Monday, 26 December 2016

An Expectedly Hot Christmas Day

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

Christmas in Australia is a weird experience. Shorts, t-shirts and sandals were the way to go yesterday, as Melbourne experienced its hottest Christmas day in 18 years of records. But spare a thought for the people living in the city of Adelaide (which is in the state to the west of this state of Victoria), who experienced their hottest Christmas day in 70 years of records. Far out it was hot yesterday!

36.3 degrees Celsius (100’F) in Melbourne is a hot Christmas day in anybody’s language! And I reckon it is important to recall that 18 years ago the official weather station for Melbourne sat on a corner of a busy intersection just on the edge of the Melbourne CBD. I use the past tense to describe that weather station because a year or so ago - and in these more enlightened times - that weather station was moved into parklands along the banks of the Yarra River. Since that weather station was moved to a cooler location, I have cynically felt that the current weather records are akin to describing the differences between apples and oranges. Yes, they are both fruit, but it would be a very big call to describe them as tasting the same.

The editor and I were lucky enough to spend Christmas day in the company of friends, dining in the shade of century old walnut trees. It was a very lovely Christmas day and everyone enjoyed a very long lunch extending into an even longer dinner whilst the hot Christmas day sun fell below the horizon.

On Christmas Eve, the editor and I had decided – for research purposes for this blog, of course – to check out the nearby town where some householders had decided to adorn their streetscapes with massively huge quantities of Christmas lights. The night was warm and we arrived to find that the street was absolutely feral with people. It was great to see so many people enjoying the light display that the householders had installed.
Carla Views in Sunbury had a great turnout of people to view the Christmas lights on Christmas Eve
Some of the houses in that street installed a fantastic display of lights for the public and we really do enjoy their efforts.
Some of the houses install a fantastic display of lights for the public and we really enjoy their efforts
Every year, the editor and I are always searching for the most unusual Christmas light installations. In the past we’ve spotted drunken reindeer, Australian flags and the odd Christmas kangaroo and emu’s among other interesting light installations. Our diligent process of content curation, brings to you – dear reader – these Christmas lighting anomalies every year, and this year the award goes to an anatomically correct reindeer stag. You have to admit that it is uncanny the efforts that some people will go to ensure that their abstract representations are not misrepresented by the general public…
An anatomically correct reindeer stag Christmas lighting installation
I won’t even mention that the Christmas light in that particular installation is a tasteful shade of pink! Whatever was the manufacturer thinking?

The majority of this week was hot, so spare a thought for us as summer has barely started. Two of the dogs here at the farm have very long and thick coats and so this week, both of those dogs have lost a considerable amount of hair, as well as mojo. All thinking people know that if anyone or anything ever gets their hair cut, then they will lose mojo. In an unfortunate, but alas necessary hair intervention (edit: including eyebrows and nostrils), I also lost mojo this week! What’s going on? Anyway, unlike Sir Scruffy who looked very surly and unsure of his remaining mojo after being groomed this week, I looked reasonably happy about it!
Sir Scruffy looks surly and unsure about his lost mojo after being groomed this week
However, Poopy the Pomeranian (let’s not over inflate his ego by calling him by his proper and more regal sounding breed of: Swedish Lapphund) also received a haircut this week. Poopy loves the attention and couldn’t care less about the loss of mojo…
Poopy the Pomeranian received a clip this week
Who doesn’t love freshly baked bread? I do, but baking a loaf of bread in a hot oven inside a house during hot weather is a very silly idea. In hot weather we simply bake fresh bread in a dodgy old electric (solar powered) oven that is on a stainless steel bench outside of the house but located in the shade. Unfortunately, the front glass door of that dodgy old electric oven broke late last summer and no longer closed. This is a bad problem because if the door to the oven does not close properly, then all of the heat which is generated gets lost to the atmosphere – which could be said doesn’t actually require any additional heating – and the bread does not bake properly. Anyway, this week, I installed a piece of steel which holds the glass door of the oven firmly closed. That piece of steel can be easily slid up to open the door, and then slide back down again to lock the door firmly into place. I can now bake fresh bread outside again on hot days without heating up the inside of the house!
The electric oven in the outside kitchen which is used on very hot days, was repaired this week
This farm is at a reasonable elevation on the side of an extinct volcano and so we have a good view into the valley below. In the valley below there is a very large and well run farm. That farm sometimes conducts interesting experiments with their paddocks, and about two years ago they slowly burned the vegetation in a single paddock. The burned vegetation in that paddock was then ploughed back into the soil and the results now look like this:
A paddock on a farm in the valley below that was deliberately burned off two years ago is now looking very good
As far as I am aware, that paddock has not received any additional watering.

The elderberry shrubs have been in flower for the past several weeks, and a few days ago the editor picked more elderberry flowers and produced another demijohn of elderberry wine which is happily bubbling away in the hot sun:
We produced another demijohn of elderberry wine
Observant readers will note just how much muck makes its way through the plastic airlock on the top of the demijohn during the first few days of the fermentation process.

A few months ago we planted a variety of strawberry plants that promised white strawberries, and we got a white strawberry this week. Nuff said really. They taste like strawberries to me so I’m not sure what all the fuss was about.
We produced our first white strawberry this week
On the other hand, the many raspberry canes produced the first raspberry. This berry is the first raspberry that we have ever successfully managed to grow, and it was superb tasting! We have not watered those raspberry plants either and so the raspberry flavour was very sharp. Commercial raspberries are usually over watered and picked underipe and so taste like cardboard.We’re looking forward to more raspberries over the next few weeks.
Our first raspberry fruit ever
The newly completed berry enclosure is looking very good, but could obviously use a year or two’s extra growth. Over winter we have plans to extend this berry enclosure.
The recently completed berry enclosure is looking really good, but will be extended over winter
Speaking of berries, the jostaberries, gooseberries, black and red currants began producing edible fruit this week. Yum!
A jostaberry shows off its many edible berries
A couple of minutes of picking produced a good quantity of ripe and very yummy berries from various garden beds.
A couple of minutes of picking produced a good quantity of ripe and very yummy berries from various garden beds
All of those berry plants are so easy to reproduce too. In late autumn, I take cuttings from the existing berry plants and then poke those cuttings into fertile ground. By spring you will note that the cuttings are producing new leaves, and by the following year you should be seeing ripe berries.

The mulberry trees looked very sickly earlier this season due to the cold and very wet spring, but once the sun began shining with some serious force, the mulberry trees perked up and produced lots of fruit. Mulberries are delicious and the first of them are only now just becoming ripe and ready to eat.
The mulberry trees have begun producing ripe and very yummy berries
The Asian Nashi pears have really put on some size this week. Observant readers will note that in the photo below the local parrots have already begun sampling them and if I’m not quick, the birds will consume them all!
The Asian Nashi pears have really swollen in size in the hot weather this week
Apples are also swelling in size in response to the hot weather as this Pink Lady shows:
Apple are also swelling in size in response to the hot weather this week
Mother shield ferns are a local variety of fern and I noticed massive quantities of spores on the underside of their leaves earlier in the week. These ferns are very sun and heat hardy and they look great en masse.
A local variety of fern – mother shield fern – has produced massive quantities of spores on the underside of their leaves
A larger herd of deer approached the orchards earlier this week. There were about eight does and one stag and fortunately for me, Poopy and Sir Scruffy again worked in tandem to see off the orchard invaders who retreated into the depths of the surrounding forest. However, the many house wallabies have been up to their usual fruit tree destroying tricks in the evenings. Here is a photo of Stumpy the wallaby from the other evening:
Stumpy the wallaby enjoys the rich pickings
Stumpy the wallaby looks innocent, but he is a formidable opponent to unsuspecting fruit trees. The apple tree in the next photo shows the sorts of damage that wallabies do to the lower branches of fruit trees in an orchard. It is a fair thing to say that there are few if any lower branches on the many fruit trees in the orchards here!
Wallaby damage to low hanging branches on an apple tree
My experiments with growing radishes, beets and turnips are yielding a huge quantity of seeds for next year. As each type of seed is collected, I’ll remove the plant from the soil in order to determine what type of root vegetable that the seeds belong too.
The radishes, beets, and turnips are growing prolifically and producing a huge quantity of seeds which will be sown next year
Whilst at my favourite cafĂ© in Melbourne the other day, I happened to notice that they had bags of coffee grounds and also bags of the husks from the coffee bean roasting process. I asked if they were throwing the bags out, and apparently they give them away free to customers. So I said that I’d happily take any and all of the organic matter that they could spare! Best Christmas present ever: free organic matter!
Winning! Best Christmas present ever. Free organic matter
With the hot weather this week, the farm is jumping with insect life all of which are harvesting the vast quantities of pollen and nectar from all of the flowers. Other insects are however more pragmatically feasting on the these unsuspecting pollen and nectar harvesting species!
A butterfly collects pollen and nectar for food on this flowering geranium
A European honey bee collects pollen and nectar for food on this flowering geranium
It is interesting to see that the European honey bees that live in the feral colonies in the nearby forest are much larger and have more diverse body shapes than the European honey bees in my hive. I’ve read that this situation arises because the European honey bees in the feral hives draw out their own wax and are thus able to produce cell shapes and sizes in that wax to suit their own preferences. This then determines the size and shape of the bees.

And, just because some of the readers in the Northern hemisphere are suffering through a cold winter, I’ll include a couple of flower photos from this very sunny and hot week at the farm:
Californian and European poppies, plus cat mint and pyrethrum love the hot, dry, sunny conditions
This stunning rose has produced a multi flowered head which has risen out of hiding in among the herbs
I reckon this photo just looked nice
And just to prove how strange the weather can be down here. The rest of the week will be very hot, and very humid, whilst this afternoon on Boxing Day a cool change / storm rolled through with an excellent Christmas gift of 3.5mm (0.14 inches) rain.
About 1,000 litres of rainwater was collected in the rainfall today
The temperature outside now at about 8.00pm is 16’C (61’F). So far this year there has been 1,183.4mm (46.6 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 1,181.2mm (46.5 inches)

91 comments:

Damo said...

I am jealous of your garden, it looks terrific and I can almost feel the Australian summer here!

Being a sensible cynic like yourself, I wonder about the weather station situation as well. My understanding is that corrections are applied to compensate for heat island effect etc, but I don't know if this only applies to long-term forecasts and models, or the day to day reporting you hear on the news.

RE: Wordpress
Good luck with the plugin, obviously I have not used it before, but if it works as advertised it should keep cover your needs somewhat independently.

RE: Facebook
Yep, we are the product. Although I might also add that naive public investors are also the product - those stock market valuations bear no resemblance to any potential future profits whatsoever. Currently, I grudgingly use Facebook. I am in another country to basically everyone I know and it does help staying in touch. But, at the same time checking Facebook all seems to be a blur. Maybe every few days I see a comment/photo or briefly 'communicate' with someone and it seems worthwhile, but those moments are few and far between. I sometimes read rumours that Facebook automatically creates 'shadow profiles' for people who have not signed up, I can see from a data mining point of view how that might work. It is not reassuring.

That 5 petabyte backup problem does sound interesting. I would be even more amazed if that much data actually had any information in it ;-p

Damo

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Poor Adelaide - and yet, it doesn't sound that much hotter than where you are. It is odd - why do you reckon they moved that Melbourne weather station? Some political expediency?

I had the after-Christmas grumpies - I wore myself out over the weekend - so I decided to click through your photos while I ate breakfast . . . Egads! That manly reindeer photo got me! And pink! And Sir Scruffy - forlorn and dejected - next to the ever-imperturbable Chris - what a contrast! Double choke alert! And there's nothing left of Poopy but his head and tail . . .

That's a tidy fix on your trusty oven.

I don't understand demijohns. It looks rather like a mini-still, but wine is not distilled?

There is a difference I see in having deer, but no wallabies (yay!). Our deer nip off the ends of the fruit tree branches, but never seem to break them. Our deer will, however, occasionally stand on their hind legs, thus making them about 7 feet (a bit over 2 m) tall and eat some pretty high-up fruit. We lose more fruit to deer than birds.

You are so lucky - I mean, smart - to have scored the coffee grounds/husks. The scene behind you in that photo is lovely. I believe that's your "cafe" spot? And thank you for the other flower photos; much enjoyed!

I think that you have plenty of water at the moment, in spite of the terrific heat?

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

For a couple of months I've had to go through a bit of a convoluted process to "publish" my comments here. In case anyone else is having trouble: I type in my comment, then I copy it (I also save it to my email account just in case), then I scroll up to the top of the comments page and click on "Weekly Notes from Fernglade farm" and go back to the page the weekly blog is posted on, click on "comments" again, enter my copied comment, and then click "publish".

I know it sounds onerous, but one gets used to it, and it's the only way I can be heard!

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I always wonder about our local weather station. It's at our little airport. In the valley, close to the river ... surrounded by acres of runway and close to the heat island of our big box store district. Seems like if it's warm, it's about 5-10 degrees warmer, up here. If it's cold, it's 5 or so degrees colder.

The Christmas lights. There's still something a bit magical about electricity. Some of your long shots looked a bit like pictures of amusement parks, at night. I don't go out much at night, but my trip to and from my meeting, along the Jackson Highway (a major county road) revealed a few houses that had pretty over the top displays of lights. What occurred to me is that these are usually the houses that are not very interesting. By that I mean they have minimal plantings and lawns that appear manicured. They fairly scream "We're house (and yard) proud."

A bit of interesting business in the movie I watched "Into the Forest" was easy to miss. The house in the forest was grid tied, but had solar back up ... but, couldn't be used as they were waiting on a replacement inverter ... which had been on order for three weeks and hadn't arrived by the time the power failed. Habits are hard to break. Weeks after their power quit, they're still running around yelling "Lights!" as I guess their system was voice activated. I'm not much better. When I loose my water, I usually lunge for the tap a few times before I remember that I should be going for the gallon of water. :-). One thing that struck me as off base was their level of internet tech .... given that they live out in the boonies. In the short part of the movie before the power fails. They have a generator, but only a bit more than 5 gallons of gas. Enough for one more trip to town. The sister who's more out of touch with reality wants to use it to power music, so she can dance. Lot's of tension over dwindling resources.

Poopy's haircut makes him look like a puppy again. Takes years off :-). As far as grooming goes, nostrils, eyebrows ... and ears. I'm more a plucker, myself. I think it's biblical .... "If thy hair offends thee, pluck it out." :-). Short term pain, less maintenance in the long run. Cont.



LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Ever think that dodgy oven doors are the cause of climate change? :-). It's dodgy oven door all over the world that are pumping all that extra heat into the atmosphere. You should patent that clip. Market it. You could single handedly reverse the warming :-).

OK. The white strawberry tastes like a strawberry. But I wonder about the nutritional value? Inquiring minds want to know :-).

I went to the pot luck at the 12 Step Club. About 60 people turned out. Too many children about, for my taste, but they were pretty much on their best behavior, given that Santa made an appearance. I didn't have an urge to toss any of them to a stray dinosaur or alien. The Club provided turkey, prime rib and a bit of ham. Mashed potatoes and gravy. Our resident "food professional" Kelly did a fine job. The rest was bountiful pot luck, about half home made and half store bought.

One scrawny old dude with a big white ZZ Top beard showed up with a quite nice plate of homemade fudge, cookies and divinity ... which I crave from my childhood and never seem to get around to making. All quit good, except for a bit of chocolate fudge that he said had a secret ingredient. (Guess!). It had an odd, sharp savory under flavor that was revealed to be... Velveeta. A cheese product that is an orange color, not found in nature. I'd guess that recipe is straight out of the 1950s. Not something I'll try at home. :-)

Well. That's over for another year. Between the election and the Christmas season, it will be nice to get back to "normal." Other than New Year's Eve, which is just a small blip on my radar. On Christmas Eve, Nell my cat and I had a very serious conversation as to if there were cats at the Nativity. And were they perhaps distant relatives of her's? I must say she's rather circumspect about the whole thing and doesn't bask in reflected ancestoral glory, real or imagined.

Heard from my friends in Idaho. Lots of problems with drifting snow. Snow plow went by their place 4 times, day before yesterday. Lots of hope that when the stuff finally starts melting, it will be a slow process and not cause flooding. Lew

Jo said...

Hi Chris, it's even hot in Tasmania! Though thankfully it cooled down today or we all might have just up and died. Global warming is going to kill everyone in Tasmania as none of us can survive temps over 25C!

Your garden is looking magnificent, and so is all of your fruit. I am loving my strawberries this summer - I sneak out early in the morning and eat all the ripe ones before the children get up. Early bird etc:)

Glad you had a lovely Christmas. Does your house keep cool in the summer with all that insulation? Do you need to use fans or other electrical appliances to keep cool? I love your outdoor kitchen, that is brilliant! Well, enjoy having a little summer holiday (hopefully that is what you are doing - no photos of you wheelbarrowing giant boulders up the hill this week.. what is going on??)

foodnstuff said...

So you don't think burning all those unnecessary Christmas lights and thus contributing to climate change is irresponsible?

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I hope you had a lovely Christmas day too? We had a lovely day down here, apart from the heat and the hot sun. This morning we collected rocks for about four hours but the humidity is well over 90% so it was a total knock out. It is drizzling outside right now and feels almost as if the air can no longer contain all of the moisture.

As a bit of a question for your son if he has the time: A mate of mine has two sows and we were discussing a few days ago whether it would be better to get both of them inseminated? Or would it be better to get one of them inseminated and eat the other sow? Or perhaps he should inseminate one and then separate the two sows for the duration? My mate has the feeling that perhaps the litter would be too large from the two sows and that perhaps if only one of the sows was inseminated there would be trouble from the other sow. It is a complex problem!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks for sharing the lovely stories of your brother. He sounds like quite the character and sounds as if he lived a full life. I've always been partial to celebrating peoples lives who have passed away but different cultures have different traditions and rituals and each grieves in their own way. It is never easy though is it? I respect your families honouring of him as that sounds about right to me.

Exactly, Patrick was spared the difficulties of ageing as he would not have been able to comprehend the changes in the seasons. At the Anzac day dawn service it is often traditional to read an ode: "The Ode of Remembrance" from the poem by Laurence Binyon's, "For the Fallen" and whilst it was a poem composed for the fallen in WWI I have often felt that it speaks to those left behind in most situations:

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them."

Best wishes

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

A merry Christmas to you too! Hope you and your family had a lovely Christmas day too? OMG it was H-O-T down here on Christmas day. Fortunately the thoughtful and most excellent host provided buckets of punch to consume for medicinal purposes of course. ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Bukko,

Mate, you are over in the states? You totally missed out on the hottest Christmas day that I can recall and I thought that last year was hot. I hope that you were rewarded with a white Christmas?

Sorry to hear about your sister and total respect for your hospice support. May she pass on from this world with the least amount of trauma possible and also in the care of loved ones.

Perhaps it may be that I don't keep the butters for long enough in the fridge for the oil to separate. Dunno, you may have inspired me to undertake an experiment and put some nut butters aside to see what happens. I don't really deal to well with Costco but the CERES grocery store in Brunswick is well worth a visit if you want bulk supplies of high quality ingredients. Plus, who doesn't love CERES in Brunswick? Macadamia butter would be superb and they are a native fruit tree from the north coast of NSW. The trees will grow and fruit this far south but they will take a couple of decades to get there! Like avocado's I guess...

Chemo is brutal from what I have seen. I have heard anecdotal accounts that cannabis oil assists the appetite in those circumstances.

Thanks for the parfait suggestion.

Ha! 12.5 to one compression ratio is massive for a petrol engine! What memories you brought back with that story about your hoon days! You're in good company too. Back in the day my little LX Torana SS hatchback was a mighty beast - although the snot green colour seriously diminishes the street cred. I added extractors, a Holey 350 carburettor and a yella terra free flowing head to the motor and that beast really flew. Unfortunately at high revolutions per minute the poor motor made that exact sound which you described. I put the sound down to the el-cheapo rockers they put on the valves - it was a push rod motor rather than an overhead camshaft motor.

Out of curiosity, what did you end up doing with the Corvette?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Merry Christmas to you! I hope your turkey tasted good - and that you shared a few choice chunks with Beau and Nell?

Thanks for the good advice too and I like to keep things simple on the Internet as well. The all singing, all dancing wombat web pages just eat up my bandwidth and are a toll on a person’s patience. I do have to add in a feature for uploading and downloading large files as that seems to be all of the rage nowadays and people are demanding it. I keep telling them that nothing is safe on the Interweb, but alas, they ignore me. You may laugh about this but I have the exact opposite problem: Really high interweb speeds, but very little bandwidth to speak about... Nope Facebook bores me silly and the need for people to compare their own lives to others is really a bit frightening to me. And people have tried to stalk me through that medium so it is not worth the effort. I'll bet you don't have a Facebook page either? Hehe!!! ;-)!

Thanks for your thoughts about the Robin Hood legend. You know, I always sort of thought that he was a mash up of several historical characters and the stories were "touched up" a bit just so they were palatable to the general folk. I find it hard to believe that he had a coterie of merry men as they would have been a rather grim collective as the more mouths that a war lord has to feed, the higher the cost that the war lord exacts on the local population. Standing armies are a rather recent historical thing, don't you reckon? And nobody wants bored merry men.

I'm not 100% convinced that Robin Hood was righting wrongs, my gut feeling says that he was more of a protest - or perhaps an outcome for - when the ruling classes extracted too high a toll on the peasants.

80 hour weeks are a killer for anyone. Ouch. That makes total sense. I've had that spiel too about working long hours in a salaried position as you are in a position of authority, blah, blah, blah. All it really does is drive your hourly rate of remuneration way down and make you exhausted. You get to the point where you ask whether you should just write your employer a cheque? Pah! So did you end up doing the long hours as a manager? Sun Tzu wrote wisely that you should never tire the troops out on day to day activities and then expect them to fight too.

I might check out the natural peanut butter in the store next time I'm there. It sounds intriguing! I have never seen the oil on top of the peanut butter - even from the stuff we make here using the food processor. Honestly, my life is easier without the cranky bakery ladies. You know, it took me about four years of regular visits to their shop before they acknowledged me as a regular. Far out, I didn't go to that shop for their sparkling personalities... And I'm happy to have found a replacement supplier who are no hassles whatsoever.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Ha! You are very naughty to call them slackers! Well done. Lots of places are closed around here too until Wednesday. Even the local cafe / general store and I recall the good old days when we could venture down there for a cappuccino on Christmas morning. Woe is me. Wherever am I to get a decent coffee around these parts. Oh the suffering! ;-)! Hehe!

I have to laugh because yesterday afternoon, the editor said to me: Are you going to write the blog tonight? Honestly, I thought that it was Sunday... Ooops! Oh well at least it was only early in the afternoon as I was busy making mental plans for a homemade pizza and an early night (recovery of course, from the day before). This holiday thing is great. On another strange note, when I went to post the podcast, some company had left me a note asking if I wanted to be paid for schilling for them on websites. The absolute cheek, I'm not that cheap!

Thanks for the explanation about the 12 steps and holidays as I was wondering about that. 30 people is a good turn out for a meeting too. Did you end up going and taking the tabouli salad?

Speaking of fermented products the editor has recently purchased a book by Sandor Katz "The Art of Fermentation" which is a great read. The author has an infectious enthusiasm for all things fermented. As an interesting side note, a bottle of our homemade sake ended up through a series of connections into the hands of a mover and shaker who was apparently raving about it. The editor was mildly chuffed at the chance circumstance.

Yeah, not to disparage the Amish because they punch well above their weight, but seriously they really don't address core and fundamental questions about their society and they rely heavily on new lands to support their excess population. Family farms are a great idea and they make a whole lot of sense from many different points of view, they just have to consider a succession plan - which is really a statement of commitment to the future as well as an acknowledgement of the decisions of the past. That is usually a step too far for most people though, although that doesn't make the circumstances causing the pressures to go away anywhere. I dunno.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Thanks for the lovely Christmas wishes and I hope that your Christmas day was nice too? I hope you are getting some of this rain? It is drizzling here right now and at least it has cooled down a bit.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for the warning about the fungus in peanuts. Yeah, I'll keep a look out for that. Bukko mentioned it too later on, so you are in good company. Nah, I wouldn't worry about the warning as I always prefer to be alert to trouble, rather than trouble finding me unawares. Do you reckon that is a good way to go? Incidentally are you hearing any anecdotal accounts of shark sightings along your coastline? The sharks down here seem to be hungry and operating closer to the shores these days much to the unhappiness of the surf community.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah exactly, what sort of freedom can you enjoy if you can't tell where your freedom imposes costs on other people? That is so true, cleaning up one's act involves accepting limits imposed on you by society. Oh yeah, I accept a very small world, but the costs that other people pay for their much larger worlds seem to be weighing them down. Mate, we are going way out there into the land of the philosophical tonight aren't we?

Good for you. I hadn't read the comments yet, but see that you committed to going to the meeting. I reckon they need you at this time of the year as the stresses in the community are so much higher and self medication is not a useful path.

That is good advice about the Idaho yippy dogs as no doubts they would get lost under all of that snow! My lot sure would... Maybe not Poopy though, who seemed to love the heavy snowfall a few months ago.

Thanks for the movie reviews and I may check out the "Into the Forest". Ha! I still vividly recall Tom Hanks in the film Bachelor Party. Arguably his finest acting moment? Yeah, maybe not, but it was a fun film. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Bukko,

Thanks for the fungus information. You know, I've never seen a green peanut, but I can't grow them here so maybe the ones that I purchased have been checked for that? The fungus sounds pretty nasty... Lots of things are like that.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Thanks mate! :-)! Far out, 36.3'C was feral weather and by the end of the day I was knocked out despite sitting in the shade of a huge old tree. How was Christmas day in Laos? I'll bet even the west coast of Tasmania was hot yesterday... A good day for a dip in the ocean. Unfortunately I was in land, and no water balloons were allowed this year as it got out of hand last year...

Yeah, my take on that matter is that if it looks and sounds a bit weird, then it probably is a bit weird. What it also left unsaid was that the Melbourne CBD is now much hotter than previously. The thing I notice now is that it used be up to about 7'C degrees cooler up here than in Melbourne due to the effect of the altitude above sea level (1'C drop for every 100m climb in elevation at this latitude). However, now the change is not that great at all and sometimes it seems cooler in Melbourne which makes little sense at all. One day I was there recently and the car was telling me that outside it was 36'C, but the official weather station was reporting 29'C and that just doesn't add up to me in my mind.

Oh fair enough, I'll give the add in a test drive before committing cash to it. But as you say if it works as advertised then that is great.

Yeah, you more or less have to use it to keep in touch with family. I get that as that seems to be how they keep in touch these days. Mate, you have to live in the world as you find it. I mean what else do you do?

I'll tell you a funny thing. I was looking up cinema times on a Google search and noticed that the search returned a new variable. It said, people usually spend 2.5 hours at this business. And I went WTF? Seriously, people have to turn off their smart phones as clearly their day to day movements are being recorded and analysed. It was mildly creepy and a bit 1984...

It is interesting isn't it. It was a medical database from all accounts and they use the data for research purposes. The author Michael Lewis had something to interesting to say about analysing medical data. He has a new book out too I note.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yeah, they do it tough in Adelaide being much further north and much drier and hotter than here, although it is a beautiful city and very easy to get around. I just checked the rainfall forecast map though and Adelaide is getting absolutely drenched today from the huge storm which has drifted down from Indian Ocean and the north west of the continent. It even flooded at Uluru (Ayres Rock) and that is not something that one would expect at this time of the year. Far out it must have been wet and all of the roads would have been closed too, and so nobody would have been going anywhere.

My gut feeling was that the move was a political thing, but really we'll never know the true story. It doesn't change the reality though that that part of the city is a lot warmer than in the past.

Yeah, I hear you, Christmas is lovely and some time out to recover from the festivities is a good thing too. Last night, I crashed into bed early. :-)!

Ha! Glad you enjoyed the manly and very pink reindeer stag. It was pretty funny wasn't it? We were giggling and laughing when we saw that one. There is always something strange in those lights and I reckon the owners put them up and go to themselves: I'll bet nobody notices... :-)! Poor Sir Scruffy, he was really miserable but seems to have come to terms with the loss of mojo and now he seems to be enjoying himself now that he is cooler. Honestly, some dogs. He is hassling me for chunks of homemade pizza right now! But then so is Poopy and Scritchy, how much pizza should I lose to them, that is the real question! Hehe! And Poopy is just all legs and tail and stuff! Hehe! He loves getting his hair cut.

Thanks. It is nice to have the trusty oven working again. Oh, woe is me as it has been over 90% humidity for most of the day and we went out and collected rocks for the gabion walls for about four hours this morning. Yuk!

Demijohns hold a mix of sugar, fruit, yeast and water. When yeast consume the sugar they fart carbon dioxide and also produce alcohol. As more and more alcohol gets produced there is less and less sugar and the brew become more toxic and so there are less and less yeast critters. The little plastic thingee on the top of the glass demijohn allows the carbon dioxide yeast farts out of the glass demijohn without allowing anything else into the mix. Easy huh? The alcohol percentage can't get higher than about 18% as it is a toxic mix.

Distillation takes that finished product (mix) and then heats it up. As the mix gets hotter the alcohol evaporates off and it is collected and cooled. Distillation is how people concentrate alcohol to much higher percentages than normal wine making and that is the difference between the two methods. The thing with distillation though is that you have to know what you are doing as the concentrated alcohol can contain deadly amounts of methanol which is poisonous. Distillation seems to be an unnecessary step to me as it takes a product that you can consume and then turns that into a lesser amount of more concentrated product and that is an inefficient process.

Wallabies are feral naughty creatures and it is akin to having a rampaging bunch of disgruntled youth running feral through an orchard. Thanks for the information about the deer.

The courtyard is the coffee spot and I am glad to share the photos with you. It is pretty nice, despite the hot weather.

Yup, excluding a black swan event which is always a possibility, I have plenty of water to get through the summer. I reckon I'm at about 80% to 85% full right now which is pretty good.

Oh my! Oh well, if it works. I now copy the comments to Word before clicking on the Publish comment button as it has been a bit less reliable in recent times.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis

I had to move outside into the slight drizzle with the laptop. At least I'm being serenaded by the chirriping frogs and the droning cicadas. I don't how the laptop will go with the mild rain although it will probably be OK. Maybe...\

Yeah, weather is a relative thing isn't it? But I reckon the reported weather in the city, should represent the actual weather in the city and not in the nearby parklands adjacent to the Yarra River. There are good reasons for the reported weather to be cooler than the actual weather down here, as people get filthy about global warming when they are experiencing it firsthand. Just sayin...

Just had to go and check the chickens. What were we talking about? Oh that's right...

Oh yeah, electricity is way cool, no doubts about it. I used to to move 5,000 litres of drinking water around the place today and it is an awesome energy source. It just might not replace oil, that's my thinking. Although to be fair, they will give it a try, but off grid solar is very expensive electricity.

It is interesting that you mention that about the presentation of the houses. The lights were the presentation, rather than the gardens. People notice that when they visit here in that it is the opposite way around. Nature first, buildings second.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Ha! Inverters are very complex bits of kits and those poor girls were yelling incantations into the ether. I hope the inverter eventually replied to them? The story sounds very amusing. The inverters with the backup batteries don't provide a great deal of usable energy as most people skimp on the batteries. And the inverters themselves are trying to be everything to everyone and so they do nothing at all well. Oh my! Well, the dancing sister would face some stern rebuke here if she pulled that trick in that particular scenario. What a danger to everyone. Incidentally, I agree with you as I would have fed the kids to the dinosaurs too in such a dangerous and life threatening situation. They don't have what it takes in terms of common sense to survive. The very last ever episode of Mash dealt with that complex issue.

Ha! That's funny, nah, I'll stick with the cut thanks very much, but I hear you! hehe! Puppy, Poopy!

Haha! Yeah, I don't think so, but yeah, very funny! Nobody thinks to repair stuff these days. You know that clip really works better than the original door closer.

That is an interesting point about the colour of the strawberry affecting the nutritional value of the berry. I reckon you are spot on! Elephant stamp for you! A very astute observation and I wouldn't have considered that one. Nice work.

Ha! Yup, the aliens and dinosaurs again. Yeah, kids at adult events tend to change the social scenario as everyone puts them front and centre. That is a tough one and I just roll with the punches because everyone gets very upset if they were challenged and I'm not there to do that.

Go the ZZ top beard. Was he a sharp dressed man? That is a musical joke, but probably isn't that funny. Was it chocolate? It wasn't rum or anything like that which would be a bit naughty wouldn't it? Oh, err, the orange cheese sounds a bit dodgy but probably tastes awesome!

I'd have to say yes given Nell's impeccable bloodlines and regal manner. I don't celebrate New Year ’s Eve, dunno why, it just seems a bit over the top to me.

Are you reconsidering a move to Idaho?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Merry Christmas to you and your family and I hope that you all had a lovely day. Far out it was hot though wasn't it? That is funny about not surviving beyond 25'C. I hear that story from Canadians too! :-)! You'll adapt I'm sure.

Thank you for saying that. It is a pleasure to share the photos of the garden with everyone here. How good are fresh strawberries straight from the garden. Yum! Haha! Too funny. You reminded of a time when a friend of the editors was here helping us pick strawberries. In fact we were helping supply her with strawberries that day as she was going: One for me. One for me. One for me. It was very sweet to see someone enjoy the fresh berries that much. It has been a good year for berries don't you reckon?

Yes, the house keeps very cool on hot days. The walls are timber, but they are double (and a bit) the usual thickness that you would see in a timber frame (200mm thick) and are stuffed full of R3.0 glass wool batts. Your place would do well with insulation in the floors, walls and ceiling (if it is not already installed). The walls can be added by slowly (really slowly) removing the weatherboards. Otherwise they pump insulation in via holes in the walls - which they then repair. The ceiling here has two layers of insulation - one over the ceiling and another under the roof steel. That's R6.0. and there are R3.0 batts under the floor suspended under the floor boards. Toasty winters and cool summers are the result. ;-)!

Overhead ceiling fans are a really, really good idea too and I have them in every room. They just work on hot nights where the outside temperature may not drop below 22'C.

I hope you are enjoying a summer break too? We moved rocks for about four hours today to fill up the rock wall gabions. By lunchtime, I was done as it is so humid. I hope your garden is getting some solid rain?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi foodnstuff,

Surely you are joking? Aren't you? I realise that you walk the talk too in this matter, but seriously, I reckon when all non essential air travel gets stopped in the name of slowing global warming, I'll be happy to no longer enjoy the spectacle of Christmas lights.

Until that time of course, I realise - very clearly - that we are heading towards a new climate equilibrium which we're not going to like much as it will involve a great deal of pain and suffering.

I've heard your argument used from time to time to justify very strange things and drive wedges and I'm mildly uncomfortable with it.

Cheers and best wishes for Christmas for you and your family.

Chris

Bukko Boomeranger said...

"Out of curiosity, what did you end up doing with the Corvette?"

I wound up selling it in September 2001. Only got $25,000 for it. I had bought the thing second-hand in 1978 for $5,500, using some of the money I got from the malpractice lawsuit over my left leg getting mangled by medicos after a rattlesnake bite. It was clapped-out, in grey primer, ran OK but didn't have the original engine, hot-rodded up with things like side pipes, mag wheels and a bonnet from a 1964 Vette. "Do the numbers match?" is the operative phrase with the Corvette purist community -- their aim is to have a car that looks like it was from a showroom floor in the year of origin. But I wanted to set that baby up to DRIVE, not get hauled to car shows on a trailer. I renovated it twice during the 21 ½ years I owned it, the first time slowly by my own hands, the second time (when I was on good salary) by a pro. Brand new 350-cubic inch, 350-horsepower engine the second go-round. Two repaints (both by shops -- I'm no good with a spray gun) in shades of flaming red. That was a drawback when it came time to sell, because the serial number said the car was originally white. Corvette purists get into the nitty-gritty of research that way. More than half the time I owned the car, it was sitting immobile in my garages because of mechanical difficulties. My second Xwife was jealous of the Corvette (and of my Dalmatian, too) because of the time I spent with it. So after much nagging, I unloaded it and we used the money to buy a 2001 V-8 Mustang GT for cash. But that's another car story...

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Thank you for that lovely quote. I sent it to one of my sisters who seems to be having a particularly difficult time.

Wishing you good luck with the deer. They can cause a lot of damage. Around here they can really do a number on native woodland plants. With all the snow we had I'm a bit worried about our young fruit trees as this is the time they'll come out and find them. So far there's been a couple deer who jump into the outside chicken pen (it's very large) to feast on crab apples on a branch that cracked off this fall. However the weather changed suddenly. Yesterday it was well into the 40's and sunny so a lot of snow melted. No storms forecasted for the future and mostly seasonable temperatures.

I remember a neighborhood as a child that people so many people would come to see all the over the top decorations that it was a nightly traffic jam. We don't have any like that around here but one young man spends months decorating his family home and property. Our neighbors have the "Christmas Wonderland" with over a dozen huge inflatable characters - one which is three singing carolers. They must like it just for themselves because being at the end of a dead end road there's no one to see it except us most days. I suppose it was fun for the Christmas tree farm customers. I always wonder about the electric bills.

As I recall your summers aren't usually too humid unlike ours. 100 (F) and 90% humidity - wow!!

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

What a wonderful tribute you gave your brother in last week's comments. He sounds like he was one truly special guy and must have greatly influenced - in the best of ways - those who knew him. I think that Chris is right about Patrick being spared a very trying and scary future.

Please do take care of your own self. This is a very difficult time.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Thank you very much for the demijohn and distillation info - I never quite understood it before. I agree with your: "Distillation seems to be an unnecessary step to me as it takes a product that you can consume and then turns that into a lesser amount of more concentrated product and that is an inefficient process."

I have seen "The Art of Fermentation" recommended many places, but haven't read it yet. My father has sent me a recipe for a kale and carrot sauerkraut that sounds super easy and I have the ingredients at the ready.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yup. "Christmas Day Observed". No bank, mail or library on Monday. Oh come on. Bunch of slackers :-).

Well, we had quit the rain and blow, yesterday. Didn't see anything in the forecast. But yesterday morning I happened to see the satellite picture and instead of the usual scattered, unorganized clouds passing through, it looked like there was a massive, organized "something" coming in off the coast. I thought to myself "Well, that doesn't look good." And, sure enough, lots of rain and wind gusts to 30 mph all afternoon and into the evening.

Well, I don't have a Facebook page (I don't think), but can sign in, much to my chagrin. Way back when I was looking for a rooster, several people kept telling me "Oh, I always see roosters for sale on Facebook." So, I signed up. Never did get a single lead on a rooster. But, even when I run across a business that is only on Facebook, I never bother to sign in. I'm lazy and it's just so onerous. I have to drag out my little book (my brains) and try to remember what I filed the user name and password under ... and which part of the password is capitals and are those "ones" or "Ls" and was that an "O" or a zero?

The Yahoo mail breach, not the last one, but the one before ... they kept harassing me to change my password. I kept ignoring them, until they finally held the gun to my head. So, I finally changed it ... while dodging the "What's your mobile number" (Don't have one ... well, I do, but they can't have the number) and answer these 3 security questions (which I also have to keep track of). So, I've got these two Yahoo mail accounts, and for about two weeks I've got to refer to the little book, as it takes me about that long to commit the passwords to memory. And then they've got this new data breach and start harassing me again ... but it's from 2013, so, changing my password took care of that, anyway. Which they seem to have caught on to, after about a week. Grump grump grump.

Oh, yeah. I put in those 80+ weeks when I was managing bookstores. The first bookstore I managed down in California ... sometimes I'd have been there all day and I'd go out to hunt and gather dinner in the mall. When I'd get back to my store, my staff would be lined up, my brief case in hand and say "Go home!" LOL. They were a great bunch of "kids". Wonder whatever happened to them all? I suppose Facebook .... :-). Cont.

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

Sadly no measurable rain here so plants, like the lilacs, are drooping. We are about to begin watering from our dam but some rain is forecast for Friday so we will hold off and see what happens then. Our Christmas Day was not as hot as yours. The top temperature outside was 32C. Our house is well insulated and indoor temperatures rarely exceed 24C even with a run of very hot days. We also have shade cloth blinds that are lowered for the summer and they do a good job. Your lovely garden must reduce the temperature too?

Your Christmas Day with friends sounded fun but I would find the heat outside for so many hours exhausting! Although the punch might help.

We enjoy the Christmas lights in our closest town too. There is one bloke (who is a very tough looking character) who has an extensive collection of lights and this year he built a grotto with a huge nativity scene with some very weird attendees. The silliness of some of the creations give us a chuckle every year. We have lights at the farm too. Two strings of solar lights - one coloured, one white - along our pergola.... I prefer them static rather than flashing. Very tasteful.

BeeGee hops into a creek pool to cool down and also wades into the dam when we pass by. She isn't at all partial to being clipped but enjoys a good brushing. As a border collie, coolie, red cattle dog cross her glossy coat is supposed to be better reflecting the heat than the dull undercoat. We also have a wide divergence between night/day temperatures so clipping means some cold nights.

Our young, energetic next door neighbours have built a replica shearing shed out of reclaimed materials, for the most part. They are christening it with a New Year's Eve party to which we are duly invited. We're grateful for the invitation but it's years since we deliberately made it to midnight! Ringing in the new year will take even more courage than usual this time, I think.

Warm Regards, Helen





LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I don't have the Katz fermenting book ... I'm just not a fermenting kind of guy :-). But I run across references to it all the time. Highly thought of and he's the "go to" guy for all things fermented.

No, I don't think about moving to Idaho. I really don't think my friends are going to end up spending the rest of their lives there. There daughter is having marriage problems, and is spending 6 month and one year stints out of State clawing her way up the Forest Service job ladder. Sure, she's got some rentals.... So, the reason they moved over there, isn't in place, much, anymore. And, the winter's are getting to them. I see them moving back to the Nachez area (outside of Yakima). And, if Debbie were widowed, I can see her moving back to that same area, to be close to her many sisters and mom ... even though they're pretty overwhelming and drama prone. So, if I did move to Idaho, I could see myself abandoned in a hostile and foreign land :-). Only the cheap real estate is tempting.

There are several folk tales about cats and the Nativity. And a few Renaissance paintings, usually titled something like "Madonna and Cat." The folk tales are along the lines of the cat fighting off a snake or rat that was zeroing in on Baby Jesus. One had a cat near death from a mix up with a rat ... and angel shows up, heals the cat and grants him nine lives. But that one had a kind of ... comtemporary feel to it, and I think is maybe "modern bogus" fairy tale. Maybe.

Nell had quit a mix up with something, last night. I'd put her out for a final potty run while getting ready for bed. I heard her and opened the door and she looked like something had got her down and rolled her around in a mud puddle. No damage done, but what a mess! And, she was so shook up she kept trying to pee on things. So, out she went again, for a short time. Whatever had been at her had passed on. She's been in one of her "sleep on Dad's shoulder" modes, the last week. But I didn't want her anywhere near my bed. So, I put a few warm towels down for her in the bathroom and kept her in there, over night. She seems fine, today. But I'm going to have to attempt to brush her out. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Bukko,

What a story! I'll bet the rattlesnake bite hurt? Ouch! I've heard that about matching numbers and that is a concern down here too with many of the 70's and 80's performance vehicles (Like the Torana XU-1's or the A9X's or the Falcon GTHO series). I'm with you too, as vehicles were meant to be used, not looked at and admired. They were always functional. I noticed that the vehicle that Mark Bolon from T-Rex died in was sold recently for an astronomical price - apparently it even had a chunk of his scalp still attached, although that claim sounds a bit far fetched to me.

Yeah, a Mustang, well I'm not sure it was the same! :-)! The question is, do you regret the sale? Actually the new mustangs are receiving a few harsh reviews down here - especially in the wake of the shut down of the local manufacturing of the Falcon.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I hope the poem is useful and everyone grieves differently and in their own time.

The deer are a real worry and over the years I'm seeing them more and more about the place. The thing is that there is not really much for the to eat in the forest so they do this constantly moving to new locations routine. The animals here live in the forest, but the eat in meadows and clearings in and around the forest. And the deer can't go too far away from water sources, whilst the marsupials can.

Yeah, I worry what it means with your extremely cold winter in your part of the world. The animal populations would have built up over the past few milder winters perhaps? It will be rough on them. Crab apple trees do seem to be particularly attractive to deer, and I noticed here that the scratching’s presumably from the antlers were predominantly on apple trees - which is really weird. The apple trees seem to be struggling on with the bark damage which has surprised me. Nice to read that you are having milder temperatures now.

I wonder about the electricity bills too! Don't laugh but I moved a huge volume of water yesterday in preparation for the storm which is predicted to hit here tomorrow and that took the batteries down a full 10% of their charge but Christmas lights are way out of the question - not to mention the fans that must be needed to keep the inflatable characters full of air! Oh well, I don't mind all of that stuff as us humans use energy in all sorts of strange ways so it is nice to get some frivolous enjoyment out of it all occasionally. :-)!

The weather has been crazy down here. This morning we filled up the rock gabion and wired it together and got totally drenched by the rain, but now outside it is 86'F and sunny with way high humidity. Summers here are usually dry... Not so this year. Far out, the humidity adds a massive complication to working outside.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Exactly, why take something that is good to consume as it is, and add extra energy to it and more equipment just to concentrate the active ingredient. It makes little sense to me.

I read a short extract from the book at my mates place and it really is an entertaining read. Oh, please let me know how your kale and carrot sauerkraut ends up tasting. I haven't tried sauerkraut yet, but do enjoy it! Yum!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Hehe! Yes, they are slack aren't they... Hehe!

You never really want an organised something coming in your direction at any time. It sounds a bit scary. No doubts, Sun Tzu would have known what to do? Mate the same thing is occurring here tomorrow. Adelaide copped a drenching yesterday and the pictures are always good (oh, sorry, I meant to write bad): SA weather: More wild weather forecast after Adelaide storm leaves trail of destruction. That is a proper summer storm that is. Stay safe in your storm.

Yeah, the whole Facebook thing was lost on me. Hey, they dragged you into it and now you are sort of stuck with a login. That sounds a bit cult like to me. What do people actually sell stuff on Facebook? I thought it was all unhappy photos of your friends and family having more fun than you, but I am cynical. There is something about it that just turns me off.

The thing with the Yahoo breach was that the hackers not only took your login data, they got your three security questions and answers too. I wouldn't worry about it too much as you and I are small fry in the big scheme of things. And honestly I don't have any secrets because I can just type them out here and then everyone knows and then I don't have to worry about keeping secrets anymore. It seems like a sound strategy to me?

Ha! That is funny about looking them up on Facebook. Really, those are huge working hours which you can't keep up for long. I always kicked staff out too as it seemed to be good for morale.

Fair enough, he has a very informative and down to earth style and doesn't overly complicate things. Some writers write to prove how smart they are and that just tires me out. Writing I reckon is about communicating with others first and foremost.

Sometimes some things just don't work out. At least you hadn't committed to moving over there. I'm always a bit nervous about employment with the government as they can sometimes give you the boot, regardless as to your level of performance and commitment. That's just me though.

It sounds like an aftermarket add on those cat stories? :-)!

Poor Nell, what critter do you think may have caused the dust up?

Cheers

Chris


Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Did you see the reports of the wild weather over in South Australia? It is going to be here tomorrow although it has spent a lot of its force. You are lucky to have a dam, but it is hard to watch the garden wilt in the heat isn't it? I've been slowly building the top soil here over the past ten years and every year it holds a little bit more water. The soil in the forest is quite dry and hard clay like, although that is slowly improving too. 32'C is still a hot Christmas Day in anyones language. I can't quite get my head around the roast lunches and dinners during those hot days.

Yeah, I'm with you as it was exhausting to sit out there in the heat. I was done for by about 10pm.

Yeah, the lights around the veranda sound great! I love that sort of thing. And yeah, it is surprising how some tough looking characters spend their efforts on things like Christmas lights. The tough crusty outer coating is probably all show!

Bee Gee is a lucky dog to enjoy a swim. Yeah, you have to train dogs into being groomed and enjoying it. Sir Scruffy can be a pain and he starts squirming away whilst being groomed.

New Years eve celebrations are overrated. I go to bed early in protest. Was the replica shearing shed anything like a Glenn Murcutt construction?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Went into the city tonight to go to the cinemas and watch a Spanish film by Almodovar. It was very good and titled: "Julieta". He does very good films all from the perspective of the female characters, although you have to enjoy subtitles, unless of course you are fluent in Spanish. But far out, the city was 39'C (102'F). It was really, really hot. Anyway, the weather station for Melbourne recorded 34'C (93'F) which just seems really weird. Oh well, it was a good trip in and it is much cooler here, but Melbourne doesn't look like it will cool down anytime soon.

What did Kessler have to say about the space junk? That would be a fascinating conversation!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

I wondered about the strawberries' color, too, and if nutritional content is connected to what color a fruit of vegetable is, so I looked it up - there is indeed a connection.

I have not seen "Into the Forest", but I have noticed - after 25 years of fairly frequent power outages - that it only takes us about one day to stop automatically flipping on switches or turning on faucets where there is no water. Practice makes perfect? Ah! Collapse now and . . .

@ Damo:

I like your phrase "sensible cynic". And I think that it reflects all of us here.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Glorious flower pictures and the fruit of course. In a previous garden I had yellow raspberries, they were delicious.

I see that Lew mentioned ears, I had wondered why your nostrils had hair that needed cutting but not your ears, both usually occur around the same age.

My oven door doesn't close properly, shall mention this to son. Sorry I forgot to put the pig question to him, will try to remember when I see him on Friday. His puppies are being advertised on wightbay, the Island equivalent of e-bay. Not sure whether it is one word or not. There is a photo of their handsome father.

No there are no deadly sharks here as far as I know. We get basking sharks which are harmless though huge.

Odd that people are having problems commenting with blogger. I used to have problems but it has been fine for me for quite a while.

I thought that you were a bit harsh with Foodstuff, of course you jumped and then came in again bit more quietly. So now you can have a go at me! I agree about aeroplanes and am uninterested until I see them cease to fly except in genuine emergency. My lifestyle is undertaken because I like it that way and not because I am a one woman attempt to save the planet. But aha 'the lights'. I dislike them and regard them as ridiculous. I would also like to see no street lights and no lit shop fronts or business buildings at night. Remember I grew up in war time, not a chink of light permitted anywhere. Oh those glorious night skies.

@Lew Yahoo is badgering me also; so far I am ignoring them.

@Pam I laughed because kale and carrot sauerkraut sounds utterly disgusting to me.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Cliff Mass the weather guy is hedging, a bit, but thinks we may have another cold snap, next week. Oh, argh. I didmy weekly look in at the Atlantic Magazine site. They had a photo essay of Christmas "Down Under." Mostly shots from Bondi Beach and around Sydney. They also had a photo essay on Krampus celebrations in mostly, Austria. Truly nightmarish and horrendous creatures.

Did a little poking around into the 9 lives of cats folklore. If you approach searches from "folk tales", the Nativity schtick doesn't even show up. So, I'd say bogus recent ... kind of urban legend. Nell didn't want to go outside, last night. I brushed her down pretty good in the afternoon. But as we were watching a DVD, last night, I was still picking clumps of mud out of her fur. We were watching the History Channel, "Engineering an Empire." Quite a series covering many empires. Hosted by Peter Weller, aka "Robo Cop." Interesting fellow. He took his Hollywood loot and got a degree in Art History from Syracuse University. Even taught there, for awhile. Then he went to a California Uni and got his PHD in Art History. Specializing in the Renaissance. But I degress ... :-)

I don't know what jumped Nell. Maybe a stray Tom? Must have been desperate, as she's had a bit of surgery and isn't interested in that sort of thing. :-). Most of the evening, she didn't want to go out. Finally slipped out for awhile before bed. Uneventful.

Oh, I quit like Almodovar. Subtitles don't bother me, at all. I generally kick them on for just about everything. Even the stuff that passes for English, these days :-).

What did Kessler say? It's bad :-). I guess he did his study quit awhile ago. He said he goes back and rereads it, and is surprised at how spot on he was.

Well, off to the Little Smoke. Things ought to be calmer by now. Lew

Jo said...

Hi Chris,

Yes, we are fully insulated here - walls and ceiling, which is one of the things I was looking for in a new house. I insulated under the kitchen floor which made a huge difference in the winter, but all the other floors are so low to the ground that there is no access for insulating, but the house seems to keep cool anyway.

It is mostly a very cool house, with the typically small dark rooms of an old worker's cottage. I love the fact that there are doors between every room, so we can shut off parts of the house to keep them warm/cool. Open plan is very inefficient energy-wise. We have one small electric fan which so far has been enough to keep us cool during our 32C heatwaves!

We have also had 22mm of rain over two days, constant, gentle rain which is the gardener's best friend, so no complaints here:)

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks, the garden is a real pleasure. Today a massive storm rolled through. This was the one that hit Adelaide yesterday. Far out! 85mm (3.3 inches) of rain in under an hour. Everything survived mostly well here (I’d hate to see the effect such a storm would have on your neighbours!) except for one small landslide behind the house which I'll fix up tomorrow. I'll put a link to the story and some of the photos from in and around Melbourne in the comment to Lewis. I hope your daughter in South Australia was OK as there are about 34,000 homes still without power there. The storm was the remnant of a tropical low pressure system which had formed over the Indian Ocean and worked its way across the continent in a South Easterly direction. Far out... At least the water tanks are now all full, but that much water is a real challenge.

Very astute to have noticed that. I can't really ask the lovely Rachelle who has been cutting my hair for a bit under a decade to work on the nose hairs! One has to draw a line in the sand somewhere! ;-)!

No stress, about the question, when you get a chance to ask. I will forward your response onto my mates who have two very large and happy looking sows. Pigs are very social creatures don't you think? I'll see if I can track down a photo of the puppies. Maybe.

Lucky you, not getting the effective sharks in your part of the world. Down here they seem to be moving closer into the shore as the deeper waters are fished out, I rather suspect. The waters closer to the shoreline are always more fertile than further out in the deeps.

Yeah, I only have the occasional problem with blogger and it is usually when someone else has published a comment at the same time somewhere else in the world. It is a reasonably impressive system and we can forgive the odd quirk or three?

You know I'm a lot like you in that I run my own race and set my own goals without reference to the larger social network. Of course that does mean that you and I are on the outer as a result, but I rather suspect that we are both enjoying our lives in our own way. All of your points are totally valid and I agree with all of them. I would rather enjoy dark night skies and it is not for no reason that I am happy to go for walks in the dark forest at night, because if a person lets their eyes adjust then most nights you can see reasonably well. The lights are unnecessary and I enjoy the spectacle that the stars put on for us to see. It is humbling.

To be totally honest, I was in two minds about whether I should have posted that comment from foodnstuff in the first place. I gave foodnstuff the benefit of the doubt in this instance. I'm not entirely convinced that it is polite for a person who rarely comments here, and whose blog I recommend to others, to simply post a critical comment and then disappear into the interweb. There is a term for that activity called: Drive by trolling. And I don't wish to feed the trolls. I tend to believe that the golden rule of: do unto others applies on the interweb as well as in the larger social context and as such I am usually very polite, but also very firm with people. Interweb etiquette seems very brutish to me and people would not say such things to my face. I hope this all makes sense? Basically, I'm learning the boundaries of this interweb world one strange event at a time and I would prefer to keep this blog a very nice, polite and well ordered corner.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I'll bet Cliff Mass would have enjoyed the storm that ripped through here this afternoon. 85mm (3.3 inches) of rain in under an hour! There was water everywhere, and I must say that all the talk between you and I about landslides, and my airy assurances that it was an unlikely event here... Well, I had a little landslide behind the house. Talk about the kiss of death! Hehe! I'll fix it up tomorrow and the editor and I were talking about how to prevent such a thing happening again in the future. On the positive side, I managed to run around in the pouring rain cleaning the huge quantity of organic matter that was washed around the place. I'll tell you this - I have seriously fertilised the surrounding forest from organic matter which flowed off this farm this afternoon! Most of the garden beds were pretty good and absorbed the water. It was only where the rain pooled or ran across the ground that it was a problem. This sort of rain has happened before and I reckon we handled it much better than last time. Also the water tanks are totally full so that gives me about 105,000 litres (27,740 gallons of water) and a whole summer to spend it! It is a good feeling!

Incidentally, we'd only just managed to plant the sweet basil and cucumbers in the garden beds moments before the rain dumped. It is very hot and humid here though right now. Yup, Cliff Mass would have had a great old time. Lots of thunder and lightening too.

Another possible cold snap next week. Ouch. I'm really feeling for the people up in the northern hemisphere as you are having a very traditional winter this year. Did Cliff Mass say how it compares to the long term averages?

Sydney. Pah! It is hardly representative of the diversity of the continent. They don't have huge storms - well not today anyway (they do get big storms up there): Melbourne hit by heavy storms causing transport delays, emergency call outs.

Good to hear that they still celebrate Krampus in Austria. Krampus is meant to be scary! :-)!

Fair enough about the feline nine lives business. You know, riding a motor bike is a good way to use up your nine lives! Just sayin...

Poor Nell, how did she enjoy the grooming session? Cats can be quite finicky about such matters and turn them rapidly - without warning - into a proper bite and claw session. Of course Nell is a proper lady and wouldn't try that trick? Maybe?

How much fun was Robo Cop? You have three seconds to comply. What could possibly go wrong? That is a clever use of the fame and loot. I salute him. Was it a good presentation?

Nice to read that Nell made it outside OK and things were uneventful. I accidentally locked Toothy in the wood shed today. He was sheltering from the rain in there and I kicked him out before closing the door and he snuck back in again just so he didn't get wet. After a couple of hours, I was playing the game: Where's Toothy?

Almodovar tells a good story doesn't he, and this one was his latest and it was gripping start to finish. The digital projector in the cinema packed it in a few times at the start of the film. The editor and I had good seats, so fortunately some other brave soul went out and alerted the cinema people. It was funny because the screen pixelated a sort of green gangrenous colour and just died. At least it saved us sitting through the unrelenting cinema advertisements.

Oh. That is bad. Well, it is to be expected, I guess it is just another example of us lot just not thinking things through properly.

I hope the wind has died down at your place. The humidity here is over 90% and it didn't cool below 24'C (75'F) last night. I didn't bother closing up the house today and just let the warm humid blow throw, but it feels much hotter than it is.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Great to hear about the insulation and it really makes a huge difference. Yes, the under floor insulation in your kitchen would stop the cold radiating at you from the kitchen floor. You know, you do what you can and your house sounds far better insulated than the majority of houses in this country. It has only been relatively recent that insulation was even mandatory to install in new homes and renovations!

I really like the feel of the older workers cottages as each room has a purpose and is special because of that. Although way back in the day, the more well to do had a parlour room which was used to receive guests and that seemed a bit over the top to me.

Zoning is a really good thing in a house isn't it? I saw a mud brick house a month or two ago where they were using heavy curtains to separate rooms and achieve the same zoning affect, but doors and walls work much better! Open plan is a disaster especially when it is combined with huge windows... I won't mention how hot high rise buildings get because of the huge surface area and massive use of glass.

Fans work really well. Yeah, I've got 3m and 3.6m ceilings and there are ceiling fans in every room. I tell ya what, Melbourne was 39'C yesterday. It was just hot and it was a relief to come back here, but even here the overnight low was 24'C. Far out. But the rain today was something else the photos on the ABC news site show Melbourne and not up here in the boon docks. You are lucky to have had just gentle rain. Did you get any more today?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

You gave me a most courteous and reasoned response, thanks. It is difficult to know whether or not a commentator has a kindly smile on their face or not, so I am glad that you printed Foodstuff's comment.

28F here this morning; our temperatures are behaving like yoyos.

There is already a buyer for one of the puppies. Needless to say it is one that Son had shortlisted for possibly keeping. Female and the most like her father.

Daughter seems to have escaped the worst of the weather and she was with friends over Christmas.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

Carrot Kale Kraut may well be disgusting! May father hasn't tasted any; he just sent on the recipe from a friend.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

What a bonus it is to scroll (if not stroll) through all the flower photos each time I want to reach the comments. Though every time I get to the end of this particular blog posting I see your water tank and it looks like it's about to take off a la "Independence Day". With a full tank, though!

Every morning since Christmas I have seen one or two very large trucks that say "Weather Seal Insulation Co." pass by us going to some neighbor beyond (grapevine hasn't yet said what they are doing). Envy is not allowed . . . besides, that company also does mold remediation . . .

Am getting my seed orders ready to mail. There's always something new and exciting to try!

As I was getting a jar of kombucha out of the old English wardrobe that we ferment some of it in, I thought of you and your storage cabinets for wine, etc. Yay for cabinets!

Gee - we haven't played "Where's Toothy" in a while . . .

Pam

margfh said...

Pam,
Thanks for your kind words. Family members are certainly handling this in different ways.

On another note, I have the book "The Art of Fermentation" though I only have a few food items I use with regularity; kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut and yogurt. I plan to try sour dough starter this spring.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - Oh, yeah. The more colorful the fruit and veg, the more vitamins and anti-oxidents. What's really interesting is that they've found that spiking tomatoes with a bit of olive oil REALLY kicks in the anti-oxidents. Letting garlic "rest" for 5-10 minutes, after dicing does the same thing. When I grow or buy lettuce, I usually go for the stuff that has a bit of red in it. I figure it's probably got more "punch" in the bunch :-).

@ Inge - Well, sooner or later Yahoo won't let you at your mail until you change your password. But, I discovered that when they started the song and dance about mobile devices and three questions ... well, I signed out and signed back in again, and that business never came back. The other day I got one of those bogus pop ups declaring that I had been infected with a virus. One of the one's that I knew if I clicked on it, I really WOULD get a virus. Hard shut down (just turning it off with the button) didn't make it go away. But, I finally found something in the drop down menus that closed out everything. Then I cleaned out my histories before preceding. Everything seems fine. Now, I'm really not a "computer" person. But I just remained calm and tried different things WITHOUT TOUCHING THAT BUTTON IN THE POP UP. Those caps are not yelling at you. It was what I kept reminding myself as I kept fooling around with it. The pop up looked like it had come from Apple, logo and all. But it just ... smelled bad. Won't be going anywhere near that site, again. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, with that slope you're on, sooner or later you're bound to get a bit of slippage. Still, unsettling. LOL, now you know why that paddock down below you looks so good. It's getting well fertilized water off of your place :-).

Cliff Mass has said that we're having a generally colder winter than average, so far. The arctic may be 50 degrees warmer, than usual, but that's still a lot colder than we're used to.

Nell was pretty good. Once she figured out what I was about with the stiff brush, she really seemed to quit enjoy the attention. Sitting in my lap later that night, she was ok with me working out the mud clumps that the brush didn't get. Now, she's a fairly short haired cat, so as long as I got a good hold under the clump, and then pulled she was ok. About every two weeks I have to trim up her front claws. Forget getting at the back ones. :-). I usually wait til she passes out in my lap. And, I discovered as long as I "baby talk" her, keep up a good patter, she usually lets me go about the task. Every once in awhile, I'll know that Nell is somewhere in the house, but it takes me awhile to figure out where she is ... like Toothy. And, I've got to keep an eye on her as she's likely to slip into one of the rooms I don't want her in.

Peter Weller is quit a good presenter. And, I can see where he'd be a good teacher. Approachable and enthusiastic ... with the occasional touch of humor.

A lot of the old houses here, even the small ones, had a front (formal) parlor and a back "family" parlor ... or dinning room. Usually closed off with sliding pocket doors from the front hall and back parlor. It was where you presented your best face to the world. :-). My mother mentioned that during the Depression, they lived in a house that had a little used front parlor. That's where they hid the union newspaper. :-).

Hit the antique mall, yesterday. Found a really nice print (1940s or 50s) of two blue parakeets (budgies.) That got me thinking that when I move, rather than getting a cockatiel, I might get a blue budgie, or two. They're a lot less expensive and will talk a bit if you train them up. I have to head back to town, this morning. There were a couple of things that I wanted to research a bit ... and there was something I should have jumped on. A book that was just a bit too expensive to take a flyer on. But, I should have grabbed it. Turns out it's an early bit of (whisper) bicycle material. Quit rare. First edition. So, with luck ... Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

As always, I enjoyed the photos and the stories you told that went with them! That reindeer was certainly ... well ... impressive. I haven't seen the likes of that around here. The US is a bit too puritanical for such, I'm afraid. But we score highly in over the top light displays. ;) There is one close to my mother-in-law's house which is added to every year and gets better and better. We very much enjoyed this year's version.

Christmas Day was foggy here. Nearly pea-soup foggy. We almost never get all day long fog like that unless snow cover is melting off, but this time there wasn't a bit of snow on the ground. The high was predicted to be 60F and it actually was 65F, but that didn't happen till just before midnight. During the light part of the day the temperature was in the low 40sF. The temperature started increasing around the time the sun was setting and kept on going up until about 2:30 the next morning, when it reached 68F/20C. I was kind of bummed that we had a temperature like that when I was sleeping and couldn't get outside to enjoy it. Once the temperature started dropping it kept on dropping the rest of the day, but it has stayed a little above normal since then and we have had some sun the last three days. Supposed to get quite cold again about mid next week.

The seed catalogs have been arriving and I am in the process of planning next year's garden. It helps take some of the sting out of the weather. Since most of the native plants have evolved to require exposure to cold, moist winter conditions to wash out germination inhibitors and/or break through tough seed coats, I prepared a small flat and a couple of pots of such seeds and put them under screening outside. The screening keeps small mammals and birds from eating them while they experience winter. Next spring I hope to see many small plants that will grow on to provide nectar, pollen, seeds, and beauty.

Claire

SLClaire said...

@ Margaret - my condolences to you and your family as well. Your brother was well loved, and well honored by what you wrote.

Claire

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thank you and perhaps I may have written too much annoyance into my response to foodnstuff, which I regret. The interweb is an interesting method of communication as I miss the visual and intonation cues which form so much a part of spoken words between people. And where, say for example, you and I, or Lewis, have an ongoing dialogue I can also insert your values in to your comments based on past discussions, and that can be helpful to form a clearer meaning of your words. Lewis once wrote a very astute comment about: knowing ones people; and that concept resonated with me and I sort of understand the background to that concept.

Phew, that was complex wasn't it? :-)! I have to admit that I'm not much into ostentatious displays of hair shirt asceticism and the comment smelled a bit like that to me as there are so many bigger and easier things to criticise.

28'F, Brr! Is this coincidence or not, you be the judge! It is 28'C here today, although that is 82'F. Hehe!

Ouch. Sometimes the best dogs go first. The last dog I picked up at the Lost Dogs Home, I discovered to my horror, that people were putting "holds" on the dogs there via the interweb. I couldn't believe it. That was when I picked up Scritchy as she was the last small dog with no "hold" to speak of and that was because she was an older dog. I took her anyway and she has been a good boss dog, so you just never know how the different dogs will end up.

Good to read that your daughter avoided the worst of the storm damage.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yes, the water tanks are very much like the mothership which may just take off (for a brief moment of course) before hurtling down the mountain side! Oh my goodness, the heavy rain yesterday had so much water flowing into each of those water tanks that I had to stand under an umbrella wearing only my shorts (because clothes get so wet in those rare but increasingly common tropical downpours) cleaning all of the gunk which accumulates in the stainless steel mesh filters at the top of each water tank. It was like a game of whack a mole (what a great blog title!) in that I'd clean out one filter, and whilst I was doing that, the other water tanks mesh filter blocked up. As much water entered the water tanks during that massive storm as over flowed the blocked filters. The editor was standing under the veranda - out of the rain - and shouting instructions at me and taking photos which was very amusing for her! Hehe!

That job of cleaning out the water tank filters is one that I can't really ignore because when full the two water tanks weigh in at 50,000kg (110,000 pounds) and if the water flowing into them overflowed and then undermined the clay that supports the water tanks... Already one of the water tanks is a degree or two off vertical because of the plumber. It is a long story... Lessons were learned...

That mothership in Independence Day was the exact same colour and shape too!

Out of curiosity, what is mould remediation? It sounds very nasty! Oh well. You know, if you are using energy to keep your house warm, a thought bubbles to the surface and says: "why waste it?" It will be very interesting to learn what the truck was up to? Of course, the bush telegraph knows all eventually. Far out, your winter sounds brutally cold to me. I won't mention that it was 28'C (82'F) here today. Oops! I broke my rule of not mentioning the weather! Hehe!

What new plant will you try this year? The seed catalogues are always great to receive and pour over. One of the ones I get here has full colour photographs and it is a constant temptation to try new vegetables.

It is funny that you mention cabinets, but at this stage all I can say is hold onto your hat as a proper... Oops! I must not reveal future projects. :-)! I noticed that Kombucha is now being sold in some very hip gourmet hamburger joints in the city. You of course are way ahead of the curve in such matters. Respect.

Toothy loves a good photo opportunity. He's currently staring at me from the other side of a screen mesh door. Should he be let in, that is the question!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

That is high praise for the book.

One of my mates gave me raw milk straight from their cows over the past few days and it is very tasty, but the yoghurt is really sour. Is that what you would expect?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate, you are as usual 100% spot on and yes a land slippage would occur eventually. We walked the property this morning to see what the exact culprit was and we discovered two things:
1) The culvert (which is a concrete drain installed at the interface of the road and the driveway) failed so that all of the water which I usually collect from the road ended up pouring down the driveway. We'd accidentally created a brand new creek without realising it which flowed down the driveway causing massive erosion; and
2) The thing that caused the land slippage was a tiny bit of the road embankment which was slightly lower than the surrounding area. It was almost as if a levee bank had collapsed in that one small point. Some of the water flowing along that point in the road then took a detour and channelled down that point above the house and then the land slippage occurred. The fix for this will involve three separate fixes which we have decided upon this morning.

It is really good to see systems fail because that is when you learn the most about your systems. And the systems here include the road because I capture a lot of run-off water from that massive hard surface. It seems a waste to channel it anywhere else, but that does involve a bit of risk as I discovered. I have also never seen a minor landslide here before.

Oh yeah, those plants in the paddock below the house are enjoying a very good feed. I'll tell ya what, they are full a wildflowers and some of those are really tiny and far smaller flowers and plants than I would ever have imagined.

Has Cliff Mass speculated as to why the Arctic is 50'F warmer than usual? That is a massive difference in temperature for this time of year, but I also appreciate that he is a bit cagey in his opinions because he gets shouted down when he is wrong.

Ha! Nell clearly has patience, but perhaps there are limits to her patience? Oh yeah clumps of mud are like pulling dreads out of the dogs hair. They get a bit feisty about those... Go easily and then go hard seems to do the trick! i.e. don’t start with a carding brush!

Oh that is fascinating as I've never tried trimming a cats claws before. I once trimmed one of the chickens claws but they then bled from the cut and nowadays I just let them sort out their own claw business after that one. As the character Woody once said in the show Cheers: "It was OK before the incident". Of course he never alluded to what the incident was about and that was part of the joke. The animals know any place better than you or I ever could. Scritchy has been hiding under the bed at random times over the past few days as despite being a super meaner and tougher than the junk yard dog kind of girl, however she doesn't like thunderstorms at all.

Of course, Peter Weller was a character in the Dexter show. And who could forget the cult classic: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. That one had a really catchy theme. And who would guess it that John Lithgow was also in that film and also had a starring role in the Dexter show. Yes, I can see that Peter would be an infectious teacher, and it also goes to prove that all things come back to Buckaroo Banzai. Now where is that dodgy ear worm... Oh, here is the trailer: Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Official Trailer. What, you're all bad? Nuff said really! :-)! I'll check out that series (if my disastrously low bandwidth allows it).

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

On the eve of the bandwidth resetting, I pump that baby for everything it is worth. No point letting bandwidth - which I've paid through the nose for - go to waste. The telco doesn't thank me for it or give me a break the following month or a discount on the bill.

They used parlours down here for the same thing, although I was not aware that the Union newspaper would have caused any level of scandal, but then feathers are easily ruffled and I guess the location and context of that location versus the underlying local beliefs would have been an interesting challenge. You know, I don't reckon yours - or our leaders - have any great vision which I'd happily follow. They seem a bit soft to me to be totally honest. Feathering ones bed may make for a restful nights sleep, but the dawn may provide far more fascinating challenges to than they are capable of addressing?

Ha! Those birds came from down here. What an export! It is surprising how vocal the birds are down here and they do kick up a fuss. I spotted a cockatoo trying to dive bomb the chickens two nights ago, the little rotter. I hope it doesn’t copy what I said to it? The chickens were very distressed. Budgies are quite good caged birds and they do like to be in pairs as they are very social. Whenever I've seen them flying around they are usually in big packs and they are quite clever because they always set a look out which keeps the feeding birds alert to mischief - of which there is plenty.

Don't mention the bicycles! Far out. Soon google searches may return: Fernglade farm a blog about bicycles!!! Oh no, that is as bad as mentioning UFO's. Far out did we just say UFO's!!! Hehe! Oh my, we have descended into the land of silly again. What an enjoyable place it is too.

You know, today after many days of hard work in the hot and humid conditions culminating in a huge tropical low pressure system, I took the day off today and did very little. Oh well, there was an apple muffin and that was very tasty.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I think that I lost my comment, so here goes again.

27F and fog.

Here is pig info. from Son: If the pigs are running free in woods or large acreage, it doesn't matter at all. If they are penned up, it does matter. If one pig is inseminated they have to be separated. So separate them or eat one. Both sows at once would produce a lot of piglets.

@ Lew Thanks for the yahoo info.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Mold remediation is simply cleaning up mold and mildew that has grown in or on areas of one's house, or vehicle. Sometimes the problem has gotten out of hand (wouldn't you think the smell would have alerted people?) and these companies are called in to eradicate it. More often than not, it is a basement problem, though I have heard of quite a few cases where there was a lot of mold in interior walls between the drywall (plumbing leak?). We have quite a humid climate here, too, so it can be hard for things to dry out. I go so far as to usually hang the wet bath towels outside after we have used them to try to keep the bathroom mold at bay.

Our winter has actually been unusually warm, except for the occasional 2-day well-below-freezing spell. Thus, there is still quite a lot of growth in the garden. For seeds I am considering: Yarrow (thanks to the Archdruid), skullcap (all of mine died out), hawthorn (my husband takes it for his heart), a different cabbage, broccolini (as I never get a decent head of broccoli), a new sweet pepper (I fry peppers in batter about twice a week), etc. and etc.

My, that's a big erosion issue. Good luck!

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Claire,

Thank you for your kind thoughts.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

From what I understand the sourness of yogurt depends on how long it's heated. Unfortunately I can only get ultra pasteurized milk from the store. There is one brand that isn't but it's sell by date is only a day or two later than purchase and as I'm the only one using it I'm afraid much would go to waste. I tried a new, more traditional culture and it wouldn't work with the ultra pasteurized milk unfortunately.

Kombucha is now found is many of the regular grocery stores and it is pricey!! My aunt got hooked on kombucha and I suggested that she make her own but no, it's too much trouble. It's so simple and very low cost when you do it yourself.

There is another short deer hunting season for four days and yesterday Doug got a big doe so there will be venison in the freezer this year.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, you figured out where the landslide and erosion is coming from. And have a well thought out plan to take care of the problem.

I can't remember that Cliff Mass has ventured any opinions on why the arctic temperatures are so high. I'd say ... he's so careful about speculating ... I think he's a bit careful when something might be a "one off." Well. If our forecast holds, we're going to have two weeks of day time temps not much more than -0- C and night time temps in the teens and low 20sF. Oh, Boo. I was surprised to read over at ADR (Mary?) that New England and up into eastern Canada is in drought. I'd heard about the south ... but not a word about New England.

Well, the Union newspapers were stashed, back then because Unions were hot beds of commies and socialists ... don't ya know :-). At least that was the thinking that was floated by the company owners. Nothing like floating a little disinformation to drive wedges between workers. Fellows suspected of Union activity could be black listed and have a terrible time finding work. Since you've got bandwidth to burn, check out "Centralia Massacre".

Took a look at a book on budgies that I picked up from the library. It said if you can't spend at least an hour a day with your budgie, get two. As they really are very social creatures. Of course, I want a blue one (or two?) and it stated that blue is really a mutation. Found in nature, but they don't last very long as they stand out from the flock and are easily picked off. Lew

Bukko Boomeranger said...

"I'll bet the rattlesnake bite hurt? Ouch!"

The bite itself did not hurt much. I remember it as a knock against my lower left leg, but no searing pain. Rattlers have evolved some sharp hypodermic needles for fangs, so they bang right in. Mind you, I was pretty amped up on adrenaline as it was all going down. Fact is, my lack of agony in leg was one of the reasons that the Air Force base doctors reckoned I wasn't bitten at all, or that it might have been a "dry strike" (one in which no venom was injected.) What DID hurt was the gangrene, and the surgery to whack out the dead bits, and the summer in the hospital with my leg laid wide open as nurses changed the mucky bandages twice a day, and the subsequent 40 years of living with a mangled limb that looks like something from a zombie movie. At least it's still attached. I prefer the nickname "Bucko" to "Pegleg."

Bukko Boomeranger said...

"they are quite clever because they always set a look out which keeps the feeding birds alert to mischief - of which there is plenty."

When I read that, I was put in mind of a comment made by a bloke at a record shop I stopped at in a suburb outside Washington, D.C. this week when I got a short respite from looking after my dying sister. (My mum's caregiver sat in for a few hours because after almost a fortnight of 24/7 by sis's bedside, I needed a break. I've been itching to go to the shop, which has a huge selection of used rock ' roll CDs for US $1 or less, plus it's close to a coin dealer where I buy gold dubloons, and there's a nearby coffee shop that makes espresso-based drinks. Not that they're anything close to a flat white in quality, but it's better than the crap American boiled coffee I've endured since I got here Dec. 6.)

When I mentioned I would be taking the CDs back to Oz -- I'm always talking up Australia -- he asked me if I had ever hear of the Emu War. I replied that I had not. Neither had he, except for a reference in some click-bait photo attached to a website he was reading. I mentioned the Pig War between the U.S. and Canada in the 1850s, of which he was aware. So when I got home, I Oogled "Emu War" and found out how the West Australian militia had been defeated by a mob of flightless birds. Even trucks with machine guns mounted on them could not stop the guerrilla birdvaders, in part because they had lookouts who would tell the feathered beasts to scatter when soldiers were bearing down. Onya, Sandgropers!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thank you for saying that. The world is full of stories and it is nice to share them! There is always something going on here! :-)!

Ha! Yeah, the householders would have known what they were doing with that reindeer light. It was very amusing. When I grew up there used to be a lot of humour - usually of English derivation - that had a lot of double entendre's and somehow that has filtered into the collective imagination in this part of the world.

That light show sounds fantastic and I would appreciate it too!

That is quite a warm Christmas day and that often happens here too when the winds blow in from the arid lands over the centre of the continent. It can be cool during the day and then the warm air mass blows in from the north during the night. Sometimes the change in air temperature wakes me up and so we close up the windows otherwise the house overheats. You may laugh but the low temperature last night was 65'F and I had become so accustomed to the very hot summer days here that I was feeling very cold and required two woollen blankets. It is amazing how your body adjusts to the ambient temperature during a heatwave.

I hope it cools down for you over the next few days? It was 79'F here today and we hauled soil all day long to repair the recent landslip. I'm feeling the work now.

Oh what a good idea that screening is! Nice one. I'm busily taking notes... Hey, you know a strange thing happened recently with seeds. The zucchini (courgettes) seeds readily germinated, but the cucumber seeds did not even though I'd been watering them diligently. The morning of the big storm, I'd admitted defeat and went to the local nursery to buy some seedlings which were planted that day. Then the big storm hit and the cucumber seeds all germinated. Clearly they didn't receive enough water. Each of the plants always has their own story and you have to sort of unravel it.

Your last sentence was beautiful. Thanks!

Cheers

Chris

Sackerson said...

Hi Chris

Read your comment on the The Archdruid report [http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/a-leap-in-dark.html] with interest.

I am also interested in people who have the nous to try to go off-grid. And permaculture will one day have to be standard if we can stop the likes of Monsanto and agri-land-grabbers seriously compromising our long-term survivability.

I don't suppose you'd write a self-introductory piece for Broad Oak Magazine? cf this one by Paul, who set up from nothing in the forest in North Queensland: http://theylaughedatnoah.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/australia-alternative-economics.html
I do hope you'll consider it.

Re your solar power comment on TAR:

I agree of course that you'd go for a more cost-effective energy supply and who wouldn't? This is why public policy matters, because one day the figures will change when fossil fuels get rarer, much more expensive and may also become subject to disruptions in international trade. Even JMG accepts that there is a small positive net energy [as opposed to financial] return on solar and with further technical development, economies of mass production and the very high sunlight in much of inland Australia it has to have some potential for the middle to far future. In the UK I think we're stuffed.

Hope to hear from you!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Alas blogger gets hungry every now and then, and perhaps you tempted fate by suggesting that you have not had any problems with the system recently? :-)!

Out of curiosity, how does your house cope with such cold and wet conditions? The winters here are very humid as well and I do have to regularly clean the mould off the windows, although being aluminium they don't rust. Timber windows can do it hard in such conditions and the paint has to be maintained.

Thanks for asking your son the question about the pigs and I will forward your response onto my friend. I guess they will have to process one of their pigs, and they had already picked which one it will be. Such is life on a farm!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks for the information about the mould remediation. Fixing a basement would be a nightmare of a problem. We're considering building into the side of the hill to keep some items cool by using the low average temperature of the soil, and moisture has been a consideration of that project. I'm thinking about perhaps a pond liner between the soil and the construction, but don't really know. We'll give it a bash and see what happens! Humid climates can be very challenging from all sorts of perspectives, can't they? This summer here has been crazy humid and even cool days like today (79'F) feel out of control hot.

Ah, I grow yarrow here (white and also the red flowers) and they are prolific self seeding plants. Out of curiosity, why did the Archdruid mention that plant? Actually hawthorn is very good at regulating heart rate - or so I understand. It is a very hardy shrub too and lots of thorns! Ouch! Yeah, broccoli is just hard. Do you get cabbage moths? Sweet pepper! YUM!

We spent about 6 hours today digging and moving the disaster and now I am tired... The photos should be good though. Would you believe that it is outside the window, so there are all these beautiful flowers, except what I look onto now is a wall of clay... What's going on? ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Ah, thanks for the explanation re the sourness. The culture was slow to set in the raw milk and so we put the yoghurt in for a double warming session. We have an electric heat pad type arrangement for making yoghurt at this time of year when the heater is not run. It is very good usually. Of course ultra pasteurised milk is perhaps not the best to make yoghurt from, but still you are innoculating the milk with bacteria which perhaps would be consuming the sugars in the milk? Sorry, I don't really know much about this process, but once I get the book - which seems very good - I can be of more use to you.

Ha! Why buy something that you can easily make? We could discuss this matter for hours! :-)!

Well done to Doug and may you enjoy your venison. I totally approve.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

You know my thinking on the matter of the landslide is that if it has happened once, it will happen again unless the core problem is corrected. Someone down here described the recent weather by using the term "hectic". That seems to be something of a well used term nowadays, but do you believe that it is grammatically correct to describe weather as "hectic". It seems like a big call to me.

How are you celebrating your New Years Eve? I'm not doing much at all tonight. We dug and hauled soil for about six hours today to correct the landslide - and still didn't finish - and mate, I'm done in. When I was much younger, I had mates that could pull a well sorted party, but as the years went on their ability to do so diminished until they finally gave up altogether. Did that story happen to you?

That is interesting about the drought on the eastern seaboard and I'll check out the comments – I suspect the ocean currents are a problem there. The climate is changing, no doubts about it. Some cheeky wag said that the recent storm down this way was a once in a lifetime storm, but I can recall at least five similar storms in the most recent decade or so. The incidence of these storms seems to be increasing, when we are not having a drought year... Cliff Mass is a pretty careful guy to not get caught up in the moment with such opinions. Unfortunately, I sometimes get carried away - like the landslide - when a big storm hits...

Oh Boo, sounds about spot on to me. Hehe! Far out your winter is cold this year. I don't recall our conversations from a year ago mentioning such cold weather. I wasn't aware that the south was still in drought? That does seem to happen with an alarming regularity in that corner of the world. Hope they have plenty of water for the large population? They're probably a lot like here in that it is a boom and bust environment.

Well, that makes sense about the Union newspapers. We just didn't have the whole commie and socialist fear thing down here. When I was a kid, the cold war was still in play and I recall all the fear about nuclear warfare, but honestly all we worried about was the more practical sides of that debate in that the question hung over us as to whether we were going to get the crap bombed out of us? The ideology didn't really make much of a dent from my memory and the unions were aligned to one of the major political parties and so they were very - out there in the public - sort of organisations. You know, I walk around Melbourne and spot Marxist convention posters - as if that will make any difference, but points to them for banging on, I guess...

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Mate, the things that are going on nowadays down here disgust me. In order to keep the dividends, share prices, and senior executive salaries on a stratospheric level there have been a lot of documented cases of employee underpayment in major corporations (usually sub contractors and franchisees get blamed, which I suspect is a case of plausible deniability?). I ask you where are the unions? And people in my profession have been thrown under the bus because kitchen tabling (i.e. long free work hours) appears to be rife in this profession as well as others. When I get tired digging and hauling soil, remembering all this stuff tends to provide me just the kick to keep on going. Do you reckon people are as oblivious over your way, or is it just here? It all seems very weird to me. Mind you, I don't believe that anyone in the political or business sphere has a good grasp of the seriousness of the problems in relation to resource depletion. They seem oblivious to it, which is also good incentive to keep working hard! :-)!

Thanks for the reminder and I will try and check that reference out tonight. I'd like to say I'm joking about this, but the old wireless computer network adapter which I use - and was eight years old - died last night. I was kicking the computer... Have you ever wondered whether all these little devices have countdown to uselessness timers in them?

Two budgies are really better than a lone budgie because they do live in the wild in packs and are very social birds - as most bird species are down here. I didn't know that the blue budgies are a mutation. Interesting. In the wild they are usually green. My experience with them has been that they are very hardy - even the blue ones.

Bye, bye 2016! Hey, do you ever feel the pressure of passing time? I feel it passing, but most people seem to be able to ignore that and I have often wondered how they did that trick.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Bukko,

Mate, what an awful thing to happen. You know, if it means anything to you, I have never noticed that you walk with a limp, but that surgery and recovery ordeal sounds brutal. You know the same thing can happen here with a snake bite in that the snake may not choose not to inject venom (it obviously takes a lot of effort to produce) and sometimes heavy clothing can deflect the venom. You know, their fangs can actually have a huge amount of diverse bacteria on them and spider bites pose a similar risk too.

Definitely, I prefer Bucko to Pegleg! I hear you!

Does your sister have consciousness? I hope so and that you two have been able to talk. Hope you picked up some good CDs to bring back and also it goes without saying that you have been spoiled rotten for coffee down here and I am feeling your pain! ;-)!

Yeah, the emu war makes a lot of sense as there was huge and prolonged drought going on at that time. If you get the chance check out some of the footage of the rabbits at that time, it is feral. And so much of the country is east Gippsland was opened to the returned soldier settlers and much of it was abandoned at a later time. Oh yeah, we live in a boom and bust environment and there was a good reason I chose land up here.

Cheers

Chris

Bukko Boomeranger said...

"Does your sister have consciousness? I hope so and that you two have been able to talk. "

Yes she does, although it's starting to fade after more than three weeks without much nutrition, aside from occasional spoon-tips of cottage cheese and sips of old-people nutritional drinks. She's got no appetite due to the debility. Since her intestines are leaking like a sieve through the perforations caused by torn scar tissue from past cancer surgeries, it all leaks into her abdominal cavity anyway. She's got an open incision on her abdomen, because the surgeons had not sewn her up when she decided "Enough of this! Stop flogging me with the futile medical treatment." (Not like she was giving orders in the middle of surgery; the scalpel jockeys deliberately left things unfinished after the two most recent goes with the hope of completing the job when they found all the leaks. My sister, who had a clear "NO EXTREME MEASURES" statement in her medical directives, was able to signal that with her hands between trips to the theatre, even though she couldn't talk because there was a breathing tube down her throat.)

It's a grotesque way to go, though, because a vacuum wound suction device is constantly draining this foul-smelling greenish-brown liquid out of her guts. I have worked comfort care/hospice cases multiple times in my career, but this is the most ghastly, protracted death of a lucid, conversant person that I have encountered.

We've had a lot of chats about our childhood, philosophy on life, the paths our existences have taken us through... Summing-up kinda stuff, which is what you do with a dying person, to help them put things into perspective. She's also been good at giving directives about how to find homes for her horses, the donkey, her six cats (one of 'em lives in the barn), the chickens, goose and turkey (whichever ones the foxes have not gotten yet.) As she lays on her deathbed, she's telling me how to work her bank accounts so the mortgage and property taxes get paid, discussing the history of bits of heirloom jewellery with my daughter chatting to visiting friends... She dictated a list of "Things my mother did right for us when we were children" which I transcribed onto a Christmas card for my mum. Always thoughtful, my sis. Mom has turned into a doddering, crusty, Fox Nooz-watching troll now, though, so we don't feel good about the twisted soul she has turned herself into.

Like me, my sister is ultra-rational, unemotional. She doesn't express fear of death, mostly apologies for being so weak and regrets about things she still wanted to do in life. She did plenty, though, working as a veterinarian all her career, travelling around North America and other parts the world in her role as a horse import/quarantine official with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She made it to Australia before I did, as a vet with the equestrian team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and also went to Brazil to set up quarantine procedures prior to 2016's Olympics. Then the cancer returned...

It's surreal, spending literally weeks discussing Kubler-Ross stages of grief and other aspects of impending doom with someone, especially a family member. At least it's in a pleasant setting, new house my sister had custom-built in 2009 after a tree fell and crushed the roof of her old house. She's been on these 17 acres in horsey country for the better part of 20 years now. Her hospital bed is set up facing out a window in her two-storey-high great room (one of those huge open spaces that's hideous for energy inefficiency). She can see across the paddock to where the hay-burners graze, but she's lost her enthusiasm for that. Hard to gaze at freedom when she knows she'll never move from the horizontal position...

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Bukko:

Thanks so much for the 2 articles; both were great reads. I had not heard of either. The photos in "The Emu War" were great, especially the close up of the enemy. It makes one think of how the sentry is chosen? Perhaps he chooses himself? Just think of all that meat!

In the Pig War I do remember Captain Pickett - eventually a general in the Civil War. Tourists on excursion boats! And officers from both sides attending church together - during the conflict! Interesting that Kaiser Wilhelm was brought in to mediate. A very strange war.

Best of luck to you in caring for your sister. A very hard thing, and it sounds like your mother is unwell, too. So kind of you to be there for them.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I believe the Archdruid mentioned yarrow as being good for a lot of general ills, but particularly colds and viruses. I have also read that it is a great wound healer.

Boy, do we get cabbage moths!

I am not laughing at your two woolen blankets. We are having the same kind of whiplash weather, in reverse.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

A happy 2017 to All!

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

For once I don't think that it was blogger's fault, I made a mistake.

Remember that I previously mentioned my concern over potential landslip on your land. I gather that the road is above you? For some reason I had assumed that you had to climb up from it. I don't think that above you is good.

I don't get mould in the house, probably because my aged bones require warmth throughout. There is one corner of old mould caused by a slow drip from the washing machine pipe. I was unaware of it until the mould appeared. It is virtually impossible to get at but bleach was poked (with a stick) all over it and there has been no increase since the pipe was repaired.

I do get algae and moss all around on outside woodwork, Particularly the windows which are in dire need of painting.

It has warmed up today thank goodness.

A Happy New Year to everybody.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I should have said 'lichen' not 'algae'.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I don't know if "hectic" is good grammar, in relationship to weather. But like "feral" I think it applies and doesn't sound out of place. :-). Well, I knew there was an ongoing drought in the SW, into California. The drought in the SE was news to me, until the fires last month. New England into Canada? Also news to me. It's about noon here, and it's snowing, by the way.

Well, up until about 28 years ago, my New Years would be spent in a bar, somewhere. My closest flirtation with alcohol poisoning was a New Years Eve/Day. Would rather not repeat that experience. :-). These days, it's a quiet evening at home, with a few good DVDs. And I always feel like I should really eat something naughty. Speaking of DVDs, I see the library is getting an Australian film called "The Dressmaker." I'm on the hold list. Also, you've been talking quit a bit about "Overshoot" so I finally checked the library. They don't have "Overshoot" ... but then I thought to do an author search, and they do have "Bottleneck" which the catalog describes as a sequel. One copy, sitting on a shelf somewhere out in the hinterlands. With luck, it will be waiting for me when I go to town on Wednesday .... weather permitting :-). Oh, and I heard on the radio, yesterday that the Nova Series (PBS) is going to have a documentary on batteries, Feb. 1st.

My aren't we getting philosophical, today. You and me, both. :-). Must be the New Year ... something. As far as business and employment go, unless it's right in a person's face, or affecting them directly, they're not much interested ... or, perhaps I should say that with everything going on in the world, people are distracted. And that applies to a lot of topics.

For me ... in my experience ... (I'm sure there's some other disclaimers I could throw in here :-), well, I used to read or watch a lot of DVDs that I finally started classifying in my head as "Oh, ain't it awful!" Things I'd get really wound up about ... but couldn't do a damned thing about. The inequality and cruelty in the world sometimes leaves me gasping. But I can only effect (sometimes) the people directly around me ... or things I can lay my hands on. I can vote on a paper ballot or vote with my (meager) pocket book. And that's about it. So, while I try and stay informed, I also try and steer clear a bit from the "Ain't it awful" books and DVDs. Not always with success. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Hmm. Passing of time. Aging? Well, yeah. But, like losing my hair, pretty early on, there's not a heck of a lot I can do about it, so, why get wound up? Of course, I realize that I'm really lucky that I seem to have inherited good genes. And, I'm careful (but not perfect) about what I eat. And, staying flexible and physically active. Not bad for a guy pushing 68. :-). I may be going to a men's retreat, the first week-end in October. A 12 Step Thing. Haven't done such, before. I'm libel to be the oldest old bird, there. I intend to keep my mouth shut, take it all in and volunteer for kitchen grunt duty. I'm just glad I'm physically (at least now) up to contemplating doing that.

Another thing I've been thinking about is the kerfuffle over at ADR (madmagic casting aspersions on Mr. Greer's writing style) and (foodstuff?) here. What a couple of clinkers. Are these people tone deaf? (And I fully expected to be attacked by the Tone Deaf Liberation Front, for my lack of sensitivity. Don't care. Shrug.) But I do understand the impulse. But I (mostly) manage to tamp it down. As do most people. Mostly :-).

Since everyone seems to be throwing around predictions for the New Year, my prediction is that the Food Police, Writing and Grammar Police and Spandex Bicycle People will form what appears to be a strong and unstoppable coalition. They'll fall apart and become ineffectual in short order, as everyone else just finds them tedious and very boring.

Picked up a couple of books on all things parakeet. Yes, two parakeet are recommended unless you can spend at least an hour a day interacting with a single parakeet. If you have two, they may be so enamored with each other that the ... owner? becomes a third wheel. At first that seemed rather daunting, but when I think about it, I probably spend well over an hour a day interacting with Beau and Nell. And, in a small apartment. What I found interesting is that the males are a bit more chatty than the females. And, that in the parrot/parakeet world, parakeets are the champs for picking up words and tunes. Sometimes in the hundreds! There are more than 70 colors ... "and new colors and patterns are being developed every year."

Still snowing. Not sticking ... except to the bushes and trees. Quit pretty. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Bukko,

Yes, the medical system can be very strange by pursuing procedures well beyond their usefulness. I am aware of a story of a 94 year old with dementia and the carers were offered chemo as an option for treating that person’s leukaemia. It was a frankly surreal story. Then again you have to be very careful what relatives are administering your care and what their values are.

That does sound like a ghastly scenario and total respect to you for being there.

Makes sense. Your sister sounds as if she is a very organised and neat person to tidy up all the loose ends in her life. It is very thoughtful of her. I have seen people leave disasters behind them after they die and I had wondered about that, but did not judge them for doing so. I hope your sister is not in too much pain?

You can't pick how people will turn out can you? Faux news may have that effect on people and to be honest my oldest sister is a very bitter lady and I have to admit that I'm happy when she is elsewhere.

Your sister lived a full life. You know veterinarian's do it tougher than doctors because they have to be everything to everyone and so are required to have a more holistic approach to care.

An old timer forest worker once told me never to allow a tree within dropping distance of a house, because sooner or later... It was fortunate that your sister was not in the house at the time because it gave her an extra seven years - people get killed down here by falling trees quite regularly. I hope the horses, six cats, the chickens, goose and turkey all find good homes.

With sympathies,

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks for the information regarding the yarrow. I'll try and include a photo of them massed and in flower for tomorrow night’s blog.

I hear you about the cabbage moths and they are one reason I do not grow Brassica species over the summer. There is a parasitic wasp here that lays eggs inside the cabbage moth larvae (it is brutal like the Alien film), but they are not well enough established to make much difference.

Hehe! Woollen blankets are nice on cold nights, but I have become accustomed to much hotter weather and am now a bit soft when the weather turns cold (i.e. 18’C / 64’F brrr.)! Today was much cooler so we were able to remove the remainder of the landslide and replant the cutting. It looks quite good, although I am quite tired. Two days of hard work to fix that mess and apparently another tropical low pressure system is forming to the north west of the continent. We are going to implement some emergency measures over the next week.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Fair enough, you're in good company with that mistake business! Hehe! They’re a great way to learn – as long as you survive the mistake.

Yes, yes, I do recall you mentioning the landslip risk, and I also recall my rather airy dismissal of the risk that you wisely mentioned. :-)! Well, you were, and are correct, and I was totally incorrect, and it did happen. Respect! The volume of water that I dealt with that afternoon was just feral. I'll write about it tomorrow and include some photos. In the meantime, it takes me a day or two to absorb new information into my worldview. I have to hurry up about that though because there are reports that another tropical low equal to that monster is now forming over the Indian Ocean. I do try to bend with the winds, but sometimes the winds blow strongly.

Glad that you had the washing machine fixed as that would perhaps provide mineral rich water to a mould colony. Lichens grow here too. They are fascinating life forms and some moss here grows on rocks too with nothing to eat other than the minerals on the rock, rainfall, and the occasional chunk of organic matter. They're tough as!

Oh, painting windows and their frames is a good summer job - as long as summer is not too humid or wet...

It has cooled down here, so now we know where all the heat went! ;-)!

A happy new year to you too!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Finally finished the clean-up of the landslip today. I totally acknowledge that both yourself and Inge mentioned the risks, which I airily dismissed, but then it happened... I have no idea how you would clean up after a larger landslip that this tiny thing. It has taken about eight hours of moving soil by hand of the past day or so. The area was even replanted today with rescued plants and a new layer of compost. The thing is though, I saw this news report: Formation of a tropical low over the Top End into Monday; and am now considering having to implement the changes to adapt to that sort of weather and prevent further landslips.

Ha! Mate, you nailed that one. Of course "hectic" and "feral" are in the same grammatical boat. You are sharp! Language is a lovely tool and can change with usage. I've noticed another "in" word: "bunch" - as in: "that was a good bunch of songs".

Snowing! Wow, well I may just mention that it was cloudy and 64'F here today and that was a good day for lots of hard work. The sun by mid to late afternoon is usually unrelentingly hot and the clouds do wonders for moderating the heat on a work day.

Ouch, yeah, alcohol poisoning is not a pleasant experience and nobody wants their stomach pumped full of charcoal. I would prefer that you did not repeat that experience either, and I must add that I'm rather pleased that you did not because we can enjoy these lovely chats! As a youngster I used to drink quite a lot to cope with the stress I guess and also probably in order to feel more social than I was. But coming down like a dirty mongrel the day after was just not worth it, and I decided to learn to be more social instead and limit the volume of alcohol. It seems to work OK, but that is not for everyone.

Ha! That is a funny film with the actor Kate Winslet who is absolutely stunning and also a great actor. You should enjoy the film, although it is a bit silly at times, but the ending was good. It is a gothic tale.

Oh no, there is a sequel to the book "Overshoot"? I do need a little bit of time to recover from the shock of reading that first book, although I am re-reading it to ensure that I didn't miss anything. The author pulls no punches and the book is not for the faint of heart. I am reasonably certain that some peoples response to that book would be to fall into a funk. I don't do that, but it does take a little bit of time to absorb information like that into my worldview. It hasn't changed my path one iota, although it provides a solid confirmation of the realities which I’d only previously guessed at.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Batteries are an interesting thing to learn about, because they are such an old technology. The beliefs that people pile onto battery technology seem just weird to me. When I was a young adult and the manufacturing industries were being shut down and off shored, a lot of nickel iron batteries in beautiful glass cases were sold off on the cheap. If only... They really are amazing looking batteries with a life span longer than you or I. I'll be interested to read what you learn in that series?

Oh yeah, it is the New Year alright causing all this descent from the delightful world of silly into the darker and heavier realms of the philosophical. Exactly, distraction is a big part of it, but also there is a strong belief that consequences are for other people. Both the editor and I were very young and made redundant in the recession of the early 90's so we know what it means to be redundant. And that word means far more than just the employment meaning. We get it.

We can both chuck in those disclaimers!!! Hehe! Fair enough too. I hear you. I like being informed but keeping my reliance at a good distant arms-length. Most people feel very differently and so they buy in deeper, although to be fair the sales pitch is very good.

Thanks and that makes perfect sense. We're both very lucky to be able to have this conversation, really, aren’t we? I see a lot of unhappiness in people trying to eat to perfection. Oh yeah it ain't good. Michael Pollan summed up food nicely in that respect and he seems to be a good realist / pragmatist.

A men's retreat for the 12 step program sounds pretty cool. Don't take beers! Just kidding! :-)! Your experience is valuable in such a situation. It will be interesting to hear about that retreat. We went to a neighbours afternoon tea a few months back only to find that we were the old timers... The real old timers didn't go for some reason which I don't quite know why?

That just left me with a Monty Python style joke: We are the Tone Deaf Liberation Front Crack Suicide Squad!!! Who doesn't love the Life of Brian film? Honestly, madmagic was and is a numpty (which is NZ slang for a stupid person). Why would someone turn up to a well written blog like the ADR and suggest grammatical improvements so as to - from my perspective - constrain and dumb down the ideas and message of the weekly essay? Honestly, I would have felt rancid if that trick was attempted to be posted here. And no stress, those crazies aren't commenting here and I make a policy of that! Say what you want about them as they can't defend themselves here. Honestly, if the defense was well reasoned and allowed for dissensus, I'd probably give them air time – but I’m pretty certain they are not up for that! Madmagic just said in the comment at its most basic of fundamentals: Your mode of communication is inappropriate. It is a flat out insult. And that is just impolite. As they used to say, It's just not cricket! Cricket is a gentleman’s game, you see.

No! You mentioned bicycles again. You are being very naughty!!! Hehe! Oh yeah, all of that lot are coming to get us for sure!!! :-)! Thanks for the laugh, that is hysterical and they are very boring and tedious in the tirades.

Watch what you say around those parakeets. There is a good reason that I don’t wish for parakeets around here! A lot of the birds in this forest are very switched on. Fortunately there are no: Lyrebirds here as they don't need even need to be encouraged to learn the human language.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Sackerson,

Welcome to the discussion.

Thanks, but the question remains: What is in it for me to write for Broad Oak Magazine?

I already write here at this blog and also comment over at the ADR and also I write articles here and there all about the place.

Permaculture is a good starting point, but it is definitely not an end point.

Public policy matters a bit, but few people want to pay for renewable energy sources because it is both intermittent and more expensive than say, electricity sourced from coal fired power stations. The give away for me is that people always talk about their solar PV power systems in terms of the economic pay back period. I'd be much more comfortable if they said they wanted to install a solar PV system because they didn't want their own kids to hate their guts as those kids grow into adults and suffer from the effects of global warming as it gets steadily worse. I don't see a lot of that, and that is a shame.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@ Bukko

Your sister is an amazing woman, I am full of admiration. A friend of mine who is a hospice nurse, says that there are few good cancer deaths. We tend to live in a world where we are overly protected. I wish you and your sister the best that is possible according to her wishes.

Inge

Sackerson said...

Hi Chris

Fair enough about the writing, I shall follow you anyway.

I understood permaculture to be more efficient - higher yields from interplanting and all that, plus supportive of a healthier, species-diverse environment.

I don't see solar etc as about lentil-knitting, just as something to pave the way forward when for one reason or another fossil fuels are done. Goodness knows what the consequences of an energy crunch will be for the developed world's population.

Best wishes

Sackerson

Bukko Boomeranger said...

Thanks for the good wishes to my sister, Pam and Inge. The biggest tragedy is that her time on Earth was cut short of what it should have been. Ellen has not expressed sadness so much about dying, but it happening too soon (age 56). She did everything right -- hard-worker at a high-paying career, stable lifestyle, non-smoker, healthy eater, no alcohol or drug abuse -- but was still cut down. There's no fairness in life.

Because Chris's blog is about an off-the-electric-grid home, I'll share my theory about why this sad fate befell my sister. The grid. She's owned this 17 acres of rolling woodland and paddock ("pasture" to Americans) for almost 20 years. Built a brand new house on it after a huge tree fell and crushed the roof of the original place. At one corner of the property is part of the "grid superhighway" that helps light up Washington, D.C., which is not far away. There are twin electric transmission lines at one corner of the property, the kind that are on tall metal towers. When you walk outside, you can hear buzzing like bees, or popping like rain on leaves when it's humid. That's the sound of power. High-voltage lines are not insulated, because that would make them overheat. So electromagnetic energy fields radiate off these things. They're maybe 50 metres from my sister's house. Her bedroom is on the second floor, putting her even closer to the lines. I reckon it's like living in front of a microwave oven that's running with the door open. And Ellen's been doing that for decades. I'm not one to subscribe to a lot of health scare theories such as brain cancer being caused by mobile phones. But it only stands to reason that proximity to that leaky power is what caused the disease that's killing her.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - And, so it begins. Snowed on and off til about 7pm ... about an inch accumulation. Must have snowed a bit more overnight, as there was 3" this morning. And, it isn't going anywhere real soon :-). Supposed to get down to 22F (-5.55C) tonight, and then quit a few nights in the mid teens. Daytime highs, right around freezing, 32F (-0-C). "Too cold to snow" so we probably won't get any more of that, til we shift back to warmer weather in a week ... or two. Cliff Mass, the weather guy says this is / will be the coldest period since December 2008. Hmmm. What was I doing then? Can't remember.

Another Australian film (at least it's from an Australian novel) "Light Between Oceans" popped up in the library catalog. Hold placed. Speaking of "funny" names for wars, there was The War of Jenkin's Ear. And, up in this part of the world, we had The Pig War (1859). Had to add the date. Apparently, there were several pig wars, at different times, in different parts of the world. Have to keep our pigs, straight :-). Part of my New Year's viewing was finishing up a series called "World War II: The Price of Empire." A good series that pretty much kept everything straight, in time. Lots of bouncing back and forth between Europe and the Pacific theatre. Lots of maps, but apparently, someone became enamored with a bit of computer software that whirled the maps around, so a good bit of the time you were approaching a bit of real estate from the north, and trying to read place names, upside down. And, all that whirling about gave me a bit of a touchy stomach. But, a good series, none the less. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. And, from the computer front, ransomeware is now not only taking over computers and phones, but also TVs! And, since we're in the tech part of our program, something was nagging at the back of my mind about batteries. Some ancient Middle Eastern bit of tat that was speculated to be a battery to electroplate gold on silver. Well, boo. It's been decided that they were simply storage jars for "sacred" texts. Glass battery jars turn up every once in awhile in the tat business. I'm sure someone, somewhere out there, has a huge collection. Is writing a book and setting values. The book will either have bad pictures and a great index, or, a bad index and great pictures. Can't seem to have both. Ah! There are 213 glass battery jars on E-Bay. I suppose you could fill them with beans, or marbles ... or something.

I saw your bit on ADR on what are, more or less, trolls. "...old fashioned...uncomfortable writing something like that..just not polite." That got me thinking that it's really kind of related to hospitality. Which I think is really a reciprocal kind of thing. The host has some responsibilities, but so does the guest. "My house (or blog) my rules." And, those should be respected. Otherwise, as Mr. Greer sometimes suggests, shuffle off somewhere else :-).

I figure Michael Pollan is due to come out with something else. it's been awhile. I keep watching the library catalog. Having birds around that would pick up every expletive deleted any time you turn the eucalyptus forest blue (with good cause) would be ... a hazard. Teaching birds something clever is one thing ... naughty might not fly if the vicar comes to visit :-). Same with little kids. They're likely to repeat anything. Lew

PS: "Bunch" and "bunches" seems to have been in common usage, here in the States, for as long as I can remember. Seems to have replaced all those wonderful old language quirks to describe groups. Pods of whales, murders of crows, gaggle of geese, etc..

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Bukko - I did a bit of hospice work, in the past. Mostly respite ... sometimes more hands on and extended. Nothing as harrowing as your situation. Looking back, I learned a lot. And, in hindsight, there were moments that skated on the edge of the magical and metaphysical. You will be in my thoughts. Lew