Monday, 20 February 2017

Was it worth it?



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

The process of writing a weekly blog is an interesting experience. A few weeks ago, I received an unsolicited offer asking me if I’d be interested in providing comments on other websites for financial rewards. It is nice to consider that my Internet voice is important enough to attract such a financially rewarding offer. However, I rather suspect that the offer was randomly sent to thousands of other Internet bloggers. And to be honest it is probably best for everyone involved that I don’t take up the offer. The reason for that is that I would soon become distracted and foolishly speak my mind. The mysterious group who had offered me the financial rewards would perhaps then get upset and honestly who wants that situation?

“What is the trade off in your life?
What did you pay? what is your price?
What did you weigh it up against?
Was it worth it?”

As I type out these words on the computer keyboard, the weather outside the window is a very un-toasty 7’C (44’F) and earlier today the thick clouds dumped hail and rain.
Hail pelted down here this afternoon
Summer in this small corner of the continent has been absent this year. However, not too far north of here, summer has been very noticeable indeed and up there they have smashed long standing weather records due to heat. Further north again and the rainfall from the tropical monsoons has been very intense and unrelenting and some remote communities are now having food dropped in by aircraft as the roads are all but impassable. And the south western corner of Western Australia just enjoyed a record summer rainfall event and subsequent flooding.

I’m not complaining about the absent summer, as I can clearly recall that last summer here was a very different experience and I endured 10 days of air temperatures (recorded in the shade) which were above 40’C (104’F) which was something of a new record for heat.

“You've gotta stay fed but you've gotta stay friends
What I'd do for that roof over my head
The blood; the sweat; the tears I've shed
What I'd bend for the ends well, that depends
On the prize and the pride of the name I inherited
Dirty hands; clean heart; rose up from the sediment
I ain't trying to build a mansion or expand a settlement
Or be an empty headed guest on Letterman, fire!”

And in amongst all of those extreme weather related events I receive an offer to provide comments on other websites for financial rewards. If I were to make any comments on other websites I might say something which would embarrass everyone such as: Conservatives don’t know the first thing about conserving; whilst Liberals don’t seem open to new ideas or remotely respectful of opinions that differ from their own. And who wants to read those ironic opinions, let alone pay for them?

The extreme weather over parts of the continent this summer have presented certain challenges to the infrastructure. And this challenge can be seen in the occasional article in the newspapers about failure or potential failure of the infrastructure due to an extreme weather related event. The other day I spotted such an article about the challenges to the infrastructure in a city in another part of the continent which has been having a much hotter and drier summer than the gentle absent summer here. Basically, the newspaper article was suggesting that the extreme heat would create a strain on the mains electricity grid which would perhaps result in supply outages. There was even a polite request for restraint on behalf of households in that city.

The article and the request sounded very civil to me, however I became curious about the public reaction and checked out what people were saying in the comments. And almost the first comment following the article wrote:

“The solar panels are the problem, they attract more sunlight and the panels also get hot.
Coal doesn’t do this, look at England they have been burning coal for hundreds of years and their countryside is lush and green.”

If I’d written that rather entertaining comment, most long term readers would believe that I had gone completely bonkers, or been paid a boatload of mad cash! Unlike the nameless (and possibly well remunerated) commenter, I don’t believe that solar panels are the problem. But neither do I believe that solar panels are the solution. And who wants to read those opinions, let alone pay for them?

As many long term readers will know by now, the house here is not connected to the electricity grid. In the past seven years solar photovoltaic panels have produced most of the electricity requirements for the household. In fact in the past three years, I have only run the backup generator for a few hours at the end of one very cloudy and dark winter’s week. Solar power is a fantastic energy source, however it sets some rather harsh upper limits on a households electricity consumption. And who wants to read those opinions?

“You compromise so much that you
Forgot what you want
You are the sum of it all
Is that what you want?”

On Friday, the editor and I woke up before the sun had even graced the farm with its presence – if it could even shine through the thick layer of fog hanging over the mountain range. The sky was dark, and well, like that commenter mentioned above, I made little sense until I’d enjoyed a strong coffee. Fortunately, a coffee was to be had, and whilst I enjoyed that, the sun finally rose through the thick fog. The editor and I then headed off to a nearby agricultural show: The Seymour Alternative Farming Expo. Who doesn’t love an agricultural show? There were strange machines which I could now identify as manure spreaders (courtesy of the contrary farmer / author Gene Logsdon who wrote a most excellent book on manure titled: Holy Shit!). There were animals for purchase, some of which were heritage breeds. And most importantly there were outstanding charcoal grilled lamb souvlaki’s (can't do that with solar panels)!

Speaking of heritage animals for sale, we purchased a trio of young Silky chickens. The editor and I couldn’t go past the trio which were: Brown; Black; and Grey coloured. When you purchase animals at an agricultural show you have to then work out how to transport those animals back to your property. Chickens are transported in a ventilated cardboard box which is stowed in the back of the car for transport. I don’t recommend trying that method with a sheep.

By the time the editor and I returned to the farm, I was cool, I mean the air temperature was cool here at only 18’C (64’F) as summer seems to have left the building!
The author displays the cardboard box containing the three new silky chickens
The chickens were then unceremoniously dumped in the chicken enclosure. Other people suggest a slow introduction for the new chickens and perhaps that is a good idea which may be worth considering in the future.
The chickens were then unceremoniously dumped in the chicken enclosure
The new silky chickens quickly proceeded to do what all chickens do naturally – look angry at their new comfy circumstances.
The new silky chickens are rather grumpy about their new comfy circumstances
Despite the continuing cool weather, the tomatoes are slowly starting to ripen.
Despite the continuing cool weather, the tomatoes are slowly starting to ripen
The blackberries in the area are producing enormous quantities of fresh berries. It is rather unfortunate that the local council in their wisdom has also sprayed herbicide onto vast swaths of the blackberries. It was considerate of them to leave signs saying that they had done so. I’m rather uncertain at the goal of the spraying because two years later the plants will have sprouted new canes and berries. Concerned readers can be assured that I am not picking from the sprayed plants.
Frozen blackberries from the local area
There was a bit of concern that the melon vines had not pollinated as there were many flowers but not much in the way of developing fruit. The native blue banded bees which live here have done a sterling job in pollinating the flowers and there are now small melons all over the place. I just hope they get enough sun to ripen.
The native blue banded bees have done a sterling job in pollinating the flowers on the melon vines
And the earliest and largest melon is continuing to grow larger!
And the earliest and largest melon is continuing to grow larger
The zucchini’s (courgettes) are going feral and in only one week a zucchini has grown to this feral size:
The zucchini’s (courgettes) are going feral
Cool weather doesn’t seem to have affected the apples as they are having a very good season:
Apples are having a very good season
The regular supply of rain this summer has meant that the fig trees, which are still very young, have produced some figs.
The young fig trees have produced some figs
All this talk about food started me thinking about what sort of fuel I consume for breakfast on a work day. When I was a child people used to say that: eggs and bacon on toast was the breakfast of champions. I prefer fresh fruit on homemade toasted muesli to fuel me through a long work day. Anything less substantial and by the end of the day I can feel the difference.
My usual breakfast before a long work day
And long work days can indeed be long as the editor and I put away another 5 hours of firewood processing this week. It is in the nick of time too as it has been so cold here over the past two days that we have been running the wood heater today (in summer!).
Another 5 hours of firewood was processed this week
When the winds are still and I step outside of the house, I can smell the scent of honey. The reason for that scent is that in the trees surrounding the farm, the very tall eucalyptus trees (Eucalyptus Obliqua) are in flower. This is the first time in years that the trees have flowered. Incidentally the trees here are the second tallest flowering trees on the planet, which makes the flowers difficult to photograph. Observant readers will note in the next photo that the flowers are small fluffy white blobs, one cluster of which is in the centre of the photo. I am not seeing the same variety of trees flowering in other parts of the forest.
The tall eucalyptus trees surrounding the farm are in flower
And I like to end the blog with some flower photos for the benefit of the people living in the cold Northern hemisphere:
Eggplants produce beautiful flowers
Lavender, geranium and salvia’s produce a colourful display
Agapathus are flowering strongly and the bees enjoy their many hardy flowers

Nasturtium is a reliable summer green for the chickens and it produces huge quantities of insect attracting flowers. It also works well in Vietnamese coleslaw
The mint family of plants produce flowers in high summer as this oregano is doing
“Once more at a crossroads, looking up at signposts
All of those lies you'll never live and cannot know
So I wonder, will I wander or hold my line”

With respect to the Australian hip hop band the Herd for their thoughtful and excellent song: The sum of it all

The temperature outside now at about 8.00pm is 13’C (55’F). So far this year there has been 84.4mm (3.3 inches) which is the same as last week’s total of 84.4mm (3.3 inches) - there looks as if there is some sort of error with the official rain gauge as yesterdays rain was not recorded.

75 comments:

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I would be very wary of that financial offer to comment; it sounds weird to me. Hmm, 'trade offs' I have decided that I don't want to go there. A cursory glance at my past with this in mind, suggests that there is probably a lot of pain there which is best left sleeping.

It is 52F here this morning which is ridiculously high for February. I am not complaining as it saves me on heating; the cold is bound to return.

I love your silkies but can't persuade son to get some, such a pity!

I have abandoned ADR for the time being, seems to be too much effort for a dubious return; though I admire your attempt to keep commenting there.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Glad to read that the father of the dogs returned home. The last time Poopy and Toothy headed off into the deep dark forest on a joint adventure, Toothy clearly became stuck in some sort of trouble (perhaps in a wombat hole) and Poopy ditched him in his hour of need. Poopy returned alone, and Toothy returned many long hours later. Dogs can be fickle creatures.

Well, you are clearly better versed in philosophy than I. I'm struggling with the concepts because my brain just doesn't work that way and once terminology gets introduced I tend to vague out for some reason. Philosophy is like learning another language and I struggle with that, and I don't really know how other people view that process? My brain works better with stories and concepts, rather than terminology. It reminds me of travels overseas where I pick up languages through use without worrying too much about the syntax. Language books, maths, and music all fixate on the syntax and I'm lost at that point. Philosophy seems to hinge on the syntax and I'm lost there too. That isn't a criticism but more of an explanation.

Yes, I would feel exactly the same feelings. I'm so sorry for your lost memories. If it means anything to you, I've always tried with buildings to respect the original building and repair that. Where it was impossible to repair and that happened once, I replaced the building with a solid and well proportioned replica. I once had a real estate agent tell me that a house that I'd constructed from scratch was an excellent renovation...

Sometimes people construct reproductions that have the incorrect proportions (like strangely low ceiling heights or incorrect materials) and they just look wrong.

That is exciting isn't it? You are running at about the same stage that I would be at if the seasons were turned upside down. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Oh yeah, log splitters really do save your back and shoulders. I hear you. Of course, my little electric one is another form of summer sun preservation. The twisted grains are the toughest firewood rounds to split. I saw a petrol driven splitter at the farming expo and it didn't seem much tougher than the bigger electric one. Dunno. If everything to do with firewood was manual, the house would be very cool, but liveable over deep winter.

That makes sense about the ability to heat the full house with a single wood heater. Someone once suggested that I get multiple wood heaters for all of the different tasks that the heater here tackles and clearly that person had never harvested, prepared or stored firewood... I mean what do you say to that?

I hear you and there are costs and benefits with all of those sorts of systems. My gut feeling is that your winters will become more humid with time and that will probably resolve that problem.

It is challenging isn't it? My brain works in stories and once terminology is introduced my eyes glaze over and well, I'm not taking it in for some reason. Your college course would have stressed me out, and you tackled them in a manner which was extremely thoughtful. Just for your interest, I took Australian politics in High School and had an extremely good teacher and scored an A in the final exams. That teacher had me writing 1,000 word essays every couple of days until it became a natural skill. The level of homework at that school in the final year was about 3 hours per night which in retrospect seems quite a lot. And if the homework wasn't completed you could count on being detained after school when there wasn't sports training two nights a week and competition on Saturdays. The editor went to a government school and had no idea that such things went on.

Alas that your nephew is more correct than he knows.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yes, perhaps it is getting obsessive? I do rather enjoy the chickens. :-)! Actually, there are other projects calling for my attention, unfortunately. The strawberries have to be resolved as the rats have eaten all of them since the first few berries of the season. Fortunately, the leeches are most likely feeding on the rats so that is some sort of cold comfort.

It is funny that you mention that about the tiny houses, but second dwellings on properties down here are called "granny flats". And I won't mention that I have seen some children dispose of their parent’s wealth in such an arrangement, but then... You know, I've never seen a tiny house anywhere, but I will keep an eye out for them in urban areas now. Of course, the US is often well ahead of us in new trends. The property here has an as of right to construct a bed and breakfast building, so time will tell how I play that card. Urban areas don't necessarily have an as of right to construct a second dwelling on a single property title.

Thanks for the film review. Of course, Peter Dinklage is a fine actor and I have seen him in many films. I've never watched Game of Thrones but we have spoken about that lack in the past. The story line in the books could use some editing as the ideas are just vast and my feeling is that that has become a burden for George RR Martin. That story sings to me in his writing.

Enjoy your Chinese food. I am particularly fond of Xiao long bao which is a superb soup in a dumpling. What a genius cuisine. Enjoy your craving. Do you have a lot of choice in cuisine in your part of the world? Do you get little out of the way real deal places like we do down here? I must no longer speak of homemade pizza's, but far out those things are good. The pizza's at the pub are good too. Oh, sorry, I broke my rule about not speaking about pizza's! Hehe! Now you've got me wondering about fish and chips. So much food, so little time... Enjoy your feed!

Oh, a correction. The bird may have been an egret, but upon consulting the photographic field guide, I now discover that the bird was perhaps a White faced heron which apparently doesn't necessarily live close to the water. I hope it is not nesting on my roof as it was circling around a lot. Thanks for the possible suggestion of the cranes and herons up in your part of the world. Hey, I've noticed common blackbirds have moved in here this year too. They haven't displaced any species that I'm aware of but they do seem rather flighty if disturbed. I wonder what they are eating in the garden beds?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

No, the house spiders are pretty inoffensive and they hang around in webs in the corner and don't seem to bother anyone. Yes, methylated spirits is not a bad idea for that bite. I get many bites from all manner of unpleasant critters when I remove the grass from around the trunks of the fruit trees and so I hear you. Anti-histamine is probably not a bad idea either and please get it checked if it doesn't heal. Out of curiosity, did the Roman house snake have anything to do with Set? That God seemed to get a bad rap in Robert E Howards Conan stories. When it wasn't an evil wizard, it seemed to be a follower of Set. Don't laugh, but pythons get into houses up in the tropical north and they eat pets. Watch out Poopy!

Enjoy the show! Such things seem to be making a comeback - if they had ever gone away in the first place. How good are old buildings? The construction techniques that went into them was superb and I often look on those details with awe. Nowadays those beams probably wouldn't get certification! I mentioned that last year I met a local owner builder who had that problem with his house in that he'd installed huge trusses from an old cinema and finding an engineer to certify the trusses was a nightmare for the guy. Mind you, it also didn't stop him building with them and the house is still standing today, albeit in an uncertified condition. I wouldn't have taken that approach as the building process is very much a legal process.

Well done you for scoring the wins with those auction lots. Did the rain keep away some of the usual punters at the auction? Such things are only worth what people will pay for them, but I am impressed at your entrepreneurial activities.

I often take the back roads too as there is not much to see on the freeways. You may be interested to know that outside of the city boundary, most freeways are pretty quiet and the only reason that you would get caught in traffic is because of an accident, an event, or roadwork’s. Then most people live in the cities down here. I like those old domed buildings as they have a feeling of solidity and authority about them.

There are a few brutalist architecture examples down here. Nice use of concrete folks. They are apparently celebrated in architectural circles, but I can't help the feeling that they are laughing at us. They look like bunkers to me - the sort you'd see up along the coast in the north of the continent when machine gunners manned the bunkers to prevent against WWII Japanese aerial attack. Those installations are quite decayed nowadays. There are apparently tank traps in the dunes too, whatever they are.

Sandstone buildings are beautiful and we have a few of them in the city too. Sydney has even more. Time and rain is harsh on those buildings and granite was mostly used in preference. Plus all of the ex-volcanoes made for a ready source of granite. It makes you wonder how much of this sort of thing that people notice? Dunno really.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Not to stress, I thought about the offer for less than a second before deleting it and going off and doing something else! I was merely surprised by the offer and I like to tell stories about the many crazy things that go on life. If you take the money once, you are forever cursed is how I see it and you can't walk away. Plus there is the loss of credibility!

Gotta run, bed is calling.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Lew,

Sandhill cranes have been around here for quite some time but their numbers have really increased in the last few years. Everyone has seen then flying back in the last week which is about a month earlier than usual. They have a very unique call and often fly so high that you hear them rather than see them. Egrets and herons - especially the Great Blue are quite common as well. I heard the first cardinal song the other day and a bluebird as well.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - I didn't realize that the sand hill cranes ranged so far east. In some ways, it's unsettling that they showed up so early. On the other hand, maybe it just means an early spring? Our robins are trying out some new calls. Probably warming up for mating season. I think I'd better get my hummingbird feeders up. Or, I'll just put one on the back deck (where I can see it from the kitchen window) and when they start showing up, then launch the other two which are harder to get at and keep stocked. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Wild and strange weather in Australia, this year. Cliff Mass seems to think we'll have the wettest February on record. At least it's shaping up that way. He mentions a cold snap (for them) in Hawaii.

The Ag show sounded like fun. Here, we have manure spreaders and there's another method that I don't know the details of, but it involves liquifying the manure and then shooting it through a sprinkler system, over the fields. Unlike spreading it on the ground, shooting it through the air really sets up a rank odor that spreads far and wide. Being an Ag county, no one complains much ... except people from "away." :-). Who are usually told to go back to where ever they came from. The chickens are quit nice. Names? Larry, Moe and Curly? :-).

Well, food. You've never said too much about what and how you grill at Fern Glade Farm. Given the whole Australian barbie culture. As far as exotic restaurants around here, it's mostly Mexican and Chinese. Fairly watered down for American palettes and expectations. But, if you look in odd corners of the menus, sometimes you can find something more ... authentic? Pizza parlors, of course, but I hesitate to call them Italian. A couple of southern barbecue joints. Every once in awhile, something comes and goes. Thai, say. Up in Olympia there's more variety. Sushi, etc.. A fellow tried a chocolate shop, but that only lasted about a year.

I'm reading a pretty interesting book. "Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine" (Lohman, 2016). Flavors, not to be confused with the 5 tastes (sweet, salt, bitter, etc.). The author, when she was young, worked for quit awhile in one of those living history museums. A reenactor. Mostly cooking. She became a historic gastronomist. She got interested in how different flavors became popular, why, and at which point in time.

So, she ransacked recipes back to the late 1700s, analyzed frequency of words of commonly used flavors. When they showed up, how some grew in popularity while others vanished. Ran the whole thing through a computer. Some she ignored, like coffee and chocolate, as so much has already been written. She came up with black pepper, vanilla, chili powder, curry powder, soy sauce, garlic, MSG and siracha. She also speculates on what the ninth flavor, will be. Pumpkin pie spice is a leading contender. :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. The section on vanilla was pretty interesting. Native of Central America, it was transplanted to other parts of the world and was a dismal failure. Turns out it was pollinated by a very specialized insect ... in Central America. Then in the early 1800s, an enterprising young fellow figured out how to pollinate by hand, and the vanilla rush was on! Prices fell, it came into more common use ... and it replaced the earlier rose water in recipes. I'd wondered about that.

It's interesting that the eucalyptus is blooming around Fern Glade Farm, but not deeper in the forest. I'd say that like so many of the animals, insects and birds that show up at your place, it's because they're "happy" with the environment you've created. I also think it's interesting how some people (present company excepted) just go bonkers over rare botanical displays. The flowering of the bamboo ... flowering of corpse flowers ... the flower that blooms for a single night. I think there's a "ain't it cool" factor. But, also, maybe, something more primal. Is it an omen? A good omen, or a bad omen? Odd things nature does must be noted and it's meaning, figured out.

Wood and wood stoves. Seems like looking at times past (1800s) during the cold months whole families seemed to pretty much live in the kitchen, during waking hours. When not doing outside chores. Gathered close to the wood stove. There may have been a small parlor stove (I've seen quit a few), just for heat in the "best" room. Only fired up on special occasions.

Roman religion was pretty complicated. Part of their genius for building empire was being fairly welcoming of foreign "cults." Isis was big. Even Pompeii had an Isis temple. Quite grand, for a small town. But the household snakes seem to go back quit a ways, even before much contact with Egypt. Let's see if I can explain this ... as I understand it. Genii were protective spirits. They were a general divine nature attached to EVERY individual person, place or thing. It's rather murky as to what role they played, exactly. Protectors of other household gods? Being usually represented close to the household / ancestral shrine, maybe.

The architecture of the auction building was pretty interesting. Massive beams held in place by massive cast iron braces. About 40 people showed up. I don't think the rain had much to do with the size of the crowd. We're used to it. I think more likely, crowd size could be affected by all the other things one could do on a Saturday afternoon. Probably not many punters looking for free entertainment. A large chunk of the auction, thankfully after the things I was interested in, was die cast toy vehicles and old pedal cars. There's a certain segment of the collecting community (mostly male) that are rabid for those items. But they're a dying breed. What I found interesting is that the Olympia auction also uses 4 online venues ... real time auction in cyberspace. Our local auction only uses one. There didn't seem to be much action from that quarter, at least for the part of the auction I was interested in. When the toys came up, maybe. Lew

Damo said...

Those silkies look very cute. I take it you are not into quarantining your new chickens? A chicken facebook group I sometimes see posts from has members that are very vocal about this, claiming you should only buy chickens from the same breeder to avoid introduction of various pests and diseases. I have no strong opinion on the matter myself, having neither the practical or theoretical experience to form an opinion of note. Aquarium fish on the other hand...

In my misspent youth and early adulthood I often kept aquariums with freshwater and marine tropical fish. As with most things, people formed very strong opinions on how one should properly introduce new fish to an established aquarium. After some time, I determined that the best course of action was also the easiest. Just put the poor creatures straight into the aquarium. Two or three weeks in a 'hospital' aquarium is just as likely to make a fish sick. Far better to release it into the larger and more stable environment then prolong its stress and misery. It also gets faintly ridiculous when you think of diagnosing a creature that is maybe 5cm long by visual inspection only and then applying appropriate treatment.

Anyway, fish are not chickens, a lesson many people have learnt but perhaps none have profited from? Nowadays I am more enlightened and do not keep fish, but I did learn some important lessons about the stability of small enclosed systems. Or more accurately their lack of stability. I don't think there are many examples in the world of a tropical marine aquarium still running after 10 years*, they all seem to have a dramatic chemistry or flora/fauna adjustment at some point.

Cheers,
Damo

*Large public aquariums are sometimes the exception, but they are usually exchanging seawater and flora/fauna on a constant basis and cannot be considered enclosed.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yes, things are getting rather strange with the weather. Unfortunately much of our agriculture is based on the presumption that the local climate is more or less consistent. I see very little consistency.

The show was particularly good as it was aimed at small holders, producers and hobbyists. I once went to a massive "Field Day" and everything oozed of the "get big or get out mindset" and I don't really do that gear here. Some of the machines I had absolutely no idea what they were as the scale was beyond my experience.

With the liquifying, they brew up a batch of bacteria, feed it molasses or sugar or some such feedstock and then spray it over the paddocks. It is an effective method of building up the soil life over a huge area. Again, the scale of that is beyond my experience. I spread manure by hand from a wheelbarrow as that seems to be very effective. I may just do that over the next week or two. Things have been very hectic here on a work front due to a large project and so time has been tighter than I usually enjoy. Can't complain about it though. I find manure only tends to smell when it has become anaerobic and then it does kick up quite the stink. Mr Logsdon wrote a story about that situation with a couple of not in my backyard types who unfortunately used the law to club the farmer over the head. People have to eat as far as I can see it and mineral and fertilisers sourced from natural gas are a finite resource.

Thanks! One of the new chicken trio been nicknamed: "Wub" - it is a long story...

I don't barbie anything (that sounds a bit dodgy doesn't it, but I was referring to barbeque), so not much grilling goes on. The huge population of immigrants down here ensures that the food is mostly the real deal although mileage can vary on that score as the food can be watered down too, but it depends on where you go. There are plenty of authentic places to eat at. Pizza! Well, that has been a concept that has been chucked around a lot. Chocolate shops were a bit of thing down here for a while too, but the market is small and I watch to see what sort of places get patronized and those alas were not one of them. On a serious note, I tend to be careful of very empty restaurants for that reason. It doesn't have to make sense, it is just a gut feel thing.

What a fascinating story of food. I've never come across a re-enactor down here and haven't heard much about them. Sriracha sounds pretty interesting. They have a similar sauce down here called: Tabasco sauce and I quite enjoy that on chips. Back in the days when the inner city was grungy, the editor and I used to slop into a burger place in an inner city seaside location. The burger place was called Greasy Joe's and they used to serve hamburgers and chips and you'd sit in booths or outside on tables on the street. The thing is I remember they used to serve chunky chips (none of this fries business) which had been deep fried in clean oil with the potato skins. And the chunky chips were served with a small jar of Dijon mustard. Yummo! But here is the kicker, they also had small bottles of Tabasco sauce (green or red) to chuck on the chips. And the place was grungy, the clientele was dodgy and you had to ask for the keys to the toilet, and then give them back after you'd done your gear. And one wall for some strange reason was covered with a huge poster of a Canadian mountain and lake scene - which I've seen used in advertisements for travel. And people used to sit at the bar and just drink and the place was open late and the people working the grill were always a bit surly. It took a long while before they acknowledged that a person had been there before too... You don't see places like that nowadays. Is this a good thing? Maybe? Maybe not?

cont...

Coco said...

Hi Chris,

Oh dear, and here I was thinking you were in the high days of summer down under. Good luck with the veg ripening.

We´ve got a week that´s supposed to be lovely, so I´m out digging. Over enthusiasm resulted in a bruised foot from pushing the garden fork, but it´s better now. Got two small cherries (prunus avium) to plant that I bought as ¨sour¨ cherries for preserves and baking, but online opinions seem to differ as to their edibility. Birds will probably get most anyway.

Philosophy gives me a headache, too practically minded, I guess. Don´t know if it´s Trump or what, but there does seem to be an increasingly grim mood growing. I´m feeling pressure to get more improvements done, in general.

Cherokee Organics said...

Yes, back when grills were real grills. It really was different!

The editor got caught up in what looked like a war zone this morning. She had reached Essendon airport which is a light plane airport in the inner city only to find that a light plane had crashed into a series of box stores only twenty minutes previously. It was very fortunate that the store was not open at that time and all five people on board the plane died. The editor said that there were helicopters all over the place and police cars, fire trucks and ambulances.

Ha! No stress, you can go bonkers over botanical rarities sometime in the future! Hehe! You know, I don't get the stink over those corpse flowers either and one of them just flowered in the botanical gardens in Melbourne recently. I can smell decomposition smells from the local road kill and have no need to experience flowers that can replicate that fascinating trick. Well there are omens to be had about the trees opinions on future weather conditions. I just wish I recalled what happened after they flowered last time...

Yeah, one wood heater is plenty for a small house. I'd hate to think about how much timber is required for your very cold winters. It is pretty mild here all things considered.

I wonder why the Roman's eventually ditched their long held policy of acceptance? I guess the move to the prophetic religions altered that policy? It is certainly a good policy as you never know what interesting things may come along with a culture.

The cast iron braces would have been high technology back in the day and the ability to cast something as large and durable as a beam support would have been quite the achievement. I'm reading Retrotopia at the moment and am very much enjoying the story and it is good that the side story about the Progresso IV (we all enjoy our little jokes!) has been much expanded over what I read on the Internet. I don't ordinarily read stories on the Internet as it becomes too much screen time, but exceptions must be made from time to time.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

I never thought of isolating the chickens before introducing them. Chickens get sick and die even with the best conditions so I don't worry about that sort of thing. I do however worry about the genetic pools that they have been bred from as I have had a couple of chickens over the years which didn't look that hardy to me once I became used to what better specimens of those breeds are like. The wild bird population introduces disease too as did the rats. It is a tough life in chicken world!

What a great hobby fish are. Have you ever considered aquaponics? I know a few people who run systems and the systems are energy intensive and require a feed stock of fish food - but the yields are feral and well beyond anything I could achieve here - although the systems here are far less energy, resource and labour intensive.

Wow. I did not know that about marine aquariums and their long term instability. Wow. Of course the large public aquariums are usually located on the ocean shores, so that makes sense.

I don't have hands on experience with aquaponics but as far as I understand the systems they get a reboot every year or so with a fresh batch of fish. Interestingly too, I'm hearing accounts that the increased extreme weather is playing havoc with the water temperatures and keeping the fish cool is quite the challenge and is also usually energy intensive.

I saw flake for sale the other day at $23/kg. That used to be the standard when I was a kid: Flake in batter with minimum chips. Yum! No doubts, the sharks had/have other plans.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

It is a bit of a worry, but fear not the crazy weather is going to produce a 34'C / 93'F day tomorrow before cooling down again. The UV is still extreme most days so the vegetables are still slowly ripening despite the cooler air temperatures. You may also be interested to know that the occasional Very High UV day has produced new growth in all of the fruit trees - they shut down growth during the Extreme UV stage. And I picked almonds, tomatoes and apples tonight. Yum! This is the first year for almonds...

Sorry to read about your sore foot and I hope that it repairs soon. The photos of your gardens are looking lovely too.

I'll be interested to read how your sour cherries grow. I've got one here and it has produced a lot of growth but not much in the way of fruit yet. The bark on cherry trees is really delightful to look at and the local pub has about an 80 year old cherry tree in its garden. It looks awesome.

I dodged the headache, but failed to understand the story and felt somewhat inadequate. You've just given me an idea. Oh,the fatigue is because we are in hang time. Enjoy the hang time, feed the soil and plant lots of vegetables! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Nice new additions to the flock!! Maybe you could build a small coop/run connected to the main one so everyone could see each other for awhile. I've got that setup and it seems to work pretty well. It's not a smaller pen but one right next to the egg layer coop. Do you really see roosters in your future? I don't worry about diseases too much either. I wonder if those that do have chickens they show or breeding stock that's worth much more than my chickens are and possibly yours too.

I've been just skimming the comments on ADR - just too much to digest right now.

Margaret

margfh said...

@Lew,

The sandhill crane population has really boomed the last few years in this area. The black crowned night heron is another bird that has really increased as well. There have been quite a few right in Chicago and they are not too fearful of people either. My daughter who lives in a suburb very close to Chicago told me about one who was hanging out in a puddle in the park. The kids were able to get very close to it.

We have quite a few good Mexican restaurants here in town as we have a large and growing Hispanic population. There's a good Thai restaurant just over the Wisconsin border too in a very unlikely place. They do mostly take-out and have been there for a couple years so must be doing OK.

Margaret

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Your question about feeling secondhand emotions has engendered thought. I can see how living well outside the emotional tangle of a city helps a person keep emotionally clearer. That isn't my situation; I live in a large urban area, albeit on a street with small houses on large lots. But by not watching TV at all, and keeping web exposure to a carefully chosen minimum, I can make up for a lot of the emotional cloudiness of the city. Further, Mike is emotionally very stable. All that clarity and stability at home helps me to be empathetic to others when I am with them without absorbing their emotions to a detrimental degree.

In the present situation, not only does my mother suck up emotional energy due to her state (although, thankfully, she's improving), but she keeps the TV on most of the day, to a variety of news channels plus other overly stimulating shows. She's gone partially deaf, so she runs the TV too loud for my ears. On the TV I hear over and over, from different sides, all of the turmoil that is currently going on in the US in its emotional aspects. Then add to that being in a very different ecosystem which has been altered to a huge degree by the conventional pattern of building and landscaping where she lives. In this situation, the trick is to keep sensitive to my mother, to feel her moods well enough to respond in a way that helps to pull her gently to a more stable state, while counteracting the secondhand emotions spewing from the TV and the odd energetics of the landscape. It's not easy. I'm doing a lot better than I would have in my younger years, when my emotions were much more subject to being pulled out of balance by TV and the general emotional atmosphere. I think you are on to something important: isolating oneself in some way from those potentially toxic secondhand emotional states is really helpful. You isolate yourself in a rural area. I isolate myself by avoiding TV. At my mom's, I have ways to get a little emotional breathing room, like writing this comment and reading your post and other folks' comments, which keeps me at the other end of the house from my mom's TV. Plus I watch the alligators in one of the canals near my mom's place.

Claire

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - You'd better get to that story about how the chicken became to be called Wub. The only thing that came to mind was "Wub you to death." :-). Do you baby talk your animals? I always speak to my critters as adults. And I never "run them down," at least in their hearing. Silly, I know, but who knows what goes on in their silly little heads? I think Beau has enough ... cognition? to know if I was making fun of him.

Historic re-anactor. Hmm. They're often found in historic villages or farms. Staying in character, interacting with the day trippers. In Chuck Palahniuk's books "Choke", the hero was a historic re-anactor. Might be good training for budding thespians.

Yes, green or red Tabasco sauce is quit common here and has been for as long as I can remember. I think my Dad liked it on his eggs. But your mentioning it ... I don't think the author of "Eight Flavors" brought it up. I suppose it would have been in the chapter on chili powder. But maybe the difference is that she's mainly dealing with ingredients IN recipes, and not stuff that goes on top?

There are some interesting stories, in the book. The British had a corner on the black pepper market and kept the source secret. Finally, a New England merchant found out where it came from. From documentary evidence, the American's respected the native growers, treated them better and paid a higher price than the British in that time and place. So, the British monopoly on black pepper was broken. The fellow who figured out how to hand pollinate vanilla was a 12 year old slave. His master freed him. His ex-master also was quit adamant about giving the young man the credit for the discovery. And, he freely shared the secrets of vanilla pollination with other planters. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Greasy Joe's sounds like my kind of place. I find I need a certain amount of grundge ...sleaze ... in my life. Just to keep it interesting :-). We don't have anything like that around here. It's mostly a big city, thing. Those wonderful all night places where you could get a good breakfast at 3am. Bottomless cups of coffee. Cigarette smoke so thick you could cut it with a knife. And everything had a kind of unhealthy yellow tinge from the nicotine. Even the light as the fixtures were well coated with the stuff.

I think we talked about Michael Pollan, the food guy's rumination. When something authentic gets noticed and popular, is it still authentic? He didn't have an answer, either.

Sounds like the Editor had a bit of an adventure. We have a small airport, here. It's also close to where they've built a lot of strip malls and big box stores. It's on the other side of the freeway from Chehalis. Lots of hobbyists use it and it's even big enough for small corporate jets. Every once in awhile, on of the small planes goes missing. Sometimes they find them, and sometimes not. Until some hunter stumbles on the wreckage in the woods, years later.

Well, it's off for Chinese food. I'll probably make a couple of other stops, so I don't have so many stops to make, tomorrow, when I make my regular trip to town. Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

The plane crash the editor noticed is all over the news here. When I heard about it, I thought of you, wondering if it was anywhere nearby (the reports I saw on TV didn't mention the city though the AP report on the web does). It's sobering to think either of you were that close in place and time to the crash. I'm glad all is OK for both of you, sad for the family and friends of the people who died.

Claire

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

It is funny, but I never really thought too much about the matter. But then, moving into a rural and remote environment has changed my perspective. And the thing is, that you start to observe and notice things when you are in an urban environment. When a person lives in an urban environment they do their best to ignore other people who would otherwise intrude upon their awareness. It is a practiced mental tool that people use in order to be able to live in such close proximity to each other. The problem with being empathetic to others emotions is like you wrote in that you have to be careful to avoid taking on board other peoples emotional states - which is not as easy a thing to do. All of the courses of actions that you follow, I also followed instinctively without realising the why of it all. And yeah, a stable home life is an excellent thing to have.

I'm not sure whether you are curious, but I have noted that quite a few people have mentioned to me in passing recently that they feel a certain feeling of fatigue - which is the word that most people have used to describe their emotional state given recent events and I can't help but wonder whether this is a coincidence. I have unrelated friends who tell me that they desire certain products and they have no commonalities other than their level of television exposure. You really have to be on your guard.

The editor drove past the wheel of the aircraft. It had landed onto the freeway and I have been left wondering whether the pilot ditched the plane into the concrete walls of the shopping mall (which hadn't opened yet) rather than crashing into the freeway or the adjacent houses. Dunno. Time will tell and my sympathies go to the families of the deceased.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Hehe! It is a long story involving a tough and now deceased dog that used to not bark but make this sort of "wub, wub, wub" sound. And woe betide those that that wub/bark was directed at. I can't really tell the remainder of the story as names will be named and who wants that? I rarely name names and that is a strict policy here at Fernglade farm! Hope that makes sense?

Yeah, I speak to the animals, and they communicate with me in their own fashion. The sounds I make more or less set the tone for the various animals. As they say, it is not what you say, it is how you say it. Beau is a clever dog and I wouldn't dare hurt his pride either with such talk. Toothy on the other hand always seems to be yelled at, but on the other hand Toothy enjoys certain priviledges that the other dogs don't enjoy so he is held to a higher standard of behaviour than the remainder of the fluffy collective.

Was Chuck's "Choke" book any good? Would you recommend it? I've been wondering whether I should read his book Fight Club? Dunno? I was having a serious conversation the other day with a real fan of the film and he was telling me about some of the shenanigans that went on behind the scenes to secure funding and get some of the scenes past the powers that be.

Speaking of films, I once watched a puppet film written by the guys that wrote South Park. It was meant to be ironic, but the humour was a bit lost on me. Those guys were out in the country recently promoting their new musical which takes the piss out of the Mormons. The interesting thing about that group, is that rather than objecting to the musical, they've embraced it and the other day when I was in Southern Cross Railway station there were poster for that mob all over the place. I just recall the rather awkward mormon wedding I went to once - all that talk about eternal this and that waas making me feel nervous because eternity is a long time. Of course feelings may differ in that regard. Reincarnation is obviously not part of their belief system.

Of course, I missed that distinction so that sounds plausible to me. The funny thing is that I was left wondering whether Tabasco is that different in taste to the Sriracha. Have you ever cooked with that stuff and is it as spicy as it promises? I've found that my tolerance for hot and spicy food has become enhanced with age. No doubt this has something to do with a loss of taste buds?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Cracking the code for hand pollinating vanilla is quite the feat. Respect to the kid that worked that one out. It is funny how science has moved out of the field and into the lab. I suspect that may be due to the diminishing returns and our limited senses. Dunno really.

That sounds like you've been there! It really was exactly as you described. And the burgers there tasted awesome at all hours of the night. They really were that good. The problem is that areas become gentrified and the rougher edges, sort of get edged out of town. The rentals that businesses pay down here eats into profits and I know a thing or two about shopping centres and the predatory practices that go on in those places.

What a fascinating question about authenticity. I have noticed that sometimes as profit goes up, quality can go down. That is certainly one reason that I'd never monetise the blog here. Can you imagine me spruiking products. I'd say something stupid like: this here bit of rubbish is crap. Do yourself a favour and do not buy this bit of rubbish. Honestly, I can almost hear the screaming sounds from here. How funny that they even asked in the first place, have they not read properly? I guess reading comprehension is a dying art these days.

The editor was recounting to me the last story of a fatal plane crash at that particular airport. It was on a weekend and the dad apparently went to the hardware store, but apparently wanted some alone time, so as the story goes he went alone. The plane crashed into the house killing the rest of the family and he returned to find the scene. It made an impression on the editor who was a young kid at the time. And it certainly sounds like a Roald Dahl tale, except that I believe it actually happened.

Well, speaking of hunters finding things in the woods. A body has been found in the more fashionable end of the mountain range by a bushwalker. Just saying that the husband of the victim apparently had a mobile phone ping in the area at the time of the disappearance... Not good.

Enjoy your Chinese food. It is very hot here today at over 90'F, but I'm feeling like some Southern pulled pork on a bed of chips. Yum! Health food, well perhaps not really.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The Melbourne plane crash was all over our news as well. I immediately thought of you and the editor. Am not keen on single engine planes.

There is an attempt to re-introduce storks in the UK, it appears that they used to be here once upon a time. They are bringing in storks from Poland. These storks are injured ones that have flown into power lines etc.; they can no longer fly. One pair have bred three chicks. They made a nest on the ground which is really different from those ones on wheels on roofs. The three chicks are now flying.

Son has made the most gorgeous liver pate. 7 pigs had gone to the slaughterer.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - As soon as I signed out of here, yesterday ... my computer defaults back to the Yahoo home page and there was the plane crash splashed all over the page. Weird. And, the story that the Editor told about the plane crash in her past? I think there's a moment in everyone's life (well, thinking people, anyway) where you realize that life can be a crap shot and split second decisions can make the difference between life and death. With me, it was the big earthquake down in San Francisco where parts of the Oakland freeway collapsed. You're going about your daily grind and if you're here one second your dead and if your there, a few seconds later, you live. Makes everything seem tenuous.

OK. Got the Wub, Wub :-). Sometimes when Beau barks, it's a "Woo, woo, woo" sound. Nell doesn't purr or meow much, but has all kinds of strange sounds she makes. Sometimes when she comes in, she makes this "Eck, eck, eck" sound. I "Eck, eck" right back at her. I think it means, "Give me a pet. Make over me a bit." Or, something. :-).

Well, I really like most of Chuck's books, except for one. I did like "Choke." And, the movie. But, as I said, I need a certain amount of grunge and sleaze in my life :-). In the story, there's a whole subtext of the "hero" attending Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings (another 12 Step Program), because it's a good place (he thinks) to pick up women. Now that's sleazy.

"Angels in America" is another play/movie that takes the piss out of the Mormons. Like that work, I hope "Mormons" makes it to film, as I'd like to see it. Hope I live long enough.

I really haven't used Tabasco or Saracha in cooking. If I want a bit of fire in my food, I usually go the chili route. The Chinese food was very good, and I brought home enough for probably about 3 meals. I think you're right about the taste buds dulling with age. One dish was full of chilies, but they didn't have much of an impact. I could quit distinctly taste the anise. The eight flavors book I'm reading had an interesting "take" on the Americanization of foreign cuisines. Something I hadn't thought about, before. In the case of Chinese and Indian food, the early immigrants were mostly men. Who didn't cook back home. So when they wanted a taste of home, they had to improvise. Both because the really didn't have much of a clue as to the how and what of their home cooking, and, not all ingredients were available here, at that time.

Oh, I'm sure the pulled pork will be just fine. Just tell your self the chips are organically grown and the pork free range. All local, of course :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Noticed an article, yesterday, over on the NPR "Salt" section. There was some kind of survey done of farmers, large and small, asking "What are the issues affecting the future of your farm." They thought it was going to be things like cost of land, regulation, etc. The number one response was "the cost of health insurance."

Well, we're due for another round of weather. Snow is in the forecast for the next five days. "Little or no accumulation." Promises, promises. We'll see. And, the night time lows for the next two weeks are going to be right at freezing, or slightly lower. Ideal conditions for more snow if moisture comes in.

Cliff Mass the Weather Guy also had a post about La Nina. Apparently, La Nina is over and we're in a neutral period. But it takes a few months for that to get a grip. Forecasts are that El Nino will come back, for next winter. But, as he said "Let us stress that ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) forecasts made mid-winter have been notoriously bad..." So, if we have an El Nino winter, next year, it means warmer temps, less rain. The mysterious Blob may make another appearance. Of course, what rain we do get may be intense downpours.

Picked up an interesting book, the other day. "Blue Collar Intellectuals; When the Enlightened and the Everyman Elevated America." (Daniel J. Flynn, 2011). Back when a "life of the mind" wasn't divorced from popular culture. When popular culture (or, a lot of it) tried to inform and educate rather than just entertain and dull the senses. I read the introduction last night, and I think it's going to be a "good read." Thought provoking.

Well, I'd better head for town before the snow flies. Sunny, right now, but who knows what it will be like in a couple of hours? Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Sriracha is much less hot than Tabasco sauce, in my experience. In fact, I find sriracha to be rather mild, as hot sauces go. I can slather it on in a way I cannot do with Tabasco sauce or with the hot sauce Mike makes from the Trinidad Scorpion peppers I grow.

Interesting fact about the vanilla plant: it's an orchid. I think it's the only orchid that has any part of it that people eat.

Claire

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris:

Those silkies look like they may have a rather bad attitude - but perhaps their expressions are just a matter of genetics, the way an crocodile "smiles"?

What beautiful apples, and I hope that you get some ripe figs; there is nothing like a ripe fig. Our supply of frozen passata (we didn't can any) is just about gone, but tomato seeds have been started inside. We just didn't plant enough tomato plants last year. I hope that yours hurry up their ripening.

That is a delicious-looking breakfast. I always start the day with a bowl of oatmeal cooked with dried fruit; just right in the winter. Your breakfast looks perfect for the summer.

Amazing that you are running the wood heater in summer. We have never done that; once our heat gets here, it stays. But maybe it used to be that way where you are, too?

We encourage spiders in our house, also. It is one of my excuses for not vacuuming too often . . . All of the wooden beams and nooks and crannies in this log house are paradise for web-builders.

Rats and strawberries - sometimes it seems like your wildlife is trying to take over. By golly - they are!

Over the week-end my husband and son were cutting down a few trees to let some more light into our north-slope garden. Pretty big trees, all poplars, though, which are weed trees here, though giant. They were working on the last and biggest one. I heard that terrific crash that falling trees make (I was not watching; it is kind of painful) and went over to see what had been accomplished. Crikey! They had miscalculated and all 100 feet (30 m) of it had crashed into the garden, smashing the fence on two sides and causing a heck of a lot of collateral damage. My plum tree is now 1/3 the size that it originally was. The apricot, apple, fig, and blueberries have relatively minor damage, though some gashes. I have treated the gashes in the trees with a method that I mentioned to Coco recently. I cover the wound with thick, damp red Virginia clay, cover that with moss, and tie it on with string or a vine. The plum has such a long, deep gash that I am doubtful it will heal, but this method usually works on smaller wounds One of the oddest things is that many of the little plastic markers that I have labelled all of the varieties with seem to have shot off into space. I can't find them and are having to relabel a lot of things. BUT no humans were harmed AND my husband's satellite dish was unscathed, being missed by a mere two feet (I am with you, Claire, about TV . . .).

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Claire:

All the best to you in dealing with your mother. You sound like you are being very gentle with her. It is a rough position to be in.

I am with you on the television watching. It drives me batty.

Pam

Jo said...

Chris, we are having a non-summer here as well, but our cold weather has come without the rain, unfortunately. I am very envious of your wood pile! I need to get organised and get a wood shelter built so that I can construct my own wood pile before winter. I used about 7 1/2 cubic metres last winter. How is your wood consumption?

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

It was an horrific crash and I suspect the pilot ditched the plane into the shopping centre which wasn't open rather than hitting the 8 lane freeway (which had pretty traffic) or the houses on the other side of the freeway. The editor apparently could see the plume of smoke from the nearest town to here which is Gisborne and it was still burning by the time she got there. One of the aircraft's wheels was on the freeway, so it was a close call for a whole lot of people.

Me neither, and I don't really enjoy the flying experience at all.

Wow, I hope the reintroduction of the storks succeeds. Oh! I just read an account that storks had a bad reputation / association in England during the medieval period. That's unfortunate for the birds who most likely had nothing to do with the belief.

Yum! Enjoy your pork products. I enjoyed a ham and cheese toastie for breakfast this morning.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@Chris

RE:aquaponics

Funny enough, I did dabble in aquaponics a little bit. Before I could get to a first harvest we moved interstate and that was that (dad took over the fish raising and it ended in some sort of calamity). My opinion, for what it is worth, is that the complexity is too high. You are basically converting electricity and fish food pellets into fresh fish and vegetables. As a hobby, it is pretty fun, although stressful at times. As a business, or viable option for feeding large populations, I don't think it adds up. From my understanding there is one exception, a group in Hawaii have been running for years. They grow tilapia and high value vegetables. The combination of cheap vegetable based pellets (tilapia can still grow quite quick on a vegetarian diet), constant tropical temperature and high resale value of vegetables (Hawaii imports a lot) means it works for them.

Cheers,
Damo

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Of course, four of the passengers were apparently from the US and flying to King Island (in the middle of Bass Strait) for a golfing excursion, so that is perhaps why you are reading about the crash as it involves US citizens. Not far from here at all.

Wow, you've never mentioned your close proximity to the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Just how close were you that day? And yeah, life can be a crap shoot. Interestingly too, there were references to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the photos, wow, it looked like a bushfire here but that fire was engulfing the city.

You are not wrong about moments making all of the difference. When I was a really young kid, I recall the Tasman Bridge disaster where in the city of Hobart a ship hit a huge bridge and took it out. The interesting thing about that disaster was that it isolated people living on the eastern shores of the city as a 3 minute commute became a 90 minute commute and the effects of that isolation were unexpected: "A study of police data found that in the six months after the disaster, crime rose 41% on the eastern shore, while the rate on the city's western side fell. Car theft rose almost 50% in the isolated community, and neighbourhood quarrels and complaints rose 300%". Interesting, huh?

Thanks for understanding. Wub was the secret name in order to protect the innocent! ;-)!

Yeah, animals let you know pretty quickly if you are talking nonsense at them, and I rather suspect that they are indulging our quirks whilst they get on with the important business of feeding and enjoying themselves.

The sun here has almost set by 8.30pm now and the summer light is rapidly disappearing. I mention this because we worked on firewood this afternoon and I was a bit knackered from the hot sun and decided against letting the chickens free roam. You have to be naughty every now and then and of course there is an ADR and Galabes to read... So little time.

Well, one never really knows their future do they? And I'm heading in for a biopsy on my ear spot tomorrow morning. Hope it is OK? I'm sure the Mormons musical has done better than well given it has been going for over 6 years. Now transitioning to film, well that is another matter.

I do the chilli thing too and so am used to hot foods. I didn't find the Louisiana sauce that they provided with the slow cooked pulled pork (I'm starting to salivate in a graphic food flashback memory!) particularly hot, but the long slices of pickled gherkins certainly made my eyes water as the vapours from the vinegar hit me full on. I do feel better now that we have paid proper homage to that food memory. Hehe!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

There are a lot of plants that provide an anise flavour and I quite enjoy that taste. But chilli calls for real chilli, I mean the stuff that makes your eyes water and your tongue burn with fire where you wished that you'd never consumed the stuff in the first place. I remember as a young kid consuming some Tandoori take away that was so hot I was sweating and foolishly trying to cool my mouth off in a glass of water - not that that helped with the firey situation. And then there is always the next day with the unmentionable in polite company: Ring of fire. Nuff said really.

Ah well, the English have had long connections with the Chinese and Indian cultures and so down here, those cultures were watered down, but the food, not so much. The canny Chinese used to set up market gardens spacings of a days walk along the routes to the goldfields from all directions. Of course, the further the port was from the goldfields, the longer the walk, but most requirements were catered for and so exotic Asian vegetables have a long history down under.

You know the NPR discussion makes a certain amount of sense because the farmers have run out of sons and daughters. It really is that simple when you get down to it. Life on a farm has been made to appear so unappealing that people are leaving it in droves. It is a perilous situation. I can't seem to find anybody who is interested because they have to give up so much - empty stuff.

I do hope you get some snow? The next couple of days here things have warmed up so I may bring in another load of firewood and I have to manure the orchard and mow the grass. The summer here has been so cool and damp that all of the animals combined have not kept up with supply of herbage. It is a good opportunity to build top soil and one can't ignore perfect conditions.

Yes, they have been saying it is a neutral period here too. But down here they say that it is notoriously difficult to predict and the increasing heat over the Indian Ocean has lead to increased evaporation which is a feedback that few people are considering or discussing. The whole La Nina / El Nino phenomenon assumes that things will remain as they are and I have my doubts about that. Beware the blob as it is a bit like Gigantor and may make for an unpleasant house guest.

Interestingly too, I never realised the Pacific plate and the North American plate are sliding against each other. For some reason I always assumed that one plate lifted the other tectonic plate.

That is an interesting book. Does it have any interesting points to make on that subject? Down here today there has been something of a paradigm shift as Sunday penalty rates have been reduced. That is not a good thing and I heard many people on the radio who were very angry about it. Maybe they are getting the poke they need to get organised and take action? As far as I can see the situation, it is more of a win for the big shopping mall owners than anyone else and that includes the owners of the businesses in those malls as they get squeezed too. It will not end well.

I was thinking specifically of Six Feet Under the other day when I mentioned second hand emotions to Claire. That show was a real wake up call for me as the final three episodes were very emotionally loaded and I felt that emotion about a story and characters that weren't even real. It was a real wake up call for me. Have you ever experienced something like that?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thanks for the explanation as I have never seen that sauce. Mind you, I mentioned to Lewis that the Louisiana hot sauce I had on the pulled pork last night was not particularly that hot either. It was tasty though. Trinidad Scorpion Peppers sound totally lethal, but also a proper fooding experience! Hehe!

You may be interested to know that I make my own vanilla extract. The spice guy at the market sells me the vanilla beans. In normal cooking, the vanilla is usually scraped off the bean with a knife as a sort of paste. The extract however, is made using about 5 beans which costs me about $10 and they smell beautiful. I cut them up into about 1.5 inch lengths and let them steep in vodka for a couple of weeks. And then I use that extract for months and months. You may be interested to know that I add a teaspoon of that vanilla extract to each batch of Anzac biscuits that I make. The extract smells exactly as you would expect and I keep it in a loosely sealed jar. It is good stuff and much cheaper and better quality than you would buy at the shop.

Vanilla essence is made from some sort of wood pulp and apparently has no vanilla it whatsoever.

I've enjoyed swapping notes with you too and thanks for that.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

You are very forgiving, but the silkies are really delightful and are slowly becoming accustomed to the rough and tumble of the chicken collective. I probably should introduce them slowly, but I have had so much trouble with making the enclosure rat proof that I never considered that problem of introducing new chickens. They have a little fortress from which they can peer out of whilst everyone in the chicken enclosure gets used to each other. It is not optimal, but there you go.

Sharks have big smiley faces too. But lots of big pointy teeth in that smiley face. I'm not sure that they'd make friends with either of us!

The one benefit of a rubbish stone fruit year is that the apples and pears are going gang busters! I may just pick some tomorrow which will inevitably end up in a cider (nice stuff). Yum. Thanks for the thoughts about the figs as I am yet to enjoy any despite having six trees. They are really slow growing in their first few years.

Nice to read that you are thinking ahead to the warmer summer with your tomatoes. Starting them inside is a good idea. I'm not sure how this seasons harvest will go with the tomatoes. In previous years they have kept ripening outside until late May, but the vines are almost done by June and the only fruit left is green - which incidentally sill has all of its sugars. I hope they hurry up too.

Oh yeah dried fruit over the winter with oatmeal is a superb breakfast. Unfortunately due to the lack of stone fruit this year, I'm going to have to eat a lot of rhubarb and apple which is still nice so I hope the citrus trees produce a lot of winter fruit... I just haven't been able to bottle any stone fruit this year which is a real worry.

The only thing that is certain down here is that the sun will rise in the east, other than that all bets are off. And climate variability is increasingly retreating into the extreme ends of the spectrum. I can have a stinking hot day here and then the next day it is cold as. Like last week. I would not wish that climate on anyone, but it is par for course down here.

The house spiders must be protected. And they in turn must protect you from even bigger, meaner and uglier spiders and of course this is all a good excuse isn't it? The house spiders here protect me from the many garden spiders and huntsman that lurk around the place here outside of the house - and would enjoy coming inside the house...

They're winning at this stage, but I'm not going hungry either. Mostly I just have to work out who is eating what and then formulate a response. The strawberries have been the most difficult thing since the grains in the chicken enclosure. And unfortunately rats attract snakes - the local brown snake is the second deadliest on the planet. Why it should be that deadly is beyond me. So rats are not welcome here.

I'm really glad to read that no humans or infrastructure were harmed in the felling of that tree. You know on the rare occasion that I require a tree to be felled, I get some guys up here who do that job for a living. They pull the tree over using tow ropes to ensure that it falls in the right direction. I lack the skills for such a job. Once the tree is on the ground though, cross cut sawing is my speciality.

Your poultice for the trees is a really good idea. The one I'd be worried about the most is the apricot as they prefer summer pruning. Keep an eye on that one. If the wallabies take out a branch on an apricot over winter it is a real nuisance as gumosis may form on the wound. The old timers used to apply a dab of house paint or lime wash to the wounds on trees too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

It has been rather damp here this summer. March is usually drier and warmer, but who knows what may happen this year? Sorry to read that you are not getting the rain, but I'll be your garden is looking good? I hope you are enjoying some fresh tomatoes?

At a pinch, a very heavy duty tarp (weighted down so that it doesn't blow away in winter winds) can be used to keep the rain off your firewood. Damp firewood is hard to burn - as I know only all too well! :-)!

I have no other heating source during winter than the firewood but have only had the two sheds for two years now and winters were a disaster zone before that. It really is a big learning experience and who knows how it will all end up? The writing of this blog managed to neatly avoid that sort of winter unpleasantness, but the consequences are still with me and I have damaged the wood heater in the learning process.

What a great question: 16 cubic metres or for the people in the US it works out to 4.41 cords (whatever they are).

This year, I'm putting away about 19 cubic metres in that shed as the shed has proven to be fa stronger than I'd previously allowed for. It is a journey.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

This comment of yours: "When I was a really young kid, I recall the Tasman Bridge disaster where in the city of Hobart a ship hit a huge bridge and took it out. The interesting thing about that disaster was that it isolated people living on the eastern shores of the city as a 3 minute commute became a 90 minute commute and the effects of that isolation were unexpected: "A study of police data found that in the six months after the disaster, crime rose 41% on the eastern shore, while the rate on the city's western side fell. Car theft rose almost 50% in the isolated community, and neighbourhood quarrels and complaints rose 300%". Interesting, huh?" It is absolutely chilling.

And: "Ring of fire. Nuff said really." Nuff! Hee, hee!

We watched a fun love story last night - an old one called "Roman Holiday" - which ends in a tearjerker situation. I wanted to cry at the end (and no-one even died) and had to tell myself "This is insane. These people aren't real. This never happened. You fool! At least save it for reality." Representations, eh?

Lime wash on a tree wound sounds like a good idea.

16-19 cubic meters sounds about right.

There is a bird outside right now singing "Scritchy, Scritchy, Scritchy."

Pam

SLClaire said...

@Chris,

May the spot on your ear be no more than a minor nuisance! I hope everything turns out well!

@Pam,

Thanks for your comment! I have been carefully feeling my way with my mom, doing my best to empathize while encouraging her to take a role in things like choosing what to eat for dinner despite having little appetite. With the help of a prescription antidepressant, she's doing much better; she's more active and making more decisions and seems to feel better overall. At some point she and I will need to have a conversation about whether she'll be able to continue living on her own in her condo (she's been alone since my dad died 4 years ago) or whether she needs to begin the process of moving to a senior center with more care available. I'd move her near me but she doesn't want to leave Florida and all her friends here.

Thanks for understanding about the TV too. I'm glad neither your house nor any people were hurt when the tree fell.

Claire

margfh said...

Pam & Claire

I'm in agreement too about TV watching. Unfortunately Doug does not share that view. At least he only has it on while watching and that's mostly in the evening.

Pam,

Sorry about the tree in the garden. Once Doug took the power line down with a tree. Likely the power company didn't charge - for the first time.

Inge,

Maybe you've said but what kind of pigs does your son raise and how many?

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Well the beautiful weather seems to be over though it's still forecast to be 5 to 10 degrees above normal for the foreseeable future. I took advantage of the nice weather to do some coop and garden bed clean up.

Unfortunately the time was limited as I've been buried in the court accounting for Patrick and Michael and all the details of Patrick's estate. The court date is next Thursday for the accounting and then the estate will have to be opened in probate court as Patrick had no will. There's no end of paperwork and papers to be sent. Will probably take at least six months until everything's completed.

Saw the plane crash on the news. You are probably right as it was people from the US involved that it got so much coverage here.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - How close was I to the 1989 SF earthquake? Oh, about 619 miles (996km) :-). I had just gotten off work in Olympia, and my old beater truck's radio was on the fritz. But I noticed that suddenly, people started driving erratically. Speeding, running stop signs and stop lights. A World Series Game was in play, so a lot of people were listening to their radios. I had the distinct impression that something very bad had happened somewhere in the world. I got home and kicked on the tv (I had cable at that point) and was just transfixed by what was going on in SF. I don't think I took off my coat or sat down for a couple of hours. Seemed like. There were quit a few fires in SF during the 1989 quake. But they were pretty quickly contained and didn't spread and burn the whole city down, as in 1906.

The chapter on vanilla mentioned that there are two or three varieties that are grown commercially ... and about 15 other varieties of vanilla orchard that aren't grown commercially. It was stated that the other vanillas have subtle, different flavors. LOL, given the world as it is, I suppose sooner or later the more exotic vanillas will become available ... at exotic prices.

I read the MSG chapter, last night. There's been a long, ongoing controversy over the safety of MSG. I must admit I had mixed feelings about the stuff. But after reading about it, I feel a lot better. Much to complicated to go into here, but it got it's bad rap based on not much hard evidence. Heck, you can even make a batch of the stuff in your kitchen, using mostly sea weed. And, it's a simple process, to boot. LOL. The author made the point that at the present time in the food world, if you say you're using MSG, your likely to get a bad reaction from people. Sometimes a rabid bad reaction. If you call it Umami (same stuff) everything among the Foodies is just dandy. Silly.

Get those storks up and running! I hear they're good eatin' :-). At least, they certainly appeared in a great number of ancient and medieval menus. Hmmm. I always thought storks on your roof were "lucky." And, of course, that's where babies come from... when not found under cabbage leaves. :-). Hmmm. Maybe that's the answer to world over population? Get rid of the storks and birth rates will tumble. Or, ban cabbages? :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Sunset time here is getting later and later. And, it's noticeable. Pushing 6pm, these days. The snow has not made an appearance, yet. Yesterday was actually quit nice. Sunshine. One short period of rain that was a bit "thick." No snow last night. The way I feel about it is, if it's going to snow, than, snow, for gosh sakes. Let's get this show on the road!

I'm all for naughty, every so often :-).

I don't quit know what you mean by "Sunday penalty rates." Must be an Australian thing :-). Here, at least the places I've lived, there's never been any penalties attached to any opening hours. Traditionally, Sunday (day of rest, etc.) was pretty off limits. At this time, many smaller businesses are closed Sunday and Monday. Of course, if big business had it's way, they'd be open 24/7/365. At some points in my work life, when Sunday openings were launched, you got time and a half pay. Even if you hadn't worked over 40 hours. That never lasted long. 10 or 15 years ago I remember seeing articles about countries (England and Germany come to mind) that had pretty traditional open and closed business hours, being forced by competition (usually big American companies) to change those traditions. And many people were NOT happy. As with so many other things, if you don't want those kinds of changes, then you don't patronize those businesses, or, work for them. But that never goes anywhere, does it?

Second hand emotions. When it comes to books, movies and tv, on one level you realize that these are fictional characters. On another, you can get quit wound up emotionally (empathy or repulsion). Is this a good or a bad thing? Got me.

A cord of wood is 4 feet x 4 feet x 8 feet. Packed tight. I don't know where that unit of measurement comes from. I suppose I'll have to poke into it. Inquiring minds want to know :-). I haven't seen that unit of measure applied to anything else, other than wood. There's the term "cord wood" that might relate. Maybe "corduroy road". Which is a road made of wood. Which came first? A corduroy road that looked like the fabric? Or, the fabric that looked like a corduroy road? I'm sure the rise and fall of empires have come about, balanced on the gyro of such questions :-). Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

That is the thing with aquaponics - and it is as true of every other agricultural system that yields higher outputs than what can be supported by the local soil fertility and climate - it requires higher energy and resource inputs and higher maintenance. And aquaponics can go horribly wrong quite rapidly (a few hours or less). My mate had a little off grid setup to power the pumps because if the power goes out... And I won't mention what happened when he went on holidays and someone was meant to be keeping an eye on the system.

Exactly! I hadn't considered aquaponics in that light, but yeah, that sounds about right to me. However, if you get it right and nothing goes wrong, the yields are unbelievable like the folks in Hawaii. I would have thought that Hawaii would have had very mineral rich soils, but then it depends on what is eaten by the locals and what can be grown in the climate. Dunno really.

Yields versus inputs is a fascinating discussion and I try really hard to have yields based on very low inputs - but the growth as a result is very slow. As a comparison, my mates that live in a massive greenhouse get fast growth and huge yields (they have avocadoes on their tree which was planted years after the one here), but the plants require more inputs and labour. There really isn't any one right path, it all comes down to what you can afford to do, and I take the "smell of an oily rag" approach which is not for everyone.

We finalised the design today for the new modular strawberry enclosures which will be constructed over the next six months. I have had to take: rats; wallabies; birds; and leeches, into account with the design and it has been a headache of a problem until we had a Duh! moment this afternoon. Should be fun and simple, but there are a lot of projects to do between now and then and next week I'm starting to feed manure into the orchard - and every day so far is meant to be over 30'C... Right now outside the window it looks like winter and it rained 4mm last night so the weather here is crazy as. Hope things are nicer for you and Mrs Damo in Laos?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

It is chilling that data isn't it? And I only noticed that little inclusion to the story of the bridge disaster as a minor note in the main story. There was another little side note to that story in that authorities appreciated that the locals wanted to be either involved or feel like they were being involved in the disaster recovery process and that assists with addressing the issues of isolation and trauma. Because of the serious bushfire risk here I get to see community and authority responses on a recurring basis and it is a very complex and dynamic situation where emotions are quite high and words can get thrown around.

Of course, only those that know, know what I mean by the Ring of Fire! It sounds a bit Tolkien doesn't it? ;-)!

No, tearjerker films make me teary too. It's awful. I had a few tears at the end of the "Lion" film recently and had to quickly and casually wipe my eyes at the end of the film. And animal films are just not on. As they say: It is just not cricket, old chap!

Thanks on both counts. Years ago I purchased two old apricot trees during a serious drought and heat year from an old bloke who was pulling them from his orchard. He'd cut the trees right back to almost stumps and painted the stumps with house paint. Those apricot trees have survived here and despite being moved on several occasions, they're doing pretty well.

Scritchy would be quite chuffed to know that song birds are calling her name over in the US, unfortunately she is sound asleep right now and snoring quietly. The birds in your part of the world clearly can recognise a quality canine! :-)! The other night I heard a high pitched and repetitive "Chur, chur, chur" sound and an Australian owlet-nightjar was enjoying the large uplit tree and swooping on all of the unfortunate and rather large Bogong moths who were confusing the bright LED's for the moon. The nightjar was very happy with the easy feed.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thank you for your kind words. I went in this morning and they took a 3mm chunk out of my ear and had to put in a single stitch. All things considered, it wasn't too bad and the consequences of misidentifying the spot is, well, sort of mine and nobody else's. The UV radiation here is very harsh during summer and skin damage is quite severe. I don't muck around with sunscreen despite the fact it feels as if you have chucked on a layer of plastic. Apparently Monday shall reveal all. In the meantime, rocks still need to be harvested and the orchard soil needs a feed and mow. ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

There is real truth to the whole spring cleaning business isn't there? The manure from all of those chickens is a real asset for your garden. Out of curiosity, what do you mean by cleaning up the garden? Over the past few day I purchased an electric hedge trimmer for the editor to use and wow, what an awesome machine. We have been going feral cutting everything back. Electricity is more or less free here because of the solar and it is hard to come up with new ways to use the stuff, otherwise we just lose it. And I spotted an electric trimmer at the farm expo recently. All of the cuttings are dumped into the new garden bed over by the chickens and they happily rumage through the cuttings in the evening.

Fair enough and I hope that all goes well with the court accounting and probate. I always encourage people to write out a will and keep it up to date. On a strange side note, I've left my estate in my will to a charity which appears to have been taken over by some people with strange beliefs so I have to get my own house in order... Paperwork never stops does it?

I reckon that was the reason. The headline on CNN from memory said something like: Pilot and four US citizens killed in plane crash. I'm not quite sure where they were going with that headline, but who am I to question them and I was not the intended audience for the article?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

All things considered 1,000km away and to still feel the aftershocks is a pretty serious seismic event. I shouldn't laugh but car radios back in 1989 were very dodgy so it is hardly surprising that it was on the Fritz. And yeah, the quake was during a major football game so there was a lot of speculation that the death toll could have been much higher otherwise. On such matters does the dice turn. I'm glad that the fires were quickly contained, but mind you regulating fire walls between adjacent buildings have come a long way since those days. I have had to build some rather strange fire walls between dwellings in my time and everyone kept pointing to the Great fire of London and it seemed like a cogent argument.

It is amazing just how far the shock waves can be felt away from the epicentre of an earthquake. I may have mentioned a year or two back that I was in a Mexican restaurant in a nearby town one evening and I swore the brick walls and floor were moving. The editor swore that my opinion was a result of consumption of sangria! The next day we read in the newspaper that there had been a minor quake in the south east of the state at an active place called Korumburra. I look at the landscape here and see a lot of fairly recent extinct volcanoes and looking out the window right now I can see one off in the distance and the state here has the third youngest volcanic plains on the planet and sometimes I wonder if one of them will ever go off. Possibly not, but the Aboriginals would most definitely been around to witness the last eruption. That would have been an interesting experience which you wouldn't want to be too close too. The mountain range here is meant to be about 6 million years old and that seems quite settled geologically speaking to me, but even then you can quite clearly see volcanic cones, lava flows and sink holes from collapsed lava tubes.

Really, 15 other varieties of vanilla would be quite the exotic tasting plate! I'm always quite amazed that the early explorers were such avid collectors of plant material, but then they would have seen the value in that activity and the extensions of local food supplies. I have read that early cultivators of tomatoes used to make themselves sick by challenges to consume some of the leaves of that tomato plant - which is quite toxic. A nasty business to be sure. Alas, the climate requires for the vanilla plant are far outside of the conditions here. I do enjoy many local species of orchid though, but I rarely talk or write about them because of the activities of collectors and they are very fragile plants on many levels.

I have mixed feelings about MSG too, because in small quantities I can digest the spice, but in large quantities (and many chefs believe that more is better!) it gives me hayfever which is a nuisance more than anything life threatening. Do you suffer any adverse reaction from the spice? Thanks for the tip, I've never heard of Umami before. It is funny that you mention renaming products. The local timber industry many years ago renamed the local hardwood and gave it the much fancier name of: Tasmanian Oak (or Tassie Oak for short) in order to lift its appeal with consumers. The large dining room table I repaired many months ago now is made from that timber. Who says marketing doesn't work? I suspect marketing is in for a period of diminishing returns as they may have been a victim of their own success? Dunno.

Oh yeah, way back in the day they used to eat swan too. I read once that bored jailors in the old convict penal settlements used to use the black swans as target practice. This is an unfortunate thing for the swans though. Really? Cabbage leaves, well that explains a thing or two. Cabbage, which I quite like, always for some reason reminds me of a certain scene involving refried beans from the film Blazing Saddles...

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Yes, summer will be upon you before you know it. Did you end up dropping by the home on the way into the little smoke? Last night it rained here about 4mm (0.15 inch) and today it looks like winter outside, but then in a strange turn of events, next week will be over 30'C / 86'F most days. Go figure that one out as I'm at a total loss.

I went into the little smoke here this morning to get a chunk cut out of my ear for testing. Hopefully everything is ok but I should know over the next few days. And in good news the electric log splitter looks closer to being fully repaired.

One has a reputation to maintain, don't they? We all get a bit naughty every now and then! :-)! Hehe! Funny stuff. I was going to go to the pub tonight, but my ear is a bit sore and I decided on a quieter evening instead.

Sunday penalty rates refers to a multiplier added to peoples usual hourly rate when they work Saturdays, Sundays, or Public Holidays. Don't laugh but when I was a mid teenager, everything shut at 12.30pm sharp on Saturday lunchtimes. There was a better social life and sense of community back in those days. I recall my boss once at Tandy Electronics telling me to tell a customer to "go away" because they had turned up after 12.30pm on a Saturday desperate to purchase something. We would have got in serious legal trouble if we'd served the guy. Mind you, on my paper rounds I was often at the newsagent in the 5am's so the whole mess seems rather arbitrary. I rarely travel on Sundays anyway, but many people have become rather accustomed to having everything open for them on a Sunday. My main concern is that the reduced costs are feeding not the small business owners, but from my perspective it looks as if it will end up in the hands of the property owners at the expense of the workers. It is not good.

I dunno whether it is a good thing or not, it is just that I became rather aware that if you feel that way about a fictional character and story, how then do you know whether other people or groups aren't also pushing those buttons. I rather suspect that they are and that is where one has to be rather alert to the idea and threat! I hear people tell me that they want to purchase something that they don't actually need. And then I get this creepy feeling when other people tell me the same thing. What do you make of that?

I've never seen a timber road, but up here during the initial logging operations they had timber railways which the logs were rolled out of the heights and down to the saw mills which were adjacent to water ways and the actual railway station. I don't worry about such things for the forest as nobody knows much of anything about ox teams or timber tramways these days. Even the brakes on those things were timber. It would have been one wild ride down the mountain... And competing logging teams used to drop trees across the tramways...

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I say: "Bob's me uncle!"

Your owlet-nightjar looks very much like our whippoorwill. I always have wondered what poor Will did.

If you have left your estate to a charity, what does the editor get?

Best of luck to you and your ear. Try not to worry about it.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Or is that "your" uncle? Maybe we have the same uncle . . .

Pam

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

We passed through Seymour twice during the alternative farm days but didn't drop in so missed you and the editor!Silkies are such entertaining chickens. My daughter has chickens in suburban Melbourne and the kids love them. Seymour certainly looked busy both days.

We visited a friend in her new aged care facility in Maryborough one of the days we were in Victoria. It's community owned and run and was so much nicer than her previous facility. That place was new but felt like a series of long corridors where you enter at one end and fairly quickly pass out the other in a hearse. Horrible. Although 84 and suffering severe and debilitating arthritis she wants to live her life to the last. I can identify with that. We ate dinner there with her and her husband. It was Sunday evening tea following a Sunday roast midday meal and 'light'. Soup, small salad with ham or raisin toast, passion fruit flummery or fruit salad and ice cream, and to top it off because it was Sunday, two scones with jam and cream were offered to take back for late supper. They do have a weekly happy hour which includes alcohol so we left some sparkling and red wine with them. As you do.

Very little rain has fallen on our farm so far this year. What comes seems to circle around our valley without falling here and with the extremely hot days we have experienced many of the ornamental plants in our old house garden are distressed and showing burnt leaves. I don't know if they will survive. The rest of the house paddock is a dust bowl except where we have mulched intensively and the veggie garden which is watered on a regular basis. Added to this the deer are ever bolder and so destructive.

The days are getting shorter.

Warm Regards, Helen




LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - OK. A cord of wood has been called a cord of wood since the early 1600s, because, wait for it, it was tied with cord. Definitions are usually included in articles about "odd and archaic units of measure". It wasn't mentioned anywhere, but I wonder if it had anything to do with standard wagon beds. They're about 4x4x8. There was talk of "bush cords", "face cords" and "ricks". By that point, my head was beginning to hurt :-).

"...involved in disaster recovery process." What I remember about the SF earthquake is groups of people running around and really helping out. Running hose for firemen down to the bay to pump water, shoring up collapsing walls, digging through rubble to find survivors. Where the freeway collapsed, people were swarming in with every type of ladder imaginable to help get people off the wreckage. We've talked about my memories of the Mt. St. Helen's eruption. We didn't feel any quakes in Portland, but sure had a ringside seat for the show! We could hear the explosions, a couple of times. The ash fall really gummed up the works for quit a few weeks.

I do hope all goes well with your ear. I know what it's like to wait for lab results. Went through the same thing when I had my teeth worked on. You just go about your life and try not to think about it, very much. Nell and you have something in common :-). I took her to a low cost outfit to have her "fixed" and get all her shots. They give you the rabies shot (usually, pretty expensive) for free, if you agree to let them snip a bit of the tip of one ear off. That's so, if she's picked up as a stray, they know immediately that she's been sterilized. It's not quit so noticeable now that she's grown, but people sometimes notice and wonder "what's happened."

Cliff Mass, the weather guy, has a new post up. Why is our weather doing what it's doing, this year? Thunderstorms over Indonesia and Borneo. Seems a little far fetched, to me, but he's the guy in the know. When I went to bed last night, there was a very heavy frost. This morning when I got up, there was a bit of snow, here and there. Looks like we had a light dusting, overnight, but most of it has already melted. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Yes, best keep your orchid locations to yourself. A really great read is Susan Orlean's "The Orchid Thief". A real good look at the madness that infects some orchid collectors. The film was rubbish, the book was great.

Was reading more in "Eight Flavors", last night. The section about the SE Asian hot(ish) sauce, One factoid (not to be confused with fantods :-) is that humans are set up to be hot sauce junkies. A real monkey on our backs, as a species. "Contrary to the popular stereotype, Americans do like spicy food. It's in our biology. Much like chili powder and curry powder, Sriracha gets us a little bit high every time we eat it. The capsaicin in its jalapeno peppers triggers heat receptors in our mouths, and our brains release endorphins as a response. The experience is addictive, so we repeat it again and again with spicier and spicier food." Who knew? What I want to know is ... is there a 12 Step Program? :-). Next time my buddy and I go out for lunch, we're going to try the Thai restaurant. We've been told they use the "star system" to get the amount of hotness, you want. The more stars, the hotter the dish. Hmmm. Three or four stars? :-).

Seems like every time a company gets a rubbish reputation, they rebrand. Still a rubbish company, just a different name. I suppose a certain segment of the population falls for that.

I don't think an early Saturday closing is odd at all. In a lot of countries, it was pretty traditional. What I find odd is this whole 24/7/365 nonsense. I really put that down to competitive business pressure and and rampant feelings of entitlement among some consumers. It's interesting that some large companies were pushing for Thanksgiving and Christmas openings ... and the consumers pushed back citing those holidays as sacred to "family." The PR got so bad that several large companies have abandoned the push for holiday openings. Even "Black Friday" (the day after Thanksgiving) is loosing it's edge, due to more people buying, online.

If it comes to sales or films, I pretty much know when I'm being manipulated. I have a pretty sensitive ... what-the-bull-leaves-behind, meter.

The talk of corduroy roads reminded me of another aspect of the logging industry. The log flume. Miles of water filled ... troughs (?) that were used to float logs down to the mills. At the mill end, logs would come flying out of the flume and shot into the mill pond with a very satisfying splash. Sometimes, there would be hollowed out log canoes to move men and material from the woods to the mill camps. Or even small purpose built "boats." Some loggers would ride the logs as sport. No wonder it's one of the most dangerous occupations in the world. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Ah yes, I have heard of Uncle Bob and that statement is also used down here. My grandmother used to say to me that I was: "carrying on like a two bob watch". Two bob being twenty cents and the inference of course was that the watch was never expected to work correctly in the first place!

That bird is an uncanny doppleganger of the nightjar here. You'd have to assume that they were closely related? Bill was perhaps very naughty and had to be chastised thoroughly. Scritchy is just the dog to chastise poor Bill. It would be noisy.

Of course, I often confuse we and I in replies because I just like to mix it up a bit. And of course if I used the word "we" too often I might accidentally one day write something silly like "we we"! ;-)! And nobody wants to read that sort of toilet humour! Hehe!

Thanks. I dunno, you play the cards you're dealt and hopefully you don't get evicted from the game too early, and there are no guarantees. I should know early next week. In the meantime, I keep manuring the orchards... Apparently I have to put down 5 to 10 US tons per acre. That is a lot of manure!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

I'm glad you were able to pass by Seymour and you may also have seen the mighty Goulburn River which is looking quite full this year. The expo is pretty busy and you travelled a long way, but you did miss out on an excellent souvlaki! :-)!

You certainly got around the state during your trip. Maryborough is a nice town. The old place sounded like one of those old hospitals or institutions with multiple doors off a long corridor. I once almost rented a flat in Melbourne that had a similar vibe and it put me off for some reason.

They would have enjoyed the gift of the sparkling wine and it is nice to not visit a place empty handed.

Wow, you are having tough conditions this summer. I've been there too. In those conditions nothing beats shade; mulch; manure; and water. And if those conditions have occurred once, they'll happen again. Next week I plan to begin spreading manure in the orchard as the forecast is for a warm to hot and dry March...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Some of those older measurements were a bit literal in their meaning weren't they? I noticed on the old land title for this place there were references to so many chains as a form of measurement... I reckon you are right about the standard wagon measurements and this is quite strange, but vehicle trailer measurements are still measured in feet - not to mention the ubiquitous containers (20 foot or 40 feet). Vehicle trailers sold down here are usually described as either 6 foot by 4 foot or 7 foot by 5 foot (I use a 7x5). The funny thing too about the bright yellow trailer, people always comment on the colour of it in a really positive way. I have to do some repairs to that trailer again soon. The steel worm that is rust continually eats away at the older bits of it.

I'd imagine that enforcing measurements was a complex business back in the day (as it probably is today too)? It makes you wonder whether products were sold by weight when it became possible to do so? Dunno.

Yeah that happens here too. For some strange reason, I have noted that on several occasions over at the ADR in the comment section, people believe that things go in other directions with community after disasters and of course, the media do their bit to promote that particular story. I can't even begin to imagine what the sound from an exploding volcano would be like? Do you happen to recall what the Portland authorities did with all of that ash from Mt St Helens? You know, I can still recall the National Geographic magazine showing the after photos. They left quite the impression and the ash was everywhere and trees were flattened or stripped of their needles.

Thanks. Like I wrote to Pam, life is very uncertain and you play the cards you've been dealt and just hope that you can stay in the game long enough. The UV radiation down here during summer is extreme and so skin damage is pretty common among the population. I started wearing sunscreen as a teenager, but before that time, people used to say that getting a bit of colour on your skin was a sign of good health and getting sun burnt was some sort of summer rite of passage. They even used to sell a product called Reef Oil which sped up the burning process. It smelled of coconut oil to me. And the advertisement used to show two groups of people with one cool looking group labelled "Reef Tan" and the other pasty looking group labelled "Normal Tan". They'd probably be sued for such a campaign nowadays! Ah, how times have changed!

That is interesting about the nicking of the cats ear and yeah, the hair would grow out over the nick. Down here they used to tattoo a mark on the inside of the cats ear to indicate that status.

Well, he seems to be in the know about the weather. Interestingly too, it looks as though the thunderstorms over Indonesia and the top end of Australia may be reducing in intensity. The Bureau of Meteorology (have they discovered any meteors lately one wonders?) announced that March here will be hot and dry. It certainly looks as if that will be the case given the short term forecasts. At least there is a huge amount of groundwater in this part of the continent. I'm going to begin manuring the orchard next week so as to give the fruit trees a good feed. The UV radiation seems to be slipping into the Very High bracket and that means that the fruit trees will begin growing strongly again and if it doesn't get too hot and there is a little bit of rain, things will get interesting here. Did you end up getting any more snow after the light dusting? You did have a serious fall earlier in the winter season. Hey, out of curiosity, is the snow sticking to the higher altitudes?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Yes, I will definitely keep mum on the exact locations of the bush orchids. The ones here only grow in a symbiotic relationship with either the bacteria or fungi (I forget which) in the local soils so they don't transplant at all. And collectors rummaging all over the place would be a nuisance. ;-)!

You know, there must be a 12 step program for chilli addiction somewhere? I read long ago that too much consumption of ultra hot chilli's has been linked to stomach cancers, but can't recall whether that was just an urban myth? Dunno. Thai food has much chilli in it. I actually prefer the kick from pepper and Sichuan peppercorns in Chinese food is a real kicker! :-)! Prepare for lift-off in t minus 3,2,1! Ouch.

Actually the editor is reading a really interesting book on that subject matter. It is a history of luxury goods (Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster) and well, to be honest, the story tells a sad tale of profits over quality which has taken place over the past couple of decades. The editor recommends the book highly as an interesting tale of decline even for people who are not interested in such topics. That course of action has taken place in many industries and I suspect that it is a sign that we cannot afford to sustain that many chiefs, but that is purely my opinion.

It was very tradition here too to close on Saturday lunchtimes for the rest of the weekend. Some public holidays businesses close here too and it can be selective too as to which ones. I recall getting more public holidays when I was younger than are enjoyed now. And I can recall that my grandmother once told me that long ago the Saints days used to be public holidays. I noticed that in South America they celebrated Saints days as a public holiday. And the celebrations were huge, I couldn't believe them.

Yeah, I am often startled at the narratives being portrayed in films too. I wonder why other people don't see them. I just don't get that.

Oh my! Well that log flume is for those folks that are addicted to adrenalin (they may require a 12 step program for that gear perhaps?). In Tasmania they used to float saw logs to the saw mills, but we don't have the water for that on the mainland (well at least in Victoria) and so they used timber tramways and the effect on the drivers would have been much the same as the log flumes (timber breaks and all on the tramways!). A bit too much excitement for my tastes. ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I have been told that the orchids here are dependant on fungi or whatever and therefore can't be transplanted. I have found this to be completely untrue. If you have a few of one kind you could experiment I assume that this is illegal as it is here.

Chillis etc. oh dear I can't eat anything of this ilk though I sometimes get caught out accidentally in restaurants or by kind hosts who doubt it. I have a place in my throat that causes spasm if anything like this touches it ( mother and elder daughter are similar). A real nuisance in restaurants as people assume that I am choking. I am in no position to explain and need to be left alone.

I got a sneaky feeling of pleasure at the fact that my neighbour had difficulty taking down the part of the property that my husband had built. Later extentions came down easily.

@Margaret
I forgot to ask son about exact breed mixture of his pigs will tell you next week. He has one boar and two sows plus the endless progeny that go to slaughter. His boar does get lent out.

@Pam
Thanks for asking Chris about what happens to the editor, I had wondered but was too nervy to ask.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Hoping for good news with your test results. I imagine that skin cancers are very common in your part of the world - heck there's a lot here where the sun isn't nearly as strong. Both my MIL and Doug have had malignant melanomas removed and as it was caught early enough all has been fine so far. As I have very fair skin and had some nasty burns as a child and young adult I'm surprised I've not had any skin cancers yet. Still as sunlight is the best source of vitamin D there is a balance to be had especially in light of studies that indicate how important that vitamin is. One has to wonder about the chemicals in sunscreen though. One of my granddaughters was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease 8 years ago. It primarily affects the muscular system but interestingly sun exposure can cause a flare up (she's in remission now) and then she would have to go through the entire multi-year treatment again. She wears sunscreen and hat all year round though doesn't have to be nearly as diligent as in the early years. Then she wasn't even allowed to be outside between the hours of 10 and 4. My daughter had to keep the shades down over any window in their apartment if any sun was shining in.

Speaking of granddaughters my younger daughter and I are doing an overnight in downtown Chicago with them tonight - an annual Christmas gift to them. I got a great senior rate at an Embassy Suites hotel complete with free snacks and drinks tonight and a free full breakfast tomorrow. Should be a good time.

Thanks for the good wishes regarding court etc. Last year Doug and I had a trust done which makes it so much easier for everything to pass on. My in-laws had one and when my FIL passed away a few years ago the process was so easy that my MIL was pretty much able to handle it all on her own.

I did get some bad, but not totally unexpected news yesterday. The Retirement Home where my brother, Michael, lives is closing in three months. It's owned by very dear friends of ours who are both 67 now. As one of them has had a succession of health issues I was expecting it fairly soon but the short notice does present some problems. If I can't find an appropriate and affordable place for him he'll be moving back in with us for awhile.

Had some snow last night - not even an inch though. It'll melt by tomorrow.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Helen:

The aged care facility that you visited sounds like the very best of all worlds. And the food - my goodness! It is also nice that your married friends are able to still be together there. Your drought sounds so very serious. Here's hoping that the autumn rains are soon to come.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

Is that why I add hot peppers to everything? I'm an addict . . . Thankfully I can grow my own . . .

Did you ever ride one of those theme park "log rides" where they build an imitation flume and everybody sits in hollowed-out "logs"? My very favorite ride, especially on a hot summer day!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Here is - to me - a crazy idea that I read: http://www.denverpost.com/2017/02/05/food-growing-tower-weed-entrepreneur-rick-byrd/

Never mind the weed aspect. What about all the resources needed to accomplish this even on a small scale?

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Some people perceive the color yellow as "cheery." As an initial reaction. Other people, with a little bit of thought, think of it as "safe." Easier to spot. Well, you know what they say. Rust never sleeps. I've always wondered who "they" are? :-)

Ancient civilizations ... Babylonians, Egyptians ... of course, the Romans all seemed to have developed standard units of measure. And, woe to those who fiddled the volumes or weights. Punishment could be quit harsh. Here, I think it's the Department of Commerce that oversees such things. On gas pumps and scales you see little stickers, indicating the last time they have been checked. Don't know where it came from, but there's always that old saw about the butcher with his thumb on the scale.

What does a volcano sound like? Pretty much like a sonic boom. Of a bit longer duration.

No snow, again. Can't see the distant hills, but the last few days, they've had a bit of snow on them.

The book the Editor is reading, "Deluxe" sounds like something I'd find a good read. Checked my libraries catalog and low and behold, there's one copy in the system. AND sitting on the shelf of the branch I use. Instead of, per usual, in some far flung branch. So, it should be waiting for me when I make my weekly trip to town.

I think "lux" is also very much a class thing. Or, was. As people in general got more wealthy (development of the upper middle class, and all), more people could buy things previously reserved for the wealthy. A person's class couldn't be quit so obvious. Of course, the upper crust struck back in various ways. Sumptuary laws. You could only have so much lace on a garment. What your buttons were made out of. Even the Romans had strict laws governing who could wear what, when and where. Other ways the rich struck back was adopting a kind of shabby tweedy chic. "Classics" in clothes, carefully kept and maintained. The young rich might aspire to a "working class" look.

Even the Quakers, who by doctrine "dressed plane" found ways to mark class. Rich Quakers might dress in the same cut and colors of everyone else, but those in the know, with careful observation, could figure out who was wearing finer and more expensive fabrics. In the tat trade, there's mass produced iridescent glass called "poor man's Tiffany." Or mass produced pressed glass called "poor man's cut glass." Of course, now with "easy credit" the very foolish can become mired in debt to appear to be more successful than they really are. What's the old saw? "Appearances can be deceiving." Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

I finished "Eight Flavors", last night. A good read. The last chapter was about figuring out what the next big flavor trend will be. What will be widely used in food and found in just about every household spice shelf or fridge. Green tea (matcha) is a strong contender. Pumpkin pie spice flavor is over the top. As I can personally attest :-). Something may come out of the Middle East, given the number of new immigrants coming from there. And returning soldiers and civilian contractors who have developed a taste for local fare. "Smoke" flavor is hot, right now. They figured out 5 stages of exotic food acceptance. In stage one, a flavor appears in "foodie" restaurants. Something that may have been used by the immigrant kitchen staff, first. Stage two, gourmet magazines and foodie blogs cover the trend. In stage three, the flavor begins to appear on menus of of conventional chain restaurants. Stage four is when the ingredient appears in recipe web sites as well as women's magazines that aren't entirely food focused. Stage five, the food or flavor appears in chain grocery stores and fast food restaurants. It has now officially gone mainstream.

Pumpkin pie spice uses over 80 chemical compounds to replicate the experience of pumpkin pie. LOL. Of course, a slice of real pumpkin pie has over 350 chemical compounds, including the 80 or so in the pumpkin pie spice flavor.

Besides log flumes, logging railroads were big here. There are whole books on the topic, lavish with photos. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Yeah, it probably is untrue, and fungi and bacteria in the soil can be transplanted easily too, but then let's not put temptation into the way of those devious orchid collectors and stick to the story. I'm not sure I'd be happy about collectors running around here picking the orchids, but that is probably more because they wouldn't want to contribute anything in return for access to the land.

That is a nuisance. People can be rather dismissive of food related problems and if people objected to a food item I wouldn't serve it to them. But maybe other people want to test the seriousness of your claims and that is not a nice thing for them to do.

I would enjoy that sneaky feeling too. You know I try really hard to construct things with a level of care so that they stand the tests of time and by your words I can tell that your husband felt much the same.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

They are a common skin problem and can be fatal if left un-diagnosed and age has nothing to do with the seriousness, although damages increases with age and exposure to the sun. Overseas tourists suffer pretty hard too if they visit during the summer as it just never occurs to them that the sun can feel so fierce. A few weeks ago I spotted some very pasty tourists walking around in the full midday sun (I was sitting in the shade at the time enjoying an ice coffee) and I thought to myself that they are going to get burned that day.

And yeah, sunscreen is probably full of chemicals, but the alternative is far worse and so like everything it is a trade off.

Your granddaughters story was harrowing and you never know what cards you will get dealt. I hope she wears sunglasses as well, I always do outside in the strong sunlight even over winter.

Enjoy yourself! :-)!

No worries and I believe down here we call those trusts: Testamentary trusts. Without a will and competing interests things can go awry very quickly and much wealth is lost to the legal system.

I'm curious as to why they didn't attempt to sell the retirement home as an ongoing business? Although to be honest such a thing would have negative implications for Michael. Good luck.

It is nice to read about the snow. This week looks like things here will be much warmer and drier than previously. Such strange and inconsistent weather we get down here. I'm planning on feeding the paddocks with manure and mowing the herbage this week which is probably the right thing to do, although I'm not really sure and am just going by gut instinct.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

I'm glad you mentioned the will bit as Inge asked about it too. I wouldn't want to be involved in an unpleasant outcome in relation to such matters as I have known people on the receiving end of such an outcome and it is no good and as I always reckon: Marriages and Funerals bring out the best and worst in people. A little bit of middle ground in such times wouldn't be a bad thing? ;-)! My original words were a slip of the finger whilst typing.

Ouch. I don't smoke and never have, but I know people who do. And as a disclaimer, I don't grow the stuff either. It is a crazy story and I don't much like hydroponics. I listen to the youth news, and the stories about some of the varieties - not bush buds, but hydro and synthetic stuff - has THC levels that are out of control and some people have had psychotic episodes which have long lasting mental health issues for the users. It is just not good. If a person was going to smoke, the only thing I can add is to stick to stuff that is grown in the soil in normal growing conditions for plants. But I personally wonder how hydroponics can even provide a full spectrum of minerals to the plants as it is such a closed system and the outputs aren't even returned back into the system. I honestly wonder how it is even economically possible for such a system to work. I read once over at the ADR the concept that: There is no such thing as a free lunch. We seem to want to turn agriculture into an industrial process and the closer you get to that ideal, the more expensive the process becomes relative to the output, and the more that gets wasted in the process. I just don't get it.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for explaining that about the colour yellow and that makes a sort of sense to me. The reactions are usually very positive to the colour. And entropy is eternal all else is secondary!

"They" is a funny word, much like the word "it". I try hard to avoid using such words when I write the blog because the words themselves can be misinterpreted so easily and most people have pretty good reading comprehension, however some don't. Really, not using those words saves me aggravation and for people who struggle with reading comprehension skills, well they can learn - without realising that they are learning. And yes, the mysterious "they" are a force to be reckoned with, I see a lot of comments on the interweb attributing special powers to “them”. If it means anything to you, I reckon Alaric I would have been a force to be reckoned with, the other "they's" – well not so much – mostly harmless.

Nice to read that there was a certain respect for the laws surrounding measurements. Of course mutual exchanges can be complex if the various items being exchanged can't be measured and agreed upon. Negotiation is one of those tools that we as a society seem to be a bit embarrassed about using. In travelling in the third world, mate, you have to be prepared to go in and haggle over items - and even then I reckon you get done most of the time. In Asia it is always meant to be an enjoyable process to arrive at a price.

I forget that you now have the view of your distant hills. Have the Mexicans repaired the landlords shed? It will be interesting to see whether the trees have set seed and if the extra light from the clearing produces a thick cluster of new trees? Dunno.

Next week here looks much warmer than previous weeks and I feel as if it will be a hot and dry March. Consistency of climate (like Elvis) has left the building...

The editor speaks very highly of the book and it is a history of decline. I hope you enjoy the book and I will be curious to read of your opinion. I've had status in the past and simply walked away from it, but strangely enough like thrown mud some of it sticks and I can wheel it out when I need to. Yesterday the editor and I in a strange coincidence had a long chat with a guy who brewed sake in Japan and is a bit of an all round sake expert. He gave us a lovely compliment by saying that we brew sake the way they did it in Japan 1,000 years ago. Of course that sounds like an exaggeration to me, but we were pretty chuffed to hear it. I never realised what a huge history and tradition sake had. He also said that he only knew of one other person in this corner of the continent doing what we are doing with the drink. Far out, and here's us just mucking around doing a bit of this and a bit of that. Our sake is good though and it is on the sweeter side of things rather than the drier varieties.

I reckon the book will cover the history of that transition in some detail and it covers many different industries. The thing I reckon is that it is very hard to produce a surplus in business and anyone who wants a very large surplus for themselves has their work cut out for them. It is possible to chase a large surplus whilst maintaining high quality, but the temptation is always there if circumstances change and lifestyle expectations and decisions are not so easily walked away from. I tend to advise a certain flexibility in such matters but that is easier said than done for most. And easy credit can be used well, but far out, I have also noticed that how it is administered can often push people unwittingly into a cycle of debt. And I end up acting in the role of the Christmas Grinch.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

It is funny that you mention "smoke" flavours but I have read some (dare I mention it?) controversy in the Vegan food world about smoke flavours in food. I don't really buy into such matters because I don't follow a vegan diet and have respect for those who can do so, but seriously they can sometimes forget that the world we experience is a continuum of experiences rather than a fixed point where people can feel more superior than other people. Hey, did we just circle back around to the whole messy status thing again? It sure does sound like it (and I used the "it" word again). Standards are clearly dropping here! :-)! Oh no.

I'm planning to write tonight. It should be interesting! Maybe. Anyway, I've noticed a lot of people with .eu web addresses are annoying me over at the Wordpress website for the podcast. I've just deleted all of them but the funniest one I got was from someone requesting to do a guest blog... I reckon we've circled our way back around to reading comprehension skills again. My we cover some circuitous ground here don't we? Hehe! Sorry, I'm just being silly now.

Yeah, it is really scary how complex standard type foodstuffs are. I was sort of talking about that problem with Pam above in relation to hydroponics as the feedstock for the plants has to be missing something and the plants must be deficient in whatever the feedstock is missing. Soil is a very complex environment so how we could ever attempt to artificially replicate the interactions and expect the same results is way beyond my understanding.

You may not have seen this news from down under from late last year, but it relates very much to your log flumes: Dreamworld: Police re-enact fatal ride using dummies as investigations into fatal ride continue. A dangerous business those log flumes.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - My family wasn't very big on theme parks ... or, spending money on any kind of entertainment, for that matter. :-). Oh, we did a one day whirl through Disneyland, when I was about 8. But that was about it. Personally, I've never been much for rides, beyond a merry-go-round and the occasional ferris wheels. No sense of adventure :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I dreamed I was planting onions last night. Wonder what that's all about :-). We had a light dusting of snow, overnight. It's well on the melt. We have light snow in the forecast for the next 48 hours. The next two nights. I still haven't seen any come down, this time around. And that's the fun part. Lay about snow isn't near so interesting.

As far as the orchids go, it might be interesting to try and increase their numbers, on your land. Maybe now as they are so touchy. I've quit enjoyed trying to boost the number of cinnabar moths, here. And the scarlet columbine which is a native wild flower. What I'm NOT encouraging are the blue jays. Caught a few of them stealing Beau's food, this morning. So, it looks like I'll have to pull his food in at night, to keep the raccoons off, and during the day to thwart the jays. The robins are back. Though many stay over the winter. There's a huge flock in the back pasture, working the ground.

Not so much the Christmas Grinch. More The Voice Of Reason :-). So many people seem to be caught up in "keeping up standards." Or, at least appearances. Not that I'm an innocent. I have a shirt that someone gave me. It's a Tommy Hilfiger. Not that I know much about Hilfiger, but I do know it's a Lux brand. It gives me a little thrill to wear it. Even though on one level I know I'm just being a victim of advertising. Were I to wear it in some big city milieus, it might be recognized as a designer shirt, but some fashion victim is likely to "throw shade" by observing that it's LAST years Hilfiger. :-). Back when I was thin and living in S. California, by rummaging around under the tables of a sample store, I actually came up with a pair of Pierre Cardin pants. Held onto them for years, even after they were "out of style" and didn't fit anymore. I think there's something kind of archaic about that urge. A talisman?

Well, that was an interesting bit about you impressing the Saki Master. A whole new vocation, beckons. :-). There are days when it feels good when someone tells you, you are doing SOMETHING right :-). The Mexican fellows haven't been around in weeks. But their water truck is still parked in a corner of my yard, so I presume they'll make an appearance, sooner or later. The shed looks good. Restored to it's former glory :-).

I made a green bean casserole, last night. Something I'd never done before. In some families, it's kind of a Thanksgiving tradition. It was in the Eight Flavors, book. And, as I had some wax beans in the freezer ... Similar flavor, slightly different texture. Tasted good, but way to salty, for my taste. I think I know how to fix that, but it would involve a lot of making from scratch, some of the industrial processed food. I'd have to make my own cream of mushroom soup, from scratch. And, make my own dried onion topping. Hmmm. I was in the bakery the other day and happened to glance at some muffins that had greenish tops. My first thought was that they had gone over and were moldy. Nope. I'd forgotten that St. Patricks's day is coming, and the clerk told me that they are that color from pistachio. And, that she eagerly awaits them, every year. I didn't take the plunge. :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

PS: As far as guest bloggers go, I know Mr. Greer has a note on his website that he doesn't "do" guest bloggers. Don't even ask. I don't know why, but I'm sure he has his reasons. I haven't been reading the ADR. Probably won't until his fit of philosophical ruminations, passes :-). Lew