Monday, 23 January 2017

Scritchy dog, storm detective


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

Who doesn’t love low tech solutions to modern problems? And sometimes low tech solutions have unexpected benefits. On the farm I have a very low tech storm early warning device otherwise known as: Scritchy the boss dog.

Scitchy is infallible in her role of low tech storm warning device. If there is a storm anywhere within a thousand kilometres (about 600 miles) radius of the farm, Scritchy is well onto that business. It is uncanny just how well Scritchy can communicate that storm early warning! And how does Scritchy achieve this feat of accurate weather prediction? Scritchy hides under the bed whenever a storm threatens.
Scritchy hides under the bed whenever a storm threatens anywhere in the Southern hemisphere!
Meanwhile, away from the safety of the hiding space underneath the bed, the setting sun put on a spectacular show as storm clouds built up over this part of the world. A storm certainly did threaten.
The setting sun put on a spectacular show as storm clouds built up over this part of the world
Earlier that day was very hot at 39’C (102’F). In those hot weather conditions, Scritchy would have shown no sign of her storm early warning alert as she would have much preferred to be out in the hot summer sunshine performing her other trick of: “cooking her brain”. I’ve read that zombies are rather fascinated with the fine art of consuming brains and for them this activity may be a good thing, who really knows but I for one would not stop to ask them? However, if they were to attempt to consume Scritchy’s brain after a day of “cooking her brain” in the sun, well, they may find that her brain was somewhat curdled, and really, who knows whether zombies would even appreciate consuming “cooked” brains?

Anyway, that night was very hot and I slept fitfully knowing that Scritchy (as well as the more reliable Bureau of Meteorology) had predicted heavy rain and localised storms. It was the lightning flashes which proceeded the storm that woke me up at the ungodly hour of 2am. I then lay in bed watching the lightning flashes and waiting on the thunder (Bob Seeger fans around the world one and all rejoice!). And then I enjoyed listening to the rain falling. What a beautiful sound rain makes when it falls on an roof during the summer months.

By 3am the heavy rain continued and in my half drowsy state of mind I’d concluded that there didn’t seem to be anything to worry about and so I went back to sleep.

By 4am, Scritchy had come to the same conclusion as I about the storm, and instead of quietly exiting the bedroom where she had hiding after having been kicked out earlier that evening, she decided that it would be best if she shook her head rather vigorously and bang various body parts on the bed so as to alert me to the fact that the storm wasn’t as severe as she had initially predicted. It was very thoughtful of Scritchy to do that and I wished her well on her way back to her usual sleeping spot with the delightful epitah: “Get the f… (a naughty word that rhymes with the word “truck”) out!” Scritchy obliged me by rapidly trundling off to her usual bed spot.

The next morning I woke up feeling like a zombie. Fortunately the best cure for an infection of the zombie kind is a quality coffee from a proper espresso machine and so in the early wee hours of the morning I toddled off to the local General Store under the guise of collecting the mail, but really I was after a large cappuccino to cure my zombie like state of mind. The cure worked and I recommend it!

It is interesting because I’m not the only person this week to have used naughty words that rhyme with “truck”. The editor was in a car park in Melbourne the other day. It is a nice car park and has a very well laid concrete slab. I like concrete as a material and can respect good concrete work when I see it. And that car park certainly had a good concrete slab laid at some time in the past.

Interestingly enough, a couple of late teenagers also understood the benefits to be had from a good quality concrete slab. Of course earlier that day the editor had parked the little “Dirt Mouse” vehicle which is a 2008 Suzuki Swift on that same concrete slab. As a side story, we call the car a “Dirt Mouse” because the car is small and we live on a dirt road. The dirt road makes it impossible to keep the outside of the car clean and so many long years ago we simply gave up and just accepted the coating of dirt and mud. Despite being really grotty, the car is very well maintained and most excellent.

The late teenagers were using that smooth concrete slab as a skate park. By all accounts the late teenagers were very talented and were jumping fences whilst on their skateboards and zipping around the parked vehicles at high speed. I’m in awe of their skills as to be honest I used to fall off skateboards after only a few seconds!

Anyway, the editor spoke to one of the late teenagers and advised them that she would be reversing the little “Dirt Mouse” and was concerned that she did not want to injure any of them in that process. The late teenager replied by saying: “F…… (a naughty word that rhymes with the word “Trucking”), S… (another naughty word that rhymes with the word “Sit”) car, lady”. When I heard the editor’s account of that colourful interaction many hours later, my heart was genuinely warmed because the late teenagers understood that the editor was a "lady" of distinction and quality, albeit with a dirty car.

Sometimes though, like Scritchy’s early storm warnings, a potty mouthed quip from late teenagers can reveal a much larger truth hidden within their words. Basically, the late teenagers were saying that they wouldn’t steal the “Dirt Mouse” even if they felt so inclined. It is an interesting thing to hear because in Melbourne there has been a recent and very noticeable increase in the incidence of car jackings. A car jacking is the situation where criminals violently steal an occupied car. That is a traumatic situation that I hope all of the readers here are never involved in.

Recently, I read a very thoughtful article written by the veteran crime reporter and author of many books, John Silvester, who suggested that the best way to avoid being car jacked was to own a vehicle with a manual gearbox (that is referred to as a stick shift for people in the US). The logic behind the veteran crime reporters suggestion was that the criminals were basically incapable of driving a vehicle with a manual gearbox! It is perhaps important to note that in Australia, 80% of vehicles are supplied with an automatic gearbox. Perhaps the editor and I are contrarians, but we have never owned a vehicle with an automatic gearbox. The much larger question that John Silvester almost touched upon was: that if most people are following a certain path that leads to increased personal risk, perhaps it may be worth considering taking the less popular path (the path less travelled??)?

Heating one’s home with locally harvested firewood is certainly a less popular path. Scritchy has been warning the editor and I about increasing storm activity of late and we hear her! With those warnings in mind, we have decided to begin bringing in the winter’s store of firewood now. Bringing in locally sourced firewood is hard work under the best conditions, but when the hot summer sun is beating down on your head it feels even harder. And this week, my big shiny new electric log splitter died. Fortunately, I have another and much older, electric log splitter, which is still working well and so we could continue splitting and storing the firewood.
The seasons firewood is being brought in and stacked on one side of the firewood shed
The other side of the firewood shed has also begun to be filled this week
The new adventures in brewing have also continued! The Australian millet beer has really enjoyed the hot weather this week and it is producing copious amounts of a beer like liquid. In all honesty it tastes to me like a sweet beer, which is quite nice. Perhaps with the addition of vanilla extract it may become a magical millet unicorn!
The millet beer has continued to produce copious amounts of beer like liquid this week
Scritchy may like hot weather, but the tomato plants like that hot weather even more! I spotted a few green tomatoes today:
The tomatoes have produced a few green tomatoes this week
Some of the heritage tomatoes have quite strange shapes, but the real test will be: How do they taste?
The triffid like zucchini (courgette) plants have produced the first of this year’s zucchini monsters! I hope they don’t come and get me, whilst my back is turned…
The first of the seasons zucchini / courgette appeared this week
We’re also trialing mini capsicum (peppers) and mini eggplant varieties that hopefully get enough summer heat to fully develop. If either variety produces fruit we’ll definitely save some seeds and sow them next summer.
We’re trialing mini capsicum (pepper) varieties this summer
Mini eggplant varieties are also being trialed this summer
The Sweet Siberian melon that was accidentally grown last summer is starting to produce trailing vines. We collected the seeds from that one melon that did grow and have planted them out this season. Observant readers will notice in the next photo that there are several yellow flowers bearing what looks like tiny melons! Yay!
Sweet Siberian melons are producing good trailing vines despite the unfavourable summer conditions
The blackberries are only about two weeks away from being ready to harvest. The local wild varieties of blackberries also appear to be at about the same stage of ripeness. It should be a bumper season for blackberries.
The blackberries are only about two weeks away from being ready to harvest
I’ve often written about the stainless steel bushfire shutters protecting the windows but I don’t believe I’ve ever shown a photo of them actually covering the windows before. The shutters are very strong stainless steel mesh and they really protect the windows from transferring heat to the insides of the house. The windows are double glazed with 10mm (0.4 inches) of toughened glass. We usually have the shutters covering the windows during the months of January through to early March because of the bushfire risk.
The bushfire shutters cover the windows here from about January to early March
In breaking plant news, the ferns that were planted into the steep garden bed where the landslide happened a few weeks ago, have all grown prolifically and produced new fronds despite the heat and lack of shade.
The ferns planted into the repaired landslide area are growing very nicely despite the heat
And I like to end the blog at this time of the year with some nice flower photos from around the garden:
Fennel plants produce a good quantity of flowers and a great bee attractant
I can’t remember whether this is an orange or a red yarrow!
Californian poppy plants love the heat of summers down under
Globe artichokes have the most vivid purple flowers but behind those showy plants is a stunning red, pink and white geranium flower
But the bush rose produces more showy flowers than any other plant here
The temperature outside now at about 8.00pm is 27’C (81’F). So far this year there has been 35.6mm (1.4 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 11.6mm (0.5 inches).

Postscript: Scritchy is currently hiding under the bed as storm clouds threaten!

66 comments:

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for the suggestion about the adult ladybird books. Very funny. And what a collection! No I had not heard of these little gems before, but I'm pretty certain I read some of the earlier original series. It is nice of them to help adults! ;-)! The drawings on the cover really tell a story too. My personal favourite was the Mid Life Crisis with all of the 1970's muscle cars... I see a bit of that and it is funny that you mention cars but...

I hear you too and it is 104'F here today and I am doing paid work in those conditions... Far out it is hot.

Cheers and thanks for the laughs!

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, that’s what I was thinking too about the couple of groans before the roof collapsed. When a huge tree top fell here one calm day long ago I had a few moments between the sound of the initial crack and then the top just fell and I ran fast. It was pretty scary and no doubts that I’d annoyed the trees here. Which is possibly the case because I’d changed the drainage and began collecting more water in the water table and that particular tree was showing signs of water stress from too much water. Eucalyptus trees prefer slightly drier feet than other trees as a method of competition. Some of the oak trees here are starting to grow nicely, although they are quite slow to get started. It is hard to learn that even minor changes to the environment can have big and unexpected impacts. Some people never do learn that little lesson.

You may be interested to know that there is quite a bit of distance between towns here, so everyone has their preferred local town to visit for supplies etc. I tend to travel closer to Melbourne as that seems to work for me, others prefer further out where the service can be a bit more personal. And the big box stores are only ever present in larger rural towns of which there are not many. The inland is a quiet place down here.

Ouch. Could your Idaho friends purchase the snow rake locally? Good luck clearing up billing problems, although down under you can lodge a complaint against a merchant with your bank and that usually gets the charge reversed. I've been on the merchant end of that one and it is a real pain I can tell you for high volume low cost services. I'm having to stump for the labour on the repairs for the log splitter even though it is under warranty. Hopefully I don't get lumbered with the cost of the parts too. The freight costs to return the item make no sense whatsoever.

I've heard that saying here too, although we usually use the local version and it is the same concept. I actually enjoy being in the trenches and have a hands on approach. Unusually for my profession this is usually work performed by females and I don't mind that at all, although some people do question my motives for doing so.

It was 40'C (104'F) here today and my usual good cheer has been dented by the heat. Fortunately, Scritchy is to be found hiding under the bed and there have been a few large but infrequent rain drops falling from the now cooler sky. The cicadas are droning and the birds are singing at the change in air temperature. I'm done in though as where I was today it was very hot inside. As the English say: Musn't grumble... At least the chickens are happy in the orchard.

That was a very clever response about the chowder and it is nice to be quick on one's feet. Of course dealing with the public has that effect of training you to such responses. It is quite gobsmacking. I liked the person wanting to copy the recipe from the book too, but not purchase it. In life some people are takers.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Speaking of grinding down staff, which is very true, Sun Tzu always advised not to wear the troops out on day to day activities. Unfortunately a lot of managers have not received that memo and I have to deal with a few of them in my time too.

Nice to hear that the weather is a bit more pleasant. Those are my sorts of winter temperatures. I reckon autumn may come early here this year? Maybe? I'm just going with gut feeling.

Well done for your landlord getting that old shed restored too. I am rather curious as to whether he is handing over those skills? I've seen a few old timer farms around these parts where the old timers didn't hand over the skills to the next generation and I have seriously wondered about that. Of course I too struggle finding people who are even remotely interested in getting dirt under their fingernails, but I'm still trying different avenues and who knows what they may produce? I find it to be very strange that only a few people have asked me. Maybe I'm a bit scary? Dunno? I imagine Mr Greer receives all sorts of requests for people looking for enlightenment? Perhaps I only offer the fetching water and chopping wood bit and people know it?

Well, lemon meringue is the best and I'll let you in on a little secret: It is my favourite, so of course it is a first choice.

Old bricks are really cool. I may even throw a bit of money at getting a couple of very old convict bricks? Wouldn't that be cool? They made surprisingly good bricks those slaves but the lime burning process sent many of them blind. How cool would those old bricks be? And to have survived almost a couple of millennia is no small feat.

I hope Nell stays safe, cougars are no laughing matter.

Thanks for the explanation about the alt-right and I'll check out the link tonight.

You know people talk a lot of rubbish and of course that group may hold a gem or two of information and they may even be put to some good use. That sort of interweb vocalisation is akin to saying that we should not investigate the Nazi phenomenom. Of course there are things to be learned about how a defeated and demoralised people who were basically declared redundant by western Europe, Russia and the US reacted to that general understanding. It wasn't good, but pretending it didn't happen is akin to potentially repeating the same errors.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

Attaching a winch to a trolley with a 12V DC motor is not a bad idea at all and if I had the free time I could build one and power it from the sun. Unfortunately there are a huge number of projects calling for my attention...

Storm water is a classic example - especially with the Adelaide weather this year. Strangely enough, you seem to be taking the brunt of the storms and things have settled down a bit by the time the storm reaches here. How did you go today? It is looking positively feral outside right now with thick clouds building and apparently the storm will reach here at 2am again. Incidentally, that is a very inconsiderate time for a storm to arrive!

Yeah, plums can be very strange fruit trees. I've got a grafted one here and the bit above the graft is thicker than the bit below the graft and I really wonder about that fruit tree. Seedling fruit trees are much hardier! ;-)!

Glad to read that you came through the storm unscathed.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Now you have guessed one of my little secrets. I was bored silly in the inner Melbourne suburb of North Fitzroy, well that is after I completely restored an 1890's double brick house that was barely a shell! ;-)! Oh, and built a modern rear extension too. Seriously, what is a guy to do? Imagining other narratives is a far more difficult subject than most people would even consider!

You've made me laugh at the memories of it all as the day we moved in to that shell of a house there was one power point in the entire house, only a single room had a floor, and the cold water tap oozed some sort of calcium carbonate chemical for some unknown reason relating to galvanised water pipes. Fun times! And I worked a really full on job and studied part time whilst keeping up friends the editor. I dunno, but life is short and not watching much television helps!

Of course, granite comes in varying sizes from less than a millimeter (the technical name for this is rock crusher dust), to 7mm and 14mm (the technical name for these is granite screenings at so many mm) and then there are the larger chunks referred to by the name of: road base. The very fine rock crusher dust will settle perfectly in your situation. ;-)! Even slight larger diameter like the 7mm stuff should be fine.

Ok. I meant solar hot water panels with an electric booster. The reason for that is because you have access to two resources at your place: Sunlight (eg. Photovoltaic electicity) and also Sunlight (eg. For heating water). What other resources do you have? The firewood option is good for you given Tasmania's natural resources and climate (like here) but will cost a pretty penny to use as hot water heating for all of the reasons that I wrote to you about. It would be much cheaper to use wood to cook with (eg. a wood oven).

A small grid tied photovoltaic system will be of benefit to you all year around. Solar hot water will produce toasty hot water for about 7 to maybe 8 months of the year for you given your location. Those have to beat natural gas or LPG which may be very expensive for your location.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Scritchy sure reminds me of one of our dogs, Crowley. He too knew a thunderstorm was coming well before there was any sign apparent to us. He would try to climb into bed with us. When he was quite elderly and could no longer get up the stairs Doug and I would take turns sleeping on the couch with him whenever there were storms during the night. I recall that particular summer there were lots of storms that kept everyone up.

Yes, coffee sure can cure many things.

Had a nice visit with my aunt in Chicago which had been taken over by marchers. There were so many people at the rally that it ended up that there was no room in the planned route for them to march so they were kind of allowed to march anywhere. It was an amazingly beautiful day for January - calm, sunny and near 60 (F) which probably added to the huge number of people. My oldest daughter joined us and we went to the Art Institute for a few hours which was in the midst of all the people marching. I have to say the marchers were predominantly white though.

We had our monthly book club meeting yesterday. The book was about how to address climate change skeptics and was very fact filled. I was disappointed when I brought up how we needed to change our personal lifestyles if there was any chance of slowing it down and most responded with reasons they couldn't and/or how renewables would solve the problem. Where have we heard this before? Not that all the reasons were invalid - i.e. distance to jobs which, of course, are often not easy to change but I was hoping for discussion about how we could change things individually.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - So, Scritchy is an adjunct to your weather station? :-). Ever checked to see if there's any correlation between Scritchy's bed burrowing behavior and your barometer readings?

We don't have sunsets that red, very often. Ours usually run to pinks and violets. That is a beautiful picture. another contender for the Fern Glade Farm calendar.

We have our skaters, too. They're usually a cheery lot, as long as they have a nice slab of concrete and no one hassles them. Here, several towns have constructed "skate parks" for the little beggers. Keeps them off the streets. Keeps them from getting bored and burnings stuff down. :-).

I always see these lists of most stolen or car jacked vehicles. Even our local newspaper runs such lists and you can tell what's popular by the crime page. No where does a 2004 Ranger appear. I'm slightly insulted :-). But, not much. Once, my last Ranger had the muffler cut out of it. But that was to get at the precious metals, not to steal the truck. I've pretty much always had a manual transmission. I was always told that they're longer lasting and cheaper to repair. And, it always feels ... good to have mastered a small skill.

Oh, that is a nice lot of wood. Looks all neat and dry. As I know, a lot of work there. How posh. An electric / solar log splitter. I always used a funny contraption that was pipe and cord. Obviously home made. I still have it. I suppose it will go in the auction when I downsize. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Do you know what kind of tomatoes are the heritage? They look a bit like Romas, but might be San Marino's. Which are very nice. That is a fine stand of fennel. And they do attract a wide variety of pollinators. It's always fun to watch all the different kinds of bees and wasps, all going about their business and nobody getting in any one else's way. Once you get your oaks rolling and there's a bit of duff on the ground, maybe you can inoculate a bit to get the truffles rolling. Not so much as a commercial venture, as just to have the occasional gem for your own kitchen.

I wish I had thought of that, back in the day. Takers. You put on a voice somewhere between sarcasm and pity, and say. "Oh, your a taker." (Befuddled look from the customer.) "You know. Take, take, take and never give back." And, I'd know just how to hit the ... tone, too. Years ago, when I had stopped drinking but was still smoking I was at an informal party. After standing in the cold with the tuna fish can the host has begrudgingly given me as an ashtray (and, I wasn't the only smoker, there), I suggested that a nice cuppa coffee would be nice, and I'd be happy to make it if he pointed me at the coffee pot. I got that look, and that tone as he said "Ohhh. Your addicted to caffeine, too." Wanker. Oh, well. That was the fellow who had his Phd. in "Diversity Training." Always left himself wide open for the pointed zinger. I gave, far more than I got. :-).

In the library racket, there are a (very) few times when everything is caught up, and there's really nothing much to do, but take a breath. Most building managers got pretty antsy in those rare moments. So, you'd figure out ways to look busy, but accomplish not much. Task of last resort was to go out and "read" shelves. Go through the collection, shelf by shelf and make sure everything was in it's proper place. A rather stress free, meditative task.

My landlord really doesn't have anyone to pass skills onto. Except the Evil Stepson. Who always has a better idea. Usually resulting in bodily injury.

An Australian Convict Memorial Brick Wall (or path) sounds like a good idea. Celebrate a bit of your countries heritage. Probably look quit nice, too. Not that anyone else will care ... :-). LOL. No one in my life cares a fig for all my interesting and historical tat. The workmanship. The back stories. Oh, well. I enjoy it. Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Glad to see the ferns are hard at work rooting into the slide area! If you get some rain from this latest storm, that should help them with their work as well. Soon you won't be able to tell there had been a slide there.

This past weekend we cat-sat as a favor to neighbors who are also good friends. Their 10 year old dog was to be operated on out of town (because the vet was a friend who gave them a large enough discount for it to be cheaper to drive there and back plus stay the night in a motel room versus getting the operation done here). They could leave their other dog and two of the three cats at home for the 30 or so hours they would be away. But one cat had just been fixed and was wearing a cone to keep her from biting on the wound, which she had done before and had caused it to become infected. Besides the fact that the cone had to be removed so she could eat and drink, she needed to be given an antibiotic twice a day for the infection. Our neighbors asked us if we were willing to keep her at our house to do this, and we agreed. Besides being good friends, our neighbors are 20+ years younger than us and consider us second parents. We do what we can for them now, knowing that it won't be many more years before they will have occasion to return the favors. With no children of our own, we are grateful to have people in our lives who accept some of the role of children toward us as we age.

As far as I know, Joy (the cat) does not predict storms. Not that there were any storms to predict while she was with us. The high temperature on Saturday was 72F/22C which was just 3F short of the record for the day. I did a lot of shrub removal work - these are shrubs that have proved to be more of a pain, literally, than I had realized they would be when I put them in. I will likely write about that one of these days on my blog. Anyway, back to Joy the cat. She has her good points. For one, she's more affectionate than any cat I have ever met. Whenever I sat down to read, she jumped up on my lap and and purred, then fell asleep. She did not bite when I held her and Mike administered the antibiotic via a syringe into her mouth. She didn't claw (much) when I put the cone back on after she ate. But she was a nuisance too. When I sat down at the writing desk to write with a pen on paper, she jumped up onto my back! I had to go into a bedroom and close the door to write. In fact we closed all the bedrooms off to her to minimize her potential for mischief. She was feeling good enough to jump up from the floor to the top of our kitchen table and also onto the counter where we prepare the food. Not sanitary in our opinion; after all, her feet had been in the litter box. But she didn't always use the litter box for her business. Sometimes she chose the bathtub. Yes, it could be cleaned (and I did after our neighbors returned home and took Joy back). But it was not a sight I enjoyed. The good part is that Mike and I know how much we like being cat-free.

It's supposed to cool off to more normal winter temperatures this week. No snow in the forecast, at least so far. But the forecasters say that the pattern that our weather will shift into later this week can bring snow that is difficult to predict more than a day or so in advance, so we'll see what happens.

Claire

Damo said...

@Jo (last week)
Yes, I agree RE: stocks and equities. But then I wonder, am I falling for the pessimism trap that Mr Money Moustache warns about? I suppose, given the reserve currency status and 'wealth pump' effect the US has on the rest of the world maybe US stocks and equities still have a good 2 decades or so to run? I can't say the same for Oz though, so will stick with my shorts and get some nice land as soon as I can...

@Chris (last week)
The pentax cameras have a lot of fans out there. I could be mistaken, but it was perhaps myself that suggested that camera to you a couple of years back. I had a similar model (also obtained second hand) but sold it before coming overseas to save on space.

If you really want to get some great 'bokeh' then you should keep your eyes out for an old 50mm 'prime' lens. I still see them around the traps occasionally, attached to old film cameras at give away prices. You can mount them on your digital pentax camera with a $8 adapter from ebay. Because they are old, you have to take photos in full manual mode which makes for great skill development :p

Here are a few photos I tried when I first got one a few years back - I got a bit carried away with the bokeh, but with further skill comes restraint :-)
My first attempt with a 50mm prime - be warned a cat or two within...

Yeah, managed funds have never seemed like a great idea to me, something only for the well-heeled and connected I think.

RE: General discussion on solar hot water
I have no personal experience or knowledge, but I wonder on other opinions in regards to the long-term reliability of Solar PV Hot water VS A traditional 'tube based' solar hot water? Can either of them work as a 'set and forget' for 10-20 years? Years ago, my dad had a solar hot water system for the dairy, and at ~30 degrees latitude it would boil a full hot water tank of water by 11am (and not one of the tiny home systems either, this was an industrial tank the size of a nuclear missile - or at least it seemed that way to a 12 year old!). Anyway, despite that seeming success, dad never really liked it saying he had constant issues with the pipes clogging up (from hardness maybe?) and the sun-tracker system, which he later disabled with no real difference to performance.

Damo said...

The story of the editors interaction with the late teenagers was quite amusing! I hope she gave some of it back to them :-) Although being a lady of distinction perhaps a withering look was enough?

Today, after weeks of organising and preparation (or was it months, it becomes a blur sometimes) I have some of my Lao co-workers installing a much needed upgrade to the colleges IT system. In this case, it is a double-strengthened network cable link to the new Livestock and Fisheries department office. As the falung I don't actually need to do any work, just stand around whilst others drag cables and hammer in clips to hold the cable up under the eaves. The ultimate aim is to encourage everyone to use the simple file server I setup instead of sharing files via a memory stick (which typically also carry a virus..). As a bonus, the staff in that office will also get internet access. I suspect this is what excites them more than a file server, but we take successes where we can find them!

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

That is one gorgeous sky even if it is the harbinger of stormy weather. We have been under a thick fog for over 36 hours now and people are being warned about high pollution, nonetheless they are out jogging and cycling.

You have great fruit and veg. coming along. We are supposed to have a crisis due to lack of courgettes in the shops. This is due to the rain in Spain. Now I eat courgettes because we grow them easily but have never bought one in my whole life. They really are a most uninteresting vegetable, certainly not worth spending money on. I am sure that they were unknown when I was a child.

Manual cars are the norm here so most people can drive them.

The puppy that son has kept, has now got larger front paws than his mother so bids fair to be a large dog which pleases Son.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Crowley like Scritchy is clearly a sensitive soul to be able to detect thunderstorms. It is a real asset to have that. Thanks for the lovely story too. The last time I was sick with the man flu, I slept on the couch and Scritchy instructed me to let he under the blankets and that made me feel better. Dogs are lovely, but I'm personally a bit dubious about dogs that bait skunks. We do have to draw a line in the sand somewhere!

Coffee is good for curing headaches too as it eases the pressure on blood vessels - apparently. Chocolate has the opposite effect and will most likely worsen the situation... Chocolate is nice though!

Glad to read that the marchers scored some nice weather. Lucky you and your daughter to be able to enjoy a few hours at the Art Institute of Chicago (I hope that is the correct one?). Lucky, lucky you! I'll bet that it was quiet inside the Art Institute too that day?

Yeah, been there and done that one too. I'll tell you a funny story. About two years ago, the locals were all in a state of excitement about a bulk purchase of solar panels for houses in the area. There was going to be a community presentation and I was asked to speak at the presentation by three separate people. I actually rather enjoy public speaking, but I declined because, well, you know, nobody really wants to hear that Santa doesn't exist. And people project such beliefs onto renewables when what it really says to me is that they have no plan B. Nah, I had to dwell on that particular matter for quite a long time before coming to the conclusion that I'd focus on mastering a few skills instead. Given your recent experience, have you had any time to ponder the meaning of it all? I'm only taking one path among many and if you have any suggestions, I'd certainly be interested to read them?

Cheers

Chris

Coco said...

Clever Scritchy! Fortunately, Breo is unfazed by storms or fireworks, so we don´t have to get his 40 kilos unstuck from under the bed.

Finally got around to pruning roses and ferilizing and mulching the beds around the house. Now to start on the veg patch.

A question - does anyone use their own potatoes for seed stock the next year? Seems I´ve read this is an invitation to blight, but I´ve got a half sackful of small, sprouting potatoes in the closet. False economy?

Lovely garden pics, as always. Enjoy your blackberries!

Cheers

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Absolutely, when the air pressure readings rapidly drop - as they did yesterday 16hPa in about 12 hours - Scritchy dives for the under the bed. That is very astute of you. Has Cliff Mass ever done a blog post on that subject? I'm beginning to understand the winds are in part generated by the differences in air pressures between one location and another. Weather is a fascinating and complex beast, so it is nice to have a Scritchy along to point out the obvious. Interestingly too, the storm drifted to the north and inland of here. There is no elephant stamp for that astute observation as I reckon you had help! Hehe! Just kidding, it was very astute and she seems to be quite accurate. I'll have to take note of how big the pressure drop is before she ducks and covers (like they used to say). That seemed a bit pointless to me, why would you want to survive that nasty little business?

Thanks, the editor took that photo too. It was a ripper and I didn't know that it was on the camera until I downloaded the photos. By the way, it is the huge volume of dust, pollen, and oils in the air that lend the sunset that vivid colour. Someone early on remarked that I was possibly touching the photos up, but no, they are as the camera sees them.

Ah! The poor skaters here would have had to travel a fair distance to get to the nearest skate park in Edinburgh Gardens - which is packed full of people at all hours. They however clearly know their way around the various car parks! Oh yeah, that would be a rather unpleasant act wouldn't it?

That is funny and you are definitely onto something with that 2004 Ranger. Of course a 2004 Vitara probably doesn't feature heavily in those lists either. I paid the insurance for it the other week and the cost of the policy is almost 15% of the agreed value. Far out. Insurance is an interesting business to watch as they are like a canary in a coal mine. I assume that the precious metals were in the catalytic converter? I'll bet you noticed that the exhaust was missing? :-)! I shouldn't laugh as that may possibly happen to me next... I used to own an old motorbike that had no or only a minimal exhaust, the neighbours got to enjoy my commuter beast. The bike was eventually wrecked for parts. It was a good bike as long as you never wanted to use the starter motor which was a really rubbish design. Here it is: Yamaha 1982 XV750. Nobody took the bike seriously which I enjoyed.

Hehe! Well, I tend to keep the messy bits off the camera. Can't a guy have any secrets!!! Hehe! I never realised that a manual log splitter (beyond the axe variety) was any good. I'll check one out. Interesting and thanks for mentioning it. I've always rather imagined that one could be made using a bottle jack - which are enormously strong. Alas for not being able to retain everything. You can collect a lot of "stuff" during your life. A few months back at a funeral I heard the minister promising that the deceased would get "stuff" in heaven - which was a rather oddly materialistic claim. He actually used the word "stuff" in that context. Very strange.

Don't know about the tomatoes, but time will tell and I can take one or two back to the garden folk and they should know - or at least it will be an entertaining conversation whilst they argue back and forth! Yeah, it is amazing how many predators that fennel attracts. It never fails to surprise me just how friendly all of the different predators are with each other and you'll often see many different species on the same flowers. Onions and carrots seem to be a favourite too.

cont..

Cherokee Organics said...

The truffle oaks are a good idea, but as you say the acidic soils mean that production will be very minute, but worth giving it a go. You know I get lots of white truffles, but nobody knows whether they are edible. Whenever I accidentally disturb a white truffle, I spread the spores around the area as a bit of an apology. Wild mushrooms are a no go zone here and there are dozens of varieties - which means the soil is pretty healthy. The consequences of getting identification wrong are not good.

Does that PhD in diversity training actually have any day to day value? What does that term even mean? That is a funny story too and yeah people can jump to conclusions!

Oh, just a bit of admin. The technical and replacement family friendly term for that particular naughty word is: "Tosser". It has a nice ring to it don't you think?

I like the sound of that meditative task. Phew, I could have used a quiet day today. Unfortunately today and yesterday were quite tough on a work front for different reasons. Occasionally, even I find my upper limits and I'm feeling it tonight. How did you end up coping with the long 80 hour weeks at the book store?

That is not good, and I am always wary of people that get injured (or accidentally break things) in order to escape work. The easy path is actually the hard path as far as I'm concerned. Mileage as they say may vary. I worry about skills like that being lost.

Yeah, I'll enjoy the odd convict brick in the structure, but it will probably be lost on others. And yeah, I wonder about that too. So true. Exactly, we must remember to enjoy them and their stories.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Yeah, ferns have enormous and very fibrous root systems don't they? The rain bypassed me yesterday and the storm drifted north and inland of here. It looked impressive on the radar (how good are weather radars?) The ferns are watered once per day for about ten minutes and they seem to be enjoying the regular drink. In another year, there will be no trace of the disaster. Soap wort and feverfew is growing very well in there too.

Exactly, we operate on a similar basis for the exact same reason. As they say, with benefits come costs and I try and ensure that these arrangements are a two way street. It is a slow process though, which is perhaps for the best. You may recall that a few months ago I wrote a blog entry about old Fluffy the Pomeranian - who was the best boss dog that I have known. However, when she was a young lady, she was a right pain, and she also pulled her stitches out but it did not become infected. However, when we took her back to see the vet, the vet said not to worry about it as it was too late by that stage and sure enough it healed perfectly well, although with a minor scar. That dog was very naughty when young but just changed her behaviour one day after the old boss dog died. It was weird.

Wow, that would be a very hot winters day here - especially for July (your January)... The work on the shrubs sounds like an intriguingly thorny business (a good blog title and all yours if you want it) and I look forward to reading about them! Oh yeah, that cat has a touch of the naughties in her personality. Good luck! I planted out a lot of gooseberry cuttings a few months back and most of them have taken. They have a lot of thorns...

I hope your winter weather returns.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

I like the Pentax because they use the Sigma lenses which are well priced, but to be honest I got onto the Pentax bandwagon - and you did recommend them from what I recall when we spoke about Macro lenses - when I originally purchased a Pentax MZ-50 35mm camera. What a camera and every shot turned out perfectly. A much better camera than the digital, although to be honest I like the digital format better.

Well, I take my hat off to you for being able to operate the SLR camera on full manual mode. I am not worthy! Hehe! No seriously, I'm not. I can do a few tricks with the camera and lenses, but seriously a lot of the functions are beyond me. I wanted to get a photo of the star field here one night and have tried on several occasions, but my skills are sadly lacking. Have you got any pointers for a hack like myself?

Oh no! You have inserted a cat photo onto the blog. Well done, I've resisted the cute cat photos so far, but alas the house rules have been broken! Hehe! Nice work. Incidentally those are really sharp photos and is that Mount Wellington in the background?

Ah, I believe your short may be a managed fund, but I could have misunderstood how it worked.

The solar hot water here is a set and forget. However, it relies on two temperature sensors, a pump controller and a hot water pump. Sooner or later one of those bits will stop working. I have to monitor the system from time to time, although I usually do not intervene. And as an interesting side story, when the plumber installed it, he forgot to switch it on and test the system and it was well into the first summer before I realised that error. I had to change the hot water pump myself to a larger capacity unit because the one supplied was useless. Up to that time, I used to say how rubbish solar hot water was, but it really does work well.

The water here is beyond drinking quality being rain water. It really is good and I do not see scale anywhere.

Sun trackers fail from what I have heard from real world experience of people using that stuff. They really do work, but wow, those things fail almost every time so your dad's memories of that arrangement accord with what I've heard.

I believe they're not going to be friends, the editor and the skaters... Innocently mentioning injuring the skaters could have possibly been misconstrued despite good intentions. Alas things sometimes get off to a bad start, and first impressions count.

Well done you! I hope the new file server works well. Yeah cabling is an expensive business down here and it is usually the labour and fiddly ties and racking that make up most of the cost. I hope the internet access works well for them. How did their website activity end up?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

That is really lovely of you to say that. Thanks! I really enjoy sharing the place with the readers here too. The storm never eventuated as it drifted north and inland of here. South Australia is sure receiving outstanding summer rainfall this year as are inland areas. I've read that the arid lands in the centre of the continent are putting on quite the show (I read it described as the arid lands party dress!) this summer.

Thick fog is unpleasant. I wasn't aware that it contained pollution. Does that mean that the fog traps the pollution, or that the pollution causes the fog? The other morning I woke up to blue skies and a sea of fog with little mountain islands poking out of the fog here and there. It would be a complex world if sea levels rose 600m! Not good and possibly not possible! :-)!

No doubt that you are correct. Is it too dry or too wet in Spain? They can rot if the huge monster courgettes sit on the ground. I generally grow all vegetables in raised garden beds as they work well in wet as well as dry years. You know, I only really use the zucchinis for Ratatouille which is another great way to slip some eggplant in as well. Plus the dogs have zucchinis added to their breakfast mix. They seem to like it.

Not so here! Automatic cars here usually cost an additional $2,000 too on a vehicle price. I've never driven an automatic. Like matching crockery, life is too short for automatic vehicles. ;-)!

Oh yeah, dogs grow into their paws don't they? Glad to read that he is happy with the litter and has kept a puppy.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

RE: Pentax bandwagon. I guess two great minds think alike and all that jazz! Seriously though, I only got the pentax as it was quite good value second-hand and sorta developed a real affection for it after playing around with the manual prime lens. In all honesty, I did find my previous digital Nikon camera took better shots on average when using the standard kit lens. No doubt, it mostly boils down to the lens you use I suspect.

As for star shots - we experimented a little bit as sometimes in Tasmania you would get the aurora. A few times it worked well, but with the lens I had it is difficult. In general I can say the following rules:

ISO: low is higher quality (e.g. 100), but higher will let the sensor read more light at the expense of noise. I found values as high as 3200 were necessary for stars
APERTURE: Low is best to let more light in, my 50mm prime lens could open to 1.2 which is great - but as it is only 50mm you could only see a little bit of the sky (The 50mm is more a macro, portrait and cat type of lens).
EXPOSURE: You need a long exposure to let more light in, but more than 30 seconds and the stars start to blur due to the Earths rotation.

Obviously you will need a tripod. Alternatively, if you are shooting the moon (Hearts reference!) you will go the opposite settings as it is so bright. The best photo of the moon I even took was zoomed right in on a 200mm lens and handheld. You could see the crater ridges when it was blown up on the computer screen!

If you have the manual for the camera, there is a mode when you can set custom exposures of any length you want (eg an hour). This would make a great 'star trail' photo. With such a long exposure you would need to dial back the settings above (e.g. go for low ISO and maybe high aperture) otherwise the photo would just be an overexposed mess.

Good luck, I expect to see a nighttime photo of fernglade in the next blog :p

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Shades of the Great Zucchini! Do you mean to say that there is actually enough space under your bed for Scritchy to hide?! This must be in another universe (the Yeast Universe?) . . .

That sunset was so red. Quite a contrast with the black sky and white clouds.

That was a rare tribute that was given to the editor and her car. No wonder the teens were impressed and no wonder you were chuffed at their response; umm. We have owned 3 vehicles that had automatic gearboxes: a station wagon for the kiddies, a $300 auction-bought car (bad idea), and my first car, a 1960's Buick of my grandfather's which could not come to a full stop without stalling.

The firewood is looking great!

I'm so glad that you have tomatoes at last, and bullet tomatoes at that! I can see the melon flowers, but it is hard to tell if there are baby melons there.

With the bushfire shutters - is that the north side of your house? Would that be the only side that they are closed on? What about cross-ventilation?

Thanks for the flowers! The last 6 weeks we have had about one half-day of sun per week. It has been rather dreary and wet, but no ice!

Pam

Damo said...

/cont

I am sorry to subject this fine blog to cat photos, surely the equivalent of catnip for many internet users! Well spotted, it is indeed Mt Wellington in the background. We used to live in Lindisfarne, Hobart and our house had a fantastic view of the river/harbour and of course Mt Wellington, which was often snow capped during winter. Unfortunately, the house was a cheap construction from the late 50s and featured no insulation of any description with a southerly aspect. It was cold!

RE: managed fund
You are correct, strictly speaking I think my ETFs are a type of managed fund. But they are not actively managed by a human, in some cases consisting of nothing more complicated than a foreign bank account. They can probably be considered more like an Index fund and have fees that match (most are 0.45%, the short is 1.38%).

Not wanting to give any false impressions, I would like to point out this money isn't a huge amount, representing about 18 months of savings. But it is large enough I didn't want to keep it all in one place (an Australian bank). If I were 'independently wealthy' I could achieve the same thing much easier by simply opening a foreign bank account, but they do make that difficult for low-level drones like myself with rules such as $100,000 minimums...

Does your hot water system have those fancy evacuated tubes? I have seen a few and they look cool, but maybe fragile? Our old one on the dairy consisted of 3 large, rectangular parabolas made from polished aluminium with a single tube for the water running down at the focus point. I have never seen any like it since.

I think the biggest hurdle with the file server will be convincing everyone that it has been done correctly this time and they will always be able to access their data (somewhat ironic as I plan to disentangle myself from the cloud in the near future for a similar fear). But really, they are forever losing data since no one does backups so I hope they at least put some important stuff on it..

The website workshop went pretty well. Everyone followed along and were able to make their own, some of them quite creative. We are having a second advanced workshop in a few weeks. This time, under pressure from the staff we are holding it as a sort of retreat in another province. Apparently most workshops are done this way and the staff get a little holiday, plus an 'away from home' allowance (paid by the foreign donor of course). I insisted we do it at the college the first time as it all seemed a bit of a rort to me and unnecessary. But, I have caved in for the second workshop (it helps that I get to stay somewhere nice for a few days as well). When in Rome and all that...

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Yes you are correct that it was the Art Institute of Chicago. It wasn't very crowded. We spent a couple hours in the contemporary art section. The windows in that section looked out at all the marchers going by. The atmosphere in that area in Chicago was quite festive. My daughter has memberships (that were gifts) to the Museum of Science and Industry and the Field Museum which allow her to bring in a couple guests so I can tag along there as well. The entrance fees are getting quite pricey. There are free days for all the museums but as you can imagine those days are really crowded.

Wanted to mention that I really like manual transmissions but have not had one for some time. They provide more control in snow too. I imagine it would be like riding a bike and I would quickly pick up the skill again.

Yeah, I was quite disappointed in the reactions of the book club members and the work "progress" reared it's head a few times too. I think "mastering a few skills" just may be the way to go. I've dabbled a bit with medicinal herbs and fermenting different foods and just may try to focus on that more. There was a foraging and herb meet-up group here for awhile but the person in charge quit and now it's mostly in Chicago. Too bad as I learned much in their workshops and field trips that were more local for me. I've also been thinking of getting more involved locally as in my own town. I've been on boards of county organizations before but lately I've limited my volunteering to things that if I couldn't show up wouldn't be negatively impacted too much. This has been mainly due to my family responsibilities. Now that my night vision is pretty bad it limits quite a few activities as the meeting etc are generally at night. Like you it's something I've been pondering for awhile.

Turns out I have bronchitis. I was feeling quite a bit better late last week but relapsed on Sunday so broke down and went to the doctor. Maybe my trip into Chicago was premature though it was really quite low-key. Anyway he prescribed antibiotics of course. With all the concern about antibiotic resistance it made me think more about herbal medicine and it's value in the future.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Claire,

My cats are always barn cats. They certainly march to their own drummer more than dogs. Presently I have three cats which were all abandoned on our road some years ago when they were older kittens. They would like to be house cats at least part time I think and are the most personable barn cats I've ever had. I shudder to think of the havoc they would reek if allowed indoors.

My daughter and her boyfriend have four cats in their apartment in Chicago and they are clearly in place of children. Two have ongoing health issues as well. However I think that cats may be more suited to apartment living than dogs. I feel sorry for all the dogs, especially the big ones, that have so little time to get out and well - be dogs.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Cliff Mass has never said (that I can remember) anything about animals and weather prediction. And, he does have a dog, as I remember. Probably has personal beliefs about that that he wouldn't put "out there" being a scientist, and all. No water today. Hope it's the well and not a frozen pipe. We had a frost last night, but I don't think it was enough to freeze up the pipe. Overnight lows are -0-C to -1C. Cold, but not cold enough, I think, to freeze the pipes. Not like a few weeks ago.

Yeah, it was the catalytic converter they were after. There was a spate of those kinds of thefts, at that time. Luckily, I lived in town at that time and there was a muffler shop, two blocks away. Insurance paid for it, as I remember.

That was a nice bike. Somewhere, I saw a picture of my Dad on an old Indian, back in the late 30s.

I checked "manual log splitters" and "homemade manual log splitters. Didn't see anything exactly like the one I have. Closest was this ...

http://image.sportsmansguide.com/adimgs/l/2/217687_ts.jpg

Mine has a cord that runs from the splitting head, to the slamming down part (technical term, no? :-). But looking at those two searches, then images, there sure are a lot of ingenious contraptions, out there.

Stuff in heaven. Who knew? :-). Here, at least in the cemetery I'm going to be planted in, you have to have a burial vault. Kind of like a concrete septic tank. Without the inputs and outputs. I've idly thought about having some of my tat tucked in with me. Walk (or lay) like an Egyptian. :-)

Well, as far as employment for diversity trainers, it seems (to me) that there are more opportunities under a Democratic administration, than a Republican one. Just the "tenor" of the times. We had a yearly All Staff Day at the library, where we'd all get together for training of one sort and another. Lunch. Some of it was fun. Speakers. That fellow was the key not speaker, one year. I enjoyed the year of the cartoonists, much more :-). Of course, if you have your Phd. in something like that, you can teach.

Got it. Tosser. Speaking of language, I got an Acorn/BBC catalog the other day. DVDs and lots of tat related to different series. There was a t-shirt ... "English is weird. It can be understood through tough, thorough, thought though." At $20 for the t-shirt and $30 for a sweat shirt, I'm not going to buy them. But I am going to write it down and nail it to the wall next to my computer. I think (know) I get those "th" words wrong, sometimes. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. How did I cope with working 80+ hours a week? Well, I was young :-). And, in those days, fueled with a bit of high octane. :-). Not having much in the way of family or other entangling relationships .... well, it can be done.

Well, The Evil Step Son does, and doesn't always have a "better idea" to escape actual work. On first reflection, I thought, no. But when I really think about it, besides his initial impulse to just display that he's smarter than you. But, I think another thing going on is that his "better ideas" are usually about making an onerous task, less onerous. But some onerous tasks are just onerous. No getting around it. To some onerous tasks, you can (if you're lucky) apply "Lew's Law." "You only have to do it once ... there is an end." LOL. Clear?

Trapped pollution in the fog. See, "inversion layer." A layer of air (hot, cold? I forget) "caps" an area and any combustion below the layer gets trapped. Sometimes, especially in the cities, there are bans on wood burning at times, when an inversion layer is in place.

I watched a really interesting (to some) documentary, last night. "For the Love of Spock." Dumb title (I think) great film. It's the bio of Leonard Nimoy. Done by his son. As the 50th anniversary of Star Trek was coming up, they started it before he died. Besides the whole Star Trek thing, his life was pretty interesting. Of course, lots of interviews with lots of people, including a bit of our favorite Fan Boy, Simon Pegg.

Water's back on. Hmmm. Only out for a few hours. Still wonder if it was iced up, or the well had problems. All will be revealed, in time. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi everyone!

As most of you don't live in the Northern Territory of Australia (which is actually a really massive place but lacks the population to become a state in its own right), I thought that you may be interested in the recent weather news from that part of the world. The tropics are clearly spreading southwards and that part of the world has some special challenges for life!

NT weather: Crocs, floods, and food drops as Top End residents brace for more heavy rainfall

My favourite quote was this one: "It's current whereabouts are unknown but it may still be in the area"... Far out, that is not good!

Incidentally, I've been to the Katherine Gorge and from memory I reckon the river is about a 20m deep gorge. For that river flood... At the top of the gorge were the most amazing rock art.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I don't know whether or not my comment went through as my computer went blank. I'll find out tomorrow. Meanwhile I see that Lew has answered the fog/pollution question.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo, Pam, Margaret, Lewis, and Inge,

Thanks for the lovely comments and I promise to reply tomorrow. Southern 12 hour slow cooked pulled pork with pickles, chips (that is the technical name for "fries" for people over in the US) and hot barbeque sauce was calling the editor and I tonight. Actually we had planned on eating Vietnamese street food this evening, but the outside tables were full in that part of the street with people enjoying the cool summer air. Also it was really weird, but tonight for some strange reason the crazies were out in full force. Seriously at one point some dude who was looking a little bit seedy walked past me and then chucked his guts up in the gutter. And then even weirder were the group of young men on their phones filming the ongoing street activity. It was a surreal experience. Has anyone checked whether it is a full moon or not? There is usually a bit of strangeness going on, but tonight there was far more unusual activity than I'd ever seen in that location before.

As a postscript I have to report on an error that I made in this week’s blog. I suggested in the blog that Suzuki vehicles were not the vehicle of choice for thefts. Well, wouldn't you just know it but in a town up the road from here (under about 40 minutes drive) there was a breakout at a youth prison: Malmsbury youth centre inmates escape, seven on run after stealing vehicles. Well wouldn't you know it, but one of the vehicles stolen was a white Suzuki SUV...

I like how they call the place a "youth centre" rather than "youth prison". A youth centre sounds like a social club.

PS: I still reckon the stolen Suzuki had an automatic transmission! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Weather news from Idaho. The town where the grocery store collapsed from snow also lost their local bowling alley. The Idaho governor declared a State of Emergency for that county, as 100 buildings have collapsed. A woman was killed in Northern Idaho when her porch roof gave way. Another man was seriously injured when his garage caved in.

Off to the Little Smoke. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Of course, get with the strength is a good way to talk up Pentax gear, of course it is not the high end that some stuff is but it holds its own.

Wow, the west coast of Tasmania is a lot further south than here so yeah, the aurora is a definite chance. How did the photos turn out anyway? I've never seen that atmospheric effect.

Oh, I'd never heard of that card game reference before but I appreciate the tips for photography and am feeling a little bit under the pressure now... :-)! Those star trail photos are pretty impressive. I've got a 300mm lens which is amazing as it can bring into focus things that I can't see with the eye. I reckon the binoculars are better though.

When Mars was close to Earth about a decade or so back a mate cracked out his telescope and I was amazed by how fast the rotation of the planet was.

Oh yeah, don't mention the cat photos... I'm starting to feel that I should have gone to the pub tonight... Hey, did you get a chance to listen in to the Hot 100 over the internet? It is (or will be) available for download. The ABC website crashed a few times today. A fine day to have access to a top quality 30 year old Kenwood FM tuner. It is good. Far out that place would have been cold. But how nice is Hobart? We loved walking around that old city.

Fair enough and thanks for the explanation about your short. It is an interesting strategy. Did you note the crazy median house price for Melbourne. It is insane as it makes no sense whatsoever.

No stress, I understood and the rules are stacked against you. The other alternative is to choose not to play? I recently recommended to someone to look for a rural property with a derelict house or shed on it as that gets around a whole lot of unnecessarily complex rules. That seems about the only option open at the moment from what I can see. Plus it is hard work.

No. I'm old school here. A metal box with copper tubing painted black with toughened glass over the outside. Evacuated tubes look like they may break at some point in the future although I could be wrong.

Yes, beware the cloud and of course people accustomed to older tech wonder about new fangled devices...

No cave in as when in Rome...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

The question remains: Should I have gone to the pub tonight? Such important questions remain unanswered! Hehe!

Zucchini's can make a person feel somewhat nervous... And oh yeah, that Sritchy is one naughty boss dog and if mischief is on the go, she is into it. Of course other dogs will get the blame, but they accept that risk.

Thanks! The sky really is that vivid colour here. When there is a major bushfire, the sunsets turn a dark burnt orange.

Your auction car story - and yes it was a bad idea - reminded me of my first car that I purchased from the vehicle wreckers... There was less waste in those days. Again that was a bad idea too! Yay for carburettors! Simple to work on, but very fiddly when things went wrong.

We spent today bringing in another load of firewood and grooving out to the music of the Hottest 100. The music takes my mind away from the loading, splitting and stacking and it all becomes a practice of meditation after a short while.

That is the southern side of the house which faces downhill. Fires move faster up a hill, but all windows and doors have those shutters on them. The house is like an above ground bunker, albeit a wolf in sheep's clothing. A local bloke told me in no uncertain terms that it wasn't a posh house and I felt very proud about that. The stainless steel is a very strong, but fine mesh and so the air can move through it when the windows are opened. I sleep soundly at night knowing just how hard it would be for some nefarious person to get through the shutters, but the air can move across the house. There is no air conditioning, but the house is heavily insulated so I capture the cool air at night and enjoy it during the daytime. ;-)!

Oh! Pam, I really feel for the hard winter everyone is having. I will endeavour to brighten your days with flower photos from down under when the summer sun is: "cooking my head".

Cheers

Chris



Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Art Galleries are at their best when they are not crowded and you picked your day to visit. Yeah, the march certainly sounded festive and it would have been slightly surreal to see the marchers go past the windows whilst you were in the gallery. I was once in the middle of a serious exam when the power went out and so did the lights, but that was nothing compared to the car accident that happened that happened in the street outside the hall where an exam was held. You'd call that a tension breaker moment! As both occasions occurred in high school there was a lot of sudden noise in a previously quiet room.

Yeah it is like riding a bike and you never forget how to juggle the clutch. After a while you can shift gears without using the clutch if you match the engine revs correctly. Although I prefer to use the clutch in case I damage the gearbox...

Exactly, learn many skills and master a few that are useful. I don't feel that any other response is appropriate and I have been wondering about that matter for a very long time. It is a bit of a shame really as there are so many lost opportunities but people are no longer trained to see them. I really worry the most about youth that have the self belief that they are smarter than everyone else because they seem rather disengaged to me and are in no state of mind to challenge those beliefs. I've met plenty of people in my time that are smarter than I and it is a humbling experience.

Fermenting and herbs are great skills. Especially with your winters, food preservation is a real survival strategy. Of course your animals are a form of food preservation too and that was really what the whole mid winter feast thing was about - lightening the load as you move closer to spring.

Oh yeah, I just don't know about community organisations as I've tried a few and the infighting seems really strange to me. If you come up with any good ideas I'd be really interested in hearing them?

Oh no! You poor thing. Make sure you look after yourself and take time out to rest and recover.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for explaining that. Well Cliff Mass may potentially open himself to ridicule if he mentioned that his dog could detect changes in air pressure. The animals know though and even the ants begin building levee banks around the entrances to their holes when a storm threatens. The spiders will retreat from the garden to under the protection of the veranda which can be a little bit ookey - especially the massive and fast moving huntsman spiders.

Did you get your water back on today? I hope you are remembering to record the lack of water?

I ended up bringing in more firewood today. It is a big job and probably has another month and a half to go before it is complete. Obviously I can only do so much firewood per week, but as the tortoise says: "slowly but surely wins the race". Not that it is a race, but most of my neighbours ran out of firewood this winter and I really wonder about that. Strangely enough only one neighbour has an arrangement with me to help them with firewood. It is really dysfunctional how people live up here.

Well done with the muffler repair. The excess for claims on my policy would mean that it probably wouldn't make any sense to claim the loss through the insurance.

An old Indian... Cool! Did he ever ride a motorbike in your awareness of him? It was a good old bike and had presence, plus I could fix it - except for the rotten starter motor which was just a dud arrangement from the factory. Later models fixed that problem with the starter motor, but they looked less like they had the ineffable characteristic of "soul".

OK. Thanks for the image of the log splitter. I'm assuming that you use a mallet to smash the end of the log splitter into the timber? It is sort of like a wedge which the old timers used to use. I have wedges here although I use them for a different purpose and they're plastic.

Who knows what you may need to pay the ferryman in your journey? Maybe the Egyptians had the right of it? Of course stuff does sound very materialistic? With the way things are going I'll be lucky if I'm not bopped over the head down the bottom paddock in a rather unceremonious finish. Of course I will hang onto the secret of beer making right up to the final moments as that only seems right to me. :-)!

Haha! That also assumes that the educational industry does not implode under the weight of the student debt bubble. And I reckon cartoonists would have made an excellent speech.

Well we must maintain standards mustn't we? I actually like the word that you used because when I was a younger adult it conveyed the message that the person in question was a "try hard" but in these enlightened times people wear such status as a badge of honour. I wonder about that matter as it seems sort of wrong to me. Back in the day the retort to those claims was that the rest of us suffered from "tall poppy syndrome" but I rather suspect that those claims were a smoke screen to a larger shift. What do you reckon about that?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Hehe! The t-shirt is a classic. Like it. English is a strange language. You can tell if I'm in a hurry as my grammar becomes very poor.

I listened to the music countdown today and really enjoyed it. It is one of my little pleasures that countdown and I've been listening to it every year since 1992. In some respects it is fair to say that if I commit to something, I actually take it on knowing full well what that means. On the other hand, I've made plenty of errors - as have we all! This year the music was overall quite good with few standout tracks. Sometimes the year has standout tracks but is not as good overall. I reckon music quality improves as the economy declines, but that is just a theory I have banging around in my head. Nice to see Supertramp over at the ADR today. Very tidy work.

Thanks for sharing that experience. I too have worked long hours but the ability to juggle many different tasks became overwhelming after about 18 months of doing that. It was just too much, and then I went off and did something else. Oh yeah, the temptation to self medicate in those circumstances is an ever present temptation. I hear you.

Oooo, that is so eerie! I have met quite a number of younger people who have the self belief that they are smarter than everyone else and I really worry about that because the only people who believe they are smarter than everyone else are those that have not tested their mettle. I met one recently and it was disturbing what I saw in him.

Inversion layer. Hmm, they get them down here too. Usually it is associated with hot and still weather here. As a side note, the ninth person died a couple days ago from that asthma thunderstorm of late last year.

Thanks for the reference and I'll check it out. I reckon it is a great title.

Wow. That is not good about the collapsed roofs. I wonder how many of those houses will get rebuilt? After a bushfire there always seem to be a few less houses.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Ooops! Blogger must have become hungry again and consumed your missing comment. Hope the weather is nice? I actually enjoy winters.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

"After a while you can shift gears without using the clutch if you match the engine revs correctly. Although I prefer to use the clutch in case I damage the gearbox..." - that is a terrifying thought to me as I think that already I am not very good to my old truck. In fact, she is making a shrieking noise when I shift at too high an RPM; I have to be very careful. She is only 4-cylinders and quite heavy, so it is very shameful of me to try to treat her like a sports car . . .

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I was thinking of Friends of the Library or getting involved in some local event.

I am once again feeling somewhat human. I am thankful that I don't have a job and can actually kick back some, that I was sick during winter when there's not so much to do and that the court date for the annual accounting (and now Patrick's final accounting) has been continued until March 2nd so some pressure off there too.

I'm taking my brother, Michael, to see the Star Wars movie this afternoon. He and I always watched Star Trek together when he lived with me.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yup. Got the water back after just two or three hours. I DO think there was a bit of ice in the pipes. It was frosty when I went to bed, but I didn't think it was THAT frosty. Oh, yeah. Another date on the calendar.

Nope. Dad was past his motorcycle days by the time I was coming up. At Mom's insistence, I think. No fun at all. :-).

No, the log splitter I have doesn't require a mallet, at all. It's a metal sleeve over a solid bar core, with a cap at the top. The sleeve moves freely up and down. The rope between the head and sleeve is so it doesn't go flying off on the up pull. So you pull up the sleeve and slam it down on the head. Builds Strong Bodies, 12 Ways. :-).

Oh, I suppose I'm materialistic about my tat. But, as very few people actually see it, it's not really a case of trying to impress anyone. I just enjoy the workmanship and beauty. Or, some of it, just the quirkiness. :-). I guess the trick is to hold it lightly. Especially after this weeks ADR. Oh, I know that sooner or later I'll loose it or have to let it go. But in the meantime ...

LOL. I "lost the plot" on that riff about "tall poppy syndrome." Something like men compensating for other lacks with big trucks? You too suffer occasionally from the (very light) restrictions of a family friendly blog. But I think it's really more fun to figure a way to get the idea across without descending into the gutter :-). What's interesting about the word I used is that it's frequently used in the Brit and Australian movies and tv series I watch. There was a British expletive beginning with a "B" that used to be strictly forbidden that is now tossed around with abandon. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Well, I made my individual meringue shells, last night. By shells I mean you take a heaping tablespoon of meringue and shape it into a sort of bowl. It ends up about 4 (10cm) or 5 inches across. They're very light and crisp. I've got them on a tray, in the coldest room of the house, in a bag, propped up with an open box of baking soda to (hopefully) keep them crisp.

When I'm through (there's one of those words :-) here, I'll make up the lemon pudding. Probably enough room in the meringue cups for 2 or 3 big tablespoons of pudding. I also had enough meringue to do little piles ... "top knots" ... to go on top of the pudding. Dress them up and give them somewhere to go. :-). The trick is to get them to the desert potluck before they get too soggy. I really like this recipe as it calls for three egg whites. And, the pudding mix I cook up calls for 3 yolks. No waste.

More news from Idaho. My friends went to remove some snow from one of their daughters rentals. Ron didn't need a ladder to get on the roof. Just walked up a snowbank. :-). The parents of the students at the local school got a work party up to remove the snow from the school roof.

Desert potluck ought to be fun, tonight. I see a sugar coma in my future. It's the 16th anniversary for this function. It's also a "speaker's meeting." They import someone, with some god awful number of years in The Program, from out of our area. Given the service aspect, they get a little money for gas, and that's it. And, all the desert they can eat :-). They do their drunka, druga-logue ... the "what it was like, what happened and what it's like now," schtick.

Year before last we had a woman who was a real zinger. A wild, and humorous trip to the back end of Siberian Russia to claim her Dad's body (she thought ... Dad was still alive but needed medical care). She spoke no Russian, the people involved spoke no English. Passed from hand to hand by Program People to Dad ... and back again. Given the Russian beaurocracy and problems traveling in that part of the world, it was all a bit shady. Last years speaker was so-so. The most interesting part was his being raised in an isolated logging camp in the late 1930s and early 40s.

Well, I'll close for now. Time to get at that lemon pudding. I see the Melbourne Green Wizard group is meeting this week end. Hope you can make it and have fun. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Mechanical sympathy is a delightful attribute for people. We are far too hard on our machines at the best of times. Yes, do be careful with the old beastie and (is the vehicle a he or a she?) will serve you well. Of course, the shrieking noise may be the tormented sounds of a faulty thrust bearing on the back of the clutch plate which requires the gearbox to be removed before it can be replaced (at a wild guess). I once owned an old sports car with a dodgy gearbox and everyone used to drag me off at the lights - and I just used to act cool and all and drive off sedately, but of course it was the faulty gearbox changing my behaviour. I guess as you face a similar problem this means that you too are cool! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Those both sound like really good local groups to be involved with. Libraries are really important local stores of knowledge. I was thinking this morning about potential loss of digital data in the future. Even things as simple as a format change can be a problem. I've been using mp3 compressed digital audio files since the mid 90's when they were rare, but I also recall the dbx system in use before that - and who nowadays could read an audio tape recorded in that excellent but not widely used format?

Glad to read that you are feeling more human. Bronchitis is no laughing matter. And yeah, it is nice that you were able to take some time out and recover - I likewise enjoy that privilege from time to time when circumstances dictate. Not having all of your time dictated in advance is a real luxury these days which few people realise.

I hope Michael appreciates the continuity of your traditions despite the absence of Patrick. Such gestures are a really nice thing for you to do. Hope you enjoy the film too. I've heard that the second half of the film is quite gritty which is surprising given who purchased the rights to the story-line.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@Chris
Photos of aurora can turn out very well if you are skilled on the camera. With the human eye (at Tasmania's latitude anyway), often it is only a green smudge on the horizon. Occasionally however, you get a big storm and the flickering ribbons are visible to naked eye, in our case once from the balcony looking towards the big lights of Hobart. One can only imagine what it would have looked like away from light pollution...

Some of the photos are here:
Aurora photos from the balcony
They are not that great, but broadly representative of what we saw with our eyes. It was a great night!

The card game reference is for 'Hearts'. Shooting the moon is when you decide to 'win' all hands and reset your score to zero - a high risk, high reward stratagem.

I did get to listen to a lot of the Hottest 100 - we were packing and preparing for our Japan trip so it was good background noise. I feel out of the loop on the various songs, but I think in a few months after some repeat listens I will be only 6 months out instead of 12 :-p

Big up on the old school Kenwood Tuners, I always try and get something along those lines when I move house. Old floor standing speakers and a good tuner/receiver cannot be beat I think.

I always thought, "Should I go to the pub" is a rhetorical question. No further comment required!

"It is an interesting strategy". That is very polite of you :-) Damned if you do, damned if you don't is how I feel about it all. I never had this problem when I had no money :p Your suggestion of old rural property is something I have considered before and it is probably a good idea. I feel I need to save a bit more before I can do it though. I still have it easy compared to most so shall keep my whinging to a minimum!

Today we arrived in Tokyo, I am very impressed with what I see and how everything comes together. I know there are underlying problems and cracks, but it doesn't look like a city that has spent 20 years in stagnation as the neoliberals would have you believe. I was watching a busy street today and at least 90% of the vehicles were locally manufactured. Say what you will about Japan, but it is a country that can produce wealth. Australia is embarrassing sometimes (but we keep coasting along and things keep turning out ok)!

Anyway, sleep time. Only got an hour last night and I don't drink coffee...

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Oh, well that is new information as it never would have occurred to me that you may have ice in the water pipes without the pipes entirely freezing solid. Speaking of mechanical sympathy, my mind boggles at the task that your poor water pump(s) has to endure in such conditions. Yup, all in all it's just another tick on the calender (Pink Floyd reference there). I hope you get the chance to move soon? Of course that move will bring new and interesting challenges which you should navigate with grace and skill.

Ha! Your mom was a smart lady to curtail that particular mode of transport. I gave up riding in commuter traffic after using up all nine of my lives. The funny thing was that I was becoming accustomed to rather frightening experiences at the hands of careless motorists. It is a strange and unsettling feeling to one day discover that you are unfazed by events that should faze you. I sort of suspect that the future will be much like that.

I'm sitting out with the chickens in the orchard on a warm summers night and I just spotted Boss Plymie (a big Plymouth Rock) giving "what for?" to a lesser Wyandotte. The interesting thing is too, that the Wyandotte's have decided that autumn is here and they have decided to moult their feathers. They look very un-lady-like with their patchy coats and are certainly not show quality birds... It will be interesting to see whether the birds at the agricultural show next month are showing signs of an early moulting season? Maybe it is just the conditions here, but who really knows?

Oh, well that log splitter would work nicely, although the timbers here are extra-ordinarily hard at about 650kg/cubic metre for the local eucalyptus species. The wattle species (Acacia) species are harder again and they make beautiful furniture timber. A long time ago I spotted a second hand table made from the local Silver Wattle species and speaking of tat, the editor and I did not jump on it fast enough as it was sold out from under our noses. The timber was a beautiful grey / silver colour and the workmanship was superb. Alas for the one that got away. I assume that you have had your share of those tricksey tat items over the years?

Ha! Yes, the ADR this week told it like it is and after replying here I will immerse my over worked brain (it was a long day today) into the comment section. Incidentally, I mentioned to my favourite barista whom I've known for many long years that I had to go back to work after a brief break enjoying an excellent coffee and all he could do was laugh at me - thought it was right funny, he did! Alas where can sympathy be found these days... :-)! Ha! I enjoy the quirkiness too and have respect for your good taste. ;-)!

Haha! Very funny indeed. The chickens - whom are never quite friendly at the best of times - are wondering what the silly human is chuckling to himself about. Yeah, that B word has been used down here in commercials and all sorts of settings. It has an entirely different meaning down here which can roughly be translated into the idea of something being: "completely stuffed and beyond recovery". It also has a rather more traditional meaning which is quite naughty and the description of which is probably not very family friendly. It is a very English word from my understanding and it can also be used as a friendly greeting.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

I'm in total awe of your cooking skills as every time I attempt a meringue, the whole thing tastes nice, but individual meringue shells generally end up looking like a complete mess of meringue and there is no getting around that one. To be honest though, I haven't put the time into mastering the meringue, so I'll just take my hat off to you for your efforts and enjoy reading about them. I hope everyone enjoys them, I would eat all of them! Hehe! YUM! And lemon curd filling... Too good!

Wow, that is a massive amount of snow, and I also like the way that natural adverse conditions can bring out the best in groups of people. I've noticed that happens down here too. My mind is seriously boggling at the description of the snow - particularly as I have the ceiling fan going and the door open to the now dark outside world letting in fresh, cool, night air! Far out that is cold.

Beware the hypoglycemic sugar rush attack monsters! They're not very friendly by all accounts. I hope the guest speaker was entertaining and I do recall your story about the lost and deceased father in Russia saga. What an adventure!

Haha! The Green Wizards meetup is on and many of the good people from that group ventured up here last month and we had a grand old time. The editor and I fed everyone and they enjoyed a tour of the place. There were a lot of smiles that day and it was a real pleasure to enjoy their company. I really enjoyed the lively conversation around the dining table (which was also the feature table in the blog "The Table Bunch"! Who can forget the ear worm that is the Brady Bunch theme - Ooops! Sorry for mentioning that ear worm, and now it is going around and around my head too... Ouch!). :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Mate, those are awesome photos of the aurora from Hobart. Wow! I never realised the storms could be seen from there before and have never seen them for myself. That would have been an excellent sight to see.

Thanks for the explanation about the card game.

Ha! It is impressive that you were able to even listen to the countdown over the Interweb. The website crashed a few times from what I could see. I believe it is available for download in mp3 format? Who doesn't like the mp3 format? No doubts that you will be able to catch up with a little bit of programming! Hehe! I knew most of the songs, but I keep the radio on whilst I'm working around the place and just use the music to sort of enter a meditative head space which is not a bad idea when you have to split firewood for four straight hours. :-)!

Oh yeah, that old Kenwood tuner is amazing and even after 30 years the sound quality is superb and I recall reading somewhere that it was one of the twenty or thirty best FM tuners ever made. People chuck these things out for not much at all which is really surreal - and perhaps it is worth nothing? I may have to get the capacitors replaced at some stage in the future?

Haha! Yeah, if you have to ask the question, then you probably need to go. It is a good pub the local one and they pride themselves on a bevvy of craft beers on tap. It is always an interesting time to work out what to drink.

Well, yeah, I can do diplomatic! Hehe. Well, you are dragged into that world whether you like it or not and so I applaud your audacity in giving it a go and understanding what the worst case scenario may be. Respect.

No worries, the derelict house concept is the least worst option nowadays - and if you are prepared for some sweat equity, it has the major advantage of flying below the radar - as long as you don't annoy your neighbours. The first rule of rural club is don't annoy your neighbours.

I respect the Japanese and they are very clever with their macroeconomic policies which say yes but actually mean no.

What no sleep and no coffee??? Tough times, my friend, tough times!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I am too cool - and I didn't even know it. That would account for the looks I get - envy, pure and simple. Thanks for the possible repair recommendation.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I have been struggling to get back here and have practically given up. I don't think that blogger was at fault, it was my computer for some unknown reason. Ever since then I have been besieged by needy visitors and needy phone calls plus an attempt to keep up with ADR, even skimming the comments hasn't helped much!

However I did want to comment on Coco's potato query.

@Coco

I have always re-planted potatoes that sprout, this has never caused any problems. The serious edict is not to re-plant where potatoes grew the previous year and don't put peelings in compost. Having said that, I often don't manage to dig up every single potato so new ones come up in the same soil. Sometimes they are okay and sometimes not. The ones that are always okay are the black/purple varieties, but when rats took my whole potato crop, they didn't touch those. I wonder why not?
Unfortunately I am not that keen on them.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Going to keep this short, today (yeah, sure) as we have a planned power outage ... sometime. Local electric is taking down a few fir trees, down the road.

Oh, yeah. Missed out on, tat. Just a few days ago I spotted 5 pyrex covered casseroles that would complete my set. I have one. I thought, well, buy all five and send the duplicate to auction. I fiddle faddled around (less than 24 hours) and they were gone.
Oh, well. Something similar will show again.

I might go to an auction on Saturday, as there are two Currier and Ives prints on offer. Which reminds me ... I keep forgetting to mention that in that movie, "The New Land?" The minister's house (which was quit spiffy for the frontier) had three or four Currier and Ives prints. A couple of times they zoomed in to make a cinematic point.

Probably better than 100 people showed up for the desert potluck. The meringues were a hit. People were jumping the line to get at them. The lemon curd needs work. Oh, it tasted just fine, it was the texture that I wasn't happy with. But I was worried about the dreaded "soggy bottom". Your problems with meringue may be due to humidity. Several of the recipes I looked at mentioned weather as a factor for a successful meringue.

The speaker was pretty good, but I was in back and missed a bit of the nuance. A good time was had by all. And, yes, I did eat way too much. Shouldn't have gone through that line a second time :-). Feel pretty good today, so I guess I didn't do myself to much damage. :-). About half home made deserts and half store bought. About the usual ratio. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Hehe! Ah, but of course! There was a good turn out for the Green Wizards meet up today. Lot's of fun and many lively discussions.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I do rather hope that your computer is not disappointed in me? Anyway, I sometimes disappoint myself! Hehe! Not really... ;-)! The tree frogs here make the strangest sounds and just then one of the tree frogs emitted what can only be described as the sort of very loud squeezing sound that a rubber ducky would make. It was very strange to hear that just outside the door.

Enjoy your visitors and phone calls and I'll be here when you get the time. Did you enjoy the ADR this week? The comments were very interesting and I had a chance to read them on the train into Melbourne and then out again from the Green Wizards meet up today.

As a side note about potatoes, I too have potatoes growing in the same spot year after year and they look after their own business. Interestingly too, the potato plants produce green seeds following the flowers in hot years and I have been told that those are viable but forgot to notice whether they took where they fell.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

A short comment! Of course life intrudes, goals get in the way, I get that. Given your weather I hope the brown out was not for too long. My neighbours tell me that the power goes out here all of the time, but being off the grid seems to be a bit more reliable. However, having said that, sooner or later I will have to obtain an emergency spare inverter (that is the thing that converts battery power to mains power) to use whilst the main inverter receives possible repairs. It is a complex and rather fragile matter.

I can report that the Green Wizards meet up was a total success today. There was good food, good company, and a very lively and respectful conversation which covered a huge breadth of intellectual ground. Of course, as to be expected I was unable to contribute when the subject of physics was discussed but I sure made up for that by discussing the realities of soil and Liebig's law of the minimum! :-)! Of course that led into one of my favourite topics which as you would know would be manure and the incredible lost opportunity that that presents nowadays. Honestly, I could talk up poop all day long! Happy days. There was even a really nice dude that lived on French Island just off the coast in an off grid owner built house (respect dude, if you're reading this!) and we had a short but enjoyable discussion. Now French Island has long held a bit of fascination with me as they have no... ta-da... property taxes. I'd be in my total element there. Alas for the unfair property taxes. Not fair at all... I dropped in the casual observation that I - in this remote spot which some members had travelled to last month - am subject to the same property use laws as them in urban areas and just how strange that looks to me. It was perhaps a bit controversial, but I do that from time to time but not too much, and I mentioned that if I could have, I could have constructed the entire house from timber milled on site (using a portable mill) and it would have been a very cheap no-brainer project, but also very good too.

That is a bit of a bummer about the pyrex. Yup, you just never know when opportunities present themselves and then just as rapidly disappear. Yeah, something will turn up in the future as we as a society put value on somethings, but not on others and seems a bit strange to me.

Nice! Those Currier and Ives prints are beautiful works of art, and thanks for mentioning them as I would never have seen them without your tip off. So, did you end up going to the auction and did you win the prints? You may be surprised to know that I have several consistent prints of the local birds in the hallway of the house here. Would you believe I picked them up (fully framed too) for only about $18 each? They look like the sort of bird drawings a person used to see in bird identification books before the advent of mass produced glossy and photo heavy books.

Far out, that is a big turn out for your dessert potluck, and of course one can never go wrong with lemon meringue pies (well unless you have my cooking skills with meringue - thanks for the advice too). I'm salivating thinking about all of those desserts.

Nice to read that you had a good speaker at the annual dessert potluck and that there was no hypoglycaemic attack afterwards. :-)! No the second line is a good idea, life is short and all that. I had a tiramisu at the Green Wizards meet up today, but no doubts, tomorrows work day will consume that little enjoyment. I once overheard someone saying that: food is not the problem, food is the solution, but alas I am unsure of what they exactly meant by that little quip!

The sun is going down below the horizon and it is time to free the chickens.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

My computer is never disappointed in you! I always find ADR worth reading, it is the comments that can sometimes be either difficult or pathetic. The sheer number of them has become a problem.

To repeat myself: I was always told to pick the flowers off potato plants; do you find that it makes a difference to the harvest whether they are left on or not? The green fruits are poisonous. I would be interested to know what the seeds produce.

My US sister has bought a new toaster, it came with 25 pages of instructions which included don't put fingers in while toasting. Ye gods!

The weather has finally warmed up a bit today, up in the 40sF so no more frost for the moment.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Damo:

The aurora photos are very impressive. I know about the ones over here in Alaska and Canada, but I never imagined that you could see them from Tasmania, though I guess Hobart would have a better shot at them than, say, Launceston.

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

We have a nice, though small, library in town. I do have to pay a yearly fee because as I live out of town the library is not included on our property taxes. There is a pretty good inter-library loan program. It bothers me to see more space being given to DVDs as well as more emphasis on digital media. They do put on a variety of programs in the evenings and for children during the day. They just started a program for the elderly where library staff will pick up and drop off books for those who can't get to the library. They will pick out books according to the interest survey the person fills out when signing up for the program. I used to be the pick up service for my mother-in-law but now they come to her with both her requests and books they suggest.

Michael lives close to me so I see him a couple of times a week. Patrick lived 2 hours away for the last 5 years so my sister and recent co-guardian did the weekly visit to him. We would try to get those two together on a regular basis as up to five years ago they always lived together. Michael also has many quite concerning health issues as well.

As to the movie I wasn't crazy about it - too noisy and too many battles but Michael enjoyed it immensely. Other than Star Wars and Star Trek he enjoys movies more geared to children which I'll take him to. I did draw the line when he wanted to see the Paddington Bear movie awhile back though.

Really does take some time to go through ADR comments but usually worth it as I've read many books suggested and check out some of the links as well - two this morning as a matter of fact.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Re: Your sister's new toaster. But does it have a GPS locator? :-). I saw an article about the "internet of things" last week. They set up a computer chipped and connected toaster and it was hacked in about 5 minutes. Our appliances are coming to get us! Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I haven't got to the auction yet. That darned date line. Your Saturday night is gone and my Saturday morning is just beginning.

So, did your Green Wizards group decide on the new venue? Italian to .... what? Discussing poop over dinner? Now that sounds ...tasty. You know, behind your back they refer to you as "Chris, the King of Ca-Ca." :-). Not that I don't think your composter isn't a zinger of an idea. If I had my own place I'd do the same. I'm the one that has the latest edition of "The Humanure Handbook" on my bookshelf.

The bird prints sound really nice. I know the type you mean. Probably similar to the parakeet print I picked up a couple of months ago. I picked up a similar book of birds of Hawaii at an estate sale. There's a guy in town that specializes in Hawaiian tat. I can probably flog it to him at more than the $1 I paid for it.

The local electric did some logging down the road, but didn't cut the power. I don't think they're done, so maybe next week. The fellows from Mexico haven't been around in a few days, but one of their vehicles is still here. I figure either they're waiting for some cement to set, or, had a move pressing job, for awhile.

I saw your comment over at ADR about Greenland. Yeah, besides dumping all that fresh water into the north Atlantic, which may mess up the Gulf Stream (which is the premiss of the film "Day After Tomorrow",) there may be seismic problems. When you relieve a land mass of that much weight, it "springs" up. Rises. It's a slow process, but, ongoing, never the less. It's why England has the occasional earthquake. And why, even in a time of rising sea levels that Glastonbury is no longer an island.

LOL. I see that Mr. Greer commented (1/26, 8:57 pm) that I guess he had made some off hand comment about being a vegetarian and his in box was filled with some rather hot messages. That he didn't put them through and the topic was closed. Sounded worse than the bicycle people :-). Not that you or I ever go on a rant about anything :-). Seems like everyone needs a hobby horse to ride. :-). Well, I'd better pull myself together and head off to the auction. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks and I enjoy our dialogue. Honestly, I struggle with the sheer volume of comments over at the ADR but on the other hand I for one am very glad as well as impressed that Mr Greer has managed to forge his own market as an author. You have to admit that it is an impressive feat and I have been reading his blog for a long time.

Wow, it was hot here today 90'F and we spent the day splitting and storing firewood for the soon to be here before you know it - winter. I find the process quite meditative and I also there is a slight chunk of my personality that enjoys the cleaning up process. There is about a decade of firewood on the ground seasoning here, but it is a huge amount of work to recover.

No worries about the potato seeds and my understanding is that they are toxic too. You know, if I spot any this season, I will plant some out and see what happens. I suspect that the new plant will be a new and interesting species of potato, but of course that is purely speculation. You are probably correct that the seed pulls energy from the tuber, but my brain can only handle one experiment at a time! Hehe!

What a fine joke that toaster instruction is. I read a warning recently that said something along the lines of: "experts suggest that the use of any product will cause potential harm". I reckon that covers just about every single circumstance.

Nice weather! :-)! Spring will soon spring into life in your part of the world.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

You do have to wonder about the emphasis on digital media as I for one suspect that those formats won't have the same longevity as books. Lower property taxes sounds like music to my ears! Those programs are a great idea too. When I was a kid I used to work for a chemist and in the afternoons I used to ride all over the suburb delivering prescriptions to the elderly and people too sick to leave their houses. It was a nice job - and people tipped well around Christmas time. Delivering books from the library is an awesome idea.

Sorry to read about Michael's health. How did he take Patrick's death? I hope he is OK.

I haven't seen the film and appreciate your review. Glad that Michael enjoyed it! Hey, there is a film which I was thinking about going and seeing called "Lion". It is about a young Indian boy who gets separated from his family in India and is eventually adopted by a Tasmanian couple. I heard the guy speak on the radio and he said that he spent five years looking for the last spot where he was separated from his family - using Google Earth. Wow. That is persistent. It is meant to be a very good film too, although it is a tear enducer.

Yes, the book recommendations are something else aren't they? I'm considering tracking down a copy of Epictetus's Handbook. Have you ever read that?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

The internet of things is a real joke of an idea. Perhaps my faulty electric log splitter was actually connected to the interweb and it got hacked and now no longer functions... Stranger things have happened! Hehe! Oh no, apart from the computers (which I can disconnect easily) nothing is connected to the interweb here. Do you have any appliances connected to the interweb? You know, I don't even participate in the local supermarkets repeated requests for a loyalty rewards club because basically, they use the collected data to analyse your shopping and then they market at you. I'd hate to think about the sort of data that is collected. 99.9% of that data would be total rubbish too.

Oh! Well it is nice to be in the future. I can tell you that the sun did indeed rise this Sunday morning, although it is now about 7.15pm on Sunday evening.

Mate, I am totally exhausted. The air temperature made it to 90'F today and we spent the day moving, splitting and storing more firewood for the winter. Managing firewood is a huge job and it is only in the past year or two that I have had my act together on that job. I always suspect that people under estimate the complexity and difficulty of that job.

Hey, out of curiosity, have you ever read: Epictetus's Handbook? I spotted several references to it on the ADR this week and was wondering whether you would recommend reading it? I had to take a break from heavy reading after reading Overshoot twice - my poor brain! - but will get back into the fray after a short break.

Funnily enough, such concerns were not raised. I suggested that people with concerns offer a suggested alternative and then provide pro's and con's in support of their choice. The food at the current venue is very good and I have no problem with the place. I once saw a community group which had been running successfully for several years implode due to a repeated suggestion that volunteers at the farmers market wear branded and consistent aprons. Seriously, I watched this mess unfurl a little bit at a time. I tend to nip problems in the bud. And you know what, the person suggesting the aprons never turned up to a single meeting. It was an interesting experience and I have always appreciated your insights into how well your meetings are run. One day, I'm going to have to set up a local group, but at this stage people aren't hungry enough.

Haha! Hey, I like the sound of King Ca-Ca and would wear that title with pride. I love talking about manure and I deal with manure here for sure, it is no hardship I can tell you. Plus King Ca-Ca and the Poopy's would be an awesome rock band name, don’t you reckon? I have only ever heard praise for that book. Incidentally, the Holy Shit arrived in the mail on Saturday (I almost didn't explain that it was a book and the sentence sounded very strange indeed! Hehe!). Looking forward to reading it.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Yeah, the bird prints are like the sort of old school - is "plates" the correct description? I was surprised that nobody seemed to want them. A lot of things are like that and they look good in the hallway. I often noted that in very old homes they always had a selection or two of botanical prints in their hallways.

Do you actively trade your tat or are you more of a collector - or do you do both activities as the need or desire arises?

I hope the electrical company cleaned up after themselves - sometimes here they can do that better than at other times and it depends where the contractors come from. The power company used to have employees that did that work, but they seem to have replaced them with contractors.

Of course, I had forgotten about the impact of the huge quantity of fresh water diluting the salt water - and wouldn't that be a dynamic situation? I particularly wonder about the power stations - of all stripes located at sea level. Even Melbourne has a gas fired power station not far out of the CBD at all at Newport and located at sea level. The recreational fishermen love the power station because of the hot water spilling into the bay which the fish also love.

Oh! I didn't realise that the UK had earthquakes as I sort of believed that it was reasonably geologically stable.

Oh no! Not the vegetarian push bike riding solar theorist brigade... Where are the cute cat links when you need one that is what I want to know? I would love to have a little peek into the world of comments that Mr Greer has to delete out of hand every single day. But then, the question is: would that process pollute your mind? I delete plenty of rubbish comments here, but it is usually people trying to flog products rather than anything unpleasant - which I would delete anyway. I had to deal with some unpleasantness on the YouTube videos for some strange reason, but I like to run a tight ship on that front.

Speaking of which, I'm thinking Supertramp for tomorrow night for some strange reason. I've had this little ear worm problem! Hehe! The demons must be exorcised.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Our earthquakes are very minor, I have never noticed one.

Am also interested to read more on Epictetus as I had never heard of him before. Have always been interested in stoicism as my husband was an example of it. ADR's comments often provide me with ideas for reading matter, not that I am short of same.

Neighbour whose building is in progress has told me that the planners have made him lower the ground more than he first intended. Result is that it is very low against my boundary. He is going to put in steels and sleepers and then the fence on top. I have agreed, not much else that I could do. Son and I note that even more water than usual will pour onto his land. Other neighbour will finally start towards the end of March with a new groundworks design which I regard as totally insane if I have understood it correctly. I can't imagine what the planners are up to. None of this affects me though.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Well what we pay annually to use the library is about the same if it was included on our tax bill. Btw Doug is the tax accessor for our township.

Michael has several chronic conditions that will only worsen over time. Most are due to the anti psychotic meds he has to take to control schizo-affective disorder which carry irreversible side effects. Some years ago his much lower doses of meds failed to be effective and he ended up hospitalized in the psych ward three times in six months until the correct dosage was found. It was very traumatic as the staff generally doesn't have the training to work well with individuals with a mental illness and developmental disability. He is such a sweet guy and I'm quite worried about his future. He rarely complains about his physical issues. He and our other brother, Marty, took Patrick's passing surprisingly well though from comments that come up from time to time it's certainly on his mind.

Speaking of Marty now there's a guy who knows how to live within his limits. He is of normal intelligence - quite smart in many areas but is autistic. He gets quite a few government benefits like a generous housing subsidy. He got his first apartment when he was almost 50 as he lived with our mother and then me for awhile. I help him with his finances but not too much. He also cannot drive so needs a driver from time to time. However, he does well with the limited public transportation here and walks or rides his bike places. He receives $750/month in benefits and generally uses $600 to $700 saving the rest for dental work which has to be paid in full by him. He has a community of friends, most similar to him, a long time girl friend and seems very content with his life overall. He too is a huge Star Trek and Star Wars fan.

You know I saw a "60 Minutes" segment about that boy and will keep my eye out for that movie.

I have not read Epictetus but have a copy of Marcus Aurelius Meditations and refer to it from time to time. I've recommended Stoic philosophers to all my friends, family and acquaintances who are falling apart over Trump but doubt many will check them out. Unfortunately most seem to just feed on the outrage.

Good luck with the wood. Doug split about 1/3 of what he thinks we'll need for next year yesterday.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Luckily, most of the appliances about this place are old enough to not be internet connected. Glad I was able to have the fridge repaired, a couple of years ago, instead of replacing it with some Borg :-). Other than my computer, I think I'm pretty internet free. Oh, and my little low tech flip phone. Even my old truck, being a 2004 ... well, it has some computer components, but I don't think any of those are connected to the web. Well, after long thought I did join the Safeway grocery store rewards program. So, far, I haven't minded. They don't inundate my e-mail box with stuff. Maybe once or twice a week. Every Wednesday, before I go to town, I sign onto their site and check out what's on sale ... and, what's even MORE on sale because of the card. As I shop ahead and stock up ... stick pretty much to a groove of what I buy .. I do save a lot of money as opposed to just waltzing into the store and buying ... whatever. I write out a list and pretty much stick to it.

Firewood is one of those seasonal jobs that are part of the ... rhythm of living in the country. Living in a county with high unemployment and independent minded people, there are a lot of fellow around that sell firewood. At a pretty good price. Probably due to the competition. Back when I had a wood stove, I'd buy "rounds" and split them myself. Thriftier, that way. The trick was to find someone with seasoned wood (as promised) or, have the space to store it, to season. But living in a small place, word gets around as to who's good and who's bad. No matter if it's wood for your stove, or a chiropractor, you just ask around and see who's name keeps popping up.

I've never been one for philosophy. Much. it's one of those academic areas that makes my head hurt :-). I did remember that the library being uncovered at Herculaneum had a large philosophy collection. But it was Epicurean, not Stoic.

There's so much close to sea level that's gong to create real problems, in the future. When I used to live in S. California, I'd go to San Onofre beach. And pass within feet of the reactor on my way to the beach parking. I think it's been decommissioned, now. Probably best I decided not to procreate. I'm probably thoroughly irradiated :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Got an e-mail from a friend in Florida. Her husband is now flogging solar power systems. So, I rattled on about some of the drawbacks, that I know about, due to a certain Australian blog, I follow. :-). He's also feeling the loss of status and class. From a work for himself real estate mogul to solar salesman working for someone else. She doesn't quit "get" it, so I rattled a bit about that. And, my own experiences with that in my lifetime slide up and down the social scale.

Yup. Book plates are the term. Though I don't quit understand where the lines are between book plates, book illustrations and book pictures.

I went to the auction and did pretty good, I thought. I got my two Victorian pinups, a small piece of American art pottery (Roseville) a book on Saturday Evening Post magazine cover illustrations and ... two Buster Brown comic folios from 1909. The individual pages are in good shape, but the binding is trashed. Those are sometimes considered THE first true American comics. Might be worth a lot if I can figure out how to flog them. $12. I spent, including fees, $112. Not bad.

There were about 30 or 40 people at the auction. Prices still seem low. I saw a really nice oak buffet/sideboard, flat topped, no mirror, go for $65. Quit a few lots were "passed" ie: no bids. I know one of the ring runners, so was able to nudge the stuff I was interested in, to the head of the line. So, I only had to stay about an hour and a half.

Well, I just kind of fiddle at the Tat biz, these days. Ideally, I'd buy and sell enough to support my "habit" with maybe a little cash on the side. Also, downsize and upgrade my own collection(s). I'm trying to complete some things, while reigning myself in from plunging into new collecting areas. Completing my set of Pyrex with the covered casseroles is probably an ok, idea. Developing a sudden interest in Saturday Evening Post magazine covers from WWII, is probably not a good idea. Of course, the whole point is, or one point is to leave valuable stuff to be sold off for my heirs to turn into cash and remember a charity or two. Of course, there may be no market for this stuff in the future. Or, one good earthquake or fire ... but, in the meantime, I get to enjoy the stuff.

This week, weather allowing, I'll head to Longview with my cow-eyed Victorian pinups and that piece of Roseville. maybe swap for something I want and maybe a bit of cash on the side. We'll see.

Mr. Greer could probably do a book on deleted rubbish. It would probably be vey humorous one some levels, and deeply sad on others. Some would probably be pretty self evident, other's he might have to explain a bit as to why they're soooo wrong. I might head over there and suggest it. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

PS: Ooops. Forgot. You mentioned you were wondering about the pay rate for apprentice / journeymen farmers. I suppose, arrangements, room, board, jingle, whatever. What to do if a "student" is more trouble than they're worth, or just a poor fit. Joel Crais would be a good one to ask about that, as he's done it ... in several situations. Or, at least, he could point to toward resources. Lew