Monday, 19 December 2016

Magical Christmas Unicorns

This blog is now available as an mp3 podcast through the link: www.ferngladefarm.com.au
 
Magical Christmas Unicorns really do exist! Seriously, I met one last Thursday evening. It was a real pleasure to meet a real live Magical Christmas Unicorn, but unfortunately for me the pleasure was short lived. You see the editor also met the (actually I should have written: my) Magical Christmas Unicorn and in a gallant display of gentlemanliness I introduced the Magical Christmas Unicorn to the editor, and that was that because my Magical Christmas Unicorn was then gone. Alas for me!

The local pub up here in the mountain range is a delightful business establishment. The quality of the food is good and the pub serves locally sourced beers, ciders, and wines. What more could you ask for? About once per fortnight the editor and I will visit that pub and enjoy an excellent meal and sample a random local brew. It is always a mystery to me as to what locally brewed beers will be on tap and the editor prefers the local apple ciders. The pub has a lovely atmosphere and occasionally we even say hello to some of the other locals who we are acquainted with.

The building of the pub looks to me as if it was constructed in the 1930’s and indeed, consulting my local history books, I note that the original timber building was the “Oriental Hotel” which was destroyed by a kitchen fire in 1931. The clinker brick building that I see today which is known as the “Mountain Inn” was built on the ashes of that much older Oriental Hotel. The interior is very charming with furniture and finishes dating from that Depression era and there are even pressed metal ceilings. Best of all it doesn’t have multiple huge television screens on every wall glaring down on us and interrupting the natural flow of the conversation between the editor and myself. And that conversation covers a lot of ground including: Magical Christmas Unicorns!

During the course of the previous Thursday night at the pub, the editor casually observed that in recent times we had moved to visiting the pub on weeknights rather than weekends. This was a fascinating observation which was the result of the much larger crowds at the pub on the weekends and our dislike of the busier atmosphere. Both the editor and I are accountants and of course we realise that crowds make for profitable weekends, however, regular locals keep food and drink establishments operating and covering their costs during the long cold winters.

I blame the Magical Christmas Unicorns because we really didn’t think about that issue any further. And so, without further ado, I introduce you – the readers – to the Magical Christmas Unicorn:
Magical Christmas Unicorns as they appeared to me at the local pub Thursday night
Honestly, adding vanilla to pale ale to produce a Magical Christmas Unicorn is pure genius. The beer tastes like creamy soda! And the demented deer/unicorn with a curiously dripping ice cream on its head only adds to the intrigue and mystery of the brew. The other day out of sheerest curiosity I went to the brewer’s website and witnessed sad tales of lament from many sad – and fortunately not local people – about the lack of supply of this magical ale. Alas for me, I understood their sad tales all too well because I had to witness the editor consume this most delightful of beverages whilst I was handed her local apple cider. It was a good apple cider and a gentlemanly swap, but it wasn’t a Magical Christmas Unicorn was it?

Later as the cider / unicornless haze lifted, I recalled that I had recently received a flyer in my local Post Office box calling for local attendance at a meeting to discuss how to deal with the massive influx of tourists who descend upon the mountain range each weekend in autumn to see for themselves the magic of the colours of the leaf change. Leaf change is when the deciduous trees turn from green to their autumn reds, yellows and oranges. The organisers of that meeting must have had some political clout because a representative from the local council, the police, and even the states roads body were to be present.

The leaf change is a spectacular thing to see, however I don’t travel to that more fashionable end of the mountain range during those weekends because it is feral busy. So many people in clean city vehicles driving up the main road in that more fashionable part of the mountain range, causing grid lock. There are so few parking spaces that I have seen more than a few vehicles which have attempted to park next to the very large drains along the sides of the roads, and have unfortunately driven / fallen into them. Alright I confess to a small amount of Schadenfreude whenever I see that unfortunate turn of events, and to be totally honest I do wonder how those stricken vehicles were eventually extracted from the rather deep drains! It is an impressive recovery feat, I mean it’s not like recovering articles from the Titanic sitting at the bottom of the ocean depths, but still, those stricken vehicles were on some remarkable and intriguing angles!

I wonder if it has occurred to the people who organised that community meeting that what they were seeing with all of the leaf change tourists was Population Pressure in this usually very quiet and very unpopulated mountain range. Population Pressure is defined as “the frequency of mutual interference per capita per day resulting from the presence of others in a finite habitat”.  That is a fancy way of asking the hard question as to how many people annoyed you today? And clearly in a small mountain range, an unusually huge quantity of people, who are not very skilled at driving and parking in the country, are annoying the local residents. And I wondered to myself just how many people have annoyed you – the reader – today?

Anyway, the next day as the haze from the Magical Christmas Cider (hey dude where's my unicorn) lifted, I had the opportunity to sweat some (a tiny little bit anyway!) of that delightful drink out of my body. We began excavating the soil behind the wood shed. That area had never been completed and the cutting into the side of the hill is very steep so we have chosen to implement an engineering solution: Rock Gabions (see below). Here is what the cutting into the hill looked like before excavation:
The cutting into the hill behind the wood shed before this week’s excavations
We must be getting soft in our old age as we only managed to excavate and shift soil by hand for about 5 hours that day, but eventually the first stage of that excavation was eventually completed:
The first stage of excavations into the side of the hill by hand were soon completed
In the process of those excavations we removed a huge rock, which we were able to (barely) roll out of the way. Observant readers will see that in the next photo below all of the excavated soil has been used to construct a ramp leading down off this terrace and into the orchard.
In the process of those excavations we removed and moved a huge rock
Later that day – after a good lunch of course – the construction of the steel Rock Gabion cage was commenced. A Rock Gabion cage is basically a square steel wire cage which is used to hold rocks. As the wire cage is square and contains rocks, it becomes enormously strong.
Later that day the construction of the steel Rock Gabion was commenced
Once the Rock Gabion was completed, it was then placed next to the excavated area and it now only requires to be filled with rocks. Unfortunately, we have long since passed peak rocks and so will have to travel a bit further afield to collect enough rocks to fill that wire cage. And don’t fear, another Rock Gabion will be placed on top of this Rock Gabion once it is completely filled with rocks.
The completed Rock Gabion was placed into the newly excavated area and now only awaits being filled with rocks
For many years I have seen street art on a wall in Melbourne that looks uncannily like Poopy the Pomeranian (who every clever person knows is truly a Swedish Lapphund). Well last week I took a photo of the street art before it was accidentally painted over:
Is this street art Poopy the Pomeranian?
Poopy the Pomeranian has made a huge strike for the Resistance this week as he continued the ongoing canine Bone Wars (TM) by bringing back a dead kangaroo paw to chew on.
Poopy the Pomeranian in a remarkable bit of scavenging sources his own bones to chew on
It is still early days in the berry season here, but the strawberries which are planted in – less than fluffy optimal conditions – are producing larger quantities of sun ripened berries this week.
The strawberries are producing good quantities of fruit in the stronger sunshine this week
Other berries are starting to become ripe this week and I noticed that the red currants looked delicious on the shrubs today. Most of the black and red currants here get converted into wine – and it is an excellent tasting wine.
I noticed that the red currants had just started to become ripe today
The potatoes are going feral and are just about to start producing flowers. As a potato plant produces flowers, you know that they are beginning to produce yummy tubers in the soil. As a general rule, the potato tubers are ready to dig up at the end of the season, two weeks after the plant has turned yellow and died.
The potato plants are just about to produce their first flowers which is a sign they are beginning to produce tubers in the ground
I spotted the first unripe raspberry a couple of days ago. I have never before successfully grown raspberries so I’ll be really interested to see what the fruit tastes like.
I spotted the first unripe raspberry a couple of days ago
The blackberries are also producing huge quantities of not yet ripe berries. The berry bed has been so successful that there are plans afoot over the winter to extend the recently completed berry enclosure!
The blackberries are also producing huge quantities of not yet ripe berries
The very wet and cold winter and spring has decimated the apricot, plum, cherry and pretty much all other stone fruit in this corner of the world. I tried to source a good quantity of apricots from another orchard much further north than here (and thus in a warmer climate) but they too have had to deal with serious losses of fruit. Over the past few days I have reconciled myself with not being able to preserve any stone fruit at all this season.
This Anzac peach tree is starting to slowly recover from the very wet and cold winter
Not all fruit trees are silly enough to produce blossoms when the spring conditions are very wet, cold and basically rubbish for stone fruit trees. The many olive trees here have just started to produce flowers this week:
The many olive trees here have just started to produce flowers this week
And some trees such as the sugar maple in the next photo below, really love the very wet and cold conditions this spring. Those trees have responded by putting on huge amounts of growth. A sugar maple tree can generally be tapped for proper maple syrup after about 10 years of growth.
Some trees such as the sugar maple in the next photo below, really love the very wet and cold conditions this spring
I thought that the many readers who are shivering through an intense week of very cold wintery conditions in the Northern Hemisphere might enjoy some of the photos of the masses of flowers which I grow here at the farm for my own enjoyment but more importantly for the benefit of the many birds and insects that live and eat in those flower beds:
Masses of colourful geraniums grow below the many raised vegetable beds
A smoke bush, a lemon scented tea tree, and a wallabied persimmon are all looking good
Looking across the bed of culinary and medicinal herbs shows a riot of colour and shape
The European and Californian poppies are all putting on a good show this year
And poppy-gate continues with even more poppy and corn flowers this week
The temperature outside now at about 8.00pm is 22’C (72’F). So far this year there has been 1,181.2mm (46.5 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 1,180.6mm (46.5 inches).

70 comments:

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi everyone!

I have had another computer hardware failure this evening (on an old but important computer) and so that is the reason for the more brief than usual replies. We hates the computers forever, my precious!!!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Really? That is some very strange territory to traverse not drilling those basic maths skills. Oh my that is not good at all. You know, when I was in high school the accounting teacher wouldn't let us use a calculator and long addition on paper was the order of the day... It is funny but when I was working in the Tandy Electronics shop (Radio Shack) and had to calculate change, the process in itself provided so much practice that after a while adding up lots of numbers was something you didn't have to spend too much effort on. Nowadays, I have force myself to practice this skill and going to the market where every transaction is cash is a good test. Someone once wrote every automation is an amputation, although they may have been stretching the point a bit.

Your winter is sounding like a nightmare. Are those temperatures record lows? If your spring follows the spring that we just had then your cold may continue into spring. I contacted an organic orchard to the north of here over the past week that sells really delicious and tasty sun ripened fruit - they're my backup when things go wrong here - and they had very little stone fruit to sell me.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Yeah, it was some sort of software glitch with Firefox which was corrected by reinstalling the software. We had a massive hardware failure with the businesses server this morning and so I'm going to have to do something about it tomorrow and work on paid stuff late tomorrow night.

Thanks for the review of Game of Thrones television series. It is about what I thought. Mate, I get them, as I lost the plot several times when reading those books. They are huge and I take my hat off to George RR Martin for the epic scope of his thoughts. With the last two books, honestly I wasn't sure where the story was going as I could see no end in sight, and the ecology made little sense to my poor brain.

TNG was pretty good and I have fond memories of that series! Yeah, that episode was a goodie wasn't it? The different crews and times might not be a bad idea at all. I didn't much enjoy Enterprise, what did you think about that series. The doctor was good in that series, and I enjoyed the dog too.

Well, if you are ever in that part of the world, you'll be able to hold reasonable conversation with the locals! :-)! Politics is like a zombie attack, you don't want to be involved...

Computers give me a headache. I take my hat off to you for dealing with them on a day to day basis.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate, far out your winter is cold. OK, what was the coldest winter that you can recall and how did you cope with that? I hope your spring doesn't follow our spring as it just never happened. I saw an article on a study on the Eastern Antarctic glacier this morning and the results are not good. The head of that glacier is already in the ocean, but it is warming and pulling away from the continent which may slowly release the glacier component which sits behind that on the land.

Yeah, I hear you about that frozen pipe disaster. On a balance of probabilities, it is best to save the water pipe from bursting so that you get to use the system in the future even if that wastes some water. That's life, I'd do that. Actually I worried about the water pipes freezing here this year for the first time but they never did.

Yup, cabin fever... Been there and done that. You lot up north deserve t-shirts saying: "We survived the winter of 2016/17!" It is really hard to know what to stock up on, unless you are well practiced don’t you reckon and just in time is a mugs game from what I see. I only go to the supermarket every six weeks and don't really spend that much. The local guy that sells me all of the compost spotted the editor and I at the supermarket on the last trip and he remarked rather cheekily that what we were purchasing didn't look that healthy because there was no fruit and vegetables in it. It surprised me that he didn't put two and two together in that compost = vegetables and fruit.

Ha! Very funny. I spotted today that Bryan Brown is now in the new and sequel Red Dog film which was enormously successful down here. It is about a bush dog and its adventures.

Yeah, I reckon given their age they would be ripe for knock off reproductions? But yeah, they didn't look like they would travel well at all to me either and they were stored in glass cases. Isn't there also the fun of the discovery in your travels too? Some stuff here comes from the most unlikely of circumstances and places. Hope you liked the unicorn story?

Do you reckon you would try the whole acorn flour business? From memory you have to wash the mash a lot to get rid of the tannins. Dunno. They used to make bread from the fibres of some beech trees - which I do have growing down here. I have a few local native beech trees and a couple of European ones. They seem to all grow to huge heights and ages... Hope they play well with others, but probably not. Hey, don't laugh I could get you an article on the consumption of possum from a New Zealand source. Mind you the possums here and over there are herbivores and not your nasty bitey lot.

Nice work that the water trick worked and the water is still flowing this morning. Mate, your weather is feral as...

Thanks for the reference and I'll check it out as I get some free time over the next few days. I may have to work late tomorrow night to make up for the fact that I have to repair / rebuild the work computer server here which is alas now dead-ish. Do you reckon John James Audubon was attracted to trouble or trouble just found him and it didn't matter where he went? Possibly some of it could have been a sign of the times too.

Nice one! That sort of attitude displays a level of ownership of an object even when the ownership has passed onto another. If it was good enough to sell, then they sold it and there the matter ended. The rest really is details, but then they may be enjoying the telling of war tales. Of course the guy that bought them could also have been very switched on and alert for a bargain. Some people are master traders and can sell or buy anything at the best price (for them). They can even create demand where there is none... Have you ever had dealings with anyone like that?

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@Chris

I think, for the last two Game of Thrones books, he could have really done with a good editor to cull out 400-500 pages from each book. Sometimes limits are a good thing!

I agree on Enterprise, in short, I thought it was rubbish :p I don't think I watched past the first 6 episodes or so and what I heard of the rest never interested me enough. I do have a surprising soft spot for Voyager though - there was some good sci-fi in there occasionally. I used a rating website to sort each season and only watched the 'best half' or thereabouts. Worked well!

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I am indeed shivering in 'Northern climes' 43F this afternoon, grey and damp. Last shop until after Christmas and nothing irritated me. Son was irritated though. He was held up getting his truck out of the supermarket car park. The problem was an elderly man driving a tiny car, who was incapable of parking and blocked the exit for yonks.

Received a letter from elder daughter, sent from Mexico where she has spent a month and then a month in Cuba. She should be back in Australia now after a few days in Los Angeles. 'From shacks, horses and carts to mansions and Mercedes'. She writes fascinating letters which (of course) she illustrates.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Vanilla ice cream ale sounds ghastly. But if it tastes like cream soda ... not so bad. Gee, I haven't had a cream soda in years. In my dotage, I've lost the taste for "pop". Occasionally, a craving for a root beer float ... every few years I want a classic coke (to which you can also add ice cream.)

How many people have annoyed me, today? Well, since I live in the boonies, none directly. Evil step son has had two boxes sitting on my porch since yesterday. That's kind of irritating. The libraries computer system was a bit balky, this morning. "Can't find server" and all that other nonsense. Try harder! But I figure someone, somewhere has fallen down on the job and is responsible. I want names! I want heads to roll! :-).

The Rock Gabions are pretty interesting. Sometimes you see them along the roads, here (more in E. Washington and Oregon) but I didn't know they had a special name ... other than rocks in a cage :-). Well, that big boulder you found will give you a good start on filling it up. Just heave it over the side ... :-).

Ah, strawberries. Had a nice P & B sandwich, yesterday, with strawberry jam I put up. Also, strawberries in the bottom of my oatmeal. Good luck getting any raspberries. The birds love them! You may rue the day you put in blackberries. "Successful = feral."

Hmm. Coldest winters. I can remember driving in some white out / blizzard conditions. Temperatures in the teens, day and night, that hung on for weeks. At least now, the cold snaps don't seem as severe and don't hang on as long. Climate change?Even though the temperature was over freezing last night (a whole four degrees!), I woke up to 2 inches of very wet snow. Already well on the run. I'd guess that it's more a function of elevation, rather than temperature. I'd guess that down in the valley, and in town, all they had was rain. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Better keep an eye on those glaciers in Antarctica. I've often felt that sooner or later, a huge glacier will tear loose, sail north, hit Australia like the Titanic and Australia will sink. Flights of fancy. :-).

I shop the sales and keep pretty stocked up. Even if there's something I have a fancy for, and don't have the ingredients, I can decide to have something else I equally enjoy. Flexible, I guess. I've had a craving for french toast, smothered in that strawberry jam. But, the current loaf of bread I'm working through is rye, and it's very soft and would fall apart. So I have to wait until I get into the next loaf of bread. In the meantime, I've thawed out some turkey and will have a nice warm turkey and cheese sandwich ... on rye.

Not many oak trees here for acorns. And, we have some sort of wasp that drills a hole in the husk, lays an egg and the worm eats the meat. I did find out from the lectures that some acorns are sweet. None of that messing about with washing. But they reproduce like apples. A sweet acorn won't produce, necessarily, a sweet acorn. I suppose the ancients marked the sweet trees, but agriculture at that time, hadn't got to the point of cloning trees. I bet there's acorn flour available at the "health" food store. Especially given all the interest in gluten free.

Oh, I think Audubon was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. But on the other hand, he was in the right place at the right time on other occasions. He also had a wonderful wife and they were madly in love with each other, all through life. Even though at times they were separated for a couple of years.

I'm pretty resistant to salesmanship. Don't know where I got it, but I have a pretty sensitive bull puckie detector. And, I have no problem walking away from a deal I don't think is good. As far as selling stuff goes, I once sold a big platter to another dealer. Later a friend of mine said "Did you see how much Maxine priced that platter?" I said that no I didn't, and really didn't care as I had gotten what I thought was a good price for it. Lew

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

I think gabions are excellent. Practical but also I like them aesthetically. Not everyone's cup of tea of course (or magic unicorn beer) but I h saw a seat outside of a cafe in Orange recently that had a metal frame around the gabions and a bench seat on the top. It really took my fancy. I've also seen them used as a wet, cooling wall in very hot climates.

We haven't been to town for days, so I haven't seen anyone to annoy me. I refuse to be annoyed by the ghastly politicians of the day. Neighbours have been neighbourly. I've been cooking Thai dishes for friends coming to dinner tonight and enjoyed the process of doing so. I intend to have a glass of excellent sparkling wine with my dinner and there are mangoes for dessert. The bass player is practising a complicated bass line and things are presently okay here.

I used to stay in Leura in the Blue Mts and it experiences population pressure. Lots of bus loads of overseas tourists plus escapees from Sydney. Weekends were and are a nightmare if you want to have a coffee in a cafe, for instance. The final blow was the rebuilding of the existing highway into a kind of a bypass that divides the town in two. It's the same in most of the little towns dotted through the mountains now. All in the name of 'safe' transport of goods on trucks into and out of Sydney.

I sympathize with computer woes. We have one functioning laptop, one reasonable iPad and a creaking along iPad with a cracked screen. I enjoy the window onto the world or many worlds through such technology but I simply freeze when anything goes wrong with them. Kudos to you for persevering in the face of your problems.

Warm Regards, Helen

TalkingTrees said...

Hello again

I forgot to say that yes raspberries do need watering so that the berries form fully and taste just right. Our patch has always been in our veggie garden until decimated by road works and the plants are now growing on a slope beside the new road. We are watering as we need to so we don't have a clear idea of just how much it will take to keep them producing well. We had another two inches of rain last week and that also confuses the issue.

Warm Regards, Helen

Coco said...

Am I the only one who sees the irony in replacing a giant boulder with a man made equivalent? Hats off to your work ethic, though.

The strawberries look fab, but my favorites are the raspberries. You´re in for a treat!

I like beer that tastes pleasantly like beer. Give me a nice brown or red ale. No fruit, vanilla, pumpkin, etc. And don´t get me started on that ultra-hoppy stuff that´s so fashionable now. Tastes like either cologne or pine cleaner. Blech.

Speaking of beer and brewing - we have a sack of grains that is now years old and thus no good for brewing. Do you think birds would eat them? Compost? Don´t want to attract varmints.

Bryan Brown was dead sexy back in the day.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Mate that is so true. Yup 500 pages - BOOM! - we're done here. Funny stuff. You know when I was reading the book I kept cheering for Stannis Baratheon as he seemed to be the only dude that had any larger perspective in the entire story. How weird is this? I just checked out what the actor looks like and - oooo very strange - he is from my genetic pool. I've heard that the television show is ahead of the books, so no spoilers please! I'll just wait another five years for the next book. Anyway, it'll be gone in the blink of an eye.

Yeah, Enterprise was rubbish. That whole xindi business was tedious and unnecessary. And to be honest, I missed a few shows and then couldn't understand what was going on and well, I sort of went off and did something else! Hehe! Fair enough with the review website. I have to admit that I watched all of Voyager and I really enjoyed it. Not every episode kicked goals - which is to be expected - but most of them did. I liked the one where they were chucked into a parallel universe where they got their ass kicked from one end of the quadrant to the other and most of the lead characters were dead and the ship was malfunctioning. Gritty stuff.

I absolutely 100% take my hat off to you for working with these pesky computer critters for a living. I had to rebuild a new file server today and restore everything and by 8pm I'd absolutely had a gut full of the problem. Anyway, it is nice that my backup procedure seems to be working nicely and this is the ultimate test really. And I have no idea what component of the original machine died - it wasn't the main drive either... Anyway, the new server has an SSD which is awesome! The hours that I lost today building that machine from parts and reinstalling software are never going to reappear!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Well if I was going to be cheeky I'd suggest that your son was suffering from "Population Pressure"? That is funny. I'm very cool in a vehicle and things take what they take, but the editor would have been just like your son in that situation! There was an old guy up here that could barely walk and I often wondered how he drove his vehicle and I reckon we'll all see more of that situation as time goes on. He disappeared some time ago. I doubt very much whether vehicle usage will be that common by the time that is a problem for people of my age. Dunno.

How nice is that for you to receive written letters with illustrations from your daughter. Lucky you! The illustrations would be particularly interesting as they are a perspective into the world of your daughters mind and that would be fascinating. Illustrations are not photos are they? It should be very hot here for your daughter on Christmas which is forecast to reach 86'F and Boxing Day which looks to be reaching 100'F again (as per usual).

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

No way! A beer that tastes like creamy soda is a work of genius! Although to be totally honest, I only got to enjoy a sip or two before a temporary to permanent swap arrangement was made. Woe is me, I did not enjoy that beer as much as I could have and no doubt that by the time I next visit the pub, the keg will be empty. What a bummer...

Mate, I'm with you on that issue with sugary drinks. They don't call to you as you get older. I've kept an eye out for root beer, but the only similar flavour is ginger beer (non alcoholic) which is quite nice and very easy to make. For some strange reason they serve it in the usual beer bottles and one day years ago I'd purchased one at a cafe and the waitress ran out and started telling me off because she had assumed that I was drinking an alcoholic drink because of the shape of the bottle - and their lack of a liquor license. A definite case of mistaken identity.

I'm pretty sure that you have now asked the gods to send someone to annoy you? ;-)! Aren't those boxes on the porch liable to be inundated with snow? And did the libraries server fall behind the couch? Did they look under the stairs - curious minds want to know! How complex could a libraries computer server be? Have we got that item in stock and where is it? Given the number of libraries on the planet you would think that there is a more or less standard chunk of software? Someone was talking to me about the banks the other day and asking the hard questions as to why they feel that it is necessary to replicate the software developments of their competitors? It is a fair question. I'm a bit shirty about computers today as I had to rebuild the main server here today and I still have no idea what went wrong yesterday. Hardware failure no doubt - but where?

Exactly gabion is defined as a cage. I wonder what the origins of that word are? Pah! That huge rock weighs more than the editor and I combined and we could barely roll it out of the way. :-)! I won't tell you what the editor said to me as I levered it out of the clay. We reckon it must have been flung from a volcano at some distant time in the past. It sure would have hurt if you were hit by it.

Maybe about the blackberries. They've been in the country since the early days of settlement and haven't taken over yet! What is a P&B sandwich?

No doubt that you are correct about the glacier, but unfortunately that has already happened in the past! The huge island of Tasmania at the bottom of the continent is actually a chunk of Antartica which drifted north with the continent. I've read that we are sailing the good ship Australia north at a rate of about 10cm (just under half an inch) per year! It is a fair clip you have to admit?

The new fancy name for your consumption is "Flexivore" - whatever that means! ;-)! Yeah, we're flexible too. This year there are no apricots with any taste to be had for love or money and so we go without. I won't tell you that I nabbed 4kg (8.8 pounds) of ripe cherries from a local orchard today. Now that may sound like a lot, well it is really! Yum!

Oh? For some reason I thought you had dozens of species of oaks in your part of the world? Maybe, they tend to use almond meal down here for some reason for the gluten free folk.

Your detector was honed by having to front the public. Honestly, debt collection for four years did it for me. I can almost hear it in the spoken word. Plus you understand intuitively what the context and real situation of spoken words reveals.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Thank you and the gabions are very useful. I've noticed people using them to build fences and walls and all sorts of things. They're 100% practical and by the time the steel has disappeared the clay would have settled into shape around the gabion cage. Yeah, they can be used for seats and stair cases too.

Fair enough about the unicorns - although you never know with that one because it tasted like old school creamy soda! Nice stuff. I hear you! :-)!

Be careful what you wish for with proclamations about people not annoying you! Hehe! Yeah, who cares about the politicians as they talk so much rubbish and do so little work. Shame on them. Thai food is delightful! Have you ever travelled there? We've been to Bangkok several times and have always enjoyed that city.

Hmm, yes the local roads through the nearest town of Gisborne are on a major truck route from quarries near Bacchus Marsh and the b-doubles that are entitled to travel through town nowadays are a shocker. There will be an accident one day and it won't be pretty. I haven't been to the Blue Mountains but from all accounts the Southern Highlands are pretty nice. The Dandenong Ranges south of Melbourne sound very much like your description... It is relatively quiet here.

Thanks and I sort of had to as the computer that died has our work files on it. It is a good test of our disaster recovery systems and they seem to be working well. The rate of failure of this stuff seems to be on the increase. What is your experience with that?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

What an astute observation. Elephant stamp for you! The large boulder is going to be used in a rock wall next to where it is located so nothing goes to waste. The boulder is actually a floater in that it floats in the clay. They're a bit frightening really!

Thanks. I'm going to take Helens advice and give them some water before the heatwave which is due to hit here a couple of days before Christmas. I hope they taste good. They were a gift from a local in the valley below.

Fair enough too. There are plenty of those darker ales on tap and Indian Pale Ale seems to be going through some sort of a renaissance. Would you call that a red beer? I probably would. Ooops! Hehe! I won't mention that I'm sort of fond of the hoppy filled pale ales, but as you correctly point out - they are a bit light weight! Hehe!

For sure the birds would eat them. I fed the chickens the mash recently from the most recent batch of elderberry wine and they loved that stuff. Honestly, it was like chicken wars in there... They're a bit naughty too as they scratched up one of my ferns this evening whilst my back was turned.... The fern was none too happy about the chicken situation.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Many elderly drivers here as there is a huge retired population. Cars often look as though they are driving themselves as the driver is so bent and tiny that he can't be seen from the rear.

In the afore mentioned case an elderly female had got out of the car, presumably to assist the driver. She actually had her hand on the car and I did evoke a laugh from my son by saying 'Is she pushing it?'.

You are so right. I hadn't consciously considered that difference between an illustration and a photo, thanks for pointing it out. Daughter often has a humorous twist in her illustrations in addition to their originality. I suppose that with modern photo shopping it can be achieved there as well. But the difference, I think, is that it will be more geared to an audience.

41F grey and damp

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris:

What more could you ask for, indeed?! What inspiration that brewer- or their advertising agent - had with the deer and the red nose and the ice cream cone - wha la, Magical Christmas Unicorn; very clever. I'm glad that the taste lived up to the expectation.

Would you honestly deny the city dwellers their chance to inhale the beauties of your countryside, something that you are privileged to do everyday (we are not counting the massive amounts of time and work that got you to where you are), while they get the merest whiff in autumn? Speaking of the countryside, my neighbor hit a deer the other night with his Very Very Large pickup truck. I didn't ask about the deer, but his VVL pickup truck may be unsalvageable. It's been a Very Very Bad year for deer.

How many people have annoyed me today? Nobody, but then nobody else is up yet . . . It is my life's work to never let people annoy me. Note the word "work". Work, work work. Into eternity.

Oh, well - only 5 hours. You will do better next time . . .

I had never heard of a Rock Gabion and was really curious about how it was to be constructed. Wow - I can use that! I am not at peak rocks! I have rocks!

It's Poopy's brother. Too many white markings to be Poopy. But it's the Poopy family. Frugal and thoughtful you, Poopy, to source your own snacks.

Christmas red and green - strawberries and currants. That is an interesting remark that you made about potatoes flowering. My potatoes rarely flower before the leaves start to die back, so perhaps they need some mineral (potassium? phosphorus?) to encourage flowering so that they might produce bigger potatoes? They are always quite small.

The stone fruit loss is really sad. It happens here more often than not. We get a warm spell, followed by winter roaring back in. The low Sunday was 53F (11.7C), this morning (Tues) it was 19F (-7.2C). However, we still have green in the garden: garlic, bunching onions, sage, catnip, heal all, tons of chickweed, kale, collards, parsley, 2 different sorts of strawberry plants (one has blooms!),pea plants, raspberry plants, roses and apple trees with green leaves. None of these things should have any green leaves by this point in December. And yet we swing back and forth between the above mentioned sorts of temperatures and the plants seem able to adapt pretty well. Early days yet, with the solstice only tomorrow.

I am so glad that you planted a sugar maple. Maple syrup - one of my very favorite things.

Arrrrr . . . a wallabied persimmon! I can't even have that variety here . . .

Oh - the flowers, the flowers . . . I have saved them to a pictures file.

We hates - but we loves - our computers.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Oh, I don't know. I remember that I quit enjoyed ST - Enterprise. Maybe because it was a prequel and told backstory. Similar to why I find ST: First Contact to be one of my favorite ST movies. Origin stories. And, I've always quit liked Scott Bakula as an actor.

Temps in the low 40s, last night. Positively balmy. That the rest of the winter could be that warm ...

Well, the library servers do a lot of stuff. And, it's a big system. I think even the phone system runs through the servers. Somehow or another. Well, there seems to be a lot of companies out there that are always offering up "new and improved" software programs for libraries. Every time a company stops supporting some bit of software, say, the catalog, the hunt is on for either something "better" or "cheaper." And how will it migrate with all the stuff they'e already got. They tried an electronic time card system, once. It was a complete botch and they went back to the manual time cards.

Back when I was a substitute, I was on a substitute task force. Met once a month. Seems like phoning around was too "old hat" when you needed a substitute. So, we looked at a lot of programs that other libraries were using. The smartest thing I heard was one librarian who said "We don't need a Mercedes, when a Toyota will do." Never did find something that would work, and finally, they just got rid of the substitutes as a class of employee.

Seems strange that Christmas is less than a week away. The staff room at the Chehalis library used to be awash in goodies that the patrons brought by. Sometimes, I'd rate branches by what was on offer in their staff rooms :-). Probably not so much anymore. I'll have to inquire. Chehalis seems to have become a "culture of change." Instead of employees hanging on for long periods of time (years) there seems to be a lot of coming and going among the staff. Not there long enough to form those kind of connections that yield loads of gelt for the staff room. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. What I should have said was "PB & J." Peanut butter and jelly. Guess the old brain broke wind, about that point. Speaking of wind, Australia's sailing north at a smart clip of 10c a year ... well, hold onto your hat! :-).

Speaking of metric, kind of, I was looking at the "Great British Baking Book" last night. And, realized that everything is in metric. All m's and g's. Here in the Barbarian Lands, it's all Greek to us. :-). Of course, SERIOUS bakers insist you should not measure stuff, but weigh it. Too old to change my ways and I'd have to invest in a gram scale.

The Blue Lady arrived, yesterday. A Currier and Ives print that caught my eye. It's an early one. I can tell from the company name and address (N. Currier, 2 Spruce Street) that it was printed between 1835 and 1856. Her name is Eliza. Later on, Currier and Ives did a lot of "pin ups." But, they don't appeal, to me. Pudgy arms and big cow eyes. :-). Eliza is a very trim young lady with a wasp waist. Looks rather "Jane Austen." She's seated next to a window and holding a piece of paper. Letter from a beau, out on the frontier making his fortune? Invitation to a ball? A bit of poetry she wrote on her own?

It's not a very colorful piece. Mostly (blue?) black. But the window curtain is a deep rich indigo blue. I think it's quit lovely. My Christmas gift to me :-).

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Very-Early-Antique-HAND-COLORED-CURRIER-FRAMED-PRINT-DATED-1844-Great-Dress-/142180718882?hash=item211aa19922%3Ag%3AOxEAAOSwARZXm4xN&nma=true&si=i2Emt3kGTHY862oCAu1NKDw3gGE%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

Lew

Damo said...

@ Chris

Voyager had some great ones, I liked the episode where 'our' crew gets wiped out and only Harry lives and goes on in a parallel universe. I also remember one with Earth dinosaur descendants who became sentient and left Earth and one with a planet that was all water. All good fun and the occasional 'proper' sci-fi. I also laugh as I had the feeling that by the end they were up to like the 3rd or 4th Harry Kim, but perhaps I am exaggerating :-)

Good work with the server re-build, I must be honest and say that perhaps 90% of my customers back in the day never even bothered with backups. A biased sample I know, but maybe not that biased..

Damo said...

@Lewis

Funny you mention library software. Yesterday the Swiss project office asked me again about helping with a training workshop for the small college library. The system was installed in 2011 and allowed the staff to do electronic check-outs (barcode scanner), all very high tech for a small college in rural Laos. But, sometime between 2011 and now the computer broke and no one could fix the system. I suspect they even stopped lending books at this stage (although there is not really a culture of reading in Laos - very few native language books unfortunately).

Anyways, I am trying to suggest that instead of spending $3-4K on a new computer and flying the official training people from the capital, just buy a $5 ledger and loan books by hand. Use the savings to buy more books, be open on weekends etc etc. I get blank stares in reply, but will try and make my case again next week. It will be an uphill battle, the library staff want a fancy computer and a week off work to do the training workshop, the training staff from the ministry want an expenses paid trip to Luang Prabang province (plus per diems!!) and Swiss project want to tick another item off on a list somewhere (Library system modernised...).

Who am I to try and deprive everyone of that?

*Oh, and any computer system will need all the books manually re-entered, a significant undertaking!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge, Pam, Lewis, and Damo,

Thanks for the lovely comments, however I have decided to go forth on a quest and seek the Magical Christmas Unicorn this evening. It is an important quest after all. Hehe!

Most of the computer issues are now sorted here and all is smooth sailing, but to be totally honest if I look at a computer screen for another hour tonight, I think I may scream. And in cyberspace nobody can hear you scream!!!!

We shall sail the wide accountant-seas tomorrow!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

When I first started teaching no one was allowed to use calculators. Then it was OK once they could do calculations by hand. The students I had were usually so behind on their skills that I would let them use a calculator to check their work and they used multiplication tables. These accomodations were allowed for special ed students as well as some of mine.

I still do a lot of calculations by hand or in my head and just check with a calculator and I think this is a good practice.

Everyone has survived the polar vortex. The really frigid temps didn't last too long. The barn cats and chickens finally got out yesterday no worse for wear but they sure are consuming a lot of food. Normal to slightly above temperatures for the rest of the week and even rain on Christmas.

I may not be posting too much for a time. One of my brothers that I was guardian of died very suddenly Sunday morning. It was a real blow to the entire family as well to his roommate and other residents where he lived. There are a lot of details to attend to in the next week or so. He was a funny and happy guy who lived life to the fullest and brought smiles to everyone he met.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

@Pam
I am sure that I have commented on this before, but here goes:- I was always told to pick off any flowers that appear on the potatoes as the flowers weaken the potatoes. I therefore pick off all buds/flowers as soon as I spot them. We now need info. from someone who really knows.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

Eliza is really lovely.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - Given all the variables, I'd say they have a new computer system in their future :-). Do they have (gasp!) a card catalog? Suggesting card catalogues is like suggesting to folks invested in perpetual progress that they go back and live in caves.

I actually did a paper once, on why card catalogues were more resilient than the computer catalogues. I got a good grade on it, but was pretty much patted on the head and told to run along. Did another paper on the problems with "migration" of information during upgrades. The book "Silicon Snake Oil" was pretty useful, for that. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Aren't Magical Unicorns protected? Do you need a license? Is there a hunting season? You know, traditionally, you need a maiden to use as bait to catch a unicorn. And, where are you going to find one of those, these days? :-).

Sunny with a light frost, this morning. Temperature hovering right at 0C. 32F in Non Metric Barbarian Land.

Off to the Little Smoke. Thought I'd do a look in at The Home, but dollars to donuts, The Warden has already fled to perform whatever holiday ritual floats her boat. Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

A happy solstice to you! Winter solstice here, summer of course for you. It's warmed up into the 40sF today and yesterday after a low of 2F Monday morning.

I had a much longer comment earlier but Blogger choked on it. Maybe typed my password wrong. Anyway, the coldest weather I've been in was -22F while walking to elementary school in the 1960s in southeastern lower Michigan. Though it was almost that cold, -18F, in 1985 here in St. Louis. It's really difficult to move the stick shift of a VW Rabbit at that temperature, I found out.

Claire

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

The older driver issue is a fascinating one as our infrastructure really revolves around the motor vehicle. I've read personal accounts from the local histories from up this way, and to be honest, people didn't get out and about as much back then. Because of the current distribution of wealth and outrageous property prices, the editor and I are some of the younger ones up here in this mountain range and I wonder what the future holds in store for people who are heavily dependent on vehicles up here. I have few allusions as to what that means for my future.

I like your style with that touch of humour. Well done and very amusing! It is a nice way to defuse the situation too.

Thank you. Yes illustrations can be quite informative about the person that drew them and those are always representative of the world as they saw it. You know, I've been taking so many photos for the blog over the past few years and recently I noticed for the first time that the view from the camera lens is different from that of the naked eye. The lens has an ever so slight curvature which our eyes are trained to ignore when we look at photos. Now that I am aware of that difference in the view through the lens, I'm sort of taking an average curvature effect with the photos on the blog so that it is even less noticeable. If you'd asked me whether that difference was there before the thousandth photo or so, I would have said that it was not there, but it is!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yeah, it is a totally inspired chunk of genius that beer! The editor and I enjoyed a pint last evening which indicates to all that the quest for the silly deer beer was a successful quest. The hardships on that quest were terrible, but we're made of tough stuff down here so we mustn't complain. The editor and I were wondering whether the red nose on the silly deer beer drawing was a nod to Rudolph who is the most famous reindeer of all? Of course such conversations can occur after a pint of silly deer beer! We could go on for hours with this joke!!!

There is much in what you say about the unfairness of denying city dwellers the chance to visit the country to appreciate the leaf change. Alas, such matters are out of my concern because the problem is occurring in the more fashionable western end of the mountain range. On Sunday a friend was visiting and looking at a block of land for sale in that part of the mountain range and the number of people up there in walking groups and vehicles was quite the shock to the editor and I who are rather used to living the legal term: "quiet enjoyment".

If the pickup truck is a write off then the deer is a goner, sorry to say. I'm glad that your neighbour is OK though, although they would have been quite shaken by the accident. I am not kidding when I write that I do not drive any faster than 25 miles per hour (40km/h) at night once in the forest as any faster than that and I am unable to stop in time and it is not good for either myself or the poor animals. Marsupials can be quite scatty when startled and the wombats have very poor eyesight.

That is a lovely sentiment: "It is my life's work to never let people annoy me". I hear you and I also try really hard to tread very lightly on the social fabric, although that can sometimes translate to: don't notice me. It is interesting that you wrote about that matter as that may be the subject of next week’s blog. It is curious that we are on the same page. Yours is a very adaptive strategy which I approve of.

Maybe! Hehe! That was without a break too. I'm not kidding either. Unfortunately when I was younger I could work harder. This getting older business is a tough school. We do our best. The welded mesh sheet was a 4 foot x 8 foot sheet with 2 inch squares (1.2m x 2.4m x 50mm squares) and glad to read that you can use the idea. I have seen gabion walls hold back humungous quantities of soil. Of course the steel will eventually corrode, but the rocks will settle into place and soil will wash into the cage and the whole mass should settle into place nicely. Lucky you too for not passing peak rocks!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Yeah, it is definitely a Poopy family portrait, but no cigar for Poopy. If Poopy had to survive up here on his own he'd do OK, although he would probably take charge of the pack. There are foxes up here and I see them darting in and out of the shadows and at night their eyes sparkle as I shine the torch off into the dark forest. Yes, the hills here really do have eyes!

Well, small potatoes are hungry or thirsty potatoes. If your soil is a bit dodge, and I know about that business, then you would do well to recall the ecologists: Liebig's, law of the minimum. Your task should you choose to accept it is to feed your potatoes. I scored some freebie organic matter today and all shall be revealed next week... Who doesn't love freebie organic matter?

Well done you for still having greens after such a cold turn in your weather. It really is quite an impressive feat you have to admit? Remember avocado's are cold hardy to -9'C as long as they are out of the wind... Yes, I totally agree with you in that the plants adapt and they can reach far back into their genetic heritage to do so. I'm seeing this here too. They just need a bit of time to adjust.

Yum! Sugar maples. I met a local bloke a few years back who had an entire and very well established hedge of them and never realised what the plants were... I have a few sugar maples planted around the place. Some eucalyptus species perform the same sugar trick too!

You should be most glad that you are unable to enjoy the benefits of a wallabied persimmon.

Computers we hates them forever, my precious! ;-)! But we loves them too, oh it is a complex business!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Oh no! Something has gotten into our strawberry enclosure and eaten the entire week’s strawberries. Grrr! It is nice that they left us a white strawberry though as a comparison to the more usual red strawberries...

Hey, it isn't just Christmas goodies that are in low supply. I've noticed that Christmas cards have largely been shelved as a good idea. You know, regardless, I still send Christmas cards because people love receiving them. I've been wondering about that matter for a few weeks now as it is very noticeable and that decline has been accelerating over the past few years. Not that anybody wants to talk about it.

High staff turnover can also be an indicator that there is rot in the culture - or there is someone within that organisation contributing to that situation? It is worthwhile keeping your eyes and ears open on that matter as it rings alarm bells to me.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Nobody consumes peanut butter and jelly here. It is known of, but as a day to day food item, it is a totally unknown food phenomena. Seriously. We tend to call jellies, jam down here, but jams don't generally contain Gelatine which may be what makes your jams jelly like. We use pectin instead and so the result is a thicker spread. I love peanut butter and we make our own from peanuts in the food processor which is very tasty and has no salt or other preservatives.

It is kind of funny to be on the good ship “continental plate” which is slowly drifting north with each passing year. It is a bit eerie really. There was a big earthquake off the coast of Darwin the other day.

Fair enough. Metric is quite good though and saves my poor brain from having to work out any scale other than a base of ten. When I was a kid they used to drill us up to our twelve times tables - and no doubt that the imperial measurements were the reason for that. I'd cheekily suggest to get with the program dude, but I failed to mention who's program are we talking about!

Oh! The blue lady is a stunner. I'm rather curious about whether she is seated or standing. You know I couldn't tell from the illustration. And what was the fabric bit of furniture to her left which doesn't quite match - to my mind - the furniture item to her right? She has a rather thoughtful expression on her face too, almost as if she is in deep contemplation. Have you ever noticed that nobody ever smiled in old photographs?

The curtains are quite rich aren't they? Out of curiosity, do you normally see curtains or blinds up in your part of the world? Mostly down here they have blinds such as Venetian blinds, but I much prefer curtains as they provide a nicer blacking out of the sunlight. How they sleep in far northern climates where the summer days are long is well beyond me.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I'm so sorry for you for the loss of your brother. From all accounts he sounded like a brightly lit light that lit up your life in equal parts of: Enjoyment; Love; Family; Concern; and Entertainment. No doubts you will miss and grieve for him and it will take much time for the grief to pass - not that it ever fully passes.

My old accounting teacher in high school was absolutely 100% against calculators. And being the discipline master he could ensure that his views were shared by us lesser mortals (i.e. the students). I worry about the lack of drilling in the basics and have seen that same lack of understanding of the basics in all sorts of areas in our culture. I'm with you too about double checking calculators as they are only ever as good as the rubbish that went into them.

Yup! The barn cats and chickens will need a lot of food to get through the cold. You may be interested to know that I am noticing a significant increase in the amount of food consumed by the chickens here throughout the day and am wondering about it.

Glad that you have survived the cold weather. Brrr! I'm unsure how you'd feel about a 100'F Christmas day either?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Well it is funny that you mention that, but apparently I have this on good authority (the bar tender) that Magical Christmas Unicorn hunting season is only for a very limited time. The bar tender was waxing lyrical about the silly deer beer too! It is good stuff. Maidens are in short supply now that you mention it! ;-)! Alas I would be rather tongue tied if I were to ask a young lady about that most delicate of matters.

Yes, now that you mention it, it is barbaric isn't it? I say to you: Ugg! And take that! :-)! Hehe!

The squeaky wheel gets the oil is my thinking. What do you think about that concept?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Happy Alban Arthuan to you too! It is funny being upside down here at the bottom of the planet! :-)!

I suspect you are having a real winter this year! Brrr! Far out that is cold. Christmas day is going to be about 100'F down here - again, with no signs of water fights like last year (best Christmas day ever incidentally). Oh well, we must maintain a level of flexibility...

Blogger has been a bit dodgy of late. If it gets too bad, I'll transfer the blog over to the paid for web domain. Nothing is ever free is it? It ate my comment above to Lewis too fortunately which I stored in Word for that very reason...

Ha! Who would have thought that that would be a problem. I liked those VW rabbits too as they were a very sensible vehicle. Someone the other day mentioned that we were a bit weird for owning stick shift vehicles. It always surprises me what people think.

Those temperatures are just so cold. I'll share with you that the hottest day that I have seen here was 114'F. Far out that day was so hot. One of the oldest dogs had a seizure that day, but recovered.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

Oh, Margaret - I am so very, very sorry about your brother. My heart is with you and your family and you will be in my thoughts often.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Dear Margaret - I am sorry for your loss. Your family and you will be in my thoughts. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam & Chris, re: The Blue Lady aka Eliza. :-). Fashion at that time was kind of interesting. Showing a lot of decolletage was no big deal, but everything below the waist was verboten. Eliza is pretty saucy in a sly way. a.) she's got her legs crossed, simply not done by ladies at that time and b.) she's kicking up the hem of her dress so you get a flash of slipper and petticoat. Pretty racy!

The bit to her right ... it's the back of an upholstered chair that she's sitting on. The business to her left is a very ornate piece of furniture. Some kind of a side table. The artist made it rather sketchy ... you can just tell what it is, but there's not much detail. There's one bit that took me awhile to work out. Kind of a blue blob behind her left shoulder. It's a swag holding back the curtain. Blinds, shades and curtains seem to be used in about equal amounts in this part of the world. People who fret about "decor" get a little ga-ga over window "treatments."

The printing process was kind of interesting. Currier and Ives did lithographs. They were etched on a particular kind of stone that when cut either rejected or absorbed the ink. Similar to copper plate printing (see Audubon). I don't know why you'd pick one method over the other. Both were in use at the same time. Thrift? Detail? You could melt copper plates down and use them again. A stone could be "shaved" and reused. More detail in a copper plate?

Coloring was added by batteries of young girls, each applying one color and passing it on to the next girl. Assembly line. I just had the thought that scholars always bang on about Henry Ford "inventing" the assembly line. Mmm. No. It was around in one form or another, and much earlier. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The staff turnover at the library seems to be more enmeshed with status or money. Seems like the one's who have left have all taken a step (or two) up in those departments. I was whinging on about it with one of the "old hands" when I stopped by the library, yesterday. Used to be, not that long ago, that most of the folks who worked in a local library all lived in the community. And, stayed awhile. Not any more. I've even noticed that in some of the rural branches, some dear old thing will retire ... and then it's one young librarian after another, every couple of years. Who usually commute in from some distance. Another side effect of cheap gas.

Here, jams are whole fruit (cooked down, but still chunky) and jelly is strained. No Gelatine involved. Just sugar and maybe pectin. Gotta watch the commercial stuff. Sometimes, corn syrup is substituted for real sugar. We're lucky in that if you pay attention, and read labels, there is peanut butter on offer that is just .... peanuts. Maybe a bit of salt. It's usually peddled as "natural" or "old fashioned." Even when I settle on a brand, I keep an eye on the contents. In case they try and slip something in. The prices aren't bad, either. Comparable with the adulterated brands. Do you know you can actually buy peanut butter with a jelly swirl built in? :-). How's that for convenience? :-). Of course, the ingredients list is pretty ghastly.

Bouncing off this weeks ADR theme, I often hear parents say "My little snowflake won't eat the "natural" peanut butter. Thinks the oil layer is "icky." Eat it or starve. I find the initial stir down quit meditative. Then I keep the jar on the counter and just give it a flip, whenever I think of it. Two of my favorite peanut butter sandwiches are with banana and plain yogurt. Or, just plain yogurt with sunflower seeds. Elvis liked his peanut butter and banana sandwiches .... fried. But, we know what happened to him. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. The trip to town was successful. The Warden was in! Still number 10 on the list. As far as the squeaky wheel goes, it's a delicate balance. I figure once a month is enough not to be a pest. She always seems happy to see me. The Inmates play cut throat bingo, once a week. Last month I dropped off a cook book that I had a duplicate of, and she said it was well received. They are also collecting stamps from Safeway, that can be redeemed for Faberware cooking pots. She was thrilled that I brought in my little stash to contribute. A bribe? Well, I'm not above it :-). Oh, I don't think any of it will get me in the place any earlier, but I like to think I'll be well thought of, before I even arrive.

We talked a bit about the new administration, and if it will impact senior subsidized housing. Might. Might not. Looks like Ben Carson is going to be head of Federal housing. A doctor who has no experience in housing. I floated the thought that I hoped he had a battle ax of an aged mother or grandmother who lived in subsidized housing, and would end up on his doorstep if it was cut :-). The Warden told me that right now, the Providence organization is financially stable and healthy. I also picked up a copy of their "House Rules." Nothing too onerous.

When I got home from town, there was no water. Figures. Just came back on, now. So, it was out for about 24 hours. Oh, well, another date to put on my calendar. Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

OK, you beat me on the hottest day. I've experienced 108F but no hotter than that. If I were forced to choose, I'd choose the hottest day I've experienced over the coldest day. Not that I'd want to have to choose to experience either one - though it's a lot more likely that I'll get to experience 108F or even hotter again than that I'll experience -18F again. It doesn't get that cold anymore here.

I had no idea that the stick shift would react that way. On the few occasions that the temperature dropped to about -10F or colder while I had that car, the stick shift would get stiff like that. However, once the car had been running for long enough to warm up the engine, the stick shift loosened back up. My arm was glad it did!

Claire

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

It is good to see that Eliza was showing a bit of spirit in a demure way. Yes, I've read before that the Victorian era folk were rather different in what they considered to be saucy and ankles were one of those things! I've read recently that they used to wear gloves too because their hands were quite damaged because of the harsh soaps used and the huge amount of manual labour involved in washing activities.

Thanks for the explanation about the furniture. For some reason I thought that it may have been an old and what they called "day bed" which is like a couch but has a higher side at one end. Presumably, a person could enjoy a quick disco nap without having to go to bed? Not sure really, but I have seen those in antique shops and National Trust buildings.

Ah, of course such heavy curtains would most probably require a swag. Interestingly too, we'd call them sash's down here as a swag is an oiled canvas bag which you carry on your back when walking (thus the term swagman) or attached to the side of your horse. You were able to sleep inside the swag and not worry too much about the elements. They're like a mini canvas tent.

That talk of the assembly line reminded me that one of the colours used way back in the day was particularly toxic and hard to reproduce. I just asked the editor and we can't quite decide whether it was either blue or green (blue and arsenic I believe was the culprit). Anyway, one of colours was pretty nasty. Oh, we just looked it up and it was green. I wonder what Robin Hood and his merry band of hoods used as he was always shown in green? Of course this may have been creative license?

You'll laugh about this. We are taking some homemade sake to a friend’s place and the label for the bottle which the editor just made up has a "hello kitty" cartoon and a Shinto temple. It tastes as authentic as it looks! ;-)!

Oh, well that is a surprise. The thing is, I felt more vulnerable to replacement when I was working in the higher status and better paid jobs than when I was lower in the pecking order. There was always work too in the higher status jobs because they were not good and there was a lot of churning of staff. The main problem I found was that eventually the system was set up such that if I had over stepped my capabilities (the Peter Principle) and wanted to take a backwards step, then because there was a basic shortage of people higher in the food chain, let’s just say that it was discouraged...It was a good way to see for oneself that progress does not always go in one direction! Hehe! Actually after two decades managing the staff drove me bananas as they were slowly getting worse in terms of the behaviour and sense of entitlement. I had one dude (an IT worker) that I told off because I told him he should spend more time working and less time worrying about his remuneration. It was a feat of greed that was impressive to witness first hand.

I would have thought that your library would have been required to employ locals as a priority, given that locals are paying for that service? Maybe I'm naive...

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Oh, of course that makes sense. Most jams down here are chunky and the fruit is blended 50/50 with sugar and pectin is added where the fruit is old or low in pectin. The whole process is a good preservation technique and jam stays preserved for years. Not much can live in a vacuum sealed container that has a massively acidic mix. A lot of the food things that we take for granted are actually preserving techniques.

Interestingly too, the deer turned up this morning and this time I counted seven including a stag. We cleared them off, but I may have to get a bigger dog as I don't want to have to fence the farm as the other animals will suffer. Getting someone to come in and harvest the deer is an option too. The chickens and dogs would love the meat.

Yeah, exactly, you have to keep sharp about the ingredients used in foods and all things are subject to change. The salt in the peanut butter is used as a preserving agent. The butter goes off within a few weeks due to the rich environment and high surface area. You can smell when peanut butter is off and even then it probably won't kill you (maybe?!). Yuk! That jelly swirl sounds pretty ghastly. I do enjoy fresh peanut butter on freshly baked bread that is still warm from the oven. It is good stuff. I’ve never seen an oil slick in peanut butter – presumably the oil is there to stop the atmosphere coming into contact with the butter?

People are very picky about food nowadays but this I reckon - as you write - is a learned pickiness. If I start talking to them about what they are actually eating and how it was produced, they usually stop whining about food. It is one of my pet hates and I really feel for people who have genuine food intolerances as they get bundled up with the fads. The gluten one is strange because there are people who have genuine coeliac disease and then there are others who say to me that consuming gluten makes them feel tired or a bit hay fever-ish. Of course much of it has to do with the wheat varieties and how they are processed, but then the people consume huge quantities of energy too in one sitting and there are costs to that for their systems.

Many years ago, I looked after a dog for a few weeks and the owners told me how fussy the dog was and it was eating this rubbish food. I just starved the dog for a couple of days and all pretence at fussiness disappeared. It was a remarkable incentive for the dog to overcome its behavioural difficulties! I recall when Elvis died - yup, he ate a shocker of a diet. Still he did choose that life and so who is to say whether he was actually winning?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

That is some tidy work with the oiling of the social gears. Total respect and I'd do exactly the same. Number 10 is still way closer than Number 20! Is it getting any warmer and was your trip into town as exciting as last week’s near miss? Have you seen that vehicle about again?

It was funny writing about population pressure last week because I picked up the last delivery of mail this morning for the year at the general store, and the local pub which is just up the road was getting a delivery of a portable ticket booth and truck loads of portable toilets. They are apparently going to throw a huge bash tomorrow night with a couple of bands that even I'm aware of (I quite like two of them). It should be interesting and I overheard a bit of local grumbling as it has changed the Christmas traditions for many of the locals and I can see and understand everybody's point of view. It is interesting to look at the activities of humans through the lens of the ecologist. Some morons in Melbourne were apparently going to do a Christmas bombing - they're in a lot of trouble, as they should be.

Was the water frozen or was this some sort of system outage? My mind has been on water because for the next week every day is well past 86'F but a huge cyclone is moving down from the north west of the continent so there may be rain here mid next week. The forecast actually look monsoonal as it is hot with predicted rain. Adelaide where Angus (a commenter here) looks set to be drenched! It should be good for his garden! My neighbours had a truck deliver water to their property today. It is a bit early in the season for that…

I used the outside kitchen today to bake a loaf of bread for the first time this season. Of course the electric oven hadn't been used for months and the front cover was broken so it required some dodgy repairs before use.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Yeah I'm with you on that as at least on the hot day you can seek shelter in the house where it is cooler thanks to insulation. Every summer I'll probably see about three to four of those 108'F days. A bad year there may be as many as a dozen days of that sort of temperature. Honestly, 114'F was extreme. It was a crazy day that one.

-18'F is like -28'C. Far out! I doubt whether a person can readily adjust to those sorts of temperatures... It would destroy the garden here. Total devastation.

I was actually wondering whether the oil in the gearbox and on the gears themselves in the VW Rabbit had become sluggish in such cold weather? Dunno, as I've never experienced that sort of weather. Metal tends to expand in the heat, so I'm unsure that would be the answer, but you never know. On those old manual gearboxes you are physically shifting the gears with the lever. I had one of those levers break once and I was stuck in the city in fourth gear. By the time I got outside the city where I could park the car, the clutch was blowing smoke... Fun times!

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@Lewis

Yeah, I think your prediction will be correct :p As for card catalogs, well such a system would be cheap, resilient and reliable. As such I suspect it has zero chance of being adopted. For now, the books are piled/stacked on any shelf with spare space. Sometime in the distant past catalog numbers were placed on the shelves and books but I think that system has been long since forgotten!

I finished hosting a 4 day training workshop this week. The goal was basic website development in wordpress. I had no idea how well they would do (a mix of teachers and support staff from the college) as we come from a very different educational background. I also feared there would be a lot of 'no shows' after lunch (a common occurrence for Laos government employees). I ended up being pleasantly surprised and they all did pretty good, if anyone wants to look, the practice websites are:

http://nafcred.wordpress.com
http://nafcyellow.wordpress.com
http://nafcgreen.wordpress.com
http://nafcblue.wordpress.com
http://nafcpurple.wordpress.com

Unlike most workshops, I controversially insisted this one be held at the college. Normally workshops, especially foreign funded workshops, are held in a different province. This way everyone gets an exciting trip away from home and free food. I thought this was a blatant waste of precious and scarce dollars. Last night over some BeerLao, I caved and said that *maybe* I would not be against the next workshop being held in an neighboring province. When in Rome and all that....

orchidwallis said...

@ Margaret

I am very sorry to hear of the death of your brother. I am thinking of you.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The variety of furniture, old and new can be kind of mind boggling. There was the "fainting couch." Half back, one rolled elevated end and no elevated end toward the foot. Yup. They did look like they invited a good swoon. :-). The "Freud" couch. As in Sigmund :-). No back, one end elevated. Chez lounge. There's a lot of overlap.

There were a lot of paints that turned out to be toxic. And, if you were the type of artist that had the habit of putting the brush end in your mouth, maybe to contemplate ... maybe to get a good point ... well, it was bad news. Some were made with arsenic. White lead was pretty popular for a long time. Ladies also used it in makeup to whiten their skin. From the Romans to the Victorians. So, they were slowly poisoning themselves. Hmmm. Robin Hood. Well, a lot of the less accurate portrayals have the guys all in electric green. More authentic, I think, would be a motley collection of clothes using vegetable dyes in soft greens, browns and soft russets. Really ideal for camouflage in the woods.

Yeah, there's a lot of consternation when one tries to step down from a job. I was a substitute clerical for a number of years ... then I got a permanent position in the Yelm library, which was a hell hole. So, I stuck it out until I nailed down my small State retirement. Then I gave notice (after making sure I could step back into substituting). There was a lot of nonplused consternation. Why would Lew give up the benefits and go back to substituting? Well, I pretty much just kept my mouth shut. Let them draw their own conclusions. The building head was eventually moved to a non public, non supervisory position. In a windowless room, I hope. The last B. Dalton store I worked in, there was the store manager, assistant manager and senior sales clerk. All carried keys and could do bank deposits. Manager burn out was pretty high. So, for awhile, three of us kind of rotated those positions. :-). Our regional manager was a bit miffed, as there was a lot of paper work involved. But we always had good reasons for shifts in position .... going back to school part time, minor family crisis, burnout. And, as the store was well run and profitable, she played along.

Usually, elected officials are required to live in their districts. But I can remember when even non-elected city employees were required to live in a city or county. Teachers, too, I think. Way back. I don't think that's a requirement, any more. I suppose there was a court case, somewhere, sometime. Or just the general slackness in society and entitlement. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Most of the "natural" peanut butters you get here have a good 1/4 to 1/2" in oil floating on the top. You have to be a bit careful stirring it in, to not slop it over the sides and make a mess :-). You can buy stuff that is pre-mixed, but it has stabilizers in it, that I'd rather not eat. Hmmm. I just happened to think that occasionally I run across a recipe for something that needs peanut oil and I wonder if ... But, if I used too much of the separated peanut oil, then it would be hard to mix and spread. perhaps just a little? Nothing is as good as a nice bread, peanut butter and a quick trip under the broiler. Another sandwich I make from time to time is p-butter, skim milk mozzarella cheese, plane yogurt and sunflower seeds. Sounds bizarre, but sooo yummy.

Going to town the other day was a bit slick, but I just took it slow and easy. I wouldn't know if I saw the same truck that nearly nailed me again. I didn't get the "vehicle identification" gene. To me, it's just a black truck. The water being out was just the same old ... demand exceeded supply. Came back the next afternoon. So, out about 24 hours. Manageable.

On this day before the day before Christmas, I went to town, this morning. I had some things to pick up at the library which is going to be closed, tomorrow. And, we're supposed to get snow later this afternoon. It is forecast to snow on and off through Christmas. On one hand, we hardly ever have the "traditional" white Christmas. On the other, I feel sorry for the people who feel they HAVE to travel.

Traffic wasn't bad going into town. I didn't go near our big box store district, but noticed the Safeway parking lot and Rite Aid Drug / Variety store parking lots were jammed. The library and opportunity store parking lots were empty. I was pretty idely thinking about neurobiology. The craving and reward system. Compulsions. The expectations we put on ourselves and other people. Limits. if I were an Archdruid, I could put this all into some kind of coherent narrative. But I'm not. So it's just all free floating stuff that somehow relates. LOL. It's interesting that the Inter Library Loan I was collecting, that I just HAD to have today ... that couldn't wait for a pick up next Wednesday was King's "Needful Things." :-). If the DVD is anything like the book, it touches on some of this free floating stuff in my head. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Well done with the websites and the course.

Hey, I realise you were communicating with Lewis, but I was curious as to which Wordpress template was used in the: https://nafcblue.wordpress.com/ website?

Of course there is a bit of self interest here as I was planning to redo my business website over the next week or so using the Wordpress software. The scrolling pictures looked good but were probably not appropriate for the sort of business that we do - and I reckon most people don't want too many hassles with a business website - it is not really a marketing tool for us, but more of a hey, we're actually here website if anyone decides to check us out. Hope that makes sense?

Hey, have you ever used the software "Owncloud" on a server? People are demanding drop box like facilities these days and I want to be able to control such a service so that there is nothing ever on the server as they are hardly a secure storage. I’d be curious as to your opinions on the matter? Did you see that Yahoo apparently got hacked big time and the files are now for sale on the dark web?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Ah that is fantastic, well done them! Yeah, the fainting couches were the day beds of antiquity that I spoke of. The wikipedia entry regarding that particular item of furniture was quite enlightening! :-)! Swoon is definitely the appropriate word. My mental image of that furniture is now a bit different. I thought those Victorian era folk were way uptight? Not so.

The paint and the application of it is a bit frightening. I recall from when I was a kid that lead was commonly added to petrol and the toxic brew was given the product label "super". It wasn't until about 1986 that petrol was commonly sold without the lead additive. That product was called "unleaded". The funny thing was that at the time I recall dire predictions of internal combustion engines knocking, whatever that means. It sounds a bit like Stephen Kings Pet Sematary (sic) doesn't it? The car engines that knock at the door! The lead would have escaped into the environment with all of the other exhaust gases. Interestingly too, I recall at the time that children at schools near busy roads scored consistently lower IQ's than children who attended schools away from busy roads. That is sort of consistent with mild lead poisoning. And let’s not mention the use of mercuric nitrate in the felting process for hat making.

I always thought that the less accurate portrayals of Robin Hood were a bit high camp. I would have thought that the original character would have had to have been a very sharp character currying favour with the locals who would have supported him and his band whilst preying on the more well to do. There seems little point in taking from the locals as they had nothing to give other than food, news, and the occasional bit of shelter. The country would have been quite thoroughly populated too. Bush rangers have always held a certain fascination to me and they arise at a time of stress and rising wealth inequality in a society. It is interesting that there is a feared gang down here car jacking luxury cars, and I have read accounts in the media that they have formed strong relationships with the car re-birthing industry which is only to be expected. In the world of business that is known as vertical integration. I reckon that one may escalate too.

You were very wise to keep your mouth shut in that situation. And the consternation, I reckon, threatened their own faith and belief in how things should be. The consternation is really more about them than you don’t you reckon? Yup, I have read that a fish rots from the head and some people may be very good at what they do, but they should not have staff - ever. I recently ejected one of those people recently from our lives - not that they were friends or business associates in the first place. Rotating the position is a wise thing to do. Out of sheer curiosity, why was manager burnout a common function of that culture? My gut feeling, but this is just a guess is that sales targets were imposed from on high? I've seen that plenty of times.

Yeah, they get around that living in a district by maintaining a rented property or a pied-à-terre. My gut feeling says that it is not the same thing as living in that area. You may well be correct in those general assertions. Dunno.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

No way! Wow, I have never seen oil floating on top of a mass of peanut butter. I assume it is peanut oil? Mind you for the past decade or so, I was buying the peanut butter from the grumpy - and now no longer in business - bread supply ladies who just used to chuck dried peanuts in a grinding machine with no extra salt or preservatives. Peanuts won't grow here, from my understanding, and they definitely won't grow in your corner of the planet either - although I would appreciate reading that I'm wrong. I must read about how Masanobu Fukuoka did the dryland rice growing when I get a chance. He seemed to have a very similar climate and many of the same trees - some of them local from here - growing. So many things to learn...

The sandwich is very nice. It was such a hot day today after sleeping in until 9am we went to the local general store to pick up the newspaper, check the mail and get ice coffees and some very tasty toasted baguettes! Yum! The local store is closing from tomorrow for three days in a row. This is a total disaster, but then they work hard and deserve the time off, so it does sound a bit peevish to complain.

Do they still run meetings at this time of year up your way? I would have thought that this time of year produces special challenges? It certainly is very social.

Fair enough, most new cars look bizarrely the same to me nowadays, so I hear you.

Your water system would make me feel very uncomfortable. Also I reckon the well wasn't sunk deeply enough for the sort of demand placed upon it. I'm in the early stages of contemplating whether I should top up the water tanks used for the garden hoses. The earlier disasters with the tomatoes really chewed through the water this summer. But overall reserves are good for the summer - hopefully so anyway, but there is always the mysterious black swan lurking around causing mischief.

The travel thing is a funny thing isn't it? Some people feel, I can't quite get the right word for it, but perhaps they feel it in their bones that they have to travel. I don't feel that. Interestingly too, I was wondering whether the desire to travel in earlier times was an expression of population pressures? Like farm succession planning is a right nightmare which few families handle well and that would have caused quite a few people to head off into the wild blue yonder. Mind you, that heading off would have caused quite a few of them to be killed.

Nice to read that the library and thrift shop were quiet! :-)! Yes the carrot and stick feature heavily in our culture, but of course I reckon they have to do so because what we believe ain't necessarily so. It is all in the training of the minds really and prophetic religions love that gear too. We believe what we do because to do anything else means that we have to confront what we believe and so instead we talk a lot of rubbish. I particularly enjoy being confronted by charity muggers who represent environmental groups - that is usually not so much fun for them though. I can't put that stuff into a coherent narrative either! That's why I write little stories edging around the much larger story. If I told the larger story, nobody would want to read it and it is not as if a curious mind can’t pick up a book and read it for themselves... Hehe! And the endless arguments about inconsequential details would soon bore me.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

The nafcblue'nafcblue' website uses the 'Lovecraft' theme. Not sure why it is called that, I would expect more disturbing eldritch shapes floating in dark, soul-crushing depths to be a true Lovecraft theme!

Anyway, all the aforementioned websites are running on 'wordpress.com'. This is the cloud-hosted, wordpress-lite option. It contains a lot of similarity with the self-hosted 'wordpress.org' software you are running. In short, same, but different. The materials I used for the workshop can be accessed by anyone interested:

https://1drv.ms/f/s!AsMATZ1MjLl-k5pf445R2qQ4e9WHYg

There are 20 worksheets with step-by-step instructions and screenshots. I wrote them for complete beginners so they might be a little basic. Also, a few of the steps explicitly relate to the practise websites I created for the workshop. Substitute for your own website :p 'Wordpress.org' sites will have a few more options, but should behave the same.

/cont

Damo said...

/cont

RE: Cloud storage.

I have no direct experience with 'owncloud'. I suspect it could be a good option for those who want 'cloud' flexibility on their smart phones, tablets and PCs, but without selling out to the large Silicon Valley companies.

If you are looking for more of a simple 'drop-off' point for clients to give you large files that are difficult to email then there might be a simple wordpress plugin that could do that for you? For example:
Front end file uploader


The Yahoo data breach is not surprising. That sort of thing would be less likely with an 'owncloud' system, but only due to being a small target. I currently use Microsofts version of DropBox (OneDrive) and have significant doubts about the possibility of hacks, data loss etc. Indeed, once I have finished here overseas I will probably cancel my subscription and go back to self-managing my photo backups etc.

The easiest option for you of course is just to have a free DropBox account with a 'public' folder for your clients to send you files. However, even if you delete the files after download I am sure they get archived somewhere in the depths of DropBoxs servers so the possibility of a data breach does exist. Cynically, I would say DropBox getting hacked is a reasonable cover story for you as a business, but ethically is another story :-) On the other hand, the only way to be fully secure from a determined hack is to not use a computer (no internet connection is not enough, just ask Irans nuclear program). Luckily, I suspect none of us really need to worry about a determined hacker, except for our transparent and democratic governments I suppose :p

Damo

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

What a name for that template! And you're spot on, where are the eldritch tentacled horrors from the deeps... Whoever put the template together must be a fan?

Thanks for the Wordpress suggestion in the first place as I'm a bit behind the times on such matters. It is much simpler than the previous visual website designer program that I used and it just seems to work. Although on the my internet server down here it can be a bit slow sometimes.

Who would have thought that there was a cheap plug in for a Wordpress website for that particular task? OK, I'm impressed enough to purchase that one and install it over the next few days. I just want simple, nothing too fancy and it operates using FTP as I can see, but the plug in does all the administration so that keeps it simple. I would never have considered looking for a plug in. Nice one for the further suggestion and thanks!

Hmmm, yeah, it is funny that you write about not setting yourself up as a big fish target as I was planning to write about that in a funny story on the next blog. You know what too? I read that Yahoo apparently didn't disclose the breach until apparently the government agencies went to them and asked why where they getting their users info?

I don't actually feel that data on the cloud is safe at all, and who knows if it is being data mined? I recall from years back that there was a cartoon for Facebook with the caption: "You are the product". I've never used Facebook and the fact that someone tried to track me down on it through friends was just a real alarm bell. When people jokingly nickname it Stalkbook, I don't laugh! Far out.

Yeah, I hear you and you are correct, but I just don't feel comfortable for being responsible for that potential loss of data. And of course data never goes away unless it is over written because all the servers do is reallocate the allocation tables and the data is always physically still there on the hardware. You're spot on though, we're small fry and don't need to worry about a determined hacker because it is not worth their time or trouble. I saw a business get hit by ransomware a couple of weeks back and that is a nightmare to recover from. Mate, you are as cynical as I am! Hehe!

Here's a computer problem for you! A mate of mine was telling me the other week about a 5 Petabyte (? Not sure of the technical term, but it sounded huge) that had become so large it could no longer be economically backed up. Interesting huh? I wonder how many of those are about the place?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

A Happy Christmas/Festival of your choice to all of you here.

Inge

margfh said...

Thank you for your kind words. My brother, Patrick, was way over the top in his celebration of Christmas. Tonight for our annual family Christmas Eve party everyone will wear Christmas necklaces, clothes etc. in honor of him. He was always getting into scrapes of one kind or another from taking off the screen in his bedroom and walking down the road to the local tavern at age 3 when he was supposedly taking a nap to ending up in a dicey neighborhood in Chicago when he "Amber Love" whose number he found in a free paper just a year ago. We always said he had a guardian angel looking out for him. He was a very active guy - always on the go but recently his scoliosis has worsened and he was having issues with his knees. He didn't have the capabilities to follow through on any advice or really understand that this is just part of getting older. Last Sunday he was found head first in the washing machine in the common room in his building. The autopsy said the cause of death was asphyxia though there was advanced cardiac disease as well which could have contributed. I've always worried that my brothers would end up in some substandard facility and suffer without really understanding why. Patrick would have been facing numerous challenges in the not too distant future but now he has been spared this. Perhaps it really was his time.

My mother was very over protective of the guys but we as siblings and the organization with which Patrick's been involved with felt that he should be able to experience as much independence as possible understanding the risks. He had a part time job at the local Jewel grocery store as a bagger and cart retriever, traveled all over his community and made friends everywhere. His banker expressed how proud they were of him as he had recently learned to do his own banking at age 53. The dedicated tutors employed by his organization worked with him and all the other residents of his building to build more skills and become as independent as possible. All in all I think he had a happy and fulfilling life.

Happy Holidays to all.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Hello!

Merry Christmas, All!

Pam

Bukko Boomeranger said...

"No way! Wow, I have never seen oil floating on top of a mass of peanut butter. I assume it is peanut oil?"

Oil floats to the top of lots of ground nut or seed pastes. Peanut butter, tahini, etc are like thick suspensions of oil and solids. All you need to do is let them sit undi"stirred" for a few weeks and you'll see. Have you never had to mix the claggy bottom bits of tahini with the splashy oil before you make hummus?

My sister, who I'm currently taking care of as she dies from cancer at her horse farm home in the U.S., had good taste in food, similar to mine in her predilection for nuts. She's got a "shellf" full of nut butters from a great U.S. grocery chain called "Trader Joe's" (which I wish they had in Australia instead of CostCo.) Because her appetite has been so bad due to chemo anorexia for so long, the almond and hazelnut butters had self-divided. (Kinda like the Red Team/Blue Team population of United States is doing in preparation for the coming civil war.) For some reason the cashew butter did not. Maybe because it's smooth, and the other butters (inc. her huge jar of the peanut kind) are chunky. I haven't gone through her entire pantry yet to see if there's any macadamia nut butter, but such a thing exists. I've seen it on shelves at health food stores. The price of that stuff is high enough to give your wallet a heart attack, though.

With vigorous stirring from a strong-tined fork, these things can be restored to their original consistency. Mixed with honey (sis has half a dozen jars of the stuff, mostly products of local farmers) it's a delicious high-calorie concoction. Add a bit of lemon juice and the texture fluffs up to a sort of parfait (plus it's got vitamin C.) Sadly, sis has no appetite for any of this, even tiny spoon-tips worth.

Bukko Boomeranger said...

"I recall dire predictions of internal combustion engines knocking, whatever that means. It sounds a bit like Stephen Kings Pet Sematary (sic) doesn't it?"

That tells me you were never a hoon, Chris. Knocking sounds like rattles from somebody dropping marbles on a wooden floor, coming rapid-fire from your engine compartment when you mash the accelerator pedal. You can still hear it today with diesel engines. Results from premature ignition of the fuel-air mix as the piston's coming upward in its compression cycle, instead of being fired by the spark plug when the piston is at maximum extension. Lead retards the explosion. It's mostly a problem in high-compression hotrod car engines. Back when I usedta own cars, I had a number of American muscle machines with compression ratios of 12.5 and such, so knocking bedevilled me. Especially when I'd be roaring away from traffic lights pitting my beast against some other maniac who thought HIS car was better than mine! In the 1990s, when leaded fuel was completely phased out from U.S. servos, I used to drive my 1963 Corvette to local private-plane airfields to fill up at their petrol pumps. (Aviation fuel was exempt from no-lead regulations.) I'd have to explain myself at the control tower/office every time I'd hit a new field, but the car exuded so much cool factor (plus it was painted fingernail polish red) that I never had any trouble getting permission. Generally after the flyboy running the show told me about the best hotrod HE ever had...

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - As far as your business site goes, keep it simple. No dancing, singing wombats. A lot of us out here have really slow download speeds. What, no Facebook page? Seems to be de rigueur here for small business. They seem to start off "hot" and then die a slow death from neglect. I just find them irritating. Just give me a simple website that I can do a look in in stealth mode.

Over the years I've done a bit of looking into the Robin Hood legend. About as hard to get a handle on as King Arthur. Probably bits and pieces from several different people ... mix well with folk songs. Embroider heavily to make a better story. Watched a BBC documentary a couple of weeks ago about highwaymen in the 16th and 17th centuries. The presenter banged on about how the legends (and folksongs) didn't quit match the reality. I can still remember a TV Robin Hood series from the 50s. Richard Greene? And, can still remember a bit of the theme song. Today's ear worm ... "Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen. Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men. Feared by the bad .. loved by the good, Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood!" We had our own "beloved" bandit, just a few years back. Run, Colton, run! :-)

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

The culture of most retail chains is that the manager is salaried and the rest of the employees are hourly. So, the assistant manager and senior sales clerk work their 40 hours a week, go home and forget about it. The manager fills in as needed. Someone calls in sick? Can't get anyone else to cover? Manager works a 12 hour day. There are a lot of unwritten expectations to the job. Holidays would usually kick off around Veteran's Day in early November. A daily landslide of stock for the Christmas season. When I was managing stores, from then through New Year's was a round of 80 hour weeks. The rest of the year you considered yourself lucky if you "only" worked a 40 hour week. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I think you might be surprised if you take a close look at the "natural" peanut butter in your store. There's probably a good layer of oil on the top. I'm surprised that separation didn't happen in the stuff you got from the cranky bakery ladies. Perhaps you were eating it up, faster than it could separate? :-).

Yeah, our library system is closed down for three days. Even when the local branch is closed down on Sundays and Mondays, there's still "stuff" going on in the system. Books being catalogued, deliveries being run. A few of the Timberland library branches are even open on Sundays. Some of the major metro branches. But not for the next three days. Slackers! :-).

Yeah, the holidays can be hard on folks in 12 Step Programs. But, there's plenty of support out there to "get you through", should one choose to use it. Even in our little rural county, there's a meeting, somewhere, every day. And, often, many more than one. This last week's meeting out in little old rural Mary's Corner turned out about 30 people. The 12 Step Club is having a Christmas Day potluck. They're providing turkey or prime rib. Everyone else brings whatever. Haven't decided if to go or not. I have the makings for a tabouli salad. I'll see ...

"Go West, Young Man." :-). Yes, farms getting too small to be divided up was a problem. We've been seeing that among the Amish for quit a few years, now. Which is why they're spreading all over the US. More are leaving farming and going into business. Oh, the family farm for their own needs are alive and well. Looking back at the 19th century, sometimes people fell on hard times and were one step ahead of their creditors. Wanderlust. Better economic opportunities. If you look at the Wilder family in the Little House books ... they weren't all that unusual. In each of the books they have just moved to a new place. Or, are moving to a new place. I vaguely remember that the reason my Finn ancestors came to America in the 1880s is because there wasn't much available farm land in Finland. After our Civil War a lot of people moved West. People could leave bad memories behind and reinvent themselves. What you often here is "we wanted a fresh start." Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge, Margaret, Pam, Bukko, and Lewis,

Christmas greetings to you all!

Thanks for the lovely comments but I will be unable to reply today and promise to reply tomorrow.

Cheers

Chris

TalkingTrees said...

Hello to everyone

Seasons Greetings to you and the editor Chris and to all of the other lovely commenters.

Warm Regards, Helen

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

A quick comment on peanut butter. I always understood that peanuts can carry a nasty fungus and that one should be very careful as to where one sources the stuff.
Not a kindly seasonal thought I'm afraid.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year, to all!

Yo, Chris - Saw your comment over at the ADR about Orwell, 1984 and "freedom is slavery." I've been mulling over a concept I ran across recently, that maybe relates. People involved in self destructive behaviors often claim they have the "freedom" to do so. "Rebel, rebel" and all that :-). No limits or boundaries. To clean up one's act would be a loss of freedom. Well, another way of looking at it would be to seize the opportunity, the freedom, to say "no" to oneself and the freedom to set your own limits and boundaries. Any-who. I think it's an interesting different take on freedom.

Well, I made a big bowl of tabouli, last night, so I guess I'm committed to heading out to the pot luck, this afternoon. The snow forecast over the last few days never made an appearance. We had a light frost, last night, but it's already gone and the roads look good. My friends in Idaho have three feet of snow in the yard and two foot drifts on the roads. I told them to keep their yippy dogs, plump :-).

Watched a couple of pretty good movies, on Christmas Eve. "Hologram for the King" (Tom Hanks) which had a pretty interesting strong sub story about manufacturing going to China. And, "Into the Forest." I had read the book a couple of years ago. It's about ... well, it takes place in the Pacific Northwest. For reasons not too clear, the power goes away. Two teenage sisters are isolated, off in the woods. It's about their struggle for survival. Worth a look. Lew

TalkingTrees said...

Dear Margaret

I have just now read through all the comments on this weeks post from Chris. I am very sorry for the loss of your brother. How lovely that your family celebrated his life in the season he loved and how lucky he was to have siblings who enjoyed and supported who he was.

Warm Regards, Helen

Bukko Boomeranger said...

"I always understood that peanuts can carry a nasty fungus and that one should be very careful as to where one sources the stuff."

The fungus is called aflatoxin. It's what makes that green colour that you sometimes find on peanuts, giving them an acrid taste. It's thought to cause liver damage. I haven't seen any data about how much of it you have to eat, over how long, to develop problems. I DO throw out any greenish peanuts I encounter when I'm eating them out of the shell.