Monday, 27 November 2017

Dumb ways to die

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

The old washing machine died last week. The appliance was over 15 years old, and in its day it had provided sterling service, but alas it has now passed on. Passing on, in this instance, means that the machine will most likely be shipped off to a far distant country where any usable components are recovered and the remainder will end up in landfill.

On Friday afternoon, the editor and I visited a huge warehouse shop in a nearby town that sells appliances. Apparently that day was also "Black Friday", whatever that is, and retailers were making a big song and dance about the fact. Black Friday is a strange name for a celebration of all things consumerism. To me that name brings to mind wildfires. Down here there was the disastrous 1939 Black Friday fire which burnt 4,942,000 acres (or 2,000,000 ha) of land. Of course there was also the more recent 2009 Black Saturday wildfires, which I recall rather vividly, which burned 1,100,000 acres (or 450,000 ha). However, both of those fires pale in comparison to the notorious 1851 Black Thursday wildfire which burned a quarter of the land mass of this state at approximately 12,000,000 acres (or 5,000,000ha). Yes, you read those numbers correctly.

As a side note, retailers concerned about growth and a bigger impact, may want to consider re-branding the shopping frenzy day to Black Thursday?

So the retailers talk about Black Friday does not float my boat (nor did we get anymore than a token discount). The introduction of this marketing concept down here is a fairly recent initiative. Anyway I can't gauge the effect of all that marketing because, the large warehouse shop didn't seem particularly busy to me as we were served straight away. This was a good thing for two reasons: Firstly, we had no idea why there were such discrepancies in the prices for a replacement machine; and Secondly, I'm not a fan of shopping and I like to know what I'll buy and then get out again as quickly as possible. However, in this particular instance (the first reason) we had no idea, and that meant that the editor and I had to discuss washing machines with the friendly staff.

The question that we posed to the friendly staff was: "What's good and what's gonna last?" Alert readers will note that in the question, I swapped the words "going to" for the more base word "gonna". This is a deliberate ruse on my part because I'd prefer that the friendly staff believed that I was a bit thick and a bit broke. If they form this desired opinion of me, then it does me no harm, and there can sometimes be embarrassing disclosures such as: "we get a lot of returns with brand X"; and more importantly, they also tend to feel sorry for myself (and especially for the editor who plays along with the game of having a really stupid husband) and they sometimes provide good discounts.

After further discussion we decided upon a brand and then looked at two nearly identical models of washing machine for that brand. The models were the same capacity, but one was $200 cheaper than the other model. In keeping with my blunt and difficult persona, I asked what was the difference between the two? The difference in price related to the country of manufacture. All was now as clear as mud.

I do recall the days when white good appliances were manufactured in Australia, but alas such situations are much like the heard about but rarely seen: Magical Christmas Unicorns (hopefully more on that topic next week!) So, we took a gamble and purchased the model that was manufactured in Germany. We hope to get at least 15 years from this purchase.

I installed the washing machine on Saturday afternoon. As expected from a German machine, the instruction manual was quite thorough. However I don't know whether something was lost in translation or not, but the sheer number of warnings rather alarmed me! Apparently this washing machine is lethal as.

Purely for research purposes for this blog I quantified the serious risk that owing this washing machine presents to myself and the editor. The instruction manual contained:
  • 8 x Warning: Risk of death!
  • 1 x Warning: Risk of suffocation!
  • 4 x Warning: Risk of poisoning!
  • 1 x Warning: Risk of burns!
  • 3 x Warning: Eye/skin irritation!
  • 9 x Warning: Risk of electric shock/fire/material damage/damage to the appliance!
  • 6 x Warning: Risk of injury!
  • 1 x Warning: Risk of explosions/fire!
  • 4 x Warning: Risk of scalding!
Achtung baby indeed! They added the exclamation marks to the warnings, so don't blame me!

It amused me that apparently just using the washing machine for its intended purpose presents a risk of death:
Yes, you read this correctly and were warned!
I'm not suggesting that the warnings are idiotic and unnecessary, it is just that as a reasonable person who occasionally exercises a modicum of common sense, they sure look extreme to me. And who knows, maybe the manufacturer was taking an holistic approach and considering the carbon dioxide released (from the electricity used) into the atmosphere which directly impacts upon the global climate? Possibly not...

In work around the farm I use tools that genuinely present the risk of serious injury and/or death. Those tools are to be treated with respect. They also come with much better warnings, such as this one on a tree stump grinder:
Again you were warned! Use of almost any product could cause serious injury or death
The next time you use your toothbrush, I recommend that you ponder that all encompassing warning!

Speaking of using tools, death and flies and stuff, and also to prove that love is indeed a battleground, the editor spotted a massive female huntsman spider consuming its now deceased male friend. Perhaps the male spider should have heeded the warnings?
A female huntsman spider consumes its now deceased male mate
The heat has been extreme this week with most days over 32'C (90'F). The heat was combined with high humidity. In order to get some work done around the place, the editor and I have been getting up just after sunrise, starting work and then finishing around lunchtime.

After a couple of early morning mowing sessions, almost 60% of the farm has now been mowed. The prevailing weather conditions mean that the grass which was mowed a few weeks ago is now almost ready to be mowed again!
About 60% of the farm is now mowed for the summer
Observant readers will be able to spot in the above photo, not only the little red Honda push mower, but also on the middle right hand side there is a rock circle containing a first year walnut tree. I'd given up hope on that walnut tree, but the heat combined with the humidity has caused the tree to break dormancy. It is very late in the season for a deciduous tree to break dormancy, but nature tends to ignore risks and warnings, and instead focuses its energy on producing life.
The walnut has broken its dormancy. The pin oak will have to be relocated
Whilst I was mowing, the editor was trimming all of the garden beds along the various paths and concrete staircases. Triffid alert! Several paths and staircases were unable to be used as the plant growth had completely overtaken them. We use an electric hedge trimmer which is of course powered by the solar. The trimmer is also German, but comes with less warnings, ironically.
The garden beds on either side of pathways and concrete staircases were cut back
Even Mr Poopy, who is sadly on a diet, now enjoys easier access to the many paths!
Mr Poopy enjoys the now easily accessible paths
All of the prunings are moved by hand and dumped into a developing garden bed. The prunings eventually compost down into a fine rich black soil which is perfect for garden beds. Some of the more hardy plant varieties even take root and grow as the other less hardy plants compost into soil.
Prunings are unceremoniously dumped into a developing garden bed
Just to the left of the garden bed in the above photo, the longer established garden bed looks like this:
A second year garden bed which is grown on composted prunings
We also spent one very hot afternoon planting out the remainder of the summer vegetables in the tomato enclosure. In the next photo below, you can see that there was no reason at all for us to raise any tomato seedlings because nature had already taken care of that job with no effort at all on our part. Also in that enclosure are: Blueberries; Gooseberries; Chilean Guavas; Capsicum (Peppers); Chili (Jalapeno); Eggplants; Pumpkin; Melons; Corn; Beans; and Horseradish. Yum!
The tomato enclosure was planted out with summer vegetables
The many fruit trees are slowly producing ripening fruit and the next few photos are a sample:
Apricots are plentiful as long as the wallabies don't first destroy the branches that are hanging heavy and within reach
This is my first summer with fruit from the slow growing European pears and I'm looking forward to tasting them
Asian nashi pears are prolific and the birds will do a good job at thinning the excess fruit
The many horse chestnut flowers have turned into buckeyes which are used to produce a valuable and gentle soap
Homegrown almonds are very tasty
Blueberries are very slow growing here and this example is only a couple of weeks away from becoming sun ripened
I picked and ate my first ripe mulberry today! Yum!
The tastiest fruit at the moment are the cherries. I better get onto harvesting the early ones before the birds notice them!
With the ongoing heat and high humidity, the triffid warning above is to be taken more seriously than any "death by washing machine". If you don't believe me, then check out these flower photos:
Blue cornflowers are now found in the pasture below the house
The flowers for this tri-coloured sage are attractive
Salvia's are as delightful as they are heat and drought tough
The foliage on this Japanese maple is really stunning
Massed daisies. Nuff said!
This foxglove comes back in the same spot in the garden every single year
Geraniums and Elderberry are a delightful and heat hardy combination
Poppies, Pyrethrum and Granny's Bonnets make an attractive display
This is a plant from the Canary Islands but I am unsure what the name is. Does anyone have any ideas?
The temperature outside now at about 8.15pm is 13’C (55’F). So far this year there has been 840.8mm (33.1 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 823.0mm (32.4 inches).

60 comments:

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Cont… from yesterday. The storm was a fizzer and all it appeared to achieve was socking the farm into a massively thick fog. The humidity was intense. This Friday the rainfall forecast looks very extreme and an unusual colour on the chart, so I'll have to hang around all day long and make sure that the farm is not washed down the hill.

Sprouts are an outstanding way to get some very readily digestible minerals into your system. I have remarked to folks in the past that if you live in an apartment, then sprouts are one of the most easily grown plants that pack a huge goodness one-two punch. Of course, some folks feel that I'm mucking around when I suggest such things but I am not kidding (on this occasion).

The artisan hat dude adjusted a Scottish tweed hat that I picked up many years ago. It was a bit tight for my head - or perhaps my head had swollen, I'm not sure what that means!!! Hehe! Anyway, he unpicked the join and then resewed it for the actual measurements of my head. He even used an old school tape measure which he wrapped around my swollen noggin. It is a real pleasure to be in the presence of masters of their craft. Your Irish cap may have been adjusted if the size difference wasn't too great?

I hope your Idaho friend is traversing the difficulties of the human existence and not suffering more than the situation calls for? It is a difficult situation. The Bristol glass present sounds very thoughtful. Did you know that high temperature glass used in fire boxes also has that slightly redish-pinkish hue when you look into the depths of an edge? Most modern glass appears to have a greenish hue so the difference is readily apparent. It is very expensive stuff down here too that glass.

Did you discover who the artist was that produced the very Deco looking lady? It is a notable form that description! :-)!

Honestly, you appear to have scored quite well in your hunt and bagged some decent gear.

It is funny how the oak pieces aren't appreciated as much as they once were. It is an interesting timber too because it begins life as yellow as pine and then ever so slowly darkens as it ages. A fine grain too and very strong. I have seen some old parquetry floors with English Oak and they were works of art.

Honestly, we can ship small items around the globe for very little cost, so no wonder eBay has such pull. On the other hand I notice that down here folks are spruiking other interweb purchasing platforms nowadays, so the golden rule inevitably comes into play. I distinctly recall the days before eBay when a newspaper called the Trading Post was printed once per week and it was black and white with classified line ads and you had to ring up the advertiser and suss them out. Something has been lost in translation in the meantime and certainly a skill has withered in the population. Of course, I appreciate the colour photographs that can be seen on the interweb ads... And I can purchase very obscure items and parts that were almost impossible to obtain only a decade or two ago.

Yeah, another commenter mentioned that dishwashing argument about the water saved. I'm unimpressed with such arguments because, the machine is not free, it uses highly toxic pollutants, damages the things it is intended to wash, and the article completely failed to mention the energy used to heat the water in the machine in the first place. The water argument is at best a furphy, and at worst a bucket of manure! Like, water is the only input that counts... Mr Liebig would have something to say about water too so they may be onto something, but I suspect that point is lost on them.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Exactly. Life is too short for such cooking in a dishwasher rubbish.

Hey, I discovered that broad beans can be used in a fermented three bean salad (aka the KFC reverse engineered salad). They're tasty.

Oh my, the Silly-Marillion is a real thing from 2004 no less. Ah yes, not since Bored of the Rings... Incidentally, I have known a few folks who were actually Bored of the Rings and put down the book at the river scene. My opinion is that Tolkien overdid the introspection bit and other authors just ran with it... Stephen Donaldson, far out that sixth book wore me out. Done, I just wanted Lord Foul or whomever was in charge to stomp the living daylights out of the very un-merry band of introspective bores. Compared to that lot, accountants sure know how to party!

No worries, the title alone is worth the price of the book. :-)! A review will be forthcoming. I once recall an enjoyable English text on cider making which digressed into the unusual topic of wearing only underwear in order to scare off female partners from becoming too interested in the dark and arcane arts of home brew. It will be hard to beat that one!

There are only so many stories as you once told me, and no doubts you are correct. We'll all just have to make sure that as I once amusingly heard an English DJ remark (Calvin Harris if I'm not mistaken - a very talented bloke too): "Take something from the past, and give it a spin for the youth of today". Or something along those lines. Yup, cosmic indeed! Hehehe!!!!

Has anyone ever produced a cookbook about what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers? Our fortunes are made - of course, we must dual publish this culinary behemoth. :-)! Actually, the weight of expectations is weighing down upon me in this matter (as such things do), so I gift the idea to you and your fortune is now made! How did the banana muffins work out?

Perhaps there is another genius marketing concept in the making: Magical Thanksgiving Pumpkin Delights? Winning!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Hazel,

Absolutely, the weather over the past two weeks has been feral. That is a huge amount of rain too. I hope your garden coped well? Such years remind me of the importance of raised garden beds which are incredibly well drained.

The rainfall forecasts for Friday look about as feral as things get here. It is a bit scary...

The self seeded tomato plants will most likely grow reasonably true to type depending on the parentage, I guess.

Thanks as it has been very difficult to work in the ongoing heat. By 2pm outside, I'm finished. Oh well.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

Ah yes, the deadline is fast approaching for the submission. No doubts you'll be fine. I'm not much good with fiction and so I have no idea what the editing process even looks like. Does Mrs Damo assist you with the editing? A few odd dusty old Martian mysterious ruins (with perhaps unidentifiable hand controls - a la Red Dawn?) would be quite picturesque?

Have you read Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy? I really enjoyed that, but can't recall the surf culture in the story, but then I wasn't really looking for it either.

Fair enough too, the stayers died a slow painful death in their stubborn refusal to consider the ecology of their operation and one day just went quiet. Not a bang, but a whimper which is the scarier proposition by far. I always wondered if a few Earth bugs became established on Aurora? It is a possibility which was never addressed.

Top work. I use the mister hoses too as they and just run them for ten minutes per day and that is that. Good to hear that you have some time to get back into the growing of vegetables.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

60'F is warmer than here tonight and I'm sitting at the computer wearing a woolen jumper. Go Doug and well done with the honey sales. And a food truck. That Christmas tree farm is doing a brisk business and they may require more land as a future plantation. Sometimes you run out of stock and shut the business down for the year. What else do they do? The local cherry farm is like that, in that they sell umpteen varieties of cherries for a month or so and then shut the farm gate again for the next ten months.

Thanks, and there are plenty of well established runners, so if you don't succeed at first, replant in April (my mid Autumn)!

Ouch! You have my sympathies and some people are just sent to try our patience and good grace.

Hopefully next year I'm onto the maintenance of the place earlier in the season. It does get easier every year, but sometimes, things spin out of control. Nature can throw you a curve ball from time to time, as of course you would know. I'm genuinely worried about the rain forecast for Friday. The colour on the forecast is not one that I usually get to experience...

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

My first beginnings of a reply vanished. So here goes again. Those danger warnings are beyond belief, I have never seen anything like it, but then my German washing machine is still doing okay after 25 years.

Interesting that you can switch consciously to 'gonna/er' I forget which it was. I do the same thing but it is automatic, not under my control; I copy the accent of the person with me. Interestingly it does help one to get on with people.

A fox has taken Son's gander. He had moved the geese to some grass further away from his home and unfortunately he just didn't get home from a job, early enough. It is of course becoming dark rather early at present. The geese are calling for the gander.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - From last week. Yup. It's sometimes startling what people collect. In the collectibles biz, we used to have a saying "garage sale stuff." Kind of "low rent" areas of collecting. Avon bottles, bottles in general. Oh, well. I guess it's all harmless as long as one doesn't spend to much and gets a bit of enjoyment out of the stuff.

Sometimes, there's a bit of market manipulation. Collect something, warehouse a lot of the rarer pieces of ... whatever. Write the book, become the "authority" and make a killing. "Character" collectibles seem a big area. The M&M candy characters, Keebler Elves (biscuits). I'd guess it's a bit of a sub classification of advertising collectibles.

I have a weakness for miniatures. I've been attracted by the idea of collecting some kind of miniature buildings. When I was out and about, I discovered a small replica of the Tower of London. Under $4. Lilliput Lane Company. Turns out they have hundreds of twee miniature cottages and historic buildings. And, they're made in Britain. None of that Chinese ... stuff. Better yet (from a collectible point of view) the company recently went out of business. But will they hold, or increase in value, or slowly fade away?

I don't think I'll actively collect them. But, if I happen to fall over one, on the cheap ... I have to keep reminding myself that I want to upgrade my "stuff." Less twee "decor" and more "quality." All relative terms. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I was a bit startled that Black Friday had migrated Down Under. And you don't even get the food laden holiday to kick it off. What a rip off! :-). Then there's Cyber Monday (all things electronic) and Small (or Independent) Saturday. Retail is on the run and trying to get a handle on buying habits. Or, create new ones. Depending on what you read, it's hard to get a fix on what is actually going on. The edge seems to have been taken off the mob scenes at the big box stores. People SEEM to be spending more time in front of their computers, looking for bargains, rather than wearing out the shoe leather.

I noticed a lot of people about in downtown Centralia on Friday and Saturday. I'd thought they'd all be out at the big box stores. The local opportunity store had a half off everything sale, on Friday, and it was packed. But they run those from time to time, anyway. Just an idle thought before I forget. On one hand they say inflation is very low. But, I heard a report yesterday, that the 17 most popular National Parks are going to double their entry fees. Pressing infrastructure repairs and budget problems were given as the reason.

It's always an ordeal shopping for and buying a "major purchase." So, I suppose it's got chips and mother boards galore. Connected to the internet of things? So the company can track how often you wash your skivies. :-). A GPS chip? Who knows? The washer may wander off into the orchard, some night.

Product warnings are a hoot and often provide entertainment. But it all boils down to our suit happy society. Don't know if it's true or not, but I heard a story that Sears had to put a disclaimer on their ladders to not set up the ladder in piles of manure. Apparently someone had done that, was injured, and won a large settlement. Might be an urban legend.

One must keep the paths open. There's always a lot of trimming up, going on around here. Usually early in the am. When solar trimmers are no longer available, I suppose it will be back to the old fashioned machete. Whip and chair? Have you ever considered how long it would take for your place to "return to nature" without tending? Such is the stuff of sci-fi. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. The walnut sprout looks such a tender little thing. Looks like you'll have bumper crops of several fruits and veg. I noticed you mentioned pyrethrum. Do you actually do a bit of processing for insect repellent? I've been considering planting a small patch, here.

I always work the trimmings back into the ground. The tomatilla, pumpkin, tomato ... all went back into the earth of my plot. I leave the roots as undisturbed, as possible. Let them rot out on their own time. The only thing I toss are invasive weeds. The Ladies don't do any of this, and look a bit skeptical. But seem to have developed a "wait and see" attitude.

Opps! By "sprouts" I meant Brussels sprouts. I probably have servings of those 2 or 3 times a week, Ditto, broccoli. The potluck was kind of a disappointment. Only one lady brought what I consider "real food." It was mostly muffins (guilty), pies ... desert things. Even the Real Food entry was a chicken "pie" recipe, done in a square baking pan. Lots of creamed soups, frozen or canned veg and heavy on the Bisquik topping. Recipe lifted from BC (Betty Crocker). Tasty, but not innovative.

Oh, there's probably a cookbook out there for Thanksgiving leftovers. There sure are enough articles in magazines and on the Net. There was an article at the Slate Magazine site about the cookbook industry but it turned out to be a podcast. I don't have much patience for those. I might get back to it, maybe.

Oak has an interesting grain and in a lot of the old furniture, it was cut in different ways to produce different effects. Quarter sawn, etc.. English pieces of furniture from the same time period, seem to have less veneer and more solid wood. At least that's the impression I get from what I've seen.

I saw a small item on E-Bay, the other day, and the shipping was $30+. Not in this lifetime. :-). Cosmic. My friend Scott is slogging his way through Stephen Donaldson. He talks about it and my eyes glaze over. Just me. My antipathy to fantasy. Lew

Jo said...

Chris, I loved the iconic Dumb Ways To Die railway ad!

I have the same approach to dealing with prunings that you do. Currently I am piling them on a future fruit tree bed. Next winter I hope to be planting apple trees into a well-composted loam. So much better than letting all that good green manure go offsite.

Today I have no idea what your mystery flower is! But, you can get plant ID apps that work very well - you take a photo on your phone of the flower in question and the app matches it to its databank of plants. Worth a try if you get no joy here with all the human plant ID buffs!

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

May you enjoy a further 25 years of use from your washing machine. And you may be as surprised as I was by the warnings in the manual should you purchase a new one. That machine is apparently one lethal beast! :-)!

It is a conscious thing for me as I try not to talk past an audience. If it happens for you without conscious effort, that's a great thing. Language and the way it is used is a tool with which we identify with each other, and sort of using words like "gonna" identifies you as part of a particular tribe that hopefully the audience are also part of. It is all good really, and I try hard to speak to as many different people as I can. And yeah, it really does help a person to smooth their way through the social experience.

Of course as we are discovering in the never ending and rather startling series of men behaving badly revelations, there are times when people use language as a weapon to harm others for their own benefit. Those are very insecure people living atop a house of cards. I steer clear of that lot, but usually give them enough rope to hang themselves as I want to be sure of who they are.

So sorry to read about the loss of the gander to the fox. I reckon the gander would have not gone down without a fight. It seems very early in the winter season for a fox to take out a gander, but then foxes are very opportunistic. Is your son planning to replace the lost gander? I plan to purchase two additional chickens in February. The fox is around a lot nowadays and I have to stay sharp.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Jo,

It is such a fun bit of music and video isn't it? Most people overseas would not have understood the reference, so here goes: Dumb Ways to Die! I believe one of the folks from the Melbourne band: "The Cat Empire" wrote the music and melody.

cont...


Fernglade Farm said...

The pruning / composting is a great idea for feed for future fruit trees. Oh yeah, why send minerals off site - usually to landfill too. It just makes no sense to me. As your garden beds get used to eating prunings, you'll find that the prunings break down quicker too.

I tried my first yoghurt experiment with backslopping from the previous batch today. Of course instructions should have been read and followed because I forgot to add a small amount of milk powder to the batch... Oh well. It tastes very good to me, almost like cream and the consistency is semi-solid. Yum! I added a pinch of Bulgarian yoghurt starter to the mix too and that is part of my ongoing fermenting adventures. There are another two inoculum's in transit and on there way here.

Alas, woe is me as I have a dumb phone - by choice.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, you can't blame the retailers for wanting to cover their ever increasing costs with increased sales. I'd never heard of Black Friday down here until maybe last year. The cultural reference is lost on us and the shop didn't look any more or less busy than I would have expected. Oh no! I've seen that Cyber Monday advertised and that was lost on me too as I had no idea it was a thing. Right. There is something in what you wrote about people shopping from their computers.

The local op shops down here also have occasional half price sales and those are crazy days. I picked up a stainless steel Mouli (hand operated food mill / kitchen utensil) the other day, and the packaging looked as if it was purchased in the 1970's and then forgotten about in the back of a cupboard. At least it wasn’t behind the couch! It was clearly never used and only $5. I couldn't believe it. And if you've ever seen packaging from the 1970's, well you just know how I dated it back to those days. It was possibly originally a wedding present?

Do you ever put any thought into the stories behind the items that you pick up in your travels and hunts? Like why did someone discard that item? Did it have any sentimental value to them? Was it part of an estate clearance?

The washer has enough warnings that I'm checking each morning to see whether it has travelled anywhere overnight on a mysterious adventure. That would make a good kids book don't you reckon?

There are a few of those warning type urban legends. I enjoyed the one about the person who hired a campervan and then crashed it because apparently they thought that "Auto" meant that it was self driving. I always thought that the concept of a reasonable person test played a part in these cases... Apparently not! Your mention of GPS's put me in mind of the unusual folks who follow GPS's past the point of common sense. Oh well.

That thought had occurred to me about the machete and I have a carbon steel brush hook and pruning shears and a hand saw and know how to sharpen them. One advantage of possibly having more time, is that you have more time! I'd give it two years and the garden would take over the paths and everything. That is one of the down sides of developing the soil because the cycles accelerate. When you’re drawing down on reserves, the opposite effect occurs.

Speaking of which... Ta-da! New adventures in fermentation... I added a new bacterial inoculum to my yoghurt batch today and then backslopped the old batch and cooked up a new batch of very tasty yoghurt. The new inoculum is apparently of Bulgarian origin and the batch now tastes to me like a tasty cream or perhaps crème fraîche is a more appropriate comparison. Yum!

The walnut has sprouted in two spots on the trunk and I can't tell whether the lower sport is root stock as the tree does not look grafted to my eyes. I could be wrong though. I'll leave the pin oak in the bed for now and perhaps relocate it during mid autumn when hopefully things have cooled down a bit and the sun does not bite as hard. The UV down here really is a surprise to most tourists, who inevitably get burned - sometimes quite badly.

No. I probably should process the pyrethrum as a mosquito repellent. They're very hardy from what I see here and they can readily self seed which is fine by me as they are very useful plants. Insect repellent is a very useful item. I recommend giving them a go.

The gardening process which you describe is a superb methodology. I'll be curious to see over the next few years if you can plant at much closer spacing than is usually recommended. My gut feeling, and obviously it needs to be experimented with, is that the increased soil health and life will mean that your plants are less disease and pest prone and thus your yields will increase as you may be able to plant more densely. It is nice that the ladies are taking that approach as I reckon you are onto something good. :-)!

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Oh no! Brussel sprouts are a bit bitter for my palate. People swear that straight off the plant they are not bitter, but even the ones I've tried tasted bitter. Look, you know, I'm going to invoke the very dodgy cabbage moth excuse number three. That excuse goes along the lines of: Cabbage moths make growing brassica's really difficult and the Brussel sprouts that I've grown in the past, well, they just got eaten... A bit of a shame that! ;-)! Of course, you and I know the truth of the matter. Hehe!!! I know, I know, they are really good for your health and digestion. I get it.

Now broccoli is a whole 'nother story. A very tasty vegetable. Yum!

Yum! I have a soft spot for Bisque soups, but down here, you rarely see them on offer. Of course I could buy some crustaceans at the market...

Ouch! So our fortunes will not be made with the Thanksgiving leftover cook book. The articles are good intentioned. I used to have a mate that deliberately over ordered at restaurants and he just liked leaving food. Of course, I liked taking doggie bags back of uneaten food and that activity was at odds with leaving uneaten food. That is a complex scenrio! Oh well. The dogs won and the friendship dwindled over time. That's life.

It is funny, but on the UK Grand Designs program over the years I've seen quite a lot of oak used in many constructions. Interestingly, the builders generally leave any oak beams exposed which is an appreciation of the timber itself and also respect for the gift from the tree. It is an unusual timber in that it hardens as it dries. The hardwoods down here do the same thing, but they usually require less drying as they are hard to begin with. Both species make superb furniture. I try to avoid veneers, but one item I purchased as a solid timber item had a few veneer panels and that was a bit of a disappointment as I couldn't sand the veneered sections as readily as the hardwood sections. The perils of furniture restoration. Most of the time I get it right, but occasionally wool can be pulled over my eyes. Has that ever happened to you with furniture?

Well, I did intend to purchase Mr Greer's latest offering, but at AU$120 landed here at the post office, it was a bit outside my book budget and so I'll wait until the paperback or the trade paperback turns up for offer. That isn’t a complaint, it is just sometimes things work out that way.

Mate! Far out... I'm hearing about Mr Donaldson second hand and my eyes are also glazing over. To be honest, there were good parts with the series, but the sixth book just trashed me and I put it down before finishing and got rid of the series out of my little collection. I am feeling your pain!!! Hehe! Ah, the things that we must do.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Sounds like you got a quality washing machine. While I agree the warnings listed are pretty crazy I imagine the manufacturer is just covering all bases when it comes to liability. I don't know if I mentioned how my brother, Patrick, died. His death was caused by positional asphyxia when he somehow fell into the large capacity washer in his building. There was no water in it. We figured he was reaching in for something, fell in and couldn't get out.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The Bristol glass is for me. The Hummel is for my Idaho friend. LOL. It's too twee to have in the house. Or, the wrong kind of twee :-). Every antique was probably part of an estate clearance at one time or another. Stuff filters onto the market through so many channels. Downsizing, divorce. Economic distress.

Can't say I've ever been stung by a piece of furniture. I generally expect some of the back or exterior wood to be of less quality. Drawer sides, bottom and back. Sometimes the interior drawer glides are of such soft wood that they wear down and the drawer doesn't work right, anymore. There are remedies.

There are at least two cookbooks on the market for what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers. :-). Here also, is an article (not too long) on the state of the cookbook industry. There are some pleasant surprises. Some areas of cookbooks don't interest me at all. "Celebrity" cookbooks, cookbooks from some "famous" restaurant. Most of the modern chefs don't interest me much. Food fad stuff. I tend to go for the basic, down home or ethnic cooking. Some chefs that have a bit of longevity. Last week I stopped in our new book warehouse at our factory outlet stores. Mostly publisher remainders and foreign imports. But I found a copy of James Beard's "American Cooking." I'd been looking for quit awhile. A brand new copy, $35. 60% discount plus a discount for being old. I was pleased.

http://www.latimes.com/food/dailydish/la-fo-cookbooks-20161026-story.html

Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Congratulations on the successful batch of yogurt. Time to get back to healthy food, again. So, last night I made up big batches of brown rice, a pan of cornbread and oatmeal that will be good for two or three meals. Bulk basics that can become all kinds of things. I want to get the tree up, this week. Major undertaking and I want food on hand to see me through :-).

Brussels sprouts have never struck me as bitter, but I just saw someone else refer to them the same way. Maybe it's genetic? Or, my taste buds are a bit on the dead side. LOL. I got the same song and dance from the Garden Goddess. Don't bother with cabbage, sprouts or broccoli. Cabbage moths. I did see a few about, this summer. I might try a few starts, liberally sprinkled with .. BTU? That bacteria stuff. In our rainy climate, frequent applications are probably necessary. Interesting. The Master Gardener dude warned me against planting too densely. Said it was why my tomatoes got a bit of rust. Again, our climate. They were a bit crowded by the tomatilla. But then, I didn't expect a tomatilla jungle :-). Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Hazel,

Before I forget: I hope your garden survives intact on Saturday and stay out of the rain. The weather looks feral.

I'm expecting quite a bit of the fruit to swell and split, but we'll see how it goes.

Cheers

Chris

Hazel Marchant said...

Hi Chris

My garden survived the downpour well - it is well-established, and the worst that happened was some tan bark washed onto the driveway. As we live on a hill, we are well drained. We also have a very uncomplicated roof (no hips or gables) which helps keep water out of the ceiling space! Saturday does promise to be epic, but I'm sure we'll still be standing on Sunday. ;-) Does that sound like famous last words?

Your yoghurt sounds delicious! I haven't made any in ages, but I have been brewing kombucha. It is one of my favourite things, but buying commercial brands costs an arm and a leg, So I learned to make my own. I flavour it with raspberries, usually, though the plain brew is also pleasant. Fermentation is a wonderful thing!

I hope the weather on Friday/Saturday doesn't cause any damage at your place. Pity the wallabies, out in it, though I suppose the forest provides a good shelter. With luck, your fruit may still be young enough to absorb the water without splitting. My peaches look the same as usual, so we can hope.

Cheers,

Hazel

Coco said...

Hi Chris,

We had our first freeze yesterday, -3 C, so it´s good to see your summer pics.

Our appliances have been mutinous, washer mysteriously leaking, refrigerator won´t cool and yet forming ice in the freezer, dishwasher kaput. Ongoing troubleshooting. I hope you get 25 more years!

Black Friday and the inevitable Christmas advertising deluge has completely taken over here. Which reminds me I have to go out and forage something for decorations. V did score 2 lollipop standard holly trees for the front door. Pretty!

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret, Lewis, Coco, and Hazel,

Thanks for the lovely comments. Mexican food in the big smoke was calling me tonight, and I have come home too late to reply, and promise to reply tomorrow night.

Margaret - I am just so sorry.

Lewis - Far out, the weather spirits have been unkind today as I spotted 43'C (109'F) on the thermometer in the big smoke, whilst up here in the mountains it got to 38'C (100'F). It is just feral hot for this early in the season. A lot of weather records have been broken in this corner of the world in recent weeks. I worked in an factory with only a fan and an open window, but you get used to it and adapt and I must confess to not letting it stop me from enjoying my afternoon coffee and small chunk of New York cheesecake. I did however look very professional at work in shorts, a t-shirt and sandals, but at least I did not overheat. :-)! It did get rather uncomfortable as the day wore on. Oh well, on a positive note, there were not many folks wanting to eat outside on the street tables. The funny thing was that when the door to the restaurant opened it was like being blasted by a refrigerator. There were lots of people walking around though which was good to see.

When I got home, I spent a while watering the various garden beds and then I was even able to clear some plants away from a very young olive tree which had been outgrown. I cannot do that during the daylight hours because the insects are unrelenting and I would end up with multiple stings or bites. Just not worth the risk. Melbourne is still very quiet on a bird and insect front. It is noticeable, not that many will notice that.

Gotta bounce!

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

I cannot believe your heat - that is really scary. Perhaps it is a good thing that you took so many flower photos this week as they may be wilted next time.

Say - which book was it that you have ordered? The one about the chicken goblins? I haven't had time to read all the comments yet.

I always think of Black Friday as a massacre, like the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, or like 1929's Black Tuesday. Undoubtedly I would feel differently if I had a retail establishment.

Blueberries are slow-growing here, too.

Be very careful! If you cook your head and acquire another case of purpleness, your head may swell.

Could you please explain the connection between home brewing and wearing only underwear? I thought everyone brewed that way.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

We had an oak shower yesterday. As I was sitting in the sun in the garden, oak leaves just started showering down all around me and all through the woods. The oak trees must have dropped about 50% of their leaves all in about an hour's time; it was only the oaks, too. I guess the temperature and the breeze were just right. They are quite bare now.

I have finally finished washing all of our tomato and pepper ties. Over the years we have created hundreds of ties made from old sheets to attach our tomato and pepper plants to their supports. Finally this year - after suffering a lot from tomato blight - we decided that it might be a good idea to soak the ties in diluted bleach and then wash them before storing them, hopefully so as to kill of whatever pathogens might be attached to them.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

I also unconsciously take on the accent and language of whomever I am talking to. With my Texas friends I have a Texas accent, with my Virginia-born friends a "Southern" one, Mexican, ditto. I worry a bit that people might think I am being condescending. I have wondered what would happen if I found myself in a really international gathering. Or with Chris and the Editor . . .

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - You're weather sounds feral. 100+F for Christmas? When I walked to the men's meeting, last night, I saw a house with so many lights I'm sure it could be seen from outer space. :-).

Here, it's been warmish with on and off rain. I'm keeping an eye on the weather to figure out a window to run to Shelton. That's just under an hour NW from here, but they're on Puget Sound, so the weather is a bit different. So far, Sunday looks best. "Slight chance of showers." Plastic tarp at the ready.

Mexican is good. Very good. Lew

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Well who would have thought anything like that would happen but I guess there's freak accidents more than we think thus all the warnings. I'm sure the owner of Patrick's apartment building and the organization who oversaw him worried a bit but you can't make anything totally safe. Patrick got himself in more than a few dangerous situations. We did what we could to keep him safe but the only way to be sure was not to let him do anything.

Hope the Mexican food was good. We have several good Mexican restaurants in town as we have a large hispanic population. They have much more authentic food versus the Americanized version.

Sorry that Black Friday is making it to your neck of the woods. I feel sorry for all the people who work in retail who can't enjoy time with their family. As long as people keep shopping on Thanksgiving the stores will continue to stay open.

Margaret

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks and I really do try and chuck money behind products that promise quality, it is just that quality has such a vague meaning these days that I get confused and am not sure what is what and the results can be very surprising. Some really basic items are very high quality and you just never know how it will turn out. The heat is crazy here today and I dropped the old washing machine off at the tip which is the first stage of its crazy journey into the world of recycling. My best hope with the machine is that at least the steel sheet has some value and of course the motor will contain copper and some rare earth materials. Oh well.

Long ago I read about some folks who used an alternative clothes washing system. The clothes sat in a large tub of soapy water. The tub was located next to a door, and the expectation was that people entering and leaving via that door had to agitate the clothes in the water with a stick. I guess it would work, but such a system would be a hard sell and the editor would believe that I had lost my mind. Best to get the new washing machine instead!

The warnings are crazy, but far out, your comment above was not even a remote imagining in my mind. Again, you have my condolences and I understand how close you felt to Patrick.

You are absolutely spot on, as life is a risky venture at the best of times. I worry about accidents just working around here as they can occur without warning and even with the very best of intentions. The tool that has injured me the most is the chainsaw and it is usually when chunks of timber are grabbed by the chain and flung back at me at high speed. The forestry dude was always at me about wearing chaps which protect your legs, but far out it gets hot. Nowadays I slow down, take breaks and try to anchor anything I'm cutting but there is always the risk of the black swan event.

Have you and Doug avoided such things over the years whilst working about your property?

Actually the Mexican food was very good and full of vegetables and fermented beans with only a small quantity of meat and cheese. Just the thing for a hot night (34'C / 93'F). Usually Mexican food is served the other way around with lots of cheese and meat, but I've often suspected that this is not very authentic as very few cultures can consume such foods. It is tasty though.

Working on Public Holidays is tough for anyone as the crowds are intense. Penalty rates were apparently cut for those days down here recently so I try not to purchase things on those days.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

One does not want too much "twee" in their house do they? It can be a bit cloying after all. However, it is an excellent word which is not often see in these interweb days. Well, the mind does spin off in all sorts of unusual directions at these moments and I noticed that the definition mentioned the word "sentimental" and of course the definition implied that this was used in an affected manner. The mind still drifts and then I recall that the long since deceased author: C. J. Dennis wrote a poem titled: The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke which I believe was turned into a silent film, but way back in the day - The Sentimental Bloke. As an interesting side story, the author set about creating a singing garden in the hills to the east of here and it survived the 2009 fires largely unscathed. It is very nice. Is there a reference to it? ... ... Here goes: Singing gardens - photo gallery. Sorry, I digress! :-)!

Your expectations are perhaps more realistic than mine. It was the side panels that threw me with the unit. They were constructed using a cheap veneer. On the other hand, I'm not grumbling as the doors and top were solid timber of good character, as was the frame. It is possible that the unit had been repaired at some point in the past, and I guess all furniture with longevity tells a long and detailed story of its journeys. Perhaps I may have been getting spoiled rotten picking up all that other solid timber furniture (which we restored) for not much at all over the years. Old furniture goes through phases of being popular and I guess that reflects the general economy.

Not fair at all! Anyway, the best ideas are often other people’s ideas and those cookbooks are probably pretty good. The article was interesting and the side note about flattening of e-book sales is very good news. But wow, this quote was interesting: "There was no filter; you became the filter". I'm going to cogitate on that thought as there is something deeper within it. Maybe? And interestingly too, they understand that there is a tactile dimension to books that can't be delivered digitally.

Thanks. The Bulgarian strain of yoghurt is apparently quite famous and can be reproduced endlessly. Further experiments are underway right now in the kitchen and I'll see how things progress. I'm keeping a small sample of the previous batch in case I completely stuff it up. Only sensible. I’m also adding other strains to the mass and they can all fight it out, like Jackie Chan, but yoghurt style. What I have learned from this yoghurt situation is just how far back I had to reach in order to bypass the most recent industrial improvements.

The Thanksgiving fare is now also in the past for you! :-)! I generally have large quantities of flour and oats on hand as they are both useful. Oats are particularly good. But there are other food items too which most people probably don’t have a clue what to do with.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Well, the whole cabbage moth thing is a real thing, but mostly the hot weather causes the plants to bolt to seed and unless I grow them in artificial environments (which I'm not keen to do) they're just hard during high summer. On the other hand a species of parasitic wasp is getting established which lays its eggs into the green moth larvae. It is an ugly business and sort of like something out of an Alien film... You may get them in your part of the world and they lay little hard yellow sacks on vertical walls. People may be inclined to remove the sacks.

Again, there is truth in what he is saying about the rust and growing too densely, but there is probably as much truth in the mineral deficiencies in the soil too. It is a multi-faceted problem. I know a bloke around these parts that has rust problems in his garden. He's been growing vegetables here for about 30 years and I suspect his soil may be played out a bit. Even if you compost everything and return it into the soil, you just never know what you may be missing out on, and if it is not there in the first place and you don't compost your own manure... Not all composts are the same.

This storm is going to be big! I'm in a catchment area for the Maribyrnong River which is mentioned in this article: Victoria weather: Heavy rain, 'massive flooding' forecast as Premier warns of 'challenging period'. Outside now is hot as at about 33'C / 91'F. I took the afternoon off working outside and will work later in the evening getting the property prepared for the onslaught... Speaking to other people I feel that they do not understand the potential this storm has. Oh well.

Yes, Christmas here is always unpleasantly hot. I avoid the alcohol and stick to salads and try to not to over indulge in the very tasty roasted meats. I recall one year when all of my friends went off to have an afternoon disco nap after lunch and the editor and I picked through their collection of books and simply kicked back and read.

Oh yeah, those Christmas lights are really happening!

Good luck for the future run into Shelton, but keep the tarp handy just in case!

This Mexican food was very good as it contained mostly vegetables and fermented beans in organic and locally made wraps. Yum. They did a good chicken salad too.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Hazel,

That is a good outcome surviving the storm. There is much to be said about living on a hill during these huge storms. It really looks as if part of the storm will brush your area on Saturday, but yeah that is so true about being well established and how the water doesn't wash too much away if it can infiltrate and slow. Well, one must be careful when tempting fate! :-)! Honestly, it looks like the worst of the weather will be in the mountains in the north east of Victoria, but even still. I hope nobody is camping up there over the weekend?

It is a very nice batch of yoghurt and experiments are continuing in the kitchen right now. Yum! Have you got any raspberries now? I have some but they are still a bit green as it is early days in the season. To be honest, I have never tried Kombucha but your description sounds intriguing and it has piqued my interest.

You know, the wallabies hide in the forest during the rain, but the weirdest thing is that the grey forest kangaroos just get wet and enjoy the grass in the paddock. There must be something in that. The birds all hide in the trees. And the frogs come out to play!

Thanks very much for saying that and I hope your property also comes through Friday / Saturday largely unscathed. Fingers crossed!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Coco,

Oh my that is way cold. Brrr! It is 29'C / 84'F outside right now and I'm sitting under the fan. It is looking pretty good. I hope the flowers don't get flattened tomorrow...

I hope you get 25 more years out of those mutinous appliances. Perhaps a gentle word to them like: "you better get your act together or your replacement appliance will be on its way!" Mind you Vice-Admiral William Bligh's stiff necked approach to creating and dealing with mutiny's didn't seem to serve him too well. Perhaps a bit of TLC may assist the appliances?

Really? You know until this year, I'd never even heard of the event. Strange days...

On the other hand I do enjoy over the top decorations - whilst not doing that gear myself.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Yeah, it has been a really hot couple of weeks. That is unusual, but the storm tomorrow looks set to challenge the property well beyond the heat. I hope we survive intact, and also that there is something other than flattened flowers to take photos of for the next blog. The garden is selected over the years for the heat, so they hold up pretty well. Most plants that haven't held up well were sort of voted off the island!

Would you believe that the heat has finally broken the dormancy of the walnut which is in its first year. Honestly, I'd given up on that plant as it seems a bit fickle. The pecan is going feral in the heat, although I feel that it may have tapped into the worm farm trenches.

Here goes: Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop: And Other Practical Advice in Our Campaign Against the Fairy Kingdom . Is it a good read? Who knows? The title alone is worth the cost of the book! A review will appear sometime in the new year.

One thing has to be said about the atrocious 1929, St Valentine’s Day Massacre: Those guys knew style, as they wore suits and ties, overcoats and hats whilst enacting their villainous deeds. There was no style at all in 1929's Black Tuesday which can only be described as a rout by the herd. 1929 was clearly not a good year! But yeah, the name brings dark associations to mind doesn't it? Dark names for dark deeds?

Thanks for the comparison about your blueberries. Incidentally I grow quite a few things out of their range and the award for the slowest growing of all goes the tropical Macadamia's. They've survived frost and snow, but far out they are slow growing. I have seen them produce nuts at this latitude so maybe in twenty years time I may get at least one Macadamia nut?

Hehe! Well, we must not let one's head swell under any circumstances. Life (and big storms) are good at kicking the stuffing out of a person’s ego! Hehe!

Actually, if you want a good book on home brew, that guy tells a funny story. Let's see, where was it? How to Make Cider, Mead, Perry and Fruit Wines - By Craig Hughes.

Poor little Scritchy (the master Storm Detective) has been dragged out from underneath the bed on about six occasions today and she even managed to wake me up early this morning by shaking her head which bangs her ears on the timbers under the bed.

Haha! No doubts after an hour or so, you'd sound Aussie as! Hehe! Sorry, I digress.

Yeah, washing the ties is a good idea. I asked the editor about that and she suggested soaking them overnight in vinegar before washing. Not much can live in vinegar. We're planning on using steel posts with UV stable plastic lattice (two inch squares) which was going to be put up over the next few days, but, well, maybe not....

Your oak shower sounds really lovely. It may surprise you that the evergreen forest here loses its leaves on hot days and when the wind blows, it is a similar experience, just with heat and the smell of dry vegetation instead. Hopefully in between the heavy rain tomorrow I may get a chance to burn off one last pile of dry leaves and sticks. They are a major fire hazard.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris;

I had a thought about the tub of clothes next to the door: Perhaps an arm could be attached from the door to the stirring stick and every time the door was opened or closed the stick would stir itself. But I like your automatic washing machine best . . .

I have been hauling water from the house in my watering can to water a few things in the garden as we haven't had rain for several weeks and it has been a bit warmish. Luckily, it is downhill. But worrying about not having enough water is not going to be your problem. Poor Scritchy, she is so sensitive. However, should she wish to get under my bed, her nose would barely fit as I use it as a storage space. Anyway - take care, you all, the next few days.

The Singing Gardens were lovely, but not nearly as impressive as Fernglade Farm.

Thanks to the editor for the ties-in-vinegar idea; it sounds like a good one.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - My preferred method of archaic (retro?) washing would be handy stream and a flat rock. Fresh air, sunshine, good exercise. :-).

Oh, I think the "authentic" cooking, Mexican or otherwise, the amount of meat or cheese depends on income. In it's country of origin. Used more as a condiment or special occasion food. I stripped the turkey, last night. Neat little packets all snuggled up in the freezer. Next step, stock! As far as figuring out what to do with unknown ingredients, I usually just hit the indexes of my cookbooks until I find something that appeals. I watched a biography of James Beard, last night. We share a home town.

I found the history of the film, "A Sentimental Bloke" pretty interesting. A very small percentage of silent films have survived. And, as they were done on multiple reels, many aren't complete. I think a recent "lost" Hitchcock film was found in Australia. Or, more of it than they had before. I'm waiting on a documentary called "Dawson City: Frozen Time." Dawson City, up in the Yukon Territory was the last stop on the film circuit. Shipping was expensive. If I remember the story right, they were tossed in a (empty) pool and covered over. Someone was digging a trench and film cans started turning up. I guess there's over 500+ film cans. Who knows what lost marvels may appear?

Warning!!! Digression Ahead!!! :-). A 1950s tv series came to mind. "Sgt. Preston of the Yukon." And his trusty dog King, I think.

The pictures of the Singing Garden, were quit striking. And scones, too! Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I watched a bit more of season 12 of "Supernatural", the other night. It's been a slow go. Jumped the shark? But there was one episode that had an interesting bit. In brief (I hope) Hitler's soul has been kicking around in a gold watch, all this time. Who knew? So, it's implanted in an old Nazi who, through magic, has managed to tend the flame through magic. OK. Just as a memory jogger, Goebbels was Hitler's propaganda minister. There's this, slightly humorous, throw away line. Hitler is waving around an I-Stupid and giggles manically, "It's like having a tiny Goebbels in my pocket!" Chuckle, chuckle. But then I got thinking about it. Peeling off the layers. And found the idea a bit disquieting. Perhaps because there's some truth, there.

Last night I watched "Sharknado 5: Global Swarming." Silly, silly, silly. Perhaps I'd get more of the joke if I were more plugged into the popular culture. Lots of C and D actors and sports figures do cameos. Fabio as the pope? Charo as the Queen of England? They do use quit a few "real" newscasters. There was a man and woman newscaster from Sydney. I noticed in the credits that they played "themselves."

Well, batten down the hatches and ride out the storm. I hope it's just, for you, thrilling and exciting and does no damage to your place.

The furniture container has arrived in Shelton. Sunday still looks like the best day for weather. 40% chance of "A slight chance of showers." Tarp and tie down, at hand. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

I like where you are going with the idea for automating the stick (and otherwise tedious washing method - TM pending!) and bucket washing machine. Yes, no doubts you are correct! You know, my gut feeling tells me that not much actual washing was done using the stick method and that may be its downfall...

Your weather has been rather trying this past summer and I for one am glad for you that you are on the run into winter. I hope some decent winter rains fall in your part of the world. I assume you recycle as much grey water into the garden as you can get your hands on? The last serious drought when I was in Melbourne, I did that trick using the bucket. Waste not, want not! As they say...

So far an inch of rain has fallen and it looks like a big splat will arrive in the middle of the night. So far the preparations have held up well. The earlier rain was torrential. In between splats of rain, we burned off some of the dry leaves from the huge fallen branch that fell a few months back. You would think that the leaves would not burn well, but far out, the oils in the leaves made them burn quite hot despite the damp. Burn off restrictions come into play early on Monday morning.

Scritchy is sound asleep on the couch behind me. I suspect that she will be awake for a lot of the night.

Thank you! I took some flower photos tonight just in case they get splatted overnight tonight...

Excellent and I will pass on your thanks. Not much lives in vinegar! The experiments with the yoghurt batch have turned out well and the result is a thicker mix with the consistency of thickened cream. Yum!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

The old rock and stream wash system works, and I've seen it in use in my travels overseas. Someone on the old ADR blog once remarked that every automation is an amputation. In India, the Dhobi wallah folk’s (which is the caste for laundry workers) have a hidden secret code on each item of clothes that is sent to them and they have a remarkable reputation for never misplacing an item. As a westerner, I was expected to support their work and they did a remarkable job. One of the curious side effects of the current economy is that many people forget that money has to flow.

Speaking of which, the tree dudes helped me out on Thursday. I'm a bit pressed for time and so I got them to cut up the huge fallen branch into firewood and place the remaining leaves and small branches to one side. I'm also utilising them to get a head start on the big job of firewood. The rain had been pretty intense this morning, and despite having an inch fall over the farm, the leaves and small branches all burned today during a lull - and burn well they did too! Such events can be rather sobering in some ways.

I've stood in tropical rainforest's and watched the intense rainfall - and this morning sure did look like that. Fortunately everything is holding up well, so far. The main event is arriving sometime in the middle of the night.

Depending on income is a very good way to describe that contrast. I often wonder whether folks have forgotten the meaning of the mid-winter feast? Vegetables and grains make for a far cheaper diet, that's for sure. The longer I eat a diet rich in vegetables and grains the more my palate acclimatises to the taste. Stripping the turkey and then packaging it into the freezer is a very good idea. Do you also freeze the stock? Down here they call that: Everything including the squeak! Your mention of stripping down the turkey brought to mind a very old memory I had of bones being boiled down for their gelatin. It might have been my grandmother? Dunno.

James Beard was an interesting guy and I note the French connection to his culinary skills. Chef's appear to have famous tempers. Have you ever encountered that in the kitchen?

Yeah, I thought you'd enjoy the history of the film, as did I. What a treasure trove the excavator must have turned up. Did you know that archaeologists generally scour through large building sites in the city? They often have only a short window, but you never know what they might find buried. It is funny that even relatively recent history has disappeared! This time will also pass into myth. I hope that not only the bad bits are remembered?

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

I shall not complain about the weather again - well at least for a short while. So Yukon: "While the average winter temperature in the Yukon is mild by Canadian arctic standards, no other place in North America gets as cold as the Yukon during extreme cold snaps." And a huge mountain to boot. Cool!

The garden is in a similar climate and soil type to here. It is really nice and I'm glad they survived the 2009 fires intact. It got close. Scones are a treat! But the things people do with microwaves and scones leave a lot to be desired. Best cooked and eaten fresh - still slightly warm out of the oven and with a quality strawberry jam. I'm salivating thinking of scones! I know a place that does pretty decent scones and they make their own jam too. Worth the travel.

Season 12! Yup, you can see the fins circling the powerboat and water-skier! That observation is quite amusing. Well, you know, content being what it is, eventually it will retract and the costs will escalate. The retraction will probably lead to greater mediation (is that the correct word? for to be mediated?) At the moment with this blog I provide image content for free for Google who then host the images, but eventually that will cost. Bait and switch is an old game and the newer providers attempt to wipe the market for more established providers by undercutting them, but eventually for large players that create that monopoly, costs rise. If you put the same scenario into not very family friendly terms, drug dealers perhaps encourage strawberries - or a dependent person. Sometimes free is not really free.

Sharknado 5! I had no idea that there was a third instalment of the franchise so am in place to offer any opinions whatsoever on popular culture. I will add this though: Nuff Said! Hehe! Silly is probably the way to go. Was it sillier than The Evil Dead 3?

As I was typing the reply, a low cloud moved in and we are now socked in. It is pea soup outside. The main storm appears to be running north of the farm, but something dropped into the radar black hole...

I hope the trip on Sunday to Shelton goes well.

Off to the pub. If I'm lucky Magical Christmas Unicorns will appear! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@Pam and Inge
Mrs Damo and I unconscionably do the accent thing as well. Kiwis (New Zealanders) seem to think we are locals, or maybe British. They act surprised when I say Australian, but from Tasmania which leads to the joke about Tasmania being another country etc. :-p

@Chris
Yeah, the Mars trilogy was pretty good. I guess by surf culture, I mean a distinct California, post-hippy/counter-culture/techno type mindset. I don't mind it, indeed like most aspects of it which is why I enjoy most of his books. I can recommend Shaman if you haven't already read it. Tells the 'story' behind those cave paintings they found in France a few years back.

Good news in the garden - the first tomato fruit has appeared! We are heading away for 4 days again though and hot days are forecast. I am pre-soaking the garden beds as much as possible tomorrow before we go..fingers crossed.

A friend is arriving shortly to stay with us. He has being living as a 'digital nomad' the past three years (working from his laptop as he travels around the world). He recently went through a breakup and is suffering from pretty bad anxiety and depression. Over the past few months I have suggested he come stay. I am not sure what we can do, Mrs Damo will be taking a somewhat tough-love approach.

I hope your storm event is OK. We are getting a run of hot weather this weekend - highs of 28 degrees!

Damo

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I do recycle some grey water, but not nearly enough. Thanks for reminding me. I could turn on the main valve to the outside water and hook the hoses back up, but as soon as I do that Sergeant Preston of the Yukon (On, King!) will send an Arctic blast and there I'll be with hoses full of ice.

Our leaves don't seem to have oils in them. I could never in 10,000 years burn them when they are damp. I've tried.

Water, water everywhere - still, better to endure water than fight fire?

I like this reminder of yours: "One of the curious side effects of the current economy is that many people forget that money has to flow."

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I have been without my laptop for a few days and so am running way behind, have not had time to read all the comments yet.

Son is looking out for a new gander. I heard a bang and felt my home shake while he was here this morning. It was the dog. Son says that Wren has been leaping all over him begging to be put on the lead. Usually he keeps just a sufficient distance to make this impossible. Son said 'weird dog'.

It is bitterly cold here.

@ Pam

I have been in such a difficult situation when I found myself with both the vice Chancellor of the art college where I ran the library and a porter. I used to go in during the vacation to play card games with the porter. I instantly became conscious of my language. Don't remember what I did but assume that I went somewhere between the two extremes.

@ Lew

Just after the war when I was 11 or 12 years old, there was a craze at school for collecting pieces of coloured cellophane and (heck what is metallic paper called?).
We loved the colours and had never seen anything like this before. If one had a large piece one cut bits off for swaps. These were kept between the pages of a book. It occurs to me that a book might turn up with these tiny bits of coloured stuff between each page and someone would wonder why on earth they were there.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - There's been a flurry of articles on the net over the past few days on automation. "300 Million Jobs To Be Lost To Automation." Etc. I didn't bother to read the articles. I think someone commented over at Mr. Greer's site that some companies seem to prefer even automation that works poorly, over those pesky humans. So unpredictable. :-). Of course, I wonder if like so many other things, there will be "peak automation." It takes energy and raw materials to build and keep those things running.

Yup. Money has to flow. I do my part ... :-).

Oh, yeah. I freeze my stock. I used to put it up in washed out yogurt containers, but I am going to switch to glass. Last year's stock has a bit of a ... plastic taste. Of course, I read last night you're only supposed to keep the stuff in the freezer for 3 months or so, and I've got year old stock in the freezer. I took a read through several of my cookbooks last night, just to see if I'd missed a trick as far as stock goes. Something I never noticed before: my circa 1965 good ol' Betty Crocker cookbook has NO section on stocks. Gravies, sauces ...no stocks. I'm shocked. Just gob smacked at the omission.

Beard's mother ran a boarding house in Portland and catered food to well off families. She and James were well into "fresh, local and seasonal" years (generations?) before Alice Waters ever appeared on the scene. Beard tried a stint as an actor, before he embraced food. He was even in a DeMille silent epic as an extra. They've picked him out of a mob scene, running about Golgotha, in a historonic manner. :-). Looks like the movie might have been "King of Kings." What's interesting is that years ago, I watched a bio on Ayn Rand, and she was an extra in the same movie. Throwing herself about in a historonic way in another mob scene. Such was the method of acting, at that time. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Last night I watched a bio that I've been looking forward to for a time. "Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent." I read his autobiography, a few years ago. He was the chef in the early years of Alice Water's little dive in Berkley. Uncredited or under credited. And pretty miffed about it. I understand the feeling. There were quit a few interviews with people in the food world, I quit respect. Anthony Bourdain, Ruth Richel, etc.. They were all identified with "chef this, or writer of that." A rather back hand slap at Martha Stewart ... she was identified just as "television personality." :-).

But, back to film history. I saw an article yesterday, that they've just rediscovered another bit of DeMille's Egyptian set out in the California desert. A plaster sphinx. Pieces of the set turn up from time to time. What I didn't know is that DeMille buried the set, as he didn't want other directors to use it. :-). I've got a BBC series (I think it's the Beeb. I saw it in their American distributor's catalog) on hold at the library. "The Story of Film: An Odyssey." 15 episodes, 5 discs. That ought to wile away a few long winter nights.

Well, I didn't know there was a Sharknado 3 and 4. Let alone 5. I watched 1 and 2 when they came out, and that topped up my silliness tank for quit awhile. When I saw 5 in the library catalog, I guess I was a quart low. The library has them all, but I'm not tempted by 3 and 4. I guess my silliness quotient is, currently, at a healthy level. :-).

Fingers still crossed that the storm passes you by. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

I finished the Cuppertinians yesterday! Fun stuff. And there is no beginning and no end to the story. You are a mischievous author to leave us all hanging there! Did Gibbon make off with the high tech gear? Such mysteries, that we'll all have to carry with us...

Thanks for the book reference and yeah, I can see that.

Hope the tomatoes survive the hot weather. It is possible that the storm that is over Melbourne and Victoria right now, will reach NZ over the next few days? Maybe?

Your fears are a fairly good summary of the situation. Clearly I don't know the people or the scenario, but I read an apt description many years ago the gist of which indicated that it was a black hole and would take any and all of your energy. Dunno at all though, and I hope some good comes of it.

Surely you jest! :-)! I saw 38'C last week, and one day the temperature gauge in the car showed 43'C, although the official temperature gauge for Melbourne is located in parkland next to the Yarra River, so lived experience may vary from the official statistics?

More on the rain on Monday night!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

No worries at all and grey water is a good resource, but I did worry in those days about the build-up of salts in the soils. Not that I ever saw any signs of that build up. Hmm, maybe this was just another one of those concerns that we acquire that aren't really that relevant. Dunno. I added a lot of woody mulch to those garden beds too, so the soil was fairly deep after almost five years of that. The local council use to dump woody mulch at the end of the street for the use of the local share vegetable garden. Those folks never used the stuff, and so I helped myself. It is amazing how much you can spirit away consistently over a long period of time!

Oh yeah, what a disaster an Arctic blast would be following on from a dry summer. Do such blasts deliver any precipitation - or is it all just super cold dry air? Super cold dry sounds like the description of a beer! Weather in the Yukon is not to my liking as I am exceptionally summer soft and used to warmer weather! It maxed out at 50'F here today and I was feeling the cold a bit... Far out, the weather here has been feral, but nothing too serious.

You are lucky in that the leaves won't burn when wet. Eucalyptus trees are a very special kind of tree. Mind you, if I wanted to get some eucalyptus oil (which is a superb cleaner and antiseptic with a smell that is not easily forgotten) then it is not hard to obtain from the trees.

Exactly! I cannot agree more. :-)!

The Green Wizards discussed that flow today. The country train was cancelled so I drove in and parked in the inner suburbs. Then the tram was cancelled and replaced by a bus that only went to the top end of the city. It was a nice walk, although I was a bit late to lunch. Fortunately I had enough time to scoff down a tiramisu as well as pasta. Life is too short to miss out on tiramisu! Yum!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Hope the laptop dramas are now in the rear view mirror? Have your telephone folks sorted out the problems with the copper connections?

I hope you son obtains a new gander of good breeding. I struggle trying to work out what makes a good bird, which in my case involves: longevity, not too aggressive, and robust health. It may interest you to know that the heritage breeds tend to display far less problems than the more commercial varieties which nowadays I tend to avoid. Especially after the psycho chicken incident earlier this year.

That dog is a handful, but perhaps Wren is slowly bonding? Some dogs display trust issues, and sometimes that is just part of their personality. Of course, some dogs can be wilful and think that they know better than you do. Mr Poopy is of that sort, but that is a breed trait. I saw a video on YouTube of a husky (a related Mr Poopy breed) who refused to go on a walk and was being slowly hauled along by a person holding a lead. The video was meant to be amusing, and in some respects it was, but the person also has a responsibility to train the dog, and that breed is wilful.

Today it is 50'F and has rained all day long. However earlier in the week it was 100'F. Do you ever experience such variability in your weather? I'm always curious as to whether variability is more of a factor here than in other parts of the world.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

That sure is a lot of jobs to be lost to automation. I hope we'll all have time to pursue artistic interests after robots take all our jobs. Hehe! On the other hand staff and people can be one of the more complex aspects of running a business. I'll tell ya this: As incomes have flat-lined over the past few years, expectations of staff are rising. Sometimes though I don't know whether to laugh or cry (merely an explanatory metaphor) as someone who works in a big corporate asked me if they have job descriptions for employees in small business. Far out, the gap in empathy can be very wide indeed!

Exactly too, the whole automation thing is a major boondoggle and businesses get the benefit once (upfront) and then they are beholden to whomever supplies the robot. I mean it is not as if robots can do anything other than a very limited range of actions. And they certainly can’t replicate themselves. And look at the self driving car rubbish. Is it happening, or is it all hype? Can it even change its own flat tyre? Personally, I feel that the software engineers are leaving the developers open to litigation due to the fact they have to choose whom to injure in a vehicle accident. The body count alone will put an end to that story.

Good to hear! I do my part too. Went to the Green Wizards meet-up today and we had a lively and interesting discussion. The food was good and the company is excellent. Interestingly, the country train had problems, so I drove in and parked in the inner suburbs, only to find that the trams had been replaced by buses. So the upshot was that I was late which I try not to do. We had an interesting discussion regarding the downsides of the development of self-esteem. I rather feel that we as a society have gone from one extreme to another on such matters.

Warning, the presence of plastic may reduce your enjoyment of the contents! Honestly, I have no experience with deep freezing of food items so can't form any valid opinions. Mind you, I was reading Sandor and there was a mention of a batch of some forgotten food stuff which may have been yoghurt, and he just apparently took a sample of the yoghurt that was underneath the surface mould and began again. The yoghurt experiments here are doing well. I consumed the remainder of the previous batch this evening with a bit of toasted muesli mixed in. It was very tasty.

Do you reckon stocks are a more recent food concept? I can't imagine why that would be the case?

I read a short biography (whatever happened to Readers Digest?) on Mr Beard. A good name by the way. The bio did mention his stint as an actor, however those days would have been very hard to break into that career. Mate, if I had to run around the dreary wastes of Golgotha, I'd be in histrionics too! It is never a good time to be in the Middle East and these are not good times. Interestingly, I saw a few photos of the guy and he had a certain light in his eyes - almost mischievous. Far out, Ayn Rand was a bitter old pill. She really copped some blow back in her own life for the gear that she was all about.

Ah, Alice was the vehicle, but Jeremiah appears to have been the driver who kept the vehicle on the road for a few years. Interesting. That sort of collaboration is often quite common and you never know where inspiration will strike, but generally inspiration requires hard yards - and the two are not always commensurate skill sets. I see that. I once poured a huge amount of personal energy into recovering a business from a major disaster, and once the dust settled down, the powers that be just wanted more. I sense a story in your own miffed-ness?

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Didn't that television personality person end up in jail?

Chinese Emperors have been known to bury things from time to time so that others don't have access to those things. Perhaps Mr DeMille was enjoying the perquisites of his status? It seems a bit over the top to me though, I'd probably auction off the props.

I do rather hope that there are no sharks swimming (or flying) around in that silliness tank? :-)! Sorry, I couldn't help myself with that one. Hehe! Ah yes, thank you for the gentle reminder not to overdo the silliness quotient.

The storm is overhead right now and there is a lot of wind and driving rain, but well, so far I've experienced worse in the past. The Christmas day tornado was a notable weather event, albeit a little bubs of a tornado. And the last big La Nina in 2010, almost ten inches of rain fell in five days in early January. I have never before seen so much water fall from the sky during a short period of time. That was epic.

Up in the North East of the state which has some large-ish mountains (they are probably hills relative to your lot), it is a different story as the storm drifted more northerly than it was first anticipated. I was originally in line for a direct hit. Let's see: Record rain triggers major flooding in Victoria.

And some photos from about the place: Victoria storms: Euroa, Myrtleford and Wangaratta prepare for major flooding as Melbourne is spared.

The government has called for a Royal Commission into the Banking Industry. I suspect that they had little choice in the matter and politics being what it is, it may have been that or a vote of no confidence on the floor of Parliament. The dual citizenship saga has taken nine heads so far and they may be a bit short on numbers, but backed themselves into a corner and had to sit before Christmas. Oh, another speculation is that the banking industry may be pressuring the government to reduce the scope of the Royal Commission which can be pretty epic and may upend some interesting dirt.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

You got me to thinking about salts in soap. I would have said not to worry about salts from soap in grey water, but then I was thinking of potassium salts and when I looked it up, it seems that commercial soaps use sodium salts (?), which does not sound too good. However, I am not going to worry about it.

An Arctic blast can be either dry, or of full of snow and ice. It just depends upon what it has picked up along the way. We get something called a Nor'easter here, where the cold air from the west or north is picked up and swirled around so that it comes from the northeast of us. It can pick up a lot of water from the Atlantic. Not a pleasant thing to feel coming.

I love the smell of eucalyptus. It is my go-to to rub over my sinuses when they give me trouble.

I finally googled tiramisu. I thought it was some Japanese main dish. But what a yummy-sounding dessert!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@Chris and Lew:

I had to go to our tiny, bustling airport yesterday. I parked in the only short-term parking lot, which is for-pay, did my business and came out after about 10 minutes. When leaving, as I pulled up to the kiosk where one has always paid (been doing this almost 30 years), I found it was now totally automated where it had always had an attendant. It had a sign that no cash was accepted. One had to go inside to pay if not using a debit or credit card (I use neither - only cash) and get some sort of card to put in the slot. The parking lot is open 24/7. So how many full-time jobs were just lost?

Sometimes, using only cash has its advantages. Fairly often a clerk in a shop will tell me that their computers are down, or that the internet is down, and they can accept only cash and so I never have trouble paying.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Foil? Also drives me crazy when I can't think of word that's on the tip of my tongue. I don't think odd bits of cellophane or foil would have stuck in my mind. But, I've found odd bits in books. Nice old book marks. Photos. Old bits of ads. Of course, one always hopes for large quantities of money :-). Hasn't happened to me, but one always hopes. Lew

@ Pam - I suspect automation might be like something I heard about computers, once. Not less work, just different kinds of work. Of course, organizations expect reductions in work force. Sometimes it just gets shifted around. Or, the costs, in the ong run are about the same. They just get shuffled to some other area of the balance sheet. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I'm glad your still "on the air". I wouldn't have been surprised by a bit of radio silence, today. It's pretty drizzly and dreary, here, today. But the forecast for tomorrow's trip to Shelton is looking better and better. Showers before 10am ... sunshine after. And, a fairly nice week coming up.

"Expectations of staff..." I think here, that's what they call "productivity" and they're always banging on about it. "Squeezing the most out of your staff for the least amount of money" is more like it. Which is all well and good until you hit the point of poor returns. Job descriptions for small business? "Chief cook and bottle washer" comes to mind. "Jack of all trades?" :-).

Quit a few of my cookbooks that are older than Betty Crocker have stocks. "Joy of Cooking" (1940s) has quit a section. But then, they have "quit a section" on everything :-). The 60s Betty Crocker wasn't over the top on convenience foods, but they're there. More emphasis on simplification and speed. So, maybe stock took a hit. It's interesting that I just read a bit of David Lebovitz's "My Paris Kitchen", last night, and in the introduction he talked a bit about nuts and bolts food differences in France. And, he mentioned that American's often asked where you could buy stock, in France. You can't. Except for some little cubes, that he doesn't recommend. It's never registered with me that stock was on offer at the grocery store. Not that I'd buy it.

Oh, Reader's Digest is still banging about. A bit smaller. But still being published. Oh, I have a few stories of miffed-ness, but they're either complicated or seem petty when spelled out. One (or, at least me) shouldn't ruminate too much. Not very healthy. One should just move on ... and wait for an opportunity to strike back :-).

Yup. That television personality did a stretch in the pokey. Insider trading of stocks. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I keep forgetting that I saw an article over at NPR about some fellow who is doing whole wheat baking. Doesn't sound like much, but by "whole wheat", at least here, it's got to be 51% all of the grain and the rest can be whatever white flour. That extra bit can vary in quality. Anything from bleached white flour to stone ground all purpose unbleached flour. The thing about too much "real" wheat is that the chaff tends to cut the gluten strands.

So, to get certain effects (like rise) compromises must be made. But a fellow who's running a bakery in Washington, D.C. has been exploring the roots (?) of baking. When all that was available were some pretty rough forms of flour. So, he uses a wood fired oven at 500 degrees. Crust looks pretty burnt and brick like. I guess the inside is pretty tasty. Sourdough for rise.

I finished skimming through Lyndey Milan's DVD, "Taste of Australia." It was pretty Sydney-centric. But, out of 16 episodes, 3 were way out west in the Kimberly. And, one on your neck of the woods, kind of. Yarra Valley, which I think is, maybe, east of you, over the mountains? From what I could see, it reminded me a lot of my part of the country. Looked a lot like the Pacific Northwest.

They did a bit on the Yarra Valley Dairy and the cheeses they turn out. A stop at the Tarrawarra Art Museum (mostly, abstract expressionism ...not my cup of tea). About all of Melbourne was about the Lane Ways district. It's all about the coffee :-). That looked pretty interesting. If a bit hipster-ish and, I'd guess, expensive. A stop at Pellegrini's Cafe.

There was an interesting episode that made me think of you, that was in and around Vittoria, Orange. The Beekeepers Inn. Goldfields Honey. Cobb and Co. Brewery. They all seem to be a bit vaguely connected and are doing things with brewing beers with honey. Mead?

Can't say I'd whole heartedly recommend the series, but there were bits that were of interest, to me.

Well, our yearly spasm of civic ho-ho (the Christmas parade) ought to be finished by now and maybe I can freely move about the town. Need to check the tire pressure, make sure the truck bed is clean and gas up for my trip, tomorrow. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

I wouldn't worry too much about the sodium either. Salts have been around for a long time and a good top soil will probably deal quite well with the stuff.

Thanks for the explanation about your weather, and those Arctic blasts seem to pack a lot of variability. I do hope that you get some rainfall soon.

It is a beautiful smelling oil isn't it? On hot days over summer, the leaves release some of the oils into the air and the heat haze takes on a mildly blue tone. But the smell is unforgettable. To me it is the smell of summer.

Oh yeah, it is good! An excellent use for old biscuits. The trick is ensuring the masala soaks into the dry old biscuits, and then using the proper cheese (mascarpone). Yum!

Automated ticket vending machines... Yup. I try to use cash as much as possible too. In a lot of ways, we sell our data very cheaply, and it is mined for information.

That happened to me about a week or two back when the credit card machines went down. I simply said to them: "I'll go old school and pay by cash". It was a very busy shop and queues were forming behind me, and they looked relieved to take the cash. The whole cashless economy thing is, I reckon, pushed by the banks who want a cut on every transaction in the economy. It seems a bit greedy to me.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

The wireless connection between the modem and the mobile phone towers certainly slowed a little bit as the thick cloud moved in. The photo of the cloud looked pretty good too and I'll include it as I write the blog later tonight.

Did you end up making it to Shelton? And did the hunt go well?

Yeah, economists are obsessive about labour productivity. What I always wonder about is in an economy with declining real wealth and an ever larger population, who is losing out? And it always begs the question in my mind: "what level of performance is good enough?" Some people move the goal posts and I decided to write about that tonight, but perhaps not as you may have considered it before. Dunno. The old timers used to have a saying which went along the lines of just "muck in" (defined as: share tasks or accommodation without expecting a privileged position) and I salute such a stoic approach.

Stock is a funny item when you think about it. Generally the little cubes have to have a lot of salt (and/or other preservatives) in them to stop them from spoiling. I don't really use them much in cooking and have never really thought about the matter from that point of view before. I was wondering if you felt that the changes in household social dynamics following WWII may have driven a change (revolution?) in the way people cook and relate to food, out of sheer domestic necessity. I was dwelling upon that matter earlier today as I spent half an hour making the dogs breakfast for the next week and also putting together the mix for their evening dog biscuits. I usually make up the mix and then every couple of days chuck a batch through the electric oven so that they stay fresh and crunchy (the dogs preference). A lot of work goes into the kitchen here and I wonder how much of that people could do if two people work full time. Far out, but people work hard and long hours these days, relative to the past of course.

Fair enough, I hear you. A man has his secrets! Hehe! What did the Klingon's say about revenge being a dish best served cold? Of course that was ripped from someone else, but hey, I had to work in a Star Trek reference somewhere as it has been a while since ST has reared its head here. I still haven't watched The Orville or Discovery yet as I struggle committing to a series. Oh yeah, remind me not to annoy you as cold revenge is an unpleasant beastie to be served!

We had one of those too. He was a comedian, turned high flying business dude, and apparently busted for an alleged bit of the same sort of naughtiness. As a minor side note, I bumped into him when I worked in the top end and he was apparently visiting my boss, and I always assumed he was asking for a favourable word - but I don't really know, and knew better than to ask.

Oooo! Interesting about the whole wheat baking. You know there are probably some pretty good things in those less than processed grains. Certainly there are a lot of oils in the grains. There is more to all of this stuff than meets the eye and it is complex. My understanding - and I have only read about the process - is that separating the chaff is not too difficult a process. Wheat is definitely on the too do list as is a sour dough starter. Oh my 500'F / 260'C is a big ask of any bakery product and it will 100% squoosh the crust all toasty charred like. And I too would be curious to see how the insides of the loaf go under those conditions. I used to be able to get the wood oven that hot, and honestly it cooked biscuits in two minutes flat out, but it was almost impossible to stop the biscuits from becoming charred husks. After a few goes, I took the oven to more sensible temperatures such as 230'F. Wood ovens cook things at significantly lower temperatures than for either gas or electric.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Yup! The Yarra Valley has a very similar climate to here and it was also a traditional: orchard; berry and potato area. The mountains there are slightly higher too (660ft), so they have slightly more rainfall and genuine native beech rainforests. There are a lot of similarities between here and your part of the world from what I've seen in images too. It is not a bad climate at all. Yes, abstract expressionism is a complex and perhaps self congratulatory form of the artist’s expression. I frankly don't understand it at all. One of my friends from NZ reckons I should run a small herd of dairy goats or cows here because of the condition of the paddocks.

Pellegrini's is my go to place for coffee and cake whenever I stay over in the big smoke. They make the cakes on site and they're just good. The ambience is not for everyone as it looks unchanged since perhaps the 1950’s or 1960’s, but I kind of like that charm as I don't need to be served by hipsters with feral bush beards. No disrespect for the big beard, however in a food situation, I'd always be a little concerned that some of those beard hairs are falling into my coffee - and is that a good thing? My protein and sulphur levels do not need topping up by errant hairs!

Thanks for the tip. What a wonderful group of folks: The Lockwood family - and the business of keeping bees. Good stuff. Mead is basically what they said: Honey; Water; and Champagne Yeast. Honey is about 80% sugar, so it is the same recipe as the country wines but with a slightly higher proportion of honey to water. Easy stuff to make. We keep mead on hand for any bee sting incidents as the mead is a powerful anti-inflammatory. I liked the traditional honey-moon reference. Of course it is also about 12% to 16% alcohol so it is a strong drink.

Is the Christmas parade traditionally held on the first of December? The first day of Christmas? I've never heard of that tradition before.

Enjoy your trip and I hope you snare a bargain! :-)!

The rain has come in waves and waves today and right now the sun is shining and it is raining. It looks quite nice actually. The weather has made it hard to work outside today, so I have been busying myself with lots of domestic activities.

Writing time begins right now!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

@Lew

All my Christmas decorations are up. I enjoy looking through all the ornaments and remembering who gave them and/or for what occasion. Some are very old perhaps 80 years old passed on by family members. When we were children someone had glass balls made with each of our names on them. I have mine now though it's certainly showing it's age. Then there are all the handmade ornaments from my daughters and now granddaughters. My youngest daughter still looks for hers on the tree and is annoyed that I seem to have misplaced the one she made in 3rd grade. We have quite a few pig and bee ornaments gifted to Doug and many chickens and other birds gifted to me. I hung a wreath made by a dear friend who died this summer after a long battle with cancer.

Doug makes quite a bit of stock and freezes it often well beyond 3 months. We save all the bones from our meals in the freezer and he cooks up a mixed broth for the (spoiled) dogs.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Have you decided to make kombucha? I have had mine going for four years now. It's really quite easy. You can start your own SCOBY from raw kombucha which seems to be readily available at the store now. Then you're good to go. When the scoby gets too large you can peel off some and toss it in to the chickens and they'll fight over it.

I'm enjoying the "Art of Fermentation" but not sure if I'll try too much beyond the yogurt, kombucha, kimchi and sauerkraut that I do now but who knows.

There is a new vendor at our farmer's market who sells dairy products. They have to be pasteurized by law but are not homogenized or ultra pasteurized so I'm going to give my yogurt another go. We've got quite a nice indoor farmers market now which runs two Saturdays a month. There still some vegetables but that will slow down soon. However there's quite a few vendors with other value added products along with eggs and meat. There's always entertainment and it can turn out to be quite a social event as people find others they know.

We've had a run of amazingly nice weather - very warm and sunny for this time of year. In a couple of days winter is forecasted to arrive though but at least little or no snow.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Off to Shelton as soon as I finish this and a cuppa. As promised, no rain this morning. But no sun, either. A thick fog. According to forecast and Cliff Mass, the next week / week and a half will be sunny days and cold nights. Night time will be around 30F and slightly below. Frost time! Wonder if my peas will make it through? Some of my garlic is sprouting, but I think it's the more robust elephant garlic. It ought to be fine.

Oh, yeah. "Changes in household social dynamic", for sure. Also, the rise of frozen and processed food. But, if you look at old ads from the late 40s and early 50s, say, in magazines, for one income households it's all about labor saving and leisure. More time for the fun stuff. "Get out of the kitchen!!!" And, do ... whatever. :-).

It's been so long since I had broadcast or cable tv, that it's hard remembering "committing to a series." But toward the end, I remember the frustration as networks changed times of series and moved them around. So much easier these days to be patient and get a whole season in one fell swoop. No ads, either :-).

They had a bit of an interview with (I think) old Mr. Pellegrini. Interesting dude. Speaking of pastries, I picked up two books at the library yesterday, on cakes. American cakes. One approaches it by State (best / most traditional cake or two in each State) and the other, cakes through time. LOL. A lot of them looked more like loafs or pies. I've never done much with cakes. Don't have the pans. I suppose my foray into cupcakes is getting my toes wet, a bit.

It's funny in the food series, they banged on about "honey beer", but mead wasn't mentioned. Maybe they figure no one knows what mead is, anymore, save the occasional Viking? :-).

Actually, here, Saturday was the second of December. Pesky International Date Line :-). I think the Christmas parade is the first Saturday of December in Chehalis. Centralia also has a parade (next weekend?) and a tree lighting in the park. Also to be avoided :-). Well, off I go! Lew