) row on top of another 4 foot row to make it 8 feet tall.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lewis:

Eew, I am sorry to hear that you have bobcats. They may not be cougars, but they can be quite fierce. We have them around here, too. They - like the coyotes (so far) - are rather shy night creatures; hard to get a glimpse of, though one hears them. You seem to have most of the same animals that we do.

I'll bet your group really looks forward to your desserts! It is so nice that you still keep up with the same group of people.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I'm glad for your rain! And I love PM Keating's quote.

It was so generous of you to take the time to help that accounts person to realize his potential in your field. Do you think that he appreciated it? As my husband says, too often:
"No good deed goes unpunished." Hope that wasn't the case with you.

You are sp right about cooking becoming second nature. Thank goodness, since there is so much of it! I find that what I cook turns out best once I get the hang of a recipe and just throw it together without worrying about it.

I reckon Merlin crushed the fellow's head because he had no choice? A kill-or-be-killed moment? Still - couldn't he have cast a spell? Sometimes there just isn't time for a spell.

If the apple that falls from the tree is rotten, maybe even the wallabies won't want it, though somebody, whether microbe or crawly thing, will. I guess whether one mourns the loss of the apple depends on who one considers to be "somebody".

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

My son has asked 'what does the base of a star picket look like?'. If you possess one, would it be possible to put up a photo of its base next week?

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Not to worry, I looked them up on the internet. Not very interesting. Son had wondered if there was some special reason why they are hard to get out again.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - When I make cornbread, I cut the liquid a bit (1/8th cup?) and add that much honey. Yeast equal to whatever the amount of baking soda / powder called for. If the house is cold, I pop it in the oven, at a very low heat with the door open. Takes about 30 minutes to start rising. Pull it out, set the temperature, put it back, and it finishes it's rise while baking.

Oh, health insurance! I just went, without, for about 20 years ... and got lucky. Now I'm on Medicare ... which was full of unpleasant surprises. If you play your cards right, it pays for almost everything except 30% ... but, with the cost of medical care, these days, that 30% can wipe you out. Elizabeth Warren discovered that (my percentages may be off ... but they were high) over 50% of bankruptcies were due to medical bills ... and a great number of those people HAD health insurance. My "free" "Welcome to Medicare" exam, ended up with costs. Sure, it was only $130, but still. It was unexpected. And, the appeal process has been outsourced to some private outfit called Noridian, which is about as impervious as any health insurance company.

When I first started Medicare, Washington State paid for my part B ... the the Fed picked up my part D (meds). Then I got a small inheritance from my Dad. Good bye, subsidies. No State help if you have over $7,000 in assets ... no Fed help if you have over $20,000 in assets. Oh, well, I'll be back there again, soon :-)

And, then there's the problem of finding a doctor or clinic that will take Medicare. Not a problem, here, but some areas, yes. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The Arthur stories are so complex. Mostly, late medieval and early Renaissance (and Victorian) constructs that reflected the times. When you get back to the source documents, they're scanty ... and open to speculation ... lots of speculation! :-). Some of it pretty "out" there. Non fiction - "The Quest for Arthur's Britain" by Ashe. But I can't resist a fiction recommendation - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Whyte

Well, there are some things I don't talk about with some people. You learn as you go along. I had a minor dust up, recently, with a fellow at my Meeting. He apologized later and said he hoped it wouldn't affect our dealings, with one another. I told him, that it would. I could forgive, but I couldn't forget. That my opinion of him was altered. And that I would be more guarded in future dealings. I suppose I could have been all roses and sunshine, but I'm not put together, that way.

The coyotes were howling over the back fence, last night. Maybe they'll clean out the raccoons? They seem to have made short work of the rabbits. Beau started barking at them, and I turned on the kitchen light. They moved off. What a team, we are! :-)

There was over 60 people, at the meeting, last night. Usually it's 15 to 20. So, I had a bit of a social anxiety attack, and wanted to go home. But, I stuck it out. The groaning board, was groaning. About half the deserts were home made, about half commercial. There was a lot left over ... but no blueberry crisp to take home :-(. Maybe it was because it was toward the head of the line, maybe because it had a bit ol' can of "whipped cream" sitting next to it. I don't know. I'm prejudiced, I'm sure, but I tried a bit of it, and even though it had a lot of sugar in it, I thought it had a ... cleaner, lighter taste, than the rest of the stuff on my plate. Oh, well. I did pass along my new phone number to the guy who prunes my apple trees, and arranged a tour, with the folks that oversea 6 cemeteries. To arrange for my plot.

Well. Lots of action over at ADR, this week. I read most of the comments up to 225. It's a good snapshot of life in these United States. Class. Well, I've always been aware of that. Stories my folks told about the Depression. Also, my little grade school in north Portland, was mostly blue collar wage earners. But it took in a section of the Mock's Crest neighborhood, where all the rich kids, lived. And, there weren't a lot of private schools, around then. We knew who they were.

I suppose I'm more left, than right, but, unlike a lot of other "liberals" I read what the right has to say. I want to understand them, and, I suppose, keep tabs on what they're up to. :-). I can't say I agree with much of what Pat Buchanan has to say (an arch conservative) but he told some interesting stories, about his early life. He was a scholarship boy, at one of the Ivey League colleges ... and felt very deeply the divisions of class. Everything from comments about his shoes ... to his Irish Catholic background. To his accent.

I have a prediction, about the elections. Unless there's a lot of fiddling ... Bernie Sanders will tap Elizabeth Warren as his vice presidential running mate ... and win. There was quit a groundswell to get her to run for president, but she absolutely refused. She in Sanders had a quiet little lunch, a couple of months ago ... and no one knows what was talked about. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I do hope that people in the Welsh town weren't disappointed with the result?

Well the oak tree is a resource and it is handy that your son has a chainsaw and knows how to use it. Does the oak timber burn hot? I'd imagine it would because it is a very dense and aged timber. My new little firewood shed is now full too! YAY! I'll put some interesting photos on about that process, because for some strange reason a lot of the bottom timber in that pile which had been seasoning for about three years had been rapidly turning into soil. And that is a very interesting thing here as it says a lot about the quality of life in the soil compared to previous years. Oh well, I'm excited about fungi anyway...

Yes, I recall you saying that previously and am glad that you can adapt to the weather as circumstances permit. Do you prefer woollen gloves or have you tried sheepskin gloves? I'm constantly wearing locally made sheepskin boots over winter. Nothing else quite compares to them.

I'm unsure why they are so hard to remove from the ground, but I have an ingenious tool for removing them from the ground - and if you like I'll put a photo up on the next blog. Don't tell your neighbours, but they ... rust in the ground and eventually fall over. But then so to does the split bush poles they use for posts down here. I've noticed that the rainforest trees of Acacia Melanoxylon which are local to here don't tend to rot as fast, but then they're also furniture grade timber too. Very beautiful and dense grain. I had a couple of pieces in the firewood pile from fallen branches - I don't tend to use them for firewood.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Oh yeah. When no decent rain has fallen for weeks half an inch of the stuff is very precious indeed. The orchard is looking much more damp now and they reckon a bit more rain may fall later in the week. As the world heats up the tropical lows are pushing further south. Are you in line for that monster snow storm heading over to the east coast? Stay safe, if we heard about it down here, it must be truly massive.

Paul Keating was a colourful character and amazing well educated too. We've had quite a few very well educated and experienced leaders, however of recent times they are failing to address the core issues and voting is compulsory so it is hard for them to speak to only their supporters.

Thank you. They showed promise and were worthy of the effort. Actually it was a lady too and I believe she still works there but haven't spoken to her for years. It was funny too getting the feedback about how unusual a step that I'd taken because I was told that out of the blue by someone who works there which I met by a strange coincedence at a child's first birthday party (which I totally loathe and avoid them if I can). It is a small world sometimes.

I just made a plate of Anzac biscuits and they're filling the house with their aroma! Yum. Yeah, there is a lot of cooking, but it is exactly like you say, it becomes second nature and you do a bit here and a bit there. I reckon that is how the old timers used to cook? Dunno though?

Oh yeah. Events possibly spiraled out of his control and so he took direct action. Mind you, he had to ride pretty hard to get away too!

Exactly, the birds and animals share an awful lot of the produce from here. Mind you, I'm deeply unhappy when they jump into the raised garden beds and squash things and leave a calling card...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for the info on health insurance. I wasn't sure whether $931/month was actually meant to be $931/year and forgot to ask... I'm unsure whether I could afford that...

That sort of accords well with what the book is saying too. There have been a lot of additions to previous works and expansions and embellishments. We can't let the truth get in the way of a good story can we? Thanks for both of the references and I'll have a look into those books over the next day or so. It is interesting trying to work backwards to try and deconstruct what the original texts may have included.

Hey, check this disaster out. The article is from the Northern Territory where it is flooding and this poor dude got stranded in crocodile infested waters: Car stuck at Cahill's Crossing in Kakadu after locals wanting a lift say 'its safe to cross'. Not good at all.

Knowing who you can talk to about what is a complex part of community - and there seems to be little room for error with some people. Sometimes it is hard to know what hot button topics are going to set people off - like vegetarian dogs - who would have thought that would be a complex topic? Crazy stuff. At least the guy apologised, but you are probably correct to keep that in the back of your mind for the future.

An excellent team to be sure! Oh, all your wildlife makes for a challenging existence as some of it wants to kill you. Down here, you get bitten and stung and it is pretty nasty to be sure, but usually the things doing that - bullants excluded - don't seem to want to waste the time or energy on you. Mountain lions and cougars - that would make for an interesting night time walk!

Top work - yeah, facing up to anxieties is a tough business and it is good to hear that you stuck it out and you probably also took the best dessert too! Blueberry crisp sounds really very yummy! :-)! Did you make the crisp like a crumble using blitzed biscuits?

Well its hit 300 so far and a whole lot of new readers and I'll also have to see the link to the repost were JMG has been quoted. A well deserved thing too!

Gotta bounce, sorry. I promise to continue our conversation tomorrow.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

My parents are on Medicare. They have constant issues. We figure that since we own our house outright and since it can be taken away from us for non-payment of medically incurred debt that we have too much to lose not to have health insurance. And there are two of us , so the chance of accident or illness is possibly doubled. Also, if we don't buy health insurance, a tax is added to the income taxes we owe. The penalty is 2.5% of household income or $695 per adult (up to $2085), whichever amount is higher. It still goes back to losing our house should we incur unpayable ($325,000 heart surgery anyone?) medical debt.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

It seems to me that oak timber does burn quite hot; we have a lot of it. Steve at Virid Views recently put up a table of timber density and heat content; very useful.

It is a doozy of a snowstorm!

Our health insurance will be, in April, $931 per month ($11,172 per year unless it continues to go up 25% every 6 months). Unsustainable on our income. We could have bought a whole 'nother bit of land by now.

The tourist at Cahill's Crossing: another case of "No good deed goes unpunished" or just another dummy?

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lewis:

Hey, Lew: Have you picked out a nice plot? It frustrates me no end that I can't be planted here once I'm gone like the folks were who lived here in the past. I guess I am lucky that we can actually bury our pets right here. Some of those dogs were as big as small people and we have found horse and cow skulls (not to mention scads of deer skulls) on the property. Decayed people are nastier than rotten dogs? Go figure.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, that story about Cahill's crossing, perfectly illustrates what Pam said ... "No good deed goes unpunished." :-)

Well, the turn over in your Prime Ministers, sounds a bit like Rome's "Year of the Four Emperors" (69 CE). But without all the blood, gore and civil war :-) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_of_the_Four_Emperors

Let's see ... throw frozen blueberries (mixed with cornstarch and a bit of nutmeg) in a baking dish. Mix flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon and softened butter together. It's quit crumbly. Scatter over the top and bake.

Forgot to mention an odd occurrence in my chicken house. I collect eggs in the morning, and check for any others, when they get their noon treats. There was a normal sized egg, and sitting next to it, a miniature egg! I don't mean, a smallish egg, I mean a tiny egg. About the size of a quarter ... a large marble? I thought maybe, the sparrows, who are in and out of the coop. But, it looks too big for those little birds. Don't know. I've decided to slip it into a carton of the next eggs I give to Chef John :-). And, then, wait for the phone call.

Boy, they're really getting slammed on the East Coast. Deaths. Hundreds of traffic accidents. I've never understood the "need" to get out and drive in the weather. I'm sure half those accidents were pointless trips that could well have waited until the weather cleared. Same thing with people who drive and talk on their phones. Very few of those conversations, I'm sure, couldn't have waited til they were out of the vehicle. Besides being clueless (gormless?) I think it's a mixture of artificial urgency and rampant self entitlement. Chef John says he has problems with parents calling their children, at school, while he's trying to teach ... usually something frivolous and unimportant. Grump, grump, grump :-). Lew

PS: I do not go wandering about in the dark. Or, at least, not off the well lit front porch. Whatever is happening out there, in the dark, can keep til morning.

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Have just had one of those days when one is constantly interrupted. Had started this comment/reply before and had to stop. Yes, oak burns very hot indeed; it is easily the best wood so long as it has been kept for at least 2 years.

Gloves: I wear wool but 2 pairs at a time. I have knitted them myself. All my thick woollen socks are also self knitted. Here a wear rubber wellies for a good hunk of the year when outside. Anything else would be ruined by the wet.

Am also ploughing through the ADR comments, an interesting article this week.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Apologies for the sudden exit from our conversation yesterday.

Where were we? ... Oh, arranging a plot is something I haven't considered as I've stipulated instead to be cremated so that the ashes can be spread around the orchard. Apparently the authorities here get a bit weirded out by home burials - as if the trees somehow care? Out of a sense of morbid curiosity, what's involved in choosing a cemetery plot anyway? The last funeral I went to, I noticed that the cemetery was neatly divided up into belief systems and that seemed respectful but I the rather unusual and morbid thought popped into my head trying to work out whether the dead would complain if an error occurred? Honestly, I blame the son of the guy that beggared his kingdom by building the Taj Mahal, because the entire building is perfectly symmetrical and long before the father died, the son had assumed control of the affairs of state in order to recover from the fall out - presumably something to do with the budget and financial considerations - and he was so angry that he placed his father’s tomb slightly off centre in the Taj structure... Just sayin, the father presumably didn't make any complaints... ;-)!

Tell me about it. There are 360 comments and I did read a note from JMG, saying keep em coming, so I may chuck in another comment but honestly, I'm fresh out of ideas as I hit two bulls eyes this week and a third may be pushing it. Maybe we'll go all fluffy instead and pen something silly? It is sort of hard as there is a lot of dark news out there...

Yeah, at school there were rich kids, no doubt about it, but back in my day there, most people were struggling to get by. I remember that a denim jacket would be a super massive big deal and most of the kids wore their clothes until they were almost falling apart. Many years later, I once remarked to a much younger lady that that particularly wet and rainy day would be a bad day to find that your shoe has a hole in it - and she looked at me and said: Why would your shoes have a hole in them? I tried to explain why, but instead it ended up sounding a bit strange and so I gave up. How do you explain poverty to someone who has never experienced it first hand? It is very hard and yes a lot of the ADR comments this week are quite concerning, but an excellent cross section of society.

Haha! Sprung you have been reading the master Sun Tzu: Who expounds from beyond the grave: Know thy enemy! Of course, I do the same too, so you are in excellent company.

I accept your opinion on the matter as you know far more about such things than I.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yes, it was an excellent table of timber densities and most useful. The local trees here are all hardwoods to the upper end of Steve's table. The funny thing about firewood is that I try also to use it as a tool to manage the forest as well. Not all trees are in good positions or even great health and some of them may even become a burden to their fellow trees. I showed someone today the very oldest tree here which is several hundred years old and has escaped fire, floods, droughts and loggers and despite hardships it has still survived. That tree has much to teach us, if we but look and wonder.

Thanks for the update on the snowstorm! Nice to hear that a solid dump of snow is falling. There are videos of Panda Bears in the Zoo in Washington DC being circulated down here. Did it impact your place much?

I rarely use acronyms, but OMG that is a humungous amount of money to pay for health insurance! Ouch. I could not afford that bill and I would be massively upset to have to pay it. Down here, we all pay 2% of our taxable income towards general medical insurance and you can choose to pay for private health insurance if you wish which will give you access to private hospitals. But most people go to the public hospitals. The waiting list is long for elective surgery, but life threatening stuff is normally sorted pretty quickly. Those increases are unsustainable and what can't be sustained generally won't be sustained. I feel for you, as I again state that I could not pay for those insurance bills.

It does make you wonder doesn't it. The snorkel on the car is a dead giveaway for me. The road leading into the ford would have had signs warning you of the man eating salt water crocodiles in the river - I've seen the crocodiles and the signs - and that would have been enough for me to not go in there. Nuff said really! ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate! The guy was lucky to get out of the water alive. There really is massive man eating crocodiles in those waters and it is not like the crocodiles can't climb up onto the rocks in the photo or even onto the shoreline to grab the people too. The crocodiles have been around for about 300 million years virtually unchanged and they are one efficient and adaptable killing machine. It is often the locals that get taken too because they get sort of Blaise about the situation. The crocodiles can reach 7m (23 foot) in length when mature. As a fun fact, they can convert almost I believe 97% of what they consume into a food source. We are not even close to that number.

They went hard didn't they back in those days? However, should either of us ever be in the potential position of Emperor of Rome, an important note to oneself would be to remember to pay the mercenaries. A simple and sound strategy. Didn't Nero get a bad rap too? And interestingly enough, my gut feeling says that Vespasian has the face of a brutal pragmatist. You have to admit he looks very different from his better fed and also aesthete predecessors? Just sayin...

Oh that sounds very good and is exactly how I would make a crumble too! Yum! The nutmeg is everything in such a mix. Have you ever considered a small dash of cloves and cinnamon too? Your recipe really would have that sort of cleaner taste that you wrote about. YUM!

You are bad indeed and I do like that joke! Nice one. I enjoy giving away the Araucana blue eggs too because people always think that they are duck eggs. It is good fun. You may have a hidden quail - they often lay eggs in strange places? Dunno. A nice chicken will take on motherhood of other bird’s fledglings.

What? No way. I have no reason to doubt you about Chef John's experience. But, I told the editor about that one and we were sitting around mildly gobsmacked. It does sort of make a strange sense really, but it is so weird I can't get my head around it. There has been an outbreak recently at an inner city school that promotes anti-vax children and I just don't know what to make about things. From what I've seen up here, pretty much everything from big to small wants to eat you and entropy is such a tough thing to keep at bay, why throw away advantages because of fear? I dunno, it is such a thin line that we walk.

Haha! Well, fortunately it is a different thing here at night, but I'm very careful not to startle a massive 6+ foot kangaroo either. Sir Scruffy the other night led me off to an area to show me one, and I looked at Sir Scruffy and said: Mate, you've bitten off more than I can chew this time. And we slowly backed away and left the roo in peace.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

No worries. This is a good format to cope with interruptions! :-)! That's life really, it rarely goes smoothly anyway. Sometimes, I end up having to cook things in between replying or attending to something that is going on. Sometimes the chickens can be very naughty in the orchard or even an eagle flies in for a look in for an easy feed of chicken and replies can be err in their grammatical correctness.

Yes, the very dense timber here which is about the same as oak, also needs two years of seasoning. Still your son has the advantage in that the tree was already dead so the timber would be quite dry. It is hard emotionally and physically to cut down a tree and I always thank the forest for its gift, but I'm glad you removed that one as they can also unintentionally fall onto houses with unpleasant circumstances. If you notice some of the videos of the recent Wye River fires, some people had constructed houses with huge trees looming above the house and I don't know about that myself. The animals here live in the dense parts of the forest, but they eat here in the clearing - so you really need a mix of both in this part of the world.

I went up high into the mountain range today and parts of this forest have many exotic species and the forest was very dark indeed, but also very beautiful and lots of diversity lived in there.

Good work with the knitted socks and gloves. Totally appropriate. How good is wool as a clothing material? It never gets wet enough here that the gum boots get much wear, although they are useful if I'm digging anywhere over winter as it can get muddy then.

Yes, absolutely. The ADR was very interesting this week. I read a quote from Julian Assange from a long while back where he wrote that so many people spend a lot of their time on the Internet displaying their values - and I thought that was quite true.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

@Pam

Regarding insurance, when my husband became property tax assessor for our township two years ago we had to shop for insurance for the first time as we had always had insurance through our employer before. The premium was over $1600/month. Blue Cross cancelled everyone's policy we know for 2015 so we had to change policies (we ended up with another Blue Cross policy). It is actually a little less - only $1475/month. Apparently for most of their policies they have removed many of the big teaching hospitals in Chicago from their network. As we are two hours from Chicago we use another medical network but if we were to have some unusual medical issue or even cancer one of these hospitals could be a better choice. My husband does receive $900/month towards insurance so it's not as bad as it sounds though way more than we ever paid before. If not for that payment the premium would be about 1/2 of his net monthly pay. People I know celebrate their 65th birthday as their Medicare birthday. I have only to the end of this year and my husband only 8 months longer before we hit that milestone.

@Lew
Hoping that our experience with Medicare will be OK. We will get a supplemental though which will be a lot less than we are paying now. At any rate we won't have the $3250 deductible and 20% co-pay until we hit over $6000 out of pocket individually to deal with. I'm guardian of my 3 disabled brothers and they all have Medicare (one also has Medicaid) and so far so good as their out of pocket costs are less than a supplemental plan would cost.

Chris et al

For the last few weeks we've had a flock of a dozen or so Robins around. They are usually the harbingers of spring though I've always heard some do overwinter. Have never seen this before. They've been dining on fallen crab apples as have the chickens when ever the snow melts enough to get to them.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

We got 18 in. (46 cm.) in a 30 hour (30 hour) period, with very high winds. My sister in New York City got almost 27 in. (.66 meters). All sunny now! A neighbor who moved away a couple of years ago gave us his gas-powered snow blower when he left. It is one of the most amazing machines ever invented. Push it over the snow and - wha la! - ze snow is whooshed away far to the side. We don't normally feed the wild birds here, but I started putting out the high-fat black oil sunflower seeds before, during, and after the blizzard and will do so until they can get back to some of their natural supplies.

Another punished good deed (and the saying was indeed invoked): My husband brought a giant garbage can full of small chunks of "junk" timber into the basement 2 days ago to use in the wood stove.Unbeknownst to him there was an entire clan of mousies living in the bottom of it, who have joyfully dispersed all over the house. We have caught two so far, with cheese and brownies. They now reside under the front porch.

I haven't had time to look at ADR since Thursday. 360 comments - that must be a record! I'll have to look for your second one.

Leave it to Sir Scruffy to decide that a 6+ foot kangaroo is a worthy opponent. I don't think that he has any idea of what size he, Sir Scruffy, really is.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

I like to knit but haven't done so for several years. I am not very good at it.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lewis:

What an intriguing egg mystery and what a hilarious joke Chef John might be part of!

Do you mean that parents actually call their children during class? And the children are allowed to take those calls?

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

I thought our health insurance premium was horrific, but your past and present one tops that!
My husband is self-employed so we foot the whole bill. I turned 59 last week and he turns 60 next month, so we'll have to bite the bullet for a few more years till Medicare - or get very creative . . .

I love robins. They come through here sporadically during the winter; they may actually be in the area all winter but just show up here occasionally to feed on the dogwood berries. I hope that yours know what they are doing and that spring is around the corner!

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I am interested in seeing a photo of your apparatus for removing star picket poles. Have just spent 20 minutes with a goldcrest that had flown into a window. It was down on my decking and as I looked at it, it closed its eyes and started to keel slowly over onto its side. I know that they are prone to dying of shock in these circumstances. Anyhow 20 mins of love, care and attention paid off. I finally took it down to a hedge and it flew in. What a beautiful bird! I have only seen two before in my life and certainly never been up so close and personal.

@ those of you in the US. I am appalled at your medical insurance costs. What is the difference between medicare and Medicaid? I don't have to pay anything at all for full care and medication if I get ill. I do pay for private dentistry. People are rude here about our National Health Service but it really is excellent.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - Well, there's always bankruptcy. So far, they haven't closed that loop hole, for medical bills, as they did for student loans. Your house would be safe. But you can only pull that stunt, once every 7 years (I think.)

@ Pam & Chris - Yeah, I think it's stupid that you can't be buried (in a lot of places) on your own land. But, it might be worth looking into. Sometimes, funeral homes will tell you it's the law ... when it's not. Same thing with embalming. Which, I'm going to skip. Basically, I'm going with a "put me in a cheap box and shovel me into the ground, as is. I've always had a fear of fire, so I'm squeamish about cremation. Silly, I know, but there it is.

Plot selection - Well, most people have an idea (family plot, tradition, whatever. Not being from around here, I have no preconceived notions. So. The people I know oversee 6 different small cemeteries, scattered around eastern Lewis County. Hence, "the tour." I figure "I'll know it when I see it." Or, feel it. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Just read "SPQR", by Mary Beard. Or, I should say I skimmed vast sections, and paid more attention to the stuff I was interested in. It's a thumping big book. Mary Beard is an interesting character. An Oxford Don, in classics. She's done quit a few books. And, has often been a presenter for tv programs. Entertaining. Slightly daft, slightly potty and very enthusiastic. She's done a few things on Pompeii, and a series called "Meet the Romans." Most, on YouTube. She takes into account the "big" names in Roman history, but really loves the "common" Romans, who don't have much to say in the texts ... but can only be read in archaeological records.

The "Two Fat Ladies" were quit enthusiastic about nutmeg. They threw it in a lot of unexpected foods ... to great results.

When the deer come at night to eat the apple falls (they don't get many ... I usually collect them for the chooks) Nell always looks like she wants to tackle one :-). One night, she was nose to nose with a deer. The deer dropped it's big head to get a closer look at Nell. There seemed to be a lot of curiosity on both sides. :-).

Well, Chef John can rant for a long time about the difficulties of being a teacher. The poor teachers always "catch it in the shorts" when it comes to education. But, a lot of the blame can be laid at the door of unresponsive and clueless administrators on one hand, and parents who are neglectful, or, worse have the attitude that their "little precious" can do no wrong, on the other. Lew

margfh said...

@orchidwallis

Medicare is government funded health insurance for those 65 and over and the disabled. Medicaid is government funded health insurance for those living below the poverty level and with assets below $2000. Both programs reimburse medical providers at a very low level - Medicaid worse than Medicare so many doctors will not take those on Medicaid and it's a growing problem with Medicare so your choice is limited. Of course now with Obamacare one has to be very careful that their provider is in the network. If not the costs will be covered at a lower rate if at all.

This is all part of JMG's long descent. It wasn't too many years ago that we had excellent employer provided health insurance at a very low cost. This is a very convoluted system. I am very fortunate to have several health care professionals in my family that I can go to for advice. I could go on but I'm guessing that this isn't really our host's intended direction of this blog.

@Pam

Late last afternoon I heard a flock of geese honking. Usually this happens in March.

@Lew

Ahh - The Two Fat Ladies. They were a favorite of mine. The food police would have quite the time with them.


Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - Oh, yes. Students take calls, in class ... or, the quieter text messaging. Because, you know, it's an emergency! The term "artificial urgency", comes to mind. Emergency ... mileage may vary. :-).

@ Inge - I'll add a bit to what Margaret said about Medicare and Medicaid. I had a small job with a lawyer (filing and clean up, a couple of nights a week). Lawyers here, tend to specialize. The lawyer I worked for specialized in State Worker's Compensation (for workers injured on the job) and Medicaid. Medicaid ... seemed to just reject claims, out of hand. At least the first one. Then, it had to go to court. I didn't spend a lot of time, reading the files, but one caught my eye. Some poor woman in a wheel chair, who had half of one foot amputated ... and was rejected. The lawyer, won over 95% of her cases. There were no up front fees, for the client. The client would get a small "pot", when they won. Because if they won, they got retroactive payments. The lawyer took a small percentage, of that.

Yo, Chris - That's a beautiful moon picture. I won't even ask why you have a partial moon, down there, and we have a full moon, up here :-). Or why the date of your solstices, don't match our solstices :-). Another pic for the calendar?

And here I thought hydrophobia was a good case of the rabies?

There's a saying that "rust never sleeps." I don't think rot ever sleeps either. I had the same situation with some hay, I had under a tarp. I used a lot of it, but, eventually, it started rotting from the ground up. I think it will provide a nice new garden bed for, maybe, some sort of squash or pumpkin. It's close to, or over, the septic, so, something with shallow roots.

I think Poppy looks rather distressed, as the Triffids are coming up behind him, out of the garden :-).

That depression in your orchard. Old long gone tree, rotting out? We've talked about this before. i've got a depression like that in my drive way. I keep throwing stuff in it to try and keep it leveled out. I notice the other day that it's time to level it out, again. I've thrown everything in there from dried out slab clay from a potter, to kitty litter. Rock, of course.

Got 6 eggs, yesterday! The most, so far, this year. Two of the hens were on the nest, this morning, but I decided to let them be, for a couple of hours. I might loose an arm! We haven't had a frost in a couple of weeks. Did I miss recording the last frost on the calendar? That would be bizarre. Probably not. Early days, yet. Lew