Monday, 9 October 2017

Breaking them from beyond the grave

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

Over the past few weeks I have been diligently reading a book entitled: “The Good Life” by Helen and Scott Nearing. The book is actually a compendium of two books. The first book was written about their life on a remote Vermont farm, whilst the second was written almost two decades later after they moved to another farm in Maine.

The authors are very competent people and they have achieved an enviable level of self-sufficiency, however sometimes as I read their words, I feel as if I am twelve years old and being lectured at by my betters. This evening as the chickens roamed around the orchard, unconcerned at the brief heavy rainfall, I took shelter from the rain in their chicken enclosure and read the book. And I came across this quote:

“Human beings are persistent planners and record keepers… Successful gardening begins with a survey of the proposed garden spot – an evaluation of its possibilities and limitations. It continues with a freehand outline of the project. Soon after it is put on paper, the freehand sketch is finalized by putting into your garden book a working drawing, still in free hand, but outlining the general garden project.”

I agree with about two thirds of the ideas expressed by the authors and I’m enjoying the books immensely. However, that also means that I disagree with about one third of the ideas expressed by those authors. In the quote above, the authors are expressing an idea that is fundamentally utopian. The word utopian usually refers to ideas that are: “modelled on or aiming for a state in which everything is perfect; idealistic”. Whenever you hear people talking up utopian ideas, think to yourself: they’re talking total rubbish.

The Nearing’s utopian vision of planning a garden is difficult to achieve as a goal at best, and total rubbish at worst. A more realistic vision of planning may be provided by the long since deceased German Field Marshal, Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, who can be paraphrased as having written the wise words: “no plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the main hostile force.”

Planning a garden is subject to hostile forces, as they want to share some of the bounty. So I ignore utopian advice from well-meaning people such as the Nearing’s (who never met a wallaby or wombat), and instead give greater preferences to a bloke (like Helmuth von Moltke the Elder) who had his ideals successfully tested on various battle grounds in Europe in the 19th century.

So, I had plans for the original strawberry enclosure which were implemented. And those plans failed abysmally when they were tested by the main hostile marsupial forces on the farm. I now introduce you to two of those hostile forces of nature: Fatso the wombat and Stumpy the wallaby:
Fatso the wombat and Stumpy the wallaby cruise the paddock dreaming of fresh strawberries
Take a closer look at the unstoppable force of Fatso the wombat who is almost the size of a small sow:
A closer look at the unstoppable force of Fatso the wombat
Fatso and Stumpy are not really hostile forces of nature, but they and their cohorts enjoy free access to the garden and orchard. They actually work quite hard converting a lot of the plant material into manure which is then spread randomly about the farm, paths and surrounding forest. The wildlife are probably not aware of it, but they are actively working towards increasing the fertility of the area.

Anyway, the original strawberry plan was a disaster because Stumpy the wallaby jumped unto the netting which squashed it to the ground. That was the first attack. The next wave of attack came when Stumpy and Fatso managed to rip holes in the netting last summer. From that point onwards we  harvested perhaps one cup of rip sun ripened strawberries (maybe). That original strawberry enclosure was toast!

Plans are nice and all, but sun ripened strawberries are far better, and so over the past few weeks we have been working to construct a new strawberry terrace with a wildlife proof fence. Strawberries are just too tempting for every single creature living on this side of the mountain range…

The concrete staircase leading up to the new strawberry terrace was completed this week:
The concrete staircase leading up to the new strawberry terrace was completed this week
A water pump was connected up to the recently installed water tank located near the strawberry enclosure. The water pump provides pressurised water to a garden tap inside that strawberry enclosure. Given that the spring weather is now quite warm here, plants can only be transplanted successfully if they are able to be regularly watered – thus the need for the water pump and garden tap.
A water pump was temporarily connected up to a garden tap inside the new strawberry enclosure
The electricity for the water pump comes from a small 12V off grid system which is only used for garden lights and garden water pumps. Usually I’m not impressed with many of the latest offerings of gadgets, but occasionally some items are total genius. The sort of fuse boxes that you can purchase nowadays for distributing low voltage DC electricity are genuinely impressive. Many years ago if you wanted such items you had to scour car wreckers and pull such fuse boxes from wrecked vehicles.
The low voltage DC fuse boxes that are able to be purchased these days are amazing quality
After about a days work, the editor and I had constructed the chicken wire and steel fencing around the new strawberry enclosure using scrap materials. I like using scrap materials as I reckon any waste is actually wasted income! Over eighty strawberry plants were then transplanted from the old failed enclosure and mulched in the enclosure. And there are still about eight metres (26.2 feet) of enclosure and terrace yet to be constructed over the next month or so!
Over eighty strawberry plants were planted and mulched in the new strawberry enclosure
I was particularly pleased with the latch arrangement for the door that can be seen in my left hand in the photo above. I hacked a farm gate latch by modifying it so that both sides of the latch lifted in unison. It also had to be modified so that it could work with the narrow width of the door. Originally both sides of the latch operated independently. Such an arrangement may possibly lead to a person being locked inside the strawberry enclosure. (You may go nutty but you wouldn't be hungry.) Such an outcome is not good as I learned once to my dismay as I was accidentally locked inside the rodent proof chicken enclosure from the outside! (I was both nutty and hungry.)

In the mid spring warmer weather the strawberries in their existing failed enclosure are just beginning to flower. No doubts the forces that are Fatso and Stumpy are well aware of their future meals of luscious organically grown sun ripened strawberries.
Strawberry plants are just beginning to produce flowers in the warmer spring weather
Speaking of the weather, it has been quite tropical this week with mild air temperatures. But humid and moist air makes it feel far hotter than it actually is. And such weather usually brings storms, which means that Scritchy, Storm Detective, has been notifying us of those impending storms. Aren’t we lucky to have such a brave boss dog hiding under the bed at the first hint of troubled weather?
Scritchy Storm Detective advises that a storm may be brewing
Early mornings have brought fog in the valley below:
Early mornings bring fog in the valley below
Stormy skies have loomed over the setting sun.
Stormy skies have loomed over the setting sun
Mr Poopy the Pomeranian (I’ve noticed more than a few Swedish Lapphund’s about Melbourne recently) has been suffering in the much warmer weather of late as he has a double coat of fur. Left out in the summer weather down under, he’d probably die. To avoid an untimely heat related demise for Mr Poopy, we got him groomed this week. The other dogs in the fluffy collective are very unhappy about Mr Poopy’s new do. Meanwhile Mr Poopy looks at them and cheekily says: “You may admire me… Now!”
Mr Poopy sports his new summer outfit, whilst Scritchy and Toothy look on with disbelief at his arrogance
The native wasp in the photo below reminded me that the other day I was in Melbourne and I walked past block after block of terrace houses with gardens sporting beautiful spring flowers. The scent in the air was a heady mix. The thing is, I noticed that despite the profusion of spring flowers, there were very few, if any insects around harvesting the pollen and/or nectar. When the traffic noise died away, it became very quiet. Up here in the mountains north of Melbourne, things are different and there is so much insect activity that when the breeze is still, the buzzing is audible.
A native wasp enjoys the pollen on this Alkanet flower
Those insects on the farm must have been working hard because I noticed the first tiny apricots and almonds for this season:
The first apricots of the season are now developing on the trees
We're looking forward to a good harvest of almonds early next year
As is usual I'll finish this weeks blog with some photos of the spring flowers growing about the farm.

The bulbs are continuing to produce flowers:
The daffodils are looking good
The jonquils are not to be outdone by the daffodils
The last remaining tulip bravely produced this flower. The rest of the tulips have been eaten, possibly by the rats

Echiums are a great source of pollen and nectar for the European honey bees and their friends
Cat mint has begun producing flowers and they should flower all summer long
This red nasturtium is a stunner and edible (but not too tasty)
One of the older Japanese maples is producing flowers and I hope that it self seeds as happens in other parts of this mountain range
This mystery plant is a stunner and has gone from strength to strength

The temperature outside now at about 8.30pm is 10’C (50’F). So far this year there has been 683.6mm (26.9 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 679.8mm (26.8 inches).

52 comments:

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

The wombats sure do get your attention - and I have not encountered an angry wombat so far, just a grumpy one. Hope you enjoyed the photos too. Far that wombat is huge and you may now be getting an appreciation for the reason that I use steel in the fencing! Sometimes the heavy duty gauge chicken wire around the young fruit trees is squashed right up against the trunks of the trees. I just repair the cage and hope the wombats find something else to interest them. Fortunately there is a lot of other stuff to keep them interested...

Yay for rain for you! Excellent stuff and a good soaking too. Oh yeah, I'd be nervous too in those circumstances. Good to read about your strawberry bed too, and I wish you the very best for future harvests. Store purchased strawberries can sometimes be good, but sun ripened strawberries are superb! And yup, the plants would really enjoy that feed. I noted that the Nearing's also fed their berry plants with a mix of sawdust and compost. As I'm progressing towards the end of the book, I can see that they occasionally fed two dozen folk who were also helping them, but even they had to set limits on the sheer number of visitors - I'd have to suggest that they unleashed a monster...

Well done you two with such a great haul of firewood. Nothing beats firewood for a sustainable fuel - all else is talk.

Thanks for the suggestion of the pawpaws, and you are totally spot on as young fruit trees are in peril at the loving ministrations of the marsupials.

Out of curiosity, do you grow your peanuts as an annual crop? Mr Poopy dug up all of the peanuts and ate them so I have no idea whether they are a perennial crop. Mr Poopy and I had a bit of a discussion about that incident and he promised not to do that again, but for some reason I don't feel confident. Mr Poopy and Arnie are in league... :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

No worries, you have sparked my curiosity about chicory root, and I may dig some of the roots up early next year and roast them just to see what they taste like. In a strange coincidence, I scored an excellent freshly roasted and ground bag of coffee today and well, I'm sort of shamed to admit that the stuff that I have gotten used to paled in comparison. In the extraction process, the oils released by the freshly ground coffee was far superior in every way. Alas, now I know the difference, what do I do? Of course, I do enjoy coffee at cafes that know their business and so maybe that shall be where that dilemma ends (maybe). Hehe!

Back in the 19th century, the temperance league used to promote coffee as an alternative to alcohol, and I used to live around the corner from a very large Victorian era building which had a huge "Coffee Palace" sign rendered high up on the facade. Let's see whether I can recall... ... ... Here is an interesting article into an area I once knew well, and back in the day, the editor and I used to walk the dogs at night and not see another living soul, and the only noise were the trucks and freight trains. Now it is very upmarket, but not so then. The coffee place is in there and it is called the Yarra Coffee Palace. I personally feel that it is amusing that the building advertises cigarettes - I guess even the temperance league had their vices! Once was Yarraville’s main drag. Enjoy!

Hope you are feeling a bit better today? Just to nag a bit, but not from beyond the grave ('ere he says he's not dead yet!), I hope you are keeping up your fluids?

Well, the mouth is not the cleanest of places and as such it is full of bacteria looking for their day in the sun. Perhaps as you recover, the tooth will settle down. If you have any sage leaves, chewing them and applying them to the inflamed tooth may help a fair bit?

Out of curiosity, do you reckon the chance at Roman citizenship would have been appealing to people even in the dying days of the Roman empire? The land or cash pay out would have been a pretty handy option too. Alaric I, may have had better recruiting potential given his success on the field? Dunno. I guess we wouldn't know much about how people lived during those times other than hints and guesses.

It is nice that you have access to master gardeners and are also starting to learn the history of your plot, so next spring is as good as now. It is interesting, but I only found out about some of the history of this place through hints and minor mentions by others in the area. It is amazing at how garbled the stories become, but I really love hearing about them all the same. In between there is a smattering of truth.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi crowandsheep,

Good spotting! Yup, it was the sake on the wood heater from several weeks back. We'd thought that we'd worked out a way to turbo charge the process, and I guess we did, but the acetone we'd produced was not the desired outcome and honestly it smells toxic. And yup, that sauerkraut process is probably a pretty similar problem. A bit of warmth, but not a touch too much (that rhymes!). Oh well, we slowed the process down and are now back on track. Interestingly you can put the mix on the wood heater for a bit to get things started, but you have to take it off again after a few hours. Cooking with bacteria is really complex and to be honest we have been a bit hit and miss with the yoghurt too in that mostly it is awesome but other times...

By the way, the UV in the summer sun can sometimes sterilise the bacteria just for an added complexity... You may be interested to know that over summer we place things like the sake and yoghurt outside in the heat, but also in the shade.

Yup, Sandor is the man as he knows his business. Mind you he goes to extremes that we can't be bothered going too and so perhaps we fumble around until we get the basics.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Birdie,

Welcome to the discussion.

Vancouver Island! Cool! :-)! Nice climate. Hope you weren't subjected to too much smoke this past summer?

Thanks very much!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

The Nearing paragraph suggests that they lived in their own fictional universe; it is complete balderdash. Give me the opinion of the German field marshal any time. My plans tend to be annual in the main and even then the weather can completely confound them.

I don't know whether one can still get chicory coffee here as I don't like it, but my husband loved it.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

fern
PG
Pam Goetting






Reply|
Today, 3:23 PM
You
Hi, Chris!

Hotdog! Now I know why every garden "plan" for my garden never worked.

Fatso - is there a reason that you look like a pig?

Our strawberries are mounded, too. Nice job with the latch.

Hi, Scritchy! Boo! Lovely fog and sunset photos.

Mr. Poopy - umm- Mr. Poopy, well - your winter coat was hiding a touch of Fatsoness? Perhaps it's just the camera angle.

Wonderful that you at least have baby almonds and baby apricots.

Aren't jonquils daffodils? Yours are so beautiful, and so fresh. That's a pretty single tulip. Chipmunks ate all of my tulips. How do you have nasturtiums so early? Perhaps I've been planting mine too late. Or are yours volunteers?

We grew peanuts - this, our first try - as an annual. Doesn't one have to dig up the whole plant to get at the seeds? I just read that it takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12 oz (28gm) jar of peanut butter.

I certainly enjoyed the stroll through Yarraville. I especially liked the Animal Hospital mascot above their door.

In the summer I rise my bread dough on the front porch, in the shade.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, one of the translations of “Utopia” is “Nowhere.” It doesn’t exist.

It was nice of Fatso and Stumpy to pose for a group portrait. I wonder if they ever join forces, behind your back? Probably more intrigue and backstabbing than an episode of “Game of Thrones.” All that industry, around your place. Are you sure you haven’t enslaved the Wombat and Wallaby tribes? Chris sits on his eucalypti throne, decides he wants a flight of concrete stairs. Waves his scepter at his minions and says “Make it So.” :-). Would make a great cover on a Burroughs novel. Next stop: Land of Silly. My only excuse: It’s the drugs.

Called into the the dental clinic first thing, this morning. It’s a national holiday, Columbus Day. So I didn’t know if they’d be open. They had a skeleton crew on. I got my antibiotics to clear up the infection and if the swelling goes down, enough, will have an extraction on Wednesday. If not, Thursday or Friday.

Well, even at the end of the Roman Empire, some of the barbarian incursions where, partly, a bid for citizenship. The perks, benefits and protection of the Roman Empire. Hmm. I just had an odd thought. I wonder how much disappointment there was when they finally got to their destinations? How many immigrants coming to America discover it’s not quit as advertised? Maybe a sight better than where ever they came from, but not the ... Utopia they were promised?

Thanks for the reminder to think about spring bulbs. I’m sure there are plenty of bulbing flowers, around The Home, but if I want something just for me, I’d better get on the stick. Just a little corner of my patch to dress up, a bit. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

PS: Gee, we're almost in real time synch? The link to Yarraville was neat. Nice old buildings. It reminded me that in Portland, and, a lot of other cities here in the states, cities were often made up of annexed small communities and neighborhoods.

Portland had St. John's, Hollywood, Kenton, etc. etc.. A lot of these were independent entities that were annexed or asked to join the Metro area. Especially after street cars started tying everything together. They're pretty easy to spot. A nice core of commercial buildings (usually, 2 story brick) with the basics. Hardware store, movie theatre, drugstore, bank, etc.. Even when I was a kid, you didn't have to go outside your neighborhood, much.

Hmm. Garden plan. Well, more planned next year, than this. This year, I was late with everything and just wanted to claim that space and do SOMETHING with it to prove my ... interest. As long as I grew "stuff" (any stuff) and didn't let the weeds take over, I had a good reputation as a gardener. A title I wouldn't claim. Not this year.

Yeah, I'll probably put some plan down on paper with date reminders to do this and that. But it's all subject to change and adaptation. Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Rabbits are a lot smaller than wombats but they are numerous and hungry. It didn't take long for me to figure out that no tree or shrub would grow over rabbit height unless I protected them from the rabbits. I also have to protect some of the native plants, especially echinacea, as the rabbits are fond of them too. Maybe they eat them for good rabbit health? Anyway, it's pretty easy to protect individual plants against rabbits; a 2 foot tall circle of hardware cloth (smaller openings and sturdier wire than chickenwire) of a diameter appropriate to the diameter of the protected plant does the trick. Once the tree or shrub truck gets large enough that rabbits can't munch through it, I can remove the hardware cloth circle and use it on another plant. The vegetable garden's two layers of fence is doing a good job of excluding rabbits.

Speaking of garden plans, if I'd known how much I like persimmons and pawpaws when we moved here, and the fact that the squirrels don't favor them so we get a harvest from them, and the fact that pawpaws grow slowly, I would have included a lot more of them and less of some other trees in my garden plan. I would have joined in last week's discussion on pawpaws here, but for the distractions of harvest and Mike's 45th high school reunion. So here's my bit on pawpaws (Asimina triloba, to give them their proper scientific name), somewhat late but hopefully helpful.

First, pawpaws are native to the US Midwest as far west as eastern Kansas and as far north as southernmost Michigan; the Southeast (but not too far south, maybe Zone 8), and the Appalachian Mountains and points east. They will grow elsewhere, like the Pacific NW, but are not native there. Here in Missouri where they are native, they grow about 30 feet / 10 m tall. You need at least two for pollination, and better several since their flowers aren't that attractive to pollinators.

Pawpaws don't sprout rapidly from seed. I grew several from seed and it was well into summer before the seedlings emerged. They make a taproot so you should plant them as soon as they have a few leaves, protecting them well as they will be quite small. They grow in areas with moist soil; drought is not to their taste, though they take it better as they age. They do like summer heat. They produce root suckers once they are several years old, so if you leave them to their own devices, they will eventually form a grove.

The pawpaws I grew from seed took quite a long time, eight to ten years, to start producing fruit. My two 13 to 14 year old trees made 8 fruits between them this year, more than they ever have before. We have friends who have a grove of mature pawpaws and their grove is highly productive. Mike and I gathered 6 gallons / 24 l of fruits last month from their grove, which is stored in our freezer for use over the winter.

A book on pawpaws was recently published. It is Pawpaw: In Search of America's Forgotten Fruit, by Andrew Moore. I recommend it even though I wish it included instructions on pruning pawpaws. It does describe the new cultivars and how they were developed, which was quite interesting reading. But I have tried growing three or four grafted pawpaws and none have survived, while I have pretty good success with pawpaws grown from seed and found them delicious. Don't eat the skins or the seeds however.

Claire

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Exactly. The plans that I have today are not the plans that I had several years ago, and like you the weather makes a huge impact on any aspect of this place. It is incredibly changeable from year to year and no two years are the same. It could be remarked upon that consistency in the weather is a utopian ideal! Hehe!

But then there is also the point that as you learn, other options become available that you may not have previously been aware of. If anything, we're finding that this place unfolds a bit at a time and I only get to see a few steps ahead in advance. Anything else is too much for my poor brain. What is your opinion of that point and have you had similar experiences?

They spent ten years constructing the original main house, but it is worth mentioning that the permit system here (and probably in your part of the world too) is such that we had deadlines and so completed the house in eighteen months. There are disincentives these days to discourage owner building the way we did it with largely our own sweat equity.

Thanks for sharing your experience with the chicory root. It sounds like a very polarising taste.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Plans? What is this talk of plans? Hehe!!! I've heard about the whole planning thing… I reckon us humans are not so good at implementing plans, although I have noticed that some people prefer making plans to actual work! Oh well.

Now that you mention it, Fatso may have actually have been a pig? I never thought to check closely. When I did get too close, I got told off by the wombat. What do they say about leaving sleeping dogs alone? ;-)!

Poor Scritchy, she is sensitive and feels the impending storms - in the next state sometimes! Actually tomorrow there is meant to be quite a heavy rain storm here. How did your place cope with the heavy rain? It can be hard after a prolonged dry spell. Incidentally those fires are horrific sounding.

Nope, the camera tells all. Mr Poopy gets a bit sedentary when the weather warms and he is in his full winter regalia! He enjoys his seconds too - if he can get them. He is currently outside the door munching on a pig trotter.

Yes, last year, like your place from memory, a very late frost wiped out much of the stone fruit right across the area. Local apricots where hard to get at any price.

Dunno. Maybe? I wasn't sure they weren't daffodils and was hoping someone would correct me! Ah, the naughty and now full chipmunks! There used to be about two dozen tulips along the driveway. Doesn't it make you wonder how the crazy tulip bubble ever happened when the plants are just so tasty? The nasturtiums are a mystery as some of them over wintered - I have no explanation. In prior years they died off over winter and I was left with a nasturtium straw. A mystery.

The peanuts down here I've seen are shown growing on or just below the soil surface. Honestly I have no experience with the plants because Mr Poopy ate them all. Oh my, that is a lot of seeds. We make our own peanut butter, but it never seemed to be quite that many seeds, but you may have a good point there. I'll try and estimate with the next batch. Homemade peanut butter doesn't stay fresh for long, but it is good!

It is a lovely suburb isn't it? The editor and I used to walk the dogs around most nights so we knew the area pretty well. Back then it was gritty, but is now quite gentrified and I recognise it, but don’t recognise it at the same time. Have you ever experienced that feeling when revisiting an area that you knew well?

A top idea! It is good to use the free energy that we all get delivered to our doors. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Mr Poopy is very naughty as he went outside this evening for a toilet break and then scampered off on a secret fluffy errand. He dug up a pig trotter which had been previously buried in a garden bed and then refused to come back inside until he'd had his fill. Dogs must have the most unusual taste buds to believe that such a snack could be a tastier meal than the homemade dog biscuits.

Exactly, I really liked the two of them as authors and their ideals where mostly commendable, but far out some of them drifted into a very abstract world. I guess they aimed high. They would have had a lot of troubles during the McCarthy era because of their outspoken views.

Hehe! Enjoy the drugs as that cold has been a whopper! I am constantly talking with people - often just chance conversations in the course of the day - and they are remarking upon the seriousness of the virus this year. Well, the intrigue really sets in because the kangaroos are mightier than the slightly smaller wallabies, but the wombats can ignore all and sundry with a casual sense of detachment. Even the dogs will not confront a large wombat. Mr Poopy is the bravest and he will bark at one from a distance and clear off if it ignores him and gets too close. Wombats don't have the best of hearing or eyesight, but they have an outstanding sense of smell. Actually, they mark their territory with a scent gland and it is pungent and unforgettable smell - and it sure does annoy the dogs, who do their best to urinate over the patch - to little real effect.

But yeah, it would be nice to harness some of that marsupial (and canine) energy. Actually, imagine a wombat harness sled team pulling rocks up the hill. It would be total mayhem. But then someone broke the first horse (a brave soul that one). Alas, such skills are beyond me and one can but dream. In the meantime, there is plenty of work to take me away from such dreaming! Hehe! "Make it so" - alas it is my lot to do the “so” bit, but I secretly love it! ;-)!

Nice one. It is good that they could see to you so quickly and yeah, that probably is the best course of action. I hope the swelling has receded a bit?

It is interesting that you mention that. The editor told me about a story that she heard about a young man that grew up in the US and may have originated from South America somewhere. I can't recall the details, but anyway, after having been in US schools and becoming part of the community he was eventually deported (no judgement at all). The interesting thing was that he made an observation to the people in immigration detention (you may call that process something different there) who were also trying to get into the US, that the US is different from the home country because (and the gist of the quote was) "you have to work for anything and everything there". The editor and I have discussing exactly what he meant by that for a while now. I'd be very curious to hear your thoughts on that matter, and I can track down the story if you are interested?

Yeah! Spring bulbs bring great cheer at a cold time of year. :-)! The local bulb farm eventually closed which was very sad as we'd been buying from the guy for years and years. Fortunately bulbs are one of those plants that survive bushfires, so they’ll probably be fine under most circumstances.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

I saw your comment come in this morning, but missed the second part until much later today. Fun stuff huh? Sometimes this form of communication reminds me of the old telex and telegraph messages. I am just old enough to have seen them as a young kid. Mostly telegraphs brought bad news, from what I recall of peoples reactions to receiving one. The post offices are still busy down here, although letters are on the decline, but it probably doesn't help that letter stamps are a dollar each. Interestingly, I thought I spotted an article the other day, and I may be wrong, but it was something about Amazon demanding that their packages be sent through the postage service free of charge down here. I was going, what? That sounds like a subsidy to me.

Thanks and I'm glad you enjoyed it. That was how the area was, and the housing stock was predominantly timber houses from the late 19th and early 20th century (usually Victorian and Edwardian). Except for the area that was post WWII which I believe used to be huge swaths of department of defence land holdings. It was great to walk around at night with the dogs and just look and see what the place was all about. It used to be a very outlying heavy industrial area (it had a refinery - and still has a tank yard on the dock), but in those days it was linked to Melbourne by the train line to Williamstown and the houses spawned around that train line (and jobs).

Interestingly Williamstown which is the end of the train line had a port, but they also maintain shipyards down there. Nowadays it is a very flashy suburb, but there are still the old timer things such as a granite time ball which was used to synchronise ships clocks out in the harbour. I lived there for a short period of time during the grunge era and back then they had wool stores and even a wool scour - you could definitely smell the lanolin from quite a distance.

The older and inner suburbs are still like that down here. You get a train station and a core of shops. The high property prices tend not to favour big box stores and some of those areas have a lot of amenities like butchers, bakeries and fruit and vegetable sellers in between all of the cafes. Back when I was kid it was the same here too (we are a bit behind the US in some regards) and I didn't have to travel far, cinemas used to be more local too, rather than being attached to shopping malls like they are now. I still enjoy going to the old school and independent cinemas as they have considerable charm and generally avoid playing the animated hero type films which seem to be all the rage these days. I just want to enjoy stories told well with my film choices.

Well next year, the crown can be yours especially if you keep feeding the soil so well! I hope there is a bit of gentle competition in among the ladies in relation to the garden produce. That sort of thing is fun as long as nobody takes it too seriously (they tend to stand out those types!). Casual is always the best approach in such a situation (be cool!) Hehe!

Hope you are feeling better.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Claire,

Oh yeah rabbits are far worse than wombats (who are pretty gentle comparatively). And from what I've seen, rabbits also strip the bark off some fruit trees. I assume, like here, your rabbits were not part of the original fauna? Down here they were introduced as a source of meat and to hunt, and they went feral. Yeah exactly, re-using the hardware cloth is a great idea and you may note that in the new strawberry terrace (and the blackberry terrace below it), the fencing is recycled fruit tree fencing. The fencing here has to be six foot minimum to protect the young fruit trees from the wallabies, but the deer have managed to get around even those sized cages and have eaten the tops off a few loquats which is really annoying as they take seven to ten years to produce fruit.

Two layers of fencing with rabbits is a great idea. I understand they can also burrow under fencing too but I have no experience with them. There are rabbits around here, but they do not turn up on the farm otherwise they get eaten – they’re very nervous when they do turn up and are usually running for their lives. The foxes and eagles do a good job of that problem. I'd also hate to think what the dogs would do if they caught one.

No worries at all and I always appreciate your input and experience. Go Mike too! I hope he enjoyed the reunion? He is probably the coolest person there, nowadays. :-)! Thanks too for including the scientific name of the plant as there are a number of varieties, but that is the one that I tracked down. I was advised to keep the seed moist in the refrigerator until I plant them. Does that sound right to you? Apparently the seeds have already been stratified.

Yes, the articles also mentioned the pollination issue and I was wondering whether you hand pollinated any of the fruit trees in your area? Ah thanks, I would have wondered about the slow germination and perhaps become discouraged. Groves are cool with me and some of the other fruit and native trees perform that trick too.

Wow! The trees sound like absolute givers and they do sound very similar to the Chinese loquats of which I have quite a few growing here (although no fruit at this stage): Loquat.

Ah, so is the neurotoxin in the skin and seed, but not in the flesh of the fruit? The article was very unclear about that risk. I have read that the taste is excellent.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I find that, as I learn, abandonment of an idea is the most usual happening. I have reached an age when I am having to retrench so I do what I know works and am pulling in closer and closer to my living quarters.

If you google 'wootton bridge drone flight' and then look at the one dated oct. 2016 you will see a superb film of the area where I live. It doesn't go over my land which is further up the coast. It starts in that direction but then turns inland.

Are you hoping to stay where you are into old age? If you are then I would recommend shallower concrete steps and even more important, a greater depth from back to front of each step. I assume that a hand rail is obvious.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

The rain was not heavy, in fact it was not nearly enough, but better some than none.

Your memory is phenomenal. We did lose all our stone fruits to frost. I missed the cherries the most.

I know what you mean about going back to a place that has gentrified. It's easy to recognize, but I always seem to like the gritty stage best.

Hey - yesterday my laptop was sending my emails before I finished them, and doing other wonky things. I send my replies to you from my email account, where I have saved them. It sent you the real me! C'est la vie.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Mr. Poopy had probably been planning The Great Pig Trotter Raid, for days. Keeping a low profile. Bidding his time ... I imagine his breath was something else after he finished his treat. :-)

Yeah, the cold was bad enough but to then have a bum tooth on top of it? Insult to injury. The cold seems to be on the wane, but I’m still shooting interesting bits and pieces out of my sinus. As a matter of purely academic interest. The tooth swelling seems down a bit and I didn’t want to reach for pain killers as soon as my eyes opened. But, I’m sure to be reaching for them about this time tomorrow, after the extraction.

So far, I haven’t had to resort to the nuclear option. There were quit a few of the heavy duty pain killers left over after my oral surgery last year. They are really something. They do the job, but I really don’t understand (especially, given my history) how people (or, why people) would get addicted to them. But then, the monkey living on one’s back can come in all kinds of shapes and colors. :-).

Well, the young man in immigrations detention could have meant any number of things. Come here and the extended family, the clan, may not be in evidence or as important. There’s not a social system to “grease the skids.” I think expectations can be over the top. Streets paved with gold, etc.. I’ve spent a bit of time studying and thinking about why so many second generation, or, people that come here as very small children and appear to be pretty acculturated and end up doing terrible things. The two brothers that did the Boston Marathon bombings. They “appear” (that’s in quotes, for who really knows?) to be two self entitled twits who were very disappointed as to how things turned out for them in America. All this potential that didn’t work out for them, either because they didn’t feel the need to work for it, or had a bit of bad luck.

The cost of a stamp here, isn’t too bad. I’m not sure exactly what it is, anymore, but I think it’s half a dollar. They now issue “forever” stamps. Used to be, there were constant raises in stamp prices, a few pennies here and there. So, you got stuck with these stamps and had to buy smaller denominations to round them up. Any-who, they finally just made it so that you buy a first class stamp and it’s good for first class postage, “forever.” Now package rates really seem outrageous, to me. But it’s hard to figure out if it’s the post office, or, if it’s whoever is selling you ... whatever. As so many boxes now arrive without the actual postage listed on the outside. And, the postal amount listed on the packing list is just what the company has charged you, not what they’ve paid.

Who knows what Amazon is up to? There’s been several articles recently how Amazon, Google, Facebook, etc. are going to rule the world. Mark What’s-his-face from Facebook as our next president? Well, after the last election, I suppose anything is possible .... Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Rabbits are native here. They are so numerous because in urban areas they don't have as many predators as they would otherwise have to contend with. We don't have a dog and people aren't supposed to let their dogs run wild (not everyone complies but most do). The neighbors' cats who used to patrol the yard and eat baby bunnies died. There seem to be very few coyotes or foxes around here; it's probably just that little bit too urban. And nothing larger than them that eats rabbits, at least not till Mike starts hunting them. It's now rabbit season. He was preoccupied with finishing the cleanout of his mother's house prior to its sale, but now that it's sold, he says he will start on the rabbit hunt. Go Mike!

Yes, rabbits do burrow, and I suspect some have gotten into the garden that way. But it seems to be enough more work for them that they generally take the easy way out and feed on all the tasty plants outside of the garden.

If the pawpaw seeds are already stratified and you have their spot ready, you can plant them in the ground now, but yes, do keep them in the refrigerator till you plant them. They shouldn't come up until well into January or even February, so no danger of a late frost getting them. Or you can plant them into a pot and keep the pot with the vegetable plants you are raising indoors, moving the pots outdoors when you plant the tomatoes, till the pawpaw seeds sprout and the seedlings develop enough to transplant. Keep the soil moist till the seeds come up.

For the most recent pawpaw trees I started from seed, I stratified the seeds from local pawpaws in December 2012 by planting them in a pot and keeping the pot outside, with screening around it, all winter long. I moved it onto the porch when I started raising seeds in March 2013 so I could keep the soil moist, moving the pot outside when the seedlings came up. I transplanted the seedlings into their permanent locations in fall 2013. These pawpaws are now about 9-10 ft / 3 m tall. I think I see the first flower buds forming on them (the flower buds are round, the leaf buds long and narrow). If so, next spring will be the first time that they flower.

More later ...

Claire

SLClaire said...

Cont ...

I did try hand pollinating the flowers of the oldest pawpaws I have, the ones I planted within a year or two of moving here. By that time the trees were so tall that I could only reach a few of the lowest flowers. I didn't find that the hand pollinated flowers produced any pawpaws, so I gave up and decided to let the insects do the job. The book I cited claims that hand pollination is critical to commercial success, but the pictures suggest that commercial orchards prune their trees so that the flowers can be reached without using a ladder. That's why I wish the book had discussed how to prune. I could try it with some of the trees I planted two years ago. Well, there is still time to find out. But the insects will have to do the job on the 7 older trees. They do a fine job on our friends' trees.

Yes, the neurotoxin is not present in the flesh, only in the seeds and skin. People seem to have strong opinions either for or against the taste of the fruit. We love it, finding that it tastes something like a mix of banana and pineapple. You can pick the fruits fully developed but still green off the tree and set them out inside the house, or pick them up off the ground when they fall. If the fruits haven't ripened to yellow, they will ripen inside the house. The ripening fruits will fill the room they are in with a strong, even cloying, floral perfume. Don't worry about bruises or cuts on the fruits; pawpaws almost cannot mold, it seems, until they are past dead ripe. They freeze well. We eat them raw but you can put them in ice cream or other concoctions that you don't cook, according to the book I cited. It is claimed the flavor does not stand up to cooking, but I can't verify that from experience. This year I'm going to replace the bananas in a recipe for a banana-pineapple pie with pawpaws, since the pie is not cooked. I'm already looking forward to it. If it turns out well, I will put the recipe in a comment.

Finally a decent rain here, the first since late August. Our fire season is late fall, after the leaves fall off the trees and the grasses go dormant. We aren't to that point yet, especially not this year because of the warm weather that has slowed down the loss of leaves; this rain should help.

Claire

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Have you heard about the terrible wildfires in California? I hesitate to send a link as they seem to be getting worse by the minute.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

Poor Lew - you've certainly been doing it hard lately. Best of luck at the dentist. I'm way overdue (again) with some hefty dental work that I have to have done . . .

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Claire:

I always knew hardware cloth as "rabbit wire" until I moved here. Thanks for more information on pawpaws. I had no idea what they were until we came across our neighbor's.

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

If Stumpy and Fatso ripped a whole in the netting could they do the same with the chicken wire. We found out the hard way that raccoons are quite adept at that.

One of our dogs, Crowley, was like your Scritchy but instead of going under the bed he would try to climb right in. In his older years he was unable to climb the stairs so Doug and I would take turns sleeping downstairs on the couch when there were thunderstorms at night. He also hated fireworks and gunshots as well. Like Poopy he needed his summer haircut too. He also hated the groomer. Other than that he was one of our best dogs but then all dogs have their issues like people. Our neighbor repaired the stairs that Salve had chewed. We thought she was finally over her chewing when we left but no. We were out twice yesterday and one of those times she chewed on the newly repaired stair. Fortunately it was fairly minor and Doug sanded the corner. He still has to stain the repairs. So it's back to the crate for her.

Yesterday we loaded up the meat chickens at 5 AM for their "one bad day". It was off to the "chicken nazi" as everyone calls the owner of the only facility that processes poultry around here. He does an excellent job but wow what a crab he is. If you come in with one less bird than you originally told him he berates you strongly. Pity the first timer with him. It's always our goal to be first in line so our chickens have the shortest time possible in the crates and we were successful yesterday as we got there 20 minutes before he opens. When he opened at 6 AM there were already five of us lined up. Next week it's the turkeys.

Like Pam we have been experiencing very dry weather here for months but finally got some much needed rain last night. We are expecting quite a bit on Saturday as well. Poor timing though as the monthly recycling drive I work at is scheduled this Saturday.

No showings for the house yet and I'm already quite tired of cleaning and picking up. As they say though it only takes one...

Margaret

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge, Pam, Lewis, Claire and Margaret,

Thanks for all the lovely comments, however I'll be unable to reply this evening and promise to reply tomorrow.

Lewis - It rained over an inch here today, but over a couple of hours so nothing got washed away down the hill, which is always a relief. Plus it means that most of it can be collected in the water tanks which were mostly full anyway. The editor and I went to the films tonight because it was just so wet and saw Battle of the Sexes which was quite a good film about Billy Jean King the tennis player. A good story and I really enjoyed it. The wildfires in California are getting quite a bit of news coverage over here. Not good.

Gotta bounce. Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, speaking of films, I watched two last night. One I picked up at a garage sale, a couple of months ago. "Inside Job." About the financial meltdown of 2008. Pretty good. Clear. Nice to see a few minor players in the hot seat. Not that anyone's going to jail. Not that it isn't going to happen again. Probably, soon.

Also, a surprise. I noticed a film called "Women He's Undressed" which seemed to be about costume design in the Golden Age of Hollywood. Turned out it was an Australian film. An odd mix of documentary and acting. Orry-Kelly was a young man from New South Wales that ended up in Hollywood in the 1920s. He did the costume design for over 200 films and won 3 Academy Awards. He seems to be the most famous Australian, nobody has ever heard of.

Off to the dentist. Lew

orchidwallis said...

@ Pam

We are getting considerable news coverage of the Californian wildfires. It looks terrible.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Ah, don't you reckon life cycles both great and small look like an inverted bell shape curve? You reminded me that up in the more fashionable end of the mountain range there was a property for sale a while back. It was very unusual in that it had at least five habitable buildings on it, and I rather suspect that it was originally an artists retreat/colony. Oh my, if those walls could talk... I’d probably blush! Anyway, at the time of sale a bloke had retreated into one of the easier to live in buildings. In an interesting twist to that story, I suspect that the property was purchased by one of the very well to do, who are living in that part of the mountain range and I suspect that they intend (and perhaps actually are) converting it into an estate to house them and their immediate friends in their later years. Certainly a lot of work is taking place. But, that is mostly gossip and speculation.

Thanks for the link and I will check it out after replying here tonight, plus there is ecosophia... Alas, I am a bit upset tonight as one of the foxes that live in the area killed Cloey the Australorp chicken. Alas, I became lackadaisical in my chicken supervising activities and was off worrying about plumbing instead. I managed to extract Cloey from the fox which was no easy feat.

You are totally correct, and I have taken a cold hard look at the future and my gut feel tells me that I will be useful, until I am no longer useful, but that will be driven by the times themselves. Someone once remarked that courage is knowing the outcome but facing the challenge regardless.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Fingers crossed that the rain is the beginning of a damp autumn and winter for your part of the world. I have noticed that rainfall increases in the season following wildfires and have no idea, but I suspect that it may have something to do with particulate matter in the atmosphere. That is the silver lining with wildfires.

Thanks, but to be honest I only remembered because the exact same thing happened here. Our climates share an awful lot in common. Apricots are my best preserving fruit because the flesh does not break apart like nectarines and peaches and I have had none at all to consume this winter. Fortunately pears and apples have been filling in the gap stewed with cinnamon and nutmeg. Yum!

Your frost must have been far heavier than here, because the cherries for some reason survived here. And they are the best tasting of all the stone fruits. Yum! They do flower a few weeks later than the other stone fruit, but they tend to be the first available because they are quite small stone fruit. A few years back the winter was so warm that large swaths of cherry plantations didn't receive enough chilling hours. Far out, it is the things that you don't expect. Fortunately apples and pears tend to flower the latest of all fruit trees, and I have the citrus too which are crazy hardy.

Yeah, the gritty stage is often quieter and more charming in a lot of ways. Gentrified areas can sometimes be very grasping and expectational, although that may be my experience.

Hehe! Yes, I noticed that after I had published your comment and thought that if you weren't bothered by it then I'd just pretend that it didn't happen and we'd all be cool. If you are at all concerned, then please delete the comment, but the blog doesn't really attract problematic people as I tend to stomp on them! :-)!

Thanks, and we have been getting a lot of news about those fires. I was disturbed to see them because a lot of the areas that they were burning through had green paddocks and gardens although I couldn't tell whether that was because they were being watered or that was an indication of the general surrounding environment. I just don’t know.

I'm a bit bummed out tonight as Cloey the chicken was killed by a fox whilst I was meant to be looking after them. She got the name of Cloey because I once had to cut a large chunk of backside feathers off her because they became clagged with bird poop. She was a nicely natured bird. Oh well.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Well, I'm sort of feeling fondly towards Mr Poopy this evening as he has yet again earned his keep. It is a bit of a story so please hang with me... So I let the chickens out tonight to roam around the orchard. I sat on the veranda keeping myself entertained with some plumbing items involving an accumulator pressure tank for one of the garden watering pumps. Anyway, so I finished that job and ducked around to behind the house and became involved with installing the accumulator pressure tank next to and inline with the water pump. And the local magpies came over to tell me that a fox was attacking the chickens. The chickens were squawking too with their predator call as were the local kookaburra’s. So I sprinted over to see what was going on only to find a fox dragging Cloey the Australorp off into the forest.

I can run pretty fast when I need too, and I almost caught up with the fox. The fox then decided that it was probably better to drop the chicken and run off into the forest and live to fight another day. Anyway, Cloey was still alive at that point and I picked her up and took her back and placed her in one of the nesting boxes inside the enclosure. The fox had cut her spine and she died soon afterwards. I did a quick count of the other chickens and they were all present and accounted for, although they were a bit distressed.

Most of the chickens at that time were still out in the orchard and so I hung around, and the fox came back. That was to be expected, I guess, but the magpies told me exactly where it was and so I chased the fox off into the forest. I rounded up the chickens and put them to bed. And then I let Mr Poopy sort the fox out. He chased the fox off, but I have no doubts the fox will be back. I have to change my routine with the chickens to incorporate this fox risk. Oh well, it is the first time in almost eight years and it only got one chicken so I can't complain... I may have to train up the next dog to accompany me with the chickens. The current canine lot are useless in that regard and are too old to be trained.

Mr Poopy's breath was far from fresh after munching on that pig trotter.

Yeah, you got a bad deal with a dodgy tooth following the flu. Sometimes life deals you those sorts of hands. Your descriptions are satisfyingly graphic that they convey your suffering well and I have no doubts about the gravity of the situation. Ouch. :-)! I hope you are feeling OK today after the extraction? Double ouch!

It is funny how those excess medications can come in handy. I have been able to medicate Sir Scruffy from a batch of that sort of stuff. OK, what is the nuclear option? It sounds pretty intense. It is funny that you mention that because oxycodone is becoming a prescribed medicine (or maybe it has already) because people have become addicted to it. There was a local rapper who was quite successful but apparently he'd been taking something like 90+ tablets a day. That takes a toll. So it does happen. And you just reminded me that I once had a neighbour who had throat cancer and he was prescribed morphine (or some derivative) and he mentioned to me how much he was enjoying it... Hey, you never know what will be your choice, until you are faced with it and then it may be too late? You don't know. I remember hearing a line in a film about some people being recreational users and others being habitual. I've never wanted to find out to be honest so I walk away from brinks.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Exactly, the expectations are huge. If you are standing in someone else’s shoes in another country, you may not be aware that they do not understand that your cultural exports are fictional and are intended as a form of marketing. I read an article recently talking about the sort of apartments that people lived in in various television shows and mostly the apartments exceeded the person's station and income. Two notable examples that come to mind was the show "Friends" and the other example the article talked about was "Frasier". Marketing may have unintended consequences and it may build expectations that are unable to be realised, and in between those two points lies frustration (and perhaps anger?). Dunno.

But the other thing that I note in many television shows originating from the US is that very few characters seem to be working. I often wonder what the heck the characters are doing to keep a roof over their heads, and because the characters have to be interesting to keep a story going, there is a certain sort of hinting at unearned income - or that they're doing well at very strange occupations. Dunno, just some random observations.

Oh my! I've never heard of a forever stamp before. Wow. Well, the US is often well ahead of us in these areas, and so perhaps coming to a post office near you...

I always laugh when I read reports saying that those companies have never earned a profit and yet they're expanding and are often contributing to the fortunes of some of the richest folks on the planet. Follow the money I reckon and a story may unfold. Of course keeping prices down and driving them lower for consumer trinkets seems to be the number one policy down here, although I could be wrong.

That meltdown was a prelude to the next big one I reckon - and the one after that. The really hard question which I have no idea about is: when?

It never ceases to amaze me when I learn that the drummer of a rock band wrote the music and lyrics and the front man is just the front man. Orry-Kelly appeared to be a bit like that didn't he? I'd never heard of the guy, but the credits are pretty huge and extensive.

At least the accumulator tank works well with the water pump... Oh well, I'll guess we'll be picking up a couple of new chickens at the show early next year. At least it will be interesting to see the ongoing effects of Chookflation.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Absolutely. Yes, chicken wire is not as strong as we would think, and Mr Poopy has shown us just how easily it can be broken through if given the time. After we discovered that problem, we switched over to a very heavy duty gauge chicken wire which is exorbitantly expensive, but what other options are there? The Nearing's suggested rock, but most marsupials can bounce over any rock wall I could make.

I feel for you with that raccoon story. A fox got Cloey the Australorp chicken this evening. I managed to catch up with the fox running like a crazy person through the forest (I reckon I ran a quarter mile) and I recovered Cloey and placed her back in the safety of the chicken enclosure, but she ain't coming back from those wounds. It all happened so fast, but I was amazed that the local native birds came to tell me there was a problem as I was away from the chickens working on plumbing bits for the garden watering system. They were magpies and they attacked the fox scurrying away with the chicken. It was amazing to see as I ran after the fox. I imagine raccoons can have a similar impact? Emotions were running high for a short while after that episode...

Haha! That's funny about your old dog Crowley. Scritchy would get into the bed too, but the editor would not appreciate the presence. When I'm feeling sick I sleep out in front of the wood heater and Scritchy always dives under the blankets. I find her to be a comforting presence during the occasional bout of illness. Sir Scruffy is likewise having trouble with the stairs and I have to lift him up and down sometimes - he injured himself chasing a wallaby about a week ago, and is only recovering very slowly because he is very old.

I wonder why Crowley hated the groomer? There is a story there for sure. Old Fluffy loved being groomed as does Mr Poopy - although there was an incident a while back, but the incident involved lots of problematic decisions and everyone has moved on.

Perhaps Salve needs to be pacified with a solid supply of bones? Salve may be training you - by the way - to provide bones in lieu of stairs?

Some people are like that. What is the word for them... ... Ah, that is it: Pedants! And they practice the gentle art of pedantry. Beware those types and they often control useful functions just because they enjoy being painful.

Glad to read that you are getting some rain, and fingers crossed that you enjoy a damp autumn. Your winters are normally dry aren't they? It is warmer here during winter and the humidity can be over 90% for five months in a row. That sort of humidity is hard on a house and infrastructure.

Good luck with the recycling drive and try not to come back with lots of interesting stuff. I'd be hopeless at that as I'd be looking at the stuff going, rubbish, rubbish, rubbish, oh - this looks interesting! Hehe!

Yup, the constant cleaning is a chore and it takes a year and whole lot of tyre kickers too. Best wishes for a speedy conclusion to the matter.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Claire,

Thanks. I had no idea where rabbits had originated from. They are definitely not native here, although they are now part of the environment - as are their partners in crime, the foxes. A fox got one of my chickens this evening. Far out. A harsh lesson learned. You may be interested to know that I have read that the native marsupial cats (spotted quolls) can very occasionally be found in urban areas adjacent to forested areas where they are present for that same reason too. Yes, go Mike! And he is performing a very useful function in the eco-system too. Out of curiosity, do your local rabbits taste any good? A local pub sells gourmet rabbit pies and despite the occasional small bone (they have a lot of small bones - guinea pigs are far worse though) the pies are superb.

Burrowing can be hard for animals as it takes a lot of effort and time. The same thing happens here too and the few fences around the garden are usually left alone as I suspect that there are easier pickings. On the other hand, I buried steel in concrete filled trenches all around the chicken enclosure and the hen house was built upon on a very thick concrete slab. Thus can I sleep soundly knowing that something might get in, but it will be a lot of hassle and effort and hopefully other offerings are far easier.

Thanks for the growing notes for the seeds for the pawpaws, and I will follow your advice and get them in the ground sooner rather than later. The season is accelerating here and next week will bring a 30'C (86'F) day and then rain and a cooler change. Nothing out of the ordinary though.

Ah, that makes perfect sense about the pruning and hand pollinating. You know I find that too in that a lot of instructions can miss basic steps. I'm not sure whether that may be because the authors assume prior knowledge of the subject? Dunno. Incidentally the old timers used to use a three legged ladder when harvesting or pruning tall fruit trees. The problem I have with pruning is that if I make harvesting easier for me and lower the height of the fruit tree, the wallabies destroy the lower branches and the birds find it easier to harvest the fruit. We're conducting a lot of different experiments to see what works and what is easy, on that particular front. It is difficult, but the native birds earn their keep here – as they did this evening - so I don't begrudge them their share.

Banana and pineapple is an awesome combination, but I also suspect that there is an element of our culture that has become unused to consuming food that has been properly ripened. The only reason that I became aware of that issue was because a mate who has the palate of a cows backside and eats all sorts of processed and bland food told me that some of my eggs that I'd gifted them were strong tasting. I didn't take that as an insult either, they just don't get any more eggs. As an interesting side note, I usually gift most of the eggs away that we don't eat.

Well done with the good amount of rainfall and I wish you a very mild fire risk season. Incidentally, the humid winters here accelerate the conversion of the autumn leaves into soil, so you may see that in the future. By late winter there are no deciduous leaves on the ground. The eucalyptus trees work differently again as they drop their leaves in late summer due to heat and water stress. That timing is not so good.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Gosh, I'm sorry to hear about Cloey.

No concerns. I have no internet presence anywhere but here and the few other charming blogs (you know who you are!) that I comment at. No Facebook, nothing.

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I am so sorry about Cloey. Dealing with predators is one thing I won't miss. Interestingly foxes are the only predator that hasn't gotten a chicken around here but then there are very few around. Cool about the magpie alert though.

I'm with the editor regarding dogs in bed or on furniture for that matter. Scruffy looks to be rather small unlike Crowley who was 65 lbs or so. Crowley didn't hate the groomer just the grooming process. The groomer was very gentle with him so it was all OK but he cowered going in and couldn't wait to leave.

Salve has plenty of bones. In fact I had given her the much loved antler but that still didn't stop her from chewing on the stair. Most of the damage she's done has been wood items. You may recall t hat she was just abandoned on our road in the middle of winter in terrible shape. She had also had her ears cut so she would look more like a pit bull so there's probably some serious psychological issues there. She often exhibits unusual behavior though it happens less and less. Still I can't have her chewing on stairs so she's back in her crate when we're out. She doesn't seem to mind but I feel hesitant to leave her for long periods of time.

The chicken nazi was in good spirits when I picked up the processed birds yesterday morning. He does run a tight and organized ship though and does a great job. He's also very concerned about the welfare of the birds - admonishing people if they put too many in a crate. I can imagine he gets a lot of inexperienced hobby farmers and/or people who are just clueless.

We got 2 inches of rain with another inch expected on Saturday. Yes, normally winters are pretty dry.

The recycling drive has little that one would want to take home though there are some usable electronics, DVDs and CDs. It is illegal to dispose of any electronics here in Illinois - even cords so we get a lot of those. There is a charge for TVs, monitors, batteries and fluorescent bulbs as it costs the organization that holds the drives to recycle them. Other items include clothes, VHS tapes, DVDs,CDs and styrofoam. They even take old rags and unusable clothes as long as they are clean. The organization is the county Environmental organization which has been around for at least 50 years and that I've been a member of since I moved here 29 years ago.

Thanks for the good wishes. No lookers yet but then it's not the best time either. We have a sub optimal school system and are in Illinois - two strikes against us.

Margaret

margfh said...

@Lew

Good luck with the dentist. I've had several pretty major dental issues over the last few years - not fun or cheap!

Margaret

@Pam

We have some friends who live in Santa Rosa which has been hit hard by the fires. So far they have been spared but the situation changes by the minute it seems. Their description sounds just horrific.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Poor Cloey! That was quit a bold fox. Why did the native birds going after the fox remind me of a Disney movie? The animated kind. Better a lone fox than a pack of coyotes. You would have had few, if any, chickens left.

I’ve also caught news here and there about the northern California wildfires. That’s the wine growing country. Lots of vineyards and fancy restaurants. One slight mention I saw said that when one town would go to another towns aid, there were problems. The fire hydrant couplings weren’t standard.

Well, better to get the tooth and cold/flu out of the way at the same time. Now maybe I can get a few months of clear sailing? The dentist who did my extraction was VERY good. The anticipation was the worst part. And, usually the deadening shots are THE worst part. I was just wondering the night before why they hadn’t figured out a topical way to administer those. Well, not quit, but almost. They have a deadening jell now, that they apply before they start the shots. So I didn’t feel the shots, at all. Frankly, I didn’t feel anything at all. She was really slow and methodic to make sure the area was insensate. Of course, the tooth came out in two pieces and there was a bit of root to chase around. The sounds were a bit much ... crunching bone, etc.. So, now I’m alternating ibuprofen and Tyloal, every three hours. And, still taking the antibiotic. I need a flow chart to keep up with the pills.

The Greeks and Romans always associated dogs with healing. The Greek god Asclepius (and his Roman counterpart) were often accompanied by dogs. And, their healing shrines always had dogs about. Maybe I should borrow Princess, from next door :-).

Oh, the nuclear option is just taking the oxycodone. To me, it’s a last resort. I’m very leery of them and really don’t like the way they make me feel. I also think, “You should save them in case you REALLY need them.” Oxycodone has always been a prescribed medication, here. But then the US is pretty over the top with controlling medicines that in other countries you can buy over the counter. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Yup. The houses and apartments that people have in tv and movies don't have much in common with reality. I watched the series "Grimm" which takes place in Portland. That's where I really noticed the disparity. Unless everyone has unmentioned inherited money. A police detective doesn't make enough to live in a beautifully restored Victorian or a clock repairer in a wonderful arts and crafts bungalow.

But I did just have an interesting thought. I think in the past that was possible. 15 or 20 years ago and further in the past, having those kinds of occupations and living in those kinds of places was possible. Not any more. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Yes, it was a bit of a bummer all round. Cloey was a pretty nicely natured chicken too, and I'll miss her. It was completely my fault too, and I have to be far more careful in future. Mistakes are how we all learn! I didn't let the chickens out tonight in the orchard as I finished work on a water tank late but was just hoping to break the foxes pattern.

No worries at all. Likewise too. The interweb footprint here is the size of an elephant, but everywhere else it is - how did you put it - like a mouse! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks and I hear you about the predators. Did you ever manage to train a dog to protect your flock and/or other animals? I didn't let the chickens out tonight because I worked late, but also thought that it may be best to break the foxes vigilance, observations and patterns. Dunno whether it is the right thing to do. Oh well. Your raccoons sound feral, but at night I can hear the fox cubs yipping off and away in the forest and the vixen scream is unforgettable. The forest here is not quiet at night.

The native birds were amazing and they were also attacking the fox. To be honest I figured that the magpies didn't like the chickens, but apparently they like foxes even less.

Yeah, Sir Scruffy is smaller at about 44 pounds. He has a low centre of gravity and can push his way through obstacles. He injured his rear leg a week or so back, but seems to be slowly recovering. Unfortunately he is one of the smartest dogs that I've come across, but he is in complete denial about the injury and won't take it easy. A 65 lbs canine attempting to slip under the covers is not good - and some dogs lack subtlety.

An antler would be canine heaven, but apparently timber staircases and their railings are a more enticing treat. You can't argue with a dog that has set his mind to something. Poor Salve. Out of curiosity, did Salve come to you during that winter when you first met? I have met many animals that had run out of better options and chucked their lot in with us, but yeah the psychological scars run deep and I treat them all with kid gloves knowing their weak spots - which are pretty obvious after a bit of observation. On the flip side though they're exceptionally loyal and they appreciate the nice treatment. I've never owned a bred for purpose dog so have no idea whether they too would not also come with their own unique issues? Dunno. Do you have any experience with those?

The chicken nazi reminds me of the soup nazi! Hehe! We do so amuse ourselves here! I've experienced the clueless too and I take a more gently, gently, approach with them and just sort of chuck in the seed of an idea that they may be doing something very wrong. I just hope that they get the hint. Perhaps pedant is not the right word, what do you reckon about: meticulous?

Glad to read that your parched soils are enjoying a solid drink. Have you noticed a mini spring in the plants growth now? I'm a bit nervous as the weather forecast here looks set to deliver an east coast low pressure system on Wednesday night and Thursday morning next week. They usually deliver quite a lot of rain and that may mean another inch or two.

Top work! Out of curiosity, what happens to the electronics waste? Several years ago someone dumped several computers and laptops into a fern lined drainage channel on this road - and there they sat for a year or two until I removed them and disposed of them. I'm always amazed that people would think to dump rubbish up here as the fuel to get here would cost more than the local tip fees (they take e-waste for free). It just makes no sense.

Ouch! I have heard strange accounts about the finances of Illinois.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

There is a family of magpies that live here and they are permanent residents. They are interesting birds because not only do they live for about twenty years, in Melbourne where competition for food and nesting sites is fierce, they swoop people! Hehe! Go the magpies and I hope they enjoy their swooping activities in the big smoke. Anyway, up here I provide plenty of food and water for the magpies all year around and so I have never been swooped. They apparently have an excellent memory too and that probably also means that it is a bad idea to do them an ill turn. Anyway, the magpies regularly enjoy swooping the chickens and the chickens pretend to not be bothered by the smaller magpies. So, I always assumed that the magpies hated the chickens, but they really were attacking the fox who was carrying away Cloey the ill fated Australorp.

There is another family of birds that live here and they are the Kookaburras and they too also called out alerting me to the fox. The magpies and the kookaburras are in a state of perpetual truce as they both consume the same foods. Many years ago I killed a snake and fed the pieces to the kookaburras who were very appreciative, and I have read that they also tend to also kill snakes, so I encourage the birds presence. Set, would be most unhappy with that arrangement! :-)!

It is interesting that the fox was only able to kill one chicken rather than killing a few and coming back for the other remains later. And the fox didn't get Cloey in the end, so hopefully the fox has learned that the chickens come at a high price and risk. I may have to get a crossbow.

What? No way. All of the hydrants down here are standard and the fire trucks carry several different connectors just in case. That sort of silliness happened down here before Federation when the states were individual English colonies. Far out, the train lines between here and the state to the north where different and the train went to the border and people had to disembark and get on the next train to the north. Interestingly, in the last Green Wizards one of the members was describing the train journey from Melbourne up along the east coast. I'd like to take that journey one day. They’re all turning up here tomorrow which should be fun!

Far out, those fires are pretty bad and our local news is stating that 31 are dead and hundreds are missing: California wildfires: At least 31 dead, hundreds still missing as firefighters gain ground.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Fair enough, go through the hardships all in one hit and get them over and done with. The Stoic philosophers would applaud your hardiness and life philosophy! :-)! The gel sounds like a good idea as those needles really hurt as there isn't much excess material to stick a needle into in your mouth. I'm starting to get pangs of sympathetic dental pain, despite your assertions about the lack of pain. Ouch! You know, gentle dentists are worth their weight in gold! I was feeling for the poor dentist in the World made by hand novel having to perform tricky procedures like root canal in those conditions. Far out. I suspect the need for dental procedures was a bit of a killer in times now gone - certainly they have impacts upon the heart and who knows what else.

Yup, borrow Princess and enjoy some good healing. Are you missing Beau? Now the real question becomes this: Is Princess a Chihuahua?

Don't laugh but when I was in South East Asia and also South America, mate, you could just purchase whatever you wanted over the counter and so I stocked up on anti-biotics and all sorts of other handy stuff. I have been a bit grumpy about that issue of late because I'm running low on anti-inflammatories to give to Sir Scruffy who would benefit from them and is now so old that any side effects are not even on the radar for him.

Indeed it was possible about two decades ago. Absolutely. 100%. No argument here. The thing is, if money printing is chosen as an economic policy, then inflation rears its ugly head somewhere. And we have decided through many policies to express inflation in only a select few assets, rather than across the board which makes bread and circuses unaffordable for everyone – in the US it is health care, down here it is stocks and houses. That is why the stock market can rise when physical assets are being run down, mothballed, or destroyed. Well, credit where credit is due because it is an untried economic policy and who knows? It may work. I’m not necessarily so sanguine about that option, but alas I am not in charge either and have bailed on that system.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Have lots of fun with those Green Wizards, bless 'em!

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Re: the hydrant problem. That’s what happens when “new and improved” and “you have a choice!” (way to many), are the selling points. Different gages in railroads is interesting. They’ve even impacted history, at times, due to problems with troop movement.

Yeah, the California fires are pretty devastating. The death toll keeps climbing and the number of missing doesn’t seem to decrease by much.

Princess is not a chihuahuia. :-). She’s a little black mop of a dog. She’s quiet cheery and not very yippy. I don’t know how advisable it is that her owner dresses her up in little pink sunsuits, but there you go. She doesn’t seem to mind.

When I’m at my grumpiest, I often say things like, “If we lived in a civilized country, we could buy antibiotics over the counter ... like Mexico.” That always brings things to a screeching halt. I don’t know if that inspires any thought into the fact that we’re caught tight in the claws of Big Pharma. Probably not.

Food for thought. Inflation in select assets. I’d never thought of it like that, before. So ... is there deflation in other select assets? I see it in various areas of antiques and collecting. But that may be a reflection of, well, they’re not necessities. “Want” items, rather than “need” items. Electronics eventually seem to go down in price. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks and it was an enjoyable day all around. The weather was perfect here at 64'F and after the tour we sat around and ate a meal outside in the bright afternoon sun. Not to tease but the meal comprised: fresh bread and pesto + mushroom gnocchi + lemon slices - all prepared here from scratch using many ingredients out of the garden. In the warm afternoon sun we talked Green Wizard stuff. And they got to meet the ever mysterious editor. I enjoy opening the garden to people, but generally only do so for people who we have an ongoing relationship with. I'm absolutely stuffed if I knew how the Nearing's entertained so many people and got anything done.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Of course, the different rail gauges would be a total disaster in a war situation. The competition between the various colonies down here before Federation was quite intense and troops were supplied to the British Empire on a colony basis. Speaking of dogs, the HMAS Cerberus was purchased to protect the Victorian colony from a possible Russian attack and when she was delivered she was "on the understanding that if she operated in any role other than the defence of Victoria, she would revert to Admiralty control." How is that for selling something but maintaining possible control? Incidentally the name was quite amusing too! When the Great White Fleet turned up in the bay, we apparently entertained the officers and crews and got them quite drunk so there was little ill will. I suspect that such an approach may also have worked with the Russians too! :-)!

In unrelated strange infrastructure decisions: The final car plants shut down manufacturing I believe it may be this coming Friday. I wonder if the powers that be wonder where they'll procure their military gear from if push ever comes to shove? I would have kept those industries going for strategic reasons if for no other reason, but that is an unpopular view. Anyway, the subsidies were very small relative to some of the other subsidies being chucked around on the public's purse. The shutdown is meant to affect something like a quarter of a million people. Far out. What could possibly go wrong? The effects of all that may take a while to filter through as I suppose generous pay outs were given in lieu of a job. Not that this is related but the different rail gauges made me think of all of this. Anyway, I have noticed that most folks that win the lottery can't seem to understand that that was a once off event and may possibly not be repeated in the future.

The fires are horrific in their extent and our papers are reporting that 250 people remain missing. The 2009 Black Saturday fires down here killed something like 173 people and covered twice the area of the Californian fires, but I did note that there are reports that the wind may increase over there in the next few days and wind fuels fires. The powerline references were interesting as toppled powerlines can be a problem because the system attempts to automatically reconnect in the event of a problem and it is the supply into broken wires that can be a real nightmare. I have seen that happen here and the fault process has now changed down here during high risk periods like summer.

Well, it was only a guess. Down here we call that breed by the unflattering name: a bitsa, which refers to: "A bit of this and a bit of that!" Hehe! I reckon if I dressed Scritchy the boss dog up in a tutu, she'd bite me and then perhaps urinate on my leg for good measure - all the while giving me a good and proper stink eye! ;-)! Some dogs are into that gear though and I suspect that they just enjoy the attention. Sir Scruffy was adeptly stealing food scraps from the weakest links at the table today, and I can only applaud his use of the strategy: Hungry and pleasant old dog routine number four. It is very effective you know, and no proper dog could get to his age and size without mastering the subtle arts of mind control and eye contact. Unfortunately for the poor victim of his subtle program we were sitting at a glass table for lunch and Sir Scruffy had the home side advantage!

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Probably not, but yeah I feel much the same. And grumpy-ness is to be enjoyed as one gets old. What did the old timers call it... ... Perhaps the word: Ornery; is that appropriate? Dunno. It happens to the best of us. You know sometimes I try to make witty repartee with people and sometimes it hits and other times it misses. I had to face one of those misses situations this morning and so instead of joining in again, I just decided instead to be pleasant. Thus the social wheels are lubricated and I avoid uncomfortable moments... Have we just descended into silly land again? Possibly so, it is a fun place!

Electronics are straight forward arbitrage on labour, materials and externalities. Nothing too hard there. OK. I'll tell you a little story about groceries. Imagine you lived in a world where 70% of all retail money spent was with one of two grocery suppliers. Those suppliers had shareholders and hungry employees to feed, so instead of cutting the costs of the business and returns to the shareholders, they cliffed the suppliers. This is all theoretical you have to understand. Cliffing is the apparent process of telling the suppliers what they will charge for a particular item. Obviously prices will deflate under those conditions whilst dividends and employee salaries inversely increase. This is all theoretical of course and is for discussion only. Apparently the suppliers stop making money or they have vastly reduced profits which affects their owners and employees. Then a new entrant from overseas enters the market. The new entrant is an interesting beast because they are a mysterious limited liability partnership (whatever that is because I simply do not understand it) which doesn't have local shareholders to worry about, and under the guise of mystery there are weird reports in the media that the new beast pays no local income taxes, thus starving the federal government of tax revenue. Not to worry, that government business apparently has this debt business in hand, and can also wave around a magical trick of printing money. I'd enjoy that particular trick, but alas I have to work. Under such conditions, well, prices can possibly deflate even further. The new entrant has a mysterious policy of supplying very little variety which also apparently has mysterious origins and they may or may not be local and are possibly sourced from overseas - who knows, I fail to understand mysteries as they make my head spin. What becomes really interesting is that a new entrant then comes into the market which is meant to be a natural predator to the limited liability partnership overseas. Far out, such complexity confuses my brain. Anyway, who cares, I make most of my foodstuffs from scratch and grow as much as I can. What a fairy story, huh?

I enjoy the big picture, but my stock in trade becomes the awful question as to how does this stuff look on the ground? And the rest of it is what the heck to do about it. I actually doubt many people are paying attention to the fairy stories, which sort of worries me. Oh well.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Oh, yum and yum, and more yum! Those lucky Wizards - what an honor ye hath bestowed upon them.

On your:"The final car plants shut down manufacturing I believe it may be this coming Friday. I wonder if the powers that be wonder where they'll procure their military gear from if push ever comes to shove? I would have kept those industries going for strategic reasons if for no other reason, but that is an unpopular view." I never even thought of that; that is a more than uncomfortable thought. I suppose that in such circumstances one has to rely on one's "allies", unless all of one's allies have no more (or not enough to go around) vehicle manufacturing.

My sympathy would entirely lie with you, Scritchy, should Chris ever try to put you in a tutu and should you lose your normal iron-willed self control. Sir Scruffy, you old rascal!

Theoretical grocery supplier. Lovely fairy story. No - Brothers Grimm, perhaps?

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I’m glad the Green Wizard’s meet up went well. Always good to spend time with like minded people. With the added attraction of dog theatrics. :-).

There must be an interesting story behind changing the name of the HMAS Cerberus to the HMAS Platypus II. There’s a certain panache to a sailor saying he’s “off the Cerberus.” Platypus II ... not so much. I bet their shore leave dating success went way down :-).

Here, during the 2008 crash, there was the side show of bailing out our automotive companies. Which really didn’t make much sense (to me) as they had long ago become a shadow of their former selves. (See Detroit.). But when I think about it, that money went to the companies ... who interests are foreign and domestic. Heavy on the foreign side. So, I guess, a lot of that money went overseas keep the foreign end of the operations, humming. Here, every once in awhile, I see something in relationship to that that states that the automotive companies now belong to the American people. Haven’t seen my dividend check, yet.

Well, one hears about people hitting big lottery wins two or three times. Grist for the fantasy mill.

There’s a lot in the media here, about the causes of the California fire. Downed power lines, etc.. it all has a flavor of ... fixing blame. Or, really, fixing liability. As in, big payouts.

You seem to be stepping carefully around that cliffing bit. Hmmm. The liability thing you mentioned a few months ago? Well, I’ll follow your lead. There’s a big company based here, that’s been accused of that several times. Dictating prices to suppliers. Dividends did increase for investors, prices fell for consumers. Increased pay for employees? Not so much. The family that controls that company, by the way, controls 42% of the wealth in the United States.

I didn’t really follow the last paragraph of your post. Deep economic waters (to me.) I will say that if you want a fairly simple look at limited liability partnerships, Google “Sub Chapter S Corporations.” I really don’t want to talk about it, and it was a long time ago and I don’t remember much, but I was once the head of a (very) small Sub Chapter S corporation.

I watched a very good film, last night. “Maudie.” About an outsider artist living in Nova Scotia, 1930-50. Starred Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke. What’s interesting is that the house she and her husband lived in was 12x13’. Had no running water or electricity. Or, insulation. The entire house is preserved in a Canadian art museum. I quit liked the film. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Hehe! It was such a nice day, everyone was enjoying themselves so much that time was forgotten briefly in the nice afternoon sunlight and surroundings, and they almost missed the train back into the big smoke (the trains usually run every hour, or so)!

Well yeah, the fall of Singapore and the southwards march of the Japanese during World War II was a salient lesson as to why long supply lines and allies in far distant lands (the UK) who were having plenty of trouble themselves with shipping - don't work well. The US really did us a solid in the Pacific during WWII, no doubts about it because the Japanese were bombing the daylights out of the city of Darwin - despite being overstretched themselves - which is in the far north of the country. And submarines were taking out merchant and navy ships...

The loss of the plant is far less than the loss of the skilled labour. A fitter and turner is not a trade anyone can pick up in a few weeks. And not many countries have the skills to take a design for a machine as complex as a car and then manufacture it in volume – possibly less than ten now.

Poor Scritchy to suffer such a fate! Fortunately, that is a very unlikely circumstance. Far out, Scritchy would definitely crack the sads and there would be pay back... Not good for those involved in such mischief! Sir Scruffy made a good account of himself and enjoyed everyones company and scraps. He needed no encouragement and just got on with the task of charming people. :-)!

It is a bit Grimm isn't it? They didn't tend to bother with happy endings those two, and few people seem interested in food quality these days. Oh well.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

The catch ups a great because everyone brings different points of view and life experiences to the table. Plus the day was superb, the food was good and time passed very quickly. Sir Scruffy is a very charming dog, which to be honest is a rare quality in dogs, and I suspect that he is more charming than myself! :-)! A mate of mine has a knack for winning people over. I've known him for almost three decades and I still have no idea how he does it, although I have to admit that he is probably a more relaxed personality than I am. Sometimes sharing ones opinions on subjects is perhaps not a charming personality trait! Hehe! Oh well. Have you known anyone with the knack for charming people? I'm not sure they play their hand to their advantage, but that is another story. My mate does well for himself.

Oh yeah, I was wondering that too, and in the linked page by the time they made the name change for the ship, several critical components were failing. I guess it wasn't the pride of the fleet at that stage! And platypuses live in rivers and other permanent streams which is not a good omen for an open water vessel. I can't fault their taste though as platypus enjoy yabbies which are the best tasting water critter down under (a river based crustacean).

You are absolutely correct. The same thing has happened here as apparently the car companies failed to manufacture products that the market wanted in volume and the governments of all stripes should have had the product forced upon them. Toyota used to make the Corolla here which is very popular, but then they shifted to the larger Camry which wasn't as popular a vehicle in the market. Interestingly, down here people seem to be buying SUV's or city cars and there is not much in the middle. Vehicles are far larger and far heavier than the Mad Max days (I remember those cars) and the thing that annoys me about the situation is that advances in engine efficiency have been consumed by additional sheer mass of the vehicles. It makes no sense, but I'm now whingeing. The real problem is that it is impossible to rapidly train a fitter and turner and the loss of skills is immense...

I don't believe people know how to jump off the carousel when it comes to achieving any advantage. I hear people bemoaning not being able to pick the top of the property market and I simply say to them that nobody can do that. You can tell the general trend based upon history and cycles, but the actual timing... I guess that is why I am not as charming as Sir Scruffy! Hehe. Too funny.

If history is any guide: Black Saturday class action: Judge approves $494m Kilmore East bushfire settlement. The thing I was wondering about was, why were people asleep and not monitoring the situation - it is not as if the fires had only just started.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Exactly, it is an ugly business. The limited liability partnership folks are apparently that sort of wealthy lot too. I sometimes get this mental image of a game that used to be played when I was a kid. It was called musical chairs and it was pretty brutal, but the music played and kids ran around a table in a certain direction. There was always one chair less than the number of children. When the music stops, the kids sit down on the chair closest to them. Of course one kid gets kicked off the game every stop. And there is always a bit of pushing and shoving and the person controlling the music is not a passive observer. A good lesson that and the sort of shenanigans with the cliffing and the wealth transferal looks exactly to me like that. Aren't some of those employees on food stamps? By the way, pass the parcel is also another good example of that sort of game. Nowadays people train kids to receive prizes with little effort - until that can't be sustained - and I'm always uncomfortable with that strategy as it doesn't reflect the world that we live in. The problem with having too much wealth is that eventually you stop relating to other people that don’t, and therein lay the seeds of the fall.

No worries at all and thanks for the disclaimer. It is all good. I'm writing about my work experience tonight. It has been colourful to say the least. I almost became addicted to work at one point due to hectoring, but fortunately shied away from the precipice. Status and ego provide openings for other people to take advantage of, well, at least that is what I reckon. What are your thoughts on the matter?

Yeah, you know I saw a preview for that film when I was last at the cinema. It looks good and they're both good actors. We would have gone and watched that film last week, but the session was at 11am for some weird reason and that time is way too early for me. Thanks for the review and I'll add it to the "to watch" list.

I spotted an Eastern Spinebill (which is like a small colourful honeyeater) bouncing around the courtyard this afternoon. Fortunately it was enjoying the pineapple sage so much that it hung around for a photo.

I tried two types of water accumulator pressure tanks this week and to my amazement the smaller and more expensive one appears to be total rubbish. Oh well, I try stuff and sometimes its a fizzer! :-)!

Gotta write.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - “Few people seem interested in food quality these days.” I think more and more people are getting interested in food quality. Mmm. I see it in the number of holds on library items that have to do with food. Both books and dvds. Not as wide spread as I’d like, but, “there” and growing. Slowly.

Ah, yes. A talent for charming people. Sometimes, the sign of a psychopath. :-). Worth keeping in mind. Then there are those who make a great first impression. Which doesn’t last.

I think cars / trucks are another one of those things that has shown a great deal of inflation. No thanks to the banks. I’ll never get over how the bank I used to be with, back in 2004 wouldn’t even entertain the idea of an auto loan, unless it was for at least $22,000. Weren’t interested in financing my little $12,000 truck. You try to show a bit of thrift. It’s not rewarded.

Musical chairs. Wonder if that was the inspiration for whatever that reality show is where they “vote people off the island.” :-).

Yup, there’s been several articles about how the employees of the big chain we were referring to are on some kind of government assistance, or another. Because they aren’t paid a living wage or, due to shifting schedules, can’t cobble together several part time jobs to make a living wage.

Well, I thought “Maudie” was well worth a look. Later, I checked into what her life was really like. Actually, her husband was more supportive of her than the movie let on. As she grew more crippled, he assumed more of the housework and encouraged her to paint. By the way, I saw a trailer for something interesting coming this December. “The Greatest Showman.” A bio of P. T. Barnum starring Hugh Jackman. Although, it may not be your cup of tea. From the trailer, it may be a musical :-).

There’s a couple more houses for sale, in this neighborhood. Both are quit well kept. 3 bedroom, 2 bath for $185,000 and a 2 bedroom, 2 bath for $208,000.

Potluck day at The Home. I got up early and made some banana muffins. I thought to myself that if I managed my kitchen better, there wouldn’t BE overripe bananas. :-). There was some batter left over, and why I didn’t think to make more muffins, but instead made a loaf of bread. A recipe never to be repeated. As I just threw in this and that. A bit of yeast, some whole wheat flower, sunflower seeds, some oats, a bit of milk and yogurt. Haven’t tasted it yet, but it sure smells good! Lew