Monday, 17 October 2016

Winding your way down on Scruffy Street

This blog is now available as an mp3 podcast through the link: www.ferngladefarm.com.au

I’d like to introduce a new member to our group – Bones Anonymous – tonight and was hoping that everyone can make Sir Scruffy, who is on his first meeting, feel very welcome here.

Everyone: Hi, Sir Scruffy!

Can you tell everyone something about why you are here tonight? The moderator then hands the talking stick to Sir Scruffy who accepts it with good grace.

Thanks everyone for making me feel welcome as I’m a bit nervous as this is my first meeting and all. By the way, we can drop the whole “Sir” thing here as it is just Scruffy.

Everyone again: Hi Scruffy!

Yeah, thanks again. Um, well, I’ve always had this problem with bones and the enjoyment is no longer there for me. I see a bone and it becomes a personal challenge and I turn into a horrid monster. Yes, thanks, I appreciate the disbelief, but here I feel I must keep it real and tell it like it is. Yes, that's right: horrid monster. It all came to a bit of a head about two weeks ago when I was enjoying the Spring sunshine and totally destroying, sorry I meant enjoying, a quiet chew of my beef bone when Poopy the Pomeranian (he is technically a Swedish Lapphund, but let’s not give him airs and graces shall we?) walked way too close to my bone. Not fair, it was my bone, I tell you. Oh sorry, there I go again. And anyway, Poopy copped a good, well deserved and proper biting from me and our dog fight extended for quite a distance into the orchard. Who would have thought that Poopy would have put up such a good fight? Not I! He is pretty handy in a scrap.
Sir Scruffy enjoys a good chunk of bone
Anyway, that is when things turned really ugly. My owner Chris, had to break up the dog fight which I would have won. Chris grabbed me by my collar and dragged me back into the house. Poopy got the bone too. What was worse was that Chris looked me in the eye and said: “You used to be the best dog in the household! What has become of you?” At those words, I felt shame, although technically I still was the best dog in the household, merely because no other dog had seized that title. I had to admit though I do have a problem with bones and I was the major contributor to the ongoing canine Bone Wars. Yes, I freely admit that I have a problem with bones.

“Winding your way down on Scruffy Street
Light in your head and dead on your paws
Well, another crazy day
You'll munch the night away
And forget about everything”

I used to be the best behaved dog, before the bones. Well, technically, I still am the best behaved dog amongst a very motely pack; surely my owners understand that I’m still the same dog underneath it all? It will all blow over in time, maybe.

Anyway, I’m here tonight because, well, I want to find a way back to that unquestioned best behaved dog status. It was a good thing being the best dog ever, as I got to sleep on the floor in the bedroom. I acted as the interpreter for the outside dogs too during the night. For example: Are those fools barking at another boring wombat (unless it was wombat bones… Mmmm wombat bones!) or are they barking at something that needs human attention, like the when the drunks drove down the driveway late one night. How good am I?
Sir Scruffy enjoys his perquisite of sleeping in the bedroom and acting as interpreter for the other dogs
Look, my problem began because I just never had bones as a puppy. None! No bones, anywhere. Not even wombat bones. And bones are the best ever! Look at my bright shiny teeth. Yup, I just can’t control my feelings towards the bones. So, I’m here tonight looking for a canine sponsor to help me control my bones compulsion. As long as it is not Poopy. Who'd want Poopy as a sponsor? Look, the other day he was posing for a photo beside the rapidly growing broad beans.
Poopy poses for a photo beside the broad beans
What a showbag that dog is, he looks good on the outside, but is totally full of rubbish on the inside. And he wants my bones. Oh no, do I have to make amends with Poopy?

Someone in the Group: Yes, Scruffy, it probably isn’t a bad idea to make amends for your past behaviour with Poopy.

What! Well, perhaps I better make amends with Poopy. You don’t know what sort of week I’ve had. It has been one tough week.

Moderator of the Group: Tell us about your week Scruffy, but don’t rubbish on too much or I’ll call it time on you.

“And it's taken you so long
To find out you were wrong
When you thought it held everything”

Oh, well, OK, I can do that. Well, this week it has been waaaaay windy! Do you know how hard it is to look cool when the wind is blowing so strongly that a dog looks exactly like a shag pile carpet from the 1970’s! Yeah, and not like that carpet looked back in the 1970’s when it was new, but as the same carpet would look today. Honestly, it is enough to send any best behaved dog in any household back off the wagon and onto the bones.
Sir Scruffy struggles to stay looking cool in the strong winds this week
Earlier in the week, I wasn’t able to enjoy bones because it was cold. Really cold, so I stayed inside the house as much as possible and practiced my next best gift: Sleeping. And I’m really good at sleeping. I can sleep in the hallway, which has a very nifty in built library, although none of the books have anything useful to say on the subject of bones. Hang on, is that an anatomy book? Oh, interesting!
Sir Scruffy practices sleeping in the hallway / library
But my other favourite spot to explore my gift of sleep is in my sleeping basket. That basket is mine and when I see Poopy sleeping in it, the first thing I do is dob on Poopy! And Poopy always gets evicted, because I was the best behaved dog in the household. So there! Best of all, the sleeping basket is near the wood heater and I feel toasty warm at night, when other lesser canines have to sleep outside.
Sir Scruffy practices sleeping in his sleeping basket
Observant listeners will notice that I look less than impressed in the above photo. Well, there is a good reason for that bad attitude. That’s because the wood heater has been quite smoky this week and hasn’t been putting out much heat. Anyway, on the first dry sunny day, I sent Chris up onto the roof to clear out the wood heater flue. He is very clever and can climb up onto the roof. You would not see me up there.
Chris cleans out the wood heater flue with an extendable brush
Apparently the extendable brush was pushed a long way down into the flue of that wood heater. It is a very clever idea, and I certainly would have come up with such a clever idea if anyone had bothered to ask my opinion.
The extendable brush can be pushed a long way down the wood heater flue
Not much soot fell out of the wood heater flue that day. What actually happened was that a whole lot of steel from inside the combustion chamber had delaminated and blocked up the flue. As I am a sophisticated and intelligent canine of noble breeding, I will not recount the exact words used by Chris to express his dissatisfaction with the wood heater as they included a number of extraordinary and inventive expletives. Who cares anyway as the heater is now burning strongly again. Chris probably needed a nice bone to calm him down. Bones aren’t the problem, they are the solution! Ooops, can I say that here? Sorry for the slip up. Yes, bones are bad.
A large quantity of delaminated steel and a small quantity of soot blocked up the flue in the wood heater this week
Chris was clearly a glutton for punishment this week as he dug up various sections of the gardens watering system today and laid the pipes over the surface. Of course, on a recent dog walk in a local botanical garden I happened to point out to Chris, that those clever gardening people also place their water pipes on the surface and how come we don’t too? Well, I did get a rather withering look from Chris, so I shall keep my opinions to myself in future. One doesn't want to buy more trouble.
Sections of the watering system were dug up, checked for leaks and placed on the soil surface
Who knows what things humans are doing all the time with their constant tinkering and digging. Pah for that! The only digging should be when you are digging up previously buried bones, that’s proper digging that is! Sorry, it’s the bones you see… I just can’t help it!

“You used to think that it was so easy
You used to say that it was so easy
But you're trying, you're trying now”

Then they were mucking around with lovely smelling manure and some plants. Chris said something about the water had to be connected before the tomato seedlings could be planted and so the water pump had to also be replaced as well for some strange reason. There was lots of huffing and puffing in between some rather unsavoury talk. Humans! Anyway, eventually all of the tomato seedlings were planted out. And I said to them: What are you going to do with the rest of the tomato seedlings. And they looked at me and said: Get lost! No wonder, I have to find comfort where I can. Poor Sir Scruffy...
The tomato seedlings were all planted out today just before a couple of solid days of rain were forecast
Given the humans didn’t want me around, I thought I’d do a show and tell for the group and take you on a quick tour showing how everything is going!

“Another year and then you'd be happy
Just one more year and then you'd be happy”

I noticed today that they put some sticks into the two asparagus beds. I don’t know what they’re doing and no doubt, they don’t know what they’re doing either! Still, they must know something, mustn’t they?
The asparagus beds have now had timber supports placed in them so as to stop the spears from falling over
Then I spotted this mysterious flowering bulb. No doubt someone at this meeting will hopefully be able to tell me what it is. Anyone? Then I can show those humans just how smart I am? Well, I was the best behaved dog after all.
The mysterious flowering bulb which produced flowers
Flowers, flowers and more flowers! Can you eat them, that’s what I want to know? I can’t even reach the quince flowers either, but I’m told that they are very attractive.
The quince fruit trees are flowering this week
Yeah, yeah, more flowering bulbs. Blue bells this time.
Bluebells are sporting flowers all over the place
And don’t forget that I was once the best behaved dog in the household! Oh yeah, it is not about me is it, because the next flowers are forget me nots (Haha! How good was that joke, I told you that I was a clever dog!).
Forget me nots are very hardy and reliable flowering plants and even a little bit weedy
The flowers on the pear trees are again out of my reach. I only wanted a taste of them. How unfair! Anyway, there are a lot of unreachable pear flowers this week.
The Asian and European pear trees are flowering
Dogs like chips and I am no exception. Of course being an intelligent dog, I realise that chips come from potatoes so it is very good that Chris planted a lot of them this year. And best of all they seem to be growing well!
The first of the potatoes produced leaves this week
The radishes have also germinated earlier this week. Seriously, what sort of dog eats radishes? What do you mean that you put white radish into my dog biscuit mix. Yuk!
The many radishes and beets have germinated this week in the sunshine
I like bones, but I also like strawberries and it is a total disgrace and a major chunk of unfair that Chris and the editor put layers of bird netting over the many strawberry plants just to keep me out. Not fair at all I tell you!
Several layers of bird netting were placed over the many strawberry plants to protect the fruit and plants from pretty much everything!
Being an old dog, you kind of remember the past and stuff. So I wanted to show a before and after shot to show what is possible for a reasonably neglected garden bed in four years which was the time between the first photo and the second.
Making a garden bed on a steep slope 2012
The same slope in 2016

“He's got this dream about buying some land
He's gonna give up the bones and the one-dog nights
And then he'll settle down
In some quiet little town
And forget about everything”

Thanks for listening to my story and with your support and sponsorship I promise to be better behaved in the future. Woof! Woof!

And also serious apologies to Gerry Rafferty for destroying his most excellent song Baker Street. Dogs will be dogs!

The temperature outside now at about 8.15pm is 8.3’C (46.9’F). So far this year there has been 1,040.8mm (41.0 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 1,020.2mm (40.2 inches).

72 comments:

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Sir Scruffy!

Ohhh! My side hurts; you're killing me with these revelations! I don't know if I can go on! Luckily, down the line, I see tomatoes and potatoes and flowers. I shall persevere.

Pam

P.S. You are very photogenic. Bah on that Poopy. He's just a fuzzball.

margfh said...

Hi Scruffy,

Leo here. I totally agree about bones. Fortunately Margaret's husband, Doug, always has two so I don't have to fight Salve for it. She is the alpha dog around here. Sometimes I don't know what I was thinking when I found her and brought her up to the house. It is good to have company when our owners are out. You know what's almost as good as bones - deer antlers. Sometimes our owners find antlers in the woods when out for a walk. They last forever!! Salve even brings hers up to bed at night.

That's a nice rug you've got but I'll do you one better - I get to lay on the couch!! They finally relented and let me lay on a sheet on one of the couches but only me. Margaret said two dogs on the couch was one too many so Salve is out of luck. This is as it should be as I was here first and am the oldest. It's bad enough that she tries to push me out of pans we get to lick and butts in whenever someone is trying to pet me. Now a bed is even better. A few years when Margaret was out of town Doug let me up on their bed (Margaret hates dog hair on furniture). She was not pleased when she returned. Well when summer it came it was too hot for all of us in the bed so I was banished. If only I had stayed at the bottom I might still be there but I much preferred sleeping between them. I still prefer beds and check every door when they go out just in case someone forgot to close one. Sometimes a guest doesn't close a door tight and that's a major score for me. I love guests!!

I don't think you've
had the pleasure of children coming to visit. They are a great source of people food. Salve and I plant ourselves underneath them to catch any droppings. Sometimes they just hand us food especially if it's something they don't like. We are not fussy when it comes to people food. Too bad that the granddaughters are eleven now because they don't spill nearly as much though they are sneakier as far as giving us treats. We also love running around with them too. Kids are way more fun than adults. You should ask Chris to invite some over sometime.

Well it's time to take a nap now. Next time we can share stories of rolling in poop.

Leo

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

A superbly well written story.

I don't bother to stake asparagus once they are past eating; letting them fall over doesn't seem to matter

Still quite warm here but we had hefty rain last night. My hedging has grown 10ft in 8 months, quite extraordinary.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Hi! Scruffy! - We're so glad you're here at Bones Anonymous! The newcomer is the most important person here! Because us old duffers get a little ... vague at times and tend to forget the gruesome details of our own bone addictions. Probably a combination of burning out massive amounts of brain cells and the occasional vascular flow problem.

So. Keep it up Buster, and you'll end up in prison, an insane asylum or dead. The elevator is going down, but you don't have to ride it all the way to the basement. We "suggest" you go to 90 meetings in 90 days. Don't gnaw in between. Don't think long term. Just think about today. Get yourself a sponsor. No one in the family or of the opposite sex. 13th Stepping is sordid, and counter productive. We'll have a quiet word with you about that, later.

Get yourself a Higher Power. Lots of latitude, there. Anything bigger than you. A stately tree you don't pee on? A very intelligent chicken? (Is that a contradiction in terms?). Maybe a massive kangaroo who won't put up with your nonsense and will give you the ol' stink eye when you natter on. I myself am partial to the 3.5 horsepower Briggs and Stratton engine, way down at the center of the universe, that keeps everything spinning. You decide.

Oh, poor you! Poor me, poor me, pour me another drink. Or in our case, gnaw me, gnaw me, gnaw me another bone. Really. Look for the silver lining. Contrary to those horrible carpets, you're not electric orange or that bilious green color that most of those carpet were.

Mmmm. By the way, do you know of a good 12 Step Group for Hersey pumpkin spice kisses? I swear, I think they put crack cocaine in those things. I cannot predict how many of those things I will eat. If I keep this up, I'll clean out the bank account and run up credit card debt. I may resort to selling precious tat. Or pimp out my cat as a mouse catcher. See? I'm telling some of your story, and you're telling some of mine. There isn't anyone who hasn't done exactly what you've done ... probably, several times. And, yes, you will have to apologize and try and make amends. But not now. Not today, or tomorrow. It's looming out there ... somewhere. Your sponsor will know when the time is right. Your brother in recover, Lew.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Gosh, your place is looking so beautiful with everything blooming along. We're deep into fall, here, which has it's own kind of "pretty." I really like the Forget Me Nots. There are some over at the old farm, and it's on my list of things to transfer to The Home. Mixed in are some blue Love in the Mist. They bloom at a slightly different time, with some overlap. The seed pods are really interesting.

I'm surprised that you think a good cast iron stove is difficult to find. Might be a cultural difference. Here, cast iron stoves are pretty thick on the ground. Not only new ones, but also old and used one. You have to be a bit careful with the used ones, but there is a lot written, and on line about how to go about checking out a used cast iron stove to make sure it's in good condition and will have a long life. My friends in Idaho had a really nice (and large) old cast iron kitchen range. They had to drive to Oregon, to get it. But they found a fellow with a barn full that he had rebuilt. The new owners made it a condition of sale that they leave it behind. They got another one in Idaho. Not a range, just for heating. It does have a flat top that they can use for simple cooking if the power goes out.

I got a BBC catalog the other day (Since I bought the "Two Fat Ladies" cooking vids, I guess I'm on the mailing list) and am surprised at the number of series that are filmed in Australia and New Zealand. One's I've never heard of. I don't know how many of them our library will get.

I had another serving of Bullwinkle, last night :-). I've been cutting up the underdone potatoes; salt, pepper and butter. A little bit of water. Nuke for 6 minutes and they're perfect. A piece of moose. Last night I sprinkled some diced shitake on top and then the pan drippings / gravy. Nuke for another 5 minutes. Perfect. I can't say the shitake add much to the flavor, but it's a really nice extra texture. I'm surprised. The meat looked very lean, but the gravy in the fridge? Absolutely no fat floating around on top.

I skimmed through Peter Reinhart's (the bread guru) "Whole Grain Breads," (2007) last night. I think it will be more useful, to me, than his "Bread Revolution." There's a whole history of American small bakery bread making, over the last 100 years. How they really took a hit when low carb diets became the rage (for awhile). LOL, he states that there's a little of the mad scientist in bread bakers. He had 350 volunteer testers for everything in this book. There was a lot of back and forth and ups and downs, to get to the final product.

I'm just about done with "32 Yolks; From My Mother's Table to Working the Line." (Ripert, 2016) A pretty interesting story of one chef's career path. The only complaint I have is that when he talks about certain dishes, the names are in French. With not even a hint of a translation. Most of the time, I have no idea if he's talking about apples or oranges. Fish or foul. It covers an interesting time in culinary history. The old guard who "came up through the ranks" and the new, culinary school trained chefs. The really successful chefs mixed up the two in their staffs. And, encouraged then to get along and learn from each other. Lew

Yahoo2 said...

A vote here for Scruffy's views on proper digging, in broadacre ag digging without a very good reason also has a name, recreational ploughing.:) I guess it would be called sump-tin fancy like time and motion study in the city.

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

Some dark force ate my last comment.

Tomato beds are about 40-50cm deep here but I do a little hilling up too because as I'm sure you know extra roots grow from stems and makes the plants sturdier. I hope the weather has eased and your tomatoes are settling in well. We have set aside a large patch for our potatoes which will go in as soon as our energy returns. Gusts are lovely but exhausting too. My husband has been given the all clear to return to normal duties (no squatting or running on hard surfaces) and I'm happy to share the work once again.

Brexit was a painful topic with our guests. They feel that the consequences of the vote are still unknown and unknowable. They are fairly sure the empire will not be resurrected any time soon and that the existing problems, including those with human movement, are unlikely to disappear. They have their home on the market and have for some time prior to Brexit and wish to return to the UK. Brexit adds to the layers of complexity.

Sir Scruffy, we are down to our last working dog. She was a hand reared puppy because her mother got septicemia. Her name is BeeGee from the BeeGee's song Staying Alive, which she did. She is deeply neurotic and is completely horrified by the idea that she is not a human. The vet warned us. I can't let her speak for herself or I would never gain access to the comments again. She would claim them and I would have no recourse.

Warm regards, Helen

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Kindling is a much under appreciated resource and I do that trick too in splitting larger firewood logs into much smaller kindling. I thought that you may have been using one of those two handed blade tools that sort of splits the grain after first being knocked into the wood and then you pull the blade through the firewood. I've also used the axe with a timber block to split timber, but the shock of the blow can be quite hard after an hour or two - especially on your shoulders. That's funny about the obesity problem being solved by manual labour. Very amusing. Our fossil fuels and machines are so good, we don't even notice them anymore. ;-)! You may be interested to know that I now spread the kindling randomly through my stacked firewood so that it comes out of the shed with the firewood logs. It seems to work.

All those different pioneering fencing arrangements would have been fascinating. The local resource base would have really dictated the particular fencing styles too, and the cultural background would have provided possiblilities. Even the Aboriginals used to construct fences from what I've read. It would be complex without steel...

Ouch. Thanks for the clarification and mental image of that train accident. That poor girl.

Wow! 80'F is way warm. Hopefully it is a very pleasant day though? People down here are complaining about the very cold and wet spring that we are having – although the long term average is showing that it is about normal for the maximum temperatures. I always tend to reply to those comments that at least it is better than the bushfires which were happening at this time last year (not too far from here either).

Cheers

Chris

Greetings Leo the Brave (second in command),

Mate, I hear you! Woof woof! Salve is like Scritchy, one tough alpha dog. Respects to Salve too and long live her reign. Doug is one clever human to provide two bones and thus avoid the dreaded Bone Wars. Hmmm, thank you for this sage advice my canine friend, I am now looking rather differently at the deer in this mountain range. Maybe as pack we can take down the stag? If we need help, we will ask and the spoils shall be shared, maybe with a bit more to Scritchy and Salve, just because it is best not to annoy them.

Couch. Oh. I dream of couch sleep. Yes, Toothy for some reason is protected by the editor - who outranks all of us, including Scritchy - and he is allowed on the couch too. Not fair. And Scritchy gives death stare number six to Toothy from the floor during such occasions. Toothy meanwhile acts oblivious to this injustice and lack of respect for the proper heirachy. I would not want that stare directed at me, so I give no offence. Of course, I salute your couch sleeping efforts, but am in awe of your bed efforts. It was good of you to introduce Salve to the household. Companions are excellent for mischief - you never know how fertile for mischief another canine brain can be. Scritchy is also obsessed with the bed, but is not allowed on it. The bed is on Scritchy's mind 24/7 and woe betide the casual visitor who may unfortunately leave the bathroom door open. Scritchy makes her move and has a devil may care attitude to being told off and smacked. In fact I am in awe of her sad old dog face number three which seems to reduce any punishment to inconsequential things. My friend, I tell you this in confidence: We have dead goat horns to chew on and they are strong and tasty, but you have raised serious possibilities with those timid deer. Yum!

Thank you for your stalwart suggestion about food scraps. Yes, I must organise this new source of food. And I will henceforth practice: Sad, hungry old dog face number two in preparation for these visits.

Rolling in wombat poop is the best perfume ever! How does deer poop rate? And I have heard of skunks. Yes skunks. Fascinating.

Yours sincerely,

Sir Scruffy BA

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thank you and I'm glad it cheered you up. It cheers me up too! I have no idea what the future holds but it really is an exciting time to be alive.

Yeah, the wind gusts were reaching about 60mph and some of these trees are in excess of 150ft here. On Saturday night we went to the local pub which is an old Art Deco pub up in this mountain range, for a meal with some friends and there were dozens of trees down across the local area. They often fall over in the flatter and more boggy areas – although that is no guarantee. I have a rule of thumb which says no trees in dropping distance of the house and it is a common sense response, although it is very much reviled. Yet, when the trees eventually fall over in huge winds they inevitably crush a house, car, or other thing and everyone says what a tragedy it is. My neighbours car was crushed by a tree a few years ago. I was in Melbourne earlier today and for whatever reason, a local council had planted lemon scented gums in the middle of a major road. Years down the track now these trees are huge - really massive! And that species of eucalyptus is known for dropping limbs when water, wind or heat stressed. I respect the trees, but there is a level of cluelessness about trees in our community which defies my understanding.

I do hope the continuing crapification is over - well at least as far as I am aware... I feel that I may have to build my own wood fired heater from solid masonry products but how to work a bread oven into it will be complex. Dunno. Are you seeing that crapification with products in your part of the world? It seems very strange but it appears at a rough glance to me to be an escalating issue.

Hehe! Sir Scruffy aims to entertain with delightful tails (sic)! Hehe! He started it!!!! Very glad to read that you enjoyed his story and I shall pass on your good cheer to Sir Scruffy BA.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Oh thank you very much, both Sir Scruffy and I appreciate your feedback. It is high praise. I am enjoying the process of writing short stories to both a word limit and a deadline every single week and not all stories here are equal and not all of them are fluffy and light, but the act itself of writing is cultivating a bit of a love for the short story in me. Thanks again!

Thanks for the information about the asparagus. It may surprise you but I have never grown the plant before either of these two beds – one of which was started three years ago. The wind has been knocking them over and I was truly a bit troubled that this may be costing the plants in terms of stored energy and future vitality. I read once that Jackie French opined that asparagus with care could last for over a hundred years - but the author neglected to mention how this was achieved, so I've sort of been reverse engineering the knowledge - as we are having to do with a lot of different things. Most authorities tend to give an estimate of twenty years for the plant, but I trust Jackie’s judgement.

Yes, it rained here today too. Quite heavily at times! The heat combined with the rain will produce that sort of - almost tropical like - rates of growth. Yup, although your growth rates are quite exceptional. Tree rings tell a fascinating tale of feast and famine years if anyone should care to look.

Sir Scruffy BA, says G'day Inge too! ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I'm actually kind of glad that the storm was a non event in your part of the world as nobody needs that kind of excitement. Both the terms atmospheric river and pineapple express conjure images of some seriously wet and unpredictable weather. Haha! The arm chair experts have come out to express their Monday morning opinions. How good is your term for that too? Like it! Cliff Mass, if he was a clever bloke - and of that I have little doubt - would possibly see what the masses had to say before opining? Has he said any more on this matter? Two lows in one location would be most unusual here. One may follow on the footsteps of another low, but not necessarily two at once. Wow! I'll bet the storm chasers were out in fury?

On a not unrelated matter, I have noticed that the tropical storms which form to the north west of this continent and travel across it in a south easterly direction, have recently been joining forces with the low pressure systems that have been forming over the Southern Ocean. It is all far too much for my poor brain to comprehend. That does not mean that the storms are not huge in scale, because they really are. It rained here again today and it was quite heavy at times.

I shouldn't laugh, but your description of rounding up the dog and cat and heading to the basement was quite good, although I don't reckon that you are joking around? Your description of your weather sounds exactly like what is happening down here. Some locations down here have been hit much harder than others. It would make for a fascinating study to see why that is the case?

Oh, I didn't know that. Part of my mental image of Ashland comes from Mr Greer's podcasts, although he does not disparage the place at all, far from it. The other part of my mental image of Ashland comes from the film "Wild" which I don't believe you watched. It looked exactly like Nimbin, far too much for my liking. Are the hippies winning, that is the question that I could never quite put my finger on an answer too and it has haunted me a bit since my visit.

$15 to $20 would as you correctly say, secure yourself a second hand copy. That is how I came to possess a copy. The book came in a pair and both were ex-library hardback copies of the books in outstanding condition. It is very strange how little value is put on these older books. I reckon you'd enjoy the book, but in a way the author manages to paint a picture of how things were for a struggling author but also she fills a picture of Australia at that time, without becoming overly sentimental. Ruth Park had some serious problems with her publishers too, who perhaps enjoyed the financial side of her literary success far more than she did!

Thanks for the excellent description of the Moose meat. Yeah, farmed meat has a very different flavour to more wild meats such as venison, so that was why I was curious. I once fed the chickens a whole lot of pineapple skins and for a few days afterwards the eggs tasted slightly sweet. It was very strange.

I'm starting to feel that with the wood heater here, I'm just going to have to construct an old school Scotch oven. But where to start? Have you ever heard or read of a good book on the subject? Scotch ovens for dummies would be very helpful!!! Hehe! How hard can it be... Possibly very hard. I had the briefest of flashes of an idea last night that sort of suggested a solid masonry construction with a stainless steel and glass door. Such a beast would be very long lasting. And I've built brick walls before, but there seems little point in re-inventing the wheel for such a project, especially to ensure that the flue draws properly... Of course the steel flue could be re-used in any arrangement as far as I can tell. Dunno, it is an intriguing project idea.

Incidentally, it is 37.4'F outside right now. Mate, it has been one cold and damp long winter here. Such a massive change from last year.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Greetings to Lewis and the most excellent Beau (of whom I have read good reports),

Oh yeah and Nell too. Although to be fair Nell is a feline and not a canine. But she may be very warm on cold nights, so yes, greetings to Nell too, as long as she shares her warmth on cold nights and keeps her razor sharp claws far from all canine friends. Of course, this may be a big ask for Nell, but perhaps she can be persuaded that not all canines are bad and so the clawings can be kept to a minimum. Please! Woof! Woof!

Thank you for the warm welcome human friend Lewis and I appreciate the sage advice from, and to be honest my human friend, I am an old duffer too. Yes, many a fun day has used up some of my vast collection of brain cells with the ongoing chewing and let's not forget the Bone Wars: A dog can only cope with so many chomps to the brain... :-)! It is a shame that these lost brain cells cannot be brought back, but we are both strong in the ways of the brain and so had a few extra cells to spare (thankfully).

Does it really have to be 90 meetings in 90 days. Ah, of course your advice is wise. But it seems so nice to sit in the sunshine and chew on my bones, but my owner Chris does not believe that things will all not blow over in time and I'm sort of inclined to believe him in this matter. But the bones are calling me... OK, I shall attend and try to be good. The bone addiction is not one I can easily fight. And there was earlier talk of deer antlers. Antlers are not bones are they? OK, they are. I accept this and will not attempt to bargain my way out this program. Thank you, you will make a great sponsor! Good advice, Scritchy would not make a good sponsor would she. Very wise.

What tree do I not pee on? That is the question. But of course, I did not understand that we need to see ourselves as a piece of the bigger picture. How obvious, but not clear to me at all in my bone addiction. Thank you also for the freedom to choose. 7 foot kangaroos are good at stink eye, but they make for unpleasant company and honestly as an old duffer I am concerned at their possible violent reactions to my presence. That is when one needs backup of a fool hardy companion such as Poopy!

As an old duffer I have seen these green and/or orange outrages and they could possibly send an otherwise right thinking human or canine to reach for a bone! Yes, maybe they are the problem... :-)!

The answer to your question is simple. I shall help you consume these chocolates. It is all very easy to do. Nell has street value as a solid mouse catcher and so maybe worth quite a few hershey pumpkin spice kisses!

Amends with Poopy. Hmmm, I am not ready my master. Maybe one day.

Thank you for all your advice and may you enjoy your chocolates.

Sir Scruffy BA

Pam in Virginia said...

@ All:

I am, for me, a rare thing - practically speechless. The comments are all so delightful, and so wise. My goodness.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I have no idea as to how long an asparagus bed will keep going, probably because I have always moved house before I could find out. As said, I leave them to fall over and much later on, they disconnect from the roots and can be removed. Then in early spring they shoot again.

Deaths on railway lines re-evoke horrible memories for me as that is how the mother, of the 2 boys I took on died. It was deliberate on her part. I can never forget the poor train driver at the coroner's inquest. I have to assume that when someone has reached the point of committing suicide, they are incapable of considering the effect on others.

Sorry for the above comment, please remove if not suitably family friendly.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Cliff Mass's blog readers are a pretty forgiving bunch. Fanboys and girls :-). I read a few of the comments, and everyone I saw said that he had given fair disclaimer, as he went along, based on the data he had. LOL, but I'm afraid I'm like the media ... jump on the worst case scenario and gloss over ... or ignore the cautionary disclaimers. Which the media pretty much did to poor Cliff. Even our local rag. Mr. Mass isn't much of a show boater, and I think he really agonizes over his forecasts.

With all the wind tossing around the trees, I'm surprised I still have a lot of apples on the branch. Once I get the kitchen under control, I may have to go out and do another round of picking. By the way, I looked into planting elephant garlic from seed and didn't find much. LOL, it was kind of like ... "Well, it can be done, but do you really want to go to all the trouble?" Elephant Garlic are actually a form of leek.

But I did run across this. On a "One Straw Revolution" site, no less. Some old guy up in Montesano, Washington grows garlic as a perennial. Sounds like a real song and dance, but it can be done. Interesting. Montesano has a nice little branch library of Timberland, and I worked there, several times. Great crew. It's also the county seat of Gray's Harbor County, and right down the street from the court house. Which added a little extra bit of interest.

http://www.onestrawrevolution.net/One_Straw_Revolution/Article_Garlic_Plant_Once.html

I'll keep this article in mind. Since it seems as if I'll have two planting plots at The Home, I'm (tentatively) thinking of doing one plot in annuals, one in perennials. Probably mix it up a bit, but as a general guide line, do that.

Wow. Now I know Chris can tackle just about any project he sets his mind to, but a brick oven is a .... rather unforgiving project. Screw up one tiny detail and your, well, screwed. There are books out there. I've seen them. When searching, you might also throw in "masonry" as a search term, besides "brick." You might get more extensive results. You might also want to check out Trip's blog. Smallbatchgarden. I'm pretty sure he's done some stove building over the past couple of years. Get a dialogue going with him. I'll look around and see what's available.

The weather continues to be pretty feral, here. I haven't even had to fill Beau's water dish in about a week. The rain is doing it, quit nicely. :-). I'm surprised we're not under a flood watch. I did get out for a brisk walk, yesterday, between bouts of rain. I'm even extended my distance, a bit. When I move to town, I want to be able to hoof it, to the store and library. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

421 ancient Roman shoes found at Hadrian's Wall:

http://www.itv.com/news/tyne-tees/2016-10-10/roman-shoe-hoard-found-in-northumberland/

Pam

Skippyherron said...

Thankyou for this very funny dog story blog post. Oh I smiled and giggled my way through it. You dogs are characters. Xx

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks mate! So much is blooming here what with the rain and the occasional bit of sunshine. Oh yeah autumn is just like a mini spring but with the promise of winter (which down here means cooler weather). Watch out for those leaf turn people - they may be a bit bitey! Those forget me nots have an interesting story in that I found a patch of them growing up in a high and secluded part of the mountain range where they became naturalised and produce a huge mass of spring flowers. I thought that they were meant to be there and honestly have no idea how they got there in the first place as it is kind of remote. Those love in the mist plants are very attractive too and hardy as. I always have this strange sort of feeling that plants on an alien planet would look exactly like those flowers. Good stuff and very reliable. Interesting is exactly the right description for them. I hope that you can plant a few of those plants into the home?

It does make a person wonder why there are few cast iron stoves down here. I really don't know the answer to that. Even the high end ones down here seem to be made from plate. Maybe I haven't looked hard enough either... Your Idaho friends sound as if they have a good setup and picked up a couple of decent units.

I didn't know that about the BBC filming down here and over the drink in New Zealand. Costs would probably be lower down here maybe than in the UK? Dunno. There have been some very dodgy ones too over the years. Like Some Mothers Do Ave Em. Mate, that show just annoyed me from start to finish, but my mum and the other older people at that time thought that it was hysterical. I used to hate the show and story line. Somethings just make no sense at all to me and I didn't think that the show was funny at all.

Haha!!! Hey Rocky, watch me pull a moose steak out of my hat. Again, that trick never works. Ah, yes, how funny was that show. Just total silly central. Fun stuff. You scored very well with that Bullwinkle feed. How good is potatoes, salt and a bit of butter. Yum!!! Shitake mushrooms speak to Asian food, and noodle soups etc. They shine in those dishes. Well, our cattle for food tend to stand around not doing much. Most meat was lean as back in the day. As a kid the only meat I saw was lamb chops and I ate everything from the tail to the marrow. I don't eat much lamb these days. Did you have beef, lamb or pork as the mainstay as you grew up? Most people eat beef these days, but my preference is for chicken or pork really.

Yup! Yes, the ex-chef and celebrated food author Jason Sheehan also said a similar thing about the average baker. And we won't mention the Anthony Bourdain stories shall we as they may not make it past the FFC (Family Friendly Censor)? :-)! It is a good thing they tested all of the recipes before publication. A lot of baking, I reckon is a lot art and a little bit science. I'm rarely consistent in output, but then the average batch of home brew also falls more into a range than consistent output. There may be something in that as they follow similar paths.

Pah! Don't you reckon that is like people introducing comments with acronyms that are completely baffling to other readers. I spotted one last week over at the ADR where someone was talking about PTO and to me a PTO is a "a system comprising a splined output shaft on a tractor or truck, designed so that a PTO shaft, a kind of drive shaft, can be easily connected and disconnected, and a corresponding input shaft on the application end. The power take-off (PTO) allows implements to draw energy from the engine." But then it was probably best that I kept my opinions to myself...

Cheers

Chris





Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

Mate, it is way hard to even think about getting a tractor out in this weather! :-)! Thanks for saying that. Digging is good, but not too often and even then for good reason. When I first took over the land here, I got a guy with a 20 tonne excavator to deep rip the solid clay pan just so that water would start infiltrating it. It used to run over the top of the surface before that. But then, I just reseeded a lot of it and spread a thin layer of compost over the entire area (a big job). Over the years I've chopped and dropped the spring growth and there is about twenty centimetres of top soil now. It does work.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Exactly, the plants get a good feed with that technique don't they? And as you write, it does really help them put down good roots especially in these wet years. I reckon it may have been too early as the heavy rain on Sunday night, knocked a few of the plants flat to the ground and Friday another batch of heavy rain will arrive. Fortunately I have dozens and dozens of seedlings to go. Glad to read that your husband is recovering speedily and able to return to normal duties - that is good for both of you.

Thanks for the view on the ground regarding Brexit. We all have theories and feelings on the subject, but as you write, the whole thing is uncertain and nobody really knows how it will all pan out.

Cheers

Chris

Greetings BeeGee dog of epic valour and vigour!

Sir Scruffy here, I recall Saturday Night Fever too and was rather fond of the sound track. OK, that's not exactly true, I recall someone playing the album but not when it was released. This was definitely a loss but my pet human Chris recalls when the film and soundtrack was released and may even have watched the Bee Gees film clip for that song on Countdown... BeeGee my friend, how do you know that the humans are not canines? That seems to be the important question here! ;-)! Yes, I understand as Chris limits my Interweb time too. Not fair for you or I!

Stay strong BeeGee.

Sir Scruffy BA

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

It is a lot of fun being here! I'm constantly giggling and laughing too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Skippy,

Thank you and Sir Scruffy salutes you! The dog stories are the most fun for me to write.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for that. I have left gardens behind to their fate and the care of others. Have you ever travelled back to see them? I have done that and it is a complex matter and I've since decided that it is probably a difficult time and not worth the hassle.

I'm so sorry, life is a complex thing, and yes, the people that I have known who have taken that particular option do tend to forget about the webs that connect them with others. It is like they see one path and that may well be their only path. Still, you did have two boys come into your life too and it was very nice of you to take them on. That is no small thing.

No, the comment is perfectly fine. Life is like that. I certainly don't wish to live in a bubble where only there are only unicorns and rainbows.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

It is nice to read that Cliff Mass has a forgiving audience. Things would be complex indeed if one was to face a hostile audience day after day. I once worked with a boss who used to be a real ......... Life is way to short to put up with that gear. And weather is a really complex subject. I noticed that there was a bit of discussion about what is and what isn't a cyclone over at the ADR and I thought that it might be best if I was elsewhere during that discussion. I can't even imagine what Cliff Mass would have to deal to given the sheer complexity of the subject of weather. Poor Cliff Mass. People rarely read disclaimers...

You know, those apples may be late season varieties and they're not ready to be picked anyway. Ripe apples would have fallen from the tree and they all ripen at different times. The winds here didn't shake much of the blossoms or citrus fruit from the trees. Your late season warmth may be extending your growing season?

Ah, a leek. They do grow from seed and I have a small patch that turns up reliably every single year. The problem with the elephant garlic from seed is that well, they may be trying to sell you seedlings...

Oh, thanks for the link and I will check that out. Interesting. I've grown them in the same place for years and have never thought to pull the bulbs from the ground. They get dense and the soil smells of garlic. They must seriously be spreading some chemicals in the ground.

Two plots! You are spoiled rotten. That is a total score! Well done. Hope the list moves along swiftly. I know some people if it doesn't.... Hehe!

Thank you for the advice and I will do exactly that. What could possibly go wrong??? That is some serious famous last words....

Very nice to read that you are preparing physically for perhaps less car usage. Walking is a great sport. I did a couple of kilometres today. I wonder whether you will get an extraordinarily wet winter like we did? What does Cliff Mass think about that subject?

Cheers

Chris

Coco said...

Hi Chris and hail and well met Sir Scruffy!

I consulted Breogán about your situation who said:

1. The Mastiff Motto - You can have it when you take it from my jaws of death. You appear to have committed a fatal tactical error in going after your rival before he made his move. As a result, you look weak and take the blame. And, in going after him, you risked a rearguard sneak attack by the Poofy Pomeranian. Constant vigilance!

2. It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both. - Niccolo Machiavelli Clearly Mr. Machiavelli wasn´t a dog with an Editor. Know your place in the hierarchy.

In human news, we bought some brushes and cleaned the chimneys, and fired up both stoves to make sure they were ready for heating season. Have used the one in the living room a few times, mostly for the damp rather than cold, as such. We got 3 inches of rain in the last week. It is an Hergom enameled cast iron which weighs a TON but really does radiate the heat once going. The enamel finish is lovely, but chipping badly now, so I can´t really recommend it.

Hope you come up with a satisfying solution.



Damo said...

It seems hard to believe there are no cast iron stoves around. In the back of my mind I am sure I have seen them many times in my travels. But then, you can't really trust that sort of memory can you? One of my uncles makes stoves from steel car hubs and hot water tanks. His current one has lasted at least 10 years doing a solid 3-4 months each season. It seems to work pretty good and it is nice being able to put long pieces of wood in length-ways. I think he coils copper pipe through it for hot water as well...

In cooking news, the one and only Anthony Bourdain was here in Luang Prabang on the weekend. No one can tell me if he was here for a new film, or just visiting. It would be nice to know what food places he visited. There are so many here and I am not even close to checking them all out yet. Discovering the best food is hard work, but I am up to the task!

I got a tip from another ex-pat here on some good pork. Turns out, not 400m down the road from my house a lady sets up a grill every afternoon and carves off freshly spit-roasted port by the kilo for hungry workers heading home. I never noticed it before as when I ride home I am usually too busy concentrating on not hitting other scooters, dogs, small children and wayward cars with Chinese number plates to look.

Anyway, it turns out she has a German husband and a pig farm with 400 pigs in a small village out of town. Tuesday-Saturday nights she comes into Luang Prabang and spit-roasts a medium pig to sell for $10 a kilo. We had a nice chat and she tells me her husband taught her how to spit roast. I had some tonight on a fresh roll and I can tell you it was pretty good! Unfortunately, Lao people don't seem to BBQ meat very well - it usually is pretty dry.

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - Yup. I saw that. Brings the total of shoes found at that fort to over 7,000. I read where they don't have enough money to conserve this last lot. So, they have a scheme where you can sponsor the conservation of a shoe for L80. :-). Imelda Marcos jokes come to mind :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I wonder if where you found the Forget Me Nots is an old homestead site? I read a book a few years back about people who track down old roses. They look for them at homestead sites, ghost towns and old cemeteries. The Love in the Mist seed pods do look other worldly. Probably an early stage of Triffid growth :-).

Well, Australia is probably considered an "exotic" location to film stuff. And, it probably is cheaper. Or, maybe, it's just a case of the producers saying "Let's get out of the cold and damp and set it in Australia." The early American silent film industry was pretty well established on the East Coast. Back in the day, they depended more on natural light. So, California beckoned. More dependable weather. Quit a few American films and tv series are filmed in Canada. I guess it's cheaper. Toronto often doubles for some big American city. Or, they film the exteriors here and the interiors, there. Washington State has an actual "film office." To smooth the way for productions in this State. And, supply tax breaks. So you see lots of things filmed around Seattle. I guess there's enough financial incentive to offset the rubbish weather :-). "Last Taxi to Darwin" is waiting for me at the library.

Let's see. Childhood meats:-). When I was a kid, my folks rented a meat locker at a German butchers. Mmmm. Pepper cured bacon with big chunks of pepper on the rind. And, sausages. Those we bought. Dad hunted quit a bit, and there was always elk or venison. My uncle on his little farm always ran a few beef cattle, and sometimes we'd buy a half steer. And fish. Mostly salmon. Some trout. Occasionally catfish. Pork, we bought. Never can remember having any mutton or lamb. No shellfish.

The using of acronyms and not spelling them out drives me bonkers, too. Last time it happened over at the ADR (Arch Druid Report) was when everyone was throwing around SJW. I finally looked it up. Social Justice Warrior. OK. You probably haven't experience it, but check out the personal ads, sometime. Now there, my lad, is a ARE. :-) Acronym Rich Environment.

Well. Trip ended his blog about last July. Boo. There was a very nice picture of an outdoor bread / pizza oven. I know he did some stuff with rocket stoves. I'll poke about for books.

Chris Mass (with lots of disclaimers) seems to think we'll have a "normal" to maybe colder winter. Maybe. That means the occasional arctic outbreak and lowland (where I live) snow.

Off to the Little Smoke. Will the pumpkin spice ice cream be in? :-). The Home sits up on a hillside about two blocks from the busiest street in Chehalis. Quit a slope. Might have to release the brakes on a few wheel chairs :-). Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I have left gardens in the past. This is the 5th property that I have lived in on the Island. 3 past gardens here have been flattened and so has one of the properties, another one will be flattened shortly and a third is empty and deteriorating. The only thing that has saddened me has been the demolition of a property that my husband built. It only saddened me because I know that he would have minded. I regard it has quite unimportant. As far as I am concerned I am probably less than a mote of dust and ditto everything around me. Within the context of an incredible universe it is unimportant.

Inge

SLClaire said...

Hi Sir Scruffy,

You are indeed of refined heritage and put up with a lot of difficulties. Good luck with defeating your bone addiction!

Hi Chris,

My condolences on the wood stove situation. Have you heard of rocket mass heaters? This is a heat producing stove that is of interest to permaculturists in the US. It's claimed they use considerably less wood to put out an equivalent amount of heat compared to the cast iron wood stove I have. They are a build-it-yourself option with no mention in building codes, so I didn't consider them when we were researching wood stoves. Someone with your building skills should be able to put one together; it would be much easier than a brick/masonry stove (I don't know if you could cook with either one of these, however). I suggest searching "rocket mass heater" to learn more.

Our back porch is now completely finished, just in time for a cold front. We may use it but little for a few months, until next spring, unless we get much warmer than normal weather again before winter. It was quite warm on Monday, 91F for the high and 72F for the low (a new record high for the date and the warmest it's been this late in the autumn). Today we are receiving some needed rain and will have a few days of cooler than normal weather before it warms up to a little warmer than normal by the weekend. The tree leaves are finally starting to take on a little color, much later than normal; we should be experiencing peak autumn leaf color now. But it's been much warmer than normal for autumn so far. It'll be interesting to see how winter turns out since it's been warmer than normal just about all year for us.

Claire

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Chris,

Well, dogs can be odd sometimes... Or animals in general really. Any idea why Scruffy was so aggressive there?

Igne,

It really is important, in a way. If it matters to someone, it matters. However, if it lasted for his lifetime, then that is wonderful, right?

Lew,

Too many places have TMA (too many acronyms) these days.

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

We had a very large potbelly stove called, from memory, a grandma that we bought second hand from the people who made them in Northcote in the early 80's. I don't know if they have survived the off-shoring of all cast iron objects to places like China. The grandma was their workshop heater. They had replaced it with a newer model and were already sad because the latest model of whatever was not as efficient. We put the grandma in the converted shearing shed we lived in in Kerry! The two sided open fire that was there was appallingly inefficient and one memorable early morning saw my husband up on the roof in his bright red nightshirt putting put a chimney fire.... And yes he has been confused with Santa.

In the old miners cottage on our farm there is an excellent chimney built by a TAFE teacher of brick laying long before we bought the farm but it still was inefficient. A second hand Coonarra in the chimney warmed the whole house. We currently have a Cleanair. It is very efficient. It's 6 years old and the chimney sweep said this winter that it was still in excellent condition. However, I do think you are right to look into alternatives as I do worry about the walls and base under the firebricks. Have you thought about a Rayburn or something similar with radiators? I dream of such stoves! (Well, that and weeds strangling us in our beds after this amazingly wet Spring). There is a slow combustion stove maker in Ballarat?

BeeGee is overwhelmed by your greeting, Sir Scruffy. All aquiver as only a grande olde damme can be. I'm 14 you know. Still very spry though. One of my humans has canine - read carnivorous - tendencies but the other one lets the side down. I don't think her addictions would ever include bones. She knows I love chicken wings, however, and buys them and bones (!) for my treats.

The area I live in was a commercial asparagus area for decades and we still have wild asparagus growing on roadsides. Those who know the sites pick spears each year. Of course they may be a shifting population given seasons, droughts and so on but they seem to survive in some form outside of cultivation.

Warm regards, Helen

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

I have communicated Breogán's wise insights to Sir Scruffy and both yourself and Breogán may be interested in the replies.

1: Thank you for this wise advice. Next time. Fend off Poopy with words and glares, whilst hanging onto the bone with a solid jaw vice grip. Yes, I committed a rookie error.

2: My place in the hierarchy is below Scritchy but second in command is a contentious position and the boisterous younger dogs occasionally have the upper hand, although I am bigger (like Hodor, but much smarter!). Machiavelli also wrote: No enterprise is more likely to succeed than one concealed from the enemy until it is ripe for execution. Therefore we must avoid discussing tactics on the Interweb in case Poopy reads them...

3 inches of rain in a week is quite a change from your summer weather. Yes, the brushes are very good and it is surprising how even a small quantity of soot in a chimney can dampen the performance of the firewood. Thanks for the nice thoughts as I have no idea how it will all end up.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

You have a very clever uncle to be able to build his own heater from scrap. Some of the newer hot water services have stainless steel inner boilers too which is a very good idea. I'm rethinking a lot of the heating arrangements here as there is a hot water header tank in the ceiling which collects the solar hot water as well as the heat from the wet back in the fire box. That header tank may one day fail which will be a total problem. The heat from the solar is much hotter than the wet back unless the wood fire has been run for at least a day. I was talking to the nice people that make the solar battery charge regulators a few weeks back and they are developing a stainless steel low voltage (and also high voltage) hot water boiler so that I will be able to utilise the excess solar electricity which is just lost every single day. It is still about half a year from commercial production, but it is such a good idea...

Haha! You know,I could see you enjoying a few Beer Lao's with Anthony Bourdain! How much fun would that be? Of course, life is short and we must experience the best in food! A worthy quest. Go forth and seek the best! :-)!

Yum. When pork is roasted well, it is a perfect meat. Yum! You reminded me of Bruce Willis in a scene from Fast Food Nation: All you have to do is cook the meat. If you've seen that film, then you'll know what I'm talking about. Mate, you have more skills and cojones in negotiating that traffic than I could ever muster. Total respect for that and I reckon that alone is worth an Elephant Stamp! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That is an interesting thought and there were an awful lot of old homesteads built in very strange and remote parts of this mountain range. On one walk I spotted a huge and very old rhododendron in the middle of nowhere. In a strange coincidence years later, I discovered a reference to the fact that in that remote spot there was an old government plant nursery in the 19th century. I mean if you were to walk through that area today all you see is the dense forest and this huge old rhododendron. Several bushfires and a lack of maintenance reduced the nursery to next to nothing. They even had an old tuberculosis sanatorium in a very remote part of the mountain range too. That's gone as far as I am aware. There were tramways scattered throughout the mountain range. But the other week at a neighbours "do" I did meet up with the new owners of the old solid brick Victorian manse high up in this part of the mountain range. It was originally built as a health resort of all things and it is at least 700ft higher in elevation than here. I did rather amusingly suggest to them that they were the Lord and Lady of this part of the mountain range and they did look mildly pleased with that suggestion! ;-)! It is not just you that I amuse!!! hehe!

That is interesting as I have never come across a grave in this part of the mountain range and that is interesting it itself. It makes you wonder what the Roman's did in their decline days on that front. Yes, it is a morbid topic, but it is also very telling of the times. Did they ever find the remains of skeletons in the old British Roman Villa’s that were sacked?

Yeah, maybe the love in the mist plants, really are an early stage Triffid? Spooky!

We went out to the films last night to see the film: Girl on the Train. It was very good and we both enjoyed it immensely. The book, I am told, is a very complex but well told story. After the film pancakes were consumed and the sugar rush... Oh yeah, the sugar rush. I had strawberry jam with mine, but the editor went with maple syrup. Yum, but the crash from the sugar buzz bites hard. Alas, our systems are not worthy!

It is funny that you mention that, but a lot of rock bands end up doing the festival circuit down here over your winter. The sun can be very harsh down here... Most film production businesses are supported in one way or another by the tax payer. The arts is one tough gig if you were after a regular pay cheque. Mind you, small business is not much different, but I do enjoy the challenge of survival using only my wits and natural charm (which can sometimes and on occasion be lacking! ;-)!). I haven't enjoyed the perquisites of holiday pay or sick leave pay for at least nine years and I take that as a sign of decline if ever there was one. It is interesting to me that other people will give up those hard won perquisites just to maintain a regular wage. Really fascinating.

Oh! How good was the idea of that leased locker in a butcher. It is funny that you wrote about that issue. More on that subject next Monday.

Pah! SJW! When I first saw that term, I believed that it meant clicking the "Like" button on activists Facebook pages. And honestly I have seen nothing since that time to convince me otherwise... Years ago, a mate of mine was very well financed by his parents and he had a convertible car (a Nissan Exa) at a ridiculously young age. Anyway, we were at the lights one day and a cheeky old guy threw a ten cent piece into the car through the roof and said. Mate, that is ten cents for trying... He had a point.

Actually now that you mention it, I haven't seen Tripticket around the traps for a while. I hope he is OK. Did he mention why he ended his blog?

Nice! Snow is good! I hope that you get lots of snow. How good would that be? Of course, snow is novel here and so I may well be biased in that opinion?

Stop teasing me. Did you get the pumpkin ice cream? Hmmm, now you're thinking! Hehe! Very Machiavellian too. Like it. :-)! It is good that we are only joking around.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I salute your very well balanced take on the subject of walking away from a person's act of creativity. You are entirely correct too about our existence and relationship to the universe as a whole. I feel sad when I see houses that I have built and the treatment they receive at the hands of other people, so I am probably a bit more like your husbands view of the world, but I am trying hard to get to your worldview.

Years ago, I visited a house that I had built and the new owners had for some inexplicable reason turned the beautiful timber turned carved posts upside down. I stupidly asked them why they did that and they told that they were renovating the verandah. You see, they had neglected to paint the bottom of the timber to protect it from the rain and it had started to rot and so in their wisdom they removed the posts and then turned them upside down. It looked really odd to me as Victorian houses have a definite look and I really went with the exact proportions so that everything fit into the streetscape. The house was indistinguishable from the originals in the street. People rarely go to such lengths and they inevitably reduce the ceiling heights and do all sorts of weird and wonderful things.

Anyway, I no longer look back, but it still hurts a bit.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Sir Scruffy here. Thanks very much for your well written note of support and everyday it becomes easier for me. Woof!

Sir Scruffy BA

Hi Claire,

Thanks very much for the tip about the rocket mass heaters. Yes, they do seem rather easy to make and from all accounts they do work very well. Unfortunately, my firewood is a bit larger than what would be useful for one of those heaters. And I have an awful lot of firewood and the trees grow very quickly indeed (a regular year would be well over 4 foot growth on average and there are tens of thousands of trees here).

Interestingly the building codes here only specify the minimum clearances between wood heaters and the walls.

Great to read that your closed in back porch is now complete. What a great idea for your part of the world! I have a mental image of you both enjoying a cup of tea (or coffee) and perhaps also a nice bit of home made cake or biscuit whilst sitting in the closed in porch on a late autumn day and watching a storm roll in.

Despite the wet weather here, the temperatures are still above the long term average...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Will,

Dogs and other animals skip to their own beats my friend! :-)! They can be very unpredictable and should always be approached with caution or you have to remember to allow them an easy escape plan. And watch out particularly if they are eating or have young. Sir Scruffy was eating and Poopy wanted to eat what Sir Scruffy was eating. Humans act differently, but at a base level there are a lot of similarities.

How are you going with your Internet withdrawal? Is it producing any interesting effects in your consciousness?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Back in the 80's Northcote had plenty of industry. There was even a pottery which I had the pleasure of visiting before they closed up and moved out towards the outer Western Ring Road out Thomastown way now. That heater sounds superb and would have been craftsman built. How cool would a converted shearing shed be to live in as a house. That would have been very Glenn Murcutt by the way. Thanks for the mental image of Santa up the roof putting out a chimney fire... Nice one. Very funny. I do hope he was OK for the experience? There is a house near here who seem to have a chimney fire every year. I wonder how people get so much soot up their chimneys for it to ignite? I mean, the fire wouldn't work very well at all in the first place...

Thanks also for your feedback and advice about the masonry heater. Ouch. As to steel units, I am considering a Nectre Big Bakers Oven as the side walls are 8mm steel plate and are designed for easy replacement. Me, being me, I was considering replacing those normal panels with heavy duty steel boiler plate as an option? It would work. I have to work on the editor on this subject as the whole problem is a major expense and a lot of work and it is very hard to walk away from your existing infrastructure - even when it is failing.

Ha! That is so true. The grass here is starting to grow very rapidly and has already set seed in only a matter of days. It is a little bit disconcerting as I will have to mow shortly and that involves walking for about half a day for three solid days... Oh well, that is what you get on a sloping site. Musn't grumble.

All this talk of Saturday Night Fever may inspire a related post. A truly silly title has even been touted on that theme... Thanks for the information about the asparagu and you have given me a lot to think about. Of course plants with deep roots are usually very hardy. You must have good soil in your part of the world to be able to grow asparagus? In this part of the world, I have seen them growing the plants in the drained Koo Wee Rup swamplands which are very fertile.

Cheers

Chris

Hi BeeGee,

Well met, my good canine friend and I am totally chuffed at our ongoing communication! Ah, speaking of chicken, I enjoy chicken, but alas, I am not a spring chicken myself either as I am about 13. This is a good age for a dog is it not. Wisdom and comfort is ours my friend. It is good that you do not have to compete for your excellent chicken wings.

Sir Scruffy BA

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Once upon a time a chimney fire was regarded as the natural way to clean the chimney. My husband seemed to subscribe to this view and I have been present at 3 or 4 such fires. I consider them to be terrifying.

I am preparing to bury my 80 year old doll. She is a German doll but not one of the valuable ones and she is breaking up. She will be buried in a secure container, fully dressed and accompanied by her German name and her full German costume outfit. She is in too bad a condition for me to undress her and redress her in this outfit. I wonder what someone will make of it one day when she is discovered?

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Go to Amazon and select "books" from the drop down window. Do a search for "masonary stoves". Many titles pop up. A slightly different mix pops up if you put in "brick stoves." I would guess you'd even get a few different titles if you substitute "ovens" for "stoves" in the previous searches. As to which are the best ... you'd have to dig through the reviews.

Let's see. The last wood stove I had, I put a heat resistant under the stove and on the wall behind it. Can't remember how much was "code" and how much was just "best safety practice." I put 1" wood shims along the sides of the back piece, to allow an air space. Painted them both with flat black stove paint and they didn't look half bad.

Romans were big into cremation. But as they moved toward the end of Empire, they moved more and more to whole body burial. That's usually attributed to the increased Christianization, as time went on. But, I also wonder how much of that may have been influenced by their contact with the Egyptians? A lot of Romans were followers of Isis.

Well. Speaking of sugar rushes, I stopped by the newish bakery, yesterday. Maple bars, of course. And, I asked if they had anything pumpkin spice flavored. :-). Two different muffins. One's plane and one has a cheesecake filling. Tried that, last night and it was a bit disappointing. Just a tiny dab of filling under the crown of the muffin. Barely a taste. No pumpkin ice cream, as yet. I think they kind of hold off to try and cover the Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays. As it's a one time a year, probably one run thing. And, I suppose they look at previous years sales records to see if it's worth a whirl. Well, I did my part :-). Well, I can always get out my hand crank ice cream freezer and make my own. Which I probably should have done, anyway.

Ah, the road of the self employed entrapeneur is a hard one. Now, imagine being in America and having NO national health care.

The Warden was not in, yesterday. Booooo! Meeting in Olympia. One of the Old Babes said I might try catching her at 8am, before she shuffles off to some physical therapy. I think I'll run in around 11 and see if I can catch her. I'll hunt her down, eventually! No water this morning. Almost two weeks since the last episode. I was beginning to think I'd have to make up a few dates to put on the calendar. No worries :-). I served up the last of Bullwinkle, last night. He served well. Is that a very bad pun? :-). The Rocky and Bullwinkle show had something slightly subversive about it. Similar to Mad Magazine or the Gerald McBongBong program. Warping several generations of the young :-). Lew

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Chris,

I'm sure from their perspective we are the odd ones! However, from our perspective they have quirks. And yes, there is more in common between us and animals than people like to think,it's just a matter of noticing it.

I'm not sure if it has or not. I also starting working through Learning Ritual Magic a few weeks ago, so perhaps I'm seeing effects from internet withdrawal and attributing it to that. I'm also not actually able to quit, or reduce my use nearly as much as I'd like, since I now see how much of life has moved online. My goal is to gradually reduce use until it's only email and comments on a few blogs.

I have gotten rid of my Facebook account, the only social media I had other than this gmail/blogger account, and that seems to be causing changes. I find myself a lot more inclined to talk to people, and less upset with my own life as I no longer can compare it so easily with other lives. It was also weird to see people lose their minds at the thought I'd get rid of it: The Heresy of Technological Choice is quite disturbing to a surprising number of people. Now that that's mostly passed, I think it's going well though.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

A chimney fire is perhaps a little bit too much excitement for my tastes as well. I'm honestly not sure what it would achieve and what the possible outcomes would be either. Glad to read that you survived the experience. Out of sheer curiosity, how did your husband eventually extinguish those chimney fires?

I have no doubts that a future archaeologist will understand what the doll is and they will note the exacting care that was put into your act. It is like a gift to the future isn't it? No need to go into details for obvious reasons, but I do hope that you bury the doll somewhere which is unlikely to be excavated in the future.

The unusual collection of edible plants here are a gift to the future.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

A chimney fire does clean the chimney as it causes all the deposits to burn off. It can be put out by stopping any air intake. However, we couldn't stop the last one and it was beyond terrifying. It is illegal here as well.

Who knows where future excavation may take place but she should be safe for a long while.

I thought that I might have cockroaches as I am finding dead beetles indoors. Fortunately not, they are lesser stag beetles.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for the idea about masonry stoves. After reading more than I usually do on subjects and also watching a few videos on the subject I have sort of come to the understanding that these units whether they are brick or steel are basically designed to fall apart with usage. I get that, and of course it matches my experience too. The thing is, I'm now going to concentrate on ease of repair for any unit as a probably the number one goal if that unit performs its other basic functions - such as heating and cooking. I'm not so concerned about the hot water setup as either the solar electric or the solar thermal outperforms wood heat by a huge margin.

Solar thermal is very, very good by the way and I use two older style flat plate collectors which are very hardy and also very repairable. Those evacuated tube designs look not very repairable to me and anyway they are a heat exchanger arrangement which doubles the complexity. And having them break and leak whatever chemical is in them into the drinking water collection system would be a massive pain. No doubt the Romans had clever heating systems? Their brick bakery ovens which you linked too a few weeks back looked very good.

That sounds about right for safety as any freestanding wood heater here has to sit on a non combustible surface (i.e. Tiles) and the individual units provide the specifications on distance to walls as they all vary in energy output. That high temperature black paint for wood stoves looks really good and no doubt your stove would have looked the biz!

Oh, that is interesting. It takes a lot of energy to cremate a human body. Did the Romans use coal? I reckon they would have been aware of the stuff? That is an interesting point about the Romans being influenced by the spirituality of Isis. I reckon maybe economics was a factor too. And the final stages of the Roman empire must have been one battle after another and there would have been an urgency to bury the dead? Maybe?

Mmmm - maple bars! Yum! Not that I have seen or tasted one. I can up the ante here though and can state that I enjoyed a passionfruit vanilla slice today and it was good. I wonder how they managed to bake the cheesecake filling into a muffin. Such questions remain unanswered. It would have been difficult for sure. Oh, sorry to read that the muffin did not live up to expectations.

I hope this dastardly pumpkin ice cream-gate scenario is finally resolved in a speedy manner! :-)!

Mate, it totally rained here today. About half an inch fell today, but it has been wet as. It looks like it has stopped raining now and I may let the chickens out to run around the wet orchard whilst there is still light in the sky.

Ouch! I thought that Obamacare was going to fix all of that? ;-)! Everyone down here pays 2% of their incomes towards the national health system, so it is pretty reasonable really. Getting sick is still not a good option for the self employed. I have been called up for jury duty twice and they offered to reimburse me something like $20 per day for my lost income. It was very thoughtful of them...

Good luck with your meeting with the Warden and I do hope that everything worked out well. And fingers crossed that the water goes out again... :-)!

That is so true about the Rocky and Bullwinkle show it always felt mildly subversive to me too. As a kid I couldn't put a finger on why though... hehe! It was a Canadian show was it not?

I spent the rainy hours this afternoon updating the solar power system statistics which I have been recording for the past few years. It was one of those jobs that has to be done, but I have put off for years. No fun. Fortunately, I can type numbers without looking at the keyboard. But still it was a total hassle. Anyway, the statistics show interesting things...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Will,

No doubts about it you are 100% spot on. Animals consider us humans to be very strange creatures what with all of our goings on. But to be honest, I reckon a lot of the things that the animals do are pretty strange too. I guess they would have their reasons. Maybe...

Well done you. I hope that you find that the experience yields good results for you? And remember it is best to get yourself together before even considering other people.

The internet is a tough one. I really enjoy catching up with people and am happy to spend lots of time speaking with all sorts of people. Of course, we live in a world where a lot of people connect to each other via the Internet and that is the world that we live and so of course you have to factor that into your decisions in that regard. Sorry, but I did dodge your comment! :-)!

Never been on Facebook myself, but you kind of have to remember that people always tend to put the very best photos up - and not the lesser photos. Mate, things go wrong here and I am only too happy to talk about that because, well, I need the help with this stuff.... But if I had to see only good news and great photos I'd feel a bit upset, which is sort of what you are talking too. Anyway, most people your age don't use Facebook as a social medium because their parents are on it and they use that tool to keep tabs on their kids so from that point of view it is no loss. Just as a thought bubble for you to consider: They may well be upset because it means a loss of control for them? Just sayin... Sometimes you have to do the unexpected and The Heresy of Technological Choice is all part of that. Keep enough to stay informed, but don't let it control you is my take on that matter. That is all pretty heavy, what do you reckon about that? It is best for you to learn how to do face time is my thinking as it is a more resilient form of communication.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge (again!!!),

Oh my! Thanks for sharing that useful bit of information in relation to the chimney fires. Such an event down here would result in a visit by the local fire brigade which is not really something that you want as the locals will be talking about it in three decades time: Oh, remember when blah, blah, blah... Yes, best to fly below the radar. And I still remain unconvinced about the relative merits of that technique. I'm totally with you as it would be terrifying to ignite that material.

Of course, you are correct in that assertion. I wish her the very best in her long and interesting life and I do hope that she contributes to the future.

Cockroaches are very adaptable critters. They are everywhere! Although I rarely see them here, but they do have quite the foothold in Melbourne. Up here in the mountains I have the very cheeky Portuguese millipedes which can get into all sorts of spots. Fortunately a local nematode enjoys eating them, so they are not at plague like proportions like when they arrived in the country in the 1950's in Adelaide of all places.

You may be interested to hear the next comment as you inspired it...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi everybody!

Inge once asked me about the bird calls here and it was a great question. I had a quiet moment tonight whilst I was out with the chickens in the orchard and so recorded the following bird calls. You can now hear them at this link: 15 minutes in the orchard at Cherokee. There are all sorts of birds in that recording so feel free to ask what is the particular bird at so many minutes and seconds and I can introduce you!

Hope you enjoy it. Please be aware that the sulphur crested cockatoos can have really loud screeches which come from nowhere without warning.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

What a pleasant way to start my morning - with the birds of Fernglade. Thanks so much! For some reason, hearing the bird sounds make me feel like I am right there, in that place, more so than human voices do. It doesn't make sense, as each belongs there just as much as the other.

That is quite a symphony! Even in the spring here, when we have the most diversity of species, we don't have such a varied orchestra as you.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

Will you have a ceremony? Will you plant something there to mark the spot?

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Looking forward to listening to the bird calls. Will have to save for later.

Since Leo isn't looking over my shoulder as I write this I must report less than stellar behavior at his annual visit to the vet. It took three tries for the vet assistant to draw blood as he tried to slip out of his collar. He also failed to listen to my requests to sit instead of trying to pull me all over the lobby trying to make friends with other dogs. He also has gained 3 lbs.

In ten days I'll be eligible for medicare - never thought I would be happy to turn 65. If an individual isn't covered by an employer provided health care plan it can be quite a nightmare. Our premium is almost $1500/month with a $3250 deductible per person and we must also pay 20% until our max out of pocket of over $6000 is reached. Fortunately my husband's employer kicks in $900/month towards the premium. As I'll be on medicare next month the premium is cut in half though it's taken two separate half hours calls to the insurance company to make that happen - at least we think it's happened. In Illinois and specifically in our county there will be exactly one insurance company to choose from and the plans will only by HMO plans (that provide very little choice and probably won't include our doctors). My husband will also have medicare on July 1st of next year so crossing our fingers that there aren't too many health issues for him.

The soybeans have been harvested in the fields next to us. The weather has been variable - some really warm days and others below normal. It's been cloudier than usual this fall. Still have greens, beets and brussel sprouts in the garden but things are wrapping up there as well. The young pullets have started laying eggs so we should have some over the winter.

Margaret

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Chris,

As I see it, we humans don't make sense, but we know how to make sense of each other. And I think every living thing has reasons for why they do what they do. They may not always be good ones though...

So far it's been yielding good results, other than issues with "Karmic Culmination" and meeting my "Shadow", as JMG calls the two issues I have right now. It's been quite the experience though!

If keeping in touch with people was all I needed it for, that would be wonderful! But I need it to check bus routes because I can't find anywhere that has a physical copy, to book rooms for the library, to register for classes, for readings for the classes, to submit assignments, and more. Once I graduate a lot of it will be done, so maybe it's something I can get rid of soon.

Ah, yes, that makes a lot of sense. And I'm not so sure that's the case, I've heard people say my generation doesn't use it, but everyone I know has one, except for a few of my friends' parents. And I don't see it as loss of control, more they couldn't understand what I have against Facebook and the thought someone doesn't like it freaked them out.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The Romans used a hypocaust system for heating. At least, the rich folks and public buildings like baths. If you see pictures of Roman ruins, you might notice brick piers, that would hold up the floor, allowing a pretty good space underneath. An army of slaves would keep the fires stoked and do the clean outs. Venting ran through the walls to warm them up a bit, too. A few years back I saw a documentary where they were reconstructing a small Roman bathhouse. There were a lot of details about the hypocaust system that were unknown. I remember it took quit a bit of tweaking to get it to work right. Then there were braziers. Open metal bowls on legs filled with coals. I've never heard of the Romans using coal. Just lots of wood.

Cremations were mostly wood with lots of olive oil or fragrant oils slopped around. I'm sure there was an art to building a good pyre to get the most bang for your buck. You could call the funeral folks and they'd take care of everything. Probably furnish the pyre, provide the musicians and a gaggle of wailing women. :-). There were guilds, unions (of a sort) and some just plain old burial societies. Religious groups. Get together once a month, have a bit of a meal. Chip in a small amount to provide for burial, when the time came. The poorest of the poor might just get flung into a pit, somewhere outside of town. Or, a step up, a shallow grave scratched in the ground in a potter's field.

Water was out yesterday morning, when I got up. But, returned around 5pm. LOL. When it comes back on and I open a tap, it does a lot of spitting and gurgling. Nell happened to be near the sink and was startled and freaked. I try not to laugh out loud at her, as she gets soooo offended.

I got lucky. I didn't have to sign up for Obamacare, as my Medicare kicked in just about that time. It's the closest thing we have to National Health Care, but it's also complicated and doesn't cover a lot of things. You can have Medicare and still end up declaring bankruptcy. But, I hear things. It's all very complicated. Depends on where you are. Some States administer it ... some opted out and the Fed stepped in. My friends in Idaho have a third party advocate to help them navigate the ins and outs. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I caught up with The Warden, yesterday. I'm officially number 11. Unofficially number 10. What I didn't know is that some of the people on the list ahead of me are signed up at both the Chehalis AND the Centralia facility. Me, I just signed up for Chehalis, as that's where I want to live. But if there's an opening in Centralia, they go off my list. Clear as mud :-).

I had a bit of a list for The Warden. Most rentals, here, you have to pay first and last months rent, maybe a damage and cleaning deposit. It can get pretty pricey. The Home just charges first months rent and a non refundable $27 cleaning deposit. Everything included except the electric. There is no additional storage in the building.

I asked about appliances. Stove and refrigerator are provided. I was curious about floors. Rugs or tile? At that point, she asked me if I'd like to see a unit. Oh, yes! They're all pretty much the same, though may be "mirror" images of each other. So, up we went with her apologizing over and over for the state of the until I was about to see. Looked ok to me, but she said they were going to replace the carpet, tile in the kitchen and the fridge.

It struck me as small. Though, I'm trying to adjust my thinking to "cozy." Units are about 520 square feet. One bedroom and bath. The unit was on the west side of the building and had a sweeping view of Chehalis and the valley. If on the east side, I'd have a view of the wooded park. If I get a unit on the west side, I wonder what the air conditioning costs in the summer would be? The kitchen is galley style. But, good workspaces and plenty of storage. A pass through bar that I guess you eat at, unless you want to carve out a corner of the living room. Not much storage in the rest of the apartment. I'm going to measure out just how much 520 square feet is, where I live now. At least when I get a carpet for the living room, I won't have to invest in a pad, too. Any-who. Now when I look at the floor plan, on line, it gives me a better "spatial" sense.

I watched a film the other night called "Genius" which was quit good. Max Perkins was an editor for Scribner Publishing from the 1920s to 1940s. Kind of a legend, as he edited Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Rawlings and ... Thomas Wolfe. This film is mostly about his relationship with Wolfe. He is often accused of putting too much of himself into books by those authors. Can't say I care for most of those authors, other than Rawlings. But it was well worth a look. Quit a high powered cast, but one of those "little", almost independent art films that don't get much action. Sadly.

There was quit a large cyber attack on the east coast, yesterday. Mostly social media sites but I guess Amazon was also effected. I thought my computer was particularly "bulky", yesterday. Your blogger is also doing some rather strange things, today. Hope these posts get through. Strange drop down menus, and "selection" where no selection was intended. The whole damn thing is going to come down, one of these days and there will be wailing an gnashing of teeth. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Glad you enjoyed it! And I'm really amazed at how well the recording turned out too. So many birds all having a lovely sing at the end of the day. You can even hear the chickens having a bit of a: chook, chook, chook too in the background! That is so true. I was playing the bird song in the background last night whilst typing away at the replies and it just takes you back there into the orchard. There was no editing either, I just plonked the computer and microphone on the verandah and hit the record button (I did delete the initial sounds of me walking away from the computer and microphone though). Sometimes whilst out supervising the chickens at night, I just close my eyes and listen to all of the birds and it is a real pleasure to be able to share this experience with you.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I hope that you enjoy the experience of listening to the birds. They should sound very different to the birds in your part of the world and the screech from the sulphur crested cockatoos is something else! At least nobody around here has taught the cheeky birds to speak English - as they can quite well and can recite up to about 120 words. Not a bad effort. They live for about 80 years too those birds.

Naughty Leo! He may be putting on a bit of chunk to help get him through the cold winter? Some dogs don't enjoy visits to the Vet and Scritchy is one of those, but clearly for Leo it was total party central! Naughty Leo!

Oh my! Not saying your health system sounds frightening, but the stress of facing that system would itself be a cause for increased incidence of health issues. Those monthly premiums would financially bleed me dry. I assume that people can opt out of those schemes (I wanted to write scams)? But the risk... Wow. There has been quite a bit of talk in the media here recently about certain policies sold down here that are very difficult to claim on. I suspect the low interest rate environment combined with low returns on investments are hitting the insurance companies hard.

It is interesting that you write that about it being cloudier than usual in your part of the world, because the same is happening here. I'll write more about that next Monday and I have a very nice looking graph as well. We're going to go all technical-like. Do you ever get random soy bean plants growing in your garden? Feral brassica's turn up everywhere here and the other week on the train, there were kilometers of wild cabbage plants flowering along the railway line.

Nice to read that your young pullets are now at point of lay! Enjoy your eggs. This week I scored a double yolk egg that was 110g (3.88oz). The poor chicken who laid that one. I took a photo of the monster as it was just so huge. I've never seen a double yolk egg before. Have you seen one of those egg monsters?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Will,

I must apologise, is the preferred spelling of your name one "l" or two "ll"'s?

That is a very holistic outlook on life. Self interest over the common good is one such example! ;-)! Ah, JMG borrowed the concept of the Shadow from, I believe and please correct me if I am wrong, Carl Jung. Of course, know thyself is a good activity. We often as a species say one thing and then do something else which may contradict that expressed opinion. Certainly this confusion causes cognitive dissonance, don't you think? Anyway, if you can't be clear about who you are, it is probably very difficult to understand other people - or even begin to do so.

Unfortunately that is the way of the world with the Internet as plenty of businesses use that forum to disseminate information - and also outsource costs to the consumer... No stress with me at all. It is you who have to find the happy medium with how you use the tool. Hey, by the way, have you ever considered that all tools can be abused depending on how they are used and how we interact with them? Dunno, just a thought. Tools aren't bad things at all.

Well, that makes a lot of sense. It clearly isn't about you, it is about them...

Cheers

Chris

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

Thanks for the bird call recording. The calls are so evocative of the Australian bush.

Climbing onto the roof in a nightshirt did have downside or two. It was freezing cold and no protection from embers! However, the fire was extinguished quickly and no harm was done. We had our chimney swept this winter but there was almost no residue in the flue, which because of the pitch of our roof is very tall. There is a vented top plate on the firebox and that was clogged. We were unaware of this feature but we should be able to look after it in future. they chimney sweep was a mine of information about our valley. He talked as he worked and spent more than an hour sorting things to his satisfaction.

We have friends who have a smaller nectre than the one you are looking at. They use it to cook but have some trouble regulating the oven. I think they are long lasting wood heaters. I have issues with the cold - it's linked to poverty for me - so I enjoy a warm house on many levels. We are going to try and measure how much wood we use next winter and if this wet season keeps up we hope to chainsaw into the summer for next winters supply.

The asparagus was traditionally grown on river flats in the central west of NSW. Today a lot of that ground is used as lucerne flats or sadly, houses. It's a pet peeve of mine that we build on the most fertile ground, taking it out of food production.

Warm regards, Helen

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

A suspended floor is a very complex arrangement and no doubts that the Roman's would have needed an army of slaves to keep those fires burning. Oh yeah, wood can sustain quite a few people, but too many and they would strip the forests bare. Did they have problems with deforestation? I read once that the Ancient Greeks had that problem and that led to a loss of top soil and from there... Olive trees are notably hardy fruit trees, but they also respond very well to a very good feed of manure.

Ouch! The amount of wood required to work with metals is ... huge. Those metal braziers would have been prized possessions.

Mate, it is winter central down here today and yesterday. Up on the top parts of the mountain range it even lightly snowed this morning - and may have continued to do so. Down here at a somewhat lower altitude, the rain was alternating between hail, rain and sleet. All up, not a pleasant day to be outside.

The Roman funeral arrangements are quite interesting. Strangely enough the get together and chip in groups sounded an awful lot like the early societies which provided funeral benefits, sick pay, health care etc. Wow, it does make the mind boggle at the long shadow that the Roman Empire projected onto our culture. Although, it may also be because those sorts of arrangements just work? Dunno, what do you reckon about that?

Shallow graves are not good because animals end up digging up the remains and that can be a gruesome discovery for those still alive. I had that lesson drummed into me one day when exactly that happened with a neighbours well loved dog. It was an unfortunate experience, but that is life after all. I reckon a fox dug the dog up. I tend to plant trees over deceased pets, but bury the pet way deep.

Ha! Lots of air gets into the pipes and the pump has to push that air out. Poor Nell, I hope that she recovered from her fright (and embarrassment) in due course? With all of the water problems here with the garden tap system every time I fix the system, I have to get rid of all of the air in the pipes, otherwise the pressure switch on the pump fails to operate correctly. Did I mention that I'll probably replace that pump over the next month or so? By the way, nice to read that the water is out again! ;-)!

Lucky you. Those premiums sound excessive to me. I read recently that one in eight households down under would have trouble putting together $500 if there was an emergency - let alone those premiums. Of course, your housing costs are cheaper by a considerable margin. It is nice how the excess money supply is funneled out of our hands one way or another! Avoiding inflation is the number one goal in the game and money gone into your health system disappears. Your health system is beyond my understanding - no wonder there are third parties making a living by negotiating the sheer complexity of the system.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Of course, those people are hedging their bets. Wow! It is hailing here right now!!! Massive storm. I'd be like you and only wanting to go in a particular area that I'm familiar with. :-)!

That unit sounds like a good deal and cozy is a tidy word. You know, I was speaking with someone over the internet last night that perhaps our houses are a little bit bigger than we actually need - although I was a bit ruder on that front. If you have the choice of a tiny house or massive debt, I'd choose the tiny house every single time. Your choice there is pretty much the same. Don't you reckon that we do a lot of things in life for status - and I just don't reckon that that is worth it. I might well be wrong though?

Thanks for the film reference. Some editors have a very heavy hand with their editing. Editing is a way different job to that of the creative process, but I can see that it is necessary - although I wouldn't play well with a heavy handed editor. I have not read any of those authors, but would probably have enjoyed Rawlings too given the nature of her works. I wonder if she had a difficult relationship with Perkins? Was that covered in the film?

There will be plenty of nashing teeth for sure that day! So much of our commerce is linked with the whole Interweb thingee... A bit of a shame that. I for one would miss our daily musings! Down here I keep seeing regular articles about the benefits of a cashless economy. They just neglected to say exactly who benefits from that goal! The banks are like hungry monsters devouring the economy all for a bit more. It is an inevitably self-defeating strategy.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Yeah, the recording of the bird calls is really something else. And it is a pleasure to share the recording with you. I hear that sort of thing going on most nights as you well know most of the birds hang around all year. The honey eaters do it tough over winter, but all of the others have plenty to keep themselves fed. I wish the cockatoos went elsewhere though, and mostly they do.

Ember attack on bare skin - the things get in everywhere... Ouch! It hurts even reading about that. That is exactly what happened here too. The flue was reasonably clean, but the baffle plate at the top of the heater was clogged with steel chunks and soot. Opening the front door to the combustion chamber was a smoky experience! Yeah, you do learn when things go wrong and then you know what to look for in the future. How good is it when you find local tradies who have been in the area for years and are a mine of information and stories. It is a real delight to come across these people and spend time with them.

Haha! Too good. We are also talking about doing the exact same thing. Early summer is for cutting splitting and stacking dry firewood. Yup. That is a very hard lesson to learn. Incidentally, your observation about this wet winter is so true. Last year we stopped using the firebox in early October... So not every year will require the same amount of firewood and you never know what it will be like in advance. I cope with that problem by having more ready to hand than we require.

It snowed up on Mount Macedon (1,020m above sea level) this morning. Far out it is cold here today! I like keeping warm too, so I hear you.

Yeah, some of the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne - like Doncaster and Templestowe used to be full of orchards. And some of the best soils in the state are down to the south east of Melbourne. All are being used for housing... I hear you. It makes zero sense to me.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Yes, I get double yolks fairly regularly from the young hens when they first start laying - one so far this year. One wonders how they expel them.

Unless you are covered by an employer provided health plan or are covered by medicare it can be a nightmare. There are some positives with Obamacare though, no pre-existing conditions, no life time maximum and many preventative care tests are not subject to the deductible. My husband would have been forced to stay with his past employer due to Hep C or else forego the treatment which was covered and successful. As Lew mentioned even if you have medicare it's a good idea to have a medicare supplement policy (mine is $150/month) and a medicare drug plan (another 20-60 a month). Prescription drugs are not covered by medicare nor dental, vision or hearing.

I've never had a volunteer soybean or corn plant show up in the garden.

I did listen to the bird call recording. Some of the calls sound prehistoric!!. Spring mornings are very noisy here starting almost before it starts to get light. Right now we're mostly hearing Great Horned Owls, Canada Geese, Blue Jays and a few woodpeckers species. We put out sunflower seed and suet and get quite a variety of winter visitors. We've been surprised to hear Kildeer on our morning walk as I would have thought they would have migrated by now. I bought a bird call CD last year to listen to in the car so I could identify more birds by call. One day I was at a friend's home watching the birds at her feeder and there was one we couldn't identify. She wondered why we feel we have to name anything - an interesting question to ponder.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi WB,

It's sure easy to get sucked in while on the internet isn't it. Good for you trying to cut back. As you mentioned it's harder now for students as homework has to be posted online now. I'm learning that students in high school and middle school are being given chrome books just for that purpose and the plan is to continue on down the lower grades. Not a good idea in my opinion.


Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

I am really looking forward to hearing about your adventures once you move into the Home. My parents lived for 8 years - the two of them and a very large Siberian Husky - in a 525 sq. ft. (49 sq.m?) apartment. They were fine with the size, it was the winters at 8,000 feet (2,440 m) in Estes Park, Colorado that finally drove them out, and down to the edge of the Plains.

Thanks for the details about Roman cremations/burials. Fascinating.

And you made me laugh, way back up there, with your Imelda Marcos' shoes comment. I had forgotten about her and her shoes - and in the end, termites got them!

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yup. Deforestation and erosion were big problems all over the Mediterranean. Along with the attendant silting up of rivers and harbors. Some of the Roman braziers were real works of art. Generally, but less and less as time went on, families took care of burial. As time went on, there were people sloshing from one end of the Empire to the other. They had to create family like social support groups, as they went along. Judging from some of the cemeteries, gladiators took care of their own and the soldiers took care of their mates. The Emperor Ausgustus' wife, Livia had a rather niche tomb constructed for the burial jars of her household servants and slaves. You may have been a slave in the Empresses' household, but at least you knew you'd be packed away with a little dignity and have an ok place to spend eternity. :-). A few of the grave slabs survive. One of her hairdressers ... one of the women that took care of her jewelry.

Right now there's a lot of click bait on the Net. "Chinese in Roman London!!!". "Roman Coins Found Under Ancient Japanese Castle!!!" If you read the cooler heads, yes, some burials with Asian genes were found in London. But how many generations they were removed from their ancestor's homes? A moot point. A couple of years ago, a couple of burials with Asian genes were found outside of Rome. They were farm laborers. The Roman coins found in Japan were probably curiosities passed from hand to hand along the Silk Road. There IS some evidence that Augustus received a small delegation from the Chinese Emperor of that time. The two empires were vaguely aware of each other. And, there was long distance trade. Silk was big in Rome. And, an ivory sculpture of an Indian goddess was found in Pompeii.

Sounds like winter his hanging on, at your place. A last hurrah? After days of rain and gloom, we actually have a sunny day, today. LOL. Somewhere recently I saw a piece on how many days of sun we have here, on average, month by month. It's pretty grim and gray. :-).

The water and air really slam through the system when the water comes back on. I really worry a bit about the wear and tear. Can't be good for the hot water tank, either. Hope I'm out of here before there's a major problem. Cont.



LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Yup. Health care IS a big problem, here. My friend in Idaho has the occasional panic or anxiety attach, and usually it has to do with dealing with her health care system. Twice now, she's been billed for something that she shouldn't have been billed for and it boiled down to mistakes in entering her ID number. Took hours on the phone to get that straightened out.

I think I've mentioned that I discovered that if you have an appeal, it now goes to a private company (Noridian) which pretty much rejects any claim out of hand. Just like an insurance company. So, it's private and for profit. It would be interesting to see who the big investors are and how connected they are to government law makers. if not the law makers, themselves. Same goes for on line postal services and on line tax preparation.

Well. I measured my living room and kitchen, and the square footage is MORE than the units at The Home. Yikes! If I subtract the square footage of the big river rock stove pad, they're about the same. Oh, I'm all for tiny houses. I did live in a place for quit awhile that was 365 square feet. I used to joke that I had one square foot for every day of the year :-). It's just the downsizing. Sorting through stuff and either tossing, finding good homes for or trying to make a few bucks off of, about half my stuff.

Max Perkins also makes an appearance in the film, "Cross Creek", which is about Rawlings life. As I remember they had a friendly and mildly flirtatious relationship. I'd like to see the movie again, but the library doesn't have a copy :-(.

Well, I'm glad I'm signed up with a credit union, instead of a commercial bank. They're fiscally healthy, but not "for profit." it's the Washington State Employees Credit Union. When I started working for Timberland, we couldn't use the credit union. The regional library system was such a strange entity. Not fish, nor fowl. We used the State Retirement system, so it didn't make sense to me that we couldn't use it. Then we got a really great head of the system. As she made her initial grand progress through the branches, she even talked to us "little people." And, I asked her about that. Three days later we got an e-mail to all employees that we could join the credit union. LOL. Just another little unsung thing I did that benefited a lot of people. Lew

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Chris,

I prefer Will.

I think he borrowed it from Jung, although I'd have to reread it. I think not knowing yourself causes a lot of cognitive dissonance for a lot of people, and I know for me it caused quite a bit. And yes, knowing people is a lot harder if you don't know yourself.

I can't think of a single tool that can't be abused, and whenever I think of one, I usually find a few minutes of thinking about it I can come up with one. The internet is a big one for that, especially since as I see it lots of people don't use it responsibly. Well I see its uses, I also see downsides, and I'm trying to find a balance. Especially given all the resources which go into it, I think balance, for me, in this case means "crazy deprivation" from most people's perspective.

And yes, I found it funny the number of people who freaked out, particularly the number of people who were adamant they now had "no way to get in touch". This from people who have my phone number, address, and sometimes email address. My favorite were the handful of people who texted me that....

Margaret,

It really is. I sometimes wonder if internet is actually addictive sometimes, and the very fact that thought has occurred to me makes me inclined to think it's better to try to do without for as much as possible. And I think this is a bad idea, but it's happening in elementary schools here. My volunteering work has let me see many things that I would be horrified to discover later in life with my own children. Writing is apparently no longer part of a school curriculum here. Why learn to write when you can just type?

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret, Lewis and Will,

Thanks for the lovely comments but I am unable to reply tonight. Tomorrow will be a new blog entry, so I will try to reply but may not be able to depending on how long it takes me to write the blog! I can promise by Tuesday there will be a reply!!!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Thanks for the bird sounds/songs/whistles, I loved them. It always amazes me that urbanites think that the countryside is quiet. Curiously they don't notice the sounds and those rustling movements.

I was visited yesterday by the elder of my two acquired boys. He was enroute to Berlin from the US, on business. He broke his trip at Heathrow to visit me which was wonderful. 7 hours non stop conversation left me exhausted and I slept soundly all night.

Oh yes, fire engines would turn up here and one would be fined. Even assuming that the practice of letting a chimney fire rip along still exists, it would only be far enough out for it to have been doused before being noticed. The fact remains that it scours out the chimney perfectly.

I am going to work out the square footage of my home, it is small but I do have sheds with stuff in them.

@ Pam

No there will be no ceremony and no marker.

@Lew

High time that I praised you for all the Roman information that you impart. I am so interested in everything that you tell us, thanks.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - Ah, for the "good old days" when I moved to S. California with everything I owned packed in a VW bug! :-). It's lucky I downsized quit a bit when I moved here. Oh, I'll muddle through. And, as long as I'm willing to pay the rent, I can take my time getting out of this place. Year's ago I developed "Lew's Universal Law of Stuff". It goes, "Junk expands to fill the space allowed." I think I just thought of it's corollary (?). "Junk must shrink to fit the space allowed." Years ago it occurred to me that in the end, if one is lucky, it will all boil down to a bedside table in a hospice, with maybe one piece of beloved tat on it. :-).

I hadn't thought of Imelda Marcos in years, but she's mentioned in a book I'm reading now. "Stuff: Compulsive Harding and the Meaning of Things." (Frost & Steketee, 2010). In fact, I'm going back through it and making a few notes. Which I'm going to post on the wall as I go through this process. :-). It's interesting. Of course, I'm not near as bad as the case studies in the book. I read along and think, "No, that doesn't apply to me." But then I run across something and think, "Yes, that does apply to me, in a much lesser degree." Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Thanks for enjoying my excursions and digressions into the world of the Romans. I probably get a few of the details wrong. A lifetime of reading and watching films on the subject, but I'm working from memory. LOL, luckily, no Oxford Classics Don has shown up on this site to argue every little point! :-).

I think I can blame the novelist Norah Lofts for my interest in Roman Britain. I read her "Wayside Inn" at a very impressionable age (11 or 12?) and the first chapter about the Romans leaving Britain set my imagination on fire.

I think it's lovely, what you're doing for your doll. Sounds like the kind of thing I'd do. I think whimsy (?) is a, or should be, a very important part of life. I have an old stuffed panda I picked up years ago. He was missing his button eyes. Instead of replacing them, I found him a little pair of Ray Charles glasses. I call him "Blind Bob, my blues playing bear). :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I listened to your "Sunset in the Orchard" recording. Wow. It's a jungle out there! Some of them sound a bit like monkeys, and some like barking dogs. Wonder if they picked that up from your pack? It's not near as noisy, here. The occasional screech of a bald eagle. Not so often after the logging. But those are usually far off and high up. The woodpeckers pounding on the house, usually around sunrise. The battle cries of the hummingbirds when they squabble. Crows. The occasional ticked off blue jay. But we don't have the .... density of sound that you do. Lew