Monday, 7 November 2016

Copperhead Road

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

During the Prohibition Era (1920 to 1933) in the United States there was a ban on the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages. Despite the prohibition, people didn't suddenly stop producing, importing, transporting and selling of alcoholic beverages! Of course many people during those strange days simply made their own alcohol in the secrecy of their own home. Making your own alcohol is very simple, however getting access to the equipment to do so would have been a challenge in those days. Fortunately for US citizens wanting to make their own alcohol, many enterprising businesses assisted them with their equipment needs.

Down here, a large (at that prohibition time) local pottery manufacturing company, Bendigo Pottery, stepped into this niche market and thoughtfully used to export clay demijohns to the United States under the guise that they be used for producing: “Health Drinks”. A demijohn is a very large bottle with a narrow neck, and the traditional purpose of those bottles is for the production of fermented drinks. Alcohol is just one type of fermented drink. There are other non-alcoholic (or only mildly so) fermented drinks such as: Kombucha; or Apple Cider Vinegar, and demijohns can be used to produce both of those too.

I produce my own alcohol here in demijohns using the excess fruit that I have access too. It is a fascinating hobby and you can experiment using pretty much any fruit, which can provide some wildly different flavours. Strawberry wine is superb for example. Most of the brews work well, but sometimes, let’s just say that the experiment seemed like a good idea at the time (hello carrot)!

At an open garden recently, the editor and I met a lovely couple who lived in an owner built mud-brick house which was surrounded by a delightful garden, vegetable patch and orchard. We soon discovered that we all shared this most excellent hobby of producing our own alcohol and discussed this fascinating subject for quite a while. At one point in the conversation the lady suggested that the editor and I should run courses on the subject of producing alcohol as people would be very interested. I have to confess that I am reluctant to do that, not because I wouldn’t enjoy running the course and sharing this most excellent hobby, it is just that I’ve noticed that people have some funny ideas about alcohol.

“You hardly ever saw Grandaddy down here
He only came to town about twice a year
He'd buy a hundred pounds of yeast and some copper line
Everybody knew that he made moonshine”

The funny ideas that people get baffle me. You see, we produce enough alcohol to be able to enjoy four glasses each per week and that is it. But when people see for themselves firsthand just how large and complex a production process needs to be to achieve that small quantity of four glasses each per week, they disbelieve our story and suggest rather rudely that we are some sort of booze hounds. What baffles me is that those same people would be totally cool and unconcerned if we purchased the same volume of alcohol from a shop and they didn't have to see what goes into making that volume.

You see, alcohol is a fermented product. Fermentation is the fancy name for the process whereby tiny little dudes (yeast) eat the sugars in a liquid. After the tiny little dude (yeast) have feasted, they have to go to the toilet in the liquid and they expel alcohol. Nature just does this process free of charge, and there are yeasts everywhere in the environment. Seriously, they really are everywhere as they help break down organic matter into smaller and simpler components. Bread is a good example of  another fermented product and I would have to suggest that the famous San Francisco sourdough bread, is made using wild yeasts captured from that part of the world.

The downside to fermentation is that it is a slow process. The yeasts are hungry, but it takes them a lot of time to eat all the sugars. For example, getting a loaf of bread to change from a dough to something you can chuck in the oven (the technical name for this process is: rise) via the activities of yeast takes a few hours. Producing a tasty alcohol can take a whole lot longer. In fact, we tend to age alcohol in the bottle for a minimum of 12 months before consumption as the taste improves with that time. That means that we have to store a lot of bottles of alcohol in the house.

I realised long ago from the reactions of other people, that storing bottles in the house is not a good look. The very same people who are comfortable with a shop full of bottles and the truly massive and epic industrial facilities that provides the shop with its produce, are a bit judgemental about the size of production facilities here and so they generally assume the worst. Do their concerns stop me? No. The best way to make this subject a non-issue is to hide the production facilities and the problem then simply disappears…

“Now the revenue man wanted Grandaddy bad
He headed up the holler with everything he had
It's before my time but I've been told
He never came back from Copperhead Road”

I’d been putting off completing the new cupboard which is to be used to hide the alcohol production. There was a good reason for that delay. The cupboard was one that we had picked up a few months back and have been slowly repairing since then. However, in that process of repair, I discovered to my absolute horror, that the door cavities were less than square and that the timbers had been so worn over the years that they were not even flat. And those two issues made attaching the cupboard doors a total nightmare. Still, if working on old houses has taught me anything, it is that doors can be attached to almost any surface with a bit of effort so that they eventually look square – even when they are not.
The petulant author attaching the three doors to the new cupboard
It took three hours to attach those doors, but by the end of that process the new cupboard was looking superb! And from a close glance you’d never know just dodgy those door cavities are.
The new cupboard looking superb and ready to receive the dozen or so demijohns
So, the alcohol production and storage facilities are now out of sight for guests. This is a good thing as it avoids the unnecessary judgements and misconceptions alluded to above. And everyone is  happier for that!

“Now Daddy ran the whiskey in a big block Dodge
Bought it at an auction at the Mason's Lodge
Johnson County Sheriff painted on the side
Just shot a coat of primer then he looked inside
Well him and my uncle tore that engine down
I still remember that rumblin' sound”

Those funny ideas about alcohol, says so much about those people. To me it looks as if they only have one story running in their mind on that particular subject which says that consumption must be either feast or famine. The idea that someone could set limits on their consumption and then produce to those limits is anathema to them.

The other tired canard that I hear from people, even those that should know better, is that because we have free time to work around the farm that somehow we must be growing, dealing or producing drugs. Someone who barely knew me (a new, but now former hairdresser), asked me that very question last week. I was totally outraged by the question because he was totally serious. It is the same funny idea really as the people asking me that question have only a few limited stories running in their heads which say that either: You work full time; or You are involved in the apparently lucrative drug trade. And there appears to be no other options in those people’s minds… It is all a bit sad really as there are plenty of other options for life that don’t involve breaking the law.

“And I came home with a brand new plan
I take the seed from Colombia and Mexico
I plant it up the holler down Copperhead Road”

The fruit press has been (bad joke alert!) pressed into service squeezing the last of the seasons Meyer lemons. It produces copious quantities of lemon juice. The editor and I don’t even bother cutting the lemons up anymore as the pressure from the fruit press squashes the lemons easily.
The author using the fruit press to produce lemon juice from the plentiful supply of Meyer lemons
All that lemon juice was used to produce a couple of demijohns of lemon wine and a lemon lava cake. As spring is rapidly coming to a close and summer is looming, the sun is shining very strongly here and producing lots of warmth. I use that warmth to assist with the fermentation process as it speeds up the activities of the yeasts. Most days, I move the demijohns from their new cupboard (The Drinks Cabinet) into the sun. The demijohns have a lovely view into the garden!
The demijohns enjoy the warmth from the late spring sun which speeds up the activities of the yeasts
Unfortunately the strong spring sun is making the grass grow at a speed that is beyond the abilities of all of the wombats, wallabies and kangaroos to eat. At this time every year, I have to mow that grass. And because the slope of the land is so steep, I am unable to use a tractor or a ride on mower, and so I just push my trusty little Honda mower around the property for a few days…
The author pushing the little old Honda mower through the grass in the orchard
I mowed about 70% of the property over the last few days and that includes most of both orchards. It was hard going and a lot of walking, and in the next photo you can see just how steep the slope is.
The property is too steep for a ride on mower
There has been so much sun this week that the defined paths were starting to be outgrown by all of the plants in the surrounding garden beds. So we have also pruned back some of the excess plant growth.
The defined paths were starting to be outgrown by all of the plants in the surrounding garden beds
The asparagus bed was cut back completely this week following harvesting advice from a friend. This is the asparagus bed before being cut back.
The asparagus bed prior to being cut back
Poopy the Pomeranian (who is actually a Swedish Lapphund) was most impressed with the ruthless cutting back of all of the asparagus spears in that older asparagus bed.
Poopy was most impressed with the ruthless cutting back of all of the asparagus spears in that older asparagus bed
The rock wall near to the chicken enclosure was completed this week and all of the prunings were piled behind the rock wall as fill.
The rock wall near to the chicken enclosure was completed this week and all of the prunings were piled behind the rock wall as fill
Speaking of fill, one of the three raised potato beds, which was the earliest planted out, received a topping up of manure this week. We have never grown potatoes using this mounding method before and it will be interesting to see how the plants respond to the additional manure.
One of the three raised potato beds, which was also the earliest planted out, received a topping up of manure this week
There was a spontaneous plant purchase this week. Honestly, who can possibly walk past white strawberries? They are sold here as Pineberries and I have never seen such a thing before.
There was a spontaneous plant purchase this week of white strawberries
The temporary strawberry patch had a huge quantity of straw placed in-between all of the plants. The straw increases the harvest because it reduces the incidence of fruit rotting on the ground. The fruit rapidly rots when it comes into contact with bare soil. Observant readers will note that these berries are described as “straw” and “berries”.
The temporary strawberry patch had a huge quantity of straw placed between all of the plants
About 40% of the tomato enclosure now has seedlings which appear to have become established. This was a major error on my part as I failed to comprehend the much colder spring conditions this year and failed to harden off the seedlings prior to planting them out in the enclosure. Hardening off is the fancy name for getting young plant seedlings which may have been grown in the cushy warm indoors, ready for life in the cold and tough outside world. This process is achieved by slowly placing the seedlings outside for longer periods of time prior to transplanting them. Last year it was so warm, that that process did not matter. This year it does.
About 40% of the tomato enclosure now has seedlings which appear to have become established
Spring has put a bit of extra energy into the marsupials who are usually not very social. The other evening I spotted four wallabies in one small patch of the farm.
The other evening I spotted four wallabies in one small patch of the farm (date night!)
The summer fruits are all ripening on various plants and here some photos of a few that are slowly swelling:
Gooseberries swelling on the shrub
The nashi pear trees have set a good amount of fruit
Each week the cherry fruit are getting larger
This year the quince trees have produced fruit
Here are some photos from around the garden that I hope you enjoy as much as I do:
The local mother shield ferns are exploding with fresh growth
This small purple rock loving plant is enjoying its spot
Poppy-gate is accelerating as the many poppy plants produce huge quantities of flowers
The bearded irises are very showy
Grannies bonnets are prolific flowerers
"I learned a thing or two from ol' Charlie don't you know
You better stay away from Copperhead Road"

With respect to Steve Earl for the song: Copperhead Road

The temperature outside now at about 6.30pm is 19.2’C (66.6’F). So far this year there has been 1,069.0mm (42.1 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 1,066.4mm (42.0 inches).

88 comments:

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Wow, who would have thought that the Cubs would get that much support from the fans. Respect to them. And doubling the population of a city in a day is just, wow, something else! I hope everyone had a good time. My mind says to me that it would have been total mayhem. Good luck for the election day! Hehe!

Oh yeah. The economist John Kenneth Galbraith once observed that nobody donates money to politicians out of the goodness of their hearts with the unstated implication being that the donators expect a return on their investment. Personally, I'd stop donations and remove tax free status for a whole lot of entities as that behemoth turns into a major public funding exercise, but that is perhaps an unpopular view which will most likely never see the light of day. On a similar note, there has been a major scandal involving the employment arrangements for charity collectors down here recently – who would have thought that they were possibly underpaid? It is not a good look. Anyway, the people that collect on the street are known as "chuggers" which is derived from the words "charity" and "muggers". Just a little fun fact there...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

You have my sympathies for your mosquito problem. Oh yeah, rains and then droughts are a total breeding ground for mosquitoes as they love those stagnant pools of water. Moving water is not their prefered breeding ground... It is bad enough here that I have to spray myself with insect repellent if I supervise the chickens at dusk. I wish I didn't have too, but the mosquitoes are unrelenting and I get bitten several times per minute.

Sorry to read that about the jalapeno peppers as I had no idea that that would even be a possibility (I'm growing some milder peppers this year so really appreciate your advice and experience in this matter). Glad to read that your hand is feeling better now, but wow, you would have suffered some serious pain from those chemical burns. Ouch! Thanks for your thoughts about the editors foot as it appears to be back to normal now.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for the info on the chickpeas. I had heard of the Italian derived Ceci, but none of the other derivations. That little pea really did get around - what a lovely way to describe the historical travels of a pea. I bet the origin of that plant is now lost in time. Anyway, plants move around the planet as much as humans do. That is always at the back of my mind when people discuss the native plant issue. I read a fascinating account last week of how the Maori people in New Zealand traditionally had their local elves and fairies dotted through the more remote regions of their forests. I'll look up the reference if you are interested?

Under a dollar per pound is quite cheap relative to here. I purchase dried legumes at the market and they are usually about $6 to $8 per kilogram (2.2 pounds to the kilogram) so that works out to be about $2.72 to $3.63 per pound. You tend to get food cheaper than here. Speaking of which the retailers have been pushing down the costs of roast chicken recently and how they can cook a chook for $8 is way beyond my understanding. It is a scrawny chicken no doubts about it, but still, I can't purchase a live chicken for less than $20 and that is only usually about 15 to 20 weeks old. Sure, day old chickens are cheaper, but still, it doesn't sound right to me. You know what does sound right to me: Apple and raisin crisps, that's what! Total Yum!

I just heard thunder outside and it is looking a bit darker now. It rained here this afternoon - quite heavily at times, but overall this week has been much drier than previous weeks.

Hansel and Gretel. Yup, fortunately nobody confused me for a wicked witch and kicked me into the combustion chamber. They must have had big fire places in those days. One thing I always enjoyed about that sort of story is that the characters manage to extract themselves from a pretty nasty situation by sheer use of their wits. Jack Vance often wrote to that story, of course without all the hidden - well perhaps not so hidden agenda - of the Grimm brothers.

Well often the US sets the cultural tone for us. I noticed that since the closure of the local vehicle manufacturing down here, they have been spruiking the benefits of "Trucks" in the newspapers. I'd never noticed them call utility vehicles "trucks" before... I remember years ago they used to call SUV's, four wheel drives, but that changed. Interestingly too, Mercedes Benz seems to be getting into the "Truck" market too (I realise that they already make large trucks and vans).

It is amazing how well some of the systems that support us actually work and that's despite the likelihood of something going wrong. The logistics of those travelling books would be quite fascinating to wrap your head around. I think I'll pass on that problem.

Frosts can be an anytime of the year thing down here, although generally where I am avoids the worst of it. Recently there was an article saying that the grain harvest over in Western Australia was reduced by about 18% (or some number around that) because of frost. Mate, Idaho sounds cold and then hot to me. Brrr!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

50 spam emails per day would drive me bananas. Fortunately my internet domain provider blocks most spam at the server end, so I'm fortunately not subjected to the worst of it. But I have to pay for that service though. The internet is not a cheap experience for me down here. Yeah, I reckon you are totally spot on about that as there are plenty of people who know more about the internet than you or I. I try not to travel far on the interweb.

Thanks for the medicinal herb tip as I wasn't aware of that. Hawthorne berries are also an apparent herbal medicine for the heart. Exactly, who cares, the flowers are pretty and the bees love them. I had hollyhocks in the garden and they show every year in the same spot and I originally thought that they were foxgloves. Plant identification can be a complex matter and I have had to cram my poor brain full of plant data. It takes a village really...

Nice to read that you are getting some good fall colours. Every time you mention rain at your place, I always get this made up memory of you trudging out to check on the chickens. At least you don't have to do that anymore. Have you heard how the chickens are going in their new digs?

In and out again in a minute sounds like an inside job. I mean how else does one work out what's what and it is probably quite telling what was taken. Traffic is on the increase down here too as the human population is exploding down here. I believe over 100,000 new people make this city their home every single year. The powers that be just have to remember to invest in additional infrastructure or sooner or later the mess won't cope.

Oh, OK. Lets' talk in a little while. There is still coffee and perhaps some dinner first. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Brrr! I'm feeling cold just reading that temperature. Brrr!

It is a funny season here as I noticed that not all of the trees have broken their dormancy yet. The ginko seems slow to put on leaves and no doubt given the age of that tree species, there is probably a good reason for that.

No worries, let's talk in a bit.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That's awful, but at least you get your hour back. We're highly tuned machines you and I and the loss or gain of the hour is enough to make a person feel mildly jet lagged. The sun is up earlier and earlier all the time here now and it is very bright before I drag myself out of bed in the mornings. 4.30pm is early for the sun to set. Do you get more twilight as you get closer to the winter solstice. The island of Tasmania is a lot like that as it gets darker much earlier in winter than here, but then they also tend have more pleasant summers than here. One can't win, can they?

Yes, a person doing that particular job would know the contents of the message before it reached the intended person. When I was at the funeral earlier in the year, a story was told about how that particular lady had done that job also during WWII and there was a level of sensitivity told in the story that a person would be very unlikely to see in a public servant these days...

Ouch, it took me a while to understand that the written word is very different from the language spoken in day to day usage. However, from what I see because people don't write as often as they used to, I sort of see a lot of instances where people write as if they were speaking to another person. That is as distinct from using the more formal written language. Anyway, I don't bother about such matters as langauge is a far hardier and more flexible tool than we even understand. What do you reckon about that?

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

Honestly Chris, sometimes your friends sound very annoying. Maybe they are frenemies? :-) 8 glasses a week, say 2 litres? For a 12 month aging process (I found for blackberry mead that 18 months was the sweet spot - yum) you need 104 litres in 'production' at any one time. So, maybe 20 demijohns? I guess that could look like a lot, but so many people these days have wine racks that big (remember the craze on 'wine clubs'?). Or maybe they are trying to make light conversation? It seems that joking about excess alcohol consumption is always pretty popular. I dunno, your cupboard looks very nice but a full rack of fermenting demijohns looks better I think. Sometimes people are too hard...

I haven't brewed anything for a while and I do miss a few drinks. 6 months in and I find that BeerLao is just not appealing anymore. It goes down easy I guess, and is probably the best SE Asian beer, but I dunno...it lacks something. Last weekend Mrs Damo and I were in Siam Reap and I noticed that their national brewer does a proper stout. It was very tasty by the pool with a burger so I made sure to jam as many cans into my bag as I thought I get past Laos customs :p The perfect accompaniment to a Grand Designs episode!

Speaking of that fantastic show, I really liked the house with the steam-pressed wood trimmings. Even that strange black box in the woods had a certain charm - although it is not for me. The only house so far I really didn't like was the huge thing done by the professional bricklayer. Massive for no good reason, and supposedly an eco-house! Kevin should know better than to call it that. For those who haven't seen the show, this house was over 400 square metres and had a main hallway over 30m long! Apparently popping some solar panels on the roof and installing fancy insulation made it an eco-house. The next episode looks to be done by some 'alternative' people out of mud and sticks, maybe I will watch it tonight.

Damo

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

I'm a big fan of Steve Earle, and love that song. He's written a few crackers!

You're so right in this post. It's funny how quickly things build up when they need to be stored on site. Rainwater is a good example. I haven't had comments about alcohol (we don't brew wine, only beer, tho that may change sometime) but a few people have asked whether we grow marijuana (which we don't) as though anyone who grows veges and fruit naturally also grows dope. And you should have seen the plumber's face when I asked him to put a tap on the roof next to the HWS (!)

It's a grand time of year, isn't it? It's been a cool/wet spring here, and we've got half a dozen volunteer stone fruit popping up -- that's exciting! That hasn't happened in the other years we've been here, which shows how marginal it is for germination here... (I've propagated stone fruit in the fridge before)

Great work, and enjoy the warmer weather,
-Angus

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis and Inge,

I thought that it might not be a bad idea to go back and see what I'd written before replying...

My quote: "that it is only possible to live in the moment if someone else is taking responsibility for your situation. And when they're not doing that, you really are up the creek without a paddle if you attempt that particular trick of outsourcing your responsibilities to someone who is no good or irresponsible. US politics - and down here too - appear to me to be a lot like that. That is why people claim that it all doesn't matter, because for them it probably doesn't. Dunno, but it seems like a confused way to get through life to me."

I'll try and parse the many thoughts from that above paragraph so that perhaps my meaning becomes clearer and we can discuss from that point.

"that it is only possible to live in the moment if someone else is taking responsibility for your situation". Perhaps this is usually an unspoken concept. What I actually intended by that sentence is that:

- it is possible to live in the moment;
- if you were to attempt to live in the moment, then in doing so other people will attempt to fulfil your more basic needs;
- the unstated implication by the use of the word "responsibility" was that other people may choose to fulfil your more basic needs in whatever fashion they deem appropriate; and
- your basic needs may include but is not limited to: security; infrastructure; community; and food.

"And when they're not doing that, you really are up the creek without a paddle if you attempt that particular trick of outsourcing your responsibilities to someone who is no good or irresponsible."

I was attempting to describe my own personal feelings that there are some people in this world who if given the opportunity will cause you grief. In my experience I have noticed that sociopaths tend to enjoy obtaining leverage over an individual or collection of individuals. In outsourcing our responsibilities - which was what the previous sentence attempted to describe - those individuals provide leverage for the nefarious people to gain the advantage over the individuals best needs and/or interests.

"That is why people claim that it all doesn't matter, because for them it probably doesn't."

People make that particular claim when they feel that they have either:
- lost control of a situation;
- they never had control of a situation in the first place;
- they feel that they are incapable or inadequate to control a situation; and/or
- they don't want control of a situation

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Hope that all makes sense. Now, onto your response!

Your Quote (Lewis): "You feel that "living in the moment" is a bad thing, and I can get what your driving at. But how does that differ from the Buddhist concept of "mindfulness?" Of being present in each moment and activity. No automatic pilot! :-). I understand there's a difference, and that one is not so good, and the other, better. That they're different but sound the same. But I can't quit verbalize it, to myself. Please expound."

"You feel that "living in the moment" is a bad thing".

Well I didn't explicitly say that it was a bad thing. I sort of defined that concept as a bad thing only if that meant that you were outsourcing responsibility for your base needs onto other people. It was a conditional situation more than a blanket statement.

"But how does that differ from the Buddhist concept of "mindfulness?"

Oh, I really don't know a whole lot about that Buddhist concept. A basic explanation of that concept was provided courtesy of the interweb so feel free to correct me: "Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally" and/or "Bringing one's complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis". No doubt that that is a simplification of a much more complex and deep concept. However, I feel I have to out myself here as a person that is not unhappy with making a judgement. And also, I feel that the concept of mindfulness seems like a lot of hard work for rather dubious goals which may be culturally inappropriate in the west. As an explanation of why I feel that way, it is because I can see for me that the costs of maintaining such a focus on the here and now would come at a huge expense of the ability to consider future events and/or situations. I was born with an unnaturally active mind and it needs to be exercised! ;-)!

From my perspective, if a person was to immerse themselves in the moment, I wonder how well they would be able to adapt to any impending changes. All up, I would have to suggest that from my perspective that if the goal of mindfulness was a core goal of the Buddhists then they have got it wrong. It is fine to live for today, but you also have to plan and prepare for the future and it is a very big difficulty to ignore one or the other - and I have seen plenty of people attempt those particular tricks. It doesn't work. And if you are still not convinced I will ask you this question: Why have the Buddhists not made changes in their own lives in response to the impending crises that are facing industrial civilisation or are they even remotely curious about them?

You two are making my head spin - like the girl in The Exorcist! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Jason Heppenstall said...

Hi Chris - funny how you keep writing about topics that seem to be close to my heart. I was involved in our annual cider making bash two weekends ago. In its third year now, we have grown from one barrel and a hand cranked scratter and press, to four barrels, a large electric motor scratter and an industrial press that works using water pressure. We made 1,000 litres that weekend - mostly as a result of a local man bequeathing us his orchard of 100 mature rare variety trees (and said equipment) upon his death.

Now, I'm all for small scale alcohol production, but I'm probably going to be less involved in our cider venture in future. I have noticed that various people involved in it have become, for what of a better word, greedy. The initial fun seems to be disappearing an it seems that the more cider we produce, the less of it there is for most of the group outside of these individuals. It's fair enough, I suppose, as they are the ones putting in the most effort, so perhaps I shouldn't be surprised.

That aside, I've come to the conclusion that I don't really want hundreds of gallons of alcohol hanging around in my basement. You are very lucky if you can just drink four glasses a week and leave it at that - most people I know drink way too much, and I see it as a bit of weak spot in terms of where our futures are headed. That's just a personal opinion, based on years of consuming way too much of the stuff myself (I calculated a while back that I have drunk approx 10,000 bottles of wine in my lifetime). At one point I found myself drinking an average of a bottle of wine a night. I became worried about this and went to the doctor, but the doctor just told me this level of consumption was 'low' among Brits, and said I should come back if I found myself drinking 3 or more bottles a day. I think it is an unseen epidemic in society. Anyway, that was a while ago and I have now developed a method of retraining myself to not drink very much at all, based on subconscious reasoning. I would recommend the technique to anyone else who wants to stop anaesthetising themselves so much.

This leaves me with the conundrum about what to do with all my booze-making equipment. I keep thinking about getting rid of it, but then something always stops me from doing so. I love making different types of hedgerow wine, and can't really imagine not being able to do this in the future. I think I have alcohol in my - ahem - blood!

Anyway, thanks for the tipoff about Grand Designs. I watched it with my wife the other day, and then the very next day went down and peered over their gate at the house I had somehow not noticed before. Very nice job they did.



orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

'Living in the moment'. I think that there has been confusion between living perpetually in the moment and intermittently in the moment. Of course if you live in the moment the whole time, you are not taking thought for the morrow and this would only be possible for such as monks. But I certainly believe that to live in the moment in certain circumstances, is a joyous thing, such as lying in the sun with nothing to do or think about. Mystical experiences would be the apogee of living in the moment and er sex. Are you always thinking of the morrow as you walk through the woods? Or can you blank your mind and just feel?

Inge

Steve Carrow said...

Copperhead Road is a very catchy tune, one of my favorite Steve Earl songs. So far I've made one batch of cider, and three of beer, which all have turned out fine so far. The real trick ( and illegal here ) would be to try to do some distillation. That is what the "revenooers" were chasing moonshiners over. Is distillation legal in Australia?

Pam in Virginia said...


Hi, Chris!

Ha! I thought that "copperhead" was going to be about gingers.

Of course, you nice Australians were helping us out during prohibition! As a side note - our politicians had their secret stores of booze (they were the ones who knew well ahead that prohibition was going to pass) set aside. I know some moonshiners here in these mountains . . . Ditto for the equivalent of the big black Dodge.

I hear that it is really hard to measure alcohol content. Sometimes just our kombucha causes a really slight buzz at first, maybe it's just the really high acidity, but it can really vary a lot according to how old it is.

Who would have thought that merely attaching doors to a cupboard could be so agonizing. It is a gorgeous cupboard. What wealth resides therein!

My, God! I can't believe that someone asked you if you grew drugs on your homestead! Have they no shame?! We have regular reefer helicopter patrols (soon to be drones - at least they won't be so noisy) that fly over our area mid-summer to early fall, keeping a lookout for weeds (wish they'd take my stiltgrass). I hope they are envious of our peppers and tomatoes.

Meyer lemons are considered to be a gourmet item here, so they are even pricier than our already pricey common lemons.

Boy, that's a lot of grass! The steepness is a killer. You must have the leg muscles of a draft horse. I have never heard of white strawberries. And I never thought of the "straw" berries relating to straw. I put the scratchiest straw that I can find under our strawberries as the slugs really hate it. Ouch!

It's so fresh there! Color, color everywhere! Poopys and poppies!

Pam

Jason Heppenstall said...

BTW - I just saw this and thought of you. The bit about the wallabies got me:

Engineer builds home in Australian bush from two shipping containers

Cheers,

Jason

Hazel Marchant said...

Hi Chris,

People can be strange, can't they? They probably don't get the concept of a rationed amount of alcohol, because if they had it, they'd drink it all at once!

Your garden is obviously loving the warmth, it looks beautifully lush. I hope the potatoes do well for you.

I believe that the idea of living in the moment is not the same as living "for" the moment. The latter is about paying no heed to the future, making no plans etc., while the former is about noticing your experiences, and appreciating them. When you go out in the evening to give your chickens a run in the orchard, and you listen to the birdsong, and watch the wildlife, and smell the scents in the air, you are "living in the moment"! At least, that's my interpretation. :-)

Cheers,

Hazel

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Just to make it clear, the next little bit about home brewing is said with tongue firmly in cheek and lots of giggles (on this end) along the way. :-). Well, one can tell from the general disorder and run down appearance of your place that you're obviously falling down drunk, most of the time. And you know, stashing liquor around the house is one of the Ten Signs of Alcoholism. Or, how many ever there are. The demijohns appear to be enjoying a good "sun" on the terrace. Just soaking up that Vitamin D! I don't think I've ever seen your garden from this particular angle. That rock is spectacular.

I'll see your "Copperhead Road" and raise you "Thunder Road." :-) I can remember seeing this movie at the local theatre in the 1950s. Dad had a still in the basement about the same time. It exploded. He was scrapping corn mash of the beams for days.

About 2 minutes ... It's a toe tapper.

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

Creep. I wish we'd get serious about limiting our elections. Freedom of Speech, and all that. Halloween tat begins to appear in August and Christmas tat in September. The first time I hear a Christmas carol, I shudder. Businesses that used to have reasonable open hours are now open 24/7.

As far as a massive booze operation or, the possibilities of a drug empire. Well. You're running counter to the ... normal narrative of things, so, you must be up to SOMETHING. Grow too many odd, interesting and useful plants and they'll be burning you in the town square for witchcraft.

White strawberries? Why? Do they taste better? Are they more nutritious? How can you tell that they're ripe? Inquiring minds want to know. :-)

Maori elves and fairies? Sure. Bring them on. Never know when that might be a key bit of useful information if I ever get on some quiz show. Interesting how "little people" are part of the folk lore in many cultures, worldwide.

I don't know if you have them there, but here we have "generic" or "store brands." These can be anything from cookies to, well, canned beans. Soup to nuts. They may come out of the same manufacturer, or, even same batch as a National Brand. But due to the lack of advertising and simple packaging, they can be considerably cheaper. They're generally stocked on the lower shelves at the market (the cheap seats) rather than at eye level (the dress circle.) :-). I was just looking at the store brand dark chocolate I buy. Product of Switzerland. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Truck. Rather a blockish term, don't you think? Probably has a good solid Anglo-Saxon language root. None of that namby pamby Norman French rubbish :-).

I think when people write these days, it's a lot more informal. So, it is more like a conversation. I can still crank out a pretty passable "business" letter. Which tend to be very formal. I'm reading a book now (no surprise there) called "Sorry! The English and Their Manners." (Hitchings, 2013.) The title is a bit misleading. It's has a bit more of a world view of manners and etiquette. The history and development. Right now I'm reading the bit about the development of letters, around the time of Jane Austin. How many different kinds, and purposes they served. There's a whole genre of literature that leans heavily on letters. "Dracula" was mainly told through letters and journal entries. But, of course, informal correspondence goes back a lot further than that. I think of the letter from one fort commander's wife to another fort commander's wife, up on Hadrian's Wall. Around 100 C.E..

Recently I've noticed that a lot of tv series use texting as plot point or to move the story along. Kind of irritating. Usually, I've got to pause the show and move up close to the screen and hope the resolution is good enough that I can figure out the jist of what is going on.

Well, since the antique store is owned and run by only two fellows, I doubt it was an inside job. But the place was probably pretty thoroughly cased, before hand.

What she said. :-). Inge pretty much nailed what I think, with a lot less verbiage. But later on tonight when it's quiet, I'm going to sit down and really consider what you explained.

Well, the election is tomorrow. I expect Wednesday will be much like today. As Mr. Greer points out, even large changes in history often happen day by day and can be imperceptible on a day to day basis. Barring black swan events.

There was a 5.0 earthquake in Oklahoma. In the past, a geologically stable area. Centered near Cushing, Oklahoma which bills itself as "Pipeline Crossroads of the World." They have a crude oil tank farm that holds 58.5 million gallons. 40-50 buildings were damaged. There was a 5.8 quake there on September 2d. It's getting to be pretty "old hat." It's the fracking, of course. The State just orders drilling and injecting to cease, for a few days, and then they're right back at it. Of course, that probably impacts profits. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I think that those moments of "living in the moment" have to be relatively brief. Inge's comment at 00:59 expresses very well my viewpoint on that. Having responsibility for others - human or not - especially teaches one that the future is always lurking. In fact, you cannot ever catch up with the future as it has already become the past a nanosecond (less that that, actually) after you have noticed the present moment.

I think that mindfulness is different from "living in the moment". I think that mindfulness is an ever-present awareness of what is going on around you and reacting accordingly. Living in the moment is an appreciation of a brief space in time.

I see no contradiction with either mindfulness or living in the moment when one plans for the future. As I said above, the future is here before you can even grasp that it has passed. One had better be thinking of it, since there is no escaping it. That's where responsibility comes in again. Each of us is responsible - as much as we are physically or mentally able - for our own self. Each of us is ultimately the only one who can make decisions for our self, based on what circumstances envelope us. Our reaction to any circumstance is in our own hands, so we do always have some measure of control. I think that is where the"change in consciousness in accordance with will" can be really helpful.

Pam

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

I am greatly enjoying your flower photos as I watch autumn slowly - much more slowly than usual - progress. We seem to be at about peak leaf color for this year, but what color there is, is washed out and weak due to the lack of cool weather this autumn. We had another record-breaking high last Wednesday of 85F / 29C which broke the previous daily record by a full 5F, something I don't remember happening before. It's cooled down since but is still a little warmer than normal. No frost yet, not the latest for that (November 27 is our latest first autumn frost) but still later than normal. We might have a frost this weekend however.

Since we have a a dark closet within our basement, we brew and store wine and beer in the closet. That way nobody sees it unless we decide to take them on a tour of what we call the wine cellar. Only very special people get offered the tour. ;)

I don't think wine is affected by light, but beer is. If you ever try brewing beer, don't let it soak up the sun like you do your wines; keep it inside the Drinks Cabinet, and you'll be happy with the result.

We drink about the same amount of our homemade beer and wine as you do, although we have enough built up from previous years that we could drink it a little faster. Beer is best drunk younger than wine, so we adjust our consumption to favor beer when we have it. The elderberry wine needs longer in the bottle than the grape and cherry wines we've made. Two year old elderberry wine is good; three year old elderberry wine is excellent!

We make strawberry cordial from some of our strawberry crop. This involves soaking the strawberries in a mix of grain alcohol and water (about vodka strength) and adding sugar. It doesn't ferment; the sugar draws out the goodness in the berries. I'll ask Mike for the exact proportions if you want to know more. The result is superb for an after-dinner drink!

Claire

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - OK. Day's work is done and dinner is cooling on the counter. Rice, tuna and lots of different kinds of veg. Way too much for one meal, but I can whip a couple of eggs into whatever's left for lunch, tomorrow. A handful of purple grapes for dessert. An episode of "Inspector Lewis", season three warming up in the DVD. Life is good. :-).

I'm beginning to think that, perhaps, we're talking about two different things, here. "Mindfulness" and "mindlessness?" But as to a couple of your points. "Culturally inappropriate." Halloween just passed, there was a lot of hoop-la about "cultural appropriation." The Social Justice Warriors were frothing at the mouth over what constituted an appropriate Halloween costume, and what did not. There were actual lists. Rather a tempest in a tea pot, I thought. I think anyone who is thoughtful, sensitive and has reasonably good manners ought to be able to figure out what's offensive and what's not. One would hope.

I've always found it interesting that people in this very conservative little place hate Mexican people ... except for the one's who live next door or play with their kids. And they certainly don't mind tying on the old feed bag when it comes to what passes for Mexican food. Me, I try and take people as they come, no matter what their ethnic background. And, I'm not giving up my nachos (no matter how inauthentic or little Day of the Dead figures, anytime soon. :-).

As far as Buddhists not making changes as far as the crisis facing western civilization, all Buddhists, at all times, in all places?I'll have to look into that. Just another thought on Buddhism and the West. There's always the good ol' Dali Lama, who seems to have a particular mission to the West. And, the San Francisco Zen Center, with their attendant retreat centers and farm. I wouldn't call myself a Buddhist by any stretch of the imagination, but some of the philosophy gives me a new way of looking at things. Other options. Cont.



LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. But to some of your other points ....


"That is why people claim that it all doesn't matter, because for them it probably doesn't."

People make that particular claim when they feel that they have either:
- lost control of a situation;
- they never had control of a situation in the first place;
- they feel that they are incapable or inadequate to control a situation; and/or
- they don't want control of a situation

I'd say point 4 is a decided lack of responsibility. The first 3 points are unfortunate facts of life. Sometimes they can be remedied and sometimes not. You either see your self out of those situations, or, ask for advice from people who may see something you've overlooked. Sometimes, there's no solution. At that point, about the only freedom you have left is how you decide to feel about the situation. Stew and rage against the night? Or, accept and move on?

My, we are deep in the philosophical weeds, here. My stomach rumbles and Inspector Lewis, calls. :-). Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to say how much I am enjoying the ongoing dialogue here and the sheer courtesy with which everyone communicates. It really is lovely!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

You may well be right! Hehe! Of course I do try to cajole a certain sort of honesty in communication between friends and so there are downsides to that policy, but usually things are very good. But alas that is life sometimes. Exactly, it doesn't look good does it? For your info, we usually have about 60 litres in 12 demijohns on the go at any one point in time. That seems to be about the right number and it provides a bit of extra should any batches fail - as they do from time to time. I enjoy the cupboard looking full of fermenting products too. ;-)!

Beer Lao is a very good drop as I can well attest. Hey, I always enjoy seeing the occasional Beer Lao t-shirt and it brings warm fuzzy feelings.

Did you enjoy Siam Reap? And did you get to see the temples? Pretty awesome stuff huh? Plus proper stout. I enjoy a dark ale, but haven't quite gotten around to a pure stout mix. And yeah, Grand Designs really is best enjoyed with a pleasant brew. Sometimes it can be a bit of a nightmare and in such cases fortification of the spirit is necessary. I finally recalled the bee-hive house and it was very good wasn't it? And that staircase built from the tree trunk. And they had an awesome garden surrounding the house.

Well, Jason of 22 Billion energy slaves (who has a comment above) lives not too far from that steam benders house. Yeah, the black box was a bit hard on the senses as it looked like an above ground bunker and the lack of windows... Maybe they expect zombies? Oh, I haven't seen that one yet, but like most overly large houses, they cause great physical and emotional pain for the owners - which was clear to me in the brief snippets that I have seen. Says him reaching for a lemon wine to soothe his shattered nerves!!! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

I almost wrote Hi Steve!!! It is an awesome song isn't it and it really tells a great story. The bit about the fathers truck being burnt by the local Sheriff... He even got across the feeling of anger in the song.

Oh yeah, I've 105kL of the stuff and it takes up a lot of space, let alone what could be achieved in a backyard. I hear you! Exactly, people for some reason have this strange feeling that if you have a green thumb, somehow you must be growing drugs. It is crazy how often I have heard it, but so many people know my business that it would be a very problematic experience. Ha! That is funny about the hot water service tap on the roof. The dude probably didn't believe you at all. One thing about living in the country is that all of the water tank systems enable me to chuck tanks, taps and pumps anywhere I feel like. There is a bit of freedom in that.

It has been an awesome year, and how green is everything looking? I always recall lots of park space in your part of the world. It was very sensibly planned out. Volunteer stone fruit will be very hardy and I reckon they'll grow close to type as the genetics are not as varied as they used to be. Are you planning to grow any of them? The stone fruit here is suffering badly from the fungus which causes curly leaf. The Anzac peach produced a lot of fruit, but alas most of the leaves have curled up. Hopefully, the fall off and the tree gets on with growing? Dunno.

Have you ever blogged about your stone fruit seedling experiences?

Thank you!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jason,

Well, these topics are close to my heart too as they are really important to living in rural areas and/or getting a bit more self sufficient in an urban area. That is quite an impressive production facility for a cider club. You were lucky to get such an impressive orchard. I once saw a group of guys with a van in the mountain range to the south west of here filling up crates with apples gleaned from the wild apple trees growing in that range. It was nice to see. Of course, in your situation, perhaps someone smells that they can turn this club into a money making venture. That changes everything, I guess and it certainly takes the fun out of it. I may write soon about how it is almost impossible to make money in agriculture nowadays... Mate, I feel for you reading that story.

Well, yeah I have an iron will and so my limit is my limit. I've never been one for over indulging nowadays as when I was younger I went off the rails and drank too much and the lost time just was too hard for me to manage with everything else going on. Everyone is different in that regard and perhaps you are correct that is where the future is at. Certainly there have been historical parallels and I'm reading about prescription drug abuse during the Great Depression at the moment (it is a side story in a much larger story). I suspect that nobody really knows as the doctor told me that I drink too much even at the limit that I do. There is no pleasing some people, that's what I reckon anyway!

I'd keep it, if merely for the reason that home made alcohol generally doesn't have as much preservatives in it as the commercial stuff. Plus it is a tradeable commodity.

They did a great job didn't they? Glad you enjoyed the show too. Kevin really picks some eclectic and quirky builds nowadays and there is always a great story in the background.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Exactly. Every now and then it is very good to live in the moment, but all of the time would be a total disaster. The Asians have a saying: Before enlightenment, fetch wood, carry water. After enlightenment, fetch wood, carry water. That sums it up for me. Such things are a starting point and people look at them as if they are an end point, don't you reckon? Of course you are totally correct in all of those assertions and we have agreement for sure.

As to me, I do both and try to pick between the two as needs be. Sometimes I need to focus more on the future than the present, but you have to recall that I run my life so that I have enough time to enjoy that - few people seem to want to do that nowadays and that is a shame. And I reckon the sort of mental stresses I see in the population reflect that lack. Do you see that sort of thing?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

Total respect for making the cider and beer. I've always been a bit put off making beer as there are so many purists out there and I wanted to make the drop using older techniques - if that is eve an option? It is an awesome song isn't it?

Ha! Distillation is legal here and you can easily buy a still if you want too. My mates parents purchase cheap wine and distill it down and make their own liquor. Of course, I haven't considered that option as I wouldn't want to stuff it up and produce methanol rather than ethanol. It is a bit like picking wild mushrooms to me, get it wrong and...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

That is the funniest thing that I've read today! Hehe. How funny would that have been, but of course it would be in context too...

Really, aren't they naughty to have thought ahead that far. Of course, no doubt they would have been able to create an artificially over priced market which they may have been able to supply too? Distillation isn't illegal here for personal consumption, you just can't sell the end product. Good for them too, I respect that.

No, you can use a refractometer and also measure the specific gravity at the start and finish of the process and know exactly what is going on. I have a vinometer here and that is OK although it clogs up at the smallest of particles and so becomes useless. Yeah exactly, kombucha gets slowly more alcoholic the longer it is kept, but where talking not much alcohol content at all. The bacteria convert the alcohol into some other product - I believe an acid of some sort.

Thank you! The hardest house that I've ever worked on was built in 1890 and nothing was square or even built on the correct allotment as I found out to my detriment. Yes, it is wealth isn't it? Just like having a cupboard full of preserved fruit and vegetables! Yum!

It really annoys me that question. And, I mean, I've had horse trail riders just wondering through the orchard, not to mention the cops flying overhead from time to time. How stupid do they think I am? Drones! No way, but no doubt that you are correct. Cost cutting of course. I wish they'd take my bracken ferns! I've often wondered whether it would be a smart idea to get them to come and dig for apparent bodies the next time I need some excavation done? They probably wouldn't be amused by that trick... I hope they observe and approve of your peppers and tomatoes from a respectable distance of course! ;-)!

Really? Wow. Meyers are the go to lemon here as they withstand the cold better than other varieties - not that I can tell any difference in the growth patterns. The Eureka lemons have a very nice lemon bite.

Thank you, walking is my sport - whatever that means. :-)! Hehe! It isn't too hard on contour, it just takes a lot of hours of walking. Keeps you fit. It is a nice time to have to think about things too.

You are on the money with that scratchy straw and a pox on your slugs! I hope they taste as good as they look very interesting.

Haha! Poopies and Poppy's! Funny! Thanks for the laughs.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jason,

Thanks very much for the link and I will check it out after I've responded to everyone here. Those shipping containers are strong things. People use them here and add a roof between two and thus create a shed. Good stuff.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Hazel,

Yeah, exactly, the comments to me are about them, and have nothing at all to do with me. I can't understand where the will comes from to limit ones consumption? Dunno. It is an interesting question isn't it? But last weeks comment was the last straw for me as the guy didn't know me well enough to ask that question.

Thank you. Is your garden feeling the warmth too? The flowers are amazing too and the bees and other insects are loving it.

Ah, thanks for the explanation as that explains a thing or two. Maybe I took it too literally? And of course, birdsong in the orchard of an evening is always worthwhile enjoying too. You never know what you may spot or learn.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Exactly, that is what I believe too. It is a passing feeling which may be enjoyed from time to time, but it is fleeting - as is life really. You know, I try really hard to live for today, but with an eye on what may occur tomorrow. And that also includes considering but also taking action with that consideration in mind. I reckon life moves faster as you get older which is a mildly unsettling experience!

That is so true about ultimately being responsible for ones own self. Sometimes events can spiral outside of our control whether we like it or not too, but ultimately I was sort of trying to point out that if we aren't responsible for ourselves then we can't necessarily expect other people to be responsible for us. Long ago I knew some people who couldn't really look after themselves and so despite them being lovely people, they couldn't really have a friendship because it was asking more of them that what they could give to themselves. That is a bit complex isn't it?

Exactly, that statement never really said who's consciousness was to be changed? And of course charity, as they say begins at home.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

It is both my pleasure to grow the flowers and share them with you. They really are quite lovely and I spotted some interesting geraniums today which I took note of and may take my cutters on the next visit! ;-)! Yup, things are heating up, no doubts about it and much faster and more erratic than what was predicted. Far out, that would be exceedingly hot for the equivalent time of year down here (our May). Fingers crossed for the frosts up your way. You may be interested to learn that the trees adapt over a number of years to the changing conditions. I have spotted several English Oak trees that failed to fully go deciduous over the winter and not to mention that some of the fruit trees here go through a mini spring and a very few of them did not go deciduous at all. And none of them seem the worse for it. It has always made me wonder at the sort of conditions those trees experienced in the past to readily adapt in such a way. It is interesting.

Thanks for the tip about the light and beer. I have considered making beer in an old fashioned way, as the current methodologies seem overly complicated (clearly driven by a desire for consistency), so if you have ever attempted such a feat I would be very interested and appreciative of hearing of it? They have been making it for a very long time...

I'm very glad to read that about the consumption and it feels about right to me, although my doctor told me off on the last visit which seemed a bit rough really? It is funny that you say that about the elderflower wine as a good friend pointed out to me the other day they are about ready to bottle in a week or two! Absolutely, some country wines really improve with age and it is very good to read that about elderberry. Isn't it funny just how many of those berries are not sweet at all (currants, gooseberries, jostaberries, elderberries etc)? You may be interested to know that the black currant wine we made last year looks and tastes exactly like a good red wine stored in oak barrels for a year or two. It is uncanny.

Strawberry cordial sounds like a great idea. Yes please, I would really enjoy that particular beverage! Thanks! I've started steeping vanilla beans in vodka so as to produce an outstanding vanilla extract which I use in the home made biscuits and cakes here. That stuff is outrageously priced in the shops - it wasn't always that way, but alas...

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

Hey Chris,

RE: Beer
Beer brewing can seem complicated, but for stouts at least, I found it pretty simple and quick, maybe ~6 weeks. My understanding (I have only done stouts and ginger beer) is that due to the large volume of different grains and flavours in a typical stout there is a much larger margin for error when compared to say a clear lager. I did cheat a little bit and use one of those flavour tins (I say a little bit, as I still boiled and simmered a full wort in addition to the flavour tin!) but the result was always good.

Siam Reap was great. Terrific actually and the temples and ruins were amazing. So sobering to visit the remains of what once was the largest city in the world. I was also shocked at the average water level of the surrounding plain. In the wet season at least, the entire place was only a metre or so above the water. Most of the surrounding villages are on stilts. Lots and lots of culverts, dykes, canals and water locks. Must be very expensive to keep clear of silt and maintained...

That 'bee hive' house is the first I think of when I try to imagine what I might build one day. But, I reserve the right to completely change my mind!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I will attempt to reply to your comment! We can only but try! ;-)!

People get funny ideas don't they? Oh well, sometimes I must bow to public opinion and stash the evidence!!! Hehe!!! I'd never thought that stashing alcohol around the house was one of the ten signs of alcoholism. That's funny. I wonder where they possibly reckon I will leave the bottles to correctly age. Hey, does the term "house" include "the shed"? Just asking! ;-)! Yes, let's go silly on this as it deserves it.

The demijohns enjoy that view of the garden. It is the dog enclosure too so I can kick them outside and keep them contained if they become problematic. They have attempted the occasional jail break, however in this case I am more determined than the dogs. That fencing comes from road works and was built to stop the occasional and minor car crash. Take that ye canine friends! Up until that fencing was put in they used to escape at night and cause mayhem. The rock is a beauty isn't it? There was a time when we were close to blowing it up and had just the right person on hand for that particular job. Seriously!

Thanks for the link and Robert Mitchum sure looked young and out for trouble! Well, one must be careful with stills - which are legal down here. I don't want the hassle with getting it wrong. The risk reminds me of picking wild mushrooms - get it wrong and the consequences can be pretty nasty. Yeasts will produce at very best 18% and that is it because the environment becomes very toxic and they all die.

Well, I grew up in the days when the supermarkets closed at midday Saturday and the shops were shut for the rest of the weekend. People consumed less back then and I just can't figure it out... They also used to spend more time socialising back then too.

No doubts about that. The time the editor mentioned to the doctor that the herb Feverfew was good for... Well, let's just say that we were persona non grata after that. Who would have thought that there was a turf war going on in the medical industry. It was a real eye opener for us because we were only ever interested in results and I'm not particularly concerned as to the source. Now the medical industries seem to have cottoned onto the "do you want fries with that?" technique and it is transparent to me.

Honestly, I can't answer any of those questions about the white strawberries. I just try to always increase the genetic diversity of the plants here so that the latter progeny become hardier and more interesting. Time will tell and I shall recount the details.

I will look up the reference and report back on the NZ elves. I'm glad that you are interested as it was a fascinating account. I just have to wait a bit until the comments here die down a bit! ;-)!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Yes, they have them here and the marketing people call them "Private label" brands and generally it is the same stuff just sold cheaper. My understanding is that the supplier takes the hit to their margins with those brands. There are some shonky practices that go into those private label brands from what I understand.

That reminds me when I was a very young child my mother shooed me away from a documentary about a guy that used to draw "Keep on Truckin" cartoons. I found it fascinating but alas I was unable to find out how the documentary ended... It does sound a bit like a euphemism?

Yeah you mentioned that letter between the commanders wives before. It does make one wonder why it was retained and retold? I read that the Irish University that was sacked by those naughty Vikings had a Scriptorium which would have had a fascinating collection of works.

Business writing often involves taking all emotion out of the words and just telling it like it is... I get a lot of practice...

Ha! For those of us with small screens that is part and parcel of life nowadays. Personally, I'm not much into texting, but if I have to... Hey, when I do so just to be contrary I try to maintain punctuation and spelling much to the annoyance (or delight) of the recipients.

Of course, casing is the other option. It is unlikely to be random. Possible, but unlikely.

Ha! Thursday will be much like Tuesday too for that matter. ;-)! I am rather curious to see how it all turns out though. If it goes one way, matters will escalate and I have no doubts about that.

Actions have consequences and fracking is a lot like that. It is an unfortunate business and I do hope that the ground settles down eventually.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

As to the term cultural appropriateness, well all I can say is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What I mean by that is that that concept is a human construct which is subject to change and whims and it is also subject to hijacking. I see a lot of that going on down here and culture is not a fixed point but rather a rough approximation of an accepted viewpoint. The thing is, who decides whether the SJW folk are correct in their agitations or not, or whether anyone wants to take them to task for their noise? And they are not alone in that agitating.

The main problem as I see it is that we live in a culture that prides itself on attempting to pursue abstract concepts. Other people have different ideas and so they insert their own ideas into that melange without reference and it can be a very messy and aggressive business. But again that is a relative concept and some people tolerate behaviours that I personally find offensive. Dunno.

Nachos are good aren't they? The immigrants to Melbourne have produced the most amazing diversity of cuisine down here. Yum! People fear or are taught to fear. You wrote something previously about being burned on the stake that is relevant to this discussion? Sooner or later, more pragmatic or cooler heads will prevail, but it is a rocky road to that place. New folk need to bend a bit to accommodate their new digs and conversely they have to find a place for themselves to fit into their new digs and not be kept pets. It is a brutal process, no doubts about it.

It is a big call isn't it? I just don't see the differences for myself. What else do the Asians say, that's right: talk does not cook the rice! ;-)! I'm not criticising the Buddhists by any means, as they appear about as capable of adapting to rapid change as the rest of the population and of course they are a reflection of that population. As a mild difference between my world view and theirs, I enjoy the visceral and gritty nature of life and don't greatly seek a state of enlightenment.

I read today that the Saint Vincent de Paul said to his followers that the poor will not thank you for your service to them and you should not expect it. I reckon he had it about right too and that seems to be a very good metaphor for those four points. People can also be left with a prickly feeling of self respect long after their worldly possessions are gone and they will maintain that right to the point where it is no longer possible. Lo betide the person that challenges them in that state of mind as it is akin to backing them into a corner and taking away their very last option of escape. Not a good strategy.

We are in very murky philosophical waters aren't we?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

So many comments that I am getting lost. Jason got in ahead of me with the account of the shipping containers. What fascinated me most was the wood stove made from a safe.

I think that it was Hazel who differentiated between 'living in the moment' and 'living for the moment'. Interesting, I am thinking about it.

@Lew Your comment about 'less verbiage' warmed my heart. All my life I have been told off for writing in a precis style. My mother in particular used to complain about my letters.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

It has been repeatedly observed that many of the longest-lived peoples in the world take a daily tipple of their preferred alcoholic beverage. Phooey on your doctor!

I maintain correct spelling and punctuation in my texting. I wouldn't want to be a bad example.

Your "we live in a culture that prides itself on attempting to pursue abstract concepts" is so right. The thought makes my head spin. And until you expressed it, I'd never thought of the inclusion of outsiders (especially culturally different ones) as being at risk of becoming pets. I think that's what you meant. It makes a lot of sense. I saw an ad the other day from someone selling white chipmunks as pets and I thought (without thinking) - "Ooh, how neat". Then I realized that it was just a reaction to something which was out of the ordinary. Which is what we must be doing when we embrace a whole new culture without thinking first if it's all good. I can see some useful survival mechanisms in such behavior, though. It's how we've gained such a wide variety of foods, and ways to cook them.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

Concerning little people: The other day I saw a tiny, muddy handprint on the concrete side of our compost bin. My first thought was "Oh - possum." In almost the same space of time, I thought "Oh - fairy!" I think that I am training myself to be superstitious. I think that may ultimately be quite useful, as well as adding delight to life.

There are already monsters in the forest . . .

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Lew,

(From last week) Thanks for the Hummel advice. It's not worth it for me to go through too much effort but I will look for Hummel collector groups and ask the local jewelers. Funny for such a small town we have two jewelers just a few doors apart for each other. Mostly looking to move stuff out of here in anticipation of selling within a few years.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Surprised that people are that judgmental about your your wine. Doug likes to show off his and often drags people down to the basement to see his wine racks (which are filling up rapidly). People think it's pretty cool that he does this. Maybe we have friends who drink a lot haha.

Tricky getting a balance between living in the present with an eye to the future. It's something I'm always working on however it's much easier now that I'm retired. Too many don't put much thought into it I think.

On another note, I took one of my brothers (the one who lives near me) to vote. He only voted for President as I've instructed all my brothers if they don't know anything about the office or candidate they should just leave it blank. He had definite reasons for his choice. I'm allowed to help him as his guardian but I make it a point not to try to influence him. The election judges are always so patient and helpful.

Margaret


LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The classic place to hide a bottle of booze is the toilet tank. :-). I often hear stories about people getting sober and then running across bottles in the oddest places that they have completely forgotten about.

I was going to mention that Copperheads are also poisonous snakes in the SE US, but I see you have your own species, there. "Copperhead" was also a political term used just before and during our Civil War. They were northern Democrats who wanted to end the war by appeasing the South. That and a buck will get me a cup of coffee :-).

Robert Mitchum was a great actor. There's a mug shot of him floating around somewhere where he was arrested for smoke of not the tobacco kind. :-). He was Hollywood's original bad boy and hell raiser. Brando and Dean could only aspire to his kind of cool. I think his best roll was in "Night of the Hunter." If you run across it, it's worth a look. Some of the dialogue and action is a bit over the top. But it's beautifully photographed and will keep you on the edge of your seat. The only film Charles Laughton ever directed.

There's a fiction film of Robert Crumb's life called "American Splendor." Also worth a look. Interesting guy. I still think I have a pile of his comics from the 60s, kicking around somewhere. "Underground" comics were so naughty. :-).

I also looked at that article on the shipping containers. Over here, they've been used for quit a few housing projects. My landlord has one that he stores (more) stuff in. I thought that was a rather genius idea to turn a safe into a stove. There are at least two safes kicking around here. Feel free to pick them up anytime. Bring a locksmith. The combinations are long gone.I got a good laugh from the statement "62 miles from civilization!" The horror, the horror :-). Keeps the riff raff out.

"The poor are always with us." (The Bible, I think.) One has to be careful and not take another person's dignity, away. There's the term "genteel poverty." And, I think there's still quit a hangover from the Victorians, as far as "deserving poor" (of aid) and underserving poor. Some people roll in nostalgia. Lost fortunes. The character who came to mind was Blanche from William's play, "Streetcar Named Desire." Swanning around and moaning about the lost family plantation of Belle Reve. No wonder she got on everyone's nerves. I know a fellow and any time I run across him, I always get the story about the horse ranch and the fancy horses ... that he used to have.

Well, I see that "Swiss Army Man" is in transit to me. With luck and if the wind is blowing the right direction, it may be waiting for me tomorrow at the library. And, to my great shame I watched a Rom-com, last week. :-). "As If" also staring Daniel Radcliffe. I really enjoy watching him develop into a fine actor. The Rom-com was actually pretty good. The patter between the two characters was really funny and the timing impeccable.

Election day. Early returns ought to start coming in this afternoon. I'll probably just go to bed and find out how it all shook out in the morning.

Hope Margaret saw my response to her Hummel question at the tail end of last week. Lew


SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

I'll have to ask Mike for more info on both the strawberry cordial and the beer making, so it might not be till next week before I respond to your request. But I will let you know.

Re the beer, I can tell you he doesn't use the malt syrups that most folks buy. He uses malted grains and crushes them to size in a grain mill. The cooking is all done in a stainless steel soup pot on the stove, using a thermometer and doing different things at different temperature stages. The rest of it is just like making wine. I'm not sure if this is as basic as you are looking for, but it is more basic than using the malt syrups. More on this later.

I voted; Wednesday is soon enough to learn the results. I don't watch the returns; I could watch them on the computer (we have no TV), but they bore me. I'd rather read. Plus I'll have to do dinner dishes pretty soon as Mike has let me know it's time for dinner. After eating, the dishes. ;)

Claire

Claire

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

This was the largest flurry of comments that I have yet seen, so I was getting a little bit lost with the replies too, so hopefully I haven't written anything too silly. Expounding on the deep subjects that yourself and Lewis raised was difficult given the time that I had available. Life is like that sometimes. I never know which of the subjects that I write about will have any sort of resonance with other people. I usually write what is in my heart and on my mind.

A wood stove made using a safe is a very good idea. The steel in those safes is very strong. I appreciated the link too as the combustion of wood has been on my mind of late.

Yes, that explained a lot about my own confusion with that matter too.

Well, down here they are calling the US election as a 95% probability of a Trump win. And tomorrow we will all wake up again and live and love and do all the things that we do in order to get by, and another day will have passed.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Well, a little bit of scientific experimentation shows me that a single drink lowers my blood pressure. ;-)! And a lovely day, low stress, and hard work also lowers blood pressure. We've got a little digital blood pressure monitor and also evidential (sic) proof! Sometimes I wonder that should we ever achieve a certain level of behaviour, the bar will then be raised and thus that recently achieved level will be no longer acceptable. I've worked at jobs like that and someone recently described that feeling to me as like being only ever as good as your last effort. Yeah poohey on them, the killjoys!

Leading by example is a sound strategy. Some of the texts I receive where people have used the predictive text function are just strange...

It makes my head spin too, and so I keep a look out for abstract concepts in case they all come and get us! I read a lot about outsiders in first world countries not having access to work and that turns them into pets and they are not happy about it as they suffer from a feeling of exclusion and that slowly turns into resentment. Not a recipe for success. It is a very complex matter and we shall be seeing more of this as time goes on. Down here people are dropping off the radar as they become economically excluded due to out of control house prices. It is dangerous.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I'm with Doug in that matter as I like to show off the production of country wines too, unfortunately most people I know don't produce their own wines and so they are quite horrified at what goes into that task. And from there that is where the confusion and judgement sets in. Yeah right! ;-)! That is funny, they probably don't drink more than anyone else though.

It is really interesting that you wrote that about balance and I agree with you. When I was in the corporate world, there was virtually no time at all allocated to consideration of problems and that is a really bad thing. Fortunately now that I work for myself I have this time if I so choose, and some matters really require reflection. There was almost a culture that said: You are paid to work and not to think! Or something like that.

It is so lovely that you take your brother out to vote. It is good to see that he gets to have his say in the outcome even if it does not go the way he wants it too. I have worked in the elections down here and it is a very rewarding job.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I would never have thought of using the toilet cistern. Wow, that is lateral thinking! It is funny that you mention that, but I have a philosophy of everything having a place and everything being in its place. It saves my overloaded brain from having to recall where I left anything. It seems to work, as it is not in my nature to be neat, it is just less work to do so.

Thanks for the historical info. I enjoy these pieces of information as it is interesting to learn, for example in your current piece, I gleaned that there were politicians in the north who wanted to compromise with the south.

Speaking of politicians and their antics, have you checked out the results of the US election? Mr Greer called it as far as I can see based on the probabilities of the results so far. I wonder whether he ever experienced any uncertainty in his prediction? His recent words seemed to indicate a level of uncertainty, but were probably a nod to diplomacy in that he had to write in a less definitive tone? Dunno.

Thanks for the film reference. Yeah, he was certainly cool. Brando and Dean were a bit before my time, one seemed to be a bit mean and the other seemed a bit aloof. I don't feel that being aloof is cool as that can hide a very under performing personality. I once knew a young lady who never said anything and I can't recall her ever saying anything but she certainly had well practiced looks. As far as I am aware she was just boring and there was no getting around that! Hehe! Seriously, she was an acquaintance on the edge of my friend circle and I seriously cannot recall her ever saying a single word. It was uncanny.

Yeah, I reckon he was an interesting guy too and he led a very interesting life. Alas I was not allowed to watch most of the documentary. Adults! Pah! I'll try and track down the film.

Thanks for the offer of the free safes. The freight costs may send me broke though... Hehe! Yeah, you see 20 foot and 40 foot containers all over the place here as people use them just like how they are used in your part of the world. A farm is not a proper farm without a proper container! I guess the editor would have a fit if I suggested getting a container? Some people bury them in the sides of hills for use as a fire bunker...

That is exactly what it comes down too. Dignity may remain long after the material possessions an be careful never to poke that. Sun Tzu advised not to back opponents into a corner. Yeah, it is pretty dull to hear about a families lost fortune. Maybe we should suggest that they look behind the couch as it may have fallen there? Under the stairs is also a good option.

Hey, I watched "As if". It was a very sweet film and Daniel is an excellent actor. It was a Canadian film too I recall. The dialogue between those two actors was very sharp too. Glad to see you enjoyed a rom-com, I knew you'd get with the strength sooner or later!!! Hehe! Sorry, I promise to be serious... I can be serious... Hehe! Maybe... I'll be very interested to read of your opinion of that film.

Fair enough. The likes of you and I have very little impact on the matters of the greats. I hope things improve over on your side of the world.

PS: You asked me once about replies and yesterday was about as much as I can reply too in one day. It is good fun and a real pleasure being able to communicate with all of the lovely people here.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thank you and no stress! The strawberries are still a few weeks from producing fruit because of the cold weather this spring. Strangely enough it looks as though this weekend will be seriously wet here with another big storm rolling in. This time it may even have a small element of monsoonal weather? We'll see. If you are interested in the recipe for the strawberry wine, I would be more than happy to share that you you too?

Oh! That is exactly the sort of beer recipe that I was after. Out of curiosity, did Mike learn that from a book or is it a secret family recipe?

I'd rather read a book instead too. In fact I worked this morning and then picked up a coffee and a burger. And then spent about an hour or so replying here. Time moves on and it is at least an interesting time to be alive! I'm actually sitting in a park and in a strange side story, I'm sitting under a very large old elm tree and the rotten thing dropped a small branch on my head. Fortunately my head was equal to the impact! Anyway, I looked up into the elm tree to make sure it wasn't some cheeky cockatoo who was dropping branches on my head - they really are clever those birds - only to see an owl sitting high up in the branches. Of course owls are serious and noble birds who don't muck around like the cockatoos! So perhaps it was the tree that had decided to drop the branch on my head... Someone once told me that the elms are prone to doing that trick.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Just a quick thought on 'living FOR the moment'. I guess that that is what people, who indulge in extreme sports, are doing. It could also describe addiction.

I am vindicated! All my American relatives who voted for Clinton have been calling me a moron for preferring Trump of the two and for not agreeing with them that Clinton would win by a landslide. Similar to Brexit which I voted for.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Thank you a very humorous start to the day with a vision of you sitting under an elm tree in a park with an owl, a cockatoo, and the elm, all trying to decide who gets to drop a branch on your head - each thoughtfully noting that "He's got the head for it."

A fable in the making . . .

Pam

Damo said...

@Inge

Yes, I had also been telling anyone who would listen that Trump not only had a chance, but would be the likely victor. Yet no one really listened (well a couple did, but most didn't) and now my facebook feed is filled with the same sort of massive dummy spit we saw after the BREXIT result.

I have to stop myself pointing out the hypocrisy of so-called intelligent, understanding and empathetic people calling the other 50% racist, stupid and ignorant because they don't rank virtue signalling over the (slim) chance for a decent job and a system reset.

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - LOL. Probably more likely the hand print was from a raccoon? I think you're supposed to leave a little saucer of milk out for the Little People, to keep on their right side. Or, something. Speaking of monsters in the forest, I heard the other day that there are at least 3 bear down in the little canyon behind my place. I've never been down there. And now, I don't think I ever will!

@ Chris - Well, the election was a bit of a surprise ... but I wasn't all that surprised. Saw a Republican wish list, the other day. 50 items they'd like to see repealed or enacted. Some of it was ok, but a lot of it was pretty ghastly. My conservative friends in Idaho are pretty happy. Of course, 4 years from now they'll be wondering why things haven't gotten any better for them, and will probably be worse. Which will probably be due not to the party in power, but just the way the world's heading. The subject line of the e-mail I sent them this morning was "Wait and see..." LOL, I heard several Canadian immigration sites crashed last night. People always talk a good game but never follow through. And, it isn't near as easy to get into Canada, anymore. You need to be rich, young and have needed job skills.

I was happy to see that quit a few more states passed either medical or recreational marijuana. Colorado passed a "right to die" law. Our State managed to maintain it's mostly Democratic party government.

I've always thought a fire bunker was a good idea for your place. A 20 foot container, buried in the ground wouldn't be such an eye sore. Of course, someone has to dig the hole :-).

Off to the Little Smoke. I'm going to see if I can nail down my turkey for Thanksgiving. I also need to buy some things for the banquet / pot luck tomorrow night. I'll be cooking up a storm, this evening. The crisp, tabouli and now I'm beginning to wonder if I shouldn't make up a batch of stove top dressing? I think I've got turkey stock and meat in the freezer from last year. We'll see. Might be overkill. :-). Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

I think the Little People prefer a dish of beer - or so it sounds like from some of their parties I've heard . . .

Supposedly our black bears are harmless, but they look so scary! I wouldn't go down in the canyon either.

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Exactly! They're perhaps indulging that state of being by taking it a bit too far! I've read somewhere that some people do such things so that they can "feel" something because their emotions are a bit stunted, and also I sort of suspect that they lack impulse control to a certain degree. Of course it may also be that they are addicted to adrenalin? Many, many long years ago I had a very stressful job - unnecessarily so - and after a while I discovered to my horror that my poor system was coursing with adrenalin every single day. I left that job, but it took a month or two for me to come down to a more normal state of being. It is not a situation or state of being that I recommend to people. In fact, I counsel and try to assist people when I see them in that state, if I have the opportunity to do so. Yes, I believe that it is an addiction of sorts. That is a very astute observation.

Good for you! Mr Greer had been predicting this result too. I rather suspect that there will be a whole lot of people shouting mantra's such as: "People who voted for Trump are stupid". I witnessed that mantra after the Brexit vote and it is a very ugly and foolish business that is also an attempt to hide naked self interest and dress it up as something else. No good will come of it.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Aren't they all naughty! Hehe! I can't imagine what I possibly may have done to offend them. Of course they may all have very cheeky personalities and were just doing that for a lark! The owl in particular looked as if it was acting all respectable, innocent and stuff and saying: "Wasn't me!".

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

I second your opinions. Such comments only tend to alienate people and turn them away from dialogue and into a sort of state of sullen acceptance. That is when you should really worry as it is generally when your back is turned, that that's when you'll get clubbed over the head.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Don't go down into that canyon! Hey, I spotted a herd of a dozen deer running wild in the forest this morning. What amazed me about the herd was that it was clear to me that they ran as a single unit. It is a shame that our culture has become so fixated on the individual that we forget that we live in a much larger environment.

I heard of a rather engaging scam the other day. It is good as it ticks so many boxes... Anyway, a school was apparently telling parents that their kids show promise and then they sign them up for extra classes at an additional expense. Oh, that's good. There is a strategy in business that says that additional revenue can be extracted from existing customers. I don't personally pursue that strategy as I'm not in the business of putting my customers out of business, but alas my worldview is not widely accepted and plenty of other businesses and government agencies are in that game. I'm reading about an account of The Great Depression in New Zealand as seen through the eyes of a very observant child. Wow, it is brutal.

Interestingly enough, I support tariffs and protection for local industries and this is an unpopular view. One immediate impact from that policy will be an adjustment in the distribution of wealth and also a rather interesting shift in the price signals in the market place. Price signals in the market place are just wrong nowadays and nobody seems to notice. What fascinating times that we live in. Incidentally, one of the things that I noted about the stories of The Great Depression was that people who had access to a garden generally fared better than those without. I am glad for you that the home has garden plots. Learn well, and learn fast my friend.

Yeah, many of the alternative political voices here - some of which have been receiving advice from Trump advisers - speak about 50% sense and about 50% nonsense. I heard the reports about the Canadian immigration website yesterday too. Apparently Barbara Streisand was threatening to move down here! Australia may possible be a small place for one such as her. Such talk is all rather silly as few people ever act it out, although I have met a few people now who have made that choice and I salute them for their convictions and actions.

Prohibition seems like a ghastly and ineffective policy which lines the pockets of crims. Of course crims are probably supporting such policies and I would if I was in the receipt of funds like those. That is what one would call an investment! ;-)!

A fire bunker would be a good idea, except that the local authorities would go mental at me if I did build one. It is a complex story... Time will solve all of these matters in the long run, I'm just crossing my fingers and preparing as best as I can in the meantime. Digging the hole is not as much of a problem as you would think.

No, it definitely doesn't sound like overkill to me. Go hard and enjoy is my thoughts on that matter! Yum. A couple of mates visited last weekend and they taught the editor how to properly roast a chook. And it was good! Enjoy your trip into the Little Smoke and don't feel too sorry for me as I have to continue mowing again today. The grass has gone feral because of the ground moisture from the wet winter. Hey did I mention that the editor and I surprised a wombat recently who was having what looked to be a dust bath - exactly like what a chicken would do. There was lots of rolling around, scratching and throwing of dirt onto the wombats back. They are charming, if somewhat grumpy, creatures! But then aren't we all? :-)! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I couldn't stand not partaking of your dusty wombat.

Pardon my Japanese (?). I think this is 24 seconds of zoobat.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NlI146DiOo

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - An owl, a cockatoo and an elm walk into a bar ... :-).

Looks like Clinton MAY have got more actual votes than Trump. The popular vote. Has happened before. We have this thing called an Electoral College, which I couldn't even begin to explain how it works. And, each State does it a bit different. Every time something like this happens, the party out of power grouses about doing away with the Electoral voting system. Of course the party in power is happy with things just the way they are. Until they get the poo-poo end of the stick. It's a lively topic of conversation, for about two weeks, then disappears until the next time around.

Haven't seen any deer around here in a couple of weeks. Hunting season. They're laying low.

"...additional revenue extracted from existing customers." We called it "selling up" in retail. Not to be confused with selling everything and moving somewhere else. :-). As in: "Would you like fries, with that?" I am also for tariffs and protections. "Trade barriers" if someone is trying to make you feel bad. You're hopelessly not "with it" if you support such things and there's always a lot of moaning about the consumer having to pay more. Well, if the consumer's neighbors, friends and relatives don't have jobs, who's going to buy the stuff at any price?

Ran across a reference to a book called, I think, "Austerity Britain." About Britain in the early 1950s. Low and behold, our library system has it. Though, on reflection, why read the book when I can just talk to Inge? :-). "Swiss Army Man" was waiting for me at the library, but I was too busy slinging hash in the kitchen to get around to it. Crisp and dressing are made. I'll do the tabouli, this morning.

The turkey is laying in state in the freezer. Viewing hours from 2 to 4. :-). Paid WAY more for it than last year. Probably could have got a better price if I had waited another week and shopped around. 15 pound bird.

Stopped by the Club for the usual Wednesday morning cuppa, with the only 4 liberals in Lewis County. No one was slashing their wrists or packing for Canada. Mild surprise. An awareness of why it happened with no mindless slinging about of vitriol. Lots of speculation about the future. The Supreme Court, etc.. The "First 100 Days" out to be interesting and set the tone for the rest of the administration.

Beau always looks so funny when he rolls on his back, on the deck or in the grass. He's really a bit long in tooth for that sort of thing. So, you have this barrel of a dog with these four smallish bowed legs, waving in the air ... Lew

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

Lovely, interesting postal usual. I love all the Demi-johns and other containers lined up in the sun. At one memorable doctor's appointment last year I was told that my liver and kidney function was excellent so I asked if that meant I could have an extra glass of wine. He said of course! Hmmm. Knowing Australians and their propensity for drink maybe his question should have been more considered and begun with a question about how many glasses made up my usual quota! We drink very moderately and responsibly in our old age - too much to do and too (sober) fun to be had.

We had a neighbour in Clifton Hill in the 80's who used to begin the fruit ferment in her bath, much to her teetotaler husbands consternation. She made the most splendid parsnip wine.

Still mowing and weeding here. The first of the summer vegetables are in. It all looks very regimented somehow. The new garden is under pimply pipe hoops and in the shape of a rectangle with straight beds. Not my usual practice but we needed a shade structure for the most intense periods of the summer. Hopefully as time passes I'll 'see' a way of tweaking it so a bit more whimsy intrudes.

We saw a pardelot here for the first time this week. We were able to look at it very carefully for id purposes because, sadly, it was dead when we saw it. Hopefully it was one of many.

Still processing the US elections. I'd be interested to read the list you refer to Lew about will be repealed? My husband read an analysis this morning that suggested the economic policies are deficit Keynesianism? Like you Chris I am not opposed to targeted tariffs. Off-shoring off-shores the work force without the protections of any kind of unionism as well as closing down manufacturing and livelihoods here.

Warm regards, Helen

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Many thanks for the wombat dust bath video link. That wombat was enjoying a mighty scratch too. YouTube is like a wombat video rabbit hole! I had absolutely no idea either. The wombat alarm clock was a great video of a baby wombat running amok. It was very cute.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That's very funny. Some of the smarter birds here will play tricks on you and the local cockatoos sit high up in some of the eucalyptus trees and they'll crack the seed pods and drop them onto your head. The cheeky little so and so's are quite a good aim too. Fortunately, they also make a lot of noise in the process and so you know they are high up there in the trees before you get hit. Then there are the manure bombs that get dropped from on high too. People try to console the victims by telling them that it was their good luck. I'm yet to be convinced that that is actually the case.

No please don't explain how the system works. Is it worthwhile mentioning the film: Scanners, again? ;-)! First past the post does produce some unusual results. Look, our system down here is starting to produce minority governments, and not to mention the revolving door that is the office of the Prime Minister... My fear is that if the whole system over your way or here becomes so dysfunctional that someone will come along and say, "we need to temporarily abandon the existing system as the results are producing such unstable outcomes and its getting in the way of saving the country". It is a possibility.

Your deer are clever. Our lot ran across the road and the ease with which they jumped the fence was astounding. They did enjoy the paddock that they ended up in as there was a lot of grass and a farm dam (you may call these a farm pond). There are a lot of good reasons to not have a farm dam.

Speaking of water, a storm is meant to pass through here over the next day or so, so I'm busily topping up the reserve water tanks so that any rainfall is collected at the right spot. I've wasted a lot of water on the tomatoes this year and I was speaking with some people today who also said what a hard year it has been for tomatoes. It makes me feel a bit better. The editor and I had a brainstorming session on the tomatoes today and we are planning to implement some changes tomorrow.

I have to ask you this question: What is a respectable time to put up Christmas tat in a retail shop. Historically it has always been from the 1st December, but things are getting on a bit early this year. Honestly, two months of Christmas carols day in and day out would make me want to, well someone might go postal or something like that! Hehe!

Exactly, if you want your neighbours to buy stuff, you can't also block them from having a job - which means that they themselves will not be able to buy stuff, just because you personally want to have cheap stuff. Plenty of people want that to happen though. It is a bit of a shame really.

First hand accounts are interesting to hear and read. That time was pretty tough for the UK as it was the aftermath of their empire and they must have racked up some debts paying for WWII.

I am very curious to read of your opinion of that film. It is meant to be good, but there is a twist to the story.

This potluck sounds as if it is turning into your personal Sistine Chapel. That is a good thing too as life is too short to waste on bad food! I don't really know much about turkey meat, but 15 pounds sounds to me like a very meaty bird. How do you stop the turkey meat from drying out. One of my foodie mates can do that particular trick, but he refused to discuss technique! But then he may have told me and I've since forgotten.

Good to hear that nobody is over reacting. Canada would be pretty nice though and I know some very delightful Canadians. One of our recent Prime Ministers called Canada, Canadia... Honestly. It will be interesting to see what happens as the Asian's have it right when they say: Talk does not cook the rice!

Go Beau and it would be a very amusing sight, but no doubts about it, Beau is clearly enjoying himself.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Many thanks for saying that. I do try to entertain with the blog.

Well, if your liver and kidney is functioning well, clearly you are doing something right. Life is fun isn't it? It is open garden season down here and there are just so many to go and see. Getting back to the liver and kidney's though, I reckon fresh garden produce is a good help in that regard and a lot of advice is based upon the lowest common denominator, whereas everyone's situation is quite different really.

That is funny and I can sort of picture the scene! Hehe! Baths are good and relaxing. Hmmm, parsnip wine. Interesting and good to read. Thanks. There is a batch of carrot wine bubbling away now in the sun so that will be interesting to see how it turns out.

The storms that have been up your way are moving south now and they will hit here over the next few days. I'm busily filling up the slower to fill up water tanks. Fingers crossed that an inch or so of rain falls here. The tomatoes are a total disaster here this year. Not quite a total write off, but very close too it. We took some drastic action today.

Lovely to read about your vegetable patch. Check out the shed in this garden which I'm hoping to go and see next weekend: Deborah Hambleton, Malmsbury. You have to wait for the pictures to cycle around, but the shed roof without steel, but retaining the saplings... It would make for a very cool summer shade house for a vegetable patch.

Lucky you for having the pardelot. Your place must be providing feed and water for them too. Well done. Ah, well, where there is one there is usually more. I leave water out for the birds all year around and it really brings them in.

I don't really know anything about the list of things which are on the table to repeal, but Lewis may be able to provide more information on that matter. Fines for not having health insurance seems a bit rough for my tastes. I reckon the policies are a mix of both Keynesian and Monetary policies. And both are working towards expanding the money supply. The distribution of that expanded money supply seems a little bit unfair to me, but again that is just my opinion. Tariffs are good at protecting local industry. Very few successful countries don't have them. If nobody is earning money or a significant percentage aren't earning, then the economy seizes up solid. That is what happened in the Great Depression and almost happened again in the Great Recession which recently flew past here.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I had to google 'pardelote' as I had no idea what it was.

With regard to the early 1950s austerity in the UK it would be hard for me to comment as I knew nothing else at the time, to me it seemed normal, just the way things were. It has left me amazed at what people regard as austerity today.

Son's female dog has just had 8 puppies, too early to know if any of them will be as beautiful as their father. Father being a lurcher with a bit of saluki + greyhound and collie, a beautiful temperament as well.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Yesterday my son went off to somebody's country place to buy us another small freezer for our basement. He came back with that and lots of other goodies. My favorite is a 1940's cast iron drill press. It is so industrial-looking. It reminds me of a monster sewing machine (I have a 1940's sewing machine). He also got hold of a lot of lumber for projects.

Why might a farm dam be a bad thing? The large farm next to us has three good-sized ones.

The various interesting wines that you make - and that others mention, like Helen's parsnip wine story - make me think of a 1970's British show called "The Good Life" ("The Good Neighbors" here in America). There was a running joke about the self-sufficient couple's long-suffering friends who had to drink their homemade "pea pod burgundy".

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Seems the Hillary supporters are the ones not accepting the election. My sister called, crying. I told her I was going out to clean the turkey coop and enjoy the beautiful day. Also advised her to get off her computer. Certainly things will be a mess with Trump but they are anyway.

The turkeys went to the processor on Tuesday. They were rather small but I only had one tom. Think I'll keep them a couple more weeks next year. The weather has been absolutely beautiful lately though tonight it looks like we'll get our first freeze.

Doug has gotten us roped into going to the Education Foundation Gala yet again this weekend. He's been involved with the hospital for years so we end up at their table and don't have to pay. Pretty much the same as all such events, silent auction, dinner, live auction and finally dancing. As we are out of town we don't pay for the library on our real estate taxes so have to buy an annual membership. They always have one on the silent auction and I usually "win" it sometimes at a savings.

Hoping some of your tomatoes are OK. I had a great winter squash harvest this year but I've had quite a few rotting most likely due to the high humidity.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Helen - Alternet.org is an independent news site (not main stream media.) I usually check out at least the headlines, every day. It is biased. Tends to run left of center. This is a Republican party wish list. As there are fewer checks and balances since the election (the Republicans control more "turf", than they did in the past) some of these things may come to pass.

http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/50-far-right-wing-proposals-2016-gop-platform-would-be-trumps-desk-if-elected

I'll wait and see. Usually, the first 100 days of a president's term of office set the whole "tone" of the next four years. We'll see. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - When I got home last night, there were three deer in the yard. Rather small, probably this year's fawns. Both sides of the road through my landlord's rather large chunk of land are posted with No Hunting signs. On a smaller scale, when I opened the back door to feed Beau the other day, I notice an enormous Preying Mantis clinging to the door frame. It was well over three inches long.

Hmmm. Today is Veteran's Day in the US. It's a good "marker spot." I think Christmas tat should start appearing just after Veteran's Day, come on strong after Thanksgiving and disappear by New Years Day.

My turkey was pretty moist last year. All I did was (according to directions) cover the bird with a loose foil "tent" when it was about 2/3 of the way through the roasting process.

Well, the banquet last night was ok. About 75 to 100 people turned out. They usually import a speaker from some other area, not too far away. I'd give him a 5 out of 10. I brought very little dressing or Tabouli, home. From 4 quarts to less than a pint of each. Maybe enough to whip and egg into and get a patty or two. Brought about half the crisp home. LOL. Not a surprise. I'd say over half the food was deserts. Those without the talent, time or inclination seemed to bring deserts.

What I really liked was a Native American woman was making fry bread. I'd read about it and even seen it in the movies, but had never had any. It's basically just fried, not to sweet bread dough. Served with honey or a berry preserve. I went back for seconds :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. OK. I watched "Swiss Army Man", last night. I thought I'd park it in a second comment, in case you want to delete it.

So. It's kind of a buddy movie. Or, The Hero's Journey. Magic realism? Maybe even a Rom-com. One of the directors called it a "fart-dromedy."

The dvd extras had a Q andA with the two directors and a sound guy. This was done at the Sundance Film Festival. Apparently, Dolby Sound has a new system called "Atmos." They give a grant to a couple of independent films to use their system. They mentioned in passing that the other film they gave a grant to, this year, was "In Search of the Wilder People." Just an odd coincidence.

So. This guy is stuck on a desert island, and is at the end of his rope (literally) when a body washes ashore. Due to the flatulence of the decomposing corpse, he manages to escape the island by riding the corpse like a jet ski, back to the mainland. Beholding to the corpse, he hauls it along on his search for civilization. Along the way, he discovers all kinds of handy uses for the corpse. Usually involving the build up of gases from one end, or the other. He talks to the corpse. The corpse talks to him. Is he mad? Or is the corpse, in some strange way, reanimating?

The interviewer at the Q & A said he liked the film because it was unpredictable and he never knew what was going to happen next. Reviews were generally good, if rather sketchy. How do you recommend a film that rotates around flatulence with a touch of necrophilia? Almost as squeamish was the corpses habit of asking very hard questions that reflect badly on how we operate in the world. :-).

I just had to jot down a few of the things the directors said in their Q & A. You have to realize that this is all said (mostly) with a straight face. "It's a movie about a life or death situation ... plus farts." "To take farts and elevate them to something life affirming." "Exploring the scatological and existential all in one." "A rich history of cinematic flatulence."

So. Is it a good movie and would I recommend it? Well, I think so. I didn't turn it off and go to bed. Or, fast forward through large chunks of it. Maybe because there are amusing bits, but it never quit descends to the level of an eight or ten year olds repotuoire of fart jokes. And, there's lots of "big questions" to consider. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

The pardelote birds are also a sign of a recovering eucalyptus woodland where there are many varied species of plants. Those birds play an important part in the lives of the eucalyptus trees as they dine on one of the few predator insects that is tough enough to consume those trees. Plus they are nice to look at. Termites seem to be the only consumer of eucalyptus trees here.

Exactly. I appreciate your honesty in that regard as of course those years would have been a normal upbringing for you. I reckon it is only when a person has the comparison that they feel nostalgia or despair for the better times that are in the past. I am aware of quite a number of people that seem to suffer in that regard. I tend to absorb historical first hand accounts and the comparisons couldn't be more stark with that of today. What do you reckon about that?

I haven't met a Saluki but would appreciate that dog breed given its temperament and intelligence. Your son must be pretty excited about the pups? I've often found that the bitsa dogs are much stronger genetically than other dogs.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

That sounds like a great find of goodies! It is nice to have spares of important machines, especially a chest freezer as they get used quite a lot in food preservation. That drill press would be a real keeper. A long time ago I lived across the road from a reasonably notable sculptor for metal work, and he used to let me use his workshop from time to time. That drill press would have fitted into that workshop! He used to tell me that he liked the older tools, and his welder could have happily been a museum exhibit, as they were more constructed more sturdily and lasted longer than the newer stuff.

Nice to read about your 1940's sewing machine. Respect. The editor has a guilty conscience about her grandmothers, treadle sewing machine which was sold to an antique dealer way back in the day... The editor has since made up for this sacrilege as we restored an old Yamato industrial overlocker which now works a treat. It is a way complex device and sounds like a jet aircraft when it takes off. Her mothers sewing machine now emits an ozone smell when used, despite my servicing abilities, but is still going strong. The good thing about your 1940's machine is that in another 50 years it will still be going strong.

Ah, of course, the farm dam comment was lost in translation. The farm dams here may attract snakes. It rained last night and it was almost a tropical rain and as Scritchy and I did a night time perimeter check (aka Scritchy goes to the toilet), I spotted a huge toad. Fortunately, it did not scamper away before I had a chance to stop Scritchy from eating it, and also putting her inside...

Ha! I loved that show as it was such good fun. No doubt, the show has influenced me and possibly many other people too?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I seem to recall that a similar outcry happened after Al Gore lost to George W? I'm with you about the turkey coup as that is pretty much the response I would have given too. Respect! ;-)! What are you meant to say in such situations? The underlying problems don't suddenly become bigger or vanish with a new person in the White House. The Asians say: Before enlightenment, fetch wood, carry water. After enlightenment, fetch wood, carry water. That seems to readily apply to this situation too don't you think?

Exactly. I've noticed that messes in the poultry yard can be moved around as well as removed, or even ignored? But they don't tend to go away. Away is a magical place full of unicorns and sunshine. Incidentally, the naughty chickens here have taken quite a liking to the borage plants dotted about the orchard and they have busily eating all of them... It is not like they don't get oyster shell grit with their feed. Getting off the television and computer news really does free a persons mind so that they can fixate on the issues that matter to them.

Does your processor provide the turkeys in a frozen state or do they hang them in a cool store for a few days? I'm curious about that service as it is a very good idea. You know, you learn something new about your natural systems every single year. I do here I can tell you. We had an emergency tomato situation over the past two days and it has been a huge amount of work and we still don't know whether we are on the right track. This year the weather has been very strange, but it is good to learn as we did yesterday that other people are also having difficulties. More on this on the next blog.

Those sort of events are a lot of fun as long as the MC (Master of Ceremonies) can do a good job. We went to a trivia night a few weeks back and it sounded a lot like that with the drinks, dinner, auctions, trivia, dancing. Good fun! The MC carried the night though. That is interesting about the subscription. We are way out of town, but still have to pay for the library.

The tomatoes have become a situation as we are at risk of losing five years of plant breeding. That is life and we have learned from our mistakes. That is great to read about your squash plants. Yum! They really keep well too if they have thick skins. Do yours keep well?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

'Nostalgia and despair for the better times'. I regard despair as a useless emotion. Nostalgia of course, but it does assume that the better was always good and of course it won't have been. Unless one is actually starving or in the middle of a war zone or in appalling pain, one can usually find something wonderful about existing. I have lived a fairly moneyed existence and a very poor one, they alternated. I don't think that it made much difference to the quality of my life. In fact poverty can provide a kind of freedom the wealthy times were more restrictive, conventional behaviour was required.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I wonder how your deer over winter, especially if they are young fawns? Down here the deer population seems to be slowly building, but I'm not too worried about that as they may begin the slow process of converting plant matter into soil and so there is an upside to the whole story. It would be considered very weird if people came onto private property here and started hunting. That is just not the done thing down here. Actually most of the houses around here have "Land for Wildlife" signs at their gates so the whole "no hunting" thing is fairly obvious to the casual observer. Not many people hunt down here but gun ownership up this way is pretty significant. This afternoon, I thought that I heard a gunshot off in the forest, but the sharp crack sound was followed by a huge tearing sound and then a monstrous thump as a huge old tree fell over somewhere to the south east of where I was standing. I could feel the reverberations through the ground so it must have been close, but I couldn't see it.

Hey, your preying mantis is a very good sign as to the health and diversity of your local ecosystem. Seriously. I like those insects as they hunt other insects. I certainly need a few of them this year as the mosquitoes are feral. I must confess that I broke last night and purchased a massive citronella candle, which smells a bit like disinfectant and not at all like I remember citronella from a few years ago. I have an unsettling feeling that the formula may have changed? Dunno.

Respect to the Veteran's. For some reason I recalled Sue Hubbel's book: "A country year" when you mentioned that. I really appreciated you referring that book.

Thanks for the explanation. Most turkey meat (barring the exception of my foodie friends) that I have consumed has been quite dry. Of course, covering the roast at that stage would keep in the essential pan juices. Yum! We're doing home made pizza tonight - it is an ortolana which is Italian for seasonal vegetables, and I believe the "orto" component of tha word refers to the vegetable garden itself. :-)! Yum, pizza, but not for breakfast, although we differ in that regard! Hehe!

Ah well, the next time an excellent speaker turns up for the banquet, it will make the night all the better for having experienced an average speaker. That is quite a good turn out for a dinner. Nice to read that the tabouli was well received - I expected nothing less! What a great idea to turn the tabouli into a patty or two. Yum! I use egg here as a binding agent too in food. I have heard that about desserts! ;-)! Out of curiosity, where all of the desserts home made or shop bought?

Is fry bread similar to French Toast which is: "bread dipped in a mixture of seasoned beaten egg, often with added milk, and fried on both sides"? It is pretty tasty stuff, I can assure you. Well done you for getting the seconds. Nice work!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

No, I appreciated your honest feedback about the film and so decided not to delete the comment. I mean who doesn't appreciate a fart joke? Honestly! That is interesting about the New Zealand film: The hunt for the wilderpeople. We did speak about this film, but I can't recall whether you have seen it or not? It was a fun story and I saw it at the cinema. Our NZ friends produce some fun films and I recommend: Sione's Wedding for a young guys misbehaving film, but is essential a redemption tale. Apparently at one point (fun fact alert!) it was the most stolen film in NZ! I have that from a good and reliable NZ source.

I'm mildly uncomfortable with corpses asking hard questions as they would be quite hard to please, given they are dead... It is nice that the directors took a deep, but light hearted look at their film. By the way, scatological is a perfect choice of word for the film. I hadn't come across that word before, but the use of the "scat" lead me to jump to some conclusions! :-)!

Thanks for the recommendation. Who doesn't enjoy the big questions? I certainly do.

I had lots of time today to enjoy the big questions as we set about adapting the tomato enclosure so that it matched the rather unusual and strange weather conditions of this year. Honestly, in prior years I was doing the tomatoes so easily that I became complacent. I'm actually now a bit worried that we may have lost five years of plant breeding due to that complacency. Drastic actions were taken yesterday and today and sacrifices were made and lets keep our fingers crossed. Fortunately I spoke to some serious food gardening people yesterday and they too were having troubles so I feel much better now.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I agree with your " I tend to absorb historical first hand accounts and the comparisons couldn't be more stark with that of today." That's why I like reading about history so much (esp. first hand accounts). It helps me keep a non-despairing perspective towards my life and times.

The drill press will be used in my son's foundry when he starts it up again.

The ponds here can have poisonous water moccasin snakes in them.

The editor - and you, Mr. Maintenance - get a gold star for your sewing machines! Or can only the post host offer them? I which case, I reward you the blue daisy!

Tomato seeds are viable for quite a few years, so if you have any still saved, you will be able to get back on track with your breeding.

I have never met a dog that eats toads . . .

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

I so agree with you that despair is useless. I think that what your comment means to me is that being content in all circumstances is what makes up a happy life.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well I whipped two eggs into what was left of the dressing and it made two good sized patties. A little sharp cheddar on top ... a glob of plane yogurt. Fruit and my daily two squares of dark chocolate. A fine lunch! Yum! I'd say the store bought deserts had the edge. I tried a piece of pumpkin pie. Very bland :-(. Nope. The fry bread is nothing like french toast (which I now have a craving for :-). It's just very basic deep fried bread dough. Not too sweet. Puffs up real nice. Very light texture.

What I read over and over again, about hard times is: "We didn't know we were poor." Context?

Yup. Our library has "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" on order and I'm on the hold list, for it. You mentioned it and I think I saw a trailer. So ... as I do with so many other things, every couple of days I do a title search. On order items show up there, way before the "new" list. So, often, I'm the first hold to be filled. It ought to show up any day. Contrary to what Mr. Greer states, occasionally something new shows up in "pop" culture. I'd say "Swiss Army Man" is such a movie. Really unlike anything I've seen before. LOL. Which was reflected in the reviews. Lots of thrashing and waffling around, trying to get a handle on exactly what the movie was about. I thought the director's showed remarkable restraint. The word "zombie" was not mentioned :-). The word sure crossed my mind ...

That's really ghastly about your tomatoes. I've often wondered what you do (or, what people did) when you loose your seed stock. Either to mice, rot or poor harvests. I suppose you hope your neighbors have better luck and will give you a bit of a stock, again. Although with the diversity on your place, I don't think you or The Editor will starve. :-).

Well. After a couple of nice days, we have a high wind warning for today. It's already gusting to 20 at 7am. We're supposed to have sustained winds of 30, with gusts to 45. It's all supposed to be over by 3pm. After THE wettest October on record, Cliff Mass the weather guy says it's shaping up to be the warmest November on record. Overnight lows have been 50F+. But, gee, it's only the 12th. Early days. Cliff Mass is pretty conservative about ascribing any local weather weirdness to climate change. As he pointed out, right now, northern Europe and Asia are trending colder than usual. He doesn't seem to think we'll be able to clearly ascribe any anomalies to climate change until the end of the century. Hind site is 20/20? About all he's said about our warm weather is that it is NOT a return of the blob. And then he launches into some rather esoteric explanations. :-).

Hearing that tree come down must have been startling. When they were logging here, I'd hear a crack, a whoosh and then a crash. Look at the bright side. Far enough away that it's not on your place and you don't have to clean it up :-). There is the firewood question, however. Not too many people hunt without seeking the land owner's permission. It's rather frowned on and keeps the hunter's in line. Usually, this time of the year people showing up on my porch to ask permission, drives me bats. The signs have cut that flood to naught. I can actually get an uninterrupted nap :-). Lew

margfh said...

Hi Chris,
The processor cryo-vacs the birds. They keep for a very long time in the freezer. We are lucky he's only 1/2 hour from us. Some people drive a couple hours as there's few places that butcher poultry. That's two round trips - one to bring them in and a return the next day to pick them up. It's an inspected facility as well - not cheap though.

Wow - so sorry about the tomatoes. I didn't realize how much you stand to lose.

The last time we went to this event was two years ago and the live auction was long and boring. In fact Doug had gotten something in his eye earlier in the day and it was looking pretty nasty so we left early to have it checked out. We preferred the emergency room to the event unfortunately. The foundation raises money to fund grants to specific teachers in the district for activities not offered by the school district which is nice.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yup! Despair is an emotion which eats energy. Rarely is it a useful emotion. I'm reading a book written by the author Ruth Park titled: Fence around the cuckoo. It was referred to me by Jo of the blog All the Blue Day. And it is a very good read of a childs perspective of the Great Depression in New Zealand.

A foundry is a very useful project! Best wishes for that project.

Oh! That's not good about the poisonous snakes. Here the ponds will provide reliable and plentiful water for the snakes to drink and critters for them to eat and so they enjoy the amenities. I hope they remain elsewhere as they can be pretty poisonous and move very fast.

Thank you, I reckon that is a fair call! Hehe! It is a good machine that overlocker, but not much to look at as it looks like an industrial unit. It is fast and that knife is way sharp.

No, we didn't save any of our own tomato seeds as we've never encountered a season like this before. It looks like winter outside today and it sure feels like it. That is life though and we have taken action to address this problem.

Dogs are clearly sensible creatures.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I agree with you about despair because from my perspective it seems to sap a persons energy. I have rarely felt that emotion and can banish it quite easily with action. A lot of people seem to suffer from that emotion and a certain sort of inertia falls over them and I can't quite put a finger on why, but I find it to be disturbing to witness.

Thank you for the clarity of your thoughts and also for sharing your wisdom. I agree with you and have seen both sides of that coin too. That is a fascinating observation about wealthier times being more stifling on a culture. I mentioned a similar concept to Mr Greer many moons ago about his book the Long Descent which I believe he may have found rather surprising, but you have explained it far more eloquently than I did!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Those patties do indeed sound like a fine lunch! It looks like winter outside here this morning, so I decided to reply to comments now rather than at my more usual time of later in the evening. As the wood fired oven is going the house smells of freshly baked bread and also the editor has cooked a rather tasty banana bread which should accompany coffee over the next few days. Yum!

That fried bread sounds an awful lot like how they make doughnuts down here. Doughnuts here tend to be different to your style of doughnuts as they are exactly like that: Some sort of round bread dough deep fried. Now just to make you salivate, when I was a kid they used to have doughnuts vans at the fruit and vegetable markets and they used to sell those doughnuts but after they were cooked, they would squirt strawberry jam into the centres and then roll the doughnuts in sugar. They then chucked them in a paper bag and sold you as many as you liked. The inside of the van was like a production line. It must have been hot in there over summer... Fortunately, they generally shut up shop by lunchtime as they had opened with the market which is usually at dawn.

It is interesting that you write that, but I read that exact sentiment recently. Don't you think that statement says a lot about the human condition? We are very adaptable.

I hope you enjoy that New Zealand film as it was quite good. Hmmm, that thought about zombies crossed my mind too, but generally zombies aren't meant to be helpful and useful. Have you ever wondered why the reanimated dead make for such poor company in stories? There is something in that especially given that the same tale is told about a certain religious figure.

We seem to be a long way from starving here, but you never quite know what the future holds in store! The tomato situation is a disaster, but we took action to address the many problems and we'll just cross our fingers that it is enough. Fortunately, nature provides a lot of seeds with plants but imagine the predicament of having to decide whether to eat the last of the fruit or save the seeds. You can do both, but you have to save the seed first and foremost. With all of these natural systems, you have to produce more than you will likely to need for that very reason - things go wrong.

Wow. Yup, I reckon the world is becoming wetter and warmer, although it may also become drier and warmer for some areas or in some years. Plus, it will probably get windier too. I'd be nervous too about making predictions if I was Cliff Mass given the public outcry after the last prediction of the atmospheric river...

It was startling and I keep an ear out for exactly that sequence of sounds as you know it is not going to be good. I still haven't spotted where the tree fell as I'm always interested in the why of it all as that can tell you something about local conditions.

Enjoy your well deserved nap! ;-)!

Blogger almost ate my reply to you last night. I couldn’t believe it but apparently I’d made a bad request – whatever that means.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

That cryo-vac sealing is very good stuff for keeping meat fresh. A mate of mine has one of those machines, although to be honest I've never used it myself. You are lucky to have an abbatoir that will process small batches of birds. Did the business look busy to you? Inspections certainly add to the costs of running that sort of a business. Processing yourself is a messy and hands on business isn't it?

Yup. Five years of plant breeding efforts are slowly disappearing and there well we've done our best to rescue that but it may not be good enough.

Oh, that sounds like a nightmare.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@Pam
No. Neither despair nor being content in all circumstances. Both are too placid. One can extract happiness in almost all situations but that does not mean sit back and do nothing where things could be improved.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Inge:

I didn't describe my thoughts on how to be happy very well. When I say "being content in all circumstances" it does sound like I mean complacency. I didn't actually mean it as a case of "What will be, will be". That would contradict another comment that I made about planning for the future (always be looking to the future! Except when living in the moment . . .). I think I mean (as feet sink into the bog) that whatever circumstances one finds oneself in, to try to make the best of them, while maintaining a cheerful and hopeful attitude (which is what makes me happy).

I drive my family nuts . . .

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

We always save the seeds of our "first fruits" - the best and biggest of what first comes in - just in case. But, of course, we are not starving (or even hungry). In that case, it would be very tempting to just eat everything right up as it comes in.

You - being you - could probably easily find a connection who has some tomato seeds to share with you, even without an exchange of some of the delightful production from your place.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Took the left over Tabouli and did the same thing as I did with the left over dressing. Whipped a couple of eggs into it and fried it up as patties. Just as good as the dressing. There's a bit of mint in the Tabouli, which made the flavor "interesting", in a good way :-).

Here's a little article on fry bread ...

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

I got to thinking how food, and the way we prepare food, through history is kind of like a big river system. Sometimes, two or more little streamlets come in from completely different directions, and overlap. Ingredients and ways of preparation can be called something different, but the end result and flavor is identical. Right now I'm reading "A Square Meal; A Culinary History of the Great Depression" (Ziegelman & Coe, 2016). It sounded interesting enough that I bought a copy for myself.

"Didn't know we were poor" just pops up so many places. It's almost a cliche or meme. I think it's a bit of shorthand for everyone around us and all our relatives were in the same situation, so it didn't seem at all unusual. If none of your neighbors or relatives have indoor plumbing, it's the norm. Then enters advertising or media which may spawn discontent. Which may open up another whole can of worms. Consumerism .... debt.

The whole idea of using up your "seed corn" in time of famine. Well, it jogged a memory. A film I'd seen and at first I thought it was "Girl with the Pearl Earrings", but it wasn't. It was "Brush with Fate." (2003). The memory that stuck with me was a 17th century Dutch farm wife who had a painting that she just couldn't let go ... even at the cost of dipping into the seed stock to feed her family. Things did not end well ... That was just one of a series of stories, through time following the fate of the painting.

Well, I guess the Evil Stepson is worth something. I awoke yesterday morning to discover that all our mail boxes had been smashed flat. Something I couldn't just bailing wire and bubble gum back together. I could tell that the Stepson was working about in the shed he's setting up for a shop and rousted him out. He replaced the wood supports and I lent an extra hand where necessary and attempted to pound out the boxes into a working condition.

I discovered that the damage had been done by a one or two hundred pound chunk of concrete that had been dropped on the boxes. So, I figure it was a least three people involved. One driving a pickup truck and two hurling the concrete over the side. The postman showed up later and told me that several boxes in our area had been destroyed. I called the Sheriff to make a report. A deputy showed up later in the afternoon. He didn't seem too interested, but I'm sure he has a lot more serious stuff on his plate. I observed (and he agreed) that they'd probably only be caught if they are stupid enough to post something on social media.

I see that New Zealand has been rocked by a serious earthquake. There has been some loss of life. A tsunami warning has been issued. New Zealand sure has been seismically active the past few years. The big quake in Christchurch was terrible and the months of strong aftershocks, unreal. Lew