Monday, 16 October 2017

Words as weapons

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

I wasn’t much of a fan of the last recession in Australia during the early 1990’s. The government must have been a fan of that recession though because the Federal treasurer told us that it was: “The recession that we had to have”. I guess we had to have it then. In those naïve days I was forced by redundancy out of my public service reverie into four years of debt collection work. Such work kept a roof over my head and food on the table, whilst some of my friends and associates were among the 10% unemployed.

Collecting debts for a living provides a person with a fascinating insight into the human experience. The tools I used to ply that debt collection trade were: the phone; and the threatening letter. Of course, I was very young at the time, but also a quick study, so I have to admit to a certain terrier-like skill in that area, all of which I learned on the job. I sometimes used to brag to my mates about the people I made cry just by using words, because I knew that the payments would soon be forthcoming.

After a few years I’d heard every excuse under the sun and knew how to counter and respond to people, so as to collect upon the debt. Around that time, the band, Faith No More, had a song titled: We care a lot. I really empathised with the lyrics for that song which remarked that it was “a dirty job, but somebodies gotta do it”, because that is how I felt about the job. On the other hand I could not allow myself to empathise with the people that I was contacting. In fact I managed to compartmentalise my job and my feelings quite well, simply because I had few other options. I treated the task just like the dirty job, that somebody had to do, that it was. And the people that I contacted, well they became clients and were part of the job and not one of my emotional concerns.

All good things come to an end, even recessions, and by the mid to late 1990’s I wanted to work in the area that I had been training for at University (during the evenings after work). I left the world of debt collection and worked in a number of accounting jobs. With each job I progressed up the corporate ladder, one rung at time. Such progression is not a bad idea, because you get to experience the world from the underside, and as such you learn to communicate effectively with people at many different levels. By then, I thought I was pretty good at understanding words and people.

Believing you are good at something may imbue a certain feeling of hubris. Hubris describes a personality quality of extreme or foolish pride, or dangerous overconfidence. The Ancient Greeks used to believe that the behavior itself, challenges the gods, which in turn brings about the downfall, or nemesis, of the perpetrator of hubris. That doesn’t sound very nice at all!

Eventually I came unstuck as I took on a job where during the interview process, they mentioned the interesting word “challenge”. I was deep in the clutches of hubris and failed to even note the danger in that word, other than thinking to myself that: Challenge, I can do that before breakfast! Pah!

The challenge folks on the other hand may have been thinking to themselves: Who would be stupid enough to take on this challenge? Here is our (stupid) man! Welcome aboard the good ship challenge, me matey!

Before I knew what hit me, I was up to my eyeballs in this “challenge” business. The mess was beyond epic, and the disarray was perhaps worse than Napoleon’s retreat from Russia during the winter of 1812. To quote a notable US citizen - it was my own personal Vietnam (certainly no offence intended). It was that bad. My hubris was cured at the altar of an extreme situation.

At the time too, the accounting profession decided that an undergraduate degree was not enough for professional recognition, and a person had to complete an additional five subject (or in these enlightened post-five-subject days, it is now six subjects) post graduate. That meant more part time study, but at least it was by correspondence and so there were no night time classes to attend. Thus my week nights were free, at least that is what I thought.

The “challenge” folks who had created the humongous mess had an edge on me though, because they knew their word crafts better than I. Whilst I was busily restoring order out of the chaos, they were simultaneously praising my efforts and exhorting me to do even more work. I in turn being young and naïve, allowed my ego to accept the simultaneous praise and criticism that I was not doing enough to restore order from the chaos. To that end, I worked harder and longer hours, all because of a few words.

After eighteen months of that challenge, I found that the increasing demands were endless and my energy had limits. At that point I quit the job and took on another job with a better pay and normal working hours. And I have been very careful ever since to never put myself into those circumstances.

Words can be weapons and it still gives me pause, every time I hear the now deceased Michael Hutchence of the the band INXS belt out the lyrics:

“Words as weapons
Sharper than knives”

The weather this week has been quite nice. There was a day of heavy rain where an inch of rain watered the orchards and gardens. Other days the sun has shone and it was very pleasant.

We had to take a break from constructing the strawberry terrace and enclosure as other projects demanded our attention this week. Over the past few months we've been simplifying and correcting some of the problems with the various water systems. One such problem was corrected this week. About two years ago, we installed a 4,000L (1,060 gallon) water tank to collect water from one of the firewood sheds. The water tank was installed too high so the drains on the shed did not flow with enough fall (that is the fancy word used to describe the effect of gravity on water (and other stuff)). The drains on the firewood shed did not flow properly which caused them to block up with leaves very easily.
This 4,000L water tank was too high for the attached drain
The water tank had to be emptied before we could move it. When full, the water tank weighs over 4,000kg (8,800 pounds). It's heavy and it is a relatively small water tank! We were unable to save the water other than directing it slowly into one of the garden beds (which has appreciated the solid drink of water).

The tank was then moved aside and the area excavated and dropped in height by at least 150mm (6 inches).

Rock crusher dust (which is a quarry waste product and is fine, like sand) was then laid over the excavated area as a bed for the water tank. The water tank was moved into its new position and the drains reconnected. We then refilled the tank from the main house water tanks.
The lowered water tank was reconnected to the drains and refilled with water
The editor came up with a great idea too. We'd spotted an old netball / basketball hoop at the local tip shop. We must have paid at least a dollar for this sturdy chunk of steel. The steel hoop was attached to the shed and is now being used to store the huge pile (3 at this stage) of steel star pickets (this is the Australian term for temporary steel posts).
Star pickets are now stored in a steel basketball hoop attached to the wood shed
After the recent success of adding an accumulator pressure tank to one of the garden water pumps, I added pressure accumulator tanks to the other two garden water pumps. Pressure tanks are a very simple device. They store an amount of water at high pressures so that when a tap is opened anywhere in the system, the water is delivered from the accumulator tank first before the water pump activates. This stops the water pump turning on and off all of the time and thus extends the life of the water pump by a huge factor.
The author adds two accumulator pressure tanks to the garden watering system
Interestingly, the cheaper blue (closer to the edge of the photo) pressure tank works far better than the more expensive smaller black (near the center of the photo) and I am at a complete loss as to the why of that situation.

The two olive trees in the courtyard were given a mighty good pruning. They are some of the oldest fruit trees on the farm and they were purchased at a clearing sale and I reckon they already had about five or six years growth on them.
The two olive trees in the courtyard were given a mighty good pruning
I haven't mentioned the potatoes on the potato terrace for a while, so I thought that readers would be interested in an update to see how they are growing in their new spot. They were moved to their new terrace only earlier this year.
The potatoes on the potato terrace are doing well in the warm spring conditions
A huge storm rolled through the mountain range on Wednesday night and the frogs and worms all sought shelter under the verandahs. An inch of rain fell and I spotted this Southern brown tree frog grimly hanging onto one of the windows. It is a bit indelicate taking a photo of the undersides of a tree frog, but the frog was in a public space...
A Southern Brown Tree Frog avoids the worst of the storm by clinging to a window under the verandah
 Speaking of wildlife, a new bird has arrived on the farm. Meet our new Eastern Spinebill:
An Eastern Spinebill enjoys the nectar from the pineapple sage
Living on the side of a mountain ridge, you get to see an eagles eye view of what is going on around the area. A local farm which appears to undertake ocassional farming experiments, has possibly (but I am not sure) used some sort of herbicide on one paddock and I'm curious to see how their farming practices work out as the season progresses. The paddock is on the left hand side of the photo below. Interestingly, a paddock that was burned off two years ago is on the right hand side of the photo, and the comparison between the two is quite stark.
A tale of three different paddocks
All good things come to an end, even this week's blog! As is usual, the following photos are of some of the spring flowers growing around the farm:
Bluebells are exceptionally hardy tubers
How good does this apple look poking out from a wormwood?
The chives are just about to flower (ch ch ch chive talkin!).
Tri-coloured sage. Nuff said!
A very complex succulent flower
How did this lone tulip survive the loving ministrations of the rodents?
Rhododendrons are complete show offs and very hardy plants
All of the other plants acknowledge that they're not worthy of the beautiful camellia's
The leucodendrons put on a good show
African daisies enjoy this climate
The temperature outside now at about 9.00pm is 16’C (61’F). So far this year there has been 711.4mm (28.0 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 683.6mm (26.9 inches).

52 comments:

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for the correction and perhaps that was a sweeping generalisation on my part. I know people who are quite into food and grow and cook from scratch and they're lovely people and produce stunning food. The only thing that worries me about that is that it is not a mainstream hobby and given how much food people eat, it is one of the best hobbies to develop. I reckon I fed the entire Green Wizards crew for less than the cost of the normal GW lunch (which I quite enjoy by the way) just for me, and the quality was very high. I'm with you on that in that the concern is not quite as wide spread as I'm comfortable with, but... If the economy ever tanks enough that people struggle to put food on the table (and I've been there), I'll start up a local food producers group for all sorts of folks with whatever gardens they have to hand, but until then, the economics of the situation means that it is cheaper to buy stuff. I seriously do not know how things will play out.

Yes, you are so correct! They are the ones to watch, smooth tongue and all. Grimaworm tongue? There was a tale about a scorpion and river crossing... ... Here goes: The Scorpion and the Frog. I tend to walk away from such types on the first hint of trouble because trouble always follows them, but in the short term they can be very amusing company. Fortunately, they consistently have short memories.

What a story. You know two decades ago nobody had a car lease down here. They were just not seen anywhere. And nowadays, they're very common and most people purchase cars on finance. I avoid such arrangements as they appear to be arranged to keep people on a cycle of debt. The interesting thing that I learned out of The Big Short was that financiers are looking for flows of income rather than piles of cash. They inherently understand that the flows (which is how we structure our social obligations these days) are more valuable than the piles of cash. That understanding blew my mind and brought a lot of things into clarity that were previously obscured.

Ah yes, Survivor Musical Chairs! :-)! I watched one of the first survivor shows and quite enjoyed it, but I've never watched another. Perhaps I am easily bored? Hehe!

The portfolio / gig economy works well until a person has to face competing shifts and then it doesn't work well. I have also noted a certain sort of proprietorship, if that is the correct word, between employers and employees.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Musicals can be a struggle for my mind. I have absolutely no idea why either? Perhaps hours of regression therapy - or how about this option: Aversion therapy!!! Far out. Which would you recommend? Incidentally, I read a particularly nasty review of that Maude film and the critic was very unflattering in their assessment of the characters so I appreciate your more balanced point of view. Art reviews can be a bit nasty just because, and especially if the artist has made a commercial success (even a minor success) of themselves. I chuck architecture into that slimy morass of worm poo too because of my experiences. A few long years ago I had the opportunity to talk to a serious architect about the building here, and I have to admit to being a bit gobsmacked by the conversation, as I had not realised at the time that I had created a situation by replicating a Victorian era farmhouse here using flame resistant materials rather than doing some new fangled design that may or may not work in the location. I started building the place with good intentions too as my original intention was to construct the house using entirely recycled materials, but the codes - especially the bushfire codes - stomped the living daylights out of us and the wallet. Far out those egos in that business are an ugly business.

Are you still keeping an eye on the market in your part of the world? That sort of money here would barely purchase a block of land. Our debt to income ratios have apparently exceeded that of the US before the GFC. And it must be my sense of humour but every time I see GFC, I think to myself KFC. Not sure why? ;-)!

How did the banana bread turn out? Yum, and we convert over ripe bananas into banana bread too. It is an excellent tasting snack. I'm curious about the use of yoghurt in the mix. The place that makes my favourite muffins uses sour cream and I'm sort of guessing that it works the same in the banana bread? Maybe?

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

So interesting (and excruciating) is the process that "has to be", that we can only learn the things that matter through mistakes. Sometimes we can learn through other people's mistakes, but it isn't really brought home until we suffer for something ourselves. That's o.k.; that's the way it is suppose to be. Nobody's perfect.

“Words as weapons
Sharper than knives”
Boy, did that man know what he was singing about.

What a job it is to re-position a (formerly) 4000kg water tank!

That's a neat use of an old basketball hoop. I think we have one around somewhere. One just never knows whether to buy "high end" or "low end" products. We recently had to replace a kitchen faucet. There were only available (we probably didn't shop around enough) a cheap type and a really expensive type. We went with cheap and it has turned out to be a piece of junk.

The potatoes look very happy. I am so glad that you got a photo of the Eastern Spinebill; it is a striking little bird. I love the contrast between the 2 paddocks. Have you looked at the dead one with binoculars or a telescope? We gave away our telescope a while back.

Oh, I wish I had bluebells!

In your comment to Lew this week: " it is cheaper to buy stuff" (referring to food) I frequently ask myself why I am going to so much trouble cook most of our food when a lot of it is so much cheaper to buy already prepared. I guess it is because I can control the ingredients and also make it just as we like, and it is fresher. I think it is actually cheaper to grow as much of our food as possible - not counting the labor (it would be my vocation anyway). In any case, there are few more valuable skills than gardening and cooking.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Hmm. Think I’ll finish up last weeks comments and odds and ends before plunging into your this week’s post. Keep everything neat and tidy. The same as keeping on top of the dishes in the sink :-).

I forgot to mention I went to a model train show, on Sunday. A first for me. I saw some signs directing me to our fairgrounds. Now, my reasons for being interested are a bit convoluted. Besides lead soldiers, several companies made little domestic figures. I inherited (and later expanded) a whole bunch of Winter/Christmas figures. Skaters, skiers, people pulling sleds. Santa in a horse drawn sleigh. These were all made in the 1920s-30s.

They also made a whole series of farm pieces (and one company, Britain’s in ... Britain made rural village figures. Even the village idiot. No town drunk, though.) But, there were also quit a few figures made that had to do with train sets. Travelers, conductors, porters. So, I wondered if a model train show might have a selection of those figures.

I thought the entrance fee a bit steep ($5), but, took the plunge, anyway. As I’d never know unless I looked. So, there was a huge hall with vendors the apparently travel from show to show. Showing off their goodies, swapping, buying and selling. I couldn’t help but noticing, as in a lot of other collecting areas, it was a lot of older guys ... not many young ones in evidence. So, probably, another shrinking area of interest.

I asked a few of the old hands if they had any Barclay or Manoil (the two leading companies) figures, and they didn’t seem to know what I was talking about. It became apparent to me, that these guys were all about the trains. Me, I could care less about the trains and am into the ... miniature/diorama aspect of it. Well, I saw thousands of trains in every possible scale and gage. And, now I know. Forget attending model train shows to find the figures I’m interested in. I see the last weekend of this month they’re having another huge swap meet/garage sale at the fair grounds. I did pretty well at the last one.

Well, that was quit a digression down the rabbit hold. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I was a bit concerned about Inge, as I saw on the BBC news that a hurricane is bearing down on Britain. But, if it stays on track, it looks like it's well north of her. It's moving off the Atlantic in a northeast direction. Ireland is going to take a direct hit and then it's moving onto Scotland. On the radar, it looks huge.

Ford ended up financing my truck at very good terms. But, they didn't make much money off of me. :-). I paid it off very quickly. Double payments and any time I had a windfall, I dropped it on the debt. I paid off a 7 year contract in less than a year.

Re: Thinking KFC. You're a victim of advertising. If you looked around, you could probably find compensation for that :-).

About your avoidance of musicals. Yes, years of intensive psychotherapy could probably cure that :-). We used to have a saying, when explaining someone's dislikes, quirks or phobias. "His mother must have been scared by a ______, when she was carrying him." Maybe your mother was frightened by a brass band? Or, was startled by Gene Kelly and it gave her a turn? Hmmm. It's almost a sympathetic magic kind of a thing. More likely, you were subjected to (and bored by) a musical at that stage of your life when you couldn't abide "all the mush and love stuff." Which is usually what musicals are all about.

So. Why DID I throw yogurt in the banana bread? It just seemed like The Right Thing To Do. :-). Three heaping tablespoons without much thought. I think, somewhere in my mind I was shooting for the consistency of the dough I use for cornbread. Muffin batter being a bit thin. Also, I usually use nonfat milk, so, I think I might have been (maybe) considering the addition of more dairy "richness." The muffins got rave reviews and I quit liked the bread. A bit of a crunch. Wish it had a bit more rise, but then I'd have to cut back on the sunflower seeds and oats.

The basket ball hoop is a genius idea. Takes up a lot less space than stacked on the ground. I notice you have a bit of flag underneath to keep the damp off. In the same picture, I notice what looks like a repurposed tire rim. Another clever bit of recycling?

So, is the Eastern Spinebill out of his range? It's always exciting when a new and different bird shows up. But you wonder why. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Or, just a thing. :-).

Much more to comment on from your post. But, I've banged on long enough. And, a fire truck just pulled up out front. The firemen don't seem too excited and there are no alarms going off. And, I need to get back on track again. I'm recovered. Enough slacking off.

I did start watching a good miniseries, last night. "My Mother & Other Strangers." About a small, insular, Northern Ireland fishing village that has an American air base plopped down in the fall of 1943. Rather a soap opera, but engrossing. The usual wide streak of anti-intellectualism. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I'll comment a bit later when I have time but thought that I should respond quickly to Lew.

@ Lew

Correct, the storm didn't reach me but Ireland has certainly suffered. What we did get was an incredible sky. A very, very dark yellow so my lights were on in the middle of the day. A friend rang to say that the sun was a reddish pink colour but the trees prevented me seeing it. We were later informed that the sky colour and darkness was due to sand from the Sahara.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

If there was an easier way... When I used to supervise staff, if they resisted training and instructions, I - and this is a metaphor - gave them enough rope to hang themselves. Sometimes people had to learn the hard way which is actually the easier way for them. Other people favour control and micro-management, but I have never seen such policies work well in practice. Sometimes there is a cultural dimension to those particular micro management tools too for some strange reason. Exactly too. Everyone makes mistakes, those who berate others for mistakes are some of the worst of the lot - the denial means that they themselves can never move out of the mental rut that they find themselves in. Have you come across that sort of person before?

Alas he has now passed - by his own hand from some accounts - although I know nothing of the details. He wrote a very forthright song many years ago as a solo artist... ... ... MaxQ - Way Of The World. Strong lyrics. Hey, we were speaking about duets a few weeks back and one of my favourite recent collaborations is Angus and Julia Stone (brother and sister): Angus and Julia Stone - Snow. Their big hit was Big Jet Plane. A massive hit down here and a great song too.

Losing the water pained me, but at least I could direct it into a garden bed. The warmer weather this week (86'F) has caused the plant growth to explode. A time lapse camera would show an interesting spectacle. Sometimes the plant growth is far faster than at other times just because the conditions align.

Yeah, you don't really know these days do ya? I try a random scatter approach to new items of technology until I gain more experience with them. It is incredibly wasteful and I usually have to sell off the wasted items, but there is no rhyme nor reason and so general rules don't apply in any meaningful sense. Dunno. I'll bet you've had some experiences with that story?

Ah, a faucet is a tap. Right. A neighbour was telling me that often the materials used in those items are not what you'd expect and there are some that contain quantities of lead despite labels to the contrary... Ooops!

The birds that consume nectar are a good indicator of overall health, I reckon anyway. That bird has been hanging around as it was originally attracted by the tree lucerne (tagasaste) and has been dining there for a few weeks.

Let's go all 20th century and call them field glasses! They give a better image than the 300mm Sigma lens on the camera. I too wonder what they are up to and follow with interest.

Don't laugh, but the bluebell tubers look like little peanuts in their shells, but all white like underground slugs. Do your voles and ground hogs eat them?

Yes, exactly cooking and gardening are some of the great skills that people desperately need to learn.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

There is something to be said about keeping things neat and tidy!

Thanks for sharing the story about the model train exhibition. I quite like the concept that someone thought to produce a village idiot and the addition of the town drunk would have provided a certain completeness to the picture. I mean how are stories to be told without that picaresque character? Pah! No doubts the temperance league had something to do with that decision at some stage in the past... :-)! I do so enjoy your sense of humour!

How are the teeth and your mouth feeling?

Now, since you brought up the subject of model trains, well there is a connection in my past, and I have to "out" myself as having been to several model train exhibitions. Now of course, nothing is ever as simple as the conclusions that your brain has just jumped too.

A long time ago in a suburb far, far, away, I dated a nice young lady (not the editor) who's father owned a model train shop (it doesn’t have the cachet of a brewery does it?). The young lady in question wasn't into model trains but had the good - or bad, or perhaps indifferent, or whatever - fortune of having to assist the family with the model train exhibitions. I enjoyed the company of the young lady and so used to tag along just to see what was going on. The family were pretty nice, unlike my own unusual and dysfunctional family, so it was nice to see how those things were meant to work out.

The exhibitions were like a huge trade fair with the dreaded enthusiasts (whom you clearly met and who left such an indelible impression upon you). Nobody thought to ask me to do anything at them, and so I just used to while away the time observing the human condition! And the enthusiast is a remarkable character indeed. Hehe.

Exactly, the enthusiasts consider the backgrounds in the "art installations!" as props for the main event which as you now realise are the model trains themselves (and tracks, lights and controllers)...

You know, it was worth a try and I salute your efforts, plus you have met people who are in a small sub group and community (of sorts).

And, I rather suspect that you are onto something about the age of the participants, because I too have noted that people appear to be lacking hobbies these days. That is something that I wonder about a lot. By the way, a great rabbit hole too!

I was worried about Inge too especially given how the last big storm played out there, but I note that Inge has left a comment since this morning. I'll try and hunt down a photo of the day the dust storm rolled into Melbourne in 1983. It was epic. I'll leave it in the reply to Inge. The skies over the UK looked similar. And incidentally, that is often top soil in the air.

Well done you. You can sleep happily knowing that some bond holder would have been very grumpy that you paid off your debt servitude so rapidly. Oh yeah, they would have been way grumpy! Nice work.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Maybe we could get a class action going? They seem to be all the rage these days and it is nice that investors apparently finance them for a cut of the returns. Aren't they nice folks?

Yeah, maybe it was! Hehe! Gene Kelly, far out. I did enjoy Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but why all the music?

I reckon there is a cook book in there somewhere. The title is good and almost worthy of a trademark: We cooked it because it was: "The Right Thing To Do" (TM). Our fortunes have definitely been made there. Out of curiosity, did the insides of the muffin turn out soft and almost like a very light bread? Rave reviews are the biz! Well done. I'd offer you an elephant stamp, but seriously where is mine? That is what I want to know!!! Hehe! You win friends with good food and drink for sure. ;-)!

Yeah the flag stones were some of the ones that I kept. When we bought the property someone had dumped hundreds of those paving stones in a nice neat pile. After a year or so of moving the huge pile around we sold them over the interweb and a charity turned up in a truck and picked them up. I helped them load the truck too by hand and they never bothered to leave any feedback. That is happening more and more often these days which is an important point, but I fail to understand what it means. Have you noticed that over in your part of the world?

Yeah, the bird is on the inland extent of its range as it normally ranges right along the east coast and possibly not this far inland. That is interesting in itself. I noticed over this past week the elevated plains closer to Melbourne are looking quite dry. Dunno. That is an astute call on your part and I just don't know the answer to that question. Are you getting different birds in your new garden area?

Haha! Hopefully, you were not the cause of the call out? I recall you writing something about an apology meal which is incentive enough not to get involved unless there is an actual fire.

There is a bit of anti-intellectualism about isn't there? I generally talk to the audience as I have no desire to alienate people. I noticed the discussion about emasculation over at ecosophia this week and didn't weigh in. I reckon a lot of guys are just lost about their roles in society and have no functional role models, but they do well enough for themselves all things considered.

Far out, it is again warm here this evening which is quite nice really. The weather will turn on Thursday morning and it looks like half an inch of rain will arrive. Interestingly, the combination of the occasional heavy fall of rain followed by a period of warm weather is creating a jungle. Oh well, mine is but to prune...

Cheers

Chris

Jason Heppenstall said...

Hi Chris,

Sounds like you have been hard at work (as usual) - love the solution for the water tank. I've been a bit quiet for a while. No big deal, I've just been busy working several jobs - the latest being that of a barman in a local hotel, meaning I'm there until midnight most nights. This has boosted my disposable income considerably, and I have realised that this is exactly what I needed. It will allow me to pay off some debts I've managed to slowly accumulate, as well as save some money and buy a few things for the woodland that I'm very keen to get (such as a wood chipper and a decent shed).

Aside from that, I've been busy working on renovating our house. We realised that the boom in tourism here means we can let our house out to tourists during the summer - meaning we'd earn almost as much as half a year's pay in just six weeks while we all go camping on our land. So the whole house has to be very ship-shape before that can happen.

Other than that, we spent a couple of weeks staying in someone's apartment in a very beautiful part of Germany (very interesting).

Your story about accountancy made me giggle a bit. I have a boss at work who is only 19 years old. She is extremely ambitious (she drives an Audi and wants to be a millionaire by 25) and full of hubris. The funny thing is, she just quit her job to become an accountant. I said to her "So you must be good with numbers and maths?" to which she replied "No, I'm terrible, but you don't need to know anything about that these days as computers do it all for you." I suspect she might be a bit right in that respect, but still ....

Cheers,

Jason

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Great to read that you were largely unscathed by the storm. I thought you may enjoy some history from down this way. I remember this day too, despite being only a kid at the time...

Melbourne dust storm image 1983

Newspaper story about the above dust storm

It is interesting to note that "news" in those days was a bit more in depth than today.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I am glad that you escaped from your earlier working life and that you were capable of learning the lessons. I meet so many people who seem to be utterly incapable of learning life's lessons. In fact I have been inundated by visits and phone calls from the same. It is so difficult to know what to say in such situations. What I want to say would not do at all, I can only hope to insinuate a tiny thought.

Words as weapons, oh yes and how they hang on through the years!

That Melbourne dust cloud is fantastic. I have seen something similar and it was in Australia. I think I was in Katherine. I was out and saw it coming from a distance. I made a very quick time back to shelter.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Oh, boy - have I come across that sort of person - "those who berate others for mistakes are some of the worst of the lot"!

Oh, goody - lead faucets.

I never can remember what century I am in. Sometimes I wonder if it matters. My dad the twitcher calls them "bino's".

I don't have any bluebells so I won't know until I plant some what eats them (they are on the list now). I'm sure something will. Daffodils are the only thing that nothing eats.

Thanks for the music videos. Sorry, but I didn't like Max - it's a great song, but same reason that I don't listen to Nirvana anymore, though I used to love them. Angus and Julia Stone: As a duet they were great, and the tune is good but - it seems like sort of a hopeless song. These days, after various personal trials over the last couple of years, I just seem to mostly appreciate focusing on more positive things. Which is not to say that great things don't come from the most horrible situations (I believe there is a Plan). And there are few things more useful than mistakes . . .

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

My goodness, that 1983 Melbourne dust storm was unbelievable.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - After a gl-O-rious fall day, yesterday, we’re now into rain for the foreseeable future. 1/2” to an inch, a day. With wind a possible flooding. I got my first San Marino tomatoes out of the garden. Just a handful. Nice tasting. I’ve saved seed and have it fermenting. I had a small, very fine sieve and found it ideal for cleaning the seed, a bit. Just ran a bit of warmish water through. They are so delicate and fragile.

So far, so good with the mouth and teeth. I went off the antibiotics, day before yesterday. Holding my breath to see if there’s a repeat of infection.

The things we did in our early dating careers. :-). Since I only dated “nice” girls, I ended up seeing “Sound of Music” three times. Talk about musical overkill. Speaking of musicals (again) I could never quit figure out my fondness and fascination with redheads. Stumbling on an old musical cleared that up. Apparently, I had watched “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” at too young and impressionable of an age :-).

I did think the fellows at the train show were rather a lot of odd ducks. In an interesting way. I’m pretty good at side stepping enthusiasts of any stripe. They did have a lot of interesting building / structure kits. But the pictures on the boxes quit exceeded the contents, which were mostly cheap plastic.

I think it’s interesting that if you pay for most things in cash, you have a poor credit rating. So far, paying things off early doesn’t seem to impact that. Watch for that to change ... I had just recently discovered that bit about people investing in court cases. So, a lot of those big payoffs you hear about, aren’t so big. A group of investors (friends of the lawyer, I bet) cover the court costs which are subtracted from the pay out. I read about that in a story about a college fraternity rape case. The girl didn’t get much of anything, but that didn’t bother her, as she just really wanted justice to be done. Apparently, fraternities have pretty well covered themselves, liability wise, and have no qualms sacrificing the chapter or member.

Which kind of relates to your question about feed back. Yeah, feedback is pretty important on E-Bay and Amazon. And, it sometimes holds the seller captive to all kinds of bogus practices. On the other hand, I always look at the feedback, if I’m buying something. But I don’t expect a perfect 100% score. I know there are nuts, out there. Anything over 95% is acceptable, to me.

Related is that in the fine print of some stuff you buy, you can’t leave a bad rating and must go to (expensive) binding arbitration. If you don’t do that and leave a poor review, you can be sued. And, it’s happened. Court case results so far, have been mixed. Binding arbitration clauses are just beginning to show up on people’s radar. They effectively take away the individual’s right to sue. Some states are also passing caps on court pay outs. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. The muffin interior was pretty cake like. Fine crumb. But what really put them over the top was ... the topping. After a bit of cooling, dip the tops in melted butter, then dip into a small bowl of sugar and cinnamon (and a slight bit of nutmeg ... cause I can't leave a recipe alone.) I gave all credit for that to Betty Crocker, as it was the suggested topping in the recipe.

I haven't really noticed much in the bird department, here. Lots of jays, a few crows. The odd robin. I hear geese at night, from time to time. That's about it. I'll put up a humming bird feeder, next spring. Word is, if you put up a feeder and maintain it, they will show up.

The lady hauled off was one of our morbidly obese, diabetic wheel chair ladies. There's probably 5 or 6 out of 40, here. Maybe more I don't see. Apparently, she got an infection in her leg. I guess the EMTs were a bit cranky that she just didn't go to the doctor. Which gets us back to a discussion of food and eating.

Checking a few titles at the library, the sensible diet and eating books (not the fad stuff) ... maybe the library has 3 or 4 copies and it seems like there's always a few holds on whatever they are. So, they don't languish, they circulate. New things can have quit long waiting lists. I picked up a DVD last week called "Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue". Called that because it's a program developed by an Austin, Texas fireman. I want to look into it a bit further. I guess there's a book or two and another DVD. He's advocating an entirely plant based diet. I don't think I'm willing to go that far, but he has some interesting recipes and ideas.

He also makes some points (which I know, but I'm glad he's getting the news "out there" in a personable way) about ignoring whatever is on the front of a package (Healthy! Natural!, etc.) and paying more attention to the ingredients list. The tricks food processors use with portion sizes, etc.. He claims (and I think it's true) that a lot of diabetes, obesity, cancer, etc. could be avoided by paying more attention to what we eat.

You mentioned the architect profession. Well, skipping all the verbage (sp?) and getting to the story, Ayn Rand's "Fountainhead" is an interesting look at the profession. Also, any good biography of Frank Lloyd Wright. I can see where your neo-Victorian farmhouse would be upsetting. And, owner built? Anathema! these days. There are road blocks and gate keepers (all with their hands out), everywhere.

You mentioned the company that was squeezing the life out of you. Do you think it was something that came, naturally from the owners / managers, or, something that was taught in business school? Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - I read about that Sahara sand changing the color of your skies. We get some pretty spectacular, colorful sunsets here, as a matter of course. But when the air is full of smoke, the sky is very strange yellow and reddish colors and the sun can be blood red. It is unsettling.

From the news reports, it seems this hurricane is a bit of something "new under the sun." A rather unsettling thought. I'm relieved you were well out of harms way. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Before I forget. The rain up in Queensland has been feral this past week. BOM says deluge across Queensland at levels not seen since Cyclone Debbie. I don't believe that is being called anywhere as a tropical cyclone, it is just a rainfall event.

It has been quite nice down here as a comparison.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

One of the reasons I left accounting was the long hours. "Things will settle down as soon as we get the new system up and running." was something I heard fairly regularly. It took awhile until I realized that there was always going to be a new system and the hours would always be long.

That is quite an accomplishment moving that water tank!!

Thanks for the picture and article on the storm - quite a scary site. There's often a lot of dust when the farmers are either planting or harvesting depending on the weather but it's more an annoyance. Wonder how much they think of their soil blowing away.

Not too much to report here. We did get almost 4 inches of much needed rain. No one has looked at the house yet but it's not the busy time of year. Picking up the turkeys from the "chicken nazi's " place this morning. The barn is very empty now.

Margaret

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Jason, Inge, Pam, and Lewis,

Thanks for the lovely comments, however I am unable to reply this evening and promise to reply tomorrow.

Lewis - The weather was superb here tonight at 86'F and the editor and I went for a walk in the big smoke and had Japanese for dinner. Yakatori chicken! Yum. I won't mention the sashimi, and I particularly enjoyed the brain pain from the dyed bright green horseradish which masquerades as wasabi (don't look too close). If I had half a brain I'd be growing and selling the proper wasabi root as it is very expensive and highly in demand. That part of my brain must have fallen behind the couch with my lost youth. Woe is me! Hehe!

Bedtime... Me tired as it has been a very long week.

Chris

margfh said...

@Lew

My brother, Marty, puts up a huge Christmas village under his tree each year complete with a running miniature train. He's already started working on it. I haven't mentioned him too much as he's able to pretty well take care of himself. His diagnosis is high functioning autistic so most of his issues are social. He got his first apartment at age 46 after living with us for awhile. He would have probably enjoyed seeing the model trains.

@Inge

So glad the storm didn't hit you. I saw pictures of the sky - must have been quite eerie.

@Jason

So one doesn't need to know anything about accounting to do it as computers will do it for you - what could possibly go wrong.

When I first got into accounting back in the late 70's I did it all by hand and with a calculator. Not too long after that the accounting clerks put all the data on sheets that were converted into punch cards. They usually didn't have a clue regarding what was actually supposed to be in the report when the computer spewed it out.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Japanese food. Yummy! (For the most part :-).

Well, our predicted heavy weather didn’t materialize, yesterday. The afternoon and evening were quit nice. But today ... raining now. Wind warnings for the next 12 hours. Wind 20-30 mph. Gusts 40 to 45. Makes for a fairly wild afternoon. We’ll get rain, but the potential flooding seems well north of us. However, localized street flooding is possible, due to leaf clogged drains. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Jason,

Thanks. I often wonder how other folks provide for their water in other parts of the world, and we have to be very careful down here with the precious stuff. Decent sheds are a worthy goal and I tend to construct them from scrap materials and they are very strong relative to the sort of sheet metal ones that are purchased as DIY kits (and possibly much cheaper too). Having said that, I have no idea what your second hand materials markets are like?

Ah yes, one does not get top dollar unless the place is ship shape, but yeah anything that can ease financial burdens without too much hassle is a good idea.

I'm always amazed watching Grand Designs UK when UK residents just pop over to Slovenia (or somewhere else as exotic) to purchase their windows or kitchens. Not an option here on a very large island!

Pah! What a laugh! :-)! You know, I'm about your age and I can recall how things used to roll when they were all on paper - and more importantly, the why of it all. Such things are obscured in computer programs. Hey, wasn't I writing about hubris this week? Your boss may be tempting the Gods to intervene on her behalf. Good luck with that! Oh well...

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

That is really nice to read, and doesn't it make you wonder if, when, and how people learn the complex lessons that need to be learned from their mistakes? I worry for those that are not allowed to, or are unable to perceive, when they have made a mistake. That is a precarious outlook on life. Well that's what I reckon anyway.

Insinuating a thought is my favourite technique too. The editor calls it sowing the seed of an idea. And like you, I never know how it will bloom into existence. It looks to my mind like setting a small and tiny chunk of energy free and then just hoping for the best.

Actually very few people down here are interested in my thoughts and views, so I would not know how to respond in your situation. I suspect that that may be a cultural difference down here, but am not really sure as to the why of it all? It is interesting though.

Yes, there was a very popular film a few years back where a character remarked that it was impossible to "unsee" something. I reckon that speaks to your "words" observation hanging on through the years. And in these parts memories are long indeed.

Katherine is a beautiful part of the world and I hope you had the chance to venture into the Katherine Gorge? Stunning! And the rock art lining the Gorge was really something special.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

You know, when I look into those folks motivations, I see the primary driver of fear shining through the morass. I can't really get into their head-space, but there are a lot of them around. If it means anything, they look for the word "perfection" as they feel that is a physical space and ideal, rather than the abstract concept that it is. Best not to ever use that word, is what I reckon.

I can but report news of lead as it was related to me. It is OK as long as bones are not fractured or broken, as it accumulates in the marrow.

What deep depths we are plumbing here this evening. We get to enjoy but the passing moment so who is to really know the depths of that matter? Best get to enjoying it is what I reckon.

Daffodils are pretty toxic aren't they? Sometimes the wallabies will stomp them, but there are always more flowers… Bluebells seem to be in the same category as they get left alone. Oh, the first Ixia bulbs popped up flowers today. Wow, they look impressive and just turned up out of nowhere.

Fair enough and I respect your perspective. I enjoy a wide variety of music but generally don't write much about the more obscure enjoyments. And yes, those tracks are a bit on the sadder side of the scale. How about: Ninajirachi - Pure Luck (feat. Freya Staer) which is a bit more bright and up beat?

You know, a few days ago I was speaking with someone who asked me about long term relationships, and I mentioned that the good goes hand in hand with the bad and that is how things work out. Dunno, sometimes great things do indeed come from the worst of situations and none of us really know how chances will ever work out, until they do. Exactly, a mistake is another name for necessity, although opinions may vary in that regard. You know I also suspect that what are blind sides for us can sometimes be seen by others and that makes life pretty complex.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

This morning felt like a total tropical jungle here as the humidity was well over 90% and the sun was shining (unlike the weather conditions in the film of the same name!). Very little rain fell though. Oh well, the ground has plenty of moisture in it stil,l and the fruit trees and all the other plants are growing like crazy in the humidity and heat. The growth has outstripped the ability of the marsupials to consume it and so I may have to mow the herbage over the next few weeks... That involves about three days of walking. It is a pleasant activity though and not as strenuous as it sounds, but I rather enjoy walking.

Well done with the San Marino variety of tomatoes. A local bloke here swears by the Stupice variety as they can be planted out much earlier than other varieties, but I wasn't convinced about the taste of the fruit. Best in those conditions to go for better tasting mid sized fruit which require less heat and sun to produce their sugars, but opinions may vary. I'll be curious to read of your seed saving experiment next season. Bear in mind, we ferment seeds for three days (shaking the glass jar once every day) and then dry them on paper which absorbs the excess moisture. Some people let the seeds stick to the paper, but I’m not one of those. The germination rates far exceed the best commercial rates and we are getting about 95+% germination from last years seed. With the heat this week the eggplant and capsicum (peppers) have begun germinating. What do they say about not counting your chickens...

That sounds pretty good about your teeth and gums. Fingers crossed that the infection is knocked on its head. Oh! I just got to the bit in the book I’m reading at the moment “Aurora” when the characters have just learned to their utter horror that inviting planets at a small distant from the sun are possibly not as unoccupied by life as they first thought. The story reminds me of "War of the Worlds" but this time with prions... Those prions are tough little critters. Far out anything that can survive an autoclave is a pretty nasty problem.

The Sound of Music grates my ears and eyes in possibly the same way that Sashimi grates your palate. You know the thing I wonder is, do our brains ever recover from these encounters, because the things we all do for love... Well, you do have northern European origins and it may be part of that heritage? :-)! That comment of yours gave me quite the start, and I am most impressed at your memory.

When the pictures on the box exceeds the contents, I call that a: show-bag. You may not be aware of show-bags, but at the Royal agricultural show down here, vendors sell show-bags which are full of chocolate and other assorted plastic rubbish. The vendors amusingly proclaim that the show-bags are full of (for example) $30 of product for $5. If you were really naughty you may note that some people try that show-bag trick too: They look good on the outside, but are full of #$%^ on the inside! Hehe! Bad Chris...

The whole game becomes one of: who can capture the largest flows. That really is what it looks like to me. And yes, I suspect that you may be correct. Attempts were made down here recently along those lines, but the central authorities stepped in after much damage was done. I see a few hints of that damage and it is not good.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

I have no idea how the fraternities work and so can't really speak for that experience. In a larger metaphor, yeah, we seem happy to chuck folks off the sinking Titanic if only to keep it afloat for a while longer. That is life and it happens over a huge swath of existence.

The feedback is very important, but like you I don't look for perfection and the repeated attempts to game that weakness have rendered it useless because most people understand how it rolls. I did read of the apparent story of a young mum who changed her babies nappy on a cafe table in a cafe and absolutely cracked the sads and created a total scene when she was asked to leave the premises. I reckon food and soiled nappies are a bad mix but that is just an opinion and once had to endure a meal with a few folks who had young kids running around the table whilst we were eating with full nappies. It left quite the memory. Exactly, 95% is pretty good all things considered. I've encountered a few nutters over the many long years of selling stuff. I have a rule of thumb about the more obscure the item, the higher the probability, but what can you do?
Haha! My mouth is watering over the thoughts of those muffins. Yum! The real question then becomes: where did Betty Crocker obtain her recipe from?

Your geese fly south for the winter don't they? Most birds around here seem to be constants, but the ebb and flow of species is very hard for me to get my head around as some enjoy a huge range. I hope you do hang up the hummingbird feeder next spring as it will be interesting to see who turns up?

We picked and ate the first asparagus tonight and roasted up a huge batch of sugar beets earlier today. Yum! They really are sweet and I moved a few of them to random spots about the place. I hope the lack of rain doesn’t kill them?

That is interesting because down here the ambulance service is not a free service. You have to be a member of the service otherwise, you get a bill for their services. Good luck with being picked up by the air ambulance... I can never get my head around how it all works, as even those that are not members get picked up. Well, like so many other things that we are careless with, that is another example that you mentioned...

I'm not going as far as a plant only diet either because it becomes a social sticking point and a varied diet can be a good idea too. Who knows what minerals are in what foods? Most likely we probably don’t know. You know, I've heard people proclaiming all sorts of things as natural, but then I guess enriched Uranium is pretty natural too, so what do I know?

Thanks for understanding. I just looked around to see what worked and what was still around after a century or so, and then just applied the materials that I was allowed to use to that problem. A person in the know in the building trade once said to me that: "we were the last of the Mohicans". I'm not sure whether that was a compliment or not. Incidentally, the editor and I were looking at the aerial photos of the recent fires in California to see what could be learned. There was a lot to be seen if people chose to look.

What a question! There used to be a website (regretsy) critiquing the etsy website and the proprietor of the website used to joke that a fish rots from the head and so who can argue with that logic?

The replacement accumulator pressure tanks arrived this morning. The weather has absolutely turned here tonight back towards the cool. The insides of the house are toasty warm, but the outsides... Not so much.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Oh yeah, I've heard that story too! Hehe! Well, we're all young and dumb once and that is a good way to learn as anyway. Certainly I have had that trick pulled on me. Yes, the unimportant but ever present urgencies... You know when I first started I saw how things were done on paper, and the interesting thing is that the same amount of staff were required for the paper systems as the computerised systems and sometimes they were quicker.

Thanks and I for one am glad that that water tank job is now done. Back to the strawberries which are beginning to flower now. We never really get as much time as we want do we? Oh well. The replacement water pressure accumulator tanks turned up this morning and I hope to chuck them in over the next few days.

I wonder that too, and have absolutely no idea how the farmers see the problem of top soil flying away in the breeze as they're busily ploughing the paddocks. It is certainly an interesting problem this agriculture business. I suspect a lot of things are done the way they are done because economics forces the land owners to follow that particular story. It is hard not to.

Hope the barn is not too quiet and the cats and rodents are not too bored? Still, you have the turkeys to consider and that is a very tasty meat. Out of curiosity, does the chicken nazi vacuum pack (cryovac) the meat? And I'm really curious as to whether he ever comments upon the quality of the birds and subsequent meat - or is he a bit too cool for school?

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Our local Garden Goddess uses the paper towel method of saving tomato seeds. Says it works for her, but I notice a slight bit of ... guilt as she knows it’s not the recommended method :-). I may try a bit of both. My volunteer tomato is apparently, some kind of a heirloom cherry tomato. There’s a few small green fruit, and, hopefully, they’ll ripen before the frost. If not, I’ll pull it up if we get a frost warning and see if I can get it to ripen, inside. If it tastes good, I’ll save some seed.

Speaking of the Garden Goddess, I saw her headed out the other night with a hummingbird feeder. So, we talked birds, for awhile. Not much variety, here. The one’s mentioned before. And, lots of “Little Brown Birds.” Probably, many varieties of sparrows, but they’re really hard to tell apart. Finches, from time to time. But they shy off of habitations. I’ll have to ask her how she keeps her feeder from freezing. I had heard that some hummingbirds overwintered in town. The bulk of our geese fly south. But, there’s quit a population that overwinters.

I stopped by our local nursery, yesterday. Talk about sticker shock! Year before last, garlic was $5 a pound, which I thought outrageous. This year? $10! So, I got on line and ordered a “sampler” pack from a venerable old nursery, south of Portland. I was really looking for a bit of iris root. But, I guess they only get plants in the spring. Checked another place. They had bulbs, but a rather lackluster selection. Today I’m going to check another nursery, at the other end of Centralia.

I had to LOL at your comment on my memory. It’s really quit a spotty thing. Mind like a steel trap? More like a sieve. :-).

I was surprised that the banana muffin recipe wasn’t in my old Betty Crocker cookbook. But, it was in their online site. Last night I sat down with a pile of my cookbooks as I was looking at various pumpkin and banana baking recipes. I did find a few other banana muffin recipes. What surprised me was that just about all call for baking powder, soda, or both. I’d rather use yeast (the B, P & S sometimes bothers my stomach). I only found one banana bread recipe that had yeast in it. There was a sourdough one. Hmmm. Might have to resort to a bit of kitchen experimentation. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Quit a few years ago, I had to call an ambulance. (Flu). it turned out to be over $800. Time was, when it was more of a utility. Now it's all been outsourced to private companies. Insurance or medicare will cover some of it, but not all. So, your national health doesn't cover ambulance? My friends in Idaho have a medic flight insurance that's only $100 a year. Just about everyone in their little town is signed on, so, it keeps the prices low.

Speaking of them, she's in quit a tizzy, this morning. She needs a new phone and hasn't been able to find anything for much less than $500. At least through her telacom company. Again, the curse of the "not cost effective" rural customer.

A post or two ago, Cliff Mass had an exploration of the causes of the California fires. Interesting reading. I don't think I've ever been to Santa Rosa, but years ago I had a friend whose family lived there. What's funny about that little town is that it was used as the back drop for many cheesy sci-fi movies in the 1950s. I do believe "The Blob" and the one about the pod people was set in Santa Rosa. it's a pretty old established town, so this fire was, I think, unusual.

Yesterdays storm wasn't too bad. Didn't loose our power. My tomatillas are still upright. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - Go Marty! I don't know why, but I've always been fascinated by miniatures of one sort and another. I think I mentioned that I inherited a small clutch of the figures from my Uncle Larry and then I was off to the races :-).

If you do an E-Bay search for "Barclay Winter Figures" quit a few should show up. A couple might make a nice gift for Marty. But, the scale might be wrong for his set up. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Yes I did get to the gorge at Katherine, in fact I was very taken with the Northern territory. Except for Darwin which had a sinister feel to it.

Your comment to Jason about the origins of some of the stuff on Grand Designs, reminded me of the fact that my neighbour's not yet finished property came from Latvia. I was told at length how wonderful the Latvians were etc etc. Things didn't quite work out too well.

On a different tack, my neighbour managed to cut through the water pipe yesterday (for the umpteenth time). I had just come home and was longing for a cup of tea; no such luck as I hadn't got a drop of water. At least they ring me up promptly and he repairs things as fast as possible.

Tonight it is raining and the barometer is falling rapidly, a storm is supposed to be coming in.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Fair enough. Darwin is a different part of the world to be sure - and the distance and isolation doesn't assist matters. The heat too was surprising and I'd only previously visited the city in the dry season and could not imagine how it would feel in the wet season. The humidity would be oppressive I reckon.

Latvia! No way... Well that is exactly my point. Generally those arrangements are sought after because of the economics of wage arbitrage. How did they approach the problem when it all failed? The final vehicle rolled off the car assembly plant in Adelaide today. That's it for the industry. I still reckon that that was a case of economic ideology being championed over common sense. I guess history will show how that plays out.

Well it is nice that your neighbour promptly contacts you about the damage and then does something about repairing the situation. I hope they think to chuck in the occasional bunch of flowers or box of chocolates to say sorry? I hope the repeated damage does not reflect the quality of their build? Certainly the repeated damage will mean that the pipe will be more likely to fail in the future for the more usual reasons.

How did the storm go? The one that was meant to arrive yesterday morning was a bit of a waste of time. October is usually a dry month here (as is March), so nothing to worry about (yet).

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Oh yeah, it never occurred to me that people would use paper towel for that purpose. I mostly use either newspaper or waste office paper for the purpose of drying seeds. It does the trick just as well. Who cares what the recommended method is? People sometimes tell me so much rubbish about all sorts of plant related matters, that I don't really know what is what and so I just run the experiment and see what happens. It can be difficult finding out why things are done a certain way as people largely ignore that part of the instructions. Sometimes I wonder whether they do that just because they themselves have no idea? Dunno, what do you reckon? I saw people at ecosophia last week trying to claim that biotechnology was merely fermentation under another name. I know a thing or two about fermentation and I didn't see any gene splicing in that process! Cheeky scamps.

I reckon you'll do heaps better next season as you'll get off to an earlier start. And that really makes a huge difference. A very dedicated local bloke takes his tomatoes in and out of the house depending on the weather just so he can claim tomatoes by Christmas. It seems like a lot of work.

Yeah, sparrows are found in the city down here too, but you rarely see them in the country as they are an urban bird. I hope you do get some hummingbirds in those feeders. You are going to laugh at this. Your mention of the frozen feeders reminded me of the job of cleaning the chickens water when the air temperature is near freezing. It's an unpleasant job and for some reasons my fingers used to feel frozen too. Well, the other week I thought to myself I should get an old school kitchen brush with a handle to clean the water. A true "Doh!" moment, and I haven't looked back.

Far out, it is cold here tonight. I'm sitting out with the chickens in the orchard. It is 8'C / 46'F and the wind is blowing. It is hard to believe that the other day it was 31'C / 86'F...

Haha! Plantflation has struck yet again. What are you meant to say when they tell you that inflation is minimal but prices keep steadily rising? It all seems a bit weird to me. Bulbs are usually sold here over the early winter, so it may be a bit early for you to get cheap bulbs? Maybe?

Yes, all of our brains are like leaky sieves. A bit of a shame that! Sometimes we can perform miracles and feats of amazement though! Alas for us as they get fewer and further apart.

Baking powder. You know, like you I'm not a fan. The recipes for the Anzac biscuits call for baking soda so that the biscuits rise. Except when I use the stuff, not only can I taste the chemicals, but the biscuits flatten out rather than rising. When I don't use the stuff, they maintain their shape. My grandmother used to use that stuff heavily in cakes and it was always disappointing... Chocolate cakes aren't meant to taste like baking soda. Yuk! No way. I totally respect your point of view. Let's ban the baking soda. Rotten stuff.

I have to keep checking for foxes whenever one of the local birds calsl out. A cockatoo just landed in one of the trees and started up an epic screech - that turned out to be the bird exercising its lungs and vocal chords. A false alarm.

Nope, the medicare system down here which everyone chips into does not cover the ambulance service. And the bills are a lot like yours - unless a helicopter airlifts you to a hospital and I really don't want to know what that would cost. The membership cost is about $100 per year too. When you need them, you just need them and you never know when that will be.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Wow. The rural areas are subsidised down here because the government owns (I believe) 51% of the major telco and the remainder is listed. Ouch. The interesting thing is that the financial side of phones is such that you are generally encouraged to be on a monthly plan that includes the cost of the phone and that is how most carriers work things. Of course there are bring your own phone plans, but there is just not much in it of a savings. Oh well. The technology in phones is pretty spectacular, even my dumb phone that just makes calls is pretty intense. The funny thing is that even for that $500 phone you mentioned, the battery life is just getting less and less. Some phones barely make it through a days usage before requiring a recharge and it is pretty weird when people tell me that the battery technology is just getting better and better all the time because it just doesn't fit what I'm seeing. My dumb phone can go for almost five days without a recharge. How does your phone compare on that front?

Good to read that the tomatillas are still upright and that the garden doesn't need a water. I have to had to begin watering certain plants around the place as it is getting drier. Although to be honest, October is a very dry month usually.

I have a very interesting item to pick up tomorrow. :-)! Should be fun.

Hope it is not too cold and rainy there. Brr!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Lots of rain and wind but the real storm is supposed to arrive tomorrow. Meanwhile the barometer has gone up again and the sun is shining. This is why the English talk about the weather.

The Latvians were supposed to send all the materials and the men to put everything together. The lorries did not arrive in the correct order and there was an excess of some parts and a lack of some others. Fortunately he was paying in instalments as the staff left the country for another job before completion. He had to get other people and find somewhere here where they could match some of the roof and goodness knows what else. I doubt that I have really been told everything that went wrong though he is an open chatty fellow.

Today he is up on the roof with ladders, assistance and a lot of noise. After last night's heavy rain that sounds not so good. They haven't moved in yet and I reckon that costs have mounted hugely.

Son says that it won't occur to incomers that ancient rural pipework is never at the legally required depth. Though the fellow should have learnt by now!

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - From our “Food Me Once” department. As I was going through the check stand at Safeway, yesterday, I spotted a Snicker’s candy bar with “Pumpkin”, emblazoned on the wrapper. Didn’t have my magnifying glass handy to check out the ingredients. When I got home, I discovered that there is no pumpkin spice flavor. It just has a jack o’lantern face stamped on it. Oh, well. That all of life’s lessons could be had for $1. :-).

I have temporarily suspended (put a hold on my holds?) all my library holds. Because Stephen King’s new book (written along with his son Owen) arrived yesterday. All 700 pages of it. The very short version? All the women in the world fall asleep. Called the “Australian Flu”, by some, as it began, you know where :-). I also started watching one of the Great Courses. 24 lectures. “King Arthur: History and Legend.” It’s presented by Dr. Dorsey Armstrong, who is an old Arthur hand from way back.

I sometimes wonder if our “Doh!” moments aren’t just our subconscious working things out when we’re not looking. It just keeps itself, to itself, and then springs these solutions on us.

Oh, heck. 46 isn’t cold :-). But I’ll give that a good stiff wind makes it really seem so. We’re still getting 46 here, overnight, as our low.

I went to the other plant nursery, yesterday. It’s garlic was also $10 per. No iris root, but they did have some in pots. $13 per, which I thought was also nuts. Time to get on line. Also a very lackluster selection of other bulbs. I wonder if that last isn’t a chicken or egg, thing. I’ve noticed in store selections of this and that are getting pretty uninspiring. I wonder if it just doesn’t pay to display some things, anymore, as more people are buying, whatever, off the net. Or did poor selection drive people TO the net? Or, is it overall economic conditions or something else different, entirely. I noticed (years ago) that every hardware store in our area had the same selection of drawer and door (for furniture and cupboards) hardware. All from the same one or two companies. Pretty darned boring.

I have to charge up my little flip phone once a day. More, if I make a long call. But, it’s pretty old and probably needs a replacement. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Haha! We all share the affliction of talking about the weather here in the comments. :-)! I find it to be a fascinating topic, and the storms can often arrive here with the change in air pressure as that tends to drive the winds. I was genuinely surprised to learn that weather patterns that look like a hurricane could push as far north as the UK. Did you end up getting the storm (other than the heavy rainfall that you mentioned)?

Some things are cheaper for a reason and your neighbours experience sounds to me like one of those examples. It reminded me that many years ago I had to get a new electrician to complete the work that the previous electrician had failed to complete and the new bloke gave me a "proper" talking too. At least he finished the job but I had to pay for him to go over the previous work before he would sign off on his work. I mean, what can you do in that instance? The previous electrician decided to get out of the business and the job was half done.

Speaking of the weather, it is drizzling here tonight. Today was very overcast and cool but despite that, tonight whilst I was out with the chickens, I spotted the first tiny apples, pears, plums, cherries and mulberries. Yum! The apricots are going gang busters too!

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that whenever a one off building project is contemplated, that costs are usually several orders higher than the available budget! Hehe!

Yes, he should have learnt by now, and to be honest, in such a situation, I would replace the mains at the legal depth with new pipe. At the very least the bloke should know where the pipes run because that is sort of important to everyone in the area. Dunno, everyone is different in that regard.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

To be fair to my neighbour, he has replaced the pipework and placed it at the proper depth. He was caught out just beyond the stopcock and outside his fence. However he owns a small strip beyond that fence. The fates are always waiting for one!

I would say 'Always double the cost that you first thought of when building'.

The wind is here at present, very gusty indeed. Sunshine alternating with heavy showers. I am lucky as it is passing above me, the trees are sheltering me. I'll feel the full force when I visit some neighbours this afternoon. They are completely exposed to this wind.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

It is good to see that your quest for pumpkin flavoured treats continues. :-)! That wrapper would have thrown me too. As an interesting side note, snickers and mars bars were two of the more readily available chocolate snacks to be had in some of the remotest spots of south east Asia. They use a different mix of chocolate there due to the higher temperatures. I reckon our trek around the Annapurna region of Nepal was fuelled in part by those two confectionery snacks. Other people were fuelled differently and I recall two older blokes who were good mates and fun company and they used to tuck into a hip flask bottle of the local rum each night. I never quite understood how they were able to put in a long days walk after a night of that gear. Mostly, they displayed far greater endurance than the editor and myself and we were no slouches, although by the end of the trek there was a bit of reversion to the mean and the group mostly walked together. I have often wondered whether that indicated some sort of reversion to the meme of co-operation? Dunno, but there was something interesting in there.

I had to get up far earlier than is my usual norm this morning as the editor and I travelled into the big smoke to pick up a new colony of bees. To be honest, I felt seedy this morning… Talk about price tag shock! A colony of bees now set me back $250 whereas previously I recall that they were about $160. Talk about bee-flation! Far out. I'm not saying the garlic and iris sticker shock paled, but you know, the bees make no economic sense whatsoever. But then garlic and irises make no economic sense either.

Speaking of no economic sense, the federal government down here has removed support for renewable energy things (I never received any subsidies) and there has been a bit of whingeing, which may indicate that that renewable stuff makes no economic sense. One of the themes of this blog is that if you want to do this stuff, then you may have to ditch your previous understandings of economics and then just get on with the next task that should be done. #justsayin Hehe! Oh no, we've descended into silly land again!

I read a short excerpt online and the book looks intriguing. Did you enjoy the story, or have you finished it yet? You are a way faster reader than I. Anyway, the Spanish had their flu moment in the sun and history books early last century, so why shouldn't we? Actually, the symptoms sound horrendous and nobody wants zombie like creatures in the local environment. Incidentally, what I want to know is: Are the symptoms a pupae stage for something far worse?

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Thanks for the reminder. Wow. I'm curious as to your opinion of: Historia Regum Britanniae. Do you reckon it is worth reading? I’m asking whether you reckon I should obtain a copy? A friend loaned me a first edition copy of the Limits to Growth and the book is delicate because of its age and I have to be very careful with it. The condition reminds me of my Jack Vance pulp novels.

No doubts about it. Our subconscious works on us in mysterious ways and when the time is right, the solution (or insight) bubbles forth into our awareness. The work here unfolds a little bit at a time and I can think of no better word to describe that process.

The moons have aligned and our weather is in sync. It was just as cold again here tonight, but this time I kept myself busy and active with the chickens rather than replying on the laptop (it is toasty warm inside the house!) and I didn't really feel the cold.

We spent the day, after returning from the big smoke, extending the strawberry terrace. That work warms your inner chunks up quite nicely, and a cold cloudy October day is hardly felt. I transferred the bees into their new home too today, but we took extra precautions to ensure they were not too bothered. Anyway, I guess you, I and the bees are all cold!

Yes, well the economic and political policies we are pursuing are an attempt concentrate wealth. The sad thing about those policies are that tokens generally are only worth what someone else will exchange them for, so the whole mess is a self correcting exercise. I faced bee-flation today and it was scary.

Those lithium batteries can be purchased on eBay and will make a world of difference to your flip phone. The more efficient a battery is, the shorter its lifespan. I rather suspect that that is lost on people because they change phones so much that they don't see that end point. Dunno.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Lew,

Well I checked the figures out. I'd have to look more closely to see if they would work in his village. It's pretty full already and if he makes it much bigger he's going to have to move some furniture out of his apartment. Marty built the fence that surrounds his village too. He's quite good at building things without plans. They don't always look so good but are quite functional.

When our mother died Marty went to live with another sister while we added onto our house. He took on the project of building a bridge over a pretty substantial creek while he was there. From what I understand it's still there and holding up well.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Reece’s (the peanut butter cup people) put out a “pumpkin” version. Pumpkin shaped. :-). That one didn’t fool me.

That is sticker shock for the bees. About all one can do (or, at least all I can do) is reduce, or do away with, the costs of small things. So it isn’t such a .... burden when something large comes along that can’t be done without. At the cost of honey, figure out how many pints you’d have to get out of the bees to make up the cost of the hive. All the pollinating is an added bonus. LOL, I do a lot of cooking, from scratch, so I can afford to splurge on pumpkin this or that in the fall :-). But I really could make a lot of my own pumpkin stuff. I was looking around the Net, last night, at “pumpkin spice chocolate candy” and ‘pumpkin candy.” There’s even recipes for pumpkin ice cream.

I also looked for iris, on line. I’d like to find a nice blue “collection.” They’re out there. But, I checked 6 or so of the largest companies, and they’re all sold out. I mean, just about everything iris is sold out. Oh, well, maybe next year. But I may have found one ... And, there’s one more place to check in town.

“Sleeping Beauties” is quit well written and engrossing. But, the length .... I’m beginning to think I just don’t have the time to devote to it. So many other things are pressing. Now that I have all the characters down, and kine of know where things are headed, I may just skip to the final 1/8, or so of the book.

Government support or subsidies for alternative power seem to come, go, come again, morph. There can be Federal or State programs. I really don’t know where that all is, right now. It’s a bit the same for telacoms and rural service. For a long time, there was a Federal subsidy for rural internet service. I think that ended. Which is why rural service is getting so abysmal. There’s been several articles lately ... well, there’s always all this banging on about “working from home” or growing an internet based business. But if you’re in a poorly served rural area, it isn’t going to happen.

Well, tackle Monmouth if you want, but I don’t think I’d attempt it :-). I’m really enjoying the lectures. There’s several interesting ideas that I knew, or half knew or didn’t know that all kind of fall into place. What’s pure speculation and what’s speculation with a bit of solid support.

Was there an Arthur, or, Arthur like figure around 500 AD? Probably. About that time the Saxon advance was stopped and even pushed back in some areas. There was a dividing line, right down the center of England that lasted for 2 or 3 generations. The name “Arthur” wasn’t used much, at all, before 600AD. Then all of a sudden, you have 6 small English kingdoms who all name their first born sons, Arthur. About the same time, there’s a reference to an unrelated historical figure and the narrator observes “but he was no Arthur.” With no explaination, as, apparently, none was needed. EVERYONE would know who this Arthur was that the writer was referring to.

The professor makes the point that the Arthurian stores are like a magnet or Hoover. New elements get adapted, changed and sucked into the cycle. There is also the problem of missing source material. Writers had the habit, when they’d add a new element, of citing some older source. Monmouth actually names who he got the source from. But did he? It was a bit of ... tush covering. Even in the 1300s, new elements or characters would pop up. Where they made of whole cloth, or did they appear as older Celtic documents were accessed? Tantalizing clues, all over the place, but not much hard evidence.

My garlic selection showed up, today. Haven’t looked at it yet. We’re supposed to have two really nice days this coming week. Serious garden time on the agenda. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Your neighbour has done the right thing by lowering the depth of the water pipe to the current standards and I applaud that sort of response. I assume by "owning a small strip beyond that fence" means that there may be a second title? You know, all I can say is that you have to be on top of everything, otherwise there are consequences.

Needless to say, I'm on the emergency internet connection this evening after the intermittent fault in the modem turned into a complete disaster. The situation will make posting the blog tomorrow an interesting proposition to say the least!

Your general rule of thumb is very wise, and no doubts based on real world experience. I sometimes feel that the building codes are too strict in some areas and far too lenient in others, but then I don't own that process whilst others appear to.

Ouch. Out of curiosity, why are the neighbours exposed to that sort of wind?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

I'm on the emergency back up interweb connection this evening as the intermittent fault in the modem turned fatal earlier today. People love the cloud based software, but far out... Fortunately the editor headed out to dinner with a mate and so she doesn’t want to use the interweb thingee too…

Ha! Great to see you weren't fooled by the pumpkin shaped Reece's (the editor has a soft spot for those and they aren't usually found for sale down here). I probably would have been fooled by that! Hehe!

I have long since come to terms with the reality of the bees - and I may write about that tonight. It makes no economic sense whatsoever, but there you go. What I'm experimenting with the bees is how to ensure they survive the winters and at the same time I can extract some honey. That is not a simple experiment at all. The pollination services are the primary services, but there are other pollinators around. Interestingly I have read that having those other pollinators around forces the European honey bees to lift their game. I can see that.

Absolutely, I can cut back much further and harder if economic push comes to shove, and still have reserves. It is the lack of reserves when things go wrong that causes folks to come unstuck. You know that lack of reserves is the same thing as running down infrastructure?

Someone gave me an ice cream maker and I learned just how much sugar and fat was in that delectable mix. Well, I'm not sure how good that mix is for ones long term health. On the other hand ice cream is very tasty! How complex is that situation?

Have you checked with the smaller bulb suppliers? Irises are very attractive plants and they are so hardy. I reckon they'd survive a bushfire for sure as they have huge root systems like the agapanthus. I noticed here that they form clumps too.

Life is short and I hear you. I've put down some books because other matters intrude upon a persons consciousness. Getting to the end of the Nearing’s book was painful, but I kept hanging in there to see if any gems could be unearthed. There were a few. Perfection is a nice word, but it is not to be found in this Universe. I hope the book doesn't end with an "And then I woke up" ending? ;-)! Excuse the dodgy pun too. Hehe!

Mate! Far out... With today's modem debacle I cannot argue. Fortunately, our business is not as internet based as most. The technology is good, but I have always had the sneaking suspicion that it lacks resilience. I saw things as they were before computers, and paper based systems are pretty good.

Thank you for the opinion. Yes sorting out the wheat from the chaff is not as easy to do as it would at first seem. And obtaining an understanding as to the sources of narratives is a very valuable thing. I dipped my toes into the big bad world of marketing many long years ago and the knowledge has served me well from time to time. Not that I'm much good at marketing!

That history gives me goosebumps and Arthur would have been a very interesting person. Probably rough as guts with a very sharp mind and able to win over both the populace and the nobles. His shadow is huge.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

I just went outside to pick some greens for dinner (I'm planning to chuck in a few fried eggs too) and what stood out to me from your comment is that the impact of Arthur lasted for, as you say, 2 to 3 generations. What I take out of that is that he appears to have managed succession planning and training well, despite (and please forgive me if I'm wrong) his untimely demise on the battlefield. That to me speaks volumes about the guys character. If he was a flash in the pan, then who would remember such a character?

Good to hear as there is still plenty of time yet before winter turns up! Are you enjoying having access to your new garden plot? We extended the strawberry terrace another 2m / 7ft and planted out another 40 odd plants in there today. Yay! Today was pretty cloudy and from time to time it just drizzled. Oh well, better than floods and fires I say.

I gave up on the walnut which may or may not have died, and simply planted out an oak. It was a pin oak by the way, and that is this mountain ranges floral emblem (I believe).

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

No, there is only one title. The extra strip is a dirt (very poor) road down which 2 other properties have a vehicular right of way; hence the fence.
So many properties were built before people had cars so only approachable on foot. This still causes lots of problems.

The neighbours who get the wind, are further up the hill and surrounded by fields. It was difficult to walk in a straight line on the road, when I visited them yesterday.

Today there is a post storm blue sky with a bit of wind still. Temperature outdoors mid day is 50F.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I actually read through Mr. Greer’s blog post. More like “the good ol’ days.” :-). I saw your reference to “Aurora” by Robinson. So, I checked out the plot. Interesting. A multi-generational starship. NPR recently had a review of another similar book. “Unkindness of Ghosts” by Solomon. Interesting sounding plot. A starship set up along the lines of the old plantation slave system. Given time restraints (so many books, so little time ... never mind everything else), I probably won’t read either one. Another moldy goldy oldie, is “Cities in Flight” by Blish. I’ve reread it, probably 3 or 4 times in the 50 (or so) years since it came out. It makes me smile every time I run across it in a used book store.

But I digress ... :-). The thought stopper post was interesting, and, amusing in parts. I wonder if “because it’s there,” is a thought stopper? The professor lecturing about King Arthur often has students ask the whys and wherefores of this or that bit of detail. She’s perfectly comfortable with “Because.” :-). Yup. An “Arthur like figure” must have been a person who inspired a lot of loyalty. Crismatic. (sp?). She also makes a good case (usually written off as fraud) that perhaps the monks at Glastonbury DID find the burial place of Arthur in the 1100s. There was also some other archaeological evidence that I found interesting. She didn’t mention it, but I’ve read other places that perhaps the idea of a round table was actually a memory of warriors meeting in a ruined ampitheatre or coloseum. (Darn! Spelling). Seems like there’s always a new one turning up around Britain.

The Editor might be interested that I’ve often run across instructions for making your own peanut butter cups, at home. Doesn’t seem to complicated. At least, no more so than other forms of candy making. I’ve seen instructions on the Net, and I even think a couple of my books cover it.

Ice cream is quit nice. I try and limit myself to just a splurge in the fall ... the pumpkin. I also recently picked up a book called (I think) “No Churn Ice Cream.” There’s a substitute with frozen bananas. I tried it, liked it, got bored with it. My recent exploration of “Forks over Knives” (Engine House 2 Diet) had that, with the addition of vanilla extract and some spices. Don’t know why I didn’t think of that. I may try it again.

I finally found a collection of blue and white Dutch iris. Those are the smaller ones. So, I ordered them, yesterday. I wouldn’t be surprised if the order bounces back. “Ooops! Sorry. Out of Stock.” But the website seems pretty well maintained. We’ll see.

The weather got pretty wild, yesterday. A lot calmer, today. Cliff Mass has a post. It’s our first “atmospheric river” of the season. We are going to get nicer weather, later in the week. But I notice the overnight lows are getting lower. No frost in the forecast, yet. But, per usual, winter clear weather usually means cold weather. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - Some other E-Bay searches are Barclay, Manoil and Britains. Usually followed by "farm." At the top of the listing pages are other searches in very small print. Oh, and you select "toys" as a search area. Last night I stumbled on "Britains garden". A whole new rabbit hole :-).

I also put a couple of books on library inter-library loan. "Britains Civilian Figures." That ought to be interesting. The soldiers don't interest me much, but all the different kinds of civilian figures, do.

It sounds like Marty is quit the engineer and builder. I wonder what his Christmas village means to him? My Barclay winter figures ... well, they remind me of Uncle Larry. And, my previous mention of just liking miniatures, in general. I think also, is nostalgia for a past that really didn't exist. An idealized past. Probably he same reason I like Saturday Evening post covers from the 1930's, 40's and early 50s. Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Late to the game, it's been a busy week and on top of that, I have been having a remarkably difficult time getting a new pair of computer glasses that actually work, so I have not been spending much time on the computer. I went back to wearing the old reading glasses which don't work that well, but they are still better than the new computer glasses. Oddly, the same eye doctor that prescribed the poor computer glasses prescribed a pair of distance glasses during the same visit that work perfectly.

So you planted a pin oak. I would not have guessed they would be hardy where you are, but clearly I'm incorrect. The two huge oak trees that are just past our west property line are pin oaks. They are very popular in St. Louis and in wide usage as street trees, including on this street. They aren't supposed to be as long-lived as some of the other oaks, but they grow fast and are tolerant to pollution and a wide range of soil moisture levels.

I'm sorry that your hen Cloey died. Poor Cloey ... but I'm impressed not only that you cared enough about her to try to save her, but also that you were able to catch up to that fox!

As for the walnut tree you gave up on, the English walnut tree seems not to be widely adapted. I haven't seen any planted around here. Have you considered planting black walnuts (Juglans nigra)? The black walnut has a wide native range in eastern North America, from Texas north to Minnesota, east to northern Florida and up to southern Ontario. Missouri supplies more than half of the black walnuts sold in the US. There is one black walnut tree next door planted very close to the property line which drops quite a few nuts on our yard for our use. I planted a black walnut about 7 or 8 years ago which is just beginning to bear. The nuts are messy to process and they taste stronger than English walnuts; we don't eat them raw but they are delicious in baked goods.

Mike harvested the first rabbit of the season! I'll be cooking it sometime this week using a German rabbit stew recipe that is part of my family history. Expect a report later. ;)

Claire

SLClaire said...

@ Lew: I think your trouble with finding iris is that you started looking too late. The planting season is over in most of the US, so most nurseries would have already sold out their stock or nearly so when you started looking. The mail-order nurseries I know of should be sending out their spring catalogs after New Year's; that will be when I start to look for iris. Granted, I'm almost certainly buying from different nurseries than you because we are on opposite sides of the Rockies, but we are still both in temperate climates so we are planting at about the same times. Anyway, don't buy all the blue iris when you find some; I'll be looking for some next spring. Friends gave me some iris, but none of them are blue.

As for plant prices, they have gone up a lot in the last decade or so, at least among the non big box outfits. I don't know why, except I can guess that one factor among those that sell mail order is the corresponding rise in shipping charges over the same period of time.

Claire

Steve Carrow said...

Chris- have been traveling of late, so have a lot of internet catching up to do, but it will probably not happen. Time goes marching on, and so much news seems to feel like receptive disaster reports day after day, so maybe no big loss.

One comment on this past entry of yours on water pumping- Accumulator tanks for water pumps have an internal air bladder, since water does not compress, and at least for our conventional well, the tank is rather large, to minimize pump cycling, as you point out.

Per my understanding, this is yet another area where size matters, and matching the tank size to the pump and flow rate is key. I wonder how your accumulators were sized and chosen? Maybe the simple answer is that the cheaper one is simply a bit bigger than the other?

I can see a solar powered pump for water transfer in my future, so will be investigating this topic further when that time comes.