Monday, 11 January 2016

Plastic unfantastic


This summer has been hot. For a while now, the only rain has been that of the dry, dead leaves floating through to the ground as they are driven from the arms of the tall trees by even the lightest of breezes. Those leaves gather on the ground and as you step through them, your footsteps echo with the sound of crunching and the unmistakable smell of eucalyptus oil. During the middle of the day the cicadas loudly call to one another from their burrows, other insects buzz around and the birds are silent. The air smells dry and dust is gathering everywhere. It’s hot.

With about half of summer left to go, the editor and I have been conserving our water resources carefully and despite having to water the various plants, my best guess is that I still have about 75% of the total water capacity remaining.

The orchard has mostly struggled through the summer with no additional watering, as have most of the herbs. The annual, short lived plants that don’t have the deep root systems of longer lived plants have required most of the watering. Of those annual plants grown, none are thirstier than the tomatoes. But I do love eating fresh tomatoes as nothing beats fresh home grown tomatoes for taste. Every week as summer gets longer and hotter, I’ve spent more time every day watering the tomatoes, so last week I installed a sprinkler to assist with that job.

The sprinkler proved to be such a good idea that earlier this week I also added a permanent standard garden tap on the inside of the berry and tomato enclosure. Adding a new garden tap means a lot of digging in the hot sun. It’s hot. Firstly, you have to find the original water pipe line and then dig a trench from that existing water pipe to the location of the new garden tap.
A new water pipe has been connected up from the existing water pipes to a brand new garden tap in the berry enclosure
Observant readers will note just how dry the soil is in that garden bed. That garden bed is less than a year old and I’ve observed that it usually takes about two to three years and a huge amount of organic matter before the soil is good enough that most plants will thrive during even the hottest and driest summers.

The new water pipe travels under a walking path, so that water pipe sits inside another much larger 50mm (2 inch) diameter pipe so that walking traffic on the path does not damage the water pipe.

By early afternoon the new garden tap was connected up.
The new garden tap had been connected up to the water system and was ready to be tested for leaks
The garden tap was permanently fixed to the treated pine timber post. I then connected the sprinkler up to that new garden tap using a short length of hose and tested all of the connections for leaks. By late afternoon, I was feeling pretty chuffed with my ingenuity because now all I know had to do to water the tomatoes was turn on the tap and (and also remember to turn it off a few minutes later).

I thought to myself: How clever am I?

Alas, all good things come to a swift end – including my self-congratulatory frame of mind because the sprinkler decided that my ego was too fluffy optimal and the sprinkler promptly fell apart. No matter how many times I reassembled the sprinkler, it fell apart again. And just to convince me what a bad idea the sprinkler was the ratchet mechanism decided to stop working too. I’m trying hard to keep this blog family friendly so I won’t share the highly expressive and very colourful language that I used to describe the now dead sprinkler.
A sad day for the two week old and now completely broken sprinkler
And I didn't have a receipt for the rotten thing because I had paid cash and left the store with the foolish belief that there was no probability that such a simple machine could possibly break. Oh well, back to hand watering.

The tomatoes hardly seem to notice whether they are hand watered or watered by the sprinkler, because they are growing very strongly.
Tomato Cam™ tells no lies and the tomatoes have grown massively in the past week and are full of ripening fruit
The gremlins must certainly have worked their way into the water systems this week because I also experimented with a soaker hose on the raised vegetable beds. Truth is stranger than fiction because the soaker hose worked for at least five minutes and then the seal at the end of the pipe broke:
The seal at the very end of the soaker pipe broke and the strawberries celebrated because of all of the extra watering
At least I was smart enough this time to obtain a receipt, so that soaker hose will shortly be returned to the retailer.

You’d think that the plastic water gremlins stopped there, but alas no! During summer, I test the bushfire sprinklers every week. Most of the bushfire sprinklers are metal, but there are a couple that are plastic. This week, two of the plastic bushfire sprinklers seized up and failed. I’m a little bit in awe of those gremlins as they seem to be wreaking havoc.
This plastic bushfire sprinkler seized up this week
Confrontations can't be avoided and gremlins have to be dealt too. After an extensive investigation, I’ve discovered that brass and stainless steel are fatal to their tricksy gremlin ways (edit: gremlin kryptonite perhaps?). The plastic sprinkler heads were replaced with solid brass sprinklers with stainless steel components. All was then good – apart from the other plastic rubbish that had failed and has yet to be replaced.
Brass and stainless steel bushfire sprinklers have now replaced the dodgy plastic sprinklers
Overseas readers may not be aware, but in the state of Western Australia there is a huge bushfire raging: WA fires: Conditions ease in blaze which claimed two lives, razed Yarloop

With the ongoing threat of large scale bushfires, the editor and I have been this week doubling our efforts and we have chopped and dropped a large cleared area around the house. The interesting thing to note is that the chop and drop process produces a fine layer of mulch and you can see the retained soil moisture - despite the lack of rain - by simply scratching away the surface of the mulch. Six years ago, the area in the photo below was a solid clay pan with no organic matter where any rainfall ran over the ground. The other interesting thing to note is the very large tree in the centre of the photo with the impressive buttressing still bears the scars of the January 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires.
The editor and I have chopped and dropped a lot of vegetation this week due to the extreme bushfire risk
During that time, we stumbled across this tiny Pin Oak seedling. It received a cage to protect it from the wallabies as well as a decent feed of manure (and a bit of water too):
We came across this tiny Pin Oak seedling this week and decided to protect it from the wallabies
Observant readers will note just how much fallen dry leaf litter there is on the ground prior to the chop and drop mulching process. It is sort of funny, but leaf fall here is high summer, rather than the more expected autumn. Autumn is the time when all of the native trees are rapidly growing and setting down strong root systems instead!

There are all sorts of surprises to be found in the surrounding forest as I spotted a very large white brain like fungi growing high up in one of the oldest trees on the farm. I was going to call this week’s blog “Tree brains” or "Brain forest", but what with all of the gremlins, I can’t really afford to attract any zombies as well.
A huge white brain like fungus is growing high up on the side of one of the oldest trees here
It has been so hot and still this week that I thought that it was time I took a look inside the experimental bee hive to see what was going on. I’ve been keeping a close eye on them every few days through the observation pane on the hive, but conditions were fluffy optimal to open the very young hive so…
This week I opened up the experimental hive to check on the progress of the young European honey bee colony
The European honey bees have to heat their hive to quite a warm temperature and I’d been a bit overly optimistic at how fast the young colony would expand into their new hive, so I reduced the size of the hive by about four frames which were empty anyway. Reducing the size of the experimental hive is as simple as moving the thick follower boards on each side of the occupied frames in the hive. A smaller hive allows the bees to keep that smaller area more easily warm for raising brood which means that they will use less energy, which means they will be less stressed.
The young hive now occupies a much smaller area in the experimental bee hive
You can see the two follower boards in the above photo because they sit up above the height of the many frames on either side of the occupied frames. The colony now has a spare empty frame on each side of the occupied frames. From observing various bee hives over the past few years, my gut feeling is that a lot of the problems that we inflict on the European honey bee are a result of over harvesting of the honey. We simply have too great of an expectation of the European honey bees productive output and that places the species under considerable stress.
The healthy looking but still very young experimental bee hive
A number of commenters have asked me about the sort of flowers that the European honey bees enjoy at the farm. Rather than repeating that information here and there amongst the various blog entries, I have added a page on this blog devoted specifically to that subject. If anyone has any suggestions regarding that page, please drop me a comment. The page can be found on the right hand side of the blog by clicking on the text: Flowers that European Honey Bees like at the Farm.

The fruit trees this week have just started to produce ripe plums. Not only are plum trees the hardiest fruit trees around, they also produce delicious stone fruit. This week I picked the Angelina plums:
Angelina plums became ready to pick for fresh eating this week
Tonight a storm rolled through the Victorian central highlands and after a day where the temperature in the shade was just shy of 37’C (100’F), the temperature outside now at about 8.30pm is an enjoyable, overcast and very cool 17.3'C degrees Celsius (63.1’F). The house is wide open to receive that cool evening air and the birds are singing to each other outside! So far this year there has been 1.8mm (0.1 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week's total of 0.0mm (0.0 inches). Hey, don’t laugh I really enjoyed that small amount of rainfall when it arrived, but I've become so used to the heat that I'm starting to shiver now in the cooler night air!

75 comments:

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Just to emphasise the different views in different climates; I would regard it as heaven to tread on leaves that crunch. I loath plastic but it often seems to be unavoidable.

Still raining here. 2/3 days ago (I forget which) there were orange clouds in the sky and I mean orange; they were the colour of oranges. I have never seen this ever before.

The photo of the plums had me salivating.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, we've all got our tales of shoddy (Now there's a nice old fashioned word that has had a recent resurrection) ...stuff. I'm sure you'll hear a lot of them, this week. The things that come immediately, to my mind, are garden tools. Or clothes you buy where every button has to be replaced.

Well, I'm lucky. There's plenty of sturdy old tools I find abandoned in the weeds, or, in the sheds. If I go to removal or estate sales, I always check around for good old tools. Most of my clothes come from the thrift stores, where someone else has already replaced or reinforced the buttons. I broke out my "going to town" winter coat, a couple of months ago. Bought it years ago, at a thrift. I always have people comment on how fine it looks. $3.

A related topic is ... poor engineering. The two things that come to mind are water taps. Used to be, if you had a leaky faucet, you just removed one screw and replaced the washer. Even I could handle that. Now, the whole unit must be replaced. How's that for planned obsolescence, at great expense. Another example is florescent tubes. After years of changing tubes in retail outfits I worked for ... those tubes with the two prongs on the end that are so hard to line up and fiddle around with (while balanced on a ladder), when I moved into my retail space in Centralia, I discovered the tubes were an old style single button, that were spring loaded. So easy to instal. Who decided, somewhere along the way, that the two prong tubes were the way to go? I had a devil of a time finding tubes, but finally had my local hardware store order me a case. I told you about my wrangling with the tubes in my kitchen fixture. Which didn't work. But I still wonder if the unit is truly bust, or if I just haven't positioned the tubes quit right?

Your tomatoes look wonderful and you ought to have a bumper crop. Lots of good eating, there.

Since I've been reading a bit about fungi, when I saw the picture I wondered, is it good to eat? Wonder what it tastes like? It actually looks a bit like a fungi that Paul Stamets (Fungi Perfecti) was hunting, by boat, up on the British Columbia coast. Cures cancer, or something. There's a short vid on YouTube, about his hunt. Lew



rabidlittlehippy said...

These things come in three's. You're done and dusted now and the gremlins will move on to wreak their havoc elsewhere. Wise idea to avoid the zombies too.

Love your tomatoes and envy you your plums. What a lucky little pin oak too. I bet it's feeling the relief of being protected and fed too.

Here's to hoping that bushfire conditions ease soon for WA, the surf coast and anywhere else still burning. With the state already tinder dry though, it's a scary season ahead. Glad your sprinklers are all in top working order.

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

After I had multiple plastic sprinklers of the first type you show break, several years ago I found and bought an all-metal sprinkler of that same type. It's still working. If I have to buy any more sprinklers after this, they will be of metal construction!

Do you have to use a pump to get up enough pressure to run the sprinklers off your water tanks? Or are they tall enough for gravity to do the job? The disadvantage to the low, wide water tank I have is insufficient pressure drop to run sprinklers. So I feed it to the garden by hose and hand-water if I water out of the tank.

Speaking of plastic tools that break: the folding pruning saw that Mike got me for a birthday present several years ago broke the last time I tried to use it. Apparently a pin that allows the blade to stay in place when it is extended fell out. Grrr. Maybe I can find a better replacement, hope so.

We had a bit of snow, about 3/4 inch or 2 cm, a couple days ago. The low yesterday morning was 7F. The high was only 18F. I stayed inside all day. But if I needed to go out, I have the right coat, hat, mittens, etc. for it. As with everything else, it's all in being prepared with whatever is needed. (And after that, imagine how happy I'll be when spring arrives!)

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

I enjoyed the bee flowers immensely. Just viewing them, without even trying to categorize them into, "this would work here, or that would work there" with my own garden in mind, was a great pleasure.

It must be eerie to have falling leaves in the summer. Then, I guess you all are used to that? Oh, yeah! Dust on everything! That is us here in the summer because our house is set below a dirt road, but our soils stays fairly damp. Your "wild" soil is looking REALLY dry. You have done very well with your water conservation, though.

I have found that fluffy egos get plucked fairly often. Let that be a lesson!

No, I was not aware of the Dalyup fire. What a horribly massive smoke cloud. Truly terrifying.

Baby tree rescue! Add that to koala rescue and baby kookaburra rescue and, probably, Toothy rescue (who would be surprised?).

Are you still having trouble with deer?

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

If Nell is still misbehaving, consider finding out if she has a urinary tract or bladder infection. Sometimes that causes fastidious kitties to do their business in odd places.

I have ordered fungi from Fungi Perfecti before.

@ Inge:

Do you think that anyone near you took a photo of your orange clouds and put it on the internet? I would love to see orange clouds.

I loathe plastic, too, especially to eat off of or drink in, but I can't deny that it has its uses in some cases.

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Thanks for that. I've never seen the Chaser, but remember Chris Taylor and Craig Reucassel from their JJJ days. How funny was their G20 stunt?: Chasers APEC Motorcade Stunt FULL . How they were not arrested is way beyond me...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Vicki,

Welcome to the discussion.

Thanks, you can never have too much water storage - and you never know if you are able to use it or not. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Hmm, it isn't really about sending a message, it is just that the guy doesn't even speak the same language and I reckon he'll be back sooner or later. Some problems actually go away, this one I don't believe it will so that is when I know I have to act.

Yeah, they clearly didn't want trouble, you didn't want trouble and everyone knew where they stood. Some people just want to push at boundaries, but if limits get exceeded then they really are more or less taking from others. It is complex and I reckon as a society we've spent an awful lot of time and energy trying to avoid having to deal with each other. People are anonymous in cities, but not so in rural areas.

Well that is a different take on the world, and it certainly isn't out of the realms of possibility. The funny thing about long walks of that sort is that you head off thinking you'll have great ideas and then your brain really takes a holiday. It is very mentally relaxing and physically demanding. How do you reckon you'd cope with weeks of long walking on that trail? Have you ever been on a multi-day walk?

Beau is lucky to have a companion in you as you take his preferences and the weather into consideration. I reckon getting crunchier is part of getting older. ;-)! I try not to worry about things like that - easier said than done though - but we only really have a finite time on this planet and I was contemplating this yesterday because I had to go and see the doctor because I've got a tiny cholesterol spot under my eyelid which had been annoying my eye. I guess it's sort of like the sprinklers here, they've been out in the sun too long and after a while they start breaking down! :-)! I accept that there is an end point to all of this. It's all good.

What? Wow, naughty Beau. Was it a warning nip or a serious back off sort of a nip? Good to hear that a balance has been restored in that relationship. The editor tells me that fluffies are independent thinkers and it does sort of sound from your description that Beau is a fluffy! :-)! Hehe! You can do worse than an independent thinker.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Cats like to mark their territory, so who knows what Nell was thinking? Sometimes they go through phases too? Dunno. It is a very distinctive smell isn't it? You could do worse than being the crazy cat dude? Some friends already call me - affectionally the crazy dog dude. ;-)! I call them the crazy cat dudes, so everything is cool and in balance. But I hear you!

Well, you would know more about such things than I, so I'll take it under advisement. I went to a Mormon wedding once were they brought out what the editor and I thought was red wine (Thank God! :-)!), but alas was quickly found out to be black currant juice. They kind of scared the editor and I because during the public ceremony they kept using the "eternal" word to describe marriage, but you'll be pleased to know that they divorced a few years later. Other than that Mormons are very rare down here. My gut feeling is that multiple wives seems to be a slightly greedy ambition and would be a very socially complex situation.

The PETA thing was funny. Well done them. I have a love hate relationship with that lot as they have done a lot of good, but their stance on sheep mulesing was not good for sheep as fly strike is a real risk and the common house fly is as much an introduced species here as is the sheep itself. I reckon it was one of those times of short term pain for a long term gain... Dunno...

I reckon the further away representatives are, the more remote their relationship to the community they're meant to represent becomes. Most of the land management laws that relate to here arose from people living in urban areas - which are deserts, but you know, that is the world we live in.

Your landlord is possibly incorrect in that view. We have licensing here for the owner and the weapon and if you want one, all you have to do is apply for both. It is not like it is hard. Generally, automatic and military style assault rifles are not available - although I have read in the newspapers that there is quite the underground market for such things. Dunno, it is a balancing act where no one is happy and that's when you know things are sort of working out more or less.

Well I can actually top that story, because if you are worried about some of the people in your area, mate have I got news for you: Sunbury bushfires: Alleged arsonist caught on camera before blazes lit, court told. He was out on bail... Not good. At least the law will deal with him.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Exactly, that is what the editor reckons too. I may need to get a very large dog in the future?

Hunting is a tough one and I'd probably leave that guy well alone (as you do). The other thing is that unless you know the people involved and know that they won't take out every single animal they come across, the whole thing is off limits. The birds and animals get a hard enough time from humans I reckon they need every bit of help they can get. I don't mind hunting as long the people are prepared to eat the animals they kill, it is way better than factory farming in my mind. But also so many people want the hunting bit, that they forget that there is this whole other side of property taxes and land stewardship functions as well. It is a complex issue no doubt about it. It disturbs me a bit that nowadays a lot of people seem to want: all benefits and no cost, and I have no idea at all how that narrative became acceptable to the community? Dunno.

Glad to hear that the vet bill wasn't too high - they can be a bit scary and if I have to take my lot to the vet, they go to the next town over which is much larger. Up this way with some businesses you can get special locals prices (and that is not a good thing for local business long term).

That sprinkler is a shocker.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

The reed bed idea is a good one and they do actually work - I've seen swimming pools and ponds using them. It may not appeal to people because it is not technical enough?

Your wicking beds look awesome! Some locals use them and they swear by them. You just have to remember to top up the soil with fresh soil as the salts may build up in the system.

No don't be stressed, the walnut and other fruit trees will get much hardier by their third years and you can ease the water back as time goes on. Well done with the walnut! One of my two pecan nut trees died

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I hear you about the crunching leaves. You have had so much rain in your part of the world. That is a worry and I hope that the forest is OK? You'll know there is a serious problem when the old trees in low lying swampy areas fall over - because it may mean that there tap roots have rotted? Dunno.

Plastic is a tough one to avoid and it is the biggest garbage headache here, but there isn't really that much of it (a very small bag every couple of weeks).

Wow! Do you have a photo or link to an Internet photo of the orange clouds? You may be interested to know that that usually occurs here when there is a serious amount of pollution (or some other sort of particle) in the air. Was it during sunset or sunrise?

Thanks, the plum trees are very hardy and very prolific! The King Billy plums are the next to pick and it is going to be 41'C (106'F) tomorrow, so they should ripen nicely. I am over summer.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Shoddy is an excellent old fashioned word, which has probably sprung up into use because of all of the shoddy rubbish that we seem to end up with in our lives? :-)! Yeah garden tools can be the worst of the worst. The last brand new one I purchased for my own use was a small fork which bent and broke on the first use. I now either buy high end hand tools (which I sometimes gift as presents - lucky them!) or seek out second hand items - which are amazingly cheap. A few years back I purchased an antique US made Kelly Axe and this thing is the business - the steel is amazing and it hones to a ripper edge. Beautifully made and very strong steel.

Yes clothes are a real issue too - I avoid any and all synthetics as they are hopeless. Your smoking jacket is an awesome story, I love it! :-)! Price means absolutely nothing in second hand stuff. I picked up a real deal vintage sheep skin bomber jacket a few years back for about $80 and nothing keeps you warmer than sheepskin. Glad to hear that your winter coat enjoys regular trips into town.

What? No way. The taps down here are able to be taken apart and the washers replaced - although the fancy style mixer units require little plastic individually manufactured for that specific mixer tap washers. Yeah, they're probably toast at some point in the future. I had to scrounge a second hand locally made stainless steel sink for this place because every other sink has these stupid basket things and the seals on them from my experience always fail and the sink drains out - which no one notices because I must be the only person in western countries to wash the dishes by hand... Oh the sink uses the old school rubber plugs - which are also not easy to find these days. The old timers used to use timber plugs on copper wash troughs. I remember the old copper wash troughs in houses but they have long since been dumped and you rarely see them nowadays.

Thanks, I'm hoping for 100kg (200 pounds) of fruit from them this season. They're starting to show a bit of blush which is so early it is scary.

I'm not really game to try as nobody down here knows anything at all about the local fungi. Paul Stamets is a fascinating speaker and I'll check out the video (maybe he was looking on the wrong continent?)

Oh, it is going to be 41'C (106'F) here tomorrow and then some rain! Glorious rain!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jesse,

Hope you and your family are well. This summer has been a shocker hasn't it? How is your place holding up?

Well, we can only hope and zombies make for very poor companions, that's for sure. :-)!

Thanks, I've let the birds enjoy more than their fair share of fruit this year, but they seem to be leaving some of the plums alone which is nice. They taste like sunshine too!

It has been a scary season and we can only do our best. Here's hoping for an early autumn.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thanks for your feedback and it exactly matches the experience here. What a lot of rubbish those things were. The house sprinklers are of the metal type and I've now replaced 2 of the 3 plastic sprinklers over the past few days - and am having a little bit of a problem with the third - because the manufacturers of the 1/2 inch valves seem to have reduced the size of the available thread than in previous years which means the sprinkler doesn't seem to work properly. All to save a few cents in the manufacturing process, I guess?

Yes, I have pumps (12V and 240V) on most of the water systems here and only use gravity on the chicken enclosure and the converted wood shed (power is a problem over there!). Gravity works fine for what you are doing, but you really need some fall. I have read in the past that the pressure for the average household tap is the equivalent of about a 70m (220ft) drop in elevation. For gravity systems I also use larger diameter pipes 1+ inch as it reduces the friction in the pipe.

What a nightmare! Garden tools are a real drama for some reason as they look the part but are just rubbish. I've had good longevity out of a long handled "Wolf Garten" pruning cutters - and they are expensive, but very good.

Brrr, that is so cold. Enjoy your winter and please feel free to accept some excess heat, we seem to have a bit too much of that down here. I look forward to reading about your garden. I'm putting firewood away at the moment! Go figure that one out...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thank you and I'm really glad to hear that you enjoyed the page and I'll try and update it as the season goes on. I might even include the first date that the bees explore their spring world?

Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't and sometimes every five years or so the trees go into flower and the whole forest smells of honey - it is beautiful, but very rare and I'm not sure what sort of a season triggers it because the last time it happened I was less in tune with the seasons. Oh well, maybe next time.

Yes, the fluffies do need to be brought low every now and then don't they? :-)!

How scary were the photos - the photo gallery is like watching a disaster film for me knowing that sooner or later it may be my turn?

Oh, the oaks were an experiment. I gathered a huge number of acorns from a botanical garden and simply threw them all over the place and then watched what happened - as I find them growing years later, I feed and cage them. They're beautiful trees and so hardy and shady.

Nope, I haven't seen the deer - they arrived at that time because the protein levels in the grass was very low before the serious growth phase of the year. Now they have to stick to the valley because there is not enough water for them to drink up here. But they did so much damage, so quickly. How are you going with deer?

Cheers

Chris

Coco said...

Your plums look lovely! Have you heard of Italian prunes? Some kind of plum that is delicious fresh and can be preserved as well. Popular in the Pacific Northwest. I´m going to look for some.

Finally stopped raining 2/7. Lots nicer walking the dog without the downpour. I´m sure the neighbors think we´re insane.

For intruding folk, we put in the gate. Seems to keep the people out, but their dogs still wander occasionally. Hopefully, the hound will discourage that. And we really need to fence the area.

Thanks for the bee page. I´ll use it as a reference.

orchidwallis said...

Hello again + Pam

It appears that orange clouds tend to appear over the sea (salt is involved). I found lots of photos on the internet but not a single one similar to what I saw. Most of the photos showed orange skies. What I saw was a blue sky with some fluffy clouds which were completely orange. Neither sunrise nor sunset, it was early afternoon.

I associate red skies with pollution and we get some fantastic ones.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - Yeah, I thought of a bladder infection. But how I'm going to get cranberry juice, or vinegar, down Nell, I don't know. She left me a shrew, on the porch, this morning. Hasn't done that in a long time. There are so many cats around here, that I think the pickings are slim.

I got a kit from Fungi Perfecti, once. But I had some ups and downs, in life, and it got away from me. Left it in the plastic, too long. It fruited, but not in a nice way :-). I'm going to give it a try, again, now that life has settled down. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Is a cholesterol spot something that can just be "buffed" off (have tools on my mind for some reason . . .)? I hope so; it sounds very uncomfortable. I think one of our dogs had something like that on his eyelid, but it never actually touched the eyeball itself, so we left it alone.

My husband has had business connections in Utah for many years and there are some very interesting Mormon anecdotes out of there. As for eternal marriage - you and the Editor are spot on with that: don't we cause each other enough trouble in the here-and-now?! Not knocking marriage, though; been married 35 years.

What is sheep mulesing? I have the same feelings about PETA. I supported them (with $$ even) in their early years, but they can get a bit dodgy sometimes now. They have done some incredible work, though.

Especially sorry to hear about your pecan nut tree as they are my favorite nuts, and take SO long to produce.

You may be over summer, but I'm afraid it's still over you!

We have always washed our dishes by hand except when our sons were small. I find it to be more efficient (even with 4 or more people living in the house) to wash by hand. My mother shakes her head at me sometimes because she is just not sure that all the germs are killed without that super hot water boost that a dishwasher gives. I tell her that I scrub them so hard that I have probably squashed any "bugs".

As for our deer - the hunting season has just ended. I was seeing a lot of them hanging about the place as we don't hunt. I expect they'll spread out more now.

That's a most attractive bee suit, as well as obviously functional - a real Keeper!

@ Anyone: At the moment I am somewhat tired from collapsing now and avoiding the rush . . .

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Seeing those plums reminded me that I need to get out and scatter bone meal in the Italian plum, thicket. It hasn't produced in quit awhile. But the guy who does my apple tree pruning (and has worked for a local nursery, forever) suggested the bone meal.

Haven't gone on any extended walks, in a long time. I get out and do a brisk walk up and down the road, every morning, after my back stretches. Odd that. I have one of those lumps under my eye lid, too. I thought maybe I got a bit of ... something ... under there that encapsulated ... like a pearl in an oyster :-). I ignored it til it settled down. It's quit small now, and not a bother.

Mormons are quit clean livers. No liquor, smoking or stimulants of any kind. No caffeine! They have wonderful teeth. :-).

Well, the pro gun people are against licensing or registration, as, you see, then the government will know who has the guns, when they come and seize them. Or, so goes the reasoning. I talked to my landlord, once, about getting a gun, through him (went no where, due to my inattention) and he asked me if I wanted a gun that could be licensed, or not.

Kind of related to the shoddy merchandise rift. Our local garden store lays on some high end Christmas ornaments, every year. Pricey. But, after Christmas, for a short time, they mark them down 20%. I stopped by and picked up three, for next year. Birds! But I had to laugh when I removed the tags. They're called "Olde World Ornaments", and have very nostalgic looking tags. Well, "Olde World" if you're from Asia :-). Made in China.

Was looking out the bathroom window about an hour before sunset, yesterday (never mind what I was doing :-). And I saw a possum, coming down the path from a tumbled down shop building. He stopped at the edge of the yard, got up on his hind legs (which I had never seen a possum do, before) sniffed the air several times and hot footed it back the way he came. I think he got a whiff of Beau.

Speaking of zombies, saw a trailer for "Pride, Prejudice and Zombies." Coming out next year. Ought to be a hoot, but I'll wait til I can get it free, from the library. From the same people who brought us "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter." Which was also a hoot.

Ah, Dave Bowie, died. I watched some of his songs on YouTube, yesterday. "Space Oddity", one of my favorites. I think the cover I liked best was the one by the astronaut, up on the International Space Station. Playing his guitar and free floating. I cried, something I'm not prone, to. If you run across it, the film "The Hunger" (1983) is worth a look. Bowie, Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon. Vampires! Has a ravishing musical soundtrack.

So. "Space Oddity" or "Rocket Man? (Elton John ... Sir Elton John :-). I think I prefer "Space Oddity." "Rocket Man", is fine, but a bit more Pop." "Space Oddity" is ... something else. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Here's the Stamet's vid on hunting the mushroom in BC. The connection to Native American pictographs, is really interesting. About 7 minutes. Lew

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtwzHY-7mXo

Jo said...

@ Lewis, most of my wardrobe is secondhand too - I have some very nice vintage stuff, and if the buttons do all fall off the shirt, it hurts much less when I have only paid $2 for it (mind you, then I sew them back on again). It's the t-shirts falling apart that really annoy me. I am transitioning away from t-shirts to a more sturdy shirt-based wardrobe.

@Pam, love it that you are tired of collapsing now:) I always feel that way at about the end of canning season..

@Chris, I'm with Lewis on reviving the word 'shoddy'. The whole 'useless stuff' thing makes me very angry, but it is even worse when necessary things (such as bushfire sprinklers) can't be relied on. You have at least been able to invest in the future with new metal fittings. Well done on the new tap. That kind of convenience makes all the difference. Does that make your homegrown tomatoes 'convenience food' now??

5.8mm rain here this week. Such a treat:)

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

Thank you. The plums and prunes are lovely and if they get enough sun ripening - they have an excellent taste. I wasn't aware of the Italian prunes, but that sort of makes sense. I grow a French prune here D'Agen and that is a very prolific tree. They would do very well in your hot summers, so I'd be interested to hear how they go at your place.

Possibly! Hehe! Oh well, you can't control your neighbours thoughts! Enjoy your rain and your dog walk too.

Yeah, you are probably right, and that sounds like a good strategy. I don't know whether I'll fence the area though - the expense would be massive. I'm investigating other actions right now and will know more over the next week or so. ;-)!

Thanks very much, that's great to hear. So many plants are heat and drought hardy. The bees are doing fine too. It is 33'C outside right now...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for the explanation. I've never seen orange clouds before either. Fascinating.

As an interesting, but related, side note: It does not surprise me at all that salt would be involved. The soils of Australia are quite old and they contain a bit of salt which is why over watering and clearing can be a major problem for farmers. The old theories used to suggest that the salt was from the residual minerals an inland sea - or from a time when the land was under water. The latest theories seem to be indicating that it may just have been from the slow accumulation of salt with the rainfall over a very long period of time. Interesting huh?

Did any of those theories state under what conditions the salt is taken up with the evaporating moisture in the clouds? Makes you wonder if it may happen more often? Dunno.

It is nice that there is a minor upside to air pollution. The bushfires here produce the most amazing sunsets. We have an old saying: Red sky at night, shepherds delight. Red sky in the morning, shepherds warning. I don't really believe it is too accurate here? What about your part of the world?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yes, I think that may be the case, although the doctor who was particularly uncommunicative, didn't suggest that option. Getting information out of him was like blood out of a stone - and I'm like a terrier for that sort of thing! I'm getting older, so things break down - that is how I sort of see things. How did we slip from eyeballs to stoic philosophy? ;-)! Poopy has one of those spots too, so I'm in good company.

I hear you. 21 years myself and am quite happy, but well, eternity seems to be quite a long time to me! Hehe! On a serious note, I don't believe I would want to live forever as after a while things would get rather dull and stale. The short time that we have on this planet really gives our lives a certain zest - Carpe Diem the old timers used to say! Oh! We've slipped back into stoic philosophy again. Must be something in the water today? It is is quite hot here today as it reached 41.6'C (106.9'F) outside in the shade and perhaps the heat has gotten to me? Dunno.

Well sheep stations have a lot of head of sheep. PETA got it into their heads that docking a sheep tail when they were a lamb was a problem. The reason sheep have their tails docked is because there are a lot of flies down here, and sheep may occasionally have poo dags on their rear ends if they have a tail which the flies breed in. The maggots grow in the poo dags and the health of the sheep is not improved by their wiggly maggot existence. I've had to trim the tail feathers off the Australorp chickens for much the same reason and that incidentally is also how Poopy the Pomeranian (who is actually a Swedish Lapphund) got his nickname. ;-)! It is the lesser of two evils really a bit of short term pain for long term gain. Sheep would never have evolved down here.

Well, the other pecan nut tree has tapped into the worm farm sewage trench so it seems to be doing quite well. With 300 fruit trees I've become very pragmatic about survival.

Exactly, I live in a state of mild anxiety when these sorts of days arrive... As I say, it is not the four legged creatures that trouble me, it is those pesky two legged hominids. ;-)!

Oh yeah, I hear you. Speaking of germs, you could freak your mother out by suggesting the truth that other species dominate her own body by a factor of ten to one... It doesn't pay to be too clean as it upsets our own internal balance of organisms.

Oh yeah, the bees would totally sting me for opening the hive. Mind you the editor was a few metres away taking happy snaps - for the readers benefit - and the variety I get nowadays are very gentle.

Keep your chin up - it is all hard, but the secret is that it takes a whole lot of experience to live with less. You can't simply fall into it.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Bone meal is a great idea and the trees will appreciate it. I used to work near a factory that used to make that stuff with a giant chipper and on hot summer days, the air used to be quite interesting. It probably didn't help that there was also a sheep skin drying (is tannery the right word) business nearby... Ah, the aroma takes me right back! :-)!

Mate, it is very hot here today, and the thunderstorm has moved to the east of here, so I decided to run the bushfire sprinklers and dump some water about the place just to cool it down a little bit. I'm sitting outside with the chickens in the orchard and it is just hot – even now at almost 9pm the cicadas are shrilling.

The wind was up today too and there were some very strong gusts and I noted that in the Port of Melbourne the Tasmanian ferry broke free of its moorings in the rough conditions. It is a massive ship too:

http://www.weatherzone.com.au/news/sprit-of-tasmania-ferry-damaged-after-breaking-moorings-in-rough-weather-at-port-melbourne/435576

Sprit of Tasmania ferry damaged after breaking moorings in rough weather at Port Melbourne

Walking is excellent exercise for your lower back - like swimming. Yeah, our bodies pack it in as we get older and you simply get used to stuff. I said to the editor that every day past 40 is a real miracle that we're even here! ;-)!

Hmmm, there is a middle ground in there somewhere, but I do salute excellent dental hygiene. I enjoy a drink in moderation and would be somewhat uncomfortable if that were not an option. Dunno. Likewise I enjoy a coffee in the morning. That belief system seems to be a hard sell for me. ;-)! I wonder what their thinking is?

Yeah, the licensing regime is strict down here, but then we had Martin Bryant down at Port Arthur kill 37 people with an assault rifle in one afternoon and we collectively decided enough was enough. Everyone paid an additional 1% of their incomes for that year to buy back any unregistered guns as part of a national amnesty. Sorry, just had to go and turn the sprinklers off. Bill Bryson noted in his travels here the irony that given we started as an off shore prison for the UK, we seem to be a mostly law abiding folk. Different folks and different cultures I guess. I am licensed and could get a gun and maybe I will in the future. Dunno. It is one of those complex questions and for the moment, I will see how things play out and act if I deem it necessary.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Olde world? Hehe - that is too funny. The editor keeps a good collection of Vogue Living magazines from way back in the 70's to today; it is like a time capsule. Back then up until the mid to late 80's, most things were manufactured here. Seriously, we had a huge manufacturing capability. I would have kept tariff’s high to protect those industries despite the ranting and raving of a few (well probably quite a lot, really) self-interested individuals. It has not done either us or your country any good to eliminate the manufacturing capabilities. I've been suspecting for a long while that such moves were made to cover up for the declining real wealth in the country by taking advantage of labour arbitrage between lower cost countries. It also has the added advantage of keeping paper money worth something in an environment of declining wealth by keeping inflation low. I suspect our policy makers actually have learned something from history. It is a policy with a short life span though. Oh! The hot weather today has put me in a decidedly philosophical mindset... :-)!

Say no more. My main toilet and bath actually faces a window looking down into the forest. It is quite serene, really. The wombats don't seem to care one bit! Beau would certainly scare off a possum. Toothy was quite the possum chaser when he was a young inner city whippersnapper. Up here he doesn't stand a chance, because the many species of owls destroy any possum foolish enough to pop their heads up! It is like a bloodbath out there in the forest at night. Oh, just forgot, last night I spotted a koala bear too. It is interesting that they are turning up more frequently. The local wildlife carer said to me that they have been slowly adapting to eating the species of eucalyptus here. Weird huh?

Oh yeah, what a hoot. I read that book at the insistence of a friend of the editor. Should be very funny. It is like Bridget Jones, in the 19th century, with zombies and sisters. :-)! Have you read it?

I know, I saw the news about David Bowie. RIP. No, I've seen the film, The Hunger. It is quite good, very dark for a vampire film, but aren't they all? It may surprise you to know that late last year, whilst I was at a clients, I sat through the entire - whilst working, mind you - back catalogue of David Bowie's. It was very extensive and he had quite the collection of songs and hits.

Well, you forced me to make a decision so I'll have to say that whilst I grew up on a musical diet of Elton John and David Bowie, I was more partial to the band Queen. But then I also like ELO (and I believe Jeff Lyne has agreed to play with the band again), and for an obscure Australian band from that era: Skyhooks - Living in the 70's is an awesome album. I used to live around the corner from Red Symons and I saw him at the local shops the day after his band mate Shirley Strachan died in a helicopter accident (it was around the time of 9/11) and he looked truly sad. Alright, I've dodged your question long enough: Rocket Man - because it was used at the end of the very irreverent television series "Californication". There you go! Space Oddity is good too. But then I listen to the latest releases too and enjoy them, so perhaps I’m not really much of a good guide to such things…

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

It is a lovely word isn't it and we do need to reclaim it. Shoddy!

You've got me wondering whether I should write about that very issue on the next blog as part of my overall strategy with things and systems? Dunno, it is an interesting topic though, isn't it? You wouldn't believe it by my trusty portable electric oven decided that it would pack it in today too. A very sad day for a trusty and well loved work horse...

Very amusing. :-)! Like it. How about "Fast food"?

How hot is it today...

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

In my part of the world it's: "Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky at morning, sailor take warning." It rarely seems to correspond with what the weather is actually going to do.

41.6'C - it's just been relentless.

Thanks for the sheep info. Hey, do you remember this sheepish fellow?
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2000268/New-Zealand-mourns-sheeps-death-Shrek-worlds-shaggiest-sheep-dies-17.html

That Spirit of Tasmania is one big boat!

It is a sad day that your envy-provoking oven is now kaput . . .

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@Inge:

You were so lucky to be watching when the clouds appeared orange. Thank you for searching the internet for some for us to see. The salt aspect is interesting.

@ Lew:

When our last cat, Tommyrot, had a urinary tract infection I gave him cranberry juice (made from simmering in water some of the dried cranberries we always keep on hand) in a syringe.I had to work really fast.

@ Jo:

I've been switching over to more shirts-with-buttons styles from my T-shirts because when I dry my T-shirts on the line they turn into bags. Who wants to go about looking like something one puts the shopping in? If anyone has advice on how NOT to turn T-shirts into bags, I'd love to hear it.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Re: The orange clouds. Maybe it's where the Great Pumpkin (Charlie Brown) hangs out, when it's not Halloween? :-)

We have quit the ferry system up north. Puget Sound, around Tacoma and Seattle. It's a State run enterprise. Seems like there's always an accident or two. One of the "tourist" things to do in Seattle, is to ride the ferry over to Winslow and back ... at night. It's about a 45 minute trip, one way. Seattle at night is pretty impressive.

No, I hadn't read "Pride, Prejudice and Zombies." But in an odd bit of happenstance ... our library, for some reason, has been adding a huge slew of older movies and tv series. I mean a real glut. I noticed on yesterdays list of new stuff, that there was "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter." Of course, a lot of the stuff I've already seen, so I'm agonizing over what I want to give a second go-around. Re-watched "Looking" (Nick Cage, 2009, Sci-fi) last night, and didn't realize, the first time around, that most of it was filmed in Australia. In the extras, the Director mentioned that for the plane crash scene, they needed an airport and an unused freeway. Which they found in Melbourne. I guess there was a new freeway that was due to open in a couple of weeks and they were able to use it, and trick out all the signage to look like Boston. "Julie and Julia" is sitting on my shelf, awaiting another look.

There was "something", across the road from my place, on the far side of the pasture. Every time I saw it, I meant to grab my binoculars and see what it was .. and then would get caught up in something else. My landlord was over, yesterday, and said "Oh, look, a dead deer. Wonder what killed it?" So, later on, well armed with a paper towel soaked in mouthwash, I hopped the fence to take a look. A doe. Legs looked unbroken and no obvious gun shot wounds. Still in pretty good shape, though the smaller animals had been at the hind end. Didn't turn it over, as who knows what's living in there. A mystery.

Oh, yes. "Queen." Another favorite of mine. Sir Elton John's "Daniel" was the spring and summer anthem the year I moved to Southern California. It was a time, for me, of a lot of partings. it exactly fit my mood (and, apparently, a lot of other people). Hearing it, always takes me back.

Well, off to the Little Smoke, today, and I have too many stops to make. May have to make another trip in, tomorrow. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

You have explained something that had always puzzled me, when you mentioned tree roots rotting. Large trees go down occasionally in the woods, coming completely out of the ground. I had noticed that there appeared to be no roots at all, now I know why, thanks.

We have the same 'Red sky at night...'. It can be either shepherds or sailors. It is very accurate here and I think that I heard once that it only really applies to the northern hemisphere.

I don't know why the salt functions vis a vis the orange clouds. They did appear over the sea.

I also wash dishes by hand.

Those who like to contribute to charities might be well advised to check on the salaries of their top people. I have been so disgusted by the gigantic amounts that they receive that I now restrict contributions to small local charities. I have been told that 'Medicin sans Frontieres' is okay.

I also would not knock marriage. I was married for 44 years, sometimes happy, sometimes not but always interesting. Not sure about eternal marriage but I do miss him.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Enjoyed all the flowers and I found that I grow many of the same here too. Sometimes surprising what the bees like and what they mostly ignore.

Many of my friends are such purists and only think you should plant native plants (other than food plants). I had sent them the last posting of Ecological Gardening about planting Osage Orange and everyone said well that was OK but really natives were much better. What's your opinion on that?

As Leo is mostly pit bull he can look very intimidating which can be helpful. We got him at a shelter. Lately it seems that 75 to 80% of the dogs at shelters are pit bulls or pit bull mixes. He had been there for ten months. We were lucky to get him as he was recuperating in a hallway and not in the kennel. He had gotten his foot caught in a run but never barked or cried so it was not discovered until he had partially chewed off one of his toes. He had to have the toe removed obviously. We asked some of the dog walkers who they would recommend and they said "Leo" and that was how we found him. We asked why he was there so long and the staff said he didn't show well - jumped up and barked a lot. People are rather leery of pit bulls so he got passed by.

So sorry about all your broken items. I agree at how shoddy everything is now. I have clothes that are decades old that are just fine but items purchased even just a year have holes and/or shrink.

Everyone here tells each other to stay warm as it's been very cold - below zero at night but I'll say stay cool to you.

Margaret

Damo said...

@Inge
I am sorry to hear about your husband. My grandmother passed last year at the ripe old age of 86 and I am sorry to say that grandpa (understandably) has not been taking it well. It is more than a year and he still breaks down at random times. I find it difficult to grasp how hard it must be, they had been together longer than some people live.

On last weeks ADR someone posted a youtube music video. It is a cover of "The Sound of Silence" by Disturbed. Good stuff:
Clicky clicky

In other media consumption news I just watched 99 Homes. It is blood boiling stuff to watch a stylised depiction of the outright corruption and theft that occurs in our lovely western economies. And yet I can't help but think if I ended up in his situation I would have taken the job. I think when people are drowning they will do what it takes to stay above water. It looks like Australia's belated GFC is coming and I do wonder how it will be handled.

The Oz stock market has taken a pounding the past few days. I structured my (very modest) savings to benefit from a declining Australian economy and the imaginary zeroes and ones 'earned' more than me today. A great result but it will most likely be wiped out tomorrow or next week. Volatility is the new normal, all I can do is weigh the risks and see where I sit in a year or two when I hope to buy my own patch somewhere.

To get back on topic, I despise the plastic junk that infests our lifestyles these days. Thanks to only just finishing uni, most of the stuff in the house is cheap chinese junk (TV, microwave, bed, etc) or purchased second hand from the Salvos / Gumtree. If old enough, the second hand stuff is almost always better. On the rare occasions I do buy something my preference is now always for second hand. Recently I have even tried my hand at building (chook tractor, computer desk and foot stool). Basic stuff, but I need to start somewhere!

@Chris
The motorbike is a 2005 CB900. Hornet and Spada. I bought it new in a previous, more flamboyant existence. It is a great bike, and although enormously overpowered to move just one person around it is still more fuel efficient than all but the smallest cars. Truth be told, I actually prefer Mrs Damos bike (the red one in the linked photo above). It is a 1989 v-twin 250 (Spada), has a light-weight aluminum frame and over 40hp (a lot for such a small bike). It is so nimble, has plenty of power and sips the fuel. Apparently Honda stopped building them because the aluminum frame was too expensive. Best not to think of the embodied energy! In a year or two I plan on giving my bike to dad and rebuilding the Spada to use as my primary bike. I see no reason why it won't still be working in 25 years with only minor maintenance, it is a solid machine and has only a couple of basic electronic components.

I nearly bought an XJ-900 once, which was shaft driven like your old bike. It was very smooth, although maybe a bit too heavy for my liking. I can see myself preferring a 'cruiser' style bike in my later years, although such a luxury might not be viable in the future.

In garden news, there are a few decent size zucchini now. What size do you guys let them get too?

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks for that, Inge mentioned the same saying in her comment, but I've never heard of the use of "sailor" instead of "shepherd" before. It is interesting, that the saying is still repeated but bares no relevance to the actual weather conditions at your place too! ;-)! The same thing is true here as well. It should red sky at night, lots of pollution in the atmosphere! Hehe! Oh well.

Funnily enough down here in the southern hemisphere the air pollution tends to be from either Indonesian, South American, or very rarely New Zealand volcanoes ejecting their particles high into the atmosphere. The other source is more or less constant summer bushfires, but other than that industrial air pollution is virtually non-existent. Over clear and cold winter nights, the skies are crispy clear and you can see the Milky Way as a filmy streak of light as well as the Small Magellanic Cloud.

The weather is slowly doing my head in... This article says it all: Parts of Victoria 43'C (109.4'F) yesterday and 14'C (57.2'F) today!. It is even colder here at 10.2'C (50.4'F) and believe it or not, I'm wearing my woolen jumper. I don't even know what to make of the weather here...

Go Shrek! We had a Shrek down here too only late last year and he well and truly outdid his evasive NZ counterpart - smashing the record in the process: RSPCA sheep gets massive fleece shorn in Canberra. That is huge!

Yeah, the Spirit of Tasmania is no small car ferry - the thing is massive! I've been on it a few times and really enjoy the journey, although I do have to admit that I have never felt seasick, which the editor has, unfortunately. The overhead photos show the car ferry at about a 90 degree angle from what is a huge wharf and jetty... I once read that the ferry which goes overnight (the cabins are very pleasant), and one hour out from the island of Tasmania the water was so rough, they had to turn the ship around and come back to Melbourne... Not good.

Do you ever feel a certain level of attachment to machines that have worked hard for you but eventually packed it in? I purchased a replacement oven this afternoon whilst I was in the big smoke. It is a lot bigger, but it doesn't quite feel as rugged and resilient as the dodgy oven it replaces. A sad day.

Cheers

Chris


Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Ohhh, that's good, I reckon you are totally correct in that assertion! :-)! 'Ware the great Pumpkin!

Accidents on ferry's are very rare here, but then traffic is quite light too. Oh yeah, Seattle at night would look quite beautiful from the water. Actually, from the photos the Seattle to Bainbridge Island ferry is pretty big although it looks to me like it has a shallow draught and isn't suitable for deep water.

Really, well the film should be quite funny. I personally wouldn't have read Pride and Prejudice without the zombies because it didn't quite accord to my take on the world. Hope that makes sense. A lot of people reckon that it is a classic, but then I wondered to myself about the film the Princess Bride, which had similar themes and a whole lot of people enjoyed but I just sort of didn't get. Dunno.

Nicholas Cage is a great character actor. Have you ever seen the film "Lord of War"? Wow, what a film. Ah, the film was called "Knowing" here, but I've never seen it, despite the fact that it is local. The best local release of last year was clearly "The Dressmaker" which had Kate Winslet and Hugo Grant in it. The editor dragged me off to see that film in return for her attendance at Star Wars - such is life and the art of compromise. ;-)! Actually, I quite enjoyed the film, it was very good, dark and has been described as a gothic film.

Julie and Julia is quite good too. My understanding is that Julia Childs was less than impressed with the film, but I could be wrong about that.

Makes you wonder what sort of animal would kill something as big as a doe and then leave it? The next question is really why would that animal leave the doe? There is certainly mystery in there! What do you reckon?

Yeah, thanks for the ear worm! I had that song cycling through my head for about half an hour this morning! Hehe! It certainly was up there with the best of his works and I certainly enjoyed that song. Don't you think that it is interesting that some bards wax and wane in their skills - to my mind it looks like an inverted bell shaped curve. But it is not true for all artists.

Hopefully there was not too much ice or snow across the roads on your trip into the little smoke? The weather here has been totally crazy! If you get a chance check out the drop in temperature in the past 24 hours (in my comment to Pam).

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I've looked at those trees reasonably closely and the tap roots have always been rotten. From my experience it is the trees that are in the swampy conditions or have access to underground water that is close to the surface. The thing that is scary is that they tend to fall over on calm days after the wind / rain etc. has long passed by. It is interesting isn't it?

You are lucky that the saying applies to your part of the world. It totally does not ring true here because of the unusual conditions which I mentioned to Pam. The particles in the atmosphere do actually attract cloud formations though so rain follows bushfires and volcanoes... Do you happen to know where the saying originated?

Dunno either about the orange clouds. It is interesting though and it means something although that meaning may be obscured.

Excellent, not many do nowadays. The chemicals used in the dishwashers are a bit scary and no one seems to notice. Glasses washed in dishwashers feel funny and dry to my hands - almost like an irritant, but not quite.

Yeah, there has been a lot of that sort of thing going on down here too. I donate money to the Lost Dogs Home, because they do a tough job. You know, I sometimes get into philosophical discussions with collectors for charities on the street. It sort of starts like this: So what goals has your charity achieved this year? The last time a collector for Greenpeace - and no disrespect to them - was trying to tell me: Aren't you worried about the Great Barrier Reef. And I said to the collector: Yes, Aren't you? How do you think this whole experiment is going to be fueled without fossil fuels. He eventually said he felt sorry for me... And I still don't know what he meant?

Oh, that is really sweet to hear. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

I found this site whilst looking for a decent charity to donate to:
http://www.givewell.org/charities/top-charities
Their methodology seems sound and I like the ranking system. They also talk about if a charity has enough money and thus not capable of efficiently spending any additional funds. CEO/admin expenses are itemised where the data is provided. One expects those that don't comply have something to hide?

I ended up donating to Living Goods and Give Directly, but can't comment to their effectiveness.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Exactly, it is hard to know which flowers the bees will enjoy. The thing that interests me is that the flowers that the European honey bees ignore are an excellent food source for many other different insect species. Do you find that to be the case? Glad to hear that you are growing many of the same plant varieties. It is hard to know what to grow and it has been more or less trial and error for the past couple of years, but the flowers in the photos are so easy to propagate and they are all over the shop here. The bees are discovering the mints and agapanthus flowers right now and they're really enjoying them, but it is hard to know in advance what to grow.

That is a hot button - totally loaded - ideologically driven concept! Elephant stamp for introducing it! Well done. The whole native versus exotic argument is one that I studiously avoid, whilst getting on with the job at hand of providing food for myself and all of the other denizens here. If people took the bigger picture - which they never do - they would be aware that an ecosystem is not a fixed collection of species but a mobile tug of war between a massive amount of species. People have a very unusual fixed idea in their heads that ecosystems should look a certain way, and it bears no relevance to the actual lived experience.

If it means anything to you, the Aboriginals rarely concerned themselves with such human constructs. They traded Solanum (potato and tomato eg. nightshade) family plants up and down the continent. Cabbage tree palms were planted as far south as they can reliably grow as just another example. My gut feeling is that we use such an argument to somehow present humans as a separate entity outside of the world of nature, but I don't really understand the origin of those sorts of thoughts. All I can tell you is that wombats and wallabies really enjoy French Sorrel. They will go anyway on the farm to eat my collection of those plants - and I ask you is that a bad thing? I tend to ask people with those sorts of thoughts: So what was the origins of the plants and animals in the most recent meal that you ate? Plant whatever grows - we are late in the moment to be having such arguments.

Leo is a keeper! Some of the dogs in shelters here are apparently dosed up on anti-depressants to ensure that they show well.

Yeah, it is hard to know which items will last and which won't. I finally fixed the third bushfire sprinkler this evening.

Thank you. It is cold here today - down into single digits!!!! Brrr!!!! There is a link to an article on the craziness that is the local weather up above in Pam's comment reply.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Thanks for the music link. I really enjoyed that, it was a very good cover. Very stirring stuff. I grew up listening to Simon and Garfunkel's double LP: Concert in Central Park. An excellent interpretation.

Oh yeah, I saw that film a few weeks back too! Oh my, what a story and didn't the people look like stunned mullets when the hammer finally fell on them? Coming to a street near you was what I was thinking. Well, I can answer that question because after being made redundant from the public service which I thought was a very secure place, I had to take a job doing debt collection for the next four years because it was either that or join the 10%+ unemployed. Nothing teaches you about the human condition like that particular job. The share market is certainly taking a dive. I've also noted that quietly it looks like the laws relating to investing super in start-up businesses is being quietly changed - if anyone cared to notice - and that seems like a good way to be fleeced of your funds.

Well done and a wise move. I stick to cash deposits now. My understanding is that the share market has reversed two and half year’s earnings over the past week or so... Dunno, I'm certainly not offering any advice.

Exactly, some of the second hand stuff is amazing quality. Do you know, I bought a couch right at the end of the furniture manufacturing days down here - and this poor couch I have done everything to it, including using the pillows to lie on in the clay here to clean out the stump holes whilst constructing the house and did it get dirty or what? But the couch is in almost perfect condition (after a bit of a clean). So, all I know is that it doesn't have to be this way, because I've seen better. Mate, I hear you!

Of course, the raw materials are all pretty good, so that is an outstanding response. That is the same reason that I build all of my sheds from scratch rather than buying the el-cheapo sheet metal rubbish sheds. So much of the stuff is like that.

Very nice bikes. Is that a single (or twin) and a four cylinder? Thanks, it's a twin. The twin would be very lightweight and manoeuvrable. You know, I'm showing my age, but I reckon that bike replaced the old Honda VT-250 which was grenade like - quad cam V-twin sort of gives that feeling. I rode a Suzuki Across for a bit which was like sitting on a sewing machine crossed with a super bike - I loved that four, but it always felt a bit top heavy. Plenty of 250's are still cruising around. Sometimes I wonder about all of the electronics and fuel injection on bikes nowadays. My mate has an Aprilia (dunno if that is how it is spelled) and the engine management computer has an intermittent fault, but because the model is rare, the cost of replacement exceeds the value of the bike. Also because it is rare, there is no scrap value... It is a conundrum.

Yeah, the old (and newer) XJ-900's are meant to be bullet-proof. Simple, rugged and reliable. Plus shaft drive - is nice! The Xv-750 (it was an 82 by the way) was a lot of fun and I just didn't have to care about road presence, because the beast had it! It was sooooo loud and even occasionally backfired just because. Plus I could work on it due to the simple nature of the components. It was eventually sold to a wrecker as the next owner - whom I knew - couldn't maintain it. Sad.

The audacity of huge (silly music reference - sorry, but it was a good song)! That's how big. As long as the skin is not broken they stay fresh in the kitchen over winter til at least spring. You cut off whatever you want to eat. And then you plant whatever is left over - you'll know it is ready to plant when it starts to go mouldy. ;-)! I only worked that out last year, so I'm still in the test phase, but it does seem to work... And I kept them on the bench.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo and everyone,

Great photo too and in case anyone missed out here is a picture into Tasmania: Vale of Belvoir

Enjoy!

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

the red sky at night... was already written down in a 1395 version of the bible. Anything that has been quoted for so long could well have some veracity. Oh dear! I can see that a statement like that could lead me into all sorts of trouble. Before I am gunned for it I'll admit that I am already doubting it.

I think that the greatest thing about a long marriage or any other long relationship, is the shared history. The longer one lives the fewer people are left with whom one can share this. I am down to my sister and 3 remaining childhood friends, if one considers a lifelong relationship.

The stock market: I have played it for nearly 40 years and am happy to offer general advice.

1. It is GAMBLING

2. Never use money you might need. To have to sell because you need the money is not good. The money you initially use has to be play money. I would say at least £10,000 of this. Afterwards, only use money that you have made in the market.

3. It then doesn't matter that much whether indexes go up or down. In the long term you will tend to be okay unless everything that you have bought goes bust but that would suggest a lack of common sense.

4. Some time and study is advised but pay no attention to experts.

I bear the above in mind and have played (reasonably successfully) for fun.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Stock market: I forgot something important. I first played in theory for 1 year using the Financial Times. This requires total honesty with oneself. I have known people to do this who only notice their successes and ignore their failures.

I only buy stock listed in this country; occasionally they get bought out by a firm from another country, then I usually get out.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Damo:

That was a fantastic rendition of the Sound of Silence! That guy has some voice!

The Archdruid has reminded me that we mourn the loss of the Starman. RIP, Mr. Bowie.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

Good for you and your plants of all nations! How can people think that we must adhere only to what (who) is already here? I was going to ask - but Chris brought it up - what about tomatoes and potatoes?! What about the gluten-free grains? They come from all over the world. Darn, I wish we wouldn't be such hypocrites. Pardon my language.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I think I didn't tell you our road maintenance arrangement. When someone moves on to this private road, they sign a very simple (and maybe not legally binding - no-one's ever tested it) agreement to pay a yearly fee (which we sort of all agree on, barring the occasional small skirmish) to go into a jointly-held bank account, administered by the neighbor least able to say no. The aforementioned hapless administrator then has to determine what needs to be done to the road, and when, without making anyone mad, or asking for an increase in the yearly fee. The ADR's farm town street corporation reminds me a bit of this. There is also a clause in the agreement that no-one - already present or incoming new neighbor - is allowed to build any driveway or permanent connector to the road without the unanimous agreement of everyone signed onto this document. Thank God our friend Gene, the first person to build up on this road, set that last part up because when a family (Homeland Security's own - I mean it; that's where his pension comes from) bought the undeveloped property across from us and immediately set up a 24-hour shooting range and motocross track we were at least able to prevent them from ever being able to build a driveway. They have to access their land from way over on an unapproved side. Sheesh.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@Chris and Margaret:

And what about our wild white mulberry trees? They were brought over in 1614. Is that long enough to be considered native? I see that The Powers That Be consider them to be an invasive species. May all their apricots have worms and may there be no white mulberries to eat when that happens. GRRR . . .

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Ginger for sea sickness. Or, any kind of nausea. Tea or candied ... everyone likes candied ginger! :-)

Every once in awhile, I go on a jag of reading "Classics I've Somehow Missed Along the Way." Tried a bit of Austin, and couldn't quit get it. I do like some of the dramatizations, that have been done, over the years. I'll keep an eye out for "The Dressmaker".

Who knows what set Julia Child off, about Julie's blog. Well, Child was over 90, at that time, and probably a bit cranky. She also didn't like all the F-bombs thrown around. Thought Julie didn't really learn anything from the whole experience. Maybe thought she was being "used" a bit. And, I wonder if, perhaps, she didn't resent having her and her husbands personal life hashed out in other media, that she didn't have any control over.

In an interesting (to me) sidelight, Julie's husband is (or was) an editor for Archaeology Magazine. I check their website, daily, for the archaeology news that I'm interested in.

I thought maybe the doe was hit down on the highway, that is threw the woods and down the hill. But, no evidence of that. No, I don't think another animal was involved. Maybe sickness, or, a bad birth ... though any evidence of that was long gone. She was also near where two fence lines come, together. Maybe some misadventure, involving that.

Native plants vs introduced plants. Well, the way the climate is changing, I think the more variety you have, the better. And, I like moving native plants closer to, or into the yard. Wild roses ... Oregon Iris. I have high hopes for the scarlet columbine I collected, last year. I collected about half the seeds from the little patch I found, and left the rest to do what comes naturally. I always check the internet to see if what I've found is a endangered species. If so, I would leave it alone. But that hasn't happened.

I haven't said much about our weather, lately, as it's been pretty typical. "Nothing to write home about." :-). It drizzles, mists ... a few spots of sun, here and there. The night time temps are about normal ... and daytime highs not unpleasant ... if you bundle up a bit. Maybe it's a bit warmer, for this time of year. But no bulbs popping out of the ground.

When I went out to give my chickens their afternoon treat, yesterday, two of them were out of the run. I've learned not to chase them down, but just to let them run around outside the pen, contemplating how their sisters get treats and they don't. All were safely back in the coop. Broody hen, was only broody for three or four days. She didn't get in a rut. Comes out with all the other chickens, in the morning, and I don't catch her lolling around the nest boxes in the afternoon. Egg production is ticking up a bit. I'll feel better when I get a good, solid 2 dozen, a week. Lew

Damo said...

@Inge

Good advice on the stock market and I pretty much agree (for all my opinion is worth in such matters). I would also add that, depending how far into the 'doomosphere' you venture, even leaving money as cash in the bank can be thought of as gambling. Banks have failed in the past and will fail again. It is true that Governments move heaven and earth to get depositors money back (don't want anyone losing faith in our precious banking system after all), but sometimes it can be several years or longer for this process to play out (e.g. foreign depositors in Iceland).

In Australia there is another hidden cost that many seem to ignore. Over the past 5-10 years Australians have got used to cheap imports, so much so that we don't really build anything anymore. Even the majority of processed food seems to come from China (via a 'made in New Zealand' loophole).

The currency has already fallen 30%, but many retailers have absorbed this (unintentionally revealing how much middlemen clip from the system??). There is a better than even chance it will go down another 30%. People could find their cash holdings have taken a significant hit with no locally manufactured alternatives.

Investing can sure be stressful. Looking forward to when I just have to worry about if I will grow enough to not starve! :p

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Exactly. The saying has been tried and tested in the real world to find that in your section of the world it comports with reality. :-)! I suspect that long after you and I are the stuff of soil, that saying will still be heard about the traps.

Oh yeah, that is a very astute observation. It is also the reason that I personally find the concept of an eternal existence to be even more disturbing. The biosphere eventually reclaims all that she owns - even the very worst of our pollution shall one day pass. I reckon that is a good reason to live lightly on this planet and enjoy the flow of life. ;-)

Thanks for the good advice. Oh yeah, it is gambling from my perspective too. I tried a bit of day trading for a while and after a very short period of time, I woke up to find that I was gambling and then faced some tough internal questions and soul searching. It was a good experience to have faced and learned from.

The remainder of your advice seems all good to me. From my reading of economic history some of the news items are best to be ignored for they mean you no good.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yeah, RIP Mr Bowie, he was an outstanding Bard. I liked the song Changes too. Sometimes I find myself pondering his words:

And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're going through

I reckon we're a lot like that. We here look out at the world and think to ourselves, my this is strange isn't it? And then get on with the jobs and tasks that we know we have to do. :-)!

And Damo brought up the very real and interesting topic of the hypocrite last week, and I reckon the song puts it to its rightful end too:

So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I'm much too fast to take that test

Oh, I do hope that we're not getting a bit maudlin here? Hehe! Never shall the fluffy fail - of course until it fails... But til then, let's march onwards and see what is around the next bend in the road! :-)!

Thanks for sharing your experience of how that complex and difficult matter is addressed. Well, if it means anything to you, I suspect that Federal pensions will eventually pass much like the dinosaurs. I would be filthy if a neighbour had applied to set up such an enterprise. Has anyone ever asked whether there is an economic demand for those sorts of services on a 24 hour basis? I've travelled quite a bit of the undeveloped parts of the world and I can tell you that people there would have been quite surprised and gobsmacked by such a venture!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

The situation is even worse here because few people thought to ask the Aboriginals what was and was not edible in the country. Very few Australian plants are considered western foodstuffs other than the Macadamia nut trees (I have two of them growing ever so slowly here). Of course you are correct and the whole situation is just strange.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Oh yeah, how good is ginger? I love that stuff and have some ginger roots happily sprouting on the bench top in the kitchen right now. I'm tempted to plant the tubers in the only guaranteed frost free spot on the farm - which also has a very sad looking tea camellia and coffee shrub, but a very healthy looking babaco? Dunno, the editor has other plans to convert the tubers into a tasty ginger wine, so I'm kind of torn on the whole matter. It is complex! ;-)! Exactly too, ginger is very good at settling the constitution. Mint works very well too - and I recommend that species of plant whole heartedly for minor tummy upsets. Candied ginger would be very yummy, although I've never personally seen it. I've also read that candied Angelica is also quite nice - at least that grows here.

Austin was a very difficult read for me too. Without the zombies and other general silliness it would have been a very hard read. It smelled to me of a rescue fantasy and I was sort of repulsed by that theme, but then it was also the 19th century and it reflected the social mores. Because it is a classic - people will probably be rather alarmed by me just rabbiting on saying whatever comes to mind... I reckon that story has been repeated time and again over the years and that is probably why I mentioned the Bridget Jones Diaries - which I actually quite liked. It is complex! ;-)!

It would be rather remiss of me to only watch films that I suggested whilst ignoring the wishes of the editor, so there is always a bit of balance to the whole mix. Not everyone takes that view by the way, but I reckon that says more about them really.

If you can't be cranky and proud about it at 90, when can you be? I reckon that Julia Child probably earned the right to that one!

Well, that is another example of the six degrees of separation isn't it? Have they found any interesting Roman ruins recently?

The forest can be quite a hard place to live. It is a mystery isn't it? It reminds me of the poor Koala bear that turned up here - but had a growth in his oesophagus which was preventing him eating. Sometimes things just go wrong. Out of curiosity, what do you do with a doe carcass? It may attract animals such as coyotes? Dunno. It wouldn't last long here.

Exactly, the more diversity in your available choice of plants and the hardier those plants are to shocks in the eco-system then the more resilient your area will be. It always amazes me that some people like to imagine the environment as a fixed concept, when it has always been a very dynamic system. I imagine that the fixation on the fixed concept allows people to somehow ignore planning for the future? Dunno, but there is something in the heat you come across in those sorts of arguments - for they are never discussions. The whole thing is weird. I certainly don't expect the future to look like today.

Typical weather is a good thing and something to be celebrated. :-)! Bulbs won't be too far away now - perhaps a few weeks at best. I worry about the changing weather patterns more than any other issues.

You have excellent egg production and two dozen per week for the depths of winter is a solid result in anyone's language! Have your chickens recovered fully from their molt and are they all sporting a solid coat of feathers? You may be interested to know that the Wyandotte's here are looking a little bit patchy because of the molting!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Good for you. A lot of charities are so far removed from our experience that it is hard to know what is going on internally with them, so it is good to get some independent perspectives on the matter.

I reckon Hagbards Law comes into play in these occasions because communication in a hierarchy is a very difficult problem. I've seen in the corporate world some of the strangest pronouncements being issued about matters from higher up in the food chain. I've also seen firsthand the impact of top down management on budgets (expectations of future performance) and they've all left me shaking my head in wonder.

You are correct in your reply to Inge, because recently in Cyprus 10% of deposits were seized as part of the bailout arrangements.

The declining and very unfavourable exchange rate is from my reading of the newspapers, understanding and appearances leading quite a few very large companies to avoid paying the 30% corporate taxes on profits that they probably should be. A large component of the budget deficit appears to be the result of some unconscionably large superannuation benefits to a few beneficiaries, but also the loss of corporate tax income in recent years.

Once you understand that the main economic goal is the minimisation of the effects of inflation then the situation becomes a whole lot clearer.

To a certain extent our economy looks to me like a plantation model, where you have the guy in the big white house, an overseer class and an underclass. The job of the guy in the big white house is that he has to keep the overseer class happy - otherwise they side with the underclass and it is game over.

Dunno, but the fall in the exchange rate, combined with the decline in export revenues in addition to the recent falls in the stock market should certainly be setting off alarm bells in the top end of town.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Woke to a frost this morning, that will shock all the premature burgening (can't spell it) around here.

With ref. to a previous query, I don't have cliffs, my shore looks just like the river bank by that castle, only difference is that I have trees on the edge. There is a beach when the tide is out but it is completely covered when the tides are very high which is why people get cut off sometimes.

I believe that the philosopher Bernard Williams wrote about the boredom of eternal life.

@Lew

I don't like crystallised ginger!

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Well, I knew it was a sweeping generalization, upon re-reading it, this morning. LOL, I knew someone would pipe up. But, for those who would like to give it a whirl, you can usually find small bags of the stuff, in "health" food stores. Or, candy your own.

Yo, Chris - As far as weather lore, goes, there's an older book called, I think, "Weather" by Eric Sloane. Pretty much a primer on weather prediction. And, explores a lot of the old weather lore. Wonderful b&w pen and ink, illustrations.

OK. Here's the cover of Bowie's "Space Oddity", by the astronaut. From space. 5 minutes. Made me weep.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaOC9danxNo

Well, as far as zombie silliness goes, I spotted something new in our library catalog. "The Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse." Ought to be a hoot. That remark I made about maybe missing some of Simon Pegg's smaller indy films? Well, turns out our library had something called "Kill Me Three Times" (2014). Which also turned out to be another entry in the First Chehalis International Australian Film Festival. Pegg is a contract killer! It had quit a few twists and turns and a bit of humor, but not the usual kind of Pegg humor. Hmmm. I think it will have to sit awhile, before I can make up my mind about it. In the dvd extras, Pegg stated he'll never be let back into Australia, again, as in the movie, he shots Australian film icon, Bryan Brown :-).

Also ran across a Pegg film called "How to Lose Friends & Alienate People" (2008). All our library copies have either strayed or been damaged. If I want to see it, I'll have to go for an Inter Library Loan.

Well, not much happening on the Roman archaeology front, right now. The digging season is over. At least in the part of the Roman empire I'm interested in. Britain. Watched a new BBC series, last week. "The Detectorists." Two, slightly daft English fellows (and their slightly daft friends) who are metal detector hobbyists who hope to find the big score ... a Saxon ship burial. And, mostly find drink can ring tabs and buttons. I'm also wading through season after season of "Foyle's War." About a police detective, solving murders in War Time Britain. Quit good. Ah, I love winter, when I can indulge in dvds from the library, with a mostly clear conscious. :-). Cont.

margfh said...

Hi Pam,

White Mulberry trees are not a problem here as far as I know but I'll bet the restoration community would consider them invasive. As long as a plant/tree doesn't take over an area I don't think one should worry about it much especially if it's has some benefit for wildlife,is medicinal or edible. I imagine that the restoration community is subject to group think as we all are from time to time. Now buckthorn and garlic mustard ....

As Lew said it's probably a good variety of plants as the climate continues to change.

Chris,

I've had terrible luck with plums as they are the first tree the Japanese beetles flock to unfortunately. They like apples but stay away from pears.

Regarding charities, we only donate to small and local charities that we are either involved with or know very well.

Well I'm off to Chicago for a few days to take my aunt home from the hospital after her knee replacement surgery and care for her for a couple days. She did her other knee two years ago so I know what to expect and am not looking forward to it. A few weeks ago there was some discussion of getting along with family members. I guess I'm lucky - have a very big family but everyone gets along and helps out when the need arises. In fact I consider two of my four sisters my best friends. I know my aunt (she's only 8 years older than me so more like a sister) would do the same if I needed help.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Well, a flock of 15 or 20 crows (a murder of crows?) has found the deer carcass, and are making short work of it. Yesterday, a bald eagle perched on the highest limb, of the tallest fir tree, across the road. Just then, the sun came out and e was just lit up. Spectacular.

All the hens seem to have made it through molting and are looking pretty healthy. When I went out to give my birds their afternoon treat, two days ago, the transgendered partridge Wyondotte (looks like a rooster) had gone walk about, and took a buddy with her. I had learned not to try and run them down. Just let them languish outside the fence and observe their sisters chowing down on the goodies. All were safely in the coop by nightfall, and no one went walk about, yesterday.

Yes, I agree that viewing the environment as fixed, is, perhaps, rather foolish. And rather boring. Who knows why the scarlet columbine (a native) suddenly showed up. Or why the tansy ragwort (introduced) failed, mostly, to make an appearance, last year?

A couple of interesting internet headlines I saw. To be taken with a pinch (or a pound) of salt. Student loan debt has reached 1.3 trillion dollars ... and is growing at a rate of $2,000 a second. Walmart is closing 269 stores.

There was an interesting article about the "collapse of demand", which, apparently, not many people saw coming. I guess trans oceanic shipping is way down ... all though there's a lot of controversy over if that is true, or not. There were allusions to Henry Ford ... who was criticized for paying his workers so much ... $5 a day. Which he countered by observing if he couldn't pay his workers enough to buy his cars, he wouldn't be in business, very long. Collapse of demand, has also been tied to the low oil prices. Everything from more young people living in cities and not being very interested in driving to the shrinking of the new middle class in India and China. It's all very circular.

I don't know if it's at all related, but the store in Centralia where I buy my bulk stuff, as severely reduced their bulk bins section. I talked to a clerk ... they're only going to keep the top 40 sellers. So, they won't be carrying the long grain brown rice I use a lot of. Oh, I suppose I'll be able to scramble around and find a substitute. I picked up a pre packaged 5 pound bag at Safeway, for less than $1 a pound. But, I think I did that once before, and the Safeway stuff tends to boil over in the nuker, more readily. So much trial and error when things change. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Enjoy your frost. Well, they weren't really going to survive the winter, so it is probably no bad thing. It is interesting how the plants are just waiting to adapt to a shift in climate - the same thing has been happening here for the past two years now that I can recall and it appears to be getting more pervasive with each year. Did I mention before, that one particular nectarine failed completely to go deciduous this year and sort of just kept growing - no flowers, no fruit this summer and it looks quite healthy now.

Burgeoning is quite an appropriate word given the circumstances! Hehe. A little secret, if there are not too many comments in an evening I proof read them for grammar and spelling - so you can tell when I'm having to cut corners - when spelling and grammatical errors end up in the responses! ;-)!

Thanks for the explanation. I'm assuming that the forested edge doesn't get undercut by the actions of the waves? Or does it? Do trees occasionally fall into the ocean? I've noticed serious erosion along the coastline to the south west of here and I've been wondering about it for quite a while now. Unfortunately we build in low lying areas which probably isn't very smart. The funny thing is they have historical photos which show tidal mud flats and they are so long gone now...

Yes, I often wonder what those strange people longing for the singularity hope to do with their limited existences upon achieving their goal (which I think is a pipe dream, they have as much chance of that as people ever setting foot on Mars)? Makes you wonder really?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Just to chuck in a bit of dissensus, I actually really like ginger in all its forms and ginger snap biscuits are awesome. But generally here I turn the stuff into a wine which is very nice. The funny thing about ginger is that the locally grown stuff looks very different to the imported ginger roots. I can tell the difference from a distance.

Thank you for the book reference, I may check that out as I rely very heavily on radar, forecasts and the barometer a little bit too much for my comfort. The animals however let me know when it is going to storm too. Scritchy hides under the bed and I cannot remove her as she sneaks back despite barricades and all sorts of devious control mechanisms. The spiders climb onto the house. The wombats do a no-show. The ants build levee banks around their nest entrances. The birds start to really sing in the early evening. The kangaroos displace the wallabies in the orchard. It reinforces just how dull our sensory inputs can be and how much is going on that we have actually little to no idea about.

Again thank you for the link and I shall check it out after I have replied to everyone tonight. I heard a beautiful cover done on Friday morning by the very talented Sarah Blasko of the song: Ziggy Stardust, Blasko lent her incredible touch to one of the star's earliest breakthrough's, 'Life on Mars'. It was very good and live too. As a fun fact, I noticed that Sarah provided one of the poignant songs on the very final tear jerker episode of Six Feet Under.

I can't even imagine how the scout movement would deal with the zombie apocalypse! I guess it is all about the knots isn't it? Hehe! I haven't seen that particular film and hadn't realised that Simon Pegg was even in Australia - and more to the point why would he want to kill Bryan Brown (him of the old school character actor variety)?

Oh yes, I have seen that other Pegg film at the cinema and I really enjoyed it, although some of the content was complex from a social heirachy point of view and the character that Simon Pegg played had to struggle with the implications of that issue. Was it a fun film? I don't really know. It also had a thin reference to the original Point Break film which also ended up at the coast to the south west of here - although to my eye it looked as if it was somewhere else completely. Pines don’t grow at Bells Beach – nuff said… I understand that that particular film has recently been remade and I saw a preview for it when I went to see the Star Wars film and the plot had changed considerably...

On a serious note, was "The Detectorists" a serious journal of archaeological detectives or a spoof - or something entirely else? I do like your use of the word daft as it says so much about that show! :-)! I can't laugh as I've been landscaping today and have discovered an almost unlimited supply of broken glass which is now going to be transported to the nearest tip - which probably means that it will be shipped off to China for recycling and then returned as ... insulation! Seriously, when I put the glass wool batts into the house frame, it was almost like a dig as there was all manner of odds and ends sorts of things that were clearly unable to be melted down and repurposed. One of the more interesting things in the batts was a couple of old school ceramic telegraph insulators which have now been placed in the walls. Imagine the surprise of an archaelogist a millennia into the future upon discovering that ceramic item and wondering as to its purpose? What was it doing in that wall?

It was almost the perfect summers day here today so I dug earth all day to smooth out the ground around the recently repurposed chicken shed - which is now mascarading as a fire wood shed. I hope tommorow to put more firewood into the shed! Tired...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Sorry to hear about the Japanese beetles consuming your plums. Not good. Invasive species can be a nightmare if nothing eats them. The European wasps will consume any apple that has become over ripe and I once put my hand around a wild apple in these parts that was crawling with them. Strangely I wasn't stung which I was very pleased about! You know the funny thing though about the invasive species though? Sooner or later something will either adapt or turn up to eat them. Truly. A large population is like waving a red flag with the words: "Eat us!"! Hehe! :-)! The Portuguese millipedes can be a nightmare here, but over the past decade or so one of the local nematodes has adapted to eat the millipedes and whilst they're still around, I rarely see them in great numbers. They do actually perform a useful function of increasing the speed at which the cellulose in the fallen hardwood timbers are consumed and that speeds up the soil building process, so it is not all bad news. Whenever a species over extends its range and numbers, I reckon sooner or later something will turn up to eat it, especially as the resources that the expanding species relies upon becomes exhausted and the species is subject to stress - which makes it more vulnerable. That applies even to humans, I reckon. ;-)!

PS: I like white mulberry trees and they are very heat hardy once they're well established. Plus the ripe fruit is superb.

I'm with you on the charity thing, if I don't know them and their works, well, I don't know them... Local is always the best too.

I wish you all the best and I do hope that everything turns out fine. And I'm very glad to hear of your excellent large family relations. Respect.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

The Paul Stamets video was very good, and what a beautiful part of the world too. Absolutely stunning! By the way I grow Douglas Firs here and there is a rather large stand of the those trees up on the main ridge of the mountain range... Good pickup on the fungi and definitely worthy of an elephant stamp! :-)! I wonder what became of that field trip in Puget Sound?

Thanks also for the link to the Chris Hadfield / David Bowie cover. Very stirring stuff.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The sea does undercut the banks and trees do fall across the beach. The cause is probably the wash from the shipping. It is speed restricted but I am sometimes woken by the sound of a ferocious wash at night. On the other hand the land is moving towards the beach, so it is difficult to judge the interplay between the two.

Has anything taken to regarding cane toads as a gourmet treat?

Even greater frost this morning.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

All the very best to you on your adventure to Chicago to take care of your aunt. We have a very small family and I, too, occasionally have to venture to faraway places to help a relative who has come a cropper. I sometimes wish we were a larger family so that there might be more hands on board; that can have its disadvantages, too! Take care -

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

I get you with the the shared experiences among relatives and old friends. Even the most inane experiences can create a history that really forms ties to people. It helps us feel connected, and like we matter, which those very ties do indeed prove.

You have given the best, most concise advice I have ever seen for how to play the stock market. Thanks!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Thanks for those specific Changes lyrics. They really helped me.

@ Lewis & Inge:

I love candied ginger, both for the taste and medical efficacy. My husband hates it.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I put in an interlibrary loan on the "How to lose friends..." film. Don't know yet if they've unearthed a copy. Also, much to my surprise, another Pegg film "Man Up." Popped into the catalog, yesterday. It's "on order", so I don't know how long it will take to get into circulation. I'm number 2 or 3 in the queue, so as soon as they get it through processing, I'll be one of the first to see it. You might like it. It's a rom-com :-). Bryan Brown played a VERY bad man, in the film. Among many bad people.

"Life on Mars" is a zinger of a song. There's a series, running here, called "American Horror Story." The season titled "Freak Show" has Jessica Lang as a Marlene Dietrich type character (heavy on the German accent) who owns the freak show. "Life on Mars" is, kind of, her anthem. And when she launches into it, it just about blows you out of the tent.

I think there's a Scout's merit badge for surviving the zombie apocalypse :-).

Oh, the Detectorists is fiction. But based, I think, on the reality of mettle detecting. Lots of "dry holes." And, it's set in a small English village ... one of those places with a lot of quirky and interesting citizens.

So, why so much glass around you're place? Was it an old homestead, at one time? Find the old privy hole, and your likely to uncover a treasure or two ... or, at least an interesting old bottle. There's actually a formula for figuring out where the old privy holes were. Out the back door, so many paces ... then so many paces left ... or right.

Keep an eye on the duff under those Douglas firs. Seems a lot of interesting, tasty, edible mushrooms have an affinity for Douglas fir. Even truffles! It would be fairly easy to train one of your dogs to hunt truffles. There's a pretty good description of how to go about it in "The Mushroom Hunters." Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

People do tend to pretend their actions have no consequences or that it doesn't matter when it actually does.

Just out of interest, what do you mean by: "the land is moving towards the beach"? I'm not sure that I understand.

Cane toads are a problem, no doubt about it and respect for asking about that issue. Eventually something will eat them, but for now they are spreading southwards. You may be interested to know that some native species the Quoll (which is a marsupial cat) has adapted to the presence of the cane toads in some parts of the country: Queensland quolls averse to cane toads to be bred with toad-eating Northern Territory cousins.

Quolls used to live here in this range before the 1983 fires and they probably could be re-introduced. The last sighting of one was in the early 90's here.

I came across a lovely poem about your part of the world and thought to share it with you:

"Dry is the wind, wet the path, brawling the water-course, cold the groves, thin the stag;
flood in the river...
Storm in the mountain, the rivers in turmoil, flood wets the level of the villages;
the world is an ocean to look upon...
The bent deer makes for the end of the sheltered coombe;
The ice breaks, the lands are bare...
Very noisy is the loud shouting wind, Scarcely in truth can one stand outside."

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Glad that the lyrics were helpful. :-)!

We have little choice but to walk with a foot in each world, so generally I try not worry about the whole thing - as it appears did Mr Bowie.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I do hope that the inter-library loan works out as I'd be very interested to hear your opinion of that Simon Pegg film - it was different than his usual fare - and he was almost unlikeable but then character actors play the part they are given and that is not always the nice guy!

Rom-coms are the disrespected bratty sister of the comedy film genre! Hehe! ;-)! I'll try and track down a copy of the Man Up film too. It should be amusing.

Have you ever seen the Tarantino film: Reservoir Dogs? Your description of one bad man among many fits that film perfectly. I'm not sure I enjoyed the visual images from that film and I avoid his work these days, although he does have a new film in the cinemas now. Tarantino is an old school film maker and he loves actual film and shoots all of his films the old school way. No digital or video for him. That doesn't unfortunately alter the content though which is a bit rough for my tastes.

Incidentally, I forgot to mention, but it looks as though the recent horse incident has been temporarily resolved. I use the word temporary because I'm waiting for the miscreant to escalate and at which point Plan B and Plan C come into action. No one seriously wants Plan B and Plan C... Hehe! Anyway, I still find it strange that the guy never once thought to offer me something in return for access to the property. I wouldn't act that way. The level of expectation is beyond my understanding. Oh well, I guess I don't have to understand it, I've just got to deal with it. The neighbours have allowed the situation to escalate over many years and decades, and so it escalated and dragged me into it. What a mess.

Oh my! I didn't realise that Jessica Lange was in the original King Kong film. I remember that, but I have to admit that I didn't see the film, I actually read the send up of the film by Mad magazine. It was very funny. American Horror Story sounds as if it has some very picaresque settings: haunted house with recently deceased occupants; asylum; Wicca enthusiasts; and a freak show. I'll bet the actors and crew had fun putting that lot together. :-)!

Oh yeah, but who is left to hand out the merit badge that's what I want to know? :-)!!!! That was pure genius about the merit badge. Nice one.

There does seem to be a complete collection of interesting characters in small English villages doesn't there? Do you reckon that sort of meme arose because there was some level of truth to that? There are a good collection of interesting characters around here too, I can assure you! Everyone is in everyone's business up here. Still there are benefits to that too.

Ah yeah, I believe there was an old shed in that corner of the property at one stage. It was well before my memory of the area, but it could have been destroyed in the 1983 fires. It is like an architectural dig. I dug up the lid of a 44 gallon drum yesterday... There was a sink there buried in the ground which was sort of a dead giveaway. I've found sheep bones too from time to time, and I've never known anyone around here to run sheep in these parts. Plus there was a wreck of an old (about 1940's) burnt out car at the bottom of the orchard which I've long since removed - plus all of the old logging gear which you stumble across from time to time.

Thanks for the heads up, I'll have a look. There is a lady around these parts that runs courses on mushroom hunting, but like everything else, it is hard to find the time. Hey, what sort of mushrooms did you originally buy to grow from fungi perfecti?

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

Lol, I also read that mad magazine spoof of King Kong! I found it in a pile of magazines belonging to my uncle. He had dozens of them, very formative in my early years! Spy vs spy was great.

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Good gracious me! Early Celtic nature poetry. Where did you come across it?

Land moving: Remember, my land is clay on clay on clay; some of this is blue slipper clay and stuff slides on it. It appears that my land decreases as the sea erodes it but the footage from road to beach doesn't change much i.e. it is spreading as it slides. Does that make sense? I am not sure how to explain it. The trees are shallow rooted due to the clay so they can move. There is an oak which is splitting up the centre as the land drags it.

Rain again last night. A Welsh village is trying to beat the record for straight wet days. Record stands at 89 days. Last I heard this village had reached 82. So they actually want rain at the moment!

Re the import of species into areas where they were previously unknown. I agree that life has always moved or been moved, but would suggest that man has sped up the process beyond the point where nature can always cope with it

@Pam

Thanks for the praise

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I don't think I've seen a Tarantino film. Maybe. I'd have to look at his ouvre (a 25 cent word :-). The stories just didn't appeal. Mmmm. The original "King Kong" was from 1933 and starred Fay Wray. :-). A classic. "American Horror Story" is not for the faint of heart. All rather grotesque and buckets of blood. But, twists and turns that keep you watching. And, it's a rather ensemble cast. People keep popping up from previous seasons, in different roles. Kathy Bates has been in several seasons. Ditto Jessica Lang. Can't claim the merit badge, comment. Lifted it from ... somewhere.

I tried to grow shitake mushroom. I think it would have been successful, if I had followed the intricate instructions and not been distracted by ... life. Ended up with some rather stinky goo.

Whoo! Whoo! I got 2 dozen (plus one) eggs last week. Or, rather the chooks, did. Credit where credit is due. :-). Interesting how when the chickens come out of molt, their feathers can be different. The Pretty Hen, who is golder, than the others, is a bit tarnished and the pattern of gold and black is different. Still, she's a very handsome hen. The Hen Who Thinks She's a Rooster was an all over iridescent black. She now has a gold blaze on her chest.

Noticed something in Beau's yard, yesterday. It was a very dead possum. And, I think it was the same one I saw a few days, ago. It had unusual black and white markings. I managed to get it out of Beau's yard without alerting him. From experience, he'd want to play a gruesome game of keep away. Got it on the tip of a shovel and catapulted it into the bramble patch, across the way. it's all in the wrist. :-).

The final scenes of The Detectorists were very cleaver. The characters find another can ring pull and the camera pans down through the ground and you see they've just missed a pile of Saxon gold. As the characters walk away across a grassy hilltop, you can see the faint outline of a ship as the camera pans up and away. I'm looking forward to next season.

Oh, eccentrics can be fun and make life interesting. Chef John can be pretty raspy and a prat, at times. Last night, he showed up and when I opened the door, he had his face right up against the wood. Right in my face, so to speak. Gave me a turn. And, then, we talked a bit about cheese. :-). And the various scores we had made in the tat, department. And, the need to check out a new business in Chehalis. Several goat dairies have gone together to form a co-op. Selling all kinds of product. Cheese, soap, yarn ... Better make an appearance, before they disappear! Lew