Monday, 22 June 2015

Worst day eva!


Street art and organic agriculture have alot in common because they are both considered (by some people) to be outside the “system”. That is an unfortunate viewpoint because organic agricultural methods have so much to offer as they are generally great for the environment because they build both top soil and diversity within a location.

On the other hand, street art can sometimes be confronting and often indecipherable, but it also expresses a viewpoint from the socially and economically ignored and it can give them an outlet.

For as long as I can remember, Melbourne has had a culture of street art, protest slogans and generally anti-establishment political commentary displayed across any and all available wall spaces. When I was a child, I remember regularly travelling on the train system from one destination to another, and that travel was enlivened because I was exposed to a world of political and social commentary scrawled in paint along the back fences (generally constructed of corrugated iron. Mmm corrugated iron sheeting - so useful) of some of the inner city houses which abutted the train lines. Some of the political and social commentary was even quite amusing! One example I remember reading, had a map of Australia with the words “Redneck Wonderland” scrawled underneath it and the graffiti inspired the band Midnight Oil to pen a song with the same name. It was very weird because no one ever used that derogatory term here.

At some stage in the past the acclaimed street artist Banksy visited Melbourne and put up a few works of his own. I clearly remember the public outrage when one of his few remaining works was accidentally destroyed:  Iconic street art by Banksy destroyed in Prahran

Anyway, there was a less serious side to graffiti too. When I was a teenager I’d see that people would draw a love heart on a wall and in the middle of that stylised heart scrawl something along the lines of "Kevin 4 Eva". It was very common. I did realise at the time that by using the word Eva, the writer had meant to use the word “Ever”, but it always used to amuse me thinking that this Eva sure was a popular girl. The fact that I’d never actually met a girl called Eva didn’t really decrease my amusement!

I’d been thinking about the delightful and sought after personage of Eva this week because today is the winter solstice and that marks the shortest day of the year. And this week also produced the worst production for the solar power system at the farm eva (sic)! 4.2kW of solar panels produced a measly 0.375kWh in an entire day and the photo below shows a good example of the very serious mist which cloaked the farm for four consecutive days:
Fog and mist enveloped the farm for four consecutive days
The system itself uses 0.5kWh every day simply to operate.

About six months ago, a meeting was held in the nearby township promoting solar electricity generation and a few people independently approached me and suggested that I speak at that particular meeting. In every instance I declined because I realised that my experiences with solar electricity production didn’t match their expectations and whilst I enjoy public speaking, I didn’t want to be the one to have to point that dissonance out. From my perspective, people that spruik a potential solar electricity future are akin to gamblers as they talk up the sunny days and somehow gloss over the cloudy ones.
Monitoring display screens from that day – SOC = State of Charge + IN = Amps generated for the day x 25V = 0.375kWh
At the end of the fourth day of solid fog as the dusk settled and the sun (what sun?) disappeared over the horizon, the skies suddenly cleared. It was very cold as it was just above freezing that night, and the stars glowed overhead in their full crispy glory and the milky way could be seen as a streak of milky white light across the sky. Stepping outside into that night time, I wondered whether I would see a shooting star fall and then, bang, almost as if on demand one fell and it made me start slightly.

The next morning, a frost had settled on the ground. Poopy the Pomeranian, who with his thick double winter coat, would be expected to be able to cope with such things in his stride was gingerly walking around the herbage below the house and sort of asking me: What is this frozen stuff boss?
Poopy is startled by the light frost
The light frost was a bit of a concern, but fortunately all of the plants struggled through unharmed, including the tea camellia which I seem to have managed to have planted in the one protected and frost free spot on the farm.
The tea camellia survives the recent light frost, although it has lost its flowers
Then just to confuse me further the weather warmed up and produced a glorious sunny and warm winter day. That time was used to excavate - by hand - a flat site for the new chicken house and enclosure project. The site excavations were completed and a couple of steel corner posts were cemented into the ground. It was beautiful, warm and still, a perfect winter’s day.
The new site for the chicken house and enclosure was selected and construction commenced
I was hoping to get a couple of extra posts in the ground over the next day, but later that night the wind picked up. And the wind gusts became stronger, and then just for good measure they became even stronger again. The farm is not perched in a windy part of the world, but occasionally when the wind does decide to blow, it blows very strongly indeed. It is not a smart idea to be working underneath very large trees on a windy day, because if a tree falls over or the head of a tree falls off, either one of those can kill you, so the construction came to a complete halt today. 

In case you remain unconvinced, this massive tree which I reckon is over 30 times my height fell over today with a resounding thud!
A big tree fell over today roots and all
The wind is howling still as I write this and it is expected to continue howling again tomorrow.

Today is the winter solstice, and over the past few weekly blogs I've been posting the solar PV statistics:
Battery % full at the start of the day - Amount generated by the 4.2kW of PV panels during that day
Tuesday 16th June – 85% full – 1.8kWh
Wednesday 17th June – 80% full – 1.8kWh
Thursday 18th June – 75% full – 0.4kWh
Friday 19th June – 65% full – 2.7kWh
Saturday 20th June – 65% full – 2.6kWh
Sunday 21st June – 65% full – 6.7kWh
Monday 22nd June – 75% full – 4.8kWh

How did the house get here?
The remains of the steel water tank that was a featured in last week’s blog via a donation to the household from a kindly neighbour was converted into a couple of new raised garden beds.
Toothy lets me know what he thinks of the new raised garden beds made from a donated damaged steel water tank
The firewalls which surround the underneath of the house were slowly constructed and a concrete slab in an outdoor under cover area was also constructed during February 2010.
The firewalls protecting the underneath of the house were constructed
The chicken house and enclosure was stocked with happy birds from a local supplier and it is notable that four of the birds in the photo below are still enjoying the chooktopia today!
The chicken enclosure and run was stocked with birds
During that month I also manage to scrounge some additional steel raised garden beds, although I was now travelling much further afield to acquire the damaged steel water tanks as they were getting rarer locally.
New raised garden beds were created from scrounged damaged steel water tanks
The council had required me to install a culvert, which is basically a very large and expensive concrete 300mm (1 foot) drain under the driveway which collects all of the rain water which runs off and along the roadway. That culvert then just happens to also deposit that rain water into a swale which fortunately happens to be at the top of the shady orchard. It is a big pipe and sometimes, the house wombat will use the pipe as a super highway when travelling from one side of the driveway to the other!
I assist the local earth moving guy with positioning the large concrete pipes in the culvert
The building surveyor took issue with the excavations which he considered to be too close to the rear of the house. This was also despite the fact that many sites in the area showed signs of stability with earthworks for over a century or more. Anyway, the local earth moving guy made short work of that job. The tea camellia now lives in that sheltered area protected from the winds and frost by the house.
The local earth moving guy makes short work of the job
To be continued…

It is crazy windy outside the house here and the temperature outside here at about 8.30pm is 6.1’C degrees Celsius (43’F). So far this year there has been 371.6mm (14.6 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week's total of 348.8mm (13.7 inches).

33 comments:

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Great to hear about the moth and best of luck with them this season. The teasel plant looks like a sort of thistle plant similar to the scotch thistles or they have the same colour as the globe artichoke flowers here. Quite stunning and I bet the bees love them. Speaking of which have you seen any more of them flying about your household? The hive here kicked out the drones about a week or two back. It is a brutal world...

Outside tomato plants. Nice. They wouldn't produce fruit here until your equivalent of mid to late August /early September, but give them a bit of heat and water and they'll climb quite quickly. Down here, the blue banded bees and bumble bees pollinate them - among other insects which I have no name for.

That is an unfortunate side effect of your previous business, but I fully understand given that you'd know the personalities and stories behind them. They may get an "under new management" one day? Maybe? The list will never be finished (evil genius chuckle...)!

I am mildly horrified at the wait staff story and thanks for the real world perspective. They're doing it hard. There is not really a culture of tipping here and people get paid the minimum rates (and weekend and nighttime penalty rates) as long as they don't take cash which falls outside the system. Ouch. I guess that wait staff would have no choice other than taking the meal?

Exactly. Services are one of the big ticket items that get more expensive to provide once people are outside of an urban area. The funny thing is that people can demand the services in remote areas too, which I find sort of weird, but then look at how little electricity I have to deal with every day during the depths of winter too. Sorry to hear about your landline being dead (I don't have one connected here). Why would software have to be upgraded on a phone (sorry, I'm a bit old school with mobile phones - my is like from the dark ages!)?

Yeah, sometimes voice messages and SMS text messages can arrive here hours after the person actually called and sometimes it's in the middle of the night and I'm going: "Who died? Why would someone be calling in the middle of the night?". It is usually the phone company telling me I've used 50% of my monthly usage though... Doh! The cell towers have to know where you are to be able to send you messages and if your area has spotty service then you are going in and out of range. I use a massive yagi antenna on my roof for the internet service and it is pretty quick as I have line of sight to 3 separate towers. That can be a problem as sometimes it is a bit too quick and your monthly bandwidth disappears before your eyes...

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Your phone may have an external antenna attachment? That would help a great deal. Trees, buildings and mountains can effectively block the signals between your phone and the tower.

Tell me about it. One massive chunk off a tree almost took out the powerline here today (the same line that I took out years ago - ooops!) and the remainder of the tree is now looming over it in a threatening sort of a way. Doesn't bother me, except that if the tree comes down I won't be able to get out of the driveway... And that I reckon is the distant future as stuff goes wrong and it may or may not be repaired depending on whether there are the funds or the economic incentive to do so.

I don't get the whole electronic library thing. Reading a book on an e-reader would be a strain for me as it just doesn't feel right somehow. I enjoy the feel and texture of books and what happens if the e-book has a glitch and you have the last chapter deleted? Or even one of the middle chapters. Imagine trying to follow the game of thrones book series and several chapters were deleted, it would be pretty difficult trying to ponder the mind of George RR Martin! Although you could guess that some seriously important characters may have been killed off. ;-)!

Spot on. Laws are only relevant if they're enforced. Other than that they're kindling. Sorry to hear that as I had a different perception of the US system. The architect that designed the house here said that I was the last of the Mohicans which was sort of sad, to me anyway.

How's that tea camellia going?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris and Lew

This is really a hangover from last week. I am also utterly shocked at tips being used to replace part of the minimum wage.

Agree about nudging us towards urban living, we are so much easier to control and keep tabs on if we all live within a small area. The further out that people live the more anarchic they can be, for bad or good.

I think that my climate must be similar to Lew's, I saw my first cinnabar moth just over a week ago but there is no ragweed yet (the plant that it wants here). My tomatoes are flowering inside and out; the greenhouse ones have 2 tomatoes starting, they are of the so called black variety which seems to deal with colder weather.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Happy solstice! Slaughter a goat and howl at the moon :-). Oh, the days are long. I'm putting the chooks to bed at 9 PM. It always seems odd that the downhill run is ahead of us, but the warmer months lay ahead.

My gosh. That downed tree is something. Next years firewood?

Teasel is an interesting plant. Quit stately, but can be invasive. Not native, to here. Water collects in the place where the leaves meet the stem ... which catches insects ... which increases seed production. So, they're considered slightly carnivorous. Any carnivorous plants in your area? You can make tea (never tried it) from the root. It has good things in it. The dried teasel looks quit nice, plopped in a vase. A cheap floral arrangement. Lasts forever.

The bees have stopped coming inside. There was over a dozen for a couple of days ... then 3 or 4 a day. Then, none. I still don't know where they came from.

The fennel is getting ready to bloom. I wonder if I'll get the wide variety of pollinators, that I did last year. The plants are a good 6 feet tall and very bushy. The chooks seem to really like the shade. They don't eat the leaves, but I think they eat the seed. There doesn't seem to be much propagation in the chook pen.

My tea plant is still living happily in the kitchen window. Every day, after an hour or two direct sunlight, I move it back so it gets more diffuse light.

Hmmm. I'll have to look into an external antenna attachment. There is a port on the side that I don't know what it's for. And, maybe it's because I've turned off the GPS function (it saves the battery), that my service is a bit spotty. I don't know what the software upgrades are for, but I get a text about once a week that it's time for an upgrade. All fine and good, but the server is never available. Maybe if I try it in the middle of the night?

I've started reading "The Blue Zones; 9 Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest." by Dan Buettner. Areas of the world where the number of people over 100 are statistically unusual. And, they're healthy and active. Interesting stuff. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

How about that girl Eva! Apparently she really gets around; I've heard of her here, too.

That is serious fog that you get there. When it is foggy here it usually only lasts a few hours and then blows away. We have a lot more wind than we did when we first moved here 26 years ago. I love it! So much easier to dry laundry and helps some with the mildew from our usually high humidity.

I am happy that your tea camellia is still surviving. I haven't found one yet; the mail-order places I checked with in the spring were out of them. Will have to get after it again.

I always think that we have big trees (they average 100 feet - 30.5 meters) until I look at yours. We had a couple come down in a storm over the week-end. One of them would have landed on my pickup truck - if it hadn't been in the shop at the time.

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I'm shocked by that practice with the tips too. The race to the bottom is a frightening thing to behold.

Exactly, I enjoy living in a remote area as it provides some freedoms which can't be enjoyed in an urban. But with freedom comes responsibility too and there is a closer feeling of connection with the land here that would be hard to feel in an urban area. Do you enjoy that as well?

That sounds like a fair call. It is strange but not many pests are out of control here. Sometimes one species tends to push an advantage, but they get knocked back sooner or later. I used to get the white cabbage moth, but parasitic wasps seem to have a feast with them - it is pretty brutal.

Black is a bit of a loose description as they're really a dark green to me. I grow the cherry variety as the full size fruit won't ripen as there is not enough heat. Are your lot full sized tomatoes? As an interesting side note, the red cherry tomatoes have crossed with the cherry black Russians and I've been collecting the seeds from them for a few years now and they're very good and quite tasty.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Happy summer solstice to you too! Enjoy that goat kebab or curry and don't let it go to waste! hehe! I'll live vicariously through your long and warm summer days.

Yeah, I've been wondering about that too, because the coldest weather here centres around the winter solstice, whilst the warmest weather follows the summer solstice. I asked an acquaintance about it who has a science background and he reckons that it is thermal inertia in action - it takes a while for the earth to heat up, but that heat is easily lost. There are cold snaps here in August and that is when you are most likely to get snowfall, but overall it is warmer.

That tree is massive, but I'll tell you a little secret - it fell not far from the property boundary but was actually on the neighbouring property, so there isn't really any firewood in there for me. I may help them with cutting the behemoth up though. I reckon that may provide more than a few years firewood! hehe!

Ahh, many plants are not adverse to the odd chunk of protein. It may evolve into a triffid, that one. Oh yeah, there are quite a few plants of the sundew variety here which happily trap and eat ants and other insects. They don't look that different from a venus fly trap really and are quite common. Anything that eats ants is OK by me.

It is interesting that the flowers from teasel last quite a long time. The native ever-last flowers survive the hottest summers here too, although they slowly dry as the season progresses.

Yeah, it makes you wonder where and how the bees snuck into the house? There is a story there for sure.

Over summer, I walk past the fennel and grab a few fronds to enjoy. And oh yeah, they get big! The birds here only ever eat the seeds too and the wrens and robins are constantly on the hunt for those seeds, whilst the plants spring from the same root systems every year. Some annuals are like that.

Your tea plant is spoiled rotten! hehe! Nice to hear that it is doing well. By the way, you are braver than I because I haven't had the heart to sample some of the leaves in a concoction yet.

Oh no - the unidentified accessory port sounds like a nice way to part you from your hard earned cash, although it may just also provide an external antenna port. My phone does, but it is very old school. Maybe the internet will provide a solution and cable, antenna etc? Seriously though the external antenna's really do help and are worth your time. I don't know about the GPS function as that wouldn't work here because of the tree canopy and it isn't supported by my phone anyway. Mind you, I wouldn't trust a GPS over a map any day!

They are interesting too. Did the book cover the island of Sardinia? I sometimes have wondered about that place after reading about it and the denizens there. It may be a combination of heavy mineralisation of the soil, pleasant climate and a culture of activity, but you've read the book so don't hold back - what was the general conclusion? I remember reading about the old timer timber getters in the south island of New Zealand and despite the appalling conditions and cold weather they mostly lived to a ripe old age.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

hehe! Glad you enjoyed the little joke and nice to see that Eva made an appearance on your shores too. hehe! The funny thing is that you don't see that any more.

It was a very serious fog and four days in a row was a bit of a record. Does your sun burn the early morning fog away? The wind is exceptionally good for drying things. Is it windier up your part of the world over winter or summer or the in-between seasons?

Thanks I reckon they may do well in your part of the planet and would be well worth your time as they produce leaves for both the black and green tea. If that spot is frost free for the remainder of winter I'll re-try a coffee shrub there - you never know?

Well a 100ft tree is something to be reckoned with too. The canopy species here is Eucalyptus Obliqua (Messmate) which is the second tallest flowering plant on the planet. I stumbled across a giant stump the other day on the farm which I'd only ever seen side on so didn't quite appreciate how big this tree was and I'll try and get a photo of it over the next week or two. I am truly glad to hear that both you and your pickup truck survived.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Heather,

Oh my, that is a hard work experience and I can't believe that meals weren't a part of the deal at that low hourly rate. Mind you, tipping is not part of the culture here but all the same it would be hard for you at that time to make ends meet if anything went wrong.

Thanks for the feedback on cooking. As an interesting side note cooking can be hard here too as most meals are started from the basic raw ingredients and sometimes after a long work day... I've been experimenting with the dog food and biscuits too so as to learn how to make them without it being such a drain of time. Seriously, the process occurs over a few days. Commercial producers can do huge batches of the things and it isn't a problem for them. One oven pan contains about 32 biscuits now and a couple of batches of them in the wood oven and the whole thing is done and dusted, but it takes a lot of planning and simplification.

Yeah, I was wondering about the pressure in a commercial kitchen too and I agree wholeheartedly as the cooking and meals is the stuff of domestic bliss (as long as there is not too much on your plate!)

Enjoy your house guests!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Hey, Chris:

Yes, it's usually the sun that burns the fog away. We see fog mostly just in the early morning. It's windier here in the winter, but since summer is when we get the big thunderstorms and the occasional hurricane, we see a fair amount of wind then, too.

Please tell us more about your tomatoes. Tomatoes and peppers are the biggest crops at our house. Oddly enough, even with our only 3 hours of direct sun per day, they still thrive. Then again, we treat them like they were a long-lost relative, arrived with a large fortune. We grow 9 or 10 varieties, all from seed saved here, except for an occasional plant I buy to add new genes to the mix. Some of the seeds saved were started 20 years ago.

I do hope to see a photo of your giant stump!

Pam

Coco said...

Hi Chris,

Thank you for the helpful info on the retaining walls! We have both freestanding and retaining walls in our future.

And I look forward to seeing the new chook house. Any hints you can give about siting, size, orientation, security etc., would be great. One of the potential uses for our stone is a henhouse/garden shed combo. In the US, timber seems to be the preferred material. Here, it's brick and/or cement block which tend to be utilitarian but ugly, IMHO.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, I did do a little poking around on the internet. Seems GPS, on or off, doesn't effect if you get calls or not. Since I use neither GPS or Bluetooth, I have them turned off. Saves the battery.

By the way, the copy of "Blue Zones" I have is a second edition. Zones identified so far: Sardinia, Okinawa Loma Linda, California (the 7th Day Adventists), Costa Rica and Greece. It seems with Sardinia it's: eat a lean, plant based diet acceted with meat, put family first, drink goat's milk, celebrate elders, take a walk, drink a glass or two of red wine daily and laugh with friends. Sardinian dwarf curry (which has anti-inflammatory and bactericidal properties). There was also a bit about the high consumption of mastic oil. From the mastic plant, Pistacia lentiscus. Something I'd never heard of.

It seems like every Blue Zone has slightly different possible causes of why people live so long. The Adventists down in California have a very high nut consumption. Haven't gotten to the part of the book yet where they lay out the "9 Lessons." Will keep you informed :-). It's interesting stuff. Now, I don't expect to live forever, but I'd like to live a long time and if so, would rather be healthy and active.

When I get down to serious cooking, I usually try and plan to cook enough for 2 or 3 extra meals. As this morning. I'll do my oatmeal with apples and berries, underneath. Raw banana on top. Milk. What I do is, when it's cooled down, I scrap half of it out into another bowl (before I put on the banana and milk) and pop it in the fridge. It's quit good even after 3 or 4 days in the fridge. I just pop it in the microwave for 3 minutes, do up the banana and milk, and I've got an extra whole meal.

There are some restaurants (really high end ones) that I've heard of that pay their staff no wage at all. They live on the tips. Lew

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

Nice. Yes, we've had very mixed solar production here too. It's great to see your numbers, thanks for sharing them. I think we get a lot more sunshine in Adelaide than you do there (with the flip side that we've actually had very little rain so far this winter, just days of drizzle -- maybe 8mm in June). We haven't had to boost the hot water yet though which is good.

I've been playing around with the wood heater in the lounge. It's missing glass and I tried to light it without glass on Sunday. Got a fairly smokey lounge-room before I extinguished it ;-) oh well, I'll just need to get glass I guess.

Regarding rural vs urban. My ideal would be in a town (Mt Gambier sized?) with an acre (we have about 900 sq meters). I don't think I've got the skill or inclination to be totally self-sufficient, and I think it makes sense to trade which requires neighbours. The comment about control is valid though -- authoritarian governments love urban areas.

Cheers, Angus

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Ahh, you've just described your weather as being subject to change with short notice. ;-)! The hurricanes are a bit of a worry, but then everywhere has risks. I see that you get the heaviest rainfall totals in summer - that would turn a property into a jungle!

Tomatoes require heat more than direct sunlight to ripen, that's why they do so well in glass houses and poly tunnels. They're one of the biggest crops here too, but I'm hoping the apples and apricots produce more as time goes on and the trees mature.

If you have saved seed for 20 years, the genetic diversity of the seed would be quite high - especially if you select seed from a number of different plants and fruit. Mine are crossing here and I'm ending up with some unusual combinations, but they all taste good so who cares? How are you going with the tomato fruit, when do you reckon the first ones will be ripe (it would be the equivalent of early to mid August here depending on the number of hot days)?

Yeah, I'll try and take a photo over the next week or so. There is one even bigger up on the main ridge which is in a slightly out of the way place.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

Thank you. Yes a mix of the two types of walls is very useful and I look forward to hearing about them. Are you planning to plant into the soil behind the retaining walls?

No worries. I'll prepare a video with a walk through and commentary which will be much easier than trying to explain the project in words. Stone would make an interesting chicken house and/or enclosure, but a word of warning though: consider cementing the stones to get rid of gaps between them in which rodents, reptiles, etc. may wish to live as the guaranteed feed and nighttime safety is just too tempting for such animals. Part of the project will be figuring out ways to foil them all, so the details should be interesting.

Yeah, sheds don't need to look utilitarian at all whilst they can still retain perfect functionality.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

A good consideration. How long do the batteries last in your unit anyway? My old school flip phone can go for about a week between charges which is pretty handy. How useless is GPS? Everyone who uses it to get here, gets lost - every, single, person! The others that follow the maps and directions arrive no dramas. I'll bet zombies don't need GPS systems! Smart phones tend to get less than a day from a full charge depending on how much they're used - but I could be wrong about that.

Sardinia - score! Hadn't heard about the Japanese island cluster. I wonder how the 7th day Adventists are coping with the drought - although nut trees can be very productive in a drought if they are really well established. I see that with the chestnut trees around here which no one seems to want to pick (although being shaped like a morning star doesn't help). Do they turn the nuts into a sort of flour? I saw a recipe recently for chestnut pancakes which looked nice.

Costa Rica I get, but Greece - the youth unemployment rates are phenomenal. In fact I heard on the radio today that many Greeks are now fleeing Europe and settling in Melbourne which has the highest population of Greek people outside of Greece.

I am waiting to hear the 9 lessons, don't hold back on us! hehe! I use olive oil for cooking here and not much of it either as nothing really gets fried.

Dunno about goats milk as it tastes a bit goatee to me, but then a couple of weeks of that and a palate adapts. I've had sheeps milk on a dairy down on Kanagaroo Island not from the commenter Angus's home town and it was pretty good - much smoother than cows milk.

Healthy and active are the way to go... I try that here too, whilst also providing time to recuperate from all of the activities. Speaking of which I have a day off tomorrow, so I'm wondering what sort of mischief will ensue? Probably not much at all...

Your oatmeal sounds very nice and an excellent start to the day - although I'm just assuming that it is a breakfast meal. When I was studying at night whilst working full time, sometimes I'd get home very late from uni and just eat a meal of cereal and then crash out - get up the next day and do the whole thing over again.

I've often felt that working arrangements aren't very flexible on the off chance that things go wrong in your personal life and you just need time to fix them up. Most employers aren't very sympathetic to that argument. Certainly I feel that we work far harder and far longer now than when I first commenced in the work force in the very late 80's. Things were a bit more relaxed and carefree back then, mind you that was over and done with here by the early 90's when I was scrambling just to put food on the table and keep a roof over my head.

Wow, that is gobsmacking and mildly outrageous. Yes, I've read that in New York a lot of younger people have to work as unpaid interns - where I reckon they're being thoroughly exploited. Not good.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

Thank you and I enjoy your writing too and noticed that you have a new blog entry up today: Overreach. Good stuff.

Yeah, you'll get a bit more winter sunlight being 2.5'N of here and slightly less summer sunlight, but overall I believe we get about the same amount of sunlight. I read that Adelaide has been dry this June, but I didn't realise just how dry. 62mm here so far for June. Ouch. I hope you are saving your water for summer for your most excellent garden?

With the solar numbers too, remember that that batteries cannot take in everything that is produced by the solar panels and once they skip past about 80% full, the rate of charge that they can take in gets progressively reduced and the numbers reflect what went into the batteries and not what could have gone into the batteries from the solar panels. Hope that makes sense?

Haha! Too funny, oh yeah, they need glass allright. Bunnings sells the glass fibre padding for the heater door and glass cutters sell the 5mm pyrex type glass. You can quickly tell if they've cheated you because when you look down through the edge of normal glass it is green. In the fire ready stuff it is pink / red. You need the fibre glass because without the very expensive glass ($1,000m2) may break.

Mt Gambier has an awesome climate and anywhere along that coastline right through into Portland and Warrnambool (on the train line to Melbourne - although it is a long way) are excellent - well they do dairy there so it must be good. An acre is an excellent size as it is quite manageable - especially a flat acre (or even slightly undulating). You could swap the word inclination (a good choice by the way) for sheer bloody mindedness! hehe!

Cheers and I'll pop by your blog and have a look.

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I charge my phone about once a day. Of course, the phone was only $20 and the battery that came with it is probably rubbish. Oh, I turned off the GPS and Bluetooth awhile ago. The manual even recommended it to save the battery.

The Adventists just seem to snack on whole nuts. Nothing mentioned about nut flours. I checked out their Loma Linda brand of vegetarian food and it's mostly meat substitutes. Vege scallops in a can?

Besides frying eggs in olive oil, I also spike my rice and oatmeal with a bit before I nuke them. It helps prevent boil over. As you know, olive oil is fine, but it's got to be kept at a lower temperature. Longer cooking times. More patience. Oh, I often have breakfast for dinner. Sometimes I just get a craving in the evening for oatmeal or a nice egg sandwich for dinner. Occasionally, french toast. Which is, in case you call it something different down under .... soak bread in egg and milk with a dash of vanilla ... maybe nutmeg or pepper. Fry. Slather with butter. Or, jelly or syrup. That's one thing I like about living by myself. I can eat pretty much anything I have a craving for ... at any odd time. :-).

Well, I finished up "Blue Zones." I want to think about it a bit, and re-read the final recommendations. They're pretty extensive. And, they have a web site I want to check out.

Well, I'm off for my weekly trip to town. And, a couple of extra stops, today. Oil for the mower ... aspirin for Beau.

It's supposed to get into the low 90s, here, over the next week. My friends in Council, Idaho will be putting up with 108F! No thanks. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Same here too, although it never really looks as though the phone needs the charge. When the power goes out in the area, the neighbours various battery powered devices die pretty quickly. I've offered them the ability to re-charge here, but I suspect there may be underlying pride issues, but I don't really know?

Good to see that you are the sort of person that reads manuals. I read them too, but plenty of people have a different opinion on that matter. hehe!

Seriously, they eat whole nuts? Did the book mention whether they cooked them or not? Raw chestnuts are ordinary tasting and a little bit of roasting takes the taste and edibility a long way. Did the book mention what types of nut trees? Vege scallops - you know, I'm not getting excited... It is a hard sell.

Nice work with the olive oil. I add a splash of it to the top of bread loaves just to assist with browning them in the oven. Nice work with the meals, it's a bit subversive really, but I totally get it. French toast sounds quite lethal, but is probably very yummy. If I'm feeling slack, I generally make an omelette which is good because all of the ingredients originate from here and I just sort of scrounge around the garden which can make for some unusual tastes, but it is a good way to get some greens and herbs in your food.

Living long and healthy I get and am interested to hear the 9 lessons (don't hold back on us), but to be immortal would be kind of boring after a while. Fortunately nature doesn't allow us to experience that level of boredom. ;-)!

Hope the trip into town was pleasant.

Well, that is absolute news to me. I wasn't aware that you could give aspirin to dogs for short periods of time. Wow, the internet is an amazing place. Speaking of which I have to go and borrow a cutting of the nearby white willow - hope they don't notice the missing chunk? Probably not as it is a very big tree. Thanks for the reminder as winter is rapidly continuing along and it will be summer again before I know it. Time speeds up the longer you spend on this planet.

108'F, yup, not saying I told you so, but ouch that is hot.

Cheers

Chris



orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Street art: When I was young the heart was carved in a tree with an arrow and an initial at each end. Things then went urban and the hearts moved to toilets! Many, many years ago I went to the toilet in the London school of economics. The entire door inside was covered in tiny writing; I vaguely remember that it was riveting philosophy. I don't really care for most of the graffiti these days think that it despoils the surroundings; Banksie is different though.

My black tomatoes are more purple in colour; I have 4 different sizes but offhand I have forgotten their names. Ah, the 3rd size down are de Bareo.

I also put a bit of oil in water to stop rice etc boiling over.

My relationship with the land and everything that grows and lives on it can best be described as mystical. A subject that I tend to avoid.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Oh, yeah. Dogs and aspirin. When I first moved here and realized that Beau came with the place, I noticed he had real problems with his hips. I always kind of held my breath when he went up and down the deck stairs. He took a tumble, once or twice. Then I met an old "dog" guy and was talking to him about it. He suggested smashing a baby aspirin and slipping it in something. Soooo ... every day as part of Beau's meal routine, I cut off about a third of a cheap wiener and give it a little cut, lengthwise. I smash a baby aspirin between two spoons and slip in inside. Beau loves his medicinal wiener :-). Got to watch my fingers :-). The difference is amazing. He gets around a lot better and doesn't seem to be in pain. No more tumbles on the steps. I can tell when he's having a good day. He lifts his leg. When not, he squats. Oh, the indignity! :-). When that happens, I gaze off into space in some other direction and pretend I didn't see it. :-).

OK. Blue Zones. It's a little complicated because the Greeks eat a lot of honey and rotate through different herbal teas that they pick off the slopes. Folks in Costa Rica sleep and lot and eat corn as a major part of their diet. So, there is a suggested cross-cultural plan for westerners. 1.) Be active without having to think about it. I think you've got this covered, Chris :-). 2.) Hara gachi bu. It's an Okinawan saying. Stop eating when you're 80% full. 3.) Avoid meat and processed foods. A plant based diet it better. 4.) Grapes of life. Drink red wine in moderation. A daily drink of wine, beer or spirits may accrue some health benefits. 5.) Purpose now. Time to see the big picture. "Okinawans call it ikigai and the Costa Ricans call it plan de vida. Essentially translates as "Why I wake up in the morning." 6.) Downshift. Take time to relieve stress. 7.) Belong. Take part in a spiritual community. 8.) Loved ones first. Make family a priority. 9.) Right tribe. Be surrounded by people who share Blue Zone values.

Just some observations. Most of the Blue Zones seem to be areas where the population was pretty isolated. Traditional ways of living lasted a lot longer than other parts of the world. And, the Blue Zones seem to be shrinking or disappearing due to the adoption of Western ways of living. The Adventists eat all kinds of nuts. Doesn't seem to make any difference if they are raw, toasted or fried. A small handful or two a day, either eaten as a snack or slipped into other recipes. Oh, and they also drink incredible amounts of water.

I notice the library has another book, "Blue Zone Solutions" that I've put on hold. Sounds like more stories, recipes and such to enable a Western adoption of a Blue Zone lifestyle. I checked out the website and may sign up. I'm slow to just jump on a website as I calculate the value to "noise" (spam). Looks like a pretty good one that would have low impact on my in box :-).

Oh! You mentioned youth unemployment in Greece. I've also seen a couple of articles that mentioned that youth in Greece and Italy are returning to the old home villages in droves. Rejoining the family structure and taking up the old ways, again. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Blue zones: I didn't see a mention of similar genetic profiles. I regard genetics as the major reason for a long life. Wish I could remember the name of the man who wrote a book about his lifestyle plus yoga, which was to result in a long life. He died at the age of 70.

We no longer have survival of the fittest in 1st world countries but this may still be the case in small isolated communities.

My dead oak is being cut down on Wednesday.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

You still see those here in various spots and sometimes they're from a very long time ago. Unfortunately, the people never realised that they are putting a wound in the tree and it would last for decades! Actually, now that you mention it, two of the earlier explorers down under left their initials in a tree before expiring Burke and Wills Tree. The two of them were very well financed, but somewhat lacking in common sense and they actually refused help and assistance from the Aboriginies who couldn't quite understand why they would choose to die in what the locals considered a land of plenty.

What were you doing in the London School of Economics - I sense a story there?

In my first job, some cheeky wag scrawled on the back of the door of the lift the name of the workplace and Heartbreak city all circled by a stylised love heart. hehe! It always used to make me smile seeing that and wondering about their lost love.

Wow, purple tomatoes sound very interesting. Do they taste OK? Do your larger tomatoes ripen (although from memory you have them in a green house?)?

It does help with the rice doesn't. Tell you what though, how much mess is boiled over rice water when it burns too. I feel I'm cheating a bit now with rice as this year I bought a rice cooker and most machines don't really impress me, but this thing just works. It is amazing and the internal pot is on some sort of weight spring switch. It is a bit fancy you know! ;-)!

That is lovely to hear, it is a bit mystical here too and I am inordinately grateful to have the chance to live here with all of the forest and forest dwellers.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate, you're good. It had never even occurred to me to try aspirin on a dog, I must have been confused with cats for some reason because I believe they're poisonous for them? Yeah, the smashing and meat technique is an excellent way to give medicine to dogs and they always try their best to separate the two, but to no avail! Sir Scruffy is a bit crunchy in his advanced years, so I'll pick some up for him. Even more reason to grab a cutting of the white willow. I hope no other dogs are around to see him squat...

Honey is meant to be amazing food and has a whole lot of benefits. I bought a tub of it recently and it tasted a bit weird though, but it wasn't my usual suppliers and the mead has turned out ultra sweet and I can't actually drink it - dry is usually preferable. Now, I realise there is no sympathy from you in such matters, but I sort of suspected that the seller topped up the honey with sugar syrup - or fed the bees on sugar syrup? How are you going with the herbal teas? You'd have a lot of herbs to choose from right now.

No 2 can be a bit hard to gauge thinking back to some Vietnamese street food I bought the other day - best spring rolls ever. Oh, they were deep fried too. Yum! I reckon we've got most of those 9 covered - we'll just have to ignore no 2 for now? How do you score on them? Do you reckon you have to do all 9?

Yeah, spam can be a right hassle. I changed my email routing to save a bit of cash and have ended up with more spam... Do you get much on your service?

I've read that too. It is running at about 50% there right now. It dropped from 49.9% to 49.7% and they were calling that a big win. Oh my I was a bit worried. Spain, Portugual and Italy are all suffering as well. There would be riots on the streets here if those numbers were here. I spotted this site which has the current statistics. It makes for uncomfortable reading: Youth unemployment rates. Ouch.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Well, that would certainly damage the guys credibility. As I was reading the ADR this week I was wondering whether anyone said, "If they just tried a bit harder they'd achieve the goal?" Dunno.

My lot is a mixed bag for long lifespans so who knows? How do your family measure up on that front?

Yeah, I was thinking about your oak and house when I posted that photo on the blog this week. Often if large trees have an easy and regular access to water, they don't put down adequate tap roots. That one in the photo was in a natural drainage channel. Apologies, I realise that it brings you pain and I feel for both you and the tree and hope the whole thing goes smoothly.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I particularly liked the ADR article this week. Comments so far were the usual mixed bag. I don't always agree with him but I read him for his superlative intelligence.

All my tomatoes ripen. I find that the black ones have a stronger taste which I like; my son doesn't though.

Longevity: No centinarians in my family but my mother went to 94 and her sister to 98. My father died at 50 but he had had rheumatic fever as a boy and it left him with a damaged heart. However, for those who have no long lived family members, my half brother lived to be 89 regardless of our father's demise at 50 and his mother's death at 38. This brother of mine had a terrible life, nothing healthy about it at all. He had schizophrenia for which he had every ghastly treatment used during his early life. He drank and at one time lived rough. Make of this what you can!

I was at the LSE to take the Mensa exam. I had (very childishly) waited a long time to do this because my sister had passed it and I didn't want to find out that I was less intelligent than her. No worries, I passed okay. I stopped being a Mensa member a long time ago when the internal politics of the UK branch became dubious. I have no reason to believe that that is still the case. Anyhow I am not really clubbable.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Inge - Oh, I suppose genetics has a lot to do with it. Most of the populations they looked at were fairly homogenous. Except the Adventists ... There's some interesting studies out from Integrative Medicine (aka Alternative Medicine) that how we handle stress and what we eat can actually turn on, or off, different parts of our genes. So we're not quit as captive to our genes as was thought, before.

London School of Economics? My, my. You know, Sir Mick Jagger is alumnus. He and I share a birthday. But he's older :-). Not that it probably means much, but I also share a birthday with George Orwell, Shaw and Stanley Kubrick. Oh, and Gracie Allen of the Burns and Allen comedy team :-).

I don't know if I have an exactly mystical connection with where I live, but I sure spend a lot of time looking at it. Enjoying it. Tending it as best I can. I also don't talk much about my views on the mystical. People think you're potty! :-)

Yo, Chris - The aspirin I give Beau is 81mg. Since Sir Scruffy is a smaller dog, maybe every other day? If you look around the Net about dogs and aspirin, any 5 people will give 4 different opinions. Beau has been having his dose for 2 years, now, and no problems. Animals are so interesting. When my friends moved to Idaho, one of there 5 dogs had always been rather sickly. Now, she's like a different dog. Very perky and healthy.

"Do you have to do all nine?" LOL. Well, how long do you want to live? :-). Oh, it's all a crap shot but I think you can do things to lengthen your odds. Yeah, I was a little bummed by the "drink wine daily" thing. But, I figure if I eat a lot of blue and red fruit (and I do) I can probably make it up. Went to an AA meeting last night. That kills two birds with one stone. It has a spiritual aspect AND it connects me to a community. I think two a month is about right.

I don't think I get enough beans in my diet, so, last night I made up a nice 3 bean salad. Vinegar, olive oil, garlic, turmeric, ginger and a little black pepper. It was quite tasty. Think I'll make up a big bowl of it, once a week, and have it as a side, 3 or 4 times a week.

Looking at my parents and 4 grandparents, 2 died in their late 60s and the rest all lived into their late 80s or well into their 90s. And, in good shape. The two that died in their 60s, both were diabetic. Which I seem to have dodged the bullet. Now in the vast constellation of the family, only one grandfather (who lived to 96) and I have Vitiligo. So, did I get any of his longevity? Time will tell. All the long lived ones were compos mentis (had most of their marbles) and spry to almost the end. That's to hope for. Of course, there was my misspent youth :-). Probably did a bit of serious damage, there.

Well, I have 3 e-mail accounts (long story.) In one, I get 30-50 spams a day. The others, one or two a day. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Yes, he is an exceptionally intelligent person and like you, I too do not always agree with him and sometimes have the occasional disagreement (oh no, don't mention the water tanks!) but overall his vision, perspective and insightfulness is clearer and more coherent than any other voice that I've yet come across. It is a real pleasure to read his words and I’d very much enjoy a quiet beer or two with him (although it is hardly likely that he’d ever be in this part of the world).

Good to hear about your tomatoes all ripening. The very late fruiting tomatoes here don't tend to ripen on the vine outside, but will if they are brought inside to the warm kitchen before they split from excessive rainfall. The black Russian tomatoes have quite a strong bitey taste, which is very enjoyable - your son may be missing out on that one? You may be surprised to know that I'm still enjoying fresh tomatoes almost one month into winter and I haven't yet pulled the remaining vines from the last raised tomato bed, although they are now looking very sad indeed. Tomatoes are generally followed by mustard plants here and how good are the red and green mustard leaves? Yum! Green mustard is almost as hot as chillies or horseradish to me.

Thanks for the family history. Your mother and aunt would be a good guide for yourself, but then you can never quite discount unfortunate chance events like your father suffered. Your fathers - mother's early demise was not an uncommon situation in the past. My lady's, grandmother, sister died during childbirth and the grandfather then married her sister to become my lady's grandmother who with her own daughter died in their mid 60's and that is part of the reason that we chose not to have children of our own - having no familial support. I understand about the complexities surrounding your half-brother as I also have an estranged sister who became a serious junkie in the mid 1980's and never somehow managed to recover from that addiction. Whilst I applaud attempts to assist people with serious mental health issues, I'm also realistic enough to know that sometimes they can be like a black hole and they will absorb any and all energy that you have to give and that the black hole will still be there and hungry for further energy. It was very hard thing to walk away. Make of that what you can. ;-) hehe! It was a very long time in the past and time truly does heal all wounds.

I hope that you are not unhappy that I find the Mensa club to also be of a dubious nature although your description of the internal politics does little to comfort me with that opinion? A mate of mine was always going on and on about membership with Mensa… On the other hand I'm also mildly chuffed that you made the grade, and trust that your sister took note of your achievement? I'm not very clubbable either. By the way, that is a great word and a total keeper! Nice work.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That is an interesting point about the Adventists as they would have all come from different genetic backgrounds. You know I reckon people are more stressed today than they have been in the past and it is of a persistent nature? Stress, I don't reckon is necessarily a bad thing in the short term, but persistent stress can be a killer. You're in very good company indeed!

There is great truth in what you say, but then our culture doesn't represent all of the myriad ways that nature can be viewed either? Dunno, I have been wondering about that as well recently.

Thanks about the aspirin; I really do appreciate that awesome tip, because it does become harder for them as they get older. Out of interest did your friends move from Portland and how are they enjoying the move? It is hard to get established in a new area down under as people don't move around as much. That is one of the reason I feel very bad for my mate who is still moving to Ohio as he found "his people" so to speak in his current town and they all have a great old time - there's even a seriously large castle they all go to on a regular basis and play role playing games with swords and stuff. It sounds like a lot of fun.

Very funny! I'm reminded of the Monty Python and the Holy Grail scene where they're about to launch the Holy hand grenade of Antioch at the vicious killer rabbit and Arthur the King says "skip a little bit, brother"! Well, skipping one of the steps seems a bit like that to me.

Good to hear that the AA meetings work for you and it would be a very supportive community of people with shared experiences. I respect you for facing that particular demon. Does time and distance make a difference with that issue?

Too funny, that sounds exactly like the old - and I must apologise for this memory - 3 bean KFC salad of my youth (note: I have not eaten that stuff for many decades). However, I did like that one salad and it is worth trying out, but you have to ferment the beans overnight as it tastes awful without the fermentation process. Seriously good stuff!

Have you ever tried pulses like lentils and mung beans?

Diabetes is pretty unpleasant and I have two very old friends with that - self-inflicted of course (no exercise). Of course, you've mentioned that condition before - it would do you no good down here! You never know with misspent youth what long term damage it can do? Of course compos mentis right to the end is the way to go and I wish you well with that journey (hoping for the same here).

The funny thing about all of the animals that I have had the pleasure of sharing this journey with is that they stay healthy, till about two weeks before the end and then they go downhill very quickly and then die. It would be a nice way to go.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge and Lewis (and everyone else),

Apologies, but I'm going to struggle responding to comments tomorrow as a Herculean effort is required on the chicken enclosure project. It is getting very exciting but I'm dodging the cold and wet winter weather left, right and centre and have to drop everything in order just to get stuff done!

I'll respond on Monday to any and all comments with the next blog entry showing all of the work undertaken in the meantime. I’ve set a chicken installation date of early August when it will even more wet outside. I feel for the unfortunate ladies in the current chicken enclosure as they’re doing it tough, although that is a relative concept.

Cheers and thanks for your understanding!

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Inge - Qh, your poor brother. Don't know if you ever saw the BBC series .. the Plus series. 7+, 14+, 21+ ... where they followed a group of English kids every 7 years, from the 50s up to almost the present. One of the fellows pretty much followed the arc of your brother. But, in the end, he pretty much sorted himself out (with help) and lead an ok life. LOL. And, one fellow became a physicist working on fusion. So enthusiastic at the beginning and realized it's a dead end, as time went on.

Not very clubbable, myself. Hmm. Some old comedian (Groucho Marx?) said something like he'd never join a club that would have him as a member. :-).

Yo, Chris - Yup. The Ladies have priority. The first thing I do in the morning is take care of my chickens. Before I even have my first cup of tea!

Stress = Inflammation = Disease. And, for me, at least, I think sometimes I put unnecessary stress on myself. Either ruminating on stuff I have no control over, an inability to make decisions, or, procrastination. Got to get to that meditation program.

Friends move from Portland? I think that might have been Cathy. No worries. We do have a "cast of thousands", here. :-).

Sigh. That's the thing about addictions. Hard as it is, you have to step back. The person who is afflicted needs to decide that on their own and be committed to change. Some of the hardest moments I have had is breaking that news to concerned friends and relatives.

Time and distance and addictions. Hmmm. Well, once the obsession to drink leaves (usually, 9 months to a year) things get more manageable. I can remember standing in front of the beer case at the grocery store til my lips turned blue :-). Had a drinking dream, just last week. After all this time. Happens, oh, once or twice a year. But, you learn that's normal and no big deal. I think (and often say in meeting) that the people just coming in are really the most valuable. Their stories remind me of the gruesome little details that I forget. Such as, the tremor in my hands was not an inoperable brain tumor ... it was the vast amounts of alcohol I was putting away ... before breakfast :-). Time and distance. Hmmm. Sometimes, I have a different take on something ... or, decide to do something or look at something a different way. And, I realize if I were still boozing away, that wouldn't happen.

Oh, KFC 3-bean is wonderful. And, their cole slaw is not bad. But I think I'd rather make my own. Back when I used to go to potlucks, I used to hope that someone would bring a bucket of the chicken. I'd never buy the stuff myself, but if it were on offer...:-). Oh, I just use canned beans, put in the vinegar and oil ... nuke if for about 5 minutes, put in the rest of the stuff and cool.

People can be like dogs. If you manage to stay healthy long enough, the last downhill run can be very fast. A "good death." "Blue Zones" comments on that.

Well, it's going to be a scorcher. Saw a hummingbird at the roses this morning. Now THAT was a mystical experience. Talk to you next week. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for understanding. This week has been temporarily (note that word) drier and warmer than previous so I'm racing to get the posts in and commence construction of the roof. It is the cold and constant damp that kills off the chickens here so it would be nice to have them all safe and dry in the new enclosure before August.

Stress is no good and I reckon you are right on. The only time I've ever felt really stressed out was when working at the top end of town, studying part time (the continuing educational requirements of my profession are an efficient method of separating you from your funds) and constructing houses on the weekend. It was perhaps over doing it a bit... Meditation is good and very relaxing too.

No I meant your Idaho friends. You said that they moved to Idaho and weren't from there.

That would have been tough and I respect you for taking that response. Yes, only the addict can make that call and no one else for change to have a lasting effect - that is my take on the world and it seems to align to your perspective too (or am I incorrect in that?). Yes, life is in the living.

Thanks very much for the insight on your experience. I have lost quite a few friends over the years to addictions of one sort or another. One of the weirdest addictions that I'd ever seen was video games, but I lost a swath of friends to online massive multiplayer games and they were every bit as irrational about it as any other addict. It was like they'd dropped out into an alternative world and were lost to this one. It was a very sad experience to go through as a bystander. And it went on for years and many are still in that zone. There were always invites to come and join them (apparently it was very social?), but those invites left me cold - and hopefully you like this reference - it was like being called too by Pennywise the clown of Stephen King origins as it felt to be that sort of an invite.

It hasn't been (pun!) seen here for decades - not that I eat there for about as long - so I make my own version here too. It disappears with the guests. I hear you man!

Interesting that the Blue Zones comment on that aspect of the deal too.

I hope that everything is growing strongly in the heat? And nice to hear about your hummingbird.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@Lewis

You beat me to it with your 'stress=inflammation=disease' I was going to say the same thing with particular reference to long term stress. I consider this to be heavily implicated in so-called auto-immune diseases.

I do remember that BBC series and the sweet little boy who became mentally ill. My brother was equally sweet and never became paranoid. He led a reasonable life once modern anti-psychotic drugs became available, but the brilliant individual that he had been was destroyed. I asked him once about what he saw and heard. He told me that it was all fairies and angels.

@Chris
Both my new neighbours are raising everything to the ground, total destruction. My son is becoming upset about it. Not me; yes I care, but have seen this area hit back. God help them both if we have a really wet winter and there is nothing at all to prevent the ground shifting and subsequently cracking open badly.

Inge