Monday, 30 May 2016

Soil Ant Green



Some weekend afternoons the valley below this farm looks as if someone had decided to reproduce the land of Mordor with many smoke plumes rising into the air. Mordor, of course is Tolkien’s fictional land where the evil sorcerer Sauron lived and ruled. There was a whole lot of smoke and fire and stuff in that fictional land. With maybe a bit of brimstone chucked in for good measure, whatever that stuff is. It does sound a bit scary though!
The residents of the valley below are enjoying many a good burn off
Burning off of organic material is a useful forest management technique as it can be used to selectively thin the forest. Eucalyptus trees encourage regular fires as the seeds are very hardy and long lived and often rely on fire to break their dormancy (that is the fancy name for the process where seeds know the exact time to begin the process of turning into trees). Fire also provides a lovely mineral rich ash bed (particularly phosphate which is sorely lacking in the soils here) for those new Eucalyptus trees to grow in.

After really big wild fires, like the one that swept through this property in 1983 (Ash Wednesday) and resulted in the loss of much human, animal and other life, the eucalyptus forests can grow back even thicker than before. And unfortunately a very thick forest of eucalyptus trees contains very little life other than, you guessed it: Eucalyptus trees. And not much else. A much older and less disturbed eucalyptus forest contains a huge diversity of plant, animal and/or insect life.
A small bonfire of mainly green forest material today
Observant readers will note that the height of the flames in my small bonfire is almost double that of the green material. Imagine what those flames would look like with a wildfire in a group of 50m+ (165ft+) trees! You can also see that the forest in the above photo is largely regrowth resulting from the Ash Wednesday (1983) wildfires that tore through the very edge of this property. The trees are very closely spaced and all have grown very tall so as to compete for light. There is also very little diversity of tree species. In fact the only different species is on the edge of that forest in the foreground of the photo just behind the fire and it is a musk daisy bush (Olearia Agrophylla).

And it is also important to recall that all of the organic material in the photo above is green, it is now winter here and this stuff is readily burning.

A common question that I often have to field is: What is it like living in a small community? It is a great question because having grown up in a big city, I also struggle understanding all of the subtle nuances in a small community, even after almost a decade of living here. It is often a complete mystery to me and sometimes, I very occasionally make huge mistakes, without even realising it. And in a small community those mistakes never go away.

I’ve heard it said that life is often two steps forwards and one back. Long time readers may be happy to read that this week I have made peace with the guys that ripped me off last year. We had to use the language of Bloke Talk. What's this Bloke Talk business all about?

As I was speaking with the guys, I realised that I was speaking almost in another language. I was

reminded of the comedy film “Airplane!” or as it was known down under as “Flying High”. The movie was very funny and it employed surrealist humour to excellent effect. One scene in particular popped into my head which was: I Speak Jive!

Unfortunately, I don’t actually speak Jive language and really had no idea what the actors in the film were actually saying, but the humour and the absurdity of the interaction was not lost on me. However, I do actually speak “Bloke Talk”. Bloke Talk is the un-recognised language spoken by a lot of males down under. My father left when I was a very young child, so unfortunately I grew up being the only male in an otherwise very female household and so I have had to learn Bloke Talk by trial and error.

It was my mother who pointed this Bloke Talk business out to me as one day as a young teenager I had to book her car in for a service at the local mechanics. The Bloke Talk interaction went something like this:

Bloke Talk spoken words: “G'day mate. I wanna book a car in for a service". Observant readers will note that this was spoken as a statement and not posed as a question.
English translation > Greetings. Can I please book in this vehicle in a future date for a service?"

The transaction was then conducted in Bloke Talk.
Once completed, I then said: "Thanks mate".

English translation > Thank you very much for your time.

After my mother and I walked out of the mechanics, she looked at me and asked: "Where did you learn how to speak like that?" To which I replied in my best Bloke Talk: "I dunno!". And that was that.
Anyway, Bloke Talk is a useful skill to utilise and I did that with the guys that ripped me off. We have now all arrived at a mutual understanding of each other perspectives and we can all move forward so that everyone benefits. This Bloke Talk business is tough as, but it does seem to work - sometimes.
In other farm news, we continued to excavate this week. The excavations are all done by hand and we cannot commence the new berry and potato bed project on the terrace above those excavations until these are complete. The initial stage of excavations begins with loosening all of the clay in the cutting with an electric (solar powered of course) jack hammer.
An electric jack hammer was used to loosen the clay in the embankment
An antique rake (Sheffield Steel no less) and mattock was then used to drag all of the now loose clay off the embankment and onto the ground below it.

A rake and mattock was used to remove all of the loose soil on the embankment

The soil was then loaded into a wheelbarrow where it was removed to another location where that soil was used as fill for a ramp leading downwards and into the orchard. Eventually all of the loose soil was then removed.
The soil was loaded into a wheelbarrow where it was removed and used as fill elsewhere
Another concrete step was added to the existing staircase which will eventually provide access to the new berry and potato bed project.
Another concrete step was added to the existing concrete staircase
Speaking of soil, I noticed that with the recent rains, the earthworms had been out in force. Earthworms are amazing creatures and in their worm-like activities, they also bring back worm castings to the soil surface which the plants can then use as fertiliser. Worm castings look like small mud/soil mounds on the surface, but I believe is actually a fancy name for worm poo. I have never seen quite this much earthworm activity before though:
The earthworms are depositing huge quantities of worm castings which are excellent plant fertilisers on the soil surface this week
I really like earthworms because they displace the ants. I'm not overly fond of the ants here, although they do some solid work in the soil, however the little blighters annoy me by biting me whilst injecting formic acid and then also just in case I hadn't quite learned my lesson not to annoy the ants, they then spray the skin surface with the same acid. All that leaves chemical burns on your skin which are not pleasant! Needless to say, the ants are not my friends!

The earlier warm May has disappeared this week and it has been very cool to cold. This morning there was even a light frost here. A light frost here means a very heavy frost in the valley below. People often tell me how cold it is in the mountains and I usually agree with them to be polite. The truth is that all that cold air from here falls downhill and it is far colder in the valley below where all of that cold air accumulates. The frost tends to wash out the colours too so that even the grass, which is otherwise very green at this time of year, looks as though it has had a black and white filter applied to the scene.
A heavy frost accumulated in the valley below this morning
It was so cold this morning that I was a bit concerned for Tufty Head the second in charge of the chicken collective here at the farm. Tufty Head is going through a very late autumn feather moult and so is probably a bit cold.  She is an unusual chicken of dubious and uncertain parentage who is most likely a Silkie / Australorp cross, but I don’t really know. She is an excellent egg layer, once she has regrown her winter plumage anyway.
Tufty Head, the chicken of dubious and uncertain parentage is regrowing her feathers after a late moult
Observant readers will be able to spot the white spears in her plumage which are actually what new feathers look like when they regrow.

Not every plant can survive a light frost and the Chrysanthemum flowers died back a bit this morning. You can even spot ice crystals on the flowers.
A light frost this morning damaged some of the very showy Chrysanthemum flowers
Other plants simply shrug off a light frost. The next photo shows a bed of: Green lettuce; Red lettuce; Green Mustard; Red Mustard; Chickweed; Rocket; and Oak Leaved lettuce. All of these plants are grown closely together and in turn they keep each other warm. It is also interesting to note that the composted woody mulch behind the raised garden bed actually attracts frost which is not present in the raised garden bed.
This raised garden bed of mixed greens shrugs off a light frost whilst the woody composted mulch behind it attracts the frost
The new second hand large hardwood (tasmanian oak) dining table has continued to be sanded this week. And better yet, the job of sanding the previous questionable walnut acrylic finish, is almost but not quite complete. The tight grain of the hardwood timber is really starting to look good.
The new second hand large hardwood dining table has continued to receive the sanding treatment this week
We interrupt regular programming to bring breaking wombat news: Baby wombat is now looking suspiciously pregnant and carrying around a very large lump in her pouch.

We now return to regular programming...

The temperature outside now at about 9.30pm is 1.9’C (35.4’F). So far this year there has been 297.6mm (11.7 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 282.0mm (11.1 inches).

52 comments:

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Here, if it's a forest fire or Mt. St. Helen's erupting, the return of the forests are a pretty straightforward narrative (unless something untoward, happens.) I've seen charts, graphs, narratives. Couldn't relate it right off the top of my head, but basically, it starts off with trees and brush, of different varieties, in a pretty rigid progression, that then develops into conifer forests and climaxes in old growth. Animals and birds play a big part. Huge tracts around Mt. St. Helens have been left alone and are being intensely studies.

That was a pretty interesting sketch of Bloke Talk. Reminds me of your recent riff on the trip to the solar store. I'm not very good at it, and, usually just keep my mouth shut and listen. I seem to remember from some anthropology classes, way back when, that some tribes have a men's language and a women's language. Speculation is that somewhere along the way, a large number of women were captured from another tribe, of a different linguistic group. Although the women learned the men's language, they also maintained their own language. I seem to remember that some forms of the Japanese language are specific to men, and others to women. I'm sure someone will correct me, if I'm wrong :-).

The tiny ants in my kitchen and I seem to have reached a detente. The borax seems to have really knocked them back, but I still see the odd ant, from time to time. I don't know what they're about. Have never found them in the foodstuffs. At least they don't bite.

Steps, steps, everywhere. You place is beginning to look like a print by the artist M. C. Escher. Not a bad thing.

All my chooks look healthy, except a couple of black and white Wyondottes that look rather seedy. I really think they've got a bit of frizzle chicken, in them. So, Baby wombat is enceinte? Child bride? :-).

Looked out my kitchen window, yesterday, to see two of the mules out, and heading up the logging road toward the county road. I went running out, throwing up my hands and shoeing them back to where they belong. Luckily, they paid attention. My, they are quit large, up close and personal. Called Roamie, the mule guy. Being the holiday, he was out on the coast. But, he sent a mate up, to throw up some temporary fencing, until Roamie can make it back, today.

It's official. I have a cold. I hardly ever get sick. I've had worse. This is probably a 6 on a scale of 10. The sore throat is gone, but it's moved into my head and a bit into my lungs. And, not an antihistamine in the house. I may try some Chinese mustad, later. That ought to clear out my sinus. Runny nose, sneezing. Aching in odd spots. LOL. Butt hurt, and not in the usual sense of the term. So, I'm staying in and staying down, other than taking care of my animals and chasing other people's mules. :-) Pity, it's a really gorgeous day, here. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I agree that nothing is ever forgotten in a small community, through the generations as well. I like to live in a small community having lived in cities also. It is imperative not to quarrel with the neighbours though.

Bloke speak: very good but there are so many speaks, particularly in the class ridden society that we have here. I am lucky because I can move up and down the class structure both verbally and in other ways as I deem to be necessary.

The photos of your steep gradients worry me when I can see bare soil. Do things move if it suddenly rains a lot. Your concrete steps are good but not for the elderly, I would need a hand rail.

I have an unusually coloured red squirrel here. Although pictures always show them as red, they do vary a lot in reality. Son asked if I had seen the pale squirrel and I accused him of being fooled by sunlight shining on fur. I had to take that back when I finally saw the creature. Difficult to describe its colour, The palest of pale beige or cream from end to end; very distinctive and unusual. They often have blonde tails otherwise they can be very dark in patches.

Cold, grey and windy today. I shall bake bread.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Oh yeah chickens are definitely not vegetarians. Some of the breeds are a bit smarter than other breeds. For example the Araucana birds are a lot smarter than the Silkies - although that also depends on the actual bird too. One of the Silkies now that I recall, is much more curious than the oldest Silkie chicken. Who knows what goes on in the mind of a chicken, I tend to consider their personalities based on their actions.

I hear you about the dog situation. Experience tells me that it is hard to get along with everyone, and sometimes people (and animals) take an instant dislike to you for whatever reason. Oh well. Nothing to be done about that.

The fire threat is very real and I actively manage that situation, but I can only manage a small area and most people are unwilling to consider the probability of risk and are very happy to stop me from managing the risk. It is a very weird situation that one. There are many situations in society where that is the case and my gut feeling is that people are unwilling to assess the probability of risk - or have not ever learned to do so – or perhaps it is not to their benefit to consider risk. Dunno. I would be very interested to read of your opinion of that.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Oh. Dairy country is usually the best of the best in terms of climate, soil fertility and rainfall. It has to be. But then corn is a heavy feeder too. I often wonder about mono-cultures of plants as I have observed down here time and again, that I have myriad problems every time I grow plants in a mono-culture. Dunno.

Your granddaughters are clearly ahead of the game. I was originally against home-schooling but it was probably driven by prejudice more than anything else. A few years back I met a 13 year old local who was home-schooled and in his spare time he ran a 2,000 head free range egg farm - as you do! That certainly changed my opinion on that matter.

Ha! Well there is always middle ground on such matters and no one appears to me to be in full control of their destiny! ;-)!

Yes, those Derecho's are something else aren't they? I once saw 10 inches of rain here over 5 days and I've never seen so much water before in my life. It was everywhere. You are to be commended on the resiliency of your systems and I'm also glad to read that it has been tested in the real world. I worry about water pumps too as it requires 0.5kW of AC electrical energy to lift water 10m (33ft) at a useful pressure. At a lower pressure it requires far less energy. At a higher lift, it requires a whole lot more (basically it doubles as the height doubles).

It is a really nice thing that you take your brother to the baseball and it probably means a lot to him. Of all the things he remembers that is probably one of the stronger memories?

Oh my! I did wonder about that issue as the chickens seem to cope better with dry heat than humid moisture - although having said that I have seen firsthand a lot of remote villages in SE Asia where there are chickens and pigs roaming around all over the place. The chickens looked to me as if they were game birds as they were less meaty and probably better egg layers. I tend to favour the less meaty birds and go for the more jungle fowl style of bird and then tend to be very hardy. What happens if you lose the power for the fan? I once heard of that happening in a commercial egg farm and the results were not good.

Nice to hear that you received a bit of rain. It has been cool and sunny here the past few days - with a bit of light frost. Hopefully tonight is a bit warmer as I worry about the coffee shrub.

Now worries, my gut feeling was that he believed I was disrespecting him by not trusting him. I was raised in an otherwise female household so I have to interpret everything around me and males can be a complete mystery to me sometimes and I have had to learn to approach situations from a very combative approach - even though it is not my normal Modus Operandi which is more co-operative. The normal MO sends the wrong signals in situations that otherwise require confrontation. I often quite surprise people. I dunno, it can be like living in a fog.

Your book choice sounds like an excellent choice.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Oh no! I'm now seeing vivid memories of black and white rattle snakes in my brain with the obligatory maraca rattle sound in the background. I'll bet most of the snakes in those old westerns were unfortunate small non-venomous pythons relocated to some godforsaken remote spot in Arizona merely to shoot an old Western film. Well, who wouldn't want to impress the new to town, straight from the big city, school marm? Sometimes I joke about an area needing new blood to reinvigorate the area... Although maybe I’m not joking! Hehe!!!

That method sounds as if it is outside my capabilities, so I'll continue with the sanding. Hopefully the table is done next weekend. Maybe? It looks as though the rain is going to fall next weekend, and a padwan is expected to turn up in that rain and assist with raising the new solar panels. I hope the weather is nice. Anyway, you started this:

Darth Vader: I've been waiting for you, Obi-Wan. We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner; now *I* am the master.

Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi: Only a master of evil, Darth.

Anyway, whatever, the old stag is killed by the young stag and so the world goes around. It is an old story...

Yeah, I've heard that speak too and it is as uncomfortable for the boys as it is for everyone else around them. They're simply exploring the social boundaries and probably need to have those boundaries set – rather firmly. Anyway, they grow out of it. As an employer a long time ago, I knew a young lady who said to me in a rather emotional moment of much tears that she just wanted someone to say "No" to her and as weird as that moment was, it left a lasting impression. F bombs and their ilk are best used for special occasions! ;-)! Like hardened battle troops they must be employed with specific intent and purpose.

Well, like your night time DUI visitor, it was best handled through the proper channels. And that is how it will roll next time. Lesson learned. It is a tough thing to learn where to help and where to provide people enough rope to hang themselves. I learn all of the time. It is a real shame that one doesn't get more than one life to implement all of this hard-won wisdom... I guess that is what is meant by the misused term "culture". It is a shame that we don’t employ it.

I'm with you. There are many things that I'm aware of and do not dabble in. Strict boundaries are a form of freedom, although many may see the situation otherwise. But I reckon the dabbler can easily become enslaved and that is how things go. I do sort of like the idea of the Tower Crawl. Some people need to find their boundaries.

Sorry to hear about the cold, mate. That's no good. I hope the fog of cold disappears for you and you feel better again shortly. Sometimes, if I have a cold or flu, I'll deliberately do a hard days slog so that my sinuses burn clear. It is not pretty, but it is effective as long as one keeps their water up. Now you listen to me young man, are you keeping your water up? Hehehehe!!!! ;-)! I do hope you recover soon.

Best wishes.

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for that explanation. Nobody here really investigates that matter as it is an assumed process. The diversity that grows back from a wildfire is a much reduced diversity of plants, animals, birds, insects, and soil life. And the resulting forest is more adapted to wildfires. It is a vicious cycle. The diversity arrives eventually from the magical place elsewhere but it takes a very long time and doesn't really need to operate on that cycle. A bit of a shame really.

Yeah, I was channeling that solar store story. I'd written something else, but had been seriously edited... I'm not very good at it either and most of the time I have to peer into peoples souls and intentions to derive their meaning. That takes a bit more time and effort on my part and the results are usually very dark. That story makes a strange sort of sense and I have absolutely no reason to doubt the veracity of those claims. Males and females think, speak and act differently to my eyes. To me it is like living in a fog and I try my best to see through the haze and derive solid meaning. Dunno. It is a complex subject.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the ants won't like lime. Give it a try. I'm going to try that near the bee-hive next spring when I attempt a split of the main colony.

Man, I hear you about that artist. He loved his stairs and some of the angles and perspectives were mind bending. Thank you for the art history too, I was unaware who was the origin of those perspectives. It makes a person wonder what the artist was thinking when he drew those...

Well of course, baby wombat does have a pouch - and apparently she knows how to use it! Hardly a child bride anymore - let's dampen that conversation lest she become embarrassed at such an outrageous claim. She is a lady of distinction you know! As a wombat she has been living here for about three years now. She is very healthy looking.

Oh my! That is quite the effort to face down a mule - that had set its mind on a the possibility of an adventure.

That's not good. Sorry to hear that and hope you feel better soon. That day sounds like a good day for a Chamomile tea. Perhaps your tea plant will be happy to sacrifice a few leaves? You can tell the plant that it is all for a good cause.

I won't mention that it has been quite sunny and cool in the past few days. Winter is certainly here and there was another light frost over night, although it had already arrived as I was penning the blog entry! The editor tells me that in the valley below this morning they had -2'C (28.4'F) whilst here it was a balmy 3'C (37.4'F) here. I wondered where all of that cold air went too. At least it didn't fall behind the couch!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

There is also a reply above to your last weeks comment!

You are absolutely correct and I haven't learned really when to become involved and when not too. And sometimes, some situations are just confrontational even if that was not the intention in the first place. We rarely think the same thoughts as our fellow humans and the whole thing is a sort of muddling through process. Dunno. And yes, quarrels with neighbours are not good in a small community.

That is an excellent skill to have and one must not confine oneself to their particular social class at the risk of alienating themselves. I was transferred from a total hippy dippy school to a full on grammar school and it was a dislocating experience. However, in the process like you, I have touched lives in many different social classes - and those are here too, believe me - and more often than not, I reckon that all they want to hear is what they want to hear. And so I tell them that. I once met a genuine Lord too! Strange times.

It is exactly what your wrote. Sometimes the editor says I wear my suits in such a casual way that tells a story of privilege and so I learned to fit in, but really it is merely a lesson learned from a very young age. We all learn such things whether we like it or not. And there have been unusual circumstances when people who I have befriended have tried to social climb over me, which is a surreal experience from my perspective. My take is if the game is rigged against you, play along, but live your life and don't expect to win, because you can't. It is just not worth playing from my perspective, but the games go on all of the same. I assume that happens in your part of the world too?

Of course, I will need a hand rail too one day. No the soil is very stable and the local earthworks guy pointed that out to me a long time ago, by talking about the very old hill station gardens which are very stable. Mind you if the volcano that I'm perched upon becomes active, all bets are off! ;-)!

Yeah, animals vary a lot in colour and markings here too. There are even albino kangaroos and wallabies, although the sun is very hard on them. Adaption is natures way. Thanks for the excellent description of your squirrels too.

I do hope that the bread is tasty - and it sure beats hanging around outside on a cold grey day. Do you take jam with your bread? Or just butter?

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I thought of another language story. Years ago, when I first moved away from home, I lived next to a couple of "party girls." Very nice birds, who were just young and out looking for a good time. Well, one night they brought home two Brit sailors. The different fleets were in for Portland's Rose Festival. We were having a terrible time understanding the sailors. They were near incomprehensible. Lots of misunderstandings and the good times were rapidly going down hill. Then I had a thought. I asked "Do you speak BBC?" They did. Murky things cleared up and the party rolled on. I'm sure when the fellows got home, they probably said "Everyone speaks posh, in America." :-).

LOL. I had to look up "padwan." Grasshopper. Got it I watched the first couple of Star Wars movies, and then entirely lost the plot. Never had enough interest to go back and figure it all out and pick it up, again. Sigh. Guess I'm just a Star Trek, guy.

Oh, I do "water up" whenever I'm about to do something arduous, outside. I slosh. Had forgot about the Chamomile, in the cupboard, and will hit it on my next round of cuppa. Tossed up some eggs and the remains of the thick turkey soup, last night. Smothered it in a plane yogurt / Chinese mustard / garlic sauce. Hit the honey, pretty hard. Antihistamine, right? Might be feeling minimally better, today. But, I might be imagining it. Was running a slight temp, last night. Still sneezing my brains out of my ears. :-)

Keep us posted on the wombat, nativity.

I also went through major cultural shock, changing schools when I was about 15. Went from a metropolitan school of 2,500 students (30% African American) to a rural school of less than 500 students (lily white.) From a school with a principal that was occasionally seen lost in the mists of a far off stage (wouldn't recognize him if I passed him in the hall) to a school where the principal knew every student's name.

Class is an interesting thing. Of course, I have watched a lot of BBC miniseries, over the years. Class is often larded on or, even becomes a plot point. I've been watching a bit of the "Endeavour" series, which is Inspector Morse, in his young years. it all takes place around Oxford, and, everyone thinks he's just a junior policeman from some provincial backwater. So, snotty professors or student is always putting him down .... throwing a little shade. And, he always comes back with some bit of scholarly tat that sets them back on their heels. You see, he's an Oxford grad, himself. Gears grind and reassessments are made. Great fun. Happened a time or two, to me, when I was slinging hash in the cafe.

Of course, America likes to see itself as a classless society. Mmmm. No. It's just a bit more ... beneath the surface. It has been a place where one can remake oneself (if you want to go to the effort). Not so much, anymore. The internet is there for any busybody who wants to take a look.

Well, light duty today, I think. Except I've got to refill the hummingbird feeders. Sugar water already on the cool. Lew

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

The teachers I know are changing their opinion of home schooling as our educational system gets worse all the time. My daughter spends tons of time preparing lessons and field trips. One advantage for them is they can go to museums etc when during the week when everyone's at school so they're not very crowded. My husband and I took them to this very strange place, House on the Rock which is a huge tourist attraction and is usually mobbed. http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2254
We went in early November during their off-season and I think there were only a dozen people there. There's so many rooms of collections that it takes hours to go through it. Well they had the run of the place and were able to visit all the washrooms, men's and women's which were eclectically decorated and had collections in them as well. That and the doll house collection were high points for them.

Regarding chickens and heat, the egg layers really do OK. They'd be fine even without the fan I think. It's the meat chickens that really suffer. If it were really hot and there was no power for a fan I think they would just die.

Well there were scattered storms forecast so I watered as they often miss. Shortly after I was done it started raining and still is. We've gotten about an inch. If I hadn't watered it probably wouldn't have rained. Still very glad it rained.

This is a pretty small community too. Everyone seems to know everything going on. I rather prefer it to an urban setting though.

Margaret

Damo said...

Interesting you mention aruacana chooks are smarter. We had three chooks, an isa brown, barred rock and a third which a friend pronounced as ara-coona. Google didn't help me, she certainly didn't look like an aruacana, with her blue feet and beak, black feathers and white flecks. Anyway, whatever she was, she was a lot smarter then the other two and quite happily wandered the yard alone if the others were otherwise occupied. Chooks are great.

I have being here in Laos for one week. Very busy and very hot. I can report the chooks are small and game-like, they look hardy! Unfortunately i noticed they now have at least one factory pig and chicken farm. Not sure if that is just for export or locals. At the local market, the meat certainly has come from small farmers, but most of the eggs are of uniform size and have little stamps, so they must be from a large farm..?

Damo

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I'm glad you asked that question about why he would have bothered translating the book in the first place. And then once those scenes were in his head did he then go out and act upon them, being caught in his own web? It does make you wonder what the translator considered in the wee dark hours of the night?

That is very clever to have suggested to speak BBC. Nice work. I'm sure they believed that they were as clear as mud. To be honest, I struggle to understand a lot of accents that I hear and there are a lot of backpackers working in the hospitality industry. Interestingly, the government wanted to slug the poor backpackers recently with a 32% flat tax on their miserly earnings. It was not a good look, but probably would have driven all of them into the cash economy. Anyway, that is my gut feeling.

Hehe! Yeah, it was pretty funny. I appreciated the Star Trek films better than the Star Wars films. Less mysticism and perhaps more story-line. There were more than a few pouts in the very first Star Wars film. Ah, you and I could start an internet flame war over which franchise is better! No, just kidding... Actually that would be awful!

Oh, forgot to mention that I totally agree with your observation about the more things change. It was a bit eerie reading those comments as they could as easily have been noted somewhere today!

Slosh, slosh, is very true. The eggs and turkey soup sound like a good cure-all. Ah, the honey is an anti-inflammatory, I believe which is a little bit different. Are you feeling better today? I was in very hot air conditioner heating this morning and it was far warmer than I'm used to... I prefer the cooler air. Keep a close watch out for zombies now your brains are oozing out of your ears, you don't want to make their job too easy do you? :-)!

No worries, I haven't seen baby wombat for a few days now. When she was a very small wombat I once spotted her many years ago trailing along after her mother. It was like two lumps of fur waddling off into the forest (one lump of fur was much bigger than the other).

That would be a massive cultural clash and quite the experience to have lived through. It is funny how different schools almost take on their own unique life form. At the hippy dippy school there were even full on punks with the very spiky hair and multiple face piercings. Strangely enough it was a very placid school. The grammar school had a far more aggressive culture and I've always wondered about that difference. Did you notice a difference in the culture between the two schools?

Class is a weird thing down here. It is not something I really consider much, but I have noticed that some people tend to put on airs and graces and others tend to speak in a more refined - let's call it - BBC accent. And honestly, I've wondered about all of that. Sometimes, and I be very interested to hear of your experiences, but because I don't really care, some people have taken that as a sort of personal challenge in that I must be hiding some form of class status. I totally don't know, because when I stand back and look at things from a distance, they kind of look the same. I've noticed also that recently people seem to be lost in the minutiae. Dunno.

Take it easy, but remember the poor hummingbirds!

Are you enjoying the book? Also, I was wondering if the humour translates well across the years?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Being able to utilise the facilities when they are quiet is a great idea. I do that too. On the other hand it can be quite the culture shock to see massive crowds of people nowadays and it is one of the things I like about walking around the city and checking places out.

Oh, how much fun would that place have been? It sounds very quirky and I have a suspicion that the original builder and his son and friends were very quirky and possibly never let the truth get in the way of a good story! :-)! The images look quite other worldly! Nice to read that they enjoyed their visit.

Thanks for that info about the meat chickens and the heat. The Australorps here fill that gap, and they have not proved as hardy as some of the more leggy upright egg birds, but I find winter seems to be the toughest time for the birds on a mortality front.

An inch of rain is very useful in summer. I do hope that everything is growing strongly after the rain. My gut feeling is that rainfall is a much better form of watering than any of the other methods I use and that the plants usually go through a burst of growth following a decent rain. I don't reckon that plant growth is a linear thing, down here it is more of a boom and bust type experience.

Yeah, absolutely you are spot on. I prefer it too and I do hope that it can't be interpreted as a criticism. Small communities are like everything else in that there are costs and benefits.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Risk: The young seem to be over protected today which doesn't prepare them for the real world. 'It can't happen to me' seems to be a common belief. Don't people read the news or do they equate the news with fictional series on television. As I was a child during WW2 I was all too aware of the possibility of disaster.

It seems to me that home schooling would be infinitely variable, entirely dependent on the people providing it i.e. anything from wonderful to ghastly.

No I don't eat jam which is why I no longer make it. My bread has butter on it plus cheese, meat, fish or various pates. The only time that it doesn't have butter is when I have taramasalata which I buy occasionally.

Was the real lord that you met, delightful? In my experience the long time aristocracy are infinitely courteous and capable of communicating easily with
anyone i.e. noblesse oblige. It is the recent jumped up, aspiring ones who leave a lot to be desired.

@Lew I hope that you soon feel better.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Forgot to say I loved this week's title. Have you ever read "Anthill" by E.O. Wilson?
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6944565-anthill

Regarding chamomile, I planted some a few years ago and each year it reseeds itself. This year, as you would say, it went feral and is everywhere - not just in the garden. I harvest a bowl of blossoms each day and dry in the greenhouse for tea. It's also attractive to a wide variety of pollinators.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Inge,

Agree about the variability of homeschooling. Illinois, where I live, has practically no oversight. Even my daughter, obviously a staunch proponent of homeschooling thinks it's too lax. Of course there is a lot of variability in public school as well.

Margaret

Steve Carrow said...


As with all of the natural world, things are usually more complicated and subtle than we first observe. Worms are a good sign of soil health, and do lots of nutrient conversion, but it turns out that here in north america, there are some areas and species where worms are invasive, and are upsetting the established nutrient cycles. Are the Australian worms native? Thought you might find this interesting.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasive_earthworms_of_North_America

Next subject- Working the soil. I really like my pulaski for many soil work tasks. It's similar to a mattock, but has a serious axe blade as the other end of the tool, and is really handy for soil that has saplings and heavy roots in the mix. One of these days I'll post in my blog about the garden terraces we are slowly building here in our similarly sloping home site. I hesitate, as I'm not the landscape craftsman you are as seen in your photos. You are creating a real work of living art.

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Liked the title of your post, remembering the movie it refers to which I saw a long time ago. We have ants in our kitchen. They don't bite us, just whatever we don't clean thoroughly enough. I suppose you could say they are helping us out by pointing out what needs more cleaning. Still, I don't favor their so-called help.

I have a large pile of branches that needs to be either shredded or burned before the garden tour on June 12th. Hope we can shred most of it into mulch. Early this year we bought from Mike's mom the chipper-shredder that had belonged to Mike's father. It's a large machine, requiring both of us to move it. It's really loud, I don't like it, but I like the fact that it makes mulch out of the branches that are too small for use as firewood.

Back outside to harvest the potato onions so I can plant the sweet potato slips in their place. Then it's on to planting dent corn.

@Lew, I also send get-well wishes!

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yes, I am enjoying the Satyricon. Humor, well, nothing laugh out loud. Most of the humor, so far, seems to be poking fun at other peoples manias and foibles. When I ran across those quotes about education, in the first couple of paragraphs, I nearly fell out of my chair. It was so spot on, as to what JMG has been talking about. It's late in the week, and I doubt he'll respond to my posts, but I wonder what he thinks?

Who knows why the first translator tackled The Satyricon? I really couldn't find anything on how the Loeb's were assigned. A quick Google search couldn't find out anything about the first translator. Although, it's hard to sort out the wheat from the chaff, as he has the same name as one of Thatcher's minions.

What's interesting (to me) is that the second translation was in 1969. The year the Fellini film came out. The year of the Stonewall riots. I won't say it's all connected, but, there must have been something in the air. Or the water? :-)

Speaking of water, there is no water, this morning. Evil Stepson is running around (Turn this valve on! Turn this valve off!) and my landlord Don is on the phone to the well people. Either the well has run dry, or, the pump is out (new, last fall), or, there's an undetected leak, somewhere. I was going to go to town, today, but, as I'm still feeling punk, and can't get a shave or a shower, that may be put off. Pity. "End of the Tour" and "Margin Call" may land in my branch, today.

Dialect in English has always been a marker of class or place of origin. Think of Shaw's "Pygmalion" ... or, the later version "My Fair Lady." People have occasionally worked very hard to stamp out their dialects. Quit good livings were made by people to help them do that. The old Hollywood studio system often "remade" potential actors ... and dialect "correction" was part of the package. I'm watching a bit of a detective series called "Shetland." Takes place up in the islands. The dialect is ... something like Scottish, but ... different. Now with mass media, regional dialects are being lost, left and right. I really like our New England dialect, but don't hear it much, anymore. Some southern (US) dialects, I find quit pleasing. Others, a bit harsh.

I noticed our library has added more copies of "The Big Short." To bring it up to 40. The hold list is now 228 long. Glad I watched it before it "took off." Stephen King's son, Joe Hill, has a new one out. "The Fireman." About a world wide plague that turns peoples skin a pretty gold and brown color ... but, the downside is, sooner or later they burst into flames.

News from the archaeological world. it was just announced that 400 wooden tablets have been recovered in London. Two high points? The earliest mention of "London" as a place. And, the earliest evidence of education in Britain ... an alphabet. Both from around 50 CE. Lew

Hazel Marchant said...

Hi, Chris,
I have been "lurking" (I believe that's the term) for a while, and wanted to say that you are an inspiration to those of us who wish we were better gardeners. I've always been inclined to put things off until I had studied them thoroughly, but having a go, and learning from experience obviously works! I envy you your wombats, though we have recently acquired a pair of kookaburras as neighbours, which is nice. I love the comments - what interesting people your readers are. Please, keep writing!

@Lew, the Shetlands were settled by Viking types (though you probably knew that already). The local dialect is actually more Scandinavian than Scottish, as was the accent in my birth shire of Fife (just to the north of Edinburgh), which was frequently raided, and settled, by Norwegian invaders. And that was before the North Sea oil!
Hazel

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Risk is a tough thing for people to learn without exposure to risk. I reckon you are correct in that assertion and thus people are unaware of the many real risks, but instead focus on imaginary risks. Probability analysis is a tool worth having.

Actually, I've been training someone all day, and my brain is a bit fried. The interesting thing about training - Chris style - is that I usually work one on one and try to get them to learn how to learn and that sort of forces them to see the world differently. It is fun, complex, and a bit tiring for me.

Exactly. But I reckon we can handle a little bit more of the unexpected in life and in school too. Sun Tzu had something to say about that, but we on the other hand tend to feel culturally that paths can be mapped. I heard Trump talking about that issue in relation to foreign policy and despite all else, I reckon he was onto a good idea.

Well, fresh bread and good cheese is a total delight. Plus you have all of the pork products courtesy of your sons excellent work. Do you make your own pate?

Ha! It was Lord Vesty and I said something to him like: "G'day, a pleasure to meet you". And to be honest he was very gracious in reply. It was a passing introduction from a now former life. No doubt you are correct. There is a serious lack of the big picture view in our society. The idea of a republic was knocked on the head by a referendum down here many years ago.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thank you very much for the reference and no I have not read it and will put it on the to read list. By the way, I'm going to cheat a bit on the homework and read some of the Brothers Grimm tales of which I have a very large collection! I'm a bit pressed for time. ;-)!

Hehe! Very well used and in context too! Nice one! It is an outstanding plant for the pollinators too. Hope the bees are doing well in your part of the world. Despite the cold, they appear in mid to late afternoon for a bit of a forage.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the heads up on that invasive worm issue. I would never have considered that to be a problem. Down here, the soils here are so poor that any help is good. The Portuguese millipedes are a real nuisance, but they also help break down organic matter into a rich dark soil, so sometimes we need the help. And a local nematode has now adapted to eat the Portuguese millipedes which were in plague proportions only a few years ago. Fortunately things are slowly settling down on that front.

You are absolutely correct though. We muck around with nature at our peril. And the nutrient cycles are very hard to understand and way complex.

Oh that is a great tool. Thank you very much and it is better than the mattock as I often keep my old antique Kelly axe with me. I'm going to track one of those down.

Thank you for saying that. The landscaping is something that I really enjoy!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Ha! Well done, you were the first to mention that! I do like inserting my little jokes and humour into the blog. That film really left an impression on me too.

I read recently that the Italians use builders lime (or is it agricultural lime) as an ant preventative and they swear by the results. Ants are a problem here, but the ants really dislike the creation of Humic acid in the soil and they move on to less challenging parts of the property. The worms on the other hand do enjoy that soil! More top soil = less ants. That is great incentive for bringing back more manure to this place.

Actually chipper shredders are a great idea and they really increase the surface area of all that organic matter and that is a great thing. I envy you your chipper shredder. I always wear ear and eye protection when doing loud and messy jobs.

Yum! Incidentally, out of curiosity, what is dent?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Hope you are feeling better? And best wishes for some quiet movie watching and a warm cat if you are not feeling better by now. :-)!

Well, I rather suspect that he is quite widely read so has perhaps read the Satyricon already. Don't you wonder how all of these ideas pop into our consciousness? I mean the education quotes were quite spot on today, however they were relating to a very long time ago. The cycles of history are a strange thing. I also wonder about the diminishing returns that go into a societies pet projects and perhaps for such patterns to repeat over such a vast era of time, don't you wonder whether the common factor - i.e. humans and their relationship to the biosphere - isn't worthy of greater enquiry? I mean it certainly hints at serious limits. Dunno.

That is rather unfortunate. Perhaps it is the same gentleman? Perhaps not though. It is an interesting question and I often try to ponder peoples motivations. I'm getting quite good at picking what drives people when they explore the more unpleasant sides of their nature. And such guess work has been exceptionally useful for fending them off and dealing with them. As was proven again to me today.

Well, there is another historical event that I was completely unaware of... My education is sorely lacking on recent history. I find that peoples concerns about who is sleeping with whom - if they are consensual adults - to be rather a strange concern. Although such topics are probably not for a family friendly blog. On the other hand I have read about some strange goings on recently.

Perhaps Mike Burry purchased your water? Seriously, once you are on your own with water, it is a complex beast and requires constant attention. The Evil Step son shouldn't really be let near any valves on a complex machine... It sounds like a recipe for disaster. Have you ever considered coming to acceptance about the whole social mess? Not as easy done as said.

Of course. That makes total sense. Yeah, the people down here cultivate the plumb accent as it is called. It is laughable when you see them with their parents who have clearly indulged such social yearnings...

Wow. OK. Does that mean that you got in to the Big Short list before the market for lending it collapsed? Sorry, that is really poor humour, but you have to admit that it is pretty funny!!!! Hehe! Immolation seems like it has nasty downsides.

Clearly you believe that it was some sort of school in London. What are the archaeologists saying about the find?

Hey, I would be very curious to read your thoughts on the Roman Villa's that were established - and then subsequently burnt to the ground. Given that often the inhabitants were often inside during that sort of an attack, do you have any thoughts on the why of it all? I understand that they were vulnerable and all and basically had nothing but wealth and instructions to offer the locals, but why do you believe that all of them were destroyed. Or was it just time that got some of the remaining ones?

Cheers

Chris



orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The Brothers Grimm tales were bowdlerised so check that you have a true version of the stories; they are grim indeed.

I leave pate making to Son and I do buy fish pates.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Hazel,

Welcome to the discussion!

Oh thanks for saying that, it makes for lovely reading. You must go forth and enjoy your garden - and try to get some food out of it too, whilst you are at it!!! :-)! Only joking. Enjoyment is most of it though, as it is easy to learn when tasks are enjoyable. You may be interested to know that I always start small with a new task and then slowly learn to get a feel for how it works and how it fails. It is a really good thing when things fail too as you learn far more than when you get it right the first time - because then you don't know your luck. ;-)!

The commenters here are very lovely to converse with and glad to hear that you enjoy it too.

Kookaburra's are very intelligent birds and are very territorial.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - It will be interesting to see what you make of the Brothers Grimm. I haven't ever read them, but, I understand that they're "not the Disney version." We have a tv series, here, called "Grimm." The premise is, a policeman / detective is a descendent of the Grimm's and that all those tales were true. Due to his family history, he can "see" the creatures that lurk under the skin of apparently normal human beings. Some are "good" and help him out. Other's are "bad" and need to be eradicated. Filmed in Portland, my home town, so, it makes it all the more interesting, to me.

I'm still on the mend. Talked to my friend, Scott, who I see at the 12 Step Club, every Wednesday. He apparently has the same stuff I do, and, we speculate that we picked up whatever we have, from someone who was contagious, but not showing symptoms, last Wednesday. He's taking the medical route. Apparently, it's a virus and he's being treated with steroids. I'll take the eat well, get plenty of rest route, and we'll see who gets better, faster. I think it's going to be a draw. :-).

From our life imitating art department (again), "Far Side of Progress" division, the problem with the well was, according to my landlord, "some little electronic gizmo" that gave up the ghost, less than a year after it was put in. Water was restored late in the afternoon. Which may have a silver lining ...

Here seems to be an appropriate place to make the announcement that ... I'm probably going to move into slightly government subsidized senior housing. After having no luck with the real estate market, it seems like a viable alternative. There's a bit of a queue, to get in. I suppose I could bump off a few senior citizens :-), but a more realistic plan is that I may be able to jump the queue, a bit, by playing up all the electrical and water problems, out here. "Substandard housing."

I'm feeling a little bogus, continuing to post here, and, over at the ADR. On the other hand, when people moan to JMG about apartment living, he always says that Green Wizardry is quit possible, in those situations. We'll see. I think there are garden plots for the inmates. :-). "The Home", as I've started to refer to it, is exactly between where I do my usual shopping, and the library. Walking distance. There's also a very good weekly farmer's market.

Yup. I got in on the ground floor of the "Big Short" market :-). I think, due to your tip. Insider trading? :-). Sometimes, I'll get something from the library and think "EVERYONE should read / see this." And, I can tell from the hold lists that there isn't much interest. It's satisfying to see something of value really "take off." "End of Tour" and "Margin Call" were still "in transit", when I made a quick trip to town, yesterday. I have to make an unexpected trip to town, tomorrow, so, maybe they will be in by then.

Nell caught another mole, the other day. Her third. It was still flopping around in her mouth, when she showed it to me. I don't know if she stashed the body, somewhere, or, if it made an escape. If so, I think it's living on borrowed time. Cont.

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Corn is quite a fascinating plant. Carol Deppe has a chapter on corn in her excellent book The Resilient Gardener. There is a figure on page 255 that explains the differences between flint, flour, and dent corns. I'll have to borrow her words since you can't see the figure. Flint corn seeds have mostly flinty (hard) endosperm (that's the starchy layer that supplies the energy to get the germ growing its root and seed leaf). Flour corns have a large, soft, floury endosperm with a thin layer of flinty endosperm over the top of the floury endosperm. Dent corns have a mix of floury and flinty endosperm, with the soft floury type usually in the middle, ringed with the hard flinty type. That arrangement leads to a depressed area - the dent from which it gets its name - at the top of the seed. Deppe says most of the corns grown in the US Midwest are dent types. She doesn't care for the dent corns because they don't work for the way she processes and cooks corn. Plus she gardens in Oregon where little dent corn is grown. But I haven't had much luck growing flour corn, so I might as well try a proven regional winner in the dent corns. The popcorn I grow is a flint corn and seems to be unpopular with the local critters, whereas they eat the flour corn before it has a chance to dry. Since the dent corn seeds are closer to flint corn seeds on the outside, perhaps the critters will leave them alone. At any rate I should learn something from growing it.

Speaking of learning something, I have learned that rabbits eat ginger plants. I was so proud that I had managed to sprout a piece of ginger, too, given that the front porch was colder than ginger is supposed to like when I was trying to sprout it. So the ginger plant is now on a table on the patio where the rabbits can't reach it, along with the two 'Truly Tiny' banana plants that I am also trying to grow. If they truly are only 2 feet tall and make edible bananas, I'll be very pleased. I can overwinter a 2 foot tall banana plant in the house.

My talk on summer and fall vegetable gardening last night turned out very well. Time to get my hands back into the dirt to finish the potato onion harvest, however.

Claire

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. As to Roman Britain. I just finished a new book (and, acquired a copy for my collection) called "The Edge of Empire: A Journey to Britannia from the Heart of Rome to Hadrian's Wall" by Bronwen Riley. It's 130 CE and Sextus Julius Severus has just been appointed the governor of Britain by the Emperor Hadrian. This is a nonfiction account of his trip to Britain, and progress around the province. As near as can be determined from archaeological and historic records. The places he visited, what he saw. The history, and, in the postscript, the fate of all these places. It's a fascinating read.

As far as a school in London, more like tutors. if you were rich enough, you might have a live in tutor, either paid, or a slave, to teach your precious little snowflake :-). If further down the social ladder, you might send your kid (usually, boys only) to be taught by a tutor, in a group. Maybe in the tutor's home, or under a handy portico of a temple or law court. There was a short chapter, in the book mentioned above, abut how important the mastery of Latin was, to the Romans. If you were a native, and wanted to do the best for your town, or tribe, your Latin had better be spot on.

As far as the villas go, Britain was always a heavily militarized province. Costly. During the Boudican (spellings vary) revolt in around 60 CE, Colchester, London and St. Albans were burned to the ground ... along with everything in between. Thousands of Romans (and their supporters), military and civilian, were slaughtered. There were periods of relative peace, punctuated with uprisings. Right up to the Barbarian Conspiracy, in the mid 4th century.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Conspiracy

Different cities or villas seemed to suffer different fates. Some were inhabited into the late 6th century. But, by who is often speculative. It appears the city of Chester, reduced in population, fortified and withdrew to it's amphitheater. There is some speculation that the incoming Anglo Saxons had a bit of superstitious dread of the Roman ruins.

In 535-36 CE, there was the "worst weather event in the past 2,000 years." A cooling period in the northern hemisphere. Caused by either a volcanic eruption or a comet ... the jury is still out. Crop failure, famine. Then in 541 CE, there was The Plague of Justinian. Probably as wide spread and devastating as the Black Death in the 14th century, CE.

Water's out, again. Today's theory is that there's a leak in the line, somewhere. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thank you very much for the information on corn. Corn is a difficult plant to grow. Going with a local variety of the dent corn is a solid idea and it will be interesting to read how the growing trial progresses. I'm assuming that it must be a fast growing type of corn as it would be a little bit late down here to be planting them as I would have had to have them in the ground by early November (your May). Honestly, I have so struggled with that plant though, so maybe that was too early for them? I assume your critters consuming the corn are rodents and other ground based animals? Out of curiosity, do you plant them in blocks? I've usually gone with a 3 x 3 block. The wallaby tends to consume the stalks though...

Oh no! That could be annoying, especially given the complexities involved in growing ginger in your part of the world. It would be a struggle here too. I suspect a rat or mouse ate some of the lower leaves off my tea camellia... Good luck with the banana too as that is a great test of growing skills. I have seen green bananas on full sized plants down in Melbourne. I'm not sure they ripened, but the fruit developed in rather prolific looking hands.

Really nice to hear the local talk went well! It is fun seeing the different activities and varieties of vegetables being grown in your area. You always learn something too!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for that word, and one suspects that Henrietta Maria Bowdler was a rather dull young lady. I hadn't realised that may be the case, so I'll have a look. Actually, I have a few versions so a bit of a comparison may be in order. Thanks for the warning.

Fair enough about the pate. Living on an island may have some advantages on that score. Out of interest, do you have access to locally caught fish?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, I haven't read them either but own several versions. I suspect the most recent has been less tampered with as that was the appealing of purchasing the book in the first place, but again, I really don't know. That in itself will be interesting to note. Your series of Grimm sounds like fun. Especially being reasonably local is a good thing. I read somewhere once that the Grimm brothers collated the stories from multiple sources rather than wrote them themselves.

Oh! That is not good. My understanding is that steroids are not to be taken lightly. Cold and flu is a mutating virus and I’ve never heard of anyone receiving that particular treatment. I hope you are all OK. Remember to keep on sloshing!

Yes, pumps often have a pressure sensing controller and that can fail without notice. Pumps as they are today are a complex bit of kit. They probably don’t need to be that way.

Well done you with the housing option. If you bump off a few on the list ahead of you, you may end up in another form of subsidised housing! ;-)! I wouldn't worry about the whole bogus concern. Honestly, even in an apartment one can grow fresh sprouts. And garden plots are outstanding things. Plus there is the benefit of being able to walk everywhere local. All important stuff. How are you feeling about that on a social anxiety front?

Hehe! Yeah, that was definitely insider trading. The book is very good and discusses the motivations and the characters on a far deeper level than the film. Did you end up getting those films?

Are you considering a cat in the new living arrangements? Is it even an option?

Ah, so Bronwen Riley is a current author writing about that historical period. That is quite the achievement and a real expression and extension of her imagination. The postscript would have been fascinating.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Oh, I always wonder about slaves. You see the convicts down here were used as slave labour and the economics of the situation rarely made any sort of sense. In fact, the whole transportation of convicts down here had to stop because people actually wanted to arrive and once there was enough infrastructure around and the convicts could become lost in the landscape, well... The simple fact is that it is not possible to have slaves unless you have a huge economic and agricultural surplus and that always declines – every single time. That doesn't make the situation tolerable for the people involved, it is just not a situation with any long term legs.

The Roman's and their culture seem very fixated on the concept of control (and you can see the ghost of this fixation in Italian culture even today). It has some sort of hold which I don't genuinely understand and it seems to be a bit maladaptive if circumstances change dramatically. Thanks for the background on the tutors. Very interesting, although I consider the idea of a tutor who was also a slave to be a rather dubious idea as the potential for inserting ideas provides an avenue one would consider taking if put in a similar circumstance. ;-)!

That would be costly, wouldn't it? The Great Conspiracy certainly reads a whole lot like the Roman empire had over extended its reach in ever more costly and pointless wars in distant locales. I'll bet they left garrisons behind of dubious quality, who simply seized the day. The crows were circling around the borders of the empire looking for opportunities. It wasn't quite a killing blow, but it certainly didn't sound good.

Oh yeah, a summer without sun, a failed harvest and the Bubonic plague a few years later would knock the socks off any civilisation. It is sort of weird that the rats (and fleas) travelled with the grain in an attempt to stave off starvation…

Did you get the water restored? There is a big storm heading down here from the north-east which is very unusual for this time of year and given the prevailing winds. It is going to be quite mild where I am but, right along the east coast and down into Tasmania, it is seriously going to dump some very heavy rain, high winds and big swells...

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The weather is really cold, all my heating is on today. This is slowing up the fruit and veg. plants.

Locally caught fish can be bought on certain days, but the timing of my trips out is uncertain. One neighbour here fishes with a boat but one has to be there when he comes in. He just hands his surplus out freely but it has been pure luck if I have been present.

I am hard put to it to think of any circumstance in which I would accept a prescription for steroids, nasty things. They do dampen inflammation but at a cost.

I see that the 7 year old Japanese boy has turned up okay (left in the woods by his parents as punishment). There seems to be surprise at his survival. I would consider 7 years to be a good age for competence if one hadn't been over wet nursed.

Am more than halfway through the Bryson, will comment when finished.

Inge

Damo said...

@Lewis
Good luck with the ongoing house hunting saga!

@Everyone
Apologies for a completely off-topic comment, but I had an unfortunate conversation at dinner. The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of dinners, tours and introductions as we get 'orientated' in Laos and meet other volunteers, NGO staff and aid program people. Tonight was the last night, so we got shouted a dinner at a fancy french restaurant in the old quarter of Luang Prabang (fancy by Laos standards, comparable to mid-range Australian pub meal prices).

The person next to me was an older lady who was 6 weeks into a 3 month volunteer program. She was lovely, if perhaps a little overbearing and the conversation turned to renewables and how coal and oil will be replaced soon. Being the contrarian sort, I put forward an alternative view that we will pretty much burn every last drop of oil and tonne of coal before this is done, and that people who think renewables can deliver first world living standards might not be thinking truly big picture.

I was quite diplomatic, taking great pains to point out I agree fossil fuels have enormous 'hidden' costs, consumption is too high and that government directed R&D/build-out projects are on balance, probably worth while. I got the feeling she wasn't listening, and even though she was quick to agree that solar/wind could not deliver 1st world incomes, still quickly moved onto her amazing 5kw solar system (grid-tied of course) and how if people were just allowed to share power, we change a rule or two here and there, something something biogas, everything would be solved.

I changed tack, asking why spending billions for solar panels on everyones houses when we already have a very expensive, perfectly functional power generation and distribution grid would be a win for the environment and I just got a blank look before she mumbled something about how we already paid for that in the 70s and turned to her neighbour.

Oh well, I think I know how Chris feels when discussing the realities of truly off-grid systems. Maybe I am too cynical, but she was truly in a bubble (ironic we were having dinner in a fancy restaurant in Laos no?). At one point it was suggested that getting people to not have meat once a week and get rid of a television was a success and an example of moderating consumption. I dunno, it seems even more of a joke when you are literally living in a country where meat in any meal is a luxury. It is hard to explain, she was aware of all this, but also not aware...

Anyway, not to worry. The dinner was excellent. Since someone else was paying, I ordered the steak :-p Probably the last one I will have for a year!

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Another thought about the popularity of "The Big Short." LOL. There's always a bit of "I told you so", when something one likes and recommends, really takes off. I remember reading "Empire Falls." (Russo) Don't know why I picked it up ... maybe the story just sounded interesting. It was a great read. I was working in the library, and pushed it at everybody. Then, it won the Pulitzer Prize, was made into a mini-series, etc.. There's always something vindicating, about that. But, I try not to get too full of myself.

I don't know how the social anxiety will play out. Time will tell. I've always been pretty good at "ghosting" around places. I probably would have made a good spy. :-). Unobtrusive. Fade into the woodwork. I could have a cat or small dog, for a small deposit, in The Home. I've been thinking long and hard about Nell. After all the freedom she's enjoyed, I just think it would be cruel to shut her up in a small apartment. It will be a heart breaking day, but I've decided to place her with my other Chicken Goddess." She lives as rural as I do, and treats her animals very well. Still no water today, and no word.

I think the Romans were very tradition bound. And, had an attitude that, well, if it worked before, it will work now. As far as Roman slavery goes, from all i've read, it seems like the Roman's had ... more paths to freedom, than say America's "peculiar institution." With less stigma attached to a person who obtained their freedom. If I remember correctly, Roman citizens couldn't marry slaves ... but they could free them, and then marry them. :-). Judging from tombstones erected by husbands for their ex-slave wives and ex-slave wives to their former masters, there could be a lot of affection involved. The Medicus series ... over several books, a slave becomes the Medicus' wife. I think The Ancients were a lot more pragmatic than we are. If you were fairly well treated, had a roof over your head and three squares a day, that might be a lot more appealing than being out on the street and having to hustle for your daily bread ... daily.

After a bit of rain, we're supposed to have a warm weekend. Maybe 90F on Sunday. There are floods in Texas with lives lost. Paris is flooding. Art from parts of the Louvre (and, another museum) are being evacuated. "Tour" and "Margin Call" didn't make it to my library branch, on Wednesday, but are waiting for me, now. I've got to run into town and drop off my application paperwork, so, will pick them up. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I hope you are staying warm? It is cool here too now and very humid (99% most days). When I was much younger I used to believe that a growing season provided for a sort of constant growth pattern, but in more recent years it is exactly like you say: When conditions are right, the plants will grow. And you really need, heat, water and light for them to grow. I've also been noticing that as the winter turns back into spring the wood on the bare fruit trees starts to grow well before the leaves turn up. The winter soil may be warmer here than in your part of the world though.

Fair enough, there are vagaries to all natural systems and I guess the fishermen are simply expressing those vagaries.

I was a little bit alarmed about the steroids too, but I have used them for good effect on the occasional spot of eczema. Interestingly too, I have read that eczema was virtually unknown until recent decades and have often suspected that it has root causes in the food chain - but that is merely speculation on my part. Dunno. Use with care would be good advice. A small percentage of the male population down here are indulging in that drug too - and as with anything with benefits come costs.

Yeah, that was not good at all. I mean throwing rocks at cars is a stupid thing to do, but, well, maybe the apple does not fall too far from the tree? :-)! The concern about the childs survival had more to do with the area being known for its bear population.

Well, a cold day is almost perfect book weather. I must confess to having to read The Big Short in small sections when time is available, although I did enjoy reading the book over a leisurely breakfast (are there any other worth having, I ask?) with a cappuccino and a nice serving of scrambled eggs on sourdough toast with field mushrooms. Ah, it is nice to be able to enjoy such breakfasts on occasion! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

No apologies required, we venture far and wide here, although we do try to keep things family friendly! With your comment in mind, I believe a relevant quote from Leo Tolstoy from the year 1897 is in order:

"The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.”

Hope you are enjoying Luang Prabang? It is a beautiful city and very unexpected given its location. The cafes were awesome and you may be interested to know that I have very fond memories of enjoying an espresso and danish (OK, I probably had quite a few cakes) whilst reading Lord of the Rings and surreptitiously watching the world go by. What more could one want for?

Mate, I get that story all of the time, whilst the unfortunate reality is that renewables are very complex technologies that only provide when nature is ready and willing to do so. And not one minute before hand. I wish it were otherwise. Fossil fuels on the other hand provide huge quantities of energy whenever we seem to want it. The difference between the two is quite huge. Incidentally, I’ll install two more solar panels tomorrow…

Respect for giving it a go too. Raising uncomfortable questions is perhaps one of the most valuable things we can do. It is also very challenging and it slowly unearths the strange sort of disconnect that people can rely on for you to see. It is awkward, that turning away and pretending nothing had been said.

Nice to see you got a steak too as that would have been a grass fed animal. Interestingly too, I once recall seeing on a menu in Laos: Rice with chicken; Rice with beef; Rice with pork; and there was also the very ambiguous: Rice with meat... I wanted to know what was meant by that, but decided to instead let the matter rest.

Hope the work there is interesting too!

Hey, if it is not impolite of me, can I ask how you shorted the property market here? If it is too personal, no need to reply.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Males trying to put on muscle, use anabolic steroids; the ones used for inflammation etc. are cortico steroids, I think. Wouldn't recommend either.

@Lew

Spies can be surprising. I have known 2. One was a French woman who was a spy during WW2 and was caught and tortured. The other was a Hungarian man spying for the British during the cold war. Both are deceased. What I found fascinating was the fact that they were both way up at the extrovert end of personality. Isn't that the best disguise?

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Did your mother not ever tell you that you were a bad influence? Hmmm? Hehe! That is my kind of story and a copy is now slowly winging its way down to this remote part of the planet. All these great book reviews are very trying on my bank account you know!!! Hehe! I have no doubt that you are correct and I hope to enjoy the story. Please do enjoy your big head!!! Hehe! :-)! And when the time comes feel free to say: I told you so!

Today the winds howled, the clouds scudded low across the sky and the rain fell. It was a perfect day to go to the beach - as we had the entire stretch of coastline to ourselves. Who would have thought that that was possible? I'm sorry to report that the ocean has cut recently even further into the dunes, but it was so unsettling that I did not want to include a picture for the next blog. I mean who wants to see vegetation falling off eroding dunes and laying at odd angles on the sand? Or pine stairs hanging in mid air where the sand had once been? I wonder whether the locals are oblivious to the risk? They need to bring in a whole lot of rocks, very soon from what I can see.

Well as a good spy, your mission shall be to infiltrate the woodwork and see what is to be seen and hopefully report back on the mission status and findings. I'm very polite as a general rule too and tend to fade into the background also. As you write, it is a useful feature. On the beach this morning some dudes dog, this big poodle thing with a high visibility coat started sniffing me and then started walking with us. I eventually shooed the dog away. When the guy caught up with me, he said (quite rudely too): What, you don't like dogs? To which I replied: Your dog could clearly detect a superior owner. And it was funny to watch but the guy physically recoiled away from me as if I'd punched him in the face. It was mildly surreal. You know, I reckon your fading into the background thing is a good strategy, because I've been wondering for a while now whether the general decline of communication skills is a result of years of people being subjected to the limits of Internet and mobile phone social media. I mean it is a rather strange thing for strangers to be rude to another person’s face. Perhaps their ability to discuss complex matters has been compressed and shortened somehow? Dunno. It is a bit 1984 though.

That is really lovely with Nell, and I wish her the best of luck. Nell is clearly going to an excellent environment.

Sorry to hear about the water. What a nightmare.

Yes, that institution was peculiar and made no economic sense. You may be interested to know that the Roman's system pretty much mirrored the English transportation system of convicts here in that they also allowed for as you say, more paths to freedom for the convicts. Of course, the stigma followed the convicts and their children (who were treated differently from them again) but those are the more or less usual social games which are an ongoing feature of us social primates. The English were really attempting to populate a new land for economic gain and exploitation and so they threw whatever surplus population they had at it. It may be impolite of me to mention that there seems to be an awful lot of debt servitude going on at the moment. Not that anyone seems to notice.

Nice to hear that the movies finally arrived and best of luck with the application. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

Your meat story made me and Mrs Damo chuckle, speaking as someone who is trying to learn a new language I hope it was merely a grammatical or syntactic error rather then actual unidentifiable meat :-) For my own self, I plan to continue my 'mostly' vegetarian approach to eating out, it might be better for me on several different levels! Of course, I maintain to right to order something with meat if it looks delicious, especially charcoal grilled items :-)

The renewables thing was frustrating, but hardly surprising. Who knows, maybe she is right and those people like yourself are just doing it wrong :p Just change a council by-law and it will all work out!! I also thought it was illuminating that I kept trying to steer the discussion towards large-scale / global questions. e.g. will that power our industrial base, can that be scaled up for 7 billion people, etc etc. Whilst she kept the topic very small, solar on the roof, feed-in-tariffs and some sort of future magic battery which would let people disconnect from the grid. Oh well, ground that has been covered many a time buy yourself and others.

RE: shorting the property market.
My approach (essentially copying what macrobusiness has suggested) has being to short the Australian economy as a whole rather then trying to do just property. Because the Australian economy is held up by home construction and the 'wealth effect' (read: debt) of high house prices I feel it is basically the same as shorting property directly. To do this I used some ETFs from Betashares and the Perth Mint:

BBOZ: Strong bear fund. 3% rise for every 1% fall in the ASX, the opposite is also true though. The good thing about this ETF is it gives you a nice short exposure without the theoretical infinite risk if the ASX went up heaps - the most you can lose is the initial investment.
USD, POU, EEU: USD, Pound and Euro held in an offshore account with JP Morgan Chase, bundled up and managed as an ETF by Betashares.
PMGOLD: Apparently these ETFs are redeemable for physical gold at the Perth Mint, I didn't buy much but thought a little bit was prudent.

All of the ETFs above can be bought and sold with your favourite brokerage account - I used Commsec as they had a special where you get $500 of free trades in the first month. Since I am doing a buy and hold - this meant I could get everything I wanted and not pay any of the $20 per trade fees. Of course, I will have to pay $20 per trade when I eventually sell, hopefully for a profit!

In addition to the above, now that I am in Laos I have easy access to a real USD account, so will am wiring money into that (Citibank does this for free!). This is also useful as big expenses in Laos tend to require USD so I will use the money over the year anyway. I still have nearly 50% of savings in an AUD bank account - I am not man enough to go all in, although I tell myself if the AUD ever gets back to 80cents US I will buy more (I bought USD ETFs when the dollar was 73 cents).

I try not to think about it too much, my thought is this should pay off in a couple of years (if it does pay off), so daily fluctuations do not bother me. When you really get down to it though, we can all think of scenarios where the Pound, Euro or USD crashes and I guess it is also possible the Australian share market could have another bull run. In addition to that, I am also pretty exposed to Betashares going pear-shaped, but they are the only company I can find that have the ETFs I want, it is too expensive and tricky for me to short shares individually - I would just screw it up :-o

Better stop dribbling nonsense, it is almost time for dinner. We are heading to the local street food alley next to the night market. $2 for a vegetarian buffet yum! Hopefully we will have a Laos blog post up soon. Mrs Damo wanted to do this one and she is taking much more care then I do in writing it up, should be good when its done!




orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The chap who I assumed disliked me, it appears not. Have just had a friendly chat and was offered a strawberry. His blasted dog was jumping all over me though. At least it is dry at present, that animal has put mud on my clothes before now.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - I will be interested in your "take" on Bryson. He does whine, a lot. :-). But, I think with good humor. That's interesting about "The Spies I've Known." I always thought (and had read) that the best spies were rather grey, nondescript persons. I don't think I'd take any kind of a steroid, either. But then, I steer clear of just about all medications.

@ Damo - Re: The conversation at dinner. Probably not, but perhaps you'd have gotten further with the lady, if instead of saying that all the oil was going to disappear to the last drop and every last bit of coal was going to be burnt ... it would be better to take the tack of oil will become too expensive to use widely, and, there will always be coal in the ground ... but the oil needed to get it out will be too expensive ... or, cause the coal to be so expensive that no one can afford it. But, I think she was a lost cause, anyway. Of course, the present cost of oil is so low that, for the short sighted, continued cheap abundance seems assured. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - LOL. Which book? "Empire Falls", "Satyricon" or "Edge of Empire: Journey to Britannia?" :-). I watched "The End of the Tour" last night. I think David Foster Wallace felt too much and thought too deeply. One thing that struck me was how "American" the movie looked. If you want to know what America looks like, it's a good movie, for that. Well, ten years ago, but not much has changed. The houses ... the interiors of houses. The restaurants, classrooms, fast food places, shopping malls, commercial strips ... and that awful junk food laden Stop N Go. I don't know what you call them, there. Here, people just refer to them by whatever the chain name is ... and, everyone knows what you're talking about. I think the official name is "convenience mart." The way people dress.

Here, in this State, we have a place called Washaway Beach. A couple, actually. Areas where huge chunks of land are being devoured by the ocean, every year.

About the fellow on the beach with the dog. Yes, I think the internet has greatly contributed to the break down in general civility. People forget that the rudeness (often anonymous) that they can get away with on the internet, doesn't fly in "real life." It suddenly occurred to me that perhaps a good response might be "Where do you think you are? The Internet?" :-). I recently watched the "extras" to a series that takes place in the early 50s. One of the actors said something that impressed me enough to write down. He said he really liked playing characters from the 1950s. The clothes. But the bit that struck me was that he said he liked playing those parts as "A certain sensibility of conduct, that seems to be lost these days," is in play.

Well. I stopped by The Home to drop off my application, and, the management office was closed. On a Friday morning. A few of the inmates in the lobby thought it would be open at 9 ... or 10? on Monday. I had called, left a message, but no one got back to me. Otherwise, looks like a well kept place.

Water's still out and no news. It suddenly occurred to me that I think there's still water at the abandoned farm. Well, at least the Mule Guy is watering from there. Will check it out, tomorrow. I seem to be on the mend. I think. I'm still a bit breathless, if I exert. And my sinuses did something very strange last night. A slight, burning/tingling that lasted for a few minutes. Followed by a bit of dizziness when I stood up and moved around. But, that all passed.

We have a term you hear here, every once in awhile. "Mystery Meat." :-). Lew

SLClaire said...

@Lew - good luck with getting a spot in The Home soon! And please don't think you can't be a good Green Wizard there. It sounds like you might be able to reduce driving by a lot, maybe even get rid of your car. If so, that's a lot LESS right there! And even better if you can get a small garden plot. Done well, it could grow a lot of food for you.

@Chris - it's not quite too late to plant a dry corn here, although you are right about mid-May being a better time to ensure that the corn matures during warm weather. The variety I will plant is a 100 day variety. If I get it planted in the coming week, as is my intent, it will be mature by around the end of September or beginning of October. Our first frost isn't till the second half of October or the first week of November most years.

A big advantage to planting this late is that all the GE corn planted around here will be done pollinating by the time my corn pollinates, since all those fields were planted 2 weeks to a month ago. That should allow me to save seeds that don't have any GE contamination in them. The Midwest is soaked in corn pollen during the summer, and some of the big fields are as close as three miles from me.

You're right about needing to plant corn in blocks. I will plant it in 6 parallel rows, each about 2 feet apart, this year. That seems to be close enough for decent cross-pollination, though someday I may look into other planting patterns.

Because I come from the Midwest, where millions of acres of corn are grown each year, it is hard for me to imagine corn as difficult to grow. Maybe not enough heat or enough soil fertility where you are? The only thing difficult about growing corn here is to keep whatever mammals eat the immature ears from doing so. I wish I knew which mammals are eating it; then I might be able to counteract them. Rats are a possibility. Raccoons are another. Since they feed at night, I haven't caught them at it. Might have to stay up some night when the ears are maturing to find out.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thank you for the correction regarding steroids. I haven't found anything better for the occasional bout of eczema - but am open to suggestions? Mostly changing my diet and including a lot of leafy greens has assisted with that issue, more than any other strategy. But very occasionally a small spot can appear which I suspect is an external expression of stress or having become overly hot in winter for a prolonged period of time - which seems to affect me adversely. Dunno. It must have something to do with my Scottish genome heritage? It is a complete mystery to me but more of a minor nuisance than an ongoing problem. I avoid stress at all times - other people tend to not notice when stress is having an impact on their lives and they often appear to me to be in some sort of denial state. It is very weird that situation. I tend to let other people know they are stressing me out and they tend to back off a bit which is more pleasant for everyone involved. Dunno.

That is nice to know that good neighbourly relations have been confirmed, and the culprit is the clearly undisciplined and out of order canine. I hear you about that. Would you believe that that particular problem was suffered by the editor many years ago? We dropped into a local organic farm shop to check out their wares and suddenly several very large dogs ran at the editor - not in a threatening way - but they jumped up on her with their very muddy paws. And the editor - like you - was outraged. The owner of the organic farm made the editor feel as though she was acting like a princess, whilst the editor was totally rancid about the whole situation. Needless to say we didn't buy anything from that place and I have to admit that there was a bit of schadenfreude when they finally went out of business.

When Mr Poopy the Pomeranian (who is actually a Swedish Lapphund) gets to accompany me on my regular weekly trip to the general store to pick up the milk, post and enjoy a coffee, he is most certainly not allowed to make a nuisance of himself or cause a scene. Mind you, he works overtime at the job of keeping small children at a very respectable distance - and that is the sole reason he gets to enjoy the outing (and the odd chunk of fruit toast) in the first place. ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I don't know anything useful about eczema as no-one in my family has ever been afflicted by it. We do have psoriasis in the family, a condition which is helped by getting out in the sun. I absolutely agree about stress. I think that it causes far more physical conditions than is admitted.

Interestingly that dog never jumps up at me if its owner isn't there; now why would that be?

Summer has arrived again. The temperature was 10 degrees up indoors, compared to yesterday, when I woke.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Mate, I was totally serious. ;-)! The unfortunate thing was that I always loved going to the local markets to haggle over fruit and honestly my mind could not skip over the various definitions of meat that were offered for sale there. That was not meant as a discourtesy or a criticism, it is just that the locals definition of meat is usually a bit broader than my sensibilities and therefore the error lies totally with me. The interesting thing was that I had a visitor to the farm today and I was digging a trench and I dug up a huge number of witchetty grubs and I was showing them to the visitor in their various sizes and shapes and saying that apparently these are a good source of protein and they are meant to be pretty tasty. I haven't tried them yet, but let's put it this way, if the zombie apocalypse ever happened, mate, I'd have plenty of protein and it wouldn't be brains!!! :-)! Exactly, the grilled options are usually the best.

I'm really wrapped that you landed in Luang Prabang as it is such a nice town.

Yeah, you know I was deep in discussion today about renewables and the wind turbine story came up and I recounted the simple fact that the 600W wind turbine here produced less energy in two months than a couple of solar panels did in one morning. It was a sobering story. People believe what they want to believe. I've run the experiment on both and I really hope people don't hold out too much hope that I'm wrong... Renewables and nature are great sources of stuff and energy, it is just that they don't work like people believe that they will. I may write about that very issue soon. I chucked up a couple of extra solar panels today, but will start putting in the daily solar statistics as we get closer to the winter solstice.

Hey, you may be interested to know that once people start talking about financial incentives in relation to renewable energy systems, they completely lose me. The reason for that is because people could potentially undertake that investment in future potential because it is the right thing to do given the circumstances, but the talk of financial incentives really sort of displays their inner motivations and it is not a good look. It is actually a bit disturbing to see first hand. Why not say: I'm doing this thing because I'm concerned about the future? Dunno.

Thank you for taking the time and effort to discuss your strategy. It is a very good one and also one that I would not have previously considered and I am going to ponder it and maybe investigate them a bit further. I use Commsec too. It is a very good service, although I don't use it nowadays.

It is difficult to understand the daily machinations of the share market, so yeah, I hear you.

Man, a $2 vegetarian buffet is an awesome deal! I look forward to reading Mrs Damo's thoughts on your fascinating journey.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Haha! I could be mysterious, but that really isn't in my nature so it was: Empire Falls. Your enthusiasm for the book was infectious! I tend to think in terms of stories and that sounded like a good one, although it had the odd dark moment and some humour too.

Not like your cold though, more like in a good way. ;-)! How are you feeling today?

That is a great observation. I felt sort of sorry for the David Foster Wallace character as he felt everything so deeply and was unable to find any sort of peace with that depth of feeling. In a lot of ways he was unshielded and saw with a clear understanding of where all of the behaviours around him were heading. The predictions were about spot on. And he seemed to lack contemporaries with which to assist him with that dislocation of sight. Dunno. I wasn't sure that I enjoyed the film, but at the same time I felt that it was a story worth observing. It was complex for me.

I'm totally unsure what a Stop N Go is, but down here we have a saying: Normcore to describe same, same, I'm with your tribe etc... but non-descript like.

Oh yeah. The ocean is forever hungry. :-)! Watch out for your fingers! A similar thing is happening at somewhere near the most easterly point on the continent here and huge chunks of cliffs are falling into the ocean. Very expensive real estate there too, and apparently some of the locals are rather upset by the lack of action on that matter. I mean, how do you stop the ocean? Oh yeah, they seem to be enduring a lot of shark attacks recently. I've often felt that the sharks are moving closer in to shore as the more distant fisheries are being fished out. Sharks are very smart creatures.

That is a great response and I'll remember that for next time, which shouldn't be too far away. The recurrence of these incidents is becoming greater over the past few months and I have wondered what it all means. I suspect at the core of the problem is the ever growing gap in wealth inequality. The funny thing is that it doesn't seem to be the people on the bottom end of that equation that are displaying the issues. There is a sneering and superior tone to it all which underlies the greed. And it is all very unnecessary. That may be at the root of the 50's sensibility that you mentioned when wealth inequality wasn't that great? Dunno.

Well bureaucracies are tedious to deal with and skip to their own dance. If the place looks well kept, mate, that is a good sign by anyone's measure. Maybe the lack of administrative people is some sort of bizarre test that only the most determined ever pass? You never know.

A bit breathless sounds like a bit of fluid on the lungs, which takes a lot of deep breathing exercises to remove. I can't believe that the water is out again and still. You probably know now why I maintain multiple and separate systems for water - in case one fails, I can bypass various systems. Water is everything. How are you coping? I'm assuming you didn't have a chance to fill up your water barrels before the water went out?

Yes, the mystery meat is a most disturbing but also intriguing prospect!!! ;-)! Life is full of mystery.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Ah, a 100 day variety of corn sounds just about right. I'm very interested in your experience as it is very difficult to grow here and I'm rather unsure why. I hadn't realised that the pollen - which I understand to be driven by the wind - for corn would travel quite that far. Thanks for that information.

Your rows sound about spot on to me which should assist with the wind pollination. The problem my lot displayed was that the cobs were only partially pollinated for some reason so that there were parts of the cob had no corn. I will try again in future years but have had to abandon plans for that as I sort out the strawberries, blackberries and potatoes. There is a never ending list of projects. Which is a good thing!

I suspect that you are correct about the lack of soil fertility and I am slowly addressing that en masse. Rats are definitely a possibility and I spotted the wallabies once consuming the young stalks as if they were grass...

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Sorry (for myself) that I am so late reading this. It's a good one!

I wondered if you ever did any burn-offs of your own. It's still so green there. Amazing.

I am glad that you blokes can now talk to each other once again, bloke talk or not.

For some reason it gave me the warm fuzzies to hear that your rake is of Sheffield steel. As far as I know, I have never owned anything of Sheffield steel, but, still - warm fuzzies ...

I love all of the steps everywhere. It's like an outdoor castle.

I didn't know earthworms displaced ants. We have a lot of both. Every year a different ant species seems to dominate. This year they are very large black ants, some over 2 cm.

Poor Tufty Head (somebody there uses the same method for naming things that I do). She looks horrible.

The table is coming along brilliantly!

Re: Chickweed. We have found it to be a really good live weed blocker around most (all?) plants. Unfortunately, it can't stand too much heat and is dying back now (to come back in the fall). It does prevent a lot of early weeds from coming up at all, though.

I wonder if Baby Wombat is of the Fatso clan?

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Claire - Yup. I'll have to skip over to the Green Wizards site and see if there's a section for apartment living. I fully intend to reduce the size of my worm box (it's been running for well over 10 years, now). And, I have thought about getting rid of my little truck. I was surprised that there's a huge parking lot, in front of the place and it's full of cars ... all reserved for inmates. :-) Lew

Yo, Chris - Was 90F (32.22C), yesterday, and is supposed to get to 95F (35C) today. Cooler tomorrow and, maybe, overcast and a bit of rain mid week.

Nothing is as nice as an empty beach, in winter. Even though I live pretty close, I haven't been in years. Not near as much fun, on one's own. :-)

I'll have to step up my idiom quotient. :-). Don't know how I missed "finagling."

I think I'm about back to normal, health wise. But I keep getting these tingling sensations in my sinus, as with just before a sneeze. And, sometimes I sneeze. Opening up again, I guess. As long as we're talking about eczema and psoriasis, I've had itchy, flakey ears (interior) most of my life. Went to a doc, once, he prescribed some cream that didn't work. I just put up with them. About a year ago, I developed flakey patches in my eyebrows. Not a good look. I alternate between a triple antibiotic ointment and a pramoxine and hydrochloride cream. Knocks it back for a few days, but it always returns. What I noticed is that when I retired (less stress in general) several skin problems either vanished, or, became less serious.

This is what our convenience stores, look like. Notice all the junk food ...

https://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=AwrSbgZjSlRXjlQAKiBXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTB0NjZjZzZhBGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNwaXZz?p=convenience+stores&fr=aaplw&fr2=piv-web

A few months ago, I watched a movie called "American Ultra." Also, Jesse Eisenberg. Silly movie, cool explosions :-). But I mention it, because his character worked in such a store. They're rather "cookie cutter."

Lost my rain water catchment, when they put in the logging road. Hadn't re-placed the barrels, as we had this new well, that was going to end all our problems, right? :-). Well, I'm off to the abandoned farm, to see if I can fill up my jugs. Before it gets too hot. So it goes. Lew