Monday, 20 November 2017

No Light

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

I was asked a serious question the other week , "Do you have a filter for your water supply?" Whenever anyone discovers that the editor and I drink rainwater, that question is inevitably the very first one that is asked. Unsurprisingly, the person who asked the question was very dubious about the safety of the water when I replied that we don't have a filter on the water system.

How did we as a society, get to the point where people believe that water which falls for free out of the sky as rain and stored, is somehow worse for your health than water that comes out of the municipal water supply? In order to believe such a thing, I've long suspected that humans in industrial societies have somehow fallen out of touch, and indeed perhaps even out of love, with the natural world.

For this blog story, I feel that we need the awesome and commanding vocals of Florence Welch of the band Florence and the Machine who penned a song about lost love titled, "No light, No light":

"You are the hole in my head 
You are the space in my bed 
You are the silence in between 
What I thought and what I said 
You are the night-time fear 
You are the morning when it's clear 
When it's over, you're the start 
 You're my head and you're my heart"

It is frankly strange to me that someone can consider that a product that contains the additives of chloride and fluoride, can possibly be considered safer to consume than the same product without those chemicals. There are good reasons that those chemicals are added to municipal water supplies and I'm not arguing with that. However, what I find strange is that some people believe that in all other circumstances, water must have those chemicals, otherwise it is somehow not safe for human consumption.

The question about the lack of a filter states an implicit assumption that unfiltered rain water is somehow unsafe. That to me reflects a fear of the natural world.

I have been considering nature recently because when it comes to water, I get to use only whatever rainfall I can catch and store. Water can be purchased and trucked here, but it is enormously expensive (edit: although cheaper than buying a new water tank). I therefore have a serious incentive to catch every single drop of rain that nature supplies and then use it wisely. By contrast, people living the city of Melbourne do not have to consider nature because there is a backup plan by way of a desalination plant. If that plant is switched on, it can produce an enormous quantity of fresh water from otherwise undrinkable and very salty sea water. The plant is an extraordinary facility, the downside of which is that it uses a huge quantity of energy and I have no idea what happens to the salt which is removed from the sea water. Mind you, it is possibly a better option than the city running out of water during a prolonged drought.


It rained a lot this week, and despite the ongoing heat and humidity, I am very happy to have all of the water tanks full to the brim. The water tanks store about 110,000 Litres (28,950 Gallons).

Anyway, despite not having a filter, nature this week has been very bountiful.

"No light, no light
In your bright blue eyes
I never knew daylight could be so violent
A revelation in the light of day
You can't choose what stays and what fades away
And I'd do anything to make you stay
No light, no light
Tell me what you want me to say"

Clouds gathered over the central highlands and despite the heat, heavy rain fell - and was also stored!
From time to time, nature can teach harsh lessons, and so I can understand why people would want to put some distance between themselves and nature. Over the past year or so, the editor and I have been having problems with batches of homemade yoghurt (spelled yogurt in other places). Yoghurt is the Turkish name for a fermented milk product with its origins in South Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean. We've been making yoghurt for over a decade, but lately something has been going wrong and batches have been failing to set. A mates parents once amusingly informed him when he spoke with them about complexities of growing tomatoes: "It is probably better to buy them from the shop". They may well be correct!

I'm not daunted by this challenge because whenever the word "fermented" is used, I think of Sandor Katz and his masterpiece "The Art of Fermentation". Sandor is clearly in love with nature, and he writes about his 17 years in a rural community: "Like the spring water and garden vegetables, the fresh milk was deeply compelling to me and was part of the allure of the change of life, rural community living offered." I'm not sure why, but he eventually moved down the road from that community into a place of his own.

"Through the crowd I was crying out and
In your place there were a thousand other faces
I was disappearing in plain sight
Heaven help me, I need to make it right"

That bloke Sandor, is onto something with fermentation and so I turned to the book for advice with the yoghurt problem. Sandor describes the history and fundamentals of yoghurt making and those lessons have been very valuable. The editor is also no slouch with microbiology, and we have now eliminated most of the variables in the yogurt making process and feel that the problem may be either:
  • The very expensive pasteurised milk (raw is not easily available in this country) that we purchase has somehow changed - perhaps it has a higher water content than in previous times; and/or
  • The inoculum (bacterial culture) that we are using to begin the yogurt making process is derived from a laboratory culture and it is possible that a bacteriophage (a virus that kills bacteria) has evolved in our kitchen. More diverse bacterial cultures are less likely to succumb to this fate.
Time and further experimentation will sort that mess out, but in the meantime it is worth considering Sandor's warning that: "If the existing US milk supply were to suddenly cease to be pasteurized, it would be a terrible disaster. The milk industry as we know it excels at mass production of cheap milk. In order to accomplish this, land per animal is minimized, and extraordinary means are employed ... unfortunately, these methods compromise the milk's quality and safety". Strong words from someone who intimately knows his way around an udder.

Yoghurt problems aside, the rain fell quite heavily this week and under the verandas a number of frogs took shelter from the storm.
A Southern Brown Tree Frog consumes what appears to be a cockroach
Proving that frogs are possibly smarter than dogs, Toothy got very wet during the storm:
Toothy the long haired dachshund got very wet during the recent storm!
Heavy rain delayed the completion of stage 1 of the new strawberry enclosure. Eventually however the rain stopped and the clouds parted and the hot and humid weather began. So did the work! On a positive note, we were able to install the remaining chicken wire around the strawberry enclosure. About 2/3rds of a cubic metre (0.86 cubic yards) of compost were placed in nice neat rows inside the enclosure.
Chicken wire was installed around the strawberry enclosure and compost was placed in neat rows
The chicken wire used on the fence surrounding the enclosure was recycled from cages that previously surrounded fruit trees. It was a very fiddly and time consuming job to produce a solid fence utilising all of the very differently sized chicken cages but I love finding new uses for items that are no longer required!

The heavy duty steel chicken wire cages are very effective at stopping wallaby damage to young fruit trees. Those marsupials are expert pruners and they ensure that every lower branch is removed from every single fruit tree (as can be seen in the next photo). The job of the wallabies in the forest is to ensure that the forest remains open at ground level - and they're very good at that job!
Expert pruning performed by the local marsupials on a couple of apple trees
After another couple of hours work, a further 130 odd strawberry runners were planted into the new strawberry enclosure. I even spotted a few unripe strawberries.
A further 130 odd strawberry runners were planted into the new enclosure
Observant readers may be able to spot the 25 lavender bushes planted just on the other side of the downhill fence. Over time, the plants will attract pollinating insects, but honestly, the lavender will just look and smell nice on a hot summers day!
25 lavender seedlings were planted next to the strawberry enclosure
You may be interested to see the blackberry and raspberry enclosure that sits below the strawberry terrace. It is looking great and I spotted some unripe early varieties of raspberry.
An update on the growth in the blackberry and raspberry enclosure!
The egg crate experiment for raising seedlings hasn't been a complete and utter total disaster, however you could almost smell the total disaster (it smells like mould) because the seedlings for fast growing plants such as tomatoes died on their first outing in great outdoors. The slower growing plants such as capsicum (peppers) and eggplants are doing far better, but next year we plant to sow directly into the soil and avoid all of this hassle (and smell). In this warm climate raising most seedlings indoors is a waste of time, and in all honesty I have no idea why I am even doing it.
The egg crate seed raising experiment was initially a great success and then a dismal failure
This week we planted out the many cucumber and zucchini (courgette) seedlings (purchased from a non-mouldy smelling place).
Cucumber and zucchini (courgette) seedlings were planted out
The original strawberry enclosure received a temporary stay of execution! We weeded that massive garden bed and then mulched the entire area with sugar cane mulch. If you've ever wondered why strawberries are so named, it is because without the straw, every single insect under the sun will consume the ripe berries!
The original strawberry enclosure received a temporary stay of execution
Mowing continued this week and as a matter of sheer desperation, I had to cut a path through the long grass to the chicken enclosure. The path had disappeared completely in the feral spring growth - even the delightful, but incredibly sedentary Mr Poopy was getting lost in the long grass!
Mr Poopy enjoys the newly mown pathway leading to the chicken enclosure

Late Spring Produce Update!
Someone told me that a picture tells a thousands words - so who am I to argue with them?
We have hundreds of pods of broad beans - and may have to work out suitable recipes!
Apples are getting biggerer!
I'm embarrassed to admit that I have not previously harvested the huge quantity of mulberries
The many fig trees are still young, but fruit is developing on the oldest trees
As the years go on, I suspect that plums will be a staple and prolific fruit
This years award for feral quantities of fruit goes to... Apricots!
Late Spring Garden Update
Whenever I travel into Melbourne, I take note of the insect and bird activity in the many gardens that I walk past during my travels. Those gardens are quiet places and it is surprising to see even a lone insect hovering over a flower. As a contrast, the incessant drone from the insects in the garden beds here reminds me that they are a bit scary to venture into (be prepared to be stung or bitten!) As a backdrop to the sound of the drone from the insects is the constant chatter of the birds.
The Japanese maple garden bed supports a huge variety of insect life
Best eva! Nuff said! Smells good too (not like mould)

Rhododendron's are show offs!

Another variety of Bearded Iris has produced flowers after the heavy rains earlier this week
The editor spotted the first of the Penstemon flowers
Sage is feral and also a useful medicinal herb (sorts mouth ulcers right out)

The final (almost) word this week should go to Florence Welch who really does have a truly amazing voice!

"You want a revelation
You want to get right
But it's a conversation
I just can't have tonight
You want a revelation
Some kind of resolution
You want a revelation"

The temperature outside now at about 9.00pm is 21’C (70’F). So far this year there has been 823.0mm (32.4 inches) which is more than last week’s total of 761.2mm (30.0 inches).

76 comments:

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

The wombats are lovely creatures, and even the wallabies do a good job of pruning in the orchard. I asked one of the wallabies why they do what they do in the orchard, and apparently it all comes back to youthful exuberance... Hehe!

Thank you, and that is very sweet to read!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

I had a conversation with Mr Greer a few months ago about that issue of picking and choosing. I sort of feel that we get a bit of free will in our choices, but perhaps it is not as much as some people feel that it should be. I see that the word "free" is often seriously misused in our culture. There is a wonderful irony in Melbourne where the Anarchists Club headquarters is wedged between two massive apartment blocks. I should get a photo of it as it would make an interesting story?

Whim is a great word. I'm quite fond of the word "whimsy", which may be how whim's play out in the world. Dunno? A neighbour is constructing a beautiful and fanciful shed out of scrap materials and I'm really enjoying watching this work of beauty (or whimsy) arise from otherwise scrap materials. What do you feel about that word?

Yup, too true. And the interweb killed the delightful form of long form correspondence and reporting on issues. However, having said that, I feel that you and I are reclaiming that lost art? Pah, they don't know what they're missing out on! I had huge uptake of readers earlier in the week as some other farm blog referenced this one (somewhere in Oklahoma of all places) and so I penned a more downbeat essay this week to shake the extra readers off. I enjoy the intimate atmosphere here in the comments section.

I explained to Pam above that I asked the wallabies about that damage to the fruit trees, and they replied something or other about "youthful exuberance" and then told me in no uncertain and very unfriendly terms where to go. The rotters!

If nobody has any money, then money isn't worth that much - because they'll possibly be using other forms of exchange and setting up other social arrangements. Consumers are like humans as they are very adaptable to circumstances. Hope you enjoyed the photo of the frog eating the bug. How cool are the frogs - they're a force to be reckoned with. That was a four frog night!

Oh no! Hopefully that circuit breaker device has not failed? Down here they call them by the technical description of an RCD which is a fancy acronym for Return Current Device. Apparently if the current varies too greatly between the active and neutral circuits, then the difference is possibly going to ground (another name for Earth) and so the device trips. Ground in some circumstances can be a human – and that is not good. They do malfunction after many years. I rather suspect that quantities of water are not the problem in your case, and possibly loose or damaged cabling is the problem. Dunno though? Hopefully it is not one of your appliances? I look forward to an update on the unfolding situation.

Oh I like the concept of placing bookshelves and books in the hallway - and have also done so myself here. Visitors always remark upon the sheer size and scale of the shelves.

Yeah, bookcases these days are quite ugly and made from the most basic (and inappropriate of materials). On the list of projects is to eventually replace the bookshelves with materials that are a bit more sturdy than the rubbish that we originally used. The materials originally used were for a meant for a bookshelf too! Such waste annoys me. Old antique bookshelves are a thing of beauty and I have seen some very impressive constructions over the years. The detail in the carpentry is impressive and I would like to give a project like that a bash!

Lucky them. If an employee asked for leave for that purpose down here, most people would feel that they had somehow lost their minds. Mind you, most people could well use a week or so of quiet in the forest with their mates. I'd enjoy that.

Cheers

Chris

Coco said...

The drought here is getting serious. Farmers unable to water their stock, resevoirs down to 10%, wells dry, etc. But I have to say, I´d be asking you about the filters too. Not so much because I distrust rain water, but long term storage and contamination from the roof surface would worry me. I´m determined that we´ll put in some tanks when the barn roof goes on. And we need to rehabilitate the well (assuming there´s water) out back by my new veg patch.

We´re watching an Aussie series ¨Wanted¨ about two women on the run, wrongfully accused of murder. I´m enjoying it, but am having more trouble understanding what they´re saying than I expected. Don´t know if they´re speaking really quickly, or the sound is iffy. Spectacular scenery!

Rabbit is quite common here as a main dish. I also think it tastes like chicken, and yet seems to have lots of fiddley bones. Rabbit farmers are going out of business as the big grocery chains pressure prices to the point that they´re losing money.

That Spanish lettuce doesn´t sound familiar at all. Could it be acelgas (chard) or berzos (beet greens)?

Margaret - so glad your brother is doing well!

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The problem with rain water (as far as some people are concerned) is, in a word, maybe (well, two words actually)
bird poo. :-). And, for the really paranoid, maybe PVCs in the plastic piping and tanks. Which is used in most structures these days but isn't so ... visible, as in your case. Just a speculation.

But I fully agree. A lot of people have lost touch with nature. I did have to shake my head when I spotted a book about "Nature Deficit Disorder (Syndrome?) in kids. Well, sure it's a real thing (kind of) but now it feels ... institutionalized. Like maybe years of intense (an expensive) psychotherapy would take care of the problem. Instead of say, I don't know, maybe a walk in the woods? Or, maybe big pharma has a pill for it.

Maybe, Sandor was in a commune and ... things change. Like the place I lived before. There was change, I could see more change coming, time to move onto plan B. We were talking a few weeks back about firewood and aging. Jeff the Maintenance guy (more on him, later) was just here and we got talking about wood stoves. He said, it goes like this in rural areas. Wood stove ... then pellet stove. When the folks can't handle the pellet bags anymore, propane. The three stages of rural life? :-).

Go tree frog! Frogs make me smile. Cockroaches ... not so much. Growing up, I think every lower grade class had a jar of tadpoles going, in the spring. Vast panorama of nature, right on the school room shelf. LOL. Another cure for Nature Deficit Disorder.

The new strawberry enclosure is really impressive. And, Chris striking his "Master of All He Surveys" pose, is also equally impressive :-). Any ideas on tap for the old enclosure? The path to my chicken coop also had to be mowed back, from timeto time. And, blackberries beaten back with whip and chair. Thanks for the reminder. The Rev is giving his bee talk, tomorrow. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. The iris are really stunning. So. Do you even LIKE broad beans? LOL. Kind of like me and carrots. I plant them, but really don't like them. I like the idea of carrots, just not the eating.

I think "whimsy" has a slightly different meaning than "whim". More related to "tat." Cute tat. Twee? The Wade porcelain folks (who make the little animals found in tea boxes) did a few series of miniature cottages. One series was called "Whimsy-on-Wye.The mention of the neighbors shed put me in mind of "follies." 18th and 19th century garden or wood structures that were ... picturesque. Or, as we discussed so long ago, the hermit's cave with "real" living hermit :-).

We're going to do a "wait and see" on the switch. Works fine now, and I've got the computer off that circuit. I think the longest I wouldn't notice would be over night, and, the freezer would be fine for that short amount of time. Jeff the Maintenance Dude is a shortish, slightly rotund, bearded fellow who puts one in mind (a bit) of a Hobbit :-). I got lots of information on the finer points of this apartment. Care and feeding of. :-).

The bookcases I have (all 5 of them) are pretty cheap. But they look good if you don't take too close a look :-). Except for the backs, which can now be seen from some angles. But, they do the job and move around pretty easy, if empty. Three of them have bottom doors. I really can't remember when or where I acquired them, but they do the job.

I watched a REALLY good documentary, last night. Well, really good if one is interested, at all, in the inner workings of film production. "Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story." They moved to Hollywood after WWII and he became a storyboard artist and later an art director. She was a film researcher. The studios used to have vast libraries. Suppose you wanted to know what a New York street scene looked like in 1920. She'd come up with the visual detail. Or, from "Fiddler on the Roof" what kind of underwear young girls word in the rural villages of 19th century Eastern Europe.

These are uncredited positions (mostly) but I was shocked at how much they contribute to the content and "look" of a film. Harold's story boards ... well, in the case of "The Graduate" and "The Birds", they're a shot by shot ... almost flip book, of what appeared on the screen. He also figured out the geometry of camera angles and which lens to use, where and when. There are many iconic film moments that sprung from Harold Michelson's fertile imagination. He worked on "Star Trek: The Movie", by the way. And hundreds of other films.

I am also reading "Manderley Forever: A Biography of Daphne Du Maurier." Author of "Rebecca," ""Jamaica Inn", etc. etc.. Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

We filter the rainwater that we're going to drink or cook with, but not with chemicals. A company sells two stage water filtration and storage units. In the top stage, in which we pour the collected water, four long ceramic tubes plug into place at the bottom of this stage and rise vertically to near the top. The water passes through the micro-pores of the ceramic filter by gravity and then through an opening at the center bottom of each filter into the collection stage below. A tap at the bottom of the collection stage like the ones in big coffee urns allows us to draw off filtered water for drinking. The size of the pores in the ceramic is so small that algae and bacteria cannot pass through, which are the only two concerns I have (algae for taste and appearance, bacteria for illness). Each stage holds about 2 gallons / 8 liters of water. The system works well and our friends like the taste of the filtered rainwater, as do we. I wouldn't filter the water if I were using it for bathing but I would for washing dishes.

I mentioned we were having computer issues awhile back. We had bought that computer used less than 1 1/2 years ago from a local business that sells and services new and used Apple equipment. The computer itself was 6 years old. When it failed to produce a display on the screen, I took it back to the business. They did a test on it and determined that it had failed beyond repair ... Apple stopped making the needed part (the graphics unit) early this year. I didn't fuss; that's the risk of buying a used machine, and I said as much. So I bought another used but newer machine like it, the business transferred the info on the still-working hard drive of the old computer onto the newer computer, and off I went. That computer mostly worked but the display would go dark with no warning at some point when battery power dropped below 50%. It was never the same point, and we could always get the display to come back on by plugging the computer into wall current and hitting the power-on switch a time or two, but something wasn't right. The business offered a 14 day replacement guarantee, so I took it back within that period to see if the computer could be repaired. The business did better: it replaced the computer with a two years' newer model (still used) that so far works perfectly! We now have a less than three year old computer that runs the current OS and should be good for quite a few years. Of course it will be Apple that decides how long we can use it by how long they continue to make parts for it (not as long as I think they should). But I find it sad that getting such excellent service was such an unexpected delight. That should be a common occurrence but it is not.

Keep posting those plant pictures! They are a delight at this stage in autumn, when most of the leaves have fallen and it'll be about 6 months before the trees leaf out again. I still have a few roses in bloom outside but that's it. I'm now raking leaves to put aside for next year's compost piles and will soon start winter pruning. The first seed catalog arrived last week.

Claire

foodnstuff said...

Hi Chris, my home-made yoghurt is still going well, but if and when it doesn't I'll bear in mind your comments about some foreign bug getting into the system. I've often wondered whether I should periodically purchase a new tub and start the process going again, but always think it's best to leave well alone.

About tank water....Bill Mollison said not to worry about the green stuff that forms on the inside of tanks...it's good for you. I don't have my tank plumbed into the house, so collect water in sherry flagons and store them on the kitchen bench. Sometimes the water goes a bit greenish but I'm still alive, so I don't worry. I used to filter it with a plug of cotton wool in a large funnel, but that got too tedious and now I don't bother.

Everything looks great at your place.

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi everyone,

The question of the filter is a goodie to have raised because most of the comments appear to be questioning the lack of a filter (excluding the notable exception of foodnstuff). Of course it is correct that there will be organic and inorganic pollution in the water stored here, but the question I have for everyone here is: Why do you believe that your water does not also contain contaminants?

It is a good question to ponder because I know a thing or two about household plumbing and it is not an inert system. At all points in a municipal water supply system are places where organic and inorganic pollutants can mix into the water.

Also there is the much larger question which I raised in relation to the yoghurt. I was perhaps being overly subtle because what I see with the yoghurt is that our industrial food systems are too clean and rely on too small a diversity of micro-biology to the exclusion of all else. Consider the difference between yoghurt which is started with an inoculum of only one or two bacteria. The possibility that either bacteria is knocked out by a bacteriophage is pretty high considering the rapid growth cycles of those critters. This is one of the main reasons that backslopping (the art of starting one culture off the remnants of the previous culture) is not impossible with industrial yoghurt, but it does produce weaker results as time goes on. Traditional starter cultures - are much hardier again and can often be continued for many human generations, because they contain possibly hundreds of varieties of bacteria most of which we know absolutely nothing about. The diversity of life in traditional starter cultures makes the starter culture more resilient to shocks.

Unfortunately most industrial food processes seek to - for good reasons - reduce the diversity of life that we are exposed too. And the system is becoming more brittle as time goes on. So many systems are like that. Soils are a good example. It takes three years for the diversity of the soil life to rapidly increase and form a stable eco-system so that plants can grow with minimal watering and only the occasional feed. Limiting the diversity of seeds and plant varieties presents a huge risk to humans and it is an experiment conducted on such a huge scale that it is unprecedented.

The water stored here is different in that it forms a balanced eco-system the tanks.

The problem with industrial milk that I mentioned was not due to the bacteria that is part of the normal flora of the milk, but it is apparently due to milk becoming contaminated with pus from the udders of the cows who are under severe stress because of the conditions they are kept in and the food that they consume.

Just something for you to all consider, discuss and test.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Coco,

I've seen similar to those drought conditions down here too. That is really serious. You may be interested to know that water in dams below about the 10% level is basically not good to drink because it has a great deal - I believe - of anaerobic bacteria due to the normally low oxygen content of the water. It is very fortunate indeed that you are coming into a cooler and wetter time of the year (maybe? At least cooler anyway). As top soils deplete around the globe, the ability of local environments to hold water in the ground against the inevitable droughts is going to be even more problematic than it is today. I really do hope that you get some solid winter rains.

Definitely install a rainwater tank. It is a good source of comfort during a drought. Out of curiosity, what sort of roof does the barn have? I'd be very dubious about drinking water that has been collected on a roof that was made from asbestos sheeting (cement sheeting) as the asbestos fibres may possibly be introduced into the water supply and they can lodge in the stomach lining with fatal consequences.

I haven't watched that series myself, but the Australian drawl can be very difficult to understand. Hows-it-goin-mate? can be said without pausing for breath! Hehe! Glad you are enjoying the scenery. Ah, the series is filmed in Queensland which is a big state and very diverse climates and environments. Glad you are enjoying it.

Rabbit does have a lot of bones doesn't it? I occasionally find small bones in rabbit dishes, but that is no drama. Guinea pig is likewise a difficult meat to consume. And yes, the downwards pressure from big grocery chains is causing pain for suppliers down here too. The technical term for that process is called "cliffing".

There is also a discussion above about the water filter.

Regards

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Rather than replying to everyone with the same points, I put some talking points above about the use of the water filter.

I have heard that bird poo story and it is a fair concern. I tend to reply to such concerns that wombats, wallabies and kangaroos do plenty of poo in and around reservoirs and let's not talk about the little fishies and their crazy antics! :-)! People have been drinking water for a long time, and most of the problems have usually arisen when us humans failed to deal with our own poo near waterways. There is a lot to be said about germ theory and basic hygiene.

The tanks are polyethylene which is apparently inert, but you know we do live on a poisoned planet and most of that gear is our own doing. Paranoid folk may want to consider the use of PVC in their own household plumbing, not to mention copper which produces some very pretty copper sulphate crystals. All you can ever do is reduce the exposure and then hope for the best.

The sheer fear of nature is readily apparent and so many people actively pursue an ultra clean environment that they may well be providing an excellent clean slate growing medium for very unpleasant nasties. It is such a thin veneer and most of the time these stories get into our heads because some product is being flogged to us. I'm not immune to that gear either as I have some sort of irrational fear of raw milk and there is no real basis for that fear. I just do have it.

Exactly, people can pretend in the big smoke that nature is somewhere else, but that is simply not true at all. And I'm not really sure, but the pretence that somehow nature is unimportant fuels a lot of flights into abstractions. I'm not really comfortable about that side of things.

It is a wise man who knows when it is time to run. I salute that sort of wisdom. Jeff is right too about the change of fuels reflecting the age of the person consuming the fuel. I may have to hire folks to assist with that job, and if not, mate I'm going to be cold...

I saw something about frogs... ... Desert frogs come alive in Red Centre's outback following a week of heavy rains. Enjoy!

Hehe! Thanks. The hot weather this week has knocked the strawberry plants around a bit. I may have to get out tonight and talk to them and give them some encouraging words and also some seaweed solution! I've practiced that look. Not really! Actually most of the photos come at the end of a work day and that is my all business, no mucking around look! Hehe. The old enclosure was going to be converted into a pumpkin garden bed, but we may make another terrace for them. It is nice to have the space to be able to muck around and just try things. That garden bed may be turned over to flowers. The soil is very, very deep at that location.

Hope the bee talk was good and it is very pleasing to see someone of the cloth getting back to their historical roots. Back in the day nobody other than the nobles and royalty got to enjoy honey or mead and it is a wise monopoly.

I don't really know the truth of the broad bean question. Let's put it this way - the jury is out and deliberating. Maybe the beans will produce a passable dip, but they grow so well and effortlessly... It is a conundrum. Carrots grow like weeds here and they turn up everywhere, but they have hybridised back to their original forms and look more like parsnip tubers than the sort of orange things that people expect. Tastes the same to me though.

An excellent analysis on the word whimsy. I see the difference. Yes, I occasionally mention to the editor that we may one day enjoy the company of five Pomeranian's or perhaps one hermit! Clearly it is not an either/or thing, and maybe both would be a good addition? Hehe! Just kidding. Maybe... Hehe!

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

People often make the assumption that houses and dwellings do not require care and feeding, and they are usually incorrect in that assumption. You were fortunate to enjoy a lesson from one who knows the ways of that beast. They can bite you know, well, if maltreated! Stay safe and remember to care for the apartment. :-)!

Far out, same here with the bookshelves. The materials used have deteriorated over the years and I can't imagine how they are today. Mind you, from all accounts the prices were reduced during that time. I got annoyed when the backs of the shelves which were originally a particle board, were later supplied with cardboard. What could possibly go wrong?

I wonder what happened to those libraries? You may be surprised to know that I once worked in a large firm (engineers) that maintained their own library and librarian. Until that time I was unaware that private libraries even existed and it was amazing to see. That was a few decades ago and I have no idea whether they now maintain that facility. Have you ever worked for a private library? It would be a sweet job that one.

It is amazing to consider all of the background folks that keep such behemoths rolling along and to be honest, from your description, they stole the show. I wonder if storyboards are used nowadays? The most recent reference to them was in the film Argo, which was quite good. The storyboards were much in evidence as part of the cover story for the film.

It is way hot here today at 93'F. I'm sitting in the shade of an enormous old elm tree and hopefully it is not water stressed as the branch above me is quite large. Oh well.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Claire,

Ah yes. I've seen those ceramic filters and by all accounts they are very useful items. Some of the old pottery companies used to produce them and they are beautiful items too. Fair enough too with your precautions and it is always best to err on the cautious side of this discussion. Mind you, I have never had a bad experience with the rainwater either. If you are at all interested I raised some talking points in the comment section above regarding this matter. The material used on the roof construction may pose a risk if it is old cement sheeting which may possibly contain asbestos – you don’t want that in your water supply.

Lucky you. Your experience with the business was excellent and such a good outcome too. Batteries are a bit of a dodgy technology to be honest, and I'm typing this on a near decade old laptop that just keeps ticking along. It is on its third battery now! The machine itself is possibly not repairable which is the same situation as your Apple. These things happen and it keeps us churning along with purchasing hardware. I do salute you purchasing a second hand machine though.

Thank you. It is feral out there in the garden and there are plenty of flowers. The noise of the insects is really something I don’t hear in Melbourne and I have become accustomed to it. Nice work with the fall leaves. Do you manage to salvage any from off the property? I would! Organic matter is a precious resource and the back of the little dirt mouse Suzuki is full of used coffee grounds. It smells nice. Do you place a cover of fall leaves over your vegetable beds?

Cheers from what appears to be summer today (93'F). Far out it is warm.

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi foodnstuff,

I now have yoghurt envy! Hehe! Well done with your batch and may it live long and prosper! Incidentally, if you can backslop the batch in order to make new batches, then your culture is the biz! The stuff can go on for generations of human lives and cultures were often handed on in that fashion as an heirloom. Of course you can add to it and I don't feel that that would hurt at all, but if it isn't necessary, then why poke it?

I'm planning to add raw milk to my yoghurt culture in order to increase the diversity of life forms in there. That should do the trick and then we'll see what happens.

Thanks for sharing your experience and perhaps rainwater tanks are more of a down under thing and so have more acceptability down here? Dunno. I like the simplicity of your system too.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

Hi,

Growing up on a dairy farm in a rural area, we were responsible for sourcing water. The cows got their water pumped from a local creek (of questionable cleanliness, many farms were upstream) and our drinking water fell from the sky, via a very dirty tile roof and a leaf filled tank. On balance I would say we definitely should have filtered it, there were often wrigglies in my water glass! On the other hand, my stomach can now tolerate a wide variety of food stuff with very lax preparation standards. Perhaps these facts are related?

Somewhat related, I believe it was not unusual for cask stored water to go bad on sailing ships back in the day. Ultimately, water plus heat *will* lead to growth of something, I guess most of the time our bodies can deal with it. In Laos Mrs Damo had a lot of trouble keeping water free from contaminants, even a damp surface could have mould on it within a few hours.

Damo

Jo said...

Hey, Chris, broad bean dip is a middle eastern staple..

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

Thanks for sharing your experience with water. Whatever is upstream in creeks and rivers can be a real mixed bag. No doubts your resilience to disease owes much to those wrigglers.

I should mention that none of the water tanks here are without stainless steel fine mesh filters on the inlet side of things, and so wrigglers (which are mosquito larvae from my understanding and what I have seen in plenty of pools) would have a hard time breeding up a population in there as the mosquitoes can't get in the first place. The mesh stops solids from getting into the tank, but you know, there will be algae in there as it is in all water supplies, and also fines get in and settle on the bottom of the tank. There is usually not that much of it because the water pump will suck the fine material out from time to time. As a comparison, the more usual tap water will have plenty of floaties as anyone who has ever cleaned a filter on a water tap will know!

Well that isn't something that I would have thought about! I believe the old timers used to add apple cider vinegar to their water supply which given the quality of their water it probably wasn't a bad idea.

That happens here too with window frames over winter due to the high humidity.

Far out it is hot here. Hope you are enjoying the cooler weather in NZ?

I enjoyed the end of Aurora although I was sort of expecting 90% of the crew to drop dead after arrival due to unspecified illnesses. And I was a bit miffed that Jochi and the ship copped it in the neck and all the characters were like "oh well, these things happen". Did you enjoy the story?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Jo,

Many thanks and I will try that with the broad beans in another month or so. I saw something in the news about weather records being broken in your part of the world. Not sure. I hope it is not too hot there? Most days this week have been over 30'C and the place is turning into a jungle. It's scary out there!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Water, hygiene etc. I suspect that we are over concerned with cleanliness these days. I mentioned before that, when we only had well water, my husband happily drank it with no ill effects even though tests had shone it to be contaminated with e-coli. But then he had been one of 11 children and grew up hard.

American troops here were told to shower less often because they were getting skin conditions due to excessive washing.

Raw milk is another matter though. There has just been a disaster here on the Island. A local farm who have sold raw milk for years without a problem have caused illness in a number of people. In 3 cases severe enough for intensive care. I believe that tuberculosis was the initial reason for pasturising milk.

More on other topics later.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

Thanks for making me laugh and laugh over my breakfast at 'nature deficit disorder'.

@ Coco

Definitely a cos lettuce once I looked at the internal leaves but far, far more fibrous than chard which I grow.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I watched an incredible programme yesterday on television called 'My mother's lost children'. It was on BBC4. Goodness knows whether it is possible to access it. Anyone who thinks that their family leaves something to be desired, should look at this extraordinary story.

Yesterday afternoon was spent at the hospital having my mouth ulcers looked at. This was at the insistence of my dentist who disagreed with my view of what was wrong. Haha I am correct and she is wrong. I have Lichen Planus which I already knew. The specialist wanted me to have a biopsy and said that he was legally required to suggest this. I made an appointment for this and then cancelled it this morning. I find this need to protect themselves from being sued as vey annoying. I have had phone calls this morning querying my decision and asking whether I am happy about it. Yes I am very very happy thank you. There is a 1 - 3% chance of getting oral cancer over the next 10 years; my my! Enough of the rant.

Having mentioned children's books that I like, I should add that I have finished 'The big short' and became bored towards the end as it dissected millimetre by millimetre. Am currently much enjoying de Quincey's 'Confessions of an English opium eater'.

Inge

margfh said...

Chris et al,

Interesting discussion about filtering water. I'd definitely filter water coming off our asphalt roof but probably not as important if it was metal. Metal roofs aren't too common on houses around here though there's plenty of metal sheds/barns. However, Chris, your point is well taken as to what's in municipal water or for that matter the water that comes from our well. Our county health department recommends testing your well annually. We did it once a few years ago and it had a high county of coliform bacteria. Here's what they have to say about coliform bacteria:

Coliform bacteria is the standard used for bacterial quality in drinking water. Coliform bacteria is not a single bacterial species, rather a grouping of several different bacterial species. Coliform bacteria live naturally in the intestinal tracts of humans and animals, and are also found in sewage. Some types of coliform bacteria naturally live in soils and surface waters (lakes, rivers, ponds, etc.).

The presence of coliform bacteria in well water indicates that sewage or some type of surface water may be entering and contaminating the water supply. Most wells can be disinfected by a simple chlorination process. Additional information on disinfecting wells is available at the McHenry County Department of Health.

Well perhaps I'm missing something but it doesn't sound all that dangerous and anyway we've been here 30 years with the same well and never got sick. I'm much more concerned about the pesticides, herbicides and petroleum products that leach down into the water table.

We use a Britta filter for our drinking water as the well water doesn't taste that great. One faucet has unsoftened water which we use for drinking. If we don't have a water softener everything would turn orange due to the iron in our water. Well even with a water softener some places like the wall the shower hits turn orange anyway. Rain water would be pretty nice and not have to be softened.

Margaret


margfh said...

@Coco

Thanks!! He seems to have stabilized on the new medication (fingers crossed) so hopefully he'll be ok for awhile.

Sorry to read about the drought conditions near you.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I've probably mentioned this but almost all the milk sold in the grocery stores is now ultra-pasteurized - even the organic milk. Subsequently it's really difficult to get my yogurt to set. Any milk that just pasteurized is usually close to out of date. Back when I had goats I made yogurt and soft cheese and it turned out great. I didn't pasteurize it as it does change the flavor a bit but then I was careful with how I handled it. Buying raw milk from someone else could be chancy.

Funny that you mentioned the book, "The Art of Fermentation". I had bought the book a couple years ago and read some of it and just decided the other day that I needed to get back to it. My niece's partner said it's one of the textbooks in her college course on fermentation.

Margaret

margfh said...

@Lew

The book you mentioned is "Last Child in the Woods" by Richard Louv. Besides the fact that kids are over scheduled with planned activities parents are also fearful of more wild places. Better they be on a soccer or baseball field. When we first moved here our youngest daughter (six at the time) and the other kids on the road spent all day outside. They used to ride the neighbor's pigs on a regular basis (we didn't have any at that time). Of course we didn't have a computer and there were no other distracting devices.

I am making cauliflower stuffing (though traditional stuffing will be in the bird itself) for Thanksgiving. My daughter and boyfriend are hosting Thanksgiving for 26 at their place in Chicago. We're providing the turkey, stuffing and gravy. It should be interesting as I don't know how they're going to fit all these people at tables. Even more interesting will be watching the interactions of the people who all think they are in charge (none of them my daughter or her boyfriend) one of them being Doug. My plan is to sit back with my glass of wine and watch the fireworks haha.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Coco - I know what you mean about accents. I haven't had broadcast or cable "TV" in years ... decades (is that Virtue Signaling? :-). But still watch to much "stuff" due to our wonderful library system. And most of it is subtitled. I discovered a wonderful little button on my remote. I click it and subtitles appear. Sometimes, there's even a selection of many foreign languages.

I think on broadcast or cable you can get (I don't know how it works) "Captioned for the hearing impaired."

I follow a lot of series from the BBC, and also several New Zealand and Australian series. It would all be pretty frustrating without the subtitles. Also, some actors are rather ... mush mouthed, these days. Sometimes, it is a bit disappointing to run across a, usually small indy film or documentary that doesn't have subtitles. I suppose because it does add costs. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - LOL. Interesting. I mentioned book cases to you and to my friends in Idaho. Now all my pop up ads have book cases on offer ... I'm surprised my bookcases have held up as well as they have. Yup. Particle board with photo wood grained paper. The back IS cardboard, but between the photo grain on one side and paint on the other, pretty rigid. I'm surprised, given the weight they've held, that there hasn't been any "bowing."

The shelves are mostly adjustable. Spaced holes with little metal pegs, four to a shelf. LOL. One of the pegs went missing. Found it, lost it again. Found it again.

Lillian's library was well traveled. It was Paramont Picture's and they were going to do away with it, when the studio system collapsed. (The prop and costume auctions went on for days). She bought the library and it went to some film society ... until they needed the space. Then onto Francis Ford Cuppola's studio. Until they went broke. Then, Dreamworks picked it up. I suppose it's still there? Maybe, these days, the libraries are not so necessary, given the internet and all.

Back when I was fiddling with library schools (the 1960s) the options were public libraries, academic libraries and private (business or corporate) libraries. The plan, at that time, was to get my BA in Art History and my MS in library science and get a job in an art museum library. Best laid plans, and all of that :-). For a look at a private library or research department, check out Hepburn and Tracy's film, "Desk Set." Research librarians vs an early computer system! "Curfew shall not ring, tonight!"

Oh, I just happened to think. I once knew an antique dealer who had a wonderful, Louis XVI grand piano and matching display cabinet. All wonderful inlaid woods. It had come from the Paramont sale. She had a list of all the films it had appeared in.

I spotted a headline (didn't bother to read the article) about the dreaded CNADD ... Cable News Attention Deficit Disorder. There's probably a pill for that. :-). Now I suppose all my pop ups will be pushing, that pill? Lew



Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

110,000 liters - that's so much water! Or not, maybe. We drink well water, underground water that is brought up from just a bit above the slope that our house is built on, water that is filtered through soil and rocks. It comes out of the tap apparently completely clean; maybe it mostly is. But - now - the dreaded filter monster raises its head. Does our 25 year old pump have a filter that no-one has ever checked on . . .? I don't think I'm tough enough to face that.

What a wonderful frog at your house and I enjoyed the desert frogs, too. That looks to me like a click beetle that your frog is enjoying. There is a funny video on the desert frog site that shows a herd of cattle following a beaver about all over (this would be in Canada). The cows are so curious and the beaver looks like he just wants to go home.

Toothy - you are the cutest wet thing I have ever seen. Much cuter than a frog!

That is such wonderful, rich-looking compost around your strawberries. How far apart are your strawberries planted? I think maybe ours are too close together. We have started mulching them with grass clippings that we have saved from over the summer, a bit of old hay, and are going to run the lawn mower over a bunch of dead leaves we have collected and put that around them, too. The chicken wire looks really good; you got all those pieces to look quite uniform.

That looks like kind of serious damage to the apple trees?

Shame on you for ignoring your mulberry fruit; they are so wonderful. Oh, how I envy you that sunny spot for lavender.

We've never tried growing broad beans; for some reason I think that I don't like them. Do they not taste like a "green" bean? Or does one shell them? I was thinking that they might make an interesting "hummus". I think Jo mentioned something like that.

I find your downbeat essays to be as delightful as your more "vigorous" essays. In fact, I really appreciate how relaxing those are.

93F, my goodness! The leaves are finally mostly off of the trees here - and all over the garden. Every morning I go out and remove them from the fall crops.

I take a dose of apple cider vinegar every morning; it tastes like mashed centipedes. My son wants to know when was the last time I ate mashed centipedes. It is quite hard for me to imagine adding it so regular drinking water.

One of the things I was late doing this season was removing all of the garden hoses attached to the taps and draining them, then putting them away before the first hard freeze. By the time I got to them they had ice in them. I lay them out up (and down) the hill so that the water can drain out, then I roll them up and put them in the barn, with two left outside on two sides of the house in case needed - or if there should be a fire.

Thanks for the beautiful fruit and flowers!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

Just for Michael to have some relief is a blessing.

We haven't had our well water tested since we put in the well 25 years ago. We are on a hill with only one neighbor (and no livestock) above us and even his well and drain field for his septic tank is way over to the side, not directly above. Our septic tank is below our house. Could your coliform problem be coming from a septic tank somewhere?

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@Claire:

Which winter pruning will you be starting on soon?

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@Coco:

Your drought is really bad news; I hope that you get rain soon.

I wonder if one could cook rabbit in a pressure cooker to soften the bones? Don't people do that for chicken bones?

Pam

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

I saw your thoughtful questions. One of the reasons I like to drink rainwater is that I think it's much higher quality than the water provided by our water utility (it certainly tastes better). This is because of my chemistry background (I know what they put in the water to treat it and what it can do) and because Mike worked for the water utility for 10 years, 5 of those as a plant mechanic, so I know in detail what they do and how it can go wrong from the plant to the house intake. Our water utility sources from both the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers so we get everything in the water ... "treated" sewage, runoff from farms, runoff from ranches and feedlots, runoff from streets and parking lots, "treated" water released by industry, and who knows what else. The water utility is required to publish a water quality report each year using an EPA approved format. The phrase I am most fond of is at the beginning of each year's report. It goes something like this: "The water responds well to rigorous treatment ..." I always snort and think to myself, it needs rigorous treatment. The report always claims all the parameters are within regulations, but that's at the plant. Mike has told me what happens when there is a main break. There must have been one on a main supplying us in the last few days. The kitchen sink faucet started running slowly, so we unscrewed the aerator. The faucet side of the aerator was covered with sand and fine gravel. Mike says that's the sign of a main break. If sand and gravel got in, who knows what else did too.

I understand your point about the bacteria, but there is a legal reason to filter the rainwater. If a guest were to drink unfiltered rainwater and got sick, he or she could sue us for way more money than we have; the US is a suit-happy place. We don't have deep pockets like the water utility does. Putting a filter on the rainwater shows due diligence on our part.

Our roof is covered in asphalt shingles, no asbestos in them since it was re-shingled in 2001, long after asbestos stopped being used. The rainwater collection firms say not to collect rainwater for drinking off asphalt shingles, but I think that is just to cover their legal rears. Our roof was 10 years old when we started collecting rainwater. In 10 years, any remaining liquid in the asphalt would have long ago evaporated off from our long, hot summers. Rainwater couldn't dissolve the highly crosslinked polymer that remains there, or so my chemistry training suggests.

Considering that we do a number of things the so-called experts claim we shouldn't do to avoid bacterial contamination, like eat fruit collected off the ground that has tears in the skin (and I eat fresh strawberries and raspberries straight off the plant without washing them first, have done so since I was a child), I think we have a good diversity of bacteria in our bodies. ;) Mike is a bit more squeamish than I am - he prefers his fruit rinsed off with water before he eats it - but he collects and eats fruit from off the ground too.

Claire

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge, Margaret, Lewis, Pam, and Claire,

Thanks for the lovely and very thoughtful comments. I am unable to reply this evening and promise to reply tomorrow. I worked back late in the big smoke and so the editor and I grabbed dinner. A very tasty Vietnamese street food restaurant in the more edgy part of town which is quite colourful and full of character. Far out it is hot though. 35'C (95'F) today and it looks like the same again tomorrow. The house is warm, but the outside night air is quite cool now.

Lewis - Mate, hot as today, and tomorrow and the day after. This looks like it is going to shape up to be an interesting summer weather wise. Not interesting in a pleasant way though. Fortunately, I have plenty of water in the tanks and there is heaps of water in the ground. The poor strawberries which I transplanted last weekend don't appear to be looking that healthy... They may still be alive under the mulch, maybe... Oh well. It still looks very green here.

Strangely enough, a weak La Nina is predicted for the summer and so the heat at the moment is accompanied by rain, so Saturday and Sunday will still be hot, but with rain forecast. That is like the tropics to me, without the very regular rainfall. This climate business is fun as! Have the winds died back a bit in your part of the world?

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The wind has died down. Overnight lows are around 50F. Overcast. Clear this morning. Rain, off and on, yesterday. LOL, I walked to the men's meeting last night. All of 3 blocks. Everyone looks at like me like I'm crazy, as it's "raining." On the way, not a drop. On the way back, what I'd call a heavy mist. No big deal.

The Rev gave his bee talk, yesterday. He started 15 minutes late. I hung in for about an hour and a half and then left. Nap time called. :-). He really is a pretty good speaker, with a good presentation. But he has a certain edge ... In some ways, I think he's a bitter little man. But, anyway, we covered bees in general and the different kinds of bees in colonies, their roles in the colony, etc.. He was just getting into hive box structure when I bailed. I figure the next time he gives the talk, I'll skip the first hour and pick it up about where I threw in the towel.

Thanksgiving, tomorrow. Lots to do. Last run to Safeway, early this am. Going to scout the antique malls in prep for the big sale on Friday. Treasures? :-). Lew

SLClaire said...

@ Pam -

I'll be pruning anything that needs it, trees and shrubs alike. Of most concern to me right now are the fruit trees and shrubs in the front yard, because I wasn't able to prune them last winter so they need it the most. Most of the trees and shrubs in the back yard don't need it except for the unwanted ones (honeysuckles, silver maples, the rugosa roses that spread out too much) that I am in the process of cutting down but didn't get finished last winter. It'll be December before I get well started on the work, but I need to start it as soon as I can in order to allow for the really cold days and the rainy/snowy/icy days when I can't keep my fingers warm enough to work the pruners.

Claire

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

Is that you in: Into the Ruins? Hehe! Congratulations! I look forward to reading your story.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

e-coli is a companion of humans and part of our normal flora! It is all over the place, on ATM's, petrol pump handles, escalator rails. You name it, it is there. It is the concentration of the bacteria that is the problem. The editor told me a story about testing for e-coli and apparently they plated samples of it out and it took something like 17 sheets of toilet paper before it was no longer present on the plated samples...

I have conflicted feelings about raw milk, but will use a sample to inoculate my yoghurt culture with a more diverse range of bacteria. Everything is out to eat us humans, and every time we gain an edge over nature, there is a hidden cost for us to pay.

Thanks for the programme review. It sounds fascinating!

I'd never heard of Lichen Planus and I noted that one of the treatments was oral antihistamines. I'm curious about antihistamines as I have never read any ill effects from them, but I was wondering about your view on that? A lot of green leafy plants contain quantities of antihistamines. I'm not dismissing your risk, and hope you avoid that unpleasant fate, but risk is always with us.

No worries at all. As we discussed before the two books were essentially one and the same. I have to laugh because one of the criticisms of that de Quincy book was that: "criticized for giving too much attention to the pleasure of opium and not enough to the harsh negatives of addiction". Are you enjoying the story?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

I've never seen an asphalt roof before so have no idea what is even involved in their construction or the materials used. There must be an historical reason for the preference for asphalt roof's over that of metal. Metal is very common here as a roofing material, but most new houses are constructed with cheaper ceramic tiles. I'm not a fan of ceramic tiled roof's as they allow too much airflow into the roof cavity (like a sieve). Imagine how they’d work in a bushfire with millions of embers (like little sparklers) flowing into a dry and hot roof cavity full of timber beams…

Absolutely and I'm totally with you. You are unlikely to become sick with your own gut flora as long as it isn't too exotic! The thing about chlorinated water is that it also reduces our abilities to produce fermented food products - which is a form of food preservation and also it eases our ability to digest some foodstuffs such as grains etc. I’ve never seen a home brew recipe that specifies chlorinated water! Hehe! I might be wrong though. It gives a benefit on one hand and then there is a cost on the other hand.

Yeah, well the rocks and soil in your area will affect your well water - no doubts about that. In India, arsenic which is held in certain ores leaches into their wells. That's not good.

I hear you about the orange stains. The copper pipes here tend to produce small quantities of the blue copper sulphate crystals. What do you do? Nothing is perfect.

I haven't come across ultra-pasteurized milk before, but read references to the process in Mr Katz's epic book on fermentation. It sounds horrendous! But no doubt it increases the shelf life of the product. I'm starting to wonder whether historically our food was far more alive than it is today? Dunno.

The book is lovely and so easy to read. He tells an engaging tale and doesn't skip over the history and basic background steps to all of the processes. I thoroughly endorse the book!

Cheers

Chris

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

The cool change arrived about half an hour ago and dark clouds threatened rain - and then nothing. Oh well.

It was a bit of a sad day for me today as the lady that has been cutting my hair for about a decade announced that she was moving interstate. I sort of feel as if I've broken up with a friend. Oh well, these things happen and I wished her well on her journey through life. On a more positive note, I also visited the artisan hat specialist - he does a brisk trade - and picked up a summer hat. I still haven't found the right occasion for the blue hat as it is a bit cool for me and has a lot of mojo, and I have to work my way into that gear.

And in an amusing side story, the credit card machines at some retailers had failed. I amusingly remarked to the irrigation supplies people that I would go all old school on them and pay using cash. I actually heard people saying: Who pays cash these days? The banks would thoroughly enjoy a cash-less society as they would get a cut on every single transaction, and nobody seems to notice that. I do my best to deny the banks their little unnoticed tax. It is a drop in the ocean though.

Your computer has become infected with tracking cookies. I clear them out from time to time as they track all sorts of interesting things using your browser. A how to guide to cleaning them out should be easy enough for you to find on an interweb search. Some of the searches I do based on the comments here would be interesting, but possibly also quite tame really. If people are really worried about interweb usage then I always suggest they use a Virtual Private Network service, but you know I'm not that interesting and have nothing to hide. I've got a huge interweb presence here and over at Ecosophia, but not much anywhere else as I lack the time to surf around. Dunno. It will be interesting to see how the interweb evolves on that front as time progresses. My gut feeling tells me that it will be like most things in that it starts off free and easy, and then the powers that be circle around like fluffy sharks nibbling away here and there and then eventually people wonder why they are even using it. Maybe they'll do something interesting and unexpected like talking to other people? Hehe! It'll happen for sure.

Your bookcases sound as if they are quite sturdy. As a comparison, the ones here which line the hallway are sort of bowing a bit, which is annoying. Those little metal tabs are enormously strong aren't they?

Hey, I picked up some bits and pieces today to get some more of the water system upgrade project moving along. It is a massive job. And despite regular watering, most of the strawberry plants which we moved last weekend, went toes up. It has just been too hot for transplants and so we'll just have to enjoy only half the planted area and the old strawberry enclosure. That's life, we finished the job too late for this season, but then there is always next season.

I hope Dreamworks kept the library, but you never know as book-burning which is a dreadful sin and only acceptable for the very worst tripe, and even then, happens. A lot of eBay sales are older books being sold off from libraries - as you would well know. Some of my second hand Jack Vance collection is from libraries as they are hardback and even have the identification. A bit of history, I reckon!

A CNADD sounds like some sort of vicious monster. No doubt it has gnashing teeth and makes its victims wail in despair!

I had a referral for an interesting series: Mindhunter. A bit scary to look inside those minds as you never know what you may find.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Yes, beware the dreaded filter monster! As I remarked to Lewis above it may have gnashing teeth and makes its victims wail in despair! :-)! I wouldn't worry about it as a 25 year old pump is a very, very high quality item. I don't wish to use the word zenith to remark upon the manufacturing quality of that item, but it does sort of seem appropriate.

Oh yeah, and definitely ignore the third filter as it may not even be there!

You are spot on as it is a click beetle. Aren't they funny little critters and they're very clever how they bounce about the place. Well done and a good pick up!

Cows are cool in that they follow a leader, until they don't. The last time I was at my mates place, the cows had worked out how to open the gate latch and then they escaped and we had to round them up. I have never ran at such a large beast before hoping that they knew that I was more trouble than them - which is of course not true at all. Fortunately, I fooled them and they obediently ran back into their enclosure - after much monkey business on the part of us humans. I'm unsure about keeping such large animals as the fencing would drive me bananas.

Toothy was posing for the camera on that shot and he was well proud of himself! Toothy sends his thanks and kind regards.

The compost is excellent isn't it? We plant strawberries really close together. About a hand-span apart and let them grow into each other. In hot and dry weather plants grow better with closer spacings as the sun evaporates soil moisture otherwise. But that is a technique I use here and other parts of the world things are different, so who knows. Watch and observe I reckon to see what works.

Oh yeah, using your mower to increase surface area is an awesome idea! Elephant stamp for you!

Gotta bounce sorry as I have run out of time to reply and promise to continue tomorrow night!

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

Yes, thank you that is me in the latest issue. I hope it goes down well :-)

Re: Aurora
I was also a bit miffed at the results of that final sun slingshot. What did you think of the final chapter? There was a lot of criticism about it as anti climatic but I thought it was pretty much perfect. But then, I enjoy a good swim. I plan to re-read that one soon!

Damo

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

We had one heck of a storm last night and I could hear objects crashing against my wall. I haven't been out to look yet on this glorious still sunny morning. Vast numbers of leaves came down and my view of the sea is back.

I have never heard of oral antihistamines and usually avoid all medications. The only time that I use antihistamines is on mosquito bites. The Lichen Planus is really not worrying me at all, only the dentist was fretting. I realise in retrospect that I have had it for over 2 years.

I am enjoying the de Quincey book because he is such a great writer. Haven't reached his opium addiction yet.

The dog that Son kept from the first litter (now 1 year old) has turned out to be the dog from hell. He says that he wouldn't have kept it if he had known. On the other hand he reckons that if it had gone to a buyer it would have been returned. The dog displays none stop guilt at its activities so it is certainly not unaware. Perhaps it will sober down with age. I don't know the details am only aware of Son's anxiety when he doesn't know where it is. It is particularly intelligent.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Chris, the Cow Warrior. Think not of just the construction of cattle fencing, but the maintenance of all that fence. Though, once we built horse fencing out of wooden posts and boards and it needed very little maintenance as they were treated wood. We also enclosed 2 acres (.81 hectare) for the dogs to romp in, but that had metal star posts and wire fencing, which eventually did rust a bit. It also had an electrified wire - I set that up myself, ouch - on top of part of it because of Bob . . . All of my neighbors with cows use barbed wire. In fact there is barbed wire running through our woods (I hope I have found most of it) from about 150 years ago. The neighbors who value their horses put up all-wood fences.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Claire:

Thanks for the pruning info!

We had a sweet potato failure this year, but - my goodness - I bought them for $.38 per pound in the store this week, as a holiday special. I've never seen them so cheap; I tried not to be a hog and buy them all out.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The turkey is on the bake and should be done in 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Pie and dressing are done. Just cranberries and a veg to go. Can't say I'm completely happy with how things are turning out, but since it's only just for me ... :-). Overcast, showers. Cliff Mass had an post about how high temperature reading records are falling all over the place, due to a tropical flow. The highest temp readings for this time of the year. There's some flooding, but minor. I don't think so much from the rain, as the snow level has gone way up. So, there's a lot of melt.

A few thoughts on bacteria. LOL, I had a bit of pie filling, left. Seems sad to waste. All those expensive spices. I'm sure there are some creative things I could have done with it. But it was 1am... So, I just sloped it on some pumpkin ice cream. Really good. I did have a second's concern about the raw eggs in the stuff. But, after a spoonful, I really didn't care :-). I have a new book on hold at the library, "The Bad Food Bible." From what I can gather from the reviews, it's about what to worry about, what not to worry about, and what is pretty over the top as far as being concerned. The eggs came from the Rev. I've never been on his place, but driving by, it's neat and well cared for. Only 300 chickens.

I got my copy of "Into the Ruins", yesterday. I haven't even opened the package yet. Speaking of hats, when I was out scouting, yesterday, I did see a nice Irish tween cap. I've always kind of wanted one. Might give it a second look. Years ago, I got a Wahl set of hair clippers from the hardware store. They have paid for themselves, many times over. They were about $25, then.

I pretty much always use cash. And when I'm getting the cash from the bank, unlike many people, I have no problem saying "small bills please." I think not doing that shows a certain ... lack of foresight and unconcern for others. But then, I'm neurotic :-).

Could you have maybe saved some of the strawberries if you had shaded them a bit? Probably. Maybe. But where to squeeze it into your schedule? But your right. Gardening and baseball (and so many other things .. like thanksgiving meals), there's always next year. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. About used books ... sold off, or stolen. There's quit a lively trade in stealing books from libraries and flogging them on the internet. A "discard" or "withdrawn" stamp is pretty cheap at the local office supply store. Buying books online is pretty much a crap shot. Even as careful as I am. I've gotten paperbacks that were offered as hard backs, and, yes, a library book. In both cases I complained, was refunded my money and told not to send the item back. Cost of doing business, I guess. Or, fear of a bad review. The library book was from the Portland Public Library. I was going to send it back to them, but I checked their catalog and it was no longer listed. So, I kept it, but still feel a bit queasy, every time I look at it.

I haven't seen it in years, but back in the dark ages of the internet, if you had your cookie blocker turned on, occasionally wehn you'd go to a site you'd get a screen covering message, "No Cookie, No Lookie."

The library seems to have gotten a bunch of Australian films, lately. I picked up three, yesterday. "First Footprints: Australia's Ancient Past is Brought to Live!", Lyndey Millan's Taste of Australia", and Julie Le Clerc's "Cafe Secrets". Series 2. I don't know what happened to series one. The library doesn't have it. There are a few other Australian films.

The scouting expedition to the antique mall, for tomorrow's sale was ... well, no great finds. Most stuff, even with the discount, is about what I'd pay on E-Bay. I still had quit a list, which is getting whittled down. Research, second (or third) thoughts.

Well, next on the agenda is to take the bag of kitchen scraps out to my worms. It's due, and I need the space in the fridge. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

There was a minor break in dialogue in order to attend to important matters at the local pub! Hehe. Apparently the good news is that Magical Christmas Unicorns may be available next week at the pub…

Poor little Scritchy boss dog extraordinaire is quite distressed at the moment as there is a thunderstorm overhead and she refuses to settle down on the couch, even with her good mate Toothy. She is giving me "Frightened Dog Face Number five" which to be honest is quite effective. I have evicted her from under the bed about four times in the past fifteen minutes...

The wallabies have trained me to prune all of the fruit trees into a shape that has a strong central trunk and then branching outwards from about 6ft. The fruit trees waste a lot of energy producing those lower branches and over the past few years I have been pre-emptively removing them.

I disturbed two deer in the orchard very late last night and they were quite large but are the sad remainder of the herd that once roamed the forest. The torches I use show that they have white eyes when reflected back at me in the dark. Other animals have different colours and move differently.

Yeah, the mulberry trees needed a sunnier spot, but I grew them in the shady orchard, and as a result they have been quite slow growing. It is a good fruit and many thanks for the gentle prod! :-)!

Jo did mention that broad beans are a staple. They have the advantage of being a winter bean too as down here you can plant them in either autumn or spring and they just grow and are ready to eat in late spring early summer. I'm unsure whether I enjoy the taste of the beans though.

Thanks. Another website recommended the blog and a whole lot of readers turned up this week and so I thought to myself: Let's write something this week that makes them all go away. I should write about limits, as that would work equally well! I enjoy the intimate space that is part of the blog. Growth is not necessarily a good thing.

Yeah it has been a hot and crazy week and records have been smashed both in the state north and south of here too. Not good... Does the wind remove the fall leaves from your trees?

Exactly and your apple cider regimen does you credit. Reading Mr Katz, I'm left with the impression that food was once more alive than it is today. Oh well.

Draining all of the hoses is a wise precaution and one that I have no experience of. When frost hits here, the pipes and hoses freeze but obviously it is a very light frost.

The sun has now reappeared and Scritchy has calmed down. Mind you, Mr Poopy is not enjoying his diet and I am now no longer favourite human and he is sulking his socks off.

Exactly too about the fencing. Around these parts trees regularly fall on fences and take them out. And yeah, barbed wire is not much fun to discover. I occasionally discover all manner of interesting steel items in the surrounding forest too. The worst discovery was a metal trap which had fortunately rusted shut. You have piqued my curiosity too as I have never touched an electric fence. Is it shocking? :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Claire,

It is funny that you mention that things can occasionally go wrong with water treatment, but I once read that (and have no idea as to the truth of the matter) if you can smell the chemical chlorine in water, then not enough of the chemical was added to the water in the first place. That has always sounded counter-intuitive to me though. Anyway, the local sewage treatment plant is located next to one of the main waterways in the area. When heavy rain falls, I'm pretty sure that the settling ponds overflow into the local waterway because where else can the excess water go?

Exactly! That water requires rigorous treatment - and like up your way, the water here ends up in the Maribyrnong River which eventually flows into Port Phillip Bay. After really heavy storms, the EPA has bay alerts for e-coli contamination and it is not hard to see why. Mike is spot on the money too as every year I clean the aerator filters in the taps (faucets) here and the fine mesh filters trap a small quantity of unidentified organic (in the chemical sense of that word) matter.

The brief thunderstorm has now passed and it is very nice to have a break in the heat. It is still raining but the sun is shining. This week has been crazy and record breaking for heat down here. And it was completely out of the blue, and appears to have some distance yet to go. The thing is though, it is also humid rather than the sort of dry heat I may usually expect in January or February.

Oh my! I have never heard of folks getting sick from rainwater down here, but it is commonly used in rural areas down here. Our infrastructure rarely works its way into remote rural areas and that may be a significant difference. As far as I understand things, public liability insurance is provided by the household insurance policy. People are pretty crazy about litigation down here too, maybe more so in some respects.

Asbestos was used in many products down here to I believe about 1985. I remember seeing advertisements for asbestos garden edging strips. What could possibly go wrong? I defer to your opinion on that matter as I have no experience at all with using asphalt for roofing. The zinc sheets here have a coating of paint on them which fades over time, and no doubt whilst most would off gas, some would end up in the water in miniscule trace amounts. There are bigger fish to fry to be honest.

And yeah, my reading of Mr Katz's epic tome is indirectly bringing to my mind the fact that food was once much more alive than it is today and I suspect that many health conditions that are on the increase in the population may be attributed to that difference. I hear you!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

The issue turned up in the mail this morning and I look forward to reading your work. Respect for getting published too. How's is the new work going set in the sci-fi old school solar system? My mind keeps bouncing back to western style gun fights on a dry and desolate Mars, although I have no idea why. :-)!

Well, a day at the beach for the awkward new arrival seemed like a good way to end the story to me. What do you reckon, but I reckon it was written by someone who had had that experience themselves?

A lot of plot was lost at the end because I wondered what had happened to the stayers - although you know it wasn't good?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

I hope there wasn't too much damage to your house, garden and forest in the storm? On the other hand, I do sort of love a good storm. A brief thunderstorm just rolled overhead and the editor and I sat on the veranda (out of the rain) and enjoyed the show. A useful amount of rain fell which was good as we had been removing unwanted plants from the tomato enclosure this morning. Far out it has been hot and humid here... Work ceased at about 1pm when the heat caused both of us to wilt. Glad you have your sea view back - do you ever take the time to admire the power of the ocean in a storm?

Fair enough. I tend to use that medication with bee stings or ant bites as the venom (and acid attack) can make either of us swell up like balloons (well not quite that bad, but there is a fair bit of inflammation around the sting site). Mosquitoes are a summer nuisance here too, but they just get itchy around the sting site. Have you looked into the possible reasons for the Lichen Planus?

Thanks for the book recommendation and that one is now on the to read list! :-)!

Sometimes the very worst behaved dogs when young can end up being some of the best dogs that a person will ever know. Old Fluffy was like that as she was intolerable when young and required some serious mind games in order to respond to all of her many tricks. We eventually wore her out and broke her (in the horse sense of that word) but perhaps age may have also had something to do with that too? I hope your son sorts out the dog and doesn't lose heart he may well be onto something good.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

I believe that there may be a maxim in there somewhere about your roast turkey in that your turkey has been cooked to the highest of standards which of course are your standards and so who is to complain I ask you? I have heard that ensuring that the meat is cooked all the way through because of the sheer size of the bird is not as easy as it seems, but have no experience with cooking a turkey. It may interest you to know that in recent years I have seen more turkey for sale than previously.

Thanks for the heads up about the cliffmass blog and those temperatures are quite alarming. Interestingly, I'm seeing the same thing here too with warm and moist tropical air moving southwards. This afternoon was positively monsoonal as it was very hot this morning and then very late this afternoon, a thunderstorm moved down from the north (remember we are upside down here) and dumped a bit of rain and cooled the whole area down. As to record breaking heat, well here is a sample from this crazy week:

Rain lacking in Tasmania as heat records tumble

November heat record broken in Melbourne

Record warm spring nights in Adelaide

I'm not suggesting that the weather is feral, but it sure looks that way! :-)!

So, I got up at about 6am this morning to get off to an early start in the cool morning air. I spent a couple of hours mowing and then we weeded the tomato enclosure so as to get ready for the summer vegetable planting session tomorrow (the yellow trailer is full of cow poo and horse poo!) Of course, I still have more mowing to do early tomorrow morning before the heat kicks in. Who said that old saying about Mad dogs and Englishmen?

After the storm and in between replying, I took Mr Poopy out on the lead to assist with the chickens in the orchard. I'm trying to train him to be chicken friendly and all I can say is that it will take some time!

Far out, the washing machine broke down permanently today. It is way dead and the motor appears cooked. That is terminal. These things happen.

Happy Thanksgiving! :-)! I hope the turkey is tasty.

Raw eggs are a funny one, because I suspect that contamination of the eggs occurs with poor hygiene in the chicken housing (whatever that may be) or handling. Egg shells from what I understand are porous and they have a coating of a gel like substance which rapidly hardens after the egg is laid. Commercial farms often wash their eggs for good reasons and some contaminants can then get into the small pores. That is very unlikely in a well managed and clean chicken house, but there is always the minor possibility. Given I control most of the circumstances with the chickens here I tend to be not troubled by raw egg, but other folks raw eggs can be a lucky dip. Mayonnaise is very occasionally a problem for that reason.

300 chickens and bees! Your Rev is running quite the enterprise - as well he should. He may be ahead of the curve in some respects.

My copy of Into the Ruins turned up in the mail today too - which is a truly awesome feat given I'm at the bottom of the world. Unfortunately, after many hours working in the sun earlier in the day, when I ordered an ice coffee and baguette for lunch (very tasty) at the general store, I was a bit of a space cadet, but somehow the folks there have become accustomed to my vagaries! It is nice to be so known and accommodated.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

I thoroughly endorse the purchase of an Irish tween cap - and have one myself. They keep your head toasty warm, but don't cover your ears and so you are less likely to be surprised because you hadn't heard that car roaring down the road at high speeds. Some hats that I have cover my ears but it is nice to be forewarned of surrounding noises.

Clippers are a good idea. Really sharp hairdressing scissors can do a very good job of trims too. The first set of clippers I purchased were an old school model and they were incredibly sharp and long lasting - the problem was that I believed that all other models after that one would be like that. How wrong I was!

Your bank story was funny because I do the same thing too. I listened to a podcast on gamblers and one of the case studies remarked how the gambling folks always attempted to normalise ever larger transactions. It is a very clever strategy when you think about it for a bit.

You are probably correct about saving some of the strawberries by shading them, but I try not to mollycoddle the plants too much as they then give me hassles down the track. Hardening them off here with the extreme UV is no easy feat either and it becomes a question of timing. You may be interested to know that when weeding the tomato enclosure we discovered several hundred tomato seedlings all happily growing in the heat with no watering... Far out, I really made life hard for myself with those indoor seedlings. I can write that experiment off now and just plant seeds in pre-prepared beds next year.

Really? Wow! It never occurred to me that people would steal books from a library and then sell them off. Not good. I have never experienced the switch and bait routine on a second hand book sale. On the other hand, some sellers advertise stock that they do not have, and I have run afoul of that little game from time to time.

Unless you have detailed firsthand knowledge of what trackers are installed by web pages, it is really difficult to keep on top of that gear. I pay for quality protection software and then just don't get up to mischief. That seems to work, so far. In my travels I have seen some unpleasant side effects of the interweb and ransomware seems to be the worst example so far, but of course not running unknown executables on your computer seems good advice too!

The age for human footprints on this continent keeps getting pushed back, and I noted the other day that Mungo Man had been returned to his people for a proper ceremony and burial. Cafe Secrets sounds pretty interesting. There is a lively cafe culture down here and I read reports saying that we have some of the best coffee going around. Yes, the lack of a series one is one of those sorts of mysteries that we have to carry around with us! I enjoy those little mysteries.

The forest tonight smells really nice after the rain. It is a mixture of eucalyptus, fermenting vegetation and flowers. That may sound mildly unappealing, but it is actually quite refreshing. And the cool air is a delight. I've got the whole house open wide letting in fresh air, for tomorrow it will be hot again. It may be some sort of temporal anomaly and the farm has been transported into the tropics? I've seen enough Star Trek episodes to know that these things happen! Hehe!

How are the worms going in your vegetable beds now that the really cold weather is fast approaching? I poked my head into the worm farm today and the organic matter at the bottom was a seething mass of wriggling worms.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

No damage at all from the storm, only small stuff on the ground.

Because the sea here is a channel not the open sea, it is very unusual for it to be wild. A shame really as I would love the chance to see great waves. Just once here the waves came over the roofs of the properties on the front. There was no damage but the glass roofs on their conservatories looked very mucky.

Nobody seems to have a clue about Lichen Planus, just an auto-immune disease. I reckon that auto-immune is a synonym for haven't a clue.

I'll tell Son what you said about dogs. This one is keeping him on his toes but I suspect that he is sort of enjoying it. The dog is good at 'wasn't me'.

The idea that there is less chlorine when one can smell it sounds ludicrous to me. Both my daughters drink rain water, the younger one has nothing else.

@ Pam

We also have ancient barbed wire in the woods. Removed when we can but a lot of it is thoroughly grown into trees, just the points sticking out.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

We had an experience like Chris with one of our past dogs - that was Bob the Tailless, he for whom I topped off the fence with electricity (later removed). Bob had been returned to the animal shelter 4 times before I brought him home; apparently the people at the shelter just felt that there was something special about him or he would have been put down way before that. He was about 1 year old at the time and was an absolute nightmare, but it turned out that the main part of his problem was that he was smarter than most of the people who had tried to deal with him (like me with my electric fence; he foiled that one . . .). He had also had distemper as a puppy which left him with a nervous condition.

But Bob could talk - actually talk - he just didn't have the ability to form the syllables as we do. He taught one of the neighbor's dogs to talk, too, and the two of them together when they were telling a story was incredible. Anyway, he became a well-loved neighborhood legend and people so looked forward to meeting him in his daily work (making sure the neighborhood was safe). Bob's been gone 2 1/2 years now, but folks still love to reminisce about him.

He was a greyhound/Australian shepherd cross.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Those wonderful Magical Christmas Uniforms, I mean Unicorns. They would be very wise to bring them back.

Yes, too much growth can be too much of a good thing - think Japanese stiltgrass. Still, what if there are delightful people lurking out there who will never be met?

Then Mr. Poopy will have to find his own snacks. When one of our past dogs had to go on a diet at least she was able to enjoy one of her food passions - carrots. Umm, are we sure that it is wise to train a hungry, grumpy Mr. Poopy to assist with chickens? Think carrots, Mr. Poopy - not chickens!

Hee, hee! Double ouch if your hands are wet . . .

Oh, dear, washing machines are on the pricey side of things. Do avoid "Moriarty" brand machines if possible. Three years later and I still want to kick mine.

You certainly have been hot - a lot. I'm glad that the night cooled off some.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Re: Deer "... sad reminder of the herd..." Oh, just give them awhile. You'll be overrun in a few years. You don't even have the occasional cougar to knock back the population. :-).

Even with a night on the counter and 2 1/2 days in the fridge, the turkey still had a bit of ice on the interior. But the giblets and neck came out pretty easy. I have a stick thermometer, that is quit handy. The breast was at temperature (170F) but it was the thigh that just didn't want to "get up there" to 180F. I also keep a thermometer in the stove. But I really wonder if my stove is entirely working properly. Ditto the thermometers.

It's a pity we had that one or two night of light frost. The gardens would still be banging along. When I buried the kitchen scraps, yesterday, there were worms about. I made sure to put a few of them on the soil I scraped back over the scraps. Then I harvested my peas. All three of them. :-). The plants are still looking good and even flowering. But there are no pollinators, about. I went simple with the veg. Sprouts with a bit of butter, salt and pepper. And, the peas scattered about the top.

The sun just came up, and as so often happens here at sunrise and sunset, the light rakes across the view until it gets high enough to be covered by the clouds. The autumn leaves lit up and in the distance the freeway perks along. A train passes by.

I think the Rev is pretty much retired. The kids grown and gone. A few times I've asked something about the chickens, and he says he doesn't know as they're his wife's domain. He's just the delivery boy :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I watched two episodes of "Footprints", last night. Got a good look at Mungo man. I didn't realize he's the oldest "modern" man found outside of Africa. There were all kinds of interesting bits, scattered throughout. Now they're thinking that the overlap between mega fauna and man was a lot longer than thought. Maybe as much as 25,000. And that more likely, it was the ice age, rather than hunting that did the mega fauna in. There were no subtitles so I couldn't catch a lot of the names, but there's a recently "discovered" rock shelter up in the NW that's pretty incredible. Open on the sides with columns that hold up the roof. And, it was all excavated.

And, the footprints at, I think, Mungo Lake. They brought in old trappers to give them a look. The stories they told. Three dudes chasing a kangaroo. A fellow with a missing leg and stick. A group of women with a gaggle of children, larking about. I've got an episode or two to watch tonight.

LOL. There are a lot of country smells I quit like. To paraphrase "Apocalypse Now", I love the smell of cow poo in the morning. :-).

Well, time to pull myself together and head out on The Great Tat Hunt of 2017. The list is quit whittled down and a few more items will probably be jetasoned when I'm "on the spot." There's a few things to check and see how deep the discount the dealer is offering. Can be anywhere from 10-50%. Reports to follow ... :-). Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Good to read that there was no damage from the storm. That to me is always a bit of a relief – sometimes the storms do more damage than the droughts. I may not have mentioned it, but I have been taking precautions so that the landslide earlier this year is not repeated. The weather bureau is predicating locally heavy falls tomorrow afternoon in this area which is always an interesting experience.

Big storms can produce big surf, but I’m having troubles trying to get my head around glassed in conservatories along the coast line surviving big waves. I’d imagine the sea air would play havoc with the metal used to anchor the glass? Even aluminium would present difficulties. And salt would accumulate on the glass as well.

Possibly so. You know I’m starting to reckon that the eczema spots I occasionally get are heat related. Today was just hot and I mowed early this morning and have now done about 60% of the farm. The heat was pretty tough and we continued after that to plant out the remaining summer vegetable beds. It is looking pretty good. By 3pm, my system shut down and I had a short disco nap to recover. Far out, the UV is intense down here.

Wasn’t me is Fluffy rule number one – which can sometimes be also translated as: “it’s not my fault, it is your fault”. Your son may have a fluffy on his hands, but it is good to see that he is enjoying the challenge. That dog may well be special.

Exactly, rain water is perfectly fine, and a person would struggle to get water as clean as the water here as I’m surrounded by forest which extends all the way to the distant horizon.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Word on the street is that this year the local pub has scored not one, but two of the Magical Christmas Unicorns. I’m certainly not arguing with that logic. Anyone who can make beer taste like creamy soda is a true legend of brewing and it is only respectful that their arts are celebrated in true style! Do you get micro-breweries in your part of the world?

I hear you about the Japanese stiltgrass as I spent several hours weeding the tomato enclosure in the hot sun today. I think I cooked my head a bit as I am an unusual shade of purple… It is hard to explain, so let’s move on! Well, there is something in what you say about other people missing out, but an alternative point of view is that: “Snoozers are losers!” Just sayin… The brew seems good so far, why dilute it?

Poor Mr Poopy is very unhappy regarding his forced diet. He has begun complaining about his dinner at about 2pm, which seems unreasonably early to me. On the other hand, he is much more active now and enjoying running around as he should. Mr Poopy is rather a fan of apples, but he does not turn his nose up at carrots either. Have you ever seen a dog that enjoys apples? Perhaps he just enjoys see-food: He sees food and attempts to eat it!

Double Ouch! Well that is something to remember the next time I encounter an electric fence.

You pre-empted the discussion that the editor and I had in the appliance store yesterday. We settled on a Bosch machine which was made in Germany and had good reviews. That sure hurt the bank account, but the nice folks at the appliance store pointed us in the direction of a Chinese made appliance of the same brand and size and for some reason it was $200 cheaper, but then amusingly they offered us an extended five year warranty for $195. Go figure that one out because my maths is not so good. Anyway, it is worth mentioning that the previous machine was almost two decades old and had performed Stirling service but alas was beyond economical repair.

I cooked my head today in the hot summer sun mowing and planting out the remaining summer vegetables. Mind you, dark grey clouds are building over the sky and the weather bureau has promised some very interesting weather tomorrow. I spotted that next week, another huge dump of tropical rain has been forecast. I almost have to mow the area that was mown a few weeks ago….

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

I have to agree with you about the deer. The herds are big and getting biggerer! The biggest predator down here is us humans and the real problem with not having a diverse range of flora and fauna is that humans have to actively manage the entire eco-system. Such an outcome is a curse on humanity, but we have faced such challenges before. The next largest predators are the wedge tail eagles, then the foxes, and the marsupial world is represented by the antechinus which is a mouse sized relative of the spotted quoll and the Tasmanian devil. I’d enjoy having either of those species roaming around the farm. The dogs may have other opinions though. The last spotted quoll was reported in this mountain range was sighted in about 1992, and the loss of that species was probably due to the loss of big trees which have hollows which they nest in during the 1983 fires. Foxes took up the quolls ecological niche, and they do OK and keep down the rabbit numbers.

A few months ago I got a book on how to make a Kentucky thingee, and to be honest it seems pretty easy.

Far out, I mowed for a couple of hours early this morning. I got up at day break to get that job done and am now about 60% complete. Some of the already mown herbage is displaying signs that it is almost ready for a second cut. Things would go much easier for me here if I didn’t worry so much about building top soil and increasing the diversity of plant and animal life. I spotted some blue cornflowers in the herbage too earlier today and took a photo for next week. Historical accounts suggest that grasslands were in fact chocko full of wildflowers at the time of white settlement and I would have loved to have seen that and also pinched some samples of the plants. I spotted some orchids too, but am reluctant to mention those plants as people can be a bit weird about them.

After the mowing, we weeded the tomato enclosure and planted out the remaining summer vegetable seedlings. By 3pm, I was asleep underneath the ceiling fan and enjoying a short disco nap. My system just shut down completely due to heat stress.

Oh yeah, those turkey’s have a lot of meat and take a bit of defrosting and cooking so your experience matches what my foodie mates tell me about the meat. It is a very tasty bird though. You would hope that at least one of the items is working correctly? Maybe. I installed the new washing machine this afternoon speaking of appliances not working correctly. It was a simple job, but took about three quarters of an hour as I ensured that the machine was level and well anchored as it sits on a timber floor and can bounce around on spin cycle if it gets the chance.

Cont…

Fernglade Farm said...

Yup, frost is a constant risk and that kills off the final summer plants at about this time of year too if the seasons were upside down. You have a longer growing season in your new digs. It will be interesting to see what your take on the January and February weather is? Grain growers in the north of this state endured an early November frost which did a lot of damage to their crops. The ongoing heat here is putting a strain on the plants and most of the strawberries planted last week have turned toes up. Not to worry, plenty of other better established plants are doing well and enjoying the heat.

The cicada's are calling this evening and the mosquitoes were biting as I sat out in the orchard with the chickens. It was quite nice really. The sky tonight is doing what you said wrote as thick grey clouds obscure most of the night sky except for a small sliver of intense red glow as the sun sets below the horizon. Interestingly the red glow is showing some rain on the far distant horizon. It is still hot here though.

Did the peas taste garden fresh? I thought that I was planting out peas today, but the editor remarked that I'd purchased a tub of beans instead! Oh well, lucky dip time... I planted the corn into a block so that will be interesting to see what happens. Corn grows well here, the wallabies take a special delight in consuming the stalks, cobs etc, so I have never seen if the cobs will fill out? Dunno.

Well, the Rev. may be dodging the discussion, but we split tasks and knowledge between us because it is just too hard to be over everything. Interestingly as a comparison all of the animal things here (bees, chickens and dogs) are my area for some reason. Dunno why as it is purely arbitrary.

I'm glad you are enjoying footsteps and thanks for the review as that is on the to watch list. Yeah, the history is quite long and it would be interesting to know whether humans managed the take from the mega fauna as I have always believed that we were the cause of the mass extinctions. There was the little matter of the end of the Ice Age which would have caused a lot of this continent to become much hotter and drier. The way things are going though with climate it is getting hotter and wetter. At some point in the recent past the continent was one third rainforest which just seems weird with today's climate. There are patches here and there, and even up here there are remnants and I encourage the various plants that form part of that forest story. The struggles for dominance that all of the plants are doing is really quite an interesting story. And they play dirty.

Haha! Funny. Actually the cow poo smelled like dynamic lifter which is a dry pelletised fertiliser. I probably won't use that again because it was very dusty and light whereas the horse poo and stable straw was a better all round mix of minerals. The cow poo would make a good top dressing spread over fields. Oh yeah.

After I put the chickens to bed and before I enjoyed dinner, the magpies told me that there was a fox lurking around, but up near the strawberry enclosure. I know their alarm call now. That fox has rat cunning, but I went out and chased it off and enjoyed a rabbit pie (my one departure from the mostly vegetarian rule).

I look forward to your tat report and best of luck with the hunting! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

28F here this morning. That is ridiculously cold for November, heck it isn't winter yet.

I am happy to hear that you have done sensible things about that landslip. The potential for landslip on your gradient has always worried me.

As there is a large amount on dogs here, I will continue re Son's strange dog. The name is Wren (weird!?). He also has some greyhound and can move at considerable speed. The other day when driving home, Son spotted him at a gate. But he was at home waiting to greet Son a few minutes later 'That dog you saw wasn't me' Perhaps fortunately he doesn't like to come near any human being including my son. He will follow me through the woods but veers off if I turn around. His parents are a very handsome pair but not he. He looks like an utter tramp.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

If one turns around, one bumps into a microbrewery around here.

Did you have your purpleness with you when you went to the appliance store? That sounds rather royal: "Please note the stirling features of this magnificent machine, Your Purpleness." A Bosch machine sounds lovely. May you be blessed with 20 more years of faithful service. Your maths is very good. I always want to ask the salesperson: "Why do I need an expensive extended warranty if this is such a good machine?, but I've been a salesperson and they are forced to give out that spiel.

This IS a good brew and I was being entirely selfish in suggesting that anything be added - I am not the brewmeister! One does not mess with Magical Unicorns!

We had a very fruity dog once. Rex would pick his own fruit when he could reach it (he was very tall, too). He particularly liked blackberries, but sometimes he would just saunter along and lick all the low-hanging ones and you had to be sure to pick ones out of his reach whenever eating them out-of-hand.

You are being quite tropical lately. I am glad that you are going to have clouds and rain after having planted the last (yay!) summer veg; they will like that. Your Purpleness might, too.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge & Pam - I once had a house with a 185' boundary (long and narrow lot). I decided to build a wooden fence. But first, the fencing and hedgerow that had sprung up along it, had to be cleared out. Some of the volunteer prune was 5" thick. And, yes, had grown around some of the barbed wire. So I've got three strands times 185'. Plus, all kinds of other wire mixed in.

I really don't remember the difficulty of clearing it all out ... but I do remember the feeling of accomplishment when it was finished. Barbed wire actually comes in many different forms. There is (was?) people who actually collected the stuff. There were books on how to identify year and company. Not my cup of tea :-) Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Important, pressing stuff first :-). I mentioned I get a book catalog, pretty regularly. Sometimes, there is a bit of really (to me) weird books in it. Here's one I think you NEED to add to your library. "Goblinproffing One's Chicken Coop. By Reginald Bakely. A complete manual on how you can repeal the harmful curses of the fairy kingdom. You'll learn about the vileness of changeling eggs, scheming flower fairies and how to best trap them, and proper methods of hunting and cooking gnomes." (Tastes like chicken?) A must for anyone with chickens. That taken care of ... onto more serious matters.

Do not urinate on electric fences. Never happened to me. But the tales are epic ...

" ... humans have to actively manage the ecosystem." The final episode of "Footprints" was about something you had mentioned, a book, I believe. It's about fire management. And called, "The Biggest Estate." They interviewed a craggy old native ranger, and he was explaining the fire management. Why it's done, how it works. And there's this wonderful moment where his face lights up and he says, "And the wildflowers come back." Your mention of cornflowers brought that to mind.

Australia sure has had it's ups and downs. First, the people make it there by boat and have good tucker, for quit awhile. Then the ice age starts. Cold dry and drought. The land bridges between Australia and New Guinea and Tasmania form. The ice age ends and the seas start to rise. The land bridges flood, the sea rises by 130 meters. 1/4 the continent goes under. In places, 1,000 km of coast is lost each generation. It is a good series. 4 chapters, each just under an hour. I think it may have been mostly made by the indigenous people ... or, at least had a lot of input, from them. There's some remarkable footage from the 1960s, scattered throughout, which was taken of some groups that still existed that had had little contact with the colonists.

I've lost the plot. What's a "Kentucky thingee?" Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I took a single serving of sprouts, but them in half or quarters, added a bit of water, covered and nuked for 3 minutes. They're tough fellows. Then I cut the peas into pieces, put it on the top with butter and salt & pepper and nuked one more minute. The peas (and sprouts) still had a bit of a crunch and that amount of peas was just enough to add a nice subtle flavor.
This spring, I'll plant a lot of both varieties, and with luck will have enough to freeze some.

The Tat Expedition went well, I think. Talked myself out of a few high priced things, for one reason and another. The Irish tween hat was way too small, and not adjustable. I nailed down a birthday gift for my Idaho friend, for next March. A few highlights of what I got ...

Bristol glass is, and always has been, an area of collecting which is, I think, really under appreciated. Cheap, I think, for what it is. It's Victorian, and can be really nicely decorated. It's usually blue, green or pink opaque glass. But, if you hold it up to the light, it has an opalescent "glow". Like a banked fire. I found a blue 10" vase with incredible enamel decoration. Flowers, leaves ... small insects.

I found a smallish black, almost shadow box, with a bust of a very Deco looking lady. She's probably parian ware, which is a white, marble like substance. Artist signed. I'll probably go crazy trying to research the artist. Dibs and dabs of other stuff. A silhouette from the 1920s, nicely framed of a wagon train and drover. A small figure of a skipper, in yellow slicker at the wheel of his ship. A Fenton Glass leaping dolphin. A clear Blenko Glass crackle vase with applied blue glass rosettes. Then I went to search the shops on Tower Street ...

Found a tea pot in perfect shape that matches my dinnerware set. Metlox, Provincial Blue. A good sized Fenton compote, light blue satin glass with painted blue roses. A small opalescent glass vase from about 1910 ... another piece to research. And, that was about it.

At an antique mall that has a lot of furniture and hasn't got the memo that the bottom has fallen out of large furniture prices, I spotted a desk that would fit the alcove inside the front door of my apartment. Easier to move than the bookcases. 1920s, English dark oak. Doors above a drop front desk with leaded glass panes and glass bull's eye. Like a lot of the stuff up in Shelton, where I bought 2 pieces last summer. And, the price is comparable. I'll go back and take another look at it, this afternoon. But, I should make a trip to Shelton.

I noticed something interesting about my shopping habits. There were a few things I saw that I went home and researched.Stuff I thought I was interested in :-). If the item is comparable to E-Bay, I loose interest. Only if it's a clear bargain, am I still interested. Something to keep in mind. Lew

Hazel Marchant said...

Hi Chris

The feral weather has invaded Canberra! It has been about 30C here, with a thunderstorm each evening for the last three days, and more predicted. We had a massive fall of hail on Friday, and yesterday 62.6mm ( about 2 1/2 inches!) of rain in an hour and a half. I was waiting for the house to float off its foundations and slide down the hill!

I've also discovered very happy tomato plants lurking in the garden. It will be interesting to see what kind of fruit they produce.

"Mad dogs and Englishmen" was a Noel Coward song, and sounds appropriate for the situation!

Cheers

Hazel

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, here it is, the definitive article on dishwasher vs hand washing.
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/11/24/564055953/to-save-water-should-you-wash-your-hands-of-hand-washing-dishes

There's also a link to another article about cooking in your dishwasher. I didn't look at that. a.) I don't have a dishwasher and b.) life is short. Lew

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

The Old Solar System story has being on the backburner the last month or so. However I am mentally committed to making a submission and will feel the increasing pressure of a deadline soon! Actually, even though I have only written a 1000 words or so - I have so many notes on races, planet ecosystems and characters plus a plot outline that I only need a solid 3-4 hours to sit down and just write the damn thing. Then, the endless editing and re-editing until submission :-p I am sorry to say Mars does not feature prominently, although it is indeed dusty and littered with ruins of a bygone era.

The author of Aurora, Kim Robinson, lives on the California coast somewhere and surfing and surf/alternative culture is through all his novels. I didn't mind not knowing the story of the stayers - in a way it was told by those who chose to return home. Cascading failures until eventual death! :-p

I managed to resurrect an old mister hose I found in one of our garden beds. I just needed a hose fitting for it. It is now misting the zucchinis, basil and cucumber. I don't know if it uses more or less water than direct watering, I presume more? Certainly a lot easier, and no chance of causing topsoil run-off (which I sometimes did when I wasn't paying attention to the hose trigger!).

@Lew
I did some used tool-shopping today, but chose to brave the hordes at the public markets and professional stall-holders. I did search for estate sales and auctions, but the timetables and availability don't line up well when you work full time. For some reason, the local internet auction sites here have similar prices to the markets - so that option was ruled out! Anyway, I paid a bit too much for 1 thing, got another thing at a good price (hand-cranked grinding stone!) and everything else was a sort of a muddled 'ok' price, but not in bargain territory. Things I couldn't find I will just have to buy new, but will pay a bit extra to avoid 'made in china'.

One awesome find, which I wasn't even looking for - a great quality hardcover edition of "Voyage of the Beagle" complete with a colourful print on the front cover, by way of a local library. Hopefully those 'canceled' stamps are genuine!

Damo

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

No it isn't yet the official winter for you is it? The official seasons only approximate what is actually experienced, don't you reckon? This past week has been crazy hot and humid here. This morning I intended to sleep in, but a thunderstorm put an end to that hope. There has been plenty of rain here - with much more to come later this week... In fact it looks like it may rain heavily again in a few hours.

During our travels in Australia we once stopped off at a town with the name of Kyogle. They were obviously having a very damp year and it was tropical and possibly an extreme day, but far out, I have never experienced that intensity of heat and humidity before. The entire area and every surface was covered in a deep green. The editor and I joke around with each other in humid years saying that: I'm sure we weren't living in Kyogle?" Anyway, I digress. Thought you may enjoy a warmer tale?

Thanks and the landslip is a known risk. I do a fair bit of work behind the scenes that doesn't get put onto the blog and that was one such project. The time scale for that project may be lost on readers and they may be dubious of my methodology, until it is finished and tested of course, so I simply leave out those details and any discussion disappears. A few projects here are like that. Of course, when those projects passively work, I don't even notice them working and that is how things should be.

The American Indians had a habit of naming after observed encounters - and so perhaps your son spotted a significant Wren on his first encounter with the dog? Or perhaps the dog brought home a Wren early on? The wrens here are too fast for the dogs, but a very young dog has speed and agility in its favour. Your story indicates to me that he may grow into one of your sons favourites? Certainly some dogs possess more charm and character than others. And I'll bet your son has had his fair share of canine personalities?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

You are spoiled indeed to have access to such sure and providential use of industrial food microbiology turned to such important matters such as local brews! Our food was once sadly far more local and alive than today. Of course when microbreweries hit a six (or a ball out of the park) it is to be celebrated. When they miss, well it becomes like the little girl, with the little curl! :-)!

It is a lovely machine, and to be honest, I cooked my head on the Friday. The mowing was a big job on a hot day, but then we spent a further three hours in the hot midday sun planting out the tomato enclosure with the summer vegetables. I promise more on all of that story tomorrow evening. And I can be sure of that promise, because it is written in its entirety already!

Well, I hear you and empathise with your previous plight and spiel. It is a fair question isn't it? The only time I took up that offer is when purchasing a laser printer if only because they are so much rubbish that I felt concern that the unit would not last even two years. The Bosch machine is very quiet compared to the previous unit and it looks like it will go the distance. Enjoy the amusing story tomorrow! I went to silly land with the story as the manual had me laughing! Just don't mention the brand tomorrow...

No! Absolutely not! I have serious concerns that the Unicorns will not live up to expectations. It is a real concern, you know. ;-)! Much testing will relieve that mild anxiety... Hehe!

Oh yeah, foxes also gorge on the low hanging blackberries as you can see the seed in their scats which they kindly leave around the place to mark their territory.

Today was a cooler day, which began very early with a thunderstorm. I see no reason why the weather spirits would want to wake me up early with their silly goings on, but the peels of thunder put an end to the sleep in. It then rained for a few hours. By late this afternoon, I decided to write the blog as the sun had poked its head out from behind the clouds and the temperature soared to 88'F... Too hot, but in a month or two I'll be considering that this is a cool day...

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for the best book tip that I have received in years! The title is intriguing to say the least. I'm a sucker for good cover art and an intriguing title. A second hand copy is wending its way over the oceans as we communicate, of course that may be an exaggeration as I have a few books on their way here and none are displaying any signs of possible transit. Such is life at the bottom of the world! Perhaps that was the downfall of the Harry Potter series. For some strange reason I kept thinking to myself, and this is no slur on the title of the book, the content, or the author, but for some strange reason the alternative and amusing title Harry Pothead kept bouncing into my mind. Sometimes you have to go with your gut feeling, and mine was not telling me a good tale. I feel bad writing that too, because so many people love the books.

Ouch! I'd never even thought about that particular activity. Although, now that you mention it I have tested the veracity of 9V batteries using my tongue. Long ago I used to strip the plastic insulation off copper wires using my teeth. This is not good for the enamel, but no permanent harm seems to have occurred. Anyway, I did that once with a telephone cable not realising that someone else in the house had reconnected the plug at the other end of the wire. I can assure you that the 90V packs a punch in your mouth, albeit at low currents.

Yeah, it is true, fire management if done sensitively really does work. I have had an eagle eyes view of a paddock where that was done three years ago and the paddock looks superior to all other paddocks in the area. I use the mower to achieve a similar effect. Dropping all of the cut and mulched herbage feeds the soil critters which in turn promotes deeper top soils with more soil life. Deeper top soils means better infiltration of water and also retention of water making the entire area more resilient. If I could guarantee that arson wouldn't occur, I'd keep the herbage very long during the summer, and then burn it once every couple of years in the late autumn. It would just work. And absolutely, all of the wildflowers and orchids would spring back into life.

It is the wildfires we really have to avoid as they sterilise the soil.

Gotta bounce as a big storm is approaching and I have to finish off a burnoff.

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

I am finding it very difficult to get to grips with the notion of someone collecting barbed wire having researched the subject. There's none so queer as folks.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

We've been having unusually warm weather here. In fact it was 60F on Friday and we are expecting a couple of days in the 50's next week. The nice weather has really brought out the customers to the Christmas tree farm across the street. Doug sold out of his honey in a day and a half. He sets up a stand at the end of our driveway and tree customers stop in their way out. Many of them are from Chicago. Depending where one lives in Chicago and traffic conditions it's a minimum of a 1 1/2 hour drive so they spend quite some time out here. Now there is a food truck which is a new feature this year. Their business has been so good that they are afraid that too many trees will be cut and there's a chance that they may not open for a year to let some of the smaller trees grow - not something they want as it could erode the customer base.

I'm very sorry to hear about your strawberry plants but it sounds like you've plenty of more mature plants.

Doug's brother and his wife stayed here for three days primarily to spend some time with his mother. Doug and this particular brother don't get along too well so there were a few tense moments. I'm not unhappy they've left.

Good luck with all the mowing in the heat.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - Good on ya for venturing into the wonderful world of used tools. Yeah, I didn't find any great bargains on my tat hunt. Thank you World Wide Web. But a bit of research has saved me from paying an outrageous amount, for some things. Usually, older Stanley tools are pretty good. Older Craftsman (Sears) tools, also.

The "Voyage of the Beagle" sounds like a good score. It was so widely published, and in so many editions, it's probably a legit discard. You may or may not know that in the book trade, "ex libris" (sp?) means a library copy. Throw that around and sound posh :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - I am also tempted to say something like "Isn't it any good? Is there something wrong with it?" But, like you, having worked retail ... And I figure the clerk has (probably) head it (many times), before.

Of course, there's the old saw about some item that dies the day after the warranty expires. It's a classic ... Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Oh, that is a good parody title. Parody titles are fun. I've mentioned "The Silly-Marillion" and "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom." Our minds may run that way due to too much exposure to Mad magazine at too young an age :-). They "ran up" a fair number of books and films.

LOL. There's a saying in Texas, "all hat and no cows." Let's hope the book isn't "all title and no content." Sometimes, the best thing about a book (or film) is the title.

Re: Misadventures with electricity and tender parts: There are some oft told stories that descend to the level of cliche. It takes a very nimble writer to present them fresh. A classic, here in America, is the older child, tempting a younger child (usually a sibling) to touch his or her tongue to a metal pump handle or school flag pole in very cold weather. A friend once asked me to give a book he wrote a look (never again. What a slog.) and he had the "small midwestern town, kid climbs water tower as rite of passage." Snooooze. I told him it was a cliche and used to death. He left it in, anyway. Had to self publish ....

Cosmic. I called the furniture place in Shelton and they have a container coming in on Tuesday! How's that for timing? Scott and I well probably run up on Thursday or Friday. I looked at the desk, here, again, in closer detail. The mind is a funny thing. I thought it was all drawers, below. Nope. One drawer (which sticks) and open shelves below that. I still like it.

Made up some banana muffins, last night. Decided to go the the potluck, today. Ought to be interesting to see if The Ladies have come up with anything interesting to do with Thanksgiving leftovers.

So, like rainbows, Magic Unicorn brew shots out of his ... ear? :-). Your as bad with that stuff as I am my pumpkin spice. Which is winding down. Probably a good thing. I've packed on a few pounds. Time to get disciplined. Lew