Monday, 6 February 2017

Fern Trek 3: The Search for Sir Scruffy

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

Captain Scritchy walks onto the bridge of the juggernaut ship that is Fernglade Farm. Poopy the Pomeranian howls: “Captain on the bridge”. All other canines stand to attention at their posts. Captain Scritchy stands tall and looks imposing.
Captain Scritchy stands tall and looks imposing

“Anything to report Number one?” Scritchy asks with the practiced voice of authority whilst causally taking her rightful Captains seat on the bean bag. Poopy the Pomeranian who as Number One Poopy is Captain Scritchy’s right paw canine, looks about nervously and in a more quiet tone mentions: “Well Captain, there was the minor matter of the spatial anomaly earlier today”.
The canine spatial anomaly presents itself to the slightly baffled canine crew
Number One Poopy continued “The spatial anomaly was baffling because the crew could see the beef jerky strips, but there was an impenetrable and clear force field surrounding those beef jerky strips. Eventually the beef jerky disappeared completely and there is just no logic to that logic”. “Well spoken Number One Poopy, anything else?” asked Captain Scritchy. “There was also the intruder alert which a security detail responded to” replied Number One Poopy.

“Yes, you lead that security detail, didn’t you, Number One Poopy?” to which Poopy replied: “Yes Captain Scritchy! I lead the security detail and we confronted the intruders on deck one by way of the rear door. Nothing serious to report Captain, as the alien intruders fled before the combined might of the security detail. I did notice that Sir Scruffy chose the flank position rather than the frontal assault. Curious that, and I don’t believe Sir Scruffy has been feeling his best recently”.
The canine assault team confronts an intruder on deck one by way of the rear door
“Yes that is rather curious Number One Poopy. Where is the Doctor?” and Captain Scritchy followed that up by saying more loudly: “Where is Doctor Toothy?”

“Here Captain!” and Doctor Toothy sidled over to where Captain Scritchy and Number One Poopy were engaged in conversation on the bridge. “Be a good canine, Doctor Toothy, and have a look at Sir Scruffy over in engineering”. “Right onto it Captain” and so off went Doctor Toothy to engineering to investigate Sir Scruffy’s health.

When he finally caught up with Sir Scruffy in engineering Doctor Toothy asked “What seems to be the problem Sir Scruffy?” “It’s me ear mate, it sore as” retorted Sir Scruffy and he also added “I don’t know whether I can take it anymore, my ears are going to blow!”

“That sounds rather serious Sir Scruffy. Keep still and let me take a look at your ear” and so Doctor Toothy took a look into Sir Scruffy’s ear and said “There is bacterial and yeast life in your ear, Sir Scruffy, but it’s not life as we know it. Here let me put some cleaning agents into your ear, and then perhaps some anti-tribble medication and voila! You should be feeling better shortly and those pesky alien critters will soon be a distant memory.” Sir Scruffy on the other hand had major objections to Doctor Toothy’s ear cleaning and medicating treatment and he let out a howl and said “You stupid oaf, you’ve hurt my ear, you have” and then suddenly without warning Sir Scruffy took himself away to a quiet location on the Holodeck to sulk his socks off for a wee bit.

As Sir Scruffy went off in a huff, his communicator badge made a beep-beep sound and Captain Scritchy could be heard commanding Sir Scruffy ”Report to engineering at once. Ensign Chris and Ensign Editor are just about to take the smaller dirt mouse shuttle off to investigate the planet Tooborac Brewery (where they apparently have a most excellent gourmet pie shop – true story!)”. Sir Scruffy could not be found and failed to respond to his communicator summons. Captain Scritchy was outraged. This insubordination by Sir Scruffy could not be allowed to continue!

Number One Poopy, having been relieved of duty by Captain Scritchy earlier that day, was enjoying a quiet moment of rest and relaxation when he received the summons.
Number One Poopy enjoys a quiet moment of rest and relaxation
“Number One Poopy! Sir Scruffy has abandoned his engineering post in a gross display of socks sulking off. Go find him!” ordered Captain Scritchy. And so Number One Poopy dropped his bone and headed off on an away mission to go and find the missing Sir Scruffy. Meanwhile Ensign Chris and Ensign Editor traveled off to boldly go where gourmet pies are found.
Number One Poopy explores the vast territory of planet Fernglade looking for the sulking Sir Scruffy (him of the sore ear)
Eventually, Sir Scruffy was found consoling himself with a bone in a remote location and Number One Poopy reported his findings to Captain Scritchy.
Sir Scruffy is later found consoling himself with beef bone
“Well done Number One Poopy. Tell Sir Scruffy that a little suffering is good for the soul and report to the bridge at once” instructed Captain Scritchy. “I should take the bone off him” retorted Number One Poopy, to which Captain Scritchy replied “One of the advantages of being a captain is being able to ask for advice without necessarily having to take it. Go back to your own bone Number One Poopy. Job well done!” “Yes Captain Scritchy!”

Yes, Space the final frontier! I was going to write this week’s blog about how space, time, and quiet are some of life’s true luxuries – because they are – and then the mention of the word "space" started my mind turning over Star Trek spoof stories involving the dogs. Don't blame me for this descent into the world of parody, blame the: space, time, and quiet which I get to regularly enjoy (as well as the gourmet pies). And those three things (plus the gourmet pies) really are a luxury.

Sir Scruffy unfortunately does have a sore ear and the very humid winter and spring has upset the natural balance of the diverse bacterial and yeast colonies in his ear, so the editor and I have been cleaning and medicating his ear for a few days. I can assure concerned readers that none of us enjoys that process!

We spent another hot day this week bringing in firewood for the winter. We are deliberately extracting all of the hard to get and overly large firewood and most of it has to be split into smaller chunks. The reason for splitting firewood is so that the pieces can fit into the combustion chamber of the wood heater. For anyone that is curious we estimate that the entire job will take about 140 hours of labour. Of course with two people that becomes 70 hours each so it is a big job, but dry seasoned and locally sourced firewood in the depths of winter is a real pleasure to have access too. There are about 6 to 8 days of work left before that job is completed.
The firewood shed is filling up and there is probably about 6 to 8 days work left to fill it completely
Speaking of 8, a few days ago, the solar power system recorded that the house had used 8MWh since the solar power system had been first connected to the house way back in 2010.
The solar power system recorded this week that it had used 8MWh since it was first switched on in 2010
It has been quite hot this week and the sun feels very fierce and we fortunately split the firewood in the shade on those hot summer afternoons. Some creatures here enjoy the hot weather, such as the local reptiles commonly known as "skinks" who are commonly seen basking in the baking heat of the afternoon sun:
A baby skink basks in the heat of the afternoon summer sun
The summer has been very good for berries and I spotted this very tasty gooseberry (and some of its friends, which were quickly consumed):
We consumed a number of tasty gooseberries that we'd previously missed harvesting
The cape gooseberries which are of the nightshade family of plants that includes potatoes and tomatoes will soon ripen and those plants are enormously productive and they produce huge quantities of tasty fruit.
The cape gooseberries will soon ripen in the hot summer sun
The sweet Siberian melon has almost doubled in size this week. Unfortunately, despite the sprawling vine, I only seem to be able to find a single melon.
The sweet Siberian melon has doubled in size this week
And the Chilean guavas are still quite small now, but they seem to also be rapidly gaining size.
Chilean guavas are starting to swell
The tomatoes are yet to ripen, but they are also getting larger in size and will soon be ripe.
The tomatoes are gaining size and will soon be ripe
The apple and pear trees are still too young to produce much fruit, but here and there about the orchard there are signs as to just how productive those trees will be when they finally mature (at about ten years I expect).
A Cox's Orange Pippin apple ripens on the tree
The Asian nashi pears are very productive trees and they promise to be even more productive in future years
A few years ago we really struggled to find reliable summer greens as the strong sun and summer heat causes most of the varieties that people are used to consuming, to bolt to seed. One of our favourite summer greens has proven to be perennial rocket:
Perennial rocket is a favourite hardy summer green
Vietnamese mint is also a very reliable and hardy summer green
Vietnamese mint is a very reliable and hardy summer green
My dodgy experiment with all manner of beets has produced an extraordinary garden bed of so many different plants that I have honestly lost track of what is what. They are however producing reliable leafy greens and huge quantities of seed some of which we are eating (radish) and some are intended to be identified and saved for next summer - where hopefully, I'll be a bit more organised!
The dodgy and very prolific experimental garden bed of unknown varieties of beets
The heat is slowly starting to cause the only surviving avocado tree to put on a bit of growth and colour. This plant has survived in a sheltered spot for years and has tolerated everything from droughts and heat waves, to heavy snowfalls so I'm hoping that at some point many years into the future it produces some fruit. Maybe...
This avocado has survived all manner of extreme weather conditions and one day I hope it produces fruit!
And at this time of year I like to end the blog with plenty of flower photos for the enjoyment of people who are freezing away in the northern hemisphere winter.
The yellow fennel flowers looks great with the blue hydrangea flowers behind it

A Southern wood (which tastes like Cola) has a red flowering geranium growing in its foliage
Some of the geranium flowers have spectacular colour
But nothing beats the many bush roses which grow intermingled in among the other plants
The temperature outside now at about 8.00pm is 10’C (50’F). So far this year there has been 68.6mm (2.7 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 35.6mm (1.4 inches).

75 comments:

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for your concern about the cortisone. You may be interested to know that I have ceased using it because it impacted my breathing somehow - but then the ears, nose and throat are all linked. Both nights that I've used the ointment it has affected my sleep due to the strange affect it has on my breathing. Sometimes I guess the cure can be worse than the symptoms.

Hope you enjoy the silly story too - you could say that we're all ears here this week!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

For a guy that watches what he says and is prone to under estimating the extreme vagaries of the weather, then that does not make for pleasant reading for you. How is the snow anyway? Worst in years makes for an unpleasant sounding forecast. Hey, if it makes you feel any better, the city of Sydney in New South Wales has broken all time heat records over the past few weeks - and meanwhile tonight I'm out in the orchard in a woollen jumper as it is just so cold tonight. Fortunately the chickens have in built and carry on board woollen jumpers and so they don't care about how wet and cold it is out here tonight. I do! Brrr! I reckon autumn will be very early this year in this corner of the continent. It rained 31mm (1.3 inches) last night and it was very cool to cold. My poor system still feels that it is summer! I hope you have enough provisions to survive for a week or two of serious snow? And I hope the propane bottles are full up to their eyeballs?

Glad you enjoyed the saying! :-)! And please do stay warm, I spotted predictions on the interweb that snow would land at sea level near Puget Sound. Yes, I meant Puget Sound too so I appreciate the geography correction - and that certainly is not a river delta, but rather a proper sound. There are only a few places in Australia where the forest goes all the way down to the ocean and those places have always been quite the surprise for me to see them as it is not the usual experience. Generally, we have a very well established heath type of vegetation close to the ocean, where it isn't full on cliffs (such as those along the Nullarbor Plain - by the way that is Latin Null Arbor for no trees - which is in fact the case). I rather suspect that in the not too distant future, sandy beaches will be a thing of memory.

cont...

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Goodness yes, stop anything that affects your breathing. I have ulcers on my gums and no-one seems to have any idea as to what to do about them; I should be delighted if any commentators have suggestions.

I enjoyed the story set around the dogs. Son brought his puppy to see me yesterday. It looked very sweet hoppiting along after him when he left.

Thanks for flower pictures; certainly needed here where it is 27F with a frost today. It is impossible to adapt to a temperature when it bounces up and down so much. The pictures of your fruit appeal to me the most, I drool with envy.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis (continued and Hi to Inge!),

You know, it is pretty funny that you mention the whole tap dancing thing, but years ago I decided to learn the guitar and that whole foot tapping business would have been really handy to accurate keep timing. I'll tell you a funny story too about the guitar, I used to give my poor teacher headaches as I just never felt inclined to adhere to strict timing and I used to insert a little pause for effect here and there, and then sometimes speed up a bit over there just because I felt it sounded better - and I was learning to read the music too. I was probably a handful. Anyway, the teacher who used to nickname himself "Dave Cool Bananas" and he was sort of cool now that I recall him and he used to sometimes get bored with my tinkering and break into an impromptu rendition of a difficult piece of music like dualing banjoes or some chunky bit of Metallica. One day when there is not so much going on, I'll pick the guitar up again as music is a commitment I wasn't prepared to jump into fully at the time. Have you ever tried to play a musical instrument?

Exactly, most people operate with patterns even though they don't generally acknowledge those. In the past a few friends used to stir me up about the fact that I lived such a planned life - how else does one do a lot of things I ask you? - and they always stirred me in a fun way about not being spontaneous and as far as I could tell not a single one of them was even remotely spontaneous. It was really strange, and I often had the vague feeling that they were chiding me for doing too much. Dunno?

Yes, that was my error as I believed that the Columbia River flowed into Puget Sound... Ooops!

They had salt works down here along the coast - there is that mention of the coast again! - and the sun simply evaporated the water and left behind the salt. It was a very elegant system of tidal pools which are mostly still there if anyone bothered to look or understand what they are. I've seen salt licks, but alas I've never noticed any around these parts. Have you seen any up in your part of the world?

The trading is more along my thoughts as being feasible in this part of the world. Trading was also a huge thing among the Aboriginal tribes and the nearby flint quarry used to distribute flint tools all over the south eastern corner of the continent - and perhaps even further.

I read long ago that Peter Jackson the New Zealand director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy avoided that problem by involving the fact checking fans in the storyline. Star Trek would be a nightmare, and fortunately I don't have to care very much whether I wrote a story that agreed with their view of that fictional Universe. One must enjoy ones freedoms! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Yes, the issues with the breathing last night and the night before was very strange and mildly concerning. Oh, as to the ulcers have you ever tried fresh crushed sage leaves? They work for me on pesky mouth sore and it clears them up within a day or two.

Thanks and glad that you enjoyed it. Poor Sir Scruffy and his sore ear! Glad your son is getting the puppy to bond with him, as dog companions are delightful - as well as being very useful - creatures. I guess we are useful creatures to the dogs too.

Far out that is cold weather. I hope you are staying warm? It is hard to adjust here too with the huge swings in prevailing weather. Tonight was 50'F and I was outside with the chickens when I first replied to you and wearing a thick woollen jumper. Brr!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Yes, I have been using my home grown sage leaves; they ease the problem but are not clearing it.

Inge

Morgenfrue said...

I thank you for the pictures of the flowers. It is dark and snowing outside, and the forecast is for a week of below-freezing temps courtesy of Siberia. We do have snowdrops coming up though.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - LOL, you're Star Trek story was better than half the episodes I've seen. I particularly like the sock sulking parts. :-). So ... are the gourmet pies out of the replicator, as good as the one's from the pub? :-). Anytime I go over the top with my nachos, or include rather strange ingredients, I usually refer to them as gourmet nachos :-). Beau is currently visiting the planet of ice and snow and seems to be having a good time. More on that, later.

"...that will take about 140 hours of labor." etc. Someone else counts, too :-). Well, you only have to do it once (this year) and there is an end (this year.)

We have something similar to skinks, here. I don't see them very often. Usually only when I'm raiding rock from the abandoned farm.

The Siberian melon (from Chile?). Did it only have one flower? Maybe if more than one flower, you might have to do some hand pollinating, next time around. Or, import some Chilean pollinators :-). If only one flower, your mellon may be sterile.

Let's see. Musical instruments I have tried. And, failed at. Accordion, trumpet, piano, auto harp. I think I once gave a toot on a harmonica ... saliva problems. Jews harp? More saliva problems :-). Cont.


LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Well. Weather. It snowed all day, yesterday, but was pretty much wet sloppy stuff that didn't accumulate, too much. 2 or 3 inches. At 10, last night, I'm watching "The Dressmaker". Teddy and Mum have died and the ladies from the rival town have just shown up. The power goes out. I called our local electric company and they had a "These areas are out of power. If your area is on this list, we're working on it. If not, press one and record your location." It was a long list. Power out all over the county. Our area was not on the list.

So, I read by flashlight for awhile and finally burrowed into bed. I'd turned off and disconnected everything I had had on. Missed a light, so I know when the power came back. All together, out for about 3 hours. Not bad.

Looks like we had quit a snowfall, overnight. I measured in several places, and we've got about 7 inches. The trees are bowed down with the load, and I expect some damage. But the slightest breeze and they unload a bit. Beau is visiting The Planet of Ice and Snow and seems to be having a heck of a good time. Plunging through chest deep snow.

The next few days should be ... interesting. Overnight low to 30F (-1.11C) Daytime highs of 40F (4.44C) And snow or rain forecast til Wednesday morning. So, rain and snow, some melting and re-freezing. I suppose the snow that doesn't melt will be compacted. So I don't expect any more accumulation. Maybe. Cliff Mass hasn't said anything more, today. So far.

So, signing off from The Planet of Ice and Snow. Lew

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

Such busy and dedicated team of star trooper dogs there. I hope Sir Scruffy recovers soon.

The weather has broken here today. We are supposed to get a very small amount of rain but anything is welcome at the present as the grass is crunching underfoot. I think you are spot on about climate appropriate plantings Chris and using varieties that suit a changing climate. More research ahead. Lovely. I was a member of Diggers some years ago so a revisit seems to be in order. The tomatoes propagated by our Swiss friends have been most successful and are still producing reasonably well even with the heat. They have bought seed over the years from Phoenix Seeds as have I but they collect their own seeds now for the most part.

Is your pub close? I envy you your pies just a little. I did have a lovely double mushroom burger last week in Newcastle at our daughter's old local pub that was tasty. Just a touch too far to go on a frequent basis! We are 23 mms from town where we live, although suburban creep brings the town ever closer. Given it's seeming inevitability maybe I should wish for a pub along with the rest of the development?

I wanted to tell you that the pickled cucumbers tasted reasonably okay but I will keep looking for recipes because they didn't keep their crunch. Mind you, that could well be a first time error of mine and not to do with the recipe!

Warm regards, Helen

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Apologies as I know of no better herbal than the sages leaves. A poultice with some eucalyptus oil may possibly help, but wow, it would hurt and the oil has to be very very dilute. If you are aware of any other herbal treatments I would appreciate learning of them. Sage as far as I am aware has no downsides (in small quantities).

I've begun reading Gene Logsdon's book "Holy shit - managing manure to save mankind". He is a lovely author and you can clearly tell he has a vast amount of experience behind his words. I'm finding that I am agreeing with him. Out of curiosity, does your son utilise the pig manure and bedding straw about the place and in the gardens?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Morgenfrue,

I'm really touched that you appreciated the flowers and thank you for writing that. It has been a rather tough winter up in the Northern hemisphere this year hasn't it?

The summer here has been very cool and damp too after a very overcast winter.

Sydney had a huge storm hit there today. 50mm in under an hour. I've had to deal with 100mm in an hour, but I'm not in a major city either with a lot of hard surfaces...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thank you! It was very fun to write and the tall glass of apple cider really helped with working every bit of Star Trek cliche into the storyline. There were even a couple of juicy Captain Kirk quotes! It was so much fun and I'm gad that I could share the fun with you.

I'm very dubious about replicator technology and cooking. I mean imagine what if every meal tasted the same and there wasn't the occasional spark of creativity that turned a basic biscuit into an amazing culinary delight? Do the citizens of the Star Trek future feel that no more needs to be done to on the culinary front? Such important questions. I always enjoyed Voyager who had Nelix the vagabond alien in the kitchen preparing food the old school way because the ship was low in dylithium crystals!

Oh yes, those nachos definitely would rate as gourmet nachos and it is no understatement to call them that.

I hope Beau doesn't encounter any robot probes on that planet of snow and ice? I'm thinking of planet Hoth from the film The Empire Strikes Back - which also happens to be the best of the Star Wars films to date, I reckon anyway. Mileage may vary though! :-)!

Haha! That is funny! Ah, but of course we both count and it is a useful function! Speaking of which I have learned over the past few days that kids are no longer taught the times tables by rote learning and that apparently the English exam down here will no longer be on paper... Strange days indeed!

The funny thing is that we are trying to understand that job from start to finish. Speaking of firewood, I have a sort of resolution to fix the broken log splitter - the cost of shipping it back under warranty was out of control crazy and so other alternatives had to be explored - of course they will cost me.

Yeah, the little reptiles live in the rock walls and feed in the garden beds. They're very handy for pest control and they consume a huge amount of insects. I'm genuinely surprised to read that you have such reptiles living as far north as you live. They must hibernate during the winter - or lay very protected egg sacks. Wow! Out of curiosity how far north does their range extend? Wow. That completely floored me.

Thanks for the suggestion and I shall get onto that task of hand pollinating the melons. I hadn't considered that option. There are blue banded native bees that feed in that tomato enclosure (as the European honey bees can't or won't pollinate the tomatoes) but perhaps for whatever reason they can't pollinate the melon flowers of which there are quite a few. The European honey bees are occasionally quite lazy, but they make up for that with sheer numbers. However if conditions are ever sub fluffy optimal, they sulk their socks off and eat their stores. There has been a bit of that this year and the native bees are out every single day regardless of conditions.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

You have travelled a long and circuitous musical journey. And I hear you about reed instruments as they are a nuisance. When I was a kid, the school recorders used to be stored in a solution of Condy's crystals (Potassium permanganate) and who could forget that delightful after taste...

That film is very quirky and it has a good ending! Hope you enjoy it.

Disconnecting everything is not a bad idea as mains voltage is sort of stable but if you've ever watched the voltage jump around all over the place it is a bit disconcerting. And surges are an expensive business. The mains voltage here from the inverter is rock solid.

Stay warm! Brrr! Did the snow increase and settle on the ground very deeply? I don't recall that your previous winter was as cold as the one you are having now.

Good for Beau to be imagining himself on the planet Hoth! Poopy loved the snow too and he was in his element and it was probably the only day of his life that he wasn't overly hot.

Is that interesting in a good way? I hope that your weather is not too interesting. It will reach about 90'F here tomorrow and it looks set to be a hot night in Melbourne, but probably much cooler here. Maybe...

Didn't the resistance have to abandon the planet Hoth? Hehe!

Cheers (and please stay warm),

Chris

Damo said...

Hi Chris, those puppies of yours do seem to lead a charmed life :-) No doubt they earn their keep!

Perhaps you should moonlight at CBS as an assistant writer? Apparently the new Star Trek series has hit a few delays and may not make a mid-2017 release. Hopefully the delays are for perfecting the show and not because they all have no idea after Bryan Fuller left :-o

@Chris & @Inge RE: DEBT
Yep, I hear you. It is not comfortable carrying the debt, but I have to try and pragmatically weigh up the pro's and con's. If I expunge the debt, I have almost no lump sum to invest in starting my own business, using it as a deposit on land or to help with relocation expenses if I decide to emigrate somewhere.

Last years indexation was 1.5%, less than the interest I earned on a term deposit. So right now, on balance it seems like a good idea to hang onto my money. There is also the non-zero chance I will never earn above the payment threshold (~$50K PA) or permanently emigrate overseas, however this is subject to the vagaries of government policy and cannot be relied upon as a permanent debt avoidance stratagem.

Damo said...

RE: Planet Hoth
In slightly related news, I watched the latest Star Wars movie whilst in Tokyo (hey, no cinemas in Northern Laos for me to enjoy!). In short, I found it a bit boring although some of the set pieces near the end were very pretty. None of the characters except the droid stood out and without fun characters can it really be a star wars movie? On the good news side, it does make The Force Awakens a lot better by comparison. JJ Abrams may be a hack who just rewrote A New Hope and threw in every reference he could, but he does know how to do fun and relatable characters!

I read that there was substantial studio interference after Disney saw the first cut, including nearly $10 million worth of reshoots. Perhaps this negatively impacted on the final product..

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Thanks and I shall send my regards from you to Sir Scruffy. I hope he mends soon too as squirting medications into a dogs ear canal is no fun. :-)!

Wow! Did it rain or what in Sydney today? 50mm in an hour in some parts...

I'm glad that you received some of that rain, and I hope your heatwave breaks soon.

Pheonix seeds were excellent the last time that I used them, so they are a great source. Diggers are more local to me, but I see no reason why the varieties won't work well up your way? I spend a huge amount of time selecting different varieties of plants just to see what will work in what conditions and to be honest, I'm just going for the all rounders now that do well most years. Glad you appreciated the tip and I will be very interested to read what varieties you end up settling on. Not everything works. Tomatoes are one of the great appreciators of super hot weather and the hot seasons really bring out the flavour of the various plants don't they?

My local pub is reasonably close (under 10 minutes drive). The Tooborac pub is about 40 to 45 minutes away through one of the most interesting drives in the area as it travels through a region of rolling hills and granite outcrops and all of that granite has left some impressive soils - not that anyone notices such things nowadays - especially at the higher elevations.

A double mushroom burger would be superb! Yum! A local chain of gourmet burgers down here does a mushroom burger (and I'm salivating thinking about it) called Field of Dreams (I think that is what it is called) and you can have the burger in a panini bun. Yum!!

Don't laugh but suburban creep is noticeable even in this remote spot as I get to enjoy the street lights at a distance, but they've grown even in my short experience here. Unfortunately, nobody thinks about putting in a pub in such places, which is a shame. A pub / cafe would probably be a handy bit of infrastructure.

Thanks for sharing your experience with the pickled cucumbers. They didn't work so well here, so you are miles ahead of the mess that we made of them! Hehe! Oh well, there is so much to learn isn't there?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Sorry mate, I just got your comment as I was switching off the computer. Thanks for it and I promise to reply to you tomorrow night!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I regret that I don't have much in the way of herbal lore.

The pig manure and straw is certainly used by both my son and myself.

Son hand fertilisers his melons (they are in a polytunnel), I have a vague recollection that our insects can't deal with them. I actually used to hand fertilise my marrows by placing male flowers in female flowers and leaving them there.

Temperature up in the 40sF again and the sun is shining from a clear blue sky.

Inge

Damo said...

RE: Weather

In finally got to experience a proper Northern hemisphere winter last week as I visited Japan. Tokyo hovered around 5 degrees Celsius in the day and it was blissful to wear thick clothes and breath cool air. We then travelled to Hakuba in the mountains and some days were -10 (on the mountain) and ~0-2 degrees Celsius in town. An truly excellent place to visit and I miss it already (back home in Laos, today topped out around 27 degrees and it is supposedly still Winter...).

Random observations about Japan (disclaimer, I know nothing):
- The cities, even Tokyo are so quiet. The roads, apartments, CBD areas (Tokyo has at least a dozen and I only saw 3) and metro trains are all subdued. Things can be very different inside a bar, but in public people are restrained and make great efforts to not impose on others in any way (at least in my brief experience)
- It is possibly the cleanest place I have been. A subway tunnel 4 stories underground is cleaner than a deserted road in the middle of Tasmania. I am not exaggerating
- If you listen to economists, they will tell you how bad Japan has done the past 20 years (often referred to as the 'lost decades'). Yet they have possibly the best infrastructure in the world (and it is actively maintained and expanded, unlike Australia and the US), longest lifespans, most people eat delicious and healthy food at restaurants every night and one of the best healthcare systems. I see no reason for any of this to stop as long as Japan keeps making stuff that the rest of the world buys (there is huge debt, but all of it is in yen, in effect an IOU to yourself)
- A common trend seems to be ritualising the mundane. For example, we all need to wash, but why not make it special with onsens (public/private baths). Toilets are rather boring, so lets add a seat warmer and automatic cleaning - every trip is special! And I don't need to point out how much care is put into most meals - even the 7-11 sushi was sublime.
- I feel that the above (politeness, solidarity, ritualising and craftmanship) make Japan well placed to survive, and perhaps even prosper in industrial decline, even their population is doing the right thing, on track to be 50% down by the end of the century

We also visited a 16th C castle in Matsumoto, you can walk right to the top and it is full of twisting passages, secret openings and overlapping fields of fire. Very interesting and a nice reminder of the somewhat 'warlordy' way of life in ancient Japan. A counterpoint to the sunny optimism I expressed above!

margfh said...

Hi Chris,
Great story!! Poor Scritchy and you for having to administer the treatment. A cat would be much worse in my experience though as they are thoroughly uncooperative.

Doug does quite a bit of his wood splitting in the winter. It must be quite draining to work on it in your heat.

Glad you are enjoying Gene Logsden's book. He has quite an entertaining style of writing. I've mentioned before that I'm rotating part of the garden through the pig pens. As far as fertilizing though pigs poop in one spot only. Contrary to their reputation they are very clean animals. I did spread a layer of chicken bedding in the pen I'll be using this year.

The ladies' overnight was quite fun. My youngest daughter brought her karaoke machine so we had a fine time singing and dancing. We did go to bed around midnight as I predicted after we watched a couple of episodes of "Fawlty Towers" - a family favorite. The sister who brought the DVD set accidentally left it here so I'll grab that opportunity to watch the rest.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris:

I love a good dog story - and this is a GOOD one! Oh - I laughed so hard! I could see this crew blasting through space, attended by Ensign Chris and Ensign Editor! Oh, my!

I must try gooseberries; we actually have wild nightshades here. It's a triffid melon! And beautiful. What a lovely bed of beet, etc., greens. I didn't know that rocket could stand a lot of heat. I am finally about to try growing the perpetual spinach that Claire or Margaret recommended a summer or two ago. Is southern wood a mugwort? We have lots of wild mugwort. The leaves look rather like chrysanthemums.

The wind's in the west and it smells damp; it's supposed to be 73F (22.8C) today. Heavenly. The forsythias in town are full-out blooming.

Last fall I mentioned a very large oak tree that had just fallen over- kaboom! - for no discernible reason. The other day I noticed that most of the very nice, and soft, soil was still clinging to the overturned roots. So, I am shoveling that easy-to-reach soil into buckets to mix with mushroom compost and to start our seeds in. If only the tree wasn't at the bottom of a hill . . .

Thanks for the flowers!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge and Chris:

I was going to suggest sage leaves also. They are the go-to remedy for mouth sores.

Pam

Violet Cabra said...

HI Chris! Great blog, I love your homesteading stories. You mentioned in this post something about finding it difficult to grow greens throughout the summer, although it looks like you're doing well this season! May I ask, have you tried growing malabar spinach (Basella alba)? I find it excellent when I lived in subtropical Tennessee, and have read it is native to the tropics so can withstand withering heat and intense sun. It is delicious fresh and stirfried and the variety I've grown has the most lovely red stems which are tender and delicious too.

best wishes,
Violet

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Been watching a bit of Star Trek Enterprise and there are frequent references to a chef, never seen, so far. Apparently, in those dark ages of space travel, they have some kind of protein replicator that sounds like it cranks out basic ingredients, but the chef has to put them together.

About what passes for education, these days. I hadn't heard about dropping the multiplication tables ... just about dropping cursive writing. Seems to be some horror of rote learning and memorization. Does not bode well.

Search "Pacific Northwest Skinks". There's a lot of pictures, that look quite fierce ... but they're really quit small animals. They can startle, as they blend in and then move so fast. They range from Baja California up into southern Canada. And, live up to elevations of 2,100 meters. They sound like very adaptable little beasties. :-).

I finished watching "The Dressmaker." It really was quit a gothic tale, wasn't it? Hard to pull off with all that glaring Australian sunshine :-). I found it quit satisfying that the evil and bad were dispatched in all kinds of interesting ways. The ladies of the town swaning around in all that colorful couture against that drab background was quit arresting. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. No new snow. A bit of melting, yesterday. Road looks pretty good. Only a "slight chance of snow" in the forecast. If this keeps up, I should be able to get to town, tomorrow. Maybe later than usual. Got down to a degree or two under freezing, last night.

I have a metal roof with no gutters along the back. Hard to describe but the snow oozed over the edge about two feet and then curled under ... and froze. I've been knocking it off with a rake, over the deck so Beau doesn't get smooshed. :-). Speaking of which, I made sure he could get into his dog house yesterday and put down a good thick layer of fresh straw. After he gets done redecorating, I'll put down more. When I went down to the road to check the mail (the new post lady made it ... after the snow plow went through) I noticed that part of the plum thicket had fallen into the road. So, I got out my handy saw and hacked it back to the ditch.

A thought that occurred to me yesterday was that ... this place is not the place I moved into, five years ago. Things have changed. Somehow, that makes me feel better about a move. Gives me an "out." I just hadn't thought of it from that angle, before.

I feel a little better about Mr. Greer's upcoming plunge into philosophies. I found a nifty, one page cartoon outlining the differences between the philosophical schools. :-). I'll print it out and keep it close to hand :-). Lew

http://www.incidentalcomics.com/2017/02/philosophers-in-rain.html

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

The puppies do pretty well for themselves, although at times they may feel otherwise. They are fairly independent and have a lot of risks in their lives too because of that.

Haha! Yeah, thanks for the vote of confidence, but alas my skills lay in other areas! :-)! Funny stuff. It is a bit of shame that the new Star Trek has fallen off the rails already in pre-production.

Well the debt is ultimately a problem. Exactly the whole student debt bubble is a problem for the wider society too. Do you ever wonder what the return on your investment was for that? I meant it as a rhetorical question for you to consider as it may also help you frame a response. And only you can ever answer that question.

Yeah JJ Abrams supplies a rollicking good tale and I enjoyed that film too despite it being a rehash of the original film way back from 1977. Where are the Empire Strikes Back to be found? And did Adam Driver (the actor that played Han Solo's / Princess Leia's kid) survive? Probably not... So many unanswered questions.

Thanks for sharing your experience of Tokyo and Japan. Yes, the canny Japanese are very careful not to allow in foreign investment as whomever controls the debt, controls the asset.

Hey didn't Disney buy out Pixar who produced the very excellent Shrek series? And they were at the ownership helm for Shrek 3, which felt different to me somehow than the very naughty Shrek 1 and 2 films...

Mate Laos is positively cool compared to here today. I just saw 40'C about an hour ago. And I'm outside in the shade right now...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I'm only a dilettante with herb lore, and it is a massive issue. There are a lot of depth to that lore too. Many of the more recent books are filled with legal disclaimers.

Nice to read of the use of the manure. What a valuable resource that is too.

I've never considered hand pollinating those plants and will give it a try over the next few days and then we'll see what happens.

104'F here today and I am just hot - I'm outside in the shade under some large century old elm trees.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks, it was a very fun story to write and I appreciate the feedback. Sir Scruffy is made of tough stuff, but he is having a few complaints about the matter.

The rounds are quite large and heavy and by the 5th hour or so, I'm done in and very dirty as it is a dusty job at this time of the year.

Thanks for the reference to Gene's book. He is a straight talking kind of no nonsense guy and I like that style a lot. He doesn't mess around with tables full of numbers because he said that it would make him look more learned but it was no this style. Interestingly enough he then went on to give many fascinating metrics on the subject of manure. A great book and thank you!

That sounds like fun! Basil!!! Oh yes, we can all learn good management techniques by watching that particular show.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks and Sir Scruffy is all ears for the praise! :-)! Hehe! Gooseberries and Cape Gooseberries are all so easy to grow. I took cuttings of many gooseberry plants at the start of summer and most of them have taken and are growing... Cape Gooseberries are better from seed.

Yeah, the beets were a real surprise as I didn't think that many of them would take, but then they did... It is perennial rocket which has skinnier leaves than the annual rocket (which does bolt to seed at this time of year).

Good luck with the perennial spinach - it grows and tastes a lot like silver beet.

Southern wood is indeed a wormwood. The one that looks like chrysanthemums may be Chinese mugwort?

Oh 73'F sounds nice. It is 104'F here and I am melting...

What a great idea and I hope you say thanks to the oak tree. But then it is at the bottom of the hill. Most inconsiderate really.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Violet,

Welcome to the discussion and glad to read that you are enjoying the blog and comments.

Yeah, the difficulty with greens in summer was a few years back until we selected for varieties which did well in the area. I'm slowly selecting for more heat and drought hardy varieties, but it takes several years and thus my horror at losing the tomato crop.

Thanks very much for the plant referral and I'll check it out after replying. I have heard of that spinach.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@Chris RE: was the student debt worth it?

I have thought about this before, and *logically* the answer is probably no. A simple analysis can be as follows:
HELP Debt: -$30K
4 years University forgone income (after tax): -$200K
3.5 years of Austudy payments: +$45k
TOTAL COST: $185K

Of course, this assumes I would remain working fulltime for those 4 years and not decide to travel around Australia in a van or similar. It also ignores the significant personal growth I experienced after spending 5 years in Tasmania. Certainly if I remained in Brisbane, working in IT, I would be a lot more depressed!

On an *emotional* level, I had a great time at University in Hobart. Living on Austudy for 4 years taught me a lot (not the least home brewing!) and I feel has certainly changed me for the better. After graduation, my first job allowed me to save enough to pay back (if I choose to) all HELP debt within 8 months. Furthermore, I now have the skills for a relatively high paying part-time job in the future (self-employed Surveyor).

With the benefit of hindsight (or a time machine) I could have had similar experiences and developed new skills without such a high penalty (Electrical trade comes to mind - this was nearly my alternative choice to uni). Of course If I did have such magical powers it would be a lot easier to just get winning lotto numbers, so not much point dwelling on that sort of thing :p

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I don't much fancy the job of a chef who has to turn basic protein "stuff" and convert it into something tasty. I guess it would eventually be like eating on a submarine and different people may enjoy that experience more than others... I never recall seeing a chef in Star Trek Enterprise. But just to geek it up a moment, I do recall seeing a kitchen on the Enterprise in the film Star Trek 6. Someone may possibly fact check me on that little matter...

Far out it is hot here today. I saw 104'F a couple of hours ago and I'm melting. Well I'm sitting in the shade of a couple of century or more old elm trees and that is something I guess. There is a poor little magpie who is just out of the nest today and is bouncing around and checking out the bugs on the ground. Oh well. The funny thing was that this morning the farm smelled like eucalyptus oil but at least it was cool then.

I confirmed that with two separate sources over the past few days as I was concerned about whether it was true or not. They tend with mathematics to teach more complicated matters and avoid the basics. Something about calculators or something like that... It is a worry as basics have to be drilled to be remembered. As a kid I was them and we sort of sang them, or said them in a cadence and that seemed to embed the times tables. I'll bet they don't know what you get if you multiply six by seven.

Wow, that is amazing. You know I genuinely thought that it would be too cold for reptiles up to that latitude and altitude.

It was a pretty funny film really - if somewhat dark at the same time too. And how good was the ending? A fine ending by anyones standards.

No snow and only a light chance of snow. Oh well. I can loan you some pretty serious additional heat if you need it? I hope you make it into and out of town easily tomorrow.

This news from down under is truly very strange... Sydney sinkhole opens up near Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's home in Point Piper. Oh, and the federal government today announced that they are seeking to reduce government benefits for young and unemployed people.

Poor Beau and it is nice that he did not get smooshed - as no one wants that to happen, least of all Beau. Fresh bedding straw is a great idea for Beau as he can build nests in it. Hey, I'm reading about how the use of bedding straw helps slow down the loss of urine to the surrounding environment and makes it more easily retained for the later composting process. Glad to read that the new post lady was able to deliver the mail. There has been a bit of shenanigans over the pay packet of the boss of Australia Post (the government body that worries about the mail) and that dude seems to get Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour's $5.6 million salary too high, Malcolm Turnbull says. I've never known anyone worth that sort of salary, of course I may not have met the right people.

Yeah, I understand that feeling. Things change and you have to sort of move with those changes. I've felt that way too and it was one of the big reasons I moved out of the city - I just no longer saw the point and it is more of a gut feeling intuition thing than a hard knowledge - or what do you reckon about that?

Thanks for the comic. Very funny. I didn't quite understand the Epicurean point of view. What was your take on that, and I am open to the concept of Epicurean thoughts!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Thank you for your candid and honest answer and I totally respect you for understanding that there are many intangibles other than wealth to be gained on this journey that we call life. Respect. And I'm very impressed that you had clearly had taken the time to consider that thorny question when most people tend to ignore it.

If it means anything to you, the editor and I spoke about your student debt and she agrees with your assessment of your situation in relation to the student debt.

I agree with your assessment about the electrical trade and that would be the path I would follow now if I was faced with that choice.

That time machine would be a handy thing wouldn't it? It may surprise you to know that I could have earned ten times what houses that I actually did earn and in the process also done ten times less work than I actually did - such were the opportunities presented to me and the choices that I made. However, those pesky intangibles taught me a thing or two during all that time and I wouldn't be the person I am today without those many experiences. In fact, I would be oblivious to many things.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@Chris, @Lew

Yes, I believe Chris is correct - Star Trek 6 (probably my favourite) did have a scene in a kitchen on board the Enterprise. I have watched that movie so many times in my misspent youth that I can even remember the dish that got vaporised by the treacherous Vulcan :-)

I am glad to hear The Dressmaker is a worth while watch, it is on my list! Today, I have started watching, "The Accountant". It stars Ben Affleck as an autistic accountant/assassin who works for various shady underworld figures. 20 minutes in and it seems pretty good, the trailer promised some hectic gun-fights at the end so no doubt it gets pretty ridiculous :p

In other news, I managed to get infected with something on the flight back to Laos. I suspect it is some sort of horrible Polish bird flu (one of my friends we met in Japan had the sniffles and had just visited Poland). I have fully initiated Man-Flu Level 1 protocols. Mrs Damo remains unsympathetic to my condition although she has been cooking me dinner, so that is something!

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Still lots of snow around, but I don't think it hit the freezing point, last night. Everything is on the drip. Roads look good. So, it will be off to town in awhile. I forgot to mention that the trees shrugged off the snow and it doesn't look like there's any damage, except for the bit of plum thicket that came down on the road. You asked if this winter was worse than the past. Well, more snow then we've had in quit a few years. Those arctic blasts we had? Been worse in the past. This year is nothing like the last two years when overnight temps were so high. 50F as opposed to 30F, this year. Hard to gage. I'd say El Nina years are milder.

6x7 = 42. And, no, I didn't resort to my calculator :-). I think Gene Logsden wrote a pretty good book on small field grain raising. I've never seen a copy. Might be a bit on the rare side.

I added more straw to Beau's dog house. He'd done quit a nice job of spreading it around in a nice even layer.

Well, to me, the Epicurean takes joy in what he can't change. Takes joy in things as he finds them. I noticed he seemed to be the only philosopher having a good time. I think, as far as when it's time to move along, that little stuff piles up, and one day you wake up and think, "OK. Enough of this nonsense." :-).

So. You going to celebrate Fornacalia on the 17th? Get your mind out of the gutter :-). Fornax is the Roman goddess of ovens. It's the day to toast your spelt to bake sacrificial cakes. She was a very old Roman goddess. You could say she was the goddess of baking. Prevents stuff from being burnt. Oversees the mysteries of bread baking. Hmm. Some entries tried to make a connection between Fornax and the old saying "bun in the oven." :-)

Watched a couple of episodes of Star Trek Enterprise last night. Got a good look at the kitchen. Lots of what looked like fresh stuff lying around. A pretty typical restaurant kitchen. I also got a glimpse of the chef in the episode "Catwalk." Well, from the waist down and his hands. Still wearing the traditional chef whites. :-).

Time to pull myself together and head off to town. Lew

Jo said...

Hi Chris and all, intriguing insight into the thought processes of the dog pack. Who knew?

I recently came across Gene Lodgson as well - you might enjoy his collected on-line essays - I certainly have been:

https://thecontraryfarmer.wordpress.com/

Also - I have found warrigul greens (Tetragonia tetragonioides) to be an excellent summer spinach. Needs cooking as it is full of oxalic acid, but I cook and freeze it for a constant supply of very easy greens to throw into curries etc. Once you have it, it will self-seed forever, and it is incredibly prolific.

@Damo, I am also considering repaying the old HECS debt. I have never actually earned above the threshold for repayment, but it seems likely that as the govt runs out of low hanging fruit to target to claw back some cash (principally students and the unemployed), they will eventually come up with a scheme to claw back HECS loans. I figure I should pay it now while I have the money, rather than be stuck at some point in the future with an unpayable debt..

Like you, I loved my university studies. They opened up the whole world to me in a way that I don't think would otherwise have happened. For sure I could have learned everything I learned at uni from reading a lot of good books - but to be an autodidact you first need to learn how to learn. And would I have done that without the discipline of university study? I don't know. I do know that while my humanities degree didn't lead to an actual career, just having a degree opens a lot of career doors. It has been my 'step up', I have no doubt gotten a fair return on the dollars I am about to pay back. I only hope those dollars go back into the education system..

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Ah, that sounds like an old joke doesn't it? What do you get when you mix two gravity boots, a vapourised dish, and a treacherous Vulcan? I reckon the answer maybe the film Star Trek 6? Hehe! Yeah, that one was my favourite with the old crew, and I even recall going to the cinema to see it. How good was First Contact too? And the scene at the end with Steppin Wolf unexpectedly playing full boar! :-)! Fun stuff.

Another hot day here. 38'C... But I can't complain as NSW is doing it much tougher. At one point this afternoon, the sun was shining, it was very hot and there were a few heavy drops of rain. It felt like standing in a hot shower and the humidity was out of control. I reckon we're heading for a jungle planet climate with all of the problems that that entails.

Oh yeah, the Dressmaker was a good film, but it really is a dark Gothic tale. I noticed the actor (who lives around these parts) who played Kenny the plumber (what a good film that was) was in the film too.

Haha! Do you know how people mentioned that Accountant film to me? I really don't know why either? :-)! Things that make you go hmmm! Is it a good film and did you enjoy it and was the story any good? More importantly, how big was the bullet budget? When I was in Laos, and the city wasn't too far from Luang Prabang (I don't recall the name of the town but they do a lot of adventure tourism things there), I ate at an outdoor restaurant and they had the film Black Hawk Down playing in the background and that film must have had a huge bullet budget. And later that night I came down sick with a very nasty stomach bug and so that film and the feeling of being quite unwell are invariably linked in my mind.

Be careful of that Man-Flu level 1 situation and I hope that Mrs Damo is suitably sympathetic to your dangerous and perilous plight?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I had to take the chainsaw with me when I ventured off to visit the local general store this morning to pick up the mail and enjoy a coffee. That sounds a bit dodgy doesn’t it? Hehe! The wind was very strong and the trees were being thrown around and branches were down on the ground all over the place. Fortunately the chainsaw didn't get used and like your part of the world I didn't notice any large trees down which is a good thing. But it was the heat that caused me the consternation. Seriously it was 77'F at 2am when I got up to check what was making the banging around noise outside in the strong winds. The overnight lows have been far warmer this year than I can recall. And today it reached 100'F and the sun was intense, but by this afternoon the clouds rolled in and there was even some rain, but those raindrops were these huge water heavy droplets. The drops evaporated as soon as they hit the ground and just served to increase the humidity. At least several hours later it is starting cool down and I've thrown the house open to the fresh air. I've been in the Amazon rainforest in Peru and that is what it feels like here today, which is surprising. I rather suspect that we are shifting into a more jungle planet like climate with all of the downsides that that particular climate brings. At least the frogs seem to be enjoying themselves!

Could you please send a little bit of snow down here? Please. I hear you, climate is hard to gauge and it is a bit like the old saying of: can't see the forest for the trees. La Nina years are milder here too. The El Nino brings much hotter and much colder years. Apparently this year is a neutral year, whilst the previous summer was an El Nino and down here we had 10 days above 104'F. Up in the state to the north of here (New South Wales) they are getting hammered by hot weather. In fact it has broken records up there in Sydney.

Australia heatwave sees Victoria, South Australia swelter, NSW expects temperatures to soar

SA heatwave forces blackouts to cope with electricity demand, angering Government

The electricity article is interesting because the powers that be are shutting down generating capacity come March (which incidentally is after the serious heat of summer) in this state. I wonder about the balance between resilience and environmental damage and it has been an issue I've been meditating on for a while. Out of curiosity are there any signs in your part of the world that electricity generation infrastructure is being invested in or walked away from?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Not learning the times tables is a real problem. It is funny (well, maybe not so funny) but with many of the projects here I have to spend an inordinate amount of time learning the basics and just letting everything go wrong just to see what happens when it does go wrong. The reason for that is because people get so fixated on the end point with processes that they ignore the many lessons that go into building up a picture of why things are the way they are. And with each year that goes by more of that gear gets lost. Now Mr Logsdon is an exception and in only the first couple of chapters, I've learned more about livestock management just by reading about their poop than I've read anywhere else. The author talks about the why of things and I really appreciate reading that sort of minutiae because it makes it easier to see the bigger picture.

Ha! Beau has clearly been reading Mr Logsdon's book as he well understands and can also explain the benefits of animal bedding. I hadn't realised the benefits of the deep litter mulch system that I use in the chickens enclosure and hen house here, but rather simply used my nose to gauge the impact on the chickens health. It all seems quite simple from hindsight. Hey, his mention of the more traditional haystacks was a good one and I may consider that option down the track. For the moment I'm building top soil in the paddocks and I have been wondering if letting some patches of herbage grow longer this season will produce any discernible difference in the soil between those that have been cut and those that have not been cut. Dunno. Incidentally, that paddock in the valley below me that was burnt off is still looking bright green, when all else around it is not.

Thanks for the explanation of the Epicurean mindset. Don't laugh, but I failed to notice the smile when I first looked at the cartoon because the head was on such a preponderous angle! Silly me! I hear you about moving on and on rare occasions have felt that way myself. If it means anything to you, the criteria for me for such a decision is: whether it pains me to continue. And sometimes things can get that way.

I recall in the Big Short book that the character Michael Burry had become uncomfortable with having to justify his position to clients despite scoring considerable wins for his clients in the past, and that openly displayed lack of faith in his personal choice which they were paying for undermined his enthusiasm for the project because the clients lacked faith despite Michael Burry knowing that his actions would indeed succeed for his clients. From my perspective it looked like a negative feedback loop.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Years ago I brought order to the accounts for a very large company. I was young and up for a challenge and they were a total mess - far more of a mess than I've ever seen since. It was a match made in heaven for them. Through sheer persistence, long hours, and force of personality I brought order to the chaos and built a working team as well. Anyway I felt pretty good about that win. The employer felt differently and wanted even more from me when I had nothing more to give and probably really needed a break. There was no pat on the back and thanks for a job well done, I was faced with a culture which demanded more and more. At that time of my life I had never been exposed to such a culture and had no defences for it. I know better nowadays, but it was a raw experience for me and I just walked away from it all despite the personal investment that I put into it.

Have you ever had a similar experience to that? I nickname those sorts of people and cultures: The Ungrateful Dead!

I worry about the ADR because, well, that is a possibility over there due to the incessant whining about everything being just not fair. The thing I learned though is that not everything has to be responded to, not every voice need be heard, and to be totally honest if you want to be the boss, you have to actually be the boss and enforce your own unfair rules. It is funny but people don't genuinely expect fair play. They ask for it, but they don't actually want it. And the other thing I learned from the whole experience is that some cultures have learned to ask for things that they themselves would not deliver. It would be nice to have the time to lead a second life with all of these little hard won lessons under your belt.

Blessed be Fornax! Hehe! It sounds like fun to me...

It is good to see that even in the depths of space - and under constant threat of attack from aliens - standards in the kitchen can be maintained. That adherence to standards under fire sounds like a relief to me. Is that a display of Stoic philosophy?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Hehe! Those dogs lead an interesting life to be sure. :-)! Most animals are packed full of personality. Even the chickens have individual and very unique personalities which was a surprise to me.

Thanks for the link to the Gene Logsdon memorial website. He tells a great tale, but then so do you.

I have heard that about Warragul greens or is that the same as NZ spinach being full of oxalic acid too and to be honest, I'm a bit slack in such regards so probably wouldn't grow them in the first place on the off chance that I poisoned myself. You have to admit that it seems the safer course doesn't it? ;-)! Anyway, the whole summer greens with low water requirements was a problem I was faced with many years ago and nothing has beaten plant breeding to address that particular issue. I often wonder whether our strange cultural predilection for lettuce in summer is some sort of weird hangover from the English culture where the plants do actually grow over the summer? Seriously, I just don't know but it seems very weird to me given that lettuce naturally grows here over the winter...

I realise you were responding to Damo about the HECS / HELP debt, but I have seen some things over the past few months that have led me to a similar conclusion and I wonder about that. I heard on Triple J's youth news program (Hack) that Centrelink recently sent out 170,000 letters before Christmas at the rate of about 20,000 per week seeking justification from people who received youth allowance and demanding repayments. The rates of error in those letters has been rather high and I suspect it will shake many young people out of their long political slumber. Plus I have seen strange letters of a different kind of late. And yet there are many that receive tax free superannuation and many large corporations flouting the laws on transfer pricing. I smell a rat.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The notion of a second life, equipped with ones previous hard learned lessons, is an interesting one. I would like that but I don't really want to deal with a physical body again.

I also can do 6x7 = 42 and I never learned my times tables. As a child I absolutely refused to rote learn, goodness knows why. Usage eventually makes it easy to work out fast.

This has been a much colder winter so far than last year.

Inge

margfh said...

Chris et al,

I may have mentioned this awhile ago, when our book club was reading Logsden's poop book we had a discussion about it on our local radio station. The broadcaster and station manager really freaked out when we discussed the use of human manure. He said the station could get in real trouble if we talked about that but animal manure was ok. Well the value of human manure is one of the main points of the book so we were pretty disappointed that we couldn't address it. We did get to say the actual name of the book once. Sadly Mr. Logsden passed away last summer though his blog still shows up from time to time.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Sorry. No snow to send. It's really on the run! There's hardly any left, except for the big chunks. The temperature never dipped below 50F (10C) overnight. And, we're experiencing an atmospheric river. Flood warnings up all over the place. I may not be able to get to my meeting, tonight, due to flood waters. I'll have to look at a map. Maybe I can drop down to the Jackson Highway, further south. Whiplash! In a couple of days, there's another arctic outbreak coming out of the Frazier River valley (thank you, Canada :-(. Overnight lows don't look too bad. Right around freezing.

Hmmm. Walking away from energy sources. Not so much in the Pacific Northwest. Because we're mostly hydro power. Due to environmental pressure, and The Tribes, two or three small dams have been destroyed to bring back salmon runs. All very small and very old. I think our local, coal fired power plant will bite the dust, sooner or later. Probably in the next 5 to 10 years. We also have a local natural gas fired plant. It's pretty new and on top of emissions.

Well. That seems the nature of business and organizations. In the book biz, there was always increasing sales targets. Hence the 80 hour management weeks I mentioned. Of course, if you make those targets, you usually got a bonus, or a raise. A constant pressure to increase "productivity." Even libraries were not immune. At one point, staff was reduced right at a time when library use was rising. And, new technologies were coming online that required a lot more time spent with the customer. Like self checkout. It was a steep, long learning curve with the public. It was a lot easier to just check 'em out and get them out of our hair, so you could get on with your other duties. Rather than dropping everything to explain the intricate self check out. I got called on the carpet a couple of times for not being "on board" with the new procedures.

Oh, I think the ADR will continue for quit awhile. There may be a few breaks. Mr. Greer has hinted at a possible move and his wife's health.

Saw an interesting cast from Pompeii that I had not seen before. A pig! Roman pigs looked to be a lot leaner, with longer snouts. :-). Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

It is an interesting concept isn't it? Fair enough, I assume you have come to that conclusion based on your life's experience? I hear you, everyone gets a different experience and a person never really knows what is around the corner. The biopsy on the spot on my ear was rescheduled to two weeks time and who knows what news that will bring? So yeah, life is a risky and uncertain business.

Yeah, usage is a good way to learn other languages and maths is almost another language as far as I can tell. Music is pretty similar too. The whole 42 business was a little joke of mine as it referenced the Hitchhikers Guide to Galaxy - which you may or may not have seen or read. The BBC did a pretty good series of the stories many long years ago.

The summer here has been cooler than last year too, but up north they are cooking and records are falling left, right, and centre. I'll see whether I can find an article on it. Helen who comments here is in the thick of it this weekend, so i hope she stays safe.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Of course, I'd completely forgotten that story of the book club (apologies I lose track of the many threads of conversation here from time to time as my brain can only process so much, and because of my business I see a huge number of people!), but that would have been slightly hilarious at the ruffled feathers at the radio station. I believe Mr Logsdon himself would have appreciated the irony as he wrote about that very issue. It is a valuable resource! I read that Mr Logsdon passed away last year unfortunately, I would have enjoyed his company as he tells some very amusing tales. I also didn't realise that Bill Mollison also passed away at around the same time. Vale to both of them.

You know, reading the book is making me realise that long term I'm going to have to breed and raise chickens here on a larger scale.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Ah, the snow was brief and perfunctory - one might quip! :-)! 50'F is a reasonably pleasant night time temperature all things considered. The risk for agriculture in those conditions is similar to what happened here this year: It warms up and then the temperatures drop back down again (the Canadian arctic blast perhaps?). I had some pretty dodgy yields from the orchard his summer due to that situation and there is a nationwide shortage of avocado's. Such a shortage puts a dint in the whole smashed avocado victim blaming meme that I've heard thrown about the place - I even heard it on the radio this afternoon. I could not believe it. The meme goes something like this: Young people can't afford to buy a house because they are too busy consuming luxury goods like smashed avocado. It is a surreal thing to hear that rubbish. I’ve never seen anyone consume smashed avocado.

Oh my goodness, you really are in the depths of winter. How did the atmospheric river end up? Was it as bad as expected? Speaking of heavy rainfall, the city of Perth over in Western Australia appeared to have a very strange coloured dot on the nations rainfall forecast and sure enough: Perth weather: Record rainfall as over 100mm falls in 24 hours. And then there is the serious heatwave going on up north of here... Far out, everything seems to be going to extremes.

Thanks for the summary of things as they appear to stand up in your neck of the woods. Hydro is a pretty good source and is one of the few renewable technologies that provide reliable base load power - as long as there isn't an extended drought and the dam silts up, of course. I heard someone on the radio complaining about the difficulties of living with a heatwave and sleeping in an air conditioned room. I have some news for the dude: You ain't seen nothin yet and perhaps it might not be a bad idea to switch the air conditioner off.

I can see that you understand and have experienced a similar situation. You have my condolences. If it means anything to you, I rather suspect that we will hear a lot about "increasing labour productivity" over the next few years. Of course, it is not hard to notice that people making those claims generally are asking other people to lift more weight as they themselves would not be able to cope with such demands. It is a dubious situation.

I'm glad to read that the ADR has many years to run. I may suggest to Mr Greer that perhaps he consider posting essays but toning it down a bit on the replying to the comments as they would eat a huge amount of time. I wouldn't be able to manage that many individual replies and I have absolute respect that he can manage it as well as he does. And yeah, I did spot his comment about his wife's deteriorating health and wondered about that and what it meant, but was not sure whether it was a subject he wished to discuss on a public forum.

Pigs are very cool creatures. I met one recently and I likened its snout to a rather inquisitive and friendly, but damp suction cup, always seeking out mischief! :-)! They are very intelligent, friendly and clean creatures.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

There was an interview on the radio, last night, with an Australian who survived 5 hours in a swamp with his excavator on top of him. The story was stunning as was the man. It was on radio 5 live; I don't know whether it is accessible.

Inge

margfh said...

Lew,

No self check outs at our library but some large grocery stores and Walmart have them. Interesting though, the last time I was at Jewel (large grocery store chain) they had taken them out. I never use them as I think they take away jobs. Jewel hires many people with disabilities including my brother, Patrick, to bag groceries and collect carts.

Sorry about your challenging winter. After the succession of big snowstorms in December winter here has been quite tolerable. The ten day forecast has mostly 40's and even 50's when our normal high should be in the 20's. We've had nothing more than an inch of snow since December.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I wouldn't expect you to remember everything from the comments. I kept my few goats for years mostly for their manure though I loved their personalities.

I was at the monthly Jr. High retired teachers breakfast yesterday and it was reported that there are now only two shelves of books at the Jr. High library and there are no books used in classrooms at the high school and Jr. high. All the students are issued Chrome books. So not only is cursive and multiplication facts not taught but soon they won't even be able to print and definitely not read a map. This is not going to end well.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - If you need a bit of reconstructive surgery on your ears, go for the Vulcan model. :-). I'm sure it's been done. Seriously, I hope all turns out well.

I was watching the river levels and county road reports like a hawk. All the river levels hit flood stage, or slightly higher. Then, it just pretty much stopped raining in the afternoon. There were some road closures, and a lot of "water on road but passable." On my way to the meeting, last night, there was plenty of water in the fields, but nothing over the road. Overnight lows were a steady 45F (7.22C) and yesterdays high was close to 60F (15.55C). It's going to cool off, for the next week. But, not bad. Overnight lows just above freezing and daytime highs near 50F. Given the saturated ground, there are landslide warnings out. Heard a rumor that there were landslides in Bear Canyon, which is about 10 miles SE of here.

Cliff Mass has been posting a lot, this week. There is a low moving in and the "large pressure difference" is causing pretty breezy weather. 20 mph with higher wind gusts. Might loose power. He also has a post on climate change. Australia is on the map. You might take a look.

You to can turn your pack of dogs into truffle hunting dawgs! :-). About once a week I check "The Salt" section of our NPR (National Public Radio, one of the things our new president wants to get rid of). It's articles about food or agriculture.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/02/09/513965849/when-man-s-best-friend-is-the-worst-at-truffle-hunting

If you click on "The Salt" up near the top of the article, it will link to that part of the website. There's also an interesting article about "Salish Blue", a perennial variety of wheat which is being developed up at the Washington State University agricultural station, up near the Canadian border. We've talked about them, before. Sounds like it still needs a bit of tinkering, but they seem to be on the right track. Lew

Damo said...

@marg

It is very sad to hear about all those chromebooks replacing actual books and real skills. I understand the same thing is happening in schools in Australia as well (I started to see this trend when I was still working in IT way back in the early 2000s). Teachers and parents seem to drink the Kool-Aid and think that because kids can click a few brightly coloured icons or adjust a few settings they are cyber geniuses who will be on the path to silicon valley riches.

In reality they are just learning to consume content, hardly a productive enterprise. Maybe, just maybe, there is some benefit to teaching children how to program in a basic language. However my understanding is that rarely happens, and in my opinion the benefits are overstated by silicon valley types who got rich on a lucky break and at any rate you don't need to give every child a laptop to teach that.

In related news, back in the late 1990s the US Navy dropped teaching celestial navigation as GPS was so much easier. However, in 2015 they reinstated it acknowledging that in a war environment GPS is unlikely to be available.

A nice quote from the article:
"After all, you can't hack a sextant."

Cheers,
Damo

Damo said...

@lew & @marg

The self check-outs seem to be everywhere now in Australia. I read an article a few months back where, in the face of rising incidents of shoplifting due to less staff, one of the major retailers was asking State police to setup sting operations and regularly patrol stores!

I couldn't believe the nerve, it is bad enough cutting jobs and reducing service for a few extra dollars of profit, but then to ask taxpayers to pick up the tab to cover the inevitable consequences!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

What a story! That bloke was pretty lucky to have survived the incident. I used an excavator once and it felt top heavy to me and I managed to drive it down the hill, but couldn't get the machine back up the hill again as I just lacked the skills. Fortunately, the owner was able to easily rescue the machine and as such I concluded that such machines were not for me. Because of the slope of the land here I don't own or ever intend to own a tractor. And you know, I reckon the upkeep and costs of such a machine ends up being quite expensive. The lack hasn't seemed to be a problem here and it is good learning how things were done before heavy machinery took over on farms.

There is a photo of the bloke here: Man, trapped by excavator, keeps his nose above water for two hours. It is horrific.


I have a quieter day today than yesterday (when we were cooking out heads in the hot sun 33'C / 91'F + 60% humidity) bringing in more firewood for the winter. I must re-read what I wrote yesterday just to make sure that it makes some sort of sense! Anyway, I looked up ulcers in the many herb books and came across this obscure reference: "Ulcers have long been treated with Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) and a semi-synthetic derivative of its major constituent, glycyrrhizin, has been introduced with useful results. I understand that it should not be consumed in large doses. The plant may grow in your area, although you may have to grow it in a raised bed of fertile soil to ensure good drainage.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks for understanding. I'm very excited as I picked the first ripe tomato this afternoon and the melon has again doubled in size during the week. The funny thing is that it is the only melon in the patch of that type and the other melon flowers have now pollinated (by the blue banded native bees) and are now producing smaller furry looking melons...

Goats are lovely aren't they? And forever up to goat mischief! :-)! The book is superb and I have since discovered that I'm not supplying the paddocks here with enough manure as Mr Logsdon suggests between 5 to 10 tons per acre. I was reading the book today too and absolutely, 100% agree with his assessment on horses. It was nice reading someone else who shares my feelings that keeping horses as pets is about as useful as keeping an elephant! It now does not surprise me that I can purchase mushroom compost (horse manure and bedding straw) so cheaply. They know not what they are disposing of.

Ha! Indeed. I heard a news report that the State of South Australia intends to: English Literary Studies first SACE Year 12 exam to be taken on computer in 2018. I have no idea what to make of that.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, how cool would that look? :-)! Thanks too for the well wishes. I always suspected that those Vulcan ears were modelled on the elves and fairies as they always had pointy ears too. I reckon the average Vulcan would make for less exciting times than the average fairy or elf which really don't seem to be very pleasant entities to associate with. The costs levied by the elders seem to far outweigh the benefits - by a huge margin. Personally, I reckon you'd be lucky just to say hello and hope that acknowledging your presence is beneath their contempt. Better yet, don't say hello in the first place, offer something tangible to them, and then just run! :-)!

Bruce Springsteen is playing tonight over the other side of the mountain range at Hanging Rock. They picked a nice day for it too, although there may be a little bit of rain much later tonight. When the Eagles played there, it was a whole different story and 10mm (just under half an inch of rain fell) and like the professionals they were, they simply played on. Glenn Frey died not long after that.

Glad to read that the flooding was not too bad and that the roads are still passable. It looks to me like it is warming up in your part of the world. I picked the first ripe tomato this afternoon and went to check on the blackberries. To my horror the council has sprayed many of the places that we pick and the berries themselves are another fortnight away from ripening anyway. Fortunately, I know of a few places where they don't spray, but blackberries are a crucial element of my jam making process... Oh well what can you do except grow your own.

Hey, speaking of landslides, Adelaide in South Australia has had a few minor earthquakes recently. Another small earthquake shakes Adelaide. Your more experienced self would probably shrug off such minor quakes, but it is pretty exciting for us! :-)!

Thanks for the link and I will check that Cliff Mass essay out. The heatwave up north is frightening and I never cease counting our blessings that this year has been a cool wet summer. And people whinge to me about that! I always point out that the alternative is much worse. Canberra will be lucky to get through the weekend without a big fire with the extreme heat they are having. There have been discussions in the media about the power being lost in parts of the nations capital as a result of the high load due to the extreme weather conditions.

Naughty dogs. And you have to train them not to eat the truffles too. I'm told by reliable sources that pigs make for much better truffle hunters than dogs.

I seriously cooked my head yesterday bringing in a load of firewood - and the splitting was done in the shade too. I reckon it was because the humidity was just so high at almost 60% and 92'F. What an unpleasant experience... I had to re-read yesterdays comments just to make sure they more or less made sense. It was not guaranteed by any stretch of the imagination.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

That story about the self checkout is horrendous. I try to avoid those systems if I can help it and I don't really see them very often anyway.

There appears to have been some sort of wages scam with the Domino's pizza chain. I've always suspected that $5 pizza's are a big call as I make pizza here and it would be cheaper than that, but I have basically free energy (which I paid for upfront) and my labour is free - and the stuff out of the garden is also mostly free. If it makes no sense, then it probably makes no sense.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I couldn't find the picture of the trapped man. Firstly I had to get away from the newspaper's attempt to make me pay and then still failed to find it.

I always claim to be visually impaired when faced with self checkouts.

Elder daughter told me about one of the earthquakes, she slept through it.

I always believed that pigs were better truffle hunters than dogs and that the ring in the nose was to prevent them being able to actually get at the truffle.

Inge

margfh said...

Damo,

I'm sorry to hear that the same thing is happening in Australia but not surprised. Another serious consequence is the negative effects of all that screen time. My husband has to spend more time on the computer in his present job than any prior position and he says it's really affecting his eyesight. Five years ago when I was teaching at the Jr. High there were computer banks in all the rooms but no laptops/tablets. Students were to leave their phones in their lockers during the school day. Now they can keep phones with them. I knew students had phones (when it wasn't allowed) as there were hardly any notes passed. I've read that many parents in Silicon Valley are sending their children to Waldorf schools.

https://www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/2015/dec/02/schools-that-ban-tablets-traditional-education-silicon-valley-london

I don't know about military GPS but I've often found that my GPS gives very strange directions. I always map out an unfamiliar route and just use the GPS as a back up. I do like the fact that I don't have to take my eyes off the road looking for street signs.

I don't think I could substitute teach anymore as I would be clueless with all the new technology.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

That first tomato is always the best!! Will the new melons have time to ripen?

I really miss the goats but as we get older something's got to give.

My mother grew up in an apartment in Chicago and always dreamed of having horses. That dream came true. She and my father raised and showed Arabian horses. Sadly my father died at age 46 and she sold most of her horses and turned her place into a boarding stable as she still had seven children at home and my three brothers were all special needs. The way some of the boarders treated their horses was crazy. Some spent every extra penny on them. While I enjoyed horses and riding I lost my taste for it when my mother passed away and I had to run her business (from an hour away) until I could sell her place. Right after she died some started calling with complaints about hay and other details. These were long time boarders who knew full well what I was dealing with. While I enjoy riding from time to time I would never have horses. They are so expensive!! With the goats I could do the majority of my own vet work.

I imagine the kids here are taking all their exams on a computer now. It was already beginning when I left. Don't even get me started on the amount of testing now.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

A response and commendation to you at ADR:

gwizard43 at 2/10/17, 3:58 PM

Wonderful comments here at your blog this week!

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret & Damo - Self checkout and self pickup of items "on hold" came in at about the same time. That was the first time I heard the term disintermediation. Rough definition: taking out the middle man. The clerical staff, in other words.

So they were selling the thing as being good because it would "free us up" to do other tasks (actually, reduce clerical hours and positions). Didn't work out so well. The self pick up of holds created some real ... philosophical problems. Up to that point, patron confidentiality was a .... prime directive. Now all your friends, relatives and neighbors could see what titles you put on hold.

The angle of the book had to be just right for the scanner to read the bar code. As far as the self pick up of holds went, short people couldn't retrieve their holds from the top shelves and the infirm and elderly needed help getting book off the bottom shelves. And, it seemed to no occur to anyone (other than me) that our patrons might steal hot titles from each other. Most branches now have to have a dual pick up system ... one the public can get at and one that they can't.

At one branch, a young man told me he wouldn't use self check out, and I'd have to do it for him, as he wasn't employed by the library. If he hadn't been so nasty about it, I might have agreed with him.

There were lots of other problems with this disintermediation ... but, I'm ranting. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - (and Inge) - Re: the mouth ulcers. Sometimes called "canker sores", here. Something was nagging at the back of my mind. I haven't had any in years, so I kind of forgot about it. Treating them with ground cloves. Stings a bit, and it's sometimes difficult to get the cloves to "stick" where you want them to go. But it sure works!

Well, our weather seems to have settled into typical spring weather. Overcast and wet and not too cold or warm. But, if the forecast holds, in about five days our overnight lows will be ... very high. In the 50sF. An early spring? To early to call. There is that bit of folk wisdom that peas can be planted on Washington's birthday, which is coming up in a couple of weeks.

LOL. The link to the man trapped by the excavator slammed me up against a pay wall. And, didn't want to let go. :-). The "show previous page" button wouldn't function. So, it's out to the home page and back in again. At least I didn't have to sign in again. :-). Well, if that's the worst problem I have today, I'll be doing good.

When the original Star Trek was shown to some stations (in our South) they refused to run it as Spock looked too "satanic." Gene Roddenberry pretty much told them to take a ... well, the phrase involves rolling donuts. :-). And levitation. :-). There were always objections to this or that episode, for this or that reason. Ah, life in these United States.

Somewhere you made a reference to profligate young people wallowing in "smashed avocados." I didn't quit get the reference. Were you perhaps referring to what we call guacamole? Inquiring minds want to know :-).

I saw a reference to a new podcast called "Bees BC." Bees and beekeeping in ancient times. If it looks interesting, and I can find a link (so far, no luck), I'll pass it along. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Ah, here it is. Bees BC. Looks more like an article, than a podcast. But maybe I'm missing a link, somewhere.... Lew

http://hehasawifeyouknow.tumblr.com/post/118799774537/bees-bc-part-one-the-eastern-mediterranean

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

My thoughts are with you, your family and all of the creatures that live on your property. Please stay safe and remember if you are threatened to leave as early as possible - well before any fire threatens as today it will move fast.

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Oh, yeah I had to get past that bit of interweb business too. Imagine a guys forehead (nose and eyes) sticking up out of a strangely murky pond surrounded by a few floating lotus leaves and to the right hand side of the photo there was the base of a yellow excavator (it looked to be about a 4 tonne unit to me) lying on its side at an incongruous angle and also half submerged and you sort of get the picture.

Strangely enough the excavator slipped in without the dam wall breaching so my conclusion is that the excavator was on unstable ground or it had over reached.

That is a very clever strategy! :-)!

The earthquakes were only little ones, but people were claiming that there was an audible bang sound before the quake.

That makes sense about the truffle pigs as pigs are originally forest creatures from what I understand of their history.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I'm wondering about whether there will be enough summer to ripen things properly too. Mind you, there is a crazy out of control, record breaking heat wave going on in the state to the north of here. The climate here is very variable. I picked the first ripe blackberries today. In my secret spot in the mountain range, the berries are miles away from being ripe.

I hear you and will face that too in time.

Horses are expensive and they make absolutely no sense as a pet. I read a quote from Gene Logsdon who said that his dad (who he politely described as stubborn) got rid of his horses after realising one day that he kept them to use as a team to spread the manure that the horses themselves were making.

It is a bit of a worry. I have never taken a computer based exam for either school or uni.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks and I spotted gwizards lovely response yesterday but lacked the time to reply as we went out for dinner with friends to a local pub which is an old Cobb and Co station and is reputedly haunted... Clarkefield Coach and Horses Inn. You have to admit that it is very charming.

gwizard is a thoughtful person but was initially having a hissy fit. Much a do about nothing as they say! ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

The cloves is a good bit of advice and those things have been used for a very long time in that manner. They have some sort of natural anaesthetic in them and they really do provide a soothing relief. I've never seen crushed cloves as the ones I have are like little hardened seed pods.

I decided to write tonight as I went to the pub last night and was inspired by a chance remark from a good friend who we were having dinner with (haunted pub and all too - there is a link to an image of it in the reply to Pam). Unfortunately, it was a warm night last night and being full up to my eyeballs with food and an ale or two meant under my belt that I woke up in the middle of the night with this week's story floating around in my brain. Blame the ale is what I reckon.

They're doing it pretty tough in New South Wales tonight as the heatwave up there has gone on and on and I just hope the fires aren't too bad as in those conditions it will not be possible to keep any semblance of control on any fire.

I enjoyed Cliff Mass's blog too on climate change as it was very thoughtful and contained the occasional bit of humour. The comment section is quite interesting and I took time to respond to a guy about his Douglas Fir trees as I grow them here and they seem pretty heat hardy to me. Of course the trees may have adapted to local conditions over a few generations? We underestimate trees ability to do that.

Did I not note that the ground hog failed to make an appearance this year? An early autumn seems on the cards for us here.

So you saw the photo of the bloke and the excavator? It was pretty horrific. I try to avoid machinery as much as possible because it can actually do things that are beyond the pace of a human and that is a solid example.

Oh my! Well it is good to see that Gene Roddenberry faced such claims with a sense of good grace and good humour. To be honest there seems to be an awful lot of satanists around the place, although they themselves may not realise their particular affiliation. Of course that may be part of the fun of it for them? I once had to work for a guy that thrived on duplicity and he really loved using the wedge tool. I eventually replaced him and healing that team was an interesting but not an impossible job. I often wondered at why the individual people in the team let the guy drive that wedge and what the individuals got out of that arrangement. You may be interested to know that I walked away from that situation before being asked politely to come back and assist once the proverbial had hit the fan. Hey nice work with the doughnut references too. Very tidy work and much more fun you have to admit? :-)!

There is the nub of the problem. I have absolutely no idea what a smashed avocado actually is. I would have thought that it is guacamole, but perhaps with (joke alert!) a twist of lemon. Perhaps not. Oh my, it is apparently a real thing: Smashed avocado discounted in cafes in wake of controversial saving advice for millennials. Of course Mr Bernard Salt - partner of consultant KPMG, no less - and of course no stranger to hardship started the cultural meme. It does sound an awful lot like victim blaming to me which is unfortunate. Mr Salt was once a respected demographer, but then I guess Mr Brand I believe once used to spruik the Whole Earth Catalogue and is now apparently spruiking GMO's and Nuclear Power (please correct me if I am wrong).

Thanks for the link and I will try to get to it tonight after writing tomorrows blog. If you are at all curious the bees here are doing very well and I was intending to split the hive this year but alas it was not warm enough for those lazy (from a human perspective) insects. From their perspective they are doing very well thank you very much. The native bees are far more industrious and far less fussy, but alas they put away far less honey than the more prolific European honey bees.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@ all

Thanks for all suggestions re: mouth ulcers. I find that all suggestions soothe but don't heal. The ulcers start to improve regardless and then get worse again in a cyclical fashion. I am puzzled as to cause as I have never had them before. I will now shut up about them.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Hey there - I do hope that all will turn out well with your ear issue. You and Sir Scruffy, both with ear problems - brothers under the fur . . .?

Thanks for all of the interesting links this week. I did find the Clarkfield Coach and Horses Inn to be very charming. I find ghosts to be very scary; best to avoid them. Presumably theirs has been mellowed by being in the presence of lovely beer.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - We can get whole cloves here, but I usually see the little tins and bottles of the powdered / ground cloves. I use a bit in baking, and it's a component of pumpkin pie spice. There was an article on the Atlantic Magazine website about food manias. It was pretty long, so I didn't link to it. It theorized that the search for the perfect diet is actually a search for immortality :-). If you get your diet just right, you'll live forever. To question someone's choice of diet attacks their belief that they've stumbled on the perfect diet to live forever. Given the over the top reaction to questions of diet, it makes a kind of sense.

Food, food and more food. I detect a theme :-). I used to quit like Dominos pizza. But stopped patronizing them when I began to disagree with the owners "politics." He does have a nice collection of Arts and Crafts tat! So, now I patronize a local pizza store, or make my own. I did wonder how your bees were doing. Glad to hear they're not providing as much drama as in the past.

Mr. Salt and Mr. Brand ... well, people get old, cranky and develop strange ideas. All part of aging :-). For all Mr. Salt knows (or doesn't know) is the young people he saw are taking a once monthly break from their usual diet of gruel. :-). The pub is quit a beautiful building. All that stone work. If it is stone work. There are a lot of buildings here, of a certain age, that look like that ... but are actually cast concrete. I've seen old ads for the molds. That Frank Lloyd Wright "Hollyhock House" was the same idea ... taken right over the top.

Haven't found a picture of the excavator accident, yet. But then I haven't looked :-). We had an old guy, here, a few years back. His off road vehicle flipped on him. He wasn't trapped under it, but broke enough bones he couldn't move. He was in a small depression, which worked out ok, as it had enough water in it for him to drink. Luckily, he had his dog along. When they found him after three days, there were cougar tracks, all around.

I wondered if you "got" the doughnut reference ... and fretted that I'd overstepped :-). Gentler humor ...

"The Past, the Present and the Future walked into a bar. Things got tense. :-).

That was a pretty tragic story about the pilot whales grounding in New Zealand. There are 5 or 6 theories floating about as to why they, and dolphins do this. Some theories, dare I say, skate on the edge of the metaphysical. :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Ah, here we go. Pictures and story about the fellow trapped by the excavator, not behind a pay wall ...

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/man-trapped-in-dam-by-excavator-held-yoga-pose-for-hours-while-yelling-for-help/news-story/10ad224329ea7f2b1e86a6f0e56eebc2

Attributes his survival to yoga. :-). I'm sure blokes all over Australia will be rushing out to sign up for classes and there's bound to be a shortage of yoga pants and mats. :-) Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

Your comment at ADR: And now for something completely different! :-). A Monty Python sketch. German vs Greek philosophers football match. Confucius is referee. Haven't checked any of the links out, but there's links to free, online philosophy courses.

Brilliant!

Pam