Monday, 28 August 2017

Highway to Fluffy

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

Cars and the social status that people attempt to obtain from cars were once an interest of mine. These days I care so little for cars I couldn’t even be bothered wasting the time washing the dirt rat Suzuki car that I do own. And living on a dirt road makes owning a clean car an impossible objective, so why bother worrying about cars in the first place?

The editor and I weren’t always so apathetic about cars, and way back in my corporate days I used to own an old Porsche 911. That car was almost as old as I was, and it was certainly far cooler than I (edit: but not the editor). Driving around that inner city suburb of Melbourne with the roof down, the stereo blaring Triple J and my first Pomeranian (Old Fluffy) hanging out the window, I used to feel as if I was cooler than the character Hank Moody (played by David Duchovny – no point aiming low I feel) on the very naughty television show Californication.
The old 1974 Porsche 911 next to the dirt rat Suzuki
That car was pretty fast for its age, however the uncool owners of much newer cars regularly used to try to drag me off at the lights. I didn’t feel the need to race them because I – unlike them – was feeling cool. Unfortunately, after about five years of ownership I became very uncool about the wallet draining repair bills associated with that car. And so that car and I eventually parted company. Old Fluffy the Pomeranian was very sad about this unexpected turn of events.
Old Fluffy the Pomeranian boss dog enjoying the comforts of a sheepskin lined drivers seat
Old Fluffy is now long gone as is that old Porsche. Nowadays I care very little for cars and I am always looking out for ways to reduce the cost of car ownership.

About two years ago, I came up with a great idea. By sheer chance, I knew of a person in the nearby township who worked very close to a business client who I regularly visited. I thought to myself, how cool - this is an opportunity for car pooling! I knew the local person had a mortgage and was also bemoaning the cost of their recent new vehicle loan. So I offered to come to an arrangement to car pool on those days that were convenient. Car pooling is way cooler than I, because two people instantly reduce the costs of car ownership and the environment wins because one car is regularly taken off the road.

I was so excited about this opportunity. Being that excited about something is perhaps not cool, but I was just so excited! We car pooled for a few trips and then my excitement plummeted because the local person and I had a car pool break up. It is so sad to hear the words: it’s not you, it’s me…

Sadly, it probably was me.

You see I had failed to grasp the concept the local person was not at all interested in either the environment or in reducing their own expenditure so as to reduce their level of indebtedness. This person had a big new shiny car and wanted to be seen in that big shiny new car. And here’s me saying: be driven and seen in my now thirteen year old dirt rat of a Suzuki because it is a good thing to do (and I hope you like Triple J). In boxing terms, it could be said that the contender (me) went down in the first round to the champ “Mr Status”, and Mr Status has a powerful right hook indeed.

The thing is, I am unsure what it means to have status. I have chased status in the past and to me it looks like trying to grasp something that is always out of reach. And it took me quite a long time to realise that the need to achieve status is a story that somebody else put in my head. I hear people talking about a dream house, or a dream wedding, or some other dream rubbish, and I wonder to myself: Who’s dream are you talking about? Why is it never a 'dream vegetable garden'? Do you have to be asleep at the wheel to believe in these 'dreams'? So many questions!

This winter week has been very cold. The insulation in the house, which is more than double that required by the Australian construction standards has been proving its worth yet again. At bedtime, I fill up the wood heater and then let it die out over-night. At night during winter, the over-night temperature inside the house only drops a few degrees.
The house only drops a few degrees Celsius over-night due to the massively insulated walls, floor and roof


On Sunday morning it began snowing outside. Fortunately Mr Poopy the Pomeranian (he’s technically a Swedish Lapphund) was outside on the veranda at the time and he alerted the editor and I to the snow. Despite Mr Poopy’s genetic heritage combined with his dreams of herding reindeer he’s actually not that fond of being caught outside in a snow storm.
Mr Poopy demands to be let in as a snow storm sweeps up the valley
The air was soon thick with falling snow and Mr Poopy was safely inside the house dreaming of reindeer!
The air was soon thick with falling snow
When snow falls over the farm it rarely settles, however today it was settling. This could only mean one thing - in the more fashionable end of the mountain range, there would be even better snow! The higher reaches of the mountain range are about 300m  / 1,000ft higher than the farm. I was correct - higher up the mountain range it was like a winter wonderland. When the snow is thick enough, the usual colours of the forest gets sucked out of the air. Today, purely for research purposes for this blog, I travelled the short journey up into the higher regions of the mountain range to enjoy the snow (and some local bakery products)!
Higher up in the mountain range there is an old Douglas Fir plantation which looks dark and mysterious when it snows
Mountain Ash forests on Mount Macedon covered in snow. These trees are regrowth from the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires. Note the very uniform growth in the trees and well established under story
In between the cold weather this week, the extension of the tomato enclosure has continued. The drainage channel which runs alongside the enclosure was lined with rocks. A small barbeque grate (which is enormously strong) was placed over the channel for use as a bridge. The barbeque grate was purchased at the tip shop for only a few dollars.
The drainage channel was lined with rocks and a barbeque grate is being used as a bridge
A mate remarked that the tomato enclosure is bigger than some people’s backyards! I see no reason to argue with that observation. The remaining areas inside the enclosure were weeded, and another cubic metre (1.3 cubic yards) of composted woody mulch was placed over the weeded area. In addition to that work, the remaining fence rails were attached to the treated pine posts and the posts were cut down to the correct height.
The remaining area inside the tomato enclosure was weeded and another cubic metre of composted woody mulch was applied
There are many different types of berries growing just outside the enclosure and we weeded them this week and also applied a thick layer of composted woody mulch in their garden bed. In the next photo below you can see Jostaberries and Cape Gooseberries. Inside the enclosure are: Blueberries, Gooseberries, Cape Gooseberries, Chilean Guavas, Maqui berry, Red and Black Currants.
There are many different varieties of berries growing in and around the tomato enclosure and here are Jostaberries and Cape Gooseberries
I was intending to begin the slow process of installing the pickets around that enclosure today, but like Mr Poopy, the snow and the general cold weather has forced me inside the house where I am writing this blog instead! I have good number of pickets ready to install as fencing, but over the next week I will probably have to make some more.
The pickets are waiting for the snow to stop falling so that they can be installed as fencing
Post script: It is true, I really did have plans to install those pickets on the fence Sunday afternoon. That was the plan anyway. Until this happened:
Sunday afternoon the snow fell heavily!
There was no way at all the editor and I were going to work outside in those conditions!

Spare a thought for the chickens - although they do have a roof over their chicken run
One of the stupidest opinions that I have read on the Internet over the past few years, was somebody trying to explain to me that solar panels will generate electricity regardless of snow, rain, clouds, or whatever.
Solar panels don't generate much electricity in the snow - just sayin...
The bands of clouds that produced the snow kept sweeping over the farm in waves all afternoon. In between one of the snow falls I took Mr Poopy the Pomeranian out for a run in the orchard.
After the snow finished falling, Mr Poopy was happy to run around the orchard
And there is even a video:


We now return to the original blog text: Pest control in the raised garden beds is a job that is outsourced to the many birds that live here. I spotted this magpie in a lettuce bed the other day. At the rear of that raised garden bed is a walnut tree that I am hoping to plant next weekend in its own epic raised rock bed. I have had a lot of trouble getting walnut trees established here and this is my third attempt (or maybe fourth attempt).
The local bird population handles pest control duties in the garden beds
Despite the occasional snow fall and frosty mornings, the many citrus trees are continuing to deliver fresh fruit all winter long.
The many citrus trees are continuing to deliver fruit all winter long
The skies have been very murky this week, but the silver wattle trees provide a great splash of winter colour:
The Silver Wattle trees provide a great splash of winter colour
The many spring flowers are just beginning to show themselves:
Daffodils thumb their petals at the occasional snow fall and frost
The tree lucerne (Tagasaste) flowers are continuing to multiply on the many trees
I have experimented with camellia’s for a few years. My experiments have involved planting them in many different locations around the farm. Then I have been watching how they grow (and die) in those different locations and I believe I have finally found the best spot for those plants. And they are now beginning to produce flowers:
After much trial and error, the camellia’s are beginning to produce flowers
The ever reliable Echium’s show brave colour against the dark winter skies
Years ago I received a free plant from a nursery and in my excitement about receiving the free plant, I completely forgot to ask them what it was. The plant may be known as the mystery early spring white flowering plant. That may work? Can anybody identify what it is?
A mystery early spring white flowering plant
 The temperature outside now at about 8.00pm is 3’C (37’F). So far this year there has been 605.2mm (23.8 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 583.4mm (23.0 inches).

63 comments:

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks very much for the correction. It only snows here once or twice a year and usually the snow isn't that heavy. We obviously lack the proper words from our language down here. :-)! I’m starting to get new words for frost and they’re not very family friendly! :-)!

Oh yeah, funny huh? I keep saying to people to test out citrus trees in their area because you never know. Ten years ago expert opinion was that it was impossible to grow citrus in this mountain range, but there they are happily growing...

The most cold tolerant citrus are the Australian Round Lime, Lemon Eureka, and Lemon Meyer (people reckon that tree is the biz for cold climates). But the mandarins look like they're OK too. Pomello is going great guns too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Yup, old friends are good value and you can just be comfortable around them. By the time you can bandy around descriptions like: "a few decades", most friends who make you feel uncomfortable have long since fallen by the wayside. It is nice to catch up with people who have a similar background too, although I hope you talked shop for a while, but not too much? ;-)! I tend to steer people away from talking about their work too much as some people can get lost in the detail.

Kayaking is fun isn't it, and they're much more stable than a narrow rowing boat (a thoroughly English sport that one). Even down here some people get affected by lack of Vitamin D because they spend too much time indoors. It is a worry and I reckon spending too much time indoors impacts negatively upon peoples eyesight too.

Yeah that is so true. You don't have to look too far these days do you?

What a sight that would have been, seeing a balloon come down very low on your road. Hope everyone enjoyed the festival? I used to live near a park where balloons used to regularly land in. The council eventually erected a sign in the park banning balloon landings, but then the balloons would have had to have landed to be able to see the sign. The thing is, I never understood why they had to get up so early to fly around in the balloon as they woke me up on Sunday mornings flying low over the house. The first time it happened I thought an aircraft was about to crash into the house! Far out.

I respect the fact that you worked your way up the ranks. I’ve done every accounts job under the sun too and that is a good thing because you are able to speak the language. Some accountants never get those lessons. I once employed a very talented accounts lady to the position of assistant accountant (that is what we'd call that job down here) and I copped a lot of flack for that, but she earned the position on merit and experience.

Yup, work social culture ain’t what it used to be. I saw the very tail end of that culture.

Fingers crossed for good weather for the photos.

Snow doesn't hang around here long enough to be a nuisance. Now heatwaves, that is a whole 'nother story down here.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

It has been very cold this week so I am rather enjoying hearing about your delightfully warm - but not too hot weather. It is like the Goldilocks story: "Ahhh, this weather is just right". Excuse my adlib! Hehe!

Well, your forest has grown in a damp environment and the plants now have to direct their energies into delving their root systems deeper into the earth to tap into the lower water table. Trees are enormously hardy and adaptable as long as they have enough minerals to grow. The trees I worry about are the ones that show no outward sign of stress but later succumb to the stress. When you stop and consider just how much climactic changes plants have had to face over the past even recent geologic history, well let’s put it this way, I don’t worry too much for their future.

Ouch. I'm sorry to have to point out the sad truth that just because someone is a mother does not provide them with an unfailing moral compass and the ability to care. Life can be very strange sometimes. My mother really should not have had children as she was unable to cope with what she had created and from hindsight I can see that she was very young at the time. Of course most people work out fine in that role, but some don't. That isn't a judgement upon your good mother either, it is just that sometimes things don’t work out.

I recently read an opinion of an Aboriginal person who suggested that: Money is the white fella's dreaming. I tell you that some folks can love objects, so the word love is a very misunderstood and perhaps misused word. What do you reckon about that?

Who knows what a metal brick is? That makes no sense to me at all. Bricks of course vary in their constituent materials and I have a very soft spot for the now recycled, older red bricks down here. Those old red bricks each have an individual history and I have constructed a few brick walls in my time and I loved (there is that word again) the individuality of the bricks as no two bricks were alike. The brick walls looked great at the end of that job and all the neighbour did was whinge at me and try and extract extra stuff. The neighbour even approached the council and my building surveyor to see if there was anything else that I would be forced to do for her. The greed was palpable.

Yes, that was some serious flooding. I hope your niece and great nephew stay safe in those conditions.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

This morning when I poked my head outside the house, the cloud layer had dropped low and the farm was in the midst of a thick fog. Then snow was falling in amongst that thick fog. I have never seen that happen before. When the time came to take the bucket of greens, vegetables, and fruit scraps from the kitchen to the chickens across the orchard, I have to admit to feeling a bit less than keen. Mind you, the chickens didn't care one iota about the snow or cold conditions and they just wanted their greens. Give us our greenses (like Gollum hankering for his preciouses!)

You know that running ropes between buildings is a great idea in areas prone to blizzards. The people in those areas would have lost a few during such storms - and then found them much later, if the animals hadn't gotten to the bodies first. An animals sense of smell is far superior to our sense of smell and they just follow their noses. The worst thing about a blizzard is that people would not even have heard the cries for help over the wind and noise from the victims. What a way to go. And who would go out to help them? I have read of families dying trying to rescue family members who were in trouble in the water. Swimming is a serious skill. In alpine areas down here they usually have volunteers who know the area well and are happy to go off searching for lost folks. It is an impressive thing that those people would give their time and put their own lives on the line for others.

By the time that Santa gets his reindeer down here for Christmas, those poor creatures will be well and truly dead. Naughty Santa, he should have considered Kangaroos instead. Far out, last Christmas and the one before that were near 100'F in the shade. It would be nice to have a cooler Christmas day so as to be able to enjoy the heavy food, but we love our traditions. Anyway, Mr Poopy would be ready for those reindeer, because he sports his summer look (thanks to the lovely local lady who clips his hair during the warmer weather - I have to book him in soon, as by late September the weather can get into the 80's). Yes, I do recall you mentioning your northern European roots, so perhaps your antecedent's were the ones busy breeding up the Spitz family of dogs? Mr Poopy owes you then. :-)!

Oh! Do you know how much trouble I've been having with those nut trees. Far out, and they just volunteer in your part of the world? Oh well. I'm not sure my bare rooted walnut tree is alive as the trunk doesn't look green enough to me...

Exactly, courtesy and involvement are a very nice thing that you did. Involved people are generally more supportive aren't they? Isn't there some sort of walnut blight in your part of the world? I once recall reading something about how wide spread walnut trees once were. Alas, I believe it all comes back to a lack of minerals and soil life, but I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

You can smell the change in the seasons can't you? Generally I can pick the very day that the season changes. Of course noticing the increase or decrease in the UV energy provided by the sun helps, but let's not let everyone in on that secret. Hey, everywhere is different and you may discover that you now enjoy a longer fall and spring in your new digs? Dunno. Fall and spring here are shorter than they are in Melbourne, and spring is far longer than fall which can pass very quickly up here in the mountains. People get fixed ideas in their heads about what a climate should be like, but it is very variable from place to place and year to year.

Oh yeah! Gardens are interesting and very complex places. Nothing is ever simple. That bumblebee may have been trying to shore up its winter stores? I get viola turning up about the place and I have no idea whether I even introduced it? I suspect not, but a lot of plants are like that.

Well you don't really ever own anything, it is that just sometimes you can hold onto things and pretend. I reckon the Romans were talking about that when they remarked that the centre cannot hold (or be held). You do what you can, when you can. Like you, I too have moved around a lot for one short life. Let's not put the kiss of death on yours or my arrangement, huh?

Haha! Vortigern clearly made a pact with the devil didn't he? Hehe! Yup, foreign mercenaries are the gift that keeps on giving. My gut feeling says that he didn't want to spill his own blood so he invited others over to do that job and that showed just how weak his hand was. It seems like an unwise arrangement.

That law applies down here too. If I was to walk around the streets of Melbourne with my heavy knife hanging from around my waist in its leather holder, the cops would take me down. David Holmgren (of Permaculture fame) who doesn't live too far away from here wrote a very thoughtful essay on that very topic. I've been recently reading up on old school DIY books. ;-)! It amazes me that so much time can pass and not much changes.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Unfortunately our language is deficient so 'love' has to encompass too much. I understand that the Greeks had many words for different varieties of love.

Our humidity has become horrible. It feels as though a wet, hot blanket has been dropped on me when I go outside.

I would 'love' to have one of those large, ancient, walled vegetable gardens.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - After a day of gastronomic debauchery, it’s back on the straight and narrow of health(ier) food. Not that everything I ate yesterday was death on a plate, but tater tots? :-). Between a potluck at The Home and a potluck at the Funny Farm ... I didn’t make anything for The Home potluck, but contributed a bottle of olive oil for the zucchini fry.

Forecast temperatures have been adjusted slightly up. It was 91F (32.77) yesterday and is supposed to hit 94F (34.44C) today. Then, a slow temperature decline. Nothing as bad as last month. Cliff Mass has a current assessment of possible climate change in our part of the world. I gassed up yesterday (first time in two weeks, or so. I generally don’t let it get below half a tank) and a gallon has jumped about 20 cents. To $2.99. There was a fleeting article about a month ago that OPEC was turning off the tap. Oddly, didn’t get much play in the media.

I was more interested in the houses in the background of your car shot, than the cars :-). We don’t have anything quit like them, architecturally speaking, here. Maybe something similar in New Orleans or Savannah, Georgia. Speaking of things lurking in the back of photos, what’s that behind the picture of Mr. Poopy in snow? Don’t think we’ve got a close look at that, before. Temple lion? Watch that snow and the shoes you wear. The only broken bone I ever got was in snow just like that on a similar slope. Leg. Cast for 6 weeks. A very striking photo. A fully loaded citrus tree in snow. Now there’s something you don’t see everyday :-).

The Minimalists (theminimalists.com) is really a story about giving up status. In part. I checked out their website and did a search for “status.” There’s quit a string of posts.

Your drainage channel is really quit nice. If you had water to burn (how’s that for a mixed metaphor?) if would make a nice garden stream. Your enclosures always remind me of recreations of pioneer stockades. I suppose to keep the Wild Wombat Tribe out. :-).

What I hear about is chestnut blight. I don’t remember hearing about walnuts being in trouble. In our part of the world, walnut volunteers aren’t really all that common. I guess there was a walnut tree here at one time, and it finally played out. They do after 50-100 years. Ditto, my old place. There had been a few walnut trees about, but they died of old age.

Hmmm. The center cannot hold ... Poem by Auden, I think. Or, maybe Elliott. Forgot to look. I just happened to think today that actually, the Romans had pretty good luck with foreign mercenaries. Wonder what the difference was? Hmmm. Well, they dangled something of value, at that time. Roman citizenship. And, they made up units really playing up the strengths of different foreign troops. Nationalities known for their slingers, horseman or archers. “Good Unit Cohesion”.

“Camulod Chronicles” by Jack Whyte. My, there are a lot of them. I seem to remember reading the first three or so, and then loosing interest. I may have to go back and give them another look. Lew

Damo said...

Nice car Chris, don't know how I feel about that wing on the back though :-p

My only experience with such cars is of a simulated nature. One of my friends hated Porsche (engine in wrong spot etc etc) and was disgusted that I could fling them carelessly round the track and get a competitive time. I thought they were fun and had more spirit than the front engine machines, something about the car wanting to violently throw you from the road if you stopped paying attention made them more exciting. Of course, in real life I could never drive like that and would prefer a more sensible wagon or similar to fit the surfboard and groceries :-)

Damo

Jo said...

I dream of vegie gardens. Just sayin'..

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Yup our language is very deficient on some fronts and that word is certainly one of them. I'd love to know what other areas the language is equally deficient? ;-)! Sorry for the dodgy pun. I know little of the ancient Greeks, although I have read one of Euripides morality plays. From memory I believe it was Medea. Don't you reckon it is amazing that we have those texts from so many long years ago?

Humid summers are hard work, no doubts about that. On those days I get up early and finish work early. And then I may go back to work much later in the cooler evening. Stay hydrated.

I enjoyed your word play! Yes, I too would love one of those walled gardens. I intended to construct a walled garden for the courtyard, but then it just didn't seem necessary. And now I find myself constructing a palisade.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

While continuing my endless sorting and disposal of old papers, I came across very old estate agents particulars for a stone cottage that my husband and I fell in love with. We couldn't buy it as it was hopelessly impractical as we had children who would have had to get to school. I have given it to my son who says that of course we could have managed. He has not got children!.

An ancient stone cottage with mullioned windows, going with full contents plus a landrover for £1550. It says 'difficult to find'. We found it and peered through the kitchen window at the copper saucepans. The landrover would only have been able to get there during dry summer weather.

This was over 50 years ago. Son is going to look for it and give the particulars to the owners if they are interested.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Gastronomic debauchery paints a certain picture doesn't it? Thanks for the mental imagery. That reminds me, I was going to mention to you that the other night at the pub - and I just wanted to horrify you because your previous reactions indicated to me that you didn't like this concept at all - I had a pint of maple infused stout. After the stout infused its way into my brain, an idea popped into my head: I reckon our smaller local brewers have begun cooking up beers that are modelled on your state fair food. Certainly the maple infused stout was the sweetest brew yet. What do you reckon about that concept?

So did you get back on the straight and narrow today on a food front? I hereby sentence you to one week's rabbit food for you. :-)! Fun stuff. Yup, everything in balance seems to be the way to go. Actually the maple stout was a bit heady for my poor brain and I shall not repeat that. Mind you, the coffee infused stout may be the next choice.

Hey, I scored a car load of coffee grounds and roasting husks today, and all was good with the world. I may have accidentally annoyed the owner of the cafe by cleaning up the area where this stuff is stored out the back. Perhaps in hindsight it was an unwise thing to remark, that due to the recent heavy rain, the area had become less than pleasant. Next time I shall keep my trap shut! Oh well. When pleasant conversation goes bad. Has that ever happened to you?

Thanks for the heads up about the cliffmass blog and I shall read that later. My head was spinning Exorcist style as I read Mr Kunstler's blog over breakfast. Speaking of which Mr Kunstler referred to your fuel situation, but some statistics were provided in an article from our government news service: Hurricane Harvey: It's big. Really big. And some say it could be as bad as Hurricane Katrina. The statistics are at the bottom of the short article. Keeping your tank full as often as possible might not be a bad idea. As a comparison, petrol here is $1.40 litre and there are 3.8 litres to the gallon. Dunno what that means, but it sure is expensive. Actually I reckon fuel is quite cheap for what it does.

Yeah, Melbourne’s Victorian housing stock is pretty spectacular (1880's - 1890's era). If you have spare bandwidth, go for a Google street view tour of some of the streets around the Melbourne suburb Fitzroy North – focus around Edinburgh gardens. I love the old housing stock and have brought more than a few of them back from the dead - and generally try to ensure that the building didn't fall into that sort of disrepair again by rectifying what went wrong. I am a shameless healer of sick houses. :-)! It all gets down to the drainage, the roof and the underfloor ventilation with those old houses. Those suburbs are walkable and they are blessed with trams and trains. There are even strip shops in commercial areas with useful shops such as butchers and greengrocers. Oh well, I cannot afford such places these days.

The closer you head into the city, the older the housing stock gets. I can spy the occasional 1850's Georgian building on my regular walks, although they are rare as they weren't very well constructed to begin with and building materials were even rarer back then.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

That guard dog statue has been in our possession for a very long time. It is way heavy. Glad you enjoyed it. We put little touches like that all about the place. Some houses down here have the guard dog statues on their front gates with the balls in the mouth. The ball was carved at the same time as the statue and they cannot be removed from the mouth. An impressive achievement.

That car cost about the same as the white dirt rat Suzuki parked next to it. You know, that car taught me that most cars are more or less the same and nowadays I wonder what all the fuss is about with them. It was the contrast for that story that I wanted to convey to the reader. I was quite gutted when the arrangement came to a sudden halt and it taught me that we are in a very huge lot of trouble when people put their status ahead of common sense, the environment and good financial management. On the other hand the editor and I turned our arrangements upside down and took the savings for ourselves and the environment. ;-)!

Thanks for the heads up about the theminimalists.com and I hope I can get a chance to look at it.

The drainage channel has had a good work out over the last few days. It is funny that you wrote that, but when it rains a little creek flows down that channel. I have been pondering that fact for a while to see what I can come up with. Eventually, I'll have to do something about water. The new fence is like an old school fortified palisade don't you reckon? And those wombats are as tough as.

Of course, it was chestnut blight that I was thinking about and I got the wrong tree. Please keep your chestnut blight to yourselves thanks very much. I have both chestnuts and horse chestnuts and would be rather unhappy to see them die back. I didn't realise that walnut trees were so short lived. Interesting. The pecan tree is showing some good growth this year, but with minor frost burns on the edges of the leaves.

You learn something everyday. The poem was Yeats: "The Second Coming". It sends shivers up my spine that poem. Moving stuff and strong words of critique. He was a clever bloke that one.

The English did the same with their colonial troops. The Maori troops were feared as where the Nepalese Ghurka's. Stories were told and people had a sense of pride and conviction about what they were doing, even when they were dropped on the wrong beach as happened to our lot in Turkey and Greece.

Oooo! A total teaser of a book reference. The merest reference. Pray tell more?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Mate the whale tail looks cool. I don't generally find vehicles to be aesthetic, but I reckon they got that car spot on.

Chucking it around is a good way to put it. In the flesh, those cars are very light weight and so even the little 2.7 flat six went hard. The simulator was probably pretty indicative of how they go and the back end can flick out occasionally if you push the accelerator hard. Mind you, the average SS commodore ute could burn me off at the lights, so instead of being Fast and Furious, I stuck with Slow and Cool and kept the mystique! Hehe!

Mate, the repair bills on that beast were epic and after five years they caused too much pain for me to handle. Nowadays I just try and keep things cheap and reliable on that front.

Glad you enjoyed the snow.

Did you hear anything on the job front? Fingers crossed. Hope you are feeling better.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

That is a very sweet thought. Years ago I met a lady who looked quite high maintenance and she confided to me that all she really wanted these days was a new hen house for her silky chickens. I hear ya!

I may try a block of corn this year in that enclosure. Hopefully it gets finished this week as I have to get the strawberries moved soon before it is too late.

Cheers

Chris

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

If I were emperor I'm afraid I would have to ban all personal automobiles from inner cities. I would be willing to negotiate on the exclusion radius but any car violating this arrangement would be immediately impounded. I guess you could call me Julius Seizure.

Speaking of Lording it, I don't believe I complemented you on your view from your throne you posted the other week. Very nice.

I have good news though for schadenfreudian car lovers. Pour out some of your sake in grief today, because I just found out my precious bike was nicked. It is slightly risible that someone would take such a poor old bike but so it is. I probably made the amateur's mistake of keeping the bike so run down that it likely looked like it belonged to nobody.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Hmmm. Maple infused stout. Hmmmm. Well, simmer it down into a syrup and glaze baked goods with it. Or, simmer down and soak cake. Probably even better would be as a glaze for a good hunk of meat. :-).

Well, I made up a pan of cornbread, yesterday. The cucumber/onion/half & half/ cider vinegar salad leftovers go really nice on top. And, later I had more cornbread with butter and cranberry freezer jam. I need to use that up as Thanksgiving will be here before we know it, and it will be time to make a new batch.

Thanks for the link to the hurricane Harvey articles. It's interesting the ... slightly different language for the photo captions. Photo selection was interesting, too. Of course, they're going to include the guy sitting in his garage with surf boards, for the Australian readership :-). I hadn't quit made the connection between the hurricane and a jump in gas prices. I tend to forget about all the gas processing around the Gulf.

Hmm. I thought I had banged on about the Camulod Chronicles book series. Probably quit awhile ago. Wikipedia has an entry under "Dream of Eagles." Gives a brief sketch of the arc of the series. Basically, it covers from about the time the Romans leave and the next 150 years. I liked it as there were no dragons and didn't go heavy on the sorcery. :-). All speculative fiction, but an interesting take on the Arthur legend and, as far as we know, get the details of daily life, right. The first three books in the series are: "The Sky Stone", "The Singing Sword" and "The Eagle's Brood." Jack Whyte. Old enough that there are plenty of used paperbacks floating around. New enough that there's probably a shelf of the series in any good sized new bookstore. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

That was a way cool car, that Porsche - but Old Fluffy was the coolest. However, the Suzuki was the "love" (yes, and Old F.).

Poor Mr. Status - he is missing so much in life. A toast to Mr. George Carlin: "That's why they call it the American dream - you have to be asleep to believe it."

I fear that Mr. Poopy might have a bit of trouble with a reindeer - there is a certain discrepancy in size and weight, but I feel sure that he would be game to have a try at herding one or two.

Oh, so! Bakery products are connected with a visit to higher altitudes! Perhaps there might be jam in some of those baked goods . . . ? Those were impressive snow photos, though. We had a high of 62F (16.6C) today. I don't believe we've ever had such a low "high" in August since we moved here 28 years ago.

Another masterfully constructed drainage channel - a joy to behold.

If your pink camellias are finally doing well perhaps your tea camellias would do well in that spot also? I have never seen that white flower before; it's lovely.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

Yesterday I paid $1.99 per gallon of gas. I wonder why the big difference between there and here?

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I will defer to your opinion on that matter, whilst at the back of my mind I can't help but feel that your son may be correct too. Stone cottages are works of beauty aren't they? Modern brick dwellings are a very poor substitute in my mind. An author down here once mentioned that stone cottages may be subject to mild off gassing of Radon gas? That always stuck in the back of my mind, but as you know I'm surrounded by rocks around this place so who knows?

The Land Rover chucked in with that stone cottage may have been like my old Porsche in that it was the gift that keeps on giving. A neighbour who owned one amusingly remarked that: Land Rovers teaching drivers to be mechanics for more than fifty years. There is a road around here that is marked as "Dry Weather Only" and I see no reason at all to argue with that sign. Some people feel differently though and they rip up the road in no time at all.

That is a very nice thing for your son to do. People love that sort of selfless act.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi crowandsheep,

Well, I sort of suspect that economics and resource depletion will sort the whole mess out. Then we'll be back to not enjoying our 20 league boots. The problem I reckon with those magic boots is that other people expect you to use them and maintain them. Of course nowadays the finance structures are also set up for most people to keep replacing the boots every five years. Can a 20 league boot walk on a finance treadmill? What a thing for us all to ponder. So many questions!

Oh, thank you very much. I'm totally chuffed by your kind words. It is a delightful place to spend time I reckon. Sometimes it is hard to know whether to read a book in the bath or just stare out the window at all of the birds, animals and ever changing weather.

So sorry for you. What a dirt bag act to steal someone else's bicycle. Whatever do you reckon someone did with your old bike? Maybe the older components on your bike are higher quality than the rubbish on bikes these days?

I hope you can track down a replacement bike?

Condolences,

Chris

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

I dunno, I have never really liked wings on cars. The clean fast-back look is the look for me :-) Mind you, there is more cool in your old whale-tale then in all my cars combined so who am I to talk such nonsense anyway :-)

Job front is progressing well, I think? Got a positive call from the manager on Monday, but he didn't say I had the job (although we discussed several logistical things as if I did???) and I am meeting him in the office tomorrow morning. My assumption is that there will some sort of formal offer then, but anything could happen I guess.

An hour after that phone call I got an email from Christchurch asking if I am still looking for work - a job I applied for when still in Laos, working to assist the R&D department has come back up and he wants me for the role (apparently I only missed out by a whisker last time and he would like to avoid doing the whole process again from scratch). Unfortunately, he is waiting on final approval from the board before he can formally offer me the job, which might be anything upto 3-4 weeks.

I told him my situation and that while I probably prefer his R&D job, I can't keep the other job on ice that long. So he is going to try and get the approval sorted this week. If the stars align for me - I hopefully have two offers by end of the week and I can decide which one over the weekend. If the cruel gods of fate have their way - I will still be unemployed next week :-p

Inge, that old cottage sounds awesome, and as such things invariably are - very cool! I wonder how much it would cost today?

Damo

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I like your thinking about the glazing for bakery products. How good would it be on a hot cross bun (a type of Easter fruit bun)? I usually make a sugar syrup to pour over the top of those buns and it glazes nicely in the oven. Speaking of the electric oven, the fan inside the oven is now making a sound like a jet aircraft and I may have to dismantle the oven to find out what is going on. The editor and I have been taking bets about whether it will be a chunk of pizza which has fallen through the steel sheet and onto the fan. Time will reveal all. I reckon I'm getting better at this small appliance repair gear. The thing with that gear is that usually only the better made, but simpler items are repairable and it can be a bit of trial and error before you work out which items are repairable. Fun stuff.

Oh yeah. Yum! Hey roasted pork belly usually is served with a fruit based sauce (as is kangaroo incidentally) and the glaze would work well. Mind you, my lunch today was very far from that meal: A couple of fried eggs on a big dish of fresh garden greens. Strangely enough I always notice that after eating the garden greens, my nose really clears, so they're probably full of anti-inflammatories? Dunno.

You missed your calling as I'm salivating over the descriptions of all that yummy food. Did you ever review any food books during your time as a food reviewer? On a strange and only mildly related digression, I recall reading in the Annie Hawes books that it is a very English thing to proclaim "yum" during a meal, whilst the continental folk were looking on with mildly tolerant amusement at those antics. I have seen that attitude repeated in other stories.

We don't celebrate a Thanksgiving day down here and we have lost public holidays in recent decades - something about economists claiming something about labour productivity. I wonder if they were referring to their own productivity? Hmm, the fourth Thursday in November. It is very Aussie, but the closest public holiday to that day is Melbourne Cup day (for the horse race of course) which is the second Tuesday in November. It is a bit dodgy isn't it? :-)! Oh well. We need more public holidays I reckon.

Ah yes, there is most certainly cultural differences and agendas for sure. Haha! The only time we hear about surfers and surfboards in the news is when there is a shark attack. One happened yesterday I believe. I tend to feel that the sharks are moving in closer to shore because there are less fish in the oceans and sharks are not fussy about humans and when they're in wetsuits they probably don't look that different to seals. Plus there are probably a lot more surfers these days and there are only so many surf breaks to go around. Yes, I feel that interrupting a quarter of the supply will have a significant impact in the near future, although it may be papered over. We lost a gas plant to an explosion one winter. Let me see... Esso Longford gas explosion.

Nope, I don't recall any previous references, but my memory is not what it was when I was a younger lad. Age gets all of us. I've put it on the too read list. I need a break from serious and heavy reading and so I usually intersperse more fun and light reading. One must have balance don't you reckon? You read a lot, do you have any strategies like that to balance out the heaviness of some books?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks for the lovely comment, but unfortunately I have completely run out of time to reply tonight. I promise to reply to you tomorrow.

Cheers

Chris

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

Many thanks for your sympathies. There are indeed many dirt bags out there just waiting to steal your bike. Perhaps I get lucky today and a dirt bag gives me a bike as an act of spontaneous good will. Does that happen in real life? If that doesn't work, I will buy a Porsche.

So far, resource depletion has had us pushing even harder on the gas, but you are probably correct that that strategy has a shelf life. On the one hand, high-energy-input transportation is a classic self-defeating technology. The very process of shortening travelling times smooths out the heterogeneities between places, thus removing any need to actually transport between those places. On the other hand, it has also resulted in incredible monocultures with various what-have-you produced en masse in a few isolated corners of the world, and delivered fresh each morning to your doorstep.

Whether you read a book or watch the birds is all good, but I think your solution is to admire the artwork!

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Re: the electric oven. It’s probably a filter :-).

Hmmm. Oddly enough, I don’t think I ever reviewed a food book. I don’t know why, as I usually picked them myself. Different cultures comment (or not) on food in different ways. At different times. And class has a lot to do with it. Trying to put my finger on a thought (so to speak). Ah. It might have been a DVD called “The Manners of Downton Abbey.” That food was just “there” and not to be commented upon, in polite society. At that time. In that place. Among those people. :-).

Our Thanksgiving is kind of a harvest festival and also a “founding fathers” cult, built mostly on myth. I remember being a bit shocked (and, it was a bit late in life) to discover that the Virginians and New Yorkers had been banging along quit nicely for awhile, before the Pilgrims ever set foot on Plymouth Rock. Lots of factors were in play. Them that writes the history, shapes the tale. And, when the Victorians were picking and choosing among founding fathers, the raffish Virginians and polyglot New Yorkers were swept under the rug. Stern, grim, religious, hardworking, thrifty New Englanders carried the day. There was lots of myth making in the 1800s ....

I really don’t have any strategies for my media intake :-). Some evenings, I just decide I want to read, instead of watching anything. Most evenings, I watch something and then read til I can’t keep my eyes open. And, I may read a couple of chapters of one book, and then a couple of chapters in another. I must also keep an eye on the tyranny of the library due date :-). I guess I graze. Some stuff is “heavy” or useful. Other stuff is just popcorn for the mind.

That was quit an article about the gas explosion. I wondered, is gas and oil still being extracted from the Bass Straight? Or is it playing out? Esso sure caught it for negligence. But, in my experience, these big companies get away with, whatever they can get away with, on the cheap. Until something bad happens or someone blows the whistle. Of course, you hear what seems like huge settlements. But more and more lately, I’ve been seeing things like “...which amounts to one day’s profits, for the company.”

I don’t know if you heard about it, but there was a report of some kind of chemical cloud that rolled onto an English beach and caused a lot of distress. Everything from stinging eyes to vomiting. No cause yet, just a lot of speculation. (My favorite ... “it’s the French :-). But I wondered if it was perhaps a methane bubble or outbreak off the ocean floor? Which wasn’t mentioned as a possible cause. Those things happen, even in the best of times. With the warming oceans, it will get more frequent.

Saw the first trailer for “Geostorm”, yesterday. Looks pretty impressive. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Pam - Maybe gas is cheaper as you're closer to the Seat of Power? Don't want to charge too much for gas to the senators, representatives and lobbyists :-). More likely, we have higher state and local taxes tacked on. I think the gas taxes go to maintaining and improving the highway system ... and, our extensive ferry system.

I often hear that Washington State has one of the highest tax rates in the nation. But, I also think we have one of the best "qualities of life." Well, at least Washington State always rates high on whatever scale of measure is being used. My friends moved to Idaho, partly to be near their daughter, partly to escape the higher taxes, partly to get away from the more "liberal" atmosphere of this State (at least, west of the mountains.) There are things we don't talk about :-). Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

You have discerning tastes recognising that Old Fluffy was cooler than the car. She used to feel that way too. The real shame about Pomeranian's is that they have natural wilful predispositions and so it can take many years before they get with the program, but when they get the program, it is locked in. They're meant to be reasonably close to wild dog strains. I believe there is a very big problem in the US with people purchasing Huskies because of Game of Thrones (which I've read but not watched).

Well the dirt rat Suzuki cost the same as that Porsche, but the parts... Yup, you can purchase any part for one of those old Porsche's but sometimes they're not cheap. The funny thing about cars is that sooner or later new parts become unavailable which is a form of built in obsolesence I guess.

Mr Carlin was way cool for coming up with that clever quote. I must look for my own status because it may have fallen in between the cushions on the couch. I never thought to look there. Have you ever set out on a quest to look for yours?

I have a treat for you! Check this video out: Dogs 101 - Swedish Lapphund. Mr Poopy's bark bark sounds exactly like that, but friendly? Dunno. Usually he is trying to herd me towards the food pantry. He thinks he's pretty clever!

Good guess, although you were hinting at scones. I scored a lamington, which has jam in the centre. Yum!

That was the temperature here today. The sun was shining and the air was still. But yup, the extremes are getting more extreme. I don't feel that people understand that about global warming.

Thank you! The drain was tested and worked perfectly! Yay! Hopefully I'll get some of the pickets onto that fence on Saturday. I spent today cutting them. I was short 100 pickets. A lot of work...

You read my mind about the camellia's and I have plans for just that! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi crowansheep and Lewis,

Thanks for the lovely comments, but I spent the day sourcing about 100 pickets for the tomato fence and I am done in... So, I'm off to the pub for a pint and feed. I may avoid the maple stout though as it was a bit strong for my tastes.

Lewis - The government has asked for some trouble down here because they have asked the population to name the new metro underground railway stations that are currently being constructed. I spotted an article about it which you may find to be amusing: Victorians called to name Melbourne railway stations in competition. Boaty McBoatface! Hehe! You have to love an irreverent public. :-)!

Hey, I also begun the book: "The Good life" by Scott and Helen Nearing. I'm quite enjoying the book, although I have to add that they appear to be enjoying themselves, but for some reason they write in a very serious manner. I must say though that I thoroughly approve of many aspects of their lives and they way they conduct that. It is good stuff to read, but it also makes me appreciate just how great the chasm is between their can do attitude and what the editor and I have learned here. Those twp are a force to be reckoned with.

I'm also keeping an eye out for the Camulod books and may nab a few of them.

Made about 100 pickets today for the tomato fence...

Gotta bounce, food is calling!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Mr. Poopy - you are RARE! Also, you really do herd reindeer. Forgive me for doubting you. But why weren't you frolicking in the midst of the snowstorm? Ah, yes - that fellow who lives with you was holding you back. Sheesh, reindeer were probably out there and you missed them. And what an ancient lineage you have. That bark that "encourages the reindeer to move" is really something. Does it only work on reindeer? No wonder you always get haircuts in the summer. I think you may need glasses one day . . .

The thing about the Nearings was that they had quite a lot of help setting up and running their farms. They were very communal, I gather.

That's a lot of pickets. Now you get to put them all up!

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,
Really enjoyed kayaking - maybe something I can do more of. I'm not a very strong swimmer so I was a little apprehensive but it went well.

Weather is looking good for the balloon fest. Doug and I may go out early to watch the morning lift off. Won't be traffic and we are early risers. I think they take off around 6 AM.

I remember when one of the standard questions people asked when they met someone new was "What do you drive?" However that was generally directed at men along with "What do you do?" Our neighbors have a couple of older "muscle cars". They take them to car shows or meet ups from time to time. Personally I just don't get it. Car/truck choices for us have mostly been practical.

When I was at one of my first jobs I used to pick up an older woman on my way to work (of course now I wouldn't consider her older haha). She paid me $5/week which just about was enough to fill my gas tank and I lived quite a distance from work. Worked out great for both of us.

Funny how animals are almost always taken aback by the first snow. My chickens hate it.

The photographer is coming tomorrow to take the outside pictures of the house/property while there are still flowers. I've spent at least eight hours cutting down large weeds - mostly ragweed. Lucky I'm not allergic to ragweed with all the pollen raining down.

Hope the weather improves for you.

Margaret

margfh said...

@Inge

Hoping your relatives are OK in Texas. What a nightmare.

Margaret

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

I was trying to think of some names for Victorian railway stations. Suggestions:
* Lamington Station
* St Drawls
* Hot Cross
* Piccadillydally Circus
* Margaret Court Road
* Blond Street
* Outbackloo
* Gregchapel
* Gnarlybone
* Royal Bloke
* ?

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Ah, stockade. That was the word I was grouping for. Pale and palisade might also apply. Could be worse. Just to make it REALLY wombat proof, add a berm and ditch. As Henry VIII did ... for 26 miles around one of his hunting forests. So, how did I pull that little factoid out of my ... ear? I watched a bit of “A Walk Through Time” which is about a presenter taking walking trips around Britain to illuminate this or that bit of history.

There was a segment about the beginning of the industrial revolution. Late 1700s, thread spinning machines, water power, etc. etc. Canals. Then the railroads. Not a word about the horrendous working conditions in some mills or, the Luddite smashing of the early spinning machines. The presenter creeps me out, a bit. I’ve seen him in other programs. A true example of “the smile did not reach the eyes.” A term I’d always read, but never seen quit so starkly, in action.

I’ve been walking about, a bit, in preparation to, maybe, give up the truck. It’s a whole different way of seeing. Something I’m sure I’ve experienced before, but have forgotten. For some reason, an old book came to mind. “Giving up the Gun: Japan’s Reversion to the Sword 1543-1879.” (Perrin, Noel. 1979.) Just a little book. “Giving up the Truck: Lew’s Reversion to His Feet 2017-,,,” Some of the reviews of the Perrin book were in the vein of “...society that choose to reject a piece of technology.” Oh, the horror :-).

Scott stopped by when he dropped off his resume. Well, my big beast of a computer is sitting in the middle of everything and taking up a lot of space. I was mentioning that I might either get a laptop or, just see if I could get along on the computer The Home has, and the library computers. I’d mentioned to him about The Minimalists that I had been reading, and he observed that with the jettisoning the truck and in home computer, I was taking that whole thing, seriously. Hmmm. Less adopting a philosophy and more a situational thing, I think. But at least I can entertain the idea of divesting myself of a certain amount of technology. Due to my reading, being exposed to first Kunstler, and then Mr. Greer, I’m at least open to think about it. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

PS: LOL. Doesn't make any difference if it's a recent baby addition at the zoo, or, an obscure round about. Bestowing names can be a hoot. But the powers that be always end up picking something that isn't very clever or funny. Or, offensive to anyone, by any stretch of the imagination. No fun at all :-(.

I think the Nearing's were originally, academics. Back in those days, more academics were very, very serious and ernest, than say, now. Lew

Damo said...

I would be interested to hear more about the Nearings book. I was nearly going to get it a few months back but got turned off when I read they had a constant stream of temporary workers staying at the property, no doubt learning lots and adding to the ambiance, but lets call a spade the unpaid labour that it is. I mean, good on them for living life on their own terms, but I am not sure how many lessons can be drawn from a philosophy developed in that environment.

Pausing for self-reflection, the ironies are not lost on me.

JobWatch Update: I got a formal offer yesterday. If I accept, Mrs Damo and I can be in Christchurch next weekend. The company is modestly sized (few hundred staff) and very friendly and casual. The boss (?) offered to kick in some money towards the relocation which is nice and the job offers a lot of flexibility and I will see all of the South Island of NZ, and occasional Pacific islands such as Fiji etc, in the course of work. Only downside, technically it is a sales role, although only just (<10% of salary is commission based).

The other job is with a much larger, global company. Each day will start and end in the Christchurch office, but maybe 50% of my time would be field testing large construction equipment. Some occasional travel to India and US might be required, but nothing around NZ. Occasional unpaid overtime during 'crunch' periods and the odd Saturday. Pro: Job is more 'real', involved in development of new technology.

Right now, I am leaning towards the 'sales' job as it would be a terrific introduction to NZ seeing the countryside, towns and meeting pretty much every Surveying firm (good for future networking). Money is about the same between two jobs. I am going to run it past friends and family over the weekend, make sure I have considered all angles. I told them I would have a decision by Monday.

To bring the discussion back on topic, once in NZ we will probably have to buy a car. Mrs Damo wants another Suzuki Jimny like what we had in Tasmania:
Mrs Damo being irresponsible
That car (which was modified before we bought it) might classify as so uncool it becomes cool? Not sure, it was a lot of fun though.

Cheers,
Damo

orchidwallis said...

@ Margaret

As far as I know, the Texas relatives are okay but I am not up to date. The news has to reach me via my sister. They live way out, their nearest town is Austin.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi crowandsheep,

The loss of the bicycle is not good. My gut feeling says that given that the bicycle had little monetary value (although considerable value to yourself), the most likely option was a random act of vandalism. Not nice and you did all the right things. I lost two bikes as a kid and that hurt because I used them for work.

Haha! Good luck waiting for that random act of spontaneous good will. Sometimes the world can throw you an ace, but mostly it is hard graft... So what are your plans? Are you going to pickup a second hand set of replacement wheels?

I can't argue with you at all about the projection of global transport systems and what that means. Food and oil is the thing that worries me about that situation most of all, the rest of the trinkets we can probably make do without, but food and oil... Dunno. I read recently that we now import 91% of all oil consumed down here. That is a risky thing in any-bodies language.

How cool is that painting? Mind you, sometimes storms can sweep across the valley and they put on a good lightning show. The storms travelling from the west generally miss the spot in the mountain range where I am, but from this eagles eyrie you can sometimes feel as if you could almost reach out and touch the rain.

Thanks for the suggested names for those stations. I believe you should enter the competition? Several questions and assorted rambling observations spring to mind upon reading your suggestions:
- Have you had the opportunity to enjoy a lamington? They're good, but I feel that jam is a non-negotiable addition. Opinions may vary.
- Drawls is good! Howsitgoinmaate? Just sayin...
- Hot Cross. If you know, then you just know!
- Yes, I have heard that a bit of dilly dallying goes on elsewhere from time to time.
- Naughty Margaret!
- Well lots of time in the ocean and in the sun may have that effect on hair.
- Where is one when you need one? One of my main concerns in travelling: What if there is no toilet? The horror!
- I hope Ian doesn't come to get us because he wasn't mentioned?
- The dogs sure do enjoy more than their fair share of unidentified marsupial bones.
- That would be the head of our Parliament in a few more years. 'ere she says she's not dead yet!
- The last one is way too mysterious for my overly stimulated imagination. Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Ah, of course that would also refer to one of our major insurrections. That is not to be confused with our historic military coup of the Rum Rebellion. Down here, nothing will stir the souls back in the very early days of the colony more than an unjust attack on our rum supplies which was also the currency at the time (take that fiat currency!) And honestly, why anyone would have thought that Captain Bligh (of mutiny of the Bounty fame) would have made a good colonial Governor, is way beyond my understanding. I always speculated that they sent him to this far distant corner of the planet because nobody in England like him, but like a good zombie he kept coming back despite the wounds inflicted. Honestly the bloke sounded like a martinet on a good day. I probably would have wanted to mutiny against the fool too. Sorry, as is my wont from time to time I do digress. Stockades, that’s what we were talking about. Of course, the other insurrection was the Eureka Stockade where a bunch of miners during the gold rush era (1850's) got very annoyed with the local authorities who saw all those mining folks as walking ATM's. Who would have thought that the authorities can tax and hassle folks too much without expecting any consequences? Most of the desired changes were rapidly implemented following the stockade: Eureka Rebellion. Mind you, a Royal Commission was also in progress into the matters both before and during the rebellion. The rebellion sounded from all accounts like a slaughter.

Henry VIII didn't think small did he? Far out, what an extravagance. It does remind me that when I visited India last century (how cool is writing that?), that I visited a Maharaja's private hunting preserve, which nowadays is an acclaimed haven for birds. Sometimes the outcomes can be quite contrary to the original intentions.

I'm quite the fan of the long walk. Yes, that is my sport nowadays after giving running the flick, and every week I make sure that I take the train into the big smoke and walk through the city of Melbourne and into the outlying inner suburbs. Of course, coffee, cake, and a good feed feature predominantly in those many hours long walk, but the walk itself is a sheer pleasure. It also provides an opportunity to take the pulse of the city. Plus there is the hidden advantage of not disappearing into the forest which is a real and serious ever present risk. Change is accelerating down here and it can be confronting.

Oh yeah, the enclosures to my mind look like a naked grab for land and muscle to drive the industrial apparatus. And what choice did the folks have during those times? And what good is that land put to nowadays: sheep; from all accounts. Good luck with that.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

There is a lot of truth to the old saying that: the eyes are the window to the soul. I see photographs of people and I can tell straight away whether the smiles are faked or forced. I wonder whether anyone vets those photographs or they just say: this is as good as it gets and then move on, believeing that nobody will notice. Dunno.

What? You rejected a chunk of technology. No way! Mate, as far as I'm concerned feel free to pick and choose as your heart desires and care not a fig for others opinions for they will always try to make your life a mirror for their own. Just sayin...

You know, you have to surf the economic wave. And if that means ditching the truck and the old computer (which frankly has not been feeling well of late and is probably nearing an uncertain and rather untimely demise), well that is how it goes. Laptops use far less energy than desktops anyway.

Glad you enjoyed the silly names story. I thought you might like it, as I'm constantly in awe of just how creative the population can be if they are given the chance to dwell upon a subject matter. I reckon a vote for Trainey, McTrainey is an absolute necessity. Of course, that also raises the important question as to who decides what is good taste or not? Generally good taste does not equate with the fun-o-meter! :-)!

Speaking of which, yes, thank you for that background. That story was not obvious from the Nearing’s book which whilst interesting, does reads an awful lot like a text book. I agree with a lot of the things that they write about, but I do have concerns with the unpaid labour and lack of dogs, bees and chickens. On the other hand over a maple flavoured stout (yes, yes, we both broke last night and went back for that excellent drink which is on tap), the editor and I discussed the possibility of planting even more sugar maple trees along with an expanded olive grove. On a funny side story the guy that run pub noted that we purchased a smaller glass of that maple stout and made a very amusing comment - which I can't repeat here - about that downsizing. :-)!

Far out, today I picked up the new water tank and cut up and moved 125 pickets for the Eureka Tomato Stockade. Hopefully the rain holds off tomorrow and we can get all of the 180 odd pickets installed onto that fence. I just want the job done now and get onto the new strawberry terrace as the growing season is rapidly progressing. Grasshopper, you will only be ready to go into the world once the tomato enclosure is complete! Thank you master!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

The book is a worthwhile read and provides an interesting contrast with life today. For example, the couple required a lot of fine sand and top soil to build their stone house garden and so the couple purchased a nearby 12 acre lot on the cheap (it was the Great Depression after all) and they removed huge quantities of fine sand for use in the building of their stone house and outbuildings from that land. The land was also available for others to strip mine. But the top soil they removed, far out!!! Six feet deep they placed it in some places. I was left wondering what happened to the 12 acre block of land where the fine sand and top soil was removed from? It certainly couldn’t have been good.

The book reminds me how impoverished the environment is nowadays because to build top soil here I have to bring in as waste product which is effectively sourced from Melbourne's green waste collection services. Then it takes two years to convert into rich black loamy top soil. I remarked to someone recently that no sane society should be able to achieve that outcome as there shouldn't really be that sort of waste of organic matter in the first place.

I can't argue with you about the labour as I just read a section in the book where a temporary resident dug by hand, the excavations for their stone house. The excavations appeared to be a deep strip footing which was about 7 foot deep if I understand the story correctly. Far out.

You know, despite all of those serious issues, the book is still worth a read as it talks about interesting aspects of their lives such as how to accomplish things and organise oneself on a day to day (and year to year) basis. Those sorts of skills are valuable and they are somewhat lacking in today's society. From that perspective, I reckon it is a good, although humourless read.

The whole free labour boondoggle is a tough school these days. There are serious legal issues surrounding the unfortunate possibility of somebody getting injured here whilst they are providing free labour and so I don't generally avoid that possibility.

The thing I take away from that book is that the couple did not see the world the same way that you or I see it on those issues and that historical perspective is not lost on me. And as an interesting thought experiment I would appreciate it if you considered todays outcome here that: I replace that free labour with electricity. Talk about irony. I hear you.

Thanks for the job update and what a decision you and Mrs Damo have to face. I know which I'd choose, but I am biased and have no great love of distant travel to far and exotic places - if only because I wonder where the toilets will be!!! Just kidding, good luck with the decision. Selling stuff to other people is a skill that can be used anywhere.

Mate, your Suzuki Jimny is the total biz. I see a snorkel, lights, bull bar and winch. If it means anything to you, before I had the 3 door Vitara I enjoyed a long acquaintance with a Suzuki Sierra. That thing could go anywhere and was so basic that I could fix it and service it. The Jimny is a very plush looking version of that car. And they're so light and fuel injected nowadays that they use very little fuel. That car is what I call winning!

Nope, that Jimny is way cool as. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I do hope that your great nephew stays safe during the aftermath of that storm. I'm curious that we have not had much at all in the way of news reporting about the storm down here as that is unusual.

Hope the humidity has reduced? I may get the tomato enclosure finished tomorrow. That is the plan anyway, and as you well know, plans really succeed when they meet reality head on. ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yeah, how weird is it that Mr Poopy is apparently rare? You know I got him at a house that was advertising him as free to a good home. The by-line went something along the lines of: Just because he hasn't caught his first ball doesn't mean he isn't trying. I'll tell you this: Mr Poopy has no interest at all in games and no wonder he was returned several times already and pretty much on his last chance. When I saw the house almost exactly nine years ago, I looked at Mr Poopy and thought I can't leave him there. Mr Poopy then managed to ingratiate himself by chucking up his most revolting breakfast on the way back home. And who would have thought it? He hasn't looked back since! Hehe!

On the other hand, he has a very complicated personality for a dog and can be quite high maintenance and sometimes for the wrong reasons.

No problems at all. I didn't believe it either, but there is one of those dogs herding reindeer on the video. Far out! Mr Poopy practices his herding tricks on wallabies, kangaroo's, and deer. They treat him with unearned respect for some reason. Mr Poopy would love to meet up with Santa and that hard working team. What chaos would ensue! Cool! I'd laugh for sure, but other people may not find it funny at all. Imagine the horror: Mr Poopy, you've ruined Christmas!!! Hehe!

The heat really knocks him out. Whatever that breed of dog is doing down under is way beyond me. Yes, regular hair clips are a feature of his life over summer. Shears are used as I believe as the coat is so thick. On the other hand, Mr Poopy has become mild climate soft and has no appetite for frolicking in the snow - did you see the dog on the video rolling around in the snow? Far out, not for Mr Poopy.

Ah yes, I gathered that what the Nearing's lacked in powered tools, they made up for in free labour. Damo also raised that thorny observation too and we had quite the discussion about it above. This morning I read about some poor bloke who apparently dug by hand the strip footings for the stone house that they built. The strip footings were apparently seven foot deep. I have dug by hand a strip footing for a brick wall that was about between five and six feet deep and far out, it was a lot of hard work. I couldn't get an excavator into the small space and so digging by hand was the only way to go. I was cursing the design during that long dig and just hoping that the rest of the house didn’t fall into the large hole that I was digging.

Yup! All 200+ pickets present and ready for installation tomorrow. I cut most of them today and then moved all of them down the hill in a wheelbarrow this afternoon. Me tired tonight.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I'm all over the shop tonight with replies to comments. It has been a long work day here. Earlier today I picked up a new small water tank which I plan to use for the yet to be constructed strawberry terrace. It is locally manufactured and they make them to order, so you never know how long the lead time will be. I can't go into the old strawberry patch because the very thoughtless wallabies introduced leeches into that strawberry patch. Last year, we harvested onea cup of strawberries until it got too scary go into the patch. 100% chance of picking up a leech was how it rolled. Revolting. Thus the complete rethink about how we grow strawberries here and hopefully that plan gets turned into reality over the next few weeks.

Oh yeah, swimming is a real skill isn't it? The trick I find is to keep your head low in the water so that your body naturally floats higher, but that is contrary to your natural impulses to avoid drowning. Inge may be able to provide better and clearer thoughts on that matter? Glad you enjoyed the kayaking though as it is good fun.

How did the balloon fest go? I hope the day was nice and the weather remained calm and pleasant with not too much wind.

Yeah, people ask that question too about "what do you do?" You know I feign disinterest in those sorts of conversations and eventually people tell me far more than I ever wanted to know! And far out, sometimes I'd like it if people asked what do I drive, because when they find out I work as an accountant they pump me with questions to which I usually explicitly give a five minute upper limit upon, and then end that with: "go ahead, get the questions out of your system". Imagine the sort of strange conversations doctors would end up with at a party? Total horror.

Car pooling is a really good arrangement if everyone is happy with it. Back in the mid 90's a mate worked around the corner from me and we used to car pool with that arrangement. It worked well unless he'd had a big night and then I had to bang on the front door. Fortunately I was not fussed about turning up to work on time in that job which was the debt collection job. They cared more about outcomes for some strange reason - who'd have thought it? :-)!

Oh yeah, the chickens here hate the snow too. I let them out in the orchard for a much longer run than usual tonight because the weather was nice today but it looks like it may turn late tomorrow. Dunno. Fingers crossed that the rain holds off. It rained on me this afternoon and no rain was predicted. Not a good sign I reckon.

Ragweed looks unpleasant and I am glad to hear that you don't suffer from an allergic reaction. Please keep it to yourselves as we have plenty of pollen dramas already down here. Nasty stuff. Hope the weather stayed nice and the place looks good for the photo shoot.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Oh my, I almost missed your original comment. The system fails under pressure! Hehe! Not to stress, it’s been a long work day here.

Funny! My money is on a chunk of pizza stuck in the fan mechanism. Of course I hope for that outcome because I don't make the pizza's. Not that it matters.

That is a surprise that you have not reviewed a food book given your hobby. Of course why ruin hobbies by crossing them over into the realms of work? Ever wondered why I don't advertise anything here? I get inundated with offers for electronic website advertising for the blog and I resist them all pretty easily.

Yes, well, you may have heard the descriptive: "Table" which was applied to polite dining in the upper classes until only recently. I believe that a person was invited to a table (or just table). I'd probably be bored and uncomfortable at such an event.

That happened down here too. Sealers and whalers had long established villages on inlets along the coast, but of course they weren't the official settlers and as such were only given passing mention in history texts and then all specifics were avoided. Oh yeah, we love re-writing history if given the opportunity. The sealers and whalers would have been a very rough bunch too, much like the Virginians and New Yorker's. Stern, grim, religious, thrifty – probably not. Hmm, didn't we talk about Captain Bligh in the comment above? Such sorts don't make for entertaining company and can often let ideology get in the way of sheer practicalities.

Fair enough about the media strategies and a less rigid approach yields good results. I read recently in the "World Made by Hand story" that Mr Kunstler snuck in a witty observation about Living Rooms. I laughed so when I read that that I almost spat my coffee out over the book, but we must maintain decorum when at Table and in polite company. :-)! I've seen a few living rooms like that one the book described, in my time.

Oh, I like your Popcorn for the mind description. Nicely put. I need those books too as sometimes too much heavy reading is tough to take in. I reckon there is a balance in there somewhere. Yes, there is no point being banned at the local library for sheer recalcitrance.

Yup, what can I say. Money ain't worth what it used to be worth.

Yes, I had heard about that chemical cloud. Firstly, as a side note, with the sheer cliffs, I wondered to myself as to how anybody could possibly be near the water. I'm used to gentle slopes leading into a nice beach and then the ocean (that is when the beach is not washed away). Hmm, the papers are suggesting that the cloud was ozone mixed with perhaps another chemical which they were unable to identify. It is possible what you suggested. And the speed of the increase in the volume of gasses also indicates that the gasses were a surge. Looking at the satellite photos of the plume, you know I couldn't see a ship, just the plume, but I am no expert. It could also have been something that was dumped overboard a while back and reacted with the ocean? Dunno. Anyway you look at it, it is not good.

Geostorm = epic disaster flick! Geostorm, nuff said! ;-)! That is a dodgy Sharknado reference.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Come to think of it, we had a stockade here in Centralia. There was a bit of a dust up in the 1800s, between the settlers and the native populations. "Indian Wars" was a bit over the top to describe the action. Most of the little action there was was east of the mountains. But, rumors were rife and a stockade was built and settlers from all over the county crowded into a stockade for quit a few months. From what I remember, it finally was resolved through mostly treaty and negotiation. We had the Whiskey Rebellion, in the US. Back before the Revolution.

Another couple of thoughts about the Nearing book. The Big Book of AA was written about the same time. There are ever increasing complaints that it's obscure, dense, dry, academic, difficult, etc. etc.. "Have to read it with a dictionary in one hand." Of course, no one is going to fiddle with the "sacred texts." :-). Bill Wilson who wrote the initial bulk of the thing, was college educated. At a time when a high school diploma was about equal to our current undergrad degrees. But he was a salesman (worked for investment houses, by the way. Until the Great Crash.) So he really tried to scale it down so “the guy in the street” could “get it.” Plus, it was run past an informal committee which brought it further “down to earth.” But, 80 years on, some find it a slow go and quit a slog. Language and meaning change.

Cliff Mass has a post about did climate change cause (contribute to) Hurricane Harvey. He doesn’t seem to think so. Mostly “unchecked urban development and wetland destruction.” I don’t know. His reasoning seems sound. But still, it was the most water dumped in one area (as far as we know) in the US. It’s the third year in a row that Houston has been hit with floods. And then there’s the “stalling” When the storm stops moving, or moves very slowly and just dumps water. That happens here, and we get major flooding. Our atmospheric rivers seem to cause minor flooding.

I watched an interesting DVD, last night. “Plants Behaving Badly”. Who can resist a title like that? :-). A documentary from our PBS. It was in two parts. “Murder and Mayhem” (carnivorous plants) and “Sex and Lies.” (Orchids.) Charles Darwin was very interested in both kinds of plants, and they really helped him pound out his “Origin of the Species.” It was really pretty amazing how these plants have worked out symbiotic relationships with different kinds of insects. Sometimes to the benefit of the insect, sometimes, not so much. :-). Sometimes it’s six of one and half a dozen of the other.

I’ve always been a bit interested in carnivorous plants. They’re just so ... macabre. I may have had the odd Venus Fly Trap, when I was a kid. And, years ago, I visited a friend who lived near Mt. Shasta, in California. We took a hike and stumbled on an entire hillside of Cobra Lily.

Orchids are the largest family of plants in the world. 25,000 species, and still counting. Who knew? Finally got a look at a Ghost Orchid (which the book “Orchid Thief” is based around). Not really all that impressive, compared to other orchids. Rare, yes. Impressive, no. Maybe it smells really nice? :-). Lew

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

Being the sort of high roller that I am, I have a second bike! However, this bike is a well-maintained street bike and not to my liking. I prefer to bomb around in an old mountain bike which is a bit more flexible in dealing with the wildlife that can appear from anywhere on your bike path.

But you are likely correct concerning the act of vandalism. These are the Scylla and Charybdis through which we must sail. Too expensive and it gets stolen for its monetary value, too hacked up and the monsters of the sea destroy its inherent value.

My plan is to buy a Chukudu (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chukudu). Chukudu also doubles as a fantastic name for one of Victoria's newest metro stations. Or the new name of your chicken hotel? Chookudu? Are you winning against the rats?

Central Europe is also rather weak on unimported sources of oil. Although everything is much closer together, there is still copious trucking going on. How quickly trucked-in food can be put on tracks I have not done the numbers. At any rate I am not confident in any large scale logistical undertakings to be done in these parts without severe buffoonery.

The painting is a beautiful thing. But what do I know about art? I leave the floor to the experts: I just finished Lewis Mumford's biography of Herman Melville. A brilliant author writing about a genius author. Sometimes it is too good to be true:

"The age was against Melville; and his family were the mirror of the age: he knew that. They believed in work, in working and keeping up an appearance: in being respectable and tepid and unemotional and industrious. Even the nicest of his relatives, like his cousin Kate Gansevoort, with whom he maintained a desultory correspondence, rather apologized for being a person of leisure. For them all, doing, not being, was the main end of life. As if there were any merit in not being a person of leisure! They talked of the dignity of work. Bosh. True work is the necessity of humanity's earthly condition. The dignity is in leisure. Besides, ninety-nine hundreth's of all the work done in the world is either foolish and unnecessary or harmful and wicked. What people needed was not work: they needed values. To recite poetry, to contemplate pictures, to write or to talk briskly or to meditate and chew one's own thoughts, quietly, on the maintop--work was good if it made these things possible, and bad if it blinded one to them, or made them impossible..."

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The gas cloud (mentioned I think by Lew) which appeared on a part of the south coast is now thought to have come from a wreck. Outside my area of understanding. It certainly affected people who were on the beach at the time.

@ Margaret

Texan relatives are okay and back home. Their house was not flooded but outside is one great mess. The only thing that they lack now is their postal service which is unlikely to return for quite a while as it is sorted in Houston.

Great nephew is okay but we know no more than that.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Swimming: Yes, head low; but above all else RELAX, RELAX, RELAX. The complete opposite of the head high and the desperate thrashing that one sees.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

First order of business: Done! As the sun set below the horizon, we cleaned up the area after only just getting all 160 odd pickets onto the new tomato stockade (that has a nice ring about it doesn't it?) Me real tired tonight after three long work days in a row.

Taking a chance on a timber stockade protecting you from invaders seems a very dicey proposition to me, so if the Indians were well armed, they would have made a good account of themselves. How did the settlers go at the stockade during the winter? As a general strategy I would have waited the settlers out and then perhaps attempted a few raids once they retreated. Why any force would attempt to approach a well armed and well provisioned force behind a stockade seems to be beyond my understanding.

The Eureka stockade on the other hand was hastily erected and never intended to hold back armed troops. The whole thing was over in 10 minutes by all accounts and after that it really did sound an awful lot like vendettas and revenge against the uppity miners. The accounts don't make for pleasant reading. You see back in those days, gold was plentiful enough that those in the military were not quality recruits and the army would have had a lot of trouble retaining people who themselves wanted to be out on the gold fields. There was perhaps an element of jealousy in the troops which turned the heat up more than it should? Transporting convicts came to a dead end too at that time because of unintended consequences of sending convicts to a place they wanted to go - where is the fear in that? The other thing I don't know, but I'd have to suggest is that the ratio of gold finds to miners was probably becoming unfavourable. Peak gold finds?

Ah yes, the Whiskey Rebellion. It isn't that much different to the rum rebellion here, but with different players. Sometimes the legal system is promoted above common sense and the goal is really to make real an abstract code which has consequences for people. Far out, I received my home insurance today and the cost had increased another 10% over the previous year (about $2,200 now). I suggested to the editor today that we relocate a bushfire sprinkler. I read also in the business section of the newspaper that one of the larger insurers down here has taken a hit to their earnings and they are now on the lower end of the previous earnings guidance. Insurers are one to watch for sure.

I assume Bill Wilson travelled some dark paths before writing that Big Book of AA and thus formalising his methodology? Certainly a come down like the Great Crash of 1929 can do that to a bloke - so there is no judgement from me about those roads. I'm comfortable with the text and the tone of the Nearings, they just come across as humourless and rather earnest folk. Of course, now that I've said that out loud!!! Hehe! But of course, if education standards were better back in the day - and I'm not impressed with the second hand stories that I hear about the current situation - then the way the text is written in those books makes perfect sense. Language changes all of the time, so I hear you. I remember thinking to myself at the end of high school: what else could there be to learn? And just having that thought is a sad indictment of the educational system.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Ha! Cliff Mass has to run a safe path or be run over. Let me see... BOM: Australia's hottest winter on record, maximum temperatures up nearly 2C on the long-term average. It certainly felt that way to me. There is an excellent table in the article which mentions many of the extremes. Global warming means that the extremes are just more extreme than before and will get more so.

That is an awesome title for a series on plants! :-)! I have to admit to having a bit of a soft spot for carnivorous plants as they happily dine upon the many ants here. Venus fly traps are good, but we have the many varieties of the sundew family down here and I see them all over the place - happily consuming ants of course! Nice plants! Go the sundews!

I had no idea that there were so many varieties of orchid? Wow! Plenty of them spring up after certain weather conditions here and apparently the plants and seeds can be very old too and they just hang around waiting for the perfect conditions. A good survival strategy don't you reckon?

I'm such a dunderhead sometimes because things that should be obvious aren't. I filled up my water bottle at one of the many garden taps today and used a low pressure to do so and noticed that the water hammered from one of the low voltage water pumps. Anyway, after a bit of thought, I wondered whether anyone produced pressure tanks for such pumps, and sure enough... Far out, two of them are now working their way across the vast expanse of ocean to here. The pressure tanks smooth the flow of water at low pressure so that the water pump does not switch on and off again rapidly which ultimately damages the pump. Little wonder I have killed a few water pumps. There is so much to learn and do, sometimes I wonder if I have enough time to do so?

Out of curiosity, and for sheer respect at how well read you are, have you ever read anything about how the ancient Europeans used to create stable and water retaining ponds in porous soil using various animal manures? I read a long time ago they may have been called: Duck Ponds? Dunno. I reckon water is the big long term issue here. I have a lot of water tanks, but they only have a finite lifespan. Oh well. If all else fails, dig a well and then line it with stone.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi crowandsheep,

High roller indeed! The second bike is a nice idea though when you are confronted with the acts of barbarians with training wheels. ;-)! I like the tyres on mountain bikes too as they are much more forgiving on rough and dirt roads. I live on a dirt road and to be honest, that does provide a bit of protection from the hordes of MAMALs (Middle Aged Men in Lycra) who pit their skills against the very steep climb on the main road leading to the highest point in the mountain range every weekend. Not a mountain bike to be seen in that collective. I wonder when bicycles became other than a very good form of transport?

The editor and I spent the day attaching about 160 pickets to the fencing around the extension of the tomato enclosure and I tell you, I could use some of that energy that people are throwing recklessly at the mountain every weekend. I'm feeling pretty nuked tonight, but also quite chuffed at having finished that project.

Yes, indeed. Beware of monsters that were once beautiful nymphs and who also may have a bit of a grudge to bear. Excellent advice! Of course the other choice was not so good... Maybe being a monster is not so bad, but I cannot speak for such an existence.

It is never a good time to be in the Congo, but the chukudu would certainly stand out from the crowd in Europe. I'm amazed at how much stuff was perched on the chukudu in the Wikipedia image.

3 days apparently. Although mileage may vary from place to place. Such statistics does not make for pleasant reading.

Herman Melville reads larger than life, no less so than Lewis Mumford. Heady heights. Did you enjoy the biography (I assume by your words that you did)? One rarely sees the word: desultory; enough these days. I've seen a bit of that around the place...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Glad to read that great nephew is OK - other than the outlying damage to the surrounds.

The gas cloud is outside my understanding either. It will be interesting to see whether an official investigation gets underway. I hope the water is not too deep there?

Exactly. You know peoples first reaction is to panic, and that is the worst thing that you can do. If you are caught in a strong rip, then swimming against it will tire you out pretty quickly and you have to work out where the flow of water is taking you and then swim at right angles out of it. Rips are pretty nasty. Have you ever been caught in one? The editor did at a city beach a long time ago and she remembered not to panic. I was amazed at how far the rip took her in only a short period of time.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Cliff Mass makes a very good point about infrastructure and resiliency in that article and I absolutely agree.

The weather in other parts of the country has been far more extreme than here in this corner of the continent which looks pretty average to me so far, although I have to add that to get that average view, you have to stretch the observations over the year as some months were topsy-turvy and made little sense to me on a month by month basis. Saying that, I have to conclude that other parts of the continent more than made up for the averageness here so far for this year.

Regards

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

No, I have never been in a rip tide and do know what to do. I have been in very strong currents and assume that this has some similarity.

'So much to learn and do' how right you are. I know that I shouldn't have laughed at the following but I did. 'Moths eat their way through the insulation of eco-friendly home'.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - “As the sun slowly sets in the West...” A slightly humorous catch phrase, used in everything from cartoons to documentaries. I think it’s humorous, just be virtue of it’s overuse. :-).

I really don’t know much about life in the stockade, time of year, etc.. But I seem to remember as time went on, and not much happened, the men began to spend days on their farms, doing what needed to be done. And, of course, as in any disaster, there were those who didn’t evacuate.

I was up early in the am, making banana muffins. They have a “breakfast club” every Saturday morning. Not a very good showing. 5 elderly ladies, coffee and one sad tray of brownies. I’d say a third to half of The Inmates are hard of hearing, so it makes communication difficult.

I can’t remember ever running across anything on ponds being sealed with animal poo. Don’t think I’d want to drink out of them.

Orchid seeds (some? several? all?) are like a fine dust. They have no storage of energy to get the plant started. So, they land and hope they’re near a source of fungus ... the mushroom filaments. They feed off the sugars in the fungus, the fungus feed off the sugars in trees. It’s all very much a round robin. Speaking of the fungus a-mungus, my garden bed has sprouted quit a crop. In the area where I’ve established my worms and dug in kitchen scraps and coffee grounds. I’d say it’s a good sign that the plot is getting better ... more fertile. Systems are being established. With the shitaki scraps that go in the kitchen scraps, one could hope. No, don’t think so. The mushrooms are a rather unappealing gray color, and when they first start pushing up, the caps are very conical and look like they have their gills on the upper side. Then they smooth out. Stems are VERY long and white.

I watched the first episode of “Victorian Slum House”, last night. They’re doing this one a bit different. A week or two in 1860, and then a week or two in 1870, and so on. So, the tenants lives keep getting a bit better as time goes on. They’re a rum lot of folks and even the kids are on board. Some of their grandparents and great grandparents came up from just such backgrounds, and they’re very keen to experience what they’re ancestors did. To make a connection. It’s really a scramble to come up with the weekly rent and enough to pay off the local tuck shop.

One young fellow has an artificial leg and was keen to give this a whirl as he really wondered what people with his kind of disabilities were up against, “back in the day.” There was a fairly comfortable and flexible “appliance”, at that time, But living in a Victorian slum, it would have been beyond the reach of his place in the world. So, they fitted him out with an only slightly modified artificial limb. Just one step up from a peg leg.

He runs the joss house, which was just one step up from the streets and collects the rents. And, tries to make wooden handles for tools to bring in a bit of extra. Interesting stuff. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for that. Yup, rips are exactly like strong currents and they sweep you away pretty quickly. Best not to fight them and as you say above all relax. That is seriously good advice.

Oh my! A Grand Designs home too. Not good. Thanks for mentioning that as I would never have come across that article otherwise. Unfortunately the article is locked for me so I don't know what type of insulation the people used. Alas. I suspect wool or paper as either could be consumed by moths.

We used glass fibre insulation which is made from recycled glass material. It seems to work well, and to be honest an insect would be hard pressed to eat the stuff. Don't laugh though as for a short while I was considering using wool insulation...

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

@Inge

So glad to hear your relatives are OK. Some are saying it's the worst natural disaster in US history though don't know about that.

Regarding swimming, I taught myself at age 16 when my parents put in an in ground pool. I'm just fine in a pool but panic if I'm out too far in a larger body of water even though I know relaxing is the way to go. Needless to say my own children had swimming lessons at an early age.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I hadn't heard that quote before, but sources on the interweb - and they couldn't possibly be wrong, could they? - state that the original quote came from: "a series of 1940's technicolour travel documentaries called "Fitzpatrick Travel Talk". They were shown before the feature movie." Your quote has a slightly melancholy tone to it I feel, but that maybe me and I have not seen or heard it in other contexts. It sort of feels like a cycle of change and I should add that after the sun goes down below the horizon, you get evening, and then night, and then eventually lo and behold: A new day! The sun sets for everything, even the oldest of rocks and one day far enough into the future, the sun will apparently get so huge that it will consume the planet - or just fry everything on it. What a naughty sun to do that!

Well, the whole stockade thing eventually had to succumb to the realities of the weather and the harvest. I often wonder whether some people became dispirited with the sheer monotony and regularity of the seasons in subsistence living and that caused them to move onwards and outwards looking for adventure and opportunity. The unfortunate thing is that there are often other people who want to take advantage of that. Doing what needs to be done is a pretty apt summary of life in a low energy world.

Waking up early is a bit of a nightmare from my perspective. Speaking of which, I had several nightmares the other night involving falling from large buildings. Horrible stuff! Brownies for breakfast sounds OK to me. Yup, a lack of hearing can make for difficult conversation. Hey, you may have to up the ante and bring in a couple of your famous blueberry crisps? The ladies will surely appreciate the gesture and feel the underlying pressure. I went to look at the blueberries here today and noticed how small and sad they looked and promised to weed around them more diligently this summer.

Oh that is fascinating and can explain why orchids are often tied to certain soil types which obviously contain the symbiotic fungi. I reckon a good diversity of fungi is the sign of healthy land. And the fact that you are seeing the fungi in your garden plot is a sign that you have improved the diversity of life in your soil and that the season may have finally turned (or you are watering the plot more thoroughly than before?) But you should see some of the fine white hyphae in the soil which are the fungi? Try not to dig them up as it kills the fungal networks. From your earlier descriptions of the soil as a fine black sand, I sort of felt that you needed to get more organic matter into it to get the whole thing kick started. And I'm totally chuffed to read that you are seeing good results. Shitake mushrooms need a log as far as I understand things, but there will most certainly be spores in your plot. No doubts about it. I am not good at all with identifying mushrooms as that skill is far beyond my competency. But are they a good sign - you betcha! :-)!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

You may soon be winning competitions for the best vegetables at the home? They may soon become intrigued and come around to watch your style? Have any of the other gardeners become curious as to what is going on in your patch?

The poor folk in the Victorian slum house show are tenants. Ouch! They'd be doing it tough as. I'm impressed that the kids have become interested in the experiment too as to my mind they can adapt far quicker to new circumstances than their elders who may have preconceived expectations. The peg leg may have made the dude look like a pirate and he would have done well to sport an eye patch, although other folk may have wondered what was going on.

Out of curiosity, what do you mean when you refer to a "joss house"? The reason I ask that is because I actually lived many long years ago in the inner city suburb of South Melbourne on Cobden Street and there was a Chinese Joss House just a few doors down. The building was quite beautiful and a pleasure to visit, but very noisy on Chinese new year celebrations. Oh well, they were there first! :-)!

The next council north of here had a daffodil festival today with a few open gardens. The editor and I travelled there and the weather was so rotten that I met one garden owner and had a bit of a chat, but the rain just dumped and we all ran our separate ways... Oh well. Opening gardens at this time of year is an expression of optimism which is often not matched by reality! Did this conversation just come full circle back to your original quote? ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The insulation was sheep's wool. It is going to cost them £10,000 to replace it.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - My worst nightmares come when I take my afternoon naps. Don’t know why. I try and think good thoughts, before I drop off. Sometimes it works ...

I’m pretty stingy about my blueberry stash. I want to make sure I have enough to get through the year. A crisp takes an awful lot of blueberries. Maybe I could cut the with something less scarce and expensive. Apples? Or, I could just do blueberry muffins. Those don’t use too many. This year must be perfect for blueberries. I was in the veg store, yesterday, and they still have a good supply of local berries. I went out to pick some more blueberries, here, thinking I’d only get enough for maybe one days oatmeal. Nope. Got a whole bowl, enough for a couple oatmeal meals and some to freeze. But they are just about played out.

Well, the Tomatelllas make my plot look like I know what I’m doing :-). From two little sprouts to two enormous bushes in just a couple of months. They’re full of fruit but the husks haven’t cracked yet. Still full of flowers, too. I spotted three more green tomatoes, yesterday. They do hide well. The one pumpkin vine hasn’t seemed to set any fruit, at all. And, the mystery vine that turned out to be a cucumber only produced one. But it flowers on. I’m tight for space to dig in more organic stuff. I may plow under the one pumpkin and cucumber. Cool weather peas are coming up. No sign of lettuce or carrots.

A Joss House in the Victorian slum was a room with “coffin beds” in it. Just four boards slapped together with a minimum of bedding. They had a historic picture of a room with dozens such. Like a huge dormitory. Sometimes, they rented them in 8 hour shifts. Even cheaper was ... darn, can’t remember the term. An alcove with a long bench. A rope was stretched across and you’d sit and sling your arms over the rope. And sleep. There was a picture of just rope stretched from wall to wall at less than shoulder hight. You’d stand, sling your arms over the rope, and sleep.

I watched the second episode of “Victorian Slum House”, last night. 1870. Things got worse. There was a depression in the early 1870s, the effects of which lasted for 20 years. People were pouring into the slums from overseas or the countryside. Business was depressed. Wages fell. But so did prices. The fly in the ointment? Rent prices did not fall.

I stopped into a garage sale, yesterday, and picked up a DVD I don’t think I’ve seen. “Inside Job.” About the financial crash of 2008. Documentary. Ought to be interesting. Lew

thecrowandsheep said...

Hi Chris,

Desultory is a magnificent word. Your challenge for this week Chris, if you choose to accept, is to use the word desultory in any serious business dealings. But the biography was very good. As often happens, especially when lacking all the facts, one seems to find out more about the biographer than the biography. Ignoring physical constraints, what would be nice is if we had a biography about lewis Mumford by Melville.

These MAMALs sound the interesting species. Your use of the word 'protection' has me wondering what dangers these fabulously cladded monsters bring? Has the fluffy collective ever had to round up some stragglers? The vast majority are likely city office workers looking to tone for their wickedness during the week. Perhaps they would help with a few pickets?