Monday, 21 March 2016

Stuff wallabies like


Living with the wildlife here can sometimes be like co-existing with a band of marauding barbarians! The defences for the various plants are constantly tested for vulnerabilities. Any weaknesses in those plant defences are ruthlessly exploited by the wildlife. And the wallabies are the most ruthless of all of the wildlife here. Honestly, the average wallaby could teach Alaric I (who is famous for sacking Rome in 410 AD) a trick or two about breaching defences!

Wallabies are like a slightly smaller kangaroo but with darker fur and a more stout build. They also differ from kangaroos in that they are generally lone creatures, whereas kangaroos hang around in groups (called mobs). Most nights there are a couple of wallabies bouncing through the orchard and garden enjoying safe access to feed and water.
A wallaby at the farm
The rains and cooler weather have returned after the seemingly never ending hot and dry summer. In a few weeks there should be green growth everywhere. Autumn is similar to spring but usually much shorter and cooler. However until the green growth returns in abundance, the garden and orchard are the primary source of feed for the wildlife living here. Sometimes however, it can be a bit difficult for me to reconcile the cute, and mostly harmless wallabies with the sheer amount of damage they can achieve in the garden and orchard in only a single evening! Every day this week, I’ve discovered new and ever more ingenious outrages that the wallabies have committed in their quest for access to the best feed!

Over the years, many people have advised me that hoop houses are a great idea. A hoop house according to Wikipedia is “is a tunnel made of polyethylene, usually semi-circular, square or elongated in shape” that contains garden beds. They certainly sound like a good idea, and down under the hoops that hold the roof vertical in a semi-circular state, are generally made from very strong polyethylene piping.

I did have a hoop house over the strawberry bed but instead of the plastic covering, I used very heavy duty black bird proof netting to keep out the pesky parrots and other creatures from stealing the strawberries. It is worth mentioning that over the years I have discovered to my horror that everyone (including visitors) and everything else loves strawberries, even the dogs, whom are technically meant to be on my side, but if given the opportunity, will steal the strawberries from that garden bed.

This week however, the wallabies finally breached the outer defences of the strawberry bed and completely ransacked the strawberries! Alaric I would have been proud of the wallabies ransacking efforts!
The wallabies totally ransacked the strawberry bed
The wallabies cunning plan for ransacking the strawberry fruit and plants involved jumping onto (remember they can bounce exactly like a kangaroo) and squashing the polyethylene pipes flat to the ground. Once the pipes were on the ground, the wallabies then proceeded to rip holes through the supposedly heavy duty bird netting so that they could consume the autumn strawberry fruit as well as most of the plants. The strawberry enclosure fell to the marauding invaders this week much as Rome fell to Alaric I and his band of marauding wallabies – sorry, I meant Visigoths – way back in 410!

I like strawberries but clearly if I’d like to grow and consume that fruit, something needs to change. So, over the next few months, a brand new, all steel galvanised strawberry enclosure will be constructed. Until then, I will take you, the reader, on a virtual tour of the devastation caused by wallabies at the farm this week…

Marsupial animals whether they be kangaroos, wombats, or wallabies all enjoy the plant French Sorrel. French Sorrel is among the more reliable summer greens and the plant shrugs off the worst of the hot and dry conditions which are a normal part of the summer weather here. Unfortunately, the various marsupials enjoy that plant so much – wherever it is grown on the farm – that I rarely get to consume any of the leaves.
A wallaby has completely decimated this French Sorrel plant and even left a calling card just to say that Alaric the wallaby was ‘ere
The wallabies even developed a taste for succulent plants and to the editor’s utter horror a wallaby had left twin foot depressions in the soil of one of the succulent plant beds.
A wallaby has left twin foot depressions in the soil of one of the succulent plant beds
And not to mention that the editor’s favourite spikey cactus had been consumed…
The editor’s favourite cactus had been consumed
Even the onions are not safe as the wallabies have been eating the very top of those onions. Fortunately the plants will regrow! Maybe the wallabies were after a solid dose of Vitamin C from the onion leaves?
The wallabies have been consuming the tops of many of the onion plants this week
Even the unpalatable fruit trees aren’t safe at this time of year. Usually no animal can stomach citrus leaves, but a hungry wallaby will happily undertake the experiment and thus even lemon trees are not safe!
A wallaby has consumed some of the lower leaves on this Eureka Lemon tree
Fortunately, the wallabies are no longer able to enter the tomato enclosure because I’m reasonably certain they would eat the tomato plants and fruit and it is worth mentioning that the average wallaby can survive on a diet comprised of 85% bracken fern. That diet would poison and kill most livestock! Wallabies are formidable beasties!

What were we talking about? Oh, that’s right, tomatoes. It has been the best year for tomatoes that I have ever experienced. We managed to get everything exactly correct this year for the tomatoes, from fertilising, the positioning of the plants for maximum sun, and even the watering cycle. The quantity of tomato fruit we are picking this year is so far beyond our expectations that it is a fair thing to say that we are drowning in tomato fruit.

This week we have dehydrated 12 trays over two long days of tomatoes and still we have fruit left over! All of the dehydrated tomatoes are stored in quality olive oil for consumption later in the year.
Some of the tomatoes that we have harvested this week before and after processing in the dehydrator before storing in quality olive oil
A regular commenter last week raised the concern that the dehydrated tomatoes stored in olive oil poses a very real risk of contamination by the bacteria: Clostridium botulinum. As a general note, it is not the bacteria that makes people quite ill (or it can also be fatal - seriously), but the neurotoxin botulinum which is produced by the bacteria. It is no laughing matter because according to Wikipedia that neurotoxin is the most potent toxin known to humankind, natural or synthetic, with a lethal dose of 1.3–2.1 ng/kg in humans. That is some seriously scary business. However, as an interesting side note that neurotoxin is the same rubbish that some people have injected into their faces to smooth wrinkles and deaden facial nerves under the common name “botox”! I once knew of a lady that had that stuff injected into her face and her face became so immobile and incapable of expression that apparently a joke was told that you could tell that she was angry because she blinked a lot!

Preserving foodstuffs always carries risk whether it is done at home or via the industrial food system and Clostridium botulinum is even sneakier than most bacteria because it does not require oxygen (contact with the air) in order to do its thing (the fancy name for this is anaerobic).

However, Clostridium botulinum is not active in acidic environments with a pH below 4.6. Most food preserving techniques aim to store fruit and vegetables in an acidic environment below this level and thus they usually include quantities of sugar and/or vinegar for that very purpose. In our tomato preserving technique to allay any possible concerns the editor decided to put our supply of litmus paper (used to test pH) to the test. The results are as follows:

  • The Olive Oil that we use has a pH of 5.0 and so clearly the bacteria (if present in the olive oil itself which is very unlikely) could survive in that environment;
  • The Red Cherry tomatoes when dehydrated had a pH of 4.0 which means that the bacteria even if present would not be active on that fruit; and
  • The dehydrated Black Russian tomatoes were even more acidic with a pH of 3.0.

The important thing that I take away from this experiment is that not all tomatoes have the same pH and perhaps it would be wise for an individual to know whether the particular tomato variety is a high or low acid variety before attempting any preservation. It is also worth noting that many of the varieties of fruit and vegetables grown these days are not very acidic, but I have read anecdotal accounts that just because a fruit is labelled “heirloom” or “heritage” does not necessarily mean that it is an acidic variety either. I believe that it is also important to recognise the risk and understand the contributing factors to that risk and then choose to accept that risk.

The rains this week brought two days with very low temperatures where the maximum day time temperature barely reached 12’C (53.6’F) with even cooler night time temperatures. By the second day of those conditions, we had decided to light the wood heater for the very first time this year. And after all of the recent repairs to the wood heater, as well as the major cleaning of the flue (the fancy name for the steel chimney), the heater worked brilliantly and the house was warm, the quince fruit were poached to perfection, the bread was baked, the water was heated, and Poopy the Pomeranian (who for the pedantically minded is actually a Swedish Lapphund) started complaining about all that heat in the house!
The wood heater was started this week and worked brilliantly after the recent repairs and major clean
The editor and I have used firewood for heating and cooking during winter for almost half a decade now. Even after all of that real world experience we have absolutely no idea at all how much firewood we use in a year. The reason for that lack of understanding is that each year we have been slowly altering/improving our firewood systems so that they actually work given the weather conditions that prevail at the farm. Last year we completed the first of the firewood sheds. Earlier this year we converted the old chicken shed into a super dooper firewood shed. And this week, after a huge effort, both firewood sheds are now completely full with cut, split, seasoned and dried firewood ready to use. It is very exciting to have access to so much ready to use firewood and in another eight or nine months I should be able to tell you – the readers – exactly how much firewood I use in this year.
The second and much larger firewood shed was finally filled this week
It is a bit of a relief to have that job almost finished and I’m secretly hoping that I have one and half years firewood stored under cover and out of the weather in those two sheds.

The temperature outside now at about 9.00pm is 12.2'C degrees Celsius (54.0'F). So far this year there has been 110.6mm (4.4 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week's total 80.4mm (3.2 inches).

94 comments:

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - So ... wallabies are demobbed kangaroos? :-). The damage they do looks truly awful. Spiky cactus? Oh, my. They are devoted to pillage. Sounds like you may have to change the name of the blog to "Fortress Fernglade Farm." Oh, we have our destructive critters, here, but it just doesn't sound so ... intense. But, now I know why the strawberry bed at the abandoned farm is surrounded by a 4 foot high, chain link fence.

Strawberry eating dogs? Oh, the indignity! :-).

That's interesting about the PH and canning. I just may have to invest in some PH paper. Just as a precaution.

Well, reading about all the activity around your wood stove, flues and such, and then I looked at the picture and thought "...and Chris is in his signature wooly jumper." :-). Me, I'm shifting from the flannel and wool shirts, over to the cotton. I don't know if you have it over there, but over here, we have a measurement of wood called a "cord." 4 x 4 feet, and 8 feet long. If memory serves. You often hear, so many cords of wood were stored for the winter ... so many cords of wood were burned over the winter. Do you have a similar measurement?

I ran across an interesting article on recycling. By a fellow who actually works at a dump / transfer station. Another bubble. He talks about the "green bubble" and the "recycling bubble." Some of the comments are pretty interesting, too.

http://www.concordmonitor.com/opinion/21618325-95/my-turn-the-story-behind-the-death-of-recycling

I finished the new Stephen King, short story collection. I must say it's a "strong" collection. Hardly a false note. And, something I noticed about King, is, that a lot of his stories, when you really think about them, have to do with class, in America. Given his background, that makes sense. His father went out for smokes, when he was very young, and his mother was left to raise two boys. They were very poor, and struggled, throughout his childhood. So, he's seen both sides of the coin.

Watched "99 Homes", last night. It's set in Florida, during the 2008 housing debacle. A man, his mother and son are evicted from their home. He ends up working for the man who evicted them. Evicting other families. And, pulling off all kinds of schemes that milk money out of the banks and government. One of the most chilling lines was when the eviction expert asks the young man "One in a hundred people will make it onto the Ark. Are you going to be on the Ark, or off it."

Rain, yesterday, rain today, the grass grows. Lew

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I would certainly be very discouraged if my garden had suffered the amount of damage wrought by those wallabies. Was this a particularly bad episode. Glad the rains are there. Seems like your weather is now similar for our - at least for the moment. 40's to low 50's here, more cloudy than sunny and some pretty good rains as well. Unfortunately we may get some snow later in the week.

Interestingly, I've had very little trouble with animals or birds eating the strawberries. Some have some bites out of them but mostly they are OK. The bed is not exactly out in the open but not very protected. Even the chickens when they're out don't seem all that interested.

Wanted to report on the oak rescue. It was a great day for it, in the low 40's, calm winds and partly sunny. There were 17 volunteer who, in three hours time, managed to clear out a couple acres. One of the Land Conservancy's staff came out to mark any trees or shrubs not to be cut down. This is a good thing as many volunteers have a difficult time recognizing some of the woody plants. She found some hazelnut shrubs which are not common around here at all. The dogs, Leo and Salve, had a wonderful day running around the woods for hours and getting some bites of donut from the volunteers. Leo did have a couple of burnt spots in his coat from the two fires we had going. Lunch was in our garage where the dogs got even more snacks. It was something to step back and see the difference after just three hours of work.

Hoping you don't have much more wallaby damage.

margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Sorry to hear that you're not feeling very well, but hopefully you do seem to be on the mend?

Maybe. The oatmeal would have a higher surface area than rolled oats so there is a higher chance that something could have been on the oatmeal.

You may be surprised to know that last year I had my first encounter with weevils which had infested an unopened bag of grains which I bought from the speciality baking shop. I did the stupidest thing possible next. I opened the bag and poured the contents into the chook bucket for the chickens to enjoy the next morning. Well, when I opened the cupboard to extract the chicken and worm bucket, there were weevils everywhere! I took the remaining infested bags back to the supplier who looked mildly embarrassed and muttered something about incorrect temperatures and quickly replaced the bags... The shop was full of customers at the time too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Glad to hear that you have pheasants too. They must have some sort of street smarts to survive the coyotes, foxes etc? The birds are very attractive.

You may be interested to know that down here we have a similar sort of bird called the lyrebird and it can mimic all sorts of bird calls, assorted other noises (chainsaws for example) and even voices: Lyrebird. They're not in this mountain range - possibly due to the loss of species following the 1983 fires.

Oh, I didn't know that they were a coastal tree. I'd always figured they were a bit inland but high up in the ranges that follow the coast. Many plants here survive the summers by collecting the drops from fogs. When a fog rolls in here, you can hear the water droplets dripping from the trees.

That pruning work would have been excellent to see the masters at work! Yeah, I find a lot of the work here very meditative and after a few hours of work my mind just drifts off to other places. The funny thing is that fresh ideas or insights usually arrive in the period after the work has been completed rather than during that work period. Pah! It would be nice if time could just slow down a little bit. I'm still looking for that lost youth. If you ever find yours, be sure to let me know please?

Ha! That is funny. Enjoy your nachos. A mate once did exactly that here with a cooking lesson, even to bringing the ingredients and all of the prep gear...

Oh yeah, don't mess with their business. My advice for whatever it is worth, is to sit back and enjoy the cookbook. That was from a magazine which ran for years. I'm not sure whether it is still being published. The publishing industry is way tough for periodicals nowadays. Those recipes would be tested by time.

Well done broody hen. She clearly saw the contemplative look in your eyes and decided to rejoin the flock? The chickens here are right off the lay as is usual at this time of year. Some days there will be four eggs (from 18 birds) and the next day - nothing at all.

Hey, that would be really fascinating to get an insight into the experience of such a prolific author such as Stephen King. Were any of those background stories - to the short story - of particular note?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Good luck with the sale of your stuff. Have you considered how you are going to mothball the motorbikes? I'm sure you have a plan.

It takes a long time to integrate yourself into a small community and every community can have its quirks. I reckon there are always interesting people lurking about the place!

Oh yeah, it has been much cooler here the past few mornings: 6 - 8 degrees. Jumpers are excellent. Not sure you'll need one in Laos, but then you may be up in the border country in the hills too?

Thanks, it is a mates boss so I'm unsure whether I can politely decline. I believe the person is interested in the solar power system and I'm not sure they're going to like what I'm going to tell them, but still we'll see how it goes. Very few people seem to have warmed to my reality chats about solar power... :-)!!!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah!!! :-)! Maybe people who use the term "flash mob" are actually talking about wallabies? ;-)! I've more or less learned to live with them, but as you said, sometimes the damage can be a bit intense. Still, the garden is big and the wallabies aren't everywhere and I'm on their turf. Does that mean that I have a turf war with Alaric the wallaby? My money would be on the wallabies winning. Most of the damage they do is not permanent and the plants will recover, that is why I was so shocked by the damage of the deer when they debarked an apple tree or three - I'm not sure the trees will recover.

Toothy is the worst offender of the lot! I once had a visitor helping me pick strawberries and they ate every single berry that they had picked, so Toothy is in good company...

Yeah, be alert, but not freaked out. I checked the statistics and apparently there have been two cases in 16 years down under. Clearly death by plane crash is probably a more likely occurrence, but still it helps understanding the process behind the necessity for acidity in preserving techniques. The other thing to remember is that the bacteria is anaerobic so it is more likely to be found in water logged soils - so in really wet years the risk will probably increase.

Yeah, cotton is the way to go in warmer weather, although the editor swears by linen. Respect for the flannel shirt! No one really uses the term "cord" down here. They usually sell firewood by the tonne (1,000kg or 2,200 pounds) or by the cubic metre (1 cubic metre equals 0.275 cords). A tonne of firewood will set you back about $170 here or a cubic metre will cost about $110. I may have that the wrong way around as I don't buy firewood.

Thanks for the link to that article. Exactly: "You sold clean resources to jobbers for cash" that is my angle on the waste stream, without which things would cost a lot more here. Carl is a brutal realist of the highest order and I salute him! I've often wondered how those single stream waste recycling systems could possibly work without a huge and expensive labour force. I split all of the waste streams up here into their various types and then deal with each of them accordingly - but like everything else, it takes time and knowledge, but hey, I avoid paying for the garbage collection services and the waste gets dealt with better than most households can even begin to imagine. That article reads like a plot to the film San Andreas - you know something bad is going to happen.

I've never heard of that particular term before, but knowing the world can fall out beneath you with no fault on your part is perhaps a defining experience which you have to get through. I really worry about the young adults now in the workforce who are experiencing economic contraction at the moment but have never before witnessed a day of economic hardship - and their parents and grandparents are telling them like it is. That is very interesting to read about Stephen King, I wasn't aware of his background at all. It makes sense.

Oh, what a film! I saw that at the movies several months back. I mean what do you say? The funny thing that troubled me was that the family were happy to take the cash up until the point at which the mum knew where it was coming from and then there was this highfalutin sense of morals. Also the guy probably over did it a bit too with the new house - not a smart move. The movie appeared to be a frank look into the world of sociopaths. If you enjoyed that film, I highly recommend (actually strongly urge that recommendation) the recent film: The Big Short which was pure genius and I'd be happy to discuss with you, if you'd like. It took me a while to understand it...

Enjoy your green grass and avoid the wallabies lurking behind the trees!!! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris



Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Ah well, I've sort of learned to live with them and it is a big garden so they haven't damaged great swaths of it - fortunately - and most of the plants will recover as they browse rather than destroy it completely like the deer (the poor apple trees that the deer de-barked). Spring and autumn seem to be the lean times for the wallabies and so they go feral.

Absolutely, the weather seems about the same right now. There is a bit of sunshine, the occasional hot day, a touch of rain and then it is mostly pretty pleasant. I do hope the overs protect your young seedlings. Is that snow unseasonal?

Enjoy your strawberries and the lack of predation. The hot weather makes the strawberries off gas their scent and that just draws everything nearby in for a quick snack. It does smell very nice.

What a lovely day! And glad to read that Salve scored some donughts! Lucky Salve. The hazelnuts are a great find. Those are really hardy shrubs and they bounce back from heat and drought when the first rains arrive. That is great to hear too about the plant identification as it is a great way for people to learn about the different plants. I've often wondered whether people see a forest and say to themselves - Lots of Trees - in a sort of abstract concept kind of a way? Dunno.

Well the wallabies keep me guessing! Would you like a few of them, I've got plenty to spare? Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Hey, JMG has put up a Galabes post.

Pam

Damo said...

@Lewis

I remember reading one of Kings earlier compilations of short stories, can't recall the exact name but it was under his pseudonym. Had The Long Walk, The Running Man and The Mist in it. That was a great book! So I both thank and curse you for adding another book to my reading list :-) It clearly will still have more than a hundred on it when I die...

@Chris

Luckily I only need to mothball one of the bikes (actually Mrs Damo's Honda 250 Spada, a lovely lightweight v-twin I plan to rebuild when back in Australia). The CB900 Hornet is being gifted to dad and my trusty road/trail TS250 (a 30 year old marvel) will be registered by my brother and used as a cheap runabout around Brisbane whilst I am away. I am told a suitable mothball approach is to heavily lubricate anything shiny and exposed with oil, remove the plugs and fill with oil then tightly wrap in sheets and plastic wrap to keep the dust and moisture out.

Small town communities are great. Here in Zeehan was the first time we really had a 'local'. Everyone seems disappointed with us for leaving, perhaps because we always lose at the darts comp?

I harvested the giant zucchini a few days ago (4.4kg) and have been looking at fun things to do with so much marrow. Apparently it is a thing to scoop out the middle, fill with sugar and brew a zucchini rum! Has anyone ever tried this? I will be boring and probably just make some pickles, but it is always exciting to hear about new ways of making booze...



foodnstuff said...

I think I may have commented here before on this Chris, but I just store my dried tomatoes in a jar without any oil. They are VERY dry though, IOW shrivelled and almost crisp, not soft in any way. If there's any water left (softness) then they tend to go mouldy. So (I assume) very dry means no water for Clostridium to survive (although I know they are spore formers, too).

Anyway I've been storing them that way for some years and I'm still here!

PS I don't soak them before use, just chuck them into what ever I'm cooking, or use them as computer nibbles (nibbles to surf the net by).

Sorry about the wallaby damage; my problem here is rabbits and they love sorrel too!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks for that timely reminder and it is good to see too!

PS: Hope you weren't a fan of Harry Potter?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Oooo! The Spada has a motor that is very good and I once heard it described as grenade like - whatever that means. It has a long history too and the old VT-250's were also a very, very good bike. Your dad has scored well with the CB900. Wow, a genuine TS250 with front drum brakes and all. That thing - if looked after - will go forever and is a true keeper. That sounds about right for mothballing a bike, I've never personally poured oil into a cylinder head though - remember to drain it before starting the engine or you may brake the piston rod and/or the crankshaft... Just sayin...

Ha! They've sharked you! Excellent. Did they have a pool table as well? :-)! Well Zeehan is far enough from anywhere that you don't get the commuters like I do (it is under an hour into Melbourne from here) so it would have a good vibe.

I've never tried that but it sounds intriguing and I look forward to hearing about your exploits.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi foodnstuff,

Yeah, it does ring a bell that you had commented on that subject before. I despair a bit about fear and learned helplessness in the community, otherwise I would never have addressed the issue at all. Some websites are completely feral with trolls about that particular issue. Not good and outside my tolerance level for trolls.

Exactly about the water. I dry them so they are crispy too. The truth is I just like the taste of the olive oil and dehydrated tomatoes, so I'll see how long they last for. Out of curiosity, what sort of shelf life would you expect from your dried tomatoes, I'd appreciate the feedback so as to compare as quality olive oil is not cheap - it will get used though in other cooking.

I reckon you are spot on about preserving methods and I've been bottling for years too and am still able to blog and respond to comments!!! Hehe!

Oh yeah, the dry tomatoes are very more-ish as a snack. I'll tell the editor that one.

I've got some spare wallabies if you want? Hehe!!! Rabbits are really bad with the debarking of fruit trees from what I've read. Is that the sort of damage you are getting?

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I've never had weevils in my flour, but, occasionally, I used to get bugs in the long grain brown rice I buy out of the bulk bins. So, now I just pop the bags in the freezer, and when it comes time to use them, I keep them in the refrigerator. And, I try and not think about it, too much ... Sometimes I have problems with fruit flies. So, I have a couple of plastic water bottles, with an inch or so of cider vinegar in the bottom. I put a bit of tape over the top, to make just a small entrance. I've got two, tucked in out of the way places in the kitchen. Problem solved. Right now, I've got itty bitty, tenny tiny ants. Same as last year. Last year, a borax mix took care of the problem. This year, it knocks them back, but doesn't seem to get rid of them entirely. Might be because I'm using the old batch of borax, from last year. Need to mix up a new batch.

Oh, the Lyre Bird, is quit showy. In the words of the immortal Tina Turner, "Shake a tail feather." :-). I hope they recover their range and come back to your area. Carl, the pruner (who lives just a few ridges away from me) said, a couple of years ago, he turned around and there was a peacock! Not native to this part of the world. More rich people's toys. Who knows where it came from, or where it went. I think I mentioned that every once in awhile, in the summer, I'll see a few canaries. Escapees, I guess.

Stephen King says he gets two questions, a lot. "Where do you get your ideas" and "Where did this idea come from." To the first, he usually jokes "I get it from a little used idea shop, in Utica." Sometimes, he can answer the second, sort of. An almost case of road rage at an intersection ... an abandoned rest area along a highway ... an article he sees in a newspaper. King says that stories are sometimes like cups, without a handle. And, the handle may not show up for decades. The handle, the hook, the twist.

I see our library has just got "The Big Short." The hold list is long. There were parts of "99 Homes" that I didn't understand. I'm sure there are large chunks of "The Big Short" that I won't get. I even thought about re-watching some parts of "99 Homes", while I have it here. But, probably won't. The "to do" list, is long. :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Oh, the evictor is certainly a sociopath. But there's that one bit where he said that not so long ago, he was just another (probably pretty successful) real estate agent. And then, the economy fell apart. And, in an attempt to maintain his lavish lifestyle, decision by decision, he descends into this moral morass. Our young hero (?) starts down the same path, trying to maintain his not so lavish life, but finally, pulls himself up short.

Back to "Big Short." I'm currently dipping into, at odd moments, a book called "The New Kings of NonFiction." 2007. They're not exactly essays, more reportage stories that were originally on NPR (National Public Radio). The first story is "Jonathan Lebed's Extracurricular Activities." It's the story of a 14 year old, who games the market, makes an incredible amount of money, and then the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission ... the people who are supposed to police and watchdog, Wall Street) came down on him with both feet. The kid is pretty unimpressed. The SEC can't seem to come up with much more than he's a 14 year old kid, who shouldn't be doing, exactly what the professionals are doing because, well, he's a 14 year old kid.

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/02/25/magazine/jonathan-lebed-s-extracurricular-activities.html

Yes, it's long. But if the first page doesn't suck you in, I'll be surprised.

Well, the sun is peeking out, and the "to do" list is long. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I guess that we might figure that the stuff wallabies like is perhaps - everything. At least they don't climb? Or fly? Yet? What a horrible shambles your strawberry bed is! It would be neat to see wallaby footprints in snow. I am sorry to hear that they got to the Editor's cactus. I have (Had? It might be dead) one that is sort of similar that the mice have been picking at.

You have had commercial quantities of tomatoes! The variances in acidity is interesting. I guess that's why some taste sweeter than others? So, do you think that the low pH of the tomatoes brings the acidity of the tomatoes-in-olive-oil down to an acceptable level?

Your firewood shed is filled to the gills!

I rarely get a whole strawberry, which is why I learned to like the wild ones. But I haven't given up, thus the ones planted in the large, rotting stump. I had tried bird netting over a previous bed, too. Apparently, our wallabies don't jump, they roll over things like tanks. Everything was just all squushed (skwushed?). I've watched squirrels and chipmunks reaching through the net to pick them. Everything likes strawberries!

We've been very lucky about weevils so far. I raise giant mealworms (darkling beetle larva) for the bearded dragon and that makes me rather nervous, as they do indeed like meal. They are very easy to spot, though. They also like leaves, so if any escape, our garden may be in trouble. Chickens would love these things.

@ The Editor: I love linen in summer, too. I have collected quite a bit from second-hand shops over the years.

I didn't get very far with Harry Potter. I don't know why. I guess it just wasn't my cup of tea. Give me Tolkien or C. S. Lewis.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

I hope that you are better. I eat rolled oats cooked up for breakfast every morning. I recently heard that one had better be sure to let such things as grains have plenty of time to absorb as much water as possible when cooking, or the oats, etc. will absorb water from one's body, maybe causing a bit of dehydration. Don't know. I make a raw granola bar (no cooking of it at all) in the summer that has rolled oats in it. I do find it a bit hard to digest. I wasn't baking them as it makes the kitchen so hot in summer, but I think I will try cooking them a bit. Or, maybe, a lot. They'll probably stay fresh longer, too.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

I am so happy that the rescue went well, and to find hazelnuts - wow!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

That's a very interesting recycling article. I hope to find time to read all the comments. We subscribe to a single stream garbage collection company that picks up our garbage once a week after one of us hauls it (up hill, of course) to the top of the driveway. We suspect that they don't really do all that much sorting and so put aside our recyclables separately and take them every 2 or 3 weeks to a small facility in town.

We have a huge fruit fly problem sometimes in warmer weather. Thanks for the water bottle /cider vinegar idea. We used to have a big problem with ants in the kitchen. Apparently, they have moved on. For now.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Damo:

Best of luck to you with the downsizing!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ foodnstuff:

I dry and store our tomatoes the same way you do - crispy and in jars. I have eaten ones 2 years old and they were fine.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

You have made me feel very happy that we don't have wallabies. Almost everything here eats strawberries; only the squirrels don't, they just give a curious sniff.

Today I took off a pullover, rolled up my sleeves and sat in the sun. It was glorious but the weather is supposed to change tomorrow. As the ground dries I have been flattening out footprints each time I walk a path. Otherwise the clay will dry in concrete hard ridges, very uncomfortable to walk on.

One of my previous neighbours worked for me today. He wants me to sell him some land so that he can put up a tent occasionally. I told him that he was welcome to put up a tent anytime anyway and reminded him that the last time he and his family did that, they lasted 2 hours and then retreated to the car because the night was noisy and strange creatures bumped the tent. He told me that he had hardened off since then.

I told my son and he caused us both to double with laughter by pointing out that the sheep in a nearby field, are coming into the woods at night. We could just imagine the terror that a flock of sheep bumping up against this tent would cause this man and his wife. How unkind we are!

Inge

Coco said...

Naughty wallabies! Round here there´s something called mole-rats (ew) that do a lot of damage. Breo does a lot of snuffling around, maybe he´ll be on varmint control. We´ll see.

I freeze flour for 3 days before using - haven´t had insects so far, so maybe it helps.

The hedging project and rain have set me back on garden duties. Haven´t touched either the old beds or the new ones. Haven´t started any seeds either. And now we have guests for the weekend so nothing to be done until next week. The list just keeps getting longer. I want to plant strawberries this year.

I did wonder about the tomatoes in olive oil, but wasn´t sure enough of the facts to comment. Glad you investigated.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

The editor was recently re-reading the Annie Hawes books and the bit about the wine making reminds me of your story about the brown rice. When they found a bug or four with their wine making grapes, they simply continued on and when questioned about it, they responded that the bugs added to the flavour - and who are we to argue such things? :-)! Actually one other thing they do, is that they don't use harsh chemicals to clean out their demi-johns prior to starting the wine making process. When we first started making our own drop, we were a bit concerned and even used bleach to clean out the demi-john before the very first use. What a total waste of chemicals that was! Nowadays a simple wash out with water does the trick and I have never seen a contaminated batch. Not one, in many years of experience.

Those fruit flies are some pesky business! I'm surprised that they're in your area as I would have thought that the cold winters would have broken the breeding cycle. Not good. They're moving south down here as the climate warms.

Ants love to get in kitchens don't they? I haven't seen them in the house for many years, but they are about the area and took out the new bee colony in the experimental hive. That project is back to the drawing board for further consideration.

Thanks for that. I learn something new each day here. You know the only version of that song I've ever heard is from the: The Blues Brothers film clip - Shake A Tail Feather (1980) HD featuring Stevie Wonder.

They could potentially live here, but the forests between here and there have been cleared for housing and agricultural land and there is no way they'll ever make it from there to here (in my lifetime anyway - maybe later?).

Hehe! Yeah, that is very true about the peacocks. I've heard that they can be quite the nuisance, but they put on quite the show too!

The problem with interviews is that they become a sort of question and answer process rather than an ongoing dialogue or conversation. Sometimes interviewers are so keen to ask the next question that they ignore the many conversation hooks in the previous answer. I often about that as it seems a bit weird to me. Dunno. Stephen King provided a very gracious reply to a very inane question which he'd probably heard to death? He is very practiced at writing fiction so he must have some sort of internal guiding process or just be constantly on the look out for ideas and inspiration? He'd certainly be an interesting guy to have a chat and beer with. I'd like to ask him whether he is at peace now with Winnebagos and whether the destruction process was cathartic? Oh, and would he consider destroying one in a fictional literary setting? ;-)!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Fair enough, the to do list here is long too. It was a good insight into the processes at work that affected a huge portion of the population and enjoyed watching the protagonists slide into moral bankruptcy. I never quite understood the mothers reaction and high moral stance as she took the loan in the first place and outsourced her responsibilities to her son and just sort of fluffed around in the background. I think that reaction is quite common and I see a lot of that down here.

That was a good line in the film too. It was like: I was there, now I'm here, I want my goodies that I've become accustomed too; and here's how I'm going to get them. Yes, step by slow step the devil claims his own. It was a neat process of escalation too don't you think and is probably a good metaphor for our actions over the past few decades? Dunno.

The Big Short is definitely worth watching twice - absolutely no questions. Although having said that you'll probably hate the film, but then I think you are meant too. When we replace business with gambling and think that that is a fundamentally sound business then we have some serious problems. I favour work, but many don't and my opinion seems to be in the minority - but someone has to do the work.

Thanks for the link, I'll check it out over the next day or so (I got home very late tonight from the big smoke - long story). Yes, the SEC would probably not like that sort of thing. I was under the impression that the SEC does little in the way of investigating these days, but I may be wrong in that opinion?

Enjoy your sunshine!

It is meant to rain here again tomorrow and Friday. This is a very good thing! :-)! I'm planning a massive citrus plant up over the next few days as now is the time to get new trees in the ground. Spring will be too late.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

That's very funny. Oh my a flying wallaby would be quite horrid to behold! Hope it doesn't land on anyone either - they've got quite a solid build. And they use that chunk to squash bits of the garden at the leisure. I'm actually quite fond of them as they keep my brain sharp trying to outwit them. I'm not winning either you know! Hehe!

The cactus will bounce back - no problems, that plant has suffered an ongoing marsupial crisis ever since it arrived here. Aren't they attractive cactuses too! Glad to hear that you have a similar one.

Yes, absolutely. The bacteria becomes active when the pH is 4.6 and above, so that isn't a drama. If you're soils were waterlogged you would also be at a higher risk too.

The interesting thing too is that I found a table of tomato pH samples from a reputable source and they found that greener tomatoes were slightly more acidic and got less so as the fruit became over ripe. That also may explain why the over ripe fruit was not that good for jam making? Dunno. It's a theory.

Thank you! Very amusing too! Yeah, a full shed of firewood (or two sheds) is better than money in the bank! Would you believe I still have a half a days work to finish that job...

Good luck and I'll be interested to read how your strawberry log experiment goes. It is a good idea as the plants are forest dwellers so they love the rich source of carbon. Well, I'd like to see the various critters get into the steel strawberry enclosure (once it is constructed). Nothing - other than huntsman spiders - seems to have breached the chicken enclosure and believe me they've tried. A fox tried to dig its way in the other night and discovered the deep concrete skirts!!! Too bad so sad Mr Fox!

The meal worms sound like an excellent food source for the dragon and I do hope they don't escape (or the dragon for that matter). Up north from here they have monitor lizards and these things are huge - not far off a dinosaur.

The editors first comment ever too! She is very chuffed and reckons linen is the best for hot weather. :-)!

I'm with you. It all seemed very silly. I do aim to amuse too. Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

You can have some wallabies if you want? They won't escape too far! Hehe!!!

Actually I believe there were rumours at one stage of escaped kangaroos in your part of the world, but I believe that they would be on the mainland. Mind you, they'd be easier on the soils than sheep and kangaroo meat is quite tasty if not over cooked.

You're very lucky the squirrels don't eat them. Down here I have possums (the herbivore version not the US omnivore variety which sound a bit scary) and they are not the sort of creatures you'd want roaming around an orchard (or berry patch). The owls eat them very regularly, but over in NZ someone released them and they are eating their way through the forests there.

Nice to read that you are enjoying the sun (and glad that you are now feeling better enough to do so). That is very sensible planning with the clay. The main road up here used to be an old Cobb and Co road and how they brought the coaches up in winter back in the day is well beyond me. Mind you, they probably went around the mountain range...

Ha! Wow, well there you go. That is an exceptionally generous offer. It is sad that people fear the forests and its denizens as they are quite the pleasure to live with - even with all of the destructive antics. Nice to read that the guy has hardened off a bit. Familiarity with the land can do that.

Hehe! That's funny, I reckon you two have the right of it. The sheep are harmless enough, but they would probably try to lick the condensation off the sides of the tent and wouldn't that be a strange thing to see from the inside of the tent!!! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

Yes, they are naughty aren't they? It would be nice to occasionally have a strawberry or three. Before they worked out just how much they enjoy the berries and plants, I used to get many kilograms of the fruit every year and had so much we were making strawberry wine and jam. Nowadays, I'm lucky to get a cup full per year, but so many other projects were calling for attention.

Breo is a clever looking dog, so if is snuffling around, there is probably something else also snuffling around. Did I mention that Poopy caught a rat the other day? He destroyed the rock wall around one of the oldest olive trees in the process, but that is part of life.

Oh, I've never frozen flour and just keep it in an air tight plastic container in the cupboard. The freezing process would certainly put an end to insect mischief and is a good idea which wouldn't make any difference to the flour. Nice thinking.

Your hedging is looking very good and I'm impressed with it (plus the concept itself is very clever). Enjoy your visitors and don't worry about the garden. On many occasions I've put visitors to work - depending on who they are - and most of the time people seem to really enjoy it, of course I do give them interesting jobs and not the hard stuff. Yes, go hard and plant as many berries as you can. My Cape Gooseberry looks as though it is forming a tonne of fruit and one of the blueberries looks as though it has tapped into the worm farm flows as it has exploded with growth.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

You killed me with the sheep and the tent! A neighbor has a black Australian Kelpie who, before they fenced her in, ran riot all over the countryside. She is, luckily, a very sweet animal. She also runs faster than any greyhound. On her night hunts she would sometimes come running through the yard out of the dark woods at 30 miles per hour (53 km per hour). I'd lose 10 years off my life every time she did that when I was outside. Always made me think of the Hound of the Baskervilles.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I was reading about tetanus (lockjaw) recently, as it has been decades since I had a booster shot. Since it is everywhere, the key to not succumbing to it is the same old thing - a healthy immune system.

Fried green tomatoes are the first thing that we make with tomatoes when they get big enough. I like them better than fried red tomatoes; I think that is because of the tang that the green ones have. Besides which, the green ones hold up better when frying; they don't get mushy.

Good for you, Poopy the Rathund!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

My son and I were mouse "hunting" last night at the back of the house as he kept hearing, soon after we had caught one in the kitchen and put it outside, something run across the roof by his bedroom. So we set a spotlight and the 32 foot (9.75 meters) ladder up by that corner. I set the trap in the kitchen and caught Little Mad Dog, the leader of this gang. I let Little Mad Dog out on the front porch and, after he ran across my hand and sat and looked at me for awhile before he ran off, I ran back inside and reset the trap, then ran outside to watch the roof with my son. Two minutes later a mouse shot across the roof and under an eave and disappeared. My son climbed up and plugged up the hole under the eave and I ran into the house and could hear the trap clang shut before I even made it into the kitchen. There was Little Mad Dog again! I took him back out, let him loose, and ran back to where the spotlight was. Zoom! He ran across again, but this time he went straight over the side of the roof - 2 1/2 stories up - bounced on the leaf-covered ground, and staggered into a nearby hole. I left him some sunflower seeds as a peace offering. And to help his headache.

Pam

P.S. We can tell the mice apart as we had been painting spots on them as we caught them.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I glanced at the title of this weeks, entry, again, and had the thought: Stuffed wallabies? Taxidermy? :-). Wallabies with wings would be truly frightening. Disney, has probably done it. Ursula Le Guin has written a delightful little book called "Cat Wings." There were a few sequels. About a litter of kittens that are born with wings. Nell doesn't need wings. Some of her jumps are pretty spectacular. Now I climb ladders to service the hummingbird feeders.

I use a bit of white vinegar, to clean out things. A bit of a sit in the sunshine is good, too. When I was cleaning out the hummingbird feeders, the other day, there was a spot of mold that just wouldn't come out. I finally resorted to a knitting needle and another long soak with vinegar and swishing around a bit of chicken grit.

Mmmm. That's Ray Charles :-). I loved the original Blues Brothers movie. Probably time to take another look. Here's the Tina Turner version. 2 minutes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wcOcAfsrkE

Oh, I think the SEC just got ticked off because the kid wasn't a member of "the Club." The Wall Street old boy's network. I got curious as to what happened to LeBed. A quick internet search yielded nothing, other than an unsuccessful city council run in 2003. Vanished into obscurity. Had his 15 minutes of fame. Probably a notorious hacker, by now, under another name?

Well, the sunshine was rather an iffy, thing, yesterday. LOL. I got all ready to take my walk ... changed clothes, got my walking shoes on, the coat, the hat ... opened the door and it started to pour! Oh, well. Half an hour later, the sun was back and off I went. I wanted to see if the rhubarb was coming up at the abandoned farm. I feared maybe it hadn't survived last year's drought. I had put off digging any, as my landlord's wife was going to dig some. Which she never got around to. Sounds like me :-). Well, there are sprouts. So, I'll let it get a little more established and prepare a spot for it, here. Going to attempt the rosemary, again. Cuttings. And, maybe attempt moving over a bit of lilac.

Off to the Little Smoke, today. The library hold list for "Big Short" is well over 200. I haven't rented DVDs from the grocery store, in awhile ... think I'll check and see if they have a copy. Lew

orchidwallis said...

@ Pam

Of course you would be the first person to send a comment direct to the Editor. I have marvelled, for a while, at your wonderful relationship skills.

Just as an odd difference, I loved The Harry Potter books (apart from one which had far too much quiddich)and I loved Tolkien; but I don't like Lewis's Narnia books.

Inge

Jo said...

Hi Chris, good luck in your defence against the marauding hordes! When We lived out in the bush the previous owners of our house had a large guard dog and a beautiful garden. When we moved in with no dog, the wallabies rejoiced, and ate the garden down to the ground, except for the daffodils, which are apparently too toxic even for wallabies.

Beautiful tomato haul. I make passata every year with excess tomatoes - recipe on the blog if you are interested. Also dry tomatoes and store them in brown paper bags, and eat them like candy, just like foodnstuff above. To counter the dangers of lack of acidity I always add 1/4 teaspoon citric acid to every jar of passata, or any other preserves (apples etc) that don't contain sugar or vinegar. This is a pretty foolproof rule of thumb for avoiding death by botulism (well, it has worked so far..)

Damo said...

@ Lewis

Thank you for the SEC article. It really highlights what a farce the stockmarket is, the idea of investing in productive enterprise and the reality of short-term gambling are so divergent it is a wonder there are still people out there who talk about daily price fluctuations with a straight face. I suppose though it does serve a function of funneling savers investment portfolios (301ks/pensions/superannuation) into Wall St (and the occasional 14 year old kid) pockets.

Damo said...

@ Pam
Thank you, the downsizing is going well. The house is already gloriously empty (our mattress is now on the floor) and there is a garage sale on Saturday. Living in a remote area means there is a lot of interest in cheap, bulky whitegoods and furniture. After all, no one wants to drive 3 hours to pickup a $100 fridge.

I enjoyed your mouse hunt story. Good to hear you outwitted Mad Dog! I admit it might have taken me a few tries to hit upon the surveillance idea and discover his entry route. A few years ago we had a big family of rats move into the walls. As Mrs Damo works in medical research, she felt it could be a penance of sorts to try and relocate rather than execute. We acquired a live trap and began experimenting. Unfortunately the rats were pretty wily and ignored most offerings. One day I placed a freshly baked savory muffin on the pressure plate. Even though it was still daylight, not 30 minutes later I heard the trap close and found one very angry rat inside (it would scream at me whenever I held it up to my face). We drove it some nearby bushland and over the next few weeks moved the rest of the family (they all had a soft spot for muffins). Unfortunately for the rats, one of our Siamese cats was also learning and nabbed two of them. I am surprised he got any to be honest. Being the natural hunter and tactical genius that he was, the cat, Max, would simply sit in front of the hole they used and wait. I don't understand how this worked, but he got two of them, sometimes after sitting there for hours. Probably best for the rat gene-pool they didn't make it.



Damo said...

@Chris and Lewis

RE: chemicals and brewing
I sometimes wonder about this. Many people seem to get away with very relaxed attitudes towards sterilisation. On the other hand, I have also tasted some pretty bad homebrew, and bacteria and bugs will definitely compete with the yeast if given half a chance. I wonder if wine/mead is a bit more robust for some reason, or perhaps you can just get away with being 'clean enough'. Normally I just swish some water with that powder stuff home brew shops sell for a few seconds. Once, I did use bleach once for a ginger beer batch and it turned out rubbish. I don't know for sure if it was the bleach, these are so many factors who knows...

Damo said...

RE: movies

I enjoyed both 99 Homes and The Big Short. I agree with Chris in that I found the moral outrage of the mother a bit high-horsey. But then, perhaps I am a bit sociopathic as I sympathised with the characters actions. What should he have done? Let them live in a motel for the rest of their lives?

Another good movie is Margin Call. Came out a few years ago and deals with the triggers behind the GFC. Takes place over 24 hours as a few traders realise it is about to all go pear-shaped and they need to get out now.

All three movies show what happens when you allow the greatest rewards to accrue to those who screw over others rather than productive enterprise. A great line in Margin Call was about the companies employees. Turns out most of the trading algorithms were developed by engineers and maths graduates. Instead of building rockets or new technology, they were developing clever ways of scamming money from others.

Damo said...

@Linen

I also heard linen was pretty good for hot climates. I shall endeavor to acquire some linen clothing before I head to the tropics. I already have a few bamboo shirts and they seem to be quite comfortable and cool.

If anyone is interested, there is a recent blog post by the research group Mrs Damo and I will be doing some work for in Laos. It is somewhat related to this blog as it involves agriculture, tree spacing and co-planting. I am looking forward to finding out more.
http://aciarblog.blogspot.com.au/2016/03/agroforestry-systems-offer-benefits-to_23.html

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yeah me too and tetanus is everywhere (rusty metal rings a bell for that one, although I'm not really sure but that is what they told me way back in the day). The booster shots only last up to 10 years anyway.

Unfortunately, with the rubbish food that people eat nowadays and the lack of endurance exercise (30 minutes at a gym probably doesn't cut the mustard) I'm really unsure how healthy people actually are. That sounds like a big call, but I really wonder about that. Of course growing your own and eating meals prepared from scratch probably helps a whole lot - some of the food things that people serve me, I really do wonder about the low quality and the creeping normalcy of such things. It is a bit scary to me.

Yeah, green tomatoes are great and strangely higher in acid than the same variety which is ripe. Have you ever used them in chutneys? I much prefer green tomato chutney to the red tomato which tastes a bit bland to me. I may try bottling some of the tomatoes over the next few days as the solar doesn't look like it will make enough power to dry them in the dehydrator... It is very cloudy here now and it has drizzled as well this morning which is nice for the big fruit tree planting and relocating exercise over the next few days.

Poopy looked very pleased with himself, but he said to let you know that he does not enjoy the taste of rat and so left it in the courtyard just to show me how good he was! :-)!!!! That is a very clever name too.

Thanks for the story and what a great experiment. I do hope that your clever mice have learned their lessons well and so decide to move onto easier pastures? That is a great idea painting them with spots so that you can keep track of who is who in the zoo. As an interesting and related side note, did you know that some commercial beekeepers paint dots on their Queen bees so that they are easier to spot in the hive? I do hope that your mice make peace with their situation? The rats thumbed their noses at me - until I built them out of their easy feed. They used to climb the fruit trees and eat the fruit so there has been a lot less predation this season. Mind you a couply of huge Currawong birds (like a massive crow with white markings on their tail) were sitting in the olive trees eating the unripe fruit (which means I probably have to pick them over the next few days).

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That is funny. Stuffed wallabies... Hehe! If they had wings, they'd plop down and into the tomato enclosure and proceed to eat the tomato bushes. Seriously, the last couple of nights they've decided that tomato bushes are quite tasty. If we ate tomato leaves we'd be dead as they are that toxic. Anything that can survive on a diet of 85% bracken fern is a truly formidable creature. It makes you wonder just what the climactic conditions were like for that particular evolutionary adaption? Very scary.

The cat wings would be a lot of fun for them and the cats would probably be feeding on hummingbirds - although, they're pretty fast aren't they and a flying cat would have a definite speed disadvantage? How are the hummingbirds going anyway? Have they returned for the spring?

Vinegar is quite the toxic brew and is certainly an outstanding cleaner and preserving agent. Not much can live in vinegar at all. How good is white vinegar with chips? Yum! At the fish and chip shops as a kid, they used to splash white vinegar over the chips - with a good dose of salt too - and they were a taste sensation. I'm not sure about balsamic vinegar though as it doesn't smell nice to me. What do you reckon about balsamic, and have you ever eaten white vinegar and chips or is that a down under thing?

Of course you are totally 100% correct! Apologies to the most excellent Ray Charles! The film was good fun and possibly the only musical that I've ever been able to sit through. Possibly I just revelled in the bad language and even badder behaviour - plus there was a lot of silliness. :-)! Thanks for the link, what a great performer and what a massively strong voice.

I haven't had a chance to read the article yet! (Hopefully over the weekend). Well yeah, probably the SEC probably was annoyed that a 14 year old kid could see through the lies and smokescreen and makes some mad cash in the process? Dunno. Certainly it helps knowing the right people, having the right connections, talking the right talk and following the allotted path and not deviating from that. And he probably didn't make any friends by making it look too easy. I reckon the system as it stands is quite fragile. One of the main characters in the Big Short film - which I believe to be based on real people and real events - wanted to spill the beans on the system and made the mistake of contacting the gov to discuss the matter and received (again I believe) 4 IRS audits and was questioned by the FBI. That to me stinks of fragility and also much more.

No! It does rain an awful lot in your corner of the planet. How are the chickens coping with the wet weather? Hey, did the extra rocks in their area help this year? Stewed Rhubarb stems are great breakfast additions and the plant takes very easy from root division - which is a fancy name for digging the plant up and simply cutting up the roots and then replanting them. I have dozens of the plants about the place. The leaves must be very toxic as the wallabies won't touch them at all. They are very drought hardy plants! Good luck with the rosemary. It grows well here, but I haven't got my head around the propagation bit yet...

Enjoy your trip into the little smoke and I hope the rain eases off a bit for you.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I loved Tolkein too, but never quite got into the Narnia books.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Thanks for the story and that is funny. The wallabies respect the dogs, but the dogs aren't free to roam at night so there is this sort of back and forward thing going on between those groups. They've started eating tomato plants (they can't get into the tomato enclosure though)! Who would have thought that would be possible? Oh yeah, daffodils are way toxic and nothing eats them. However, sometimes the wallabies are quite careless and they squash the daffodil stems (like little Orcs, really). Fortunately, I grow hundreds of daffodils so there is no shortage of flowers. It is a big garden so there is enough for all.

Thanks for the passata recipe idea and I'll check that out (presumably on your lovely blog?). I may try bottling some this weekend and the addition of citric acid is a great idea. I don't believe that the soils down under are water logged or anaerobic enough for it to be a major risk, but you never know.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

I'm pretty relaxed about sterilising with the home brew because the alcohol percentage is quite high (usually about 15%) because of the variety of yeasts that I add. I can test it easily with a vinometer. Not much can live in that sort of a high alcohol percentage - plus I never kill off the yeasts with camden (sulphur based) tablets as that stuff gives me headaches and hayfever for some strange reason (it is a poison after all!), so they keep fermenting away for up to 12 months before consumption. The whole thing is a complex process and I am in total awe at how it must have been done in the past. In the Annie Hawes books I mentioned to Lewis, they had 5 x 200L demi-johns on the go which provided the entire years supply for cooking, visitors gifts and drinks.

Ginger wine is awesome, and I have never had a bad batch yet. It really is very soothing to the digestive system sort of a drink. Oh, you can grow ginger in Laos. Just sayin...

I wondered about that moral outrage too, but I will tell you this story. When the recession that we had to have hit in the early 90's and I was given the boot in my first full time job, with 10% unemployment, I had to scramble just to keep paying the rent and putting food on the table. My girlfriend lived at home with her parents so moving in was not an option and moving home myself was definitely not on the table under any circumstances. So I had to take whatever job presented itself and I found myself for four years (despite my part time Uni degree which had yet finished, although that wouldn't have helped as companies weren't hiring) doing the job that no one else wanted - debt collection. And wow, did I learn stuff about people in that job!

What they were doing in the film (excluding the very shady operations) was no different. Not at all. It is a pure debt collection process. And I loathe debt now - every single aspect of it, but my view is very much in the minority as I see many people in some sort of weird debt party-land and that really scares me as I've felt my world fall out beneath me with no fault of my own over the course of only a few months. Never again.

What should he have done was lay out the truth to his mum and kid up front and not pretend that everything is OK, that is what he should have done, and in failing to do so, he lost everything. Sometimes the lie is considered more harmful than the actions, and combined with the slide into the moral morass it was too much for the mum to handle and so she stuck to the story that she could understand which was running away, but she really had no real plan to address the core problem either - and the whole thing seemed very dysfunctional to me. The life of a single mother is no joke. But perhaps it is a good metaphor for our society? What do you reckon about that analysis?

You may be surprised to see many eucalyptus trees in Laos! It might not be a bad idea if they had some of the nitrogen fixing under story trees like blackwoods? Otherwise the eucalyptus trees will steal all of the minerals from the soil - eventually after a few successive generations - especially if they're used for building timbers and/or firewood. Actually the blackwoods would be slower growing but they'd make much better trees. Dunno.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

You are too good to me - thanks! It is our host whose tact I stand in awe of - he's always on the mark. That's what makes this blog and its commenters such a joy. I couldn't resist commenting on linen; it's such great stuff - though wrinkled! I don't wish to draw those out who might wish to remain behind the scenes; I stay behind the scenes most places.

The thought of you and your feet of clay is still keeping me merry!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

I am now seeing flying cats running into trees . . .

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Damo:

I enjoyed your rat story,too. I get Mrs. Damo and the lab rats - I used to be a ferocious spider destroyer, then I realized that they are actually our friends (rat friend, anyone . . .) and now, unfortunately, this log house, which is almost all wood inside and so tends to seem sort of dark, looks like a ghost manse. If you ever saw the 1960's American comedy series "The Munsters" you'd see my cobwebs . . . I hadn't realized that you were so far out - in the bush I mean. Will your new home be strictly rural or in a more densely populated area? The link says that the page is not available. Or it might just be me.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

No, I haven't tried green tomato chutney. Our standard sauce/condiment made from tomatoes (ripe) is a spicy Mexican salsa, no sweetness, except from the tomatoes and onions (we grow sweet yellow onions).

I hadn't heard that about painting queen bees. That must be quite a trick!

I can see how the Currawong birds could be trouble - what beaks, and they have scary eyes!

Little Mad Dog lives to maraud another night! We caught him in the kitchen last night. So - the last hole filled in was not the only hole. Onward and upward . . . It's all a game, but both sides win. We humans get plenty of exercise and strain our brains to the point of: "Why is a little mouse smarter than me?" and the mice get unlimited cheese and free rides in a tin flying machine.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Jo:

That looks like a wonderful passata recipe. We haven't had enough tomatoes of late years to make much passata, we eat so many fresh and in salsa. I'll bet Chris has enough!

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Lew,
Thanks for that recycling article. I forwarded it to the chairman of the waste reduction committee of our local environmental organization. I think I have mentioned before that I participate in the monthly recycling drives of that organization. For many years they were able to support a staff of five from the income from their recycling center. After curbside recycling became mandatory everything changed. Now they can't find places to send much of what is collected at the monthly drives - particularly the electronics. It's illegal now to throw out electronics of any kind here in Illinois. They also collect styrofoam, DVDs, CDs and VHS tapes (CDs and VHS tapes all have to be disassembled). The January and February drives were cancelled as they were overloaded with the electronics. My job is to sort through styrofoam to separate out dirty items and non-styrofoam items. It can be pretty gross!!

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Pam,

Yes the hazelnuts were quite a find. It will be interesting to see what pops up (besides garlic mustard) now that a section can get more light. Unfortunately we did not find young oaks - at least not where we were working. The woods are fairly large and owned but at least a 1/2 dozen people and some definitely don't want people trespassing. We asked one of the owners if a group of us from the Land Conservancy could take a look at their section but it was denied as the owner was worried that the Conservation District might want to take it over (which wasn't the case at all).

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,
Ah "Shake Your Tail Feathers", an all time favorite of mine. In fact my entire extended family (well the female members) have developed some fine routines to several of the songs from the Blues Brothers much to the dismay of our spouses and significant others.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I think Nell has wings, I just can't see them :-). She managed to nail two hummingbirds, last year, before I finally got the feeder placement, right.

Here, we have something called "Fish and Chip Malt Vinegar." Which, I really like. Dark, bitter stuff. I used to go to a place in Portland (now, long gone) called Elephant and Castle. It was really old, not part of a chain, not yupped out or touristy. Close to the waterfront. It had a great bar that was all nice wood and stained glass. And, THE best fish and chips in the world. Also, the only place in Portland that had Guiness dark, on tap. Yup. It was that long ago. Before Brewery Mania. :-).

The chickens have several places to get out of the rain. The coop, is open all day. They have a shelter in the run. And, can even get under one end of the chicken house. But, they still look pretty wet, sometimes.

I'm being stalked by an Australian film star. :-). The First Chehalis International Australian Film Festival, continues. I picked up a series the other day, called "Mr. & Mrs. Murder." About a couple who do crime scene cleanup ... in New Zealand. And solve crimes. In the first episode, they're trying to solve a murder in a large, fancy hotel. The room service fellow (a small part) has been unjustly accused of the murder. And there he was ... Hugo Johnstone-Burt. Again. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. OK. I got "The Big Short" from the grocery store, and watched it last night. I found it VERY interesting, understood most of it and it was even funny in spots. In a twisted kind of a way. I took notes. What do you want to know? :-). I knew a lot of this stuff, but in bits and pieces. It kind of pulled it all together, in one spot.

Early on, there's a quote which I think is quit true ... "Wall Street loves to use confusing terms to let you think only they can do what they do." Which, relates to the article about the kid. I thought at several points in the movie, that it's all about "gate keepers". When I think about it, most of the fellows, setting up the shorts in the movie, were mavericks or outsiders of one type or another.

I thought the movie was pretty cleaver at making you pay attention to the important points. The lady in the bubble bath, trotting out Chef Anthony Bourdain, Selena Gomez at a gaming table.

Well, I don't know how you want to approach talking about this, so I'll just leave it there.

But in a kind of aside, back in 2004 I went about buying my truck. I'd picked out a no frills, utilitarian job, that suited my needs and desires. About $12,000. I started looking for financing. I went to my bank, which was Bank of America. Seattle First, where I first had my account, had been absorbed by B of A. Not my choice at all, but at that point, I couldn't join the credit union.

So, I'm sitting down with the loan officer, and I'm informed that they don't even entertain the idea of an auto loan, for less than $22,000. And, it's strongly suggested that I buy something, above that price range. Well, it turned out that Ford had their own financing and I worked out a pretty good deal with them. My FICA scores were really high. I doubled up on the payments (sometimes, triple) and paid it off really early. They didn't make much money on my loan :-).

LOL. And, yes, if it were Chris, he'd have ridden kangaroos, or something, until he had saved enough money to buy the thing, outright :-). Like my parents did with every house and vehicle they bought. But, I agree, debt is a terrible thing. I have no debt, now, and avoid it like the plague. And, I keep a comfortable "cushion" for emergencies.

Elliptically, I'm very impressed with Sen. Elizabeth Warren. She's working very hard to make sure loan agreements are VERY clear, and written in plain English. Wall Street hates her. Lew

Damo said...

I must have fumbled something in that link:

http://aciarblog.blogspot.com.au/2016/03/agroforestry-systems-offer-benefits-to_23.html

Hopefully that works :-)

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks! You're the best, and I really appreciate the feedback! :-)! It is a real pleasure to see what lovely comments have rolled in every morning - and also, I learn so much from the comments.

Salsa is a great idea for tomatoes. I understand that the process involves a bit of mild fermentation? Not sure really as I've never made that stuff, but I do enjoy salsa (on corn chips too). Yum! Sweet yellow onions sound very tasty, but I've never eaten them. Onions grow like the proverbial weed down here, but they are mostly either the walking onions or brown onions which when fresh have a quite sharp taste. I grow a few white onions too, as for some reason they are very expensive down at the market. When the market onions sprouted, I sort of just planted them in the ground and they've simply done their thing.

Speaking of corn chips, I have to sort out an enclosed area for growing blocks of corn as the wallabies destroy that plant and every year has been a total fizzer! Giving up until more time is available is always an option.

Yeah, I've never tried to paint a Queen bee, but it is a common practice. I tend to leave the bees alone unless they are struggling. They've proven to be more useful as pollinators than producers of honey. The native bees are stingless, so down the track a bit I may look into them. There are quite a few varieties living here, I just have no idea where though.

The Currawong birds are huge, and also very clever as befits a member of the raven (or technically close too) family of birds. They have the most beautiful and at the same time mournful and haunting call and it always takes me back to happy memories of my childhood and camping with my now deceased grandad and his drunken WWII mates up in the alpine country.

Well done Little Mad Dog! Yes, he probably knows your house better than you do!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks for that mental image! Hehe! Good for you, ladies. It sounds like a whole lot of fun too. Incidentally, how good was that film? And oh by the way, you've given us all an ear worm: "Twist it, shake it, shake it, shake it, baby!" Very funny! Thanks! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

After this reply, I intend to immerse myself in that article. And yeah, the article already sucked me in. I often wonder at how serious economists and pundits can bandy around the term: "Animal spirits" in relation to that sphere and not understand that what is going on in the world of speculation is just a form of magic? It does seem to be a rather weird world that one.

Haha! Poor Nell, she is just doing her thing with the hummingbirds. She probably does have hidden wings though, now that you mention it. You never quite know what goes on in the mind of a cat. It is an exotic and mystical place. The dogs on the other hand are quite easy to understand.

Mind you, for the sake of the many birds here, I can't really own a cat - although a feline friend would be a very useful addition to the menagerie to keep down the population of the rodents. It is a complex problem and the dogs do the best they can to fill in the gap, but they aren't as good as a cat.

That place sounds like the real deal and as it is sited near to the waterfront it probably has the best and freshest fish. You really painted a picture with those words and I'm now salivating thinking about the yum food and drink there. Hobart in Tasmania has an amazing 19th century waterfront district which you brought to my mind with that description. A small image of the waterfront is here: Hobart waterfront with Georgian warehouses.

Nice work! I'd never heard of malt vinegar before and will look into it as it may be an option to make from scratch. Down here is exclusively white vinegar, balsamic or rice vinegar. By the way, the older I get the more I appreciate the dark and complex flavours of stout, but I do prefer the subtler tastes of a black and tan. Mind you, a micro brewed pale ale is my absolute favourite. Sorry, I do appreciate your abstinence, but you drew such a colourful picture and it did sound very appealing. :-)!

Ha! Sometimes a chicken just wants what it wants and they can take a devil-may-care attitude to heavy rain. A wet chicken looks very sad and bedraggled though. Your chickens are in good care.

You'd kind of hope that the people that do crime scene clean up were well remunerated for their services? It does make one wonder at how you would get into that industry in the first place? I reckon a solid control of your gag reflex would be more important than a long CV? Imagine you enter the room of a crime scene and were faced with some serious decomposition smell. It is unfortunate, but I get to smell that a bit from the various road kill around these parts - it would be nice if people slowed down a bit...

Ha! Well, it is a small industry, so talent must not be wasted. Actually, it would be very hard to break into that industry.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

The film did have a healthy sense of gallows humour and I enjoyed that aspect too. Glad that you watched it and you were clearly quicker on the uptake than myself as it took two viewings for me to understand the subtleties. ;-)!

I wasn't aware of the nature and role of the synthetic CDO's, but it should have been obvious given that it was little different from the listed trusts that played so great a role in the crash of 1929. That was interesting - in a bad sort of a way.

The other aspect I did not understand was the nature and role of the credit default swaps and how they came into being. But basically they are a gamble dressed up as an insurance style policy. Again, interesting but in a bad sort of a way.

Yes, the quote from the young lady in the bath was very amusing. She is an Australian actor too, and I believe she played the role of the wife in the film: The wolf of Wall Street.

The part of the film that was not explained, but was there for all the world to see was near the end when the actor Steve Carrell (who played the hedge fund manager Mark Baum) commented to his right hand guy that in fact the players knew the result in advance which incidentally was the public bailout. Then the film acknowledged the reality that only one person was charged with any malfeasance. Then the film stated that Mark Baum had a "road to Damascus" change upon the sale of the swaps and became very gracious - which seemed out of character. There was also the unfortunate consequences for the Michael Barry character who attempted to spill the beans. Incidentally, that guy Michael Barry now invests in water… None of those series of circumstances rang true to me (I’m not disputing that it did not happen, by the way) as an entirety and it then got me thinking about the entire system as a whole, which revolves around printing money which has worried me for more years than I can tell you. What do you think about all of that? I also tend to think that for all sorts of related reasons the cycle of booms and busts are accelerating as the whole thing is a game of diminishing returns.

Very nice and tidy work with them. I am amazed that down here the culture has changed so rapidly within my lifetime. No one purchased a car on finance when I was much younger and we all made do with old wrecks that had dubious pasts and uncertain parentage. Nowadays, I'm the only person that I know (outside of the editor) that would scrimp and save for a vehicle purchase - and then buy the cheapest one that will do the job. The whole thing nowadays with vehicle finance is just very weird. I think, possibly eating kangaroos, breakfast, lunch and dinner until enough cash was saved. I have had and used debt, but for some reason it just freaks me out.

Good on her, and what a sensible goal. Pity it will never see the light of day. There will be an accounting for this mess one day and it won't be good.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The pheasant continues its morning walk around my 2 small greenhouses. The sun is shining.

@Pam I am in complete agreement with your comments about our host. The courtesy with which he replies to every point in every comment is outstanding. Furthermore his capacity for work is phenomenal and not just the physical. I sometimes look at other sites and find that Chris has found the time to comment there. You do realise that he has to be one of identical triplets all using the same name!

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

My favourite quotes from the article:

-"that I had taken entirely the wrong approach to getting the answer." Yes, the moment of true insight when the learned curtains are drawn and the ugly truth is presented in all its glory!

- "displayed a disturbing faith in the media to buy whatever he was selling". Yup, the pundits will be the last to know of any real world change. In fact they will be rabbiting the general feed line long after its usefulness is done.

- "was not an abstraction whose integrity needed to be preserved for the sake of democracy. It was a game people played to make money. Who cared if anything anyone said or believed was ''real''?" Ah, but of course. What else could it be? For money is not wealth and people often confuse this important matter.

Thank you very much, I enjoyed absolutely every word of the story. Well done to the kid for calling it like it is too. His real crime was that he made them "the professionals" look like idiots.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

I sure would like to see you and your clan "Shake Your Tail Feathers"!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

Where on earth do you find all of these interesting movies/TV series? Especially the foreign ones? I haven't been able to find such things around here and I won't spend money to subscribe online. I enjoyed your description of the eatery/bar in Portland and was hoping that you were going to say that it is still there.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Damo:

Thanks, the link works fine. They have done some careful research and experimentation there. It looks promising. And that woman with the basket! That broom grass undoubtedly weighs more than it looks like it does.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

We don't ferment our salsa, though I have made a fermented pepper sauce from just peppers and vinegar. All of the residue is sieved out of it once it's ready. I didn't know that you had tried to grow corn (maize?). I have tried for 15 years and it's always stunted and wormy. I had better luck with sorghum; may try that again, got a bit of syrup from it.

That's an enticing Hobart waterfront!

I had a vision of our last cat - Tommyrot - ruling the roost among your dogs. He could have done it, too, as he was boss of our 5 dogs (and there were some tough dogs in the group) and any neighbor dog that was dumb enough to drop by. He had been a feral cat and so had a good headstart. Friendly with people, though. He chose us, literally.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Our wild trees are bursting into bloom now. Achoo! I can't remember, do eucalyptus trees have flowers?

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Stuffed wallabies in a slow oven, with an apple stuffed in it's mouth? Every time I sign on, and catch a glimpse of that headline, my mind wanders somewhere else :-).

Yeah, one of the things I miss the most is "b----y black beer." :-). I should have owned stock in Guiness. Sigh.

That's really a nifty waterfront. Which reminds me of a story ... natch :-). I worked in a bar/cafe on 3d street, close to Portland's waterfront. Slinging hash. I usually cleaned up, and was the last one out ... around 3am. The bar was in the middle of the block and had a deeply recessed doorway. My routine was to lock the door, and toss the key through the mail slot.

Sooo...just as I tossed the key through the slot, I realized there was quit a bit of commotion, down on the corner. Using my best Boy Guide skills, I crouched down and took a look around the edge of the recess. Three police cars, with their lights flashing, were pulled up, and 6 coppers, running around. I finally figured out that they had a wharf rat, the size of Poopy, cornered under a mail box. Shots were fired ... Maybe, just sport on a slow night?

You may wonder if I every worried, wandering around the still streets of downtown Portland in the wee, small hours. Not often. Portland had (still has?) a mounted patrol. Most nights, the only sound was the clop, clop, clop of the patrol, echoing off the buildings. I knew, if I could hear them, if I gave a good shout, they could hear me. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

One line in "The Big Short" really caught my attention. Mark Baum, the angry guy, said at one point, early on before he found the plot ... "Only happens if millions of Americans don't pay their mortgages. That has never happened in history." What do they teach in schools, these days? Hello!? The Great Depression? Sure, the details were a bit different, but the results were the same. Close enough for horseshoes. Then he talked to a few real estate dealers and visited some of the ghost housing tracts and knew the jig was up.

I thought the prepper guy, Ben Rickert, who helped out the two young fellows from Boulder, was pretty interesting. I see from the notes at the end that he lives in an orchard, these days, and I would guess off grid. Sounds like someone I know :-). I remember an article about some high up government official, who was in the thick of the bail out, who is doing the same. Wonder if they read the ADR?

I can remember reading many articles, that relate to the film, but I'm not sure if I read them before, during or after the housing collapse. Articles about the two young fellows from Boulder ... one about a woman real estate agent, just like the one in the car tour ... articles about ghost housing tracts and ghost malls. A retail property bubble was supposed to pop about 18 months, after the housing bubble. But, I didn't hear much about that. A lack of reportage, or did the bail out stave it off?

It's hard to get a "take" on what's going on. It's all so diffuse. Except after the fact and all pulled into one place, like this movie. There was a documentary I watched about the bail out. There was an interview with a congress woman who had held out for no bail out. It was made very clear to her that if she didn't vote for the bail out, the whole global economy would collapse. She sobbed, telling her story. It's thought, in some quarters, that swallowing the bitter pill, then, would have saved us from a lot more pain, down the road. I don't know. I just don't know. But, the spinning printing presses, printing out more money, is disturbing.

And, about the time they were talking, in the movie, to the woman at the ratings bureau? And the bit about the SEC? It was about at the point that I thought that the whole system is rotten to the core ... and can't continue. As far as the credit default swaps went, betting on collapse, it was just another financial instrument. That's what these guys do, after all. Sit around and dream these things up, to make money, within whatever vague laws and enforcement is out there.

To switch gears ... the rain continues. And, the Langley Hill radar has been down for three days. Can't see what's coming at me. Went out for my walk, yesterday, during a brief clearing spell, and it started to pour before I got home. Oh, well. Won't rust. 15 minutes later, the sun burst out. My landlord told me yesterday that he can remember one year, back in the 70s, where they couldn't cut hay, because of the rain, until County Fair time. That's early August. As much as I like the rain, and don't mind it, I can remember a few springs where it just went on for too long. Made me twitchy. Wonder if this will be one of those years? Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Fair enough about the fermenting. Mexican food is a guilty pleasure for me! Yum! Corn (maize) is a difficult plant to grow. The wallabies didn't help as they ate the stalks (for the sugars I assume, but don't really know). Maybe in a year or two, I'll give the plant some additional attention. They're such heavy feeders though as they really strip the soil of nutrients. Honestly, I don't really know. What was some of the issues that you have with the corn? Incidentally, I tried the "painted mountain" variety as it prefers cooler conditions and it did grow well, but more plant experiments are called for and I just don't have the time.

Thanks for the sorghum tip. Interesting. Most of the varieties are native to down under - I didn't know that at all as it is considered to be an animal feed down here. Thank you very much for the tip - I will look into that plant as it sounds very suitable for here. Did you grind any of the grains?

Hobart is beautiful, but then most of Tasmania is very appealing. It is a huge island with very little population and the interior mountains and forests are like stepping back in time and seeing what it all looked like.

Go Tommyrot! Cats can certainly manage friendly dogs. Cats do choose their people, don't you reckon that is part of their charm?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Oooo, the London Plane trees which they love planting in Melbourne used to make me sniffle, sneeze and bring on the itchy eye! Sorry to hear that you are suffering a bit from the pollen allergies. It is good for the insects though.

The eucalyptus trees sometimes flower when the year is just perfect for them, and then the entire forest smells like honey and all you can hear is the buzzing of insects. But they rarely flower and I didn't take note of the conditions the last time they did.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

We were almost corresponding in real time. :-).

Your pheasant may now be a permanent visitor (if there is actually such a thing)! It is very hard to be cross with such an attractive looking bird. Has the pheasant done additional recent damage to your greenhouse or is it merely promenading?

Ha! That cloning technology is pretty good. Hehe!!! Actually, I'm very fast at typing which was a gift from the state government way back in the late 80's when someone, somewhere had this strange idea of multi-skilling people (fads are strange things in business).

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@chris

Good analysis on 99 homes. I think we can chalk up the character actions to lazy writing. So many tv shows and movies fabricate dramas by having characters lie/mislead to each other to generate false conflict. Still a good movie though.

Yep, not much can live in 15% alcohol. I wonder if the high ABV makes wine and mead more robust to 'relaxed sanitation'? Certainly beer is quite easy to make taste like rubbish, and many blame inadequate cleansing for those unfortunate results. On the other hand, that lovely Belgium kriek beer is brewed in open containers.

We had our garage sale today. Despite almost constant rain, we got the obligatory early arrival, feral kids and hard ball negotiator. All good fun, sold a lot, but you wouldn't know it looking at what is still left over. I enjoy getting rid of possessions, very liberating and cathartic.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

You are more correct than you know! ;-)! Marsupial is generally served rare to medium with a fruit based sauce. If ever you get the chance to taste a kangaroo steak (and you never know), then you may find that it doesn't taste very different from an alpaca steak. The trick is to not overcook the meat which makes it tough and chewy as kangaroo is a naturally lean animal. Anyway, the wallaby is too busy stuffing my fruit trees into its mouth to be eaten! ;-)!

Well, you have enjoyed it in the past and perhaps it is better to know one's limits. I've overdone things before in different areas of my life and you just learn what’s, what, and how your internals work and then sort of accept it and move on. Everyone is different in that regard.

Have I mentioned the current fad here for making fruit buns for Easter? Mate, these things are the bizz! Yum! Unfortunately, I can't consume too many in any one day as they're a bit rich for my usual tastes, but wow, they are totally yummy. I never quite understood whether hot cross buns (I leave out the cross which is a waste of time) are a thing in your part of the world?

Thanks for the story. Glad to hear that the police didn't miss the massive rat. I never realised that rats were an introduced species in your part of the world. Not good. Wharf rat indeed! They have a bit of legend behind them.

The police down here will shoot injured animals - usually those hit by a car - if they are called upon to do so. Incidentally, the historical images from 3rd street look very interesting. There was a tram service. Do they have that tram service still? Melbourne is chock full of an extensive tram service and they go all over the place. 3rd street looked very appealing, plus I spotted images for a microbrewery festival and one can only applaud such noble efforts! The nightlife of a city appears to me to be a good guide as to its citizens.

I've been flat out today, and for a couple of hours that meant removing blackberries that had somehow got into one of the garden beds. I like blackberry, but the thorny varieties have no place deep in the garden beds - especially on a steep slope. A few of the barbs ended up in my hands - they were fun to fish out from under the skin, but a relief once removed. I reckon they have some sort of toxin on the ends of the barbs? Dunno. One of the canes from the very oldest plant was about half an inch thick at the base and took a huge amount of effort to rip out of the ground.

The angry guy is a fitting description for that character. He was seeking to redress a wrong that he had committed to his brother and in turn blaming others. The calls on the margin loans during the Great Depression was what took every man and their dog that was involved in borrowing money to gamble on the stock exchange, but the story these days isn't really that different. The listed trusts in those days bore an awful resemblance to the CDO's that the banks were spruiking. Incidentally quite a few local councils down here invested rate payers money in those derivatives.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Ha! That is funny, but yeah, I liked the Ben character too and the top end of town is a long way in the past now. ;-)! Plus his outburst at the two young guys during the casino was a classic sort of buzzkill thing I would say. Also, the reply to the question as to why he helped them was that "because they wanted to be rich, and so now they're rich" indicates his general disdain for the goal, but the fact he helped them indicated that perhaps he felt they may see past the charade? Dunno.

Well, the journalism trade is not doing so well down here. I noticed the other day that one of the big media companies (huge) made a quarter of its workforce redundant (a more pleasant name for being sacked), so they have problems. Incidentally down under there are more students currently studying journalism than there are even jobs for them. What will they possibly all do? Apparently, a PhD in the field and also connections helps to get an internship...

Oh yeah, the ratings bureau story was not good. And it interests me no end that the ratings agencies are still quoted today despite the apparent lack of credibility.

In the paper today they had an article on the apparent new order of economic thought which spruiked the concept that budget deficits don't matter. And yet history tells me such money printing activities have occurred in the past and have resulted in hyperinflation. Yet, somehow that bullet has been dodged so far. That has been on my mind for a long while.

It is not a complex matter, despite what people may say. If a country expands its money supply - by spinning the printing presses for example - then really there are more dollars floating around relative to the amount of real wealth goods and services (which may or may not grow or may even decline). Given there is more money floating around, the price of goods and services go up. The problem is that as everything gets more expensive the printing presses need to print even more money and so the money supply gets even bigger and the whole thing is an escalating mess of failure in the end.

And yet, that isn't happening, but has happened elsewhere historically with remarkably consistent outcomes.

My best guess at this stage is that the excess money supply is being funnelled into financial assets (like stocks, bonds and derivatives). Also down here the excess money supply is being funnelled into housing (which just makes everyone that much poorer, although people in the game will argue that point endlessly) as well as financial assets. I’d be reasonably sure that Europe is following a similar path.

And my other best guess at this stage is that the various booms and busts (of which there have been quite a few over the past decade or so) also act as a relief valve with which to “disappear” part of the excess money supply. The speculative cycles and the busts have been getting more frequent of late.

The real problem with all of the above is that wealth is concentrating and because of that wealth inequality is increasing. And that mess is really not sustainable.

That film coalesced quite a few of those above ideas as I'd been wondering about the mechanisms of the money supply for a long while now just because it didn't seem right. And if it seems odd, it probably is odd! Dunno, really.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Yeah, that sounds about right! It was an excellent film, I really enjoyed it. The emotion showing on the faces of the people being evicted was palpable. It was really well acted.

Dunno about the beer brewing as I've never tried that process. But, I've heard those stories too and it makes you wonder because there was no way they could have maintained such strict sanitation procedures in the old days. It is just not possible and they've been brewing beer for a very long time. Maybe the quality of the products used in the brewing process can be a bit more dodgy these days (or maybe even less biologically active and diverse)? Dunno really, I'm just sort of thinking out loud. It is interesting though.

The only bad batch of mead that I've made here was when I picked up honey from a new supplier and I reckon the supplier added sugar syrup into the honey (which happens more than you'd care to know) to pad out the poor harvest that year. It was not a good batch of mead, but we rescued it eventually as it contained almost $30 of honey!

Your mission should you choose to accept it is to find out how they brew that Belgium kriek beer! Hehe! Hey, I went to visit a dodgy rice wine and distillation place on someones farm in Laos. It was good stuff, but I declined the offer to purchase product as I'm a bit dodge on still operations and this place did not inspire confidence.

Respect the hardball negotiator. You sound as if you've enjoyed yourself! It is cathartic too. It drizzled here this morning but was just cloudy this afternoon. The past few days have been quite cool especially compared to earlier in the month.

I hope some of that rain is landing in the catchments?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The pheasant won't cause damage unless it gets inside a greenhouse. It is simply proclaiming its territory during the breeding season. Son saw a couple of the males fighting the other day. This is always an amazing sight because they are oblivious to onlookers then and one can get up close. Not wise to wear red in the woods at this time.

I have also found it impossible to get my head around the fact that all this money printing has not caused hyperinflation and I have tried to grapple with the problem.
Here we just have massive housing inflation, both to buy and to rent.

On the subject of books, I can't recommend Jeffrey Archer too highly. I have only read his fiction so far. Politics, business and corruption. I had assumed that he was just popular drivel, how wrong I was. The books are variable and the ones in a series need to be read in order. There is a superb site called 'fantastic fiction' which is ideal for checking out title names (UK and USA where titles have been changed). Publication dates, order where there is a series and much else.

We have another storm coming in. The clocks go forward tonight which is hell for us night birds.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - Well, I get the films and series from our fabulous library system. It's a regional system. 5 counties, 27 (or so) branches. I worked for them for 12 years (not a licensed librarian :-). But, it takes a bit of patience. No instant gratification :-). Some of the branches are large, metro branches, some are one room rural branches. There's one common catalog for all of it. So, if I want to read or watch something, and there's a copy sitting on the shelf out in the boonies, it comes to my local branch by courier .. in usually 3 or 4 days. The hold lists can be long. Which is why I watch the "new" list, like a hawk. So I have a chance of reading or watching something ... in my lifetime :-). Occasionally, I'll resort to renting something at the local grocery store. Here's the library website ...

http://www.trl.org/Pages/default.aspx

Well, as far as your corn goes, you can try the Native American "Three Sisters" method. Grow corn, beans and squash, together. The beans restore nitrogen to the soil and the squash shades out the weeds. There's other tricks. A few drops of mineral oil on the cob ends, before they tassel, will help keep the bugs out. There's more, I'm sure.

My friends in Idaho make a mean zucchini salsa, or relish. They can it up. It has zucchini, tomatoes, onions, and ... 11 secret herbs and spices :-). I'm sure there are recipes on the Net. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Great minds ... I was also hacking at the blackberries, yesterday. You know how the tips tend to root? Well, I was hauling at a runner and the next thing I know, I'm flat on my back, staring at the sky. Narrowly missed a pile of rotting lumber and a rotting cart full of rotting cedar shingles. No damage done. The ground is soft from all that rain :-).

I forgot to look at the store bakery, to see if they had hot cross buns. They probably did. They are quit "known" here. I did a quick check, and there's recipes for them in my general cookbooks (Betty Crocker, Joy of Cooking.)

Portland has a phenomenal transit system. I think I told you that I remembered the electric trollies, from when I was a wee small child. They went away. Then, we got a mayor, Neal Goldschmidt, in the late 70s, who was very forward thinking. He later became the Transportation Secretary under President Carter. There is a light rail system, that runs all over the place. Some of the downtown streets are light rail and bus, only. The rail system was augmented by gas or diesel buses (probably electric, by now). I lived in Portland in the late 70s and didn't even have a car. Even in the middle of the night, you could go just about anywhere, with buses running not so often .. maybe, once an hour.

That line about "budget deficits don't matter". Yeah, just put your fingers in your ears, close your eyes and sing "La, la, la", real loud. Like a three year old. I think your take on inflation is spot on. I'm sure it will be (as JMG predicts) one financial shook after another. Some bad, some not so bad. But, a steady downward spiral.

So, one wonders what to do. Just keep on, keeping on, and try and put things in place that will make life, not only survivable, but comfortable with a bit of joy on the side. I suppose I should pick up a bit more "junk" silver coin. Which will probably have a bit of value ... through habit of thought, if nothing else. Nothing over the top. Just a bit more than the small stash I have now. Other recommendations, for "trade goods", I've seen recently are: heirloom seeds, ammo and ... something else that escapes my memory, just now.

I spend a lot of time thinking about ... "well, if this thing I use (or eat) isn't available, or costs to much, what are the options. Alternatives. I sent off for some youpon seeds (the caffeinated native plant) in case my small tea plantation, doesn't pan out. I also ordered a shitake mushroom kit from Fungi Perfecta. Since they're just up in Olympia, I'll probably get it early next week.

The mules are running all over the pasture this morning. I figure, they're either doing it for the pure joy, or we're in for a huge earthquake. :-). Beau's gotten pretty used to the mules, even close to the fence. But, when they run, he barks his head off. Got me up earlier than I wanted to get up, this morning. :-). Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I never did grind any of the sorghum grain; it never occurred to me. Thanks for suggesting it. My list of issues in growing corn (maize) is: If it can go wrong, it has gone wrong. I did slightly better also with a multi-colored corn; very slightly better.

My seedlings are now well enough along to report on which is better: Starting them in plain mushroom compost or mushroom compost mixed half and half with my native soil. They seem to have performed the same, except that the plain mushroom compost has to be watered a LOT more often as it dries out very quickly. And it costs me twice as much to use straight mushroom compost as opposed to mixing it with free soil. It is a lot easier just to fill the pots with the plain m. compost without having to go out and gather up dirt and mix it together. Dollars usually win at my house, though.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, here you go. Everything you ever wanted to know about hot cross buns, but were afraid to ask. Thanks to a not too long article, from NPR. Everything except a recipe ... which is bitterly complained about, by a couple of commenters. :-) Lew

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/03/25/471447638/sing-it-now-one-a-penny-two-a-penny-hot-cross-buns

Jo said...

@ Pam,

Sorghum also makes adorable, tiny popcorn:)

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

The pheasants sure seem to make for an exciting spring! Actually, I'm really glad to read that further damage to the glass house has been avoided for the moment. I'm not sure about glass houses here, but if I were in your part of the world, they'd be very useful. The old timers here have the most beautiful glasshouses and some of them even have a boiler in them. Wow, those things would use a huge amount of energy. My mind is on such matters today, because we finally finished bringing in the split firewood for the winter. It will be very interesting to see just how much we use in a year. It may even be a bit embarrassing? I'm putting some brain cells towards that issue in the longer term, but I actually have an estimated 5 years of seasoned firewood on the ground at the moment and am trying to puzzle out the most effective way to utilise this amazing resource. It is really complex.

It is a puzzle worth considering as it is central to our society! It really irritates my sensibilities when people blithely assure me that "we're in a new world order" and the "old rules don't apply" so we're actually "heading into a period of deflation". That just doesn't ring true with my observed experience. And yeah, house price inflation is explained away as a return on an investment - which really annoys me a whole lot. I really worry for the people who are locked out of the housing market, or who are young and in a massive pile of debt for a house. The whole thing makes little to no sense to me, but I genuinely suspect that the economic situation is a deliberate least-worst policy which is being pursued regardless of the consequences. You have to admit that the whole situation is very weird and it most certainly wasn't at all like this when I was a young adult?

I'd heard of Jeffrey Archer and accept your recommendation. 330 million copies can't be wrong either! He can clearly communicate a good story, but wow, has he lead an interesting life or what? But then those same qualities can put one at the top of the food chain with a bit of two steps forward, one back, so it goes. That is not a disparagement either, because one of the recent big authors down here was a career crim.

Cheers

Chris



Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Ooops! Yes, losing an hour of sleep to the daylight savings monster is a hassle. It takes me about a week to readjust to the new regime... You have my sympathies.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Ah, but of course! Yes, the tips definitely produce exceptionally sturdy root systems down here too. Honestly, I knew that a blackberry plant had established itself in that garden bed, I just hadn't realised how extensive the root systems were... No wonder the plant survives drought, frost and also Gigantor! :-)!

Glad to read that you fell with good grace as that was a very lucky escape from injury. The threat of injury is a pervasive concern in remote locations. I was very lucky too to not slide down the very steep embankment and take out every plant in between whilst attempting to remove the blackberries (I used a ladder which simply squashed the plants beneath it). Note to self, take blackberries out early. :-)! Actually, martial arts training can teach a person how to fall correctly - and one is never too old to learn such effective techniques? In my youth I joined a dojo for many years at night practising karate and I really enjoyed the experience.

Excellent! Hot cross buns are very tasty and so easy to make. They're like bread, but with a bit of dried fruit, sugar, spice (and all things nice?) as well as a bit of butter. I do wonder how they came to be a thing at Easter time? Down here fresh fruit is readily available, but I guess in the Northern hemisphere spring in a temperate climate is a tough time?

Speaking of which, the past few days have been very cloudy, so I've been unable to run the dehydrator, due to lack of electricity, for the tomatoes - which are still ripening. Honestly, I've never seen so many tomatoes before. There are tomatoes everywhere! Attack of the killer tomatoes maybe? This evening the editor and I fired up a huge batch of passata which provided enough for about half a year. It is an interesting experience to have to bend with the fickle winds of nature and the energy provided by nature.

Your transit system in Portland sounds superb and a very good example of what is possible. I love the public transport system down here and won't hesitate to use the trains and trams to get around the place. Light rail is a great idea.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Yes, the “budget deficits don't matter” people have a name too: Modern Monetary Theory (or MMT for short). They're serious too! I wonder whether it has ever occurred to them to wonder why it may possibly work for a while in some countries, but not in others? I reckon JMG is spot on too with that observation. Maths was always a struggle for me, but statistics I achieved a High Distinction in for some strange reason, and a multiple regression analysis would show a clear downward arcing trajectory in between all the many ups, downs and stabilities. It is a shame people tend to ignore the big picture. My gut feeling is that the systems and policies as they appear to be in operation are a bit of a house of cards and may not stand up to too much poking or prodding. I'm genuinely amazed at the resiliency shown so far though and you have to admit that it is impressive?

What to do? JMG has covered that area better than I ever could. You're doing a lot of good things that are way beyond what the average person even considers in their darkest moments. Accounts of people living in rural areas during the Depression are a fairly good guide too. Connections in an area seem to be very valuable and being known generally that you have value for your knowledge. Dunno. Keeping out of harms way is possibly not a bad idea either!

You know what though? I've travelled a fair bit in the Third World in less developed parts of Asia and sure they have their fair share of problems. But the people also live their lives and love and have friendships and tell stories and you know it isn't that scary unless of course a person defines their existence by what they consume. Those same people may have a bit of trouble adjusting, no doubts about it. But they'll adapt in time, although there may be a bit of whingeing in the process.

Sooner or later we will overdo it with the money printing thing. I mean it is not as if other countries with other interests aren't aware of that risk and will exploit it mercilessly if given the chance. I would never have personally chosen to take that option.

The caffeine plant is an excellent idea! My poor little tea camellia is looking very stressed because of the crazy hot summer weather, but it now looks to be slowly recovering. The coffee plant has swung between looking dry and shrivelled to looking much more green and robust. I'd be interested to hear about your mushroom growing experiences as the summer here destroyed my first forays into that world. They grew quite well until that point.

I really do hope that the mules aren't predicting an earthquake. That would not be good. Beau probably reckons that the mules are merely huge dogs! Poopy chases horses if anyone is silly enough to turn up on a horse here... Early mornings are not good for anyone. The sun doesn't rise here until about 7.30am now and I loathe getting up in the dark.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks, it was just a wild guess about the sorghum. The Aboriginals apparently used to grow huge quantities of millet which they then stored and ground into a flour. It is funny how we've become accustomed to think that flour comes from wheat and corn when there is a whole world of grains to choose from. The list grows for me too! :-)! Down the track - maybe in a year or two I'll look into grains and see what happens. I'm wondering about portable electric fences to keep the wallabies, kangaroos and wombats out of a grain growing area, but I reckon the birds will descend on grain crops too? Dunno. It is complex.

Yeah, the multi-coloured corn was the one I tried too and, yeah, that one did better but was hard too for all sorts of reasons.

Excellent work with the seedlings. If I was upside down and this place was in the northern hemisphere I wouldn't put the seedlings outside until April - depending on the weather forecast. Hey, next spring, the editor and I have been discussing the possibilities of capsicums (bell peppers) and mini eggplants? And maybe even the holy grail of melons...

I use mushroom compost because the local soil is rich in minerals but very clay-ey which is not good for seedlings which tend to like a more sandy seed raising mix (although I could be wrong in that belief?). If your local soil meets the requirements for raising seeds, then I'd use that stuff too, as it is cheaper! Out-flowing dollars is a potent counter argument here too! :-)!

We are having a bit of a debate here as to whether this fruit growing is a melon or a round cucumber and we're not really sure, but I'll post an image tomorrow evening and surely some clever person will be able to determine what this strange round fruit is!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for the link! That is funny at how the older pagan rites were co-opted by the church. Very amusing and also very astute on their part. I seem to recall reading that some Pope or other issued instructions to the visiting Saints in the 6th century (or maybe it was the 7th century by that time? Dunno) the gist of which was that he didn't care whether the natives in the UK were celebrating at their barbeques, as long as they were celebrating the saints! A rather pragmatic instruction... Hehe!!! ;-)!

Honestly, I have never been able to taste the crosses on those fruit buns and it all seems like a waste of time to add them to me!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Rain, rain and I am in a swamp again. Two ducks walked down the path this morning; they were in their element.

I forgot to say that there are some nasty images in the Archer books but they shouldn't worry anyone who likes Stephen King (I don't).

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

Thanks for the library link. It looks like you have an exceptionally fine library system. All those interesting events, too! Thanks also for the hot cross buns link. Funny what a long history such a simple thing can have. It's also fascinating to note small things like a law in 15th century London stating the exact times that a certain commodity, like buns, can be sold. Special interests always at work!

I wonder about trade goods, too. Flour, sugar, chocolate, booze - or the ability to make it, tobacco (we grow tobacco)? There must be lots of things.

I have tried the three sisters. The beans and squash did fine . . .I will try the mineral oil should I feel daring enough to try corn again. Thanks.

Zucchini salsa sounds excellent.

Did you figure out what the mules were up to?

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Yes, I think the tampering with daylight is especially hard on us night owls. It's been two weeks, since we switched over, and I'm still slightly off kilter. And, the longer light in the evenings takes some getting used to. Nice, but would work better if it came on gradual, instead of all in one leap. My evening meal has gotten later and later. Not good for the digestion.

Oh, I think we are in an inflationary period. It's just uneven. Not all things, all at once. Housing, yes. And, food. Here, medical cost and a trip to the dentist. About the only thing that is "down" here, is gas ... and that's bound to spring back, soon.

@Pam - A couple other "organic" pesticides are Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt) and Pyrethin. The Wikipedia entries are pretty interesting, and discuss the pros and cons. Of course, they've both been fiddled with, in labs, but natural forms are probably available. Heck, you can grow your own Pyrethin ... and the flowers are pretty, too! :-). I'm going to try a little patch, this year. There was some concern about Pyrethin, and bees, but as bees don't pollinate corn, it's probably pretty safe to use on that crop. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

Your pheasants have the same aggressiveness syndrome that our native cardinals have. Not a showy fight like the pheasants, but boy are they mean, and oblivious. This spring I was pruning one of the rose bushes and two males were fighting each other in and out of the bush and they could have cared less about me. The females are almost as bad. Both sexes spend early spring attacking their reflections in our windows. It can get pretty noisy. I guess that the cardinal earned its place as the state bird of Virginia because of its red feathers, not its personality. Then again, since Virginia was a hotbed of rebellion in the Revolution and the Civil War, maybe the cardinal was also chosen for its pugnaciousness.

Do you get hail there? I am thinking of glass houses. Maybe plexiglass would work here, though it's really expensive.

Thanks for the Archer recommendation.

We set our clocks forward a couple of weeks ago. Great for us early birds!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Jo:

I had no idea that you could pop sorghum! I wonder if that was an accidental discovery?That's a whole new incentive to grow it. Thanks!

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - And, pulling up the blackberry tips is, in some ways, a bit of a fools errand. The least little bit of root, left in the ground, and they re-sprout again. Eternal vigilance and, about all you get is that they're knocked back for the year. :-).

MMT sounds like it's right up there with the "Trickle Down Theory." Which has been bandied about economic circles, since the 80s, even though it's pretty clear that IT DOESN'T WORK!!! :-) Sorry. Why take in the big picture when the antics of the Kardashian's are SO fascinating? Bread and circuses. Who ARE those people, anyway? No, I don't want to know :-). Probably ex-Disney mouseketeers ... or, something. :-).

Well, a cross on the buns with sugar glaze might be nice. As if they needed more sugar :-). Maybe flavored with a bit of maple syrup? And, instead of a cross (though that is traditional) other squiggles could be fun. A spiral? The infinity sign? I think the traditional "fruit" for hot cross buns are dried currents ... which would be available in the early spring. Or, raisins. Lew

Yahoo2 said...

Chris, if you are making booze then you are 98 percent of the way to vinegar, old style it is nothing more than exposing wine to air, the natural acetic acid bacteria (AAB)slowly colonise and convert the ethanol to vinegar. I make a lacto fermented cider that I then convert to a mild vinegar with a mother, very tasty stuff. The fast industrial version of vinegar is distilled alcohol plus water plus bacteria, air bubbled through it for 3 days.
Some light reading about fermentation that may interest you
http://naturalchickenkeeping.blogspot.com.au/p/fermented-feed.html

I was interested in your comment about our modern peoples fitness and health. As someone who has worked long and hard hours in the cold for most of my life, I am very lean, fit and strong, I ate a lot of food but for many years I was not 100% healthy, I had a lot of allergies plus creaky dry joints and my health slipped a little each year, until it crashed. Exercise is not a substitute for a healthy and varied diet. Now when I look at a recipe or menu I think "Is this peasant food (mostly vegetables) or party food (mostly meat, carbs or sugar)?" it changed my perspective. My diet was good by modern standards but when you are burning 20,000 kj a day it needs to be higher in fiber and nutrients.

A bit like the chickens I suppose, their natural diet is insects, compost, fungus's, manure, seeds and a green pick but we feed them grain.

Hope you are all relaxing at least one day over Easter.
Steve