Monday, 5 February 2018

Does this last?

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

It should have been obvious that something wasn't right. But it wasn't obvious. Eventually I came to learn that something was very wrong that day.

Late last year, the nice bloke at the local tip (with the excellent view of Melbourne's skyline) directed me to drop my glass items for recycling into the area that collects general landfill. I never drop items into that area, and so I felt there was mystery in the directive. But what was it?

Have I mentioned before that we have no rubbish pick up service here at Fernglade farm? For a small fee we could have access to that garbage service, but we have made a conscious decision not to use it. The decision suits us, because not only do we save money by not using the service, but we don't generate much rubbish. So, we can live without rubbish pickup services.

To not use the service was a conscious decision, because from my perspective, it makes absolutely no sense to me to work hard to earn an income, to then purchase stuff, only to then discard it. It also means that we consider all items of rubbish that are created or brought onto the farm. Conscious living at its most fun(damental).

At this point in the story, we need the soothing vocals, music, and lyrics of Boo Seeka with their beautiful song, 'Does this Last'. After all, it is a good question!

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When I was a kid, a garbage bin was a smallish galvanised metal bin which held about 60 Litres (15.8 Gallons) volume of rubbish. I never recall anyone complaining about not having enough space for their garbage. Those small garbage bins were lifted by humans and the contents were thrown into the back of a truck. I recall that the garbage bin looked as though it had been through the wars and the lid had clearly been run over by a vehicle at some point. Back in those days, bins were real bins, and garbos were real athletes, which meant that they all had a unique character.

Then at some point the local councils decided to use garbage trucks with robotic arms. This meant that every house received a plastic 120 litre (31.6 gallon) garbage bin with a flip top lid. We were clearly now more enlightened, as we could chuck out twice as much garbage as before.

Someone must have decided that we needed even more enlightenment because the 120 litre bins were deemed not big enough for the average household. And eventually we scored big time with replacement 240 litre (63.2 gallon) bins. Things were clearly looking up because the average house could now chuck out twice as much garbage again! Winning!

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At some stage we got all 'environ(mental)' and scored a second 240 litre (63.2 gallon) bin for mixed items for recycling. People were never really clear about what items could be recycled (hello take away coffee cups), but that didn't matter because we had yet another bin. And this bin made us feel really good.

Some other households were even more special because they got a third bin, with a green lid. That bin is for 'green waste'. Green waste is mysterious stuff that could have been composted in peoples backyards. And I know people understand what 'green waste' is because I regularly find in composted green waste: plastic plants; plastic plant pots; plastic pegs; plastic line trimmer; and plastic gloves. Observant readers may be able to spot the common theme: Garden stuff! For some reason there are also myriad plastic animals to be found in composted green waste and dolphins weirdly seem to be the most common. Plastic dolphins must be extra biodegradeable.

I felt good about recycling stuff too, because at least it wasn't garbage which ended up in landfill. But what actually happened to that recycling stuff was that a lot of it was shipped off to China, where they did something with it, and we never gave the recycling stuff a second thought. It was only fair really, given they had sent us a lot of the stuff in the first place.

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All good stories eventually end. And the pleasant recycling story seems to have ended rather abruptly recently. It appears that the Chinese no longer wish to accept our recycling stuff. Of course, the Chinese are rather clever and they do still want the metal stuff for recycling, but the paper, cardboard, plastics, and glass, well not so much. They also still want to send us lots of stuff (maybe also known as future rubbish)!

So, what happens now when households have a weekly 240 litre (63.2 gallon) bin full of mixed items for recycling, as well as the standard 240 litre rubbish bin? Well, our local mayor suggested that: "We need to minimise what’s going into recycling bins. It will have to be an effort from everyone." An astute suggestion (??), but does that then mean that the recycling stuff ends up in landfill? It is not as if the recycling stuff suddenly disappears, or does it? What if the rubbish bin is full? So many intriguing questions left unanswered.

My gut feeling is that the items will end up in landfill which will fill up much faster than previously anticipated. My other prediction is that there will be a huge increase in the amount of illegally dumped waste materials. There will also be a lot of complaining about the situation, but few people will want to pay to have their waste recycled, when it has previously been so cheap to dump elsewhere. And even less people will consider the option of reducing their consumption of stuff in the first place.

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And it is always worth recalling that failure is always an option and as we became enlightened, so we can become unenlightened!

Sunrise - an ungodly hour to be awake!
The weather has been nothing short of superb this week, after the horrors of last weeks heat! A huge dump of rain earlier in the week, and then sunny and warm days. The summer sun has lost its scorpion like sting as the UV has been varying between Extreme and only Very High. Plants love nothing more than lots of soil moisture and Very High UV and every night the forest releases volumes of moist air which settles as mist and fog over the valley below the farm.

We have been getting up at day break (an unholy hour) and harvesting summer dried firewood for later use during the cold and damp depths of winter. I'm no fan of early mornings and all I can add is that I'm eternally grateful for the gift of coffee.

The primary firewood shed is now full
The primary firewood shed is now full, and our firewood efforts are being directed at the secondary (and smaller) firewood shed. The recently constructed wide path to that shed is working an absolute treat! And the secondary firewood shed is slowly filling up. We have never had both firewood sheds completely full before, so it will be interesting to see how much firewood is used over a winter season. We're not really sure what the answer is to that question, and we have also been discussing ways to reduce the amount of firewood used.
The secondary firewood shed is rapidly filling up
In breaking cattle dog news. Well, the results are in on the Ollie experiment. Many years ago a knowledgeable lady with a specialty in chickens once imparted words of wisdom: "Stick to bantam chickens. The eggs are only slightly smaller and the chickens consume far less feed". Wise words, and I was recalling her wisdom as I contemplated Ollie the lap/cuddle dog, who masquerades as an Australian cattle dog. Sir Poopy's (the recently deceased Swedish Lapphund) bravery exceeded Ollie's by a considerable margin, all the while he consumed less food and produced less manure...
Ollie enjoys a quiet moment whilst Scritchy the boss dog keeps watch
Speaking of Ollie, he has tested the watering system with his teeth. It is a long story involving a bone, but a picture tells a thousand words:
Ollie toothed the watering system for the raised vegetable garden beds
I discovered the Ollie-meets-watering-system disaster on Saturday morning and needless to say I cracked the sads! After a few minutes of quiet reflection and contemplation, I calmed down and acknowledged the reality of the situation, and departed in the dirt rat Suzuki to the irrigation supply shop in the nearby township. Ollie was perhaps pointing out the obvious, in that the green spray hoses are total rubbish and worthy of a good toothing. It is also worth recalling that the admission of complete failure is also an opportunity to try something more robust and completely different. The new watering system may even be installed by next week? Maybe?

Earlier in the week I visited the fresh food market in Melbourne - the Queen Victoria Market. I have been purchasing food stuffs (and bones for the dogs to stop them from chewing on the irrigation pipes) there for so long that I can barely recall shopping elsewhere. As a kid, my grandmother used to walk us to the Prahan market (which is still in existence) pushing a shopping jeep. Nowadays, I'm pushing the shopping jeep and I know most of the sellers on sight. Anyway, I spotted a vendor selling a tray of fresh figs and after a short negotiation, I bundled all of the figs into one of the many cloth home made bags we use to bring back fresh produce. The result of that box of fresh figs? As the old timers used to say, read 'em and weep!
A box of fresh figs were made into an amazing fig jam!
In the past I have fielded inquiries from people living in apartments about what they can possibly do that is comparable to growing the many fig trees (which are too young to be productive) that we grow here. Well, far out, how about turning a ten dollar box of figs into seven jars of jam?

We have also been drying the many broad beans and dill seeds grown here in the nice summer sun.
Broad bean seeds and dill seeds are dried in the summer sun
You may ask what are dill seeds used for? Dill is a tasty summer green, but the seeds provide the flavour for pickled home grown cucumbers.
We began pickling the cucumbers. Total 100% yummo!
There were further internet modem troubles this evening, and so the usual photo-fest has had to be truncated somewhat. But that still leaves some bandwidth for some nice flower photos. The flowers have been bouncing back with the reduced harsh sunlight and the big dump of rain earlier in the week. The roses were the first to respond with new growth:
Roses enjoyed the big dump in rain combined with the reduction in UV
This bush rose growing in an old elderberry is one of my favourite flowers
Hydrangeas are as tough as old boots (and a better colour) and have shrugged off heat and the dry
Salvia's are also a summer favourite
The temperature outside now at about 9.15pm is 16’C (61’F). So far this year there has been 103.8mm (4.1 inches) which is up from last week's total of 60.4mm (2.4 inches).

64 comments:

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

I reckon the kids would have been a pretty good shot too. When I was a kid I recall those slings were called Shanghai's? But, I maybe wrong in that recollection? They were very effective from what I recall.

I'm with your son on that matter, it is a bit much for my tastes, but people differ in that regard. I always tend to bury dead animals as they are good food for fruit trees and that is part of the cycle of life. I feel that that option may be not available to myself in the future because the law gets a bit weird about people doing that. Oh well.

I hope this week's story enlightened you about the cardboard and paper story? I have forced organisations through sheer force of personality to use 100% recycled paper, and they fought me every step of the way. Initially I won, but eventually they won, and I then knew the full reality that was facing the human species. Honestly, I couldn't tell the difference between the 'recycled' paper and the 'new' paper and it was one of the reasons I chose to retreat away and distance myself from such folly.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

The kids were very lovely and they really appeared to be enjoying the place. We even chucked on the fire sprinklers and everyone enjoyed a good soaking in the warm sun. Fun stuff. A few years back the editor and I enjoyed Christmas with friends who decided to have a water balloon fight on an otherwise very hot day and it was the best ever! Lot’s of fun.

The interesting thing about children is that they do unexpected things, and they were jumping on the dogs bean bag and having a grand old time of it. The place gets dog tested, and didn’t care at all about possible damage, so I was interested to see how the kids reacted and it was much of a muchness between them and the dogs in that regard. In fact the kids were better behaved as at least they didn't tooth the irrigation system! Possibly they needed more time to get to that! Hehe!

Ha! In that Stephen King short story "Children of the Corn", well, it is unpleasant to recall, but you and I would be toast and fed to the corn plants due to our age. Fortunately that was a work of fiction and not reality. I was speaking with someone about Lord of the Flies last week, and I forget now (possibly an age related concern that!), but that story also ended rather abruptly. Rest assured, I am beginning small with corn, whilst also acknowledging how easy I have it with the never ending trailer loads of compost. The day that particular gravy train stops, mate, a new regime will appear! It is not lost on me what it actually is.

Wow. That view of history has blown me away and I need a bit of time to contemplate the story. At first glance, I'd have to suggest that the use of 'trauma' in history is a tool with which to make us feel good about current events - as in a contrast to show how bad our forebears had it and try to push us forward. But then viewing history as a 'gain' also introduces the unpleasant reality that 'gains' can be 'lost'. I spoke to that story in this week’s blog. I reckon this minor event is a larger turning point in relation to our societies relationship to rubbish. I don't feel that anything will change, but the intersection of problems relating to population, pollution, and resource depletion has just accelerated.

The comparison that Schliemann made makes for good theatre, but the two events are not relevant and he uses the emotions from Price's infamy and brings them onto an entirely different circumstance for effect. It seems like a cheap debating shot to me. What do you reckon about that observation?

As to gambling, I realise you are joking around, but the house is usually somewhat large and in charge of those schemes and I'd advise you against such activities. But you are your own person! Hehe!

The muffin sounds delightful. I enjoyed a coconut and jam muffin today from my favourite Melbourne coffee haunt! It was a surprising combination, but it worked. Did you notice the photos of the fig jam? It is nothing short of superb that stuff. We added a really tart lemon mix to the batch, and it is really yummy. Anyway, I'm scoffing down a Lindt chocolate right now. OK, I'm scoffing down two of them! :-)!

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

What? No way? I saw the reviews for the 'It' film and not one of them suggested that it was a part one of two. Wasn't the story originally a short story? Pennywise the clown always gave me the creeps, and clowns are not part of our culture down here, so I view them with deep suspicion. Ripped off is the right description. Did you enjoy what you did see of the film? It (no pun intended) was made as film in the 80's I seem to recall.

Yeah, we too have lost public holidays over the years. Economists wet themselves with glee at every loss, as they mutter darkly to themselves something about 'labour productivity' whatever that means. I never felt productive about the loss, I sort of felt more surly. But that may be my response and others may feel differently? Certainly I feel that historically we work very hard nowadays - although that is not distributed evenly across the population.

Why ever were we hearing about the Super Bowl news down here? Seriously, the results were on the regular radio news. I recall the author Jeff Lindsay, in his many Dexter books writing that the central character was told to follow the Miami Dolphins by his foster father just to fit in. Just sayin...

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Claire,

It is an horrendous situation those fires. And they pale in comparison to the 1851 fires which took out almost a quarter of the entire state, which is so much land mass that it is beyond my understanding. The interesting thing is that the state was officially settled in 1834, so it only took 17 years for the loss of indigenous land practices and management to have such a huge impact. It is quite astounding, really and not lost on me. Fires that cover an even bigger area have occurred in remote places in the north of the continent.

The Peshtigo fire also sounds horrendous with an incredible loss of life. 1.5 million acres burned is just beyond. The interesting thing is that fire jumped the river and created its own weather storm. Some fires get intense enough to do just that, and I have seen steel guard rails along the sides of roads twisted as if they were ribbons. I have also seen photographs of aluminium engine blocks in cars melted as if they were a liquid and that takes more than 600'C. Not conditions that I want to hang around to experience.

That is very funny about your winter! Very clever! As an amusing side note to your word play about six weeks - we too will have daffodils in six months time! :-)! I reckon we get about two months longer growing season than your part of the world. Although, the plant growth does shut down for about four weeks during very high summer when the UV is extreme, so that time is no advantage.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I don't have much of an urge to go to Florida though it would be nice to see the Everglades degraded as it is. I was there once though when my sister and I took Patrick and Michael to Disney World (another place I managed to avoid that children want to go to). They went on their first and only plane flight and they loved every part of the trip. One of the pleasures of being a parent (and I am like a parent/sister to my brothers) is watching children experience new experiences. After our mother died the brothers had a more expanded life. Anyway I still hated Disney World and would never go back.

The ladies night was fun but the fact that I have a pretty bad cold put a bit of a damper on it. I expected to be annoyed with my cousin and she didn't disappoint when she insisted on giving me advice on how to stage my house for buyers. She blamed our outdated furniture for the fact that we only had one showing but never fear - she could fix all that (sigh). Speaking of recycling I've had to go get an additional tub from the for recycling to fit all the beer and Processo bottles. We had a little snow Saturday night and a little more was forecasted early Sunday morning. Well it snowed until after 2 PM, not too heavy but it was quite windy so the snow was blowing pretty bad. I was worried about everyone driving home (they all left about 1 PM) but everyone made it safe and sound. More snow is forecast for today with several more periods later this week and it's going to be quite cold as well (was -10 (F) this morning). The groundhog did see his shadow after all.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi again Chris,

I don't disagree with anything you wrote about recycling this week. Almost 50 years ago several people started our county environmental group, The McHenry County Defenders. Every environmental and conservation group in the county got their beginnings from this group including the McHenry County Conservation District http://www.mccdistrict.org/rccms/ and The Land Conservancy of McHenry County http://www.conservemc.org/

However what they are most known for is recycling. For many years they ran a huge recycling center for the county employing several people. In addition the income from recycling funded a nice size office as well as an executive director and several other office staff. They were so successful getting the word out about recycling that they put themselves out of business as there is now a county ordinance that all waste collectors must provide curbside recycling. The other organizations are much bigger than they are and there is only enough money for two part time staff and a much smaller office. A few years ago they changed their name to the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County as they would get many calls asking for legal help. http://mcdef.org/

The monthly recycling drives now collect items that can't be picked up at the curb including TV's, all electronics, Styrofoam, old clothes, VHS tapes, DVD, CDs etc. The committee that organizes these drives is very concerned about exactly what you are talking about this week. It's a constant struggle to find places to send all the materials. With the price of oil stiff fairly low it's cheaper to make new glass than recycle (speaking of beer and Processo bottles). We do charge for TVs, computer monitors, fluorescent tubes and batteries. Many people donate more as they appreciate the service. However I know that many (perhaps most) aren't aware of the fact that it's becoming more and more difficult to find places to send all these materials. Several of the volunteers spend their time explaining this as well as why we have to charge for some items.

One of the founders of the Defenders, Alice Howenstein who is now 87 has worked tirelessly spreading the message of reduce, reuse and recycle. She still works at the drives. She and her husband, Bill truly "walk the talk". She too would agree with everything you said here. Some years ago when Alice was "only" in her late 70's she and I were the last to leave the drive. A snowstorm had just begun and it didn't look good. I was concerned about her 1/2 hour drive home in her old truck and even worse she found the driver's door wouldn't stay closed. No worries though as she rummaged in the back of the truck, found a rope and tied the door to the passenger side handle, assuring me she would be just fine. She continues to stay up to date regarding where to recycle just about anything but as you say - it does become more and more difficult. Too often people think that if they recycle they've done their part and give no more thought to the matter.

Margaret

margfh said...

Claire and Chris,

Our book club is presently reading "The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America" by Timothy Egan.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Your saga re rubbish is identical to the situation here. I remember living with no rubbish collection at all and it wasn't a problem. Now I have mounds of rubbish purely due to packaging. It annoys me that we are blamed for this; I don't ask for the packaging that I have to fight my way into.

Temperature is just on freezing at the moment.

Re the cremation costs, elder daughter came back with 'How much for Marvin my dear departed cockroach?'

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - When I saw the title, at first I thought you were referring to our stock market. Is this the beginning of "The End"? Another 2008 .. or, 1929? To rip off and paraphrase from somewhere, Wall Street sneezes and the rest of the world gets a cold. Or the flu?

But garbage, waste and recycling. What we need is a good Star Trek temporal anomaly into which to pitch all the stuff :-). I won't go into detail, but over the course of my life, I've done everything from intensive recycling to "not so much." Back when I was boozing, I'd crush and save the beer cans. Two garbage sacks full usually yielded enough money to buy another half rack (half case.) Now, most of the kitchen scraps go to the worms. The rest (not much) goes in our communal dumpster which is emptied three times a week. Again, I seem to be living around some people who seem incapable of breaking down a box or crushing a plastic milk jug :-(. We do have a woman, here, who is rather manic about recycling cardboard. To the point of being irritating. I gently tease her. "Recycle a box. Save the world."

Here, our solid waste and recycling is county run. And, there are some private outfits. Which have become a bit more regulated when meth addicts started ripping off any piece of government metal they could steal. You can either pay to have electronic waste (tvs, computer stuff) taken by the solid waste people, or, the Goodwill opportunity stores would take it for free. I guess, somehow, they made money off of it.

Yes, it's going to be a problem. And, I'd say, one should check ahead before assuming recycling is as before. I kind of had to chuckle at your story of ever expanding garbage bins. Once again, junk expands to fill the space allowed. Many fortunes were made (and good livings are provided, now) when someone figured out the concept of storage units. They are thick on the ground. Cont.

Jo said...

Ah, rubbish - one of my pet hates. I have got it down to a very low percentage of the average Australian's output, but to be honest, I don't know how much of a achievement that is, considering we throw out more per capita than anyone except the inhabitants of the US. I diligently recycle and nag all my friends and family to do it properly as well, but as you say, to what end? To be honest, it will only be when the raw materials start becoming scarce, or oil gets very expensive, that it will be economically viable to really, properly recover raw materials for reuse or recycling..

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Not that it's junk but, "wood expands to fill the space allowed?" :-). I don't think you'll ever have a definitive amount of wood that should be stored. Winters being so changeable. But there's probably a "worst case scenario" amount.

I've never cared much for figs ... except in Fig Newtons :-). Stuffed in an oatmeal biscuit, they're pretty good. There used to be mixes (might still be) you could get with all the ingredients for fig stuffed bars. Layer it into a handy provided one use pan (there's that waste, again) and cut into squares.

So, maybe your first autumn fogs? Always a tip off for a season change, here.

For a long time, the Peshtigo fire wasn't very well known. As it happened the same day as the Great Chicago Fire. I read Egan's book, "The Big Burn". Quit good. Any of his books are good. He's a good writer. We talked quit a bit about Oregon's Tillamook Burn, quit awhile back. 1930s.

On March 3d, "Children of the Corn: Runaway (part 10 in the series) is to be released on DVD. How did I miss parts 2 to 9? :-)
It was originally a short story by King, and he sold of the rights to the "idea" of the story. Gotta read that fine print! "It" was a novel. A great doorstop of a book. Other than being only the first half, the movie was quit good.

I just wonder (not that I'll ever know) how the author of "Forgetfulness" happened to settle on the Borley Rectory story. Can't imagine people sit around chatting about it, to any great extent. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I did my weekly look at the Atlantic Magazine website. Number one most popular story, this week? "Gaming Self Checkout." It was really quit a good how-to :-). I can see that what is politely called "shrinkage" in retail circles is going to increase.

There was also an article that brought Ollie, to mind. "Your Dog Feels No Shame: The Myth of Canine Guilt."

There was an article on cookbooks ... which lead to three other articles on cooking. So, a couple of hours (which I'll never get back) were spent, pleasantly, and now I feel armed with knowledge to face the world. :-).

The blueberry muffins went over well. I thought they were a bit underdone and could have used a pinch of salt. Or, more nutmeg. Or something. But, The Ladies said they were fine (but, would you kill for them?) and Hoovered them up. Is it a crime against humanity (or, at least, a contribution to the Fall of Western Civilization ... as in not being an early riser) to turn a noun (and a proper noun, at that) into a verb? Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Patrick and Michael, would have had an absolute blast at Disney World. I'm with you though and feel that like casino's (!) it is a place best avoided. The Everglades would be interesting to see in all their raw beauty and wildness. I watched the Dexter series many years ago and that was set in Florida around Miami and the wild places outside of the city looked feral, but most of the locations bore the stamp of people.

How is the cold? Hope you are feeling better as the days go on. Your cousin has quite the sense of appropriate timing. Some people are like that. I once failed to sell a house at auction after a prolonged selling campaign. I'd basically rebuilt the house from a wrecked shell over a few years and put a lot of sweat equity into it. At the end of the auction an elderly neighbour approached me and offered me some useful advice which was: "I should demolish part of the house and add an en-suite to the main bedroom". Such things are not easily done in a house originally constructed in 1890. I didn't quite tell the elderly neighbour to go "f*** off", as the only sound my brain and mouth could make in my distressed state of mind to that sort of stupid observation was a sort of 'Pfff' sound and I then walked off. It wasn't much of statement on my part for an unrealistic idea... Your place will be fine so I hear you and sigh sounds an awful lot like 'Pfff'. Most rural property sells in spring and summer and that is simply a reflection of human nature.

-10'F! I think I'll chuck in another 'Pfff' as that is so cold. I hope you have plenty of firewood? The groundhog looks as though it has put the kiss of death on an early spring! I won't mention that it is 30'C / 86'F here today and it feels really nice. It is cooler inside the house and I have most of the doors and windows wide open to the summer air.

How's that stock market business?

Margaret, I was so hoping deep down that your areas recycling options were better than here, but they sound about the same. The recent change has been a bit of a shock, but not many people are talking about it, or even realise what it means, and the local, state, and federal governments look pretty useless on this matter.

Total respect for your work with the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County and the group itself. Thank you too for sharing the story of Alice and I have great respect for people who do the hard yards.

The whole mess is a form of bait-and-switch tactics as we have all become used to enjoying cheap goods and services in the form of cheap recycling. Local industries which used to deal with the recycled materials were gutted as it was just so much cheaper to send unwanted stuff to that magical place "elsewhere". Once we have become dependent and alternatives are dead in the water, then prices are either jacked up or services are withdrawn for other reasons (perhaps geo-political in this instance?). I reckon we lack the will power to sort this one out, sorry to say.

The same thing happened with the Oil Price shocks in the 70's when the exports were curtailed. Universities and corporations appear to have done the same thing with education. I mean in the recent past companies trained staff. Then the government provided free University education and companies offloaded some training costs onto the public. Then fees and loans were introduced for students and the government offloaded costs for training onto the individuals. Where too from here is beyond me. It is an ugly story.

One advantage to making a lot of your own produce is that there is very little waste. We make all of our alcoholic beverages consumed here and all of the glass gets cleaned and re-used time and time again.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Yeah, sorry to hear that about the recycling situation in your part of the world, as I was sort of hoping deep down that things were not the same as here with the recycling. Oh well.

Plastic is our only material waste stream, and every week we have a small bag of the stuff. I try really hard not to bring that stuff back to the farm, but society seems to be enjoying plastic as a material (until some point in the future when they won't be). We don't really have a lot of glass waste because we preserve a lot of produce in glassware and long ago decided to go with certain standard sizing for various items and then collected a lot of those. Most of the old preserving glassware was very old and purchased second hand for almost throw out prices, but it is enormously strong stuff and the lids are stainless steel for some reason (the old ones used to be made of tin which looks like it corrodes to me). Oh yeah, glass waste gets chucked behind the rock gabion walls with the rocks as fill. That should give someone or something in the far distant future something to think about! Hehe!

Stay warm! It is 86'F here today and I am enjoying every moment of the day, although I have had to work inside... The solar hot water is very toasty warm.

Your elder daughter has an amusing sense of the absurd! Top work!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Jo,

To what end is a very good question, and one that I do not know the answer too. I do know that things as we know them have now changed for the worst, but then the systems may start back up again? Dunno. Out of curiosity, I have watched videos on how plastic is recycled overseas and, well, I doubt very much that our workplace regulations would allow for that sort of processing to occur here. It is worth taking a look through YouTube at the processes.

Yeah, I reckon you are spot on. Who knows when that will be? Of course our ability to access those remaining resources is never a guaranteed outcome as there are other demands and claims elsewhere upon those resources. It is certainly interesting times.

How nice has this summer been (so far)? The fruit trees have just grown and grown, and the crops have been particularly tasty. Have you ever made fig jam before? It is very good and I added a very tart Eureka lemon to the mix and after tasting a batch (for research purposes of course) I reckon it could stand a small dash of ginger to give it some extra zing!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Ah yes, that may have been a good title, but in this particular instance I was more concerned about recycling problems, which are not yet even fully comprehended. I reckon a lot belly button gazing is going on about this particular problem. The stock market is beyond my understanding, but then I remarked to someone recently that the property market is also beyond my understanding. What I do know is that perhaps your Fed's apparent decision to dump bonds from their balance sheet onto the market may not quite have been as smart a move as they'd like to think? Dunno. Anyway, whatever goes up like a balloon can certainly come back down again with a resounding thud. The hydrogen economy didn't work so well for the doomed Hindenburg...

I reckon this one may be a flu because how much more stimulus can be pumped into an economy before it starts impacting day to day items like – food? Dunno, probably a lot though. Although, I'd have to suggest that food is not the same thing that it was even twenty years ago. I was at a party on Saturday night and ate a barbequed sausage which tasted a bit strange to me and it left me with a headache, and I avoided alcohol as I just didn't feel like a drink, so no blame can be chucked in that direction. It was all very strange and I have no idea what chemical was in there that caused the headache. I don't normally suffer from headaches.

The rout looks set to continue tomorrow based on the futures trading. That is code word for mysterious trading activities early in the day when retail investors are closed out of the market whilst it is actively trading. Well, at least that is what it looks like to me. I gave up on the stock market many long years ago because the whole process looked like gambling to me. And I was stupid enough to think that it may possibly have been a vehicle for bringing together financing for actual real world business activities. It is a quixotic opinion, but there you go... I once lost money on a company that was drilling for geothermal energy options in areas known for hot rocks. It seemed like a sound idea to me.

Today I had to call up the lovely dog grooming lady and explain that I had to cancel Sir Poopy's appointment next month as he is now deceased. I ended up talking to the voicemail machine and leaving that particular message... That was weird.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Maybe it was the 70's and that would explain a thing or two, but wasn't there some sort of proposal raised at one point to send radioactive garbage into space and preferably into the sun? It was a grand proposal! I love hearing about other peoples plans because they don't actually have to be implemented, which is a very hard thing to do. Sometimes you even see articles in newspapers calling for plans to make a plan. That is an impressive contradiction, well at least it left me feeling confused.

That happened here too with aluminium cans. They were very easily recycled and when I was a mercenary little capitalist child, me and my mates used to grab every single aluminium can we could find and then we'd take them to the recycling centre for cash. It was an awesome system! Unfortunately, we probably would have liked to purchase a half case of beer, but we weren't allowed to do so, and didn't think to make the stuff ourselves using the cash we earned! Oh well...

Yeah, don't your eyes glaze over when you encounter the proselytising of a true believer? Far out. Thinks parsnips and you'll never go wrong! Very funny! A bit of teasing doesn't go astray with such people and deep down they love the attention.

Some of that electronics stuff has some seriously precious metals in them. Now how those metals are recovered is a whole 'nother story. Not easily I suspect. Copper was a real problem with theft down here for a while. I'm sure it still goes on, we just don't hear about it until there are signal failures on the train systems. I recall when petty crims used to pour acid into ticket vending machines at train stations in order to obtain possibly as much as $400. Mind you they caused tens of thousands of dollars by doing just that. Humans are quite ingenious really and I always wondered how they knew to do such a thing in the first place?

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

It was a pretty funny story about the ever expanding garbage bin. And true too. This whole mess is the result of deliberate policy actions. I've been noticing recently that people have begun dumping rubbish up in the forest around here. Old habits die hard.

I reckon you are spot on about the firewood. We have no idea at all about any of these systems as the natural cycles are extremely variable. I might have mentioned our rule of thumb which says to have enough that you're not worrying about it. That seems to be how to relate to natural climate and energy cycles. If we don't use much firewood, and we won't use all of it by a long shot, it just means that later this year we collect less. But living within your means is a good idea and just using less is an even better (but perhaps less sexy) idea.

Yeah, the fig newtons used to be sold down here too and I loved those biscuits too. Very tasty. The fogs have been pretty constant this week, although today was 86'F and tomorrow looks like it will reach 100'F, but change has been in the air and the night air in the forest smells of moisture. The background smell of eucalyptus oil is very nice too (if somewhat also dangerous).

Thanks for the book reference, and I'll check out reviews of it later tonight.

I don't know much, but I wouldn't want to accidentally encounter the Children of the Corn as it would be a very short lived experience. I believe that was how the story rolled (from memory - it has been a few years now). Who would have thought that there was enough meat in the story for a series? Your review of the 'It' half film has intrigued me.

It was really strange that the author of "Forgetfulness" also happened draw that comparison? It seems like a long bow to draw.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Unfortunately real world work rudely intruded upon my reply and so now we find ourselves in the realms of the double secret cont...

I'd never heard of the term 'Shrinkage' before in a retail context. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as a 'Investopedia' that explained what the term meant:

"Shrinkage is the loss of inventory that can be attributed to factors such as employee theft, shoplifting, administrative error, vendor fraud, damage in transit or in store, and cashier errors that benefit the customer. Shrinkage is the difference between recorded inventory on a company's balance sheet and its actual inventory."

I have heard of such things happening, but down here the people that did such things usually had expensive habits to feed. But then if full time employees had to subsist on food stamps (whatever they are) then I'd have to suggest that 'shrinkage' would be a serious business risk. It is only common sense. I did note that Geoff Bezos (whoever he is) was in the business news last week and the report was apparently skiting about how many billions of dollars he made in quick succession last week, although I don't really know much about such things. I wonder how he has fared today? Possibly not so good.

Ollie feels no shame whatsoever. He has learned to act humble after a minor incident and that is a credit to his intelligence. Earlier today I took him to visit the local cafe to pick up the mail and attend to an important coffee and fruit toast. We both enjoyed the fruit toast and there were some amusing tax related items in the mail. They actually were amusing although I cannot speak about them. After that, I took us both to visit the local stock feed place where the lady there fawns over Ollie and he loves it. We picked up some bags of grains for the chickens. Poor Ollie is however, not used to travelling and he thought that I intended to unceremoniously dump him like his last humans did. Anyway, he became stressed and wet himself on the passenger car seat. He clearly does not want to leave the farm and his new doggie friends, but he must also be trained into being my partner in crime and learn to enjoy fruit toast at the local cafe. He'll get there, and he is very loyal.

Today, Sir Scruffy taught Ollie to chase off massive kangaroos to the property boundary. Sir Scruffy (the elder) had seriously had enough with the young pooch, and I heard him barking instructions at the young dog who did his best to ignore them, until he could not. Ollie ran towards the kangaroos barking his deep bark of lack of authority, and the kangaroos complied by sedately bouncing off into the surrounding forest. I was very proud of Ollie, and I felt that the elder dogs had earned their dinner through training. You know I'm starting to come to the conclusion that with dogs I need an established pack in order to properly train any newcomers and I feel that there is no way around that situation. I'll bet that applies to larger communities too?

Alas for those lost hours. I often feel the same way. The interweb is a rabbit hole... But at least you are armed with cooking information for your next foray into the big bad world! Hehe!

Ouch! Fine is a difficult food critique and I too have heard that. I often feel that completely devoured foodstuffs is a better guide than any words could ever be, but that is my take on the world, and I let go and try to enjoy people as they are.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Have you been peering into people's rubbish bins . . . ?

I recently found this post about making mesh bags for carrying produce to be weighed in. I have just bought some fine mesh material/fabric as for some reason I did not have any mosquito netting on hand (I think this is an Australian blog that I got it from). I don't often get to the farmers' markets (and there are none in winter) and grocery store check-out folks seem to have a hard time weighing a lot of loose stuff. And when I buy the large bags of produce like potatoes, onions, and carrots - there they are in plastic bags again. Which is a dilemma as it is cheaper to buy produce that way.

https://figjamandlimecordial.com/2018/01/06/mesh-bags/

Hi, Toothy and firewood! I think that we have burned more firewood this year than in any previous year. I don't know why, unless it is because we have become complacent because of the huge amount that we have stored right now. It's kind of scary.

What's with Ollie taking up enough of the couch for three dogs? And do you have concrete evidence - say, footprints or plastic stuck in the teeth - to prove that Ollie is, in fact, the culprit? He tells me that it was a wombat . . .

What beautiful jars of fig jam. Our fig tree finally started producing last year. I bet there will be enough for jam this summer.

The flowers are better than ever.

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I'm getting over the cold - thanks for asking.

I thanked my cousin for her suggestions noting that she does have a flair for decorating which she does but she kept pushing the issue. Well there isn't a shortage of people that feel they know everything. She recently was giving my brother-in-law advice on how to run a successful restaurant which I'm sure he appreciated.

We do have plenty of firewood stacked just outside on the porch. The entire week is quite cold with snow most days as well. Doug drove home from his friend's yesterday and the trip which should have been 8 hours ended up to be 11 - most of it white-knuckled driving. There were two rather spectacular crashes from this storm shown on the national news - one a 20 car pile up and the other with over 50 cars. Doug said he drove by the 20 car one. They were both due to white out conditions and it would be my guess that many of the drivers were driving too close to begin with.

The recyclables are still being collected but I'm guessing they are being stacked up someplace with no where to go. We are charged a fee for pick up whether or not you recycle. When we first moved here we bi-weekly garbage pick up option which we used as we've never been big producers of garbage even with two kids at home. That's not an option anymore - only one choice which is weekly.

The news about glass is especially disturbing as I felt that as far as packaging it was a better choice than plastic.

The recycling drives have a very high participation rate. In fact some months it causes quite the traffic back up. For a long time the volunteers were mostly older - 50 and up but for the last year the coordinator has been able to round up students from area high schools either from National Honor Society or environmental clubs which has been a huge help.

No big surprise about the stock market as it's just a matter of time. Amazing how TPTB keep the house of cards propped up.

I was telling Doug the other night about all the different wines you make but in smaller quantities. So far he's just made mead. He asked if you made wine from apples. I don't recall you mentioning it but rather you make cider, correct?

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yup. Plans to make plans. Do aimless studies. Hire expensive outside consultants (so if things go badly, you can always blame someone else). I believe the very academic economic definition is "Kicking the can down the road." Which in the case of recycling, is almost a pun.

I remember something about a plan to shot radioactive waste out into space. Seems like there's always some bright plan to put things into space, or take something out of space. Mining astroids or harvesting water from Jupiter, or some such. Shooting garbage into space. That sounds cost effective. :-). I suddenly imagined a huge garbage patch in space, similar to the one in the Pacific. Maybe it would eventually form a planet? Garbage World? Or, is that a theme park?

When I first moved here, we had what was called a "land fill". A good sized piece of "waste" ground between the two towns. They basically dug holes and chucked stuff in them. There was always lots of bull dozers puttering about. Also, lots of seagulls and crows. They eventually closed it. Threw a thick carpet of earth over it with occasional pipe vents to leach off the methane gas from the fermenting garbage. Now they have a pretty intensive recycle program (which, I suppose will soon change). A lot of the recycling bins were free. There's also an area for yard "waste" where it's composted. That's not free. And, a "Hazo Hut" (free) for old chemicals, paints and such. Anything else goes up to the "tip." You unload your "stuff" on a concrete skirt, and, periodically, a small bull dozer comes along and scrapes it all into enormous containers that go on the back of 18 wheeler trucks and go .... somewhere. they weigh your vehicle going in, and again, going out to figure out how much you owe.

Where I lived before, we had a fairly good sized dumpster that was picked up, every two weeks. Paid for by my landlord. Then he went to every week pick up. If stuff had been properly broken down, two weeks probably would have been fine. But, at least I didn't have to haul out the ladder and do my occasional tap dance to squeeze in my one small bag of garbage. On the other hand, if there was a special project, or overabundance of one thing or another, if I suggested making a "run to the dump" and spending a few bucks it was ... well, I always got an odd reaction. As if I'd broke wind in church, or something. That odd, overactive country thrift in some areas, and not in others. Throw in a tendency to hoard.

From what I understand, the "Children of the Corn" series was pretty ghastly. Mostly straight to DVD/Video. Kind of like a paperback original. A book that never sees hardback but just makes it's first appearance as a cheap paperback. I'm dipping into and out of a new book that's pretty amusing. "Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted history of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction." (Hendrix, 2017). The blurb on the back is "Demonic possession! Haunted condominiums! Murderous babies! Man-eating moths! No plot was too ludicrous, no cover art too appalling..." Quit a lavish book. Page after page of full color covers.

The paperback original that kicked off the author's interest was "The Little People" (Christopher) Something about an Irish castle and Nazi experiments. Which yielded not leprechauns, but Gestapochauns. Who wield tiny whips. Don't think I've ever seen a copy. Probably, pretty collectible. :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Jeff Bezos owns Amazon. Food stamps are a Federal program, overseen by the Department of Agriculture. But administered by the States. I don't think they were ever actually stamps, but used to be monthly issued books of coupons. Now, people entitled to the benefits use cards similar to credit cards called EBP cards. Electronic Benefit Program. The whole thing has been rebranded as SNAP. Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program.

Your benefits depend on income and family size. There are things you can't buy with them, such as, smokes and booze. Back when they were paper coupons, they were sometimes discounted and traded for cash to buy smokes, booze or drugs. But I really don't think there was as much of that going on as people who would like to end the program would like to have people believe. Then there was the whole "they buy steak and lobster" with it. Most of the families I know that are on the program, have a hard time stretching it to the end of the month, sticking to mostly beans and rice. I looked into it once, for me. On my very small income, I would have been able to get ... $13 a month. Not worth the paperwork. The cards have taken some of the stigma off using the program. Unless your peering over someone's shoulder at the supermarket, you really don't know if they're using a regular credit card, or a EBP card.

These days, just about any town of any size has a "food bank." Usually a private charity runs them. Every other week, the local food bank runs in a load of food for The Ladies. It's part donation / private and part government surplus food (the Government buys from Big-Ag to keep prices up. I was offered to sign up for the program when I moved in. I declined, saying as long as I could afford to buy my own food, I wouldn't want anyone else to go hungry." Actually, I have my food foibles and prefer to eat, what I perceive as, "healthy." I did pick up a couple of Granny Smith apples, a few weeks ago. They looked good, but had some kind of nasty coating on them. Waxy and oily. Dish soap hardly cut it and I finally resorted to vinegar. It was hell to get off my hands.

Poor Ollie! Thinking he was being taken out to be dumped. Or, taken to the vet for shots! It will take awhile for him to trust.

Had my Simon Pegg festival, last night. What a giggle. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam, Margaret, and Lewis,

Thanks for the lovely comments, but today it was so hot, that I am a bit bothered by the heat and my brain has melted. That's right, just plain melted and no nothing useful can be said from that formerly sharp tool. I promise to reply tomorrow when I've gathered up the awful mess that is my brain and put it back together somehow. Until then...

Lewis - 104'F up here today, whilst down in Melbourne it was only 100'F. I worked today down in the big smoke and it was so very hot inside and very stuffy in that building. I'm not complaining, but by late afternoon I was starting to wilt. The editor also worked in Melbourne and so we car pooled it in and I got to have fun with the infuriating ticket vending machine. That shopping mall is just outright dodgy, but always entertaining as a drunk bloke was trying to chat up a transvestite right next to the ticket vending machine. So I had to interrupt their business so that I could get on with my ticket business. Of all of the experiences that I figured I'd see in that shopping mall, that was not one of them. Go figure that out. All I can say is that the half empty shopping mall is full of colour. This afternoon as I waited for the editor to finish her work, I had the windows down on the car letting in some fresh and very hot air, listening to the news, I promptly fell asleep from heat exhaustion.

A good coffee later and some Mexican food for dinner and I feel much better, albeit slightly slow roasted... Up early tomorrow to do firewood.

What ended up being your favourite Simon Pegg film? My vote is for Shaun of the Dead. I've had people tell me that Hot Fuzz is better. A controversial opinion, but I applaud their conviction!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Hmmm. Brain trickling out of your ears? I've occasionally sneezed my brains out of my nose. Or, hacked up a lung. Organ loss and displacement is such a bother.

The get together to divvy up garden plots is on Tuesday, morning. If the forecast holds, I might even get a bit of time in to work the soil a bit, on Sunday.

Given the low rent aspect of most street transvestites, peddling their ware's, drunken customers are kind of a given.

Favorite Simon Pegg movie? "Run, Fat Boy, Run?" :-). Hmmm. If I hadn't just watched the two, back to back, I would have said "Shaun of the Dead." But watching them the other night, I thought "Paul" was funnier and a bit more pulled together.

Read somewhere in the last week: (paraphrasing, here). In America, distance is to time what time is to distance in England. To explain, 100 miles in England is a big deal. That can be a daily commute in America. In England, 100 years is a drop in the bucket. Here, 100 years is the distant past. Dinosaurs (probably) roamed the earth. I wonder if that difference in perspective, somehow, gets right to the core of the two countries? Just a little something to ponder while you water the chickens. :-). Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Poor you and the editor; that's rough. Better luck today!

Pam

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Oooo, I would possibly blush at the things I would potentially discover in other people's bins, so it is perhaps best that one does not develop such an intriguing habit in the first place. :-)! Given we compost the daylights out of anything and everything, the small bag of plastic waste generated every week has no smell whatsoever.

The shopping bags made from material are something that we have used for about a decade and a half (both large and small). The good thing about the fresh fruit and vegetable market is that nothing is sold in plastic bags unless you choose to take the plastic bags on offer. All of the vendors are pretty cool with the material bags, and the polite thing to say to them when they sell you a hand of bananas is, "no bag". It sounds rude to say, but the market is a noisy place and the spoken English there can often be a bit sketchy, so best to keep things simple.

Haha! Yup, we find it really hard to know how much firewood to burn too. But from memory, didn't you score a huge freebie load of firewood during summer? You know, firewood is a funny thing because you have to think and plan years ahead of the use, but if you think and plan too far ahead, you can turn firewood into nice fertile soil and that is a good thing, but possibly not the desired outcome. I'm finding the soil life here is getting much better at eating timber, the more I put effort into the soil life...

Scritchy dobbed on him. Nuff said! Ollie looked at me and said that she started it. The raised garden beds are apparently soft on his bottom and he can enjoy a nap in the hot afternoon sun. I may turn the irrigation system on him, thus curing him of his naughtiness and watering the garden beds all in one swift action! ;-)!

Did you find that your fig trees were slow growing? The ones here seem very slow to get established. Some of the older suburbs of Melbourne have huge old fig trees leaning over peoples back fences. I look on with envy! The jam is awesome tasting.

Thanks you! The flowers are beginning to recover as the UV reduces.

Got up early today and cut more firewood. Same again tomorrow and will stack all of it on Saturday morning. Picked a huge quantity of wild apples today.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Nice to read that you are recovering from your recent bout of the cold.

You have a flair for diplomacy and I salute that. Ouch! Yeah, I assume your cousin has experience in that restaurant business? It is funny you mention that, but I rarely venture opinions along those lines, but in the past I have had business experience with cafes from the accounts side of things, and recently I had a very honestly brutal discussion with someone about the realities of a cafe life and I felt pretty bad about it, but it was such a poor fit for the person that I was hoping to head off a disaster for them. They later thanked me for the discussion which was nice to hear as I thought I might have really annoyed them. As I said, I rarely venture opinions unless it looks as though it is going to turn into a car crash...

" entire week is quite cold with snow most days as well. Sorry for my sound of amusement, but it was 81'F at 6.30am this morning and such weather makes it hard to ignore global weirding. What a crash and glad that Doug was safe. When conditions get extreme down here there are always car crashes too.

Well glass used to be a good option and it still can be, you just have to use it yourself. I recall when glass was recycled locally and turned back into useful products. The situation is about as bad as it gets, and not many people are talking about it. If you get a chance check out this update on the situation: 'The demise of kerbside recycling'? China ban disrupts rubbish removal and fills warehouses. The numbers are staggering.

Yeah, the stock market is weird.

Oh yeah, I know of a wild apple tree which is very reliable and every year and we pick a huge quantity of apples from it as we did today. Over the next day or so, we'll process them, so I'll chuck some photos on the next blog. We make apple wine which is a very mild tasting smooth wine which gets to about 14% to 16%, but there is also a large batch of apple cider vinegar which gets used in cooking. It is good stuff.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Hehe! Yeah, those games all get played and you don't have to read the newspapers long before you see every shade of the game. In contrast, I am boringly decisive and pick a path and off I go. It is very dull to do that, don't you reckon?

A truly great pun given the circumstances. I chucked a link to an article in my reply to Margaret above about the unfolding recycling situation and it is not good at all... Maybe they could shoot recyclable items into space in a plan to reduce the amount of UV hitting the Earth and that could be a way to geo-engineer (is that even a proper word) a response to global warming? The plan has a nice ring to it don't you feel and space and rockets are involved so what could possibly go wrong? Garbage world sounds awesome! Remember to pack sun glasses and extra strong UV sunscreen.

Land fills are fascinating places. Down here they are usually sited on old quarry sites. So we pulled some materials out of the ground and then refilled it with garbage. The council I'm in has no landfill of their own so they have to send the stuff to another council area which I reckon is a complex ethical question which not many folks consider. To be honest, I'd have to suggest that we are more out of touch with our rubbish than we are with our food. It is not good. The tips in the area are called "waste transfer stations" and that has a nice ring to it, but they work more or less how yours do. I thought I was going to get into a punch up one day many long years ago with one of the grumpy as, and really aggressive employees at one of those places. I stopped going there after that. I read long ago that some interesting people are dumped into rural areas and given a job to do and told to keep to a quiet life and sometimes I wonder about that bloke... Best to avoid him I reckon. Just going with my gut feeling.

Dumpster sounds as if it has oodles of space! :-)! Hey, I went to a party recently and to save washing up they used plastic plates, knives, forks, and they even had a dishwasher. Mate, I'm not judgemental, but basically I see such things and wonder about the human race.

Straight to video/DVD is code word for absolute rubbish. But then, at least the film reels didn't just end up in the bin, so there may be something of merit in the series? Hey, there really was a lot of horror produced in the 70's and 80's and there was one after the other of teenager slasher films for instance. Do you reckon there is any cultural meme being expressed in that artistic output?

Gestapochauns who wield tiny whips is a truly bizarre concept. I wonder what they were smoking when the author came up with that idea? Not doubt, Mr Hendrix had a few copies and was trying to improve their value before flogging them off?

Yes, I have heard of cashless welfare systems down here too. Interesting. One of them in a remote spot failed recently due to a major communications failure. I'll see if I can track down the article: Wet season storms highlight communications weakness on Tiwi Islands. Not many folks argue with cash.

I fell asleep this afternoon as a combination of heat and early morning work overcame my poor brain. I have run out of time to reply this evening and promise to give a full update tomorrow on wild apple harvesting and more firewood stuff. Far out, I have done something bad in a past life to have to work so hard!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

21F first thing this morning, now up to 28F.

Update on the goose story: It was almost certainly Ren who organised the breakout but the goose death seems to have been due to the puppy Woody. There was no mark on the goose, it had died of shock. It had simply been chased around.

Someone is using the sides of our road as a toilet, faeces and toilet paper. Son wonders if we have a rough sleeper somewhere; ghastly weather for this.

We have a huge landfill site inland from here. Few people know that it drains into a river and then out to sea just west of my land.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Yes, I have used the fabric bags for years, but I am somewhat intrigued by those mesh ones as I buy fairly large quantities of fresh produce in the winter and the check-out clerks expect them to be in the plastic bags provided by the store when they are weighed. It is rather inconvenient for the clerks and slows them down and if the veg is small it can roll all over the place. So see-through, reusable bags should make them happy.

Our one and only fig tree did seem very slow growing, but this climate is a bit rough. Also, I moved it once and that always seems to set fruit trees back.

The only wild apple trees I have seen are ones that were abandoned by the property owners. I have never see one that grew up itself from a seed, though I have heard of them.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Dumpsters come in all sizes, here. From cute little mini-dumpsters to one's that have to be moved with an 18 wheeler. Hmmm. I was thinking about all my ups and downs with garbage collection when I lived in Centralia. Hmmm. I'm trying to get a handle on the saga.

Centralia had a private collection garbage company. But, the City enforced the idea that every one had to have garbage pick up. Residential (cans) and commercial (dumpsters rented from the garbage company.) Me, and the cafe next door, managed by slight of hand (old records that had never been updated) to share the cost of one dumpster. There wasn't room for two in the alley way, anyway. But that would have been our problem. Once, my garbage wasn't picked up on it's usual Friday, as it had been, for years. I called. "Has my pick up day been changed?" "Your pick up day is on Wednesday. Always has been." Well, no. The conversation quickly slipped into the realm of the Twilight Zone and alternate realities.

Once, I had to rent a dumpster for a short period of time. There was a 6 times the rental fee "deposit" demanded (in cash). Getting back the deposit required several phone calls and a couple of visits to the office. Which seems to have become a part of our culture in the last few years. Anything paid in advance will be near impossible to recover without super human effort.

There were often problems with people filling up your dumpster with their trash. If the perp could be identified (via the trash) there were screaming fights. Chains, to lock the dumpsters were resorted to.

Hmmm. Party Plastic People. Plastic People Party? Keep a naughty and nice list. Periodically send to Santa. Sometimes, judging from the last round of comments over at Mr. Greer's blog, "Discretion is the better part of valor." Or, there's that quaint old term, "Keeping one's own counsel."

"Paperback original" was also, mostly, a polite term for rubbish. And, yes, I remember when there were DVD stores, rack after rack of slasher films. Which I steered well clear of. But I often wonder, (about myself) what's the difference between those, and, say, a series like "Dexter?" Or, some of the other "buckets of blood" stuff I watch? Maybe, the difference is between something striving to be reality and things that are clearly fantasy?

A few years ago, a fiber optic internet cable was cut during a road construction accident. For 5 days (why, was never made clear) large parts of Centralia had no internet service. This included "restaurant row", the series of corporate food places (the kind of companies that call their restaurants "stores" instead of restaurants or cafes.) Some managed to stay open (must have had some sort of contingency plan) and some were closed all five days (no plan). Judging from the number of people that I've seen use credit cards for very small purchases, a great deal of business must have been lost.

Bingo for Blood, tonight, at The Home. I'm $3.25 in the hole. If it hits $10, I'm out of the game. :-). Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Brrr! Just to lift you from your winter depths, it is clear blue skies here and a pleasant 77'F. August (which is your February) is always the coldest month. Spring will be here for you before you know it.

We got up early again today at daybreak to process more firewood, and tomorrow we hope to have it all stacked before a wide band of rain arrives in the mid to late afternoon. The drop in forecast temperature looks as though it may be a thunderstorm? I reckon there is about four to five hours of moving and stacking firewood tomorrow. I still believe that after the sun, firewood is the next best energy source in this part of the world. You may be interested to know that we have used about 1.25 gallons of fuel to produce all of this firewood (which is pretty good really). This year, in an effort to further cut the amount of fuel used we have been employing the electric chainsaw which is an amazing tool and has worked nearly as hard, whilst being nowhere near as grunty as the petrol chainsaw.

Ren is clearly the mastermind of the operation and Woody is perhaps the Patsy? I can see dogs doing that to geese and sometimes they just don't know when to stop chasing. Ollie chased off a big kangaroo this morning and I had to run after him to make sure he knew where the boundary of his territory actually is. Unfortunately for me, Ollie can run very fast. Sir Scruffy has been training him in his duties as a farm dog. Sir Poopy incidentally trained Sir Scruffy, so there feels like an unbroken tie.

That is horrid behaviour, and I may have mentioned that I have caught tourists in that act on the road here just up above the house. When caught they pretended to be taking photos, which in a rural area on private property is an even worse idea. Out of curiosity, why wouldn't someone sleeping rough - which here in the depths of winter would be insane, but would be an even worse idea in your corner of the world - not want to keep a low profile and bury their business? I wonder whether it is some sort of cry for help and attention? I do wonder what happened to the poor folks who were moved on last year in your part of the world? It is not as if they can disappear themselves. Make sure to keep your doors locked at night - they may become desperate.

Yeah, that is unfortunate. The big landfill in Melbourne in the industrial suburb of Brooklyn is also located along a creek which drains into a river and then the bay. To be honest, I used to like visiting the place when I lived not far from it. They used to compost huge quantities of green waste and it was fascinating to see the operations firsthand. Plus, the compost was very cheap at about $17 per trailer load. There were many small hillocks of composted material and it put the entire problem of waste into total perspective for me. We do it local here and I don't see any way around that.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Of course, I had forgotten that aspect of purchasing. You may be interested to know that in the fresh fruit and vegetable markets, the vendors take a quick peek into the cloth bags just to satisfy themselves that I haven't dropped anything in there that shouldn't be in there and then they calculate the charges in their heads based on price per weight. Of course the individual vendors operate small stands and I have an honest face. It so different from your experience that I may see if I can track down a photo which may help to explain things better ... ... Ah, here we go, check out this image: Queen Victoria market image. Do you have anything like that in your part of the world? The market is comprised of open sided sheds. It can get quite congested from time to time, but fortunately my shopping jeep is a useful tool for accidentally running into people who are leisuring around and not keeping their minds on the job at hand. In such circumstances I find that it is best to smile and look a little bit dopey.

Yeah, moving fruit trees and unwanted pruning efforts by deer (in your case, and occasionally here) and wallabies really does set fruit trees back about three years of growth from what I've observed. The thing is though, who plants fruit trees in exactly the right spot first up? I sure don’t and I reckon you have to completely stuff it up before you know exactly what that particular fruit tree needs! I moved the fig trees here too, but eventually planted most of them in their own garden. Just to annoy me, when I was in the inner city, a neighbour had an abandoned backyard absolutely chock full of fig trees, which had clearly tapped into the century old clay sewer pipes. It was like a mini fig forest, but he left all of the fruit for the many visiting fruit bats and he did not harvest any of the fruit.

It does sound like a rural myth, but there are feral apple trees around here and they produce fruit every year without watering, feeding, or pruning. Those trees grow just to make us all look bad, that is why they are there! And today we turned a whole lot of those harvested apples into apple wine and apple cider vinegar. Yum!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Now for a serious talk fest! :-)! Far out, up again this morning at day break and we cut and hauled the remaining firewood from that part of the farm. Tomorrow morning, some of it has to be split, but most of it will be hauled and stacked. Hopefully after about four or five hours of work, the secondary firewood shed will be full up to its eyeballs! We have really tried hard to make this process as quick and as easy as possible this year and with a bit of luck firewood will be done completely before the end of February. Mind you, we will be stacking away more firewood than we have ever previously stored. Last season, we did not top up the secondary firewood shed, which was only half full, because the concrete floor had to be repoured and lifted (which has now been done and cured). Firewood is a big job, and without the chainsaws, well, we would still have firewood as there is always the axe and wedges and hand saws, but the winters would be much colder!

Of course, I forget my wealthy folks and became confused. Amazon is famous down here for apparently not making a profit and yet growing at the same time, which is an impressive feat. I was perhaps thinking out loud about the Walmart folks who someone once told me once that some of their employees are on food stamps, which honestly sounds a bit of a strange claim to me.

Exactly, if your family is on food stamps, you're not living large. Down here I listen to the youth news and whenever the subject of unemployment benefits gets raised, someone inevitably phones in and says: "get a job". I have long suspected that paid flunkies regularly call up such programs. Now it is not a fact that is generally touted around the traps, but by far the larger share of government benefits down here get paid over to families and the elderly. The amount paid to the unemployed pales and is quite tiny by way of a comparison, but it feeds into a story that people are comfortable with. It is a bit sad really, and I don't much like it when I hear those claims being made which are patently false. I have known wealthy folks who have health benefit cards and they were living with subsidised stuff which I wasn’t benefitting from.

Did you know that granny smith apples were actually a down under variety that was a chance seedling in a garden (apparently Granny Smith's)? There is quite an interesting history on the variety: Granny Smith. The fruit is apparently also very high in antioxidants - which is something that I was unaware of. There used to be something like 7,000 varieties of apples... Wax is sometimes used down here too for preserving apples. I tend to wash it off with soap and warm water, but mostly just refuse to purchase apples treated that way in the first place.

There was some minor cleaning after Ollie took fright in the car and wet himself, but nothing too bad. I'll just have to train him to attend to more regular visits to the local general store cafe. I'm not used to such a large dog, but he has a very sweet disposition and really wants to fit in, so it is hard to be grumpy with him for any length of time.

Hehe! Sometimes our brains run out of our noses, and there doesn't seem to be much to be done to remedy that. Very funny! :-)!

Out of curiosity about divvying up the garden plots, do you have plans for a global garden plot take over? And do you get to keep your original plot which you have put so much effort into the soil? I hope you are still finding worms in there?

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Well, there you go. It was amusing to intrude upon, but really I just wanted to transact important business with that infernal ticket vending machine. We hates it forever, that machine! Strangely enough and just to lull me into a false sense of security, it did nothing unusual, which is unusual in itself. Perhaps it was the 100'F weather? That shopping mall is weird and given that half the shops are empty, people were sheltering in the air conditioning and just loitering around. The place has a very creepy vibe.

Paul was the more polished of the films, so yeah I'm with you. Mind you, one of my favourite film scenes is in Shaun of the Dead where Shaun is promoted to head sales person in the electrical goods retail store whilst zombies are moving past the window outside and the young bloke remarks to Shaun about plans by calling him on his nonsense by saying: "Yeah. Like what?" It is a useful line to pull on pretentious people.

Mate, I'm not kidding around when I say that here too, it would be an unusual day that I went anywhere that was over 100 miles (160km) from the farm. If that was the case, I probably would have organised overnight accommodation. Seriously. One of the things that amazes me about the US is how people are comfortable relocating to other corners of the country and the long commutes. The lovely lady who used to cut my hair and had done so for over a decade, recently moved back to Queensland, and she said that I'd be welcome to visit, but from my perspective it might as well have been another country, it is just that far away. And I did say as much to her.

It is interesting to hear of all of the different words used to describe the same things between the countries. Down here, dumpsters are a form of commercial bin that can be picked up by a front loading robotic arm on a truck. Anything bigger than that is called a skip. I'm not sure why, but far out, you can get some pretty big skips, but the costs add up and you have to fill them and move them on in only a day or so before additional fees get lumped onto you. I once had an argument with a neighbour who was a well-paid radio talk jockey who was dumping rubbish into the skip I paid for. He said to me that it was a time honoured tradition and I told him to get his rubbish out before I dumped back it in his yard. Far out, he owned an expensive and historic e-type Jaguar and his pay was accidentally published a few years back and I learned that he earned considerably more than I have ever done.

double secret cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

That deposit trick occurs down here very occasionally too. Years ago the bottled gas company pulled that trick and said that I had to pay a deposit and to refill the near empty cylinder upon first receipt of it in a rental property (the previous owners had left it near empty). Because I was a newbie to that system, I paid almost $500 to get the thing filled and they claimed that when I left the property I'd get it all back. Well that took a super human effort to recover the money, but we have a terrier like approach to such matters.

Fair enough, those terms are rarely used these days because people are dodging the real costs of community which comes with both benefits and costs. The problem with so many people being nomadic is that they can take a dump on area - either physically or socially - and then move on to greener pastures. If you can't move on and are committed to an area for better or worse, then you're kind of stuck with your own mess. Nowadays there are few 'elsewhere' places to go.

Oh, well that is a complex question, because not everything that is good becomes successful, so there is that aspect as well. Some things lack a weight behind them to push them forward. Dexter wasn't so much about the blood, but more about the relationships and crazy situations, so that the series did resemble soap opera. People enjoy watching relationships build and grow and get more complex over time.

Yeah, I suspect that many businesses cut it so close to the bone that they have no fat to accommodate emergencies and disasters. Because of the bushfire risk here, that aspect is not lost on us. As an interesting side story, if this place burned down, we'd probably live in a shed onsite whilst rebuilding. That is the plan anyway.

Hopefully we get all of the firewood under cover before the rain arrives tomorrow. The early mornings are messing with my head...

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Might be a few more "Cont.", today. The brown screen of death is overdue to appear, and I hate to loose large chunks of verbage. (sp?). Evesdropping (sp? Boy, that's a tough one. Even resorting to the dictionary, couldn't find it.) on your comment to Pam, Victoria Market looks a lot like the Pike Street Market, in Seattle. A mini-version is our weekly farmer's market on Tuesdays. They block off a side street between two major arterials and the vendors set up, for the day. A block long.

One of The Ladies told me she sees homeless coming and going into the wooded park, behind The Home. Our dumpster is accessed from the outside of the building. I usually take my small contribution, down at night. LOL, sooner or later I'll probably stumble across a possum or raccoon. But one cold, snowy night, she was startled to find a couple camped out in there. No words were exchanged, but they moved along. I'm glad to know that. If I have my wits about me, I'll tell them to stay. That others may object, but I don't. Then I'd probably rummage through the larder and see if I had any extra nosh.

Once the firewood is done (is there a third shed?) you'll have quit a feeling of accomplishment. And, know that even if you have extended cold snaps, you won't have to worry about running out of good, seasoned wood. Same with the jars of fig jam. I do like the shape of those bottles.

You can't tell your billionaire's without a score card :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. The Walton family (Walmart) controls something like 42% of the wealth in the US. The founder, Sam Walton, took pride in selling American made goods. He must be rolling in his grave ... They do contribute quit a bit (from my point of view) to the arts. Public broadcasting, and all that. It's interesting. The widow of Ronald Koch (McDonald's restaurant chain) also does the same. The standard minimum wage, varies from place to place. And, a typical family of four, if depending on one minimum wage, falls below the official poverty line. With ease. So it's not unusual to have someone employed full time, and still be elgiable for some government benefits. As a side light, I was just talking to a friend that's living quit a ways outside of San Diego. She's paying $1,600 for a so-so apartment. I hear about stuff like that, but am gob-smacked to hear of it up close and personal.

Granny Smith apples are good. A little tart, to me. But a good all round apple that stores well.

Tuesday, we're dealing with garden plots. If no one loses the plot, it ought to work out, ok. I should be able to hold onto both. Maybe. I was digging in some kitchen scraps, yesterday, in my old plot. I wanted to see if I could lure some worms by Sunday, when I'll work on the new plot. I will be working in a lot of organic "stuff" (leaves and coffee grounds/filters) and want to "seed" in some worms. Plenty of worms about. I've had some plastic bags with organic stuff in them, sitting in the old plot. Plenty of worms under them. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Empty commercial spaces are a bit creepy. Maybe there's some realization at some level that all is not well with the economy? I just took a look at a photographic book called "Ghost Buildings." Pictures of empty commercial buildings in the Olympia area. With a picture of what they looked like in the past. Also, amount of time they've been empty. I think, so many commercial buildings are "purpose" built. And, sometimes, the purpose moves on. So, it takes a lot of renovation to repurpose them. Maybe. I once took an unofficial survey of Tower Street, in Centralia. Once a vibrant business district. A four block run, both sides, in the densest section. I just counted doorways. And, if they had a working business behind them, or not. 42% were vacant. it's a bit better, now, but not much.

Commutes, relocations. It's all about chasing employment. Gas shocks and age ... I think you reorder your life (if possible) to become a bit more stable. If possible. Hmmm. I'm trying to think of the longest commute I ever did, regularly. Of course, when I worked for the library, sometimes I'd work in branches that were to hell and gone. But, I got travel time and mileage. But just in the general course of things, I think my commutes were, in general, 25-35 minutes. Here, I hear of people living here and making horrendous commutes. To Tacoma, Seattle. My buddy Scott's wife commutes to Bellevue, which is just east of Seattle. Not every day of the week. She telecommutes, quit a bit.

I think people are catching onto the deposit racket. It's popping up in popular media. When I briefly had a storage unit, there were deposits. The balance was paid back to me, on the spot, when I turned in my key. Now, that's the way to run a business. Shipping is beginning to get out of hand. Is out of hand. But more people are offering free shipping. LOL. Of course, it is amazing, how often, on E-Bay, a $10 item with $10 shipping can only be found as a "free shipping" item for ... $20 :-).

I think I find the straight up slasher films more disturbing, as they are more "real." As in, "this could actually happen." Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Played Bingo for Blood, last night. Won three games. No ground gained. Still $3.25 in the hole. Last week, they ran a 6th grade class, in here (12 year olds) to talk about what it was like in the "old days." The REAL reason the teacher is doing this, is to get kids to develop the skill of looking people in the eye. I guess it was so successful, that they're coming back, next month. I didn't go, but I might go to the next. I'll have to cast about for some hair raising stories about the "good" old days when dinosaurs ruled the earth. :-).

I'm reading a book called "Stirring the Pot with Benjamin Franklin: A Founding Father's Culinary Adventures" (with 62 Authentic Recipes!") (Eighmey, 2018). I don't know how much you've heard about Franklin, down there, as he was never president. He was a fascinating guy. Check out Wikipedia, for an overview. He was an autodidact and polymath (an autodidactic polymath?). He's on our $100 bill. Printer, scientist, ambassador to England and France in a very dicey period. Invented the Franklin stove. "Poor Richard's Almanac." I haven't gotten to it, yet, but the blurb promises he tried cooking a turkey, with electricity. THAT ought to be interesting. Lew

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

Your figjam sounds great. Fun fact, during my high school days the term figjam was used to denote someone who thought very highly of themselves. It stood for (family friendly blog filter engaged), F*** I'm Good Just Ask Me. A useful term!

Lew,
I agree Paul was the more polished and coherent Pegg film. For myself, my favourite Pegg film is actually season 1 of the TV series 'Spaced'. Now some may quibble this is not actually a film, but I stand by my convictions :-) Around the time Paul came out was when it really started becoming mainstream to reference the 80s as a joke instead of an actual joke. This annoyed me, even though I love that sort of humour in small doses. Now the trend seems to be referencing plots, jokes and characters instead of something new. See the endless stream of remakes, rehashes, prequels etc. etc. The trailer for yet another Star Wars movie just came out - a Han Solo origins movie. The referencing continues!

Cheers,
Damo

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

The Pike Street Market in Seattle looks a bit flashier to me. It is really nice to see such enterprises in the US as I was under the mistaken impression that they were a thing of the distant past over in your part of the world. But then I now recall that in the film "Chef" the main characters stopped off to visit a market in New Orleans. I would have loved visiting both of those places. Sad to say that for a few years as a young adult, I threw my lot in with the supermarkets, but the editor re-introduced me to the pleasures of the inner city fresh fruit and vegetable markets. The Queen Victoria market is one of a few markets still remaining in the inner city. And surprisingly even though (I believe) it is the number one tourist destination in Melbourne, I always feel that the city council is eyeing off the land for alternative uses. Certainly in recent years the number of vendors has dropped off and that sort of says something to me about the sort of rents being charged to the vendors.

Weekly farmers markets are a great idea. Down here they run farmers markets once per month and cycle them between the local towns in different weeks, which is frankly not often enough to entice local folks to consider them as a serious alternative to supermarkets. The nearby town has a fresh fruit and vegetable "green grocer" which I occasionally use to top up supplies. They usually have outstanding strawberries for sale. Most strawberries I find are picked green for travel and they lack the flavour of garden strawberries. Perhaps I'm a bit fussy about such things?

You have a generous heart. However do people survive the brutally cold winters in your part of the world whilst sleeping rough? I reckon it would take a toll. I haven't heard of anyone sleeping rough up here in the mountain range, but it is not out of the question as historically that happened during the Great Depression and well before those days too as I have occasionally read about some characters who took that option. Interestingly too, even earlier bushrangers used the caves high up on the northern side of the mountain range to shelter in and prey upon the gold coaches travelling along the road from the goldfields to Melbourne. I suspect the timber getters used to live rough up in various camps along water courses too. Mate, I'm starting to feel like a softie...

Speaking of timber getting, we got up well before sunrise this morning and by 7am we were hard at it hauling and splitting the cut firewood. We finished by 1.30pm which was fortunate as a band of rain then moved in over the range. Wet firewood is a bad thing! Knowing the rain was coming, we didn't stop for a break and I can report that the Cherokee Bank of Firewood (CBF!) ;-)! Main branch and Secondary branch (the primary and secondary firewood shed - I'm using banking terms here) are now full. All that is left is about another day next week to fill up the Agency branch (the firewood bay next to the house). That sure is some mad cash there! Hehe! Actually, on Thursday I passed a huge truck with an open high sided tray full of local cut and split firewood roughly dumped into it and they wanted something like three thousand for it. Firewood is getting quite expensive and hard to obtain here because the red gum forests north along the state border with the Murray River have been closed up. And fair enough too, those trees take hundreds of years to grow, whereas the ones here take only a few decades because they're in a much better paddock. The flood cycles along that great waterway have been stopped by dams and the dry open forests along the river suffer.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

I'm reading Gene Logsdon's book on Small Scale Grain Growing. He really is a delightful writer and I'm learning quite a lot about growing grains. I may have missed the window for planting wheat though this year. Given the firewood job is almost done, we sat down today and plotted out the next six months of projects. It is ambitious, but occasionally one has to reach for the stars! Of course we may score a meteor instead (I believe there may be a close pass of the Earth soon by a recently discovered meteor).

The bottles are good, but the fig jam (Damo has an amusing note about that jam in his comment above!) is so good that it is fast disappearing. A sad tale, but there you go. Have you ever had sorghum syrup? Mr Logsdon alluded to it... We picked up a huge collection of those bottles and were able to purchase a huge bag of brand new lids so we're stocked up for years to come. I regret giving some of the bottles away as a gift that was not reciprocated... A long story there...

Yeah, the problem with controlling 42% of the wealth, is that they control 42% of the wealth and can leverage such an asset. And philanthropy is nice, but when does it become green washing? That is what I always wonder, but on the other hand, the arts and public radio do need supporting. Wealthy folks can often, and I dunno the word for it, but they have access to media folks. The whole property debacle looks a lot to me like a case of: "Too many chiefs and not enough Indians". I'm an Indian from that perspective, just to make things crystal clear. Historically, 90% of the population was employed in agriculture and so that must be the long term sustainable trend. Nowadays, that may be something like 2% of the population and to be honest, I have read accounts that "cheap and off the books labour from overseas" is being used to boost farm labour productivity, whatever that means. I reckon it is possibly best to get well ahead of that return to the normality curve, but plenty of other folks want things to remain as they always were, but if it doesn't work, then at what point does a person question the accepted story? I don't really know the answer to that question, but it is on my mind. Such rents as the one you mentioned would be reasonably cheap down here and they can easily reach about $2,500 for very basic places. I read an alarming article the other day suggesting that at one stage last year, one of the big four banks were lending something like 50% of all new loans as interest only loans. Surely that can’t be right? The Big Short taught me good and proper that such things are "rentals with debt".

I like Granny Smith apples too, but can only eat them in small quantities as they are very acidic - or perhaps that is the reaction they have with me? Dunno.

double secret cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Go Lewis! Best wishes for the outcome of the great garden plot auction on Tuesday and I hope nobody needs taken out of the race? It warms my heart to hear stories about increasing worm activity. Of course if you end up with a new plot it is always best to inoculate the new garden bed with soil from the original garden bed. The more the better and it should be full of worm eggs. I do that here with new garden beds. It is a bit like a ritual.

Way back in the day with strip shops that ran along main streets, the owners used to live above (or at the rear of) the shops which ran along main roads. This has practical applications in that the owners provided on site security for the shop, but the travel time was diminished and costs were also spread. The residential houses extended into the streets behind the shops and the trams and trains ran along the main roads. You can see those arrangements in the old inner city suburbs and it is a real shame every time that they're knocked down so that some apartment block replaces that workable arrangement. Oh well. The problem with housing prices here is that I have read that people from Melbourne are relocating to as far away as Bendigo (which is about an hour further along the train line here) and they have two hour commutes, so instead of having a job in the rural town they move too...

Yeah, the shipping charges are often wrapped into the purchase price if only because free shipping anywhere at all makes absolutely no business sense to me.

Well those dinosaurs were kind of scary way back in the day. You know when I was a kid, I was told not to look adults in the eye and I believe the basis for that was that the adults felt that it was challenging for their authority! The Bingo for Blood is getting to be a little bit nail biting! Good luck!

Thanks for the heads up on Mr Franklin. I quite enjoy reading about interesting historical characters, especially ones who were polymaths. The world needs those folks. The eyes and the set of his mouth tell me quite a bit about his internal workings. Interesting. He clearly was able to espouse a coherent narrative (or vision) whilst providing a contrast, and that is not something that you see much of these days. It is good that he enjoyed both failure and success as too much of either is a heady mix that few can drink. It is interesting that I recently heard the phrase: "Fish and visitors stink in three days"! Very amusing. I'll bet he was a charismatic bloke to have begun so many associations.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

Hehe! Yeah, I knew that one too! You made me laugh. Hey, back in the day I was a fan of butterfingers. Now let's see what dodgy film clip he made way back in the day... Potty mouth alert (i.e. Do not click link if easily offended, but if you're like me and easily amused and can ignore the plentiful potty mouth, that is a whole 'nother story): Butterfingers - FIGJAM. Evil Eddy = very wrong! He tells an amusing, if somewhat off, tale. Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

Forgot to add that I lack the competency for Evil Eddies antics! :-)!

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

The Queen Victoria market looks massive to me; lucky you! We do have many small farmer's markets in and around Charlottesville; I just haven't had a chance to visit them regularly in past years. I think this year it is going to be different.

I wonder - I once had a little dog who would retrieve just about anything. In fact, he enjoyed it so much he would sometimes bring me just about anything that wasn't nailed down. Once he came in carrying a very sharp razor. That scared me and I "childproofed" the house somewhat. I'm wondering if you might have trained (would it have bee Fluffy then?) your dog to retrieve figs way back when?

Well, I shall be keeping my eye out for feral apple trees.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Oh, this one has me laughing: "a global garden plot take over"! Don't give Lew any ideas!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I love your "Cherokee Bank of Firewood" and its branches. Branches - trees - ha!

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Damo. LOL. It's not a movie. :-). I also liked the one about the Scottish body snatchers. Forget the name. Based on true characters. Not an outright comedy, but it had it's moments. I lifted a copy of Pegg's "Man Up" off the library rack, the other day. I'm sure I've seen it, but am drawing an absolute blank. I'll give it another whorl.

Prequels, sequels. I just can't keep track. Fell into the sequel trap, again, the other night. "Fallen" (as in angles.) Some teen thing, that left quit a bit dangling and is obviously moving onto a second or third movie. I need to do more research before I start these things. TV doesn't leave me feeling so dissatisfied. They're pretty straight forward. Season or series ... whatever. That movies were so straightforward :-(. Sigh. The DC / Marvel "comic book universe" has me totally lost. Have I seen it or not? Got me. X-Men? Ditto. So far, I've kept Guardians of the Galaxy, pretty well sorted. Only two so far. If you haven't taken a look, you might. They're pretty funny. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The Pike Street Market was almost "renewed" into oblivion. There was a huge "save the market" campaign. Back in the 60s, I think. It was really the kick off of the "save the..." movement. You can't save it all, but some bits of history are worth fighting for.

We should be fussy about our food. Demand quality! :-). According to that book I read on supermarkets, the smart ones do respond to what people ask for. Sometimes.

We lose a person, sleeping rough, every once in awhile. Even here. I think the last one was winter before last. More has been done, locally, for the homeless, since then. There was just a Homeless Connect Fair (I think they're having two a year, now) to publicize what's available. The 12 Step Club sets up a booth. As problems with drugs and alcohol often go hand and hand.

We're going to have a run of cold nights. Hovering around -0-C, for five days, or so. Lowland snow ghosts in and out of the forecast for Sunday night. If we do get any, probably just a few flakes that won't hang around. Cont.

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Speaking of vacant buildings, Motorola built a large plant/corporate campus in our town in 1997. It was supposed to be a huge boon to the town. It had a capacity of 6000 but never employed more than 1200. It was open for five years. Since then it's been sold a couple of times but no new businesses opened. About a year ago yet another company bought it but since then the owner has been arrested for some kind of financial fraud and the property taxes have not been paid. It was built on a beautiful piece of land which was mostly an oak forest which of course was destroyed. We have quite a few vacant storefronts in town but it has been worse.

The Queen Victoria market looks amazing. The town just south of us has a market two days a week from May through October and twice a month inside during the winter. They have quite a good variety of vendors. There is a very well known market in Madison, Wisconsin - too far for a regular trip but fun to visit from time to time. Of course Chicago has the Green City Market though even that doesn't look anywhere the size of yours. It's also very pricey.

Winter has arrived with a vengeance this last week. We've had snow almost every day accumulating about 12 inches though it has compacted a bit. The snow night before last was over six inches - the largest in quite some time. It's a nightmare for people who have to commute fairly long distances. One of my sisters has been commuting an hour each way to her job for the last 30 years at least. Public transportation just doesn't work for her. When we first moved here Doug worked in Chicago and commuted almost 2 hours each way on the train. If we wanted a little property to raise animals that we could afford we had to move quite far from the city. I was really lucky to land a teaching job in town. Affordable housing is the reason so many live so far from their jobs. We did pick this town because it is on the train line. There are quite a few people who drive at least 1/2 hour from Wisconsin to take our train downtown to their jobs.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Congrats on getting the firewood topped up. Worth a good nosh and pint at the local to celebrate. :-). I don't think I have ever had sourgum syrup. It's more a southern / east coast thing. Back when there were more subsistence farms and it was a long way to town and cane sugar was expensive, it was more common, I think. Cheap convenient cane sugar really put a dent in a lot of different kinds of local sugar production. Sourgum, maple syrup, molasses. Things that took a bit more processing than picking it off the vine or tree, but provided more kick, in calories.

My friend Julia says she can always figure out who was a farm raised kid. They always bring her gifted jelly and jam jars, back.

Thanks for the tip on worm eggs. I hadn't even thought of that. I'll move over more soil, than planned, from the old bed to the new.

I think Franklin was, as they used to say, a merry old soul. :-). He was quit a hit with the ladies at the French court, according to reports. 200+ year old gossip. :-). He always had a bit of a twinkle in his eye, in the portraits I have seen. I read a bit more of the book about Franklin and food, last night. Til I couldn't keep my eyes open. Jefferson is always trotted out as the early American gourmet, but I doubt he ever touched a skillet. But, he provided an innovative spread.

Jefferson was also ambassador to France. I read a book a couple of years ago about Jefferson and food. He took his slave mistresses (Sally Hemmings. More 200+ year old gossip) brother, to France, to apprentice to French chefs. Well. France, by that time, had abolished slavery. So, if he had stayed in France, he would have been free. But, there were family ties, back in America. And, Jefferson promised him that he would be freed, after, I think, five years of service. Jefferson drug his feet, on that point. He finally did free him, but he procrastinated for years. Lew

margfh said...

@Lew

We have quite a few homeless who camp out in either public or private woods from Spring through fall. There is a group that organizes a lunch once a week during this time. Area churches take turns offering shelter and a meal to them once a week so if the people can get from church to church they at least have somewhere to go at night.

It was the Pike's Place fish market that was the featured in a motivational video some years ago. One of our principals screened it at our beginning of the year Institute Day. In fact she had a fish theme for the entire year. Of course most of the older teachers who had been around the block a few times just rolled our eyes...

My MIL plays bingo at her place but no money is used - rather they get to pick from candy and snacks. She's got quite an inventory built up. She does have a group of friends who come in weekly to play Mahjongg for money.

Margaret

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Forgot to say I read the recycling article. The recycling committee is very concerned about how this is going to end up.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I was hit yesterday by one of the most powerful sensations that I ever experience. It arrives every year before Spring and Autumn. It is a feeling that I must up and move elsewhere. It really is almost overpowering. Long ago I decided that it must stem from herdsmen ancestors. I would be a wise old woman who knows when it is time to shift the herds to Summer or Winter pastures. The sensation is quite horrendous in its strength.

Inge

Damo said...

@lew

Yep, guardians of the galaxy is pretty good. Harmless sci-fi comedy adventure :-) if you enjoyed those, check out the latest thor ragnorak movie. Very funny, no need to be updated on the latest marvel universe either!

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

I'd be interested to read you opinions of the farmers markets in your part of the world. The Queen Victoria market is huge.

Oh my! Your little retriever dog was lucky to have avoided injury in that instance. Pam, I'll tell ya, Ollie has likewise been dog testing the facilities here. I have to write tonight, but I'll include a photo of Scritchy the boss dog giving Ollie what can only be described as: "What for?"

You'll be amazed at what fruit trees are growing feral about the landscape.

The takeover business was pretty funny wasn't it? I noticed that Lewis blithely ignored that bit of silliness! :-)!

Well photos of the CBF will be forthcoming tomorrow evening, or whatever time in the world the new post finds you. It is intense living in the future!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Apologies, I have to be brief this evening as I plan to write about bicycles of all things... That topic should bring out the haters!

Was the Scottish story about aliens and body snatching: Under the Skin? I saw the film and whilst Scarlett Johansson is stunningly beautiful, the storyline was rather dull. Apparently the book was much better and explained what was going on with the internal conflicts of the aliens.

Exactly, there is a flow to history and some things are not worth saving. The Pike St Market on the other hand is worth saving!

Yeah, that is true, but I have noticed recently that some food stuffs taste rather weird to me and it is not me that has changed. The purchasers always tell me with this strange look (gleam) in their eyes how cheap the food stuff was. I remain unconvinced, and in the meantime try to produce as much variety of food stuffs as possible.

Yup, I reckon that in some circumstances there is a correlation between sleeping rough and dependency, but not in all cases. And some people just don't fit the narrowly defined 'shoulds' of our society. Far out, I feel cold just reading about your weather. I have become summer soft and it feels cold to me now because outside it is 63'F...

I would have liked to go to the pub and celebrate that feat although that sounds a bit peevish, but the editor is the voice of reason in these matters. On the other hand I caught up with all of my interweb reading. There were a lot of fun stories about the stock market which has progressed beyond its initial raison d'ĂȘtre. Dark ale would have been preferable to those stories.

Molasses? OK, I am intrigued as I always believed that stuff to be produced from sugar cane... Sugar will not grow this far south and sugar is quite a handy substance and I am like a terrier with other references to this product.

I rarely visit people empty handed and have an errand tomorrow that includes such goodies. Yum! Julia clearly knows her business.

Absolutely, your existing garden beds will be full of worm eggs and they have a two year viability (imagine the disaster that befell the planet to hardcode that feat into their DNA).

Hmmm, Franklin had a look in the portrait that I spotted on the interweb and the look of his eyes said to me that he 'flew beneath the radar', and people may have regularly underestimated him. There is something about the set of his eyes and mouth, but then the portraits were of him as an older bloke, so he may have learned a thing or two.

Jefferson appears to my eyes to have the more haughty of the two faces. Well, doing as I say, but not as I do is an appealing notion to some people. I have also noted that some folks get a sense of enjoyment out of maintaining the upper hand in relationships. Those folks are tiresome.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Apologies, I have to be brief tonight as it is harvest time and there is no rest for the wicked even if it was in a past life! Hehe!

Far out, your story reminded me that on the outskirts of the local industrial area here, there is a large factory which is frankly out of sync with the other activities there, and they used to produce something or other for the car industry. It was operating until about a decade ago. Nowadays, the place looks empty to my eyes although there are some businesses operating out of part of the building. Sorry to read about the loss of the oak forest, but yeah, sometimes I tell people who annoy me about the types of forests that used to exist in the suburbs where they now live. The remnants of those forests are still there and they are just biding their time.

The Queen Victoria market is open for business five days per week all year around, and it is one of those things that I am quietly grateful for. It opened for business in Queen Victoria's day too! And the food stuffs are very affordable. We have been considering options should the market get shut down though. The prices of the food stuffs in your part of the world are also a reflection of the rents charged for the vendors space and that is the case here too, although the Queen Victoria market is perhaps an exception.

OMG that is cold, and I'm feeling cold just reading about your snow! Brr! Exactly too, the same thing occurs here and affordable land is a very long ways away from the CBD of Melbourne. We are one hour from the CBD and there are people, who like Doug, now have to travel twice that distance...

I'm worried about the situation with recycling too. I alerted Mr Greer about the situation this evening and I will be curious to see his take on it. Love to chat, but unfortunately I have to write!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for sharing your feelings. I reckon we are more attuned to the seasons than we realise. If it means anything to you I have a strong feeling that down here we are in for an early autumn as the air smells and feels different to me. And to be honest, I have always felt more comfortable in the mountains and forests than down in the city. That is my Scottish highland heritage, I guess? Yes, you most certainly would be a wise woman. It is a shame that nowadays few heed such news. It is a moment in time, really.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - Yes, when I worked for the library, it seems like every year there was some new gimmick management or "dealing with the customers" program that we were subjected to, at our annual "all staff day." Remember "Who Moved My Cheese?" The Pike Street Market one involved throwing fish (salmon). Lots of eye rolling all round. Of course, those who did not roll eyes were considered "team players" and usually advanced in, whatever organization. I will not sell my soul for a mess of (salmon) potage. :-).

As decaf is to coffee (and tea) so is bingo to money. Why bother? :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I think we're dealing with two kinds of body snatchers, here. "World's End" was about an epic pub crawl and involved aliens from another planet, snatching bodies, etc.. "Burke and Hare" was about the other kind of body snatchers. Or, grave robbers. Burke and Hare lived in 1820s Edinburgh. They grave robbed to provide corpses to the medical teaching profession. Illegal and rather dicey as cemeteries were pretty well guarded. So, they just started bumping people off, which could be done in fairly quiet, indoor, out of the way places. Less chance of discovery. They figure they bumped off about 16 people before being caught and sent to the gallows.

I thought perhaps you'd caught me out on molasses being made from sugar cane. Well, yes, and no. :-). Molasses can also be made from sugar beets, sourghum, pomegranate and dates. I caught just a snatch of something on the radio, yesterday. I had arrived at my destination, so ... Apparently, Australia has an (expanding?) chocolate growing industry. Another project for Chris! Grow your own chocolate trees! :-).

Jefferson was quit the aristocrat. Had the whole Southern planter thing going on. He was also quit the inventor and architect. Did a lot of plant introduction. Died bankrupt. Sold his extensive library to The Nation, to provide a new start to our Library of Congress after the British burned the original during the War of 1812. While he was president, he sent out the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Which was mostly a scientific expedition. Another name for it was "The Corp of Discovery."

I made corn muffins for todays potluck. A bit crunchy. Oh, well. Smear them with enough butter ... Lew