Monday, 27 February 2017

Girlie Business

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

When a person walks through the jungle that is the streets of the city of Melbourne, that person has to keep alert for dangerous animals, as you never know when they’ll bite you.

On weekday afternoons in the streets of the city, the sidewalks can be full of people, whilst just off those sidewalks the bicycle riders zip past the slow moving vehicle traffic. In the centre of the roads, Melbourne’s iconic trams make their way between one stop and the next. All the while in the background there is the constant noise from all of those many people and their activities, the vehicles and the unmistakable sounds of construction. It is a busy and bustling city.

When the wind occasionally blows in the city streets and lanes, dust and pollen can be blown along with that wind. But that same wind also blows the many fine smells of exotic cuisines from far distant lands. Some of the streets are even lined with tall trees competing with the tall buildings to see who can capture the most sunlight.

In order to stay alive in that city, you have to know the law of the jungle. And as I approached the intersection of La Trobe and Elizabeth and Streets on foot one afternoon, my sixth sense alerted me to the dangers of a stealthy predator who was taking a special interest in me. The synthetic green t-shirt, clipboard held casually in one arm, and the lanyard dangling around the neck were all indicators that I was about to be accosted by the most fierce city predator of them all: The Chugger.

The nickname: Chugger; refers to a Charity Mugger. I’m sure you’ve met plenty of them in your time. Chugger’s don’t know that I know the law of the jungle, and I can despatch the average Chugger with a menacing look or a witty retort which few can counter such as: “Piss Off!”

On one particular afternoon though, I was wondering why anyone would be wearing such a bright synthetic green t-shirt and what that all meant, when the Chugger took advantage of my momentary stupefaction and landed the first blow. “Are you aware of the coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef?” BAM! The Chugger landed a solid blow and the champ was against the ropes. I replied with a rather pathetic sounding: “Yeah” as I intellectually staggered from the first blow and tried to recover my wits. It was a low blow too because: who doesn’t love the Great Barrier Reef?

As I was reeling and trying to gather my wits the Chugger went on to identify himself as working for an environmental organisation the name of which begins with “Green” (thus the bizarre shade of synthetic t-shirt) and he began his usual script in an attempt to land further blows and shake me down for money for said organisation.

The Chugger failed to understand that in his attempt to run the usual shake down procedure from a new client he would confront the lessons learned from the maxims of the Ancient Chinese master of war, Sun Tzu. Now Sun Tzu was a smart bloke and he would advocate to seize control of the situation from the enemy and to do the unexpected. And so I ignored the usual script that was being churned out by the Chugger and instead directed his attention to a nearby vehicle and said: “You represent an environmental group. How sustainable do you reckon that vehicle over there is?” BAM! The underdog threw a solid one-two and the Chugger felt the pain but was not giving up the fight just yet.

The Chugger came back with a hard intellectual blow and the words: “Aren’t you concerned about climate change?” It was a dirty tactic as he was trying to recapture the lost initiative. And so I dropped the hammer blow on the Chugger and said: “I live on an organic farm, I produce a fair bit of my own food, collect my own water, and am not even connected to the mains electricity grid. What are you personally doing about climate change and how much of all of this stuff that you see around you is even sustainable!” That was the knock-out blow because as he physically recoiled from me and said: “I feel sorry for you dude.” And unfortunately, I’ve now been left wondering what the guy meant by that rather obscure comment. What did he mean by that?

Anyway, as you may have guessed, I don’t much like Chugger’s. This does not mean that I do not donate money to charities, it is just that I do not like being accosted on the streets. Being a white male, tall and with muscular arms I don’t generally get hassled by Chugger’s or other strange people on the streets. However, the other week I had an unusual experience with Chugger’s which gave me an insight into the female experience of interactions with them.

The editor and I were crossing Elizabeth Street in the city heading towards the Queen Victoria Market. On the other side of the road I noticed that we were approaching a couple of Chugger’s who were accosting people on the street corner. I know the law of the jungle so I positioned myself between the Chugger’s and the editor and I gave the Chugger’s a rather menacing and threatening look. And seeing that menacing look they left both of us alone so that we could get on with our business at the market.

I didn’t think any further about the incident, but it was the editor who brought the matter to my attention and said to me what a different and peaceful experience it was for her by having me around to act like a rooster protecting the hen.

After the editor and I visited the market, we ventured a little bit further out of the city, and over an excellent cappuccino and muffin, she told me of her experiences with Chugger’s. With females,  Chugger’s – who are often males – stand in the path of the females and wave their hands theatrically in a manner that makes it physically difficult to get around the Chugger’s. And the Chugger's often have  cohorts. And in the interactions between Chugger’s and females, generally the words “No thanks” are treated as a minor obstacle to be gotten around and then they persist with their interactions.

I was aghast at the claims of the editor. To that end we observed the actions of a group of Chugger’s on a street corner and sure enough the claims of the editor were if anything understating the problem.

At the core of the problem the Chugger’s are abusing social niceties. And social niceties are the generally understood code of conduct with which we all interact. Those social niceties are basically in place to stop us from killing each other!

But then I have read articles in the newspapers recently saying that Chugger’s work huge hours in all weather conditions for very little pay. The Chugger’s are also apparently under quite serious pressure to achieve sales / donation targets. I understand that there was a Chugger recently that for whatever reason allegedly committed suicide. After reading all of that I learned that the business of the Chugger appears like a ruthless industry to work in, so it is little wonder that they apparently employ such aggressive collection techniques. The conditions that the Chugger’s work under promote a sense that it is either "them or us" – and I’m uncomfortable with that sort of culture. And I also wondered whether those charities that employ the Chugger’s actually cared that much about the Great Barrier Reef? And I still don't know - why did the green t-shirt dude feel sorry for me? Perhaps it was because my t-shirt was black, and perhaps was more cool than his snot green one.

On breaking rare bird sighting news… A reasonably rare and endangered pair of Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo’s visited the farm. How cool is that? It is nice to see that rare and endangered wildlife gives this farm the thumbs up (or claw, beak, paw etc.) The cockatoos enjoy meals of the large wood boring grubs which are only found in larger and older eucalyptus trees – which I have here.
One of the reasonably rare and endangered pair of Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo’s visited the farm today
On Friday the weather turned very cold and fortunately we had been busy the day before in the sun putting away more firewood for the winter. There are only about three or four more days before that job is finished for the season.
The firewood shed is rapidly filling up and by my clothes (and Toothy's) you can see how cold the weather has been here lately.
We are always trying to find new ways to use electricity. The downsides of having solar power but not being connected to the mains electricity grid is that excess electricity that cannot be used or stored in the house batteries simply disappears. So when the editor and I were at the Seymour Alternative Farming Expo last week we spotted a quality electric hedge trimmer. The local farm machine bloke had one on hand and we took it off him and have been putting the ultra sharp machine to good use.
We picked up an electric hedge trimmer and used it to prune all of the many herbs
All of the cuttings are composted by adding them onto a new garden bed. I then throw on top of those cuttings, soiled bedding straw from the chicken enclosure and then let nature do the hard yards by breaking all of the material down into very rich soil. Easy. And the machine has opened up the various paths and stairs that had recently become choked with thick plant growth. It really was getting feral out there and I have to keep an eye out for possible Triffid attack. Alas for the Triffids as I know the law of the jungle.
Scritchy and Toothy enjoy the stairs which are now clear of feral plant growth
Pathways in the garden are now easier to walk around
This has been the first summer that the green furry outer coating on one of the almonds split open. That is usually the indicator to let you know that the nut inside that green casing is ripe. With this in mind I picked all of the remaining almonds. I may leave them ripen off the tree for a few weeks just to see what happens to them as I’ve never harvested almonds before.
One of the green furry outer coatings on an almond split open, so I picked the remaining nuts
I picked some more apples and they taste even better than they look.
I picked some more apples and they taste even better than they look
Whilst I wasn't looking, the editor harvested the mysterious melon this week and it looks remarkably to us like a cantaloupe. The mysterious melon was a bit under ripe still so we have collected the seeds in order to plant them out next year. We are feeding the melon to the chickens, who are enjoying it.
The mysterious melon was harvested and we believe it may be a cantaloupe
The thornless blackberries which may be the Waldo variety have begun to ripen this week and they are large and superb tasting. (Where's Waldo? - in my stomach!). We have plans to extend the berry bed over the next few months.
The thornless Waldo blackberries have begun to ripen this week
The olives on the many olive trees are slowly starting to swell in size. Olives are amazingly hardy and productive fruit trees.
The olive on the many olive trees are slowly starting to swell in size
Long term readers may be interested to know that the area that was subject to landslip earlier this year is now full of plants which are slowly becoming established.
The area that was subject to landslip earlier this year is now full of plants which are slowly becoming established
The cool and damp summer has produced excellent growth in the new fern gully which was established to capture water from the road above the gully.
The cool and damp summer has produced excellent growth in the new fern gully
At this time of year the Golden Orb spiders fly in from afar on their webs. They are an interesting spider because when they are small they spin a long single web and any wind takes that spider and its web on a journey to somewhere else. And when the spiders finally land, they spin intricate webs as can be seen on this gorse plant which is up on the road.
Golden Orb spiders spin intricate webs as can be seen on this gorse plant
I like to end the blog with a few flower photos for people up in the cold Northern hemisphere who may enjoy these glimpses into summer:
Chicory produces huge numbers of blue flowers and they are a common plant around these parts
Salvia’s have the most vivid flowers and they love the heat and sun of the summer down under
The best summer flower award goes to the bush roses which produce huge bunches of roses for months
The temperature outside now at about 6.15pm is 29’C (84’F). So far this year there has been 84.6mm (3.3 inches) which is the more or less the same as last week’s total of 84.4mm (3.3 inches).

77 comments:

Bukko Boomeranger said...

I too have read the news stories about how hard a go chuggers have of it, with the brutal sales goals, long hours and crappy compo. On the rare occasion when one does accost me in the Big Smoke (I look like a psycho from the "Saw" movie franchise with my bush hat and perma-scowl, so people on the street generally give me a wide berth) I launch into a concern troll routine.

"Chuggerrrrrs!" (said loudly) -- "I know you're doing it tough. It's a hard life you lead, and you have my sympathy. Good luck!" as I stride resolutely, not breaking my pace. It throws them off balance for a moment -- sympathy instead of scorn? Does not compute! -- and by then I've moved out of target range.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Not to butt in, but I had to laugh about the "not spending money on any kind of entertainment" comment! Yes, been there and done that as a kid too! Funny stuff. I see a lot of that business going on around places too especially with property prices the way they are. People tend to figure that they signed the relationship deed (!) and the maintenance ends at that point. Au contraire - it is like most things, merely a beginning. ;-)!

What does the onion dream mean? We ask the hard questions here. As a left of centre suggestion onions are very high in vitamin C, so perhaps your body is telling you something? Now that you have mentioned onions, the Egyptian walking onions are producing a lot of bulbils at the moment and I should spread them about the place. Thanks for the reminder. It seems a bit of a big call to suggest your dream of onions was a reminder for me to move the onions around, but stranger things have happened… Have you ever had a premonition in a dream that worked out in reality? I can't say that I have ever had that experience, but sometimes I wake to find that my brain has processed a problem over night and fed me the answer the following morning - although to be honest I could just as easily blame the coffee in the morning...

Exactly, falling snow looks amazing as it slowly drifts from somewhere out of the sky. I see very little snow, but when it falls I'm always surprised to find that it is dry - unlike sleet where you get very damp. Of course, your experiences with the occasional blizzard are probably an entirely different matter on that front. I put blizzards in the same weather category as tornadoes: Interesting weather events, but it would be nice if they were elsewhere. I assume you haven't seen a blizzard in your neck of the woods? The sun is shining here and there is little wind, and the daytime temperatures are expected to hover around the mid to high 80's for the upcoming week. Most mornings this week, I'm putting manure into the orchard and then mowing the herbage. Those two activities combined with the existing ground water and heat should make the fruit trees grow fast. It is such a strange autumn to start off being really cold and damp only to then turn hot and dry. Very strange, but at least the UV radiation is now only Very high so the sun isn't quite as intense as previously.

Orchids are touchy aren't they? But what I notice is that they enjoy a good feed of manure and for me to cut the rest of the herbage low around the plant. The funny thing is they don't seem to prefer the shade over the sun so I just don't know enough about their growth habits and they are such elusive plants. I've read somewhere that they hide for years and years until conditions are just right. The eucalyptus tree species here and their flowers are like that - and they need a good feed and drink to produce flowers. There is a rather strange belief in this part of the world that the local native plants don't require any feeding and it is simply not true - but try telling people otherwise and they say all sorts of strangeness. I don't get that at all.

Your Blue Jays sound like a bit of a nightmare, please keep them there. I hope Beau or Nell doesn't catch one. Poopy caught a blackbird the other day and it was messy.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Thanks for writing that! I'm not honestly sure whether people hear what I have to say on such matters but maybe some hear it so it is worth saying all the same. Part of my job is to deliver both the good and the bad news and I don't shirk the bad news as that is doing people a disservice. Actually your story about clothes, started me thinking about the Roman elite and their shabby chic efforts at their personal appearance. When I was much younger I observed some people who commanded wealth cultivated that sort of casual, slightly shabby but effortless appearance and wondered about that. You don't see that these days. I hope you enjoy the book and I look forward to your review. As to the talisman, you may be correct about that as objects can collect potency, manna, mojo or whatever you want to call it. I was never a fan of Seinfeld as it seemed very neurotic to me, but they had a story line (which was recounted to me) about a smoking jacket which was worn like a fetish.

Yeah, if we were smarter and harder working we could possibly begin a new business involving Cherokee Sake. I also ascertained that there was a genuine shortage of proper wasabi and restaurants are paying big bucks for the real deal plant. Most wasabi down under is green dyed horseradish. I've never tasted real wasabi, have you? I'll bet it is good. Speaking of chilli's and pepper, I love the brain pain from a hefty dose of wasabi like product on Sashimi. Yum!

Isn't it nice seeing old buildings restored. I sort of figure that someone went to the effort of building it in the first place and way back in the day, buildings were rarely constructed on a whim, so they probably serve some sort of useful purpose and are probably worth repairing. I genuinely wonder about the longevity of new houses.

What is a green bean casserole? Oh, what an interesting flavour combination. Ah, I see the cream of mushroom soup and the French fried onions. Interesting. We used to make a cream of mushroom soup from scratch, but alas that was the editors dish and I have no idea how she went about making the soup. It is funny, but we don't buy as many mushrooms nowadays as we used too. We had a go at growing mushrooms from scratch and that was good for a while, but the process seemed as if it used a large quantity of feed stock and some of the local mushrooms which may contaminate the feedstock have potentially unpleasant and permanent side effects. Mushrooms are a job for the future.

Ah, the salt would have been in the dried onion topping perhaps to stop them from deteriorating. Out of curiosity, how do you make dried onion toppings? They use them a lot in Asian cuisine and they are very tasty. Hey, we've circled the conversation back around to onions again! :-)!

Oh, St Patrick's day. Of course, green muffins... What will they think of next? Hopefully they weren't a slightly glow in the dark radioactive colour green? They do green beer down here at the proper Irish pubs. How hard would that be to do with a dark ale? The challenge... About a two decades ago from memory there were only two proper Irish pubs down here. They seem to have multiplied a bit since then, but the originals were grungy and the real deal - i.e. A feet sticking to the carpet kind of experience (from all of the spilt beer over the years)! Alas, there is no point crying over spilt beer is there?

As to the ADR guest post question I reckon it would be akin to poking a sleeping dog and wondering whether it may bite you as thanks for the poking. The day I see a guest post over at the ADR I will know for sure that Mr Greer's blogger account has been hacked. ;-)!

I'm enjoying the philosophical discussion over at the ADR, but I don't understand many of the comments. On the other hand I'm impressed that so many people can espouse views in relation to philosophy.

Cheers

Chris

Jason Heppenstall said...

Hi Chris - nice woodshed and pile - good work! Have you come across a book called 'Norwegian Wood"? I can certainly recommend it if one is an aficionado of the finely stacked fibrous fuel.

Yeah - chuggers! Gah! Here's my one anecdote - I was politely minding my own business when I was leaped upon by a pleasant looking girl who stunned me with the question "Do you care that bees could soon be extinct?" Naturally I was a bit stunned and mumbled something like "Umm, yeah, of course." That was it: I was done for. I endured a five minute breathless lecture about how we depend on them for pollination, how Monsanto and the government are evil towards our buzzy friends (agreed) and how if I just donated £5 a month (or preferably more) then all would be well. I baulked at this last bit and pleaded poverty and she let me off if I wrote down my address and phone number so they could send me a free pack of flower seeds to plant for the bees.

I should have smelled a rat.

A week later my phone rang and it was someone from Friends of the Earth and he wanted to talk about bees and how much both he and I loved them. I got the full lecture again about how important they are and how evil Monsanto is and yadda yadda yadda. I told him I managed seven acres of land and had let a lot of it grow wild with thistles and dandelions and foxgloves to the point where there was so many bees and butterflies there it was practically a bee heaven. He wasn't interested and insisted that I had to give money on a monthly basis. I refused and said "You haven't been listening to what I just said!" ... but he kept on coming back to the money over and over again. He kept me on the phone for about 20 minutes and when I eventually hung up on him I was angry to the point where I felt like going out and setting fire to a bee hive (obviously, I didn't). He rang back three times until I blocked the number.

I dunno, these aggressive begging tactics may work on some people, but for me it just makes me hate them. I actually ended up writing a letter of complaint to FoE, and got a standard reply of "We are sorry ... studies show that this is an effective form of fundraising ... we are fighting for a habitable planet etc.



Cherokee Organics said...

Hi everyone,

We interrupt scheduled programming to... go to the pub for dinner. It is a warm evening and the kangaroos and wallabies are out in full force. The pub now has a beer with a particularly entertaining name - honestly, every week is a new surprise - called Chop Shop. I had to check with the lady attending to the bar to ensure that I hadn't misheard the name. The name is a rather dodgy premise, but it is a good beer!

We now return to the regular schedule...

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Bukko,

Yup, the Chugger's do it pretty tough in all weather conditions, no doubts about it. But far out they are a nuisance.

Just a general note to everyone here, Bukko ain't kidding about the "Saw" reference and with the hat and scowl which I'm glad is not directed at anyone here! ;-)! I reckon he could do a good stand in for the actor on the Wolfe Creek film.

Bukko, that is a compliment too you know! The next time you are riding your push bike in the area I cordially invite you for a quiet ale and feed at the local pub. How are things going over in the US?

You are clearly also an adherent to the maxims of Sun Tzu in that you keep the Chugger's off balance with that clever tactic. Respect!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jason,

Thanks very much. A full wood shed is a thing of beauty! And to be honest, I'm glad the editor stacks the firewood and not myself because I'm unsure whether I could achieve such neatness. Firewood is the only heating source for the house over winter and it does the hot water, wood oven and stove top too, so I really have to get that system spot on. And the wood heater itself is falling apart so I'm going to have to invest some readies into solving that particular problem soon. I assume with your wood lot that you heat with either wood or charcoal? Thanks for the book reference too.

Ha! The charity employed the most dastardly technique of the attractive and personable young lady to get under the Chugger alert radar. A truly dastardly act, but one that is employed to good effect. I wonder what the bees want with the regular donations? The bees don't seem particularly concerned with offers of hard earned cash! Flowers on the other hand they'll readily accept.

Mate your story is a tough situation and who would have thought that it would escalate from that initial interaction. Ouch. That hurts.

Of course you and I do more for the bees than most and from the descriptions and photos I have seen of your place, the bees would be in bee heaven. Respect!

The European honey bees here are only one of a number of pollinators most of which are native. I'll tell you a little secret, the European honey bees are the focus of so much concern because they are one of the few insects that collect more feed than they require as a hedge against bad weather and they do not fly in bad weather thus the excess feed which they collect. Unfortunately, I feel that this may be their undoing as they also harvest, concentrate and consume all of the nasties in that process. Most of the native bees in this corner of the planet don't generally follow that strategy and live in far smaller but more numerous and distributed more widely family groups.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

The overnight in Chicago was fun. We went to a fund raiser at a small press cooperative which was a chili cook off. Two chili cook offs in a week!! There were 18 entries and two types of tamales as well. Some were quite unusual - an african chili with bananas and a peanut butter entry were a couple of the notable ones. We all enjoyed it and had our fill of chili though it was very crowded. On Sunday though after breakfast there really wasn't too much to do so the decision was made, as this is an annual event, we would do it in the summer when we could do a boat tour or some such thing. The twins have never been on the Chicago River architectural tour and thought that would be interesting.

It was quite a shock when my granddaughter was diagnosed and the treatment was very long but she is in remission and really only has to be careful of sun exposure. She was fortunate that she was young and the diagnosis was early so the treatment was successful.

I have been expecting that our friends would retire soon as they are 67 and Kathy has quite a few health issues but I did think they would try to sell the business first. They are going to try but don't think there's much of a market for it and figure that they'll just sell the real estate. It's a plaqued historical building in town as it was the original hospital. I suspect they just hit a wall and had to make a change quickly. They also own a low income senior apartment building which they will keep. As they are dear friends I totally understand but the short notice is definitely problematic.

Wow those Chuggers are really something. I've never quite been accosted quite like that!! Now phone solicitors are another thing but at least you can just hang up. Like the Chuggers they are low-paid and under pressure to produce so I'm always polite unless they get too pushy. Doug will often ask them to give him their phone number and he'll call them back.

Margaret



orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I thought that chuggers were illegal here, that it was not okay to accost people. Jason's experience may mean that I am incorrect. I would always plead poverty. The policy of targets is horrible and it has crept in all over the place.

You really have got fantastic growth on your ground, I am impressed though it has disadvantages as well as advantages.

I have had orchid seed (blown in the wind) end up in containers which have nothing but sterilised bought in compost. The orchids absolutely thrive in these spots which I would expect to be minus the bacteria/fungi that are supposed to be required.

Re. haggling in eastern markets: I was told that in Islamic areas, the first sale of the day is kept at a fair price for Allah.

The adverse possession attempt made against me has been satisfactorily settled. I have sold the land to the chap in question. He has paid my asking price (admittedly cheap) and also my solicitor's bill.

Son has goose eggs. This is early and he only realised this when he spotted the gander keeping guard by a thick bramble.

@Margaret

Pigs: The boar and one sow are Gloucester Old Spots. The other sow is a mixture but she is probably mainly Long White; none of her piglets have a single spot.

Inge

Damo said...

I had never heard of the 'Chugger' label before but it is very suitable. I once had a crippling bout of self-reflection and doubt bought on by a 'chugger' who asked me what I actually stood for? After some time I determined that whilst I was not entirely sure, I was pretty sure it didn't involve making small tax deductible donations to an incorporated charity. Thankfully, you do not see many on the streets of local villages here so I don't need to ponder such deep questions very often.

In book land I have finished reading another Jack Vance masterpiece, the Cadwal Chronicles and his biography, This is Me, Jack Vance. He grew up in the depression getting all sorts of jobs, often by exaggerating his qualifications and skills. After Pearl Harbour, having poor eyesight, he got into the merchant marine by memorising the eye chart. By the 1990s he was legally blind but still managed to write several books. A very interesting man who was quite adept at turning a phrase.

Now I have started on 'Infinite Jest' by David Wallace. I worry this might be one of 'those books' that you 'have to read' (you know, the type of novel that certain people place on the bookshelf in such a way everyone will be sure to see it....). I am only one chapter in and will continue to reserve judgment.

Any last pretense at cooler weather has now passed. Some of the nearby villages have started to burn off their fields and the haze is getting thicker. I don't think it peaks for another month or so.

Damo

ChaosAdventurer said...

Thank you Chris for that useful term of Chugger
We will be using it regularly in our wanders in Toronto, such as to call out warning of "chuggers at 1 o'clock high" when spotted ahead on some stairs to the right.


6 degrees C, with highs in the last week as high as 16, where did winter go?

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

Do look after yourself, it sounds like a bloodbath out there on the streets of Melbourne. Did you not have to physically defend yourself the other day against an actual physical troll?

“I feel sorry for you dude.”

Could I have a go at interpreting this? Your chugger is super cool, perhaps even hipster cool. He feels sorry for you, because you are not cool enough to go along with his coolness, chuggery or otherwise.

Some untimely thoughts about responding to chuggery:

Would it help to point out that for every dollar I give to chuggery, the longer I must work in the very economy that is likely directly the cause of the problem for which you are trying to chug? Probably not.

“Aren’t you concerned about climate change?”

'Yes, I am just on my way to do something about it. Please excuse me.'

Apples look fantastic.

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

That's quite a story about the chuggers. I haven't had the sort of experience you and others have had with them. Not sure if that's because there are fewer charities employing that sort of tactic in the US or just that I don't go where the chuggers are. It may well be the latter rather than the former, as I don't go to the areas in the city where they are more likely to be found.

What Mike and I do get are phone solicitations, because we still have a landline and our landline number is listed. But they are much easier to fend off. I just hang up ASAP, without explanation, and loudly. Mike sometimes likes to mess with their heads, with the object of getting the caller to hang up on him. For instance, he might say "whattt?" as if he's hard of hearing. So they repeat their pitch. Then he says "whattt?" again the same way. Rinse and repeat, until the caller realizes what's going on and hangs up. Mike likes knowing that he's kept someone else from getting a call during that time.

The honey bees have honey in their favor, something humans really want and the native bees don't produce. But the native bees are very good pollinators, and I see a lot more of them in my garden than I do honeybees. The nearest honeybee hives I know of are a mile away from our house.

I'm no fan of today's AMA approved medicine, but I will grant that the antidepressant my mom is taking has had an excellent effect. She's getting close to her old self. I may be able to return home during the daffodil bloom - that is, if March isn't as much warmer than normal as February has been. Weather Underground says St. Louis is on track for the warmest February on record, which goes back to 1875 if I recall correctly. But March is also supposed to be warmer than normal, so I won't make any firm predictions about seeing the daffodils bloom yet.

Claire

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - "Chuggers" is a new term, to me. Here, "to chug" involves liquids (usually beer) taken in at a furious pace. But I know the kind of humanity, of which you speak. My method for dealing with them is, besides not breaking stride, is to throw out a real thought stopper. Of course I care about the bees and the Great Barrier Reef. I throw out something like "I don't give a rat's patootie about the bees." "Don't give a fig about the Great Barrier Reef." "Widows and orphans? That's what the work house if for" You may notice my disclaimers are a bit archaic. They have to think about them for just long enough that all they see is my wake. The one's that really give me "the guilts" are the Salvation Army bell ringers at Christmas time. They are not confrontational. They just ring their little bells and wish all and sundry a Merry Christmas, standing next to their kettles. And, in this part of the world, in miserable weather at that time of year. To not throw in a few coins makes one feel like the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future will soon make an appearance at one's bedside.

There's a newish movie, about those kinds of fund raising scams. "American Honey." I've read a bit about it, and it isn't something I'm interested in enough to see, but I thought I'd mention it as it covers the same topic. I do feel sorry for young people who are sucked into those kinds of jobs. Here we also have youngsters who dance around in front of businesses, waving signs. A tax service (dressed as the Statue of Liberty) and a cut rate furniture store (no costume involved, but the signs are so much bigger). Sure, it's gainful employment, but the indignity ...

Your weather has really been all over the place. I see that warm weather temperatures records have been falling all over the east coast. They fear for the peach crop, as peaches need at least 100 days of cool weather, to produce. Who knew? It's always pretty exciting when some exotic bird makes an appearance, and you feel like you're doing something right. A bald eagle swooped pretty low over the yard, yesterday. Due to conservation efforts, they aren't as endangered as they were. But to see one is still a thrill.

I'm glad you're putting your new toy ... err, tool to good use. :-). Here, I have to periodically hack back the blackberries that threaten to overtake a path or two. Your apples look really nice. I had quit the disappointment in one I had put by the other day. It was rotting from the inside out! Pure mush on the inside and smelled awful. The outside looked just fine.

You're olives look quit impressive. You may have to re-read your Annie Hawes to refresh your memory on the finer points of olive production and harvesting. Do you lay down sheets and beat the trees? Bad trees! :-). The slide area looks like it's well on the rebound. Not long and you'll be whacking it back to keep the foliage in place. I didn't know that chicory had pretty blue flowers. I don't think it will grow here, but it might be worth a shot in a sheltered area. You may not be able to grow vanilla, but, obviously, you could to rose water. The "Eight Flavors" book mentioned that vanilla replaced rose water ... and as a new (old) trend, rose water is making a come back among foodies. Cont.

Bukko Boomeranger said...

"How are things going over in the US?"

You hadda ask, eh? I wasn't going to bring it up, but since you did...

I got back to Oz on Feb. 9. My sister died Jan. 24, which was 48 days after she was extubated, 39 days after we got her home to the hospital bed set up in her cathedral-ceiling living room. I came to help her achieve a "good death," if such a thing is possible, but even she did not expect to be dying for so LONG. Most of the time Ellen was relatively comfortable, not in much pain or anxiety, thanks to morphine and lorazepam (Ativan). She was flat-on-her-back immobile, but at least she could talk to me and everyone else who came to visit.

Although she was starving to death -- it was extraordinary how she withered from the feet up as her body slowly consumed itself for fuel -- she didn't feel much hunger. The hellish part was her final five days, when she got so debilitated that she couldn't even swallow water without choking from aspiration. So my sister got to die of thirst as well as starvation. It's hellish to spend one's last days crying out desperately for water, then coughing until she went unconscious from oxygen deprivation when I'd spoon her ice chips. Ellen was a veterinarian, and she would not have let a mangy stray dog expire in that sort of agony. My nurse's union and the Green political party are pushing the Victorian state parliament to legalise voluntary euthanasia. It's legal in several European countries, including Holland. The U.S. state of Oregon also lets doctors prescribe death drugs. Maybe Lewis can speak to that issue. My sister would have SO taken that. She had accepted death. And I would have willingly administered it.

Bukko Boomeranger said...

Anyway, I stayed at Ellen's house for a fortnight after she died, cleaning up inside but mostly attending to the grounds. Believe it or don't, Chris, I was thinking about you a fair bit as I did that. Mostly in relation to fruit trees. Dead ones.

My sister had many ambitions. Among them was planting things that would provide food. She bought SO many seedlings -- tomatoes, capsicum, cucumbers, herbs of all sorts -- in those small plastic punnets they sell at garden stores. Plus trees in larger pots, some of which were sizeable. And blueberry/blackberry/raspberry canes. I never knew this about her until she passed and I started clearing out the area in front of her house. It was almost unapproachable apart from the fieldstone footpath that led from where she parked her massive 4WD pickup truck. (I owned two pickup trucks in the U.S. for a total of more than 20 years between them, and Ellen's Ford is so huge I find it hard to handle. Had to be big, though, because she used it to haul her horse float.) Off that footpath, it was chockablock with the skeletal remains of wonderful trees that had died of neglect, and containers whose tiny plastic tags showed what HAD been in them before they also withered. Then there were the weeds that sprung up around everything. Her section of America (like much of the nation) is so lush compared to the skimpy soil of Australia.

As a woman making her way alone through the world, juggling a full-time government job, along with a weekend job at a local veterinary practise, managing a house, dealing with her herd (at one time, it numbered five horses and a donkey), plus seven cats, a flock of fowl, 18 acres of land... Ellen had her hands full. She kept buying plants with good intentions, but never got around to sticking most of them in the ground. One of her friends told me Ellen would buy new plants every year, set them down outside her front door, and then neglect to follow through. In a morbid way, the plants' death foreshadowed my sister's demise. Like her, the plants died of thirst where they sat immobilised.

So many apple, peach, cherry and other fruit tree carcasses did I pull from plastic pots! Price tags of $29.99 to $50 often still hanging on them. I'm talking literally dozens, Chris. You woulda been horrified. No telling the cost of all the dead veggies. It had to be several thousand dollars' worth. My sister was well-paid, had no credit card debt, so the money was not an issue. What saddened me was the loss of so much food potential. That, and thinking of how the plants must have struggled to survive as they slowly dried out, unseen. I managed to save about a dozen blueberry bushes, some ornamental shrubs and a peach tree, which I dug holes for during America's frigid January. There's one magnificent battler of a cherry tree that managed to send a tap root through the bottom of its 10-litre pot. Looks like it had been growing there for at least two years. Too bloody cold to properly excavate it. I will give it another go when I return to Trumerikkka for the ceremony where we'll scatter my sister's ashes in her front paddock on what would have been her birthday on April 22.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Speaking of foodies, and something you and Inge mentioned last week, I picked up a really nice copy of "Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook; Strategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic Bistro Cooking" ... for $2. There was a clipping of a book review tucked inside. Apparently, a Minnesota (bastion of Social Justice Warriors) bookstore abruptly rescinded an invitation for him to speak. Why? "Bourdain, never one to hold back, once referred to vegetarians as "the enemy of everything good and descent in the human spirit." Throw that match in the puddle of gasoline. :-). I guess he used a bit of naughty language, too. Naughty Anthony! :-). Overall, the review was good. The cookbook has value. If you can get past the cussing.

Which brings me to the point I was (believe it or not) going to make is that even if I'm just having one person over to lunch, I always ask if there's any food aversions (or foibles) I should be aware of. And I don't comment on them. Seeing to the comfort of one's guest(s) is that old fashioned concept called "hospitality." But then, on some levels I'm pretty old fashioned.

As if slugs that climb trees weren't bad enough, now you tell me you have flying spiders! Actually, I'd heard about those spiders and there's something kind of enchanting about the idea of spiders flying about trailing little parachutes. To observe, but not get too close.

About becoming the Saki Mogul of SW Australia, if you only worked harder. You work hard enough that sometimes I fear for your health (or sanity.) On the other hand, you throw in enough down time and fun time into your narrative that I think you've struck a good balance. Saki Mogul may have to wait for the next go around. :-).

Yup. Spending money on "useless entertainment" wasn't big around our house. I remember Dad having a meltdown, circa 1965 as I'd spent $5 on a ticket to go see a Beach Boys farewell concert. Even though I'd been working quit a few years at that point and it was my own money. But, to put it in a little perspective, to buy that ticket, equalled 4 hours of my labor ... or, would have bought 20 gallons of gas. About one fill up.

Well, I didn't care for any of the dream interpretations of "planting onions", so I'll just write it off as hog wash. :-). Dream premonitions? Nothing I can really put a finger on. Solving problems? Oh, sure. Happens all the time. I first noticed it when a school assignment seemed to have no good solutions. And, I'd wake up with one. When I was doing the book reviews, sometimes I wouldn't have a good approach. But would wake up with one. Finding lost articles. Often works if I "sleep on it." I can wake up in the morning and "magically" remember where I put something. Or, at least within a few feet.

Well, we don't have blizzards here (very often) like the middle west. But there were times when there were white outs and I couldn't see the road or much beyond the end of my hood. Particularly bad when snow flies directly into the wind screen.

I don't think Beau or Nell could catch a blue jay. They are the flightiest birds. Not like a hummingbird that will come right up to the window and take a good look at me. The slightest change in a jays surroundings, and they are gone. It's not too bad cleaning up after Beau nails a possum. At least they're all in one piece. Nell pretty much cleans up after herself, but occasionally there's piles of feathers and the odd unidentifiable internal organ. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Darn. Running long, today. Sorry.

For awhile I went on a toasted soy nut / wasabi coated snack binge. I never should have looked at the ingredients. That ended that. I gave up on the shataki mushrooms. What I got out of them was about what I would have paid for them in the store. But then again, I don't think I tried hard enough. They really are like keeping some exotic pet.

I've become enamored with the Atlantic Magazine website. Thoughtful, informative, well written articles. Here's one that i thought you might find interesting. "Why Nothing Works Anymore." Lew

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2017/02/the-singularity-in-the-toilet-stall/517551/

Bukko Boomeranger said...

A couple more things about chuggers. As you probably know, but many of your American readers don't because the chugger dynamic is not so widespread there, they don't want on-the-spot donations. I've tried that, because I generally support the causes they're out begging for. They won't have a bar of it if you try to hand them a $20, though.

Signing people up to make monthly donations is where the money is at. Not so much for the greenie or political causes they represent, but for the companies that hire the chuggers. Just as field hands don't work for the farm where they're picking crops, chuggers don't work for the causes they're trying to pick your pocket for. It's a labour contractor who puts the chuggers on the street. And the labour contractor skims a big chunk of the donations during the first year some sucker signs up. I've read it's on the order of 85%. That's why I feel no moral qualms about cold-shouldering the worthy causes for which the chuggers beg. I'm not stiffing the trees or the bees -- I'm refusing to pay some middleman corpo.

I always carry a one-ounce silver coin in my wallet. I like to give these away. I can afford it. Sometimes I'll leave them as a tip in a resto if I get great service, or I'll flip them to a busker on the Bourke Street mall. I've been known to leave them on the blanket or begging cup of homeless people downtown. I've even given them to young female chuggers a time or two, because I'm susceptible to smiles from cute blondes.

Silver coins are a bit of a "cruel kindness" though. (Which is my wicked intent. I'm nice and not-nice at the same time.) People realise "Hey, this heavy shiny thing is valuable. But what do I do with it now?" That's the challenge I throw down to them. I generally give 'em out in situations where I make a quick exit. Aside from metal-heads like me, who knows the value of an ounce of silver, or where to sell it for central bank cash? It's the silver equivalent to the white elephants that Thai kings supposedly used to give to their frenemies.

A few months ago, I was riding the 86 tram through funky, funky Fitzroy when I saw a Sea Shepherd chugger bothering people on Smith Street. I like Sea Shepherd. Ram it to those Japanese whale-killing bastards! (I know you don't like curse words, but being an Aussie, when that's said the Strine way, "BAH-stud," it doesn't have the same harsh cultural resonance as the American "bass-TURD" pronunciation.) He was standing right by a tram stop. So when the doors opened, I extracted my coin, leaned out the door and yelled "Hey Sea Shepherd!" Just as the doors closed, I underhand chucked it toward him. I thought it would hit the street. Silver coins make a satisfying "CHING!" sound on hard surfaces. It would be a novel bauble for the bloke.

Instead, it bounced directly off the back of his head! My aim was skewed by the closing doors. As the tram pulled away, I could see the poor chugger rubbing his noggin and wondering why people were throwing hard things at his skull. I presume one of his "comrades at alms" saw where it landed and they had a laugh afterward.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

A chili cook off sounds very tasty. I wasn't quite sure what that event actually was and so a bit of snuffling around the interweb shows that there is an International Chili Society... Who would have thought that was even possible? There is even a nation day celebrating the tamale. What will they think of next? I would have enjoyed all of that good food. Yum! And it is nice to read that you had a fun overnight in Chicago.

Yeah getting in early can make a huge difference and I can't even begin to imagine what your granddaughter has been through. Some people get a rough deal with life.

That is sort of why I mentioned selling it as an ongoing business as that would have been my first port of call, but then the building or land may be worth more than the business brings in. High property prices tend to fuel speculation and that takes funds from day to day business activities, but I seem to be in the minority on that point of view. The short notice would be very problematic and I wish you and Michael the best of luck with finding a place at such short notice.

The Chugger's are a pain and the hand waving technique they use to stop you walking around them may technically or legally be considered an assault. I like Doug's style and will use that if he is OK with it? :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I'm not sure about the legality of Chugger's here, but if the UK has made them illegal I reckon that may be a good thing. And yeah, accosting strangers in the street is an abuse of social customs. Pleading poverty is a good thing as they will drop you like a hot potato! ;-)!

The whole target thing has its roots in the concept of top down budgeting. Basically top down budgeting is where someone else comes up with your targets and then they make you responsible for achieving them. It doesn't work, although I have heard some rather spurious claims in relation to that technique (which they would never apply to themselves) such as: it gives them incentive to work harder, or go the extra mile.

The other side of the coin is the more reasonable bottom up budgeting which is the reverse in that people at the bottom of the food chain decide what their targets are going to be. And of course the targets are subject to negotiation, but it usually provides a more realistic goal for everyone.

The growth is pretty good isn't it? And I'm trying to accelerate the fruit tree growth this week, but it was so hot out in the sun today that I believe I may have cooked my head a bit. But the fruit trees will benefit.

Yeah, I hear you, but I'll stick to the official story as it keeps the orchid collectors at bay! Hehe!

That first sale of the day is an Asian thing too and of course it does encourage a certain amount of local trade as a nice side benefit. I have seen plenty of people who are uncomfortable with haggling, but it is a real skill.

I'm glad that the legal matter has been satisfactorily settled. I read once that that term originally meant that everyone gets something but nobody is entirely happy with the result. :-)!

Enjoy your goose eggs? I'd imagine they'd be pretty large and rich tasting? Out of curiosity what meal does he normally cook them up in?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Mate, that question is a serious low blow. Wow, I wouldn't know what to say to that either. I hope they're not reading this and getting good ideas... I'm with you and they don't really let you know how your funds are being spent either do they? I read a book once that discussed the baking sector and you may be interested to know that there are some serious parallels to the Chugger's as they want regular flows of cash too. Interesting huh? I've seen some serious poverty in Asia and the city of Varanasi in India is a beautiful city, but far being the spiritual capital of India, a lot of people go there to die. Chugger's are definitely a first world problem.

I loved the Cadwal Chronicles. What a great story. At the end of the book I felt that the solution bought them some breathing space and resolved a few other major problems, but I wondered about the long term as numbers increased. It was a ripper tale though and doesn't it have some parallels to today? Mr Vance sure did travel around the place. I haven't read the biography, do you recommend it?

Ouch! Beware the footnotes, they may bite you. No seriously, the footnotes are immense. Lewis and I were discussing that book some time back and, well, if you put it down I for one will not think any less of you. Some books are like that. There was an excellent film on the author called: End of the Tour. I recommend that film highly as I really enjoyed the insight into Mr Wallace's life.

It is hot here too with most days hovering around the 30'C mark for the next week. I was mowing and manuring today (instead of burning, just fossil fuels in the mower) and I reckon I cooked my head a bit in the sun.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Greetings ChaosAdventurer,

And welcome to the discussion (and apologies if I have already welcomed you!).

Glad you enjoyed the term. They are shaking you down for cash too you know! Keep your eyes open and it is very thoughtful to alert the people that you are with to the possibilities of a charity mugging incident! I liked the aeronautical reference too.

Your high temperatures are the over night lows here, but don't laugh one night last week it got as low as 6'C. The weather is rather strange of late.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Crowandsheep,

One has to be alert for predators on the streets. And nobody would want the luck of Bill Paxton (a recently deceased actor) who was killed on screen by an: Alien; Predator; and a Terminator (the trifecta one might quip?). It seems a very unlucky career.

What were we talking about? Yeah, the guy I clopped was clearly out of his mind on drugs and he tried to grab me and I couldn’t get around him. It really annoyed me as it was in broad daylight. But on the other hand it was a very rare experience and nobody has tried that trick before or since. I just went with my gut instinct that day and oh boy, was he surprised or what.

Yes feel free I'm keen to read interpretations... Yes, of course I am perennially uncool and so he must have known. Why didn't I think of that one? :-)!

Your responses are both genius and I am busily theifing (with permission hopefully!) those responses for later use. Thanks. They really are that good and who could come up with a valid response to either one of those?

Cheers

Chris

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

Discussions concerning the handling of chuggers continued apace here. I had to laugh at this one because it is so low-brow:

Chugger: Do you care about animals?

Victim: Yes, are you vegetarian?

Chugger: Yes, of course, would you like to dona...

Victim: Hitler was also a vegetarian.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

They are very unpleasant to deal with and I believe Bukko summed up the business case behind the interactions. The charities have been hiding behind an apparent plausible deniability in relation to the pay and working conditions for the Chugger's and the whole culture of that industry appears very wrong to me. Glad you don't encounter them in your travels and I avoid them like the plague if I can. And I feel mildly embarrassed that the editor has had such a hard time with them.

Mike clearly has an excellent and well developed sense of humour! I'll try that trick too. It is funny you mention unsolicited phone calls, but the other week I was contacted by phone and the other party was trying to ID check me and it sounded like a scam to me.

Yes, the native bees are excellent pollinators and they also pollinate a wider variety of plants, you just have to ensure that there is enough habitat for them to establish themselves. Some of the native ones here live in little holes in the ground and I wonder how they dug those holes in the first place. And I very much appreciate honey too because unless the climate warms up a lot, the native stingless bees that you can harvest honey from won't survive the winters here. You probably see the native bees in your garden more frequently because if they like the ones here they tend to be less fussy about weather conditions than the European honey bees, but then that is why those bees store excess feed...

I'm genuinely glad to hear that your mother is recovering. Sometimes people need a little bit of help and if they can get that help that is a great thing. There are many parts of this continent that are also having record breaking weather conditions, so I'm unsurprised to find that it is happening elsewhere.

Cheers

Chris



Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

You're right about the chugging bit and that means pretty much the same down here, except you rarely hear it anymore. You are more likely to hear someone forcefully saying: "Scull" in a chant which was originally a Scandinavian term but was pinched by those canny Scots.

Oh, the work house comment would really annoy them no end. Someone once cornered me about a children's charity and I said to them that it is not like I have any kids - and then they looked really horrified. You could write a good story about casting other peoples choices into question because the horror becomes about them (it is always about them, thus the popularity of the zombie), but the horror is directed at the protagonist. Down here, the Salvation army usually set up a band on a street corner playing Christmas carols and they collect heaps. Things are a bit different down here because Santa just looks like he is going to suffer from heat exhaustion - Christmas imagery down here makes no sense whatsoever, but still people love it.

I wanted to go and see that film "American Honey" but it was 3 hours long and the only session I could get to see started at 9pm and that puts the end of the film way past my bed time. Too late for my tastes. Yeah, I once worked for a mob (!) who employed a chicken and the poor guy that did the job was a bit on the dim side of the equation and he did the job because he was smitten with one of the marketing girls. The funny thing was that he'd been studying at the Victorian College of the Arts... I kind of felt sorry for the dude.

Oh yeah, a lot of fruit trees require a certain amount of hours below 7'C (44.6'F) in order to produce blossoms. And the hours don't have to be contiguous. The thing is one warm winter a few years back most of the cherry orchards in I believe - South Australia - failed to set blossoms which in turn produce fruit. The trees don't die, they just don't fruit, but my gut feeling is that they can adapt but it is a long road. Speaking of fruit trees I found a little avocado seedling in the orchard today which must have come out of the used bedding in the chicken enclosure. Cool. And the three new silky chickens had their first adventure in the orchard this evening. Happy days. The bald eagle would have been very cool to see and having a higher order predator flying around is a very good sign for your environment.

Parts of the east coast of Australia are receiving a months rainfall in only a few days... Ouch. Mate it is warm here tonight and I have the whole house open to the cooler night breezes.

Toy! That's funny, but you are also correct. I try and only purchase tools that have very low ongoing costs and use the energy that I already have access too. That one fits the bill and I'm a bit short on sons and daughters to help with all of the work about the place so machines have to step in from time to time, but I keep things at a human scale all the same. It would be too easy to do otherwise and then that leads to fiscal failure.

Those apples are superb and they have crisp and sweet flesh so are a really good dessert apple. I'm considering netting one or two fruit trees over the next few years to see how it goes, but if the trees are old enough they don't really need netting as they produce huge quantities of fruit.

Annie Hawes was big on story, but a little light on the exact details of some aspects of olive trees - like the eventual massive prune I'd love to know how it turned out with the trees, but alas... Oh! I just had to check that the blue flower was indeed chicory and it certainly looks like it. Phew! Plant identification is a risky business in the presence of others. :-)! Rose water, I wonder if you can turn that flavour into a country wine? I can't see why not.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Really? What could possibly be going on in Minnesota that they need to produce social justice warriors? It all sounds a bit dodgy to me, but Anthony Bourdain is a truly entertaining writer and you know, I reckon commercial kitchens really are like that and I take my hat off to anyone who can work in those conditions.

Old school hospitality is a thing I try to encourage - not always successfully - in guests and it is a two way street. There used to be serious social strictures put in place on hospitality for good reasons too. I wouldn't feed something to someone who indicated that it would make them ill or even uncomfortable and if it happens it really is an accident.

The Golden Orb spiders start off small as, but they can get quite large. They used to string webs up between the plants on either side of the garden path. No doubts that I annoyed them in passing.

No need to fear as I don't work hard enough. Exactly too, relaxing and quiet time is also scheduled into life so it works for us. I don't really know how other people manage all of their administrative tasks as so much of that business gets pushed off onto people and they don't seem to notice it. Which brings me to that excellent Atlantic article. Good stuff and I believe the author may have ripped a few ideas from Mr Greer, but then it is in a good cause and it is nice to get the word out there. You know, I'm aware of one public toilet that has touch sensors for water in the hand basin instead of a normal tap and the thing doesn't work or spits out a little dribble of water and then stops. What is with those things?

That is pretty rough but I had a similar experience with spending my own money on an ice cream on a hot day and my mum cracking the sads about it. The funny thing was that she pushed me into depositing the money into a savings account at the local Pyramid Building Society (the name should have been a dead giveaway) and it went belly up. Well done, I preferred the ice cream. Oh lookie, the sales pitch for Pyramid was "A better way to grow". They just didn't indicate who was growing...

Fair enough, dreams can mean many things so who knows? It is nice to have ones brain working quietly on problems whilst we sleep - saves our conscious minds from having to do the heavy lifting, although it is probably arguable that most things that take place are done on an unconscious mode.

White outs with snow. There is something I'd never considered. We get thick fog here from time to time and it sounds pretty much the same in that you can trip over your own feet.

Beau's possum remains are feed for the compost and Nell is just a neat lady! ;-)!

Beware the hidden ingredients which are casually listed as harmless numbers - as they may well be. Yeah the mushrooms didn't break even - or only just so for me too. It reminds me of yeast starter cultures. The kitchen here is possibly seriously infected with bakers yeast and champagne yeast so it would most likely be very easy to recapture them if the need ever arose.

Tonight has been epic! ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Son usually makes quiches with goose eggs. The first ones are nettle quiches but it is too early for nettles so he sold the eggs.

I get spam phone calls on my land line which is not a listed number. Unfortunately they usually arrive when I am busy e.g. cooking. If I have nothing better to do I enjoy playing with them. Usually I exhibit total incomprehension.

@ Bukko

I am so sorry to hear of your sister's ghastly final days. I agree that we don't let animals suffer in this way or not usually. We do seem to think 'life for as long as possible at any cost'. Once upon a time doctor's did take patients out but now they are too scared of repercussions to do so. One of my greatest friends with motor neurone disease was helped out by his doctor when he said that he had had enough. I know that my mother was kept unconscious for her last days which does seem to be an option.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Bukko,

I'm glad to have asked and thank you for the reply. I feel for you as it would have been traumatic and it is unreasonable to prolong such a life especially right at the end. It was very nice of you to provide some hospice care for her in her final days and weeks. That is a hellish story and it would also have been very hard on the people around her. I'm sorry to say that I feel that economic circumstances will drive voluntary euthanasia, I've never quite understood people’s objections to it, but there they are.

Working your way through a deceased estate is a dismal and depressing experience. I don't much like waste, but your sister clearly had good intentions. I wrote many long months ago about the story that we are told that: "we can do it all and have it all" as it is just a lie and I had that one pounded into my head as a kid - as did the editor. It is hard to know how short life is until it is almost gone - or near too that anyway and you just have to pick and choose to do a few things and that's about it. And of course you personally know about hard times and chance accidents. It would have been nice to see all of those plants in the ground, and it is nice to read that some had even escaped their pots! That is a morbid thought too, but yeah there is something in that. Not many ends are nice, but some people wander around not even realising that is a definite possibility and so their lives disappear.

You are totally correct about the soils down here being so skimpy and poor - we don't know how fragile this old continent that we're sailing upon actually is.

Hopefully you can spare a few ashes for the fighting cherry tree?

With sympathy,

Chris

margfh said...

@Lew

Blue Jays are certainly the bullies of the feeder. Do you have starlings around you? Around this time of year a flock of them will take over the suet feeder. Usually a couple of pairs will then nest in the barn and get into the cat food. Since Doug has the fencing of the coops all the way to the ceiling now they can't get into the chicken feeders but the house sparrows can get through it. In fact their population has grown in the barn now as the cats who used to at least harass them can't get through the fencing either. There have been more bald eagles in the area though I've yet to see one.

@Inge

Thanks for the pig info. I'll look them up. We've mostly raised Berkshire though there's an older Berkshire and a newer one which is now readily available. We only get 4 feeder pigs and raise them until slaughter. Doug would love to go the whole route but we don't have a set up for that and we're getting on enough that's it's not practical to do so.

@Claire

So glad your mother is improving. I'm with you about conventional medicine but there are times when it's the best route as with my granddaughter and my brother with schitzoaffective disorder. Hopefully the need for medication is temporary for your mother as it was for my granddaughter. This is not the case for my brother, Michael, and he suffers from significant and permanent side effects though the alternative would be much worse.

@Bukko

So sorry for what your sister went through and for you as well. Interesting what we don't know about people isn't it?

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Bukko - Yes, Oregon was (maybe) the first State that passed a "death with dignity" law. I live in Washington State, so for quit a few years I thought if I ever became terminal, I'd have to find a nice hospice in Oregon. But, Washington passed a similar law, last year. I think in the last round of elections Colorado and maybe, California passed similar laws.

I'm working through writing a will, and there's also medical directives to be considered. Getting one's ducks in a row so that your wishes will be followed. I had to be a bit careful about the medical directive. I rejected a couple of people because they hesitated just a bit too long when I asked "Can you pull the plug?" :-). That's for situations where you're incapacitated and maybe can't make your own decisions.

I had the same problem with plants. Buying them and then letting them languish. There was the terrible guilt over letting a living thing die. And, the waste of money. So, I got in the habit of preparing the ground and digging the hole BEFORE I bought a plant. I had to be strict with myself, at first, but now it's second nature. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Here we have some big fat black and yellow bumble bees that are rather solitary and live in holes in the ground. They can be a bit of a problem if they decide that the dirt in the crawl space under your house is an ideal environment. :-).

I think the crew in "American Honey" were selling magazine subscriptions. We used to have crews like that working the retail street in Centralia. Magazines, perfume ... whatever. Centralia has an anti-soliciting law, but someone has to call in a complaint. So, the sales crews were rather hit and run. Sometimes, sales people would stretch out a hand, to shake. Well, in the first place, I don't like to be touched by strangers, but in the second place, there's a real ... compulsion to shake an outstretched hand. So, I'd just sit on my hands. :-). Deaf people (supposedly) would show up with well worn begging cards in hand. "Help a Vet" is another ploy. I never have done so, but I'm always tempted to ask to take a look at their discharge papers.

Centralia had a big problem with pan handlers around freeway on and off ramps and around the big box stores. They passed a pretty stringent law. So, the panhandlers just moved over to Chehalis, and they had to follow suite with a law. There was a lot of discussion as to if such laws were "Constitutional", but they decided to pass them anyway and see if anyone challenged them. So far, not. If you want to go to the bother, there are web sites where you can discover the administrative costs of this or that charity. How much goes to administration, how much to actually helping people in need.

Ah. Minnesota. Sweeping generalizations, I know, but I think as a State, they tend to be a bit more "progressive." Maybe due to the fact that so many of their settlers were from Scandinavian countries. Some of their cities were passing domestic partnership laws for same sex couples in the early 1990s. State wide anti discrimination laws, which included protections for gay people were passed during the same time period. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I really liked the lead in to that article about why things don't work, in The Atlantic. About the author's daughter being terrified by "magic" toilets. The self flushing public loos. There was also a really good article about unnecessary surgeries or medications.

Beau is not so lackadaisical about bunnies, as I had thought. When I went out to feed him last night, he noticed a rabbit in his yard and really took off after it! I didn't know the old guy could move that fast! The rabbit moved faster. Sometimes I think Beau just does things to let me know he's "on the job." Nell has bit me twice in the last two days. For no apparent reason. Didn't break the skin, but was a bit painful. Don't know what's got into her. My initial urge was to give her a good smack. Something that I've never done and I know is counter productive. On reflection, I remembered that the best way to discipline them is like their mothers did. Pick them up by the scruff of the neck and give them a few seconds "time out." I'll be ready for her, next time.

Odd you should mention the "dim artist." I'm currently reading a good bio of Norman Rockwell, "American Mirror; The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell." He really wasn't the stereotypical starving artist. He was getting steady work while still in his teens and had good family support. Of course, he was an illustrator. Even though the competition was fierce, he had a good work ethic. I'm also chipping away at a huge tome on the Currier and Ives print company. Now, there was an "American mirror." They pretty much reflected life in America for almost a century.

I accidentally grabbed a carton of buttermilk at the store. Which I haven't ever used much. So, I've been figuring out what to do with it. Made a big batch of blueberry buttermilk pancakes, last night. Some of it went into the green bean casserole. Next I think I'll try buttermilk biscuits or muffins. I had to laugh at myself. I grabbed my BC (Betty Crocker) cookbook, from the 1960s, and there were no buttermilk pancakes in the index. So, I checked the recipe for pancakes to discover that buttermilk was a required ingredient. A given. Nothing special. Live and learn. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi crowandsheep,

Another excellent hit right where it hurts! And it introduced a whole new layer of darkness too just for good measure. Take that Chugger's! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for the explanation. Quiche is very nice, although I've only ever tasted a quiche where chicken eggs were used and I reckon the goose eggs would make it very rich and tasty. Did you know that nettles were a traditional spring tonic food in your part of the world? Nettle soup was a particular traditional favourite which again I've never tasted. Have you ever consumed nettle soup? I'd imagine it is full of vitamins and minerals. I have a few nettles growing here, but there are fresh greens all year around - and the greens grow well over the winter when the sun isn't quite so intense so there is no need to consume nettles - unless I'm missing out on some awesome food experience?

I can just imagine you pulling a "no comprehension" trick on the cheeky unsolicited phone callers. Tidy work.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate, things go wrong quickly and with little warning! Just as I got the electric log splitter repaired (yay!) the modem here seems to have self destructed. And you know what? The contract has only a few days to go. I'm sure that is just coincidence but the little blighters only work for two years (about the length of the contract) and then they pack it in and this will be the third in a long and proud tradition of doing exactly that! Hehe! They're not even the same devices either... Oh, the continuing crapification of products really annoys me. I'd be happy to pay more for a reliable device because it is a waste of my life to go and sort out the problem. But alas, the system does not work that way does it? Fortunately I have an emergency internet connection thingee plan B which was implemented this morning. It is not fast but it sure does do the trick when you need an emergency connection. :-)! Rant, rant, rant. On a side note, I just typed the word "rat" instead of rant - I wonder what that means, surely it is a subliminal slip of the fingers?

Thanks, and I'll try and check out the film. Yeah, I'm not much into being touched by strangers either but a handshake is a handshake. I used to work for a guy that maintained his own bathroom and he was fastidious about washing his hands after a handshake. It used to make me feel like I was a bit dirty. It would make a good sub plot for a story: Ruthless hit man struggles with the messier and practical implications of his work and that attention to detail keeps him miraculously out of trouble. Just sayin it could be a winner. :-)! I tend to go with my gut feeling and I have seen more than a few people begging on the streets looking appropriately dishevelled and they have a smart phone in the other hand. I don't get that and I don't have a smart phone. That is just a weird look.

Over in your country it looks to me that a lot of charities are set up so as to avoid death duties. I'm always particularly dubious when nepotism seems to be a feature of the charity, but I could well be wrong in my beliefs too.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Ah, the progressive contingent. ;-)! That makes sense about the origins. Hmm, I wonder if they know where they are progressing too? The progressives are generally located in the inner north of Melbourne. I like the Green's political party and I support many of their general aims, but mate when they dictate how things should go up the bush, that makes me see red. I once heard the leader of that party rubbishing planned burns which plays into the hands of his supporters and might make them feel good, but seriously when a really massive comes through and it will sooner or later, the entire forest ecosystem will come off second best and the loss of animal, bird, insect and soil life will be huge. They seem to have been particularly effective in getting the burns stopped too as I believe only half of one percent have actually taken place in the past year. I'm trying here to replicate the effect of the burns without actually burning the place and it works really well and the wildlife and plants are really happy with the results, but we're only two people and nobody else seems even remotely interested. It won't end well and there will be another huge fire sooner or later and then there will be calls such as: How could this happen. The whole problem is repeated on a cyclical basis and we just can't or won't get out of that rut - which I find personally baffling. It is like we do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result and we are surprised when the same result occurs. Rant, rant, rant! ;-)! If only it didn't affect me personally...

The lead in to the article was good wasn't it? A great example from the point of view of a three year old making the whole thing look stupid. I couldn't have written better and it was immensely approachable because of that comparison. Who isn't terrified by the thought of a magic toilet? You could have a horror film plot: Flush and you die! :-)! It is unfortunately truer than we acknowledge.

Beau is a wise dog to remind you that he has his responsibilities. A few seconds time out may be in order for Nell, but also animals can communicate to you important matters to them in all sorts of strange ways. I once had a dog that was starving his mate because she didn't like sharing the food bowl and was perhaps unhappy with her new friend. Her new friend expressed his unhappiness at the food situation by urinating in the house. It took a little while to sort out all of the messages from those two cheeky scamps.

Steady work trumps bouts of creativity every time. I must be in story mode today as I knew a guy a long time ago who used to work really intensively for a short period of time and then burn himself out. It seemed like a pointless way to approach work, but mileage varies and I ensure there is plenty of downtime in between all of the work.

Oh yeah, people get caught in popular diets... People never wasted animal fats when I was a kid and they collected them in a mug and used it for cooking. Chips cooked in clean lard are superb. Who knows why people think what they do.

Cheers

Chris

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

We only get a few chuggers locally. They come into town especially to work. I feel a little sorry for them but I seriously don't like being hazed in the streets or shopping centres. I say a polite no. End of story. I think I must have a grumpy old lady demeanor because they don't persist. I also get phone calls from charities and get very cross if they persist with their spiel. I donate to causes I support but that is not their business but mine. Scamming is also a concern. Not all solicitors for charity are genuine.

We've had some cooler weather over the last few days, which is a great relief. The deer become ever bolder. One attacked a wire cage that was over an apricot tree last evening. It made a racket that had us out the door shouting. It simply looked at us until we advanced upon it. It crashed over our fence and kept crashing up through the trees. Deer are not a notifiable feral animal so we are on our own as their numbers increase. Our options at the moment seem to be electric fences (only work some of the time) or a hired, registered hunter. Both options are expensive.

We have an old (army) truck on our property and people keep offering to buy it. I'm puzzled by this. It's part of the history of the valley and this property. It was used by a local rabbit tracker and the boy who inherited this property many decades ago worked for the trapper. I think people want it as an ornament? Maybe to restore? It's an odd feeling to know that objects on the farm are desired. Sometimes I think we need to plant a thicker barrier between our house paddock and the road.


Bukko your story is a hard one to read and salutary for us all. Dying with dignity and as comfortably as possible seems a difficult goal to achieve without carefully considered euthanasia rights. I'm very sorry for your sister and for your loss. The story of her trees and plants seems to be one of yearly renewal and hope over experience?

Warm regards, Helen

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I have never had nettle soup, only because I don't much care for soup. Yes nettles are the first green leaves to appear here after the winter and they would have been much appreciated in bygone years. They are okay treated as spinach. I still have leeks growing but not much else apart from stored potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes. Can't eat my pickled stuff, the mouth ulcers don't like them. I still have some frozen veg.

Another possibility with unsolicited phone calls (if one has nothing better to do)is to say 'Oh lovely, lovely, lovely, I have been longing for someone to talk to' and then carry on in whatever demented fashion one wishes.

@ Margaret

If ever Doug manages to do the whole pig thing, it is very important to have a nice natured boar; they are immensely powerful animals.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

There are often phone scammers that prey on the elderly (gotta watch that term as I'm soon to be included). Someone calls and says they're from Microsoft and there's a problem with your computer but they remotely take it over to "fix" it which in reality means they've stolen all your info. This happened to my mother-in-law when she lived here. She was so embarrassed that she fell for it but in the past had a support agreement with Microsoft so thought it was legit. Luckily she told us about the call and we were able to take the necessary steps but it sure was a pain.

In Chicago people can buy coupon books from McDonalds and some other chains to give out to the homeless on the street. One never knows if the person will buy drugs or alcohol when given money.

Big storms here last night though as most were south of us we were spared the worst.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - Oh, yes, we have starlings. So far, they haven't caused any kind of a consistent problem. Other than the noise from expelling wild cherry pits that roll down the mettle roof. What a racket! You might hear a bald eagle before you see one. Once you connect their distinctive screech with the bird, you have more of a chance of spotting them.

I was getting those Microsoft calls, for awhile. Someone heavily accented who just didn't quit seem to "get" that I didn't use Microsoft products. Only Apple. :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Helen - I'm always having people stopping by, wondering about buying this or that piece of tat. My landlords family has been on this piece of land for well over 100 years. And, they were all hoarders. Just the way my place is situated, anything that happens on this stretch of road ... well, they end up on my front porch.

It was particularly bad when my landlord's brother died. Brother Bob the Bachelor Farmer. Once word got around ... dozens of inquiries, every day. No, there wasn't going to be an estate sale. No, his brother didn't want to sell ANYTHING, at any price. I thought about posting a sign. But, having worked retail, I knew I'd just get "Now, your sign says ... is that true?" The feeling over here seems to be "It never hurts to ask." Many an interrupted nap. Many a meal that had to be pulled off the stove. I know, I rant. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - So sorry about your modem. Will there be a small funeral? Just close friends and family? :-). Why does "Pet Semetary" come to mind?

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. One definition of insanity, as I remember. Planned burns, here, are pretty controversial. Especially as more and more development infringes on wilderness. Spoils laundry on the line, don't you know. Not that anyone much hangs out the laundry, anymore :-). I think we'll see fewer and fewer planned burns. Generally due to the cost. Which is kind of circular as the increase in devastating forest fires, and the cost to fight them, comes out of the same government pot.

"Slow and steady, wins the race." Or, something to that effect. Norman Rockwell was an odd duck. Full of quirks and foibles. He worked 7 days a week, from early to late. If he was stuck for an idea, he's set aside a room with just a table, chair, sketch pad and pencils. He'd force himself to sit there for at least three hours, night after night, until he came up with something.

Well, off to the Little Smoke. "Luxe" is waiting for me, at the library. Might try for Longview, tomorrow, if the weather cooperates. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Well time waits for no person as they say and my youth is also long since disappeared too, so we shall simply avoid the term altogether and everyone will be the happier for it. I'm in very good spirits this evening as I went to the doctor and received the results from the biopsy and the spot was declared halfway between normal and cancer which they said was par for the course. Fortunately the doctor, took the entire spot out altogether so it is now gone. Yay! I still have stitches in my ear because they reckon there was a risk of the wound popping open - which frankly I'm not really comfortable about. So yeah, we're all getting older, but we're also living to fight on another day.

That scam is pretty unpleasant. Ouch identity theft is a real drama to fix and I once heard some big wig quip that in such a circumstance it is best to change one's name - and they were serious. Out of curiosity what did you have to do to correct that problem? This blog is the only thing that I have stored on the cloud, but not everyone feels that way about remote servers in different parts of the globe.

Coupons from McDonalds? Wow, I rather suspect that someone down here has given smart phones to the homeless as a pacifying tool. I have not eaten at a McDonalds for about two decades now, but they do seem to be lifting their game of late. The editor was listening to a Canadian podcast on marketing (Under the Influence) that was speaking about US chains heading overseas and the various disasters. I recall that Starbucks didn't do so well down under - I used to know the local ops manager for that chain too a long time ago.

Lucky you avoided the worst of the storms. I hope you got some rain though? It is funny how different locations can be spared the worst of storms from some directions but not others as the storms move through all the hills and valleys. Of course, your mountains are bigger than the ones here so it is probably even more pronounced (maybe).

I'm going to go off to the pub with the editor to celebrate my close scrape with the dude with the scythe. He gets all of us in the end, but it is nice to delay his activities a little bit. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

It is fortunate that the local tip accepts e-waste otherwise I wouldn't know what to do with this particular chunk of rubbish. Seriously, the things last two years. And the new one comes with more monthly interweb bandwidth, at a cheaper rate (go figure that one out) , and the thing is hugely fast, but the internal wifi signal in the house is lesser. So this afternoon I had to move the antenna and begin the process of re-routing the cables... What a pest and there is a hole in the wall that has to be plastered up.

Pet Semetary is a great analogy as I got a new one from the telco and some things work well, and some don't. Nobody really wants anything back from the pet semetary. I don't believe the cat worked any better than the baby... That was an outstanding story. Creepy, really massively creepy.

Anyway, whatever, I got the results back from the biopsy and they declared that the spot was unusual but not cancerous - thankfully. And the doctor cut the whole lot out which is why my ear has been sore. The stitches have to say in for a few more days as they didn't want to pull them out in case the wound popped open. Yay! Dodged a bullet.

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. The Aboriginals used to do lots of very small burns in a more or less regular patchwork pattern over every single inch of the continent. Even the government burns are better than nothing - but the size they try to do them on is just not right, but nobody wants to pay for the job to be done properly. It is a real problem. And the inevitable wildfires will happen again and then there will be a hue and cry and then nobody will want to pay for it. It is a tale of decline really.

Norman Rockwell sounded focused to me from your description of his work ethic. I've met people like that. Mind you I spent most of the day spreading manure around the remaining fruit trees (all 300 have now been fed) and then mowing for a couple of hours. The mowing replicates the process of the burn - which I'd be happy to explain if you were curious. I got a great aerial photo too from when I was up on the roof sorting out the antenna problem for this interweb thingee too.

Hope you had a good trip into the little smoke and I hope you enjoy the book Luxe? The ADR was very good today too and at least I feel I understood this weeks essay. :-)!

Gotta bounce as I'm off to the pub to celebrate my minor win over the guy with the scythe. It is only ever a minor win isn't it? Oh well.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I am so pleased that your ear has been pronounced okay even if I do think that 'halfway between normal and cancerous' means 'haven't got a clue'.

Am in the process of trying to get someone, who hates his job, to work for me which would let my oh so busy son off the hook. This chap has helped me out, on and off, for many years.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

So glad to hear about the positive results!! Hope you enjoyed the celebration.

My brother-in-law who is well versed in IT was able to remotely check her computer and then he installed more security software. We put a fraud alert on her account at all three credit agencies, changed passwords etc. Fortunately she told us the same day though it was just an off handed comment as she didn't realize that she had been scammed.

Even though McDonalds isn't a good food choice it's much better than having someone buying drugs or alcohol with a cash handout. It's too bad but you can't really know what the person's situation is. People below a certain income level can get free cell phones from the government.

We did get rain. Moisture hasn't been a problem at all even with the lack of snow as we've gotten rain storms instead of snow. There's no mountains anywhere near us. The land is pretty flat overall.

Today is court for the guardianship accountings. Hopefully we can move forward with Patrick's estate as well. After that my sister and I will go to the Walnut Room at Macy's, which has been in existence since 1907. It is in danger of closing though. Some years ago we discovered that lunch there was quite reasonable so we've made it a bit of tradition after court.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

What an exquisite description of Melbourne; I could just see and smell the place. I am glad that your encounter with the chugger didn't end in fistcuffs. I don't know what "I feel sorry for you dude" is suppose to mean. Probably just a trite response kept on hand to spit out when they come up against brick walls named Chris. I always tell them "I can't afford it", repeated as a mantra, over and over, if they persist. How can they argue with poverty . . . ?

What an impressive black cockatoo. I like that bit of yellow.

Hey, Toothy - that coat that you are wearing amongst the bounteous amounts of firewood looks like the same coat that you are wearing in all of your (4?!) photos this week. You are one busy fellow!

Did you nick that wheelbarrow from Mr. Sherlock?

How marvelously neat and tidy the pathways look! We still have all of the "Where's Waldo" books. How much our sons (and I) enjoyed them.

How on earth does a Poopy catch a blackbird? There was a horrible smell in my laundry room the other day. It is also used as a storage room and I was cracking the sads about having to move everything out and search for the dead body. Then I decided that the dead body was most likely in the dryer vent and so I turned on the dryer and, wha la, a poor dead sparrow shot out the vent outside. I assume it had flown in (I can't imagine how) to make a nest. I reckon that is a problem that you cannot have . . .

Your past comments on how you have stuck clippings of various fruit bushes, etc. in the ground to root them have caused me to do the same, though they are mostly in pots at the moment. Here's to a whole bunch of free plants!

Pam

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Glad the guy with the scythe gave you a reprieve this time, and enjoy celebrating with the editor!

@Margaret - thanks for your wish. We don't know yet if my mom will only need them temporarily. I have other family members who are on the same drug and have found through experience that they cannot stop taking it without their mood becoming much worse. My mom is having other difficulties now, maybe side effects of the antidepressant, maybe related to lack of sleep. It's time for her to go into a different living situation so I'll start working on that. It may not be easy; she is conflicted about moving, which I can fully understand. But with all her children 1000 miles or more distant, and because of other medical issues requiring her to stay in the area, I don't see another option at this point. The responsibilities of living alone are getting to be too much for her.

@Bukko - my heartfelt condolences to you.

Claire

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I'm happy to hear the news about your ear was good. Same with my jaw. Not cancerous, but on the way. I expect to hear from my oral surgeon, any day now, to get the followup checkup. Sleeping dogs, and all that. I think I'm going to have to call for an appointment at the clinic. Feels like I have a cyst on my back that should be seen to. Before I had Medicare, I just let them run their course, which was a months long affair and usually ended with ruined shirts and sheets. I finally invested in a good long handled back brush, and it hasn't been a problem. But, I really think due to the water situation, not being able to take showers as often as I did, or would like, is the reason it flared up again. Sigh.

Saw an article somewhere, recently, that stated that 80% of wildfires were human caused. Either by intention or accident.

Yup. I can at least follow the ADR, this week, without my eyes glazing over or nodding off :-). I find psychology a lot more interesting than philosophy. Speaking of psychology, I picked up "Luxe", yesterday, and read a couple of chapters last night. A couple of general thoughts I had was 1.) the amounts of money are obscene and 2.) I think a great deal of the luxe trade has to do with people's insecurities.

Which put me in mind of a couple of tv series I watched a couple of years ago, and a book. They were all about the development of the department stores in the late 19th and early 20th century. Which was pretty much about bringing formerly luxe items to the middle and upper middle classes. Creating demand where demand didn't exist, before. The first television program was "The Paradise" which revolves around a French department store. It was developed from a novel by Zola. In translation, it's either titled "Ladies' Paradise" or "Ladies Delight." It was interesting enough that I read the book. Same story, English version, was the series "Mr. Selfridge" which is a true story about a brash American who opened one of the first department stores in England.

Speaking of flogging stuff you really don't need, I'm off to Longview, this morning, to see if I can unload a bit of tat. Weather looks ok at both ends of the journey. A bit of rain, but that's not a problem. Snow in the forecast (again) for this weekend. Cliff Mass has a photo over on his blog of lightening hitting the Seattle Space Needle. Great picture. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I have just had time to scan the comments a bit and I see that you have received good news about your ear - it sounds like good news to me anyway!

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Ooops! I completely missed yours and Inge’s comments from yesterday. Apologies, I was a little bit distracted by the events of the day. I'm surprised to read that you have people hitting the streets for charity in your part of the country, but there you go. Around here the only people to do so would be the local CFA (Country Fire Authority) which is your RFS on Good Friday shaking the tin and I'm always generous with them. The bureaucracy involved in such an outing for the local brigade is a real nightmare. Go figure that one out. There is a lot of goodwill for the local brigades in rural areas though.

Scamming is a concern. And I mentioned that the Tax Office contacted me the other week and because apparently I didn't answer the phone with my business name, they demanded an ID check before talking to me. It was outrageous and I'd been in a hot warehouse on a 42 degree day and I'd only just sat down and was enjoying a frozen yoghurt at the time and I was totally done in that day. I possibly did a good approximation of your "grumpy old lady" routine. It is effective (nice work and respect to you!) and after much backwards and forwards with them I told them to go away and stop hassling me. It definitely was them and I have no doubts about it, but their procedures were very strange and I shared my opinions on that matter with them. Unlike me, I'm sure they were sitting in an air conditioned office...

Ouch. I feel for you with your deer problem and am also facing the same hard questions. I noticed yesterday that the deer had stripped the bark off a Douglas Fir and hopefully the tree recovers - I gave it a good feed. It is a problem that has no easy answer and I set the dogs onto the deer whenever they are about.

That is funny about the old army truck as when I lived in Fitzroy in Melbourne the guy on the corner owned a huge old army truck. The truck was registered and happily parked on the street. The owner had even maintained the canvas top and kept up the camouflage paint. It is a bit of a shame because I just checked Google Street view and the truck is not there anymore... My gut feeling is that if people want the truck to restore then, well, as long as the other neighbours noses don't get put out of joint by the loss of the truck, then it may not be a bad thing as someone went to a whole lot of trouble to manufacture the truck in the first place. But if it will upset the valley, then totally forget about it as nothing is worth that particular chance and memories are long.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I don't believe you have mentioned your dislike of soup before. Oh well, I don't much care for garlic, but everyone is different on a food front. If you had told me of your dislike, I would definitely not feed you a soup. Not everyone is that courteous and I accept those foibles as they arise. Of course, the fermented foods are very acidic so of course they would upset your ulcers. Out of sheer curiosity and I realise you may not see any of these, but have you ever considered consuming some mint leaves particularly either spearmint or common mint? They may be soothing.

An excellent suggestion for those nasty unsolicited phone calls. Yes, demented would do the trick very nicely!

It is funny that you wrote that they may not actually have a clue about what actually was happening because that is pretty much what they said. I sometimes feel that some topics are so complex, they are beyond our comprehension and so they gave it a fancy label and said that it was best to be safe with that particular one. A top observation of yours. ;-)!

I hope it works out getting someone to work for you. Have you ever wondered what people mean by the word "busy"? When I hear that word I often probe a little bit more searchingly and it is a difficult thing to get a straight answer on that matter.

I scored a massive collection of the most superb apples today. This all means that over the next day or so some apple wine will get produced! When in apples, make cider!

Cheers.

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks and we did enjoy the celebration. The night air was about 68'F and there was not a breath of wind. We sat outside the pub as the sun set and enjoyed a pint of local beer for me (chop shop which is a very hop infused ale) and the editor had a pint of local cloudy cider. The pub was quiet - it being a school night and all - but even, so people were coming and going. The outside tables are heavy timber and constructed to withstand the weather. There were even a few kids running around the paddock next to the pub. Another couple had two dogs, one of which had a prosthetic foot. People always bring dogs along to that pub for some reason. And after the sun went down a local bloke picked up a guitar and started belting out ballads. It was a really lovely night.

Yeah, adding additional security to a computer is a good idea. Every year I check the reviews to see who comes on top for security and then I go with them. I'm slightly dubious about free licenses for such things as you get what you pay for, but it is better than nothing. Thanks for explaining the process that you went through as I'd wondered about that.

Free cell phones sounds OK, but the other side of that arrangement is very unpleasant. Yeah, you can never really know anybody else's story. You do get glimpses and can infer things but it is really hard to ever know the underlying detail of the story.

Oh! Thanks for the mental picture of your landscape. I'd imagine the lack of terrain makes for a windy spot?

I hope things go smoothly and that you enjoy the traditions after all of the legal angst.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

As I write the descriptions, my mind walks through the scene and I try to pick the important bits, so I appreciate you writing that you enjoyed the description. I hope you notice the little description I put into the above comment to Margaret about the local pub last night? It is nice to be able to enjoy such local facilities and they should be supported during the quiet nights, anyway that's my excuse because I don't much like it on a weekend when the crowds are feral, although the staff handle the challenge with aplomb. It will be interesting to see what the winter brings with that place? Dunno.

I reckon he verbally tried to throw a knock out blow with that rather lame and silly comment, so you are not far wrong. I sort of felt sad for him that he thought that way. I reckon poverty is a good thing to claim. You know we go and pick unwanted fruit and convert it into jams and wines and down this way, people think that is a poor persons activity, but when the wines are brought forth and the jams are consumed on fresh baked bread...

The yellow was very jaunty wasn't it? And if you look carefully on the tail you can see a band of yellow too.

Toothy does all of the heavy lifting here. It is nice to have a Toothy to assist with the work. Good Toothy. And he is milling around my feet right now.

That is funny about the Sherlock wheelbarrow. Maybe it was Mr Watson, I presume? :-)!

Yeah, Where's Waldo was a bit of a classic wasn't it? Such simpler times.

Oh well, sparrows have to be careful where they put their nests too. You reminded me that many months ago an unfortunate and very chunky huntsman spider climbed into the flue on the backup instant on gas water heater - for those times when the sun is not shining and it is too warm for the wood box to be on - and it had unfortunately died of carbon monoxide poisoning in the flue and was just left sitting there staring at me until I removed the carcass...

Yes, free plants are a great thing, and I rarely purchase any plants nowadays and the whole lot self replicate. It is very considerate of all the plants to do so, don't you think?

Thanks about the ear. It was nice news to receive - a reprieve. It was also very considerate of the doctor to cut it completely out of my ear.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Many thanks and I for one am very glad of that news as down here with the extreme UV, skin damage is only a matter of time and as you age, you accumulate skin problems. The sun can be very surprising down here for people more accustomed to gentler climes.

The celebration was good and I quaffed a pint of a local ale whilst enjoying a chicken parmigiana (proper chicken breast), salad and chips. Yum! And then there was the lemon curd tart we shared for dessert.

I wish your mum the best too.

Regards

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Glad to read that your jaw fell into the same category as my ear and there is something to be said about inhabiting the middle ground, as it is not quite as good as one extreme, but perhaps it is much better than the other extreme. Sleeping dogs lying in the corner can bite, so it is best that they are not prodded. The metaphor for sleeping dogs came to my attention long ago through the song lyrics from an English rock band called "Pulp" and they wrote a song called "Common People". The lyrics are pure poetry and I recall that William Shatner even did a version of the song which is quite respectful of the original version. Captain Kirk has a heck of a strong voice.

Ouch. Getting older is one tough road mate. I don't frankly understand enough about how your Medicare system works to be able to understand what you meant when you wrote those words: "before Medicare..." What were the medical options for you before Medicare?

Down here apparently many wildfires are caused by human activity, whether it be deliberate or just stupid. And the just stupid category can also include apparent failures of the electricity infrastructure. What apparently happens on really hot days is that demand for electricity rises and some power cables - which are generally metal - begin to expand and then sag as they get hot from the electricity travelling through them. There is then the potential for a hot metal cable to sag and come into contact with vegetation and that can possibly ignite tinder dry vegetation. Stupid also includes farmers hitting rocks with their slashers which replicates the actions of a flint against stone in dry grass. There are also the campfires. Car crashes and even parking vehicles with hot exhaust manifolds on dry grass. Cigarette buts casually thrown into grass. Honestly if there were no people around causing mischief, the forest would reach a stable climax ecosystem within a few hundred years, but alas there are people causing mischief. I can recall two lightning strikes into trees in this mountain range over about a decade and even then the fires didn't travel much beyond the tree as local action was taken to put the fire out.

I found the previous two weeks of the ADR interesting, but I just frankly didn't understand why the divide took place in the first place. It almost felt as if somewhere long ago in the past people decided to come up with some justification for their actions and I would have liked to know more about that, but of course history is written by the victors and only includes the bits they want written about! ;-)! Yes, the amounts of money are obscene but look at the generalities of the process and you will see that it is a game of ever diminishing returns. I can see how the old trade systems came unstuck when faced with the industrial revolution. It is the same story going on today. And the wedges that were driven in families operating those luxury products houses makes for sad reading (although the story was recounted to me by the editor).

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

I can remember the early days of the supermarkets here and the days when everyone used to purchase food at small shops or the markets. The thing about the markets that struck me back then, and even today, is that it is a personal relationship. Because I buy up stuff in bulk at the market, the stall holders remember me and there is often a bit of banter, or just plain and simple acknowledgement of each other. A similar thing goes on here with the regular stores I shop at (feed store, machinery repair and supply place, soil place etc). But the experience at the supermarket is just weird because people at the register ask me how my day was and I don't know these people and I've never seen them before. And the big box store hardware store (which I do have a rather guilty enjoyment of shopping at... It is complex) all the staff ask: How are you today - and that also seems rather weird to me as they're not my mates and I never recognise any of them. It is sort of forced but in an uncomfortable way. Do they do that over in your part of the world?

How did you go offloading the tat in Longview? Fingers crossed for you! Last night the fog moved in and 0.5mm (1/50th of an inch) of rain fell and today was just overcast. But because the humidity was near 100% for most of the day so it just felt way hot.

Oh, I forgot to mention. I bumped into a neighbour this evening who offloaded some fresh apples onto me. Of course the editor and I had to pick them from his tree, but the tree was truly amazing and possibly as old as a century and there were hundreds and hundreds of apples on the tree. I see apple cider and apple wine making in my future. I did the thoughtful thing of taking around some eggs, tomatoes and a zucchini in return. The apple tree had split one of its branches because the fruit weighed so much and I offered to assist with the cutting process. It really needs to be pruned as winter rain may get into the split and cause further issues with the tree, but then again maybe not. Anyway, my offer of help got knocked back. I dunno really, I would have taken up the offer of help as the apple wood is particularly dense and hard timber and the wound needs the remaining summer heat to heal cleanly, but I could be wrong too. The old timers used to use such freebie timber for smoke curing meats and fish. Yum!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I was being a bit too dogmatic about soup. I will eat/drink it happily when offered it. I just don't make it myself because I prefer food that needs chewing. I had superb roast duck yesterday evening. One of my son's Muscovy ducks. They are huge and impossible to pluck so son strips the whole skin off. He says that they are huge, very strong and have large claws. He needs welding gloves on to deal with a male.

No I haven't tried mint but the ulcers aren't causing me a lot of discomfort so long as I keep off seriously acidic food.

Yes the word 'busy' can have an infinitely variable meaning.

I could understand ADR this week but don't think much of psychology have known analysts and psychologists who admit that it is all a scam!

Check out chat at the supermarkets is obligatory for staff here and it can come over as acutely awkward. The only ones who do it well seem to be the older women.

My looked for worker came today to say that he can't leave his hated job and work fulltime for me. His wife does not want him to leave his job because of the superb sick pay there. He will work for me one day a week. Drat.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I realise that I went off on a tangent with my ADR comment. Am definitely prejudiced but I believe that we haven't got a clue.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - "Let sleeping dogs lie". Robert Walpole, circa 1700. De facto first prime minister of England and the longest serving. Not to be confused with "If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas." Attributed to Ben Franklin, but found in latin, as far back as Seneca. :-).

"...before Medicare." Well, when I worked in libraries and bookstores, I had health insurance. Except when I was working as a substitute clerical. No benefits with that job. All and all, there were great periods of time where I had not health insurance. For about 15 years before the Medicare kicked in. I just crossed my fingers, took fair care of myself and hoped for the best. Try not and think about it, too much. Sometimes people would ask me "Oh! What will you do if you get sick or injured?" Lots of hand wringing. "Well, I die." Which people never seem to think of as an option. And, as I get older and older, it becomes more of an option. :-). When I did my round of doctoring last year, my regular doctor at the clinic wanted another round of x-rays, as I guess there was something disturbing about a lung picture. I never followed up. If I have lung cancer, I'm not going to do anything about it anyway, so why bother? Of course, having no significant other or progeny, I feel like I have more choice.

A few years back, quit by accident, a friend was coming to visit and noticed a branch that had fallen on an electrical line and burst into flames. Just down the road. I got right on the phone to the fire department and they squelched it before it got out of hand. One of the major blackouts on the east coast and parts of Canada, was traced back to a line sagging into a tree in Ohio or Indiana, or someplace. It caused a "cascading failure."

Margarets comment about flat and windy ... cities have nick names, and Chicago's is "The Windy City." :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Read another chunk of "Deluxe" last night. The early part of the book where they trace the development of all the Luxe companies, I found not so interesting. Corporate infighting and hostile take overs and all that. Now I'm getting into the more sociological aspects and find it a lot more interesting. The impact of the Japanese on that part of retail. The impact of Hollywood.

Oh, the check out clerks aren't overly friendly, from my point of view. They may ask how I am, or whatever. Did I find everything? It doesn't bother me, as I worked so much retail, I realize that it's probably part of corporate policy. And, if they don't that a "secret shopper" (read, corporate spy) may turn in a bad report on them. Sometimes I just answer with a "fine", and that's the end of it. If I'm feeling playful, I might say "Upright", or "Too early to tell." :-). Or just, "I'm here." Also, corporations are convinced of the studies that state that if you great customers and make eye contact, they are less likely to shop lift. I was in the veg store, the other day, and a young man nervously gushed that it was his first day. I told him that a.) I was old, b.) had had more first days then I could remember and c.) that I'd survived and was here to tell the tale. And that he'd do just fine.

The trip to Longview was ok. Overcast but no rain, going and coming. Transactions weren't so hot. He didn't want the two Currier and Ives prints, or, the dancing girl figures. So, my china cupboard looks like a burlesque show, again, and I have two prints I don't particularly like. He bought the Roseville pottery. Bought all items at auction, but different auctions. So, I suppose I could send them back to auction, but reverse the order. I did a part trade, as I had seen a little bronze I really liked. About four inches tall of an old bald guy with his nose stuck in a book, wearing an overcoat with the pockets stuffed full of books and newspapers. I found the artist, and it's German, sometime before 1907. I also spotted a cast iron or bronze turtle with a baby turtle clinging to the edge of mom's shell. Not too old, and more just "decor." When all was said and done, I came out about $10 ahead. Big whoop.

That was quit an apple score. And, wise of you to gift a bit of gelt, in return. What, you didn't expect the man to pick the apples, box them up and deliver them to your door? :-). I'd guess that the fellow had already worked out in his mind that he'd offer to let you pick apples. He'd established the boundaries. Your offer to work on the tree pushed those boundaries and probably caught him a bit flat footed. His "no" might be more of a "let me think about it." I wouldn't be surprised if you hear back from him after awhile. Then again, if he's not harvesting the apples and doesn't much value the tree, it may never cross his mind, again. Also, mixed up in there somewhere is how much obligation, to you, he wants to take on.

Snow in our forecast for the weekend. But it's "hit and miss", "not much" and "won't last long." I noticed coming home, yesterday, that there was snow on some of the hills that are not much higher than mine. It was clear enough that I got "another view" of the snow situation Lew

Damo said...

RE: Cadwal Chronicles
Yes, the "solution" (such as it was) definitely bought them breathing space. To me, it seemed the characters (and Vance) knew that that sort of thing could only work if strict control on population was maintained. I also loved the complex social rules and etiquette which developed as a sort of filter / justification for those lucky enough to stay in the circle of privilege. You see it everywhere today of course, silicon valley entrepreneurs are held up as paragons of economic and social development, lifters and leaners, job creators and other such nonsense catch phrases that pollute our airwaves. Human nature I suppose, people need an internal narrative to justify why they have more than others.

Vances biography was pretty good I thought, definitely worth a look for fans. By the end I felt like I was saying goodbye to a friend.

RE: Infinite Jest
I am moving forward, enjoying it for the most part. Different narratives are drawing closer together, although right now, at 6 or 7 chapters in, I would struggle to say what the book is about. No doubt this will come into focus as I progress further. Do I need to read the footnotes? I am forced to use an inferior kindle e-book version and the footnotes are at the end with no easy method for flicking back and forth, so far I have ignored them.

A couple of days ago a few friends, Mrs Damo and myself took some off-road motorbikes across the Mekong River for a day ride. Even in villages less than 15km as the crow flies from Luang Prabang, the children would run out to wave and shout at us, white people on large motorbikes still unusual and therefore exciting. One Hmong village proved quite the adventure to reach. Maybe an hour into our ride, a friend pointed up a nearby mountain and said it is possible to ride to the top, although the track is 'a little rutted in places'. Mrs Damo and a friend, rightly suspicious of the vague description, and on motorbikes just a little too heavy for their weight, elected to remain at the bottom. The rest of us, slightly apprehensive, set off up a narrow rutted track, that maybe once in the distant past could be traversed in a high quality small 4WD. In any sort of rain it would be impassable except on foot.

After 40 minutes we reached the summit and arrived at a small village, with maybe 20-30 Hmong families and a small concrete school building. Pigs, goats and chickens ran everywhere across a very dusty and eroded landscape. One of the bamboo houses did have a solar panel attached, although it was very dusty. I don't know where they got water from, 500-600m back down the trail the vegetation suggested a spring might be nearby. I saw no scooters in the village and was led to believe that few of them have ever left the village. Apparently, enterprising sorts come up from the valley come to trade occasionally. However, they were all smiles at our obnoxious loud bikes and everyone crowded around us. None of could speak Hmong, I tried some basic Lao but got no responses. After a few minutes, not wanting to intrude more than we already did, we set off on the much more dangerous downward return journey, amazed at places so close, yet so remote and poor.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for the explanation as I was sort of confused and thought that perhaps soup was a not on the menu sort of food item. Over winter I love thick and chunky vegetable soups. Yum! Plus, I mean lentils and other legumes are not that far removed from soup when cooked, don't you reckon? And pea and ham soup is superb! Roast duck is superb isn't it, but home grown Muscovy ducks would be the whole next level. I am rather envious of that roast duck. A mate who I haven't seen for a while trained as a chef but didn't like the hours but he could make a very yummy Peking Duck. Yum! That is very astute with the welding gloves. I use those gloves with the fire box here to handle the firewood into the combustion chamber. The first year I used Riggers gloves and they weren't long enough so my forearm started getting all of these burn marks which looked like some sort of self harming episode, but were actually from the many accidental scrapes with the wood heater. It didn’t look good.

Fair enough, the mint will definitely assist with reducing acidity.

Busy has a very wide definition and is used to explain all manner of behaviours these days.

Yup, I find exactly the same thing in that the older cashiers are better able to negotiate social situations and am not sure whether the social arts have been lost or it is an experience thing - or even perhaps a mix of the two situations. What do you think about that?

One day per week can get a lot done. I limit the firewood activities to one day per week and if a person keeps at it then the job eventually gets done. I worked on firewood today and the job is almost finished. Getting other people to work here is a complex problem and one which I have not solved yet. There have been some unusual legal cases that adversely affect that matter. All in good time though.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Wow, what a character. Robert Walpole was a giant. He was also smart enough not to bleed the treasury dry: "Walpole's strategy of keeping Great Britain at peace contributed greatly to the country's prosperity." I have been down a rabbit hole this evening of words about that bloke. Thanks for mentioning him.

OK, I still can't quite understand why companies pay for health insurance for their employees? Down here individuals pay 2% of their income to the government which is administered by the federal government who pays for health care costs - of course there may be a small top up with some procedures, and elective procedures are generally paid for by individuals (or private health insurance). Out of curiosity, do companies ever go bust leaving unpaid medical bills or do they on pay their employee obligations to an insurer?

I hear you about the lung cancer and it is your choice after all. I get that. Sir Scruffy has a small abscess on hit foot and someone was judging me about it. The abscess doesn't smell, isn't getting any larger, and is not oozing any fluids so I'm just treating it with a topical application and he looks like he will heal just fine. Apparently this is not acceptable for some people. So yeah, I hear you.

It is very funny that you mention the cascading failure, but mate I heard this on the radio today and was wondering about it... SA power infrastructure repairs begin after fires at Adelaide's Torrens Island Power Station. SA refers to the state of South Australia and I'm personally wondering how close to the bone is too close to the bone?

I did not know that Chicago is also known as the windy city. If one has wind (excuse the slip of the fingers there!) then little wind turbines would probably be a great idea. It isn't windy at all here but I did find that out by experimenting with a wind turbine. That device gave me two months of heartache.

Yes, I thought you may be interested in the sociological aspects. And yes, the matters of the Japanese and Hollywood was fascinating wasn't it?

It is interesting that you mention the corporate spies, but the editor used to work as a student for one of the big department stores here and that was back in the day when department stores used to push for their own in house credit card. I saw the rise of the credit card and can remember the days when an unsolicited credit card turning up in the mail was treated as if it was a gift from the devil. Of course that may be selling the devil cheap, but really I remember them turning up in the mail and my mum cutting them up because she knew what it meant. Long after those days, aspirations soon exceeded incomes and well, here we are.

cont...

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I agree that one day a week can get a lot done and am going to feel very grateful for it.

I also agree about thick soups and love making a split pea soup with Son's belly pork but it is the only soup that I make.

Check out chat and ease of: I would think that abilities in this direction are linked to both experience and degree of extroversion. Compare the eager chatty child with the shy one.

I was watching a food programme on television yesterday evening was irritated by it but thank goodness I didn't turn it off. It went on to the subject of the Incas and potatoes. It appears that these were originally both bitter and poisonous and the Incas bred this out over thousands of years. Of course this is still the case where they go green. But the startling info. was the fact that the original bitter ones still exist and the Incas take them high into the mountains to freeze them. Then stamp the skins off them and thaw them out. They are then dried and become a great preserved food. We are told that a frozen potato is ruined so I was stunned by this.

I suspect that Lew might like to research this.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Still, you have the experience of the trade in Longview and it makes for a good war story. I spent today cutting, hauling, splitting and stacking firewood... I'm pretty certain that we've gone overboard with the storage, but I just have no idea what the weather is going to be like in the winter. I predicted an early autumn only to find that I'm in the midst of spring this week.

Ha! I don't think so about expecting the dude to deliver the apples. :-)! The apple tree was a beautiful sight to behold, absolutely stunning and no doubts you and I will be long gone before the many apple trees here look like that. I can absolutely 100% understand why our forebears revered the apple tree so highly.

I hope I do hear from the dude because I can do the job on the apple tree quickly and simply and only ever intended it to be a goodwill thing. The Sicilians on the other hand say things like: "I don't collect favours, I collect debts." But that is not my style at all. I once read a story involving the Fairies and a human said to the fairies that they would like to stay with the fairies there forever. And the fairies wisely cautioned the human that one outcome of that arrangement would be that the fairies could kill the human and bury them there so that the desire is fulfilled. Nuff said really and the Sicilians may face that particular choice too. Dunno. Sometimes I can scare people by being overly competent and in those cases I back away and let them travel their own journey. What else can you do?

Nice to read that you even have a snow situation! I like the sound of that. The sun is shining here and every day is around 30'C / 86'F. It is quite nice really.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Yeah, the story as it unfolded really did solve some problems for them and bought them breathing space. The social rules and arrangements were pretty good weren't they? Have you ever read the Demon Princes series? That explored the policing arrangements in that Universe a little bit further and, well, I just sort of liked the story too.

The main problem these days is that those types appear to be acting like Smaug the Dragon sitting on a pile of wealth and not wanting to spend it. Consumer economies need consumers to work, and piles of gold are not really conducive to a working consumer economy.

Thanks for writing that and I would feel much the same about the biography.

Ha! You know, I reckon you have to go with the limitations of your kindle device and just ignore the awesomely page spreading footnotes. They are literally (!) out of control. It is too much for my poor brain to keep track of. Of course you may do better in that regard. Incidentally if you discover the underlying story of that book, please don't hesitate to share your insights. ;-)! That's a bit cheeky, but seriously the footnotes were out of control. Check out the film (End of the Tour) if you are at all interested in the guy that the author was. The actor Jason Segel did an awesome job of that portrayal and absolutely smashed the role.

What a story and I commend Mrs Damo for her incredible common sense not to take that path.

I was wondering where the Hmong families got their water from too? Maybe they had sunk a well in that location? Or maybe there was a spring? Dunno. Water is an interesting and complex subject which you will find if you come back down under and purchase land. Interestingly too, perhaps the property market may be teetering a little bit as the state government has been applying pressure on land tax - which is payable on commercial or any other property other than your primary residence (i.e. vacant land, second houses, rentals etc.) The property market down under appears to me to be crazy.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The freeze dried potatoes are called chuno and can keep for years.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Strangely enough, I watched a DVD not long ago about seed saving and seed banks, world wide. There was a whole section on potatoes / Peruvian native people and the Andes.

They have hundreds of varieties of potatoes. All shapes and colors with different flavors. Some grow at different elevations or in different micro climates. Potatoes can be frozen / freeze dried if you can get the moisture out. The Incas figured out how to do that, as parts of their climate are very cold ... and dry. They were a bit vague on the actual mechanics, but it's a natural process with little external energy input.

You may have read how every once in awhile, a mummy turns up in the Andes, thousands of years old, in pristine condition. Well, they weren't mummified, per se. It was just a natural freeze drying process.

Part of the program was about how until recently, family feuds or inter village tensions caused a lot of un-cooperation between different native groups. But now, they realize the importance of preserving as many varieties as possible, especially given climate change. So, the native people are cooperating in establishing some communal fields that are just to have a back up "pool" of seed stock of as many varieties of potato, as possible. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Employer's and health insurance. It's complicated :-). Back in the day, there was more of a "social contract" between employers and employees. Some of this came out of humanitarian interest and social pressure. Some of it was just to lure good loyal workers to this or that company. In times of low unemployment, benefits get a bit more lavish. And once in place ... There's also the impact of unions. Unions usually negotiated health benefits as part of their contracts. Most programs were part paid by the employer, part paid by the employee. In the past few decades, the negotiations are for employers to pay less and less, and employees to pay more and more. Which can lead to labor unrest, strikes, etc..

Part of the US labor laws require employers to provide health insurance for permanent, full time employees. In some industries or businesses. "Permanent" vs temporary and "full time" can be pretty flexible terms. So, most companies, to reduce costs try and hire as many "temporary" people as possible. And, to keep their hours under a certain level (seems to vary from place to place) so that the employee is not officially "full time." A great deal of my time at the library I was a "temporary clerical." For years. And they never envisioned the position of "Sub Clerical II" as being anything like full time. I made it so. :-). Which I think made Human Resources nervous. But I never pushed for benefits. I probably would have had to sue, or something. And, if I had made such a move, I'd just be let go ... or, they'd really ride heard on my hours and make sure I wasn't working anything close to full time.

LOL. For awhile, I pulled a fast one. My pay periods were every two weeks. I wasn't supposed to work over 40 hours a week. Otherwise, they would have had to pay overtime. Well, some weeks I'd work less than 40 hours, some weeks, more. My hours were reported in two week chunks, and came in from many library branches. So, unless you sat down with my time sheets from multiple branches, and figured it out by hand, it was hard to spot. It took them over a year to catch on. Then, I just played dumb. :-). "Oh, I thought as long as I didn't run over 80 hours for a two week pay period, it was o.k?" :-).

Employer and employee pay to a private insurance company, administered by the business. As contracts. When the contracts were up, there was always a lot of scrambling around to find the best "deal." But as the years past, costs went through the roof, deductibles rose, coverage for different things got thinner and thinner. So, if a company goes bankrupt, everything just ends, and no one is on the hook. Except the ex-employees no longer have health insurance. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. There was a recent book by Ted Koppel (a pretty respected reporter who's been around quit awhile) called "Light's Out." About how fragile our electrical grid is. If seven points were brought down, the whole thing would collapse. What's concerning, is that one of those points was taken out in a well organized attack, a few years ago. And no one's every figured out who or why that happened. Mainly the book was concerned with the grid being taken down by hacking.

Read the chapter on perfume in "Deluxe", last night. Interesting stuff. I got to thinking about the comment you made over at ADR about accepting and working with the world as it is. Somehow or another, I connected that to ... well, there was this one bit in the book where the author talked about how years ago she bought some perfume for gifts and what a special experience that was and how the whole thing had an aura of "understated elegance." And how rah, rah, over the top the experience is, now. So, we accept and work with the world as it is now, and give up service, quality and a buying experience that has a certain ambience as a special occasion? Are we "spiritually" poorer, because of that?

I always got glowing reports from the corporate spies, when I worked in bookstores. And, my regional manager could never figure out how, when I'd relate to her some of the things I said to customers. I explained that most people, on reflection, knew when they were being stupid, and would not want to complain and display their stupidity. Or, maybe i was just lucky :-)

Well, the whole apple tree thing. To you goodwill. To the owner, maybe favors and debts. A lot also probably depends on his dealings with other people, in the past.

You may, or may not know that Washington, D.C. is renowned for it's cherry trees. Hundreds were planted in 1912 as a gift from the Japanese government. Little did we know ... little did they know ... Anyway. They're getting ready to bloom and it will be the earliest bloom on record. Usually, it's mid April. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge and Lewis,

I sat down tonight and wrote tomorrows blog so have completely run out of time to reply and promise to reply to you both tomorrow.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

The TV programme showed that it was a really hard job getting through the work that these potatoes required. The first job being the very difficult trek up to a height where they could be frozen. Of course it was full family participation and the sort of physical work that so many first world people would no longer be capable of or even consider doing.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Still snow in the forecast, through Monday night, but not a flake to be seen. Through breaks in the clouds, I can see a good covering of snow on the higher hills. Very windy and quit bitterly cold.

I ran into town yesterday to pay some bills and at our local Safeway had to run the ultimate gauntlet of chuffers. Girl Scouts flogging their cookies. One young miss got a bit pushy so I arranged my fingers in the sign of the cross and screeched "Back Satin! Have you ever read the ingredients on those boxes? Are you trying to kill me?!" She burst into tears and retreated back to the gaggle of girls (what IS the collective noun for Girl Scouts? A pack?). They advanced, en mass, and beat me roundly (and soundly) about the head and shoulders with their boxes of cookies.

I later stopped by the club for a restorative cuppa and to pull myself, together. Someone's grannie came in flogging a huge carton filled with boxes of Girl Scout cookies! They're everywhere!

There was an article about some fellow developing tiny artificial bees to solve the pollination crisis. Over on NPR. Seemed fairly silly, as each bee (so far) must be individually controlled like a mini drone. Hand pollinating seems a lot less complicated. But, so "old school". So ... not high tech. My questions is, can they produce honey? :-)

Besides the Oxford comma, I discovered the Oxford "that." When to use "that" and when to use "which." Descends into the murky depths of grammar, where no one can make up their minds as to which is proper use. It's crazy making.

Read the chapter in "Deluxe" last night, about the fetish for handbags. Can shoes be far behind? Also read the introduction to "Pandora's Lunchbox: How Processed Foods Took Over the American Meal." (Warner, 2013). Watched the first episode of "Brokenwood Mysteries." Good police procedural set in an exotic place (New Zealand), current day with quirky characters. Is New Zealand considered a kind of down home, "country/western" kind of a place? They seem to play that up, a bit. The lead detective wears pointy cowboy boots and the sound track is heavy on country/western music. Down under style.

What, pray tell, is "...idealized stick chicken body shape?" Inquiring Minds Want to Know. :-). Lew



Bukko Boomeranger said...
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