Monday, 30 January 2017

Logical


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

“they sent me away to teach me how to be sensible,
Logical, responsible, practical.
And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable,
Clinical, intellectual, cynical.”

Over the course of my life, I’ve been subjected to and also freely subjected myself to a lot of education. I have earned an undergraduate degree as well as achieving post graduate success. All of my education post high school, was done on a part time basis at night and weekends because I had to work a full time job during the day in order to keep a roof over my head and also food on the table. Education has consumed a lot of my life.

As long term readers will know by now, I perform paid work as an accountant.

Way back in the early 1990’s when a co-worker first referred to me as “the accountant” for a particular business that I worked at, I was very pleased. I’d worked hard for that status and I really enjoyed the professional recognition of achieving that status.

Back in those days, the much older accountants told me that they had earned their status of recognition as an accountant through the process of completing an apprenticeship with either a company or a government department. I on the other hand had been required to attend University for many long years at night and at my own considerable expense. Employers offering to pay for tuition fees were like the often spoken about, but rarely seen mythical beast (Magical Christmas Unicorns anyone?).

By the time that I was given the recognised status of an accountant, it had also become a new “professional requirement" to complete a post graduate course. I completed that post graduate course at a cost of both more years of night time study and further personal expense. As a comparison, many of the older accountants received a special concession to achieve that new requirement for “professional” status by paying an initial $50 membership fee to the professional accounting body. To those older accountants that had travelled that particular path, I often remarked jokingly to them that: “they got a good return on that $50 investment”.

Those older accountants had also had more free time than I had, given that they didn't have to do all of the education that was now a mandatory requirement. I wonder what they did with all of that free time in their youth?

I was aware of many of the above matters and just how much hard work it would be for me when I started out on that long journey of education and professional status seeking all those long years ago. Some people may call my state of mind by the fancy and very technical term: Acceptance (edit: read, no option). And perhaps that is what I feel about the above matter.

“There are times when all the world's asleep,
The questions run too deep
For such a simple man.
Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned
I know it sounds absurd
But please tell me who I am.”

Eventually after many long years of day time work and night time study, the education was completed and I received professional status and I became a respectable member of the community (a pillar perhaps!). I’m no slouch and during that time I also got married (edit: to another accountant no less), kept in contact with friends through the old school method of actually visiting them, and in spare moments at night and on weekends I repaired old houses for profit. OK, I admit it, I was very busy.

In the odd moments of quiet, my mind would return to memories of me as a young child helping my grandfather grow vegetables in his large backyard. My grandfather was a wealthy businessman who grew up on a farm. He was a bomber pilot during World War 2 and upon his return he apprenticed as an accountant. I knew him only as an old man, whilst I on the other hand was only a young child.

My grandfather spent one day of every weekend pottering around a large tennis court in his backyard which he’d converted into row upon row of neatly tended and flourishing vegetables. And I was sent over to assist him with that gardening and any other task he put his fertile mind to. He was of an age and disposition that felt that idle hands were the devils workshop. And who can argue with that sort of logic!

The old man made gardening look easy, and no doubts the activity was easy for him as he had a young helper to do all of the running around. Many long years later after he had passed away and I had completed all of that education, I put my mind towards learning the finer arts of growing plants. I thought to myself: how complex could this gardening business be?

As it turns out, this gardening business is actually quite a complex skill. In the early days of gardening, I pretty much killed every single plant that I grew. Everything that could have gone wrong with the plants, actually went wrong and they subsequently died. Who would have thought that plants require: Feeding; Watering; Protection from predation; and they also have to be planted at more or less the exact time of the year for that particular plant and variety. Gardening is a complex business to be sure.

Well over a decade later, I’ve learned a thing or two about gardening and can consider myself fairly handy. If the old man was alive today, no doubt that he’d enjoy what he saw here on the farm, but on the other hand given his disposition and general demeanour he’d be just as likely to point out things that I got wrong. And then he would have berated me (properly too!) for not paying more attention to him when I was a child. Who needs that I ask you? Especially when the person in question has a lot education behind them and is a respected member of the community! The outrage of it all!

Anyway, this gardening business is actually a complex thing and perhaps I may have saved myself a bit of trouble and learned a thing or two from listening more closely to the old man.

The funny thing is that within the past week I found myself talking with a group about the importance of soil in a garden. And as I was speaking with the group I wondered to myself as to whether I’d now become that grumpy old accountant who had enough free time to grow plants? And who wants that?

“Now watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical,
Liberal, fanatical, criminal.
Won't you sign up your name, we'd like to feel you're
Acceptable, respectable, presentable, a vegetable!”

With summer now half gone, the editor and I have been busily bringing in the firewood for the winter. This job is always best done in high summer because the firewood is dry from the summer sun, and also because it is a good job to split the firewood in the shade on a hot summers afternoon's. There is a certain rhythm to the seasons that the use of firewood for winter heating fuel imposes on a person and bringing the firewood in over high summer becomes a non negotiable pattern to life.
The firewood is starting to really stack up in the firewood shed
After another day of bringing in firewood, the firewood shed is really filling up
After another day of bringing in firewood, the other side of the shed looks like this
Last year I undertook an experiment to see what happened when the tomato plants were allowed to grow freely in their enclosure. That experiment told me that the tomato vines would happily run everywhere! With that outcomes of last years experiment in mind, the feral tomato jungle was brought into a state of neat order this week as we constrained the rambling tomato vines with heavy duty chicken wire. Now the tomato enclosure has nice and neat contained rows of tomatoes. The neat rows means that we can more easily walk in the tomato enclosure and pick the fruit as it ripens.
The feral tomato jungle has been tamed with super strong heavy duty chicken wire
Also in the tomato enclosure, I planted some of the seeds from the single Sweet Siberian Melon that grew here as a freak accident last summer. And today it looks like this:
The Sweet Siberian Melon has established itself and is enjoying the conditions in the tomato enclosure
A local bloke with a lovely French accent laughed at me when I mentioned my ambition to grow melons in this part of the world. Laugh no longer, my delightfully accented friend, because today I spotted this little ripening beauty:
A Sweet Siberian Melon is rapidly growing in size
The Asian nashi pears have produced an enormous quantity of fruit this summer. I've been observing which fruit on the trees that the local birds consume. My views on the world of netting fruit trees is that several hundred years ago, nobody would have been able to net any fruit tree and I have long wondered how the oldies managed to harvest any fruit from those unprotected fruit trees. What I'm observing is that the birds seem unable for some reason to consume the fruit at the extremities of the fruit trees. Of course, there is possibly more to the story than that simple observation and I am also wondering whether in pruning fruit trees so that they are easier for humans to harvest, that pruning process also makes it easier for the birds to harvest the fruit. Time will tell. In the meantime, I have some massive nashi pears which are almost ready to harvest!
The Asian nashi pears are ready to harvest and enjoy!
I thought that readers may be interested to see just how thick the trunk of those nashi pear trees have become after almost eight years of growth.
The trunk of a nashi pear tree after almost eight years of growth
And the shady orchard is really enjoying the solid rainfall combined with the summer heat.
The shady orchard is enjoying the solid rainfall combined with the summer heat
At night time (and during the day) it is hard to walk more than a metre or so without disturbing one of the residents of the farm. The other night I spotted a Southern Brown Tree Frog loitering on the veranda.
A Southern Brown Tree Frog was loitering on the veranda the other night
And what was interesting about that frog was that it was about to go head to head with a little scorpion which was also on the veranda enjoying a chunk of biscuit which I'd dropped earlier that evening.
A scorpion was enjoying a chunk of biscuit which I'd inadvertently dropped earlier that evening
During the day I've spotted several large stick insects which live on the side of the house. I have absolutely no idea what they eat, but there are enough of them, so they must be eating something!
A stick insect enjoys the shade of the veranda on a hot summers afternoon
The insects aren't only on the house, as they are right through the garden. Most of the garden beds enjoy a huge diversity of insects too:
An insect enjoys these yellow yarrow flowers
I try hard to encourage as many insects here as possible by planting a huge diversity of flowers and plants, as well as a selection of plants which provide a succession of flowers throughout the year. This provides something for the insects to eat during most seasons of the year. At the moment the agapanthus flowers are looking spectacular - and the honeyeater birds adore them as much as the insects.
The agapanthus flowers encourage a huge diversity of insects as well as the honeyeater birds
And, I like to finish the blog with some flower photos:
The hollyhocks are producing lovely flowers right now
The bush rose is looks and smells superb, although sitting can be a spikey experience
Geraniums love the summer heat and flower regardless of conditions
Oregano which is of the mint family is also a hardy summer flowering plant (as well as being good on pizza)
Spot the Toothy!
Sir Scruffy and I sat in the orchard last night well after sunset. It was a clear and warm night and we watched the stars wheel across the night sky. All around us was the sounds of life as insects made their insect-like sounds, bats zipped across the air, and chunky marsupials with glossy coats crashed through the vegetation on their way to important marsupial business and I thought to myself:
“life is so wonderful,
A miracle, oh it is beautiful, magical.
And all the birds in the trees, they'd sing so happily,
Joyfully, playfully watching me.”

Total respect to the band Supertramp for their song "Logical"!

The temperature outside now at about 9.15pm is 19’C (66’F). So far this year there has been 35.6mm (1.4 inches) which is the same as last week’s total of 35.6mm (1.4 inches).

78 comments:

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

A really delightful blog this week. I would recommend anyone to embrace a trade in preference to an academic education these days. Many professions are (in my view) being damaged by the requirements for degrees; nursing being an example.

Your fruit is doing well, I envy you some of your sun. It is difficult to ripen stuff here if we get a bad Summer. Your query about the effects of pruning fruit trees is fascinating; I really wonder about that.

48F today and the fog horns are moaning.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

Your how to deal with a warlord on ADR was sublime.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Mr. Greer keeps promising an upcoming post on education. It will be interesting to see what he has to say. Early on I decided to make a rather rude gesture to the gate keepers to library land. Given all the ups and downs over the last 50 years in the libraries, I can't say really weather I'd be any better off if I had "gone the course."

More and more I see former librarian positions, being filled by non degreed people. They may still need a BA (four year degree ... in anything) but not the expensive and time consuming post grad work. Although when you consider that a Master's of Library Science is one of the easiest and least expensive post grad programs ... Although on reflection, I wonder if that isn't a tip off that the whole thing is rather bogus. The bar is usually lowered when library systems are put under financial stress ... as the non degreed people are generally paid less. Occasionally, there is a dust up when it is discovered that a non degreed person, through sheer longevity, is making more than a newly minted librarian.

Growing old and getting grumpy. Might be one of the few areas where one is actually entitled to something. :-). Keep in mind I probably feel that way as I am old and grumpy :-).

So. No free range tomatoes? You're likely to get the PETA people on your back :-). They'll come in the night to "liberate" your tomatoes. How many sci-fi movies start out with that premiss, and then things go terribly wrong? That's a sweet little melon. If you get several of them, you'll have to take one and rub the French guys face in it. Try not and gloat too much. :-).

Your Nashi pears are looking quit nice. Well, I think it's pretty clear why the pioneers didn't have much problem with birds, back in the day. There were no birds. They're a modern invention. :-). You may be right about the pruning theory, but I think the pioneers did whack away at their trees. I'd guess it's more an ecological thing. Maybe ... more raptors in the old days to keep down the bird population?

Scorpions! So, do you live in a part of the world where you have to shake out your shoes before you put them on in the morning? When I first moved to S. California, I helped tear up and old stage (to enlarge it) and there were albino scorpions running about. Oh, argh.

When you had pictures of foxglove, the other week, I wondered if you had hollyhocks. And, here they are. But they look different than ours. I remember from being a kid that the way they set seed is so interesting.

Watched a documentary the other night about the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. Full of interesting little items of arcana. They did a random survey of "which was the best Star Trek movie". I was quit gratified that the majority thought "First Contact" was the best. As do I. What I didn't know, or had forgotten, was that when they were trying to get the first season off the ground ...well, Paramount was in partnership with Desilu studios .... Lucille Ball. After the first aborted pilot, she's the one who said "There's something here..." and pushed for a second pilot, which was unheard of at the time. She also pushed for syndication rights, which were fairly unknown at that time. After the first episode was aired, and got a 47% share of viewers, she sent a note to Roddenberry .. "Looks like you boys have a hit."

Also watched "The Sea of Trees." Matthew McConaughey. Quit good.

I'll leave you with, not an ear worm, but this. Lew

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

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Thank you! Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

I did all my education as a full time student. My parents and grandparents paid for college. When I went to grad school, the school paid me via fellowships and research and teaching assistantships. But this was from 1979-84, when the US was funding lots of science research so it was easy for faculty members to get grants to pay for grad students and universities had funds to offer fellowships. I was paid just enough to live (cheaply) on. At the time it seemed worth doing. But then I only worked in the field (chemistry) for eight years. Now I've forgotten almost everything I learned.

You are so right about gardening! I've been at it in at least a small way for over 20 years. It is only in the last few years, however, that I am willing to say that I have gotten reasonably good at it. Anyone who thinks all they have to do is plant seeds and feed themselves ... well, it won't go well for them. Seeds and plants are not machines, nor is the soil they are planted into, nor the weather that they experience. People who think that seeds can be treated as just another machine will not enjoy the results of that belief.

Your melon looks great! I hope that it grows to full size and ripens for you. I still have not figured out how to grow a good melon and have decided that it is time to leave them for better gardeners and farmers than I am.

I used to have a few agapanthus plants, which I grew in containers because they aren't hardy in our winters. The pictures of your plants reminded me how pretty they are. Perhaps it is time for me to grow one again.

We are having a brief warm spell, with weather more like early March. I used the warmth to remove last year's dead flower stems from beds near our patio. As I did so, I admired the daffodil leaves that are showing just above the surface of the soil. We still have plenty of winter to go, at least another four to six weeks of it, but spring is on the way.

Claire

Damo said...

@Chris

An excellent blog post! As someone (slight pause for self-reflection) who occasionally veers into the melodramatic when it comes to the state of the modern world, it is helpful to have your story aired. The fact of the matter is, it was a lot easier 'back in the day'. Conversely, it was also a lot, lot harder a few decades before that. Ultimately, if you want to achieve something you need to work with what you have and get on with it.

As a little point of comparison, Surveying (of which I consider myself a part of) also requires a 4 year university degree at the students expense. This is followed by 2-3 years of 'work experience' (thankfully, good pay rates) with a firm. Then you sit before a board of your peers and prove to them you are suitable to elevated to the rank of registered surveyor. Registered surveyors can sign off on plans which are submitted to governments and so forth (think land title, property boundaries etc).

Like accounting, back in the day this was all done via apprenticeships with theory at TAFE technical colleges. Far cheaper for all involved but then those new university wings don't pay for themselves! :-)

Damo said...

@Pam

Thank you for that. It was a very nice (but cold) night sitting on the deck watching the aurora. Mostly, Tasmania needs quite a large solar storm to get decent aurora. Occasionally they are visible to the naked eye from the southern mainland coast.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks for the explanation about library charges, and I had unfortunately forgotten about Doug’s job. Ooops! Please accept my apologies. Local property taxes here are pretty high at about $2.5k pa which is on top of 10% goods and services taxes (for the state government) and income taxes (for the federal government). Not to mention 9.5% of your income gets put away into retirement savings. It is expensive down here and sometimes I get a bit carried away.

Oh, that is not good about Michael, but I am glad that persistence paid off. The interesting thing is that I have heard – but have no direct experience with - that different people react very differently to different chemicals and doses and it is a real devil of a time to work out the correct dosages for people with serious issues. The other thing I have seen is when people feel that they are better and then they drop their meds… I knew of someone who had a kid that that happened too, it wasn’t good and our health care systems are not really – as you correctly point out – well set up to deal with mental health issues.

In a way it is good that Michael and Marty are considering Patricks death and that they still speak of him.

Go Marty! Well done him, he sounds like he is doing OK – and better than some people I know! What a character.

Yeah, I may go and see the film, it would be hard on the kid as he would feel out of place in both India and Australia. An interesting tale of persistence in the face of adversity to be sure.

The media down here is going nuts over Trump getting in. It is really weird as it doesn’t have much to any impact on us at all – I even heard some people the other day at the local café saying that: “Nobody voted for Trump”. The whole thing is weird as there seems to be a whole lot of nobodies who actually did vote for the guy. I reckon down here it is being used as a smoke screen for more pressing local matters.

Go Doug! The firewood here all has to be brought back up hill. I’m getting well used to that trick…

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I just wanted to say how much I appreciated your detailed account over at the ADR. Very clever stuff and you may be interested to know that it alerted me to some minor details which I may have overlooked such as having samples. What a good idea. The pick up artists that I once read about would describe that display as: “displaying value” and I can’t really argue with them on that analysis. Plus it is nice that you have a solid answer about the dodgy comments too and yeah, copyright would definitely be a problem that I had not considered.

We’re operating at about the same level of the interweb of things, you and I. 2004 vehicle – tick. Nothing else other than a computer connected and that is about it. Even the basic phone that I have only ever connects to the interweb when I tell it too and even then it is only good for text 9which suits me fine). I sometimes read the ADR and comments on the train into Melbourne and the signal even drops out for quite a while! Doesn’t it all make you wonder if your refrigerator starts writing blog comments – or even stranger offers to do a guest blog post. It is a bit like Poltergeist where the kid got sucked into the television set. I do a very good take on the kids sad little cry for help from inside the vacuum tube… Hehe!

Fair enough about the grocery reward program, I hear you. I just don’t buy enough from there anymore.

Firewood is a seasonal job isn’t it? We started early in the new year and it will take a while yet as we’re only half way. Given good health and a lack of drama’s we are concentrating on using the harder to get stuff this year and leaving the easier stuff for future years – just in case. You never know. And the local guys tell me that red gum which is the traditional firewood species of choice is running in short supply nowadays and is increasingly hard to get – and even then it looks green to me. You’d know after a while who is dodgy and who isn’t when it comes to suppliers, but the thing is most people may not understand what a good firewood experience should be. I didn’t, but I would now. Reputation is an important thing in a small community and it is only in these enlightened times…

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Fair enough, nobody needs a sore head! I recall that there was a blog post over at the ADR about Epicurean philosophy. My head is rooted in the world of the practical and I tend to utilise philosophy when it is useful – as it often is, but I try not to get lost in the details as some people can be.

Have you checked whether you glow in the dark? Mate, the poisons I’ve been exposed too over the years, it is a wonder that any of us are alive!

Yup, that is exactly what I was writing about this week – that loss of status – but did you note that my old grandad didn’t need to produce vegetables in his back yard, and yet having grown up in the depression, he did. There is something in that. I hope the solar business goes well. I had an email in my inbox today flogging 6kW batteries and I have 30kW here and you know, 6kW isn’t going to be that useful but it is a start.

Thanks, and I am confused too about the book plate matter. It is a thorny and many sided issue I can see!

Go Lewis! Glad that you scored the two lovely cow eyed Victorian lady prints. They have a certain cheeky and yet unpretentious charm about them! Hey, the comics sound like a good find and the collectors can be full on. Good luck! I do hope your trading enterprise is a success or provides you with some delightful entertainment.

Sometimes it is the people that you know that can smooth over life’s little difficulties. It also sounds a bit Fight Club knowing the people in the know that make things happen. Well, I do hope that you don’t lose your tat to an earthquake or fire as that would be an unpleasant situation.

I find it to be a little sad confronting true believers too but also interesting at the same time as their patterns of thought swirl in a circle which also defines the outer edges of their thought and sometimes I wonder if like a sewage settling pond in a heavy rain whether the whole edifice will just overflow and then the person may be able to start thinking again? Dunno. It is a possibility.

Thanks for the tip about contacting Joel, I really appreciate that idea.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thank you and my advice would be the same as yours. The higher education industry has - like sour milk - passed its used by date. I know of several younger people who are in debt up to their eyeballs and with median house prices being what they are, they will never recover financially and other than status, people forget that education has to provide a return on investment for the students - and I am definitely not seeing that. Mileage may vary though on that front. Glad you enjoyed the story too, and I regret that I was not able to speak with the old guy as one adult to another adult. Such things happen in life though.

He did leave me with one bit of rather enigmatic advice. He said to me: Those who look ahead, get ahead. As a kid I believed he was speaking in the literal sense, but as an adult I can see what he means.

Well, there is plenty of sun down here to share with you - there is a bit too much sometimes. Yes, it was the feral fruit trees in the area that got me thinking along those lines as they do not seem to suffer from the same predation as fruit trees in the orchard despite having the same bird population. Curious minds notice and wonder about that. If you have any theories on that matter, I'm all ears.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Well, the whole student debt business leaves a sour taste in my mouth and I don't believe that it is a good option right now. And not being able to discharge the debt via bankruptcy is counter to the intention of that law. I see a lot of disparities in treatments of various groups in society and I wonder about that issue. I do look forward to reading Mr Greer's thoughts on the matter of education.

The funny thing is that down here, I don't see that people with degrees get paid any more than those without them. It is the over supply of people with degrees via the education system that has driven down wages. In some courses such as journalism, there are apparently more people in the courses than there are even jobs for. And nurses and teachers often have to wait for up to a year before landing an uncertain job, despite being qualified at their own expense.

The larger point that I was trying to make in the blog was that in the past, companies and governments trained people, and then University education was provided free of charge here between 1974 and 1988 and people got used to the idea of having that additional education - done in your own time. After the introduction of fees in 1989, students now had to find their own time to do the course and also finance it themselves. It looks and smells like decline to me.

Haha! We shall all grow old and grumpy and wear that as a badge of honour! Hehe!

OMG - you mentioned PETA... Far out, people will soon be saying: Fernglade Farm weekly blog - a blog about: Radical vegetarianism!; Radical solar!; I reckon we can squeeze in some radical Bike Riders; and what else is there - Oh yeah - Radical true believers in UFO's; oh and why don't we chuck in just for good measure - Radical atheists! That should annoy them all - bunch of nutters! Hehe! Thanks for the laugh, that was hysterical. I'm still giggling to myself about that.

I reckon I earned the right to gloat, given he started it by throwing down the gauntlet! Hehe! Pah, I'll probably just eat the melon and save the seeds for next year. One can but dream.

Really? I didn't know that about birds - I always thought they were related to the dinosaurs and the chickens seriously want to consume me, should I ever be silly enough to fall asleep in their presence. They have such angry eyes and it is a very aggressive social order. On a serious note, I do wonder how the oldies used to manage the competition between themselves and the birds.

Nah, the scorpions are nothing to worry about (too much). They usually live under rocks and logs etc. Mind you, I haven't been stung yet and the little blighter had a big stinger.

Your lot on the other hand are huge. Are they poisonous? They sure look it. Ouch.

The hollyhocks look very similar to the foxgloves, but they are quite different in some respects too. They happily self seed and turn up every year.

Well done Lucille Ball. I recall Here's Lucy from when I was a very young lad. From all accounts she had quite the head for business.

No more ear worms. And I reckon Matthew McConaughey is one of the most interesting actors that the US has produced in quite a while - he is quite idiosyncratic (if that is an appropriate term?)

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

You were very lucky to have been able to do that, and down here during that time, University courses were free of charge. Science is a tough field and most of the people I have known that work in the field of science face the unenviable position of having to reapply for their jobs every couple of years or so as the funding runs out. Mind you, in my job as I'm self employed I have no benefits at all and have only had two sick days in eight years and one of them I was dragged off to the day hospital. Still, I enjoy what I do.

Forgetting things is part of life. Don't you reckon it would be an incredible burden to have a photographic memory?

I really enjoy your detailed approach to gardening and I always learn a lot from your blog posts. Are you still getting the soil tests done? I was fascinated by those tests especially as you measured your yields. Oh yeah, preppers talk nonsense when they wave around bags of seeds as if that is an end point. It is like many things in life, it is merely a starting point. Exactly too, natural systems are really dynamic and I invite as much diversity of life in here as I can tolerate (the deer were pushing things a bit far recently).

Thanks! The melon was a pure chance plant last year and despite the cooler summer, the melon vines have sprawled much further than last year - doesn't that say something about seed saving! I always try to select for early and tasty, but that melon last year was a freak accident.

Yeah, the agapanthus are hardy to some snow, but your winters are something else. Maybe with a little bit of global warming. They are also the hardiest flowering plants as they have humungous tubers to feed the plant in the worst drought and heat conditions. They are so reliable and the honeyeaters and bees love the nectar in the flowers.

If it means anything, I reckon we are in for an early autumn this year. I could be wrong, but my gut feeling is telling me that.

Nice to read that you are having a warmer time of it too. Your winter was initially very cold. Brrr!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Thanks mate! Well, we all drift off into the melodramatic every now and then and the state of the world is something worth doing that about. You know, I reckon in some respects it is fair to say that over the past few decades we as a society have used up much of our social infrastructure. My mother did actually manage to raise three kids, have a full time job, get a degree part time, and buy a house all on a single income. Clearly it wasn't an easy feat, but a single mother just couldn't do that nowadays. Simply not possible. And she enjoyed better social networks than what is available these days - basically because people are working harder to achieve the same thing as what was done in the past. And so to maintain the fiction we eat our social capital. Nope, I don't think that you are being melodramatic at all.

Surveying is a good profession. Private building surveyors from my perspective seem to have to handle a whole lot of paperwork - which gets more complex with each passing year. The paperwork relating to this place was extensive to say the least - and whilst I understood it - I can't say that anyone else got the chance to read it in full.

Yup. The University business is heaps big business my friend! Hehe! I wonder about the scale of some of the HELP debts with younger people that I am aware of as I wonder how they will ever financially recover. Because I did the course part time, I was able to pay for every single subject as I took it. There was one week, where the editor couldn't get work in the mid 90's where we had to strip some copper out of the house (we were eventually going to do this anyway and replace it with plastic) and take that down to the scrap metal merchant so that we could afford to buy groceries. Interest rates were 18% back then and it was killing us financially. In these enlightened times, interest rates are very low but the debt is astronomical and so people have wound up in the same situation. What to do, what to do?

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

No worries about remembering Doug's job - I wouldn't expect you to remember all the details about everyone here. People think he can lower their taxes but he can lower their assessment only. The state determines the multiplier each year so taxes rarely go down even during recent years when values dropped so much. He does make sure people are getting all their exemptions and that their assessment is fair so they pay the smallest amount possible.

Psychiatrist & psychologists have remarked that it is easier to treat a person who has an intellectual disability as they are more compliant (I hate how that term is used) taking their meds. Michael does know what happens when his meds aren't working (extreme auditory hallucinations) and certainly wants to avoid those episodes.

I may have mentioned that accounting was my career before teaching. My degree was psychology and elementary education but there were few jobs in that field at the time. I got a clerical job at a small music distributor and within a couple years was the full charge bookkeeper - totally trained on the job. I did take some accounting courses but maybe only three. As I had gone as far as I could go I got a job at a much larger company in Chicago - one of many bookkeepers but again within a couple years advanced to staff accountant still with no degree. Due to Doug's job we moved for a year to New Jersey where I was the accountant and business manager at a small auto dealership. When we moved back to the Chicago area I found a job as accountant and office manager of a small graphic company and interior design shop (owned by a husband and wife). Well something like that would never happen now so I consider myself fortunate. The problem with the accounting jobs was they required a considerable amount of overtime work or taking work home and by the last one I had two children and the work/life balance was not so good so I took some classes to update my teaching credentials and changed careers. I think if you choose to have kids at least one of the parents should be around a fair amount of time and with teaching I was on their schedule and frankly I scored a pretty cushy teaching job as well. I also got more satisfaction with feeling that I was actually helping someone rather than keeping track of someone's money so there was that.

Thanks for sharing your story. I think I was probably on the tail end of the time when one could train on the job rather than spend a lot of money for a degree.

Tomatoes can sure take on a life of their own. I'm the only one in my extended family that gardens extensively. My in-laws always had a garden but it was fairly modest.

Many of my friends are just apoplectic over Trump though some is justified. I don't quite understand what all the outrage accomplishes. More than a few rushed out to O'Hare to protest over the last few days. These are all well meaning people. Having met so many immigrants and refugees at the jail and hearing their stories makes the issue much more personal. Interestingly, when I asked the nuns who started the program if the detainees are telling the truth they said we often only hear part of the story.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

48F and raining.

I often wonder whether or not it is correct that a couple/family can no longer live on a single income. Expectations as to what one needs have increased so massively; I just don't know.

Son's new puppy was following his mother. She walked past something that puppy thought was a slope that he could run up. Oh dear, it was a huge mound of wet pig slurry. Son had to clean up a puppy who was just a dung ball with 2 eyes.

My knowledge of fruit tree pruning is almost non existent. We did have an orchard nearly 30 years ago but it was an old one and we left it to get on alone. It had 2 apple trees, amongst others, that had the best apples I have ever tasted and they were keepers, I have no idea as to their variety. Now I wish that I had tried to find out.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Claire - You might want to brush up on that chemistry. There's been a lot of talk over at the ADR, this week, that if decline is rather fast, insulin production will be a problem. I've also seen discussions on antibiotics. Some of them can be cooked up in a home lab. Pain killers are another area worth exploring.

@ Damo - Now, I don't know much (anything) about the surveying profession, here. But our local community college (mostly two year programs) does offer a surveying course. From time to time I see student surveying crews out and around, practicing their skills. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - As to copyright, I bow to Mr. Greer's superior knowledge. But I really wonder if he's right about copyright problems and internet posts. Which are mostly anonymous. And the way stuff gets spread around the Web. Also, I certainly haven't heard of anyone being sued for doing the kind of thing I suggested. And, in our sue happy society, you'd think you'd hear more about that.

I do a pretty good imitation of the "They're heeerrre!" line from "Poltergeist." What a team we'd make. Take it on the road. :-).

Yes. Gosh knows what kind of chemicals I've been exposed to, over the course of my life. I used to carry my cell phone around in my shirt pocket, but have stopped that practice. If I ever get lung cancer, it will probably be a toss up as to if it was from the time I smoked, or exposure to low level radiation from my phone. :-). There's been quit a bit of talk over at ADR with Violet and her chemical sensitivities. I think I mentioned that I have some sort of allergy to about 1/3 of the scents on the market. They smell like melted plastic, to me. When I worked in the bookstore in Olympia, we were two doors down from a department store that had the perfume counter, right inside the door. Occasionally, someone would come reeling out of the department store, into my store and corner me with some long involved book question. I'd be dying. My eyes would run and my nose stuff up. Sometimes, even in the dead of winter, after the customer had left I'd have to open all the doors to the parking lot and kick on the air conditioning. Just to get the place aired out.

My granddad always had a bit of a veg garden going, too. I wonder if some of it wasn't only a hold over from the Depression, but also Victory Gardens during WWII? Well, tomorrow night Nova is going to run that report "In Search of the Super Battery." They've really been flogging it on the radio. I suppose my library will get it in about 6 months time. I'll have to take a look.
Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I think like rattlesnake bites, a reasonably healthy adult can survive the sting of a scorpion. You might get very sick and there might be some flesh narcosis. You may WISH you were dead :-). When my Dad went hunting or fishing in eastern Oregon or Washington (where there are rattlesnakes) he always carried a snake bite kit with him. I remember it had a heavy duty rubber suction cup. None of that sucking and spitting you see in the westerns. :-).

Yeah, I'd call McConaughey a idiosyncratic actor. One of those actors who looks for interesting and challenging rolls, rather than just shooting for the big bucks.

Looks like I'll be heading for Longview, this morning. There's a window of opportunity, as far as the weather goes. Today and tomorrow are supposed to be nice. After that, all bets are off. We may get snow. Longview, east, is supposed to get ice storms out of the Columbia River Gorge. I'll give the guys a call before I go. Make sure they're open. They have never not been open, but it's an hour and a half round trip and I want to make sure.

Always fun to see what's new and discuss the State of the Tat Business. We know a few people in common, so there's always a bit of gossip to catch up on. Lew

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

Supertramp is the music of my younger self. I've always enjoyed unusual voices and their sound/lyrics were radical and exciting.

We were caught in 47C heat yesterday in the Hunter Valley. Fortunately a cool change came through and the temperature dropped 17 degrees in about thirty minutes. The road surface looked like it was melting. I didn't test it to see.

I've been involved in education all of my adult life. Here, in my university town, while young students or their parents are paying large amounts for their education a good number of those students seem unable to take advantage of the courses on offer. Alcohol and drugs are used freely everyday of the week, not just bar nights as it was 20 years ago. From my experience 17-18 school leavers are mostly too young to cope with the freedom of being away from home for the first time. I see Gap years as a partial solution but agree with others here that a trade or apprenticeship would offer a good alternative. Education and the joys of auto didacticism are potentially available if that's what they come to. Mature age students are generally committed and determined and often draw younger students along in their wake. I've rarely begrudged the time I've spent as a student, even when it was less than scintillating I did lots of side journeys to make it work for me.

I enjoy your garden and your stories, Chris. So much good work!

We were lucky enough to buy some windows for our old house renewal project. Once they are in we can get to work on the walls (we had the original asbestos professionally removed)

Warm Regards, Helen

Steve Carrow said...

Chris-Your post reminds me of my regret looking back at my youth of not paying more attention when my dad was fixing cars, trucks, anything mechanical. I'd hand him wrenches, or turn the key when he called out, but I did not do enough for it to stick.

I am slowly gaining on it, but there was so much I could have used over the years...........

Damo said...

@Chris
Yeah, there can be a lot of paperwork in Surveying. That was one good thing about working as a mine surveyor - the paperwork was quite minimal, at least for my position. Boundary adjustments for a suburban block on the other hand...

Those HELP debts can get quite scary can't they? I feel like mine is reasonable at $30K, but would obviously be happier with zero! I have seriously pondered paying it off in a lump sum but I suspect I will need the money for more productive investments over the next couple of years.

Damo said...

@Lew

Yeah, there is the occasional college here in Australia offering Surveying as a 2 year course. They are few and far between though and now most job listings have a university degree as a minimum requirement. Meanwhile the bosses all came through on apprentice programs, but they didn't have iPhones or something so it all balances out :p

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret, Inge, Lewis, Helen, Steve, and Damo,

Thanks for the lovely comments. I am unable to reply this evening as the editor and I went to the big smoke to see the film: "Lion". I promise to reply tomorrow evening.

The film was as good as the reviews said and there was even a little tear at the end of it. The funny thing was that looking at the scenes of India reminded me of my travel to the north of India in the late 1990's. The thing was that I had become accustomed to the sounds, sights, colour, noise and mass of people in India and when I came back to Melbourne, the place looked quite colourless and drab and that contrast was quite shocking to me. I was reminded of that culture shock tonight after the film. I may write about that one day as it would make an interesting story. Oh, sorry, I digress, the film was great, go and see it.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Inge,

I would not wish that mess on anyone. Just the usual rolling in poop is enough for me. We woke up yesterday to several messes around the house one which I stepped in. Salve, once again, has the runs. Of course it meant a trip to the vet to find out it's a common bacteria when there's been a thaw (sigh).

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - I think you're right about two income families. I'm not talking about the Super Rich or the very poor ... all though some of the "poor" have to have two parents working, due to the high costs of where they live. High costs, usually rent.

When I look at families where one parent stays home (and keeps the household economy humming) they are usually families that decide they can do with less of the gizmos and attractions of what passes for modern life. Elizabeth Warren wrote a book several years ago called, I think, "The Two Income Trap." Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, the trip to Longview was a washout. All dressed up and nowhere to go :-). I got myself together and started calling at 10am and continued til noon. No dice. Could be any number of reasons why they didn't open yesterday. Probably best I didn't go. Being a family friendly blog, and not wishing to descend to 8 year old boy humor, I'll just say I had some "digestive problems." :-). Oh, well. I'll give them a try next time we have a window of weather opportunity.

Clear, but three cold nights, the last being the first. It was supposed to get down to 23F, last night, but only hit 30F (-1.11). Clear today, so no problem getting into the Little Smoke. But as far as getting to my meeting tomorrow night? Well, snow is out of the forecast, but now they're forecasting freezing rain ... but after 10pm. If that's the case, no problem. We'll see.

Thanks for the movie review. But I didn't think there were lions in India. :-). Tigers, yes, but lions?

Culture shock is pretty interesting. Not like your trip, but after I'd been here about 8 months, I made my first trip back to Portland. Everyone seemed to be running and all the advertising and blinking lights seemed oppressive. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

I had no idea of the time and travails that you had to go through to get to the level of expertise (and reverence, undoubtedly) in your career. It is really frustrating to think that people used to more easily - and cheaply - gain the same knowledge on the job. Hands-on always beats book learning. I can think of no skill where that does not mostly apply.

My grandfather also always had a vegetable garden. He was well-to-do like your grandfather, too. I think that the gardening must have been at least partially a way to get away from the business world (he was a banker) and be alone. I never knew, though, as he was not too keen on children and we didn't see all that much of him.

What an interesting observation about birds not bothering the fruit on the extremities of the trees. Time will indeed tell if that is a "scientific fact".

What gorgeous agapanthae (?). And all of the other flowers, too. As Lew said, your hollyhocks look different from ours. Ours are like ruffled skirts, or maybe a bit like petunias. Once I borrowed some seeds from a black hollyhock at our downtown library. The resulting plants were impressive - truly black. I didn't know that you had scorpions. We had those when I lived in the desert. I was never stung by one. We have stick insects that look just like yours. I mostly see them in the fall. They especially like to eat my rose bushes.

Hi, top of the head of Toothy!

Chickens always look like dinosaurs to me, too. Look at those feet!

We've started some spring seeds indoors. Cabbage and herbs, so far.

Pam

SLClaire said...

@ Lew - I limit the time I spend reading the comments on ADR now that the numbers of them have gotten so large. I saw the first 100ish of last week's comments, including Violet's that you mentioned, but not the ones on insulin or antibiotics.

As a chemist, I know what is involved in synthesizing and manufacturing such pharmaceuticals, and I know enough to stay clear of them. When I took organic chemistry as a sophomore, in one of our labs we synthesized one of the sulfa drugs (an older antibiotic) over a several week period. We started with pure benzene. By the time I was working in industry we could not get benzene without going through a blizzard of paperwork and adding extra safety measures to our normal safety procedures, but when I was a sophomore, our teacher could get enough benzene for a lab of forty students just as if it was a bottle of something sold in a grocery store. We didn't have hoods for the whole class so most of us did our reaction with the benzene in open air (it was in a closed container, but still). When I was in grad school, at one point I used a considerable amount of benzene to purify something else in the open air of the lab. There were other hazardous substances I worked with during my career, enough that I figure I'd best not expose myself to any more. Anyway, given the hazardous nature of the materials involved and the processes and specialized equipment that are required to get from starting material to an antibiotic or to insulin (or any other prescription drug that I am aware of), I remember enough chemistry to know I'm not going to do anything like that. I dabble in herbalism to deal with Mike's and my health issues and think I will eventually do more than just dabble in it. While herbalism has its limits (what doesn't?), for what it works for it's preferable to medicines from synthetic chemistry. For the rest, I've accepted that I am likely to not live as long as my parents or grandparents.

Claire

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks for understanding - and somewhere and some-when, I read that most people can recall about 150 different social relationships and beyond that it can get very hazy. With my paid work I have to remember people’s names, their kids names, lots of tidbits, even pet names sometimes as there are many businesses that have dogs wandering around the place. I quite enjoy the dogs too and if I remember to take them, I sneak them in a homemade dog biscuit. But the detail is tough to recall so I try to build pictures of people’s relationships and situations in my mind which is not as easy as it may sound! Doug would face that same problem too given the sheer volume of different people he would encounter in day to day dealings with the public. The other day at my favourite Melbourne cafe, I actually forgot to pay for my coffee and muffin will have to sort the whole messy business out next week. There were extenuating circumstances which I may write about on the next blog. Oops!

For yours and Doug's interest, with the local council rates / property taxes down here, there are two ways to get a reduction: 1. Demand that the Valuer General reassess the value of your property (this is a chancy request and may also result in an increased valuation); and 2. Put a permanent covenant on your property title which allocates a large percentage of the available land as being for the benefit of the wildlife. This is a complex legal process and is also audited from time to time. I personally would not go down that path as I disagree with the understanding of what land management practices actually benefits the wildlife from the do nothing approach, and there would be no end to the arguments under that sort of arrangement. Do they have such a thing in the US?

Ha! I'll tell you this too. Plenty of people struggle with the concept of asking for help these days and that certainly fits that particular theorem. Michael is pretty astute to realise that the meds assist him with his day to day experience of the world and that is a good thing.

Respect too. It is a good skill to have developed and will be in need in the future. You know, I may have mentioned that I'm a bit of a contrarian and I trained up an accounts person who displayed considerable skill and understanding and then promoted them into a job because it was the right thing to do for that organisation, even if it departed from the dominant narrative. The funny thing about that was that there were people questioning my judgement for having done so, that had not even travelled my education path themselves and that was the moment that it dawned on me just how strong a hold the dominant narrative has over people. In all honesty my perspective is reasonably flexible and I approve of you learning the skills on the job. There are a huge number of parallels between managing a business and managing a well run household.

Well, I worry about the lack of gardening skills, because over a decade ago, I under estimated the sheer scale of complexity involved in earning those stripes. A friend of mine who is of Italian heritage summed it up nicely when he told me that his parents didn't want to share basic skills because you could just go down to the shop and buy the stuff cheaply. There are one or two basic assumptions in that claim that are on rather shaky ground.

That is funny about the nuns as I long ago I knew a bloke who used to be a plumber who worked in the prison system. He was a good bloke and we always used to laugh about a lot of silly stuff and he helped me on many of the house rebuilds that I did before eventually burning out and disappearing in Tasmania. Anyway, he told me that most prisoners stories were lies or when they acknowledged guilt, they tried to under estimate the level of their involvement.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

48'F is quite warm for winter for you, but of course that does bring the rain which is exactly like a winter here. It will be 81'F here tomorrow and we plan to bring in more firewood for the winter. I'll tell you that living on the side of a mountain can present special challenges, but I am fortunately able to use gravity to ensure good drainage (most of the time). It looks like Sunday and Monday, it will rain quite heavily here, so fingers crossed!

Of course, situations will vary your observation immensely. In Melbourne the median house price is $880k which is insane and it is just not possible to field the mortgage with a normal single income. Up here there is a vacant block of land, but the owners are asking for $425k which is just a feral amount of money and there are no services or permits on it. A friend is considering it, but that means they may have to live in a yurt. I would do that, because I have a do what it takes attitude, but not everyone shares that perspective. So of course there is a grain of truth in what you say, but I don't feel that it is the whole story. What do you think about that?

Haha! That is funny and dogs will be dogs. I had to take Sir Scruffy to the vet this morning as he has an infected ear which I’d treated here for about two weeks so far without much success.

Yeah, my knowledge of pruning amounts to these two chunks of lore: Cut off branches which have been broken by the wildlife; and also cut off any chunks that display signs of permanent disease. And that is about it, the rest of the time I spend watching the fruit trees to see what they'll do and how they'll react, so the trees are teaching me. Most advice for fruit trees is based on commercial orchards and so I take all of that lore with a grain of salt. Jackie French has been one of the few authors willing to talk about other methodologies and I respect her wisdom.

Apples readily hybridise and so you have to plant a lot of seedlings before finding winners. But every apple has a purpose whether it is fresh eating (dessert), cooking, or cider making. It is a remarkable tree and it would have been not a bad idea to get some scion wood from those trees. They may be gone now.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Oh, Mr Greer has a much better understanding of the publishing world than I, and so I bow to his professional opinion on that matter. Of course that may mean that his best selling book titled: “Trolls that I have known” will never see the light of day. Speaking of these matters, I fielded a lovely request today. The people who supplied the sewage system for this place had been tipped off by their web guy that I'd put together a delightful video and testimonial for their system and they asked permission to put up a link to that work. How lovely! As you would be aware, I'm not doing any of this interweb stuff for an income or self promotion or tours etc. etc. I'm simply trying to get the idea out there that we can do better. And of course, you and I get to enjoy a daily chat - rather than taking up other peoples interweb spaces! Hehe! :-)!

Our fortunes are made. We could do dodgy impressions of all sorts of B-grade, but still culturally notable, horror films. I was rather fond of the Evil Dead Part 3, way back in the day as that was a very silly but enjoyable film. What was your fave?

Yeah, me too. That is what a poisoned planet looks like. I believe paper mills used to dump dioxins - which is apparently one of the most toxic chemicals known to man - in the ocean. I'm amazed at how resilient the natural world seems to be to those sorts of outrages. I read about Violet over at the ADR and my understanding of her situation is that she may also be subjecting her own body to additional stresses, but I could be wrong on that matter. But yeah, some artificial smells are not good. The editor reads a blog about some dude that recovers older items and then makes a living off that and the dude has apparently made quite a bit trading older perfumes which are alcohol based. Goodness knows what chemicals are in that stuff nowadays as for a few cents more...

The Great Depression following on from the exuberant 1920's would have been an extraordinary contrast which would not have been lost on the people experiencing the worst aspects of it.

People fail to understand just how old and mature a technology batteries are. My understanding is that a person can trade efficiency for life span of the batteries and there doesn't seem to be many ways around that predicament. I received an email in my inbox the other day saying that development of a lithium solid state battery was just around the corner and I noted that one of the materials used was garnets. Like that wouldn't be expensive! I'll be interested to read your views after listening to the program. My understanding is that if you want long term batteries, Nickel-Iron batteries are the way to go, but they're not very efficient, but they are very robust. The new lithium batteries as they operate in off grid setups require another layer of complexity in the form of a battery management system that monitors every single cell in the battery. That sounds complex to me and prone to failure.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Ouch! Yes, snakes are on my mind for good reason too. The theory down here is that the bitten limb is restricted by a tourniquet so as to slow the movement of venom from the limb into the rest of the body. That buys time. They also say not to wash the bite as there is usually venom on the surface of the skin which they can use to determine the variety of snake. Interestingly too, I have heard of the necrosis, but that is from what I understand, caused by bacteria on the fangs (the same for spider bites) rather than the venom itself – at least down under. What I don't understand is that why do the snakes down here need to be so lethal. It makes you wonder at the conditions that produced that particular evolutionary outcome.

McConaughey certainly picks the interesting roles to be sure and then he owns them completely.

Ha! I saw how the Longview (is there actually a long view there?) trip ended up. Hope you are feeling better? Hope you make the meeting? I won't mention that the weather here today has been superb, but I've been running around all day doing admin and household stuff that I have put off for a few weeks - that stuff never goes away does it? Sir Scruffy had to go to the vet because he has some sort of pus generating ear infection which I was unsuccessfully treating here. He doesn't much like the ear cleaning and medication business...

The character in the film which is based on a true story was named Saroo. However because the last time anyone pronounced that name to the kid, he was only five years old so he mispronounced his real name which was Hindi and: Sher(u). Well that whole Hindi language is a complex beast and apparently there is confusion as to whether it refers to a lion or a tiger, but in the area the kid was from, it refers to the lion.

Yup, I hear you about that. That is one of the reasons I head into the big smoke on a regular basis, but even then, sometimes the rate of change is beyond my experience and understanding. Melbourne takes in as many immigrants each year as the much larger city of London, and I wonder about how sustainable that gear is in the long run. There is a desalination plant in place and that is an expensive way - on many levels - to produce drinking water.

The speed that things operate at and change is also quite confronting.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

He did have an unusual voice didn't he? I heard Sting (from the rock band The Police) interviewed the other day and he apparently joked that not being able to sing well never stopped any musical careers. The lyrics were superb!

Ouch, NSW is really feeling the heat this summer. Sydney has just broken some records too. Be careful in those conditions. How is the garden holding up in that heat? Is that a record for your part of the country? It would be here. Even Black Saturday wasn't quite that hot (almost though at 45.6'C).

Yup, a trade or apprenticeship is the best opportunity now. Most people can't understand the concept of return on investment, and starting off adult life with a huge debt is not good for anybody. I don't begrudge the time either, it was just a massive imposition. I've run graduate programs and they don't know nearly enough to be immediately useful and I have had to struggle with their patterns of thought which are sometimes dysfunctional to an employer. But it is a real pleasure when they start to think for themselves.

Thank you! :-)!

The windows were a good score. And yes, prior to about 1985, I understand but asbestos was in all sorts of stuff. It is an unpleasant way to go too, so you were wise to have the material removed.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

A lot of skills are lost like that aren't they? My dad cleared off, so he failed to hand any skills over. Mind you, like you say, you can re-learn skills, but it just takes a whole lot more effort. Most vehicles nowadays I can't work on because there are numerous computers in them.

I wish we had more time, but alas we must do what we can in the time we have available.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Oh yeah, those building surveyors who issued the building permit had me jumping through paperwork hoops. It really was a legal response rather a system constructed to produce good outcomes. The energy rating system really annoyed me as it failed to take into account the water harvesting, sewage treatment, or even the solar power. I had an argument with the guy and just ended up admitting defeat. It didn't take into account the hugely over insulated components of the house.

$30k is pretty good all things considered. The young people I know who have them tell me they are in the $50k range and I see no reason to see that they are lying to me.

Debt is debt as far as I'm concerned. I didn't always feel that way though, so I hear you. Keeping that debt is a gamble, just as much as paying it off is.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Haha! Yeah, it was a long road for sure. Maybe it ended up being 11 years all up. It is a long time to be sure. Towards the end of the degree I managed 1 subject one semester and 2 the next semester. It was unrelenting but when people say I work hard nowadays... And exactly, hands on skills are very important and there ain't no way around that one. I ran a graduate program once, and it was honestly a program of slowly re-educating them. Good fun though!

Yeah people who go out for long hours on their own fishing share the same feelings in that matter too from what I can see. My grandfather treated everyone the same (adult and child alike) and that was only something that I learned at his funeral as serious people remarked to me about the many colourful names that he had given them. He was a cheeky old rascal.

Hopefully I have the time to learn about the fruit trees. Fruit is cheap nowadays, but I suspect that this will not always be the case. Seriously, who had nets several hundred years ago. And the local feral fruit trees do not suffer predation despite having the same bird population. I just don't get

A black hollyhock would look superb. :-)! I picked up a black flowering hellebore last winter and fingers crossed for this winter. It may have been in the landslide area though.

Lucky you for not being stung. The scorpions here are rather small, so we'll see how it goes with them, but I'm not going out of the way to be deliberately stung for research purposes for the blog though. Ouch! :-)! The stick insects here look like they prey on other insects given where I find them. Rose bushes are like strawberries aren't they in that everything tends to want to eat them.

Toothy sends greetings. He is a bit greedy for the camera that dog, but he is a natural charmer so who can argue with that logic?

Oh yeah, and the eyes look grumpy and alert to opportunity to me.

Well done and I hope your spring season is pleasant and that all the seeds grow prolifically.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thanks for sharing your story with Lewis. I'm with you about the herbs and other plants and also about your observation about not living as long a life span.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

So Melbourne has a desalination plant? It sounds like a good- would we say "interim"? - idea, something that could bridge the gap until a more sustainable (I don't know what other word to use; that's probably not right) system is put in place, but with a population that large it is probably also an absolute necessity. And once populations become dependent upon such a thing, that's it; the thinking mostly seems to stop there. I have often wondered why California - much of the state which lives in perpetual "drought" (so much of it being a desert, "drought" doesn't seem quite right) - doesn't have more than 2 desalination plants with their coastline of 840 miles (1350km). It has always been one of our wealthiest states.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

At the moment it is 50F and there is intermittent sunshine but bad weather is supposed to be arriving.

Our rents are insanely high as are property and land prices, but it varies massively according to area. Yesterday evening I watched a programme on Fair Isle which has a population of 55. A couple were going to live there and were getting a 4 bedroom house, 23 sheep and 25 acres for £500 per year. No trees so I wouldn't have wanted to live there but there are ways of living cheaply, sometimes below the radar.

@Damo

Debt is a shackle, I would always say try to get rid of it first.

@Lew

The Elizabeth Warren book sounds interesting.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Some similarities here regarding property taxes. You can appeal your assessment and possibly get it lowered. If you can't resolve it with your township assessor you can appeal to the county Board of Appeals. Many show up there with a lawyer. A few years ago there were tons of appeals due to the huge drop in property values. Doug usually only ends up with just a few that he can't work out with the property owner. Here too you can get a conservation easement. The Land Conservancy assists people who want to go this route. A neighbor is trying to sell his large property due to a family inheritance dispute. There are several farmers who would like to purchase it but he put a conservation easement on part of the property which is really hindering any sale. If you live in a rural area you can possibly get Ag zoning which we did. We were able to do so primarily because of raising bees.

My accounting background has been helpful is several areas - even when I was teaching. I was in charge of our grant funded program and had to reapply each year which meant demonstrating we were successful. As our students were all "at-risk" students that was often difficult to do on paper. I was able to present the statistics in a way that demonstrated that we did have enough success with our students to receive the grant for many years. As I'm in charge of all my brothers' finances, my mother-in-law's and ours it takes some organizing to keep everything straight. I also record all our expenses on Quicken so we know where our money goes. At tax time it's easy to run a report or if we want to know our costs for raising bees, pigs etc. the numbers are easily accessible.

One of my sisters is doing pretty well picking up gardening skills though she has a pretty time consuming job (CPA by the way) so sometimes things fall behind. She is the staunch Libertarian in the family and they are really into self reliance.

Things are somewhat different at the immigration jail. Many have not committed a crime but their stories about how they were picked up may have some holes. I think that's what the nuns meant. Now those who have committed crimes serve their sentence in the regular jail and then sit for months at the immigration jail waiting to be deported. One particularly disturbing situation which appears to happen often is the individual may have committed a crime when they were young even as long as 25 years ago. They've served their time, have raised a family and become upstanding members of their community and out of the blue they are picked up because of that long ago crime. No matter what one thinks about the immigration issue they still deserve to be treated with compassion and shouldn't have to languish in jail - for many months or even years.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Claire - A lot will be lost in the decline. I guess insulin can be extracted from a large number of pig pancreas ... or, some kind of yeast culture. Probably proprietary. I guess insulin is of interest to me, as there was so much diabetes in my mother's family. So far, I seem to have dodged the bullet. And, I'm well beyond the age that other families members developed it.

Books! You may want to look at two books by Stephen Harrod Buhner. 1.) Herbal Antibiotics: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Reisistant Bacteria and 2.) Herbal Antivirals: Natural Remedies for Emerging & Resistant Viral Infections.

They have really good instructions about how to go about tinctures, infusions and such. I think for someone who knows their way around a laboratory beaker, such as you, the instructions would be easier than for someone like me. :-).

He backs up his work with extensive surveys of worldwide studies that have been done. He can also be an amusing author ... in a grumpy kind of a way. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, it got down to 27F (-2.11C) last night. Not as cold as forecast. It's breezy, and the wind chill factor is really down there. The wind seems to have driven all the moisture away. So dry, there was no frost last night.

Well, that is truly wonderful that they want to use your video about your sewage system. LOL. You truly are becoming the "King of Poop." :-). Hopefully, people will also look at some of your other videos. You may even make connections with other like minded people, in your part of the world, that you're unaware off.

Hmmm. B horror films I really liked. I'll have to think about that. The only things that come to mind ... and, I can't even think of what the movies were is "Don't go in the basement!" (or, attic, or, wherever.) And, "Get out of the house! The call is coming from inside!" :-).

Oh, I do know about paper making. Given our forestry industry. There was a little town just up the Columbia River from Vancouver called Camus. They had a paper mill. Poor little town. The place just reeked. Anytime we passed through, say, to go on a fishing trip, we'd roll up all the windows. Not that that helped much. I don't know if the mill is still there. It got a bit better later on, when everyone got all environmentally sensitive. I think they slapped on scrubbers or filters.

LOL. Yes, one wonders about the snakes and the evolution of their venom. I guess someone or something seriously brassed off the snakes, somewhere along the way. Of course, some of it is so that snakes can paralyze or kill their prey so that they can dine at leisure, without all that struggling and thrashing around. :-).

And here I thought the title of this weeks post had to do with Star Trek and Spock :-).

Oh, gosh. Mr. Greer is going to make several excursions into philosophy. I don't care how many people think it's a wizard idea, watch the number of comments plunge. :-). Oh, I'll follow along. I guess I'm glad that he's read (and interpreted) Spengler, so I don't have to :-). I'm just intellectually lazy, I guess. And, as he points out, if I don't like it, I can just go read something else, somewhere else. :-).

Ah, almost forgot. Re: Taking our act on the road. There's a scene early in the film "The Postman," where Costner is keeping it together by being a wandering actor. Serving up a mish-mash of half remembered Shakespeare. And incorporating his mule as one of the players. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

I finally tracked down your warlord comment at last weeks ADR. You have perfectly described a very possible scenario. Well done!

1/29/17, 3:28 PM

Pam

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

The vegetable garden is surviving the heat although the mid forty degree days 'checked' the production of the beans, the tomatoes and zucchinis and sent the rocket and silverbeet into a rapid bolt. We have enough water this year for the section of the garden we have under shade cloth, unlike last year when we lost a very large tank of water to a leak... That was a salutary lesson about turning all water off at the source and not trusting to infrastructure down the line. I think even more ground under a shade cloth structure is on the cards because it slows the evaporation rate and stops the worst of the sun burn. It also allows us to work for longer without becoming disoriented from the heat. We are in the throes of designing more shade because although we are accustomed to hot summers this one is showing some gaps in the planning.

My dad (born 1905) was a product of the depression and war years and always had an extensive veggie garden. We were his second family as both his first wife and son died early. there were four of us and I have no doubt he used the garden to avoid spending too much time with all of us at once! He made his own compost, propagated his own seedlings inside a very elaborate cold frame and studied gardening books as a winter activity. His gardening bible was the Yates gardening guide and I still use one of those too. I'm looking forward to some evening planning session with gardening books this year myself.

Lew, I had a chuckle at your comment about excursions into philosophy on the ADR. I am a philosopher of sorts and have been requested by much loved friends to please not explain anything in 'that way' again! Mind you I have only ever offer analysis if asked but as we know common or good sense rules the day (even when it neither common or good) as does plain speech and mind stretching is rarely appreciated.

Warm regards, Helen

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yup, it is a fairly new desalination plant and it has not been used due to the good rains of the past year. I read a story in the newspaper that indicated that when the plant was switched on it blew a major fuse, so clearly a bit of testing and problem solving may be in order. It cost a small fortune to build and the water that it produces is not very cheap by any stretch of the imagination and it uses a huge quantity of electricity in the process. The thing is that people didn't want to pay for it, but they sure do seem to want the water from it, so it is one of those predicament things. When a drought takes hold, things can get very dry down here, much like Southern California, so it is no wonder so many of the local plants from here are grown there. My gut feeling is that perhaps despite the wealth, nobody wanted to pay for it over in the US? Water recycling is by far a much cheaper process, but a lot of the water produced from treatment plants is very contaminated for all sorts of reasons.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Ha! How funny is this. The nighttime temperatures here have been very cold because I suspect despite the fact that it was 86'F here today (and we were bringing in firewood in the hot sun), the nighttime temperatures are about the same here as your daytime temperatures. It is all very civilised the cooler nighttimes.

I like the sound of the 23 sheep and house combo! You can always plant shelter belts if you choose the right sort of trees for the prevailing and worst case scenarios. It is funny that you mention the lack of trees as I will get a firewood lot in over the next year or so. Of course the trees will be grown from local seed, but most of the trees that I have planted for that purpose are going feral after only a few years.

I hear you, but I have a do what it takes attitude and I was wondering whether you see any of that over there? Dunno, why I feel that way, but I do. One house I lived in had a floor in only one room, one powerpoint and one light. It was fun and it never felt like an imposition.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

The re-assessment of the valuation has to be done here by the office of the valuer general. I was very curious as to whether your property taxes reduced after the real estate crash in 2008/9, but we have covered that matter already, so I can get a glimpse of the future here. Yeah, the land conservancy is a great idea, but the audits and people poking their noses into my business would annoy me, and the animals do very well here all things considered, especially compared to other corners of the mountain range. I've never seen a place for sale with that covenant on it, but will keep my eye out and if possible I'll give you a contrast.

Haha! What do they say: There are lies, there are damn lies, and there are statistics. :-)! Well done and you are in good company as I struggled with maths - probably because I had the school bully within reach during those early classes and he was an interruption - but I loved statistics at Uni as it all made so much sense and the tools were useful - as you well know, having put them to good use yourself!

Well done her for attaining the CPA, that is the professional body down here too. I don't mind the Libertarians as they speak some nonsense, but also they speak a lot of common sense. I reckon with policies rather than throwing your weight behind a party or ideology, it is probably best to pick and choose the best policies of the lot and change your preferences often if they look like they're getting too comfortable.

Speaking of which our PM received a dressing down today by your President. It was pretty funny really and the other side story was that some unfortunate junior aide was apparently tweeting anti Trump stuff, and he has been reported as having been dismissed. I reckon the aide chose very poorly, and I wonder if he expected no repercussions.

Exactly, the length of time in detention is unconscionable and a drain on the treasury - as well as impacting their mental health.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

You have quite the way with words. Your not as cold as forecast, would be colder than I've ever seen here. I do take back the unfortunate suggestion many years ago about citrus trees as they would freeze their poor bones - much like I would too in your winter. Far out it sounds cold! :-)! It is funny that you mention that about it being cold and dry as I find the winter dries me out far more than the summer conditions and have always wondered about why that is. Do you find that too?

Speaking of drying out, I had to go to the doctor this morning because I had to get my ear checked as it is still itchy. Turns out I have eczema on my ear. Go figure that out, it never even occurred to me that that was possible. I've got a dark spot on that ear too, so they suggested to take a biopsy, so I have to get a chunk taken out next week and see what it is. The sun is very fierce down here and I always wear sunscreen, but as a kid, nobody thought twice about getting sunburned - that was part of summer. Sir Scruffy has an ear infection too, so I'm in good company, and you could say that we are all ears down here! :-)!

Yes, King Poopy has a nice ring to it don't you think? Hehe! I do like a good load of manure. That sounds a bit dodgy doesn't it? I meant for the garden... I told them that I was responsible for a sale of one of their systems down this way to someone who is a friend of a friend who came up to have a look at the place and was very impressed. They even went off grid. I like them and have total respect for what they're up to. It is funny how you can inspire some people in unexpected ways.

When a stranger calls was a frightening film. But being practically minded even as a youth, I had to ask the hard question: Who has two telephone lines in their house? I didn't know anyone who had that gear. Of course things may have been different down this part of the world.

Paper mills produce a huge output of toxicity. Not good. I noticed one of the stories in the current Into the Ruins featured the story of a person in the future who wrote stories, but also had to come up with the paper and inks to do so as well. One must think in terms of systems mustn't they? I assume the old monasteries used to have people producing paper? Have you ever read anything about that process?

I guess so, snakes probably can't afford to produce a huge quantity of venom so they probably have to ensure that it works. No doubts many of the local animals are reasonably immune to that venom.

Oh no, that's next weeks blog! Hehe!

I don't know about the comments plunging. There was already about 150 as of a few minutes ago. Honestly, I'm really impressed that Mr Greer is able to synthesise a response to commenters that keep them coming back for more. It sort of like finding out what is the core issue and then responding to that. I take a more rambling and discursive approach, but I am rather chatty at the best of times.

Oh thanks for the reference. I'll check that out. How are the mules going in your adjacent paddocks? I hope they're not struggling too much in the winter?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Thanks for the lovely comment, but I've run out of time to reply tonight and promise to reply tomorrow. The pubs kitchen shuts at 8.30pm sharp...

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

In your comment to Inge: "I have a do what it takes attitude" and "One house I lived in had a floor in only one room, one powerpoint and one light. It was fun and it never felt like an imposition". Could it be that using the latter comment in following that first creed is what makes up a useful and powerful - and enjoyable - philosophy?

Just do what needs to be done, and enjoy the journey.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

A storm is supposed to have arrived but there is no sign of it, just a bit of rain and minimal movement in the trees.

The courgette shortage has expanded to lettuce and broccoli plus other unknown greens. Total hysterics which I find quite ridiculous. I have leeks in the garden and assorted frozen stuff but could adjust my diet if necessary. As Son says, nettles will soon be here. This hysteria is on a par with everything today, people expect access to what they want at that minute. It does suggest a distressing lack of adaptability. I agree absolutely with 'a do what it takes attitude' but there is far less of it around today.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - Thanks! I can usually do fiction in short bursts, but the long haul ... I read something recently where a writer suggested doing scenes ... and then stringing them all together. Might give that a try the next time I'm moved to attempt long fiction. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I was just thinking about our tomato plantings and I remembered that you had a tomato jungle enclosure photo. I took a second look. We do something very similar, but train the vines laterally so that they are always entirely held up off the ground. Once we trained some straight upwards; they grew to 10 feet (3 meters) tall! My, we scrambled to add taller and taller posts and it was hilarious trying to pick them. Never again!

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - They kept changing the forecast, yesterday, and it went from ice and snow at 4pm (no meeting) to ice and snow at 10pm) can probably squeak there and back to ice and snow at 4am. No problem. About 35 people showed up. There was no ice and snow, here, and the overnight temperature didn't fall below freezing (-0-C). The rain is back with warmer temperatures. Looks like Portland might be having ice and snow. 5-10" of snow in the mountains.

Well, you'd adapt. When I lived in S. California, my adult weight was an all time low. 135. Without even trying. Then I moved back to the Pacific Northwest, and it crept up over a couple of years. Insulation :-). If the inside temperature is, say, 60F (15C) I feel pretty comfortable and toasty. Of course, I wear a jumper, inside, and a hat. The hat really makes a difference in comfort levels. Nell is so funny. This time of the year, when I get up in the morning she leaps to the warm spot I've left behind and basks in my fading body heat, for awhile :-).

I suppose the desalination plant in Melbourne is close to sea level? :-). The water quality in S. California when I lived there was just rubbish. After about a year I got used to it and could drink it ... if it was iced. That was back before the big individual bottled water craze ... but just about every home and business had delivered big jugs of water. Even the bookstore company I worked for, which really watched expenses, never complained about the cost of having bottled water delivered to the store.

I have a bit of a problem sorting out the horses from the mules. I think we have one horse and about six mules, now. Speaking of which, I'll have to continue this. I just noticed one of the mules is out. I've called the owner, but, he's up in Shelton and will take about an hour to get here. So, I'll have to keep an eye on him. So ... Cont. :-).

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. The mule headed down over the hill, away from the road, so I can finish this up :-).

Yeah, I can get pretty dry in the winter ... but just like summer keep well hydrated. Eczema is a pain in the ... ear. Literally, in my case :-). For years, I've had ear problems. Went to a doctor, once. Got some "stuff." Didn't work. Tried elimination diets but that doesn't seem to be the problem ... unless I missed something. What I noticed, is, that retiring and moving to the boonies ... less problem. So, I think it may be stress related.

The monasteries used parchment. Skins from all kinds of animals. And, since they generally had large herds of critters. It was another whole industry, for them. Papyrus paper was available ... but given the shipping distances, really costly. That remained in use in the east. But, even there, they seemed to realize that parchment had real staying power. Later on, when cotton and linen became into more common use, then a paper making industry developed, from rags. Those also had pretty good longevity.

I picked up "The Dressmaker" from the library. Haven't watched it yet. Watched a couple of episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise, season two. LOL. I am fascinated by the way T'Pol, the Vulcan woman officer ... moves. Don't know how she does it. She kind of slinks around ... like she's on wheels. :-). I see "Sharknado 5" is in the works. Has "Sharknado" jumped the shark? :-). Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Ouch! Those temperatures hurt and the heat has been record breaking. In similar conditions I've noticed that any and all plant growth shuts down and the various plants go into survival mode. I noticed today that north of here which is much hotter and at lower altitude, the forests seem to have lost much of their canopy of leaves as the trees are entering a bit of shock from the summer heat. It may be worth your while taking a good look at your vegetable and flower gardens in such extreme conditions and seeing what works and what doesn't work. I find in such conditions that the densely planted flower and vegetable gardens (and I'll include some photos for you to compare on the next blog) work best in such hot conditions. But I am very interested to hear what you have to say on that matter.

Ouch. Losing a tank of water is a real thing of nightmare. We have had a similar problem and I am so careful now because of that hard lesson. There is little room for error in those conditions. Exactly, growing plants in the shade is an excellent idea. People in other parts of the world do not understand that there can be such a thing as too much sun.

Thanks for sharing your story. You may be interested to know that the family that originally owned the Yates business, I believe sold it off and have apparently set up the Diggers Club of which I am a member. They do such good work in supplying heritage and open pollinated seeds and seedlings. We must plan our strategies like any good General! Hehe! Aren't there always so many projects and so little time?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks. It is a useful philosophy isn't it? :-)! I enjoy the hardship as I know that in confronting that hardship it converts a person from a consumer to a producer as from what I've seen of the world there are so few things that produce a surplus. And hardship can also be enjoyed as it builds resilience and the internal knowledge of what could be done if given the right circumstances, conditions, and resources and so often our minds are turned to other trivial matters and short term modes of thinking. I worry about that because the sell on any narrative outside of the mainstream narrative makes it look like a very unappealing prospect.

But then there are the flowers here. And the naughty - but delightful - marsupials stomping through the garden. I would not do otherwise than I am doing.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I'm bracing for a summer storm tonight too. You may be interested to know that Scritchy is hiding under the bed at every opportunity today and that is as good a guide as any to impending rain. Did you end up getting the storm? The winter here was the windiest that I can recall, so no doubts the more rapid change between the high air pressure and low air pressure systems is being felt in your part of the world too.

Exactly, adjustment is the way of the future. You know, it is really interesting that you mention that, but we tend to eat a diet which comprises whatever is growing at the time rather than a fixed idea of what should be eaten. Like you we merely adapt our diet and I must add that this season we have absolutely nailed pesto and fresh bread. And the pesto here is nothing like that oily horrendous tasting purchased stuff which seems to be smeared at will on all sorts of inappropriate dishes. I'm going to test it on the next visitor here... Evil genius chuckle!!!! Hehe! You may be interested to know that we are having a shortage of avocadoes as well as stone fruit this year... The climate is affecting the reliability of certain plants (the apricots here were destroyed by a cold spring and cherries have been in short supply all summer).

The thing that I wonder about is why people feel that certain actions produce certain reactions. I don't generally buy that story as the natural world is a very fluid place and subject to change at short notice. A bushfire seems to have come very close to a friends parents house today near Diggers Rest just out of Melbourne. Frightening stuff.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks for the story and what a frightening prospect those climbing tomatoes must have been. I have seen tomatoes grown in that manner and it reminded me of the way that hop vines are grown commercially down here. Out of curiosity, did you get any fruit at the top of the vines or where they all lower down and nearer to the root systems?

Cheers

Chris

Coco said...

Hi Chris,

Speaking of weather, it´s blowing a gale here. A series of storms coming in off the Atlantic, lots of rain and wind. The electricity was going on and off all day yesterday, and I expect will do so again a couple of times today. Trying to get a load of laundry done and enjoying the internet connection while available. Need to come up with better alternative lighting than candles.

The rain is actually convenient, as Breo has pulled something in his back leg and is hobbling around without putting much weight on it. Vet prescribed rest. No one enjoys walking him on a leash, neither walker or walkee, but when it´s pouring he doesn´t want to go out anyway. Win, win.

Other than luring young people into debt slavery for life, I think all this credential business is the easiest way for businesses to reject job applicants. No thought necessary. The number of people DH has worked with in the last couple of years who had impressive titles and resumes and then were functionally useless is alarming.

Enjoy your lovely garden and wildlife!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Glad that the forecast didn't meet reality and prevent you from attending the meeting. And that many people at the meeting is a good turn out too. Today it was very hot here (well over 90'F) and as we planned no work whatsoever, we headed of too Tooborac to partake of some excellent gourmet pies. Seriously those pies are awesome and I cannot fault them. The short drive to Tooborac from here takes you through a rich and very hilly farming district and there are rock outcrops all over the place and rocks are perched one a-top the other in the most unlikely of fashions. And at the bottom of the valley a small creek flowed. All of that granite made for some very rich soil and the farm houses looked quite old and the land holdings were mostly very large. Strangely enough they ran sheep, but that is most likely a necessity because of water. It is a stunningly beautiful part of the world and if I was looking for property nowadays I would probably seriously consider the area. Most of the trees in the area showed just how mineral rich the soils were, despite it being slightly drier than here (being further north).

Insulation is a handy thing come the winter time! Such things happen due to age as well you know and I am no longer the sticky chicken that I was a decade ago! :-)! Hey, I feel pretty comfortable at 60'F too and that would be a warm morning inside the house over winter. Of course I do get the house to warm up a bit during the day, but I mostly prefer about 65'F which feels very comfortable for me. What do you reckon about that? Exactly too, over winter I see people turning up to the local cafe wearing very little winter gear and I wonder about what temperatures their houses are kept at - and at what cost to themselves and the planet? Haha! Nell understands the principle of heat induction! Well done her! The dogs camp themselves in front of the wood heater for most of the winter.

Now you mention it... I hadn't thought of that problem, but yeah, the whole placing infrastructure at sea level seems to be a sort of self defeating act for a chunk of infrastructure which releases so much in the way of greenhouse gases. It makes you think that nature has a sense of humour? Seems that way to me. That bottled water craze is even more expensive again. I feel for the citizens of South Australia who are at the end of the Murray - Darling River and by the time the water works its way there, it is very brackish. And unsurprisingly, rain water tanks per capita is the highest in South Australia. Interestingly though, when I was at Coober Peddy in South Australia, they had a desalination plant which was solar driven and the water there was the best in the state - despite the place being in the middle of a very arid landscape and it was so hot that people live underground in ex opal mines.

Glad that the mule came to no harm in its adventure!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Mate it is 9.30pm here and it is still 81'F outside and a storm is threatening. Up north of here, the heat waves are breaking records. I even saw an article saying that a well loved police dog died from heat exhaustion whilst on duty tracking an offender. I used to be able to watch the customs dogs getting trained at the airport. The handlers really loved those dogs.

Well yes, you are very correct there and I am usually pretty relaxed, but it has been a stressful month for me for other work reasons. That is life and I always keep a bit of free time up my sleeve in case emergencies occur and one certainly did over January. So yeah, eczema has been stress related and no doubts about it. Hey, sometimes I reckon I should just sell up here and go way off into an even more remote place, but I do like it here and my gut feeling tells me that this is where I should be. Who can argue with that? Do you ever get those sorts of feelings? I've got some strange sort of cortisone for my ear eczema so hopefully I don't have to use the stuff more than a couple of days as I am always a bit wary of that stuff for some reason.

Wow. Thanks for that information. Wow. I had no idea that skins were used to write on for so long. That is gobsmacking and it does make you wonder how much of that writing that we may have lost over the years? Fourth Egyptian Dynasty 2500BC... Far out. How clever were they! And they used beer to treat the hide (enzymes and yeasts at a guess) before stretching it. And the canny old monks at the monasteries over wrote old parchment. I use yeasts to clean seeds before storing them for the winter. Makes you wonder whether anyone is producing homemade paper today?

The Dressmaker is a gothic tale and I quite enjoyed it as it shows some of the silliness that goes on in small communities. Yes, yes, Star Trek indeed. The question remains: Are you enjoying the storylines? I did enjoy the way the Vulcan officer was complaining about how us apes smelled! Very amusing. And the captain had a dog. Tidy work. Haha! Sharknado jumped the shark on the initial offering! Whoever thought that such a thing would have legs? Oh, sorry, sharks don't have legs do they?

I forgot to mention that the gourmet pie place is attached to an old Cobb and Co building which housed a pub and accommodation for people heading up to the goldfields way back in the 1850’s. It is a lovely old building and they brew their own selection of ales (as every pub should or at least offer local ales) and one of the labels caught my eye. I’ll see whether I can find a link to a picture of it… … Woodcutters amber ale. I could well use her help up here with the firewood! It is nice to see a lady who is handy with an axe! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

41F and the sun is shining. The storm came in yesterday evening, very noisy but as it was southerly it went over the top of me and didn't hit anything close.

Ha! Those plastic bottles of water, people seem to be clutching them at all times. Even in the bank a teller will have one beside her. Makes you wonder how we survived when we weren't constantly sipping.

@ Lew
Stringing ones short scenes together to make a longer story is very clever, I like the idea.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

There were tomatoes all the way up to the tippy top. That's what made it so interesting to stand 10 ft. below them - the plants being tied to a rickety pole - and wonder if it would be worth trying to retrieve them. It was not, as we had plenty of tomatoes, so we left them as a monument.

Be wary of withdrawal symptoms with the cortisone, if you use it for very long.

I did some research on this horrid Japanese stiltgrass here that crowds out everything in sight and paper can be made from it, but it looks like a difficult process.

Pam

margfh said...

Inge,

I agree with you that many more could live on one income if willing to give up some of the trappings of current society. I think the biggest obstacle is the cost of housing. In the end at least if one has the expense of day care a couple doesn't net that much more in the end. On the other hand many women find being a stay-at-home parent somewhat isolating and I suppose that's true for the growing number of dads who stay home too. It's too bad that we can't have good paying part time jobs where both spouses work if they choose but share child care, housekeeping etc.

Margaret

margfh said...

Lew,

I did think of you when JMG announced that his next entries will center of philosophy. It's not an area in which I have a great deal of knowledge so I'm looking forward to it. Every time he brings up Spengler I think that this is something I "should" read but like you am glad he does the interpreting. I did check out Vol. I at the library some time ago and the prospect of getting through it is daunting to say the least.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

The Land Conservancy primarily assists land owners in getting the conservation easement. I don't think they do much in the way of auditing. I think the owners want to protect some of their natural areas from either development or conventional farming. A new owner can't overturn that easement.

We've had good weather here for winter though the last few days have been below normal. They have been sunny though which is a welcome change. Looks like in the next ten days there is a chance of some moderate rain but little snow. The chickens are quite happy with the lack of snow cover.

There is lots of respiratory illness of the sort I had (well almost better) around here and other parts of the country. It typically hangs on for a long time - like a month or more.

Doug is out of town for a few days so of course it's time for a ladies' overnight tonight. There was a time when we would stay up until 2 or 3 AM but as my youngest daughter is almost 35 even she's slowing down a bit so I'm thinking (hoping) more like midnight.

Michael also has eczema along with everything else. He has several creams when it flares up. A few years ago he was having some serious issues with edema in his legs and feet which developed into sores. Several doctors tried all kinds of treatments with limited success. My sister who is a pharmacist informed me that eczema could cause this so he did end up at a dermatologist. When his eczema got under control the edema improved drastically. Interesting that his primary care doctor or the vascular surgeon he was seeing suggested this. My sister is an amazing resource as if she doesn't know an answer she'll spend the time to research it and has access to a great deal of information that the lay person doesn't.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - We get our fair share of people running around here in the winter in inappropriate dress. Shorts and sandals, and such. Usually young men, who, I think, I trying to "prove" something. How tough they are, etc.. They may be tough, but one wonders about their mental acuity.

Oh, yeah. I often feel that "this is exactly where I should be" or "what I should be doing." Usually in hind site :-).

There's plenty of people around dabbling in home made paper. The Japanese have quit an industry. Here, it's kind of a hobby thing. I know our library has several books on DIY paper. I don't think paper making from plant materials will die out ... too many people in too many places still carry on the tradition. Parchment, however ... I've never heard of anyone actually making it, as either hobby or business. But, I bet there are some out there. Oh! It just occurred to me that the actual diplomas that people get and hang on the wall are sometimes referred to as "sheep skins." I don't think many are done on real parchment, these days (maybe the hoity toity ivey leagues?), but I still occasionally hear the term.

LOL. The ale logo looks like the young lady is an ax murderer. :-). Maybe that's the point. That the brew will "really do you in."

I watched a few episodes of "Elementary" one of the latest iterations of Sherlock Holmes. Funny how little mistakes jump out (and irritate) me. There was a reference to the "Columbia River Delta." Our Columbia River has no delta. Pretty much a straight shot into the sea ... like a fire hose. Not mistakes, but there was also some reference to a strange chemical that, among other strange uses, was also mentioned as being used in water desalinization. Solar desalinization seems the way to go. It just seems more ... natural. And you have all that nice sea salt, to flog somewhere, as a secondary source of income.

Of course, I could go on a whole riff about the archaeological and historic interest in salt. Salt pans, the salt trade. There's whole books .... :-).

There was also an episode about "for profit" colleges, and how bad they can be. And, another one about a Trump like real estate mogul. The series is topical, if nothing else. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

Stay safe in those extreme weather conditions. You inadvertently in your comment identified one of the reasons that in this remote rural spot we did not connect up to the mains electricity grid. The power goes off and then on again all of the time in heavy storms, so having a bit of self reliance - despite the expense - is not a bad idea. A huge storm looks set to roll through here tonight too. I hear you about the laundry too, as the washing machine here takes 90 minutes to run a complete cycle, but if the power is ever interrupted...

Poor Breo, I do wish him a speedy recovery. Sir Scruffy is not feeling the best either this week as he has an ear infection. Poor thing. It is always the damp weather which brings on the minor ailments. Hehe! That is quite funny and I hope that poor Breo has a nice comfy bed - with a window - to recuperate on?

Yeah, I ran a graduate program many long years ago and most of my job was getting the graduates to think for themselves and also perhaps more importantly understand that the course was a beginning and not an end point despite the effort and expense, so yeah, your DH got the right of that understanding.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Sometimes the lay of the land does protect ones home and surrounds doesn't it? It looks like a storm will roll through here tonight and it is currently north of Adelaide and heading straight here, but we'll see as it may peter out before it reaches here. Maybe... The past few weeks have been sort of dry.

You know, it is funny that you mention that about the bottles of water, but I have wondered whether the huge increase in preservatives used in the industrial food system makes it just that much harder for people to digest food. For example, if preservatives are slowing down bacteria, fungi and yeasts from breaking down industrial food, well when they hit your stomach and digestive tract, I see no reasons why they wouldn't do the same there. Dunno, but I wonder if that may be the cause of the constant sipping? It is a long bow to draw, but still...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Oh my goodness, I hope none of the tomatoes ever fell from such great heights? Ouch... What a vision you have left me with! :-)! A mate grew pumpkins that way and to be honest, the huge pumpkins looked a little bit precarious hanging way up there in the air. I don't think I'll encourage the tomatoes to climb that high here, although I have seen them grown that way in poly tunnels.

Thanks for the warning and I promise not to use the stuff for more than three days. It is very effective stuff, but the side effects and potential risks are a whole lot of trouble.

Wow, that is pretty handy to know. That story reminds me of the difficulties of producing linen (which is a beautiful material for hot climates) from the flax plants. I honestly don't know enough about that sort of technology and that is a bit of a worry.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Oh, down here they do the same thing, but there is an audit process every couple of years to ensure that you are keeping up your side of the conservancy bargain. Years ago I had them come up to discuss the possibility of putting a covenant on part of the land. We walked together down the hill through the forest to see the fern lined creek. They marvelled at the tall eucalyptus trees there in the creek and even remarked that one of them was of a species that they were not aware of (it is a remote spot that nobody goes to). When we got back I mentioned plans of having a few goats, and maybe a pig or two on the uncovenanted land and they were very unhappy about that and so nothing ever happened. Honestly, it makes little difference to the wildlife here and they seem happy and healthy enough to me.

The chickens would enjoy those warmer conditions. It is amazing just how adaptable chickens are to such extremes of weather. My understanding and please correct me if I'm wrong is that chickens evolved in a drier Asian environment? Even the cold and very humid winters here would be challenging for them.

I hope you feel better soon and remember to rest and take it easy on yourself.

The editor has ladies nights here from time to time and on such nights I am banished to my little study not to show my face - despite the raucous laughter! What’s going on out there! Hehe! That sounds like fun. I gave up late nights years ago too, so I hear you.

My gut feeling is that the medical profession don't have the time or desire to take a holistic approach to peoples health. They have to churn patients just to make enough money to pay for the large buildings they operate out of. I get that. You are lucky to have a sister who can take the time and has the understanding to navigate the minefield that is the medical system.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

It is a bit sad to learn that inappropriate clothes during extreme weather events is not limited to mountainous regions down under. On the other hand if the power ever went out, they sure would be in for a surprise up your way –as well as down here! :-)! Just for your interest, down here it seems to be older people exiting from very large vehicles in the depths of winter dressed like that. I'm usually covered in thick layers of dead sheep at those times. Dead sheep is my silly name for a sheepskin jacket and woollen jumper, woollen hat, and also the most important ugg boots (which are a sheepskin lined boot - so good and locally made!). As they used to say when I was much younger: As snug as a bug in a rug! Whatever that means. Anyway, try saying that one fast!

Well it is hard to know where you should be at any one time, but more importantly is the why am I where I am right now question. Hey, I reckon we've slipped into philosophy land right now, don't you reckon? Of course hind sight is a wonderful thing.

I've never heard or seen anyone who makes homemade paper so your account of the state of those affairs is quite fascinating. Many long years ago I used to work down the road from a sheep skin tannery and the smell over summer when the wind drifted from a certain direction was quite memorable. Of course it didn't help that a blood and bone factory was also located just up the road from that, and of course such a factory requires an abattoir for the raw material. In a strange set of circumstances, the editor had to go on an excursion to the abattoir too and so she got to see the whole process. Not something for the faint of heart!

She does have that look about her doesn't she? Beware young ladies with big eyes wielding an even larger axe! Hehe! It sounds a bit Red Sonja does it not? I wouldn’t pick her fight that is for sure.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

That Columbia River is massive. What always amazes me is that people live on the islands on the seaward side of that river and whilst the weather conditions would be challenging, there would be the occasional micro climate that is just totally out of whack with the surrounding area. Have you ever been to one of those micro climates on one of the islands or even on the continental side of the Columbia River? I'm always curious about those as plenty of knowledgeable people reckon I shouldn't be able to grow citrus trees here, but there they are happily growing not too far from where I type this comment to you. I took a photo of the avocado tree too as it is small and not growing very fast, but neither has it died either! Even with the heavy snowfall (for here - perhaps it would be a minor dusting for you?) last winter.

Go hard on your riff as salt is one of the few things that I am unable to obtain from the local environment here, so yeah I do wonder about it and would appreciate any pointers that you have?

Well, once you introduce the concept of profit then there is a conflict of interest which is subtly introduced. The problem is that not many activities actually produce a surplus - and people have such difficult to appease expectations. If they had to live on the surplus provided by sunlight alone, far out - there would be much whingeing, as well as the more expected gnashing of teeth - what is with that anyway? I've seen one person in my life gnash their teeth and all I could think of at the time was that mate, you are grinding the enamel off your teeth. Mileage may vary though...

There is a storm coming through here tonight and it is very dark outside right now even though it is still warm and the windows are open, but it is way darker than it should be at this time of the evening. Anyway, I better bounce as I intend to eat dinner and then sit down and write my silly Star Trek tail (sic)! Hope you enjoy it as I have so much fun writing all this fun stuff.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Applied cortisone thins the skin, it is nasty stuff. I agree that stress can be the cause of the excsma (can't spell it). The other thing that worries me about the water sipping is the fact that the water is in plastic containers which is not good.

@ Margaret

I agree about the isolation of young mothers as I spent 9 years alone at home with young children and I was definitely going nuts; so my husband and I swapped, he stayed home and I went to work. My mental health improved immediately. We were living in an isolated cottage which hadn't helped. Our income remained the same i.e. just possible.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Cliff Mass, the weather guy, started forecasting snow. As in, maybe up to a foot and "the worst snowfall in years." Hedged about with "uncertainty in the forecast" and "nuances and uncertainties." Wasn't supposed to start until this afternoon. Well, when I went to bed last night, I decided I'd nip into town, early in the morning. There were some sale items that they were out of, and, they won't be on sale come Wednesday. Plus I wanted to do a bit of "stock up" in case I'm snowed in. I wanted to go early as today is Superbowl Sunday (I could care less) and the store would probably be a zoo, later on.

Any-who. I get up at 7am and the fields are white and it's snowing! The road looked pretty good, so I thought I'd chance it. Once I got down off my hill, the snow hadn't begun sticking in the fields, yet. It was mixed rain and snow (sleet) all the way to town and back. Also, more sticking lower down on my return trip. But, I made it with no problems and am now snug as a bug in a rug :-) and ready for whatever the weather brings.

I read your comment over at the ADR about foot tapping / obsessive behavior. Maybe you missed your calling as a tap dancer? :-). Ah, the road not taken ... But, seriously, I know what your talking about. Mental quirks. I have a tendency to count things. To myself of course. Tasks, objects. Left and right, east and west are little mental bumps in my thinking. Living in S. California was ... confusing. What felt like what should be north and south was actually east and west. Due to a bend in the California coast line. It just didn't seen "right" to have the coast to the south, instead of to the west.

Obsessive behavior, ritual ... automatic pilot? I think they're all kind of related. What are morning routines? It's kind of automatic pilot, but the things I do have to do with ... hitting the marks for well being and safety. Turning off the stove, feeding the dog, locking the door. I've noticed if the routine is interrupted, say by an unexpected phone call, I loose the plot and it's hard to pick up the thread, again. The quirks of the mind are interesting. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I don't quit get what your saying about the Columbia River. Seaward side, continental side ... islands? Are you perhaps looking at Puget Sound? No connection, at all, other than the Pacific Ocean. :-).

All the way back to ancient times, even before the Romans, people constructed salt pans, along the coasts. Shallow tidal pools that could be constructed in such a way that they'd be filled and then closed off from the sea. In hot climates, evaporation would leave behind salt deposits. Or, you could boil it down to get the salt. There are salt mines. Some in Europe have been used back to prehistoric times. Underground deposits of salt laid down by ancient oceans. By observing animals, one can find "salt licks". Areas of high salt concentration that animals are drawn to.

I haven't looked into it, but here, our coastal tribes would get together once a year with the inland tribes and there would be a huge trading fair. I'd guess salt was among one of the trade items, from the coast.

I'll be interested to read your riff on Star Trek. it must be difficult to write for Star Trek. The whole narrative is so detailed and complex by now. With the fans watching you like a hawk for any slip ups. Beam me up, Scotty. Which was never actually said, in any of the series or movies :-).

Snow is still coming down and it looks to be about 1/2", so far. Wonder if we will get a foot? I can't imagine ... Lew