Monday, 19 March 2018

Party Machine

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

Nowadays, everyone seems to have an opinion on politics. With that in mind, I thought to myself, I better get one of those opinion things too, otherwise readers may believe that I'm some sort of intellectual lightweight. And who wants to be identified as the dumb kid in the class?

Sometimes the best opinions are other peoples opinions, so in order to learn what opinions were out there, I fired up my favourite internet browser and went to a news website to check out what political opinions were being offered up to the public for consumption. Well, we have had a fun time down here, although perhaps it was more fun for some than others. A notable family values politician down here appears to have liked families so much that he couldn't stick to just one family at a time.

Oh! Other countries appear to have much more complicated politics than ours. Certainly there were more than a few articles about the President of the USA, and something to do with US intelligence agencies and Russia. I don't know much about any of that stuff and it all sounds a bit complicated to me, but I do want to sound as if I have an opinion, so I better form one based on what I read. Here goes: How come so many intelligence agencies couldn't detect Russian meddling as it was happening? By way of contrast, if Ollie the Australian cattle dog couldn't chase off a band of rampaging marsupials out of the orchard before they ran amok, then I'd wonder if he was worth his breakfast.

As for Russia, I don't really know much about them at all. Although to be fair, I was sitting in the pub a few weeks back and enjoying a pint of locally brewed 'Russian Imperial Stout', and I can confirm that it was an exceptionally good dark ale. I feel that it is important here to clarify that this dark ale should not be confused with the outstanding 'Rye Imperial Stout', which is nothing short of astounding. This brew is the work of a co-operative effort between the local Black Dog brewery and the US Eel River brewery. It is a heady brew, and just goes to prove that co-operation between nations is a better strategy than whingeing about something or other in the news.

As I was consuming that excellent dark ale, my mind clarified a bit and I recalled a titbit from Australia's early history. You see way back in 1866, the Colony of Victoria, as this state was then known, feared a Russian attack. The city of Melbourne in the Colony of Victoria had an epic gold rush, and rapidly became the second wealthiest city on the planet, after London, of course. And we were unfortunately a very long way away from the UK.

In those days, the ruling elite didn't waste time whingeing in the newspapers about Russia, they simply constructed shore-based fortifications of Port Philip Bay, and ordered the battleship HMVS Cerberus from the Royal Navy. In short order we had an iron clad battleship with ten inch main guns patrolling the bay. The ship had fore and aft turrets which at the time the was considered superior to any other warship operating in the Australasian region. It was a lethal bit of kit.

The public on the other hand were less than impressed with the expense, and the ship was nicknamed the: 'Floating Gasometer'. That was not a compliment and it was referring to the sad fact that the ship could only sail for ten days before requiring refuelling. Incidentally, the ship never fired a shot in anger, and at one point the entire crew had to be detained in quarantine because one of the ship's company began to show symptoms of the bubonic plague. By 1924, the ship was sold for scrap, and by 1926 the remains were scuttled at Half Moon Bay to serve as a breakwater for the Black Rock Yacht Club. And there it sits today performing a useful function.

The Russians never appeared, which may have had something to do with them losing a goodly chunk of their navy to the Japanese. Instead of the Russians, on the morning of 29 August 1908, sixteen white-hulled battleships (part of the Great White Fleet) carrying fourteen thousand sailors and marines of the United States Atlantic Fleet docked at Melbourne. Only a few years earlier the Colony of Victoria had joined with the other colonies on the continent to form a state of the newly minted country of Australia.

There was no whingeing in the newspapers of the time about a foreign force docking at the wealthiest city on the continent. In fact the exact opposite took place and apparently: 'Melburnians laid out the red, white and blue welcome mat for the new Pacific sea power. The records describe months of preparations by state and city officials to celebrate the visit'. 

'Fleet week' as it was known was no doubt an epic occasion for the sailors and marines and I read all sorts of accounts of the entertainments that week including an intriguing reference to sailors ‘with a girl on each arm’. No doubt more than a few glasses of locally brewed 'Russian Imperial Stout' were consumed, although for obvious reasons I am unable to confirm this.

Anyway, the US sailors and marines eventually departed after declaring Melbourne the ‘best port of call’ in their 14-month, 20-port call, round-the-world, two-women-in-every-port voyage. We must have partied the sailors and marines pretty hard, because 221 deserters jumped ship in Melbourne, and whilst half of those deserters were eventually recovered, the other half weren't. Which all just goes to show that we know how to do politics and partying properly down here!

There wasn't much partying here this week. The weather was cool to warm and sunny for most of the week. We continued the job of excavating soil from the area below the potato terrace. The soil was used to correct the too-steep-slope around the nearby firewood shed. The soil excavations took another days labour following on from last weeks efforts.

After that job was complete, we were able to begin constructing a new steel rock gabion cage. The rock gabion is to be eventually filled with rocks and it is used to physically retain the soil on the potato terrace from sliding downhill. I reckon rock gabions look great.
The author constructs a new steel rock gabion cage
The rock gabion cage is constructed from flat 1200mm x 2400mm (4 feet by 8 feet) welded steel sheets. We bend, cut and sew the sheets together to form the cage that can be seen in the photo above. Concerned readers should also note that Mr Toothy has not been squashed by the cage, although it appears that way in the above photo!

Once the cage was completed we placed it in position and put some rocks in it. The rocks help weigh it down.
The rock gabion cage is in place and is perfectly level
As mentioned previously, the excavated soil was used to correct a too-steep-slope next to the firewood shed. Onto that soil we placed one cubic metre (1.3 cubic yards) of the local crushed rock with lime. The crushed rock will provide an all weather surface.
Local crushed rock with lime was placed over the excavated soil and will provide an all weather surface
Observant readers will note that in the above photo, the space adjacent to the existing dark grey water tank has been left uncovered. A new water tank will be placed in that location. Also in the photo above you can see that we have placed many large boulders as a rock wall for the new garden bed. And that garden bed also received a good dose of mushroom compost over the bare soil.

Since late January, very little rain has fallen. Over the past few days, I took the opportunity to climb up onto the roof of the house and use a very old, but very reliable vacuum cleaner to remove any organic matter from the roof and/or guttering. It was a very dirty job and I was rapidly covered in a thick coating of black dust.
The author uses an old vacuum cleaner to remove any organic matter from the roof and/or guttering
The roof is now squeaky clean, as am I! I was impressed at the sheer quantity of identified and unidentified organic matter that I removed from the roof using the trusty old vacuum cleaner.
Ollie is also impressed by the amount of gunk removed from the roof and/or guttering
We have been harvesting some very tasty vegetables from the garden! Yum!
Some of the very tasty vegetables that we have harvested this week
The corn is an open pollinated variety and it appears to provide two cobs per plant. Interestingly, whilst I had the correct spacing between the plants, I planted the rows too close together and the smaller cobs in the photo above came from the rear row of corn. Today, I removed the stalks and husks and spread them on the ground for the wallabies, wombats, kangaroos and Ollie to feast upon. Based on prior years experience, the stalks won't last long.
The corn stalks and husks were spread on the ground for the wombats, wallabies, and kangaroos to feast upon
I gave a few cobs to the chickens and it was absolute mayhem in the chicken enclosure as one chicken fought off another rival chicken to get at the juiciest corn kernels. Maybe they could have used a Russian Imperial Stout to chill out a bit?

On Saturday evening the weather turned and a storm threatened. I knew the storm was serious because Scritchy the Storm Detective was hiding under the bed. The sky looked great too:
On Saturday night a storm threatened
The storm mostly bypassed the farm and mountain range. It produced a lot of wind, and a minor drizzle of rain, but that was about it. Elsewhere in the state, lightning strikes appear to have set off serious bushfires which are still burning out of control as I write this.

In case anyone reading this underestimates the sheer mischief that wallabies (which are a mid-sized forest kangaroo) perform, it is worth contrasting these two Mop Top trees which were planted on exactly the same day.
Mop top number one!
Mop top number two was planted on exactly the same day!
I don't begrudge the forest critters their share of the produce. In such dry weather the forest critters flock here because I leave them a few sources of water which I always keep topped up. The birds and insects do it particularly tough as they have to travel far from their territories in order to source water.
The birds and insects enjoy this pool of water safely high up on one of the water tanks
There are plenty of pollen and nectar producing flowers for the birds and insects to feast upon too:
A European honey bee seeks pollen and/or nectar from this rosemary flower
Geraniums are a reliable summer flower for the bees
Geraniums are a reliable summer flower for the bees
A small red ladybird enjoys this cluster of flowers on a curry plant
Despite the hot and dry weather there are still plenty of flowers:
Gazania's are tough as
A local indigenous wax wildflower
Feverfew flowers growing among the rosemary
Buddleia flowers look and smell great
Salvia and mint scented geranium
Basil mint is hardy as and the bees love the flowers
This week's blog title is a nod to The Bennies, who are an Australian melodic punk/ska/reggae band from Melbourne. I really wanted to use the lyrics to their fun and excellent song: "Party Machine", but the lyrics were really hard to adapt to this format whilst keeping things family friendly. Anyway, go ahead and give them a listen, maybe just not at work in an uptight office environment! They released another song recently titled, "Detroit Rock Ciggies" and that one is fun too.

The temperature outside now at about 6.00pm is 21’C (70’F). So far this year there has been 112.2mm (4.4 inches) which is slightly higher than last week's total of 109.8mm (4.3 inches).

93 comments:

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Speaking of disasters, far out, the weekend weather was feral down here: A weekend of weather to remember. Talk about going from one extreme to another in this country. The fires in Victoria and New South Wales have taken out quite a few houses. I'm grateful that it has been quiet here, but you'll notice that I jumped onto the roof earlier in the week and cleared all of the organic matter from the guttering. That stuff is air dried and it is incredibly flammable. Most houses burn from the roof downwards in a bushfire – and it can be very quick. Four minutes from what I’ve been told.

Oh, that is an unusual restriction, but areas can have unusual planning overlays on them. I hear you about the house pre-dating 1934, and I once spotted a local landowner demolishing an old house on their land and I wondered whether they had permission to replace it. I haven't seen anything to that effect. Is there any historical basis for restricting the use of cement / concrete?

Brr! I hope you stay warm, and that the house doesn't not need to be left open or unheated for any longer than absolutely necessary. Everyone is different in that regard, but I tend to bend with the weather as it is easier. Did you get the machines installed?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Ah! We both dance with the Devil with either of those animal choices. Hope you enjoy the comparison photo of the two mop top trees - one of which was carefully tended to by the wallabies. Yeah, we get mice and rats in wood piles too as they make pretty comfy homes in there. A rats winter nest is every bit as fancy as the best bird nests.

Hey, just as a wild guess, sometimes people are unable to visualise in their heads how a property could be used, so it is probably not a bad idea to get the piggies, chickens, and seedlings all going. Empty shedding and barren garden beds can look a little bit dodgy. Dunno, but way back in the day when we'd only just built the house, the property looked a little bit scary. Of course, we like cake batter, but other people enjoy their cakes! ;-)!

Salve is clearly the brains, whilst Leo may be the muscle? A good combination for dogs if they can work as a pack. Ollie is a bit jumpy first thing in the morning, but otherwise he won't jump on me. When he does jump up on me, I wait until he has his back turned on me and then I give him a gentle nudge with my foot up the backside. He is a smart dog and gets the message, but he is just so excited first thing in the morning... He was having a bad dream earlier this afternoon and I woke him up and gave him a big pat and he looked really happy. Dogs probably dream strange dreams.

I'll bet Patrick had his regular customers too, and it would have been such a good thing for him to do. Yeah, that would have been upsetting for Michael. Good to read that his health has stabilised a bit. I assume he has settled down now in the new place? Your knowledge of such things far exceeds my own, and it is good that Michael has someone to keep an eye on things. Mistakes get made in that business, no doubts about it.

Ah, it is good to hear where things are going. I'm not optimistic about this situation with the recycling, but I'd really like to be surprised. At the moment people are in the finger pointing phase of the loss, and some sharks are seeking a bigger cut of the action.

Yeah, I see a lot of cardboard being used. Down here for some reason, a lot of cardboard used in food packaging is also plastic lined, and that makes it almost impossible to recycle. Thanks for the visuals of huge bags of peanuts blowing all around the place! Hehe! My mental image looks like oversized confetti at a wedding ceremony blowing all over the place. A wedding was almost taken out by the bushfires... ... Victoria bushfires force wedding guests to shelter in stable.

No rain to speak of, and yeah, they're a real problem that lot.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Hope you enjoyed this weeks story, it was so much fun to write! I get so bored of politics that the best thing to do, was to take the piss out of it all!

Oh yeah, I would probably have ended up like poor Mr Mertz. There was some speculation that Mr Mawson survived because he ate more of the tougher stringy meat whilst Mr Mertz had a preference for the (is juicier the right word? Probably not...) liver.

Wow! That would have been amazing to see. I've seen a herd of wild deer up here all come to a sudden stop and it was amazing to see the ripple of concerted action moving through the herd. I'd never seen animals act that way before. Marsupials like kangaroos act as a mob, but they all do so in a random manner.

There is a bit of that breed in him. Spooky, especially the taller short haired varieties. He also has a bit of dingo in him too.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Hehe! Yeah, it is a problem from time to time. I often lose chunks of firewood down the hill, especially if they are round and unsplit. Mate, those things can roll and roll. I usually walk down the hill and carry them all back uphill again. Firewood gets you warm several times over. Hey, the excavator driver unearthed a huge rock when the house site was originally being cut into the hill. It was round and we had no idea what to do with it, so we flicked it down the hill like a huge rolling billiard ball. Not much could stop it, but the rock eventually slowed down and came to a halt. I reckon it went about an eighth of a mile down the hill all up. Small things amuse small minds, I've been told, but it was a lot of fun!

Boundary markers just encourage folks to dispute boundaries. People appear to be pretty good at that from my experience. I've seen surveyors use absolute state of the art high tech equipment to accurately measure something that was set out by surveyors in the 1890's. Of course one survey didn't match the other, and you would think that an element of common sense would appear and be applied. Nope, not at all! The lesson learned is not to expect common sense in such situations and that the old surveyors were pretty good at their jobs all things considered.

No! It does seem to be a common fate. Mind you, I have noticed that since mobile phones became widely available and in use, people are a bit more fluid with their arrangements. Way back in the day, when people made arrangements and had no mobile phone, well they sort of had to stick to them, otherwise the unpleasant favour was returned with interest. Now of course, I reckon the same social games get played now, it is just that the rules are different. I try hard to be punctual purely because it is old fashioned.

Not to worry at all. I reckon I'd swap winter foraging for a book on summer and autumn preserving. Hey, how good did the corn look? I'm going to save seed from each of those cobs as well as bringing in new seed and seedlings next year. The editor is on board with the project, and the chickens were feral for the cobs.

Yeah, that is what mushroom compost looks like here too. It is a bit closer to the brown side of your description though. It is strange that you mention moss, but I found moss growing in the guttering drains on the roof. I hadn't done that cleaning job for two years, so it was a very dirty job that had to be done because of the bushfire risk. Flying embers can ignite the very dry organic material in guttering and then up goes the roof in flames, and the house a little while after that. Of course the house has additional measures to stop that happening, but it is always best to remove risk rather than meet it head on.

I'm not worthy of such a title either (Master Gardener) - and the weight of responsibility and expectations... Slow and moonish fluffy face number five will convince anyone that their faith and expectations has been misplaced! Then I can get on with the job at hand that needs doing! :-)!

Who would have thought that a dark ales and politics could be linked in a story? It is a dubious premise after all. It was so much fun to write, and I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks for the explanation. Corn is hard to grow on the old soils down here, and so I wasn't aware that cornstarch was used as a packaging material. Interesting. Hey, we spoke about bidynamics the other day and I spotted an article in the news about one such farm. They have a very good approach to things, and I really liked that they spoke about 'local': How one family uses biodynamic farming to rejuvenate weathered Australian soil. I wish they didn't look as if they'd just left the commune though...

cont...


Coco said...

Wow, your gabion cages look very sharp indeed! Kudos to you and the Editor.

I have a quick question about your water tanks. You don´t have any foundation under them, just a levelled, sandy area? All that water must weigh quite a bit.

I remember some company was using actual popcorn as packing at one time, but I thought it might cause problems with rodents in a warehouse situation. At least you could compost it, I suppose.

Still raining here.

Fernglade Farm said...

Lewis (cont...)

What a story and that static business is surely perilous? Hehe! You had me laughing along at the mental image of you trying to remove a multitude of sticky packing peanuts. Far out. :-)!

Folks are strange and Orthorexia appears to be yet another example of that story. I noted references that stated that it wasn't yet officially recognised in the DSM and the only conclusion that I can take from that is that it doesn't occur naturally in the wilds. Just kidding around. I heard a song on the radio today extolling the virtues of cucumbers. It was a serious song too and not a novelty song. Whatever will they come up with next? Food fads are a real problem and if people prone to Orthorexia and get nefarious folks stories into their heads that something is 'healthy' or 'pure' then they're easily sold to. These things are abstractions with unfortunate real world effects that will all get sorted in time, when people get hungry enough to ignore such abstractions. Until then...

You mentioned once to me that there were lies, damned lies, and statistics. I reckon those questionnaires are very hard to frame without undue bias seeping in, and then you have to wonder who is paying for the research to take place. That business ain't cheap. Actually data breaches are a real problem, as is sale of personal data for others to mine through, and let's not forget the awful possibility of identity theft. I keep things really simple on an IT front, but it is not a popular point of view.

Ha! That's funny about the roti making machine. I quite like roti. I endlessly explain to visitors how easy it is to make the bread that I feed them here. Only a few brave souls have ever taken me up on the bread making lesson. I can't believe that people use automated bread making machines as the process is very quick and doesn't leave a huge hole in the side of the loaf where the mixing knife had to be removed from. Well, go on we shall, and we must go on, for that is the essence of progress, don't you reckon?

Oooo! I am now salivating thinking about Stroganoff. Yum! Celery has a really nice flavour, although the plant is complex to grow and doesn’t take too kindly to hot sunny days. I once had a single celery plant volunteer and it was awesome, but I have not been able to replicate that success despite collecting the seeds. I can sneak in Loveage which has the same sharp celery flavour, but is much easier to grow as it comes back every year. I wonder how your mother would feel about such a substitution in the recipe? Paul Stamets would heartily and vociferously disagree with that particular opinion about mushrooms! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Elbows,

Thank you! I considered your request. Unfortunately, I could give you the answer, but that would defeat the purpose of the question and the entire edifice of society may fall into a spacial anomaly, and nobody really wants to experience one of those. Sorry...

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Coco,

Sorry to hear about the recent storm damage to your very productive garden. You have my sympathy and understanding.

Thanks. I love those rock gabion cages too! And they are very very strong, and use up a resource that I previous had no use at all for (small rocks).

Nope. I originally used to use sand underneath the water tanks. The three biggest water tanks unfortunately sit on sand. I don't reckon that is a good idea because one of those water tanks has ever so slightly departed from vertical and that annoys me no end. I asked around, and sought out a lot of different opinions about what is the best material for water tanks to sit upon. I believe that rock crusher dust - which is a very fine granite material, almost like sand, and is also a waste product from quarries - is the best material to sit a very heavy water tank upon. Incidentally, rock crusher dust is also an astounding slow release fertiliser. It compacts beautifully and doesn’t shift around as much as sand is prone to doing.

The main reserve water tanks holds 33,500L (8,815 gallons) of water and the tank itself weighs about 750kg (1,650 pounds), so I reckon that beast weighs in at around 34.5 tonnes. Yup, they weigh an awful lot. If I had to do things over again, I would use smaller water tanks in future, because a lump of plastic that large and heavy is quite frightening to manoeuvre around the property because it could kill you in moments. The plumber had a four tonne excavator which was used to roll that behemoth of a water tank around the place. The tank was a bad purchase because it is so big and difficult to handle.

Were you going to get a water tank?

Ha! The rats and mice are already rapidly converting that packaging material back into soil! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Jo said...

Chris, another question about water tanks - when you use crusher dust under the tank, do you compact it first? I am thinking of building a retaining wall on a small slope and filling with crusher dust to position a smallish water tank. It is either that or build a wooden platform. I figure the sleeper retaining wall with crusher dust will be more stable??

Lots of lovely rain here this weekend, also lots of wind. It has been wild. Hard to believe there were bushfires just over Bass Strait..

Steve Carrow said...

Russian Imperial stout- one of my favorite brews, but one for evening drink, and not for thirst quenching like some light lager. Some of them have alcohol content approaching that of wine. Good stuff.

Have been catching up on your harvest season here the last few weeks, and noting the funny consequences of our planetary tilt. My onion seeds have just sprouted, and it will be weeks before I can plant anything outside in the garden.

Waste- Thanks for the word. The avoidance of waste is on my mind all the time, but sometimes it just happens. Have been tapping the trees for sap to boil down in to syrup this week, ( small batches, only have a few middling sized maples) but forgot one batch still on the burner, and scorched it. Wasting the sap bummed me more than the scouring I had to do.

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Missouri is going through a juicy political issue as I type. The governor of the state has been indicted for invasion of privacy. He'll be going to trial sometime this year (maybe this spring) over charges that he took a compromising picture of a woman he had an affair with on his cell phone without her consent and then threatened to send the photo around if she ever mentioned his name.

It so happens he is a Republican, as are most of the state's legislators. It also happens that he has made enemies of all the state legislators because, among other things, he has made cracks to the effect that they do no work. The state House voted to make its own investigation of him - and every single House member voted in favor of setting up the committee to investigate. Normally party members stick by one another, but it looks like his disrespect of the legislators has led them to disrespect him. The legislature asked him to resign, but he refused to do so.

When the news broke, Mike and I looked at the state constitution to see under what circumstances he can be impeached (removed from office). If he breaks the law while he is in office he can be impeached, but the affair happened before he became governor. So even if he is found guilty, he can't be impeached on this charge, as we read the law - unless he gets sent to jail for it. In that case he cannot perform his duties as governor (at least I don't think he can do so from jail) and would be subject to impeachment. So if he is convicted but is only fined, we could have a convicted criminal as governor until the next election.

Happy autumn equinox to you! It's raining here as I type. Some more early daffodils are blooming, but it has been cooler than normal so I have not gotten into the garden. That's OK, I have other things to do.

Claire

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, I'm late to the party :-). Nine comments, already!

I was raised to believe that one shouldn't discuss politics, or religion. Other than among closely held relatives and friends. Maintain the cohesion of the tribe, and all that. But, I'll venture into tepid waters. Russia: a.) It's cold. b.) Grandma and Grandpa were from there, though German.

Fleet Week. Every year, Portland, Oregon (my home town) has their Annual Spasm of Civic Hooey, The Rose Festival. Any naval vessel, of any nation, within striking distance shows up for liberty. Portland is known among the fleets as one of the best liberty ports. They really roll out the red carpet. It kicks off with all the ships chugging up the Willamette River and tying up along the sea wall. All the bridges go up, and for several hours, there is little "cross town traffic", east or west. In return for the inconvenience, the sailors spend lots of money and some of them throw open their ships for any punter that wants to poke around.

A couple of years I worked in a bar/restaurant close to the waterfront. Some observations. The sailors from any of the UK countries are the nicest and best behaved. Maybe they still flog them if they get out of line? The American sailors are the worst. The one time when things were rapidly getting out of hand and sliding into absolute chaos, aid came from an unappreciated quarter. The Ladies of the Night (aka, Working Girls, Party Girls, etc.) brought things to a screeching halt by letting the sailors know, in no uncertain terms, that if they desired their continued company, they'd better get their act together and straighten up. Order was restored. Whew!

Potato Terrace, Berry Terrace, Corn Terrace. Are some neighborhoods better than others? Better view? Do the potatoes look down on the berries? Some day in the far, far future, there may be housing estates on those terraces. And, as such places are usually named after the things they replace, they will be called Potato Terrace, etc.. Cont.

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Opinions formed by what you read! Hehe. I found the history lesson interesting, thanks.

The land that I am on, is highly protected ancient woodland i.e. it has been woodland for certain since at least 1630. I am not allowed to do anything at all without permission hence the concrete/cement ban. I can assume that no permission would be granted for anything. There is an inspection every now and then by someone or other who gets up from their desk and knows nothing practical at all.

The weather is utterly ghastly at present and we cancelled the arrival of my washing machine. I also had to cancel an appointment with the hygienist at the dentist. It was just too dangerous for me to walk up to the road for my lift into the village.

So I made bread again while using the oven to add to my warmth.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. The rosemary looks quit nice. Our bunches, growing in front of The Home, are just beginning to bloom. The wax wildflowers are quit pretty. And, it's nice to allow the native plants to flourish. The corn looks very tasty. Keep in mind, they take a lot of water to grow. But then, you've got extra tanks coming in :-).

I tend to be punctual. But then I'm neurotic and tend to fret about stuff like that. :-).

I laughed at your comment about "...just left the commune." Having a mild attack of propriety? :-). I thought they rather flung around "biodynamic" and "holistic" a lot. The first lecture of that gardening series was called "Busting Garden Myths." The professor is very much about peer reviewed studies and scientific investigation. The example she used was (sorry) permeculture. Not that it was a bad thing. Her thoughts were that parts, practical parts, were very valuable. But she was pointing out that a whole area of it is philosophical. Which can't be scientifically studied. In her opinion.

"Lies, damned lies, and statistics." Mark Twain, I think. Which brings me to a review of a DVD I watched, last night. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. "Wasted: The Story of Food Waste." (2017). Anthony Bourdain was one of the "talking heads." He was at his most entertaining and naughtiest. But, he did make the point that he was brought up 'old school' as a chef. No (or little) waste.

And, now onto the mostly statistical part. It's a bit US centric, but, there you go. 1/3 of all food produced is never eaten. In the US, 40% of food is wasted. 90% of wasted food goes into a land fill. Where, being oxygen poor, it turns to methane. A very bad greenhouse gas. 10 million tons of produce go unharvested, each year. The average American family spends $1,500 on wasted food, per year. In the US, 900,000 tons of bread is wasted, each year. 70% of the grain grown in the US is used to feed animals. And, I guess I can start feeling guilty about my shrimp nachos (sigh). For every pound of shrimp caught, up to 6 pounds of other species are discarded.

So. Onto solutions. The trick is not to produce more food, but to act differently. What is currently wasted should a.) be fed to people b.) feed to animals or c.) composted or reused in some way. And, they make the point that there's money to be made in that there trash. (There's gold in them there hills (of garbage.) So, the film then trots around the world looking at different projects. And not just twee, feel good projects. Projects and businesses that actually make economic sense.

The craft brewers will save us all. :-). Hambleton Ales, in England, is making ale out of waste bread. 1/3 less grain is required to brew it. Each bottle has about 1 slice of waste bread, used in it's production. The idea is spreading to other brewers, worldwide. Look for it in your local pub. :-). Hambleton calls their brew "Toast". Which is an amusing pun.

Anyway. The film is worth a look if you happen to excavate a copy on your place, or find it lurking behind the couch.

The hamburger Stroganoff (on brown rice) went over well. A couple of people took some home to have a second round, for dinner. More of an indicator of enjoyment, than polite comments, I think. Next week? Onto home made corn beef hash! Lew

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

I like the Great White Fleet story - imposing your will without firing a shot! Nothing says you have arrived as a globally relevant naval power like a shiny new fleet with a spick paint job!

RE: Surveyors and cadastral work
They may be using the latest kit, but they are measuring against old marks and interim marks, and written descriptions of boundaries and redefining things like river boundaries etc etc. More like a detective job than anything, the shiny new kit is just all that is available to use these days (and is useful for other jobs they also do). By point of fact, most guidelines state 10cm accuracy is fine for boundary definitions. The kit is capable of 1-2mm no problem, you can be rest assured the surveyor, a particularly sensible and rational animal, is not wasting time chasing mm for a creek boundary definition :-p

Cheers,
Damo

Damo said...

Funny story about your song of the week Chris. A couple of Xmas's ago my (younger) brother decided to play 'Party Time' at the family lunch gathering. Many frowns, particularly from the older generation, were produced!

I am on the second Alastor story now. The King of a small realm wakes up in a remote space port with no memory. Good stuff as always. How is your Vance collection going? Have you got all his longer works? I had plans to order the new paperback editions but am so used to buying most of my books at Op Shops for a few dollars I find it hard to part with ~$28 for one book. To be frank, it is a lot for a paperback as well. My new stratagem is to get series of his books in the same print run so the size and cover art match up. I can never hope to get everything the same, but maybe I can get each series (e.g. Planet of Adventure, Gaen Reach, Dying Earth etc) all looking the same.

Damo

Damo said...

Hi Lew,

Mrs Damo and I were a bit confused on exactly when to pick a pumpkin, and it indeed you should ripen them off the vine. Perhaps we got them too early, they are a light green at the moment and I think they were meant to go dark green...

A co-worker hates pumpkins, calls them pig food. When I looked shocked, she explained that they fed the pigs pumpkins. True enough I suppose, but pigs do eat a lot...

What is involved in your hamburger Stroganoff, inquiring minds would like to know :-) My stroganoff is essentially just mushrooms, onion and cream.

Damo

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Jo,

Nope, the rock crusher dust is quite a fine material and doesn't really compact in the same way that sand does. It is enormously strong though. I tend to flatten the site out using a long level stick and then place the tank on that. The water tanks don't move from where they were placed – but they do on sand.

Now for a short story of woe, one day I had some excess rock crusher dust and thought to use it on the rock gabion walls in much the same way that you describe with your retaining wall. To my horror the rock crusher dust oozed out of any and every crack in the structure.

Slightly larger screenings will work better as they don't ooze through gaps. Probably 7mm+. They're all graded based on the average size of the rocks, although the local supplier may describe them differently again.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Steve,

Oh yeah, the Russian Imperial Stout is a very delightful and also somewhat heady brew! And yes, a drink for the evenings. Incidentally I never drink alcohol during the day, although I have no idea why, it just doesn't feel right somehow for me.

Hehe! Everything is upside down here, and glad to read that you are enjoying the stories of the harvest. I just picked and ate a grapefruit for an after dinner snack. Don't you find that it gets better and also easier every single year? How are your trees going? The ones here had a huge growth spurt this summer and it was amazing to see. I put it down to the regular supply of minerals through the huge quantities of coffee grounds, but am not very scientific about these things. I ran out of time and didn’t get to feed the orchard with enough manure this season.

Yeah, waste happens. Unfortunately. The scouring for that clean up job would have been epic. How did the maple syrup that did work, end up tasting? I'm salivating thinking about it as I have a few sugar maple trees growing, and may plant a small patch of ground to them over the next year or so.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Perhaps I should have added that Son is not on ancient woodland so has a bit more freedom. 19th C maps show fields where he is, though it is woodland now. Superficially his woodland looks the same as mine but a closer inspection shows that mine has a far greater variety of shrubs and wild flowers. I understand that some of my stuff is rare.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Claire,

Ouch! Yes, those tricksey digital devices have run far ahead of our social and legal codes. Down here, that act is apparently a criminal offence. But at the end of the day, the very act itself is quite telling about the character of the person don't you reckon? By their acts, ye shall know them - or something or other like that.

The stupid thing is that a lot of politicians do themselves a disservice because they talk sense on one hand, absolute rubbish on the other hand, and then some of them go and do even stupider things like that example. Such things tell me that a political solution to many of the real problems facing society are not going to come to fruition with the fruit loops we currently appear to be encumbered with.

My gut feel tells me that they have no vision and that they are compromised the moment they accept any donation. I read a quote from the economist John Kenneth Galbraith who said something along the lines that: 'nobody donates money to politicians out of the goodness of their hearts'.

And the thing I reckon is that he allegedly alienated his own party by telling them to get to work, which is probably something they don't want to hear, but there is a case that it is a positive message to convey, and so they hung him out to dry at the first opportunity, which he appears to have given them. I reckon challengers have to keep their noses cleaner than clean!

Happy spring equinox to you! The weather here has been very nice but very dry at the same time. Today it feels as if the season has shifted. It is really good to hear that you are getting some decent rain. There is always plenty to do isn't there! I read that the conditions have been almost perfect in this corner of down under for spiders…

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, it was quiet busy already wasn't it? Fortunately, I had written the text for the blog the previous evening and so all I had to do at 6pm was push the button! That sounds like some sort of order to launch a thousand missiles or something like that. Much less fun than launching a thousand ships! Do you reckon they even have such a thing as a button to push in such circumstances? It is a bit morbid to consider such things.

I was raised to that belief too, as it does tend to smooth the social wheels. Hey, I did notice that Mr Kunstler wrote that he'd been getting a bit of stick from all sorts of areas about the RussiaRussiaRussia business going on over in the US. That is interesting in itself. My only point was to ask what all those expensive intelligence folks were doing whilst the apparent meddling was taking place. And have they taken their eyes off the ball in the meantime? So many unanswered questions. The rest was just a story to show that it is not what you worry about that you end up having to confront! And yes, it does appear to be a rather cold place and I sense a story about your Grandma and Grandpa living there. I assume it was they that moved to the US? Did they move to the PNW first and stay there? My lot came from Scotland, but that was something like six generations back and I suspect that it was town and industrial life or out here for a new start.

Annual Spasm of Civic Hooey! Very funny indeed! Don't laugh, but they're having one of those down here with the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show at the Exhibition Gardens (of the same late 19th century World Heritage Building Exhibition buildings). The drama and the competition... It seems like good advice not to pick someone else’s fight in that show.

To be honest, that does sound good for the city. What a story! Thanks for that, and I could see such things happening. Perhaps there is an element of the sailors being on their home shores, whilst the UK sailors are on foreign shores? Many long years ago the editor and I were in a harbour side restaurant down in Hobart (the capital city of the island state of Tasmania). The docks are beautiful and are lined with old and early 19th century sandstone harbour fronting warehouses. A US warship was docked in port, and the editor and I ate dinner at a restaurant aptly named: "The Drunken Admiral". A good name don't you reckon? They cooked up a very good seafood chowder and I'm a sucker for seafood chowder. Yum! Anyway, food is a digression, it happens... The US sailors took over quite a bit of the restaurant that night, and they were well behaved and every time things looked like they'd get out of hand (they brew good beer in Tasmania) someone would stand up and start "shushing" them all and they toned things down again. I've been in some rough pubs in my time and I didn't feel as if I was going to be involved in a bar fight at any time that night - not that I have had that experience.

WWII was a whole different experience and I read that there was a bit of contention between the Australian and the better paid US soldiers and a few riots in some of the cities took place. Not that such things are recorded in the history books. It happens.

Hey, I just found out that your official start dates for the change of the seasons begins with the solstices and the equinoxes. Far out! Ours turn at the start of the month which seems a purely arbitrary distinction to me.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Putting a few brain cells towards that matter. Hmm. The corn terrace will have a better view than the enclosed vegetable and tomato patch, but then having a better view puts the terrace further away from the water supply, so that may devalue the property a little bit. Hehe! Yah, the only houses that will fit on those terraces will be tents, and I'm not overly fond of that idea, but who knows what the future may bring? It is a bit eerie to think about.

Thanks, and I plant rosemary around a lot as it is such a hardy herb. I often consume the leaves as I'm wandering around the place. Mate, the stuff shrugs of snow, frost, heat, and dry. It is a nice combination of traits! Hey, the lavender I planted earlier in the year is doing very well despite the lack of watering. I'm really encouraging wildflowers in among the grassy paddocks. Eventually I'm going to have to learn how to do patchwork burns on them, which will be a complex and slow process. From what I can see of the farm in the valley down below, it worked for them.

Haha! My secret is that the corn received no more than 10 minutes watering per day, and even then that was from only one point on a long 100ft sprayer hose. I don't talk about it much because I wonder how relevant that topic is to other people, but I grow plants here on absolutely minimal water. It is a complex subject. People believe that I'm talking rubbish when I say that I don't water the trees in the orchard, but it is true. They grow slower though, but each year they are a little bit hardier to extreme weather.

The extra water tanks are because no matter how much water I'll have access too, I feel that a bit more wouldn't hurt. That is what I call insurance water. That is the stuff I fret about! :-)!

Punctuality is good manners too as it displays a certain respectfulness.

Mate, the whole look thing drives me bananas. People expect things to look a certain way, and that is one of the ways they expect things to look. I don't much like that story, but it is there.

No worries at all. Any system that can't stand up to a bit of solid poking is very fragile, and I also agree with the professor. On the other hand, I don't have time for peer reviewed studies to take place and so I observe what works. Science is very good for some things, but very bad at others - like trying to determine the difference in quality between say GMO and open pollinated organic produce. GMO may be good science, but I worry whether it is as good a method as normal plant breeding which produces good results too. And the science ignores the concentration of wealth that GMO's appear to create. That is a quality issue that cannot be blithely talked away.

Mark Twain was a smart bloke. Have you ever read a good biography of his life that you would recommend?

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the history lesson. So much to learn. Our book club, which seems to have a problem actually reading books, read an article by Elizabeth Kolbert about the effects of climate change in Greenland but also included quite a bit of history as well. All these tidbits make me curious to learn more. Now if I only had a clone ...

Your harvest looks great and the flowers as well. Finally a few crocuses popping up though we're supposed to get 3-5 inches of snow on Saturday.

Today is primary day and the political ads have been relentless. As Doug enjoys TV time in the evening we are subjected to many of them mostly for governor some including recordings of our former governor who is currently serving a jail sentence. Missouri has nothing on Illinois when it comes to politicians in jail. Of course once this election is over it's on to the general election. Political mailings have been the majority of our mail lately too.

Yes Salve is definitely smarter than Leo but then she's quite a bit younger too. I think a little senility is setting in for him.

Patrick was a very social guy. When he lived with us I was always surprised by the number of people who knew him. I am very pleased with Michael's living situation as is he. I am lucky to have several family members in the medical field. They say you have to watch everything and be an advocate for your family members. However while we don't have the latest medical technology here or in Michael's town both hospitals/clinics are quite small and the staff is much less stressed.

Sorry to hear you haven't gotten any significant rain yet. While it's been colder than normal we've been spared the severe weather many parts of the country have had. My daughter and her boyfriend are in the Philippines right now and I get daily pictures of sunny beaches.

Margaret

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Hehe! You are very clever to have picked up upon that sleight of hand on my part. I'm impressed. :-)! It was pretty funny too.

Thanks and glad you enjoyed the history lesson. I did leave the bit out about the ship having a very shallow draft and as such on rough seas (which it never would have experienced in the bay) it used to tilt at an alarming forty degree angle. The crew apparently came close to mutiny on a few occasions on the journey between the UK and here! What a trip that would have been.

Wow! Yes, I recall you mentioning the impressive continuously forested landscape that you live in. The land would be an absolute treasure trove of life and I envy you your experience with that. Fair enough too about the inspections. You know, most people see very little in the forest here too beyond the trees themselves. And most of them wouldn't know what type of tree they are even looking at. I feel that ‘cartoonish’ is the correct word to use to describe many peoples understanding of forests based on what they tell me, but that is the word that keeps springing into my mind.

Glad that you were able to cancel the delivery of the new machine and yes, travelling in those conditions is a risky business.

Hope that you are staying warm? And hot bread is an excellent idea to get a bit of warmth into yourself and the house. It is 50'F outside here tonight which feels very cool to me. Brrr!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

Glad you enjoyed the story and nothing shouts louder than a true display of overwhelming firepower. But such displays can be countered with good hospitality - and even more beer! :-)!

On no! I forgot that you are a surveyor! Apologies, you may have noted a bit of unhappiness because I lost a strip of land something like 200mm wide that I would have had to purchase from a very shark like neighbour who would have charged me a small fortune for it. It doesn't sound like much, but when it is a chunk of 5,000mm it is quite considerable! It was unfortunately a bit larger than those sensible guidelines. Incidentally, I abandoned the land as there are some fights you can't win and things that you have to live with.

Hehe! Your younger brother has excellent taste in music. They rock out those guys, but I can see how it may have been a problem. ;-)! I can hear ‘Take a sh#$%y car into the future!”

Ah, I enjoyed that book, but Trullion and Wyst were the better Alastor stories I feel - but that is merely my opinion. Wyst in particular was fun and I reckon Mr Vance was taking fun pot shots at certain political systems. I particularly enjoyed references to 'snerging'! Yeah, I feel a bit the same about the books, and to be honest I kind of enjoy the shoddy looking 'pulp' covers with their lurid artworks which even sometimes occasionally bear some semblance to the story! Hehe! The older books are available very cheaply on eBay too.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis (the double secret cont edition),

Thanks for the book reference. Intriguing and I'm planning to look into that one. I'm old school too and I recall when 'penny pinching' wasn't considered a dirty word (or phrase more correctly).

Ouch. Not good. I hope nobody wises up to that stuff because I may lose access to the coffee grounds. Self interest is an ugly business, but there you go... The waste is horrendous, and I have always said that any civilisation that fails to return its manures to the soil for future crops is done for. The only thing that we can be uncertain about is how long?

Exactly, such organic waste has to be treated as if it were better than gold. We'll get there eventually, of that I have no doubts. The body count will not be good.

Don't laugh but bread is full of yeasts, although I really don't know whether the little fungi will survive the baking process, but there'll probably be enough of them, and they multiply like yeasts.... I did enjoy that pun too about the 'toast' and I would definitely try the brew.

Mate, you cannot get a better compliment than people taking additional servings of your food home to consume at a later date. Awesome! What is corn beef hash? I reckon corned beef is one of the tastiest meats to consume in a sandwich made from ultra fresh and tasty thick crust bread. Yum!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - They're really a bit cagey about what it takes to launch a missile. Of course, the movies always have codes, two guys and keys that have to be turned at the same time. Intelligence folks have personal political feelings and vested interests. It's easy to look the other way, bury a report at the bottom of the inbox. Employ inertia.

My grandparents came from Russia, around 1913. Hmmm. The German thing. What's the short version? Is there a short version? Thousands of Germans migrated to the Volga River valley in the late 1700s. They lived in hundreds of small town and villages, kept their language and religions (Catholic or Lutheran). They are referred to as Volga Germans, Volga Deutsh (sp?) or just Germans from Russia. Beginning about 1900, there was political pressure to oust them. Migration out, began. It really got going after WWI and The Russian Revolution. Many were executed. Ethnic cleansing. Some survivors were rounded up and shipped to Omsk, Siberia. Like my great grandmother. Last the family heard. The Volga Germans tended to settle in Nebraska, Kansas and South Dakota. The land and weather, from what I understand, was very much like the Volga River Valley. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Nothing is as good as salmon chowder :-). No hash Down Under? I did a quick check of my Stephanie Alexander, and, apparently not. Probably, maybe, call it something else. Left over corn beef (or, as an extender for corn beef) is cubed fine along with potatoes, cubed fine. Fried up with onions, salt and pepper. Sometimes, a bit of tomato sauce or paste. Here, you can get it canned. Quality varies. You can jazz it up, a bit.

I've read that the English said about the Americans during WWII that they were "Over paid, over sexed and over here." :-).

The thing about GMOs is that they can be patented ... I'll check around for a good Twain bio.

A milestone (of sorts) has been reached. The first pedestrian killed by a driverless car. Probably, not the last. Must of left his/her whats-it device, at home. Or, maybe the battery was dead? Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - Here, pumpkins turn from dark green to bright orange when they're ripe. They can be left in the field until the leaves and vines begin to wither. They stand up quit nicely to a frost or two. There's even an American saying, "When the frost is on the pumpkin." Because of my late start, I harvested my pumpkins (all three of them) when they were just beginning to orange up. I put them in a sunny window and gave them a quarter turn, every day. They came to full ripeness in a few weeks.

I read a book about pumpkins, a year or two ago. Here, in early colonial days, pumpkins were only thought fit for livestock feed and poor people. Of course, that's the view of many foodstuffs in different parts of the world. The same was thought about corn, from time to time. Place to place.

Stroganoff. Fry up hamburger (or, small beef chunks) with onions in butter (1/4 cup). Salt, pepper, a bit of garlic. Add a can or two of cream of chicken soup and mushrooms. Simmer for 10 minutes. Fold in sour cream and bring to temperature, while stirring. Usually served over noodles. I used brown rice. I also departed from most recipes by adding some chopped up celery and a bit of nutmeg. Oh, and I splashed in a bit of Worchester sauce. Some people add a bit of catsup. Lew


Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge, Margaret, and Lewis,

Thanks for the lovely comments, but as is my usual wont, I promise to reply tomorrow. Hope you are all well and keeping warm! It was a lovely day here today at 77'F with sunny skies, but the nights are getting colder and soon I shall be running the wood heater. I better get up on the roof and check whether the flue needs cleaning...

Lewis - The editor listened to a podcast recently on the subject of the Killdozer incident in Granby Colorado in 2004. Mate, far out! I couldn't believe it. Epic damage. It also goes to prove Sun Tzu's maxim of not backing opponents into a corner (even if it is of their own mind and making and that they may have options that they don't want to take), and that after an incident like that sometimes everyone just comes off looking bad.

I was interested too in that the guy had a manifesto, which didn't appear to do him any good. Such is the way of the manifesto.

Interestingly too, I heard a radio report on the subject of the water crisis in Cape Town in South Africa. It is an ordinary situation and interestingly I'd never considered the situation in light of public toilets or workplace toilets. Apparently the first hand accounts are that they're not good. I recall our own history with public sanitation from way back in the day and it is one of the reasons that hill station gardens were established up in this mountain range. Cholera and Typhoid were constant threats in Melbourne way back in the late 19th century.

Ah, the advantages we have that we give away on the cheap... Oh well.

Yah, I heard about the self driving car incident too. We shall speak more on this matter tomorrow. To me it looks like investors looking for a flow of funds, but how could a computer driving a vehicle ever be cheaper than a human driving one? The technology of vehicles is all backwards for that to be the case.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris:

Another enthralling story from you! I certainly enjoyed the "Russia Attacks Melbourne" and "The Great White Fleet". I had my eyes glued to the screen.

You reckon right that the rock gabions look great. The new empty gabion looks like a crocodile trap, though I see that you would have to remove the dividers.

Hi, Mr.Toothy! Too bad, so sad for you. Squish!

The dark grey water tanks are so imposing in their own way, sort of like the towers of a castle. Fernglade Keep?

I can't believe that that little old vacuum cleaner held up to the gutter cleaning task. Love that hat!

Hi, Ollie!You've grown again! Can't find anything better to do than steal the chickens cornstalks, eh?

What an intensely blue sky, and what a hot pink. I love the shape of the mop top tree. At what stage did the wallaby eat the other mop top? Recently? So - what are they?

The bee-in-flight photo is phenomenal.

Perhaps your bush fire risk has improved? I woke up to about 6 inches (15cm) of snow and it has been snowing heavily ever since. I love these spring snows. It will probably all melt tomorrow, while trickling slowly into the ground.

The measurements that were made when we bought this property did not exactly match the original one, but that didn't matter as we (I had the privilege of helping the surveyor) mostly just had to find the "irons" at each corner of the property. It must have been interesting for the original surveyor, as this five acres is all up and down and folded.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Claire:

I hadn't heard about your governor. Will they never learn? We have had naughty governors in the past, too.

Lots of snow today. I am so glad to see it as it has been a really dry winter here.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I vaguely remember the Killdozer, incident. I think there was a movie made. But I can't remember if they played it for laughs, or serious.

I have a DVD on my hold list, which is, I think, called "Manifesto." It's about different art movements. All the artistic "isms". I have a problem keeping them all sorted. Probably because most of them have no appeal :-). To me. Lew

SLClaire said...

@ Margaret, all of us in Missouri bow respectfully to all of you in Illinois regarding political corruption. I wish everyone in both states better government.

@ Inge, I hope whatever weather condition is prompting the parade of snowstorms ends soon and spring arrives!

Claire

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

That is interesting about your son not being on ancient woodland. Very interesting. When I walk around this area I can see that some areas of the forest were less touched by the foresters than other parts. It is really interesting as the differences are there, and yes, the plant diversity always tends to be much greater in those less disturbed locations. Interestingly too, I note that they are more resilient environments and less likely to be troubled by prolonged dry spells - like what I'm in the middle of right now.

To be honest, I'm not sure what plants are rare and what are quite common. That is easier to tell with the fauna, because more is known about their distribution. With the plants, sometimes plants are quite locally common here, but they may also be rare and some like the orchids only show their faces at certain times of the year or under very specific environmental conditions.

Out of curiosity, where you aware of the history of the property when you first moved there? I didn't know much about the place here, but learned through the stories that were occasionally told to me and some local history books. And sometimes the land itself tells stories, like the circle of stones I found in a remote spot on this property.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Glad you enjoyed the history. It was a fun story too. What wouldn't have been fun was the trip that the HMVS Cerberus took between the UK and here, because on open water it used to list in heavy seas at up to a 40 degree tilt. Apparently, the crew came close to mutiny on a few occasions.

Ha! I once belong to a local garden group that appeared to have trouble with actual gardening! Far out, who would have thought that that was possible? They loved their meetings though and I eventually quit the group as meetings bore me, unless that is the stated purpose of the group then I’m cool with that. Greenland is a fascinating place, and the locals are enjoying a longer growing season nowadays. Unfortunately, their longer growing season also brings drought with it. You wouldn't think that a land with so much water (in the form of ice) could suffer drought, but there you go. It has been dry here since the end of January, but hopefully this weekend brings some much needed rain. The state to the north of here (in the Hunter Valley) had almost a foot of rain dumped over the past few days. Needless to say there were floods... And there is a cyclone floating around up north which has picked up energy again.

Be careful what you wish for. Imagine if your clone didn't like you? Or, went postal and you got blamed for the act. What a story that would make.

Thank you. The place gets more productive every single year. We're saving some of the corn seed for replanting later in the year, but will also bring in more seedlings and seed. Apparently you need seed from 50 different cobs as a minimum to maintain genetic diversity with corn. Crocus are a fascinating family of plants which includes Saffron. Saffron seems like hard work to me! Fingers crossed for your snow, I reckon the early season plants are generally pretty hardy, but then I've had problems with apricot and cherry blossoms and late frosts. How are the trees looking?

So, just for my curiosity, if the former governor is currently serving a jail sentence, who come recordings are being used? Is it complimentary - or a moral warning? Far out! Yeah, Illinois has a certain reputation which it has to live up to in that regard! Hehe! Your campaigns go on for so long that I'd quickly become bored. If election campaigns drag on beyond 12 weeks here, as they did once, the government discovers a backlash against them. I read a funny quote once: Oppositions don't win elections, governments lose them! ;-)!

Hey, we all have the occasional seniors moments. Hehe! You should see Scritchy sometimes, and she is about 17 years old now, but she is tough as old boots. I remarked to the editor a few weeks back that when she goes, she'll go quickly.

It is really nice when you hear that someone like Patrick has touched other peoples lives in a nice manner, but sometimes it can also be hard when the stories are recounted and the feelings of loss arise. Good to hear that Michael is doing well. Yeah, we too think the same about being responsible for your own health. Mistakes happen and we have been on the receiving end of a big one of those mistakes. You never quite recover faith in the system.

This country appears to be going through severe weather too.

Just heard a noise in the kitchen and discovered Ollie attempting to steal a plate of cooling Anzac biscuits off the kitchen bench. He’s already taken a batch a few months back. I’m surprised he wasn’t sick consuming so many of the biscuits.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, it is probably not a good idea to make it publicly known how the missiles are actually launched. I'm always curious about their maintenance, because I used to live next door to a pilot and he told me that when an airline business down under collapsed, one of the things that they quietly ditched was the maintenance, of course aircraft books are actually checked by outside aviation authorities, but some of that work has been apparently outsourced overseas...

I heard a radio report about the dark web and apparently that was invented by the US military. Honestly, the uses for that web seems a bit sordid to my ears.

Did you just write that we are all subject to biases and difficult to read motivations?

Speaking of which, I had a funny incident at the local supermarket. I went there this morning to pick up a supply of milk for my coffee, and the young lady asked me: 'Are you busy?' One of the good things about being older is that few people expect anything other than a monosyllabic grunt of 'yeah' as a reply. Apparently that was not enough for this young lady who then asked me: 'Are you working?' A monosyllabic reply again sufficed for this searching question. Far out, what did she want to know that for? Was it some sort of normative training? Was she trying to work out whether her and her mates could rob my place? Was it some sort of test of my financial capacity to pay for the milk? So many questions are raised by that innocuous question of hers. I should possibly write about that story... Anyway, I was young and dumb once, now I'm just older! Hehe!

There is never a short version where such stories arise. It is more of a collection of stories I reckon. Europe has long had movements of population and I've always had a sneaking suspicion that the energy returned from coal peaked per capita at around that time in history. There was a lot of upheaval in Europe after that those years which went on for decades, and your family that did escape were fortunate to have done so. Coal is now extracted courtesy of oil, but people get that confused.

Interestingly, I went past a huge poster in the city from an energy company proclaiming that something along the lines of that 'humans and the environment - as depicted by a family overlooking an epic mountain view - are the reasons they want out of coal'. Replacements with such energy densities are hard to come by. Anytime I want to upset anybody, I mention that I like solar, but I wouldn't want to bet the farm on it providing a one for one replacement with fossil fuels.

Do you believe that your great grandmother was resettled in Omsk, Siberia?

Nope, no hash down under? That sounds a bit wrong doesn't it? Hehe! Oh well. I'm not sure what the food equivalent of hash is down here. Dunno. And yup, chowder is just tasty. I used to once frequent a restaurant that specialised in chowder and they used to serve it with either fresh bread or corn bread. One of the chefs hailed from the PNW I believe, but it was many years ago. Speaking of food waste, I always kept an eye out for the seafood delivery days as the restaurant was a long way inland...

cont....

Fernglade Farm said...

Hehe! I've heard that comment before from the naughty English! It is very amusing, but there is also another viewpoint that says that they could have stood for a bit more entertainment which was duly provided upon request. Can you imagine the minds of the leaders of the American War of Independence to have ended up assisting the English with their own wars not all that many years later?

Thanks for considering the Twain bio! Yeah, the patents appear to have been used ruthlessly down here, and there was a notable case a few years back when GMO pollination drift caused major losses to a long established organic farm. The decision was a legal one, but at face value there appeared to be little if any, justice in the outcome.

Well, the driverless car thingee industry head down here was on the radio after the incident and I may have misheard the actual quote, but it went something along the lines of: the cars have an impeccable safety record and we need to get those safety features out onto the road. I was impressed with such casuistry, but then I may have misheard or misunderstood the quote too.

Look, I just feel that the cars themselves make no economic sense because it has to be cheaper to use the senses and responses of a human being. The electronics to replace that gear aren't free. Look at roboticised manual gearboxes for example. They cost at a guess about $2,500 more than a cheap manual gearbox which I can operate at a much lower price point. I even read an engineer spruiking driverless cars by suggesting that people could have sex in them on the way to work. I had to laugh about that claim, because neither cars nor work feel sexy to me, but you know, different strokes for different folks I guess. Haha! It would be funny but I see these spurious claims being made. I feel that like electric cars, and we could have a huge conversation about those, well, none of it makes any long term sense.

Nah, the Killdozer movie was released many years before that act and the details varied considerably.

I get confused by the art-isms too, so if you could clarify the matter then that would save me a considerable amount of time and effort! Maybe it is just me, but I get a little bit spooked by the heat in the claims about the different isms, because there are a lot more similarities than differences...

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

It was a fun history wasn't it! We were never even remotely under threat from the Russians. Incidentally the early colonists used to worry about the French attacking before that... That didn't happen either, as there was just no profit to be had from that undertaking for them and a whole lot of costs. Hey, we do diplomacy good and proper down here, we just got them drunk and they had a great time. :-)!

It does look like a crocodile trap doesn't it? Wow, I don't think I'll look at them the same way again. I tell ya, a crocodile would be seriously grumpy being caught in one of those rock gabions, and at only 8 foot long, well, that is hardly one of the big and old crocodiles which reach over 16.5 foot long and then some.

Hehe! What a trick of the camera that was. We were looking at the photo and going, he looks squished... Fortunately, he was un-squooshed and enjoying some beef bones in the sun this morning. Happy Toothy!

The tanks are all huge aren't they? I have seen them built into the walls of a house once. Let's see... Not far from here either. It is pretty dry and scrubby forest over there. Here goes: images boyd baker house long forest road.

The vacuum cleaner is tougher than Scritchy and twice as old, although given she is a lady, we must not discuss her age which is the polite thing to do. Oops, broke my own rule.

Ollie is growing from his nose backwards. It is uncanny and worthy of its own story down the track!

Yup, early in the summer, and it continued to rip off the regrowth until I eventually got around to caging the plant. It is a Robina - Robina psudoacacia inermis is the Latin description. Hardy as.

Yah, the bees are doing great this year.

Nope, still very risky until a bit of decent rain falls. I have water, but I do not know whether I can use it - which sounds a bit odd, but you have to keep reserves.

Thanks for the mental image of your falling snow. Lovely!

Yup, surveying is a tough gig. The problem is well beyond me. Interestingly, I had to get a surveyor to confirm the front boundaries when I applied for the building permit here. It was all a bit nerve wracking because you never know the outcome....

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Our book group has ended up all women and all our readings are about environmental or nature themes. Some are still working but maybe half are retired. However, to be fair, all of us retirees aren't sitting around watching tv, shopping or going out to lunch but rather have gardens, animals and/or do a great deal of volunteer work. The books we do manage to discuss are during the winter months when there is usually more time. Much of our meetings turn out to be social as well as that's often the only time we see each other. This month the discussion ended up about the issues between our county's environmental groups, many of which I was unaware of so it was quite interesting.

The FBI wiretapped recordings were between our former (and now jailed) governor, Ron Blagojevich (who is referred to by some as Bag-o-sh*t), and our now Democrat candidate for governor. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-met-bruce-rauner-pritzker-blagojevich-campaign-ad-20180110-story.html
We now have two extremely wealthy candidates (surprise) running for governor in the next general election. They spent $80 million combined of their own fortunes for this campaign.

Naughty Ollie. From your description he sounds like a dog with such a lovable personality (like Salve) that it's hard to stay mad at him.

Snow is out of the forecast but not the cold.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

My living room is 17 feet long and I can't even begin to imagine a crocodile the length of that space.

I can see why Ollie is growing from the nose backwards - it is his food indicator!

I much enjoyed viewing the Boyd Baker house; what a neat place. However, I do wonder about those tanks. If one springs a leak or has to be replaced, what do they do - lift the roof off the house?

I was planting basil and tomatoes inside during the snowstorm yesterday, something I find myself doing at least once a year; a strange contrast. And you may have noticed that I am indeed planting tomatoes in pots inside, though I said that we were going to start most of them outside. We have gotten slightly cold feet and are hedging our bets, starting about 3/4 inside and 3/4 outside (yes - I know that equals more than 100%) this year just in case.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

'Imagine if your clone didn't like you.' What a brilliant thought and what an interesting way in which to try and assess oneself.

I knew a lot about the history of this land and am now, probably, more accurately informed than anyone else. I have known the area for over 70 years and have old maps. Most of it was one estate, a deer park owned by a member of the aristocracy. The old hedge lines are still visible which is handy if one wants accurate boundary lines.

Old woodland being more resistant to extreme weather is interesting. I suppose that it has seen enough of it for the tougher stuff to have learnt to survive. Hmm, which plants are rare and which aren't? I certainly have stuff which is not believed to be on the Island. Seeds remain dormant in the soil for yonks and then suddenly a strange flower emerges one year and then vanishes for another 20 years. We really know very little and regardless of the 'experts' I suspect that we know less and less as we become more urbanised.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Steady drizzle, all night long. 72 hour total approaching 1/2". Rain in the forecast for the foreseeable future. Overnight lows are going to hover around -0-C. Cliff Mass is making noises about possible lowland snow. I was going to ask if due to your watering routine, you think your fruit is a bit smaller? It was a bit of a drought, last year. I noticed the commercial blueberries were smaller than the year before. And, the apples I've been seeing (last years crop) are smaller than in the past. All varieties.

Perhaps the checker was one of those unfortunate (and irritating) people who just can't let a moment of silence, go by? Or, was nervous about something. New? Saw what looked like your picture on a wanted poster? :-).

In some parts of this country, hash is served as a breakfast dish with an egg on top. Cont.

orchidwallis said...

cont.

The washing machine has arrived as far as my porch. Poor son suffering from gout hasn't helped. The machine belonged to neighbour's mother and is filthy, I have been cleaning it up. For some obscure reason the plug had been cut off, Son has dealt with that.

New steps put in by Son were too steep for me. I felt dreadful having to tell him this. Fortunately he knew that he had slipped up and has now redone them.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Well ... Empress Elizabeth had gotten rid of the pesky Emperor and was sole ruler of Russia, in the late 1700s. She was of German origin. The Volga River valley was pretty empty, at the time, due to this and that. She wanted a buffer between the Turks, and Russia. There was famine in Germany. So, she sent people to make an offer. Move to the Volga and you'd get free land, no military draft or taxes for 100 years. Germany bled population for three years, before the German government put the breaks on. Whole villages picked up and moved to Russia.

Flash forward to the Russian Revolution (did your head spin? :-). The area where my grandparents came from changed hands, several times, between The Reds and The Whites (Czar's troops.) The Reds (according to family stories) swept in and began to kill everyone in the village. My Great Grandmother and her three daughters were working in the fields and hid under the bank of a canal, up to their knees in water for three days. Then the Whites re-took the area, rounded up the survivors and sent them by train to Omsk, Siberia. Which wasn't so much a gulag, as a rapidly developing industrial city.

We know this because, in the early 1920s, there were food problems in Russia, and people could send food boxes to relatives. Letters were exchanged. It was in those letters that the family discovered how my Great Grandmother had survived. I never saw the letters, but, the phrase that stuck with me was "We survived three days in the canal by eating slimy things out of the water."

A decade or two ago, National Geographic has an article about Omsk, Siberia. There was a throw away line about a large Volga German community, still in existence in Omsk. Omsk was largely untouched by WWII. Germany has a "law of return" and, after the fall of the Soviet Union, I have heard that some of those Germans have returned to Germany. Or, to the Volga River valley. I've seen pictures, on line, of my grandparents old village, both past and present. Lew

Damo said...

RE: Driverless cars

A younger version of myself was quite excited about the prospect of driverless cars. The main reason of course was so I could ride a motorcycle in greater safety (human drivers frequently demonstrate no ability at perceiving motorcyles). After spending some time at university collecting and processing the sort of raw sensor data that driverless cars depend upon, and also learning a small amount of software programming I quickly changed my mind. The reasons are numerous, but basically boil down to two facts:
1) The map is not the territory
2) *ALL* software contains bugs

I remain open to the possibility that in certain conditions, driverless cars could result in less accidents per million miles than the average human driver, but I doubt the accident rate would approach zero, or even get close. I leave it to you guys to decide if society will accept a a fleet of robot cars that still kill people, even if the overall rate is lower.

Damo

Damo said...

@Lew

Thanks for the pumpkin notes - I have put ours on the table in the conservatory (a fancy word for our balcony which is too hot in summer and too cold in winter!). It is now autumn and quite pleasant so should be a good place for them to ripen up properly.

Hmm, I have seen recipes in the past calling for cans of cream of chicken soup. I always slightly rebelled against the idea feeling it was cheating somehow. In the interest of research I might give it a go :-)

Damo

Damo said...

@Chris

Yeah, well no one wants to lose land. The task of the cadastral surveyor is poorly understood, and I suspect rather thankless at times. It is best to think of defined boundaries as a constantly evolving entity. Old surveys with a brass theodolite and chains can be surprisingly accurate, but they don't compare to the new equipment. Imagine the sort of errors that can creep in if you are traversing for dozens of kilometres or more. Your surveyor probably had a situation where 2+2 = 5 and needed to make a legally defensible judgement. I was nearly going to go into that field but the career progression puts you behind a desk full time which was not appealing.

I am on Wyst now and enjoying the journey of the artist through the communist-like planet that Vance created. His stories can be very similar in many respects, but I don't care and enjoy each one. There is a library book clearance sale on today - I always hope for a few Vance titles at such events but usually come up empty handed. Perhaps today my luck will change!

Damo

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

The themes for the book club are an interesting choice, and I do hope that there is a lively discussion? It is funny that you mention groups. Fair enough too and that is about what you'd expect in most groups. I sort of feel that younger folks tend to avoid groups, but groups do serve a purpose in society - although to be fair, some groups have let young folks down pretty hard from all accounts based on the anecdotal accounts from victims at the recent Royal Commission.

Hey, I find that I have more time during the winter too. It is about 7.45pm here and the chickens have only just gone into bed. I have been training Ollie to assist me with the chickens and he is usually good, but tonight he was so obsessive about eating chicken manure that I took him back inside as it became dark. I forgot that he knows how to unlatch the front door, and the editor caught him in the act of doing just that – and the chickens were still out in the orchard... Oops. He would have let all of the dogs out and it would have been mayhem.

Thanks for the link to the article. Oh my. Did you notice that the guy in the photo on the left has his right eye open wider than his left eye, and also his mouth is pulled up higher on the left than the right? To me, that reads as a sure sign of a person under considerable internal stress. As a general observation about the other dude - he appears to have no neck. What does all that mean? Dunno..

I wonder what return they expected for their investment?

Yeah! It would be hard to stay grumpy with Salve for any more than a few moments if he is at all like Ollie. I took him to the local general store this morning where I enjoyed a breakfast. I'm trying to get him used to travelling in the car. A month or two back he wet himself in the car on the passenger seat because he thought that I was going to dump him. He is now happily sound asleep behind me on the green couch with his boss dog Scritchy.

It is going to rain here tomorrow - big time, and maybe half an inch will fall in a short period of time. I've spent the past day or so making preparations because it has been so dry, but we'll see.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew and Damo

I shamefully admit that I put a can of mushroom soup into casseroles.

Inge

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

A huge salt water crocodile is an awesome beast to behold. I mean, they've survived virtually unchanged for almost 300 million years. That is a story of success. We're all Johnny-come-lately's as far as the crocodiles are concerned. 17 feet is a good size too, for a room, and coincidentally, the rear of this house comprises three 17 foot by 17 foot squares in an L-shape. One is the kitchen, the other the living room (with wood heater), and the other is the dining room.

Ollie loves food. Nuff said! Some dogs know their limits, and then there is Ollie.

You are as practically minded as myself! I too wondered about the water tanks in the walls. I have never encountered a concrete water tank that has not leaked at some point from a crack in the structure. The problem is with the pouring of the cement, in that the structure itself requires a few loads of cement, and the whole lot cannot be poured in one contiguous and uninterrupted pour. Nowadays they can fit some sort of vinyl bladder on the insides of the water tanks. That is a very expensive retrofit though.

Absolutely, I would also hedge my bets. Everything revolves around the weather, and nobody knows how that will turn out, until the season is done and dusted! I'm expecting a big dump of rain tomorrow, but after so many weeks of dry and hot weather, well, I have no idea how it will end up. I pumped about an hours worth of water into the orchard tonight to ensure that the rain tomorrow soaks in and does not merely roll over the soil surface... I dunno, it is worth a shot. Really hot and dry soil tends to bake hard and rain can run over such a surface causing more than a bit of erosion damage. Fingers crossed!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

Glad you enjoyed the thought. :-)! Clones would be like holding up a mirror to yourself, and I've always wondered whether the sort of people who would seek to clone themselves, wouldn't somehow also sabotage the process? My grandfather used to happily call other people - including his work associates - by a rather naughty and un-family-friendly name which I can't repeat here, which I only learned at his funeral. I sort of suspected after learning that, that he wasn't comfortable with the competition and so he used the ‘put down’ to keep the young bucks in their place. I'll never really know the answer to that, but I suspect I'm more right than wrong with that thought.

Interesting, and the history is there too if people know what they are looking at. It is interesting that you mention Deer Parks as I believe an early and very wealthy family, the Chirnside's had an ornate lodge and deer park set aside which has now become the suburb of Deer Park. The old lodge remains, but the family mansion has reverted to the government. According to the wikipedia page, the old bloke suffered depression and eventually shot himself: Thomas Chirnside. The sheep caused a lot of environmental damage due to what I guess was overstocking rates.

Exactly too! I reckon you are spot on and I couldn't agree more.

I hope the machine was not left outside for any length of time? If only because that does them no good at all. Sorry to read of your sons problems with gout and I hope that he does not suffer too much from that condition.

Yup! Steps ain't steps. Having constructed many staircases now in concrete, timber, and steel, well, there is real art to that work. Rise and run. Nuff said! Glad to read that your son can repair the steps and make them less steep.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

Brr! I'm feeling cold simply reading about those overnight temperatures and rain. In a strange coincidence, I'm expecting about as much rain to fall here tomorrow, but I must say that climate here was quite thoughtful and the maximum temperature looks to be around 75'F, so it may be wet, but it will be warm-ish. With that weather in mind, and given that it hasn't really rained much since the end of January, I spent today and yesterday getting the place ready. In a fit of pre-emptive work I jumped up onto the roof today and tested out my best Dickensian skills as a chimney sweep. I was amazed at how clean all of the flue linings were and how undamaged the steel baffle plates were. I took photos for the blog. I believe I'll still order a replacement baffle over the next few months when I get a spare day to travel into the big smoke to do so.

I enjoy the Cliff Mass blog as he is a very engaging author and tells a lively tale. I was surprised to see that California has enjoyed so much rainfall, snow, and general precipitation of one type or another over March.

Getting ready for rain though. OK, well as the soil dries out the top of the soil surface becomes much harder than it usually is and that protects the remaining soil water from further evaporation. I'm unsure of the mechanics of the situation, but have seen it happen often enough that it is a feature. Some land in the surrounding areas off the mountain range actually cracks, and the cracks allow for deep infiltration of water when it does eventually rain again. I pumped an hour or so of water from the water tanks into the orchard late this afternoon so that the ground stays damp and the rainfall infiltrates the soil tomorrow. Well that is the plan anyway.

And absolutely, the fruit is smaller, although as the fruit tree becomes older and better established under such a harsh watering regime, the fruit returns to normal sizes. The root systems in the trees become bigger and better able to mine water and minerals - but that takes up to a decade of growth to achieve. They tell me that what is above ground is mirrored below the ground when it comes to trees. Commercial orchardists on the other hand can flood their land with water because generally they are hooked up to irrigation schemes. Their orchard trees are generally mollycoddled. That is not an option here, although if things ever got dire, I could purchase in a truck load of water, but the waiting period would not be good as it could take weeks from the order to delivery in those conditions as demand would far exceed supply.

Mate, it is all happening up north with the weather: Cyclone Marcus and Cyclone Nora joined by two other systems as storms converge on Australia They may all even bring some rain all the way down here in the south. Who knows?

Oh yeah, there are people who are uncomfortable with silence. I reckon you are onto something with that. Ha! I doubt that about the wanted poster, maybe... Hey, I heard a radio report about one of the Uni's down here (maybe it was Uni of South Australia?) developing an app that could be used to predict civil disturbances (and pandemics) by data mining social media sites. I couldn't find the article about it, unfortunately.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Speaking of social media. Saw your interesting comment over at Ecosophia! Like it!

Is hash a Bubble and Squeak equivalent? You never hear of that meal down here anymore, but that may be due to people disposing of their food scraps?

The Germans sure did get out and about and work their way into many a Royal family. The Volga offer appeared to be a pretty good deal, so I can see why the population bled dry. In Conrad Richter's book 'The Trees' there are many minor references to oppressive taxation schemes used back in the east and thus the longer established parts of that land. Windows were apparently a source of taxation income. I once met a bloke who had painted only the second story front of his house (and not the lower story) because that local council had decreed a special tax on houses with unpainted second stories. He was a bit miffed about it.

Yah, my head was spinning at the time warp anomaly! Ah, I had read that the city of Omsk was a newly established industrial city and was wondering if there had been a gulag originally located there. Hey, they were lucky to avoid the German forces during WWII. Why-ever do European powers think to capture anywhere as cold as Russia in only a single season is beyond me. And then what do they eat when they get there and winter sets in? Have they not read their histories? I can hear the echo of the dead suggesting that: ‘this time will be different’.

Your Great Grandmother displayed exceptional survival skills by performing that feat.

You know the urge to return is a constant theme in immigrants talk. Home is a complex subject and the reality may not live up to the memories. I've noticed that for some, the memories stop at the point of leaving one place, which is obvious, but the place still changes and sometimes not for the better, but the memories don't change.

Oh, I'm going to give a talk tomorrow on money and property, so I'll try and get the audio up on the web tomorrow night. It should be interesting to say the least and hopefully the discussion is quite lively. I better prepare! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Interesting question regarding a clone though I was only joking. I suppose if it didn't like me it would try to sabotage everything I really wanted.

What do they hope to accomplish? Well power I suppose. They've got all the money anyone would possibly want and more.

I wasn't even going to turn on the computer this morning but last night when we were out our lawyer (for the guardianship) asked if I would print out the documents and get them signed and notorized before our court appearance which is today. Of course this is typical of her. Doug and I were at the college at a screening of the movie, "Look and See", about the life of Wendell Berry and current farmers where he lives. It was excellent and very well attended. https://lookandseefilm.com/what-we-do I got the text from her during the film.

Margaret

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

100% wholeheartedly agree. Motorists are oblivious to motorbike riders. I stopped riding after daily commutes for about a decade because I had simply used up all of my nine lives in the daily commute. The worst area was the inner Melbourne suburb of Richmond where the roads are narrow, people are rat running through the streets, there are too many cars for the infrastructure to handle, and then there are the tram tracks... Those things are fun stuff on a wet day and make for an exciting ride.

Exactly too. GPS is not even an option up here due to the tree canopy in the mountain range. I tell people who visit here to stick to the map and ignore the GPS because they will get lost. Do they listen? Some yes, but some no. Don't you reckon map reading is a skill that is getting lost (excuse the pun)? And yeah, software is far from perfect. I still occasionally get the blue screen of death with this version of Windows, and sometimes it just hangs. Imagine that at 110Km/h, 'please wait while the system reboots'. Not good. And then what if one of the cars gets hacked and you lose any control of it? Or the AI decides that an accident would be more interesting than performing menial functions. AI is a minefield because if it ever comes about what sort of motivations will it have?

Yeah, thanks for understanding, as I was grumpy about losing the land, and the neighbour was such a shark that it would have cost tens of thousands of dollars to rectify. The only sensible thing to do is walk away from it whilst acknowledging that some fights can't be won. Acceptance takes a little longer! Hehe!

I don't doubt you at all as to how that situation rolled. It happens and making a professional judgement is part of being a professional.

Glad that you are reading Wyst! Fun stuff, and it takes a dark turn and leads in unexpected directions... No spoilers here! The library sales are fun just to search through the cheap books. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

Besides being one of the most fascinating family histories that I have heard, I didn't know about the German immigrants to Russia. I knew that there had been some, but I didn't know why. Thanks so much.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

I tell you - you deserve a break! Washing machines, steps, leaky sheds ( with books yet), ice, cold, wind . . . I was glad to hear that you were able to get an older machine instead of a new one, assuming that it works, dirty though it may be.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris;

Some years ago some acquaintances of ours - who had rented up here for a few years - wanted to buy a piece of property that was just off of our private neighborhood road. This piece of land was landlocked, meaning that there was no deeded access from that property to the community road. The three different owners of the land adjoining the coveted property refused to allow the prospective buyers to cross any of their lands to be able to reach the community road. So, our acquaintances sued them, and they sued back, and the lawyers made a bunch of money and our acquaintances lost. Shortly after that, they miraculously were able to buy a house about a quarter mile off of this private road, but just think of the ill will engendered. They still share a public road with the people they sued and I have no idea if any of them will speak to each other.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

My porch is totally enclosed so the washing machine is okay.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Thanks for the water - orchard - fruit discourse. I thought the mulch you use (unlike commercial orchards) would seal in the water, a bit. Prevent so much evaporation.

They can app to their heart's content but there's always Black Swans, unintended consequences, etc. etc..

I thought about Bubble and Squeak, but that always struck me as more "free form." Hash might have been a Bubble and Squeak lucky find that was so good it was codified into a recipe?

I'd heard about window taxes. And, how the rich had lavish displays of glass, just to advertise the fact that "we're rich and we don't worry about taxes." Poorer people (or, people with more sense) knew that fewer and smaller windows made their homes easier to heat. Used less fuel, etc.. I was going to comment to Inge (and, forgot) a couple of weeks ago when she was commenting on her small space. When I had a very small house (365 square feet) it suddenly dawned on me (slow on the uptake, here) that any improvements cost considerably less as there was smaller areas to deal with. A new roof covering was less than $500. As, there was fewer square feet and the roofers could throw it on in a day or two. And, I did the clean up. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Return to "home" is a complex thing. We all hear about the massive amounts of immigrants that came to the US. Somewhere (sometime) I read about those who came, it wasn't as expected (no gold in the streets :-) and went back to their countries of origin. I can't remember any exact numbers, but they startled, me. More of that went on than is generally talked about.

I may be wrong, but I've read a bit about the backgrounds of second and third generation immigrants who perform acts of terror, of one kind or another (the Boston bombers, come to mind ... some of the mass shooters) and it seems (to me) that some of what's going on is a ... disillusionment with what they expected and what they found.

Played bingo last night and am now $4.35 in the hole. There's a big book sale, today (yearly Association of University Women. For scholarships) that I might stick my head into. Don't know if I won the auction. No joy, yet. Well see. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - Just make sure they get a bit of sun and get rotated from time to time. You might also put something waterproof, under them, just in case one goes bad. Can be quit a mess. Just out of curiosity, wasn't there a picture of a pumpkin on the seed pack?

Yeah, I feel a bit squeemish about using canned soups. I just tell myself that it's "retro" and "just like Mom used to make." :-). At least, there are low sodium types, now available.

If we accept driverless cars, or not, I'm sure they'll be foisted upon us. I've occasionally had the very naughty thought that "early adapters" should be hunted down, along with their progeny. I figure it's a genetic thing that could, perhaps, be stomped out. :-) Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - See my comment to Dano, above, about canned soups. Of course, that got me thinking, (always dangerous) about what could replace them in recipes that would yield the same flavor and consistency?

I just ran across references to Poppy Cannon (what a name. what a character) the other day. She was a big cheerleader for using processed foods in the early 50s. Took money from the big food processors and wrote articles extolling the joys of processed food. Her most ludicrous venture was co-authoring a cookbook with Alice B. Toklas. Toklas came up with some pretty good French recipes and Cannon wrote "headers" describing the canned and packaged substitutions you could make so it would be "just like the original."

I actually saw a copy of Cannon's "Can Opener Cookbook", yesterday. I passed. Perhaps I should have picked it up, at least as a curiosity. Lew

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Yeah, I realised that you were joking about the clone, but the possibilities for mischief with such a situation with a clone in your life are endless... Exactly too, they'd be pesky additions in a household and what if they decided to hijack your life? :-)! I can just imagine it now, you pointing at your clone and your clone pointing at you yelling whilst both of you are claiming: "No! She's the clone!" What a debacle it would be, and what if they were the better person and spent their life showing you up? Oh my, my head is beginning to spin at the implications! Hehe!

Far out, it rained hard here today, and the main road (the one that my road is attached to) looks pretty rough now. I suspect that some people were pulling burnouts on the steeper parts of the road... As you do. Not good for anyone who wants to use the road. One and a half inches fell today, and hopefully that puts an end to the fire season. It is very damp outside right now, and it looks as if more rain will fall in about two hours time - looking at the radar.

It is interesting that you mention motivations as I lead a talk at the Green Wizards today on property and money. Those two were some tough topics to talk openly about, due to the sheer inequalities in play. I mentioned limits and the need to choose between those, as well as identifying peoples own values. That sure was an uncomfortable conversation. Hopefully I can get the audio up sooner or later. If you are interested my values are: quiet; defining some of my own time; and home grown produce.

How did the court appearance go today? I'm always a bit nervous about legal matters because it is easy to make a mistake and not adhere to the system. Thanks for the link to the movie and I'll have a look at that after I get back inside after the chickens.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Exactly. Yah, if you annoy your neighbours in a rural environment, you have to then not only live with them, but from time to time you may require their assistance. You know, people run a mile from actual community because it involves a complex web of interactions and obligations. For folks raised on individualism and the exchange of money, well, let's say that it is a tough ask convincing them of the benefits and costs of that gear. And sometimes memories can extend over generations. I see that with immigrants.

I was thinking earlier today that the future is a little bit like the ruthless game of musical chairs that I played as a child. Around and around we all go, and where it stops, nobody knows. But the music eventually stops and then you just have to make your peace wherever that finds you. I don't necessarily feel that that is a bad thing. What is your take on that?

An excellent dump of rain fell today over the mountain range. One and a half inches so far, with more to come tonight and tomorrow. When I woke this morning and poked my nose outside before the rain, the air smelled of dust which had a strange iron taste to it. The dust and smoke from the fires have been playing havoc with my sinuses… Oh well.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

An enclosed porch is a good idea in a house. To be honest, I wish I'd thought to construct one here because sometimes the March flies and mosquitoes can be unrelenting in a wet year. Do you raise seedlings in the enclosed porch? Did you get the new washing machine cleaned up? Vinegar is an excellent cleaning solution, and I'll never be short of eucalyptus oil which is not hard at all to make.

Lots of rain here today, and hopefully that is now it for the fire season – until next spring!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

No problems at all! The mulch and compost I use in the orchard is a complex story. The simple answer is that it does seal in water a bit, whilst keeping the root systems of the fruit trees cooler, and also feeding the soil. The humus it creates also tends to hold water in the ground. It is complex. The numbers do my head in a bit, because in order for me to properly feed the orchard, I need to bring in about 10 cubic metres of compost and/or composted woody mulch every single year. That is 13 cubic yards, which is frankly quite a lot and I never seem to get around to achieving that goal for one reason or another and the fruit tree growth slows.

The interesting thing about it all is that the fruit trees and soil consume the minerals in the compost and/or woody compost. They then convert that organic matter into fruit trees, and then I have to apply a further batch of the stuff the following year - and it never stops. I read about orchards over in the US playing out their soils, and that may have been in Jared Diamond's book 'Collapse' and he was referring to the state where he ended up living, which from memory was Montana? He was a bit light on for specifics, but I got the picture.

Of course, with that soil fertility problem in mind, I have been slowly introducing a diverse group of plants which can assist with the fertility of the soils in the orchard, but the entire project is a very complex and also a long term thing. Some of those species are white and red clovers, alfalfa, and also alkanet which is a member of the borage family of plants and does very well here.

Also, I also allow the wildlife free access to the orchard and they consume the grasses and lower branches of the fruit trees and convert those into manure which is good for the soil critters. It gets better every year, but comparisons are difficult because few other people are doing what I'm doing here. So, who knows?

I had the Green Wizards meetup today and we spoke about the A-bomb subjects: Money and property. Public speaking is a doddle for me because I began at such an early age, but for some reason today I was nervous - and said as much. Those are tough subjects to navigate. I hope to get the audio up soon-ish and you can have a listen to how it played out, if you'd like. We had a packed venue today too. Lots of good questions and excellent discussion.

Speaking of Black Swan's and unintended consequences, I'm left wondering whether your President has allowed some folks of apparently some import to go off the deep end and thus give themselves enough rope to hang themselves? It sort of looks that way to me, and the whole 'do unto others' rule looks soon to be turned upon them. Dunno. I would not have done as they have done given the basic understanding of their own behaviour.

Yeah, you are entirely spot on about 'Bubble and Squeak'. The editor tells me that one of the ironies of her childhood was that her mum used to buy that stuff pre-made and frozen. That is very ironic.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Absolutely. Smaller has cheaper ongoing costs on all fronts. It is a bit of a shame that people miss that. Hey, the other thing to note along those lines is that old school structures which are already existing are far cheaper to maintain than constructing a new structure. For example, I could have put the steel roof sheets onto this house myself at a considerable savings, but because it was a new house, I had to get the plumber to install the roof sheets because otherwise I would not have the necessary certificate required to be able to obtain the occupancy certificate. Paperwork! Plus I had no option to scrounge the materials that were used in the roofing. Yup. It is a similar situation to what you noted.

Exactly too. The reality can be very different from the expectations. Some can knuckle down and get to the task of doing something with their lives. Others feel aggrieved at the disparity between the sell and the reality. Then there is the handed on trauma and feelings of loss which cannot be blithely ignored. There have been plenty of historical events that meant that running for your life was the only option, and those people can infect their progeny with unsettling feelings and anxieties. I feel that anxiety is on the rise in the population right now, and you don’t have to look to far to understand why. Anyway, those two feelings (trauma and loss) get channelled in weird and unexpected ways. I have mates from New Zealand who tell me that they are thinking of heading home to NZ. I caution them, and say to them that I hope you aren't walking around saying that to others, because some people may pull away from you and not invest any further time in the relationship. I realise that they are in some form of internal tension on the subject, but still it does not make for good hearing for those left behind. Did you know that apparently folks from New Zealand make up the biggest population in our immigration centres awaiting deportation? They get deported if convicted of a crime, and that can be a surprising outcome for a lot of people.

Hey, whilst I was happily typing away, I stopped because a huge thunderstorm rolled overhead. Winter is coming, and I for one am glad that the fire risk is perhaps now in the rear view mirror. Maybe.

Ha! The bingo sharks stitched you up! Hehe! Funny stuff. Did you not take your lucky fetish to the bingo game? :-)! What had you been bidding on at the auction? I picked up book two and three of “The Fields” and “The Town” from the Awakening land trilogy. The relationships and language is superb to read. I assume in your previous line of trade that you were able to enjoy many a Pulitzer prize winning book?

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks for the link. I've never read nor heard of Wendell Berry before, but he seems like a decent sort of bloke who used his mind for the betterment of himself and others. His values seem pretty spot on to me too. It is a shame the film doesn't appear to be showing down here, as I enjoyed the poetry on the trailer. It was very moving.

Thanks

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I am very glad that you have had the rain. You were spot on to water before the storm. Hopefully the rain will clear the air some - and your sinuses.

It might be musical chairs, but I think that the will is greatly involved and I have a strong feeling that we create a great deal of our own destiny. Let's say that it is musical chairs, and we can't tell when the chair is going to be pulled out from under us, but we can choose the tune. Same result in the end, but I would surely rather play the game to my own tune.

I think that perhaps the greatest skill of all is learning to find peace in each moment. As you said: "you just have to make your peace wherever that finds you."

Pam

SLClaire said...

@ Pam, it's cold and cloudy and wet here too. I started the seedlings as usual on the front porch, but the lack of sun has slowed their growth. The heat mat I put the flat of seeds on that has tomato, pepper, basil, and other seeds in it that want some heat to start does not seem to be able to keep up with the conditions. Age maybe, or the lack of sunny days keeps the air around it too cold for the seeds' liking. Not much has come up in that flat other than tomatoes, which can sprout in colder soil than I would expect. I'll need to start more seeds of some things.

I thought everyone had heard about our governor because sex scandals sell stuff. ;) He has another issue as well: he wrote a book and said on the book jacket that the profits would be turned over to a charity he helped to start, but the records to verify this seem to be missing. The Missouri House seems to be most focused on this issue, while the St. Louis prosecutor is focused on the invasion of privacy issue.

Claire

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - 13 cubic yards of replacement compost seems like a lot. But then, if you added up all the fallen leaves, branches and fruit removed, it would probably be about that. It's interesting watching the raised beds, here. You can actually see the level of the soil sink, from year to year. Due to "stuff" (scientific term, there) being used up.

Nasturtiums are supposed to be a good companion plant for fruit trees. I've looked into cover crops. One of the Pacific Northwest-centric garden books author's opinion (for small plots) is "more trouble than it's worth." But I may try small bit, here and there.

I can't keep up with what's going on in Washington. And, I can't say I'm much interested in the details. There has been more employee "turn-over" than in any previous administration. If it were a company, that would be a very bad sign. Cont.

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I note that the word 'porch' in Australia is akin to the US usage. In the UK it would be a verandah. The UK porch is tiny, mine only has room for about 2 washing machines certainly no room for plants.

The washing machine has cleaned up a treat, but...! I cleaned out the sump filter. Hard to believe that the machine had belonged to an old lady. The filter was full of stones and gravel. I hope to finally get to use the machine tomorrow, I hope that it functions.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Yeah, anxiety is on the rise, I think. I read something the other day about the last election and how it was "bewilderment and anger" that drove the results. Among the formerly employed. Made sense to me. Small towns, three or four generations working for one or two industries. And, everything gets ripped out from underneath them. Those responsible always seem to manage to shift the blame away from themselves, and onto some other group.

Oh, my friend in Idaho has decided she wants to collect Hummel figures. She had inherited three and I sent her one for her birthday. There was a box lot of 5. The bottom has pretty much fallen out of that market. Wouldn't have them in the house. Too twee for my taste. But, they went high. The auction folks were shaking their heads. It was one of those rare auction nights where everyone went crazy. Feeding frenzy. Ridiculous prices paid for absolute junk. Oh, well. At least I don't have to ship them :-).

Went to the yearly AAUW (American Association of University Women) book sale. It's all laid out on tables in our dying mall. It was the second day, so, I didn't know what I'd find. Also, prices are lower on the second day. $2 for a hardback and $1 for paper. I actually found two books I had been looking for. 9 books, $15. I picked up one ... I seem to remember you had a book about Merlin, but don't know if it's the one I found. A trade (large) paperback. "The Quest for Merlin" by Nikolai Tolstoy (grandnephew of Leo). Pretty scholarly and detailed. Not too many flights of fancy. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

PS: I don't think I've ever read a book because it won an award. It's just a "extra added attraction" that I usually find out about after reading something. Value added? :-).

We may get a dusting of snow, tomorrow morning. We'll see. No wonder the mason bees haven't come out, yet. The bees know. Lew

Damo said...

@Lew

RE: what pumpkin?
Mrs Damo had the same idea and tried to locate the seed packet before realising these seeds were taken and dried from a pumpkin we bought to eat last October. So, no idea what type it is meant to be, but it looks like a pumpkin so good enough for me :-)

@Inge and Lew
I am about to try your strog recipe Lew, canned soup and all. 'Why not' is what I often ask myself! I think it will go well with a brown rice side.

Book sale on Friday went well. They were selling hardcovers for $3 each and Mrs Damo and I got 15 in total, including a book from the 'world made by hand' series. No Jack Vance though :-( It gets hard for me to browse so many books, after a while my eyes glaze over, scanning for key authors and titles. I wonder at what good stories I am missing, impossible to know the name of every decent author and title. I reconcile myself knowing that I can never read everything, and my bookshelves are already groaning with so many unread gems :-)

Damo

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks, and I too am glad for the rain. The frogs were singing up a celebratory chorus last night! Today the air tastes squeaky clean. On Saturday morning, the air really smelled like iron and dry dust. How was the cold snap at your place?

Yeah, it really looks like musical chairs to me and that is how it played out for me in the recession in the early 90's. What was interesting was that I believe that I was the only person in that room who happened to - by sheer chance and age – to have been affected by that recession. That was interesting and I reckon the lack of first hand experience of when things go horribly wrong leads people in unusual directions. Dunno, really.

Glad you enjoyed the quote, it seems apt to me. People take their darkness with them, so moving never really sorts that gear out. People sort of have to work on that side of themselves first before they can get around to living where they are. Again it is an enormously complex subject.

I'm going to try and write about the talk. No doubts it will annoy everyone! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Lewis,

I'd never thought about the organic matter that the trees themselves drop in that equation. Thanks for the thought. It is sort of complex because when I turned up here a decade ago the clay was hard baked and as tough as concrete. It took a huge amount of effort just to break up the clay merely so that I could dig holes in order to plant fruit trees. Rainfall ran over the surface of the clay. The top soil was clearly somewhere else. Local legend has it that the top soil was removed and sold off, but I can't confirm or deny that story. All I know is that there was no top soil here. We used to collect every food scrap that we could get our hands on, and then bury them up here. The wombats and foxes rapidly dug the food scraps up and ate them! That was Plan A. Plan B involved bringing in huge quantities of woody mulches and compost, and eventually the top soil began reappearing. In some parts of the land, the top soil is about a foot deep. Plan C was getting the 20 tonne excavator which cut the house site to deep rip parts of the property and then using a wheelbarrow and by hand we spread layers of compost and seed. That worked.

The fruit trees convert some of the top soil into plant material. If this place was a commercial orchard, then I'd be removing some of the plant material through selling off the fruit. Those minerals disappear from the farm forever, and by and large they end up in the oceans, based on how we treat our sewage in first world countries. When the wildlife here consume the fruit and plant material which we grow nowadays, they leave their manure randomly about the area and that contributes to soil fertility in the surrounding area. The problem as far as I can understand it, is that the outflows exceed the inflows and eventually they'll get into balance, but I have to keep working hard bringing in organic matter until an equilibrium is reached. Where that point is, I have no idea at all. And who knows what it may look like?

Anyway back to commercial orchards, well, there are only so many minerals in the ground - eventually the soils get played out, and it only takes whatever mineral is in the scarcest of supplies. As I'm reading Conrad Richter's books, I'm observing how that society is consuming its available resources. It is a fascinating story from that perspective.

Exactly too! Yeah, nothing displays the conversion of soil 'stuff' into plant matter like a raised garden bed. After a few years observing that in action it is very hard to ignore the wider implications. At the moment, I can bring in as much organic matter as I can handle and afford, but who knows what the distant future will look like? Crop rotation and green manures are the long term way to go.

I reckon cover crops are worth the effort, and to be honest, I rarely leave bare soil exposed to the sun. It just doesn't work. I once read an account suggesting that alfalfa roots can reach down into the soil further than 60ft.

Oh yeah, high employee turnover is always a bad sign. Of course, I only know that because I've worked for such businesses in the distant past when I was young and dumb, and well the golden rule of 'do unto others' applies to that experience and if you join a group that encourages such things, then sooner or later your lucky numbers will turn up. It is an ugly business.

cont...

Fernglade Farm said...

Blaming others seems to be a high art form! I read an account in the business section of the newspaper yesterday where one large franchising group, who I'm pretty sure have not acted wisely, are shifting blame onto other people. I was impressed at their efforts, but also wonder how they sleep at night, especially with angry people floating around with an axe to grind and possibly nothing to lose.

People feel that they have had a hard time, and then you read about people such as: Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel who created the Hummel figurines. You know, I have mentioned to the editor that it is probably not good to be 'right and dead'. Her middle name was perhaps not as representative of her nature as the claim.

The 'Quest for Merlin' book is an excellent read, and I rather enjoyed consuming every chunk of text in that book. Alas, I will never travel to such far lands, but there is mystery enough here! :-)!

Value added is a nice way to describe book awards. The marketing people might suggest: 'Unique selling proposition'? Book stores are so full of material that it is hard to know where to start. I've read that publishers push 'social media' on authors as a way to promote their books, and some have a knack for that gear, whilst others don't.

Hehe! All of nature knows! Hey, I read a cheeky reference in the Conrad Richter book about one of the characters obtaining a mercury filled thermometer. The character suggested that they would trade it to the Indians once they became bored by it, because any fool knows whether it is hot or cold! Funny stuff!

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Inge,

We use the word verandah here too and 'porch' is rarely heard. I have to sort of move between different cultures here on the blog when responding and I get confused from time to time. Interestingly too, whenever the word 'porch' is used here it refers to an area on the other side of the back door of a house leading into the backyard. And the word is usually used to refer to the 'back porch'.

Well that is interesting. The verandah's here are massively deep - more than three, but less than four feet deep. The verandah’s wrap around the house on the sides facing the afternoon sun in summer, and they work to keep the summer sun off the walls of the house. It is funny in a sad sort of way, but the building regulations gave no credence to those deep verandah’s from an energy saving point of view. On the other hand, most older free standing houses have them because they work passively to keep a house cool. Before designing this place, I looked back at what was used in the past with farm houses, and then included some of the features that I had known of Victorian era housing. One of my favourite bits is using the hallway as a floor to ceiling library on both sides.

Awesome about the washing machine! Well stones and gravel is a surprise find in a sump filter for a washing machine. There is a story there... How did the machine end up working? Fingers crossed.

Cheers

Chris

Fernglade Farm said...

Hi Damo,

Yeah me too. After a while there are so many books that you don't know where to look. A month or two back I visited a bookstore in Melbourne and they had a wall of Penguin classics and I had no idea where to begin as all of the covers looked the same. :-!

I hope Mrs Damo enjoys the 'World Made by Hand' series? I have read all four of them - but in sequence though - and enjoyed the story. It was hard to put down... Mr Kunstler is an official bad influence! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Yah for the rain!! Still cold here and doesn't look like it's going to change much for the next 10 days. A couple will be in the 50's but there's snow, ice and cold for Easter weekend. I should be getting some greens planted in the garden around now but doesn't look like I'll be doing it for another week or so.

I would love to hear your Green Wizards presentation. Your values are sound and sensible.

Court went fine - pretty typical. It's more of a formality than anything else and our lawyer gets to make some money. Our judge (you get assigned the same judge as long as they are there) is very nice but it looks like her health is very poor. She's been our judge for three years now and each year she looks worse. As I actually had the lawyer face to face we discussed the status of Patrick's estate. Supposedly there's a closing date in May but I'm not going to hold my breath. My sister and I then had our traditional after court lunch at the Walnut Room at Macy's.

I would definitely agree that people are losing their map reading skills and now just depend on a GPS no matter how many times they take you on some convoluted route. I do have a GPS that Doug won but have a full set of maps in the car and I always check out the route online before I have to go somewhere unfamiliar. One of the best benefits of the GPS is knowing when turns are coming up without having to try to read street signs. They can be a useful tool but one better have a plan B if they don't work.

Margaret

margfh said...

@Lew

Doug's mother had a meatloaf recipe using Campbell's vegetarian vegetable soup (has to be vegetarian vegetable) which she passed down to Doug. We've been eating it for decades. Our daughter made it for the county fair 4-H competition and won the class. Now one of our granddaughters makes it for her family. The creamed soups are usually the ones used in recipes and I never really cared for them. There was one with green beans, almonds and cream of mushroom soup that used to show up at potlucks with regularity.

I still have the Hummels that I inherited from my mother who inherited them from her aunt. I just found out that someone I know sells stuff on ebay for a fee of course. They're just gathering dust on a closet shelf so I may have her sell them for me and get a few dollars anyway.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Forgot to mention that Wendell Berry and Gene Logsdon were friends. Hope the film gets to Australia as you would enjoy it. He is a very prolific author and his best known book is "The Unsettling of America". He has no computer and hand writes his books/poems and his wife, Tanya types them up on a manual typewriter.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Claire:

My milk jug/orange juice bottle mini greenhouses on the south-facing front porch/veranda are still doing well; those are only cool weather plants, though. Interestingly, I have planted the same varieties of vegetables out in the garden as well and they are way behind the porch ones. The tomatoes and peppers under lights in the basement are going gangbusters, too. Our basement is really warm now since my son insulated it. I sprout the tomato and pepper seeds on damp pieces of paper towels stuck inside of plastic baggies. They sit on a heating pad that once belonged to our bearded dragon (RIP Eldora). When the seeds in the baggies have their first 2 leaves, that's when I plant them in 4 in. pots.

Your governor fellow sounds like a piece of work. I tell you - there are so many sex scandals now that I just ignore them all. I feel quite jaded; are they all like that?

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

We have a back porch that is 8ft x 14ft (2.5m x 4.25m), which is just huge compared the ones I grew up with. We called them "utility porches" and they were usually enclosed halfway up and then screened in the rest of the way. We did indeed have a clothes washer then, and later a dryer, back there. The one I have now is completely exposed except for a roof, and on the north side, so it is a no-go for machinery, but it is used for many utilitarian things. And there is a barbeque grill on it.

I await with bated breath to hear if your washer works.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The washing machine is in place and has done its first wash; I was a nervous wreck. I did a hard, very hot wash of towels and linen. Everything worked fine but there are bits of grit on the washing. At least the grit is clean and shakes off. No doubt things will get better.

I was told that the machine was 2 or 3 years old. Hehe the invoice was there with the instructions. The machine is 11 years old. I must remember not to believe anything that my new neighbour tells me. Still I am content with the machine.

I have one Hummel figurine inherited from my mother. Not something that I would go out and buy, too twee. Any visitor who loved it would be welcome to have it.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - Here's the "classic" Betty Crocker hamburger Stroganoff recipe.

https://vintagerecipecards.com/2011/04/16/hamburger-stroganoff/

I noticed that if you Google Betty Crocker, there are updates, that don't match the recipe I used. Which was from the mid 1960s. I also found it interesting that some of the later recipes included 1/4 tsp. of nutmeg and a splash of Worcester sauce. Which I added, intuitively. Nowhere will you find the two stocks of celery (diced) that I added. Some recipes call for a bit of chopped parsley on the top. Dresses it up, a bit. I omitted the noodles and did rice on the side, but poured the Stroganoff on top, at serving. Whew!

I was surprised to discover that the commercial pumpkin we get in a can, is actually a field variety that is a beige/tan color. But, many of the orange varieties make fine pies. And, other baked pumpkin goods.

You might want to check out "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle." Just out on DVD, here. Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, et all. Great fun. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - Hummel's changed their marks, every couple of years. Maybe the older ones are still going for a decent price, but the one's I've seen (like so many other collectibles) have bottomed out. I'd suggest researching the marks, before turning them over to an E-Bay seller. They might not do the research. There are several on-line charts of marks and years. Any marked "made in occupied Germany" bring a premium. Or, "US Occupied Zone."

You might also take a look at E-Bay. Search "Hummel Figures" under "Pottery and Glass." There will be thousands. In all that verbage on the left will be a "sold items" box. Click that, and you'll see actual prices paid. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Forgot to mention about your comment, the other day ... "...people will pull away and not invest any further time..." I agree. I certainly do. :-). I hate change. And, it seems (in my life) that people are always going away. And, I don't like it. It makes me sad, angry, feeling abandoned, etc. etc.. But, that's just me :-). I'd rather have a clean break, than the gradual petering out of interest. The long ... slow ... death of relationships. I see signs of it in my friends that moved to Idaho. Sad, but there it is.

In the US, you usually find "verandah" used mostly in the South. Or, if someone is putting on the dog, they might say something like "Shall we step out on the verandah?" There was a comics character, years ago, called Verandah. :-). Around here, it seems mostly "front porch" "back porch." The area (sometimes a small room) inside the back door is called, in some parts of the US, the "mud room." :-).

Porches used to serve a real social function. Back in the day. People would sit on their front porches, after dinner. Maybe a window would be open to listen to radio or a gramaphone. People would pass on the street and there would be social interaction. That all ended when tv made an appearance. In the cities, thee was "the stoop." The flight of stairs in front of apartment buildings. Again, people would gather there and socialize.

Some twit over on Greer twitted me about my Unabomber comment. I wanted to say "I bow to your superior knowledge of All Things Unabomber. Feel Better?" But, Mr. Greer doesn't like flame wars and, usually gets rid of the twits, sooner or later. Besides, I'd be libel to get a mysterious package in the mail. Lew