Monday, 2 February 2015

The T-rusty trailer


Re-use, repair, recycle is the mantra here. Regular readers by now may have figured out that I’m tight with money, so that mantra works just beautifully for me.

Unfortunately that mantra sometimes translates into hard and dirty work and this week was no exception.

One vital bit of machinery here is my trailer. In Australia for some strange reason, trailers or their manufacturers never got around to embracing the metric system, so a trailers capacity is always measured in feet. My trailer was a 7 foot by 5 foot beast and it is now approaching 10 years old. I use that trailer to bring all manner of materials for various projects back to the farm. Without the trailer it is fair to say that very few materials at all would be brought back here.

When a few months ago, the guy at the local sand and soil supplier started pointing out the very real fact that my trailer was falling apart, I knew something had to be done. What is worse is that woody mulch and mushroom compost - that I had paid for - were falling out of the holes in the trailer along the road back to the farm. An optimist would suggest that I’d been busy fertilising the plants alongside the road. The police on the other hand would probably have fined me and forced me to take the trailer off the road until such time that I could prove that the trailer was roadworthy again.

The steel worm (rust) is eating away at the trusty trailer
This may be a surprising revelation, but I have a fondness for that trailer which is hard to explain, so I’ll recount the tale that led me to purchase it all those years ago.

The story takes us back to an inner city suburb of Melbourne. At the time, I was rebuilding the rear of an 1890’s Victorian era terrace house. As an interesting side note, much of the original kitchen, laundry and toilet were rooms in the backyard. Upon demolishing those rooms I discovered that they were constructed from material sourced from packing crates. Now, I like the mantra of re-use, repair and recycle but unfortunately the building surveyor who oversaw my work did not and it makes you wonder about the over-zealous requirements of our building codes given that the walls in these rooms had clearly stayed vertical for over forty years and then perhaps some.

The packing crates and other materials did not survive the demolition process so I ordered a few large 6 cubic metres (7.85 cubic yards) bins and began to fill them up. It is worthwhile mentioning that those bins were really expensive and the local council would fine you if they weren’t removed from the area within three days and the fines became larger for every day past that third day. There was no mucking around and slacking off.

The very first night after the bin was delivered, stealthy movements occurred around the bin.

It is worthwhile mentioning that I am not a morning person. In fact I prefer at least 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night and the world in the morning is rarely in focus for me prior to a good strong cup of coffee. Needless to say, I am seriously disinclined towards pleasant conversation prior to that time. After the coffee though, it is all good! Just not a moment before…

However, on that particular second day of the large bin hire, I had discovered that some nefarious individual had loaded up the bin with their stuff. Before my coffee too! And it wasn’t just the odd thing or two, they’d seriously gone hard and the bin was almost full. Oh yeah, grumpy had a new name and its name was Chris.

There was no trail, identification or even avenue of investigation to uncover the culprit – who was clearly a local – so at this point I decided a mood of acceptance and vigilance was called for and simply ordered another large bin – which I also had the pleasure of paying for.

A new bin was delivered that day and like any good hunter, I simply watched and waited for the nefarious individual to peer out from the bushes and examine the bait that I’d left them. And it didn’t take more than a few hours of stalking the prey to catch them in the act.

The human condition constantly amazes me. The nefarious individual, who was a neighbour, was a leading Melbourne radio personality. I discovered later to my utter horror that this individual received a salary far in excess of a quarter of a million dollars a year. His justification to me was that “his activities were a time honoured tradition”, to which I replied: “Stealing from your neighbours is not cool. Ever. Now f… off!”.

Once the bin was full and removed from the premises – without further additions – I thought about the various options available and purchased the trailer. Now ten years later the trailer is looking a bit sad and in serious need of a bit of repair (that mantra again) in order to be reused.

So, when I recently purchased the steel for the new set of stairs which should be built in the next week or two, I also purchased two sheets of steel plate to replace the very sad plate in the trailer.

If I was being entirely honest, I’d say that I’d never dismantled a trailer before to replace the rusty old steel plate. So I had a good look at how the trailer was put together in the first place and then started cutting out the rusty old sections. Those rusty old sections crumbled like biscuits.

Sections of the trailer of the trailer were cut out
It took a lot of cutting to remove every chunk of the old steel plate.

Cutting the old steel plate in the trailer
You can see just how dirty the job was as I was covered in the accumulation of at least a decade of ingrained mulch and compost plus other unidentifiable dust whilst cutting the very rusty chunks out of the trailer. The dogs can be seen in the background of the photo below busily supervising the hard work too:

More cutting of the very rusty steel plate
It took two days to remove every single chunk of rusty steel on the trailer, but finally the job was done. Scritchy the boss dog looks on the job with approval - or perhaps she is bored with the whole thing?

The rusty sections on the trailer were finally cut out
When the trailer was originally manufactured, you would assume that they’d rust proofed it. But no, they didn’t, so I covered the entire structure with two coats of metal undercoat paint.

The trailer with a coat of metal primer paint
A top coat of metal epoxy paint has to be applied over the undercoat. I asked my lady – who is the editor of this blog – what colour she thought would be suitable for a masculine hard working trailer and she came up with this:

Trailer with the first layer of epoxy top coat applied
Oh yeah, this bright yellow is really happening. Incidentally you can also see that a big storm is brewing in the skies beyond the farm, so a bit of welcome summer rainfall was received here yesterday. Getting back to the trailer though, apparently I’ve been informed that the trailer will form something of a new art project here at the farm. More on this art project in future blogs.

Despite the drizzle over the past day, the replacement steel plate has now been installed onto the trailer and it is waiting to be painted.

New plate being installed onto the trailer
The tomatoes are going feral here and reach up closer to the sky a little bit more every day. The mid-October tomato bed (close to the right hand side of the photo) now reaches well above six feet and the fruit is slowly ripening.

Comparison of the tomato beds
Close up of the tomato fruit ripening on the vines
Zucchini’s are again proving their value this year as they produce a huge quantity of fruit. Half of those plants are from last year’s seed and the other half were from seedlings brought in.

Zucchini fruit swells on the vine
I recently posted a short video showing a time lapse of 500 days of growth in the shady orchard here:


I didn't really properly explain in the video about the fruit tree pruning method employed here, which utilises the unique skillset of the local wildlife. This recent example of the work of Stumpy the house wallaby was particularly excellent and she displayed a delicate hand (or is that paw?) at pruning this heritage apple tree.

Stumpy the wallaby shows how pruning fruit trees is done Down Under style
How did I get here?

I forgot to mention previously that many years ago I chucked in my job, packed up the car – which was a small hatchback – and set off into the wild blue yonder and drove around Australia for 6 months. As travel had to be done on the cheap we camped in a tent most of the way and the biggest costs were generally food and petrol. What a big country Australia is and it is so very humbling to see firsthand how much of the continent is arid land. Much of the population here hugs the east coast and a small portion of the south west coast and other than that there is a whole lot to see, but that generally doesn’t involve many other people. The trip was awe inspiring and camping in a tent night after night you are out in the elements whether you like it or not.

The interesting thing was that during that travel, I rarely met any other Australian travellers my own age and that struck me as being odd. I met plenty of English, French, Germans and Canadians my age, it was just that there were no Australians younger than about 60.

Honestly, I’m tight with money so overseas travel usually meant that I ended up in destinations that were a bit off the beaten track. Cambodia after Pol Pot when the Vietnamese opened travel to that country, no worries. The back blocks of Laos sipping coffee in beautifully shambolic cafes in World Heritage listed towns – been there. The back blocks of Nepal where you walk uphill for six continuous hours and may see nothing but mountains, snow and yaks for days on end. Yeah. Cool. It also occasionally meant getting cornered on a train on the way to the toilet in northern India by some dude who wanted to talk cricket for hours on end after he found out I was an Aussie. Yeah, it was good fun. I even started developing an ear for the loud Hindi music which is pervasive in India.

But, travelling to some of the out of the way places meant that I saw firsthand how a lot of the world’s population lived and had no romantic notions about such matters. It was eye opening.

Even worse, was that sometimes when I arrived back in Australia, I couldn’t shake the certain knowledge that I lived in a bland house – which was in an area that hipsters would now drool over – in a bland location and lived in a bland community.

To be continued…

The temperature outside here at about 9.30pm is 11.0 degrees Celsius (51.8’F). So far this year there has been 72.6mm (2.9 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week's total of 66.8mm (2.6 inches).

46 comments:

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris; There's an old, old saying here. "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without."

That's quit a project, your trailer. I'm lucky to have an '04 Ford Ranger, short bed. Only 65,000 miles.The box is about the same size as your trailer. It's the only vehicle I've ever bought new. We also have laws about securing loads. One of the best investments I ever made was a bungee cord "spider." How to describe it? It's like a net with 8 plastic hooks (to hook under the lip of the bed). Getting the thing over a load is a bit of a Zen-ish exercise. I must remain calm and take my time, untangling it and laying it on the ground. Then in one smooth movement, cast it like a fishing net over the load. Sometimes, depending on the load, I'll put a tarp on first. The tension adjustments are simple, but a little time consuming.

I couldn't quit tell from the pictures, but I hope you were wearing a dust mask when working on the trailer. I know they are a hassle. I keep a pack of cheap-os around for some jobs. Cleaning out the chicken coop, etc.. When cleaning out a smelly old freezer, I splashed a bit of an old bottle of mouth wash on it.

Ah, bins. Back when I was downtown in the business district, there were always running battle between the neighbors over unauthorized bin usage. And, of course there were the "dumpster divers." Recyclers. They were generally a tidy lot, so I never hassled them. The Night People.

Once I had to order an extra bin. I had to pay an outrageous up front fee (in cash). I filled it and had it hauled off in short order. Getting the balance back was quit an ordeal. Numerous phone calls and 2 or 3 trips to their office. According to rumor, organized crime has a lot of control over garbage collection in the US.

Here, we have a fairly large bin for three households that the landlord pays for. It's in my yard. The Evil Step-Son has a bad habit of almost filling the thing the day AFTER the bin is emptied. It's emptied every two weeks. Often, I've drug out my foot ladder, climbed on top and done a little dance to tamp the stuff down. So, I manage the garbage, and the mail. Just trying to make myself generally useful and keep on the right side of the garbage man and mail lady.

Your tomatoes and zucchini look spectacular! I'm agonizing over when to start the tomatoes, inside. Some of that seed I saved. See if it germinates. I need to add a shelf to the nice, big, south facing kitchen window. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I tried to post a long comment to you and couldn't convince that I wasn't a robot. So I assume that it was lost. If it was, I'll try to repeat it tomorrow in a series of shorter comments.

Inge

heather said...

Hi all-
I missed last week's comments, as like Lew and Cathy I was busy outdoors. So odd, weather in the 70's at the end of January. I dug all of the grass (ugh! I feel you, Cathy!) out of a long bed where I'm going to try barley for the first time, and an oil-producing plant called camelina. I got an oil press for Christmas (husband and I have worked out an excellent system of choosing our own presents), and I am eagerly pawing through my seed order too, wondering how I'm going to get all these experimental plants in.

Chris, you've got me intrigued by another experimental plant- now I'm going to have to look up tree Lucerne. Lew, I had the same thought about the dairy company! But of course the alfalfa connection makes more sense. BTW I am also trying an alfalfa plot, but it has had trouble competing with the weeds in the dry weather this winter. I expected to have to water it in the summer, of course, I've read that it needs some irrigation, but I refuse to run the pump regularly in the winter. Though if winter continues to mean "historically dry" in future years, I may have to rethink that policy.

Chris, I feel much better upon reading that your tea bushes have died too- misery loves company, I guess. I had been feeling terribly guilty that my three expensive potted ones died too. I thought it strange too, since I have other camellias as well. Maybe they are not a very hardy plant?

I was very interested to read the laundry discussion- like Ruth Goodman, I am always interested in all domestic concerns. I used to think history was boring in school, all battles and presidents and acts of Congress, until I discovered that some historians really did write about how ordinary people managed ordinary life. (I discovered this by reading the acknowledgements by authors of historical fiction!) Loved all the BBC farm history shows- thank you, thank you, Lew, for pointing out the companion books! Looks like I'm starting my list of birthday presents early this year. ;)

Chris, we have a metal trailer here that is starting to show some signs of rust. Your example of the literal "grind" of repairing one that's far gone is inspiring me to get in gear and see if I can just sand and get a few good coats of paint on ours before it needs major surgery! Unfortunately ours has sides made of some awful metal mesh- I don't know the correct name for it- which I have no idea how to clean off efficiently before repainting. Maybe YouTube will have some suggestions. (I really will miss the Internet some day, when I can't easily research tree Lucerne trees and how to repaint a rusty trailer). I'm sure it would be better to just replace the awful things with solid sides, but I'm afraid that is beyond my skill level.

Looks like we may get the tag end of the storm system hitting the Pacific northwest US at the end of the week. We are certainly going to have drought this summer- there's just no way a completely dry January can be made up for on top of the ongoing depletion- but at least psychologically, seeing water fall from the sky would be temporarily reassuring. Of course, I need to get the bare soil of that nice cleaned-out barley bed covered but quick!

Thanks to all for lots to think about-
--Heather in CA

heather said...

PS Lew- not yet on the tomatoes! Wait until halfway though Feb., at least! Otherwise they'll be awfully leggy on that windowsill of yours by the time the soil is warm enough! (Just my two cents; I'm firmly in the 'wait for warmth' school, but I have a friend who insists on planting by St. Patty's Day. About half the time I have the first and healthiest tomatoes, and the other half of the years she takes the trophy. Of course I start my own and she buys transplants, so there's another set of variables to account for... Anyways, opinions, right? Take your pick!)

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

When you are finished with all of that rain, please remember to send some here. More rain is always appreciated! How is it going? There isn't a lot of variation between the daytime and nighttime temperatures here either during winter. If there is heavy cloud there may be no difference at all.

You hardly sound to me as if you are losing your marbles? ;-)! Yeah, well, I do the same thing here as I have to test the different things every week or so. The bushfire sprinklers get tested at least once a week. The galvanised pipes usually let out a bit of rust in the first bit of water so best to keep testing them. 6% isn't much propane for this stage of the year. I assume that February is your really cold month (like August here)?

That aint good. I've heard stories too from down below, but because I can't observe them here I don't know what to make of them. Incidentally, talking about that sort of thing, the fox here has been cleaning up the rat and mic population - so that puts it on the payroll as far as I'm concerned. The dogs caught a fox off guard the other morning and there was much excitement.

Yeah, I'm a bit lost on the whole social media thing too. Well, I didn't grow up with the internet so it isn't a make or break proposition. Anyway, letters are good as long as they aren't bills or wedding invites (which can sometimes be seen as a bill of sorts).

I didn't know that either, but apparently she was a neuroscientist which is pretty impressive. Norfolk Island would be one quirky place to live though. They have a very pleasant climate though. I'll bet there are more than a few ghosts there! I've never experienced a ghost, I reckon it would be an unsettling experience... My lady swore that her mother visited her the day after she died. It was an errie experience.

What a lovely place. Having Finn blood you'd probably cook here in the heat!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi August,

Many thanks for your reply. Yes, it is a valuable system here. They actually get pressed into communication service when there are large emergencies here. I'll drop by and check out the website.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

There was a light dusting of snow on the ground this morning, the first this winter. It is melting now. Warmer today than yesterday. Temperature indoors only 12C when I get up, even though some heating is left on all night. I would have expected your temperatures to be higher than you mention, I am surprised.

Anyhow back to my previous attempt to communicate.

Moderation: I don't know enough about it. I realise that a comment can be removed, but can it be edited i.e. can you remove a sentence or a paragraph and let the rest go through? I would be quite happy to be edited.

I liked the penpal analogy and do look forward to this blog and associated comments. Have a feeling that I am already self censoring and might do it to excess. It is very easy to be misunderstood; this has even happened to me with e-mails to nearest and dearest.

A visitor, I'll continue later.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Brrr. I'm getting cold just reading your comment. 12'C in the kitchen is as cold as it gets here inside the house - if I am unable to light the wood fire that is. Brrr!

I assume that you have a wood fire? Does it burn all night? Mine tends to burn out by the wee hours of the dawn, but the house doesn't lose its heat due to the insulation. Still, if it did lose heat quickly, I'd get up in the middle of the night and replenish the wood fire.

I have no idea about moderation either and just sort of muddle along and hope for the best. From this end I can delete a comment, but cannot edit it. Communication is difficult face to face too as things can be quickly misunderstood, but at least you can see what peoples reactions are and engage further. Well, we're all learning I guess! No stress, we're all good.

Many thanks. I look forward to reading the comments.

Perhaps the dislike of metalwork and metric has something to do with the use of the letter "m" in each word? No, maybe not... hehe! Yeah, it is like shoe sizing is all over the shop now and there are US, Euro, UK, Australian sizing. Who knows what it all means? People still refer to rainfall in inches here too...

Jackie French is an extraordinary lady and she certainly has done the hard yards in her lifetime and faced all sorts of obstacles. The recognition incidentally was received for her work in children's fiction.

You are a secret petrol head? hehe! - just kidding. The Northern Territory is amazing. I drove up the centre from Adelaide to Darwin stopping off along the way. It has an incredibly diverse range of climates, but wow, it is hot up there.

Your comment about washing is interesting. Do you remember what your mothers opinion was of the whole process? The reason I ask is that you described the process and the cultural background but didn't touch on the feelings that your mother had towards the task.

Glad to hear that the rugs get taken outside. It is old fashioned but I do a spring clean here - you sort of have to because the wood box deposits a thin layer of ash and dust on every surface here - by the end of winter.

Well a whole lot of the population spend a whole lot of time in doors so it is pretty easy for them to get a Vitamin D deficiency. It surprised me too. Sometimes I also wonder whether the medical profession has set the bar a bit high for that condition as they do seem to be prescribing a lot of tablets - still I am a cynic in such matters.

It is hard not to get sun burnt here - although I am consistent with the sunscreen and sun glasses.

Do people get enough sunshine in summer in your part of the world? I remember seeing a River Cottage episode where they were complaining about the summer heat but wearing: a vest, shirt and t shirt. I would literally fall over dead if I wore that much clothing during summer.

Very true! Bees are best left up to their own devices.

Yes, they produce a small sunflower like a yellow daisy. They haven't this year though. They'll still spread without them though. Virtually indestructible.

You are very lucky to have fresh local asparagus. They are very heavy feeding plants and can't be picked at all for the first year or two. It is possible that you may have eaten them to death before they were properly established? Dunno?

Down here they add dynamic lifter to septic systems if there is a problem.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis, Inge and Heather.

I had to work tonight so have run out of time to respond to your comments. Unfortunately, I must have done something bad in a past life because I have to work tomorrow night too. Not good...

I'll respond as I get time over the next few days.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Visitor was my son, bringing eggs and requesting something to read. I have books by the 1000s but many have been boxed for 8 years now. I have no space.

'Fiction or non-fiction'? 'Doesn't matter but no SF..'. I sent him off with an Eric Newby and a Ralph Fiennes.

I now see that my comment did get through but on your previous week. Don't know whether I am going gaga or what. Never mind, once I worked out how you were managing to reply to it, I was relieved at not having to repeat it.

I don't know what my mother's feelings were about washing. I would guess that she just took it for granted as the way things were. She was a woman of guts and great physical strength who lived to be 94 regardless of having been obese from the age of 18.

No I don't have a wood stove. I admit that this is ridiculous. Absolutely nowhere to place it without re-building. Books and pictures come first for me.
I have had one in a previous home. We kept it in overnight very easily by placing a circle piece of oak inside on top. The fire would still be alight underneath come morning.

No I didn't stress my asparagus I know about early abstemiousness. It is one reason why I am not starting again (I think).

What on earth is 'dynamic lifter' for a septic tank? No chemicals go into my tank, which may be why I have no trouble.

Whether or not we get enough sun here probably varies from summer to summer. Extreme heat or cold requires a bit of slow adaption. I came back from Queensland one year, straight into freezing weather here. I decamped to a classy hotel for a week until the weather warmed up a bit. I was not adjusted to my home at all.

I had better not get started on pills, medication etc. I am informed by my sister in the US, that I have no medical understanding at all. Lets just say that I am completely unmedicated and she is not.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Heather - Thanks for reigning me in on the tomatoes. Appreciated. Up here, we say not to plant peas before Washington's birthday. I think I'll do one pot of tomatoes, just to check the germination rate (if any, since I saved the seed myself :-).

Oh, an oil press! I've kind of looked around the Net at them. Which brand did you get? Looks like some of them use an open flame in the process? Some seem to be able to process herbal oils.

Cathy McGuire said...

Great job on the trailer, Chris! And day-glo yellow is a perfect color, since you don't want to be hit by idiots who are texting or daydreaming - tell your editor I approve!

You were much nicer with the radio personality - I'd have said, "pay up for what you put in, or I denounce you on radio!" (his competition would have gladly allowed you).

What kind of tomatoes are you growing? Heritage or hybrid? We probably have totally different ones, since it's a special tomato that can endure Pacific NW nights! I'll bet with your temps, you could grow Jersey Beefsteaks!

I have a pair of cherry trees out front that were "pruned" by the crazy neighbor's goat (she of the harassment lawsuit) - everything it could eat, as high as it could reach. :-( I am not looking forward to how weird they'll look this year... plus it means the dang cherries will be higher and harder to get! C'est la guerre...

@Lewis: I have a '00 Ford Ranger (purple) - 190,000 miles and still going fine! (it was all those weekends in Quinault from Portland...) I bought it after treating my Toyota hatchback like a truck for too many years. And I was still living in suburbia then! Now I use it to haul everything. A friend made a cool hooking system for me: a 2" link chain running along the inside rim on both sides - I can hook bungie cords in any configuration to it, and tie down tarps at any position. I was so grateful he came up with that!

PS - I'm up to Chapter 7 on my novel over at my blog: www.cathymcguire.blogspot.com. Thanks all for the comments!

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris; Well, the whole para-normal is an area I don't talk about, much. Never seen a ghost, either. But, I have lived in some pretty haunted places. One thing that stuck in my mind, reading about ghosts when a wee lad. One fellow opined that ghosts have never hurt anybody. It's the fear that drives people to hurt themselves. Never mind popular films. I've held that thought. Close, sometimes :-).

The Great Chicken Egg Famine of 2015 seems to be easing. Instead of 3 and 4, I'm getting 5s and 6s, the last three days. I've still managed to spread that social capital around, but it doesn't leave many eggs for me!

Well, I finally broke down and ordered in a heat powered stove fan, yesterday. I mentioned that my little propane heater will still heat a corner of the living room if the power goes out. But the electric fan that circulates the heat wouldn't work. I'm also interested to see how much it will reduce the KwHs, as I kick on the fan every time I light the stove.

I got this nifty little gizmo from Lehman's Non Electric Store. They're an interesting outfit. 2d or 3d generation general store. They're back in Amish Country and started out as a store catering mostly to the Amish. And then, the back to the landers found them in the 1970s. I think they're a little pricey, but sometimes they're the only source of some nifty non-electric gadget. Also, lots of American Made stuff. Worth a look at their on-line catalog.

After a couple of days reflection, I agree with Inge. If a post offends your, or anyone else's sense of propriety, delete it. That's what JMG does. Lew

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

How to the panels from the trailer fit into the base? It's not clear from the pictures. Your 7th photo ("Trailer with the first layer of epoxy top coat applied") shows four small panels on the ground on the left and two large ones on the right. Does the following image show the two large ones in the trailer? Do they sit on top of the four smaller ones? Are the smaller ones screwed (not welded) in the trailer?

(Nice job btw ;-)

Cheers, Angus

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Too true and an excellent saying!

Yeah, not whingeing or anything but I had to work again tonight so things are a bit squashed for time - again. I definitely don't make a habit of it, but I've had to help out someone with a minor crisis!

They have the Ford Rangers over here too. How weird is that, but the Suzuki here is an '04 too. Twas a good year for manufacturing!

Yeah, people get really funny over here if stuff falls of the back of the trailer! The bungy cord is a great idea. I've only ever lost one load of stuff off the back of the trailer... Ooops... Fortunately it was on a back road and no one was around at the time.

I usually wear a dust mask for very hazardous materials, but in high summer in the full sun, it will just cook me with a dust mask on. I do wear ear protectors and eye protectors.

People use vanilla and vinegar here to clean fridges and it does work. I think they may chuck a bit of bi-carb in as well, but this may be a dodgy memory.

That problem has disappeared completely here as there is no rubbish pickup here at all.

Yeah, the dumpster divers are inevitably polite and clean and are more than happy to ask. It is weird isn't it. It is usually the ones up to nefarious business that have the most aggro. Tell you what the guy owned an e-type jag too....

Oh no. Sometimes people mark their territories in all sorts of strange ways and perhaps that is what he is doing?

No harm has ever come from being polite.

Yeah, I agonise over that too. I know a local bloke that starts his tomatoes growing inside in July (which is your January). He always gets a crop by Christmas but has to take them in and out of the house to harden off the plants. I'm way too lazy for that sort of gear, but I can seriously respect it.

Give it a go, it can't hurt!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Nope, never thought you were a robot - now some of the people I know that work in IT... That's a whole nother story! ;-)! Got the comment on last weeks blog.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Heather,

70's is crazy hot for Febraury. It wasn't even 70'F here today!!!! I wouldn't see it being that hot in August here at all. Wow. Strange times...

Great to hear that you are giving grains a go and I'd be very interested to hear about your experiences. Barley is meant to be exceptionally good for you and I always chuck it into soups.

Great to hear about the oil crop too and the presents are a very clever idea too.

They are very common down here and a big favourite of the permaculturalists. It is mentioned in a lot of their books. They grow twice as fast as the local acacias which are also nitrogen fixing - but longer lived.

Yeah, alfalfa doesn't like the competition here either - but it does live a very long life and has enormous root systems so can survive when other plants don't.

Haha! We're in good company. I'm about ready to give up on them. The other camellia's are happily smiling at the sun and going: "do your worst". However at the hint of a bit of weather the tea camellia drops dead. Misery does love company. I'll bet people further north than you don't have trouble with them? Dunno - one of them didn't like the cold, the other didn't like the sun and the other just died - who knows why?

The avocado seems to be doing OK this year so who knows you just have to keep trying. I guess.

Thanks for the second recommendation - they sound really great!

Yeah, good quality metal primer paint and a good metal top coat should so the trick - if I'd done it earlier I wouldn't have had to repair it so extensively. Metal paints have zinc in them which protects the metal against further rust. I wouldn't worry too much, I'd just get the paint on before too much further damage occurs.

Good luck with the storm and I hope you get some rain. It is cold here at the moment, but the farm is about to head into an extended heat wave - at least there is plenty of water in the tanks.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Great to hear that you received a dusting of snow. Brrr, your house is as cold as it ever gets inside the house here too. Insulation can't add heat, it can just slow the transition of the external climate into the house. Which means that worst of the conditions are moderated. Still if it 3'C outside here for days on end, well, the wood box has to be run. Without it, I reckon the house would get down to about 11'C at a guess. I put a new front door in last year which is much better sealed (double glazed toughened glass) than the old timber door so it does seem to have made a huge difference.

It has been a weird summer here because the heat came about earlier than usual. The autumn weather seems to be about a month earlier too. So who knows what it means as I now no longer know what a normal summer looks like. It has been on average 1'C above the long term average (government rainfall and temperature records start about the mid 1860's here).

I'd be very surprised if you managed to produce a blush as a result of one of your comments! hehe! No worries, I have no idea about moderation either. It isn't possible to edit comments using this system. That is why sometimes JMG complains about the use of profanity in comments.

It is very hard not to be misunderstood, but we all make mistakes and just have to somehow move on.

I look forward to all of the comments here.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Cathy, Lewis and Angus,

Sorry people, I can't reply tonight as bed is calling me and work didn't finish until past 9pm. I hope the replies I did make - made sense? Apologies if they didn't. Fortunately from Friday onwards things should be back to normal - whatever that is? hehe!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - This will be the first year for my asparagus bed. It did send up a few fronds, last year. If it sends up enough spears this year, I may take just 4 or 5 for a little meal. Then again, maybe nothing will come up. It was quit a task getting it established. I know it's way to early, but I pass the bed every morning on my way to take care of the chickens. I always give it a look.

I am also one of "the unmedicated." Other than a daily multiple and an aspirin. I also take C every day. When I run out, I notice a distinct drop in my energy levels. Maybe it's in my mind? I went to a library party a few years back. Somehow, the conversation got on what people were taking. I was horrified to discover that most of my co-workers were on "something."

Back when I had a doctor and insurance, one time I went in and my blood pressure was a touch high. He wanted to prescribe something for it. I told him "Let's see what I can do to get it down." So, I started dosing myself daily with garlic and got more exercise. It came right down.

Yo, Chris; Helping out in a minor or major crisis should always take precedence over anything else. Sometimes, I just want to unplug the phone and get an uninterrupted nap. I don't. Neighbor might need help. He's quit a portly man and if he falls down, his wife can't get him up, alone. It's only happened a time or two, but I'm glad I was around to help get him back on his feet. Spread that social capital around.

LOL. Sorry about the Farm Health and Safety Lecture. Your doing the right things. I hate having stuff on my face and dangling off my ears. Sometimes, I have to just rip it off and take a breather. Then, plunge right back in.

The weather people are talking atmospheric river, here, again. AKA the Pineapple Express. The local (PNW) weather blog mentioned some of it might get to northern California. I hope it helps Heather out. Lew

heather said...

Chris-
Glad to hear you are helping out a friend in need. Won't expect prompt responses.

Do I understand you correctly to mean that I don't need to sand off the existing rust, but can just use good metal primer and then top coat on the trailer surface as is? If so, the project just moved up my priority list. I wasn't looking forward to the sanding.

I've been experimenting with grains on a micro scale for a while now, without a lot of success. My hulless oats weren't (yuck), and both times I've tried wheat it just got overtaken by weeds. I'm hoping that my relatively clean seed bed plus starting the barley from transplants (yes, insane, I know, but it's what Bountiful Gardens, the seed house associated with John Jeavons, recommends) will do the trick this time. At worst I can feed it to the goats.

Lew, the oil press is a Piteba, and it does use a little alcohol burner. I ordered it through Bountiful Gardens too, as mentioned above. I haven't tried it out yet but am tempted to buy some sunflower seeds just to give it a go. I don't know anything about herb oils. What kind are you contemplating extracting? I have read a bit about steam distillation of essential oils, but I just don't know about all that expensive, fragile gear... It's far enough down the "to-try" list that I probably won't get there.

And Lew, I hear that you prefer not to talk about the paranormal, but you've certainly piqued my interest about the haunted places you have lived in (and how you knew they were haunted if you never saw a ghost?). Recognizing that it's none of my business, I suppose I'll just have to live with the mystery... [Sigh, fluttering of virtual eyelashes...]

Not to brag, folks, but I ate my first handful of asparagus for the season yesterday... There have to be some compensations for the weird early heat! I have a long bed with happy plants at both ends and a middle section where, no matter gown many times I replant, the asparagus refuses to grow. I am baffled but not yet driven to surrender!

Cathy, sorry to hear about your cherry trees. I wonder if there are any branches that you could bend out to the sides (with rope and stakes or stretchers) to train as more horizontal branches? I had good luck trying this with a pear tree that just wanted to shoot straight up.

Inge, our septic tank guy recommended that we add a beneficial blend of bacteria to our tank once a year. No chemicals, just good "bugs". I haven't been able to bring myself to buy it yet (seems too literally like flushing $ down the toilet), but maybe that's what's meant by 'dynamic lifter'?

They are saying the Pineapple Express should roll in here as early as tomorrow evening. I have battened down the hatches except for bringing in my clothespin bag (always forget that until it's pouring) and am keeping my fingers crossed. I covered my clean weeded soil awaiting my barley babies with the vines from a chayote still hanging on the fence nearby (I knew there was a reason I hadn't cleaned it up yet!) so my soil won't wash away in the one to four inches they are teasing about in the forecast. Bring it on, I say! I am tempted to wash the car tomorrow just to increase the chances of rain due to Murphy's law. Heck, I'd plan a camping trip if I thought it might do some good!

Night all-
--Heather in CA

Kylie said...

Nice work on the trailer! I picked up Bill Gammage's 'The Greatest Estate on Earth' on your recommendation over at the ADR. Fifty pages in and I'm just thinking, 'Jesus, how much knowledge have we lost?'

orchidwallis said...

@Lewis

Medication: I take cod liver oil in the winter, essential in this climate; that's all'

So your co-workers only took something! I find that people are awash with assorted medications all interacting with each other in unknown ways. Great for the pharmaceutical companies. I have to be on the verge of death before I go near a doctor. I wish that I dared to avoid dentistry in the same way.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

'Raise a blush' wanna bet! Mind those guidelines.

It reminded me of when I married. My husband was prone to swearing and I didn't like. In those days men did not swear in the hearing of a woman and I was unused to it. Requests to desist did not work, so I took it up myself with nauseating creativity. He was appalled and stopped swearing. Wouldn't work nowadays, it would just become competitive.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Fascinating. I didn't know that Ralph Fiennes was an author. Did you enjoy his work?

Well, there is nothing wrong with SF. Actually one of my favourite authors is Jack Vance who wrote in many different fields often under pseudonyms. Some serious fans got together about a decade or so ago and put together a Vance Integral Edition which comprised all of his original works often removing some of the more dodgy pulp fiction editing done back in the 60's and 70's.

We're probably all going gaga so there really is nothing to worry about on that front!

Your mother sounds very similar to my grandmother who also died at the age of 94. As a small child I clearly remember walking with her down to the local market to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. She was also quite rotund, but the physical activity was a bulwark against aging.

It is quite a surprise to me that you live in a forest, yet don't take advantage of the free fuel available around you. I understand though that retrofitting a wood box is a difficult job.

Over the next few weeks and months I have to restore my wood heater as I have alas not treated it kindly. Restoration will ensure that in future I do so...

Dynamic lifter is a pellitised composted manure (usually sourced from industrial agriculture) which you can buy in very large bags. It is full of all sorts of bacteria and minerals and rapidly boosts the soil activity and plant health here. Remember our soils and rocks here are old and the previous ice age barely touched the continent so new soils are very rare here.

Well Queensland can be quite hot for most of the year. As a funny note, Queensland people often wear wooly jumpers up there in winter - but if you plonked me up there I'd be going: OMG it is really hot today! Yes, that would have been an appropriate response to arriving back in the UK after a trip to Queensland.

I once travelled back from SE Asia and arrived home during a 40'C (104'F) heatwave and it was a bit of a shock because whilst SE Asia is overall hotter, tropical areas lack the extremes we get here. Like the use of the word decamp too! It sounds like legalese.

Well, yes, they have a different approach to medication in the US. I avoid the stuff like the plague if I can help it.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Cathy,

Many thanks and I will pass on your note of approval. It's pretty cool and hopefully I'll get some more paint on it tomorrow.

Yeah, well, I have to live near the guy too. What was really interesting is that there is always six degrees of separation between people and in that case I found out later that there was only one degree as that individual was at the time mentored (or is sponsored the correct word? Dunno really how to describe that) by someone very wealthy who I'd done a favour for. Strange stuff, but not worth calling in the favour for - yet. Anyway the problem died a natural death.

The tomatoes are heritage varieties (open pollinated) and from the previous years crop. I picked the earliest and best fruiting / tasting plant to save seed from. They're a cherry tomato as the full sized tomatoes don't get enough heat / sun to ripen properly here. Usually summer nights are cool here too (which is part of the reason I live here). In Melbourne they can easily grow full sized tomatoes but they suffer the heat island effect so it rarely cools down overnight during summer.

Oh no! They'll regrow but perhaps a little higher than expected. The Italians use a three legged ladder to climb up into fruit trees for picking purposes. I told my neighbour that if I spotted his goats in my orchard that they'd become kebabs - I was only kidding (no pun intended) around. Then another neighbours dogs killed two of his goats so there is a bit of local tension...

Your writing output is prodigious and truly I can't keep up. I'm thinking about that particular issue for this blog as I've recently discovered podcasts.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That guy sounded pretty wise about the ghosts. Didn't Leonard Nimoy cover that in the "In Search Of..." series back in the 70's?

Speaking of which I live not far from the most haunted pub in the country: Clarkefield Coach and Horses Inn. It is a stunning old building and part of the old Cobb and Co coach route for the goldfields back in the 1850's. It is a nice place to get a meal during the depths of winter when the fire is roaring in the fireplace and the beer taps are flowing.

Your girls are doing very well with that many eggs at that time of year. Mind you, egg production increases from about August here too. I've decided to put a tarp over the chickens outside area during the real depths of winter this year. I ripped the idea from the potty mouthed UK chef Gordon Ramsay - don't ask it is a long story...

Those heat powered fans are amazingly clever device.

Many thanks for your understanding.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

Ahh, you've asked the hard questions! Well done.

I used galvanised tek screws to hold the checker plate to the trailer sub structure. The reason for this is that somehow I can see myself replacing the checker plate again at some distant point in the future and all I'll have to do then is to remove the screw heads and the plate will lift out. Easy.

However, if the tek screws fail then I'll have to add in spot welds (although I hope that this is not the case).

The four smaller panels are stair treads - which I've been folding and welding over the past few weeks - for the new set of stairs that I'm hoping to start building tomorrow morning.

Those stair treads will be bolted to the stair stringers (5mm plate) with high tensile stainless steel nuts and bolts. That should fix them. I'll also add a seam weld along the top of each tread so that organic gunk doesn't accumulate between the stringers and the treads.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

Sorry forgot to add: Hope you are all good with the heat wave this week. It hit 38'C here this afternoon....

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for the understanding. Sometimes how we react in a crisis provides the measure of the man - so to speak. Because I'd already committed to a normal workload, the crisis forced me to juggle everything which used up all of my free time. I don't generally work that way, but sometimes you can't dodge things and when the crisis was sorted there was much fist pumping in the air and patting on the back. Such is the stuff of loyalty.

Given I was in the big smoke last night, I went to the cinema and grabbed a quality burger too (the Mighty Melbourne they call it - beetroot, egg, cheese, onions and grain fed beef patty on a panini. It sounds a bit gourmet doesn't it? But whatever, as a mostly vegetarian - I dream of them! hehe!

You'll be happy to know that this week I picked a film that didn't have a bullet budget ;-)! It was the film "Wild" which recounted the story of the very lost and self destructive Cheryl Strayed who got her head and life back together by walking the 1,000 mile Pacific Coast Trail. It was a beautiful film and a richly told story. I thoroughly enjoyed it, I think it was based on the book of the real world experience of the author. I would have to suggest that Cheryl required some serious alone time reconnecting with nature as part of the healing process dealing with the untimely death of her mother. It was a very hard film for my lady to watch as her mother died at a very similar stage in life. Grief touches all of us in the end.

Incidentally the parallels between various parts of the walk and here are staggering. They could have filmed it here. Even some parts of Oregon don't look that different from the slightly higher elevations in this mountain range. It was uncanny.

Too funny. Yeah, well, it is all a compromise really. Over winter I can wear a chainsaw helmet with ear muffs, face mesh and sunglasses. But it would seriously cook my head at this time of year. The dirt, mulch and compost just sticks to the sunscreen that I use which is a real nuisance. I have to wash down outside before coming back into the house. Even metal filings stick to that stuff and you just sweat... The sun here is a killer even though the air temperature may be cool.

How did you go with the Pineapple Express? I'm entering a week long heat wave now - which is just weird as some of the trees have started turning due to the previous two weeks of autumn weather...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Heather,

Now that Friday has rolled around, things are back to normal. It used up all of my free time so for a few days it was just work and bed. Not good.

OK. Well, I cut out all of the rusty sections in the trailer which was mainly the floor of the trailer. The reason for this is that there were major holes in the checker plate and things were falling through the bottom of the trailer.

However, as an alternative, if your trailer is just rusty and not full of holes, you could use a wire brush and simply scrape off the loose and flaky bits of rust. Then you would have to paint the rusty bits that remain (and preferably the whole trailer) with a product here called Cold Galv paint. This stuff is really heavy for a paint can as it is full of zinc. The zinc acts like a sacrificial barrier so that it bonds with oxygen instead of the iron in your trailer. You'd then have to top coat it with a metal specific paint which again has zinc in it. Hope that helps as a suggestion.

If your trailer has holes in it then, well, you could just chuck a new sheet of check plate steel over the top of the older rusty one. No one says that you have to cut the old and rusty stuff out of the trailer. Tek screws (which are self drilling metal screws) can hold the whole lot together. They usually have to be pre drilled first to be effective.

Easy. The sooner the metal is protected, the longer it will last. Having said that, it is clearly obvious that I left the problem a bit too long... hehe!

I'll be very interested to hear how your grain growing goes. I'm intending to set aside an area here in the next year or two for them. Well done with the asparagus too. Top work.

Good luck with the pineapple express and I sincerely hope that you get four inches of rainfall. This week promises a heat wave for me and today was the first day...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Kylie,

Many thanks and well done reading that book. The conclusions are quite startling and go against virtually every belief that is deeply held about forests and grasslands (and every other ecosystem) on this continent. Exactly, and we don't have the cojones to test out the more practical aspects revealed in that book either!

But I will tell you this: I have implemented that strategy as far as I dare and the animals all come here for a feed - every night. I took some photos last night of the one wombat to rule them all! It's a big wombat. I haven't checked the photos yet, but I hope they turn out OK.

Well done for realising that we don't quite know as much as we like to think that we do.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

hehe! Too funny and a good strategy. I suffer from a bit of potty mouth too from time to time. I restrain myself on this blog though.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Sorry, I meant Ranulph Fiennes.

SF: I was an addict, it is my son who doesn't care for it.

My query was, why does one need to add anything to a septic tank? It should be awash with bacteria and able to deal with itself. The problem arises when chemicals go in that kill the bacteria.

I liked your use of the word 'rotund', it described my mother exactly. She was incredibly fit; could run faster than my sister and I when we were in our teens! There is confusion these days, between being overweight and having a bad diet; not the same thing at all.

Son is trying to put posts in at his setup. He says that the first 6 inches of clay has the consistency of mulligatawny soup and below that it is like granite.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Heather - Well, I lived in an old Victorian up in Seattle, during the early 70s. Lots of slamming doors in the middle of the night (no drafts or open windows). The cat and the dog would frequently stare into corners and bark or hiss at nothing there. One rainy sunday afternoon, there was a spate of map pins flying across the entryway, bouncing off the opposite wall. The distinct feeling of someone standing behind me, when I washed dishes in the sink. You know, all the normal stuff :-). And, more recently, there was the theatre I lived (camped out) in, behind the bookstore I owned....

Well, I worry about the septic here. The step son and his brood lived here for awhile, and did not treat the place gently. I figure the septic wasn't treated very gently, either. So, once a month I put two scoops down the system. Scoop included. A can lasts about a year, and it goes on sale every spring. Less than $10. It's called Tri-zyme (made in the PNW!). Septic tank activator. Supposed to be made of "Cereal grain stabilizers and activated organic solids." Whatever that is :-).

Oh, I often wonder about things that usually start off with "What if you couldn't get..." So, I started to think about oil. So, looking at the oil extractors, my next thought is "Well, if you couldn't get oil, alcohol would probably also be in short supply."

Oh, I think about essential oils from herbs for soup, candles, medicine. Am working my way slowly through Buhner's "Herbal Antibiotics" and "Herbal Antivirals." Figuring out what I can plant here. I got some elderberry seed in the mail, yesterday. To hedge my bets, I may pick up a plant or two, if they're on offer at the local garden store. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris; Well, the Pineapple Express, aka the Atmospheric River is in full cry. Taking care of the animals and getting the mail is a sloppy job. Had wind gusts of 25-29 mph, yesterday. Just to add insult to injury. :-). Odd, the temperature has been a steady 55F for the last 24 hours.

The Clarkefield looks like a great place. We have an outfit here in the PNW called Mcmenamins. They buy old historic buildings and restore them, turning them into bed and breakfast / brew pubs / movie theaters. They do a really sensitive job of it. Right across the street from my bookstore was a place called "The Olympic Club" and "The Oxford Hotel." They were quit old wrecks, but most of the infrastructure and decoration was still there. Built in 1913. Lots of stained glass, dark wood and tile floors. Art Nouveau frescoed decoration. It was an exciting day when they pulled the old 1950s false front off the Oxford and discovered all the stained glass windows were intact over the doors and windows.

That burger sounds really yummy. Don't know if I'll get around to seeing "Wild", but there's a lot of play about it in the press, over here. The Pacific Crest Trail isn't too far from where I live. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Sir Ranulph, what a fascinating individual. Tough as nails as well as being very well educated. I'll bet they don't make them like that these days! Makes me feel like a lead a soft and pampered life. Top stuff.

Phew, it's been hot here today and it may not cool down tonight. It was 22'C (71.6'F) over night... Of course I was outside building the steel stairs and painting the trailer.

I don't add anything to the worm farm sewage system here except maybe some woody materials from time to time. It doesn't smell at all - it is very neutral and has a compost bin lid where you can chuck all manner of stuff in there and watch the worms and slugs going about their business.

I get what Lewis is doing though. The plumber that installed all the plumbing stuff here told me that his wife used to pour lots of bleach into the septic tank which killed all of the bacteria, fungi, yeasts etc. You never know what the history of a place is.

Incidentally, Lewis, as a suggestion, you could just chuck handfuls of either compost or rich soil into the system from time to time. You're really innoculating the system with bacteria, fungi, yeasts etc... That would work the same.

Yeah, I know plenty of very skinny people too that wouldn't last 10 minutes of work up here. Looks have nothing to do with cardiovascular health - it is indicative for sure - but if someone can work physically hard for hours on end and get up and do it again the next day and they have a bit of extra padding, then they're probably healthier than most.

Too funny. At least there is granite! The stumps here had to go down 8 foot into the clay. It was like concrete that far down. Once I was cleaning out one of the stump holes and thought I'd reach in and grab the last few remaining chunks - the building surveyors here are picky about such matters - and I fell in to the hole upside down and couldn't get out again... Fortunately my lady pulled me back out again - otherwise it would have been a long day - upside down.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Unexplained things like that freak me out. The dogs here are sensitive to all sorts of goings on too. Sometimes they're stalking animals, but other times they just sort of growl at nothing...

Yeah, I get that, it makes sense. I occasionally chuck in mulch and compost to the system here as well as vegie scraps the chickens don't want etc... If you wanted to save some money though you could just chuck in some compost - it maybe the same thing? Or have the same effect. Dunno.

Alcohol is easy to make. You just need sugar and in our sort of climates the old timers used to grow sugar beets (I think they're about 20% sugar content weight for weight) and honey of course (which is about 80% sugar). Sugar is the easy one, I wonder about salt? Dunno.

Olives grow really strongly here so I'm planning on nabbing some second hand get rid of these trees around autumn and planting them. A mature tree will provide 1 litre of Oil per year and you don't really use that much olive oil. It is good stuff.

Did you just slip in two book recommendations? hehe! Well done. Those two books were on my radar too. Are they worth reading? What is your considered opinion?

That is quite warm. How much rain did you get?

Yeah, the pub is a good place for cold winter nights for a good roast meal and beer. Yum!

That sounds like a good outfit and nice work. It is good to see the old buildings getting restored. That is a bit of a passion of mine. The workmanship was generally excellent.

The burger is good. You have to have beetroot in a burger for it to be a proper burger. Well thats what I reckon anyway.

Yeah, the film from around your area looked amazing and not dissimilar from the higher parts of the mountain range here. It was uncanny. The film was worth seeing.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I didn't mean that it was actual granite, just clay that was (hmm) as hard as granite.

Yes, don't clean the toilet with bleach if you want a healthy septic tank. I believe that it is now illegal to put in a septic tank here let alone a cesspit. People have to put in bio bubbles which require an electrical supply. When the electricity goes out, these bio things set off a noisy alarm.

We have just had even colder weather and I was wearing fingerless gloves indoors. The sun was shining from a clear blue sky but it never went above freezing. I would happily swap with your warmth.

Re: Sir Ranulph. I assume that these kind of people are addicted to adrenaline.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris; Oh, gosh. That story about you in the hole was really funny. I hope you have the ability to laugh at yourself. One of the funniest stories on myself is the time I went roaring back to the store to return a pair of rubber gloves. "These are defective! There's just two left gloves!" The lady behind the counter didn't even crack a smile. "You turn one inside out."

I'm always (pleasantly) surprised by my worm box ... and compost heap. They never smell. Other than just rich and earthy.

Oh, yeah. I know I can distill some kind of alcohol out of something. So, I distill the alcohol to press the oil ... Systems! Then I consider that I'm 65 and wonder if everything is going to unravel before I "shuffle off this mortal coil" and there are only so many hours in a day, and days in a life :-).

Oh, things that go bump in the night don't bother me. Just another manifestation of nature. LOL. When I moved in here, before I got the cat, I used to see a "ghost" cat. Usually when I was coming out of the laundry room, into the kitchen. I finally determined it was the angle of view, through some spokes on a kitchen chair, depending on the angle of light coming through the window. Still startles me from time to time.

So, your burgers get a slice of beet? Something I've not heard of, over here. But, it sounds good.

Not a recommendation, just a point of interest. There's a food writer here named John T. Edge. He's pretty well known in the "foodie" world. He's from our American South. He has a series of 4 little books. They explore some food that is considered "typically" American. So, they're a history of whatever food. Where they came from. Usually a story of a foreign introduction and how it was changed to become American. Recipes. Travel. Restaurants and cafes.

The books are: "Donuts: An American Passion" (which I'm reading now), "Fried Chicken: An American Story," "Apple Pie: An American Story" and "Hamburger & Fries: An American Story." I wonder if the hamburger book mentions beets as a possible filler. I guess the "classic" here would be the meat pattie, lettuce, tomato, a slice of onion. Cheese optional. Actually, any of it is optional. And, usually a slather of some kind of sauce, anything from just butter to mayo, to a kind of relish spread. Oh, and pickles. Either in the bun or on the side. Mushrooms are a possibility, but usually not on offer.

All kinds of convolutions possible. And the waiter (me) or the cook (me) had better get it right. Having "slung a lot of hash" in a number of eateries, I can say people are v-e-r-y particular about their food. But a lot of the time, I think it's just about power and control. :-). Ho-Hum. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris; Ooops! You asked about the Buhner books. But first, be glad you don't live here. Otherwise, that hole you got stuck in would be full of water! :-).

I am not a morning person. This morning, I made up a cup of tea, pulled it out of the microwave and discovered I had grabbed the white vinegar bottle, instead of the water bottle. Back to square one. With lots of giggles and and general blame heaped on the cat. If I get all the way out to the truck and discover I've forgotten my glasses, I harangue the cat for not pointing out the obvious. Cats have their uses :-).

Anyway. Herbs, etc.. I mentioned I get a book catalogue from an outfit called Hamilton. Remainders and overstock. They usually send their general catalog, but sometimes, specialty catalogues. Cooking, history ... Healthy Living. In that last, there must be two dozen different books on medicinal herbs. Which are good? Which worthless, or, dangerous. But, back when Ebola was gthe hot topic over on ADR, several people mentioned the Buhner books. "Herbal Antibiotics" and "Herbal Antivirals."

He is readable, entertaining, and grumpy. I can't blame him. Taxonomists give him fits. In many cases, they can't seem to settle on nomenclature and classification. I feel his pain. Seems like anytime I look up a plant on Wikipedia, it has 9 (or more) different species, and it isn't clear which ones are medicinal or useful. I'm sure whole academic careers and tenure ride on such things, but I get the feeling that a lot of it boils down to "how many taxonomists can dance on the head of a pin."

But, to the books. I think virus must be a lot more complicated than bacteria. The bacterial book is 1/3 the size of the virus book. A lot more readable and with more plants whose names I am at least familiar with.

Each plant in the virus book is pretty much laid out the same way ... A general description, species used, common names, parts used. Preparation and dosage. Side effects and contraindications. Herb / drug interactions. Habitat and appearance. Cultivation and collection. Properties of ____/ Actions, Active against, Use to treat ... Where to find it. Plant chemistry, traditional uses. Then he wades into the scientific research. This is pretty much the template he uses for each plant.

All in all, I think the books were worth the price of admission. The bacteria book is very approachable. The virus book, I think, is for a serious practitioner. Lots of plants in it I've never heard of. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Oh well, I took your description in the literal sense.

Actually, years ago I used to have a house that sat on an old lava flow (there are a lot of extinct volcanoes in this part of the world). The clay only went down about 6 foot and then there was actual solid granite. The unfortunate thing was that when I dug a very long and deep strip footing trench, water started running slowly across the top of the granite. I had to mop it up just before the inspection. The trench was backfilled with a huge quantity of structural grade cement mix - which I moved by wheelbarrow from the truck - so that was the end of that as the water went around that over engineered lump of concrete!

Yeah, clay can get really hard. About 8 years ago here, the clay here was as hard as concrete and water simply ran over the surface. Nothing grew in it. Yeah, forget about that good old days stuff digging in that! hehe!

They do that around here too with the alarms and fans etc. It is a system just waiting for a power outage to really see what happens. Honestly if Stumpy the wallaby does a number two in the orchard, the stuff simply breaks down back into the soil. I reckon the whole thing is fear driven. Fortunately my system has no alarms or power as it operates on gravity alone. It was expensive, but simple.

Wow, that is cold. Brrr. It is always the clear winter days/nights where the thermometer plummets. Brrr.

Too true! You know I almost spat muesli all over the screen this morning when I read that last line.

> What did he die of?

> Apparently he was quite fond of adrenalin...

;-)! hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

For sure. Man, I was going: "help!"...

Too funny! You know I once went to work an hour earlier than I needed because I forgot about the daylight savings changeover... Yes, everyone had a good laugh about that.

As long as they stay sort of dry but still moist, they rarely smell. How did you go with the Master Gardener class, did you end up signing up for the classes?

That is how I feel too. There is just so much to learn. I took a loaf of home baked bread to a Waitangi day party yesterday (that is sort of like Australia day for New Zealanders) and people were like: did you make this with a bread maker and then when they found it was just whipped up in the kitchen they were pumping me for the recipe. Good fun, but its a long journey and you can only ever know bits and pieces.

That's a really good way of looking at that sort of thing. I had a weird sort of experience on that front in late December so I was a bit freaked out, but it's all good - maybe. Yours is a very reassuring point of view.

Hey, your fortune is now made. Yeah, beetroot is awesome in a burger. It just aint right without it...

Food history is very interesting and it always amazes me the things that people eat and the different cultural and historical backgrounds to that.

In US film and television donuts are often seen and I've often wondered about the actual reach of those. There isn't really much of a market for them here, but when I was younger they used to sell hot jam donughts at the market. The other ones they used to sell were round ones covered in sugar and cinnamon. Mostly bakeries provide all sorts of other goodies - like the local (well sort of) bakery is well known for its vanilla slices and they're good.

Yeah, that side of the kitchen would really take the fun out of eating. I always try to be polite and respectful to people serving me - I'm not sure whether that has anything to do with the film / book Fight Club though. Sir, don't order the soup today... Just sayin...

Fortunately the ground water table is a bit lower here. Wells would have to be quite deep to see water. The ground is generally moist but not flowing with water.

Well you are in good company! Mornings are just not in focus. That cat is useful. On the other hand, the dogs go mental here until they are fed which doesn't help matters.

That is an interesting point and I suspect that a whole lot of real world information is lost. Completely gone. I collect a lot of herbal books and some of them are very good, but the information can often be contradictory, so I just sort of pick the middle road between the opinions.

Many thanks for the excellent review. It is great to hear about those works and he is a brave man for challenging the mainstream medical industry and providing a workable alternative point of view.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge and Lewis,

I don't know about wishing to get some of this heat: Continued heat for Western Australia. They're doing it pretty tough this summer and Perth has been very hot.

This week is going to be a cooker here too.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris; Haven't started the Master Gardener class yet. My landlord's wife wants to take it at the same time. She has a trip to Detroit in the works (aged parent) and I have my Idaho trip. After that, we'll both sign up. Luckily, one can start in any month.

I'm always at a loss when asked for my bread "recipe." There isn't one. I start with two cups of liquid (usually, water with a bit of milk ... whatever kind ... ideally just beginning to go "off." A bit of honey ... I don't count the two eggs as liquid) and from there it's just add flour (some wheat, some all purpose) maybe throw in some oats) well, you get the idea. Makes two loaves :-).

Donuts are a big deal, over here. Think Homer Simpson. :-). There are several national chains that pretty much just do donuts. The ones from the grocery stores taste pretty good but the ingredients list would give you the horrors. A definition for processed foods = donuts. I have a hard time walking past the "Old Fashioned" maple flavored glazed donuts in the store. Truly, a work of the devil :-).

Pastry and baking is interesting in the foodie world. I recently got a collection of DVDs (from the Culinary Institute of America) and the chef doing the teaching said right at the get to "Baking is a whole 'nother thing and we won't be covering it in this course." Ditto a book on general cooking I looked at from the library. I kind of got the feeling that pastry chefs are a breed apart.

I've never tackled donuts at home. I could say it was for health reasons, but if I want to be honest, it's the mess of deep frying. But, I got a all donut cookbook, recently, and every recipe has a baked alternative. That I want to try.

We have a Mennonite (they're kind of Amish-light) community that my travels used to take me through. A roadside stand ... with THE best baked goods. I bought some just standard old glazed donuts. And they were about the best thing I have ever put in my mouth. I don't know if it was perhaps butter or real lard in them, but they were melt in your mouth.

I have often advised young people that if they want an insight into what a potential mate is really like, they should go out to dinner with them and pay attention to how they treat the wait staff. Lew

Stacey Armstrong said...

Hiya Chris,

Your revamped trailer will provide quite a fancy ride for all that biomass you bring back to your hillside. It looks great. I often wonder if there is a bit of a scrap heap about your place that doesn't make it into the photos? We have a mostly organized salvage area with odd bits of fencing, wood, metal roofing etc that seems like it could be put to use at some point. The ferry ride we have to take to get into town makes a little hoarding seem sensible.

I have really enjoyed all the comments this week. I second and third all the comments on the odd weather happenings. It's unseasonably warm here again today and we definitely exceeded 100mm of rain in the last couple days. Some of my ground comfrey is blooming.

Enjoy your first tomatoes!
Stacey