Monday, 16 February 2015

The Fourth R

Reuse, repair, recycle. Well, I reckon that there is a fourth “R” word: Maintain.


Yeah, alright sure the word “maintain” starts with the letter “M”, but that probably is the only real reason why that particular word wasn’t included along with the original three. Just because it doesn't fit is no reason to exclude it!

It’s been really hot this week at the farm. The heat has meant that very hard outside work has had to take a break and instead, I’ve been focusing on maintenance activities.

Even the bees reckon that it is hot here. Early one evening, Scruffy – who incidentally happens to be the best behaved dog here – and I, went for a walk to investigate how the bees were coping with the heat. The bee colonies at the farm are only a few months old. The extreme heat of last summer caused the wax inside the original hives to melt and the original three bee colonies swarmed and departed for cooler parts of the nearby forest. I now have two new bee colonies and they are located on the farm so that they receive only morning sun and afternoon shade. Those two new bee colonies appear to be coping with the heat quite well and in the photo below you can see the left hand side colony has forager bees happily coming and going, whilst the right hand side colony has worker bees on the front of the hive box happily getting some fresh air, before returning into the hive.

the new bee colonies are coping very well with the recent heat
The heat has also meant that the zucchini (courgette) fruits are putting on some serious size. Those fruits are true monsters and one particular fruit is now larger and heavier than even Toothy the long haired Dachshund who also happens to be in the photo.

Toothy the long haired Dachshund avoids the monster zucchini fruit
The heat seems to agree with the spiders and this week has been particularly noticeable because the local species of Golden Orb spiders appear to be all over the place.

Golden orb spider clings to a wormwood, whilst she is building her web
Back to maintenance: I spent a day filling in gaps around various windows and doors. I mentioned a few weeks ago, that originally covering the battery room door was a fire rated electric roller shutter was one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time, but in reality was actually quite a dumb idea because if the power system shut down for any reason, I couldn’t actually get into the battery room. And believe it or not, this event actually happened, twice. The whole lot was replaced with a stainless steel mesh door. However, removing the roller shutter left quite a few holes and gaps in what ostensibly looks like a weather board wall, but in reality is actually a 90 minute fire rated wall. The almost commercial specification fire rating on the wall is a bushfire requirement. Gaps and holes in such a wall are probably a bad thing. Anyway, those gaps and holes are now filled and painted. Observant readers will note that in the photo below Scritchy the boss dog and her mate Toothy show just how hot it was this week, I don’t believe their tongues could possibly hang any further out of their heads.

Scritchy and Toothy supervise the filling of various gaps and holes in the fire rated wall
The windows and doors at the front of the house also had all of their gaps filled and painted too. The photo below shows that the front door has been sealed to the wall but the window above Scruffy (him of the well behaved dog status) was yet to be done.

Scruffy supervises the filling of various gaps at the front of the house
As far as I am aware, the house is now completely sealed.

The new steel stairs have been installed on the house and they have received their final paint coats. Surprisingly the under coat and top coat metal paint actually cost more than all of the steel itself! All up that project has now cost a bit over $400, but I have also constructed another set of stairs for the cantina shed (which were installed a few weeks back) and I also have enough scrap steel and paint to build a future garden bench seat. Oh yeah, plus there is just enough heavy duty steel plate to do some much needed future repairs on the wood heater. I must confess I’m not looking forward to doing that job.

the new steel stairs have now been installed and painted
Whilst I’ve been running around maintaining things, the small trailer for the go-kart which I use to bring wood and rocks back up the hill received a coat of paint. I built that trailer about a year ago because I got sick of using the wheelbarrow to bring timber and rocks back up hill. A go-kart is a perfect vehicle on steep slopes because the centre of gravity is so low that it never feels like it will tip over and roll down the hill. As you can see in the photo below the trailer can hold either two dogs or a whole lot of timber.


the go-kart trailer has received a freshen up coat of paint and both Scritchy and Toothy look on with approval
I have plans to replace the go-kart arrangement with an electric skid steer trolley and was recently offered two small DC motors towards this future project.

The weather follows a very unusual and unpredictable cycle here. However in this part of the world, a hot and dry spell can sometimes be followed by a very heavy tropical rain storm. This week was no exception – the photo below says it all:

Incoming heavy summer tropical rain storm
All of the animals, birds and insects at the farm appreciated the decent rainfall with the abrupt change to cooler conditions. I caught a photo of a southern brown tree frog sheltering on a timber garden bench next to an LED garden light. The clever frog was eating every single insect that was attracted to that LED garden light.

Southern brown tree frog hunting insects attracted to the LED garden light
At the local seed savers group meeting last week there was a bit of discussion about garden pests. I happened to mention that over the past few years I’ve been growing lots of flowering shrubs as well as providing a safe water reservoir for birds so that now a family of wrens spends the entire year here bouncing through the cottage garden all day long eating whatever pests happen to be unlucky enough to be spotted by their ever watchful gaze. Take that you green spawn of a cabbage moth! Anyway I had the camera handy the other day and took a photo of the fast moving blue wren and his harem:

Blue wren and one of his ladies in the self-seeding carrot bed
A regular commenter, Stacey from British Columbia asked the other week whether I had stockpiles of scrap with which I constructed the various projects about the place. Well, this week I pegged out the corners of the new wood shed and in the background you may notice that I have a few piles of stuff. Now the word “stuff” here really refers to the sort of things that a person uses to make projects happen. I don’t keep a lot of stuff here, but there is just enough stuff to avoid having to run off to suppliers to get supplies.

the site for the new wood shed has been pegged out and there are some piles of stuff in the background
I also have to apologise to another regular commenter here: Lewis. Sorry mate, but I advise you to skip the next paragraph and whilst you are at it, avoid the next photo too. I’m sure you won’t see them.

It is blackberry season here and I love them. I don’t care what anyone says (Lewis, I told you not to read this paragraph!), but they are the easiest to grow berries. I eat them fresh and make jam from them too. They are the best tasting berries and the canes keep giving year after year. Yum!

1.5kg or 3 pounds of blackberries picked fresh today
How did I get here?

The Country Fire Authority (CFA) which is responsible in this state for fighting all fires outside of the inner Melbourne urban area had said that our land was too risky to build upon. Unfortunately, I had committed everything I had into building a small house on this very block of land, but the refusal for permission to do so was a real bummer, despite the zoning legislation saying that I could build a house and also despite previous discussions (prior to Black Saturday) with the CFA which indicated that they would give the green light for the permission. The CFA unfortunately had the final word on the matter and that was apparently that. Permission to build was denied.

Honestly the whole thing gave me a headache and what was worse was that both my lady and I were volunteer members of the CFA working with the local brigade and giving our time to the community and that organisation free of charge. It is worthwhile remembering that there are more active CFA members in just this state than all of the people actively employed in the Australian military and that tells you something about the fire risk.

There was no avenue to appeal the CFA decision either. So we had a brainstorm session here and decided that given the entire process was a legal process as distinct from a common sense process, we engaged the services of a specialist bushfire consultant to review the CFA’s decision.

Yes, they actually really do have people and organisations here that are specialist bushfire consultants. It goes without saying that they were expensive, but a thorough analysis was performed, a lengthy report was prepared, then the whole lot was delivered to the CFA for consideration.

The CFA in turn was delighted that a specialist consultant was happy to take responsibility for the decision and sometimes that’s how things go. The specialist consultant deemed that the house be designed and built to the highest bushfire specifications: Flamezone. The CFA then gave the green light to proceed with the approval process.

Honestly, I had no idea what they were all talking about – at the time – but had the approval paperwork (which was by now several hundred pages long)  in my hand, so simply got on with the job and started building.

To be continued…

The temperature outside here at about 9.00pm is 14.4 degrees Celsius (57.9’F). So far this year there has been 104.2mm (4.1 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week's total of 74.4mm (2.9 inches).

45 comments:

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I am stunned, as usual, by the amount of work that you get through, the heat not withstanding.

I was really struck by 'legal process' versus 'common sense process'; I shall remember that, the difference may come in handy.

You have a wonderful selection of beautiful wrens in Australia. We have just 3. The ordinary little brown one, the goldcrest and the firecrest. I have never seen a firecrest.

Jays are indeed unloveable. They arrive here and wait in the tree branches when young long tailed tits are about to fledge. They pick them off as they leave the nest.

I have been told off for saying that Australian birds are noisy rather than tuneful. I still believe it. Our birdsong is glorious.

We have compulsory purchase, it can be very cruel.

Freezing alcohol: I believe that spirits can be made this way as well as with a still. That would be seriously illegal here. I remember telling someone this and saw a glint in his eye. The mention of illegality produced an amused twist to the corner of his mouth. This man was a pillar of the establishment. What made him different? He had been a prisoner of war under the Japanese. Such men have been the most interesting people that I have met. This seems to be because they have shed every single piece of conditioning that they grew up with. We all do to a small extent but their's was total. They re-built their ethics and goodness knows what else, from scratch. I also knew a Dutchman who had been in a concentration camp who had done the same thing. Unfortunately these men are no longer with us.

Sorry if I am rambling around too much.

Blackberries, wonderful. Do you make wine with them? My son does. At the moment he is still struggling with processing pork. His place is filled with it, even his shower. He says that his beloved has complained that he is whiffy. She has her own place, only spends week-ends with him.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris; Ah, yes. Maintenance. Due to our weather here, I have more of an "inside days" and "outside days" approach. :-).

The dogs tongues reminded me of the routine Beau and I have. I always sit with him while he eats, when I feed him around sunset. He eats more, that way. Talk over the day. If I spend time with him, he eats better. When I pour the food in his dish, he always gives me a look like "Are you going to stay out, today, for awhile?" So, he eats and then hits his water dish and then slobbers all over my pants and the front of the ratty old poncho I wear around the place. Sigh. We don't quit see eye to eye on the dog slobber issue. :-)

My chooks come rushing out of the hen house every morning. It's a real traffic jam. They race around the chicken yard looking for anything that's drifted in over the night. It's very competitive.

The blue wren is just beautiful. Is that Queen Anne's Lace he's perching on? Wild carrot?

Stuff? What stuff? That's a pretty anemic pile of stuff. Your going to get your Hoarders Union card pulled :-).

Oh, keep pulling my leg about the blackberries :-).
Yup, they are the bane of my life. But, there are more than enough left around that I put up 8 or 9 gallons in the freezer with plenty left over for the birds. They're quit yummy in my oatmeal, even though I've got to keep a toothpick handy to deal with the seeds. Better in a crisp. The baking seems to break down the seeds more and they aren't such a problem.

So, basically, the CFA just wanted some a** covering. But didn't tell you that, clearly, up front. Kind of like "consultants" hired in for businesses and government agencies.

You mentioned the fellow speeding along and kangaroos. Actually, there's been a lot of internet play over here on the problem of hitting deer. Apparently, if you are unavoidably going to hit a deer, the proper thing to do is speed up. If you break, you get the deer coming through the wind screen and end up with a live deer thrashing around in your lap. Hit the gas and the deer will go flying off in some other direction. I suppose it's all physics, or something. It would be difficult in a split second to overcome the natural tendency to brake.

Well, it's President's Day, here. No mail delivery, etc. It used to be we had Lincoln's Birthday and Washington's birthday as holidays. But, they both fell in February. Not very efficient. So, they combined them into one holiday. But they added Martin Luther King day in mid January. The Powers That Be, taketh away, but occasionally, giveth. Lew

John D. Wheeler said...

Renew? Refresh? Refurbish? Restore? Those are some 'R' words that kind of deal with maintenance.

Here is my list of 'R's: http://thelongascent.blogspot.com/2012/03/multitude-of-rs.html

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Is that early in the season for you? The daffodils and jonquils tend to be the first spring bulbs here.

All of those classes sound like good practical skills. Funny you mention that, I've met plenty of people around here just by joining in groups and classes and stuff. It is really funny how that sort of thing works in rural areas.

Do you run a water filter on the water? Does it work well? No need for that here as it is all rainwater, but everyone sure asks about that - there is a bit of fear behind their eyes!

Yeah, it is usually messy here when they fly into windows. The dogs usually ensure that the flight error becomes terminal. Beau or Nell might be supplementing?

Thanks for the reference. I'll check it out. Always good to read or hear about food.

Wow, that is a deep question and who knows what the answer is? The plants here certainly were a major factor on the Aboriginals cultural and work life - no doubt about it. I wonder about them all of the time too. They certainly do make me work for their betterment...

Did he indicate who had the upper hand in that arrangement?

Wow, that is like a low cost version of distillation. I would never have thought about that particular experiment. Very clever.

Yeah, a local guy was telling me about the tulips too and that sounds like the same story. Unfortunately, I wasn't paying close attention because I'd sort of given up on the tulips because everything ate them. I planted an entire patch of them too... No point unduly feeding the wildlife as they're doing OK already from the garden.

Yeah, some people do get funny about that particular plant. I have no dog in that fight either way - I don't partake and but don't care whether others do.

Really, just one variety is a disaster waiting to happen... There are quite a lot of different varieties around here. I started planting out the seeds from the potato plant last year, but don't know whether or not they're sterile? Dunno, but I've had plenty of them.

What, West Nile Virus? Up your way? Wow, that is unexpected trouble. Ahhh, it is colder, but you have lots of water...

Compulsory acquisition is talk here, but the state government can't ever seem to find the funds to pay for it all, so it remains just that - talk. There was talk of a buy up of high risk bushfire properties after Black Saturday, but when people considered that 90% of the state is at risk, then that idea was quietly shelved...

I can sort of see flood control measures, but a casino is a bit of a dog act.

Yeah, that silliness went on here too and a whole lot of ugliness was built in its place. Put up a parking lot...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Many thanks. I'll share a little secret too, some of the stuff that gets done here is pretty boring - but necessary - so I don't mention that lot. Like fixing up the hole in the plaster wall where the switch from the electric roller shutter lived. Doesn't make for interesting reading...

My pleasure and it is true. Don't go looking for justice from the legal system. Actually on a funny note - well, 1984 sort of funny (and Lewis, you may like this too) - they've started rebranding the legal system as the justice system!

Yeah, they're lovely little aphid eating critters. He has great colours. There are red breasted robins and honey eaters in the garden too, they're just really fast.

Not nice! Birds are pretty cruel sometimes.

Yeah, that is true. Not many sing at all, they just make their melodic sounds but it isn't a tuneful sound. Sometimes, they're mournful like the currawongs - I love their call, but it is the loneliest call in the forest.

Yes, well it leaves some very angry people in its wake.

Stills are legal here, you can go down to the shop and buy them. But why bother really? The country wines I make could be distilled into spirits but it is a lot of effort for double the alcohol and about 400 times the energy (I'm guessing).

No that is an interesting observation. Some people just do what is needed to be done and I can respect that. I had that attitude when I had the run in with the local council last year. It beats letting them roll over you.

I make jam with the blackberries and eat them fresh. At the moment, I'm collecting them in the freezer and I'll make one big batch. The place that sells bottles for my jam making was out of stock of the particular bottle (500g with an 82cm lid) so I have to wait for stock to arrive in mid March.

I shouldn't laugh, but he takes his pork seriously. I trust they are on good terms or is that arrangement for the benefit of the children?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I have had to work late this evening so will respond to your comment tomorrow night.

Cheers

Chris

August Johnson said...

Hi Chris, I always like reading about what you're doing. I hope that the links I've added about the antenna are of help.

August

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Clever that, calling law justice. Mind you, most of the people seem to think that they are the same thing, poor devils.

My son has no children much to his sorrow. He is the only blood relative that I have in the UK. He has been married but is now divorced. Girlfriend has an adult son and daughter. I don't know whether she is divorced or a widow. I think that they just like this halfway relationship.

Trees drop branches here but usually at night. I asked about this once and was told that the drop in temperature makes this timing more likely. I do avoid walking out in high winds.

Dogs and foxes eat blackberries.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I stopped the previous comment as Son arrived bringing me pies. He has finally finished processing the pig after a week's work. He finished making faggots and rendering lard at 4am this morning. Now he just has to clean up!

We are having a gloriously sunny day and I started to clear things up outside. The sun was warm on my back for the first time since the summer.

Inge

Cathy McGuire said...

Another excellent post! I don't know how you get to it all... I barely have time to read all the details and look at the excellent photos!! I will comment more in another post, but I really liked the nature photos, and it's impressive that your house and shed are fire-retardant now.

@LewisLucan: I just realized I have no contact info for you. I posted a note about the Pacific NW Green Wizards meet-up on the forum (we're starting to pick dates), but I don't have you on the email list (and your comments on my novel - thanks! - all come from an anonymous source?) Anyway, if you want to be in on the planning/discussion, either log in to the forum and comment, or email me with your email. (Thanks Chris, for letting me use your blog as a post-drop).

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That is the exact same response I take - of course winter outside here is a bit milder than up your way. Hey did you know that the UV ratings have only in the past couple of days dropped from consistently Extreme to the much more tolerable Very High rating. And you can feel the difference...

Beau sounds delightful, although I'm a bit uncool about the slobber bit. But it is well intentioned. I have to watch all of the dogs eating here because if I turn my back, one of them is always trying to get an advantage. Sometimes, the sneaky little so and so's start having a fight as a distraction technique for one of the other dogs to check out what is going on - and then they lose their breakfast. There is no democracy in the kitchen in the morning and all rules are reinforced by a benevolent dictator (me). Honestly, I can not walk away from them for even a moment and a wooden spoon is ready to hand - they know not to mess around. Beau's routine sounds pleasant. It could possibly explain why mornings are a bit of a chore for me...

Your chickens are in chook heaven! Lucky them. I once read of someone who left a solar LED light on at night with a water bowl underneath the LED. The insects would fall into the water and drown and the chickens would eat them the next day. Pretty clever huh?

They're great birds, absolutely no hassle at all and they clean up every single bug. Take that you slug. They make me look like I know what I'm doing with the vegetables! The plants are about 4th generation carrots. There are so many of them about the place, I'm going to stop growing them in raised beds as I wasn't eating them quickly enough...

Glad you enjoyed my humour! ;-). I added a bit more about the blackberries relating to you, but the editor thought that it was just too silly and cut it out of the entry. It is a harsh cruel world my friend! hehe! I'm genuinely glad that you took it in the good humour that it was intended to be received in.

They are seedy even here, but they're just so nice. There is one growing on the steep excavation behind the house (I didn't plant it there) and I'm having a hard time trying to think up ways of removing it that don't involve abseiling skills...

Yeah, exactly, they were just worried about their legal liability. Honestly, it was a slap in the face from the organisation and the consultant hit me up for about $4,000... And I don't reckon anyone at the council read the report, but at least they signed off on it. They didn't like some of the provisions for sure, but too bad - it was too late.

There is a lot of road kill around here because the council slashes the sides of the roads. When you chop and drop the vegetation, you inadvertently start building up the top soil. That in turn produces good green shoots with good mineral content. The animals come to the side of roads to eat the green shoots and sometimes they get spooked. I don't drive faster than about 40km/h (25 miles/hour) at night in the forest because inevitably something will bounce out in front of you. We could just slow down and the problem goes away. I generally try not to be in a hurry anywhere as it creates a whole lot of stress. If I'm going to be late I generally call ahead.

Happy Presidents day. Spookily enough, I'm reading Twilights Last Gleaming today and the news is in and it aint good! You're very lucky as they taketh public holidays away here. We've lost quite a few over the years.

Worked back late again tonight so picked up a burger and went for a walk around in the big smoke. Sometimes, I feel like just walking around or enjoying a coffee and simply people watching. Especially around some of the tourist traps as they're quite colourful.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi John,

Many thanks for the excellent suggestion and link.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi August,

Many thanks for the nice words and links to the antenna stuff. I'll order some aluminium once I've done my homework. Thanks to for all the good work you do over at the Greenwizards radio.

The antenna is a small step. I'll post photos here as it progresses. Homework first...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

It is very 1984, isn't it? Still, the entire system is based on JMG's excellent definition of magic, so why not change peoples perceptions of reality?

Sorry to hear that. I never had children either, but it was an active choice thing rather than circumstances. Although having said that I sincerely believe that many people avoid making decisions - but this is actually an active form of making a decision about something. I however have an unusual point of view because I try to live very consciously - which is not always an easy path to tread.

May you enjoy some excellent tasting pork. Seriously between Lewis's gallons of blackberries and your fresh home cured pork I'm starting to get quite envious! hehe!

Yeah, I've heard that too about cold freezing weather causing limbs to fall. Hot and dry weather has the same effect here as the trees fight to stay sustainable by dropping extraneous limbs. Actually the local skink (sort of like a gecko) can drop it's tail if cornered - they regrow too...

Yes, the foxes and dogs eat blackberries. You can see it in their scats. I'm forever running across scats and trying to work out which animal made it. You can get an idea about what they are eating too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Cathy,

Many thanks. Pah, you can churn out 7,000 to 8,000 words of quality fiction per week and that is not a feat I can manage easily.

Incidentally, I was thinking about turning the blog entries into sound mp3 files, but it is not as simple a process as it sounds (no pun intended). The recording and mp3 creation is quite simple, but I may have to host them on YouTube with maybe a photo in the background...

I thought that might be a good idea for your story as people can listen to it like a podcast in their vehicles. It may help increase your readership massively? Dunno, just an idle thought.

No worries, it is all good. I feel that we have all been in contact for a long enough period of time that it is nice to help each other out as we can, where we can.

PS: I hope the PNW catch up is good fun! Drink a dodgy mead for me!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Oops, just forgot. It may be interesting to you that the UV rating has dropped here this week at about the same time that you mentioned that you can feel a bit of warmth from the sun up your way. An interesting observation on your part. After winter, comes spring!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Sunshine today but it dropped below freezing last night.

I agree that not making a decision is a decision. However I sometimes think 'I'll wait to see what I do'. It may sound nuts but it works. I guess that I am leaving it to my subconscious.

Your advice to Cathy is interesting as I have difficulty reading a screen for long. This could be ageing eyes of course but it definitely tires them. Not to good at listening to podcasts either, I tend to fade away. No trouble at all with a book in my hand. One of the reasons why I have never had a kindle although badgered by my sister who loves them. Other reason being a very slow internet here which would cause downloading problems.

We have lizards that shuck there tails to escape and then re-grow them.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Cathy - I'll check out Green Wizards in the next few days. I've been signed up for quit awhile.

Yo, Chris; Yeah, Beau time is always nice. Last night there was a beautiful sunset. Bands of pink clouds and blue sky. Trees in dark silhouette. The bats are out of hibernation. There's always one or two zipping about.

Usually, I hold Beau's head and scratch his ears to try and keep the slobber off of me. Works pretty well. I don't know if you have the Peanuts / Charlie Brown comic strip Down Under. Every once in awhile there's an ongoing riff where Snoopy, the dog, gives Lucy a big ol' wet kiss. Much running around and hand waving, yelling "I've been kissed by a dog! I've been kissed by a dog!" :-)

The chook / light story reminded me of my simple method of flea control. Every once in awhile, I'll be sitting, reading and notice a flea. I suppose Nell drags them in, or I pick them up from Beau (thou he never seems to scratch much). So, when I go to bed I put down a large bowl of water with a drop or two of soap (to break the surface tension). I rubber band a solar flashlight to a table leg and point it down, so it shines in the water. Works wizard! Seems like there's always a moth or two in the bowl. Two birds (so to speak) with one stone.

LOL. Ah, carrots. One of those veg that I like the idea of, but don't really like to eat. I'm going to put a few in, this year. Maybe I'll like the home grown variety, better. And, there's always carrot cake!

Yeah, one of my worst nightmares would be hitting a deer. Being an old retired guy, I really don't have to go out at night much, anymore. But even in the day I take it pretty slow til I get down on the highway. And, I stay alert. Mostly. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Clear nights are cold nights for me in August (your Feb) too. That's when you really feel the cold. Did you get a frost?

Ah but of course, doing nothing is also a valid option. Sometimes more information is needed before a long term decision can be made and waiting is always worthwhile.

A long time ago a mate of mine said to me with a straight face - he was deadly earnest - that the fourth child was "an accident". That was when I twigged that not making a decision is actually making a decision. His first and second children were to another partner, but the third child had ectodermal dysplasia - which is no small matter and I've often suspected that he was in a state of disbelief that his genetics would not prove superior on the fourth child. That child also suffers from ectodermal dysplasia. Australia is no place for such a condition as without air conditioning there is a high probability of that child suffering serious repercussions or even death. They have no sweat glands and cannot keep cool.

I struggle trying to read very long blog posts too. There is only so long that my eyes will tolerate the screen. It is a harsh light.

Podcasts are quite enjoyable, but I fade away too, what were you saying again? hehe!

Pah, kindle. I love the feel and smell of books and it will be a cold day in hell before I swap to an electronic book. I didn't even read Stars Reach by JMG when he released it week by week, but instead waited until the book was released and simply purchased it.

Aren't those lizards clever? I'll bet it hurts.

I may pick up some new chickens tomorrow!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Beau sounds like a lovely companion. I think of the dogs here that way as they inhabit the same space and other than feeding, seem to look after themselves. But they always display curiosity about what is going on here and Scruffy will follow me around keeping an eye on things - when he isn't sound asleep. But somehow he always knows when to wake up just in time to move on to the next location.

The bats here do the same thing at sunset too and they are chasing various insects for a quick snack before the dark settles in and hunting becomes that much harder.

Yeah, I have enjoyed many a Snoopy / Charlie Brown book over the years. Yes, Lucy was not partial to Snoopy's attentions. I get that because when I was very sick last December (the previous year 2013), that was because I was teasing Scritchy and she licked me full on in the mouth. Needless to say that she is very quick and I underestimated her abilities... Not so anymore...

Actually, I enjoyed Snoopy and the Red Baron. That was always fun.

Very wise. I will file that one away. Fleas aren't a problem here because the soil isn't compatible with their breeding cycle. However, ticks (non paralysis - mostly harmless really) are a nuisance with the dogs - particularly Toothy who refuses to stop visiting the local fern lined creek.

Exactly, you think you are going to eat them and then there are hundreds of the things and I just look at them going, I can't possibly eat all of these... The bees love the flowers though so I'll plant them elsewhere.

I'm forever driving along and scanning the sides of the road to see if anything is there - you just never know here. I have no wish to hit an animal either because a 6+ foot marsupial will write off your car too and being 10 years old now it isn't worth much at all.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again.

Yes we are still getting a frost when we have a clear sky at night.

I had never considered a lizard feeling pain when it loses its tail. I assume that there is a level of adrenaline at which the tail separates and no pain would be felt at the time. But once the adrenaline subsides, who knows. I have never seen it happen, is there a wound? I have only seen healed ones and haven't really thought about it. I believe that creatures that can regrow limbs are being researched in the hope that one day we may be able to do the same.

Dogs: One of my son's dogs (a Rottweiler/german shepherd cross, no longer with us) put her tongue in my mouth! She was quick as a flash! Yuck, yuck and yuck again. No dog has come anywhere near my face since. Fortunately I was not made ill.

Fleas: As with mosquitoes,I am a martyr to the flea; indeed cat fleas prefer me to a cat. During one of my in society times I was sitting playing bridge when I realised that a flea was attacking me. It really wasn't a setup in which I could leap to my feet shrieking and searching for the thing. I nobly waited till I got home. All cat owners say that their darlings don't have fleas.

That really constitutes an itchy and uncomfortable comment from me.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris; I went to the local veg store, yesterday, and there on the counter were something called "Aussie Bites." They were on the counter in a big glass canister. They look like mini muffins, dark and dense. Impulse buy at the POS (point of sale), don't ya know. They were only 50 cents, per, so I took a flyer and bought 4.

Besides, I thought, if they're really nasty I'll hold Chris personally responsible. Since he represents all things Australian. And, he can do the same to me for all things American. Think I'd get the raw end of the deal on that one. :-). And, if you missed the smiley face, the previous paragraph is my lame attempt at a joke.

Actually, they're pretty tasty, especially with a little glass of milk. I got on line to find out what was in them, and why they are called Aussie Bites. Contents? Oats, whole wheat, brown sugar, unsweetened coconut, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, honey, butter, baking soda and water. Not bad. There were several recipes where people had fooled around with them, trying to make them "healthier." All that nasty butter, don't ya know :-).

Not a clue as to where the name came from. I expected at least one colorful Bush Ranger story. Most people had bought them, originally, from one of the big box stores. Walmart or Cosco.

In my 10 minutes of poking around the net, I did discover a site, australian.food.com. There were several things I want to get back to and give a try. There was even you're beloved burger and beet root. Which got me wondering ...

Here we just call them beets. Do they grill the beet right along with the burger? Or, is it a cold, maybe pickled beet? Now that sounds good, to me. But, I tend to like pickled, anything.

Here, we have something called "Harvard Beets." Beets are small cubed and cooked up with cornstarch, sugar, vinegar, etc.. A kind of sweet and sour beet. And they make a little pile of gem like beets on the plate. Like a little pile of rubies. Now I've got a craving and will have to see if the veg store has some beets, next week. And, plant some beets in my garden.

When I went out to check the post on our last sunny day, I saw something on the road. It was a snake, about half a meter long. Since we have no poisonous snakes here, it didn't give me a turn. I gently shoed him away, so he wouldn't get squished. So valuable to keep the bugs and slugs down. But they also eat the occasional frog, which also eats the bugs and slugs. Judging by the ever expanding night time chorus, they don't make much of a dent in the frog population. So, god speed, little (actually, pretty honking big) snake. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Nice to hear about your frosts - they can be quite beautiful in the early morning with the sun streaming in. The whole world can look and feel as though it is being seen in black and white film. They get those sorts of frosts in the valley below where the cold air from here settles.

There are just so many of the lizards here and the naughty dogs chase them from time to time - although they get told off if I catch them. When the lizards lose their tails the connection with the main body looks like tapioca (or sago).

I used to like sago pudding when I was a kid, but only my grandmother ever made it, so i assume it is an old school dessert?

Still reckon it would hurt and wouldn't be done lightly. I read a few months back that a damaged human spinal chord was repaired using stem cells from the nose.

haha! They're fast and occasionally they can eat the most disgusting things - and I ended up in the local day hospital on a drip. Really not good...

Oh no! Mosquitoes and fleas. Ouch - or is that itch?

Seriously, the dogs here don't have fleas. It may have something to do with the garlic in their feed. I don't really eat garlic, but the ticks sure do like me and they have occasionally jumped ship from the dogs to me.

Two of the dogs can't get let out together because they go heading off into the woods - up to mischief. And they always bring back parasites...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Glad to hear that you enjoyed them. I'd never heard of them, but the images on the internet looked pretty yummy.

hehe! Too funny. Is the correct expression at this point touché? hehe! ;-)

Pah, healthier - I have no idea what they're possibly talking about. Actually, I cook the biscuits here with unsalted butter and the recipe isn't that different. I swap the fruit in the bites for roasted unsalted peanuts and add some baking chocolate chips for good measure. A small one (or two) of those with a coffee at the end of a working day is a small delight for me.

It is interesting that you mentioned mucking around with the recipe, because I'd personally take out the baking soda. Every time I've added bi-carb to the biscuit recipe here, they end up flat like a pancake! They keep their shape better without the bi-carb and that also tastes better - at least that is my take on the world of baking?

Maybe the Great Australian Bite? Oh OK - I made that bit up as it is actually Bight and not Bite... Still it does work? ;-)

You are in for a treat! I had a gourmet meat pie for lunch today. Hey, have you ever had a Pavlova (on the website there is a picture). The meringue is a tricky beast, but they taste really good as long as you avoid skimping and substituting mock cream for real cream. Mock cream is a deadly food sin to my mind!

That website is like the never ending website... The food looks good though. Drool…

Beetroot is known by different names in the US. I grow it here for the summer salad leaves too. The beets themselves taste pickled when you slice them fresh, however they are usually stored sliced in a vinegar (pickle) solution. You chuck them on the meat burger patty (avoid dodgy meat like cereal substitutes - just sayin) cold. If you like pickled foods (I do too) then not only are you in for a taste sensation, but your fortune will be assured! My absolute favourite is the Mighty Melbourne burger. You know I'm a mostly vegetarian but I dream about these burgers - they're that good.

No, they're not sweet and sour like the Harvard beet, they just taste like pickled beet. And oh yeah it is good. They're cut in slices of rounds.

Yeah, now is the time to plant the red beets. You won't regret it - except for the fact that you didn't plant enough of them.

Go the snake and well done for your charitable act. Glad to hear that you have a solid night time chorus as that is a very good sign.

I went to the Seymour Alternative Farming Expo today and picked up 4 new chooks. 2 x Isa Brown + 2 x Blue Laced Wyandottes. One of the new Isa Browns tried to out alpha the boss chook and the enforcer chook. She had both the boss and the enforcer against the ropes for quite a while and they were humbled at the unusual show of aggression. Anyway, the muscle bird of the entire chook collective is an older Plymouth Rock who is broody at the moment. Given that the new comer had all of the existing order against the ropes and taking a solid beating I grabbed the big Plymouth Rock out of her nesting box and chucked her into the fray.

Mate, was she annoyed or what! She then proceeded to take on all four new comers at once - and won. Well done her and thus the existing pecking order was maintained. It was a close call because only the Plymouth Rock had the attitude and skills to thoroughly sort out the new comers.

And do you know what? After she had successfully fought them all off single handedly, she calmly went back to her laying box to go broody again... That’s cool.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Phil,

Many thanks for the kind words. They're doing it tough up there in Queensland: ABC news Images Tropical Cyclone Marcia

Cheers

Chris

patriciaormsby said...

The spiders and froggies and blue wrens got me to drop in from The Arch Druid Report, and I'm glad I came. It is inspiring to see what you are doing.
Those blackberries look so good! I've given up on ours in Japan. They fruit right when the rainy season starts, and rot before they can ripen. BUT! We get the nicest black currants.
My husband and I love Australia. Want to visit again. The blue wrens are spectacular, and just one of lots of lovely avian species. I recall staying in the mountains north of Melbourne years back when we took a hang gliding tour. I got out walking in the morning and was simply transfixed by what I was finding.

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Sago and tapioca = very old school. I have never had sago but have had tapioca pudding, not particularly nice. I do a nice semolina pudding though.

Son has brought me mince, sausages, chops, pies and sausage rolls; he is a great cook. Out on my 3/4 weekly major shop; I saw in Marks and Spencer, 'hand crafted pork sausage rolls'! I was not about to spend an exorbitant amount to see how they compared. Hand crafted, for goodness sake.

Too many razor blades in ADR this week.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I have just remembered that tapioca was called frog spawn when I was a child.

Inge

John D. Wheeler said...

For converting blog posts to podcasts, you might want to check out soundcloud.com -- they have a free account that can host up to 180 minutes.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris; Oh, those poor folks in Queensland. Having been through the Columbus Day Storm (which we've discussed), I know what they're going through. Of course, there's always fools who insist on going out in the stuff. Darwin at work. :-).

Can you imagine the advertising campaign for Aussie Bites? A Bush Ranger with a cannibalistic glint in his eye is sizing up a settler ... who passes him a plate full and says "Wouldn't you rather have an Aussie Bite?" :-). Odd about the bi-carb. Maybe a sprinkling of yeast and don't let them sit too long before you pop them in the oven?

I think the Great Australian Bight was covered in that geological history of Australia I watched. I think it's part of the section of Antarctica that broke off and sailed south.

Yeah, meringues can be tricky, but individual meringues are my go to "really flash them" desert. Filled with lemon custard and topped with whip cream. The real stuff. Mock cream gives me the horrors. :-). I used to be quit fond of the phony vegi burgers. The "Greek" one with feta was really nice. But then it dawned on me that the soy and cereal in them were probably GMO laced. I probably eat about as much meat as you do. Sometimes I refer to myself as a half a**ed vegetarian. What meat I do eat, I get locally sourced.

Yes, I remember seeing the Pavlova. But didn't really take a long look at the recipe. I was just on a ten minute trip to the site. but I'm sure it will provide "hours of viewing enjoyment." :-).

9 of my 11 hens are Wyandottes. The 10th may be a Partridge Wyandotte. identifying chooks drives me crazy. Just Google Lace Wing Wyandotte and look at the images. So much variation. Most of my hens are the brown and black ... but four are the black and white. One is the old hen I rescued from the neighbors. She lays ENORMOUS eggs. If I can get my act together, I'm going to our local poultry auction, tomorrow, and see if I can't find a black and white rooster. I've even bought a cage. But, it's not somewhere I've been before, so there's a lot of stress involved.

I noticed your comments about groups over on the ADR. By all means, get a Roberts Rules. Most used bookstores ought to have a paperback copy kicking around. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris; Thought I'd make this a separate post as I was running a little long. And, due to the subject mater, you may want to delete it.

Well, you know I don't drink. Could care less if other people do. In my case, it's because I joined Alcoholics Anonymous 26 years ago, next month. I don't go to meetings much, but happened to go to one last night as I was trying to run down the guy who pruned my apple trees, last year.

Any-who. I'm sitting there and thinking about your "group problems" and thinking about how this pretty rudderless group has been banging along since 1939. Leaving aside the religious aspects and it's "singleness of purpose" (not drinking), I think maybe there's at least some food for thought in some of it's aspects that relate to running a successful group.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_Traditions

Maybe it's the singleness of purpose, which in your case would be gardening or horticulture. Maybe it's the bit about avoiding "outside issues." Not mentioned in the Traditions is a kind of ... traditional admonition at the beginning of every meeting. No cross talk. A topic is thrown out, everyone has their say, and if there's time, a person can go back for seconds :-). No back and forth. it sounds cumbersome, but people seem to fall into the habit fairly easily. Maybe Robert's Rules insures the same thing?

And, of course there is, occasionally, the problem with discipline. One fellow made some pretty offensive and moronic remarks, last night. They were not addressed during the meeting. But, I noticed that afterwords, one of the Old Timers appeared to be giving him a good reaming out, back in the kitchen.

Interesting. In this county some of the meetings have been in existence since the late 1940s. People come and go, but the meeting continues, same time, same place, week after week. Natural and unexpected leaders, emerge.

Anyway. Maybe there's something in here that can help you out with your "group" problem. From the book and library business, I even seem to vaguely remember books like "How to run a successful group" or, something like that. In this day and age, there are probably several web sites. :-). Enough. Lew

August Johnson said...

Hi Chris, back in 1963 my father went to Australia, consulting for a University there about an astronomical Observatory. He brought back a Kangaroo Skin and a can of Kangaroo Tail Soup. I've still got the skin, surprised at how soft the fur is, but the soup is long gone.

August

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Patricia,

Many thanks! And thanks also for dropping by.

Black currants grow really well here too and are very low stress. Being early season berries they probably miss your rainy season? Sorry to hear about the lack of blackberries up your way.

Have you tried red currants? Here, they ripen at the same time as the black currants and taste pretty similar. As a suggestion, you might be able to grow gooseberries and their close relative the jostaberry, both of which ripen about a week after the currants. I'll bet you could get good early season strawberries too.

Japan is very bucolic too!

Glad to hear that you enjoyed your stay in the mountains down this way and that you got out and walked around a bit. It is always very hard to see the beauty of a place from behind the window of a car. Regular commenters are always welcome to drop by here when their travels take them to this part of the world. The birds are more interesting and numerous here with every passing year.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Wow, your response took me on a whirlwind of food exploration. You know, to be honest I reckon my grandmother made a tapioca pudding (like what you were writing). It was quite nice and had a golden syrup (oh my, but that stuff is sweet) pudding dressing. It was good stuff.

However, in my travels to the big smoke in Melbourne I sometimes drop by a very authentic Singaporean restaurant that does hawker food - really well - The old Raffles Place. That place is the real deal. Anyway, if you look under the dessert menu you'll see they do a Sago Melaka Pudding which is really nice and sort of tastes like a dessert I used to get served as a kid which was a rice, milk and sugar dessert (yes, all the essential food groups!).

He spoils you rotten! That sounds superb by the way. Sausage rolls, when they are done well, they are awesome. A couple of decades ago a guy in this dodgy out of the way shop in Port Melbourne - really old school - used to make gourmet pies and sausage rolls. I'll never forget them either as the sausage roll base used a bratwurst like filling. Oh yeah it was good, but alas he moved to Queensland.

Yeah, that is like products being labelled "home made". Who's home were they made is what I want to know? Seriously, it is when food isn't hand made I start to get a little bit nervous...

I've just been ignoring that. JMG has some impressive facial hair, so I doubt very much whether he'll be racing out anytime soon to get a razor! That isn't a criticism by the way as his point is very valid, but possibly being overlooked by many commenters.

Haha! Yes, well that is quite appropriate is it not?

It is hot here today - almost topping 36'C (96.8'F) and humid... February always brings the hottest weather here.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi John,

Many thanks for the excellent suggestion. I'll check them out as an option.

I was considering purchasing an el cheapo website with 1GB of storage and just posting the mp3's there. Dunno yet, but I'd never thought of using soundcloud.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, some people just can't help themselves. If you get a chance the government broadcaster (ABC which is our commercial free equivalent of the BBC - I'm not sure what the ABC means or is over in the US) has an excellent new website with audience submitted photos (they had the bushfire ones too): Cyclone Marcia live blog

Hehe! Yeah don't fall asleep whilst the cannibals are around, that's for sure. Such a campaign would give them a rough and tough vibe. Nice thinking! I can't remember who used to call such things: long pig. Not very nice... You'd have to be pretty hungry.

Yeah, that is the weird bit as I made the biscuits and then usually chucked them straight in the oven. I just made another batch - without bi-carb - but had to cook them outside in the portable electric oven as I just don't want to heat the house up. Winter is good because nothing beats the wood heater fueled oven. I was going to start repairing that today, but it seriously is just too hot and tonight doesn't look as though it will cool down. My thinking is if wood ash got everywhere, I couldn't open up the house and let it vent outside as the heat would sneak in rapidly...

That makes sense. Gondwana land was big and those two chunks of coastline line up pretty well. I always thought our possums were related to your opossums even if only distantly and they don't seem to be. I always thought had worked their way up to North America via South America which was part of Gondwana. Who knows?

Mock cream is just wrong - I don't even know what that stuff is. No way should cream stay fresh for as long as that stuff.

Well done with the meringue. All of this most excellent talk of food is making me hungry. I'll bet your guests appreciate the meringue too. I'd never thought of lemon custard, very interesting. Generally lemon is either added here as a zest or as a lemon curd (sort of like a key lime pie).

Nicely spoken too! How good is feta cheese. I always add that to souvlaki - with a big population of Greek origins, good Greek food is easy to obtain. Good stuff.

Someone once told me that Pavlova is an Aussie creation, but I'm really not sure. Years ago someone gave me a trifle dessert and talked it up as a family secret recipe, but when I got it, they'd used el cheapo mock cream and it showed... Disappointing to say the least. A wasted fooding opportunity is my thinking...

Too funny. I don't get hung up about that sort of thing either. They tell me it is a golden laced wyandotte and who are we to argue? The chickens certainly don't seem to care much about our opinions. Things have settled down a bit today and the boss chook and the enforcer have regrouped after yesterdays shocking action and are now on the offensive - but they're coordinating their assault this time.

Thanks for the recommendation. But have you got perhaps another recommendation as I'm not sensing from your reply that you are suggesting that Roberts Rules are the final word on the matter?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for your concern. The reply was both exceptionally relevant and very thoughtful.

Yes, of course how obvious from hindsight. The first tradition is that the common welfare should come first and that unity is essential to success. That thought alone is probably an anathema to most people who are strongly bound to the culture of the individual. Interesting. The other thing that comes to mind is that unity is not to be confused with consensus. It would be quite the ask for some people to accept those twelve traditions as a guide because they are at odds with our current culture.

Very interesting, the traditions also work towards crushing the egos of the group leaders. A wise move.

It also evinces a sense of purpose and clear goals. That is often lacking in peoples lives.

It also neatly side steps the reliance on outside funding - and thus inviting interference (advertising in schools anyone)?

As an interesting side note, I've already started the long process of setting up a new group - run on a more functional basis - and have received a couple of phone calls of support for the idea. One of the concerns people had was that the original group was aligned with the Transition Town movement and people wanted to decouple from that movement to avoid the political aspects. I can see that that is one of the twelve traditions too.

Very clever stuff and many thanks as I would never have thought to look at that source of wisdom.

Have you ever acted as a sponsor?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi August,

Respect for your fathers work. There are always only ever six degrees of separation and I was wondering whether it was Siding Spring Observatory as I have a friend that used to work there funded by NASA searching for near Earth orbit objects...

Yes, kangaroo is a beautiful and soft pelt. Possums also make a surprisingly stunning fur and the clever Aboriginals used to make fur coats from them for use in the winter. Possum fur is now exported from New Zealand where the possums (which were introduced from here) are slowly eating their forests. The owls destroy them here - the possums don't stand a chance.

Glad to hear that the soup is long gone too!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Pavlova yum yum. Definitely originated in the southern hemisphere; New Zealand and Australia both claim it.

Mock cream is utterly disgusting.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Hand crafted. What a hoot. The big, new shiny catch phrase over here is "artisanal." I once worked in a bar (with food) in Portland, Oregon that had pretensions to being an English pub. Didn't do too bad at it. It was a congenial place and not too yupped out. The sandwiches were named after characters from Oscar Wilde's plays :-). But, we had a British woman who brought us in a box of real homemade Cornish pasties and pork pies each week. Oh, yum! The owner gave a stern lecture at a staff meeting one week, as that inventory was disappearing ... into the staff. I liked them with a big glob of sour cream and a shot of mustard.

Yo, Chris; Thanks for the info on the beets. I am going to try it. Sounds yummy to me, but given people's food phobias, probably won't go over well with some of the people I know. Their loss. I didn't think they were served grilled. Back when I "slung hash", "bricking the grill" was an almost ... religious experience. At end of day, when the grill gets turned off and cools down enough, you splash on a bit of oil and take a big fine pumice block and scrap the grill to clean it. Then, wipe it down with a bit of burlap. I thought the sugars in beets might make an awful mess. On the other hand, onions on the grill were not a problem. Through enough grease on and nothing sticks :-).

Funny you mentioned pulp fiction over on the ADR. I am currently reading "American Pulp; How Paperbacks Brought Modernism to Main Street." That's not a recommendation. It's pretty dense and I find I'm skimming over vast chunks. Being a "book guy", there are plenty of other books out there on the history of paperbacks that are a lot more accessible. But, it did make a point. The publishers would take some classic (say, Wuthering Heights), throw a lurid cover on it and it would sell like hot cakes. Disperse great Literature by stealth.

ABC, over here, means American Broadcasting Corporation. It's one of the original (and very old) big three. ABC, CBS and NBC.

For a lot of very complicated and personal reasons, I don't sponsor. But, over the years several fellows have decided that I was their sponsor. I was drafted! :-). It was always pretty rewarding and I think I learned more than they did.

And, before anyone jumps me about breaking anonymity (say the word ten times, real fast ... it's quit a tongue twister) my take on that has always been I'll defend someone else's anonymity to the death, but as far as my own is concerned? Meh.

After reading through a lot of my chicken literature last night (roosters in general, introducing new members to the flock, etc.) I decided not to go to the auction, due to the possible introduction of disease, the possibility of getting an old or mean bird, etc.. I really want a more one on one in obtaining a bird. There are supposed to be a couple of local web sites, but I'm having a hard time finding them. I suspect they may be on the dreaded Face Book. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge and Lewis,

If either of you would like some warmer weather, we seriously have tonnes of it to spare with you! It just passed 38'C (100.4'F) for the third day in a row and honestly, I'm just hiding out in the house under a fan late afternoon...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

It's good stuff isn't it? They're my favourite next to a proper traditional Italian tiramisu. That's why I was asking Lewis about his experience with meringue. That is the tricky bit with pavlova and I've never quite mastered it.

Yeah, mock cream is just wrong. Nuff said! hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

They throw the word "artisanal" around here too, but usually in relation to breads, beers and cheese.

That's quite interesting about the pumice stone. It would certainly do a good job of cleaning. I'm assuming the grill was cast iron?

The natural colour red in the beets is a powerful dye - I've seen the stuff stain all sorts of materials. Speaking of which sometimes people install polished granite benchtops in kitchens, but they never quite understand that it is a porous material that has to be sealed with some sort of epoxy filler - otherwise the colouring from beets can get into the pores and oh boy, does it stain or what? Olive oil can do the same thing too. The exact same thing can happen with timber too. Guess that is why commercial kitchens favour stainless steel for benchtops?

hehe! Of course not. Actually I reckon the pulp books weren't too badly made either as many of my favourites are over 50 years old and they're still quite readable and seem durable - although I keep them dry. Penguin classics were like that too as they have very distinctive and immediately recognisable covers. I read recently that the 80's UK singer - and perhaps mildly eccentric - Morrissey from the band the Smiths demanded that his memoirs be sold under the Penguin Classics branding!

Yes, well sometimes you get volunteered. Perhaps people sense that it is your time for service? Glad to hear that you got a lot out of the process. Over the years, in the business world, I'd taken plenty of people under my wing so to speak and like you I also probably got more out of the experience than they did. Sometimes I felt like a mother hen looking after her chicks, guiding them in the ways of the world and keeping the foxes away whilst they learned how to look after themselves. There's a lot of foxes out there...

Yeah, it's all good. I get a bit of spam, but wouldn't publish that sort of rubbish comment. I started the blog because I no longer had to worry about what other people thought about how I lived my life.

Fair enough. That is a good observation on your situation. A few years back over at the ADR I mentioned buying chickens at the expo and had a number of interesting comments about such things in the US so go with your gut feel. The reaction quite surprised me because down here, that part of the expo is run by the district poultry group and the chickens are all supplied vaccinated with the source clearly identified and to be honest I've never had a drama with the chickens.

Interesting stuff. Your comment is highly relevant to tomorrows blog: "Chookflation".

Scritchy is telling me that tomorrow a thunderstorm will hit here. She is very sensitive to such things. The nights have been hot here too.

I'm a bit embarrassed, because I let Poopy the Pomeranian outside this afternoon in the heat and I promptly fell asleep on the couch. Anyway, when I woke up and let him back inside he was a bit heat exhausted. Ooops! I've been slowly feeding him ice blocks. Hope he is alright as he is gasping: he has a very thick coat of fur and is due for a clip in the next week.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I would accept warmth with much gratitude. A severe frost this morning. The leaves of the impending spring flowers keep being halted in their growth.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Inge - I'm afraid I'm another one who stoked the "shaving" fires over at ADR . :-) . The rest of the story is that the great uncle who gave me my brass razor? Well, I've never been overly emotional when, even people close to me have passed on. Even though we were not close, I burst into tears when I heard he was gone! The thing was, when I thought about my reaction, he was the last living link with the Old World. The last of the one's who got on the boat, left German/Russia and came to America.

Yo, Chris; The grills were stainless steel, I think. And, you had to always "brick" in one direction. No circular stuff. But with the burlap, you could buff in circles. The grills I worked on had four gas jets (in long rows, front to back) that could be adjusted. So, the two middle jets you set pretty high and the outside jets on either end, lower. Meats got fried in the middle and buns were browned at the outer edges. Hashed brown potatoes started in the middle (to give them a crust) and were then moved to the outer edges to "finish." With a bit of juggling, you could assure that everything hit the plate, hot.

Oh, the pulps are fun. Some people collect them just for those lurid covers. Even by particular cover artists. They're pretty tame by today's standards. If you go to E-Bay and search GGA (Good Girl Art) they all pop up. I've seen some interesting art projects created with old pulp covers. Some people frame them as art objects in their own right.

I spent some time at australian.food.com last night. Ah, now I see that Pavlovas are pretty much like the little deserts I make. I forgot to mention that the lemon pudding mix I get from the store needs egg yolks. Which works out fine since I have them left over from the whites needed to make the meringue. So, I guess I've been making Pavlovas all along and didn't know it. LOL Kind of like when I discovered at age 20 that the way I liked to make my eggs was an omelet! Which says a lot about the food I grew up with and the restaurants we (rarely) went to.

I was also looking at the recipes for Anzac and Lamingtons. The mind boggles that there are about 10 different recipes for each one. Same with Australian Bites. it irritates me, and I was trying to figure out why, given my tendency to fool with recipes. I think it's because there don't seem to be any recipes for the things mentioned that are "this is the "classic" recipe." Maybe it's because I want to master the "gold standard" and then start messing about. Neurotic, I know. Another to add to a long list of my own personal neurosis. :-).

My chickens laid a whole dozen less eggs then the week before! And, I have no idea why. No difference that I can tell. I think they're just teasing and torturing me. :-).

Light frost this morning and even a bit of ice on the puddles. The weather guy I follow is predicting a major change in our weather, back to wetter and cooler at the end of the month. I'd better hold off on some of those plantings I was planning. Lew