Monday, 14 August 2017

White dog fever

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

Scritchy the miniature fox terrier is the boss dog on the farm. Despite her diminutive size and advanced age, Scritchy packs a punch and is full of energy. Recently I have begun adding a third of a low dose aspirin and a teaspoon of fish oil to her breakfast. And Scritchy has responded to these additions to her breakfast by exploding forth with energy, mischief and enthusiasm in equal parts. I spotted Scritchy today on a secret canine mission climbing a steep embankment behind the house:
Scritchy the elder boss dog climbs a steep embankment today

I would have serious trouble climbing that steep embankment, but Scritchy merely powered on up, pursuing whatever secret canine business that she was on. The other dogs have expressed concerns to me about Scritchy’s increased energy, mischief and enthusiasm due to the medication. It is a worry for the other dogs:
Help us! The other dogs express their concerns to me about Scritchy the boss dogs, increased energy, mischief and enthusiasm
Whatever! I blithely ignored the other dogs as Scritchy is a problem for them to deal with. Or so I thought. Scritchy now has become a problem for me. The other day I walked in the front door only to hear a thump sound. That thump sound was then followed by Scritchy exiting the bedroom door. It occurred to me that whilst I was out of the house, Scritchy had made a dog nest on the bed. And she knows that she is not allowed on the bed. Scritchy gave me her most innocent of looks, and then as I seized her to administer swift punishment she then gave me the powerful: Innocent old dog face number three, which to be frank is quite an effective strategy.

The main problem is that I have been suffering hay fever at night for the past few nights and I have been wondering about why that may be. The reality is that because Scritchy had been surreptitiously sneaking onto the bed whenever my back is turned, I had not been suffering from hay fever, instead I’d been suffering and snuffling from white dog fever!

I now have to face the choice of closing the bedroom door whenever I’m out of the house or cutting Scritchy off the supply of low dose aspirin and fish oil. What a decision I have to make. And Scritchy is so old that she no longer cares, and as such she is untrainable.

The funny thing is that I have seen that attitude before. About two decades ago I had an elderly neighbour. That elderly neighbour was quite the character. Despite having smoked for 60+ years, she had outlived her husband by about two decades. Occasionally she used to liven up the neighbourhood and outrage the more conservative neighbours by walking around the streets in what can only be described as an chiffon babydoll outfit (or so the editor described it to me as). Yup, she was quite the character that neighbour.

Being the nice young man that I was back then, I used to help the neighbour with maintenance on her home, and in return the neighbour used to look after our dogs whilst we were away. It was a good arrangement and everyone was happy.

Well, that was until the time that the neighbour was looking after the dogs whilst we were away – and she lost Old Fluffy the former boss dog. Old Fluffy had apparently flown the coop! Old Fluffy was a Pomeranian and as such she was a right pain when she was a young dog. To be fair when the time came to serious things up, Old Fluffy stepped up to take the position of boss dog and she changed almost overnight into a lovely dog, but back in those early days, she was feral.

So when we returned, we found the neighbour in tears because she had lost Old Fluffy. Interestingly, the neighbour mentioned that yet another neighbour had recently found a new dog, except that it was a Foxxy and not a Pomeranian. At this point in the story it should be mentioned that Pomeranian dogs can look a bit fox like (particularly to people unfamiliar with dogs). Anyway, I was immediately suspicious and went post haste to see the other neighbour, and sure enough they had Old Fluffy (the foxxy). After a brief hug to quell the tears, I considered that the case of the missing fluffy was solved and closed!

That neighbour sure was entertaining. I recall another time when Melbourne was in the grip of an extended drought and the percentage of water held in the dams was reported on a daily basis in the newspapers. It even became a topic of polite everyday conversation. During those drought days, watering of gardens was restricted to only certain days and even then only during certain hours. It was a grim time. However, I noticed that the neighbour had accidentally left her garden tap running and there was water everywhere as the garden was flooded. Being the nice neighbour that I was, I turned the garden tap off and alerted the neighbour to the garden flood during that drought situation – in the nicest possible way of course. The neighbour said to me: “This is my new watering technique, I’m just flooding the garden”. I then went on to politely remind her that we were in the middle of a drought. She replied matter of factly: “I’ll be dead soon, so I don’t worry about that”. Bam!

The imagination of the population down here has been captured recently by: The War on Waste. We have no garbage service at all here and as such we produce very little waste. Anyway, few people realise it, but waste is wasted income. And who wants to waste income ? 

A few weeks ago I went to the local tip, as I usually do every six months or so, to take my accumulated metal and glass products for recycling. When I got to the tip, I discovered that the metal was still being collected for recycling, but I was directed to put the recyclable glass into the landfill area for disposal in the old quarry. I thought this was odd until I later read that the bottom had apparently fallen out of the commodity market for recycled glass.

Fortunately I produce very little waste – including those items which are intended for recycling. I was put in mind of a story of a very old friend who I haven’t seen for many decades now. That old friend actually introduced the editor and I, whom he also knew. Alas the old friendship did not survive the blossoming new relationship between the editor and I. My old friend had this strange habit where he always used to over order food at a restaurant. This was back in the recession that we apparently had to have during the 1990’s, and both the editor and I were absolutely broke at the time. The funny thing was that both the editor and I independently used to annoy our old friend by taking home whatever quantities of food where left over due to his consistent over ordering. The editor had a good thing going utilising that otherwise wasted restaurant food and her dogs were happily fed many enjoyable feeds. It wasn’t lost on me that my old friend had a sense of pride in his consumption which generated a lot of waste, and to be honest it is not dissimilar from the hedonism displayed by my old neighbour.

From what I’ve seen, waste appears to me to be a cultural phenomenon and that is intricately tied up with social status. From the perspective of both today’s and future generations, being wasteful might make you feel good, but it is not a good look.

The sun has been shining and the weather has been sweet this week. We have been busily extending the tomato enclosure. As part of that project, the drainage channel next to the now much larger enclosure was widened. That drainage channel carries water from in front of the house to the swale below the enclosure. During a heavy rainfall the volume of water in that channel can be massive. Wider channels are less likely to fail during heavy rainfall. This is what it looked like both before and after widening:
A drainage channel was widened this week: Before photo
A drainage channel was widened this week: After photo
The area where the tomato enclosure was being extended was originally covered in grass. That surface vegetation was removed using a mattock. The brown volcanic clay underneath the grass was then broken up and redistributed over that entire area so that the slope in the new area matched the slope in the existing enclosure (which you can't see but is on the other side of the picket fence in the next photo below).
The area for the new tomato enclosure extension was excavated by hand
After a day of digging the excavation job was only about half complete.
After a day of digging the excavation job was only about half complete
The next day we continued digging and began removing the fencing which was originally at one end of the enclosure but is now in the middle. You can’t have a fence in the middle of an enclosure! All of the sapling pickets and screws were saved and they will be used on the new fencing for the soon to be much larger tomato enclosure.
The next day saw more digging and the original fence was removed
By the end of that day, the excavations were completed and the slope in the new area matched that of the original enclosure. Even Toothy was impressed!
Excavations were completed and the slope in the new area matched that of the original enclosure
Soil geek alert (skip to the next paragraph if you are easily bored!) The brown volcanic clay has to have a layer of mulch and compost applied to it over the next week or so before plants can be grown in it. Even then it will take many months before that mulch and compost turns into excellent soil. As a comparison, the older soil which had been fed with mulch and compost over the past two years looked superb as it was a rich black loam which was full of organic matter, moisture and worms. Good stuff!
The older soil in that enclosure was a rich black loam full of organic matter, moisture and worms
Nothing goes to waste here and even the rocks that we have been uncovering recently in the excavations are put to good use. All excess rocks are now being used to fill rock gabion walls, and I may not have mentioned the gabions for a few months, but the third gabion is now almost full!
The third rock gabion is now almost full
The grass that I removed during the excavations was also not wasted. I placed the grass into a wheelbarrow and then dumped it into the orchard where it was used to fill some of the many holes in the ground. The holes were created many long years in the past (decades ago perhaps) where an old tree may have fallen over taking its root systems with it and leaving a giant hole in the ground to mark its location.
The vegetation and soil life removed from the excavated area was used to fill up holes in ground in the orchard
I would have used the little Honda push mower to flatten out the lumps of soil, but the bees were enjoying the late winter warmth and those holes were a bit too close to the bee hive for my comfort! My first rule of beekeeping is: Don’t annoy the bees.
The bees appear to have over wintered well and were enjoying the late winter warmth today
The other day I noticed a young Crimson Rosella sitting on the weather station:
A young Crimson Rosella was sitting on the weather station
Well of course, that young Crimson Rosella was keeping look out for another Rosella who was on the ground chowing down on a pile of dog manure. I told you nothing goes to waste here. And I have not picked up dog manure for at least a decade as the birds are well onto that gear!
Another Rosella was on the ground chowing down on a pile of dog manure
I’d like to change the tone of the discussion and end the blog on a high brow note by sharing some of the flowers with the readers:
It is hellebore time here – White
It is hellebore time here – Purple or is it Pink, I can’t tell
It is hellebore time here – White with a black centre
This succulent is producing flowers
The lavender has continued to flower all winter
One of the hundreds of broad bean plants looks set to flower
The temperature outside now at about 6.30pm is 11’C (52’F). So far this year there has been 530.6mm (20.9 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 519.4mm (20.4 inches).

65 comments:

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Those two cats were memorable in that photo because not only did they enjoy a good view, but they looked very relaxed lounging around (enjoying the view of course). Glad to hear that the cats followed you around the place as cats can exhibit remarkably varied personalities can't they? Dogs are the same too, I call dogs that follow me around by the nickname: Work Wub (after a long since deceased dog that used to do that but rather than barking she made a sort of wub, wub sound). Sir Scruffy will do that following around whilst I work, but the others can't be bothered most of the time and just do their own thing. Have you ever owned an aloof cat? Of course, when the merest possibility of food is on offer, the dogs are very attentive. They usually begin that process about two hours before the actual feeding time – which they know full well when it will be. Insistent is probably the best word to use to describe that early warning process.

Hand held drill on 6mm steel. Mate, I take my hat off and salute you for that effort. When the drill bit bites too hard into the steel, the motor in drill stalls and your arms take that torque - even with two hands. Ouch. I use a hand held drill on steel here too and I try to limit the number of hours I get exposed to that potential kick back. Ouch! Snapped 5 bits sort of indicates high speed steel. If you get a chance try some cobalt drill bits and you will feel the difference in their cutting power. Incidentally a mate of mine who trained as a fitter told me that the first job he was told to do as an apprentice was to learn how to sharpen drill bits and construct a vice to do so. It is not as easy as a person would think - but a sharp drill bit makes all the world of difference.

I'm really impressed that you have seen how simple construction of a building can be. I reckon it is a good skill to learn and constructing your own house can potentially save you heaps of mad cash. The trick is to not put your insecurities and social status in the way of reality and remember to keep a house small. Large houses are crazy expensive. No one listens to me about that, I must be talking in another language.

Those photos are awesome - thanks for sharing them. And you got what looks to me to be a Tawny Frogmouth in the first photo - in the light too. Nice.

The D5100 camera looks like a pretty good buy and that night vision setting is very impressive. The equivalent of up to ISO 102400! Not bad at all in anyone’s language. Yup, I hear you, moving birds are a nightmare to get good photos of especially with the 300 lens.

I hope you stay out of trouble with that clean up situation. Some people can be very territorial, although the rest of the family may be stirring you up for fun. Maybe? Anyway, you can always skip the country if the situation spins out of control – or replace the mouldy chunks of food. ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Great to hear that you enjoyed the tour. Alaska looks amazing and Denali, wow, that mountain and the range is something else. I assume the mountains were all snow capped peaks? You were very lucky with the weather to have enjoyed such clear conditions.

I hope you didn't get too close to those bears? :-)! I did mention the risk of selfies and bears - such circumstance seem volatile and prone to change without warning with often dire consequences.

Yup, back to reality. Hope the arrangement with that young couple worked out well and the summer weather in your part of the world has been nice for the garden?

I ordered another beehive last week, and the original hive seems to have over wintered well. The colony did a bit of house keeping on Sunday in the warmer conditions and they kicked out the bees that had died over winter. I'm hoping to open the hive up in about maybe October or November when it warms up so that I can see what is going on in there.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

How good is a decent fall of rain after an extended period of hot dry, smoky weather? Yup, dancing around is the exact thing to do in those circumstances. And yeah, the air just smells fresh again and the vegetation seems more alive. I assume all of that recent fire smoke has meant that everything was getting covered in a fine layer of dust? Nothing like the dust from a volcanic eruption though - although I have not experienced such a thing and would appreciate your comparison of that situation?

A few serfs kicking around would be very handy indeed. But how to make sure that their interests are aligned with your expected castle maintenance interests? That is the question. One of my red flag warnings in business is when people seriously suggest to me that they provide the capital for a business and other people do all the actual work. Such a situation may have worked at some stage in the distant past but I can't see that as a possibility these days. The Romans would have enjoyed such a situation but it is an inevitably self defeating scenario! ;-)! Margins have thinned over the years - although people generally don't want to discuss that unpleasant matter.

Exactly, if the European honey bees were wiped out, then other insects would spill into that bees niche. The unfortunate thing for us is that honey in any quantity would be a distant memory. My gut feeling from what I've observed of the bees here is that people tend to over estimate how much honey they can raid from a hive and that imperils the colony. I mean it is not as if you can ask the bees! Imagine that. My gut feeling is that after a short period of deliberation among the elders of the bee hive, they'd just say: no more.

Thanks for the explanation about the bumble bees. The blue banded bees live in holes in the ground here too. It is not a bad strategy for bees that are faced with semi regular bushfire conditions. And yeah, European wasps are a pain.

Oh, those two sound like fascinating folk. I'm curious as to whether they own any land in your part of the world? I've offered to guide a discussion among the Green Wizards about property as it is a returning topic of conversation. If that gets off the ground I'll take my proper audio recording equipment.

A 50/50 mix of sugar and fat is a high energy feed. Interestingly did you know that fat has far more energy (calorific value) than sugar, weight for weight? In the environment, sugar is more easily available as it can be produced from sunlight. On the other hand only a very small collection of plants produce fats. Avocado, Olives, Coconut and the usual nuts come to mind, and even then the fats are not in a highly concentrated form and they're mostly soluble at lower temperatures than animal fats. You are certainly onto something interesting with that program. Have they discussed anything interesting? I've observed that when I cook for other people - and this can involve meat - that it takes a lot more effort to clean the dishes than when I cook for myself which only involves vegetable fats.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

The question of potatoes is not lost on me either. We are experimenting with many different varieties of potato and there has even been the occasional blight infected tuber. Mate, I can see how so many Irish died or emigrated to Australia and the USA in the potato boom and bust. I have visited Lake Titicaca in Peru last century and stayed and eaten with a local family and I saw them sun drying their potato crop. Freeze drying was far beyond their economic abilities. Potatoes have great potential but that potential comes with great risks. Thus the experiments here. You really never want to experience blight on any large scale. Interestingly some of the potatoes that I tasted in Peru had a very crystalline structure and I have been busy weeding those out of the varieties here. Of course this may be an error? Anyway it is very difficult to remove all of the varieties of a potato. Dunno.

The local varieties of the nightshade family of plants were highly prized and traded by the aboriginals (which I now realise is Latin terminology) but whilst they haven't poisoned me, they don't taste very nice to my palate.

Quo Vadis! Of course I too wonder where you, I, and the rest of society is going? It seems an obvious question when it is spelled out loud. :-)! Nero got a bad rap I reckon, but then history is sometimes written by the victors. Run Marcus, run! Oh well, too late for Marcus and nice work by the body guard. I reckon Petronius was a good example of death by suicide. ;-)! Beware getting involved in politics as I've heard of that outcome and it would certainly be a surprise to the unwitting recipients. Who needs such intrigue anyway? Did you enjoy the film, that is the question that I am interested in?

Speaking of political intrigue, apparently a few politicians down here have recently had to fall onto their swords because apparently they hold dual citizenship - and that is a complete no no under the law. Well anyway, our mischievous New Zealand friends seem to have alerted the government to the fact that none other than the deputy Prime Minister may potentially hold a dual NZ citizenship. Chinese curses about living in interesting times are springing to my mind! Plus don’t annoy your eastern friends seems like good advice in this instance.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

A couple who had one of Son's puppies, have asked him to take it back and re-home it as they can't cope. One of the can't copes is that it demands 6 walks a day!!! Son has initially given them some much needed advice on dog keeping/training. He says that he doesn't mind taking back a puppy but this couple have had the dog for 8 months. He says that he can find another owner if they really give up.

Aspirin can be dangerous e.g. it gives my son anaphylactic shock.

@ Lew

I didn't know about the 50/50 sugar/fat. Very interesting. I have been craving sugar which is unusual. All that pork eating may explain it. I knew that one couldn't put breast milk in someones tea if they didn't take sugar.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - My friend who took Nell (still no sightings) always says she “stays out of kittie politics.” I think there are dog politics and chicken politics. It’s all kind of pecking order, stuff. “With age comes privlage. (Can’t spell it, but know what it looks like when I see it :-). Some of us, when we get a little snow on the roof (or, the wind of time rips the shingles right off), just don’t give a poop, anymore. As far as a lot of social conventions and all that. We’re tired and grumpy. :-).

Waste makes me pretty twitchy. Especially when it comes to food. Of course, the worms get most of my food waste. They haul three small dumpsters, a week, out of here. There is a fairly good scheme of cardboard recycling.

That’s a seamless garden extension. it occurred to me, that it’s the same kind of follow through as when you replaced your stove. And, it also occurred to me that perhaps there are two types of people in the world. Those who follow through and restore things to there original condition (as much as possible) and those who just let go and make do. Which eventually makes everything look a bit run down and tatty.

Your exotic birds and wildlife never cease to amaze me. I always mention it when I’m banging on about “my friends in Australia.” :-).

Any dust from the fires really wasn’t noticeable. Not even my truck looked particularly dusty. Don’t know why. You could sure see it in the air. I bought a bit of honey, the other day. I was running low. I had to hunt down the guy who sells it on the street. I thought perhaps I could get it at a bit less, buying from the source. Will have to check the store, next time I’m there. A pound cost me $9. And, there were way too many choices. I just went with “clover” as that was the most familiar.

Yes, there was quit a section in the food DVD on fats. How we get a lot of (too much) Omega 6s, in the modern diet, but that Omega 3’s are a bit elusive. There was a bit about carbs, from wheat and rice. And although labor intensive, the ROI is pretty high, so they’re worth the trouble of all the different songs and dances we go through to make them useable to the body.

There was an interesting bit about sugars in strawberries and blueberries. Strawberries actually have far less sugars than blueberries. Even though we THINK they taste sweeter. The strawberry fools us. It uses a combo of about 14 different aromas to make us think they’re actually sweeter. And, there was a bit about Vitamin D and mushrooms. Mushrooms store Vitamin D. And, you can really increase the amount they store if you put them in the sun. They make D, like we do. And, if you dry the mushroom, the D is preserved. And, best to dry them gill side up. More surface area to produce D. Interesting.

I’ll watch the second half of Quo Vadis, tonight. The DVD is the uncut theatre version. Quit long. But, I watched the extras and there were some interesting bits. It was filmed in Italy and really provided a post war shot in the arm to the Italian economy. Also, it was such a spectacle as the studios were trying to lure the public, out of their living rooms and away from their tvs, and back to the theaters. 30,000 extras were used. Truly a “cast of thousands.” :-). The director, LeRoy often said that his inspiration for the burning of Rome was that, as a small child, he had experienced and survived the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. Childhood memories. Lew

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

I read a great book recently: "The Art of frugal hedonism" -- by two Melbourne writers. Really great book. I thought I had a handle on having fun while being stingy, but the authors had lots of great ideas and mind-shifting themes. It's in the library system, so you might be able to get hold of it (not sure what your local library is like?)

We've been busy getting our reno happening. Back of the house is demolished with a tarp over the roof. It's been a very mild winter, but had a big squall come in the first weekend. That was exciting! No leaks luckily. What mad people would demolish half their house in the middle of winter?!?

I've been busy with work/life, so haven't blogged much. I do want to write about our reno. I think I'm partly procrastinating out of guilt for all the waste I know it causes. We've made good decisions in terms of efficiency, etc, but I also know that the most efficient house is the one you already have. We just needed a bit more space and decided that the 1950s kitchen needed to go. (excuses, excuses)

What's your solar doing atm? We've moved ours to the Western roof, to allow the demolition, and the winter performance hit has been substantial. A sunny day now yields about 4.7 kWh from a 2 kW system.

Cheers, Angus

PatriciaT said...

Re: glass recycling - maybe the glass could be incorporated into walls. There is a folk art museum high in the Sandia Mountains near Albuquerque (New Mexico, USA). All done by one man over decades, this Tinkertown museum has a fascinating array of carved wood figures ("I did this while you were watching TV."). It also features a wall made from GLASS BOTTLES. Photos of this wall and the carvings can be seen on the website tinkertown [dot] com

Jo said...

Good to see all that reuse of your resources! It drives me crazy to see people loading up utes and trailers with green waste from the garden to take it to the tip. On the way home they will be loading up the trailer with compost to replace all the nutrients they have just removed! Anything that was once alive goes straight back into the garden here, one way or another.

I have been reading about the recycling glut. my own tip is still taking material, but for how long? I can't understand why the government, which after all, has its fingers in every other pie, couldn't start a job creation scheme with all the recycling materials.. it seems like a win-win situation to me. Otherwise all our waste goes to China to be recycled, and as we've just discovered, that program has its flaws..

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Ah, where is resilience to be found these days? That couple really need to get their hands on a Pomeranian as they are the most wilful dogs that I have ever come across. It is like playing constant mind games and to be honest those dogs may have greater rat cunning than myself. I have a very deep respect for horse breakers because sooner or later, you have to out alpha the canine, otherwise they will run roughshod over you. Scritchy found herself outside, under cover today and it has been very wet and rainy.

Of course the dog wants six walks per day. I’m told that demands are effectively unlimited, although I do rather doubt the veracity of that claim, however, it may be relevant in societies such as ours which appear to be geared towards competitive behaviour. Are they in a rural or urban area?

Thanks for the reminder about the dangers of aspirin. I am very carefully observing the two old dogs to see how the medication is affecting them. The thing is that at their age, every course of medication has risks, but then not medicating the dogs has risks too. It is that grim reaper dude coming for them one way or another.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I don't know where the dog owners live. Son has just told me that the couple have found another home for the dog.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Politicians have nothing on dogs, cats and chickens for sheer intrigue and machinations aplenty! The deputy Prime Minister has apparently disavowed his New Zealand citizenship, but the problem remains that at the time of the election he appears to have had a dual citizenship which is not allowed under the constitution. Did I mention that the government has a majority of one seat? The thing is that I don't believe that the animals social hierarchies are fixed in anyway as it seems to be a fluid thing. Anyway, it just matches the environment because that system seems to be in a constant state of flux. It sort of reminds of parents who have expectations that their children will surpass the parents own achievements. They may be different, but rarely do the exceed, but the expectations are there all the same.

I've met people who are old and didn't appear to be grumpy. ;-)! They of course may have had many years of practice dissembling? Mind you, they may have been tired. I sure feel tired today. It has been a big day. And the rain is thumping down right now - with more to come for the next week.

Exactly, the whole wasted food thing really baffles me. On the war on waste program I was quite shocked to hear and see just how much food gets thrown out every day. And the smirking I tended to interpret as a sort of mixture of equal parts pride and horror. Dunno. It all comes down to the stories they have running in their heads.

Cardboard is a good product to recycle as people aren't so fussy about the recycled product. Lots of boron for the garden in cardboard you know? I remember telling you how I forced a large organisation to use pristine white 100% recycled office paper through sheer force of personality. And they eventually broke my resolve after a few months. I had to square up in my head the fact that with attitudes like that on something so minor, that few people have the gumption to face change before it is forced upon them with no option out. We're basically done for in the format that we currently enjoy.

Oh thank you very much! :-)! The other berry bed enclosure extension looked seamless too and you'd be hard pressed to tell the old from the new. Interestingly, I accidentally repeated a blog title a few weeks back and checked out what I was banging on about way back then. You know, the tomato enclosure extension was one of those things mentioned and all of the rest of them have been since completed. The alternative you mentioned looks an awful lot to me like running down your capital infrastructure just so you can lounge around a bit longer. I do wonder how the future will judge such approaches to life? I've been more or less doing things the way I do them here for almost two and a half decades now. The reference to kids above was because I was seriously worried about how they lack the willingness to take on the challenge of kicking the system as what I see and hear about their reactions shocks me. I refuse outright to help people who won’t help themselves. I heard today that wealth inequality has become so entrenched that 1% of the population down here apparently controls 70% of the wealth in this country. It is not a good look or a recipe for longevity. But they run their capital down all the same. It is foolish and greedy.

The birds are very attractive and most of them produce lovely song. They're pretty canny too. ;-)!

Oh, that is surprising about the dust from the ash in the atmosphere. Well a good rain will wash it into the soil where it will do some good. It may possibly do some good in the oceans too.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Your honey is quite expensive relative to here. For 2.2 pounds (1kg) of quality honey where I know the beekeepers although that is their commercial price, I'd expect to pay about $9 to $10. The honey plant choices are a bit weird really - they do that here too - because you can't really stop the bees from harvesting other plants... And I worry about bees subjected to a mono-culture of plants as it can't be good for the bees health.

I personally find palm oil to taste quite disgusting to my palate and I avoid the stuff, but because the plants generate so much of that oil per hectare relative to other sources of vegetable oil, well let's just put it this way that there is an awful lot of it in foodstuffs. There was a discussion on the radio about growth and population down under this afternoon. What was interesting is that someone mentioned ecological limits and said that whilst in a good year we can produce enough wheat at current consumption levels for 60 million people. In a drought year that drops to 30 million. What I always keep banging on about is that when planning to extract resources and energy from nature, you have to limit your consumption to the worst year of output, not the best as that way is a recipe for disaster. That worst year planning underlies every single system here.

We are closer genetically to mushrooms than plants! I have always been rather fond of Paul Stamets work with fungi - that guy is really onto something. Does that make him a fun-guy? Sorry for the poor joke! :-)!

That really is a cast of thousands. All those extras would have been very difficult to manage, but the effect. Cool! They're still trying to lure people away from their TV's and back into the cinema. I like the cinema and find the experience to be very enjoyable and suitably old school for my tastes. Do you have a cinema in your new corner of the planet?

Mate, the rain is belting down tonight. Not a good night to be outside. There seems to be a rather large cold front approaching which is currently picking up moisture over the Southern Ocean. Lots of lightning and the air pressure here has dropped significantly.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

Hey mate, nice to hear from you!

It is such a small world. Yes, the editor has read the book. The interesting thing is that one of the authors works at the CERES nursery down in Melbourne and I often visit that place. I never quite understood about that story why the author didn't make her own alcohol as that lack seemed to be way beyond my understanding. Perhaps it never occurred to her, but it is a very high margin product and would have fit into her story. The other thing too that made me slightly worry about an otherwise entertaining and informative book is that the author recommended running down her infrastructure and I do recall reading in the book about a considered and distinct lack of maintenance on her house. I don't believe that much is achieved by putting off maintenance such as painting, but opinions differ.

The library is a long way from here (10km!) - as most things are here!

I hope you are staying dry what with all of the rain that is dumping on the south east? It may be running a bit south of you. Tarps are good though.

Oh fair enough about the renovation. Mate in life there are consequences and compromises and my life is far from perfect so I'm not casting any stones on that matter. What sort of efficiencies have you planned into this new construction? I'm curious. I hope you blog about it with some photos? Are you getting your hands dirty with the reno?

Well, I increased the number of panels recently to about 5.8kW (31 panels x about an average of 190W each) and that is just enough to comfortably get through the six weeks around the winter solstice. The rest of the year is now feral for electricity!

It is almost impossible to compare grid tied outputs with off grid outputs because I have no idea what the system can potentially produce. Grid tied systems are connected to the mother of all inefficient systems so anything generated can be offloaded onto that system. Off grid systems only record the daily energy that is stored in the batteries or used directly by the inverter and other components in the system and who knows what the potential is as it is not relevant. Do I have enough energy to live on? You betcha. The question I have for you is: Could you live on that 4.7kW average daily output? It is a tough call that and most likely if you were off grid the output would be much lower because you have to recall that batteries do not recharge in the same way that a fuel tank takes on more fuel as there are diminishing capacity to absorb electricity after the batteries are about 80% to 85% full. It is a complex problem. But also do-able! You’d see that with your bikes.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Patricia T,

Welcome to the discussion (or welcome back as the case may be)! :-)!

The glass bottles in walls looks really cool doesn't it and it allows light through the walls? And some of the glass bottles have such lovely colours. Thanks for the links too! Cool.

I have seen glass bottles cut in half (top and bottoms) with the bottoms then being joined with duct tape end to end and then cemented into a thick wall. Very cool stuff.

Most of my recycled glass is actually broken glass so there is very little of it in the first place. Because we make all our own alcohol here and preserve all our own jams and passata, olives (etc. etc.) all of the glass that I have gets re-used constantly from year to year. The thing I have to watch for is deterioration in the lids and I keep a huge supply of new steel lids for just such an occurrence. ;-)!

PS: I really liked the comment about – I did this whilst you were watching TV. Very amusing!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Many thanks and that is high praise indeed. Very little waste is generated here.

I have to add thanks for your correction as I hadn't understood that activity from that perspective with our previous discussion and really appreciate you pointing out the obvious to me. Thank you! That stuff is harder than I ever imagined.

Exactly, all garden cuttings can be re-used in the garden. Nature does such a wonderful job of not wasting anything. Nature is just making us look good, you know! ;-)! In a completely sane world, there is absolutely no way any of us could mosey on down to a compost seller and mosey on back with a trailer load of compost or mulch. It should not be happening, and yet there it is. Hope you are getting some tasty green and red mustards in your vegie patch right now? And the horseradish and asparagus has just begun poking its head out of the soil. Yummo!

Ah yes, the tip here is taking the materials too, but watch closely to see what they do with it. Although you may not be able to see the bins disappearing into landfill as that may take place whilst the public is elsewhere. A bit like feeding the lions at the zoo really. I'm sorry to say that the system comes down to economics. It is an ugly business. Four Corners recently did a thing on that industry - although it takes a braver soul than I to watch that story.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

It was a good balcony, and the cats enjoyed sitting in the sun with us. Otherwise they retreated to the couch, sensible creatures! Sir Scruffy sounds like the good dog in your canine collective, or maybe he is playing the long game and trying for an angle on priority food access?

The cobalt drill bits sound like a winner. I have been wrangled into providing further shed assistance, this weekend we will be putting a roof on and I may quietly suggest some cobalt bits!

I sent out for quotations on shipping belongings to New Zealand. We don't have a lot, no furniture, just a mix of tools, books and misc personal items. So far, I have been pleasantly surprised. I estimate we have about 3.5 cubic metres and it should be around $1100. Just the toolbox is worth that, so it seems worthwhile even disregarding sentimental values.

Exciting progress on the job front, but nothing confirmed yet so I shall refrain from details for now. There was mention of a week training in Melbourne, if the timing is right perhaps I can sit in on a green wizards meeting!

I hope your storm front does not get too wild. Tomorrow is meant to be 31 here, I have a vision involving the beach! No luck catching fish today, so we had Chinese for dinner at the local bowling club. Pretty good in a comfort sort of way :-p

Damo


Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Hi, doggies! Up to something, as usual! I wonder, if we had four legs and our center of gravity was as low as Scritchy's, we might have an easier time with these hills? Scritchy has venerable age on her side as an excuse, though, should she get pooped out (I mean - get tired). Perhaps it might just be easiest to keep the bedroom door closed? Unless that hinders some sort of cross ventilation? We went to the ridiculous trouble of keeping a window screen across one of the doors when Tommyrot the cat got old and decided that his mission in life was to beat up every one of the five dogs that he could find sleeping (note the "sleeping"). His was not a sound strategy for a peaceful old age, so we decided to help him out.

That was some neighbor. Don't such people make life more interesting? Though the Three Stooges come to mind, and one wouldn't want to have to engage with their like too often.

How is waste wasted income? We don't waste food, but there is often packaging, from food and other things.

I like that drainage channel. It looks so much better in the "after" photo.

Gorgeous black soil! Beautiful rock gabion! It's nice to see the bees again. Your honey appears to cost half as much as ours. I am so happy to see the rosellas, too - mostly . . .

Hellebore is highbrow indeed.

I certainly like this thought:

"What I always keep banging on about is that when planning to extract resources and energy from nature, you have to limit your consumption to the worst year of output, not the best as that way is a recipe for disaster. That worst year planning underlies every single system here."

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

Glad you are back!

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Yes the mountains were snow covered. We also saw many glaciers. One that we hiked up to had signs marking how it had receded over the years. There were bear sighting signs on a couple of the hotel - one right in the city of Anchorage. Our friends in Ketchikan had bear scat in their yard the day before.

I think my zucchini plant is toast. There were a dozen huge ones and no female flowers. Also had some powdery mildew and eggs of the squash beetle. Fortunately zucchini is easy to come by.

I think I'd just close the bedroom door so Scritchy can't get on the bed. All doors must be closed when we go out here as one of Leo's goals in life is to find the most comfortable spot for him to lay. He even checks to be sure a door is closed tight. We have relented and given him a spot on the couch with a sheet on it but it's apparently not enough for him.

I've heard that with the lower price of oil it's cheaper to manufacture new glass than recycle it. We stayed with some friends in Seattle and they threw away all left over food and the end of the night. Needless to say I was appalled. Now they made several dishes each evening so there was probably too much for just the two of them but they bought/made much more than was necessary. They are quite well off so it's not a matter of money but in other regards they aren't ostentatious as all.

Eventually I'd like to share some of my observations about tourism in Alaska but there's much catch up around here. Michael's second cataract surgery is also this week which will take up quite a few hours as well. Back to reality.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - How odd. I dreamed of pizza and rats in a restaurant, last night. Never any actual rats. Just the remains of pizza in a vent hood. Probably dreamed of that because I thought I might have brought mice along for the ride (move). There is mouse poo, but, maybe it’s just coming off my shoes? Any-who. I put down a few carefully counted grains of sunflower seed, but it’s not disturbed. Fingers crossed.

Speaking of politicians, I just finished “Al Franken: Giant of the Senate.” That title is very tongue in cheek. He’s the senator from Minnesota and was once in comedy. Besides being a fairly funny book, it’s a fairly clear take on how things work in Washington. I may have to send the guy a few bucks :-).

Old people who are not grumpy? They’re just heavily medicated. :-).

I’m going to have to look into what’s going on with my soil in my garden plot. Foliage and flowers going on ... not much fruiting. Either I’m just being antsy, or there’s something missing in the soil. I think I’ve mentioned The Great Courses series? (worth a look). Well, the library has a new one from them, on botany, and I’ve got a hold on it. Might learn something. Right now I’m wending my way through there “Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature.”

The only oil I use is olive oil. Unless a recipe calls for butter. And, I splurge a bit and spring for the best butter I can find.

I’ve seen a few of Paul Stamets DVDs. And, I’d say, yes, he is a fun guy :-).

Oh, the cinema I’ve got access to now, is the same old, same old. I didn’t move THAT far. :-).

I finished up Quo Vadis, last night. Hmmm. Well, the dialogue was pretty stilted. The religious aspects were pretty thickly larded on. The burning of Rome segment was pretty ripping. Would I recommend it? Hmm. Dunno. Depends on what your looking for. As pure entertainment, not bad. As long as you don’t think about it, too much. :-). As a cultural artifact, it’s interesting. And, if you have an interest in aspects of the development of film, it’s interesting. Peter Ustinov turned in a ripping performance as the mad Nero. I’ve got to look up how old he was when he filmed that. In some scenes, he looks positively adolescent. He was nominated for an Academy Award, for that role.

Well, I guess I’d better get moving. Blueberries call. The weather is quit nice. Mid 70’s. Lew

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

The extension is really un-sexy ;-)

A very small extension (adds about 15 square meters to the house), but liberates a lot of space because we had a dicky little box room, a lot of hallway, and a sunroom that was so narrow it was almost a hallway. We'll get a bigger kitchen, an extra bedroom (kids won't want to share forever), and some decent North-facing windows (which were sadly lacking before).

We got some advice from a sustainability consultancy, and have gone for a concrete slab, have put in triple-glazed windows, but not too large. Reverse brick veneer. Decent insulation and draft proofing all around. I think we won't "need" to heat or cool it (but it will be a lot more comfortable than now).
At some point, I might put in a wood oven (for cooking, like the nectar bakers oven), but will see. I think/hope we won't want it for heating, so perhaps a rocket oven outside might be better.

I'll post some floor plans and elevations soon. It's really very unremarkable, but hopefully a loooot better than the architectural stupidity that I routinely see...

I'm wondering if we are talking about different books -- the authors of the Frugal hedonism definitely brew beer, and I don't remember them talking about neglecting maintenance (which I agree is silly -- though they probably did talk about not being house-proud, which I think is different).

Thanks for your comments regarding off-grid power. It's funny -- even though I have some awareness of that, it's so easy to forget when power "just" comes from the grid. I think it's our unwitting assumptions like this that are potentially dangerous.
Regarding living on 4.7 kWh/day -- we do that no problems -- it's the overcast days where it only produces 0.8 kWh that are the problem! ;-) I can totally see why you cook with wood!
btw. now that you've got 5.7 kW of panels, what has your lowest producing day been this winter?

Cheers, Angus

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

Your extended tomato enclosure looks great. It's interesting to hear about the soil and your amendments. I hope you have a trouble free crop this year.

It's been an interesting week here. Lots of hard work dismantling part of a structure that was added onto our big shed many decades ago. No proper footings but hard wood timber that is still mostly in excellent condition. The original addition was apparently an old school house that was removed and brought here. It's external walls were asbestos, which we had removed a couple of years ago. The remaining part of the structure is being reclad and we'll use it as our 'tool shed'. Currently our tools and so forth are in an old stable... Do you sense a theme here?

Hellebores are one of my favourite plants. So ,overly to see the blooms.

Warm Regards, Helen

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I'm sorry but returning a dog is not an experience I can relate to. That isn't a judgement of the couple, but I just can't empathise with their concerns. Dunno. How do you feel about the situation? Interestingly all of the dogs that I have known have either been rescue dogs or strays and they all come with unique and sometimes damaged personalities. That isn't necessarily a bad thing as they can all get with the program - more or less - and I've never known one to be so damaged as to be beyond redemption. However, I have not and probably would not take on a breed with known agression problems in those circumstances. Basically what I'm trying to say is that I have no idea what to expect from a dog which has been bred. I do suspect that those too have their own unique personalities?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

I'm not suggesting that the cats had the best view in the southern hemisphere, but far out, it would have been right up there! Hehe! The cats clearly understood that life is short and being old campaigners they enjoyed their moments of rest - on the couch...

Absolutely. Sir Scruffy is the best behaved of the fluffy collective. Dogs are fed in separate bowls because I once enjoyed the company of a dog that was all too happy to starve its mate. Dogs can have a rather dark side to their natures.

Putting a roof on is great experience. Keep your wits about you and remember to keep one hand for the work and another for the structure - and not to over reach. Yeah, I'll be interested in your opinions of the cobalt drill bits. Those too will lose their cutting edge after a while.

Yeah, that trans Tasman shipment (sorry, I know the lingo, long story - the transport industry was full of pleasant people on the floor but the guys in the office were as rough as bags. I reckon they were compensating) is very reasonably priced.

Awesome. If you get the chance to attend, I reckon you'll have a good meetup. There is some presentation on a Nicole Foss something or other next week.

Beach! Far out. The sun is shining here, but the wind is feral. 20mm of rain yesterday... Wet... And the next few days look feral. I hope I've got something to write about next week...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

The fluffy collective salute you and your collective! Scritchy is always up to some mischief. You know, she is the oldest dog, but the most active. Go figure that one out. I don't get it at all. You would think that after all that exercise she would get tired, but she is a tiny ball of muscle - there is nothing superfluous on her at all. And for an old dog, she is fast. I don't stir her up anymore after she licked me once in the mouth and I became very ill - and had to be hospitalised the next day. She is way fast. That steep cutting is not for us clumsy humans. When I originally planted it out, I rested a tall ladder on the cutting and just climbed up the ladder. Honestly, I'd fall off it for sure! Not good...

Yeah, the bedroom door is just closed when we're not around. The thought of comfort in that dogs brain exceeds the concerns about punishment. Tommyrot is one brave and clever cat. Did the dogs take the exciting feline behaviour with good grace or did they get a bit grumpy?

Haha! That neighbour sure did make for a more interesting and colourful neighbourhood! She was very amusing and care a whit about other peoples opinions. Actually she was mostly harmless and I rather believe that she enjoyed outraging people.

Ah well, when you dispose of packaging that you have paid for, well, you did pay for it and you're also throwing it out. It is a complex problem for sure. I too have packaging for some things and you don't really have a lot of choice about the matter.

It was tested yesterday with about 3/4 of an inch of rain, but the rain went on late into the night and I did want to check the channel out, but there was all this wet stuff falling from the sky. I may order another water tank soon maybe about 1,200 gallons. I hope I get a chance to fill it before summer.

That soil is good isn't it? Lots and lots of mulch and compost can work wonders. I hope that rock gabion gets sewn up over the next few weeks and another gabion begins. Has it inspired you to try one out? There are heaps of images of them on the internet.

Food is normally cheaper in your part of the world and I am curious as to why honey would cost almost double what we pay for it down here. It is an interesting discrepancy.

I felt that the tone of the conversation had to be diverted away from the dog poop and bird situation. Those parrots are a great clean up crew aren't they?

Thank you! I never realised that was what we were doing here, but that is what we seem to be doing. ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

The glaciers at the bottom of the south island of New Zealand have those retreat markers too. They made me distinctly uncomfortable. Incidentally there was an incident where a couple of tourists got squashed as a big chunk of the face of one of those glaciers peeled away a few years ago. The car hire company kept charging the victims until they could be retrieved from under the ice. It was not a good look. How did you feel about the glacial retreat markers. I find the old photos which are used for comparative purposes to be rather disturbing.

Oh yeah, powdery mildew on the leaves of zucchini is not a good sign. I would have expected such signs in about September rather than now. Have you had a lot of rain recently? What do you reckon caused it? I'm hopefully setting aside a huge area to grow cucurbits this year so I am interested to see how they grow.

Yup, Leo and Scritchy have a lot in common. They just get to a point in their lives when they look at you and say: I know this is wrong, but stuff it I'm comfortable. It is almost a bit Dirty Harry: Who's gonna stop me? We're going to stop you. Whose we? Me and smith and wesson. Of course Leo and Scritchy both know full well that such a discussion is very unlikely. :-)!

Exactly. From my understanding, you can't give the stuff away. Interestingly, I've noticed that older glasses (for drinking) are much more sturdy than newer glasses which seem paper thin and are very easy to break and chip. I don't like that at all.

There is a lot of low hanging fruit - which I reckon will be eaten eventually out of necessity.

I would look forward to reading your thoughts on tourism. It is a fascinating subject. Make sure to take it easy.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

There was a massive truck accident the other day in the US that involved pizzas which were strewn everywhere across a highway. Even we heard about it on the news down here, so that may have explained the pizza side of the dream. Of course you may also be experiencing a hankering for a quality pizza? Maybe? The rat in the restaurant kitchen. Hmmm. Well. Hmmm. OK. Here goes. Years ago there was a delightful animated film called Ratatoulie about a rat that was also a genius chef and decided to work in a commercial kitchen. You may have seen a trailer for that film. It was quite a nice film. Of course, you may have noticed mouse droppings in your kitchen like you suggested and now have rodents on your mind? Mate, that rodent gear is way smarter than us. Good luck! And should you find a solution, your fortune will surely be made! Counting the grains is a good idea. Rodents are generally on the move at your time of year as they are looking for a place to over winter. They rarely move over winter and you can see that in the maps highlighting the spread of the black plague way back in the day.

Incidentally, it has been an epic flu season down here with the highest number of recorded infections in about 15 years. It was a very unpleasant flu that one.

Out of curiosity, how do things work in Washington? Of course such an explanation may take more than a single comment - and possibly be extraordinarily complex? The dual citizenship saga continues apace today. You have to remember that the party affected has a majority of one vote and if they lose the deputy PM then there is a hung parliament. A fascinating experience for everyone! The funny thing is I reckon they are in danger of proving to everyone that they don't do much other than argue.

Ha! I never thought of the heavy medication explanation. Far out! :-)! No doubts you may be right.

Well, different soil types and structures can promote leaf growth over flower growth over fruit growth. Plus the water regimes complicate matters further. Basically too much compost can be a bad thing as it promotes too much leaf growth. Balance in everything including the soil. Mind you, it is getting on in your growing season and that may be the problem? Dunno really though.

Hey, I went to the artisan hat shop today to get an older Scottish tweed hat repaired - which he did over a couple of hours. It's good now! The hat was just a bit tight for my head and it gave me headaches. But when I was there, he showed me a linen version of my Irish hat and well, with summer just around the corner, I couldn't say no could I? :-)! We even had a very geeky conversation about the troubles both current and historical relating to various materials. Linen is beautiful to wear during summer, but far out, it is a troubled material. I will respect the material though and treasure the hat.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

The Great Courses series sounds interesting and I await to hear your witty review. I do enjoy your reviews and I can see that you would have fun doing them in the past for publication! :-)!

Olive oil is without doubt the best vegetable oil. It washes up the easiest and so I've always considered that that would make it easier on your guts.

Haha! Glad you enjoyed the joke. But that guy really knows his stuff.

Fair enough, I just never recall you mentioning much about a cinema in your part of the world and did wonder whether it was local or distant. There is no cinema anywhere near my place, so I usually go into the big smoke.

Yeah, I reckon the tone and story of that film does sort of make it a cultural artifact. I wonder how much of our film works will be around in a hundred years time. It is a strange feeling to consider such a thing. No doubts we'll have other entertainments as we have had in the past. I for one would put in a vote for good dark beers. I've never quite worked out whether dark beers use molasses? We can make a passable millet beer, but it has to be made to order as the lack of preservatives and low alcohol volume content make it spoil - and to be honest there is only so much vinegar a person can use? Maybe?

Enjoy your blueberries! Yum!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I am not medicated and not grumpy, grr.

I have no sympathy whatsoever for the couple who wanted to return the dog. I can only assume that they regarded the dog as a compliant toy. Son has usually acquired his dogs as puppies but the current father dog came as an adult. He had clearly been beaten as he cringed. Fortunately that has stopped. Son has had a Rottweiller in the past but his dogs seem to become as laid back as he is himself. Do you think that dogs tend to take on some of the characteristics of their owner?

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I didn’t hear a thing about the pizza truck. So, maybe it is a bit of a subconsious craving for pizza. :-).

Gosh. How things work in Washington. Or, don’t work :-). Where to start? If a senator thinks up a bill, it’s best to get a co-sponsor from the other party. But the co-sponsor has to get the ok from his party leaders. There may be things added to the bill (horse trading) that have nothing to do with the bill. Which is, I suppose, how they snuck privatizing on line postal services, on line tax filing and the Medicare appeals process. A bill may be passed ... but no funding provided.

What I didn’t know is that when they have hearings (for, whatever), the people testifying are presented with the questions they will be asked ... and respond with their answers ... in writing. Senator Franken (unlike a lot of senators) spends his evenings pouring over binders of these responses. If something strikes him as wrong or odd (say, a statistic) he’s likely to roust one of his staff out of bed who has an expertise in whatever area is under consideration. He has caught many a testifier in an outright lie or, at least a shading of the facts. Enough? Enough. :-)

The hat reminded me that I have an old wool blanket. Sentimental value. Some of those old blankets had a bit of santeen (?) (some kind of slick and shinny material) edging. Which has pretty much rotted away. There’s a sewing group that meets here, twice a week. I’ll be talking to some of the ladies about repairing my blanket.

I don’t go to the cinema, much. My aversion to crowds. And, the cost. But every once in awhile, there’s something I want to see on the big screen. Usually, some mega disaster movie :-). Or, a new Star Trek film.

Our PBS has a news program (weekly?) called Frontline. It’s usually an hour of exploring some topic, in depth. Can be anything from Syrian refugees to ... well, fish. They go to DVD, pretty quickly. The one I watched last night was broadcast in April and hit the library shelves, now. Called “The Fish on My Plate.” So, this fellow is looking into the whole Omega 3 thing and decided to eat fish, every day for a year. Sometimes twice a day. And, while he doing this, he’s looking at the fishing industries, world wide. From commercial fishing to fish farms. Bottom line? Well, his Omega 3s were very high. But, it didn’t seem to impact his blood chemistry in any particular way. But his mercury levels were very high ....

I walked to the men’s meeting last night. Only three blocks, or so, but uphill and down. Since I’m going to see if I can do without the truck in September, I figured I might as well kick it off a bit. On the way back, I started having chest pains and wondered if I was going to have a massive heart attach and die in the street. Then I gave an enormous belch and all was right with the world. :-). Lew

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Pretty disturbing to see how much the glaciers have retreated. Now getting squashed by a calving glacier isn't a very nice way to go.

Yes, it's been very wet this summer. Over 20 inches of rain May-July though it's slowed down some. I noticed a neighbor's squash/pumpkin patch has really been hit by powdery mildew as well.

Well hopefully I can get my thoughts together regarding tourism to comment over the weekend.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

A lot of residential construction is as you say very unsexy.

Fair enough about the changes. If the reno makes the house more liveable that is a good thing. Few architects and/or building designers consider the aspect of liveability. I see that all of the time. And then houses tend to evolve over time as time and funds become available. Certainly a house of yours age is far more fixable than a current house.

Sorry, but I'm not a fan of concrete slabs due to their thermal performance which doesn't work here - but it is much colder here than where you are. I tend to prefer strip footings and stumps, but I'm also a bit old school too in that regard.

On the other hand triple glazed windows and reverse brick veneer. I salute you! Reverse brick veneer just works.

The nectre bakers oven - and I've seen the little unit and poked around in it - much to the dismay of the salesperson - has some good ideas in it that my older unit did not have.

No, we are most definitely talking about the same book. I may have missed the beer bit and they may have underplayed that aspect as people can get very strange whenever homebrew is mentioned. Far out. I just own it nowadays.

Hey, the wood oven died a couple of months ago and I replaced it with a Nectre mega with a huge wetback for heating water. Mate, this new wood heater is the biz. No, I cook with electricity nowadays which is the main reason I had to undergo a huge solar power upgrade recently. That stuff is way complex. I have to check the other computer to see what the worst day was. It got pretty bad around the solstice.

And also many thanks for even mentioning that solar power has bad days for generation. Most people ignore or dismiss that aspect of the system.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Thanks! I'm hoping that the rain holds off long enough that I can get some rails up on that enclosure tomorrow. Certainly I'll add another cubic metre of composted woody mulch onto the excavated ground. Far out, it has been crazy wet here this week. Today it looked like a cyclone hit the place and the rain was driven horizontally. I found some slaters in the joins on the fencing on the tomato enclosure... Fingers crossed.

Compost and mulch! Good stuff.

Yeah, some hardwood timber if sufficiently dense can survive all sorts of construction conditions. Red gum is a particularly dense timber for that and who knows what species of timber your shed was constructed from. Ah-ha! Yes it is very wise to get your tools in order and make sure that they are available and well housed. Very wise. :-)!

They're great those plants. I bought a black flowering hellebore a year or two back but it is yet to flower. There is a specialist nursery not too far from here called the Post Office farm nursery and they sell only hellebores. They may do mail order?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Well, we will all have to take your word for that - or employ our not inconsiderable diplomacy skills and politely agree with you! :-)! Hehe!

Dogs are most certainly not toys and I was curious as to their opinions and concerns as I just don't understand where they are coming from. Training is part of having dogs as companions. Otherwise they're as feral as they want to be.

Oh yeah, dogs definitely absorb the prevailing culture in a household. You know, I reckon profession subtly affect your personality too. What do you reckon about that? Accountants can be a rather serious bunch.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

The whole pizza dynamic begs the question: What are pizza's like in your part of the world? I have to confess to being rather dubious about US pizzas because they look very different to the sort of pizzas you get down here. You know what, the next time we make a homemade pizza, I'll take a photo and chuck it onto the blog. Pizza's are crazy easy to make.

Just made a batch of muesli and Mr Poopy is overly excited about the prospect of sharing some of that food. Interestingly, I've noticed that sharing food is a one way experience with Mr Poopy and he does seem rather self interested.

Hey, speaking of food, I went to the cinema last night and saw a road trip / food film set in France. It was called Paris can wait and it is about a married woman who's husband is a workaholic and sort of boring really. Circumstances arise and the wife is put into the care of a French dude who basically takes her on a road trip through France stopping off at one historical site and museum after another and all the while enjoying top notch food. Good stuff and it was visually very pleasant to watch.

Ha! Yes horse trading. I can see that. Our politicians can't seem to agree on anything and then suddenly out of nowhere they have apparently lifted the percentage of peoples income put towards health insurance. And that came out of nowhere. It is very smart of Senator Franken to undermine other Senators credibility with that tactic. He seems to be doing his job. Shame the others aren't. I always wonder if they've somehow forgotten who actually employs them. Well maybe an argument could potentially be raised that they are employed by the donators? Dunno.

Oh yeah, get that woollen blanket repaired! We use woollen blankets here and I can tell you that last night was cold enough that it was a four blanket night. Other nights are only a one or two blanket night. You can adjust the number of blankets as required. I rather suspect that a lot of people have sleeping issues these days because they sort of feel that their internal temperature and the external air temperatures are one and the same thing. Too hot or too cold can affect your ability to sleep correctly.

Incidentally the wind was strong enough last night that the power apparently went off in the mountain - or so I was told - for an hour. I didn't notice... Yup, I reckon severe weather events will be a strain on the grid.

Hey, I've gotta bounce as I'm planning on going to the pub for a pint and feed. I'm sorry, I'm so naughty sometimes! :-)! I'm not really sorry, but sorry for saying that I'm sorry when I'm not sorry - if you get my meaning! Hehe! I could go on like that for a while.

Will speak tomorrow. Hopefully the rain holds off here a bit as it is feral today.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margret,

Thanks for the lovely comment. I'm off to the pub - hopefully it isn't washed away in the heavy rains here... Promise to reply tomorrow night. Seriously the weather is feral here.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

I am glad that you brought up the question of dogs taking on the characteristics of their owners. I would say absolutely "yes" - sort of. I think that dogs are born with some inherent traits due to their dam and sire and ancestry (just like us), but you are way right that a nervous dog (as in your son's dog) can become calmer through the influence of a calm owner.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

I am glad that you overcame your - er . . . - heart attack so quickly.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Ah, yes. Pizza. If you Google “Sahara Pizza, Chehalis”, you’ll get a good idea of what’s on offer, locally, and in general, the State of American Pizza :-). They’re a small chain. it’s where I go when I buy pizza, once or twice a year. Of course, there’s the big chains, like Domino’s. Our local Safeway has everything from the awful stuff in the freezer case, to some “not too bad” pizza’s you bake yourself in the fridge cases. Not frozen, but kept coolish.

About a year ago, I read a book about a fellow who ate in, rated and blogged every pizza place in New York City. About three months ago, I read a book about a couple, up in Seattle, who opened a neighborhood pizza parlor. If you’re interested in giving either a look, I’ll hunt up the titles and authors.

Kind of relates to our recent dog chat. I check out the “new non-fiction book list” (and, dvd list) on the library website, almost every day. I spotted a title the other day from our “Oh, please!”, department. :-). Because usually I say out loud, “Oh, please!”. As in “Are-you-kidding-me?” The book title is: “Remember me? Loving and Caring for a Dog with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction.” I checked with my vet friend, and she said there is such a thing. But the vets just call it “Doggie Alzheimer’s” :-). She said there are some dodgey meds for it ... or, just keep the dog busy and engaged. Of course, I shouldn’t laugh too hard. Having recently had a cat with a gluten intolerance ... Oh, please! :-).

Weather. Well, not all that long and you’ll be having nice weather, and ours will be feral. Word is getting around that I plan to go truck-less (maybe) and some of the reactions are rather interesting. All low key. But I have a “swimming against the stream” feeling. :-). Not that that’s ever bothered me. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

No I don't think that profession affects personality. It may cause someone to put on a certain persona while on the job, but I think that the true personality is unaffected. Hehe, I don't think that I have ever met an accountant face to face.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

The pub was very nice last evening, the wood fire produced warmth whilst the wind and rain battered the old art deco building, and the Irish Stout with the iconic name Ulysses was very good indeed. Interestingly too, the very wet weather kept people at home and the pub was very quiet which I had not seen before. Of course the editor and I are not fair weather clientele and that makes for regular local businesses. I know enough to know that their costs do not disappear with the fair weather crowds. My needs are few, which I feel is a good thing because I feel that behind the scenes a lot of people are over extended in all sorts of ways. Speaking of which:

Sydney's biggest mortgage bills: how your suburb compares. I believe we have well and truly surpassed levels achieved in the US in 2008. It did not end well.

I replaced the small solar power regulator in the cantina shed today (the littler off grid solar power system). The old regulator was rated to 15 Amps. However, I'd recently increased the potential solar generation to 25 Amps. Now of course such an output for west facing panels is not possible at this time of year, but as the sun swings further around to the west... The new regulator is rated to 40 Amps so there is plenty of fat. The new one also has to be programmed unlike the old basic 15 Amp unit and I discovered that the battery was being slightly under charged. I wonder what affect that will have on the battery? Probably not much - maybe... That battery is past its expected lifespan now and still works fine which is a testament to treating that technology very gently. I have often wondered how long the batteries in electric vehicles will last given that people tend to want to discharge them completely every time they use them. I just dunno, as such usage doesn't gel with my experience of that technology. I could be wrong though.

Your idea about getting the old blanket repaired is a very good idea. And a nice way to meet the local sewing group - who can be very handy to know.

The cinemas are rarely busy these days. The other night when the editor and I saw that film, we were the only people in the cinema – and the small independent cinema seems to do better business than the larger multiplex cinema where the blockbusters are screened. Mind you, it was a very small cinema that one. But still, the weather seems to have forced people into their homes. Or maybe it is the news that has done that? Dunno.

Far out. I had no idea about the: "Fish and shellfish concentrate mercury in their bodies, often in the form of methylmercury, a highly toxic organic compound of mercury (source Wikipedia)". It didn't work so well for hat makers back in the day did it? As a young kid I recall a mates dad rolling mercury around in the palm of his hand. Not good. But then I've probably sucked back quantities of lead from solder fumes (not to mention car exhausts) from way back in the day when I used to muck around with electronics. Welding can be a bit of a problem too, but I always weld out in the open nowadays. Heavy metals are a real and very serious problem in the environment.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Ha! You had heart burn and the epic belch fixed it. Nice work, and I for one would have missed your dry sense of humour and sharp tongue if you'd gone and had a heart attack. Stay safe. As a gentle suggestion try and consume more fresh greens out of the garden as they may reduce the acidic effects of food on your gut (mint is especially useful). I hope you enjoyed that belch? I enjoy the occasional belch, but have no great desire to outrage the community so I try to keep them quiet. Two thumbs up for all being right with the world! :-)!

It is nice to have a quieter evening this evening. I like doing things and socialising, but I also enjoy retreating back to the quiet of the forest and well, just enjoying the quiet. I'm not built for a noisy life.

OK, the Sahara Pizza looks pretty good and nothing like what I've seen in the media. I wonder if those media pizza's that I have seen were sponsored advertisements? Dunno. Domino's is down here too and I personally wonder how they supply pizza's at the price they do? If things make no sense, then they may make no sense? Dunno.

I was considering writing a story for the next blog about abstractions not being reality, but trying to find an earthy sort of angle is doing my head in. I also have to walk a fine line of not annoying anyone that I know that may read the blog and so I have to walk around and around topics and nobody wants to listen to me clubbing them over the head. There is quite a bit of that already on the interweb thingee and I don't need to add to that noise. Dunno. Got any ideas?

Thanks for the offer, but I'll pass on those pizza books. My to-read list piles up by the week, and on Thursday Jim Kunstlers book: The World Made by Hand turned up in the mail at the post office. I'm almost finished Fire Monks and despite the occasional despair over the fawning author, I have enjoyed it and incorporated one or two things into the infrastructure here. What they were doing with petrol fuelled pumps is well beyond my understanding – and they were very lucky at some points to have gotten them started during the fire. The air and fuel mixture vaporises at high air temperatures in the carburettor and it becomes impossible to start the pump motor. Mind you, I'm also closely watching the insurance industry as they have a big outcome on my life. ;-)! What can't be sustained, eventually won't be sustained, I guess.

You know, I've known people who claimed that their dogs have some sort of mental condition and then they took their dogs to a canine mental health therapist. The thing is I wonder at what point did the quirky personality and life experiences of the pooch become something that can be treated as a medical condition? Dunno. My gut feeling tells me that it is just life being life and who knows what normal is anyway? Dogs come in all manner of complicated personalities and it is up to everyone around them to decide whether the household or greater community can support or tolerate those complicated personalities. I see a lot of shying away from that thorny issue.

Thanks for the reminder about the weather. It is hard to recall such things when the wind, sleet and rain is blowing up from the Southern Ocean. Today there was the briefest of snow showers up on the main ridge. No snow settled, so I guess that was that.

I look forward to hearing about your potential car free lifestyle. Total respect too. Sometimes swimming with the stream may look like the easy path, but it can actually be the much harder path by a considerable margin! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

The comparisons between the current glaciers and the historical black and white photographs of those same glaciers from way back in the day are quite scary. The weather has been feral here for the past week and I travelled up to the main ridge which is about 300m / 1,000ft higher than here and saw a small shower of snow today. I took the camera but who knows how the photos will turn out? There has been a distinct lack of snow here this year, but the frosts that replaced that snow have been epic. A long time ago, the editor and I sneaked past the railings to put our hands against the face of one of the glaciers in New Zealand. It probably wasn't a smart idea in hindsight, but we survived.

20 inches of rain will have that sort of effect on a garden. And yes, powdery mildew is a sign that that season has drawn to a close early. I ordered another water tank a few days ago and hopefully the rain doesn’t stop before I get a chance to fill the water tank? For your interest, I'm still putting last seasons zucchini into the dogs breakfast and biscuits and despite one of those zucchinis turning into a strange watery vegetable, all of the others seem OK though. Time will tell though.

No worries, take your time. You know inspiration for stories for this blog strike me at all sorts of unusual times. I keep a whiteboard here on the desk which has about 15 potential stories and I just keep adding to that whiteboard as I get ideas. It seems to work.

Hopefully tomorrow I can get outside and do some work. Maybe?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Au contraire! Of course you may also be correct in your assertion too. Years ago I saw a cartoon which was titled: Experience the world of human emotions through the profession of accounting. Below that there were three characters holding briefcases and looking remarkably the same. Below one of each of those characters were the captions: The thrill of victory; The agony of defeat; and some other middle ground between those two extreme emotions. Of course the idea that the cartoonist was trying to get across was the idea of: Objectivity in all circumstances. Not easily achieved. :-)!

Did your son consider or offer to take the dog back?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

An addition to my previous comment. Years ago, a young, smiling man in jeans bounced up to me in town saying 'Hello Inge'. It took me a while to realise that he was my solicitor.

Yes Son told me that he would have taken the dog back as it was one of his own.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Didn't answer your question in full. Son did not actually offer to take back the dog at that point.

Inge

Damo said...

@Chris

I have also had a notion to write a story/essay about the difference between abstraction and reality - although probably not the same as yours :-p

As a surveyor I am trained to measure things (reality) and provide a map / plan or interpretation (abstraction). It is drilled into us from the beginning all the possible errors and uncertainty involved in that process, so I have a somewhat ingrained cynical view of any abstraction presented to me. One example that sticks in my mind is an account from the Irag War during the height of the insurgency. A field commander recounts how he was recalled to the heavily fortified Green Zone in the heart of Baghdad and walked into a cavernous room filled with countless rows of staff sitting at desks, enormous screens scrolling reams of data and electronic maps displaying glyphs, icons and numbers from all across the region. Later, he mused that someone in that impressive room might almost be fooled into thinking they knew what was happening on the ground.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - It’s sometimes nice to go somewhere that’s usually busy, and find it rather calm and quiet. Not good for business, I know, but ... I’ve discovered the local cinema is pretty quiet on Thursday afternoon. :-). Sometimes, as few as three or four people, besides me.

Oh, I’ve heard about mercury in fish for years. Of course, this is The Land Where We Worry and Obsess About Everything. :-). And, the worst fish are the fatty ones. The ones with all the omega 3s that are supposed to be so good for you. It’s because the mercury works it’s way up the food chain and gets deposited in the fatty tissue. It’s recommended that fish not be eaten more than twice a week.

Probably my acid tongue led to the acid heartburn :-). I really don’t know where that came from. I had my usual oatmeal and fruit about 5 hours before. There was a brisk digestive walk down to the meeting. Might have been Tom’s coffee. Which I pointed out to him when I told him the story, when I saw him at another meeting, last night. :-).

Oh, I think you see a lot of whack-o pizzas in the media and ads as they’re trying to stand out from the crowd. Square pizza with bacon edging. Etc.

Abstraction not being reality. Hmmm. That skates close to philosophy. The brain freezes. My eyes glaze over. I’ll leave it to you and Damo to thrash out the finer points. It’s not you, it’s me :-).

Yup. It will be interesting Giving Up The Truck. But I’ve never been a “car guy”, so I’m really not emotionally invested like some fellows. It seems like a great weight will be lifted. As when I finally kissed the tellacommunications company, goodbye. Some of the responses I get are “What if it rains” (I stay home), to “I have relatives I HAVE to visit in the East County.” To, “How much do you want for your truck?” And, “You’ll save a lot of money.”

A first yesterday. I saw a fellow hit by a car. A huge SUV, I think. He was waiting to cross a road, he was looking one way, and I think the driver was looking another. I think it was rather a glancing blow. Much like the deer I hit. He bounced off the right front fender, and down he went. Looking in my rear view mirror, I saw him stand and walk. So, perhaps not too much damage done. I’ll have to check the media to see if there’s mention. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

It is difficult to place people when they are out of context and the solicitor may well have surprised me too if I were in your place. You know, years ago a friend of mine played a joke on me at a restaurant. We just happened to be both at the restaurant at the same time which was pure coincidence. My mate decided that it would be funny if he stood next to the table and pretended that he was a member of the staff and tried to take my order. The situation was so far removed from my expectations that it took me a short while to zone in on the fact that the person standing there was known to me. He thought that it was enormously funny. I'm not so sure of the humour in that myself. Of course the lesson learned there was to pay more attention to your surroundings!

That makes sense, the offer was not on the table, but it was a possibility. I probably would have offered to take the dog back in those same circumstances too. What else do you do - it seems a little bit hard on the dog, but then most of the dogs that I've known have been rescue dogs. That doesn't imply that all rescue dogs enjoy such a nice outcome. Many people ignore their dogs which may make the dogs a bit loopy.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

I look forward to reading the story. Your story of the last farang was very enjoyable. Are you considering writing anything for the latest sci-fi writing competition?

Ah, of course, the map is not the territory. We do tend to want to rely on abstractions as a substitute for the unpleasant realities. A lot of learned information is like that too because implementation can be such a different experience.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

Thanks Chris, I enjoyed writing the story although truth be told I was happier with my previous story set in a far future Tasmania! I didn't know about a new sci fi competition, being currently unemployed I probably have the time to write something :-)

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, I like places when they are quiet. How good is the beach over winter when the storms maybe pushing the waves higher, the wind blows the sea spray far inland and there is absolutely nobody on the beach? The summer crowds are not for I. Yeah, the lack of customers is hard for a business on those days. Not many enterprises maintain enough fat to survive the lean times. I respect those that do. I reckon it gets back to what we were writing about the other week in that any system has to account for the worst day, not the best. I recall a story of an inland hardware store during the last drought and the owner remarked that they only took in 30 cents of sales one day. It got better after that, but that day would have been a low point because the hardware shop opened and it cost the owner to do so.

Quiet cinemas are nice aren't they? I'm not sure that social skills have kept pace with our technologies in places such as cinemas. I'm very uncomfortable with folks who take phone calls during a funeral as that seems mildly disrespectful. Maybe I'm the old and grumpy one? Hehe!

The mercury in fish is what a poisoned planet looks like. People are at me about the potential for bringing in all sorts of plant diseases and unknown chemicals in the various mulches and composts I bring back here. Certainly the mushroom compost which is straw and horse poop from racing stables will most certainly have anti-worming agents and other nasty medicines. I'm no purist and I realise that nature to some extent can deal with a lot of the really nasty chemicals - if given the chance. Paul Stamets did a lot of work with fungi as a form of bio-remediation for all sorts of situations. It may not scale well, but it does sort of indicate that there are plenty of life forms in the soil that can manage nasties. Of course radioactive waste would be a whole nother story. I spotted something in the paper about the reactor in Sydney - which produces medical isotopes, I believe - Nuclear medicine production in Australia at risk if dump site can't be found, industry head says. Far out! What could possibly go wrong?

Enjoy your acid tongue! I certainly do. :-)! We can't be good all the time can we? How did Tom take that accusation of dodgy coffee?

Fair enough. Sooner or later I will provide you with a suitable comparison of what can be done in the home. Pizza base is remarkably easy to make.

My brain skates over philosophy too. Not to stress, I tend to write from the perspective as to how this stuff plays out in the big wide world - well maybe that is taking things a bit far as my small world would possibly be more appropriate. Plus I just like telling stories. I don't know why I felt the need to write that story, and certainly you can't change other peoples opinions. Dunno. It is complex. I write whatever takes my fancy at the time anyway. I was going to use a song by the band: Porno for Pyros - Pets - YouTube. Unfortunately, after reading the lyrics, I just had to bounce that idea as they weren't very family friendly. Nice song though.

If you can get away with no truck, I say go for it. You'll save heaps of mad cash - and it will be an excellent outcome for the environment. And of course, who can forget the implications for foreign policy? Yup, that whole disintermediation thingee is a good bit of practical action.

Ouch! I'll bet you don't see much in the newspapers about the incident. The risks inherent in vehicle ownership are downplayed whilst other more abstract risks are played up in the media. It is a strange world we live in. Incidentally there was a media item a week or two back about some jogger in London who it appears attempted to push a young lady under a bus and was caught by camera. I'd be watching that one and looking very closely into his past.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

I was surprised at what a great weight was lifted off my shoulders when I ceased to possess a vehicle. My freedom was restricted though as I live way out from any public transport.

Inge

margfh said...

Lew & Chris,

Doug and I almost always go to a weekday afternoon matinee. The two theaters nearest to us have $6 senior tickets all day and one has $5 all day for everyone. There's usually only a handful of people there. That being said we only go to a couple of movies a year. Hopefully that'll change once Doug is retired though we're not interested in most movies. There's no theater that screens independent movies near us.

Speaking of noise, today we are going to the Cubs game as guests of our daughter and her boyfriend who has season tickets but in the bleachers. On top of that it's the Air and Water Show in Chicago so the noise will be terrible. Neither of us is thrilled but it was nice of them to invite us. No one realized at the time we scheduled this date months ago that the Air and Water show was the same day. My sister who also lives in Chicago says it's just a day of air and noise pollution and advertising for the military.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Damo:

Your anecdote about Iraq was a marvelous example of reality and abstraction. It makes the contrast as clear as a bell.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - When a business falls on hard times, I always wonder a bit about the owner’s “style of living.” Did they think they could pull off an upper middle class lifestyle with all the bells and whistles? How many toys did they have? Not in all cases, of course, but I sometimes wonder ... The classic story I used to hear in this small place (but not so much, anymore) was: “guys come home from WWII. Starts small business with buddy, brother-in-law ... whatever. Kids take over business and “run it into the ground.” Sometimes, no one “gets” the reality that the business that supported two families, is now expected to support the 4 to 6 kids families. Another tangent is that “the old man” is ossified and the business doesn’t change with the times. Pick a story line; write a novel. :-). Or, movie script.

About once a week I hop on the computer at the library and do anything financial I need to do. A woman plopped down next to me, pulls out her cell phone and has a long involved conversation with her husband. Glares bounced right off. And, you keep thinking she’ll wind it up, any second. Related, kind of, I went out yesterday and when I came back to The Home, someone had parked in my assigned spot. Which are clearly marked as assigned spots. I left a note under the window wiper. “These are assigned spots! Sorry about the tires :-).”

Yup, I’ve read a few things about fungi and bio-remediation. Fascinating stuff. Once we’re gone, the earth will mop up after us. Sometimes, when people get sick, I wonder what they’ve unknowingly rubbed up against. Or if it was just a genetic crap-shot.

LOL. When I mentioned my gastric distress, maybe due to Tom’s coffee, Tom just frowned, but someone else piped up that I’d better watch what I said or I”D be making the coffee. :-).

Yup. I’ll be rolling in dough if I dump the truck. I keep thinking about all the blue Rookwood pottery vases I can buy off of EBay. :-). But, first things first. I acquired a small bit of debt and my savings took a hit, due to the move. That has to be attended to, first, before I can run wild in The Land of Tat :-).

I’ve been reading a chapter, or so, a night in “Everything That Remains.” By two fellows called “The Minimalists.” I saw a DVD about them, so now I’m reading one of their books. Interesting stuff. About stuff :-). Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. TheMinimalists.com Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

I'm pleased to report we had an excellent potato harvest! I had feared that the tunnels I saw near the potatoes were the work of potato-eating voles, but only a few potatoes showed any damage. As you've noted before, homegrown potatoes are excellent!

I don't have the time to go into a good rant about how waste is most certainly wasted income, much as I'd enjoy a good rant on that topic, but know I agree completely with you on this. I have family and friends who waste casually, without a thought in their head about it. I hold back from angry speech because I know they aren't wasting with evil intent, but I do feel anger inside. Because we hold our tongues, we can receive graciously the offers of castoffs they make to us on the occasions that they do feel some kind of a twinge on getting rid of something still good or not used up.

Big news here is the total solar eclipse, now less than 48 hours off. We are expecting traffic gridlock, especially on two lane roads with eclipse viewing sites scattered along them, like the one we'll travel to join our friends for the eclipse. Accordingly, we've agreed that we will arrive at 8am with breakfast in hand, even though totality isn't till 1:15 pm. The weather forecast isn't great; clouds may affect our viewing. But we'll still get the darkness at midday effect. I'll let you know how it turns out.

@Lew - the lack of yield in your garden may be due to the excessive heat you've experienced. Pollen dies once temperatures hit 90F or so - not common for you until this summer, but common here, so I see its effects. Tomatoes, peppers, beans, zucchinis, and cucumbers all have problems setting when it's over 90F. After it cools down, you should start getting some yield if this is the problem.

While you are studying garden topics, put these two books by Steve Solomon on your reading list: Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades and The Intelligent Gardener. Solomon started Territorial Seed Company, later selling it to its present owners, so he knows something about growing in your neck of the woods. The second book will tell you about what makes for fertile soil and how to use the info from a soil test to make up soil amendments to remedy what might be ailing in your soil.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

I enjoyed both of your stories. Hey, you know, I can never tell what blog entries appeal to other people or strike a chord, so I hear you about your stories. Hope the employment situation is looking good?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

The weekday afternoon sessions at the cinema are a fine choice. The editor and I tend to be more early evening sort of people, but then the cinema is a long way away from here. You may be interested to know that we pay $15.50 each per film - and we get a members discount which we have to subscribe and pay annually for. Normal ticket prices are more expensive again. The discounted price is the equivalent price that seniors or students. For some reason films are very expensive down here and always have been.

I hope the weather was nice for those bleachers seats? That Air and Water Show in Chicago really pulls the crowds. Wow! Yes, I read that opinions are divided on the show. Oh well.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I know of another accounting firm that has more family members (who are accountants) than it originally did and to be honest, the firm looks to me like they are struggling. The basic problem is pretty much as you described in that there are too many family mouths hanging off a single source of income. And the family members don't appear to pull their weight and some of those draw an income and they don't appear to work. Then there is the inevitable clash of too many chiefs and not enough Indians which is a recipe for failure in my book. It was fascinating to watch. Interestingly too, the patriarch of that accounting firm pushed the narrative that the situation was all as it should be. I only knew about the situation because I knew one of the Indians who worked there and was pushed and pushed to produce ever greater volumes of work and there appeared to be less reviewing of that work and well, mistakes happen in such a circumstance – so they were quite grumpy about those mistakes from all accounts. I'd never heard of such a situation before and would not work in such an environment.

Some of the stories that I was told about people working for the larger accounting firms are worse again. Just horrid experiences which were sold to young guns on the basis that they were getting good experience. I wasn’t entirely convinced after having to supervise a few of those. They inevitably went through the grief process too once reality kicked in. My gut feeling tells me that such things all come down to greed. Back in the day there used to be a narrative that you'd establish a business and other people would magically do all the work, but I have not seen that story work anywhere. Maybe it was true once when margins were healthier, but who knows?

I honestly don't know whether anyone would want to read such a story - or watch such a film. It is a bit horrendous really.

Can people talk in your library? That cell phone usage would be very annoying. I regularly hear people using them in toilets too and I don't know whether I'm OK about that as it just doesn't seem right somehow...

That is very funny about the tires. You know such things sometimes happen on streets where someone or some group of people, slash all of the tires along the road. Sometimes having an unappealing dirt rat of a car has undocumented benefits. I lost interest in cars a long time ago, but I still read the car review section of the newspapers as it tells me a lot about people. I haven't quite gotten my head around things, but cars are a strange status symbol. Dunno.

Haha! I say that to the editor if she should ever be foolish enough to criticise my driving. That technique works a treat! :-)!

Yup. Get rid of debt as a first and foremost priority. I'm not kidding. Then you can sing the Born Free Rookwood eBay pottery vases song. ;-)! It is funny that you mention debt.

Thanks for the link. Finished Fire Monks today and am now reading: World Made by Hand. The reviews of that book were very good.

I am about to enter the writing zone. It is sort of like the Twilight zone, but there are no temporal anomalies or other assorted general weirdness! The episode they did about push the button, someone random dies and then you get some money, really stuck in my mind and of course the larger Golden Rule cannot be ignored.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Oh, really glad to read that your potato harvest turned out well. Top work! I have a suspicion that the nightshade family of plants is not very tasty to the wildlife. Of course I have not experienced burrowing voles... Yeah, homegrown potatoes really are superior tasting. Did you wait for the leaves of the plants to die back before harvesting the tubers? Someone once told that you should then wait for about two weeks so that the skins of the tubers thicken so that they will store better. Dunno.

You did slip in a little minor waste rant! Like it. We all need a good rant every now and then. It helps clear the air. I hear you because it is casual. They can do waste, because well, they can do waste - until they can no longer do waste of course! We scrounge quite a lot of waste products which are really useful. I get an amazing amount of building materials from the local tip shop. On a side note, I took a photo from the tip shop as it has one of the most amazing views of any tip that I've seen to date. You can see the Melbourne skyline off in the distance.

Enjoy your eclipse spectacle. And nature always puts on a good show. Did you end up getting viewing glasses for the eclipse?

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yeah, some people seem to think all they have to do is kick back, manage and delegate. I think they get that idea from some of the “pop” how-to-run a small business books. Of course, they completely ignore the ones that get down to the real nitty gritty of business. That you work your tail off and still may fail. Or that you have a character flaw that sets you up for failure, unless you can get rid of it. Nope. Rummage around enough and you can find someone to tell you what you want to hear.

Some time between 1975 and 1995, the atmosphere of libraries changed, drastically. And, 1995 was before cell phones became so common. The way I’ve heard the story is that ... hmmm. I’ve sat here quit awhile trying to think how to start this narrative.

In the 80s, library funding bodies began to expect libraries to show growth and expansion, like businesses. They had to prove their “worth” through use. They had a rather musty, fusty reputation. Not a very welcoming place. Somewhere where you were expected to follow rules. The horror! :-). So we do have, sometimes, some pretty high noise levels in our libraries.

Well, we’re having an eclipse party at The Home, tomorrow. I’ve decided to make a big blueberry crisp and get some good ice cream to go on it. Pizza and moon pies (a kind of ice cream confection) are also on the menu. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - We do have a transit system, here, which I hear is not bad. Also, a small taxi company and I hear Uber has come to town. But I don't know if I can use that, as I have no hand held device with an "ap." Computer access? Got me. Something to look into. There also seems to be a bit of transport attached to The Home. But I think those involve trips to the casino or Walmart. Neither of which interest me. :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Claire - I did not know that about pollen and heat. Makes sense. It also might explain why my tomatillas are going great guns. Adapted for the warmer weather of Mexico?

I'll be sure and look into the Solomon books. Sounds like just what I need. Lew