Monday, 15 August 2016

Sprinter


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This week the world has apparently gone mad for the Olympics, however this week’s blog title whilst appearing to be a nod to all things track and field, is actually a mash up of the words “Winter” and “Spring”. Down here at Fernglade Farm we’re in the in-between time where it is no longer Winter, but it is not quite Spring either. Thus the completely made up (portmanteau) name “Sprinter”!

Over the past few weeks I’ve been writing about limits, and as winter is coming to an end and another growing season begins here, for some inexplicable reason I began thinking about “Fluffy the Pomeranian” who was the previous boss dog here. So, I thought that I would introduce Fluffy the Pomeranian to you – the reader – and tell you something about her story. Say hello to Fluffy the Pomeranian.
Fluffy the Pomeranian who was the previous boss dog here
The start of the Fluffy story means going way, way back to the Lost Dogs Home in Melbourne.

Sadly for us, Denver, the Jack Russell terrier had just passed away. Denver had been so named because he was rescued from a country road in the middle of nowhere. On that country road, Denver had been so malnourished that he was eating carrion from the middle of the road. Unfortunately for him he was so weakened by his recent experiences that he was unwilling to give up on his carrion meal merely to avoid being hit by the occasional passing vehicle on that lonely country road. The editor took pity on Denver and brought him back to live with us. He was a good dog. A real gentleman and very relaxed.

At that time, the boss dog was a breed described as a Dorgi, which is a cross between a Corgi and a Dachshund. That boss dogs name was “the Fat” and whilst she was an excellent – if not mildly grumpy – boss dog, she had a few troubles with the concept of sharing food and we had to supervise food time for Denver otherwise his problems with malnutrition would definitely have continued. Don’t feel sorry for Denver though, as he lived for many more years in comfort before eventually passing away.

With Denver’s passing a canine vacancy was available to be filled in the household. The Fat was visibly distressed by his passing, but I suspect she also rather enjoyed the new found freedom with the possibility of no competition at all for the sharing of the food bowl.

So off to the Lost Dogs Home the editor and I went in order to find a replacement dog for Denver. We are not particularly fussy about dog breeds or even the age of a dog, but on this occasion, the editor chose a small white Maltese terrier and as we were in the process of making that choice, there was this rather strange looking dog bouncing up and down whilst standing on its back two legs pawing at the air in a begging sort of a motion. That dog happened to be Fluffy the Pomeranian. Let’s call her Fluffy from here on end. Fluffy was performing a trick simply to get attention. After a short but rather heated discussion between the editor and I, we (edit - it was fully a Chris decision) decided against good common sense, to take Fluffy home.

Little did I know at the time, but Fluffy did that trick all the time. Seriously, that dog pulled one over on us (edit - just Chris). The previous owners who had abandoned her at the Lost Dogs Home named her Princess Shu Shu or some such stupid name. That dog had no boundaries whatsoever and to this day, I have never experienced a more poorly behaved dog. Not only was she exceptionally good at barking all night long, she also considered that the insides of the house – anywhere at all – was for all intents and purposes, her own personal toilet. Cushions were destroyed in the work of but moments. Clothes which were drying on the washing horses were dragged off and attacked without any provocation.

I’ve since read that the Pomeranian dog breed is often highly intelligent, but exceptionally stubborn and wilful, and Fluffy encapsulated the very worst of the breed’s traits. No one seriously wants to deal with a stubborn and wilful dog. After two days of Fluffy’s many hijinks and escapades, I wanted to take her back to the Lost Dogs Home. She was a real bad egg that dog.

Unfortunately for me the editor knew more about dogs than I and she refused to take Fluffy back, despite the fact that Fluffy had pulled out her stitches from a very recent operation despite her having a collar around her neck to stop that very thing happening. That dog was made of such tough stuff that even though the stitches were gone, and who knows where, the wound was opened, she healed perfectly and without infection.

So over the next year or so, Fluffy, the Fat, the editor and I all played a game of cat and mouse to see who would break first. That experience has left me with a real appreciation for the skills of the horse breaker.

Then one day, whilst I was cooking in the kitchen, Fluffy entered the kitchen and gave me what can only be interpreted as stink eye, and then she proceeded to urinate in the kitchen in front of me just in case she thought I was too stupid to understand what stink eye meant.

It was rather unfortunate for Fluffy because she clearly had a full bladder on that day and so she dawdled overly long at her task of urinating on the kitchen floor. On that occasion I was quicker than her and I managed to grab her back legs as she rapidly attempted to decamp from the kitchen. Fluffy rapidly found herself upside down dangling by her back legs. And to my utter surprise Fluffy whimpered. It was the very first time that the dog had shown any remorse or concern for her appalling behaviour. (Edit - it might also also be worth mentioning the day that Fluffy vomited up cat poo next to the bath whilst I was taking a relaxing soak).

From that point onwards Fluffy came to the sensible decision that life would be easier if she observed a few basic rules such as not barking all night long and not using the insides of the house as a toilet. The boss dog at that time was the Fat and she took Fluffy under her wing and they became good mates.

As time went on, the Fat eventually grew old and died and I remarked to the editor that Fluffy wouldn’t care less about the Fats death. I was completely wrong because Fluffy lost most of the colour in her coat in the days following the Fats death.

Fluffy then took on the role of being boss dog as seriously as she had taken on the role of being a complete pain. Bad behaviour became a thing of the past and rules for the other dogs and cat were enforced with a strong iron canine paw. Toothy, the long haired dachshund who many readers are familiar with, replaced the Fat, and Fluffy immediately took that very young dog under her wing. Fluffy used her tongue to spend at least half an hour of every single day grooming Toothy, and he loved every minute of it and would do whatever Fluffy wanted.

But for me, Fluffy became a familiar. She shadowed me whenever she had the opportunity. We were good mates after our initial disagreements and understood each other and asked no more of each other than mere companionship. Everywhere I travelled she wanted to go.
Fluffy the Pomeranian enjoyed travels with me
Fluffy had no fear at all and would react to strange dogs by trying to bite their eyes or attack their throats until they acknowledged her as the alpha animal – which they always did despite any size or attitude differences. Strangers used to stop me in the street and ask to take photos of her, and she usually obliged them by posing for their cameras.

Whenever I was working on repairing a house, Fluffy used to sit nearby and keep me company and whenever I moved to a new location she would follow me and just sit contentedly. And she did so for many years.
Fluffy the Pomeranian was a constant work companion for many long years
Alas, all good things come to end. By the age of sixteen, Fluffy had developed a wasting disease and began having painful seizures which left her screaming. Right to her final day, which I spent with her, she was a pleasant and faithful companion. But by late afternoon of that final day, I accompanied her to the Veterinary clinic where she passed away in my arms.

I buried her deep underneath a lemon tree (the Fat is under another nearby fruit tree) and to this day the spirit of the Fluffy keeps on giving and she is not forgotten.

A lemon tree in full fruit
In farm news, earlier this week I undertook an upgrade of the wiring in the battery room that is the heart of the off grid solar power electrical system. That rewiring was more of an upgrade as I added new and larger feeder cables between the battery charge controllers and the batteries themselves. Larger sized cables reduce the amount of electrical friction in those cables so less electrical energy is lost to heat. I was immediately rewarded with the highest electrical reading from the solar panels that I have ever seen for the system.
After a recent upgrade to the off grid electrical system, I was rewarded with the highest reading that I had yet seen from the solar panels of 136 amps or about 4.8kW
There had long been a huge tree stump in the middle of the lower paddock. The stump must have sat in that spot unchanged for at least three decades. It must have been a massive tree in its time and I had previously tried to burn out the stump. After six consecutive and very large fires set over the tree stump, I’d given up on that idea because it is a massive waste of firewood and whilst the tree stump was getting smaller, it was nowhere near disappearing. After all of those fires, the tree stump was still peering out of the ground at me, although in a now blackened charcoal state. Over the weekend, I decided to test a petrol powered stump grinder on the tree stump and I was very impressed with the results.
A stump grinder was used to grub up a very large tree stump in the lower part of the paddock
The stump grinder works like a hammer mill as it has very strong steel teeth which mulch up the timber and that produces a sort of fine shredded mulch which will quickly turn into quality soil.
The stump grinder produces a beautiful shredded timber which will produce a lovely soil in time
The new garden terrace which is being excavated by hand, doubled in size over the past few days. We have also added a layer of composted woody mulch over the excavated clay in order to hold the soil together in case a big rain fall event occurs.
The new excavated terrace has doubled in size and the volcanic clay surface has been covered over with a layer of woody composted mulch just in case there is a heavy rain
Oh, bone wars has continued amongst our canine collective and Scritchy the boss dog has thrown down the challenge to all contenders! Scritchy strikes back!
Scritchy the boss dog has struck back in the latest instalment of the ongoing bone wars
The daffodils have produced their first blooms this week and there are now brightly coloured spots of yellow in the still deciduous orchard.
The first of the many daffodil blooms has opened this week
The hellebores are the late winter show off flowers and I spotted this dense collection of show offs this week.
The hellebores are showing off their late winter flowers this week
The mutant and very large celery plant – which I have had no hand at all in gardening because it was a volunteer plant – is producing very strongly still. I will definitely collect seeds from that mutant plant.
A freebie celery plant is providing many stems and leaves for cooking
The older asparagus crowns are starting to producing spears this week.
The older asparagus crowns are starting to produce spears this week
We planted the broad bean seeds very late this year, by about two months, mind you so it is nice to see them sprouting this week.
The broad beans, although planted very late, are sprouting this week
The salad greens are going from strength to strength and we have more of them than we can possibly eat. Fortunately for us, I caught a wallaby consuming them last night and shood it away before it could eat too much. Unfortunately though there are now less of them!
The salad greens are going from strength to strength this week

Vale, little boss Fluffy.

The temperature outside now at about 8.30pm is 6.5’C (43.7’F). So far this year there has been 698.2mm (27.5 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 682.4mm (26.7 inches).

The batteries are now 100% full at some point during each and every day!

92 comments:

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Yes I much enjoy our ongoing dialogue. I read a number of blogs but only comment on yours. Something just fits between me and your blog; this also applies to your other commentators. We clearly have something in common but I don't know what. I love the editor's comments e.g. in the current blog. Pam's sense of humour is amazing. I admire Lew's erudition, though he seems to deny it.

I am also aware that every human being has a story and these stories can be outstanding and completely take one aback.

The need for material things to excess seems to be a sign of insecurity. The wealthy, especially when it is inherited wealth, seem to be content and sure of themselves. The man walking about in what appear to be rags, is often the aristocrat who owns the estate.

I don't think that fresh beetroot tastes like the pickled variety.

I'll write more later. My broadband keeps packing up.

Inge

W. B. Jorgenson said...

It was very sad to hear about Fluffy, however sixteen years is a good long life for a dog. I'm glad she became well behaved after a while, and good for you for keeping her. Not everyone would keep such a dog.

Burring them under the trees seems like a good idea to me: it doesn't take any nutrients out of circulation, the trees benefit, and it serves as a nice marker for them. So, it seems like under trees is a good place for a burial.

Finally, rewiring seems like a good idea. If the battery now consistently reads 100% every day, this is great! As long as you can live in the limits it imposes, I think this means no more improvements required, just maintenance.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Word mashups are always fun. I've always been partial to "brunch." "Sprinter" is a keeper.

That was a very touching memorial to Fluffy. Our little friends do get under our skin.

Hmmm. Stabilizing the slope. Worth a Google, maybe. We have the same problem in this part of the world. Water and clay layers. Water greases the skids :-).

The daffodil is really quit nice. From the point of view of the season here, it looks just so ... out of place. I finally got out and picked my first gallon + of blackberries, yesterday. I thought maybe I'd left them a bit too long ... I can smell them every time I step out the door. But they're fine. Just about perfect. Not too many that have gone over, and plenty of green one's, still to ripen up. Don't know how many gallons I'll freeze up, this year. I think I still have a least one gallon in the freezer, from last year. Maybe more. Got to get in there and get organized!

What with all the talk about limits ... both here and at the ADR ... when progress should perhaps be left well enough alone at certain points ... well, I spotted a DVD in the library catalog called "Surviving Progress." There's a bit of a hold list, but it led me to the book ... "A Short History of Progress" by Ronald Wright (2005). I picked it up from the library, last week. But, just sat down with it for the first time, last night. There was a little blurb on the front cover that I hadn't noticed before, from the Ottawa Citizen (newspaper.) "If you read one book about impending doom this year, make it this one." :-). I laughed out loud.

Those of you interested in computer stuff (Damo, Chris) might be interested in the latest post over at "The Daily Impact." It's not that long. About the recent tech failures in the airline industry. For some reason, it reminded me of the Kessler Syndrome. Lew

http://www.dailyimpact.net/




SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

That was a lovely memorial to Fluffy.

I enjoy watching your progress on the various farm activities. Around here I didn't do much in the past week other than keeping up with the harvest and, before it got too hot, mowing some of the lawn. Mike and I went to a dulcimer festival last Friday and Saturday. We learned a lot in the workshops and heard excellent music in the evening concerts.

We are having a three season room built on the back of our house so we have a mosquito-free place to sit during the warm part of the year. It faces north, away from the sun, and has windows on the three sides not attached to the house so it'll be breezy too. The sub-floor is down, but the builders aren't here today because we received about 2.6 inches / 6.6 cm of rain starting yesterday evening through about noon today. They should be back tomorrow if it doesn't rain.

It is always a great thing to see the first flowers of spring!

Christine said...

Hi Chris,
Love your blog. We live in Phillip Island with our little dog and three cats. Loved the story of Fluffy. Our animals are all rescued as well and live in luxury and comfort. It's beautiful down on the island today. No wind, sunny skies. Spring is here finally. Off to walk the dog on the beach. Cheers, Christine

Damo said...

Chris, your story of fluffy was quite moving. I may have almost got something in my eye. And I must say you showed amazing patience in educating Fluffy on how to be behave respectably. I am not sure if I could have done that. Prior to the 'kitchen incident' had you already tried asserting yourself as the pack alpha with fluffy? I don't know much about dogs, but it seems logical a few instances of harsh, but fair physical punishment could bring them in line.

@Lewis
Thank you for the airline link, it makes me wonder what sort of contingency planning airlines are doing. Upper management must know how vulnerable their systems are, yet almost every IT project in history runs incredibly over-budget and under-delivers so what are they to do? Maybe the best response is to do nothing, eventually an airline goes out of business and a new company gets to start with a clean, relatively reliable IT system...that could help explain some of the success of low-cost airlines, no legacy systems to support.

@Pam
The fat thumbnail is amusing, perhaps not for Chris though haha. To be honest, I can't really do anything about it, wordpress and blogger don't enable low-level controls for that sort of thing, it is just meant to work automatically. I am pinning all my hopes that when Mrs Damo does her next post it will fix itself :p

This monsoon season has being late to arrive and very inconsistent, yet it seems fair to say it has now truly arrived. Over the past 72 hours it has rained heavily for at least 36 of them. The rivers look to be 2m higher, small landslides dot the roads everywhere and earth-moving equipment is at work keeping culverts free from silt. Rice paddy fields are flooded and everything is very green. It also brings problems.

Drainage is poor to non-existent, farmers rice fields can and do get washed away and some towns and villages have being flooded. Last night bought the biggest thunderstorm I have experienced since living in Brisbane and it is all very exciting. I will leave work early today to ensure I don't get trapped in one on the motorbike. I do feel for the millions of people living in bamboo and grass huts across Laos, such storms must be terrifying.

Cheers,
Damo

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

That uncertainty about long term versus short term is really ambiguous. I hadn't considered it to be that way, but yeah, that rings true, especially when other people are involved and/or circumstances are constantly changing. Adaptability is a great asset and thanks for mentioning that. It is interesting that you do mention that because I see many people who's narrative or version of events doesn't quite fit reality and I reckon that is a tough school for them. On another related note, I don't know where they get the - is it arrogance, or self belief perhaps - to ignore the events. Certainly, those people show a lot of stress. What do you reckon about that? We are treading in some deep waters here.

Bunyips are well fond of neighbours ponds, so you never know what might be lurking below the surface! Hehe!

Actually, I've always sort of felt that the legend of the bunyip was a reference to the ancient cultural memories of the now extinct mega-fauna. Some of those animals were huge down here. I'll bet the US had its fair share of mega-fauna too?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I was a bit personally worried about just how caustic that stuff is. It is fizzing after all and what sort of chemical does that? And, I mean anything that can remove baked on gunk from glass is a pretty potent chemical... Have you ever tried a bi-carb and vinegar mix for use as a cleaning agent yourself? I'm not even sure my skin is up for that level of toxicity...

Thanks for that explanation - I actually thought that the term "bad girls school" was meant literally. Yeah, that would have been a tough business for the young ladies involved in that social prison. I'd imagine that such institutions operated as a sort of adoption farm too? About a decade ago I had a friend, but was in fact probably closer to an acquaintance who used to over indulge in alcohol and become aggressive, who fell foul as a baby of such a place and was adopted out. He used to enjoy séances of all things and could do this really creepy teeth grinding thing during the process. Now, that can't have been good for the enamel on his teeth? It is sort of weird that adults at the time felt as if such places were a sort of strange and unusual (Creepy is spot on too) no man’s land, which is not spoken about and people pretended doesn't even exist. Over the years, I've heard a lot of talk about social evils, this and that (as I'm sure you have) and you know, the social evils that people should be worried about like, say, greed or coveting for instance, don't seem to even register on people’s radar at all. And I wonder about that, as all of the noise that goes on about this and that evil, is I reckon a smoke screen.

How cool would Kryal castle look in one of those stories? :-)! One of my mates used to do live action roll playing games there. He had impressive facial hair too, although I'm unsure whether that is relevant to this discussion. As a fun fact, did you know that the name Kryal is a mash up of the name of the owner: Kevin Ryal?

Ha! That elevated dance floor would be quite cool, and all those people would assist with compacting the soil! See, I have a built in practical side! :-)! The paper lanterns would be a very nice addition too. Mate, I am so sorry to hear about the disappearance of the blue jays. When they harvested the trees at your place, they took the soil too. In tall forests, often most of the minerals are held above the ground in the vegetation. The forests here were harvested so often and for such a long period of time, that there was very little in the way of top soil at all here when I first turned up. The surface was like a hard clay pan which had been bleached with the sun... Fortunately the UV radiation up your way is less severe than here. It really is hard for me to see things in advance of a few general ideas before they are implemented and I have not seen many people with the ability to do otherwise.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Yes, 80'F is very pleasant. It reached 66'F in Melbourne today... Spring has sprung and soon you shall pass the weather batten across to me!

I like that sort of word play too and I'm always dropping little puns here and there into the text – sometimes they go ignored, but I amuse myself. ;-)! Brunch is a great one and you hear it down here still.

Thank you for saying that. I've seen a lot of death, human as well (like you have), for such a short life and the only conclusion that I can take from all of that is that death is inescapable. Perhaps that is a motivating rod for mine and the editor’s backs? Dunno, but I sure do feel that time is short. I was a little bit worried for you recently, you know! Friends do get under ones skin and our companions also need not be human in order to share our lives.

The local earth moving guy told me that the clay is very stable here, and he then in a truly epic bit of historical perspective told me to look at the very old hill station gardens in this mountain range to see how it works. I took that excellent bit of advice and looked at them very long and hard before deciding how to go about stabilising slopes. You never know about landslips though, but they do happen. To the south west of here, in the very steep country near the ocean which is subject to the roaring forties it is not good.

Yum! Blackberries are a true gift from nature. And you described the sweet smell of the ripened fruit very well. Yum! I was wondering whether you find that the seeds become softer with the preserving process? Don't we all need to get better organised? :-)!

Oh, that book is rather a laugh! How can acknowledging limits also be a form of impending doom? That concept being expressed at all is all very troubling. Limits to my mind are the glue that keeps society functioning correctly.

Thanks for the link, and I will check it out over the next day or so. The various tools and gimmicks used to keep that particular industry affordable is quite interesting to say the least.

I finished the book Empire Falls today and really quite enjoyed it because even when the characters won, they still lost and the main protagonist was aware of that fact. Thanks for the recommendation!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

What a lovely memorial to Fluffy. It brought back memories of dogs past both as an adult and as a child. You and the editor were certainly patient during the period of adjustment. I've seen different pets reaction to the death of one of their animal companions. When we first got a couple goats we also had just gotten two kittens for the barn. Those two cats really bonded with the original goats and many afterwards. During the winter they would sleep either between the goats or on top of them. Unfortunately one cat died in an accident but the other, Belzane, lived to the ripe old age of 19 - quite long for a cat who never spent a day indoors. The last few years of his life though he looked quite ratty and each year we didn't think he'd survive the winter but he did spending each day following the goats in and out from the barn to the outdoor shed. The last of our original group of goats developed an issue where she couldn't hold on to her cud and the vet was unable to rectify the condition so she was slowly deteriorating as she wasn't getting enough nutrition. This was in the dead of a particularly cold winter as well. We had decided that she was going to have to be put down within the next few days but when I went out to the barn the next morning I found she had passed in the night and there was Belzane lying on top of her body. Two days later he passed. I always thought with the passing of the last of his goat friends he just decided it was time.

On another note, lovely to see the signs of spring at your place. Here, of course, it's the first signs of fall which after this humid summer can't come too fast.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thank you for saying that as it is high praise and I do enjoy our ongoing dialogue too. I have no idea what it is either. The editor is very cheeky and I am lucky enough that she edits my work with a light hand and has done so for about a decade now. Maybe it is actually a lot longer than that! ;-)! That lovely lady taught me how to write in the first place and gave me the excellent bit of advice, that in writing you have to recall first and foremost that you are writing to communicate with other people. I used to waffle a lot before that important lesson.

Pam's humour is very clever isn't it? And I did enjoy the day we communicated at each other as if we were canines! That was a lot of fun.

This particular blog was a bit heavy, so I will have to do something a bit more "fluffy" for the next one.

Yes, Lewis is very well read and I appreciate that too.

You on the other hand bring a certain sharp eyed pragmatism and wisdom to the discussion and I appreciate that as well.

That observation about other people having stories does make you wonder doesn't it? I personally wonder whether the people are even aware of those currents in their lives? Dunno.

You never really can tell about old money, can you? When I moved into one part of the inner city before it was gentrified, someone made a very sharp observation to me that the area was full of "quiet money". And then from there I started noticing that there were a lot of shabby looking older gentlemen sitting around in cafes enjoying themselves reading the Financial Review... It really did happen, but then the area was gentrified and it all changed. I was very comfortable with how it used to be, not how it ended up.

Fair enough, there are a lot of different varieties of beetroot and I may have grown a particularly spicy variety. I don't really have a massive amount of experience with that root vegetable, so mileage may vary - as they say. I'm going to try again this year with sugar beets. Have you ever grown them? Incidentally how did the problems with the pheasant and the greenhouse end up?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

Yup, Fluffy had a good innings and lived an adventurous life. She was a sore trial at first, but the turn around was quite rapid and she went from one extreme to the other. Still, she was easier to live with after she became better behaved. Have you ever been responsible for another animal?

They have green burials nowadays and I guess that is what it is, isn't it? The fruit trees really appreciate the blood and bone and I reckon zombies are a total waste of useful minerals... How many writers of zombie books take the ecological consequences into their zombie world? ;-)!

Exactly, that is what I am aiming to achieve with the solar power system. Those systems sometimes are established over a long period of time and every now and then it is good to look at the entire system and see how it is working as an entireity and whether there are any bottlenecks. Off grid is super complex compared to the grid tied systems. Feel free to ask questions on that stuff too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thank you for writing that and I do miss my Fluffy mate.

Yeah, I do too. The farm and the entire surrounding forest is like a giant puzzle and understanding unfolds slowly. Ideas come into focus with the slow unfolding of the land here too.

Well, your days will be getting shorter soon so enjoy your harvest. What were you harvesting anyway? I find that in this time of year - if the planets axis suddenly changed - the farm gets a sort of mini-spring. Do you get that?

The dulcimer festival sounded (no pun intended) lovely. I'll bet some of those people made their own instruments. What a skill that would be.

Oh yeah, that is a massive amount of rain! Wow! That room is a great idea and both I and the editor have wished for one of those too. The march flies and mosquitoes can be quite the nuisance...

Yeah, it is great to see those flowers. By new years, this place will hopefully be a riot of flowers - which you can enjoy in the depths of your winter.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Christine,

Welcome to the discussion!

What a beautiful part of the world that you live in. Phillip Island is very lovely and you have a milder summer climate, but also warmer winters than here. Your three cats and the dog all live in a fortunate place! It has been a beautiful few days hasn't it?

Yeah, the various pounds and lost dogs (and cats) home all do a great job and I respect all of the work that they do. Rescue animals can be a bit like a lucky dip grab bag as you never quite know what you are going to get, but the rewards can be very great indeed! Respect to you.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Pheasant in the greenhouse: Son has replaced the broken glass.

Son came back from walking dogs on the beach and placed them in their kennel. They are not house dogs so have a very large kennel. About an hour later he noticed that there was a chicken in the kennel. He removed it. Later it came into his house and laid an egg in the bathroom; it seems to be a very friendly chicken. Unlike his male turkey which is seriously trying to kill him. Oddly enough it doesn't attack females.

Made my weekly visit to the friends who are trying self sufficiency. I was deluged with vegs that they don't want. I tried to explain preservation and that stuff comes in gluts, useless! They have pulled up all their courgette plants because they don't want anymore courgettes. I was shown the pile of decaying leaves and noticed plenty of attached courgettes which they were happy for me to take.

Rang son to collect half my harvest when I got home with the stuff.

I realise that most people seem to decide what they want to eat and then get it. I look at what I have and consider what I can do with it. I am surprised by the above couple who are my age and therefore lived through rationing when one ate whatever one could get hold of. The wife in particular had a hard life. Irish and removed from school at the age of 12 when her mother died.

Still gorgeous summer weather here, but most things are late due to the weather having been bad for so long. The blackberries are only just beginning to turn black and we don't know whether the tomatoes will have time to ripen, they have only just started to fruit.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Mate, I hear you. I had something in my eye too. It was very dusty and windy that day. :-)! You know, Fluffy was very lucky indeed. She really did push my patience on many occasions. The weird thing about it, is that once the Fat died, she really did change radically the next day and just took up the mantle of being a proper boss dog. It was almost as if she knew what was required of her, but she chose instead to do something different and be completely contrary just because, well, she could.

Oh man, I tried everything I could think of with that dog. Strict boundaries and attention seemed to be the only things that really worked. There were many things that she just did not care about, and was happy to show that she did not. Wilful is one of the breeds traits...

I dunno about that. I try to have as many tools in my dog behaviour toolkit as I can fit into it. Take Poopy for example, he came from a house were clearly the previous owners used to smack and belt him. I can't yell at him or smack because he wets himself. Instead I try consistent boundaries and behaviour and just treat him gently and he is with the program. I don't actually have to smack him as all I have to do is show him a wooden spoon if he goes too far and he does the rest. My gut feeling is that if there are benefits for the dogs for maintaining good behaviour, then they get with the program. You sort of have to get in their head space. It doesn't always work, but then what does?

PS: I've been rather enjoying the oversized thumbnail! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

Ahh yes I should probably clarify. By harsh but fair punishment I didn't mean hitting the dog, more something that demonstrates your 100% alpha-nature. For example, briefly hanging the dog upside-down. Maybe they are like children in that regard (another animal I am not very familiar with) with boundaries needing to be clearly defined from an early age.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thank you for writing that. They are all special in their own ways aren't they?

Yeah, as I was saying with Damo, that dog pushed me right to the edge of my patience, but once she got with the program I was rewarded for that patience and you never really know what sort of an experience you are going to have with any companion animal.

Thanks for the touching story of Belzane the cat. Wow. You never can tell how they will react to the death of one of their companions. 19 years old is a venerable age for a cat too. Belzane was in a good paddock.

The Fat had raised a small and very sickly cat who was only a few weeks old when he turned up at the house and who was forever blowing snot bubbles on glass which hardened over the summer to a form of epoxy resin. The cat used to think that he was a dog and he hung out with the dogs all day long and slept with them too. Like your final goat, once the Fat died, the cat died a few weeks later of a broken heart. Toothy exploding into the household didn't seem to help with that scenario either.

Good to read that you are getting some cooler weather, which does make the humidity more bearable.

Thanks for your stories too about your husbands work. You weren't specifically addressing me, so I did not reply about that. He has a very caring touch with those explanations and I hear you about the drop from a corporate lifestyle. Did you happen to notice what sort of car Fluffy was in in the photograph? Of course, I suspect why people don't attend the public explanations and discussions about the assessments is that they don't want to admit to their neighbours that they have a lot of financial concerns as that may indicate a drop in status - which many people tend to feel is very uncool. I'm unsure status is worth anything at all. I've had it in the past and it was easily walked away from, but I do seem to be in the minority. Well done him!

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

I was going to ask about the car, but was afraid to reveal my lack of car-related knowledge. The small part shown in the photo does look cool in a way that only older cars can be.

I was interested to read an article on macrobusiness today. Normally I quite respect this publication for their ongoing detailed analysis of the structural problems facing Australia. The article today was standard fare, lamenting the lack of long-term investment STEM related fields. Fair enough, and worthy of discussion. In the comments below, one brave soul (DoctorX) raised what I thought were valid points, namely that perhaps scientific progress does not always result in increased happiness for most people.

Instead of a robust and critical discussion, he literally got shut down by the moderators only after 3 comments (one of which, I am happy to say was another person who partially agreed with him). The only rebukes he got were straw-men (people 300 years ago lived worse, OK sure, but what about 20 years ago, or even 50?) and various dismissive GIFs. Very disappointing for a website that prides itself on robust and critical analysis, but I suppose not very surprising. Everyone has their blind spots.

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Christine,

Welcome to our little group! I hope you're enjoying the discussion here. I want to say, on behalf of the animals you've rescued, thank you. I've seen the shelters before, and far too many people don't take those animals. It's a shame, but alas, other than take some in yourself, what can you do?

Chris/Pam,

I think it's a cultural thing about people not being adaptable. Growing up, in school at least, if I started something, the teachers would insist it was important to finish something once I started it. My parents thought that crazy, because sometimes things happen that make any plan silly to continue, but I'm sure that the teachers were just following our culture.

Chris/Igne,

I think I can put a finger on something we all share: we're all "misfits", to use a quick term. What I mean by that is no one here follows conventional wisdom. We are here because we can find something that resonates with us more than the culture surrounding us. I could be wrong, but I think this is part of it. I'd be surprised if it was all of it, but maybe we can figure it out from this starting point?

Chris,

My family has had a number of pets over the years, and they can be quite special. Given a chance, you can learn animals have individual personalities, as distinct as humans. I have not personally been responsible for one though, nor do I plan on having any for a while. I don't think an apartment is a good place for an animal, but once I have my own home, I'm planning to get some.

Ecological consequences of zombies is not something I considered before. Well, next time I feel like procrastinating, I think I'll work through this idea.

And if I have any questions, I will ask. Me asking questions has never been a problem, I'm the sort of person who puts my nose where it doesn't belong, so to speak. Currently, I can't think of any however. I figure it must be a lot more complex, but it's something well worth doing.

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chrid:

Rest in peace, Fluffy the P, under your tree, and wherever else you may be.

Fluffy sounds like my husband's dog, Fussy, who started out being rather horrid - though nowhere near as horrid as Fluffy - and quite improved over time, with gentleness (she had been quite abused); she would never trust anyone but my husband and I, though. She had a habit of jumping up onto the dining room table to see the view out the window. Thank goodness my mother-in-law never saw her do that . . .

What a lovely job that stump grinder did. Did you rent it? Nice job on the terrace; it is looking better and better. We had a torrential rain last night - the water which we did need as we have had a heat index the last few days of 106F (41C) - actually 96F (35.5C).

Wow! Daffodils already! And asparagus - yum!

North America did have big-beasties megafauna - mastodons and camels and, a favorite of mine, the giant beaver. Goodbye trees!

I reckon that something is evil if it causes harm to someone, at any level. So, I suppose there are different levels of evil? First, do no harm . . .

Ahhh! The terror of the wooden spoon! My grandparents' housekeeper used to keep a "switch" - a thin bit of a tree branch - on top of the refrigerator, which she pointed at (never once was it brandished) with what Chris would call a stink eye, if I should show if I should show any signs of misbehaving (I was always into something). Poor little, skinny me, with the chicken legs! It never failed to subdue me, brief though it was. She was the kindest of ladies, though, and I still miss her.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

There you go! There you go! A friendly chicken in the bathroom! And: "We clearly have something in common but I don't know what." If I am ever humorous it is because I have been taking notes from you.

The couple with the courgettes - I wonder if it is because of their past sufferings that they now feel that they deserve a bit of the finer/easier things in life? Or perhaps they just aren't up to dealing with the preservation aspect of gardening? Not a good start, though, to becoming self-sufficient.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Claire:

What a wonderful project is a three-season room!

@ Margaret:

The story of your cat Belzane was so interesting. And what an ancient age! It seems many people have had experiences with one pet dying soon after their companion has died. Our dog Bob died very shortly after his long-time arch enemy companion, Mr. Jackson, died. There just seemed no reason for him to carry on after that, I guess.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - You mentioned mega-fauna to Pam. Yup. We sure had it, all over the North American continent. Two kinds of elephant. You can prefix "giant" onto just about any kind of animals, and it was here. Camel, sloth, bear, bison. The alpha predator was the saber toothed tiger. The La Brea tar pits in the middle of LA were kind of a honey trap for these animals and they've been mining the bones out of the pits for years. The jury is still out on if the mega fauna disappeared because man finally came to North America, or because of climate change, or, a combo of both.

http://www.tarpits.org/la-brea-tar-pits/timeline

Well, I've never had a problem with bi-carb and vinegar used as a cleaner ... as to my skin. The household white vinegar they sell here has a pretty low acid content.

"Which is not spoken about and people pretended doesn't even exist." Ah, I can still remember the 1950s when even legitimate pregnancy was not spoken of, except in euphemisms. At least in the part of the forest I was raised in. :-). All part and parcel of the middle class respectability package. That smoke screen you spoke of? Well, Grasshopper, I think that can be called, in some instances, hypocrisy. :-)

LOL. Well, facial hair may not be relevant to this discussion, but in another of those weird coincidences, last week I picked up a new DVD at the library called "Men With Beards." A documentary. Just interviews with guys who have beards, what they think of their beards, how people around them react to their beards. Some of the beards were pretty spectacular and over the top. I was interested because I've had a beard since I was 18 and have only shaved it off twice, for very short periods of time. Unfortunately, I can't seem to do much interesting with mine. Given hair pattern and thickness. So, I just keep it short and cleaned up under my chin.

Well, I have 2 1/2 gallons of blackberries in the freezer. They are just about perfect. I can pick a berry off a stem, and when it springs back, over ripe berries do not go flying everywhere. They are plumper this year, as we've had more rain than the drought last year. Yeah, the seeds can be a problem. When I cook them in oatmeal, they're pretty ... invasive. Baked in a crisp, not so much. But I keep a pick and gum handy when I eat the blackberries. Getting the seeds out of my teeth can drive me crazy. But they're so good, it's worth the bother.

Glad you liked Empire Falls. I've always thought the title was kind of clever. You can read it a couple of different ways.

I had a little Westie named Arthur, years ago when I lived in Seattle. He would not house break. I tried everything. He was within a day of going back to the puppy farm. It's too long a tale to go into detail, but he did something that ... well, I laughed so hard that I had to lean against a wall and tears ran down my face. He was so humiliated that he hid for hours. But when he finally came out, he never made a mess in the house, again. Lew



SLClaire said...

W. B.:

As far as I'm concerned, I feel I fit the misfit category, so to speak. I certainly felt out of place as a child, older than my years. Not for any particular reason that my parents had anything to do with; I just remember trusting myself more than the grownups around me, even at a very young age. I didn't make conventional choices as an adult either - thank goodness. I can't think of a worse way to live than conventional US life. As it happens, I'm very happy with the choices I've made.

Chris:

I know what you mean about your land as a giant puzzle. That's how I see this land as well. It has taught me so much over the years and I continue to learn more, to attempt to fit new pieces into the puzzle. Not so easy since the pieces are prone to changing shape on me!

Last week I was harvesting tomatoes, zucchini, a few small sweet peppers from a dying plant, and yard-long beans, which are actually a vining cowpea whose pods can be eaten green, like green beans. The cucumber plants have died so no more of them. This week I'm harvesting green beans (the flat Italian sort) as well as the others, plus I'll start harvesting potatoes, if the voles left me any. I'm hoping one of the sweet peppers ripens to red this week also. They are much sweeter if you wait till they are ripe to harvest them.

We are quite prone to warm springlike spells in winter, and to chilly periods in fall and spring. I enjoy the former but not the latter. By next week we should be enjoying very pleasant weather, more like mid September than late August. It'll be a welcome break. But it also reminds me that fall is not that far off. I planted seeds for some fall crops today (turnips, arugula, and two kinds of storage radishes). Seedlings of lettuce, bok choy, cabbage, kale, and mustard greens are in the front porch, which I will plant around the end of the month. Enjoy the beginning of your spring!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

What a naughty pheasant! Nice to read that your son fixed the broken glass and I do hope that the pheasant does not decide to over winter in your greenhouse.

That is totally funny. Chickens can come up with strange notions from time to time. I'm not entirely convinced that chickens would be good house pets though - I suspect in your sons case, the chicken was in the bathroom unexpectedly! On a serious note, I have read about someone who kept chickens inside their house. On a practical note, I do wonder how they toilet trained the chickens or if they were a bit feral?

Oh yeah, everything turns up in gluts, that is so true. I'm still eating last seasons courgettes and they get chucked into the dog biscuit mix as a filler too. They really last a long time, if kept cool and dark. The fruit eventually rots and if one was inclined they could plant the rotting vegetable and it would produce new plants.

Ouch. You have the right of it. I look out into the garden to see what is growing, or what I have preserved in the pantry before making decisions about cooking. I can see how they came to that understanding of the world though as food just seems to be available all year around. I give away a bit of produce and that slowly teaches the lucky recipients what is in season that is local. I'm starting to get some more eggs now too with the extra sunlight! Yay! If the supply chains for food were ever interrupted for any reason, I reckon we'd be in for a world of hurt.

Oh, good luck with the tomatoes, if you have a mild autumn they may be OK. My first ripened tomatoes come in February. Hopefully the cherry tomatoes may ripen. If not there is always green tomato chutney, which is quite tasty.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Ha! I don't have a clue about children either! :-)!

By the way, elephant stamp for such a searching question / clarification.

Setting goals, boundaries, and expectations is a funny thing. Being the alpha is not necessarily the only path. Such a path requires the alpha to ensure that the people subject to their goals also align their own goals to that end.

I don't know whether you've ever seen a "top down budget" in operation in an organisation? What is meant by that term is the people at the top of the food chain say to people lower in the food chain: This is the result that we are after - achieve it. This is a very common approach in large businesses and it basically doesn't work. A strongman can make that path work because there is the threat of immediate violence and/or possible repercussions for people lower down the food chain if they do not do so. Also those food chains tend to be very flat and have very little levels. Personal contact and relationships is the driver behind that process. Other than that it doesn't work.

Basically it is very hard to monitor Fluffy 24/7 to ensure that she complies with my requirements as the alpha - and a lot of people express sullen agreement with that sort of thing and then pursue their own agenda in quiet. It is not a recipe for success.

It is much easier to ensure that Fluffy has buy in on goals and becomes in effect self monitoring and ensures that she co-operates with your goals - or at least doesn't throw any spanners in the works when your back is turned.

This can be seen in organisations with bottom up budgeting. The people at the bottom of the food chain set their goals and then they have a buy in on those goals and feel more responsible for the outcomes. Obviously if their goals are at a different angle to that of the organisation itself, there is a problem, but that can be addressed. If there goals are unachievable then they soon realise that and become accountable for that.

Behaviour is no different really in groups large and/or small. JMG often speaks to individual efforts, but that can also be expressed using the term: "grass roots" groups. Those are more effective because there are less layers of hierarchy and the members have a buy in on the goals of that group. Dogs are just part of a group and they have to have benefits for participating with that group.

Threats and fear on the other hand are rarely lasting motivators and the leaders have to ensure that they do not make enough motivated people who have enough of an axe to grind that the leader doesn't find themselves with their own head on the block.

It is a really complex matter.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Hehe! Yeah, it is cool! Alas it was too cool for I...

Oh thanks for the link and I'll check it out tonight. Ouch, that poor dude copped a slamming.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

Whether to finish or not is an A-Bomb of a problem. Sometimes it can be important to learn to finish a task. Other times, it can become clear that further energy poured into a task is a waste of time. How do you learn the difference between those two choices as well as all the others in between, without experiencing failure is the question I wonder about?

Dunno about what the glue is that gets people commenting here? We have so many different experiences that perhaps it doesn't matter.

Thanks for the background story about pets. I struggle understanding the sort of conditions that animals have to be kept in to protect them from the worst of the Canadian winters. It might be worthwhile checking out how other people in your area do that trick. Dunno. The summers can be pretty brutal here, and you may note that I use a lot of steel and little in the way of timber in the construction of the various outbuildings.

Yes, those bags of walking dead brains are like little bags of fertiliser! Watch out for zombies. Procrastinating is a useful activity, I reckon we are kept too busy to spend any time contemplating things. Too long though and it switches over into an indulgence, and that may be worse. There is a lot of middle ground in between.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

If it means anything, I suspect that Poopy has a little bit of the Fluffy spirit in him. Poopy is a good dog, but never could he be the boss dog, he just doesn't have what it takes.

Thanks for the story about Fussy! Oh my, jumping onto the table is a neat trick! Well done him. Yes, your mother in law would most likely believe that Fussy was allowed to do so all of the time... Ouch, it doesn't look good. Fortunately, dogs tend to be able to exercise good timing…

Oh my. That makes that the second elephant stamp given in one day. Nice work. I bought the thing. The cost was equal to four days hire. To get guys in to do the job was equal to one and half weeks of my income for one days work... And my shoulders could only take so many hours of axing before I felt as if I was doing them permanent damage. And I have done a whole lot of tree stumps manually. The loggers were here for a long time… It was a real conundrum with no easy answer. Of course, I could have left the stumps to break down over the next 30 years, but impatience is the order of the day.

That is hot, but I'm glad that you got some solid rain. I read about the fires in California this year in the newspaper today. There but for the grace…

Yay, for the spring flowers! :-)! Wait until new years and the place will be a feral riot of colour.

Those asparagus are now about 3 years old so I'm planning to harvest some this year. You may note that a few months back, I set up a second asparagus bed, which will have to wait for a year or two before harvesting. It really is a long term plant that one, much like a fruit tree. Do you grow any asparagus?

That is a really useful definition and I did like your first principle, which I agree with.

Thanks for the great story too. Loved it. That housekeeper had her business sorted out nicely and she probably had a very gentle heart! I've seen teachers who go really hard on a class initially only to build a reputation for themselves and then they slacken off as the year goes on, but the reputation remains. Very clever! I once faced a very angry group and pulled that trick too. I think everyone was surprised at the outcome.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis and Pam,

Yeah, those mega beasties performed the same trick down here too. Some of them were huge. I reckon meeting them on their turf would have been a chancy encounter. Thanks for the link to the La Brea tar pits. Down here, they reckon it was due to the arrival of humans on the continent, but that was not always the theory. Climate certainly changed down here during the end of the last ice age, but it didn't affect the continent as much as other parts of the world. And many of the areas were already very arid and they contained the mega fauna too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Oh, I was wondering if anyone tried to dump a body in the tar pits? I'm not entirely sure why that thought popped into my head. Wow, the sight of all of those oil wells in the background with the excavations in the foreground are something else. Now that you mention this, I have seen footage of recent oil wells in LA in amongst buildings and it seemed mildly surreal to me. Am I imagining this?

I wasn't aware of the low acidity with your white vinegar. That is interesting as it is a very useful preserving agent, when high in acidity. I wonder why your product would be low in acidity. The stuff here makes your eyes water. I have very fond memories of purchasing onions pickled in white vinegar from the fish and chip shop as a kid. Yum! Did you have fish and chip shops over in the US? Or is this a more English thing?

Ah, yes of course hypocrisy it is then. I had wondered about that, but thank you for confirming that.

Grashopper: Master, do we seek victory in contention? Master Kan: We know that where there is no contention, there is neither defeat nor victory. The supple willow does not contend against the storm, yet it survives.

Hey, whilst I'm at it I reckon you'd like this quote: Master Po: If a man dwells on the past, then he robs the present. But if a man ignores the past, he may rob the future. The seeds of our destiny are nurtured by the roots of our past.

Master, it is getting a bit heavy is it not? ;-)! Hehe! How good are those Kung Fu quotes, I loved that show as a kid and it probably, more than just the ongoing fights at school which were incredibly difficult to avoid, got me interested in karate.

Short and clean is a good idea for a beard. I tell you for a bit of a laugh, I used to have a goatee, which I originally grew because early on I was more or less forced to manage staff who were well into their middle ages, and honestly I reckon I looked about 12 years old! - I mean I still got asked for ID at pubs and clubs well into my early 20's. Anyway, with the propensity of the tech crowd to grow goatees a couple of years after that, I just converted it to a beard one day. The editor has seen me without a beard exactly once - to satisfy her curiosity. Did the DVD come to any general conclusions on this most important of topics?

I reckon that fruit are worth the bother, although I reckon the fruit is smaller as well as the seeds down here. The flavour is usually quite strong though what with the extra sunlight. But yeah, you do have to pick them before they become over ripe. I don't reckon I'll be making any jam this coming summer as there is still too much of the stuff left over.

Yeah, the title is clever isn't it? And I can see how people would miss the larger narrative of decline going on in the background. I found it to be fascinating that a textile mill was eventually converted into - spoiler alert - the headquarters of a credit card company. Mate, I've read some interesting and rather alarming developments over the past week or so on that front. Imagine not understanding what that means. The main character of Miles Roby clearly understood and expressed his concerns.

Thanks for the story and Westies are lovely dogs with very pleasant natures. Glad to read that they are clearly intelligent too!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thanks for your lovely comment, but I have run out of time to reply this evening and will reply tomorrow.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Lew,

Interesting how attitudes have changed regarding unmarried mothers. When I was teaching we had quite a few girls in that situation and more and more as time went on. No one batted an eye except for the few that were pregnant at the age of 13. We have a large Hispanic population and after the girls' quinceanera at age 15 it seemed like a fair amount got pregnant. I was in charge of an at-risk/drop out prevention program and the social worker in the program gave very explicit instructions on the various means of birth control and was she frustrated after some of the girls still ended up pregnant. Still some did manage to do well in life but it had to be hard. While I wouldn't want to go back to the "bad girl" school days there should be a middle ground. Not a good start in life for many of those babies.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Don't know much about cars but did notice those comfy seat covers. Now Leo, who is really into comfort would love those. I have to close all doors when I go out and put barricades on the furniture except for the one spot he's allowed. He's been known to check if doors are closed tightly so he can sneak up on a bed.

Not sure if it's a status thing - the light attendance at programs. The town here is very middle class - probably more low/middle. I would tend to think that when people get home they plop down in front of the TV and don't want to get up again. They do come out of the woodwork when the assessment notices come out and want a meeting with my husband.

" I reckon we are kept too busy to spend any time contemplating things" This comment of yours really resonates with me. Sometimes I think people choose to be very busy just so they don't have to think.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Pam,

That particular incident with our cat really touched me. He was a very unique individual.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I wonder where "Chrid" came from? "Chris-off-grid"? "Chris did", as in "if it needed to be done, Chris did it"? "Chris Squid" . . . ? I forgot to comment on your "Sprinter", which is extra goody good as sometimes winter does sprint right into spring.

Good for you that you now have your very own stump grinder. Little does that thing know what work is ahead of it! I ran into our pry bar yesterday; it is actually 5 1/2 ft. (1.7m), not the 4 ft. (1.2m) that I had thought I remembered.

Our poor Fussy - I became worried that someday she would leap onto the dining room table, with the dinner on it, so I had to put a stop to that antic. I blew up some balloons and taped them all over the top of the table and the next time she jumped on it was the last, as from now on she knew that there were balloon monsters up there . . .

Yes, we grow a bit of asparagus.

I sure did enjoy your the Master Kan and Master Po quotes to Lewis. My, how we used to watch "Kung Fu". I think we have some on DVD, Grasshopper.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Claire:

Oh, my gosh, Claire! I've been so busy that I completely forgot to start getting on with the fall planting. Thank you so very, very much for reminding me - fellow misfit!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I think that Claire has nailed it on the head with her comment about being a "misfit", as to why we gather here at your blog. That is it - we are all misfits in one way or another, or even in many ways. Sure, we all have conventional aspects to our lives, but our thinking does not generally fit into the groove of the way most people do things. And you Lord Chris, are Master of All Misfits! Lucky you.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Oh, yeah. There are oil wells dotted all over LA. Or, there were. I think most of them are pretty played out. The tar pits are pretty heavily excavated (on going) so I don't think it's a good place to dump a body. Too much coming and going.

The run of the mill white vinegar that you get from the grocer, here, is 5% acidity. There is higher acid available, but that you have to get from an industrial chemical supply. Now that stuff will burn your skin off. And, I hear it's great for killing weeds, but I've never used it.

There are sea food chain restaurants, here, that have fish and chips. But, I think it's never quit caught on, as in Britain. Too much other competing take away, I think. I did go to a place in Portland, years ago. It was a small independent that had been around for years and had the best fish and chips. And slaw! Guiness on tap! It finally bit the dust, right before Uncle Larry died and I stopped going to Portland. An omen? Or, maybe Uncle Larry just decided life wasn't worth living without good fish and chips.

I saw a few episodes of Kung Fu, and thought it was pretty good. But, I never got to see a lot of it. I was already out in the world by then. I'd have to look at the dates, but I'm sure a job and keeping a roof over my head had priority :-). Maybe during one of those times where I lived somewhere and didn't have tv?

Let's see. The beard movies bottom line was: a.) beards are cool and b.) If you look long and hard enough, you'll find a girlfriend who agrees with you. :-)

Here it seems I'm always reading that textile mills are converted into condos.

This morning it's cool and overcast, but it's supposed to get really hot, tomorrow and stay that way over the weekend. Then cool back down on Monday. You may have heard about the state of Louisiana. Some areas had 2 feet (60.96cm) of rain in 48 hours. Set records. Slow moving storms with lots of moisture in them. At least 40,000 homes damaged and lives lost. Lew

PS: Interesting. Mr. Greer seems to have extended a general invitation to move to Cumberland. Funny. After finding out how cheap real estate is there, I was kind of kicking around the idea. Not that that will ever happen. But, it's interesting to contemplate.

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Claire,

I know that feeling! I also hung out mostly with people a few years older than me in elementary school (I've heard such is no longer allowed, so I'm lucky I wasn't born even a little later), because I had more in common with them than kids in my own grade. I think my parents had a lot to do with it though: once we showed interest in something they let us try it, once we had competence we were free to do it without supervision.

I'm engaging in conventional life to the extent required of me at the moment. It's hard to find a job that doesn't require a degree of some sort, and I don't yet have enough money/resources/skills to comfortably set up any business of my own. I'm also aware of quite a few options that emerge with a degree such as teaching English overseas that I'm looking into.

And I fully agree, a conventional North American life is one of the worst I can think of too!

Chris,

As with much of life, knowing when to keep going and when to quit is a skill, one that can't be mastered without failing at it. I think we as a society lean too far towards "never quit" and this isn't healthy, but nor is rejecting the benefits of perseverance all together. If there's a way to learn this without failure, I have yet to see it.

I think it's nice that all our viewpoints get heard. I've yet to see anyone call someone else's opinion crazy, even where disagreements pop up it's handled politely. Maybe it's just we are able to express ourselves here that brings us here?

Sadly, keeping animals safe from winters is a skill that's largely dead here. Central heating is far more popular than the skills that we used to have. As I understand it from asking a farmer back in elementary school, it has to do with construction of the barn. It needs to be something that stays warm, the animals stay there overnight, during the day they can be let out and wander around, but the barn is there if they get too cold.

I haven't found any Canadian sources to confirm my understanding. I think this means I'll have to find contacts for farmers and ask them directly. I have, however, found a source on building a cat shelter. Given I like cats, this seems like a good idea to me.

I also think we are kept to busy to think, which seems like a very bad idea to me. I know it can be dangerous to go to the other extreme, as I have gone there. Finding a middle ground in anything is proving difficult sometimes. I think it's doable, it just requires practice.

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

As usual now, where to begin?

Mega-fauna: Long ago I came up with the idea that the death of the giant animals must have been caused by a slight increase in gravity, after all animals have never been that large again except in the sea. The idea still makes more sense to me than anything else that I have heard. If anyone has a pro or anti comment I would be interested.

My son also thinks that dogs and children are similar; he has no children. I disagree. One does have to be the pack boss and achieve this by the time that they are 3 years old. But the difference in intelligence is immense. Elder daughter came to me saying 'daddy says...' and to my husband 'mummy says...'. We were rowing as a result. I finally cottoned on and asked my husband to check with me any time that she came and said 'mummy says..'. He simply couldn't believe that his sweet little girl was doing this. She was indeed, it was all fabricated very cleverly. She was 2 and 1/2 years old!! A very intelligent child who loved and still loves 'the bright eyes of danger'.

@ Damo

I am not sure about 'misfit', it makes me think of the Obernewtyn series by Isobelle Carmody where it has a rather different connotation. Nonetheless I was a misfit at school but not subsequently in fact I can fit in anywhere if it suits me.
How about able to think for oneself and to permit experience to change ones viewpoint if necessary. Certainly I am sure that none of us follow the herd.

@ Lew

Blackberry pips: I don't think that anything softens them. I agree about toothpicks and recommend a mirror before one smiles at anyone.

That's it for the moment, broadband is still cutting out every now and then and is horribly slow.

Inge

Damo said...

RE: Dogs and Alphas

It is a very complex and interesting topic isn't it? I initially started thinking that 'managing' human and dog packs is different, but as I reflect on it I suspect they are actually quite similar.

IMO you are correct to say that fear and threats do not make for a stable and long-term group. But I don't think being the 'alpha' and constant use of physical/emotional threats is the same thing. I think that maybe just the possibility or potential is enough. Combine this with a general sense of shared goals (we are in this together) and perhaps you have the basis for a sustainable and productive group dynamic. I think if you lose either the threat of violence or the shared goals then it falls apart.

For example, many people are not happy going to work. They have the potential threat of violence (disobey the boss and eventually you get fired) but I suspect most workplaces don't have the shared goals, although a lot of middle managers do heroically try with misplaced HR buzzwords. As a result, most people are always on the lookout for something better and generally do the minimum required, or play politics to obtain an easier/more rewarding position.

On the other hand, if you have someone working at a job they love or share goals with, but don't have the threat of violence (maybe they are already wealthy/can fall back on family, don't need much money to live on etc) then I think in most cases productivity and drive rapidly diminishes. You can see this sort of thing a lot in family businesses (the black sheep that doesn't pull his/her weight), some co-ops and other committee based structures.

But, if you combine the threat (need money to live) with a carrot (working for Greenpeace, Saladin Farms or Apple - hah) then you can have a pretty effective organisation. I dunno, maybe I am over-thinking all of this.

Bringing it back to earth, how did you bring Fluffy on board to supporting the long-term objectives of Fernglade farm?

Damo said...

@Inge

re: mega-fauna
My understanding (only from one university level unit, so feel free to ignore) is that the Earths gravity is reasonably constant, at least for the scales we are talking about. There are quite a few ways to precisely measure gravity, and there are significant differences across the globe (google image search: gravity map). But these differences only really matter if you are creating and maintaining geodetic datums for mapping purposes. One of the ways it can change over time is due to isostatic rebound, literally the earths crust rebounding as glaciers melt. The subsequent reduction in density changes the local gravity, but only at the decimal place level. Comparing the slow and very minor rate of gravity change to the very rapid loss of megafauna, it seems to me at least, to be unlikely. Especially when we have an easy answer - humans like to eat things!

This does remind me of a trend, which I can't quite recall the exact details. Something about the long-term changes in isolated populations. e.g. a species cut-off on a small island will trend towards dwarfism (I think). In the very distant past, perhaps Gondwana had an influence on the development of large dinosaurs? In modern times you can add rapid climate change and human development to continental drift which has the effect of 'islanding' populations. I could have that backwards though....heh.

@children and dogs
As neither a dog or child owner I have zero qualifications to comment, but I will anyway :-) No doubt, most children are more intelligent than dogs. But the manipulation is the same. Most dogs have perfected to a fine art the cute face and wagging tail when they want something! How different is that to the antics of your daughter?

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thanks for writing that, I'm with you. I'm also noticing that the costs of pursuing those choices are increasing at a time when benefits for doing so are declining. I'm not sure anyone notices that though? Dunno.

Ha! It changes shape here too, but yeah, the land never ceases to keep teaching and surprising.

Yum. Your harvest sounds delightful. Thanks for the info on your peppers too. I'm planning on getting the seeds going over the next week or so as it looks as though it may be an early spring here, and the earlier they get in the ground. So much to do, and this week looks as though it will be a wash out. Although you wouldn't know it today as the temperature in Melbourne is 21'C/69.8'F... It is a lot cooler here, but I still have the windows open and the sun is streaming in.

Thanks! Storage radishes sound intruiging. I purchase large white radishes from the market and have to look into growing them. There is always more to do isn't there?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

That was hysterical. Leo knows it is wrong, but still the call of the furniture is strong with that one! :-)! Scritchy has a thing for jumping onto the bed, if we go out of the house and leave the bedroom door open. She is untrainable in this regard. Fluffy would never have done that. Anyway, the front door is double glazed toughened glass (the theory is that glass and aluminium is less likely to burn than a timber door), anyway if you leave the house at any time, you can see Scritchy sneak up the hallway to check if the door is closed... She will not try that trick if a person is in the house though...

The same is true here. I rarely watch television and more often than not use that to watch films. The whole thing is a moment in time really.

It is an avoidance thing isn't it? When I'm having problems, I always take a bit of time out to consider the matter whether it is a long time or short time and just have a think through the problem. It does seem to work. I'm rarely busy enough that I don't have time for that contemplation though. This past June was very busy for me, but things relaxed again in early July. I often mention to people about the concept of maintaining a buffer of time or energy, or whatever, as a bulwark against unexpected events. This is perhaps an unpopular concept though...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

I was too much of a gentleman to even mention the little slip up. Mind you, I used to work with a guy who's nickname was squid, so perhaps you were trying on a nickname? Spud is a common nickname down here. As is ginger for people with red hair.

Yeah, it can be pretty quick. One year, I skipped autumn and it went right from summer into winter. That was an extreme year and it was the summer that was overly long. The seasons are very variable down here. It is going to bucket down here over the next few days too.

That sounds about right for a pry bar, although I do have a smaller one which I use to demolish timber constructions and pull nails etc. They're very handy. My larger pry bar is showing signs of over use... Please don't warn the stump grinder it may get scared and run away, or try to attack me. I wish hire tools were cheaper so that I could try them out, but people trash them, so they are expensive. I should a story about that one day as someone was bragging to me recently about doing just that... If it makes them feel like a man, I guess that is good for them, but bad for the equipment.

The balloon monster is sheer genius. Well done, I'd imagine that Fussy would have got the fright of her life if one of them popped!

Master, enjoy Kung Fu! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

I like the concept, but that perhaps is too much responsibility for me. I dub Fussy, the Lord of the misfits, and deftly dodge that responsibility! Hehe. Yes, I believe Claire is correct, although I fit in in social contexts and few people would have any idea at all. When they find out though, they're usually telling me how cool it all is, but I certainly don't stand in judgement of them - not everyone understands that.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for that explanation. I'd seen them as backdrops in amongst buildings in urban and industrial settings and it looked odd to me. Most of the oil fields here are off shore and I recall seeing the flares from the rigs off shore in Bass Strait as a small child. It was mildly surreal to my young mind.

Hmmm, I'm to have a think about white vinegar further. I have not used it to preserve before, but I sort of like knowing what the stuff is and having a general feel for the product before I use it. Interesting.

Yum! Portland fish and chips, plus coleslaw, plus guiness. Yum!!! Your Uncle Lary was clearly a gentleman of the utmost discernment to have made that particular decision. They usually supply fish and chips with an optional tartare sauce which is pretty tasty. I'm partial to clean oils in a deep fryer too. Some people use that recycled vegetable oil in their vehicles under the moniker bio-diesel... When I was a kid, the main fish sold was flake (which is a fancy name for shark), but nowadays flake is quite expensive and I wonder about the long term viability of deep sea fisheries.

Fair enough about Kung Fu. It was very good. I hear you anyway, as a young adult between full time work and part time University, television didn't rate at all on the radar. Well, except when the neighbours (who were friends) used to drop around on Tuesday nights at 11pm to watch Star Trek Next Generation. That was a lot of fun having everyone over for that. For some reason Tuesday nights at 11pm seemed to be a Star Trek sort of a timeslot. Fortunately I was home from Uni by that time - the classes often finished at 9.30pm and I'd usually started work at 8.30am that day. It always makes me laugh when people comment here saying things: You sure do work hard. Mate, back in those days I was tired as. Still a roof over ones head and food on the table are important things.

The High School I went too overloaded students with homework too for years. In the final year I reckon I had about 3 hours per night every single night, and then sports on Saturday and homework Saturday afternoon. It was nice for them to let us have Sunday off... I casn't even imagine what their expectations are like nowadays.

Haha! That is the funniest thing that I have read today. Did the DVD come to the beard conclusion equivalent of: Too bad, so sad!!!! :-)!

That makes sense I guess. Your population is bigger, and the mills down here were often in out of the way places, usually on the outskirts of the cities in industrial areas.

Oh my! Those people affected have my sympathies. And they are reporting heavily on the wildfires in California down here too. Not good, but a taste of things to come.

All options should be on the table, and to live securely with minimal debt and future obligations is a precious thing. I would go there, but I don't know your circumstances as well as you do.

Star Trek today! Woo Hoo! A review will be forthcoming tomorrow.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B, Inge, Damo,

Thanks for the lovely comments however I am unable to reply tonight and promise to reply tomorrow.

Inge, you are the second person who has expressed that claim to me this week, and I tend to agree with you, but we'll talk more about this tomorrow!

Cheers

Chris

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Inge,

"Misfit" does have negative connotations, however I was, and still am, unable to think of a word that has a similar meaning (consistently not giving into peer pressure, and being fairly individual) that does not have negative connotations... Says something about us, doesn't it?

If you can think of such a word, please let us know! Otherwise, I think we will just adopt the word and change the connotations.

Lew,

I also saw that invitation JMG gave, and given how cheap real estate is in the rust belt, combined with the likely chance of an economic resurgence, I think it's possible I may call him on it. The source of income is going to be the tricky part though.

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - Well, I know I'm just an old poop, but when I see really young couples with children, I always think to myself "Well, you don't know it, but YOUR life is over." Now, that's from the viewpoint of a guy who never had, or wanted kids.

Yo, Chris - Animals getting on things. I pretty much let Nell the cat have free reign, but there are a few places I don't want her to be (fragile tat ... wood furniture that isn't mine). I unfolded some newspaper, took some painter's tape and made circles with it (sticky side out) and stuck them all over the newspaper. A water spray bottle also was effective. :-).

Have decided to wait until the new Star Trek movie is on DVD. Don't know why, but I just can't seem to work up the enthusiasm to go to the theatre. Maybe I'm still stung from the $14 tab, last time. Or, it's just hand over from my surgery? And, besides, there's so much to do around here.

I went to town yesterday and stuck my head into The Home. I'm number 15 on the list and they've had another vacancy. They haven't reshuffled the list yet, so who knows where I'll be on the list, next month. I've been gleaning produce from around my place and was kind of bemoaning in my mind that perhaps I wouldn't have the opportunity to do that, when I move. Well. When I showed up at The Home, The Warden was busy picking apples from a loaded tree, across the street, that The Inmates are free to pick from. Then she showed me the community blueberry patch. Quit extensive. There are always garden plots available, and, a few always go begging so I can have two if I like.

Got home, took a nap and when I got up ... no water. Don't know why. It kicked back on at 6:30 am. Woke me up. Which is fine as it's going to be a hot day, and I can get out early and pick another gallon of blackberries. 3+ in the freezer, so far. Italian prunes are about ready and I've got apples on the ground. I'm going to pick blackberries over toward the abandoned orchard, today, so gosh knows what I'll find. I know there's a pear tree that's loaded ... and I don't like pears. But, I know someone who'd like them.

I want to try my hand at making some apple cider vinegar. So, I stopped by the store to check out wide mouth gallon jars. $14 a piece! But, they had 6 packs of 1/2 gallon jars for $12.95. So, I picked up one of those. At the cost of a good organic apple cider vinegar, those will pay for themselves in less than one batch. Lew

Jo said...

Oh, the signs of Spring - isn't it exciting to see them and know that the sun is on its way:) I now have to get cracking and get my new garden started.

Who knew that you were a dog whisperer to add to all your varied talents? My current dog is my first, and I didn't realise how they wrap themselves around your heartstrings. I am so glad that Fluffy and you worked things out to have a great life together.

@ Lew

I have a question for you re buying books. I have been looking for a particular book for a couple of years. I couldn't order it from a local bookshop which is my usual practice, because it was published by a tiny American publisher with no Australian supplier. I hate buying books from Amazon because it is a giant behemoth of a corporation with a virtual monoploly, very bad employment practices, and not much recompense for the author, and I would always prefer to support a small business. I finally decided to buy the book on-line, and went with a second-hand bookshop through Abe books. Only to discover on the invoice that Abe books is owned by Amazon. Aargh!

So my question is: can you recommend any good, independent on-line booksellers in the US that I could order books from and still satisfy my social conscience??

PS The book I ordered was Payne Hollow by Harlan Hubbard. After spending seven years drifting down the Ohio River on a homemade shanty boat in the 1940s, Harlan and his wife Anna decide to build a house and live without any modern conveniences on the banks of the river at Payne Hollow. Which they did, for the rest of their lives. Brilliant book. Like Walden but a much gentler read:)

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

I borrowed Harlan Hubbard's journals from my library, which I loved, and now I want to order Hubbard's first book, Shantyboat.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

Oh yeah, without failing and then either having to own up to the realities of defeat or respond to the problem from an entirely different perspective (or set of skills and/or resources), I have absolutely no idea how people could possibly learn to conduct an orderly retreat. Is it a good thing to learn? - you bet! But the difficult problem becomes when - as you say - "never quit" becomes a meme. It is a stupid meme, because it makes a person or a group utterly predictable, and this is a weakness. We should aim to be more unpredictable because that means that we have the ability to bend our minds and goals when the circumstances dictate. Dunno, what do you reckon about that?

Of course, I enjoy dissenting opinions and it is an unrealistic expectation of any group to expect to agree on 100% of the issues. Now, having written that, there is a dominant narrative at work in our society and that is an issue that cannot be ignored. A person must learn context as that is crucially important. Some people are tone deaf to context, but I reckon you have to search hard and seek out what other peoples motivations are. That is not always easy and it does also force you to look at your own motivations, but then that is a worthwhile exercise as long as it is not overly indulged (a little bit is good, but a lot is dysfunctional).

Central heating in the distant future will be dead in the water. I lived in a rented house whilst I built this place and the only heating it had was central heating from LPG gas bottles. The gas company said that if I used the bottles to run the central heating unit, I would run out of gas every two weeks - and that bottle was hugely expensive to fill, so I got cold that year and that winter. Really cold. The house had no insulation and the coldest temperature I saw inside was about 4'C or 39.2'F. Far out the winter there was cold.

The animals possibly buried themselves in the straw in the barn too, and in the olden days the people lived above the animals. The space that was heated was quite small so that very little heating fuel was required.

Cats are good and they adapt very well to apartment living as long as they have things to occupy their fertile minds.

Exactly! If you have been trained to be kept busy, then to slow down a bit leaves you in uncertain waters and you have had little training to be able to accommodate that situation. Of course people go from one extreme to another extreme because they have no feel for the middle ground. It is a learned thing. As a suggestion, find a local cafe, order a coffee and then read a book or a newspaper and learn to concentrate on one task at a time. Try that for 15 minutes.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Of course, where do we begin? Well, we can begin at the fact that I watched the latest Star Trek film last night at the cinema and really enjoyed it. A total 100% destruction fest and the excellent English actor Simon Pegg, wrote the screen play so it was a very good story and excellent dialogue...

I suspect that we'll never get to the bottom of the mega fauna extinction matter, but I do tend to favour the large roaming steak hypothesis over all else. ;-)! I reckon we ate them and that hypothesis benefits from being consistent with observed human behaviour. Yours was a fascinating hypothesis though. :-)!

> "My son also thinks that dogs and children are similar; he has no children. I disagree."

I tend to agree as we have quite large brains and as a species we can get up to a lot of mischief from an early age. Incidentally, you are the second person this week that has expressed this opinion to me. On the other hand humans are animals too. There is a question of context for your observation and much depends on the social context of your observation as it is rather ill-defined and I am unsure what your son means.

My gut feeling is that this is a hot button topic and every time I have been faced with your observation I see strong emotions behind it which I don’t personally feel and so I steer well clear of it in both the blog and with people face to face. I have no dog in that fight either and candidly I lack the experience to be able to even form an opinion on the matter so I'm totally cool with everyone's point of view. To me it does not matter in the least because from my opinion we all exist on the same planet together and thus it matters not as we are all bound together whether we like it or not.

Your child was precocious to have worked out how to manage such a situation at such an early age. I was a much slower learner!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@ Damo

Thanks for gravity info. I knew that the demise of the mammoth was considered to be due to human hunting but I thought that humans and dinosaurs didn't overlap.

Re dogs and children: I agree that animals are good at finding ways to train their owners and did feel doubtful about my previous comment. In fact I quite often write something and am then assailed (too late) with doubt.

I definitely don't like 'misfit' and am not sure that I want to find a replacement word. It would imply a group and oh how I dislike groups. Of course that means something!

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I am musing on context, thanks for bringing that up.

My son was referring to discipline I think.

Little girls are better at manipulating people than little boys. I realise that that is a dogmatic statement, anyone is welcome to scream at me. Now would that also be true of female dogs? I have never kept any animal so wouldn't have any knowledge here.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

It is a hideously complex topic!

Anyway, I went to see the latest Star Trek film last night. It was well good, what a total romp of a film which failed to let up for a minute. What an absolute destruction fest too and I really enjoyed the bit where they got the USS Franklin off the ground again. Top stuff. Wow, did they enjoy killing off the crew in the story too, or what! At one point one of the crew was walking slightly behind lieutenant Uhura and I thought to myself that that character would be the next special guest death ensign! It didn't fail to disappoint either...

When I managed staff for slightly less than two decades, I applied the same strategies that I use to manage the canine pack. It just seems to work. Consistency is good to build trust, but with the occasional unexpected response. People always test your mettle.

Exactly, being the alpha with a constant use of physical/emotional threats is not the same thing at all. People tend to confuse self-esteem and arrogance with that of a commanding presence, assertiveness and the ability to lead. They are not the same things at all and I despair at the insistence on boosting self-esteem when it flies in the face of actual lived experience. That is an unpopular view though. I see that self-esteem is promoted nowadays at the expense of empathy and understanding of others motivations. It is better to be well rounded individuals than specialists as far as I can tell.

Shared goals can often be expressed as the term “goal congruence” too.

Yeah, I have seen that in the past in large organisations, which is why I mentioned the top down budgets as being a mostly useless edict. People who push for top down management rarely want to be involved in the day to day operations of an entity and whilst they are very good at demanding, they are perhaps not so good at delivering and in some cases I have seen their problems escalate and eventually destroy an organisation.

Of course, those black sheep take advantage of the fact that they will not be managed, but that is also the sign of a weak culture which may be in trouble and/or have enough fat to be able to indulge that.

Often large organisations suffer from that problem too as the upper tiers employ people who more or less through their combined apathy allow the upper tiers to engage in acts of larceny. It does happen. Look for the organisation that appears to have boards and upper management in total agreement on a course of action...

No, not at all. It is a subject which has a relevance which directly affects our lives and the future. Seriously.

Well, once Fluffy understood that there were benefits to be gained by supporting my goals, she received those benefits and soon my goals became her goals. Fluffy had to accept strict boundaries, but in turn she received love and acceptance.

Mate, people are asking the hard questions this week!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Lew,

I think you recognized that having kids just wasn't something you wanted. Too many people don't and just follow society's typical path of school, job, marriage, buy house and have kids without really thinking about whether it's the right path for them. I would have to confess that's what I did but my two daughters have added a lot to my life and I consider them good friends now that they are adults. One of my sisters followed that path and had two kids pretty quickly. She also got divorced when they were quite small and had the good sense to realize that it was better to give custody to her husband as she, like our mother, really didn't have a very maternal temperament. This isn't to say that she isn't involved in their lives though. You are right though that having children means giving up the life you had.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

The newspaper and water spray bottle was an effective plan. I once lived next to a very yappy dog that enjoyed nothing better than waking me up at first light. Rather than making a big issue about it, I woke up early, waited at the fence line and shot the dog with a water gun on a cold winters morning. After a day or two of that the dog had had enough and it was quiet from there on end. Those water guns can fire for a long ways away... :-)!

Nell, on the other hand is a true lady of impeccable breeding and I would not expect a moments mischief from her refined soul. Unless of course you forgot to put the newspaper out... Hehe!

Fair enough about the film. Did you know that it cost $42 for the editor and I to watch the film at the cinema last night? The more usual art house theatre that we attend and have an annual membership for is about $15 a movie. Things are more expensive down here. I won't mention any spoilers, but the Enterprise really copped it big time, and I joked to the editor that after that massive crash a little bit of panel beating, a touch of filler, and some new paint really wasn't going to cut the mustard. :-)! I'll save on the spoilers though given your DVD desire... Simon Pegg wrote the best Star Trek film yet though. I ate a hamburger afterwards which had dijon mustard in it too. Yum what a culinary achievement!

The Home sounds ideal really. Unpicked fruit trees across the road, communal blueberry patches (I'm honestly salivating over at the thought of) and spare garden plots. Honestly, the way you were talking before you went in for the operation, I thought that you were done for, so the Home is a pretty good option all things considered. It is hard moving location and I have never lived interstate or even far from Melbourne - which incidentally won the title of the most liveable city on the planet for the sixth consecutive year. It is a big call.

Oh, your water situation would totally stress me out. I have backup plans and multiple pumps and power supplies, seriously, I'd freak out. You on the other hand seem very experienced with the water situation or lack thereof.

Yum! I do hope that you enjoy your blackberries too. You are totally spot on to look for fallen apples in order to know when the fruit is ripe. Of course, the birds can knock the fruit off the tree too. Pears are interesting fruit because I have to leave them to soften off the tree before they are edible, and the tree has to have had enough time to put enough sugars into the fruit otherwise they have no flavour. They are a difficult fruit, but well worth the trouble. Oh, you could stew them up for a pie or with the breakfast (I assume you are still doing the rolled oats)? One problem with pear trees is that they can grow huge and the fruit can hang many, many metres above the ground (hopefully they don't fall on your head from such a great height too).

That is not too bad for a wide mouthed gallon jar and I pay about $16 for demijohns which are about 1.25 gallons. I rather suspect that they will pay for themselves reasonably quickly. The stuff is very easy to make and very good for you. Out of curiosity, are you adding yeast? The apple skins themselves have natural yeasts on them anyway, but local yeast sources are pretty easy to find.

I picked up the repaired battery charge regulator today and put it back in the solar power system this evening. It was really nice that they turned the equipment around so quickly and that it is locally manufactured in Melbourne. Their workshop was huge too, much bigger, with many more people employed than I expected. One of them came to a Green Wizards meet up too once, but it was so long back that I forget whom it was, but it would hardly surprise me if it was the guy that I spoke with... What a small world it is.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Oh yeah, spring seems to be a bit early this year. I look forward to reading about your tomato harvest which no doubt you will convert into passata (which I'll also try this year based on your recipe).

Our canine friends are quite delightful really and Fluffy and I were good mates, eventually once she got with the program.

As to your book quest, have you tried Abebooks, I've never used it but some people swear by it. Also eBay has a lot of second hand books and collections. I tend to use eBay as you get the sellers feedback.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ All:

When I think of "misfits" it is in the sense of one having "missed fitting" in, perhaps like a shirt that has one button of a different color. Not as in being snarly or socially inept (that could never be applied to anyone here - the most delightful people on this planet!) but, perhaps "quirky" in our own ways? Maybe just not quite feeling comfortable with a lot of modern trends? The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear "misfit" is one of my all-time favorite movies: The animated 1964 version of "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer". From one review: "A misfit reindeer and his friends look for a place that will accept them." We probably all know how that turned out - they saved the day!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

The dried tomatoes that we stored in olive oil - they never got soft (I think we allowed them one day to do so . . .); do yours? So, we decided that they should probably be canned, besides having no room left to freeze any more passata, which leads to my next problem:

How the heck does one handle this pressure canner/cooker monster?! We bought ours (a Presto, with a gauge on top) a long time ago and I had never tried it out, having seen a comedy movie once where the thing exploded, with food stuck all over the walls. I have always used a boiling water bath to can. But my son said, "It's time we tried this out"(get the "we"); he had cooked the passata, so it was my job to can . . . I blew it (no - not "up"). It scared the willies out of me and I bolted before it had time to prove that it works, which it probably does, as my son came in later and we had a test with only water in the thing.

Anyway, that passata is now frozen and I would certainly appreciate advice from anyone who knows absolutely any small thing about these canners.

@ Jo:

I know that you can your passata in that other thingee which I think is actually a boiling water bath? Anyway, we bought this thing and I am sure that someday it will become a beloved member of the family . . .

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Regarding self esteem - while teaching there were certainly some students who needed a boost to their self esteem but it becomes a problem when it's a blanket approach for everyone, deserved or not.

I did see the Star Trek movie with my brother and it was good fun. As we went to a weekday matinee there weren't too many people there but more than usual. They seemed to be mostly Trekkies as they clearly got the humor. However my brother and I both agreed it was too loud. Btw the film only cost us $6 each. At this particular theater it's $5 all day for everyone on Tuesdays. As I'm a senior it's $6 for me all the time. However in Chicago and the close in burbs it's much more expensive.

On the chicken front we are now rooster free. He was focusing his attentions on only a few hens and they were suffering for it. A couple of days ago we watched him with his favorite hen and frankly we thought he had killed her. She had taken to hiding in the nesting boxes all day and night. I had to start taking her out after evening chores as most of the new pullets were following her lead and there were messy boxes to deal with in the evening. On top of that he had taken to going after my husband too. I primarily keep a rooster as protection for the hens and due to all the losses this year I don't think he did too well in that regard.

Margaret

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Lew,

I agree, whenever I hear/see anyone has a child, I know their life is going to have to change for the child. I suppose knowing whether you want this is a good thing, especially since it's socially frowned on so much to say you don't, it must be hard to say so.

Hi W.B,

I've seen an interesting scientific paper arguing that even if you think it doesn't work, divination is still a good idea for that reason: based on game theory research it's often better to adopt a sub-optimal strategy that includes random chance than a perfectly predictable one. I think knowing when something stops working and trying new strategies would work just as well!

I find that quite often other people know you better than you know yourself. The human mind includes quite a few methods to hide things from yourself. So, in order to find out whether my motivations match what I think, I sometimes ask really close friends why they think I did something. I find the threat of making a fool of myself like that also has the added benefit of causing my subconscious to start spitting things out. I don't know if it would work for everyone, but it works for me at least.

Central heating is going to be one of the things I miss the most about the Age of Excess, as I'm calling our time. There are alternatives, but none are quite as good. It also provides a good incentive to move into a smaller space: it's easier to heat a tiny one than a large one. Small spaces have other benefits as well, so it's not too bad, really.

Cats can adapt to almost anything. However I think I'm going to try to avoid having a pet in my apartment since it's barely got enough room for me. I picked the smallest I could get within walking distance of my university.

Thank you for the suggestion, however I think currently I'm leaning the other way and I'm trying to find ways to keep from contemplating too much, so that would be fairly counterproductive at the moment.

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ W.B. LOL. Yup. Mr. Greer backed off his invite, a bit, right smart :-). I suppose he really doesn't want to be held responsible for someone's major life choice that may not turn out well. There was someone else from Cumberland, another transplant, that had an interesting take on a relocation. Or, not so much interesting as expected. I moved here in about 1981. And, it's true that you're never quit accepted. Unless, perhaps, you marry into an old family. Of course, do that, and you're always a bit "under their thumb."

Hmmm. A term for all us ... whatever we are. :-). Bohemians? Kind of, sort of, but not exactly. Outliers? Not very catchy. Preppers seems to have good and bad connotations. But does cover a wide variety of people. Everything from nice, photogenic Mormon families to gun nuts wearing lots of camo, hunkered down in bunkers with not very tasty dehydrated food.

@ Jo - Well, the thing about Amazon is that they represent a lot of small time dealers. Heck, I've sold a few books through them, and may sell more in the future. I've noticed that a lot of the opportunity / thrift stores are beginning to list on Amazon. You could try Powell's in Portland (new and used) or the Tattered Cover in Denver. But, I noticed that Powell's also uses Amazon. I must admit I have qualms about Amazon, but they're the best game going as far as exposure for the small time dealer.

Or ... it looks like The University Press of Kentucky publishes three different books by Hubbard that start the title with "Shantyboat." Looks like you can order from them, direct. www.kentuckypress.com. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I don't have a problem with "spoilers." I'm so senile, I'll forget the finer points by the time I get around to seeing the film. :-).

I wondered about how to tell if the pears were ripe. They look pretty good, now. It was 93F (33.88C) here, yesterday. The same today and Saturday, and then a bit of a cool down on Sunday.

Haven't decided exactly how I'm going to tackle the vinegar, yet. I'll check around online.

Got another gallon of blackberries into the freezer. So, I'm up to 4 for this year. I wandered around the abandoned orchard and discovered some grapes! There are also several patches of garlic. A few mystery fruits that I took to the meeting, last night to see if I could get an ID. Tentative ... some kind of Japanese pear (but, small) and some kind of domestic crab apple. Probably won't do much til this heat breaks. Unless I get up early. And, as we all know ... Not a Morning Person :-). Lew

Annette Simard said...

Yay flowers in the depth of winter, mitigated as it seems to be in recent years.

Jo said...

@ Pam

Dried tomatoes - will never soften in oil. I tried the same thing! Trick is to soak a jar-full in water until they are the consistency you want, then pop them in the jar with oil and herbs, then store them in the fridge until consumed. Then hydrate another jar-full. This way you get the easy storage of dried tomatoes, plus you get to re-use most of the oil in the jar. Win, win!

I have never used a pressure canner, but there are many sites on the web about their use, and they have many fans. Good luck! (I do share your fear..)

Yes, I use a water bath canner to do my passata. Here in Oz the traditional brand is Fowlers Vacola, so that's what we call it:)

@ Chris, yes, used Abebooks only to discover they are owned by Amazon!

@ Lew, thanks so much for those suggestions. I know everyone uses Amazon, including small retailers, but that just makes me dig my feet in further! I think I will order straight from the publisher - I know JMG has said in the past that he earns more of an author's cut that route. And I am sure Hubbard's estate is directed somewhere worthy. Probably to the upkeep of his cottage, which is preserved as somewhat of a museum to the simple life.

TalkingTrees said...

Hello once again

I am drawn to the idea of eccentricity being valued. I always wonder - with a sense of glee - how many 'misfits' are successfully 'passing' alongside us? I like the idea of outliers, Lew, statistically they are dismissed but the best research takes them up.

As for the travails surrounding children and their/our similarities to dogs/animals let's just say that difference is complicated intra species let alone inter species. I like dogs. I appreciate them and their place in life in general. I don't, however, want to have one as my lover/life companion?

I always support those who choose to remain childless. Whether they choose not to have children for ideological reasons, positive or negative prejudices about children or they are unable to have children psychologically or biologically, not having children is the best decision for them. Rearing children is hard work on all levels and if not able to be approached with joy and gratitude but simply as somehow life, it can become a sad affair indeed. There is a process at work whether children are yours or someone else's. They will be born, need to be born and truly even with all of the 'oopses' in the world, who knows what the outcome of their lives will be? It seems to me this applies even to the dog world? Why rush to judgement? Life is messy but it wins through and will, even in the midst of the 'long descent'?

I am impressed with the increase in solar capture, Chris. Such a good outcome.

Like you we have had a wet winter with small waterfalls and underground springs discharging to the surface and our creek running now for many weeks for the first time since the last long drought. Such a recharging of the water table is a delight to see. Dangerous though in terms of the seduction to plant food forests as if they might survive....

Warm regards to you and your lovely commenters,

Helen

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Absolutely, context is everything, but it also implies an ability to read the context of a situation and then make a judgement about what you see. Some people from what I've seen of life tend to be able to ignore context altogether, but that can be jarring for other people and I'm unsure whether they connect with other people at all anyway. Dunno. I find this stuff to be quite fascinating and I'm constantly testing myself about guessing peoples motivations and then comparing that guess against how a situation plays out over time. Did you know that with some people I have a great deal of trouble connecting at all and I draw a complete blank on my reading, but those people tend to share a similar trait of being easily or perpetually disappointed. I have wondered about that for a long while but perhaps it may be that I have no desire to share their worldview? Dunno.

Yeah, I sort of understood that, but wanted to talk about the larger issues. I can see his point of view too, you could certainly try it and see what happens.

As to the first point I lack the experience and so am unable to form a valid opinion, so I'll just take your experience. The boss dog tends to be female and size is rarely a problem. Scritchy is one mean little lady and she more or less keeps the other dogs, who are much bigger, in line, plus she gets first taste on any food that she is interested in. They do her bidding.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

That is a great point. I had to look up the definition of "misfit" to see exactly what it meant. Interesting! My old Oxford dictionary defines misfit as: Garment etc. that does not fit the person it is meant for. The more recent definition of the word does not mention this at all. Quirky is a good one and I for one approve. Honestly, I'd like to have enough funds and resources to be considered eccentric, but this may have to wait for all of us for another lifetime... Oh well, we all do what we can. ;-)!

Yes, well, they are gambling that their view of the future is correct. It seems like an extraordinarily risky thing to do, but then I live in a forest that is subject to wildfires, so perhaps I have little credibility? Go Rudolph!

Would you believe I have had even more rain over the past few days. The recent floods and fires over in the US were pretty extreme, so I hope everyone here is OK?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Well done for undertaking the tomato experiment. As to your question what we found was that:

- The dehydrated tomatoes did not become soft again once they were immersed in the olive oil;
- They did not lose their sharp tomato flavour even after six months in olive oil;
- We found that the olive oil was good for a preserving technique for about six months, although we found that the drier and harder the tomatoes were, the longer they lasted. So the conclusion we drew was that the tomatoes had to be dried to a crisp. If they were less than fully crisped then they very slightly fermented by about six months, whilst the dry ones were still perfect; and
- Next season we will try preserving some in white vinegar to see if we can extend the shelf life even further.

None of those were canned and the lids were only screwed onto the glass bottles (jars). We relied on the dehydration process to kill off any and all biological activity. We’re talking now here about how to do the dehydration process over a two day period as the dehydrator sucks a lot of power out of the house batteries…

Also, we are going to attempt Jo's famous passata recipe and see how much we can bottle. That however requires a hot water bath for the preserving technique which is very different from a pressure cooker.

On a very serious note, I avoid pressure cookers as you have to be really careful with the rubber seal, and down here they have had a few recent examples of a very well known and very expensive brand apparently popping resulting in major burns for the poor people involved in that mess.

A hot water bath preserving method is also dangerous if one is not careful, but to my mind it is relatively less dangerous than a pressure cooker. I use a hot water bath to preserve fruits and tomato puree and it is simple to understand and follow.

Incidentally, I froze a few jars of the tomato puree and it seems no different to the stuff that went through the hot water bath. I just reckon the passata is going to be better! Yum!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Wow, what an excellent point. The one size fits all approach, to my mind, appears to be a reworking of the dominant narrative and that sort of takes away the ability for people to look outside of that narrative and say to themselves: What else can we achieve here? Plus it is the cheapest option too. Not everyone is up for that narrative either, from what I've seen. The editor and I were discussing your point today about boosting self esteem. We sort of came to the conclusion that it doesn't really address inequality of opportunity for young people. Some kids are just taught better lessons as children by their parents or schools than others. And how do you put that into a lesson plan? I was lucky enough to have done my final years of high school at a private school (apparently I needed more discipline) whilst the editor came from the very wrong side of the tracks, and wow did my mum hate that or what? But the editor also has two degrees, a post graduate, and a masters so she is no intellectual slouch, but perhaps would have achieved greater things if given better environmental opportunities from a younger age? Dunno, things work out like they do.

I see that one size fits all approach being applied to a lot of different situations where a set of guiding principles would be far more valuable towards achieving a collective goal. My gut feeling is that what we are seeing here is the diminishing returns of strategies that worked well when there was a lot of energy and resources to throw at them but are beginning to fray at the edges, but I could be wrong and it may be something else altogether. Dunno.

Oooo! Lucky you two! They do half price Tuesdays (they call them tight ass Tuesdays down here) at the major cinemas down here too, but still would have been twice what you paid, but as you wrote as you get closer to the Chicago area the prices go up. It was a very loud film wasn’t it, and the Beastie Boy's classical bit of music: Sabotage, didn't really help, although I instantly recognised it as I was of an age when I recalled its initial release. One of those guys is dead now too... Where do the years go? :-)! Plus you can't totally destroy a starship without a whole lot of explosions?

Oh, I have shared that experience with a very nasty Light Sussex rooster and like you I came to the same conclusion very rapidly. That rooster knew stink eye too whilst he was killing the smaller ladies. Yes, it was probably a surprise to him when his head was separated from his body. Roosters can be very good at their jobs, or they can be nasty vicious creatures and I have yet to meet one that inhabits the middle ground.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

Yes, divination does work well because of game theory. I recommend to you to read the book by the now long dead author (when you get a chance of course): The Art of War by Sun Tzu. He has much to say on the matter and the book itself is as relevant for life as it is for war.

That can be true for sure, but honest self-assessment - as long as it is not overly indulged - is usually an act of humility. If it is over indulged it can lead to narcissism and no one really wants to be around that gear. As a suggestion try playing a game where you guess what other peoples motivations are, keep them to yourself and then observe how things worked out in practice. Or try and predict other peoples future actions based on what you know of them. It is all harmless stuff as long as you don’t disclose your insights, but it can be useful as a self protective mechanism too.

Oh yeah, it is toast for what can't be sustained won't be sustained. The old timer houses always used to be much smaller. As another suggestion (when you get a chance) go and have a look at some old timer houses that are preserved (we have the National Trust down here) and see how the old timers lived and in what sort of conditions. Look specifically for the heating methods, sizes of rooms etc. You may be amazed to see what can be gleaned by even a short visit.

Fair enough. Cats can wait too. :-)!

Exactly! That is an excellent and very honest bit of self-assessment. Contemplation is good, but it can be overdone and as you say, it can become counterproductive. Top work and it is good to read that you know yourself well. Out of curiosity, what are you studying?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Ha! You hardly seem senile to me. That claim was hysterical too. Speaking of hysterical, even after a decade here I'm still a Johnny come lately and I reckon it takes about three generations before you can claim the well-earned title of old timer. Mind you, you and I will be old timers by default due to increasing bouts of senility! We won't know or even care about the difference!!!! Oh my, we do descend into the land of silly every now and then.

I can watch a film more than once, but I can't shake the overall narrative from my mind. The specifics may blur, but the overall story is locked down. That doesn't mean that I don't enjoy re-watching a film either. I watched the second half of the film: End of the Tour, last night (it takes me months to watch a film here) and I really enjoyed getting into the head space of the David Foster Wallace character and also the Rolling Stones journalist and their back and forth interactions and how it played out. It was a good film although to be honest it was a little bit sad. The David Foster Wallace character just wanted to connect and be liked and also decompress from the sensory overload of the book tour. It (the adulation) would have been very tough on a persons psyche.

Fortunately for me the excellent commentariat here keeps ones ego from ever over inflating! I'm actually a pretty humble guy anyway so there is no fear of that happening anyway. Maybe! Hehe!

Yeah, pears need to be ripened off the tree so they soften a bit, otherwise they are reasonably unpleasant to eat. It is probably small fruit too because the tree itself wasn’t thinned of fruit early in the season. The Asian pears ripen a bit softer on the tree though. I grow a few of them, but the trees are still young so I let the birds harvest them. We call them Nashi Pears down here and they are quite tasty.

I do love winter, and reading about your summer, I'm kind of having to admit to myself that I'm getting a bit over the cold now, so it is fortunate that spring is almost here! Having said that, the first hot day of the summer and I'll be totally over the summer and there will be months of that to go. We're done here with that heat business is what I’ll be thinking, but til that time I shall enjoy tales of your warm days and wild fruit gleaning escapades...

Yeah, I don't know about the vinegar either, but later in the year more will be understood. It is like everything here, the more experience with systems, the more knowledge you have with them.

Lucky you to find the grapes. Top work. Plus the garlic would be ready to pull and dry right now. Did the mystery fruit look bright green, was slightly firm, but had a multitude of small dots on it?

I took out some more tree stumps today which was fun, but very hard work (like wrestling Gigantor, I reckon). Still it is easier than using the axe. Now you may not sympathise, but I have recently purchased a cupboard to put all of the various demijohns and rice jars that are all bubbling away producing my home brew. Why put them in a cupboard? Well, my thinking is that I can then close the door on that unit when visitors turn up and then the whole judgement thing goes away. Every time I mention home brew to guests, they feel happy to say to me: You sure do drink a lot. And it totally annoys me because even with all of the brewing activities, the editor and I get to enjoy one glass for four nights of every week. One glass! Mate, I am in total awe of how they used to do this brewing business back in the day and the ladies that did that particular job really would have wielded some community power. The industrial food chain has links so long that no one can even see the end of them... Sorry, I'm ranting. Anyway, the cupboard needs a sanding!!! I doubt that things here will ever be finished, maybe after I am dead or something like that! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

"Perpetually disappointed" - that's a good description of some people. I have been trying an experiment for some time of just taking people as they seem to be, as the image that they seem to be trying to portray. It seems to soothe people that I only expect them to be what they think they are. We have a neighbor down the road who is sort of loopy - years of drugs and drink, it appears - and I always show him that I take his concerns very seriously, that what he says matters. Respect first, in all situations.

Our boss dogs were always female. My sister says the same. Hmmm . . .

Our part of the country is just fine - lots of water, a fair amount of sun, though still quite hot. No fires, either.

Thank you for your notes on tomatoes in olive oil. I accidentally discovered how to make the crispy dried ones soft again when a had my fiasco with the pressure canner. Apparently the jars were in the heat long enough for the tomatoes to soften up again! They also have a wonderfully smoky taste. I have been eating them at every meal. But, gee, you are in no way helping my shattered nerves to steady with your recounting of these pressure canners "exploding". What to do! What to do!

I really like this: "things work out like they do".

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ W.B.:

This concept of yours is really good: "I find that quite often other people know you better than you know yourself. The human mind includes quite a few methods to hide things from yourself. So, in order to find out whether my motivations match what I think, I sometimes ask really close friends why they think I did something. I find the threat of making a fool of myself like that also has the added benefit of causing my subconscious to start spitting things out. I don't know if it would work for everyone, but it works for me at least."

I shall try to put it into practice. And it could help me a lot to consider whether I am about to make a fool of myself, as I have a, um, slight propensity in that direction.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Jo:

Thank you for your tomatoes in oil suggestions. I just made a comment to Chris about accidentally softening them up . . .

I had no idea that Abebooks are owned by Amazon. I ordered something from them once. I am not too keen on Amazon.

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Talking Trees,

Welcome back.

Yes eccentricity is a good word, and I reckon you just never know how many are walking past you?

Fair enough about the dogs, but I'm not sure anyone was making that particular claim, but I do hear you. It would be a bit weird wouldn’t it? I described Fluffy as a familiar in the old school meaning of that word as I believe that is what she was.

Oh yeah, rearing children from what I can see and am told - under the current social arrangements for that activity - is hard work. People always use the term: Unrelenting to describe that activity. As an outsider to that arrangement people confide in me all their dark stuff for some reason, but I feel that it is the lack of co-operation amongst the community is what makes that activity isolating for the people involved. People are genuinely worried that their children will be kidnapped for example and this seems like a very strange thing to believe, and yet they do. The whole activity is basically dysfunctional in its current form and when I was a young child one parent down here was able to work and on that single income maintain a household, this is a very difficult proposition down here nowadays. But again, I have no experience with such things (other than the single mum bit) so I should probably keep my mouth closed for risk of being shouted down.

Thanks. The trouble time for solar is really three weeks either side of the winter solstice when the sun is low in the sky and the days are short. If you are further north, the trouble period is less.

Yeah, the winter rain has been awesome and glad to read that your creeks are now running again. The orchard here mostly survives even the longest and hottest droughts with minimal and usually non existent watering. I deliberately have stressed the trees so that they put down deeper roots, whilst simultaneously building the top soil so it holds more water. That has required a phenomenal amount of organic matter though.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Sorry to hear about that.

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - Yeah, pressure cookers give me the willies, too. :-). I don't have one and have never had one. But ... I always see things in the newspaper, about this time of year reminding you to take your pressure cooker into your local county extension agent to check the rubber seal, the gage (to see that it's accurate) and, the pressure relief valve. I guess it's kind of a tune up for the pressure cooker :-). Also, our county extension office offers short classes on pressure canning. Just a suggestion, but maybe if you took one of those classes, you'd feel better about using the pressure cooker?

@ WB - LOL. I'm old so I can get away with blurting things out. :-). One of my favorites to trot out is "I am so glad I'm single and childless." That usually gets a laugh out of the people who are not single and childless, as, they know exactly what I'm talking about. Those who get offended are the single and childless who have no sense of humor. :-). I have attended meetings where it's mostly all guys. I'm usually about the only one who doesn't have a significant other at home. I get a certain amount of razzing about that ... tinged with a bit of envy. If the razzing gets to be a bit much, I start referring to myself as "the undomesticated male" and point out that there is no "honey do list" in my life. That usually brings the razzing to a screeching halt.

Ah, cats. I have a little cat named Nell, who I dearly love. She's about 5 years old. But, probably within the next 6 months I'm going to be moving from the country (boonies? bush?) to a small apartment. After a lot of thought, I've decided that Nell would probably be really miserable in an apartment, after having so much freedom. So, I've got a very good home lined up for her, on another farm. Letting her go will be the last thing I do when I move ... and it will be a very sad day. I could have another cat or a small dog, where I'm moving. Will I? Don't know, yet. Haven't decided. I just can't quit convince myself that apartment living is ok for an animal. Personal choice, I know. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Ah. I just checked my Carla Emery's Old Fashioned Recipe Book, and it's got a good section on making apple vinegar. Don't know why I didn't think of it in the first place. I had checked out a couple of books on "making" vinegar from the library, and it was all yuppie artisanal stuff. "You start with vinegar and ..." Not what I was looking for. I was looking for "You take an apple and ..."

Well, it was 97F (36.11C) yesterday, so, of course, I decide to bake. The 12 Step Club is having a spaghetti feed / fund raiser. Everything provided ... except desert. So, I decide I'll take a big crisp. I'm too greedy and it's too early to tear loose any of my blueberries, so I decide on apple. And, I decide to make two, one to taste test and one to take. So, I've got to peel and core a bucket of apples. It was really too hot to tackle such a fussy task and I was feeling a bit testy and frazzled by the time I got all the apples ready. So, I took a nap and waited for nightfall to do the baking. I figure I'll pick up a can of that whipped cream stuff on the way to town. It's supposed to start cooling down tomorrow.

"Months to watch a film." Because of slow download speeds, because you have so much to do, or both? Electrical power used? Here, my download speeds are really slow. They promise 4 and you get 1.5. I never watch movies, on line. The occasional 1 hour program off of You Tube. But, I have to wander off and do something else while it's downloading ... and I have a hard time sitting at my desk and watching something for that long on my computer.

The mystery fruit just looks like a miniature apple. Red and yellow. I can't imagine what you'd use if for. Or how hard to process it would be. Brother Bob grew all kinds of unusual things. It's not a sport. It's in the "formal" part of the orchard. I was happy to see the garlic. Last year, I dug a lot of it up, but, every once in awhile I'd break up a cluster and spread it around. Apparently, it worked.

As to the booze. I think it's really kind of funny that "normies" would make comments like that, but a person, like me "in recovery" never would. Or at least I wouldn't. I'm aware that not everyone has problems with alcohol, and can drink in a responsible and social way. It's all in perception, I suppose. It's often commented on in meetings that we just don't "get" people that don't drink a bottle to the last drop ... or, who leave a drink unfinished in a bar. LOL. Part of recovery, I think, is coming to the realization that I didn't drink the way most people drink. That my relationship with booze was not normal, or, like most of the rest of the world.

Well, I just tell myself that I'll get around to whatever I haven't gotten around to, in my next life. While reminding myself that there's probably time to do a few things I haven't done, in this life. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Annette,

Welcome!

Yeah, the flowers are great - and there usually is some plant in flower every day of the year. I've been planting a more extensive and diverse collection every year too as they are really good for the smaller birds, and all of the small life like reptiles, frogs and insects.

Cheers

Chris

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

No, of course no one was making that claim and yes, I got the notion of Fluffy as your familiar. Dogs and cats as companionate animals are a great source of comfort. I might be just a touch sensitive about dogs/children having been told at one point that children were poor dog substitutes with the implication that dogs are more loveable and open to training. Whatever the case may be about the issues around the education/training of children and dogs, it seems to me such comparisons are not very useful. We had an 'attack' cat when I was girl. She would bale people up as they walked through the kitchen and attack their ankles if they ignored her. If my mother spent too long on the 'phone she would launch herself at the hand piece or just my mother. A return from days away meant a very angry cat. She was a well-loved cat even though she remained untrainable.

As someone who grew up in the fifties, sixties in rural Australia it was totally normal to be out the door after breakfast and gone until called for the next meal. I think though we might have been a lot more visible to neighbours than we imagined. In terms of today the world seems to have changed. Children are perceived as more vulnerable perhaps or more precious?

That's good advice about planting trees and managing them to ensure their survival. Thanks. We have an old orchard that was already established when we bought the farm but that long drought meant poor yields and trees prone to attack from fruit fly, which we had never seen here before then. Our geese cleaned up windfalls and we made sure all affected fruit was tossed their way. Hopefully this year will be a better one. Last year our plums stewed on the trees and even the geese weren't partial to them! I have a large organic compost/mulch pile (purchased) and that is gradually being wheelbarrowed onto the beds and around the trees that need it. Hard work but satisfying.

Is it feasible to eventually use vegetable oil in your generator for those days when solar gain is too little for your batteries safe functioning?

Warm Regards,

Helen

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam, Lewis, and Helen.

Thanks for the lovely comments but I am unable to reply this evening and promise to reply tomorrow.

I really will, you know! :-)!

On completely different note altogether, the editor spotted a very rare meteorological event last evening which I managed to get a photo of... This nature thing is seriously strange stuff. Til then!

Cheers

Chris

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Hi Chris,

I've used divination a fair bit before, and I find it does work rather well. I don't really care whether it's providing insights into the universe I missed before, or just by altering my behaviour unpredictably things turn out better, but it works, and that's enough for me.

I find the ideal way to make the "ask other people" method give the best insights is to firmly decide I will ask, then spend a little time reflecting, trying to get my thoughts out (I sometimes use it as a theme for meditation), then ask. I find that it's harder to justify not asking yourself the uncomfortable questions if you know someone else will. It thus needs to be someone you trust, knows you well, and is comfortable telling you off when you're being utterly ridiculous.

I've seen older houses, I've always been interested in old things so it is something I've looked into. What struck me is that not one of them was very large by modern standards. They were perfect size for me, but by modern standards unbearably tiny. Another thing that struck me was they seem better insulated than any house built recently...

And I just read over and realised I forget to add it's an outdoor cat shelter I've seen plans for. So i'll build it, see if any feline friends come to visit, and if so, well then I will have an animal companion. If not, I'll just try again later.

I'm studying linguistics with the idea of becoming an ESL teacher. Here in Canada we have a large population of immigrants, as well as a large domestic population that can benefit, so I think it's a fairly secure job short term, and I like teaching, so I feel like it'll be something I can enjoy. Long term, well, I don't know where I'm going, but I don't think I can until I know what options emerge.

Pam,

I share that propensity, and it's both a blessing and a curse. I find it helpful in circumstances where others get nervous, given that I can truthful tell myself "No one will judge you for this. You've already done x..." But when I need to look serious and professional, it's a complete curse. I find it hard to do it at the best of times...

Lew,

Well, I can also get away with blurting things out, but that's because people who know me know I do it. It's a good thing to be able to do, I think keeping mouths shut in the name of politeness is not always a good thing. And yes, there are benefits to being single :)

In regards to your dilemma with animals, it's a hard question, isn't it? I don't know that there's a good answer. I think it's a good idea to let Nell go, but I can see why it's going to be a really sad day. If you do move, I wish you the best of luck with it. :)

Annette Simard said...

Hi Pam. The easiest way to learn to operate your canner is to go to your extention service and sign up for a class with the Master Canner. I did that to good effect. Does your state have this program?

Otherwise, there are many farmers and homesteaders who have been canning their whole lives. They can show you. Because there are some safety features to pay attention to, it is really best to get instruction with show and tell.

Annette

LewisLucanBooks said...

Re: A name for us outliers ... contrarians? Really doesn't have much ... zing.

Yo, Chris - Seems our heat wave has finally broken. It was 97F, yesterday, but is only supposed to get too 70, today. And, it seems like that's what it's going to do. Lots of big white fluffy clouds and a cool breeze. I hope that last bit was our last heat wave, but there's plenty of time for more.

Wasn't a very good turn out for the spaghetti feed at the Club. I had forgotten that this week is county fair week. And, last night was rodeo night, which I hear was a sell out. There was still enough people for a good social time and the spaghetti and trimmings were really good. I only took home one piece of crisp. But then, mine was the only desert. Still, I got a lot of compliments on it. Glad I went with the apple. The guy who was cooking said he didn't like blueberries. Can't imagine :-) Lew

Annette Simard said...

Oh I just checked: Virginia does have a master food preserver program. I hope you can take a class from them!

Annette Simard said...

Hi back at you Cris.

I'm confused: I thought I responded to Pam in Virginia regarding her fear of pressure canners. . .

I do agree with you: year around flowering plants are wonderful.

Annette

Annette Simard said...

@Jo.

Hello. You can get Payne Hollow From Powells Books.

They have a website and they are an awesome bookstore that covers a whole city block in Portland, Oregon.

Annette