Monday, 5 December 2016

Running on Empty

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

Into the dark night the call went out: “CQ. CQ. Are there any YL’s on channel? Over.”  Way back in the dark days of my early teenage years (well before the Internet) all of my friends used CB (Citizen Band AM 27MHz) radios to talk rubbish with each other at night. The words CQ were used to mean a general call into the radio ether. And of course, YL referred to that most elusive of the human species when one is a young male, for it was the: Young Lady!

Of course, my friends and I were either idiots or completely naive (and possibly both!). At the time, it never occurred to us that Young Ladies used the telephone to talk rubbish to each other at night. Who would have thought that happened? As I later found out, a Young Lady would never be caught dead using a CB radio as that was way uncool because of all of those yucky and uncouth young males talking rubbish to one another and taking up all of the airspace.

Of course, as a teenager I worked for Tandy Electronics (Radio Shack in the US) and so I had a secret advantage over my friends when it came to CB radio nerddom! Every month when the discontinued items list (and thus the very cheap stuff) turned up at the store I used to scour the list for anything relating to CB radios and then all of my pay went into buying that stuff. And eventually the roof of the tiny little shed in the back garden that I lived in as a young teenager, sprouted all manner of aerials both large and small. Inside that tiny shed were also numerous power supplies and various CB radios. The holy grail of my CB radios was the SSB (Single Side Band) 12W unit with which I could talk to people hundreds and sometimes thousands of kilometres away!

Don’t feel bad for me living in a tiny shed in the backyard! I used to be able to jump the back fence and be off and away down the laneway without waking anyone up. The dog of course had to be paid off in treats just to keep quiet, but me and that dog were tight and watched out for each other. And I won’t even mention the crazy night that I awoke to find my very naughty cat, who lived to a ripe and degenerate old age, urinating on one of the power supplies. The noise and sparks woke me up and I have to add that the naughty old cat never tried that particular trick again!

Why am I writing about CB radios, understanding dogs and naughty cats? Well, a few weeks ago I heard an interview on the radio with a very young actor from a television show. I have not watched that television show which is called: Stranger Things. The show is set in the 1980’s and that very young actor was saying that a much older actor in the show who is from my generation (Winona Ryder), had been coaching the much younger actors as to how people used to stay in contact with their friends and also keep themselves entertained prior to smart phones and the internet.

Well, last week, I was rudely plunged into pre-Internet times - Stranger Things indeed!

Regular readers will recall that the production of the recent video which I uploaded to YouTube a few weeks ago destroyed my old computer. The old computer died and no amount of coaxing could ever bring that old computer back to life.

So, I visited my favourite computer shop and purchased enough new components so as to cobble together a working computer comprising both new and old components. I connected the components together and soon the computer was showing signs of life again. Once the computer was actually working, I was then able to install all of the software which I used to have on the old machine. And to my surprise and horror, all of the software upgrades and downloads (and there weren’t that many) used up all of the remaining internet bandwidth for the remainder of the month (I have a fixed allocation of 15Gb per month). I had only just managed to upload the photos and text for last week’s blog when my Internet Service Provider pulled the pin on the capacity to access the internet here. It was a grim time.

However, having grown up in a time before the Internet, we dusted off the old skills of “life before the Internet”. Below is a brief summary of the activities from those grim few nights without access to the Internet:

Monday night: Uploaded the blog and just after that the internet access was rudely cut off.

Tuesday night: Ate a homemade pizza and watched a pre-recorded episode of Grand Designs UK and then we went for a walk.

Wednesday night: The editor and I went to the cinema to watch the very wrong, but oh so enjoyable film: Bad Santa 2. And then we ate gourmet hamburgers in the big smoke.

Thursday night: Still no internet, but fortunately the local pub was an excellent diversion and we availed ourselves of quality local brew and chicken parmigiana.

Friday night: The internet was back! Friends had invited us to have dinner with them and so instead of using the internet we visited them and there was good food and a lot of laughs.

Spare a moment in your day to feel sorry for us, as running on empty and having no access to the internet was a real hardship! However, we are made of tough stuff here at Fernglade Farm and so fortunately we survived the ordeal – only just though!

A few weeks back we picked up a second hand Chinese antique style cabinet. The previous owner no longer wanted the cabinet because it was too big for them. We were happy to oblige them and so we took the cabinet. However they were correct that the cabinet was too big and so we decided to Ikea hack it. An Ikea hack means to modify an existing item of furniture in a way that was not intended by the manufacturer. So, we began cutting the cabinet up into smaller pieces.
The author cuts up a replica Chinese antique style cabinet

Soon that cabinet was much smaller and of a more reasonable depth.
The cabinet was soon cut up into a more reasonable size

The rear of that cabinet was then prepared to be reconnected with the now smaller front of the cabinet.
The rear of that cabinet was then prepared to be reconnected with the front of the cabinet
Once the rear of the cabinet was reattached to the front, a generous coating of walnut stain was painted and then polished onto the cabinet. It looked as good as new (as Sir Scruffy can attest in the photo below!) but the cabinet was now smaller and much more usable. We won’t tell the people we got the cabinet from, shall we?
Sir Scruffy approves of the modifications and finish of the newly modified Chinese style cabinet
In breaking tomato news: Regular readers will be very aware by now just how badly we stuffed up the tomato season. In previous summers, tomatoes have been one of the biggest crops and we usually harvest around 100kg (220 pounds) of the fruit. Not this year though as everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong! However, earlier in the week when a few tomato seedlings popped their brave heads out of the ground. I started to believe that we would harvest at least some tomatoes this year.
Earlier in the week a few tomato seedlings popped their brave heads out of the ground
Alas for the poor tomato seedlings, I knew them well! Jokes aside, a massive population of slaters (also known as pill bugs, wood louse etc.) had established themselves in the tomato enclosure and had been consuming every single tomato seedling at night time. Here is one of the culprits:
A happy and full slater which is one of multitude that have consumed all of the tomato seedlings
I rarely have problems with any pests. The wildlife runs free through the gardens and orchard. However, the tomato enclosure is not open to the wildlife and I have a serious shortage of frogs in that area. The frogs are active at night and they will happily consume all of those pesky slaters. I have to give serious consideration to this problem over the next year and perhaps adapt the tomato enclosure so that it is more frog friendly than it is at present. In the meantime, the local nursery provided me with a pesticide which contains the chemical Bifenthrin which is toxic to the slaters, but is also toxic to the frogs. It is a conundrum and is only ever intended as a short term solution to a long term problem. On a brighter note I was able to source many replacement cherry tomato seedlings at a  local gardening club and I am very grateful to them. They even threw in a few freebies as they felt sorry for me.
The tomato enclosure with the recently planted (for the fifth time) replacement tomato seedlings
Unlike the tomatoes, you can almost see the potatoes growing! It is also worthwhile noting that the potatoes have not been watered at all this season. And as they grow, we have been adding more manure to the raised garden beds which buries the lower parts of the plants.
You can almost see the potatoes growing in their garden beds this year
Observant readers will also note that in the photo above the rather old and large tree stump on the very right hand side of the photo (which you can no longer see in the photo) has been removed in the past few days and all that remains now is a good quantity of mulch (which you can see in the photo).

The editor made a batch of elderberry champagne which is now happily fermenting away in the sun. In the pot the elderberry flowers look very unappealing:
Elderberry flowers are in the pot and a batch of elderberry champagne is being produced
Out in the garden though, the many elderberry plants look superb!
The elderberry flowers look superb in the bright warm sunshine
Speaking of sunshine, the warmer days have caused the many tree ferns in the recently planted (May) fern gully to produce many new fronds. The older fronds die back and fall to the ground below the fern. This build-up of organic matter around the trunk of the ferns helps to build the soil. As new fern fronds grow and unfurl, the tree ferns ever so slowly grow in height.
One of the tree ferns in the fern gully unfurls new fronds in this week’s warmer conditions
The warmer conditions are making the many fruit trees grow too. And some of the fruit trees that were damaged by the wallabies last year are showing huge amounts of growth. Like this persimmon in the next photo:
A persimmon which was damaged last year by a wallaby displays lots of new growth over the past few weeks
Strawberry season is here! Nuff said really.
Strawberry season is now starting to produce lots of fresh sun ripened fruit
A few years back I let a few carrot plants go to seed and they now produce carrot seedlings all over the place. It is truly amazing where carrots turn up. And they look great too, although I note that they produce better roots in looser soil:
Carrots have gone feral here and they turn up everywhere, including the strawberry bed
Here is a photo of one spot in the garden where carrots have happily established themselves.
A spot in the garden where carrots have happily established themselves
The dozen or so fruit on the many apricot trees here are slowly starting to ripen and should be ready to pick in a couple of weeks.
The apricot fruit are slowly starting to ripen and should be ready to pick in a couple of weeks
The plums are also starting to show some good size and I spotted this Crimson Glo plum today:
This Crimson Glo plum is starting to show some good size
The European and native bees are going absolutely feral in the flower gardens in the warmer conditions. When the sun is shining the buzz is quite loud.
The European and native bees are going feral in the flower gardens in the warmer conditions
The roses are producing the most beautiful flowers like this hidden but stunning series of red roses.
The many hidden roses (because of the wallabies) in the flower gardens are producing stunning flowers this week
The temperature outside now at about 7.00pm is 18’C (64’F). So far this year there has been 1,142.0mm (45.0 inches) which is the same as last week’s total of 1,140.8mm (44.9 inches).

67 comments:

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

Exactly, and glad to read that you can resist the veterinary shaming! And I'm with you too about giving the animals a better life than they would otherwise have as feral animals. Poopy would not last long as a wild dog!

I reckon you are spot on with that observation too. That is why I brought up the whole bit about live stock eventually become dead stock and you can't avoid it no matter how good your systems and care is. You do adapt to it though.

Nah, that's not too much info. And you're in good company! Thanks for the advice and I'll look into that. The doctor said some people are never troubled by that problem and others are and it is luck of the draw. :-)!

Hope the coming freeze over the next few days is not too unpleasant and you have plenty of firewood on hand.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I didn't know that about the chocolate. I thought that Baby Ruth was a baseball player? Hehe. I'm sure gonna get hate mail for that one... ;-)! I don't have the first clue about baseball.

Yeah, I'd heard the term long johns, but never union suits. I wonder if it has something to do with where they were manufactured way back in the day? Dunno. We give them a very high tech name down here: Thermal underwear. You rarely hear of people wearing them down here because the winters are reasonably mild. They're more a hiking gear sort of thing. I'll tell you what though, when I was walking around the mountains of Nepal at altitude, far out it was cold and that thermal underwear really helped keep you warm. Fair enough too, although I try to obtain cotton - poly mix material for such items. You wouldn't want to be caught wearing synthetic gear in a bushfire or doing a burn off - that stuff melts.

Oooo! Good luck and I hope you get a nice dusting of snow. Just enough to make it pleasant without having all of the downsides of a massive dump of snow. Brrr! Stay warm and I hope Nell and Beau get to sleep inside?

Hehe. Well it works calling it a dead sheep.

Gotta bounce, but will finish replying later tonight!

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

You were early this week, I was able to enjoy reading you while eating my breakfast. I envied you your adolescent shed, I had to make do with a tent in my parents' garden. I did have a shed 7 miles away where I slept at weekends during the summer.

Your tomato problems have gone way over the top. To quote others:~ it is far better to plant them out when larger. I do get self seeded ones coming up from scratch but they take much longer to get going and, in this climate, I am lucky if they ever produce much in the way of fruit.

All the leaves are off the trees now and it is 28F outside. The hedges still have leaves as they are more sheltered, being surrounded by trees.

Have you heard of the fiasco surrounding our new plastic £5 notes? It appears that they contain a miniscule amount of tallow and there is an outcry from vegans, vegetarians and assorted religious groups.

Inge

Jason Heppenstall said...

Hi Chris. Congratulations on surviving your ordeal without the internet. Your account has given me an idea for a story - perhaps some kind of play or even an opera. It would feature a teenager/millennial who suddenly gets her phone and internet cut off and has to venture forth into the non-virtual world. It would feature challenges, pitfalls and heartache, but she would pull through in the end and would be considered 'wise' amongst her circle of friends. I think it could be a hit.

You've just reminded me of Tandy! I used to hang around in our local store in Banbury, where I grew up, forever playing on the different models of personal computers. They used to line them up on the counter ... a Vic 20, Commodore 64, ZX81, ZX Spectrum, Apple (bleurgh - no games), BBC Micro (yawn), IBM Pet (double yawn) and - yes - even a Tandy TRS80 computer. Those were the days when teenage boys could - and did - stay up all night writing their own computer games and becoming instant millionaires. I tried my best, but didn't quite make the grade. Out of curiosity I recently did a bit of research into what happened to a particular prodigy of that age - finding that had later moved to Amsterdam and got heavily into drugs. I guess early success comes at a price.

I missed the whole CB radio thing as I was slightly too young, but do remember those aerials sprouting from people's roofs.

BTW - You might be interested to know that your good self floated out of the Face-ether-Book the other day and appeared on my computer screen along with a time lapse of your forest garden. It was headlined (from memory) "This Australian Farmer has Regenerated the Outback", or something equally uplifting. I think it was some permaculture institute or other sharing your story, and there were plenty of people 'liking' it and sharing it and writing comments such as "awesome dude". Well done.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis (cont.),

Hmm, yeah, well, Hillary probably has much to contemplate and the woods are a good place to do such an activity. Mind you, I wonder how much of that is genuine, given that she was spotted. I wouldn't want to live under such close observation as it would drive me bananas. I don't know how they keep up the effort at their ages. Those jackets are pretty hardy and I hope mine will outlast me.

That budget crunch at the local library makes for unpleasant hearing. Times are tough. I wonder whether that reduction of costs was shared equally among the staff? I see incomes reducing and costs rising across the board - but some people seem to be avoiding that fate. And generally it is the big corporations that seem to be maintaining that experience for their staff. I wonder what will happen to them when the inevitable finally catches up with them? I suspect it will be a bit Louis XVI. ;-)!

Hasn't fifty years gone by in a flash! You know they are going to release a new series starting at the end of the Star Trek VI story. That was my favourite film with the old crew and the story was excellent. It is hardly surprising that the original props are now so far gone. I mean the series competed with the rather dismal (in my opinion) Lost in Space series. Far out that show annoyed me as a wee young thing. I liked the robot though. The characters just seemed a bit inept to me. I mean they got lost somehow, and just couldn't quite figure out how to get back again. Even Gilligan's island was more amusing. I'm not saying that it is a far stretch of the imagination to include a fictitious star ship in the Smithsonian Institute of flight, but it is just frankly bizarre.

Well, pop culture is another thing altogether and Simon Pegg has earned his stripes. Have you seen the last Star Trek film yet, I don't recall you mentioning that? :-)! Anyway, they went right back to basics with Mr Pegg's script and it was a lot of fun - as it should be.

I do recall that Mr Shatner did not go to the funeral of his mate Mr Nimoy. I saw them on a show many years ago which was loaned to me by a mate and I could see that Mr Shatner failed to connect and Mr Nimoy gently shepherded him through the world of human interactions and gently corrected him when needed. It was fascinating and quite insightful to watch and also quietly pleasant to see.

Why did the chicken cross the road? And who are we to question that poor chickens motives? Such important questions. Careers may be founded on the answers to them! :-)!

Ha! That's funny. Well I'll trade you a Christmas parade for the ever increasing and overly aggressive and overly testosterone fuelled push bike riders that descend upon these narrow mountain roads every weekend. It is a fair trade I can assure you. What happened to the days when riding a bike meant getting from A to B? And a few baskets and flowers on those bikes might calm them all down a bit. What a complete waste of food energy which I could get put to good use here hauling rocks back up the hill!

Oh, I'm starting to feel guilty for not having the tree up too. I hope Santa doesn't come to get me. I saw what a Bad Santa can do and it isn't good. Hehe! Nell is just waiting for the exact right time to launch her cliff scaling antics. And you don't know when that will be!

Nell and Beau are spoiled rotten if they get those essential pan juices! I divide up the butterfat from the full cream milk and give it to the dogs too. They love that stuff.

It is 8.40pm and the chickens don't want to go to bed and the mosquitoes are biting. Nature rarely works to schedule. I’ll tell ya what is spooky. I just heard a noise like Godzilla crashing through the forest carrying something which was squawking. All of the wallabies in the orchard were standing to attention and looking in the direction that the sound came from. I have never heard that sound before. It was a bit eerie and the currawongs are calling their mournful dusk cries.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Haha! Yeah, I was a bit early this week as I wrote the blog entry last evening. I have to keep you on your toes you know! Hehe! On a serious note, I've found that it is easier for me writing on Sunday night rather than a Monday night. I hope your breakfast was enjoyable? Those strawberries in the photos ended up in my breakfast this morning. You know that the slaters and the occasional leech have moved into the strawberry enclosure too but they aren't doing anywhere near the damage in there because there are happy frogs eating them all. It is a dog eat dog world out in the garden!

Thanks. The old shed was actually the old bluestone (a form of local granite) wash house and it was barely large enough to get a single bed in it, but wow, what a grand space it was for a young teenager! Over winter, both the dog (a Jack Russell terrier) and cat came and went as it suited them and they often used to both sleep on the bed when the cold winds blew and the rain fell heavily.

Oh, a tent would have been quite the experience in winter in your part of the world? I assume it was one of those oiled canvas style tents? They used to believe that the fresh air would keep kids safe from childhood diseases didn't they? Back in the day, people used to put up walls on their verandas and the kids slept in those makeshift rooms. Did you have to walk the 7 miles to that shed? When I was a kid I thought nothing of getting on my push bike and travelling that sort of distance to visit friends or travel to far places.

Yeah, the tomato problems this year have been a total disaster and everything that could go wrong went wrong. This is the fifth planting of tomatoes... Of course being warmer here the self seeded tomatoes will be fine and will produce fruit, but it will delay the fruiting until late February / early March. People generally grow them down here in poly tunnels, but I'm uncomfortable with the thought of an even more artificial environment than the existing tomato enclosure. I have to draw a line in the sand somewhere. Tomatoes are a very flexible and readily adaptable fruit. Honestly, I'm glad to read that you can get any fruit from tomato plants.

28'F outside is very cold. Brrr! I hope you are staying warm inside? Thanks for mentioning the hedges as they are an ideal response in your climate. I'm fascinated by hedges. The local parrots took some of the nowhere near ripe Asian pears tonight. The trees are a little bit small to net. Oh well, there is always next year on that front. If the parrots take the fruit, the tree puts more energy into growing, so it is no bad thing. I only ever net a few trees anyway.

I'm sorry to laugh about the new notes. It is funny you have to admit? Maybe? I know a lovely young lady who is a vegan and I reckon they are a good thing for the environment. However, oil which is used to produce plastic is originally derived from dead sea creatures, so there is a conundrum in there. If a vegan diet is approached with care and consideration, it can be a very healthy choice for an individual. I read today that it is only 10% efficient to produce animal proteins from plant matter and I can see that here.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jason,

Very funny, but I like the way you think. You know I read a while back that a sit in protest at a University was quickly stopped when the wi-fi access was cut off to the protesters. A true story! I look forward to reading your next book too. I saw your blog post and mate, seriously, it was text only last week. Even the ADR has way too many pictures for it to have loaded here during that time.

That takes me back. I used to play a very blocky version of Defender on a ZX-81, and then much drooling occurred over the all colour spectrum model. And I was lucky enough to score a Commodore 64 (have you heard the Data Rock song - Computer camp love - it is very funny and that Norweigan band has close ties with Australia too?). Yeah I gave the code crunching a bash too. It is amazing what assembly language on one of those old beast could achieve. Did you ever get a chance to play the games: Elite or one of the Ultima series - both were English software?

You never want to peak early. It seems a bit of a curse.

The whole CB radio thing was a lot of fun. The airwaves are quiet nowadays as I have a UHF CB scanner for listening in to the fire fighting channels although they went all digital recently.

What? I like to think I'm an awesome dude. ;-)! On a serious note, I'm amazed at how popular that video is. I isn't quite the outback here... Hey, I was impressed that you knew a guy in the Church.

Cheers

Chris

Jason Heppenstall said...

Ah, yes - I had a ZX Spectrum. I've still got it in the attic somewhere. I also had a Vic 20 - which was pitiful. My mum bought it for me because she said the Spectrum looked like a toy. I learned to write assembly language when I was about 12/13 - most of my mates were doing the same kind of thing. We used to hack into computer games - a great thrill, I recall. One of my friends had a BBC and I did used to go round to his place and play Elite. I see they've brought out a new version in the last year or two - which looks awesome from the perspective of my 12-year-old self. If only I still played computer games ...

Yep - new book is out. "Seat of Mars", published by Dmitry Orlov's press and available on Amazon. I've spent a serious amount of work getting it ready for publication and am happy with the result. It's difficult trying to put it into a genre ... should it be sci-fi, or dystopian fiction, or political thriller ,,,? Well, whatever, I have the next episode forming in my head already.

Cheers,

Jason

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I just had a brain flash! With the tent were you cheekily doing the old Monty Python skit about how hard they all did it when they were kids? Just thought that I'd ask.

Cheers

Chris

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

To catch up from last week, we took Interstate 64 from the Illinois side of the metro area, about where its western terminus is, all the way to its eastern terminus around Norfolk, Vriginia, at the southern end of Chesapeake Bay, then south on state and US highways to the Outer Banks. I-64 runs well north of the worst drought areas of the Southeast. We may have caught just a bit of the northern fringe of extreme drought in Kentucky but otherwise none of the worst area. In fact, the grass along the sides of the road looked fairly green to me even in the moderate and severe drought areas we passed through, and there were no signs of any fires. The bad fires are in the SW corner of North Carolina and the adjoining area of Tennessee while we were in the NE corner of North Carolina. With winter beginning, the drought shouldn't get worse and might get significantly better if winter brings rain with it.

Your point about houses on the Outer Banks being vulnerable is well taken. While there is a tall dune between the ocean and the first row of houses (it extends up to the second floor level in spots) and the dune is protected from being altered by humans, the dune wouldn't stand up to any serious storm surge from a hurricane. Nor will it protect against the sea level rise that's baked in the cake at this point. Older houses in the area are perched up on piers so their first floors are at second floor level; the space under the piers is used as a carport or a covered place to sit. That makes good sense to protect against storm surge, but of course it won't make them habitable when the sea level rises to drown the island around them. NC has as official policy that climate change cannot be taken into account in state-level decisions. Talk about sticking your fingers in your ears and chanting "nyaah nyaah nyaah, I can't hear you!" ...

One year I had a slater (pill bug or sow bug, in the US) population explosion in some of the flats in which I was trying to grow vegetable seedlings. I found out for myself how they love to eat seedlings, so my sympathies to you. Because the flats were a small area, I dumped diatomaceous earth all over the surface of the flats and on top of as many slaters as I could see. It cuts up the chitin and dehydrates them to death. I was able to salvage seedlings out of those flats as a result. The slaters had come in with the compost I'd moved from one of my piles into a container in the basement during autumn. The compost in the container is used to make the mix of soil, compost, and earthworm castings in which I start seedlings. It was in the basement because the compost pile outside is still frozen when I need to start the early seedlings. And that's why the nasty little slaters were able to infest the flats.

I could go on about life pre-Internet since I was 40 before it started to take off, but I'll save that for a later comment, if I get time to make one. I will say that it worries me to see so many folks who seem tied to their phones. Those phones seem quite addictive.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - SNOW!!! I stayed up til 1am, but, nothing. Woke up before 8 and it was winter wonderland. Two inches, so far. Big fluffy flakes and a bit of wind to blow it around. Nell put a very careful paw into the stuff and then launched herself off the porch. Beau races madly around and snaps at flakes. He got a nice warm breakfast, this morning. More turkey drippings. Nell didn't like it so much. Oh, well, more for Beau!

Oh, my gosh, cut off from the world for almost a week! The horror, the horror! Far worse then loosing your power or water :-).
I'm older, so I kind of missed the whole CB thing. Here, it was more of a long distance trucker thing. There were country western songs written about the lonely trucker and his CB. Or, dodging the cops. But it jogged a memory. There was a phone number you could call (mysterious, slightly naughty, passed from hand to hand) and it was like a party line. There were lots of kids on it. The first question was usually, "What high school do you go to?"

I must admit when you first mentioned cutting down an antique Chinese cabinet, it gave me a bit of a turn. But I see it's a very nice cabinet ... but I don't think it quit falls in the area of destruction of historic artifacts :-). Whew! There's quit a bit of controversy in the used book trade over what's called "cutters." Sometimes, if you disassemble a book and sell the prints individually, you can get far more money than selling a book, of a piece.

Ah, yes. I didn't know pill bugs were so destructive. We have them here and as a child it was so interesting to pick one up and watch it curl into a ball and roll around in your palm like a pea. Hours of entertainment! :-). Simpler times, sigh.

Your strawberries are quit nice. I've been thinking about making a strawberry pie. Plenty in the freezer. And your roses are spectacular. Is that a wilder (more ancient) variety, behind?

I had forgotten long johns being referred to as "thermal underwear". Being a bit of a wag, sometimes I refer to them as "thermonuclear underwear." :-). Cont.



LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Well, snow has stopped and it was a total of 3 1/2 inches. It's beginning to melt. Falling off the trees Drip, drip. I just heard a crash in a fir grove just up the road. Flushed several eagles out. Didn't know they were there! I'd better keep Nell, close, today. Being a black cat usually works in her favor, but against the snow .... The roads are going to be a mess. It will melt a bit and then freeze tonight when it gets into the 20sF.

The library goes through these budget crunches, from time to time. They get a little "fat", and then ... At least no reduction in hours or staff. That I've heard of. I'll check with my contacts, next time I'm in. So many of our branches are rural with only two or three employees. Not much fat to cut there.

Last year I watched some documentaries. "Pioneers of Television". There was one on detective shows, one on westerns and one on ... Science Fiction. They had interviews with some of the Star Trek crew and Lost In Space. Lost in Space was suffering from the Star Trek series so it got wilder and stupider. Some of the cast said it was very hard to make it through a script without bursting out in laughter. I worked in a library branch that had a horrible building head. When she'd pull into the parking lot, someone would get on the intercom and warn "Danger, Will Robinson!" :-). Usually, me. Shatner and Nimoy were always at loggerheads. More on Shatner's side, as Nimoy got WAY more fan mail than he did. Over the years, their relationship was VERY up and down. If they did conventions together, Nimoy always got a better response from the crows. Shatner reminds me a bit of Trump :-).

Putting the Enterprise in the Flight and Space museum does make a bit of sense. So many of the people in the current space programs were influenced to go into that by watching Star Trek as little kids. Or, even the reruns.

Trade a once a year Christmas parade for every weekend bicyclers? Doesn't sound like a good deal to me. :-). The yearly STP (Seattle to Portland) bicycle weekend is bad enough. I mark it on my calendar and stay off the roads. It goes right through our county.

Well, I wonder what's out there in your woods? Do you really want to know? Triffids? :-). Lew

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Your CB story brings back memories. Both Doug and my mother (who loved to drive fast) both had them years ago mostly to avoid speeding tickets. We did have quite a bit of fun with them having conversations with ourselves pretending to be in two different cars. What was your handle? Mine was G-string which really got the truckers going haha. My mother used to say she was driving a white Mercedes.

I envy your electronic and computer skills.

I'd be interested to hear how the elderberry champagne is made. We have a lot of elderberry bushes growing wild around here.

We got about six inches of heavy wet snow yesterday. It was very beautiful but I can't say I enjoyed cleaning it off my car in the train parking lot at 10:30 last night after returning from the play performance. A friend and her husband hit a patch of black ice last night, spun off the road and hit a tree. Fortunately they are both OK though a lot of damage to the car. Today and tomorrow will be slightly above freezing so there is some melting but I doubt it'll all melt. The chickens are not happy.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jason,

Nice to hear about your ZX Spectrum and they were a good machine. The Vic 20 was a bit rubbish really, what with its 3Kb of usable memory (or was it 4Kb?). The Commodore 64 was a huge step up on that machine and the games were so much better. You know, a collector may want to purchase your old ZX machine? I sold the Commodore 64 and an Intellivision video game console to a collector a few years back. It surprised me that there was even a market for such things and it sure beats collecting dust in the attic. :-)!

Top work with the assembly language. You know it wasn't that different to the basic language - just a whole lot faster. Elite was a massive universe for such a small computer and yeah I saw that release of the updated game. I don't play games anymore either. A few years ago a group of my mates became addicted to the massively multiplayer online games and that was horrific to see and I swore off playing games. My mates just dropped out of life and those games took over for so many years. I much prefer the real world despite all of its challenges.

Your book sounds intriguing and you have just sold a copy! I rather enjoyed your previous book: The Path to Odin’s lake. Will be in contact shortly.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thanks very much for the explanation of your travels. It was a fascinating account and it is nice to hear of your first-hand experience. I was able to follow it along on Google maps. Yeah we heard of those fires down here in the media and it was really surprising to read of them that late in the year (and thus close to winter). I can sort of see why the SW corner of North Carolina would be a place subject to fires given its location and the geology around it. I hope the winter rains are plentiful.

Sorry to be the one to say that, but I can see the dune systems along the coast here appear to be being swept away after big storms and king tides. The sea level rise does appear to be baked into the cake too and there is little to be done now to change that. That is fascinating that the older houses were built on posts. They do that up north here in the flood and tropical cyclone prone areas. It is a great idea up north because the salt water crocodiles use those flood events to move about the landscape... The newer houses don't seem to be constructed on posts from what I recall. Really? Wow, whatever gets them through the night, I guess. Honestly, their beliefs make little to no difference to the ecological realities. I mean what do you say? The state government down here apparently admitted recently that they had only managed to undertake controlled burns of 1% of the planned burn area this year. Not good.

Thanks for your sympathies. I have no problem sharing the produce with the wildlife here, but when they take the lot and then the replacements, and then the replacements of the replacements (you get the idea!)... Of course, diatomaceous earth is a great idea. I'll try and track some down. The population of the slaters should settle down over the next year or so and I'll try and grow more flowers and shrubs in that area so that the predators can shelter from the sun during the day. I've made that enclosure into a giant slater party – and they’re going hard!

Yup, those phones are addictive and I see lots of people with their heads buried in them. What really troubles me is when I see couples eating dinner in a restaurant and they all have their heads buried in smart phones and they're not talking to each other. It wasn't always that way... I hear you about life pre-internet. Oh yeah, I hear you.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Awesome! Enjoy your snow. Nell is full of beans and life, and well Beau is enjoying chasing and dealing to, snow-flakes. That would have been fun to see. Yup, old dogs are like old campaigners in that they appreciate a warm breakfast on a cold day. Cats have fussy manners whilst dogs, well they love their turkey dripping. That stuff wouldn't last more than half a second here, and Scritchy would be sure to grab the lions share of it. Beau, like Scritchy, is winning!

Well since you put it that way. It was a hardship, but we're made of tough stuff here and minor flesh wounds like losing the internet for a week... Pah! Tis but a flesh wound! You know, I actually wonder how many people would choose between no water for a week or no internet for a week? We could learn to drink something else, I guess. I'm actually scared to even ask someone that question.

Wasn't there a film about long distance truckies and CB radios? The name Convoy rings a bell. Not sure really, I was a bit young for that. Bouncing radio signals off the ionosphere was a very cool effect with the single side band 12W CB radio. The distance you could achieve was phenomenal.

A mate of mine (him in Ohio) once got sacked for running up a huge phone bill on those party lines. A good effort that one! I've never used one. It is funny how people try and peg you so that they can understand where you fit into the hierarchy. I hear that same question asked in all sorts of different ways, although at heart it is the same question.

Sorry for the shock and glad that you survived intact. Look mate, I reckon you and I are more antique than that cabinet! The cabinet was constructed with green timber which had shrunk in places and the quality of the timber was only good in the doors and the front facade of the unit. Everything else was cheap pine. What was interesting about it was the sheer volume of mortice and tenon joins which dominated the construction. That says a lot about the place that it was constructed. Lots of things are like that in that the parts are worth more than the whole. Cars are like that. But a book, that is rough.

Who knew how voracious the slaters were. The funny thing was that the whole mess is my fault as I made the enclosure to be so attractive to the slaters. Lesson learned.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Yum! The strawberries are very tasty. I found a leech in that strawberry enclosure the other day and I feel as if harvesting the strawberries are a bit like visiting the leech of olden times... Hopefully there are not too many more in there? Probably. I've never frozen strawberries before. Your refrigerators and freezers must be massive! I'd probably dehydrate them to preserve them. Thanks about the roses and the colours are great aren't they? The flower above and behind the rose is a geranium (or is it a pelargonium?). I honestly don't know the difference between the two but have been corrected for calling them all geraniums. Pedants! Pah!

Oh yeah, yup. That sums up a long john situation.

The eagles are probably very grumpy about being un-housed during a snow storm. And a dinner comprising Nell might soothe ruffled feathers. I often wonder whether the eagles here could possibly take Scritchy. She wouldn't go down without a fight, but really the eagles are massive birds.

It is nice that no hours or staff are cut at your libraries. However, I'm not so sanguine about a lack of further cuts. They may ask for more volunteers than at present to help run the place - that will certainly be a sign that changes are in the air.

The funny thing about Lost in Space was that it had a far bigger budget than Star Trek way back in the day. Just shows how much studio executives know! Yeah, the story line really degenerated for Lost in Space and that annoying doctor character was just annoying. That is very funny that warning - I like your style! ;-)!

I'm not so convinced that disparities in the fan mail was at the source of the difference between the pair. There was something about Shatner that just didn't seem to click right to me - he missed basic social cues. It probably didn't help that Nimoy was a warmer person too. I like the comparison too. Good one.

Fair enough, maybe I was being a bit harsh about that and the star ship has earned its stripes. How much fun would it be if it worked? Would you go?

I'm too close to Melbourne and the bike riders know it. A few weeks ago one of them on the down hill run from the top of the mountain almost wiped me out (I was on foot) at high speed. I mean how fast does the dude need to go? It isn't a good deal for you but one can only but ask.

I don't know what was making that crash through the bush. It was very strange. You know the strangest thing I saw today was someone with a Shetland pony tied to a post next to a cafe in the inner suburbs of Melbourne this morning. I was like: That's a big dog. Hang on a second, that's not a dog... Very weird.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Glad to be of service! My mates and I pulled that trick too with the CB radios when we were in cars hooning around. I'm genuinely amazed that we all escaped unscathed. I liked your handle too, YL! Hehe! Yeah, that definitely would have scored some attention and laughs. Ah, such innocent times. I can't recall what my handle was unfortunately. No doubt it was something silly. The white Mercedes story was funny too. No doubt the car was at least white. Hehe! I had a snot bright green hatchback, that thing sure went fast. There might be a story in there? Maybe not though.

Thanks! Most of the parts click together. The photovoltaic solar system is a lot like that too. The really clever people are the ones who construct the devices in the first place. I recently went to visit the local people who manufacture some of the solar gear that I use and I had a great time having a chat to them. Nice people.

No worries, I'll ask the editor when I get a chance as to how she made it and post the recipe. Just remember it is the flowers and not the berries. No doubt the berries could be used - maybe. I was told that it is like a dandelion wine to make.

Yay for snow! Good stuff. Oh yeah, that is probably not such a nice thing about such a heavy dump of snow. Black ice is really bad and very scary. It is a problem down here too. Glad to read that both of your friends are OK from the crash. Stay safe yourself too in the conditions. Chickens are not a fan of snow or frost at all. Hopefully they keep warm in lots of deep straw.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

No, I wasn't trying to show how hard life was; I loved my tent. My mother fostered children so I didn't have a bedroom to myself until I left home, hence the joy of the tent. It was an ex military tent, I think US. Very, very heavy canvas so not something I would have wanted to carry around. It slept two and I used to resist pleas from other children, to share it. Later on I sold it.

I built the wooden shed myself, with a bit of help, when I was 13. The journey there was a 3 mile tram ride followed by a 4 mile walk. I was 15 before I got enough money together for a bike. What a joy that was!

Strange when I consider how I live now; not a lot different in type of area and still a wooden shack but with electricity and water. I had built a brick fireplace outdoors back then and there was plenty of wood. Had to watch wind direction as I didn't want smoke to give my presence away. I was definitely an unusual girl, even more so in those days. I am really grateful to my mother that she permitted this.

I reckon that one is always the same person right from the start, though I can appear to fit in anywhere.

That picture of a strawberry made my mouth water, hurry on summer.

39F today with fog. The sun tried to break through earlier but seems to have given up.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Definitely prefer water to internet. One proviso might be whether or not one gets warning of water loss. If I had warning and knew for how long, I might go for the internet as I could store up on the water.

Am not keen on frozen strawberries better to freeze them blended as they go mushy anyhow. Blend with a bit of sugar, freeze in a container and when de-frosted mix with whipped cream; absolutely yummy.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Claire - Well, I always ask people who travel a bit. What was it like, "out there". Economically?

Yo, Chris - The new Star Trek movie. I'm 87 on a waiting list of 165 ... but there are 16 copies in play. And, another 20 copies on order. With that many copies on hold, they will hustle the on order copies through processing. Shouldn't be too long. By the way, that 10% cut in the purchasing budget amounts to just over $300,000.

I vaguely remember the "Convoy" movie. I think the song came first ... and then the movie. Something about truckers rising up, totally messing up the roads and inundating Washington, DC in 18 wheelers. Or, something.

Volunteers are still a bit of a sore subject in some of the branches. Way back before I worked for the library, there was a BIG budget crunch and volunteers were used to keep some of the libraries running. Which the employees association (a polite term for union) didn't like much. There are volunteers in some branches, now, but there's a very clear line between what volunteers can do, and what staff does. Kind of like the line between clerical and professional staff :-). But all round, it's pretty flexible, these days.

Star Trek. Would I go? Well, I was ready to go when I was younger. When I worked for Walden Books, back in the early '70s, I was thoroughly convinced that sooner or later we'd have a store on the moon, or space station. I was ready! Silly.

Well, the snow was on the melt, right up til I went to bed ... but must have froze during the night. There's a crust on it, now. I had a good laugh when Nell launched herself off the porch this morning, expecting the same optimal fluffy stuff as yesterday. Crunch, crunch, crunch! She won't be catching any birds, today. They'll hear her coming. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Supposed to get down to 22, tonight. The road in front of my place looks pretty good. Maybe I can make it to town, tomorrow. I'll just go a bit later and watch out for ice in the shady spots. Once I get off my hill, I should be ok on the county roads. Thursday, I should be able to get to my meeting, as by then, the temp is supposed to be well above freezing. But we may get a bit more snow early Thursday morning. The postie bogged down at the foot of my driveway. Kinda. Actually, he hit a pile of snow and it kicked up under his car and knocked a belt off. Lots of scrambling around to find the right tools and we got him on his way. He's a relief driver, and I hope he gets the route. Cranky Old Caroline has retired.

Here's a bit of public art I really like. Loads better then that teddy bear, a few months back :-). I think you need one of these for your place. Would scare off whatever is in the woods :-).

http://timesonline.typepad.com/dons_life/2016/11/the-cockerels-new-nest.html

Well, the eco-people are all in a delirious state of ecstasy as Fishers (a kind of weasel) has been released into Mt. Rainier park and a National forest. Vicious beast. They'll be singing a different tune when one rips the face off of one of their precious little snowflakes. And, while we're at it, lets re-establish the grizzly bears and wolves. Paugh!

A first for me. I made Toad in the Hole, last night. Anything to put off decorating the tree :-). It's kind of a two for. Now I have Yorkshire pudding down. Which really doesn't seem much like pudding. More like an intentionally collapsed souffle. I followed the recipe carefully. Except for a dash of nutmeg. And, I put broccoli at one end of the pan when I put the sausage in. I thought the sausage would be more ... embraced by the batter mix. But, I looked at pictures on the net, and I hit it spot on. I didn't have beef drippings, but I had a bit of beef stock ... which I reduced down and it worked perfectly. I can see that if I used butter, instead (as mentioned in several recipes) that it would make a pretty good desert base. I really liked the texture. Chewy and elastic. And, there's enough for two more substantial meals. Can Bangers and Mash and Bubble and Squeak, be far behind? :-). Lew


Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Breaker, breaker! Smokey . . . 10-4, good buddy . . . I can't remember much CB lingo, or my boyfriend's (now husband) "handle", but he had a CB in his pickup with the rat motor and he used it a lot as all of his friends had CBs in their pickups, too.

You created a beautiful baby cabinet. Sir Scruffy looks slightly underwhelmed, though.

Your slater is my slater, though you are welcome to keep him. I don't know anything about Bifrenthrin. I see that Claire mentioned diatomaceous earth. That might work. It seemed to work with the fleas we had. I don't often use it outside. Did I spell diatomaceous wrong? Spell check says I did.

I'm dizzy. Where is the tree stump in the photo that I can no longer see in the photo?

It seems like everything in your place blooms all at once and never stops! Charming ferns, and how about that persimmon? I never seem to get to the one over the hill that grows by the side of the road before the wildlife gets to it. My carrots would hardly feed a mouse, no matter how hard I try. I looked carefully for clues in your photo.

Hey, Scritchy! Yesterday I ran into someone I hadn't seen in a long time who lived next door to us years ago. I asked about their dog Willie and - guess what? - though Willie is no longer with us in his earthly form (hmm), he lived to be 21! Not to worry!

I wear my long john thermal underwear pretty continually from November until March. We don't keep our house very warm and, besides, I don't have to put clothes off and on that much going in and out of the house all day. I don't wear them into town as I get way too hot in the shops.

My Christmas lights are up! I heard monsters in the forest last night, like you, when I was turning them off. But they didn't sound like yours. There were 2 or 3 of them, honking and squawking and yapping, all at each other and all at the same time. I have no idea what it could have been.

Awesome dude!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge and Chris:

I think that the difference between a petroleum product (ancient dead sea creatures, etc.) and a just-produced tallow is a matter of perception. In one case the creatures were long ago dead, without any human intervention, and in the other a cow had to have been recently killed - by a human. There is something to be considered in the suffering aspect of it, and if it was necessary for the particular product being created (is it needed to make a more durable banknote?). Of course, tallow is a by-product itself since there are uses for the whole of the animal. It never pays to be a purist about anything, though.

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for the correction and explanation. You do have a sharp sense of humour on occasions. I would have loved that sort of a tent too, but the old wash house was pretty cool. You were very wise to stand your ground and resist the pleas of the other children as temporary arrangements soon become permanent. The hidden shed would have been a lot of fun too. This may interest you? There is a genuine hermit living in these parts and his story was briefly touched upon in a book: Shack - Simon Griffiths. It is a pretty cool shed is it not? People seem to forget just how little they actually need to get by day to day and have a good life. It is a lost art don't you think?

Well, I was recently reading a biography by the author Ruth Park about her experience growing up in New Zealand during The Great Depression, and by all accounts she - as a young child - was her own keeper too, so to speak, and she too managed to head off into the bush on her own adventures. You were lucky to have had similar experiences and I reckon you are spot on too about people being who they are early on in life. Our environment today is just that much poorer.

A bike is freedom! Bike riding is a very strange and somewhat alien culture to me nowadays and the levels of aggression are disturbing. Militant may be the correct description to use? Dunno.

That is an interesting point too. I try to fit in in most circumstances and rarely do I feel anxious on a social front. A long time ago something clicked and I just realised that other people felt socially uncomfortable and so I observed how they expressed that, and then I rarely felt uncomfortable at all. I also try and make a habit of speaking and listening to most people from many different walks of life. I noticed a lot of people don't really like doing that.

Yum! I love those strawberries too. And it looks like it will be a good berry year due to the heavy winter rainfall. I rarely use freezing as a preserving technique because of the ongoing power requirements. There are simpler preserving methods, but they are far more labour intensive.

I'm with you! Water over the internet any day. Water is a very finite and uncertain resource down under. A very long time ago I visited a mate of mine. He was running a fan behind a running shower and had been doing so for hours and claiming that it was an evaporative cooling device. I cracked the absolute sads about that homemade swamp cooler as it must have used thousands upon thousands of litres of quality drinking water per day. I know someone else who also caught him using that dodgy swamp cooler too. I found it hard to be friends with the guy not too long after that incident.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That is a good question. I try to observe the economic health of a place as I travel around. It can be quite telling about the stories and lives in those places.

Hey, I'll tell ya what! I found out this afternoon what the loud crashing through the forest creatures were the other night. I knew sooner or later they'd pop their heads out at an inopportune time. It was a pair of deer. I managed to get a photo or two of them before I thought that it might not be a bad idea for Poopy and Sir Scruffy to earn their respective dinners. Sir Scruffy being an old dog chased them to the forest edge, but Poopy set out on their trail for a good half hour. He's a good dog and received a reward which was received in front of the other dogs - after he stopped panting from the chase of course.

The thing is, there is no surplus here as everything that can be eaten, gets eaten. People don't seem to understand that. I sort of see my job here as just sort of picking and choosing who gets to eat and in what quantities and just sort of roughly manage that, let most of it go wild, and sort of hope for the best. If there is a better way to do that, I'd be interested in hearing it, but it accords with what I observe going on here. It is like a giant complex puzzle where the rules and pieces are constantly changing and shifting. It is good fun though. The deer knocked over an apple tree...

That isn't too bad with the movie. You’re half way through the list and there are a few copies in circulation. Your library system despite budget cuts is really amazing to hear about. $3m is one chunky as, purchasing budget! The latest JMG book is too expensive for me as the exchange rate has become very unfavourable. AU$121 (or US$85) to land it here at the post office. I'll wait until the paperback is released. I am curious to see the much cheaper Retrotopia story in Trade paperback though. How good are trade paperback books? Out of curiosity, why do they call them trade paperbacks (given you were in the book trade)?

An outstanding précis of the movie! Hehe. You should do reviews!!!! Hehe! Oh, sorry couldn't help that one, but you succinctly nailed that review into its simplest components. I may try that about the really sad film Marley and Me: That is a film about a family and a dog. The dog gets old and dies. You'll cry. How was that? :-)! Oh no, we've descended into silly land again!

Just had to go and put the bread in the oven (the sun is shining strongly at 7pm - lots of power) and check to see if the deer had returned. I had my suspicions about those deer - but to see them so casually enjoying the herbage...

Nice to read that there is a workable solution between the staff and volunteers. I hope the staff are nice to the volunteers or that there are benefits for the volunteers giving their time?

Thanks for replying to that question. I'm not sure how I feel about the subject as there seemed to be a lot of hostile aliens in the Star Trek world and space travel seemed to have benefits and costs. Dunno.

Poor Nell having to contend with now slightly melted but then refrozen snow. Do you have many birds around during the winter? I guess if you have resident eagles, they must be eating something and other birds are on the menu for the eagles here.

Cont…

Cherokee Organics said...

Well done with the new postie. Long live the new postie! You know, I'm almost certain that the previous postie down here used to tear little rips in my packages so that he could look inside to see what was in there. Honestly, he could have just asked as it would have been easier for everyone. It sounds a little bit Machiavellian but one day a few years back, I'd had enough of his rubbish and I followed him down to his little hidey hole at the back of the post office and made sure he understood never to talk to the editor or I again. He never did either and fortunately moved on. And for some strange reason the little tears in my packages ceased turning up. It was quite enlightening to watch his interactions with other people. He was what could politely be termed a: serial nuisance, but he never started off that way with people.

The giant teddy bear gave me nightmares! Not really, but it was huge and sort of sad looking... Thanks for the link to the blue cockerel. The author of that article has a lovely way with words too. And I'd probably need a good coffee in such trying circumstances - and a vending machine coffee, well, who knows what that stuff is.

How interesting would it be to be confronted by a Fishers weasel in the wild? They are huge. I reckon I was writing to that sensibility earlier on in the reply. There is a fine line between pragmatism and ideology - and I don't know where it is, but it is worthwhile finding out. Did anyone spruik the benefits of reintroducing the species?

Hmm, I see tree decorations in your future. All else in unclear. Maybe snow? I'm curious as to your opinion of how the Yorkshire Pudding tasted? They really do look like a collapsed souffle!

It is meant to storm here tomorrow morning – very heavy rain is predicted. It should be interesting. Tonight it is quite warm which is very pleasant.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Hehe! That's fantastic and you remembered more than I did. Yeah, all of my mates had CB radios in their cars too and you rarely see cars with massive aerials hanging off them any more - except for when they do the (ute which is short for utility vehicle which you call a truck) Deniliquin ute muster. Deniliquin is a town in south central New South Wales - it is dry country, although with all the flooding earlier this year it is probably quite green right now. I was getting eaten alive tonight by the mosquitoes when the chickens were in the orchard because of the wet winter. This year the mosquitoes are feral.

Thank you! Hehe! I felt like one of those old school stage magicians with their hand saw going through a cabinet! Glad Sir Scruffy wasn't inside the cabinet. He's not easily impressed anyway and I reckon he was asleep, unless of course there are two deer roaming around his turf. Poopy and Sir Scruffy did a tag team chase on the deer - they work well together those two dogs.

Yes, diatomaceous earth sounds like the trick for the slaters. The spelling looks good to me. Next year, I'm going to have to do all of the tomatoes differently to avoid all of these problems. It is good when something goes wrong and you have plenty of opportunity to learn about and fix it. What, are you sure you don't want any extra slaters? Only fair! There are plenty to share here.

There are serious benefits to having access to a stump grinder. It would be nice if the tree stumps went away, but alas they don't seem to want to co-operate.

It is boom and bust down here with the blooming, although as the garden beds get older and better established, they are less likely to suffer from heat or drought stress. The recent hole I dug in a garden bed for the weather station post was truly interesting to see quality and depth of the soil in those beds. Plus the soil moisture was very good.

The ferns are very pleased to hear of your good opinion! Home grown persimmons are the only way to eat them. The shop and market ones have no flavour at all even if you let them blet. The carrots self seed best in rich soil with plenty of carbon in it (i.e. the sort that you’d find in an orchard) and they seem to like the lime rich toppings as well for some reason.

21 is an awesome age for a dog to get too. Don't feel too bad for Scritchy as she was playing the role of the proper little general today in the twin deer situation and directing her troops (Poopy and Sir Scruffy) from a respectably safe position to the rear of the action. She sure issues a lot of instructions for a little dog.

Yeah, I'm with you with the house heating over the winter. And yup, heading into shops and offices can be quite challenging when you've adapted yourself to cooler temperatures. I met a lovely couple recently that live 600ft higher up this mountain where it is colder again than here and they were saying the exact same thing. You get used to the colder conditions.

Yay for Christmas lights. They really bring a lot of cheer and glad to read that you put your lights up! I must take the camera out for a trip into the local Christmas light show. It is a tradition after all! Hehe!

The monsters in your forest can be a bit more scary and worthy of taking seriously than the timid and scatty herbivores here. Do you wonder or have had any insights into what it was that made the sound? Spooky!

Of course, I was just being stupid and taking the argument to an illogical extremity. I respect anyone who can pull off a vegan diet as it is a tough school. I read that converting plants into animal protein for consumption has about a 10% efficiency which is not inspiring numbers. Thank you for the gentle correction too, I appreciate that.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

The vision of Poopy chasing creatures about 100 times his size is too much! Funny how dogs so rarely seem to realize the relationship of the space they actually take up with the reality of things around them (chairs and couches included here). If that deer hadn't knocked over that apple tree, he would have eaten it. He may yet.

I was quite shy into my twenties, until I had children and realized that there was much fun to be had in just getting over being nervous about interacting with people and that they are all like me - in one way or another. I can talk to anybody now and really, really enjoy it.

I wish I had a new postie. Ours quit suddenly, right in the middle of all this Christmas mail chaos and some days we don't even get any mail. We have to keep going into town to ask for packages which haven't been delivered to us. It has rather a Soviet feel to it.

Thanks for the carrot advice. Lime, eh?

What an enormous muster at Deniliquin. That's too much for me!

I meant no correction, unless to myself. I can be rather pedantic sometimes.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - 23F (-5C) overnight. Pipes still intact. Beau spent the night in the laundry room and was his usual good self. He got a nice warm breakfast, this morning. Odd how you adjust to warmer or colder weather. It was 53 inside when I got up. Now a toasty 59F. If anyone had told me I'd be comfortable at 59 degrees ... Also, going in and out ... well, the inside just feels warmer. The weather is supposed to get a bit wild, tonight. (Wed.) Maybe more snow. But by Thursday evening, we're back to well above freezing temps.

More remembered CB slang. "Got you're ears on?" :-).

I don't know how it got the name "trade paperback". There's hardbacks, trade paperbacks and mass market paperbacks. Trade paperbacks can vary in quality. Some are just glued together, some have sewn in signatures. Customer's always drove us nuts with the "When will this be out in paperback?" My standard reply "Nine months to a year ... always after one Christmas season." There was always the odd nut "I saw someone reading a paperback copy in an elevator when I was in Dallas." No, you were hallucinating. :-). There was some grumbling when some publishers started doing a year of hardback, a year of trade paperback and THEN the mass market paperback. Those are some stiff fees for getting Greer's books. The again, Stephanie Alexander's cook book was about the same, for me.

Oh, there's quit a few birds about here, in winter. Not as many as in summer. The blue jays. Lots of variety of sparrow. Crows. The eagles. Different kinds of wood peckers.

The postie is still temporary. Don't know if he'll end up our "regular" driver. Hope so. But the hiring process as with most government jobs is long and Byzantine. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Well, I noticed awhile back that some people make a great first impression, and then ... I generally keep my guard up for quit awhile. Watch and listen. Look for cues. Evil Step Son is one such.

That's from Prof. Mary Beard's blog. She's an Oxford Don in Classics. She's just so funny and down to earth. How many other professors would use "bum" in a blog post? :-). Her books are very good and she's done a lot of television. Classics / archaeology. In her link list is Rogue Classicism. A great site for keeping up with what's going on in the archaeology field.

Fishers (like wolves and grizzlies) used to be native to this area. So, we're going to turn back the clock. Hmmm. I just had the odd thought that I wonder if it's the same kind of impulse that yearns, in some people, for some mythical past golden era. Well, The Tribes are excited. So there's also the whole politically correct / social justice warrior thing going on.

The Toad in the Hole / Yorkshire pudding tasted ... well, with the sausage and beef drippings, a bit on the savory side. I think just a Yorkshire pudding would be a bit delicate in flavor. A bit egg-y. But I like the chewy texture. Making it with butter I think it would make a great "delivery system" for fruits and jams. :-)

Well, I'd better pull myself together for a trip to the Little Smoke. Putting it off as long as possible so the roads might be ok. Have to watch the shady spots. Getting off my hill will probably be the worst part. The pavement looks clear and dry. We'll see. Lew

Bukko Boomeranger said...

There's a San Francisco-based newspaper cartoon strip (now THERE'S something that's fading away) called "Pearls Before Swine" that satirises a lot of social trends. One of the recurring obnoxious characters is Jeff the Cyclist, who always appears in Spandex riding gear to proclaim how superior he is to the rest of the flabby, unfit animals in the toons. In my riding group, I know a few people like that. But not many, because a.) they're more polite to people IN the group and b.) the nastiest anti-socials don't like to ride with other people. If they're not the fastest, they feel inferior, and if they ARE the fastest, then everyone else gets left behind, and there they are, riding alone.

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

50F here this morning, much warmer.

I reckon that that shack would be awfully noisy when it rained, I assume that it is corrugated iron.

Cycling from A to B is a real no no now, far too much traffic. It would be appallingly unhealthy too, all those fumes.

Do you know whether your plastic notes have tallow in them? I find it a ridiculous fuss about nothing as I doubt very much that any animals are specifically slaughtered for this; it has to be a by product from the meat industry.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yup Poopy is courageous far beyond his stature. It is a Pomeranian trait (or more correctly the Spitz breed of dogs). I once had one of those tiny little Pomeranian's bite me because I went to pat it. It was a vicious little dog. And yeah, dogs have no sense of proportion between themselves and their environment. I re-caged the apple tree which the deer had knocked over so we’ll see. Steel is pretty handy in such situations. I'm very unhappy about the deer stripping bark off the trunks of apple trees and so I'll chase them off whenever they turn up. The wallabies only tend to break branches, which the wind and time will do anyway and that doesn’t tend to kill the tree.

That is lovely to read and yeah most people are socially uncomfortable in one way or another - that is life and it is a relief to recognise that. The ones that annoy me the most are when other guys go all quiet and don’t say anything in social circumstances because they lack the social skills to do so. I had a couple of house mates who were very cool and they taught me how to be comfortable with and talk to all sorts of people. They sort of took me under their wing for a couple of years. It was fun. Honestly, it is hard to shut me up these days!!! Hehe!

No postie would be a real drama at this time of year. And yeah, that sounds quite appropriate and amusing! I hope the situation gets sorted soon. The powers that be here have cut back postal deliveries to three days per week, but it is nice that the CEO gets a $5m salary... I'm in a black hole for postal deliveries and they don't even bring the post here at all. Who would have thought that such places exist?

Lime over carbon rich manure should do the trick with carrots.

It is huge isn't it? Massive. The crowds and noise would do my head in. The other day I was on a tram in the city and it was like sardines in a can and I was thinking to myself that this is why I live in a remote and rural area. The locals over in the more fashionable western end of the mountain range are starting to crack the sads about the massive influx of tourists into the area to see the leaf colour change. I have to admit that I don't travel to that part of the mountain range during that time of year as it is feral. Apparently there is to be a meeting about the matter... Interesting.

No worries, it is all good with me.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Ouch, that makes me feel cold reading about those freezing temperatures. Brr! I've never seen a pipe freeze. I assume that the pipe splits along a seam or at a connecting joiner? Do they use plastic pipes or are they all copper or steel or a mix of all three? You really do adjust to both cooler and hotter temperatures, but the variability in weather down here can make it hard to do so as one day is quite hot, and the next can be quite cold. It is a real problem. Eight people died on the thunderstorm asthma day. Nice to read that Beau is doing well and I reckon it is comfortable inside a house at 59'F. I try to keep the house not warmer than about 65'F during the winter as it feels too hot to me and uses too much firewood.

About 40mm (1.6 inches) of rain fell here this morning. Wow, it was really tropical like because it was warm. The place will turn into a jungle if this weather continues – which it won’t. As it is, this year for the first time ever, I may have to mow a second time. That has never happened before and is a combination of healthier soils and solid rainfall. Oh well, it is a good thing I guess.

That's funny. Do you have your ears on? Over.

No, really? I can imagine the irate customers demanding books that they dreamed up that other people were reading those books that they themselves wanted to read. What a hassle. Is that wish fulfilment theory? It sort of sounds like it. If only we all believe hard enough and then the book will appear! How did they take the suggestion that the hardback or trade paperback was available instead?

Yeah, I wasn't complaining about the book as it occurs to me that it wasn't intended for an export market at the freight charges. I'll get Retrotopia instead. You could kill someone with that Stephanie Alexander book as it is a real paper weight. I could have picked it up second hand here and shipped it to you?

Thanks for explaining that about the birds in your area. Your winters are comparatively mild to other parts of your continent so that sort of makes sense. The birds here are mostly permanent residents, but I reckon they do it hard over late winter early spring when there is not as much to eat as they are used to.

It is funny that you wrote that about the jobs, but I was reading recently about some French dude who expressed that his fondest wish for employment was that he get a job with the government. Clearly there are cultural differences there.

Hey, don't laugh but I have a firm three month rule: Most people can't seem to be able to keep up appearances for three months because sooner or later they slip up somewhere. I read recently that probation periods down here in small business are now twelve months, but that used to be three months, long ago. Most sociopaths are casually charming when they want to be, but eventually they slip up and they can't help themselves but escalate their behaviour. They're quite self destructive really.

Yes, the professor is an excellent author. Someone once told me long ago that the purpose of writing is that you are trying to communicate with other people. Some authors miss that lesson, but then they may be talking to themselves or trying to prove themselves? There is always someone smarter or more learned or whatever, so who cares about trying all that hard work?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Ha! I just read about that impulse to wind the clock back in the book Overshoot. I rather suspect that the inherent core issues have to be addressed before those sorts of efforts can be anything other than a theme park. And who wants to address core issues? The SJW people bore me silly and are so very easily deleted.

Did you just describe a European danish treat? It sure sounded like one. I'm not much of a fan of danishes but muffins that are cooked with sour cream, or Anzac biscuits. Yummo! Speaking of which, I just made a batch of biscuits. I wasn't meant to be here tonight but there were complications on a job today and so here I am! :-)!

Stay safe and seriously take care on those shaded bits of road where the black ice hides.

The big smoke has finally made an impact up here in these quiet parts of the world. I found a flyer in my post office box which is spruiking a meeting of the locals about what to do about the crazy influx of tourists during the leaf turn time. Wow. Who would have thought that would happen. The organisers seem to have roped in every government agency into the mess. I suspect the core problems won't be fixed and nobody will want to address those. Who wants to address core issues! :-)!

It was seriously wet here today! And the water tanks are now thankfully full again. Yay!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Bukko,

Thanks for the laughs. There are a lot of Jeff's on the roads up here of a weekend. I actually wonder what they get out of it all. But honestly, I really just want to harness them all up into a Jeff sled team and use that combined energy to bring rocks back up the hill. How cool would that be? Yeah!

Mate, I absolutely 100% - never for one second - believed that you would be like a Jeff. And I reckon you'd be a bit grumpy if a Jeff stomped your breakfast! :-)! There would most certainly be a reaction from me to that sort of gear...

Cheers mate,

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

50'F is not too bad and that is a typically warmish winters day down here, although you are in the early stages of winter. January and February would be the peak of the cold for you at a guess? Is that correct? January and February are the hottest months here and I'm not really looking forward to them.

Oh yeah heavy rain on a corrugated steel roof is massively noisy. But then it is also a very soothing noise too, strangely enough. It reminds me a lot of the noise of the country trains here and for some strange reason which I can't explain those trains make me feel very sleepy too and I usually have a short nanna nap on my travels. It is very enjoyable! Anyway, the noise in that shed would have been massive today as over 40mm (1.6 inches) of very heavy tropical rain fell. There are now channels in the main dirt road leading off this part of the mountain range. No doubt that the shed survived intact. The water tanks are also thankfully refilled! Yay!

I never quite understand in Grand Designs UK how the roof designs shed water as they all have such flat-ish roofs. Do you not get massive and very heavy down pours? Plus add in all the weight from those sedum living roofs that seem to be all the rage and I just can't imagine how the roofs don't fail from time to time. They would here and you rarely see a flat roof (or one with an insignificant fall/slope) down here.

I guess that is why the bicycle riders drive up to this part of the world and then ride their bikes just to add to the fumes. Is it not ironic? I must add that Bukko (who commented here) took the train up to this part of the world to ride his bike. Smart guy.

The whole drive to plastic notes is a reaction to the sheer quality of affordable printers. They are changing the notes down here which are already plastic because of that small matter.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

52F today so still warming up. The ups and downs of our temperature do make it difficult for ones body to adjust. Yes, January and February are our coldest months.

Flat roofs are never a good idea, they tend to cause problems sooner or later. Our rains used to be a steady drizzle rather than serious downpours but this is something that seems to be changing; we are tending to get wilder weather.

On the radio the other night, people were being asked to phone in about their favourite job during the course of their life. It was fascinating as every single one referred to a job that they had done in their youth from paper rounds upwards. Every job was a basic physical one. So much for enjoying ones later career!

Inge

margfh said...

Hi to all,

It's gotten very cold here - windy and in the teen's (F) at night and low 20's for a high. We have another fairly major snow storm expected this weekend. Next week high's will be in the low single digits and below zero at night. Usually the chickens have time to acclimate to the weather but not so much this year.

Our garage is actually heated as we have a water pipe running through it. Even though the pipe is well insulated if we get extended cold periods it still could freeze. The garage is also well insulated so the furnace doesn't go on much unless we have extremely cold weather. It's only heated to high 40's as low is it goes on the thermostat so the garage is a great place to store onions in squash for winter use.

The long range forecast indicates yet another even more significant snow for the following weekend as well. It may be a long winter. To illustrate how quickly the weather has changed there are still some shrubs with leaves.

Margaret


Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I thought that once you alluded to having to go into town to pick up your mail. Bit of a hardship. My parents - in a big city - have always rented a P.O. Box at the main post office as mail delivery to their apartment is dodgy.

The downstairs of our house stays at about 63F (17C) in the winter. Upstairs - where the bedrooms are - is a good bit colder.

I hear that - a fond wish to get a government job (pensions, benefits) - a lot here.

Re: Solution to leaf-viewing tourists - find a way to charge them money (toll road?) to come and view, with an exemption for locals. Could be going down a slippery slope, though. Maybe, just find a way to profit off of them.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Are you saying that the plastic notes are a consequence of the government trying to save money? Go on, then!

One of my sons lives in downtown Charlottesville and works in downtown Charlottesville and so rides his bike to and fro as it is much faster than fighting the traffic in a car. And healthful. So we have utilitarian bike riding as opposed to pleasure/sport riding.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - 25F, last night. Hovering around freezing, now. The air is VERY dry. When I let Beau out, I could feel the moisture being sucked out of my lips. Not to worry. There's an ancient tube of chap stick in the medicine cabinet :-). Trip to town wasn't too bad. This year, unlike last, I remembered to throw some weight in the back of my little truck. It had a pretty good load of snow and I added two 5 gallon buckets of frozen water and a good pile of frozen apple wood limbs. Once I got down to the main road to town, it wasn't bad. But still had to watch for slick spots. Even a single tree casting a shadow on the road can make a slick spot. We are supposed to get more snow today. The clouds are moving in. But, by tomorrow morning, it's switching to rain and warming up. Night time lows as far as the forecast goes are well above freezing.

I told you about Nell stalking a deer. And, I think I told you that last year she and a curious deer were nose to nose. The deer looked quit funny, legs all splayed out so she could get her head down to Nell's level :-). There was a tiny little sparrow fliting about the porch, this morning. As small as a hummingbird. Red/brown. It was sticking to the thorn bush, which is wise, given Nell's hunting habits.

I've always thought it amusing when the same people that rave on about big government are always deliriously happy when a friend or relative lands a government job. It's just so ... cognitive dissonance.

As far as the leaf peepers go, they'll just have to gate the roads. You'll have to show ID to prove you actually live beyond that point :-). Permits and roving patrols?

This weeks ADR made my head hurt. Hegelian philosophies? The comments helped a bit to figure out what he was banging on, about. :-). Wombat entropy. Moral warpitude. Those I can wrap my head around. I think I'm a discordian. I mean, I took accordion for four years, when I was a wee small lad. And I'm quit the Weird Al Yankovic fan. :-)

10-4, Good Buddy. Lew

SLClaire said...

@ Lewis - I'm not sure I can comment well on the economic situation, not because I wasn't watching around me whenever I wasn't driving, but because I'm not familiar with the area that I-64 traverses. I've only traveled it out of Illinois once before, eight years ago when my family had an earlier reunion on the Outer Banks. It didn't seem much changed this year except for the fact that I didn't see any billboards extolling the virtues of coal in West Virginia. Which actually may be significant, since the WV economy has been so dependent on coal and on chemical manufacture for so many years. Factories of different chemical companies used to line the banks of the Kanawha River, which I-64 rolls past for several miles in the Charleston area. Those companies have been gone for some time, but the coal companies had remained. But it may be that with the replacement of coal by fracked natural gas in many electricity generation stations, coal production and revenues have dropped enough to be significant.

Here are the lyrics to a song that describes what happens when coal companies leave an area where they'd been the major employer:
http://www.metrolyrics.com/the-l-n-dont-stop-here-anymore-lyrics-johnny-cash.html
Rick Thum, a St. Louis area hammer dulcimer player, plays this song at every event at which I've heard him play. It was written by Jean Ritchie, the Kentucky woman who is responsible for saving the mountain dulcimer by bringing it into the 1960s folk revival. Rick's version brings tears to my eyes. It's as good a description of economic decline in coal country that you could hope to find.

While Thanksgiving week isn't in season in the Outer Banks, it did seem to have more people vacationing there in Thanksgiving week of 2008 than this past Thanksgiving week. The situation wasn't the same, however; we stayed in Duck, a somewhat larger town farther south, in 2008 and in Corolla this year. Also it looked like quite a few new places, entire subdivisions in fact, had been built since 2008, so people may just have been spread out over a larger area. The house we rented this year was built just 3 years ago. But it also could be that more folks were there in 2008 since the crash didn't happen till after most people make reservations to rent the houses.

Re the fishers: Mike and I saw that in the news. Mike's comment was that as soon as the fishers start eating folks' cats, they'll no longer be met with such enthusiasm. We live in the city because we prefer not having to deal with animals like black bears and mountain lions, both of which can be found in Missouri south of the Missouri River these days.

Chris et al: with the cold weather having moved in, Mike and I started using our wood stove. We aren't running it hard, just enough to keep the temperature in the two rooms it heats most directly in the mid 60sF, which is higher than we set the gas furnace. It's about 61F where I'm typing this. Anytime I get cold, I can warm up in the room with the wood stove. That's all I need.

Claire

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Blimey! We are suppose to have a polar vortex next week. Oswald Avocado has just moved into the house.

Claire:

We used to take our sons when they were small to Nags Head in the Outer Banks. We always stayed at the Dolphin Motel. Just a touch low-budget, but we loved it. They allowed dogs, too. It has been 20 years, though.

Margaret:

G-string! Va va voom!

Lew:

Thermonuclear underwear and "Danger, Will Robinson!". I loved "Lost in Space" when I was a girl.

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I think Lewis once wrote here: Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get. The lack of a consistent climate makes agriculture very complex and challenging and I often wonder how many people remember that these days.

Thanks for explaining that. I have never known what it is to live in a climate that is very stable and consistent. Even as a kid I recall a day at the local community pool which ended with strong winds and a serious downpour. Variability seems the order of the day down here. I've noticed a recent trend in Grand Designs UK for roofs with a 5 degrees or less incline and they just would not work here and I have wondered whether they would survive the realities of day to day existence. The reason for those flat-ish roofs I suspect is that they are cheap and easy to construct as they have less materials than a pitched roof but I really wonder how long those membranes will last. I wouldn't gamble a house on them.

Well that is interesting isn't it? People are overloaded with stress these days and it is difficult for them. The thing is, it doesn't have to be that way and I really wonder what it means for the future.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Brr! Stay warm and stay safe in those wintery conditions.

I won't mention that after the heavy downpour of yesterday, it was quite pleasant here today, although very cloudy. We took the opportunity of the overcast weather to clean up the road and remove lots of tree stumps up there. The council has not mowed the road sides now for many years and it is a sign of the times. They still want their property taxes though.

Those poor shrubs at your place will most likely lose their leaves over the next few days.

The winter just past down here was a very long winter, but it is turning to much hotter conditions on Monday and Tuesday. Because of the ground water the place is turning rapidly into a jungle - thus the need to work on the road sides.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Well, to be entirely honest, it isn't a great hardship to visit the local general store to pick up my mail. The reason for that is that they are also a cafe and I can avail myself of the facilities and enjoy a coffee and serving of fruit toast whilst picking up or dropping off the mail. It is a hardship that one must bear with good grace. :-)!

Yeah, post office boxes have advantages, but in my case it is the only option. In rare occasions some people refuse to believe that the postie won't deliver here to the street address and the item in question bounces all around the system and just never makes it.

That is a very nice temperature and it is about what we aim for too. The higher you try to heat your house, the more it costs you in energy so I get that equation. I only ever heat the house higher than those sorts of temperatures for guests - and I tell them that that is the case too! Hehe! And they look a bit sheepish, but they love the heat from the wood heater. Generally they wear synthetic materials when they visit which doesn't keep them that warm (of course long johns are an exception to that because they work regardless). And I reckon trying to sleep in a hot room impacts upon the quality of your sleep. The summer nights here can be occasionally quite warm (nothing like they get in Melbourne though because of the heat island effect) and those nights I love the ceiling fans as they make the place liveable.

Yeah, the pensions and benefits are unsustainable down here because like with our local council, the population has to support ever more workers (whether they are working or not) - and the deals they have in place are not of the pension variety (like Lewis), they are more like a high percentage of their salaries (this is called defined benefits). I doubt we can afford those arrangements in a low interest rate environment, but they are in place. I really dunno about all of that - it just seems weird to me.

That is an awesome idea and I like your thinking, but I have noticed that they deliberately restrict commercial activities up in the mountain range. It is certainly a very interesting thing that is going on. I may write about it next blog, but then there was a really fat and juicy wombat lolling around in the grass this evening and I fortunately had the camera to hand, so who knows... I have a list of about 15 story ideas on the desk in front of me so even I'm sometimes surprised by what I write each week! ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Ha! Nope! I reckon it is all about reproducibility with those funky new high tech printers which can earn money while you sleep! The treasuries have to stay ahead of the competition.

Yeah, I used to ride my bike to work too, but along a river trail (from Merri Creek and then onto the Yarra River) and it was really pleasant because it was the long way around nobody used it. I get what your son is doing with the bike and that makes perfect sense. I respect your son for riding to work as that is a really good thing to do.

Down here the mamals (middle aged men in lycra) turn up on the weekends from who knows where. Usually they drive here and then ride up the mountain and then coast down. The one that almost took me out a few weeks ago was doing well over 40 miles an hour down the hill.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Brr! Mate, that is so cold, it is making me feel chilly just reading about it. Mind you it is only 46.4'F outside here right now so it is not quite the warm summers day and evening that one would expect at this time of year.

Yeah it is funny that your write about that, because over winter the moisture just gets sucked out of your skin and then your start to really dry up. I can't even begin to imagine what a winter (or life) would be like in one of those remote Siberian towns at elevation at far northern latitudes where people don't tend to get sick through the winter because even the viruses and bacteria and other nasty pathogens don't have a chance of even existing in the cold conditions. Brrr! Chap stick is a useful item in such cold conditions. I have to confess to using Sorbolene on my hands after a hard day’s work. I used to get eczema on my hands over the winter before using that stuff.

Oh yeah, the truck would get thrown around a bit with no weight in the tray. I used to own a ute way back in the day and I realise yours is now 10 years old, but they are so much bigger nowadays, but the strange thing is that the trays are less useful nowadays. I can't quite get my head around that arrangement as it just seems sort of wrong to me. There are tax incentives for businesses to own a ute or van down here and the sales of those things are going through the roof at the moment - they are almost the number one vehicle sold down under.

Does Beau enjoy the cold conditions or does he adapt to them with good grace? Glad to read that your drive down to the little smoke was OK and uneventful. Nobody needs too much excitement in their life.

Of course, Nell is as tough as they come to confront a deer. Of course the deer was only curious as to what sort of a creature it was confronting. You know, at night times here the place literally jumps with life and few of the different species seem concerned with what the others are doing although they keep a close watch on them whilst they go about their activities. They get along quite well as long as they respect the other species boundaries. The birds are the same too, although the magpies just hate everyone and everything – except maybe the Kookaburras. Most of the bird calls in the forest are apparently calls just letting the other species know who is out and about in the forest and not to mess with their business or territory. Mind you, there are a lot of bird calls, so it is probably not a fixed territory.

This evening as the chickens were enjoying the orchard, a massive, very fat and juicy looking wombat turned up. There was so much to eat that at one point for the wombat that it just plopped down into the grass and had lots of food hanging out of its head. It was a real pleasure to see as it in action as it was an old and possibly very canny wombat. Fortunately, I had the camera to hand so hopefully the photos turn out.

Your local birds do it tough at the time of year you are entering into. Do you take in your hummingbird feeders for the winter?

Ha! Yeah that is funny isn't it? Government jobs are hard to get into here and the funny thing is that people in state government jobs wax lyrical about federal government jobs. But the people in the local councils wax lyrical about the state government jobs. I used to work for the state government in my first job, but getting turfed out on my ear during a recession through no fault of my own cured me of ever wanting to work for the government again. People talk up small government until they want benefits and then the talk rapidly changes to my rights this and my rights that...

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Oh no, I reckon it will be a massive talk-fest and then the tourists will descend upon the mountain range again. Someone must have pulled some strings as even the police and the roads authority have to turn up to the meeting. I see the whole situation as more of a sign of the times.

Weird Al is cool. Always was, always is. I recall an interview with the now deceased Kurt Cobain of the rock band Nirvana who said that having Weird Al cover one of his songs made him feel as if he had made it. That's cool. Weird Al toured down here recently too I believe. The last thing I heard of his work was when he covered a gangster rap song called: "Tight and Dirty" but in his own inimitable style he converted that to: "White and Nerdy". I can relate to that! Hehe!

Well, Weird Al was a virtuoso accordion player (I believe).

I had a good chance to read the ADR yesterday and the comments and quite enjoyed the concept that a couple of stoners produced a more coherent explanation as to philosophy than a rather dull obscurest who was taken overly seriously because he sang a song that others wanted to hear. I'm just trying to get my head around a wombat entropy story that would be fun to tell, but also carry a grain of truth and an important under current. I'm open to suggestions? The massive wombat turned up this evening so the photos are in the bag! :-)!

Last night we went to the local pub for dinner and I was rather intrigued to purchase a beverage with the name: Gingerbread Maniac. I can't make this stuff up! The label had a cartoon of a demented gingerbread man holding a gingerbread chainsaw. It was quite a good drop, although it was a little closer to stout than I normally appreciate - but they'd added spices and honey to the mix so all was good.

My advice to you: Watch out for demented gingerbread men wielding gingerbread chainsaws. Just sayin...

The local council hadn't mowed the roadsides here for years so the editor and I got out and did it today. In the process we removed about 20, or maybe more, old tree stumps from when they put the road in. It was a whole lot of work and the area mowed was about a quarter mile. I feel as if I have walked to and from the moon today.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Well done with the wood stove. That is about 16'C which is a little bit colder than I keep this place during winter (17'C to 18'C), but it is far colder outside in your neck of the woods. By mid winter you will definitely have rapidly adapted to the very cold winter conditions. Brr! Stay warm and stay safe during the cold snap.

For your interest, the tomatoes seedlings and the tiny self seeded tomatoes have survived the week and are looking quite good. I'll make to sure to include lots of summer flower shots too in the next blog.

And thanks very much for the reply to Lewis which I thoroughly enjoyed reading as well.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Was it Fatso?

The only place I've seen flat/almost flat roofs work is in the desert. And even there they have to have drainage set up for the occasional monsoon rain, rain in the desert tending to come all at once.

MAMALs! Ha! Breakfast choke again!

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Claire - Thanks for the report. Looks like the 20% rode out the depression of 2008 and can still build. I don't know if it's still in business, but there used to be a Kanawha Glass Company. Made some nice stuff, and some truly awful stuff. Large glass swans of "slag" glass. Wild, swirly color combinations.

I'm not really a musical kind of guy, but ... Some folk music is pretty good, but some of it is a real downer. LOL. Back in the early 70s, I shared student digs in a big old Victorian house. Two sisters were in residence who spent most of their time channeling Joan Baez. Her more lugubrious numbers. Heads together strumming their guitars with long straight folksinger hair flung over the frets.

Going on a riff :-). Sometimes I think the line between folk music and old country western music is pretty thin. Country western music of the "my dog died, my truck broke down and my wife ran off with my best friend", variety. :-). I like Cajun music, and throw on a few cd's, every once in awhile. The accordions, that bouncy beat. But then I started looking into the translations of the French. Most of them seemed to be about "I love a little girl, she loves me, her momma don't like me, so we can't be together." Dead stop.

But no one can beat the Victorians for pure grimness. My mother used to sing a couple. "The Little Box of Pine on the 3:49" and, "She's Dead in the Baggage Car, Ahead." Even further back is "Frozen Charlotte". A young lady didn't listen to her mother to wear her wrap (because she wanted every one to see her dress) and took a sleigh ride to a local dance on a snowy night. Things did not end well. Frozen Charlotte dolls were quit popular and given to little girls to underline the lessons a.) listen to your mother and b.) don't be too vain. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - My discordian riff? I was channeling Gilda Radner doing her Roseanne Roseannadanna sketches from the old Saturday Night Live. "Never mind." Jane Curtain was with her in those sketches and was the master of the slow burn.

Well, it started snowing at 1PM and by the time I went to bed there was 4" of new snow. But, this morning, it's well above freezing and everything is beginning to drip. Beau seems to take the snow in his stride. But, he was waiting at the door the other night to head into the laundry room. When it gets really cold and I just can't face getting between the cold sheets, I head up a cookies sheet in the oven. Not too hot. Then I grab a pot holder and run it between the sheets. Toasty! :-).

I took the hummingbird feeders down, when the hummingbirds started to disappear. Cleaned out and stored away for next year. I've already decided that I'll get one of those metal hangers that you drive into the ground for my allotment at The Home so I can hang them there.

I probably would have liked Gingerbread Man Maniac. Back in the day, the stouter, the better. Hooray for bloody black beer!I noticed in the store that they now have a high octane root beer. Now that sounds interesting. If you have it down there, check it out for me :-).

Looking forward to seeing pics of Grandfather Wombat. Sounds like a children's book.

The whole paperback vs hardback thing reminded me of something. When "The Exorcist" came out, it was very popular and we were fielding dozens of calls a day. "Did we have it?" Yes. "In paperback" No. We had a couple of wall sections of books in Spanish. One day I opened a box, and there, due to some foreign copyright slight of hand was about 10 copies of "La Exorcista." When feeling particularly harassed or cruel, when I'd get one of those calls I'd say "In paper back, yes, we do" (long pause) "in Spanish." :-).

You mentioned limits, over at the ADR. It's always quit a spectacle when someone melts down because some service or item is unavailable. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

"It's always something."

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

I hope it was Fatso the wombat. It certainly looked as if it knew its way around a good paddock! :-)!

It does seem to be a rather dim idea to have a flat roof on a house, but I keep seeing them on that show over in the UK and I was curious as to the why of it all. At times on Thursday morning the rain that fell here was torrential (1.6 inches fell that morning) and I just don't understand how a flat roof would work in those conditions – especially one with a living mat of herbage all over it. The weight from all of that rain... At the very least, the seals would fail - somewhere. They use a rubber membrane on those flat roofs but those things leak... And you are spot on too about flat roofs being in deserts, I hadn’t thought about that, but yeah too true. A long time ago I visited the Nazca lines in Peru and they complained there about the occasional downpour, but at the same time said that rain has been more or less non-existent since the last Ice Age... It was the driest place that I'd ever visited.

Glad to be of service! Hehe! Hope you are enjoying the snow and it should be about 86'F here on Monday.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Do you reckon that The Grid - Swamp Thing is a modern take on Cajun music? It is from 1994 (the video sure shows that) and the kids nowadays would probably call the song a banger (which is meant to be a good thing and usually refers to catchy melodies, strong rhythm, good production and a solid drop).

Hmm, a discordian riff. It is a fascinating concept. Unfortunately, I've never seen Saturday Night Live so the reference was lost on me completely.

Beau is a sensible creature to know when to head into the laundry on a cold night. That is a huge amount of snow. Out of curiosity, does that level of snow stop road traffic - or do the engines and movements of vehicles keep the roads clear? The water refreezing would be a nightmare. The set-up with the cookie sheets sounds like an old school hot water bottle. Back in the day I recall that they used to have a pan with coals from the fire and used it in a similar arrangement. It seemed a bit like a fire hazard to me though. Some people use wheat bags to warm sore joints and they could be adapted to that method? It is not usually cold enough here to worry about that problem, but I know of plenty of people who swear by electric blankets - and they seem like a fire hazard to me too. But truly the power system wouldn’t appreciate the extra load at the coldest part of the year.

That is some good thinking with the hummingbird feeder next to the garden allotment. Very wise, and the birds will thank you for the extra feed and they may even eat a grub or three in your allotment. Well hopefully so anyway.

It was a nice drop but such a quirky and fun label. It is funny how as you get older, your taste changes (probably due to dead taste buds more than a more cosmopolitan outlook on life!) and things that you hated when much younger start tasting better. Dark ales and stouts were like that for me for sure. Horrid things! Nowadays, being much wiser, I enjoy dark ale and can cope with a stout, but when I was younger there was no way I would have enjoyed them.

You almost gave me a freak out. Root beer is derived from the Sassafras tree! Down here that tree is quite aromatic but also quite carcinogenic. It is an understory tree in eucalyptus forests. Many earlier settlers and forest workers used to make tea from the leaves of that tree. I read somewhere long ago that the trees had the final laugh at the expense of the forest workers. Now of course we must be talking about different trees as I see that there are loads of different trees with that name.

Down here they make root beer from: sarsaparilla root, liquorice root, vanilla beans and molasses. That'll knock your socks off sure. I have never heard of it before you mentioned it and will have to track one down. It sounds lethal as!!! Hehe!

Well, we'll see what pops out of the dark recesses of my mind and onto the screen tomorrow night as I start to write it. The wombat was a massive old wombat and it knew its way around the place.

Oh, you are cheeky with the Spanish paperback!

I mention limits because I am genuinely curious and concerned about how resilient we are as a society.

I had the last burn off of the season this evening. The fire ended up being very hot and I reckon I burnt the skin on my face from the radiant heat because I feel very sunburned right now… A hazard of the professional… Do you like radishes? I picked the first one this afternoon that I have grown and it was quite spicy hot which is exactly what I was after. I may collect the seeds of that one – although I suspect it will hybridise given I grew it next to the sugar beet experiment.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I ran 'flat roofs' past my son. He says that they have improved their manufacture with the use of fibre glass.

Still quite warm at 52F, rain is about to arrive.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Mamals - loved it. We get plenty of those out here during warmer weather. I think it might be races of some kind. Now I'm a big fan of bikes, for transportation, not so much for mindlessly riding around in spandex. Most of our roads have very narrow shoulders so bike riders are mostly riding on the road. Some of these transplant riders will even ride 3 abreast essentially blocking an entire lane. I have a bike with the big tires and no gears that I ride as exercise mostly. I could ride pretty safely into town except for a one mile stretch on one road that has essentially no shoulder. It's pretty well traveled and the drivers go quite fast.

I guess if you live in an apartment or condo there's not much opportunity for exercise so these bike rides, 5K races and stair climbs that are popular are an opportunity for exercise. When we talk about downsizing some will ask us if we plan to get a house in town or (horrors) a condo. Well that's not the plan - rather get a much smaller house but still some land to have animals and a garden so we stay in shape.

We are expecting another significant snow storm today and tomorrow - about 10 inches. After that it's pretty extreme cold, especially for December, teens and single digits for highs (F). It's not a good idea to venture too far from the house with the dogs as they get snow packed in their pads and sometimes can barely walk. This is certainly the time of year to be flexible with errands that involve any traveling.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Lew,

Some of the stuff that comes up here sure bring back funny memories. Your mention of Weird Al brought back memories of one of my sister's rendition of "Like a Sturgeon" where she ended up flopping on the floor like a fish. My family (on my side) has a pretty warped sense of humor which our partners often don't find as amusing as we do.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The Grid - Swamp Thing, well ... it would really be a stretch to dig for any Cajun music roots. Here's a bit of classic Cajan music ..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRP7hNZ_cE8

You need a squeeze box and someone wailing in French :-). Zydeco music is closely related to Cajan music. But seems to include someone playing a metal wash board as part of the band. :-). A banger = "a real toe tapper." A term I don't hear anymore. But, my Uncle Larry used it and I picked it up.

People deal with snow and ice on the roads in all kinds of ways. It all boils down to tires. Of course, there's the classic "chains". Sometimes the passes are forbidden to drivers who are not carrying chains. It's quit the spectacle to see a trucker chaining up an 18 wheeler. Then there's studded snow tires. In this State, you can only have them on your car during the winter. They tear up the pavement. There's regular old snow tires. Deep tread in a configuration to really "bite" the road.

Back about the time I retired, I needed a new set of tires. In this part of the world, I was more concerned with water shedding properties. The tire salesman was quit honest that the set I bought would be great in rain ... not so great in snow. So, I just stay home if it gets snowy or icy.

It was above freezing yesterday and last night. So, the snow is on the go. Still about 2 inches in the yard, but the roads look good. Yesterday early, it was a slushy mess. Snow plow went by. The Postie didn't make it til late in the afternoon. Supposed to be well above freezing, night and day, over the weekend. Then, Monday night back to a cold snap, again. Mid 20s at night and maybe a bit more snow.

Copper bed warmers with coals in them. Not such a fire hazard if you keep them moving. Same with the cookie sheets. I remember reading about heating up a brick, wrapping it in a towel and popping it in the bed. Electric blankets can be very nice and I've had a few, over the years. Not now. Don't like to use the electric. I just burrow in. Funny, it did cross my mind that "Chris won't have an electric blanket, given his solar set up." Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I looked into Sassafras. It has a component in it called Safrole. Sassafras has been banned here in drinks and candy for quit a few years ... unless the Safrole has been removed. But there haven't been many studies done, except a really old one where they shot up rats with 4 times the amount of Sassafras that a human would ingest. In small amounts, probably not a problem. Or, my guess would be that like a lot of other things, some people are probably more genetically sensitive to possible cancer effects. A tonic made from the roots for a couple of weeks in early spring would probably not be a problem.

How resilient are we as a society? Not very.

I've never cared much for radishes. Except a small amount of horse radish, every now and again. Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Lewis may already have commented, or Margaret, or Pam, or someone else who lives where it really snows ... but no, 4 inches of snow is not a huge amount of snow, not even by St. Louis standards, and we don't get the amounts of snow that other parts of the US do. I've shoveled 11 inches of snow off the driveway of our previous house, and experienced 25 inches of snow in 1978 in Allentown, PA, the winter of my junior year of college. Four inches of snow will only slow down traffic, not stop it. Any place in the US where it snows every winter is well equipped with snowplows to push snow off the streets and onto the ground nearby and trucks that either stream liquid brine on the roads in advance of snow (the brine helps to melt snow as it falls) or drop salt on top of fallen snow or ice to help it melt faster. The intent is to keep traffic moving if at all possible or, failing that, to get the roads clear of snow and/or ice ASAP after it stops falling. People here take this function very seriously, to the point of tossing out politicians in northern cities when the snow removal system breaks down for some reason. A 1980s era mayor of Chicago, Jane Byrne iirc, was voted out of office for exactly this reason after a normal Chicago snowstorm paralyzed the city for a few days. Chicagoans expect to keep driving no matter how much snow falls! And yes, this is relevant to your musings on limits, for this is part of the cost of maintaining complexity.

Nor does the issue end here, for all that salt on the roads drains into the local streams sooner or later, and above a certain concentration is harmful or fatal to the life in the stream. For the fifth year running Mike and I are part of an area-wide study of winter chloride levels in local streams. We monitor the one whose watershed we live in weekly from mid November through early April. You can check out the website with an explanation of the project and all the data from all the streams including the one Mike and I monitor here (Watkins Creek): http://dhaake.weebly.com/

Claire

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge, Margaret, Lewis, and Claire.

Thanks for the lovely comments, but I will be unable to reply to them tonight. I hope to be able to reply to them tomorrow night. I ended up writing the blog tonight as inspiration hit me earlier this morning.

In the meantime, I can promise you a story about wombats tomorrow evening! Yay! Wombats!

Stay warm.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris --- Oh, a bedtime story about wombats! Make it scary :-).

The snow is gone in open areas. A bit still in the front yard, but the back pastures are bereft of snow. Forecast is for mid to low 20sF during the night and mid 30sF during the day. For as far as the forecast goes, which is a week. Oh, argh. A long cold snap.
I'd better do a bit more buttoning up and maybe some laundry. Starts Monday night with maybe a bit more snow at the changeover. Cliff Mass hasn't said anything about it. Just banging on about weather cams.

Computer was giving me fits, this morning. Safari / Yahoo just kept loading over and over again. I speculate that it was the HULU (a streaming video service) ad banner that was causing all the problems. Once it passes it's pull date and something less "graphics rich" replaces it, all will be well, again. In the meantime, Chrome / Yahoo works just fine. Guess I can't cope with the Limits :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Claire - Oh, I know we're lucky when it comes to our winters, compared to other places. My Dad was from Nebraska and my Mom from Minnesota. :-). Got a lot of "when I was a lad/lass, we had to walk five miles to school, barefoot through 10 foot drifts... uphill both ways!" :-).

It's that we get snow so seldom that people don't know, or forget, how to drive in the stuff. The county does salt or gravel all the overpasses and well traveled hills. I think the county has maybe, two snow plows. I bet the guys at the County Garage enjoy pulling them out of storage and tearing around on their seldom used toys. They probably draw straws or flip coins to see who gets to take them out for a spin. The one plow I saw yesterday went tearing by at about 40 miles an hour. On our two lane blacktop back road. The guy driving it looked like he was having a heck of a good time. Lew