Monday, 29 August 2016

Ghosts of irrigation past

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Hubris is defined in my 1952 fourth edition copy of the “The Concise Oxford Dictionary” as: “Insolent pride or insecurity”. This week an unexpected turn of events forced me to reassess my own sense of insolent pride.

The story of the ghosts of irrigation past - and thus my fall from grace - commenced quite a few years ago at a local open garden. Have I mentioned before that I love local open gardens? An open garden is where a person that owns a garden opens it for the general public to peruse.

From my perspective local open gardens are a great opportunity to observe how other people address many of the same problems that I also encounter. That use of observation, I believe, saves me from repeating other peoples mistakes.

At one open garden in the now distant past, the editor and I by sheer chance met a local lady who we knew. After the usual amount of good natured chat was exchanged, the lady offered to introduce us to the gardener of that particular garden. It was a reasonably impressive garden and the editor and I took up the offer and plied the gardener with many questions, which the gardener was more than happy to answer. It was a very pleasant chat all round.

One subject that I discussed with the gardener was that of the water pipe (or irrigation) systems in the garden. The gardener was very factual about the deficiencies of those water systems and also that the systems required constant maintenance and repair. It is a repeated discussion that I have had with many other people in similar situations and most of those people also recount a tale of woe and water systems failure.

We decided to learn from those many discussions and installed a simple network of buried water pipes which when combined with a water pump, can pump water to seven garden taps and one bushfire sprinkler dotted about the farm. The pipe network consists of about 100m (330ft) of 3/4inch high pressure quality poly pipe and fittings. The system has worked faultlessly for three years. With such a reliable water system, I had been quietly thinking to myself for a while: “Thank God for me!” I believed that I had dodged a bullet and hubris had set in...

Unfortunately, my run of perfect hubris crashed and burned this week, because the water system sprung a leak and before 24 hours had passed, 1,500L (about 400 gallons) of stored water simply disappeared. And that was about the time I realised that with so much of the 100m (330ft) of water pipes buried, I had absolutely no idea where the water leak was in the system. Long term readers may also realise that the winter here has been very wet and damp and so the water leak was not even visible at the soil surface despite so much water leaking at one spot.

The thing that really added insult to injury was that if I had constructed the water system on the cheap using cheap pipes and cheap fittings, then I would have felt better about the situation. However, I utilised very high quality components and installed them correctly.

With the lessons that I have learned from other gardeners, added now to my own sad experience, I am now having to consider the reality that perhaps these water systems should be established in a way that ensures that the entire system can be inspected visually and/or repaired easily. This approach means laying the 3/4inch water pipes on the soil surface rather than burying them and such an approach goes entirely against the conventional wisdom. The unfortunate thing with correcting this problem is that I will have to abandon much of the existing below ground water system because digging all of the components and pipes out of the ground is a huge job, which I do not have time for now. However, the fortunate thing about this situation is that it occurred in late winter rather than high summer when I would require the system for watering and/or for the bushfire sprinklers. Hopefully I will be able to resolve this mess before the hot weather arrives…

Speaking of being busy, the excavations for the new garden terrace continued this week. This new garden terrace which is being dug into the side of the hill – by hand – will be planted out with thornless blackberry and strawberry plants over the next few weeks. Both of those types of berry plants will be enclosed by their own purpose built enclosures.
Pythagoras’ Theorem is used to define the space for the new thornless blackberry enclosure
The now long dead ancient Greek mathematician dude: Pythagoras, came up with a theorem which the editor used (refer to above photo) to ensure that the new enclosure for the thornless blackberry plants ended up with reasonably accurate right angles. That mathematical wonder theorem was used by the editor to set out the boundaries for the berry enclosures. And this is a fortunate thing for me as digging holes with the hand augur tool was hard enough work. You could say that that most excellent theorem augured hard work for myself!
The author digs one of the many holes for the treated pine posts using the hand augur tool
As the sun dropped lower in the sky and the day got longer, the many holes were eventually dug. Holes in the ground are also wonderful things because you can then refill them! And that was certainly the case that day. The treated pine posts were placed into the ground and then cemented into place. String lines were used to ensure that the posts were all accurately aligned, and I would like to take credit for that, but I would probably be edited to reflect the reality of the situation…
Many treated pine posts were cemented into the ground on the new garden terrace this week
Observant readers would have noticed a few things about the above photo. The cement was mixed by hand in the blue wheelbarrow with a shovel. Also, all of the treated pine posts are pre-loved as they were recent rescues from the local tip shop and the former chicken enclosure/current wood shed number 2 project. Plus a path which leads from a concrete staircase and down onto the garden terrace has also been dug into the ground behind me in the above photo. Lastly, you will notice that the two posts closest to the camera are much taller than the other posts which are further away (more on this at a later date).

It has been a week of hard work. But never fear, just when you the reader were getting tired reading about all of this hard work, we also constructed another concrete step leading up to the new garden terrace.
A new concrete step was constructed this week for a staircase leading up to the new garden terrace
Actually, I reckon I’m feeling a bit tired reading about all of this hard work and probably deserve a nice glass of ginger wine! Speaking of which, the new cabinet which was purchased to store all of the fermenting home brew, out of sight of visitors, received a day or so of sanding in order to remove the varnish. In the photo below you can see the original colour of the cabinet prior to sanding with the three doors which are much darker and are currently stored within the unit itself.
A new cabinet for storing fermenting home brew products received about a day of sanding this week
The coming week here at the farm looks set to be another wet week. It has been a very wet winter here, which followed on from a reasonably hot summer. The humidity most days this week has reached 99% and on some days you can see the moisture in the air.
This week has been particularly humid and the moisture is visible hanging in the air
One of the most attractive birds to call the farm home is the King Parrot. It is good to be the King! And of course, being the King, must make it the most attractive bird here don't you think?
The farms resident King Parrot shows off its colours against the grey late winters day
This week was particularly special because the King Parrot decided to show off its new progeny.
The resident King Parrot dines on geraniums whilst keeping a close eye on its young
I was surprised at what a little chunkster the baby King Parrot was! It has certainly grown up in a good paddock!

The remaining bee hive appears to have over wintered well and the bee foragers are now flying all over the place whenever the sun shines in between the grey late winter skies. I caught this bee harvesting some pollen from the very early flowering almond trees. Observant readers will be able to see collected pollen as a yellow lump on the furry gut of the bee.
The bees have been out and about harvesting pollen and nectar this week (when the sun did eventually shine)
The earlier varieties of apricot have begun to produce blossoms this week too! Yay for Spring!
The earlier varieties of apricot fruit tree have begun to produce blossoms this week
The antics of the local marsupials whom inhabit the orchard at night never cease to amaze me. A wallaby however has upped the ante and achieved a feat that few wallabies have the skill to achieve. Yes, dare to dream my marsupial friends as the bar has been set very high with this particular feat.
A wallaby has somehow mysteriously managed to stick a scat on the side of a water tank
How that wallaby managed to stick a chunk of wallaby poo (scat) on the side of a water tank about 1.2m (4ft) above the ground is well beyond me? Perhaps a giant wallaby is lurking around the orchard late at night and getting up to wallaby mischief when nobody is looking…

The temperature outside now at about 9.00pm is 8.6’C (47.5’F). So far this year there has been 748.0mm (29.4 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 731.2mm (28.8 inches).

78 comments:

Steve Carrow said...

Ah yes, water woes. I have a leak I cannot find either, and I ran my poly tube aboveground! Admittedly, the route is very overgrown with weeds, as this line goes to trees in the unmowed orchard area. Still, I walked it a couple times, and did not see an obvious break. Next step will be to crawl along, handling every inch of the pipes, till I find it. Water storage and redistribution is a huge part of producing our own food while trying to ( or having to) abstain from well water. Good luck with designing and installing the next version.

FYI- for some of our water distribution, we just use garden hose if gravity is in our favor, and then roll it up for the winter before freezing sets in. I guess this won't work for you and your extensive water system.

Damo said...

I would be worried about that wallaby, I think it might be sending you a message! Next will be a horses head in your bed if you don't heed it :-)

RE: big words in fiction from last week
I am somewhat flexible on this, but the author needs to have the skill to do it. Case in point, Jack Vance. The made-up words he uses are done with such flair and placed in context so well that you can easily grok their meaning. They definitely add to the story, who can forget the Laughing Magician and his excellent prismatic spray? Lewis, if you have not read any Vance I cannot recommend his work enough (Such esteemed fellows as JMG, Chris and myself are fans if that makes a difference).

Another necessary use of big and new words is in certain types of historical fiction. For example, the excellent Aubrey/Maturin series of novels is full of detailed nautical terminology. Luckily, the author, Patrick O'Brien, puts it all together well. "He glanced up past the shrouds at the topgallant sail". I don't know what a topgallant is, but I can guess well enough. By the end of the novel I feel a little more salty and a little less like a landlubber.

And then you have the low-budget generic sci-fi or fantasy novel where authors seem to love having the characters talking like 21st century Gen-Xers, but throw in nonsensical words here and there with all the subtly of a cranky teenage wombat. I'm looking at you Neal Stephenson and Anathem (an otherwise interesting book with a great premise, but it has a glossary. And you need it!).

@Chris
Sorry to hear about your irrigation woes. Sounds like there is no easy answer. Maybe you could bury medium-length sections but have junctions and fittings on the surface? Subsequent leaks could be easily traced to smaller sections...no idea, I know nothing :p

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

I'm sorry to hear about the leak in the irrigation system and resultant loss of water. Yes, good thing it happened in early spring when you will get rain to replenish the loss of water and can lay out a new system before you need it, but I am sure that will put off other projects you would like to work on.

Maybe the mechanical world is staging a protest. Our (only) car decided it would no longer start this morning, and at that it has another issue that just developed a few days ago that would have required Mike to drive it to the repair shop later today. As it is now, the repair shop will have to send a tow truck to pick it up. Then, too, the mouse on the older of our two computers decided to stop working two days ago. If we hadn't bought the computer I'm typing this on - used, but only 5 years old instead of 15 years old - I wouldn't be able to read your post, much less comment on it, today.

The work on the new three season room (a back porch with screened windows) continues, with the electrician doing the wiring and the windows being installed as I type. Not sure if the major work will be finished this week or next. Some finish work (painting, floor installation) will still be needed but that will be contracted for separately. But we might be able to use the porch as early as the end of the week, which it so happens is supposed to bring perfect weather, with a high around 80F / 27C and a low in the upper 50sF / 14C and lots of sun.

I started digging the new beds last week as I move from three disconnected areas of vegetable and small fruit beds to one area with fewer total beds. One of the new beds, out of either four or five new beds (I'm still considering this question), has been completed and seeded to a cover crop to keep nutrients in the soil. Moving the beds will allow trucks to drive to the treed end of the back yard if we ever need to get professional arborists back there to do work (two of the groups of beds are in the way of that access). Also it will get those same beds out of the way of the neighbor's oak tree as it grows larger, shading more area.

Keep posting those spring flower pictures! Our fall flowers like goldenrod are about to start blooming. The leaves won't turn color however for a few more weeks.

Claire

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Oh, yeah. If something can go wrong with infrastructure (and, just about everything else) it will. Sooner or later. I was going to ask why you didn't put the pipes above ground. With you're weather, I wouldn't think freezing pipes is much of a problem. Or, at least a problem that couldn't be solved with heat tape or the snap on insulation.

Every time we have water problems here (it seems) the well people always reach for the easiest explanation. "Oh, you must have a leak in your water line." So far, that hasn't been the problem. But will be, sooner or later.

Another good thing about having those posts up on your terrace, is that you can keep an eye on them and watch out for any slippage. See: "...if something can go wrong," above.

Hmmm. Either you have a demented wallaby on the place, flinging poo against the walls ... or, it's just making a comment on the works of humans. Lew

margfh said...

Oh boy, really sorry about the irrigation woes. You are right now though better now than when you're in need of the water for the gardens.

We've never put our posts in concrete. Some of our posts in the animals pens that we put in 20 years ago are starting to rot and need to be replaced.

Regarding TV, as like Hazel, my husband spends his evenings in front of the tube. I'd keep a TV for movies and a few shows but would get rid of the satellite subscription as there is little worth watching and it's quite expensive. Another annoying habit is flipping through channels which just indicates to me that there's nothing really worth watching. I've observed this habit quite frequently with guys.

It remains quite warm here and very humid. Even some of the weeds have powdery mildew. I'm thankful it hasn't been up in the 90's - mostly mid to upper 80's. With this humidity we would have had some real issues with the pigs and especially the meat chickens. So far all are doing well. The chickens are only here for ten more days and I will be happy to stop pulling that chicken tractor.

My husband and I have been talking about selling the house again in the not too distant future. It's getting to be too much for us both physically and financially. It'll probably take a year to just get it ready. This all fits in with recognizing limits doesn't it. I was talking to another retired teacher who is 80 now. She and her husband live in town but have a big house and yard. Sadly her husband is now suffering from dementia. She said they should have downsized awhile ago but he didn't want to and now she said it would really throw him for a loop if she did it now - said it was like an albatross around her neck.

Margaret

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

Losing water is one of our worst nightmares too. We even got onto the habit of turning off the water coming into our old cottage from a big old concrete tank because the pipes froze and at least once each winter we'd come home from town to see it surging across the drive. We always turn our water off when we travel in the winter because that old tank is the back bone of our water for our house and vegetable garden. loosing it means very little can be planted in the food gardens. We do have a dam across the (very intermittent but currently fast flowing) creek that we tap into in emergencies but like to leave enough for the wild life that rely on it in hard times. The dam got very low during the long drought and that was a sad sight to see. I'm very curious about your solar water system for the garden and as our garden grows I'm hoping we can do something similar. Water is such a precious element and becomes even more so when we need to catch and store our own.

Margaret, I really sympathize with your dilemma about the future. A year to get ready to sell sounds about what it would take here too. Our farm is hard work and we are no longer young, which is the case for the farming population in general in Australia. We had fencing done professionally last year for the first time and it was costly, necessary for the long term though. We intend to stay as long as health and determination allow but that's always provisional. One of the big problems is where on earth to go if we leave?

I was thinking about your 'peak rock' situation today Chris. Our farm sometimes seems to be nothing but rock! It's useful for so many things and I like building paths, low walls and steps with it but find that in my mid-sixties I can manoeuvre diminishing weights. Seems 'peak energy' is the case here not 'peak rocks'.

Warm Regards, Helen

Jo said...

Chris, I am feeling for you re the irrigation pipes. I can quite see why you buried them though - in a bushfire, irrigation pipes on the surface linked to your fire sprinkler wouldn't be a great help, would they? It is going to be a headache whichever way you try to work around it..

I think I am about six weeks away from spring planting here - by then I will have most of my vegie beds prepared, and most of the threat of frost will have passed. I am so thrilled to be planning a new garden:)

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

Very sorry to hear about your pipe leak. That is really very annoying and the sort of thing that happens right when you least want it -- right after one has convinced oneself of one's invincibility.

I was having a conversation with someone about hubris the other day where we defined hubris as "being in a very strong position and thinking you are invincible" which we wanted to contrast with "being in a weak position and thinking you are invincible." The latter we decided was 'delusions of grandeur.'

With your pipes, I still think it is a good idea to put them underground. Above ground during summer they'll be subject to all sorts of unhealthy intense and direct solar irradiance.

Could you instead put some pressure gauges at strategically staggered positions along your 100 m to monitor pressure drop? A drastic drop in one section tells you were the leak is. Perhaps some quick and nasty pitot-static tubes will do the trick here? Not sure.

Cheers

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

The issue of higher education is a total minefield no doubts about it. And the stories of graduates not being able to get work are quite worrying. Nursing, journalism and teaching are some of the over subscribed courses down here based on anecdotal accounts.

Absolutely, getting someone to think about an issue from a different perspective is an interesting task. I once ran a graduate program for a large corporate and getting graduates to see tasks differently when they held fixed views on subjects was a complex matter.

New Zealand has a complex geological history. The south island is quite old and some of the mountains are big enough to have glaciers. The north island is quite young and is full of all sorts of interesting volcanic activity as a consequence. I reckon sooner or later a new equilibrium forms in an ecosystem. No animal can dominate an ecosystem beyond its resource base. Eventually something comes along to eat it.

I totally agree with you! It does make you wonder why our lot is so poisonous and your lot is so ferocious?

Fair enough about the Game of Thrones books as the author tells a long and complex story. I believe that the show has now progressed past the story line in the books as the author is a slow writer and only releases new books every now and then. I wouldn't want that level of fame and pressure to meet deadlines whilst trying to maintain quality.

Ha! Well, I can tell you that I learned how to fight so as to not get into fights. ;-)! Would I recommend that approach to others? Yup. For some reason my later high school was an overtly aggressive culture.

What do I make of that? Well, if Sun Tzu is still relevant to the human condition several thousand years after his death, I'm not really sure how different we are as a species. The tools that we have access too as a species is certainly different, but they rely on a whole bunch of energy. It probably requires deeper understanding than my brain can cope with! I suspect patterns repeat, but the details may be different. The patterns repeat because the underlying conditions remain the same. What do you reckon about that?

Yes, definitely keep an eye on it this year and gauge your own reactions to the changes. It is definitely warming down here. But tonight the wind is blowing and the rain is drizzling.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I wasn't aware of that history of Frank Herbert. Thanks. I'll have to dig out the Vance reference, but given jack Vance was in the merchant navy in WWII my money would be on Hawaii. Hey, have you ever read the Dune series of books? I quite enjoyed them, but haven't read them for a decade or so now. It certainly told an interesting tale. I always felt that the spice was a metaphor for the 70's oil crisis but I guess we'll never know? Or maybe we will?

Oh my, the wind would blow down that narrow channel to Port Townsend. Wow! I hear you about the artsy colony bit. It does seem to be a long way from anywhere for the town to make any sort of economic sense. I assume that it is a tourist trap for recharging ones batteries (in the metaphorical sense of that description)? But I assume most people drive up from Seattle? That road crosses a very narrow isthmus.

You have exercised your excellent book review skills to the max there. Well, to be perfectly truthful, I have been steeling my nerves to tackle "Infinite Jest" as I suspect that it may not be an enjoyable read. I read so much non-fiction words as part of my job, that sometimes I just want some fluff in my books. I'm trying too, mate, I hear you. ;-)!

There are a lot of rats here. The owls could be working harder... I honestly have no idea what went wrong. All I do know is that it did go wrong and so in such a circumstance, the obvious offenders are the most likely suspects. They do burrow into the ground and you may recall the car incident which set me back about $800 to fix. We are not amused!

Yeah, I reckon a lot of things like that will disappear. The human landscape that we live in seems rather conducive to mental health issues, but then I avoid all of that by spending a lot of time in nature. Dunno, certainly you are not alone and anxiety is on the rise among the population.

Oh my, I do hope that Nell arrives home intact and safe. Good to read that she actually arrived home safe. Probably demanding breakfast, too the little scamp? A pack of coyotes would be a serious problem for a cat, no matter what martial arts moves that little lady knows.

I'm with you, simple and readily repairable is a winning strategy. Of course, if I were the installer of your well system, I'd be blaming a leak too! Although, that was pure fiction as I tend to prefer getting to the core of the problem and then working out whether the whole mess is actually fixable. Nobody really enjoys intermittent problems. Frost is not a problem for the pipes here as they are rated for very high pressure and UV exposure. They should outlast me. Notice the use of the word “should”.

You know, I was thinking of both you and Inge when I took that photo as I was wondering whether you'd both mention the soil stability. I dare not say that it is different this time, because I don't want to put the kiss of death on the new terrace, but the soil here is usually very stable. Excluding an earthquake or major storm damage. There that is the disclaimer. ;-)! It would be nice to be able to speed up the growth of the plants whose root systems will hold it together though...

I reckon it is both! I mean, firstly why would a wallaby do that trick, and then I'm curious to know how it did it? So many questions remain a mystery!

The weather is pretty ordinary outside right now with lots of gusty wind and some drizzly rain. Fortunately it is toasty warm inside. Would you believe that the wood fire box is starting to show signs of damage again. We are really going to have to rethink that particular system too and already the subject is both on the table and open for further discussion. The problems are mounting, but they are not insurmountable! ;-)! I often wonder if people who choose this sort of path reckon on having to learn from and repair all of these different systems? Dunno.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Hazel,

Isn't it nice that Spring is starting to show! That was an ear worm blast from the past wasn't it? It was a pretty good song. He toured only a month or so ago and back in 2013.

That is so true about the long working hours during winter. A lot of our working arrangements bear no relationship at all to the outside conditions. I try to spend as much time outside over winter as possible, but the working days are generally shorter.

Summer days when the air temperature is off the charts people in Melbourne don't slow down to accommodate for that as the conditions can be so variable from one day to the next. Do you see that too?

Fair enough about the television. I hear you! The editor is watching a show now. ;-)! Which does leave me time to reply to comments...

Thanks, and I hope so too. Rats are no fun.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

Yeah, I guess you are unable to mow the area that has the water pipes above the ground either? Well, that grass would enjoy the extra and regular summer watering. How are the trees growing anyway? You are absolutely correct in that water is everything when plants are outside their normal range.

I have been trying hard over the past few years to really water stress the orchard, whilst not killing the trees so that they are hardier because they are forced to put down deeper roots. I was thinking of leaving the water pipes above the soil surface, but next to the rock walls so they have some protection and shading. Thanks for the good luck wishes and I hope that you find your leak too. Two weeks and that particular water system here would have drained completely...

Thanks for the suggestion, but that may not work here as due to the pressure in the pipes I have found that the standard brass hose connectors leak.

Cheers

Chris

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

That's really crap about the leak. I did the same as you: blue line with good quality connectors, all underground. It'd be very interesting to find out what happened. Maybe the soil shifted and pulled the connector? (esp with all your earthworks!) I hope that's not in my future -- though I've only got about 20-30m of buried pipe and would probably just dig it up I guess...
If the pipe/connectors are on the surface will they not degrade in the UV?

We were planning to build a pergola down the Western side of the house for summer shade, but instead we've planted some plums which we'll fan-espalier. It's a lot easier (and cheaper) planting trees than doing building work! Though we won't get a lot of shade this summer..

Cheers, Angus

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Wow, a Machiavellian wallaby would be truly something to fear. I hope the wallaby doesn't come to get us all!

Jack Vance was an awesome author and I still take his stories out at least once per year. Yes the prismatic spray was quite a memorable weapon. Was that in Tales of the Dying Earth? I loved that book and picked it up in a complete edition at Minotaur bookshop in Melbourne. Did Vance also used to use the word peripatetic? Back in the days before the internet, you used to have to carry around mysteries like those particular words with you as they often were hard to find in the dictionary!

Ha! That is awesome. If it means anything to you, I have absolutely no idea what a topgallant sail is.

A glossary is a tough thing for a fiction book, and I can't lie, but the glossary at the end of Infinite Justice (speaking of Gen Xer authors) is apparently quite staggering. I haven't read Neal Stephenson. Have you ever read any Peter F Hamilton sci-fi? I enjoy the stories, but sometimes the end is a little bit like: "And then I woke up and the aliens rescued us all". It would be nice to see him turn out a totally dark ending. I guess he did a bit in the book Fallen Dragon.

Thanks for the suggestion. Hmmm, I'm going to try absolute basics and see what happens with that water system. It is a real problem.

Hey, if it is not impolite of me to ask your superior IT skills. Would you have any idea how I could easily put a web page for the domain www.ferngladefarm.com.au just listing the mp3's for download? Any assistance would be welcomed. It looks pretty basic right now... I have the domain and cpanel and all that gear.

Cheers.

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thanks for saying that. And yeah, I am very grateful that this did not happen over high summer when the chance of refilling the water tanks was a remote possibility. Fortunately, it is raining outside right now. Yeah, infrastructure can assist you, but it all has to be maintained and I try to keep things very simple here for that reason. What did someone once say about the things that you own end up owning you? Or did I make that up? Probably not.

Yes, the mechanical world is staging a protest. Definitely. My gut feeling is that the crapification of things (as distinct from the internet of things) will become more of a problem as the years continue. Sorry to read about your car. What a nightmare, at least they can tow the car to the shop for repairs. I assume that you have some method of getting from the house to the shop to pick it up again. That is a real problem here. And computers don't seem to last as long as they used to either.

The three season room is a great idea. I assume the windows in that room are openable for the summer to allow the room to cool down? That is perfect weather too. I am getting weather envy! :-)!

Access is one of those things that can become a problem only after experience has proven that the system is in the way of something else. I assume the truck has a bucket that can be lifted into the air to prune the tree slowly from the top. Some people down here climb the trees to do that job. Anything involving large trees is a big job and I have total respect for anyone who can do that work. I'm OK with working on trees only once they are on the ground.

My pleasure and I will continue to post the flower photos as the season continues. They are lovely, and I think I spotted a ginger plant that survived the cold winter down here, which is a surreal thing for me as the plant is meant to be tropical.

Lovely to hear. Enjoy your fall conditions when they arrive.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks and yeah, exactly. At least the water tanks will get a chance to refill before the hot weather arrives.

Fair enough, the same would happen here too with the rot - even if the posts were treated. I tend to over engineer some things for my own reasons and footings are one of those things. The house has not moved so concrete is more or less the way to go here. Interestingly too, I usually use steel for sheds but that is more a fire risk thing.

I'm with you, but most of my friends have the tv on in the background when I visit and it is very distracting. And yeah, they channel surf too. I'm happy with the occasional movie and that is about it. Everyone does their own thing with the tv though. More time to reply to comments is what I reckon! ;-)!

Oh wow, did you manage to grow any squashes (we call them pumpkins down here) with all of that powdery mildew? I feel for you with the chicken tractor. That would be a very heavy unit to move.

Fair enough, I hear you. That would be a hard decision to make too. For your interest, selling a house here in this remote spot can take upwards of a year to find a buyer. Nobody needs an albatross, sorry to say. The local bee guy I used to speak to has dementia now and I just don't know. What a tough thing for your friend.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Thanks, losing water when it is so precious is a real nightmare. I used to joke to the local gardeners in town that: I dream of town water... All of those precautions are excellent advice and thanks for sharing your experiences. I leave water out for the wildlife too. Sometimes there is a bit of competition for the water and some of the wildlife just prefers to consume their water from a certain spot. The bees can be a bit of a nuisance with the dogs water. Scritchy was stung once...

Small 12V high pressure pumps 60psi (17 Litres per minute) are very affordable and use surprisingly little electrical energy (about 8 Amps at 12 Volts). A small 12V solar panel and 12V battery can power such a pump for a long time.

Ha! Oh I hear you about that. I'm getting older too and the rocks seem to be getting bigger and/or heavier. But as you say they are very useful! Bringing them back up the hill is what I find to be the hardest activity.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Absolutely, the bushfire concern was at the forefront of my mind when I buried them initially. Very astute to have recognised that. Exactly! Mulch has the same predicament. If I mulch the fruit trees, then the mulch may act as kindling underneath the fruit trees if a fire sweeps through the area. However, if I don't mulch the fruit trees they will be subjected to heat stress over summer. You can't win, so I decided to mulch the fruit trees as extreme heat during summer is guaranteed.

That is really exciting to read and I hope that your planting goes well in your new garden beds. I look forward to reading about them.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Crowandsheep,

Thanks, it is an annoying problem. Hehe! Yeah, we tempt the fates at our peril!

Yes, that is an interesting position. But the first position runs the real risk of that person (or group) having their position of strength eroded by entropy and they may not realise that the loss has occurred. Either way is dangerous really and both positions encourage risk taking behaviour. What do you reckon about that?

The pipes themselves should be fine as they are all rated for the extreme UV we get down here. I just have to remember to mist the air coming out of the taps until the water cools down as the pipes themselves will act like a giant solar hot water service. They already do that anyway, despite most of the system being under ground. The UV reaches extreme levels in January and February.

Thanks for the suggestion and I will consider that possibility. The other problem is that the pipes are downhill of the pump and so the pressure increases the further the water is from the tanks. It now leaks without the pump too for that matter.

Cheers

Chris

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Chris,

Well, I hope you sort out the water issue soon. It's quite a big deal if you don't have access to other sources: water is probably one of the most valuable resources there is.

I think most programs are oversubscribed here, and probably Australia as well. It's hard for me to tell what the most-oversubscribed programs are, I've heard far too many people from far too many different programs who can't get jobs. It's also funny to see programs like linguistics, where not enough people complete the program to fill the available jobs. Of course, next to no one wants to be a linguist, no glamour in it, but it's an odd change.

I wonder if it has something to do with Bergmann's Rule, an ecological phenomena where animals in cold climates tend to be larger, while those in hot climates tend to be smaller. Larger animals could fight better directly, smaller animals might need to rely on poisons and toxins. Just speculation though, and I can think of counterexamples, like South America where I think things are less poisonous, or Scandinavia which is also cold and lacks the large animals we have.

Considering the size of some of his books, I'm not sure I'd call him a slow writer, but yes, I can believe the show is passed where the books are. I like writing, and I've shown some of what I write to my friends, but I've always been a little ambivalent about making a living off it for that reason: I don't want to have to write so much I can't keep what I think of as high quality.

Getting others to not fight is always a handy skill to have. And from what I've heard/experienced, high schools in general are aggressive places.

Yes, the relevance of so many ancient thinkers is evidence to my mind human beings are largely as we were when they wrote their works, so at least a few thousands of years of minimal change. Oddly, this is somehow comforting to me, knowing patterns I know today will still be valid a thousand, two thousand, probably even five thousand years from now makes me feel safe in a way. I'd be terrified if it really were different this time!

Since I'm only observing my behavior this year, I won't have a large enough sample size. Plus, I can think of a couple confounds that'll make it hard to tell if it's the seasons or not. I think I'm better off observing other people and seeing, as a general rule, does behavior change. In any case, it'll probably be a while before I can see anything, and then I'll need to look at it again to see if it switches back for our summer... This is something I'll need to observe for a few years before I can say anything for sure. I'll get back to you on it in, say, 2020? And has your weather been doing what ours has lately, where it sometimes feels it can't remember what season it's supposed to be in?

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

You got me thinking that 'delusions of grandeur' could in some situations be an adaptive survival strategy. If one is screwed anyway, perhaps taking an extreme risk with the full confidence of its success without any concern for the consequences, would be the only way out of a very tight spot. While perhaps adaptive in a very weak position, in a very strong position I fail to see a useful adaptive mechanism for hubris?

If you are interested in 'tempting fate', I reference it in an entry I'm working on for the archdruid's new writing competition. I will send you a link when I post it. Just waiting for an illustration :-)

Cheers

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Fortunately for us, the car repair shop we use is about a 15-20 minute walk away from our house (one advantage of living in an urban area). That keeps the tow charge down. It would have been much worse if the car had decided not to start the day before, as Mike was in the next county to the west with it.

The crapification of things has really affected the computer industry. My first computer lasted for 26 years before it finally died. It had its original mouse and keyboard and both were still working when the computer itself died. The 15 year old computer, which we have had for 8 years, is on its third keyboard and second monitor and is about to receive its third mouse. This newest computer is a laptop with integrated keyboard and trackpad. I can only hope they last (it does have ports for external devices, at least).

If they ever need to bring a truck to the back yard to deal with tree issues, it'll be a bucket truck. I've watched the tree service we use bring down large trees using a bucket truck.

Yes, all the windows of the three season room are sliding units and the door is a sliding glass door, so half of each window and the door can be opened to its screen to allow for ventilation. The builders told Mike this morning that they may well finish it tomorrow.

Margaret, I worry some about the issue of how to know when to leave too. I am already reducing the food garden size to better match what I'm willing to do now. At least our house is small, even though the lot is large for an urban property. At this point I worry more about Mike's mother, who is 89 and still living on her own in a house a little smaller than ours. The only way she wants to leave it is as a corpse. I hope it works that way, but Mike is trying to ease her into realizing she may need to live somewhere else if she can no longer care for herself and the house later on. We can't keep her place up and ours too.

Claire

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I read Dune so many years ago, I don't remember too much about it. Other than that it was "difficult" and slow going. I looked into the Vance series. Hmmm. How can I say this without offending everyone, all over the place. I got to the part of the description that said "magic has reasserted itself," and lost interest. Just not my cup of tea.

"Moving to town" is a time honored tradition for older rural folks. But it's a little more problematic, these days. The small towns have "dried up and blowed away." And so have the social support systems that were ready and waiting for the oldster. Connections that were already made.

Port Townsend was a port of entry. A custom's outpost. And, it was across the Strait from Vancouver Island and Victoria. There was, and still is, I think, a ferry that goes back and forth. But, you're right. It is a bit out of the way.

I usually leave the porch light on when Nell is out at night. I don't think the coyotes would come on the porch, or, into the light. There's also the truck for her to get under. And, she can scoot under the shed door, but anything larger than her can't follow. So I think if a coyote got her, it would really be just bad luck and a bit of inattention. They really can't sneak up on the yard as Beau lets me know when they're around.

I picked another gallon of blackberries, yesterday. I've got to stop and start on something else. I began to work on the freezer, and there's more blackberries from last year than I thought. I actually got down to some BMT (Before My Time) layers. Threw out some chicken that was at least older than 5 years and some pork loins that were marked '08. I can only work on it for short periods of time, as I don't want to leave the door open, too long.

Cooler and overcast, today. Looks like rain, but so far, not a drop. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Poor Chris, poor Editor! What a sad circumstance the pipe leak is. I am so sorry that you lost so much water, but then I guess that it is good that you are going to have a wet week. Our pipes are very slightly buried, but we have quite a small garden and it is easy to spot problems right away. My son - who installed them - is not all that happy with them anyway and has already bought some sort of rigid drip hoses instead to put in other parts of the garden. I think he was planning to bury them. Perhaps he should reconsider.

The new terraced bed looks really big, and I am so impressed at you using a hand augur to dig all of those post holes. Good thing that you and your aligned posts caught yourself before you had to be edited; that might have been painful. If the 2 tall posts were closer together I would guess that they were going to hold the gate. Wow, look at the turns in that staircase! Very elegant!

That is a very cute baby King Parrot and he is indeed a chunkster!

I kind of reckoned that there might be a Giant Wallaby at Fernglade Farm. He was probably resurrected by all of that mega fauna talk.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

It is so wise to be able to recognize ahead of time - before it becomes an absolute necessity - when one does need to make changes in one's living arrangements (tip of the hat to Lew). I feel so sorry for the 80 year old retired teacher. Eighty is pretty old to only be starting to consider new living arrangements. My parents are almost 80 and so very far away in Colorado. All of the rest of my small family is on the East Coast. They don't like our climate and won't move out here.

I get you - and Hazel - about the TV watching. My husband spends his evenings in front of the TV, too. I can certainly understand that after a lang day at work, but the channel-flipping thing is nuts.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

Have you had difficulty deciding about making any changes in your your living arrangements? I mean, have you been where you are for very long? See my comment to Margaret if you have time.

Pam

foodnstuff said...

Hi Chris, I echo your sentiments about the placement of water pipes. Some years ago, I realised I wasn't getting water in the main tank. I knew how much rain it took to fill all the underground pipes before water would run over into the tank and also how much rain equalled one corrugation in the tank and things just weren't adding up. Because of the site levels and the (not-now-increasing) level of water in the tank, I knew in which section of the pipe it was, but could only guess at where the pipes actually ran underground, not having been there when the plumber did it. There was even a chance that some of the pipework actually ran under the concrete carport and that would have been a real disaster!

Any way, long story short, I got in a plumber and he found the leak and the tree root that had cracked the pipe. Needless to say that tree was very quickly removed.

Just goes to show that the best laid plans of mice and men.....

Hope you solve your problems and will be interested to learn how.

Hazel Marchant said...

Hi Chris

Yes, in Canberra no-one makes any allowance for extremes of weather. Winter is dark mornings and early evenings with often freezing weather in between, but you can't have a shorter working day. Summer is pretty hot, and early starts with a break at midday would make a lot more sense. I assume that airconditioning and artificial lighting have meant that we've lost all contact with natural cycles. No wonder that chronic diseases are on the increase. Your lovely place is a happier space than you'd ever find in a city, although the Macchiavellian mega wallabies are a worry! ;-)

Cheers

Hazel

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

You betcha. I noticed at the end of "The Big Short" it indicated that value investor Michael Burry was now investing in water, whatever that means. I invest in water, but that usually means trying to harvest and then distribute it...

Well yeah, those statistics are unlikely to be released anytime soon. You have to more or less read the reports in the paper once the jobs don't appear as promised. I can track down some news programs talking about that subject if you are interested. Yes, linguistics is a wise choice. One of our former Prime Ministers was fluent in Mandarin.

Don't know about Bergmann's Rule as camels are feral in outback Australia and they're pretty large, although it is more an arid environment than a desert. Apparently the mega-fauna used to be widely distributed too.

Game of Thrones really is a door stopper isn't it? At over 1,000 pages each - with small print. I certainly wasn't disparaging the author by any means and he freely acknowledges his shortcomings. Not having to rely on the income from writing gives you a free hand to say what you want and write how you want. I used to write for publications, but started the blog because they couldn't cope with the volume and I was unhappy with the idea of submitting something and then not hearing anything about it until it was published. The publishing industry is going through hard times, but there are niches to exploit for sure.

Oh yeah. Aggressive as. I went from a hippy dippy school to a full on more English than the English grammar school and that transition was a mildly dislocating experience. And being boys only it had a very aggressive culture.

It is comforting isn't it? And yes, today is relevant to the future too, don't you think?

Yes, sample sizes apparently need to exceed 30 to be statistically valid and your experiment would make that difficult! :-)! That is a worthwhile goal. One data point for your observation is to check out the dates versus the weather conditions when people like plan to socialise. I notice that high summer and the depths of winter are low points for that, but the in-between seasons and the turning of the seasons are full on for social stuff. I'd be very interested to read of your take on that matter.

Cheers

Chris



Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Crowandsheep,

Oh yeah, I never would have thought of it that way as being an adaptive survival technique, but no doubt you are correct. It has the added benefit of introducing a random or surprise element into a situation. Wow. That is a fascinating insight.

Thanks. Have you considered submitting it to: Into the Ruins?

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@lew
At the risk of being one of 'those' people who doesn't feel validated unless everyone likes the same things they do (this happens a lot with TV shows, "Oh, you must watch this...."), I can heartily suggest giving Vance a go. His settings are closer to early pulp-scifi then post-tolkien fantasy. Indeed, his writing and world-building has almost no resemblance to that bloated and self-aggrandizing genre. Mostly they are just plain fun, with resourceful characters always trying to verbally outwit their opponent. The Durdane Trilogy, Tales of the Dying Earth and Planet Of Adventure are my favourites.

@GameOfThrones
The TV show doesn't do it for me. It has some great actors (and a few bad ones *cough* Dany, Jon Snow *cough*), some very nice sword fights here and there but it all falls a bit flat for me. I think maybe the struggle is trying to fit so much in a short time. It is only in the last season they started showing flashbacks which means they have missed out on a lot of world building, history and motivations of the various families. Whilst I am still ranting, the TV Show Jon Snow has not grown and developed at all, and he is a hopeless general :-) Book Jon Snow is a lot less frustrating.

@Chris
I did try and read one of Peter F Hamiltons books. I must have been in a mood, try as I might, I couldn't make it past 100 pages. Found it pretty dry (something about trains going through little wormholes to link up planets). The culture novels by Iain M Banks are more to my taste, a great combination of action, philosophy and humour :-)

RE: website and MP3s. Happy to help, it might be easier to email me though for more detailed answers, (no spaces) mrblenny @ outlook.com

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Lucky you. 15 to 20 minutes is a nice distance and a pleasant walk. You are totally correct in that there are serious benefits to living in town. Walking is one of the things that I miss living up in the boon docks, which is why we walk in the forest and on the tracks. When we were building this place and lived in a nearby town, we used to walk the dogs through the streets at night and as it was a commuter town, it was so quiet and everyone was asleep by 9pm... Unfortunately, that meant that they enjoyed early mornings...

Yeah, tow costs can be a total nightmare. I once had to be towed a few hundred metres to the repair shop (the wheel fell off the car - seriously!) and they charged me almost $200 to do so. I couldn't believe it as it was daylight robbery.

There is real truth behind the saying: They don't make them like they used too. Your experience matches mine too and I am keeping the old computers ticking along as best I can. Incidentally Damo (the resident computer expert here) was suggesting that the hard drive in your laptop can be replaced with a newer solid state memory device. I may try this over the next year or two for a very old laptop that still works (for now anyway). It may be worth thinking about.

Those bucket trucks would be very handy wouldn't they? I don't have much of a head for heights though so it would feel uncomfortable to me. I met a guy that was a champion axe man once and he felled a hugely dangerous tree for me. 15 minutes work cost me $600 which is an awesome hourly rate (better than a Queens Counsellor anyone?) but was worth every single cent. Trees are a job for the professionals.

Oh! Did they finish the work? That really is a great idea and it will extend your growing season by at least one month at either end of the season. Plus it will be just nice inside on a cool but sunny day. :-)! An excellent idea.

I don't know about the future on that score for me. The way things are going...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Haha! Difficult is an understatement. I reckon "Epic" is closer to the truth of the matter. Honestly, the span of the story was huge. A bit like Assimov's foundation series or maybe even Game of Thrones. Do you reckon it might be safe to call that genre "Fantasy Opera"? It doesn't quite have the same ring to it as "Space Opera" and people might get the wrong impression.

Well Vance is not for everyone and his version of magic possibly may jar with your version. In his defence most of his stories were about people and any reference to magic (let's call that by its correct name: technology) was more of an adjunct to the story. I thoroughly enjoyed the Demon Princes series and I usually read that - and I'm a bit embarassed to admit this - but perhaps once every two years or so. I really enjoyed the end of the book as the protagonist ran out of enemies and was faced with the futility of his own life.

Mate, that has happened down here too. I suspect that it has something to do with how frequently people move nowadays. To be honest I have lived in 19 different houses / flats in my short life and that is too much. I reckon it gets back to what you said once about: "not knowing your people". Of course you were referring to something else, but the larger point still stands. What do you reckon about that?

Customs outposts were a tidy trade for a small economy. Did I ever mention that during the gold rush era down here, some boats used to drop passengers off in South Australia where the port entry costs were lower and the people used to walk across the state into Victoria to get to the gold diggings. And Victorian ports that were further away used to be cheaper than the main ones in Melbourne. Back then, people thought nothing about walking overland for days to get to the gold diggings. The wealthy took the Cobb and Co carriages, but then those things were a target for the bushrangers.

Nell, is clearly in good hands, but I do hope that she is agile on her paws. One must always be prepared to run. :-)! I reckon when Scritchy dies I may get a larger female boss dog. Larger dogs can be quite useful in scaring off unwanted visitors.

Oh no! The perils and true confessions of a very large chest freezer. :-)! The worms would enjoy the spoils from that clean out process... Or perhaps the coyotes would as I reckon they would be excellent scavengers. What are you planning to do when you move with all of that stuff?

Autumn is fast approaching at your place. Our weather patterns will shortly cross over and we shall be enjoying very similar weather conditions soon. It is rainy and overcast here today.

I read a fascinating story recently at how the Victorian government wants to re-introduce Tasmanian devils back onto the mainland. The poor devils are suffering from a facial tumor disease which is wiping out their numbers and it would not be a bad idea to establish another colony on the mainland. Apparently the Tasmanian government is blocking the move for some strange reason. They used to be here on the mainland.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thank you and the water leak is a serious drama. Fortunately the problem was discovered and stopped before it escalated. Someone gave me good advice recently about nipping problems in the bud before they escalate and that was sound advice.

Yeah, I'm going to try a similar approach to your system. However, I have not had much like with those rigid drip hoses. After the garden taps, I have been experimenting with hoses that have lots of pin pricks in them which shoot out lots of small jets of fine spray onto garden beds. These appear to have worked quite well, but I will be very interested to hear about your experiences with the dripper hoses.

Getting edited sounds like someone has taken out a hit on me. Like: Expect to be erased - sucker! Hehehe! That is funny. Well, I like hand tools as they work at a human pace and scale. They're not always the appropriate tool for the job, as I do use electric and petrol powered tools, but injuries can be very swift and nasty with those too. I have a great respect for the chainsaw for example, but really they are all like that.

Ha! The editor provides quality control checks free of charge. ;-)! Some days I just want to do the grunt labour. It is very meditative.

Thanks very much for noticing and saying so. A few months back I spotted a wallaby in a different mountain range and it had a patchy coat and looked a bit in need of a solid feed. I thought to myself that the wallaby wasn't like the lucious looking glossy coated marsupials that want to sit in my raised garden beds whilst eating my vegetables. I caught one doing that two days ago and fortunately had Sir Scruffy on hand who - despite being an old dog - wanted none of that marsupial business going on on his turf!

I hope not! If I find a giant wallaby, I shall send him to you as a gift from down under! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi foodnstuff,

What a story! Yes, I would have removed that tree too for what has happened once will happen again.

You know, I wasn't there when the plumber connected up all of the pipes to and from the water tanks either and I know this will come back to bite me at some time in the future. And yes, being underneath concrete would have been a massive problem. You can cut concrete, but it is expensive.

Thanks for sharing your story. Fortunately plumbers have cameras nowadays for such things and that would save a whole lot of trouble. The old timers used to use clay pipes and those things were very leaky.

I may not have mentioned this, but if the place ever burns down in a bushfire and I rebuilt the house, I would change the roof design to collect all of the water on one side of the building and thus reduce the complexity of the water collection system. Honestly, the sheer complexity of the roof design here is a mistake. Simple works much better.

Yeah, I will have to resolve the problem over the next few months before I need the water systems for the tomatoes. The rest of the garden would probably be fine as it mostly survives without watering these days. I will include details. I am mildly concerned about the solar element, but the pipes themselves are UV safe.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Hazel,

Melbourne and Canberra have similar problems with that weather cycle. The editor used to stay up in Canberra with family over the summer and she always said that you could be swimming in the heat of the day and then having to run the fire at night. We are just out of touch with nature and air conditioning doesn't help. It is usually cool down here in the mountains over summer nights and the hottest you'd expect to see is about 22'C. Melbourne on the other hand may not cool down below 30'C over night. There is a serious case of the grumps in the city with people the next day.

Thank you. If I find that Macchiavellian mega wallabies, I may have to ship it up to Canberra! Hehe! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

Sorry mate, the comment sequence is based on time so you appeared way back up the list.

The blue line stuff is pretty good and rated for house pressure drinking water. I used the green line stuff which is almost, but not quite as good as that. I used the best quality 3/4 inch fittings which are the same for both pipes. I believe that the pipes and fittings are UV stable. Certainly I've seen them used all over the place and have never seen one seriously degraded. Please correct me if I am wrong in this belief though?

No doubts about it. I reckon your theory is the best yet. Thanks for that. With the summer being so hot the clay would have shrunk. And then with the out of control wet winter, the clay would have swelled and then perhaps a fitting began to leak?

Plums would do very well in your conditions. Hey, I'd consider pears too, if you haven't already planted them. Some of the ornamental pears are very fast growing and incredibly heat and drought hardy. Some of the street trees down this way are Manchurian pears and they are almost bomb proof over summer. But plums are hardier again. What variety did you get?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Short of time at present, visitors. Your water problem is a nightmare; water being the next essential after oxygen (I think). This area is always awash with water leaks due to ground movements and old agricultural piping. At least we don't suffer from water shortage but those who have a water meter can run up a huge bill before they know that they have a problem. Son and I are not on water meters thank goodness.

With regard to land movement, I note that new neighbour's deer fencing posts are already moving.

My problems with my sociopath (friend) are ongoing and not suitable for commenting on. I am pretty much resigned to walking away from them but lose a lot of money in the process.

I love your parrot pictures. England is in trouble with breeding parakeets whose numbers are rapidly increasing; not here yet.

@ Pam

I'll get back to you later on thoughts about moving on.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Fantasy Epic? Hmm. How do I feel about magic. I found out at an early age that magic doesn't deliver. All promise and no substance. Call me bitter ...

I don't know how many places I've lived. I've never sat down and tried to count it out. Just figuring out how many shopping malls I've worked in is a puzzle. But on reflection, it's kind of like my job history. Long periods of time living in one place or working at one job ... then periods of living lots of places and having lots of jobs.

I don't know how the custom's house / port of entry ended up in Port Townsend, for awhile. When I read about the early history of our State (or, any State for that matter) is always a tail of different towns competing for ... just about everything. Where the State Capitol is going to be ... the university ... the route of the railroad ... the state pen. Just about anything that will lend wealth or status.

I'm trying to use up the stuff in my freezer(s) as much as I can before the move. Besides the usual fridge/freezer combo I'll have, I've been thinking about getting a smallish extra freezer. Either upright or chest. I saw a smallish chest freezer, recently. On one hand, I think I should do more canning and drying, as, in the long run, freezers aren't very ... resilient. The power goes off for a day or two and your screwed. On the other hand, loosing power for that long is less likely in town. But then, with the crapification of everything, loss of power might not be the only thing to wipe out whatever is in the freezer. Sigh. You pay your money and take your chances :-).

We had rain overnight, and it's raining a bit, now. I'm off to the Little Smoke, and I'd better watch for oil slick on the road. That can be a problem after we haven't had rain in awhile. Lew

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

No worries -- you have lots of comments to respond to! :-)

I think they are classed as UV stable, and people certainly do just run them above ground. For me, I would try to keep all the connectors in the shade for longevity (I think "UV stable" doesn't mean "unaffected", just "more resilient" and it will still degrade with time).

So, presumably one of your connectors has pulled loose -- it would be a smaller task to dig up each join and check (I presume), rather than the whole length of pipe, which is probably ok. I wonder if sitting the pipe in sand at the bottom of the trench would help? (Just musing here, really ;-)

Thanks for the thought about pears. I've got a couple already, but can probably fit a few more. I don't know if I'll get them in the ground this year -- I've planted 4 plums a peach, pecan, white sapote and 5 citrus so far this season -- running out of time (Spring is definitely here!). I got four different varieties of plums and they're different to the two we already had (6 plums total -- exciting!). hopefully, they all fruit at different times (I'm hopeful because they're all budding differently now).
Our block's starting to get full though -- we're up to about 50 fruit trees on 900 square meters. I reckon I can squeeze in another 10-20 though ;-)

Happy Spring!
Cheers, Angus

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Yeah Jon Snow in the book was quite an in depth character and a leader, who unfortunately failed to assure himself of all of his support prior to acting as if he had done so. But then that story has a habit of bringing people back from the dead...

The Durdane Trilogy, Tales of the Dying Earth and Planet Of Adventure are all great stories. I collected all of Vance's sci-fi stories, with second hand copies a few years back and I enjoyed all of them. Some of the pulp covers are truly remarkable artworks and bear absolutely no relation at all to the story. If I'd been aware of it a few years earlier, I would have nabbed a copy of the Vance Integral Edition... Most of the stories are pure entertainment, but I always enjoy how the protagonist uses wit, determination and chance to outwit his opposition. Did you ever get a chance to nab a copy of: "Songs of the Dying Earth" some of the stories in that book are total genius by big name authors using the Vance universe and style of writing. One of the stories where the author incorporated an air ship was amazing.

That book with the trains and wormholes was the Commonwealth series. That story was a bit of light fun and lots of destruction by a very single minded alien with conquest on its minds.

Thanks for the recommendation. I've never read any Iain M Banks but do have a copy of "Look to Windward" in my collection but have not read it. Do you recommend that book? What is the cultre series?

Thanks for the offer and I will contact you.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for taking the time to comment in between attending to your visitors. Angus mentioned your theory of shifting ground and no doubts about it, you are both correct. It was either that or the rats, but the ground does shift here in relation to the amount of groundwater stored in the clay.

Glad to read that you are not on a meter, because what can be measured, can be charged by a water authority! I may have mentioned it to you, but I have to pay an annual water bill and it is the most outrageous thing to bill me for, especially given that I get no access to any supply infrastructure whatsoever or any support from the water authority...

Oh yeah, that is one of the reasons I use cement to shore up posts and foundations here. Deer fencing is quite tall and the old timer general rule for posts is to put one third in the ground and two thirds above in order for the posts to be stable. This is often uneconomic though - in the short term as they may discover.

No, those problems are very complex indeed from your hints. Often people with those tendencies try to use resources and wealth as a tool for leverage. You may have to resign yourself to loss in order to remove the power that the leverage has.

No way, your English parakeets are budgerigars, which is a native parrot from down under. I used to see them flying around some of the more wild parklands in Melbourne where they snack on grass seed, but they are usually a green colour rather than the more colourful varieties you see in pet shops. Yes, they would go totally feral in the UK if allowed!

Cheers

Chris

thecrowandsheep said...

Thanks Chris, I will check it out.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate I hear you! That does not sound bitter to me at all, it sounds realistic. The portrayal of magic in movies or stories is that of the activities which are produced by technology. I used to want to know as a young kid how to teleport and for that I blame the author: Alfred Bester whom I read as a very young teenager (a school book). For some reason my copy of his book: “The Stars my destination”, was titled: “Tiger, Tiger”. I guess after William Blake's thoughtful poem of the same name albeit with the original ye olde English spelling. I reckon Mr Blake slipped that poem past the keeper (that is a cricket reference which means he basically got away with something that he probably shouldn't have given the circumstances and times).

Magic as I understand it is more like to Grima Wormtongue in Tolkien's work. JMG uses Dion Fortune's definition of magic as: The art and science of changing consciousness in accordance with will. That is not a very sexy definition and won't produce a spontaneous act of levitation but I don't reckon anything at all will do that... If you take that unsexy definition then your AA meetings are chock full of magic as they are trying to change your consciousness and your relationship to alcohol for your benefit. The definition never really says whose consciousness is going to be changed and who's will is going to be exerted.

You may be interested to know that many long years ago I came across that understanding of that concept because I looked into what made the advertising industry tick. I became curious because that industry grated on my perceptions of the world as it stood and I could perceive a sort of disconnect between the world and the images that that industry presented and I wondered what it meant. My basic problem was that without much in the way of parental attention and concern nobody really got around to telling me that I shouldn't wonder about the sort of disconnect I witnessed between what people said, and what they did. ;-)!

Exactly, long periods of stability, followed by short periods where you tried to find your feet and place in the world. I get that. I am very settled now if it means much, but the future appears uncertain as I believe we are nearing another tipping point as a society. Other than that it is all numbers…

Of course, the infrastructure down here in those days was usually provided by the government or local government and so it all depended on what funds were available at the time. You may be interested to know that this week I took a day off all and any work to travel to the ocean and at one of my favourite haunts I spotted an excavator working furiously loading sand into two huge mining sized dump trucks as they carted sand from one spot to another far more vulnerable spot along the shoreline.

That is a very interesting observation as I do more canning and drying here because it is difficult for me to think about continuity of supply given that I am responsible for it. It really isn't as easy as one would think, but canning and drying is a very simple process.

Hope you had a pleasant run into the little smoke? And enjoyed your many chats along the way.

Mate, I have had the worst day as one of the fastest growing leg horn chickens became sick and died today whilst another Isa Brown wasn't quite at deaths door, but it was close enough that I had to neck her. The other chickens were stomping the Isa Brown and I didn't need to be told a second time about her condition. And not to sound like I'm whingeing or anything, but I seem to have come down with a rare cold. I rarely get colds, but alas we all must bend with the wind sometime.

How is your jaw feeling now? I do hope that you are feeling better. Are you able to consume any crunchy food yet?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

Thank you, and I do enjoy the many comments and ongoing dialogue here.

Thanks for explaining that about what UV stability means. I'm watching entropy and usage eat systems here. You may be interested to know that I have been wondering about that issue in relation to the wood heating systems here as my steel plate unit is showing even more signs of wear in the past few weeks. I will take your advice on board and keep the pipes and connectors to the shade as much as possible.

Thanks for the suggestion and I will contemplate it over the next few weeks before commencing repairs. My thinking on that matter though is that if it has happened once then... The sand option may be expensive given the sheer size of the system. I appreciate your musings as you may have considered something I hadn't considered.

Absolutely, I reckon time has almost finished for further tree planting without huge quantities of water over the summer to brace them from the shock. Hey, I'll be interested to read how your white sapote goes. I moved mine this winter to a very sunny spot on the farm as it was a bonsai plant despite being in the ground for about five years. They do lose their leaves when the winter is cold enough, but then so do the pecan's (I have a Cherokee variety here in its second year).

Go hard or get thee to the orchard! Your density of planting is about what I do here too. Plums will be a winner at your place. I look forward to reading about your fruit trees.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi crowandsheep,

Thanks and it is worthwhile considering.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Helen,
Thanks for the kind words. Where to go indeed. We would stay in the general area as we've been here for almost 30 years and have roots in the community now. In fact we've got our eye on a house at the end of our road which is much smaller but still has 7 acres. It has a few outbuildings that could house the smaller number of animals we would still raise. Right now it has an mostly absentee owner who has done a lot of repairs and upgrades but we have no idea if she would be willing to sell it. Large homes in our area usually take a long time to sell as well.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Really bugs me when you visit someone and the TV is on in the background. We went to visit my youngest daughter and her boyfriend and to see their place. They had the TV on in their smallest living room (a large one for the room) on mute with the football game and music on as well. They have this gadget called Alexa where they can request a specific song by voice. It was kind of fun but I think having access to everything instantly tends to make one take it for granted. I often just listen to the radio when I'm driving and if a song comes on that I particularly enjoy it makes it more special if you know what I mean.

I do have a good number of squashes and yesterday I put some hay under each one to keep it off the now very wet soil. Unlike earlier this summer we've had quite a bit of rain and with the humidity the soil stays wet most of the time. They are close to picking. My pumpkins mostly rotted though.

As I said to Helen it takes a long time for large houses to sell here too and that's pretty concerning.

Hoping you are making some progress with your water issues. Keeping and getting water where you want it sure can be challenging.

Margaret

Hoping things are progressing with your water issues

orchidwallis said...

hello again

I am shocked that you have to pay for water when you don't receive it.

I have walked away from the sociopath as I don't really care, so there is no hold on me. However I am not the only one and the other is not walking away so I continue to ride on coat tails.

Have just received a phone call from the (self sufficiency?!) couple; they have 2 barrow loads of food for son's pigs as they have pulled up all the roots. I asked 'what roots?' Beetroots, carrots et al. I rang son and we laughed; the pigs will have to wait until we have sorted stuff for ourselves.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Oh, I'm bitter about a lot of things. That and a buck will get me a so-so cup of coffee :-).

Oh, it really doesn't sound like you had a very good day. And, I remember you had another cold, not so long ago. Luckily, during the time I had the chickens, I never had to put one down. Odd thing. I was down to the chicken corral, yesterday. I hadn't been down there in awhile. I was thrown, a bit. There are sunflower plants coming up! It took me a minute to figure out that I used to give them sunflower seed and some must have gotten away from my beady eyed chickens. I don't know if they'll come to flower before the first frost. We'll see.

Wasn't much of a trip to the Little Smoke. Not many stops to make. I stopped by the Club and they had some damned Bruce Lee movie on. So, most of the folks there were mesmerized and pretty useless as far as conversation goes.

No water this morning. So it goes. I've got to see the oral surgeon, this afternoon. Just a check up and then I probably won't see him for six months. My "bite" is just slightly off, but I figure that's just a little drift due to the extractions. Like fence posts in unstable ground :-). Well, I can't eat stuff like chips or popcorn. Soft sandwiches are ok. Veg, if I cook the heck out of it. Grapes, one at a time. There's one bad tooth on one side ... I thought that was the one extracted. Nope. Must have been another bad one, but not a bad one that effected my eating. So, I still can't chew on that side. I suppose I'll have to have another extraction, sooner or later. But, I'm not going to worry about, or bother with it now. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

That colour and light show is really distracting to have on in the background. I used to go to one of the local pubs here for a meal, until they went from one screen to several and now it is distracting when I'm trying to speak with the editor and there is a screen behind her. It is hard not to drift away, but when I catch myself doing that, well, I bring my attention back to the room. It is really hard to ignore them. That Alexa device sounds interesting. Speech recognition has come a long way, but to be honest, for those with all of their sense intact, it doesn't really do anything that couldn't have been done before.

I do understand what you mean as the joy is in the surprise for you for that song. I get that, which is why I too listen to the radio. I've often thought that it is not the grand gestures in life that stay with people, but the little things that are special.

Oh, your humidity this year has been quite extreme for that to happen. The straw is a good thought and I do that too with the strawberries to stop them from rotting before they can be picked. You may be interested to know that I should be starting the tomatoes, courgettes, pumpkins and melons (fingers crossed for the melons) over the next week or so. There is so much to do before hand though and as usual there is not enough time...

That is the same here as it can take upwards of 12 months to sell a house up here...

Thanks for your thoughts and concern about the water issues. I should at least get the first tap and bushfire sprinkler going in about three weeks.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I was shocked too! It is an outrageous bill that one. If I don't pay it though, the water authority will set the dogs of the debt collection world onto me and I know their kind.

Sorry to read that. One thing that I reckon I've learned over life is that you can't control other people, they simply have to learn the consequences of their actions although to be honest I do tend to get involved if I am somehow a part of the collateral damage. Also I am rather protective of the editor if there are predatory people giving her a hard time.

Oh yeah, I am totally with you and your son in that regard! Pigs are rather unfussy creatures and they can enjoy the scraps of your new found vegetable wealth. Hehe! Of course, you may have to maintain a calm facade of total innocence as you indicate to the lovely people that the pigs will enjoy all of the vegetables. Beetroots and carrots are too good for pigs!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Well, you're bitter and I'm whingey today! We shall enjoy our cup of coffees and recount tales of woe to each other! :-)!

I am so over feeling sick. I rarely get colds, but I reckon this one may be the result of prolonged and low level stress from having to fend off so many different attacks on the business front for about three months now. It is not in my nature to be a rooster, but sometimes a person has to play the role of the rooster and it has worn me out a bit. The win rate for the battles was about 50% and I have had to be exceedingly gracious in defeat. The sudden increase in these situations is one of the reasons I feel that we are near to another economic tipping point. It is very weird and I could be wrong.

Sunflower plants are very fast growing, but they may be a little bit late in the season, although you'd think that seeds know what they are doing. Sometimes I get sunflowers growing here from seed in late summer/early autumn. The kernels are particularly tasty.

Oh yeah, that film would have been a serious mood killer for conversation. I went to a party like that once and I was left at the end of the night speaking to a guy I knew from way way back. We had a pretty good chat for a couple of hours - whilst everyone else packed into the living room to watch a film, but he loved the bottle and was an aggressive personality when under the influence. I have never had a bad moment with the guy, but other people bring out that part of his personality. I'd never seen that film take over before and it was mildly surreal.

No water. Mate, I feel your pain. Hope the visit to the oral surgeon goes well and that you are mending quickly. You could get him to take a look at the other tooth whilst you are there?

I needed to do some work this afternoon so I grabbed out the stump grinder and ripped up a few old stumps out of the ground. The work got the fluids in my lungs moving which was a good thing.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

To be a bit more honest, I do remain in the game when I am part of the collateral damage, but I am covert about it and bide my time. That makes me sound really nasty! Also I am quite good at it because I am detached; even nastier. I guess that this is a sign of age, when young I would have been very angry and emotionally involved.

Pigs are actually quite fussy eaters, very good at knowing what not to eat.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I've put down quite a few chickens - almost all the Cornish Cross meat chickens. A few had such bad legs that they couldn't walk at all but most had the metabolic condition, ascites, which occurs when the organs don't grow fast enough to keep up with the body growth. When we first raised them I don't recall that happening. Then about 10-15 years ago it happened frequently - sometimes up to half the flock. At about 5 to 6 weeks the bird will start gasping and the comb will over time become purple. If you turn the bird over you'll see the breast area is purple and will be filled with fluid. I have made some management changes and have only had a few birds with it now. I have one rooster in the flock that I'll be putting down. He's not too bad yet, even hard to pick out but he'll just be condemned at the processor.

We've had a break in the heat/humidity for a few days but it's forecasted to be back next week - not good news for those meat birds who will be quite large. We take them in next Friday.

Margaret

TalkingTrees said...

Hello

Chris, so sorry to read you are sick. Hopefully a quiet, restful weekend is in your plans. I was wondering, could the chunkster king parrot juvenile be a mature female? I can't see it's feathers in the photo to make out the age of the second less colourful bird.

The rain we are experiencing at the present is not too heavy but very persistent and, although I hate to think of any rain like this, somewhat surplus to requirements. We did some maintenance work on our farm road earlier in the week and hopefully the rain is moving over and off the road rather than channelling down it. Our creek is really roaring which means fence repairs at various points. We have a small bridge on the road just before our property and rain events such as this cut into the edges. And the new vegetable garden is soggy beyond anything I've seen before, holding up work and my huge pile of compost/mulch is sodden and heavy the shift around. All middle of the night worries.

Margaret, selling properties in our area is very hit and miss but as the town grows out towards us people are more interested in 'lifestyle' properties like ours. I have one married daughter a good ten hours south of us in Melbourne and grandchildren there and another in Newcastle, about four hours east of us on the coast. We like the hinterland of both areas where our daughters' live but as you say we have longstanding friendships here, lots of old colleagues and some good neighbours. A smaller acreage and house sounds very workable. I must admit I am reluctant to live in a large city again but the future seems uncertain at the present time.

Oh, Inge, I had a chuckle about the root veggie situation. Lovely that you get to sort through the haul.

Warm Regards, Helen

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I do hope that you get over that cold quickly. I seem to catch such things more easily when we are at the time of a changing of the seasons - like now. Watch out, me!

Ah - you were a dog of the debt collector world; no wonder you know their kind!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

I seem to have the same issue with a tooth now, and I am pretty sure that I felt it crack. Bad news and no chewing on that side until I get it fixed, which I plan to do soon, I hope, before a big chunk breaks off like an Alaskan glacier where it meets the sea.

@ Inge:

Lucky you, with a roots windfall!

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - "Another economic tipping point." I'm just about done with Greer's "Dark Age America." No joy, there. I'll have to give it a rest and reread it again, I think. There are so many unknowns. But at least we're forewarned. From all my disaster junky reading, unless all avenues of escape are already cut off, it's the people who act immediately who have a better chance at survival. No standing around waiting for "someone" to fix whatever problem it is. No standing around staring in disbelief with everyone else, just because whatever is happening, shouldn't be happening.

Well, the sunflowers ought to be pretty and a late treat for the bees. I probably won't do anything with them other than leave them for the birds. A half pound of roasted, unsalted and shelled sunflower seeds are $1.60. Hardly seems worth the bother to shell of volunteers.

Well, I got back from the oral surgeon, took a nap, and the water was back on. So it goes.

Not much news from the surgeon. Won't see him for 6 months. It's a wait and see if the bone grows back. If I get another infection. Wouldn't you know he tapped away at the teeth that had been bothering me, and couldn't get a rise out of them. I guess they only put me through the roof when I bite down. He gave me a script for antibiotic ... he made it's clear that it's a stop gap if infection manifests, and I should get right back to him if that happens. The jaw is so fragile that he really doesn't want to do any work on my teeth, now. There are three root canals in front, lower ... where the cyst was. They are in poor shape. There's always the chance that infection will get back in that space, and continue to cause problems.

Poor surgeon doesn't "get" me. :-). We talked about my probable acid reflux. (No eating after 6PM, ought to take care of it).
Did I have sleep apnea. (Probably not). Had I been tested. The spot on my lungs I haven't had looked into yet. What he doesn't get is that a.) there's only so much I can afford and b.) there's only so much I'm willing to do ... to put myself through. And, that I'm 67. I headed him off at the pass and blocked his usual rejoinder. "Yes", I said, "I know you're 68." We got a laugh out of that.

Argh. Nell got me up pretty early this morning ... and then didn't want to go out because it was raining, quit heavily. Well, what she wants and what she gets are two different things. Out she goes. it's not like she doesn't have a big, dry front porch to hang out on. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Well you sort of have to in such a circumstance, don’t you? It is funny how other people can bring trouble to your door unbidden. It may sound that way, but to me it is a common sense response. And yes, employing an outward state of objectivity and aloofness - despite what is going on inside - is very wise. Some people are like vultures and the want to eat your emotional state and that is not cool at all. Ha! I hear you about that journey. As a young fool, I burnt a few bridges unnecessarily, but then age and experience provides perspective on what the consequences of that action will be... It is hard to impart those hard won lessons onto others isn't it?

Thanks for the correction about pigs food preferences. For some strange reason, your comment about pigs started me thinking about pigs which are used for truffle hunting. And then I recalled that I saw a news article the other day about truffles: Victorian farmer claims to have grown one of biggest truffles in world. That is one hefty truffle!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thank you very much for sharing your chickens experience with the ascites condition. Wow.

It is interesting that you mention that particular condition as one of the recent deaths was originally introduced as part of a pair of point of lay chickens. They were of the Isa Brown variety which is the preferred commercial variety of egg laying chicken down here. The original of that pair of hens died last year with pretty much those exact same symptoms of a swollen chest and darkened comb despite being quite young still. And what is also interesting - if that is the correct word - is that the Leg Horn hen which also died this week, grew at a rate of almost twice that of the remaining two Leg Horns. It was visibly noticeable and we wondered at that unusual growth rate. She was about 50% larger than the two remaining smaller Leg Horn birds. Very interesting.

Well, there is always stuff to learn in the world of chicken, but I am wondering whether some genetic issues are starting to appear. I generally lose two chickens per year and usually at about this time of the year when the humidity is over 90% most days.

I hope the job of processing the meat chickens goes smoothly and the heat/humidity doesn't affect them too much.

You may be interested to know that one of the oldest chickens here is about six years old now and she is a white silky with a brown stain on her chest. The lady that gave her to me claimed that it was a rust stain from water which would disappear over time. Not so! That silky chicken has a very pleasant nature and she toddles around doing her own thing, but she always tends to hang around any chicken which becomes sick, which usually means that they are about to die.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Thanks for your concern. I'm not a good sick person and have been doing my best to keep active, whilst taking things at a very slow pace. Today was very relaxing though as we went on a most important hunt for gourmet pies and woollen socks...

Elephant stamp for you! I believe you have correctly identified the smaller King Parrot as a younger female of that bird species. I just took the "Photographic field guide Birds of Australia" second edition, out of the bookshelf. The guide describes the Female King Parrot as: predominantly green, with scarlet belly and under-tail coverts. That pretty much describes the smaller bird in that photograph. Nice work.

Thanks for sharing your experience with the recent persistent rain. It is difficult to mention that maybe there has been enough rain until the hot weather arrives. Conditions are rarely optimal! The ground is sodden here too, although it is very well drained and the clay is very deep. Trees have been toppling over if the wind blows too hard and I can then usually tell who in the area has an undersized chainsaw... And the roads sound very much like yours as the water is cutting channels into the clay and there are pot holes everywhere. It can make for an exciting drive trying to dodge the bigger potholes!

You may be interested to know that for a number of years now since the last big wet year of 2010, I have been placing composted woody mulch underneath my vegetable beds and other raised garden beds. I then place compost on top of the mulch and plant into that compost. I should be putting more mulch down tomorrow so I'll include it in the blog over the next week and then the following week. It really helps with drainage in wet years and provides feed for the plants in other years.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thank you! I hear you as it does seem to be the changeable weather conditions when we become more susceptible to getting colds. Absolutely, and I'll keep my fingers crossed for your continuing good health.

As well as having a runny and blocked nose, I am feeling a bit whingey! I was joking with the editor today that I have a bad case of: Man Flu. Nobody wants man flu! Hope you enjoy that link.

Yes, I know their ilk! In that role, I was more of a scruffy terrier than a fighting pit bull. Terrier's tend to live longer I believe! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That books sounds like a bit of light reading and "no joy there" is a classic understatement. I will get a chance to read it sooner or later and I assume that the book is based on the blog posts? I do respect JMG's concept of hashing out the rough text of a book in a blog format, whilst also submitting that text to the fact and concept checking as well as idea provider members of the public. I am unaware of anyone else pursuing that strategy. It is genius really.

Exactly! It is really hard though to walk away and do something different and it is not as if people are actively encouraged to even consider that as an option, don't you reckon? And the system as it stands is really tightly wound around our lives in all sorts of ways. And speaking of fixing problems, mate, I'm finding them here at a rate at which I can just keep up with. I would hate to be in a position where I had to learn all of this stuff in a crash course. I would crash in such a circumstance. :-)!

Hey, I went to a trivia night last night with some friends at a golf club near their place. And despite being sick as a dog - refer to the man flu definition in the previous comment - I had a really good time as did most of the other people there. Obviously a bit of alcohol was involved, but at one point the trivia questions were about music and the entire room of about 150 people were all singing along to various songs (some were even dancing around standing on their chairs!) and it was awesome to experience and participate in that. It was all most unexpected and delightful.

Oh yeah, the bees will love those sunflowers and I reckon they will flower as they grow very quickly and there would be a lot of chicken manure left in that location. Fair enough about the shelling and drying of the sunflower kernels. Incidentally, that is about what we pay for them here except it is $8 for 1kg (2.2 pounds) - yours is a little bit cheaper though. I chuck them in the dog muesli and dog biscuits. I reckon they'd be full of oils which are good for the dogs coats.

I must say, I rather enjoy your dry sense of humour! Although, I'm not 100% sure that it was all humour because I felt that there was a little bit of underlying annoyance about the ongoing water dramas at your place? I've been feeling like naps in the afternoon too because of the cold.

Your surgeon sounds reasonably realistic, although he clearly would like to spend more of your money. Down here, they used to use dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) to test the sensitivity of nerves in teeth. That stuff can get a rise for sure even with a root canal. At least the surgeon acknowledges that he cannot do further work on the jaw until the bone repairs.

Out of curiosity, how does eating after 6pm affect acid reflux? There is a bit of self-interest there in that question as I am a recidivist late eater for dinner and always have been. That was a clever response to the surgeon and to be candid, your objections a) and b) were very realistic. I believe those two objections are often ignored in our society, but they really are there.

Ha! Nell gets what Nell wants! ;-)! Glad to read that you are getting some rain too.

Someone sent a text message the other day well before 7am which woke me up and I couldn't get back to sleep. Did I mention that I had a cold, how can one get their proper rest and recuperation when such antics go on? I don't even think that the sun had yet risen and I was lying in bed wondering who had died. And yeah, people do send text messages about people dying and I am a bit creeped out about that particular form of social interaction. Surely a phone call would be more appropriate? I'm not on Facebook, but a long time ago I heard that people can click on the "Like" button for things like natural disasters. People are tone deaf. Maybe my cold has made me a bit grumpy as well as whingey?

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Forgot to send condolences for your chickens. Your observations are interesting as well. People think that chickens are all the same but as you well know they have their distinct personalities if one takes the time to observe and interact.

I definitely think that genetics has a lot to do with the health issues of some of the hybrid breeds. I think I mentioned that when we first raised the Cornish Cross (aka Frankenbird) we had a few legs problems and heart attacks but no ascites and they tended to be much more mobile. Now the way to get them moving is to put their feed outside the chicken tractor so they have to move to eat. I also take more care in limiting their feed than I used to.

Hope you are feeling better soon. Sounds like you had a fun evening last night. We went to the opening night of a first time event in our town, "Balloon Fest" centered around hot air balloons. It was mobbed and traffic was badly backed up and many of the features weren't even up and running the first night as they will be for the next few days. Luckily being local we knew a back way into the grounds. Most of the balloons couldn't launch due to wind (and it was only breezy). I won't be returning as big crowds aren't my thing but hoping it will continue to be a success as our town sure needs something positive.

Margaret

margfh said...

Lew and Pam,

To add to the tooth woes I now need a root canal which by the time it's all over will run well over $2,000.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Well - thank you very much. As all of the rest of my household are of the male sex, I now have the cold pricklies about what the changing season may bring. At least it takes my worries off of my own possible ill future.

What a treat the trivia night sounds like! It's great that you made the effort to go; it would have been sad if you had missed it.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

I am so sorry to hear about the root canal, but completely unsurprised by the cost. My dentist has been so great working with me; he has tried really hard to save teeth with methods other than a root canal and so far it seems to be working.

The chicken issues that you mentioned are very interesting. We only raised chickens for a few years and only kept them for eggs, not meat. I only remember one health issue, and being new to all this (and originally raised in a city), I took her to our dogs' vet, but he couldn't find the problem. So, I took her home and fed her an herbal preparation and she was o.k. The only breed we ever tried was the Rhode Island Red. I think that they are dual-purpose chickens.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Pam & Margarete - @ Pam. Yeah, take care of that before the "glacier calves." :-). If you're luck is like mine, it would happen on a Friday night, or over a weekend. When you can't get care, right away.

@ Margaret - My "work" was somewhere north of $4,000. I've got the dentist paid off, but there's a bit on my one credit card, as the oral surgeon wanted immediate payment. I could pay that off, out of savings, but would rather leave those alone. So, the next, I figure 3 months are going to be slim. Oh, not slim really. Just no goodies or extras :-). Builds character :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yes, I think JMG's way of writing is pretty interesting. And seems to work well for him. Even if someone takes issue with whatever he's posited, he will take it into consideration ... may change his mind or adjust his facts. Or, not. I think I'll be rereading "Dark Age America" at a slower pace. I'll drop in a short comment, here, as I finish each chapter.

Oh, trivia night sounds like a lot of fun. And, according to Orlov and a few other people 150 is just the right size for a social or tribal group. LOL. We used to have trivia contests at one of the libraries I worked in. Clericals against the degreed librarians. The clericals always won ... much to the chagrin of the librarians. Trivia soon fell off the menu.

Oh, I don't mind the water drama so much, anymore. I've got the drill down. And, it just provides fodder to get me in The Home a bit sooner. Next time I see The Warden, I can tell her I was without water twice, since last seeing her. And it may be more! Still a couple of weeks before I drop by The Home, again! :-). I spent a chunk of yesterday cleaning out the chest freezer. Another round of cleaning up other people's mess. It was pretty exasperating. Head in the freezer. Mini landslides. I finally pulled out about half my stuff and really went at it. I don't know how many pounds of meat I hauled out to the dumpster.

And, I feel guilty doing it. It was all (the stuff that had dates on it) 8 and 10 years old. But, my landlord will never see the inside of that basement again, due to his health, and his wife hasn't been down there in at least 4 1/2 years. And, I took care of the pile of junk the evil step son dumped next to the bin a couple of weeks ago. But the thing is ... I can't complain too much, given the low rent I pay. But this stuff bothers me less and less as the end is in sight and I won't have to put up with it much longer.

Yeah, I have a bad habit of eating late, too. The acid reflux has become an issue because is suspected that that's why my teeth are in such poor shape. And, I have throat problems ... it's narrow. Probably a bit of scar tissue. If you eat late in the day, you're more likely to have a bit of stomach acid come back on you. Which has happened to me from time to time. And, probably even more than I noticed. Even though I sleep with quit a few pillows under my head to keep it elevated.

Well, I neither text nor get texts. Except the occasional unsolicited kind. I think I mentioned I've been getting a spat of robo calls. They've woken me up, twice. So, now I just shut off my phone if I'm taking a nap or off to bed for the night. Years ago, I used to unplug my phone if I went to sleep. That always freaked my mother out. "Suppose we needed to get ahold of you in the middle of the night!" I told her if the news was so awful she had to call in the middle of the night, I'd rather face whatever it was with a good night's sleep under my belt. She never quit saw my point :-).

I know you have a business, so, it's a bit different. But generally I think all this "connectidness" (sp?) is a bunch of nonsense. Hope your cold is better. Don't forget a good dose of Chinese mustard. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thank you on both counts. Exactly, all chickens have very different personalities and those personalities change over time as the chicken matures and rises (or falls) in the pecking order. Some of the most aggressive hens are those that aren't quite hanging with the cool kids, but with a little bit more bullying of the smaller bantams they'll get there - maybe. The funny thing is that the chickens high up in the pecking order are usually very pleasant natured. The social world of chickens is far from a democracy.

Oh yeah, that was my conclusion too about the genetics. Long term I'll probably have to commence a breeding program, but that is down the track a bit. I mean how else does one get around that particular problem?

I have had the cold now for five days and the editor reckons I'm a bit grumpy. The mornings are the hardest. I wouldn't wish a bad cold on anyone. Incidentally, that thought started me reading about the 1918 flu pandemic. Wow. I have absolutely nothing to complain about.

It was a very fun night and I really had no idea what to expect too which makes it even more fun. Big crowds aren't my thing either. Your balloon fest sounded like a fund day out.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yes, beware the dreaded man flu! Well, yes, of course as you are of the hardier gender, you will clearly be unaffected by man flu. The editor does reckon I'm a bit grumpy in the mornings, which may well be true. The mornings have been a bit foggy for me these past few days...

It was a lot of fun, and sometimes you never quite know what you will miss on that front.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I look forward to reading your critique of that book, chapter by chapter. The blog posts for that book were interesting and there was quite a lot of shouting by the commenters which is always entertaining as long as it is polite. It is a fascinating way to fact and idea check a book isn't it? Some books have to be read at a slower pace so as to savour the thoughts behind the text. I tend to be a slow reader for that reason. I was quite horrified by all of the memes inserted into the brothers Grimm compendium of Fairy Tales, merely because they jumped out of the pages at me and I eventually put the book down (that sounds a bit Dirty Harry doesn’t it?). It was really hard to ignore them and just enjoy the stories.

It was a surprisingly fun night and I'm glad I made the effort to attend despite not feeling the best. I didn't know that about the optimal size of a social or tribal group, but you may or may not be aware that that particular number is about the limit of the number of social connections that people can reliably recall. Of course, some people can exceed that number. I wonder if that "right size" number has something to do with the upper limit of our mental faculties?

Really, those librarians sound an awful lot like sore losers. Now having said that, I assume that you were doing the heavy lifting for the librarians - or did you shore up the clerical staff? I can hear them yelling now after another solid thumping: Best, two of three! Only to then lose again...

What do they say about practice making perfect with your water woes? And of course, it does add fuel to the fire for your imminent move (which I hope you achieve before winter).

That chest freezer sounds like more of a public health hazard than I am currently with my cold... It makes you wonder how many times the stuff at the very bottom of the freezer has defrosted and then re-frozen during power various outages over the years... The contents of that freezer would provide a very interesting sample for biologists to plate out just to see what grows.

Fair enough, the cheap rent does makes complaining difficult. I mean cheap is never really cheap because it comes with other costs, that is why it is financially cheap. I tell you what, I get that because I live on a cheap block of land and that comes with all sorts of hidden costs.

Thanks for the explanation regarding the acid reflux. I didn't know about any of that.

Who wants to talk to a robot when you aren't even awake? What sort of person would do that? Mate, I'd give them what for! Oh you reminded me about a story of unsolicited calls. Australia Post now - for your convenience or perhaps because we asked for it - sends me a text message at some ungodly hour of the morning to let me know that a package has arrived and is waiting for pick up at the local post office. I went to visit the lovely people at the local post office to explain my unhappiness at this state of affairs and they said that I can't opt out of the system, so now Australia Post has been waking me up. Your mum really needs to take a wider perspective on such matters. I suspect that she enjoyed sharing bad news, because as the old timers used to say: A problem shared is a problem halved. There is real wisdom in that. ;-)!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

It is funny you say that about connectedness. Someone was complaining that they could not email me wherever I was at the time. I replied that as I deal with confidential data including yours, I am uncomfortable with that data sitting on the cloud. Recall “The Fappening” anyone? That has worked for now, but I am under pressure. People generally don't appreciate me working on other clients business when I am with theirs, so that is my next response. One must have a plan B (and possibly also a plan C) up their sleeve, ready to wheel out when necessary.

It is very funny that you mention mustard... That stuff works. More to be revealed tomorrow!

The sun was out today, so I cracked out the arc welder and made a steel gate for the blackberry enclosure out of scrap metal. I really enjoy the process of taking scrap and making something useful out of it. The funny thing about the "internet of things" is that I'm finding that things don't work very well now, so how are they going to work better when they are more complex? I just don't see how those diminishing returns can be pushed past. Take driverless cars and trucks for example... How could they be cheaper or better?

Margaret's comment started me reading about the 1918 flu pandemic. Wow! Mustn’t grumble!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, being a disaster junky, I've read quit a bit and watched a few DVDs about the 1918 flu pandemic. On one hand, I don't know what the big deal is. 50 to 100 million people died ... which at the time was 3 to 5% of the world population. Now in sci-fi, a truly horrible pandemic usually does in 95% + of the population. Even the Black Death in the 1300s killed 30-60% of the population. It is interesting how many times I'll be reading along in a biography of someone, and a parent, sibling or child will have died from the 1918 flue.

"150 Strong: A Pathway to a Different Future" by Rob O'Grady. cluborlov.blogspot.com. I don't think I'm interested enough to read the book ... but I might listen to the podcast.

Oh, I was always on the clerical side. Not being a "licensed" librarian, with the fancy Master's Degree of Library Science, the "real" librarians wouldn't have me on their team. Interesting. I'd say (sweeping generalization) that the library clerics read deeper and wider than the librarians. Also, maybe, since we were the one's humping the books around, we got to see more of them ... had more of an opportunity to be exposed to something that might catch our interest. To snatch a quiet moment in the stacks to at least read a dust jacket.

Funny, in all those years I never did get a middle of the night call from my mother (or, I should say, early the next morning). All those far flung relatives that I hadn't seen or thought of in years had the good grace to pass away in broad daylight. :-). I never e-mail my friends in Idaho, during the late evening. I gather that their device beeps or dings or something. So, I only e-mail in the morning. With her 3 sisters and aged mother there's always a lot of dinging and ringing. From what she's said, they're really a pretty toxic bunch and I don't know why she hasn't cut them free a long time ago. Well, I do and I don't. It's all about F-A-M-I-L-Y, which is at times, pretty highly overrated.

Well, I kind of understand about the post office. Sort of. The way things are these days, they'd be smothered in packages that people just didn't get around to picking up. If they've notified you, and you don't pick it up ... well, they can send it back and get it out of their hair. Now, you and I (though I sometimes wonder about you :-). That's part of an old joke.) know when a package is coming, what it is. We may even follow the tracking number so that we know when it is "out for delivery." If my neighbors are any gage of how things are "out there", well ... Packages languish on my porch or out in the box for days. If I call and let them know a package is here for them, there's mostly this kind of vague ... well, they don't really remember what they've ordered.

Our library system "holds" books for 10 days and then sends them on their merry way if they're not picked up. There is the occasional howl about that. "So sorry. Didn't get the message? Perhaps you should flog someone in your household." :-) Lew

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

Your post has been very timely, because I noticed in my gravity-fed tap (1/2 way between two tanks, connected underground with 10m of 25mm blue-line) that there was crud in the water. It made me concerned that there could be root ingress at one of the joins.

I did some experiments with it, and also ended up digging up the two relevant junctions and I couldn't see anything (still can't explain how the crud got in the water -- will keep an eye on it!). However, I did make another discovery that could be relevant for you.

Water hammer is an issue, even when gravity fed. My back yard is approximately level, and the run is only 10 meters with about 2 m of water head (pressure), but if I switch off the tap (it's a ball valve) abruptly, there is quite a strong water hammer. That could definitely cause a connection to disengage.

Cheers, Angus

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I'll pass swiftly over the excess of 'man flu' but I hope the both you and the editor are feeling much better.

In answer to last week's comment, I think that it is almost if not completely impossible to pass on ones hard won learning experience to anyone else.

I believe that it is better to use truffle hounds than pigs as the pigs will eat the truffle if one isn't quick. I had my first mushroom feast from the woods last week. I think that they were wood mushrooms (an okay agaricus).

I am envying you your coming Spring though it is still Summer here. One of son's sows had 12 piglets at the weekend; this was a planned pregnancy. Two of the piglets had a play fight when they were only 24 hours old. That is very young for such an activity.

We are still being inundated with vegs. from previously mentioned friends. Son is going to make beetroot wine as we really don't want to pickle anymore of them. I was even given potatoes and told that they didn't want them as pizza was being eaten that evening!!

Inge

orchidwallis said...

@ Pam

An attempt here to answer your question. When my husband was dying he was very concerned about my future and thought that I should go to Australia as both my daughters are there. On my next visit down under afterwards, I carefully considered it and decided 'no'.

I find Australia more American than British (this remark annoys Australians) and had also discarded my sister's suggestion that I go to the US where she lives. I find myself to be extremely English and love the country. Also the British old age pension does not upgrade annually in certain countries including Australia. So I remain here where my only blood relative is my son.

I admit that I live in isolation, not a neighbour in sight and in fact I sold my previous residence and moved even further into the woods. How long can this continue? I don't know. I absolutely love my life and son and friends do keep an eye. If I moved to another country it would be to one that permitted euthanasia. I was responsible for both my husband and my mother when they became incapacitated and donot want to inflict this onerous duty on anyone else.

When I am driven out to shop, I look in horror at the streets of houses all cheek by jowl. I don't think that I could stand to live in one anymore. I don't at all like the sort of future that Lew is envisaging, am definitely a loner. So who knows what will happen. My mother lived to be 94 though she was twice my weight. That was what finally stopped her walking. All in the lap of the gods. Even if one organises everything the fates can knock it sideways.

I am interested in all comments.

Inge