Monday, 20 July 2015

Sunday promises



The farm has been in the grip of the Antarctic vortex for most of the week. The cold spell across the continent has been so strong that there have even been reports of snow settling on the ground in the mountain ranges of southern Queensland.

Sunday morning dawned cold and clear. In fact Sunday was apparently the coldest morning in 18 years. As I awoke to see what the new day would bring, the outside thermometer was registering -0.6’C (30.9’F) which was as cold as I can remember here. And a heavy frost had descended on the farm too.

Occasionally I display a softer side to my personality and I’d allowed the dogs to sleep inside the house in front of the wood fire earlier that night. By the time that the sun had begun to peek over the horizon the dogs were becoming restless and a bit fidgety. There is no better way to reward such early morning canine exuberance than to kick the little rotters outside into the very cold and frosty world of “outside land” - an unpleasant place at that time.
Scritchy the boss dog unhappily leads Toothy into the frosty world of that Sunday morning
Scritchy the boss dog normally sleeps inside the house as she is of an age where such comforts are a perquisite of her position in the pack. It is worthwhile noting that the photo clearly shows every single muscle in Scritchy’s body was taught with the stress of encountering the full fury of the Antarctic vortex in all its frosty glory.

Observant readers will note the small log in the frozen herbage and may wonder about why that log is in that particular position. The reason for that log is that I’ve been watching the movement of the sun and over the next six months or so I’ll install another four solar photovoltaic panels in that general location.

Frosts are very rare at the farm, so I also braved the frozen conditions - purely for research purposes mind you - and took the camera out into the frosty conditions so as to take some interesting photos for this blog. One such photo was the native birds watering well on top of one of the water tanks which had frozen solid overnight!
The native birds watering reservoir had frozen solid overnight
The weird thing about frosts is that they wash out the normal colours in an environment and leave a sort of sepia toned perspective. However, some of the citrus fruit trees (limes, lemons and grapefruit) were having none of that and they delivered their usual consistent winter cheer with lots of fruit.
The citrus trees easily shrug off the heavy frost
The frost eventually thawed out, but in the meantime I enjoyed the occasional latte or two and kicked back and relaxed. It occurred to me this week that it is actually possible to achieve far more work during summer (despite the excessive afternoon heat) than during the depths of winter, when I have serious reservations about working outside during the frozen conditions.

Nonetheless, work on the new chicken enclosure and chicken run (the chooktopia project) continued apace and a proper drain was glued and cemented in. With the drain, any water that spills from the chicken’s water bucket (which will hang above it) can exit the enclosure without emptying into the chickens deep litter mulch. The new drain also has a wonderful steel grate which will stop rats from climbing up the drain pipe and entering the brand new chicken enclosure (take that you intelligent rodents!). The pipe also has the added advantage of draining onto a walnut tree which will be more than happy with the extra watering come the hot and dry summer conditions.
A steel pit and drain was installed into the new chicken enclosure this week
The steel pit and drain was cemented into the new chicken enclosure
The upside down bucket with the handle in the photo above is not actually a strange form of very unappealing (and possibly spoiled) grey ice cream. That bucket is actually the formwork for a circular cement stepping stone. The concrete stepping stones are intended to rise above the chickens deep litter mulch which will fill that enclosure later this week.

Before we continue with the story, it is worthwhile mentioning that it took about half an hour of discussions and practice walk throughs before the final location of each individual concrete step was agreed to. This is serious business as we have to live with this stuff every day! And as of today, I have constructed four of the eventual six stepping stones.
Four of the eventual six concrete steps have been constructed this week
As a bit of a confession, the chooktopia project is without doubt amongst one of the most complex sheds that I have ever built. The complexities have arisen because I am absolutely determined to foil those cheeky rats, who twitch their noses at me in contempt every single day of the week. Enough is enough, I say!

The front door was hung on the enclosure and the internal chicken shed door also received a solid backing of sheet steel. The black front door to the enclosure was quite the find at the local tip shop for only $25. The reason that the door was such a find was because the original purchasers would have paid many, many hundreds of dollars for it only to throw it out because perhaps it was the wrong colour.
The front door was hung and additional steel sheeting was installed onto the chicken shed
It is also worthwhile pointing out that with the exception of the screws and cement products – every single item on this chicken shed and enclosure is either recycled, scrap, seconds or down-graded materials. Architecture that is both beautiful and functional need not cost a life savings.

Today, I commenced installing the roof sheeting. Apparently the weather tomorrow will bring strong winds so it was prudent to install the roof sheeting today when there is less chance of it blowing away and onto the neighbouring properties!
Most of the steel roof sheets were installed today
Hopefully by the next blog entry the chickens will be enjoying their new house, enclosure and toys (yes, you read that bit correctly) – although there is much work yet to do with the construction, and rain is forecast again for mid this week!

In other farm news, I was searching through one of the cupboards and came across (ta da!) an empty demijohn. I couldn’t believe it, so that demijohn was quickly pressed into service. Readers with good memories will remember the excellent harvest of medlar fruit from earlier this year. Medlar’s are an interesting fruit because you have to allow them to ripen to an almost unsociable condition before consuming them. For those that are interested, medlar fruit tastes to me like a date. Anyway, I had a whole box of these things and I was wondering what to do with them. Wonder no longer readers, because they have now been converted into a medlar country wine which promises to taste quite interesting!

Last week, peak wine bottles was a bit of a problem. Fortunately, and by a strange coincidence earlier in the week I was miles away from the farm in the big smoke but also just around the corner from a packaging wholesaler which happens to do cash sales (for people like me). So I decided to purchase 100 additional wine bottles (with screw tops) for use at the farm, and wouldn’t you know it? I bump into a local there in the showroom. Like, what is the chance of that happening in a big smoke of 5 million people? It was an extraordinary coincidence, and of course they wanted to know my business too!
The dreaded peak wine bottles has been averted for now, but who knows the future?
Well, I guess I’m a bit guilty of wanting to know other people’s business too! Last year a farm in the valley below that runs cattle on very rich river flats undertook an interesting experiment. The farm in question burnt off a paddock just before summer as an experiment. I’ve been watching the paddock with interest (having an eagles eye view helps too!) and the contrast between that paddock and the surrounding paddocks in terms of green pick is quite amazing and the results speak for themselves:
The results of slash and burn techniques on a farm in the valley below are very interesting
Observant readers will notice that the trees in the paddock are completely unharmed and that the surrounding paddocks are dotted with many sheep and other cattle.

The Antarctic vortex produced the worst solar electricity generation conditions that I have ever seen. Battery % full at the start of the day - Amount generated by the 4.2kW of PV panels during that day
Tuesday 14th July – 62% full – 3.6kWh
Wednesday 15th July – 63% full – 3.0kWh
Thursday 16th July – 65% full – 3.2kWh
Friday 17th July – 64% full – 1.2kWh
Saturday 18th July – 54% full – 4.9kWh
Sunday 19th July – 58% full – 5.9kWh
Monday 20th July – 61% full – 8.4kWh

How did the house get here?
In May 2011, the strange blue / green waterproofing agent was applied to the very thick fibre-cement veranda decks, whilst the outside of the house was mostly painted before winter set in.
A strange green / blue water proofing chemical is applied to the veranda
Strange blue / green veranda decks are just that – strange! No one wants that (including the editor) on a house, so I commenced covering that strangeness with ceramic outdoor (i.e. non slip and non-flammable – unless you happen to be confronted by the same conditions as a Space Shuttle upon re-entry) tiles. There is even a small strip of metal between the bottom of the fibre-cement weatherboards and the fibre cement veranda deck which stops rain water from seeping back under the deck and into the wall.
Non slip and non-flammable ceramic tiles are laid over the fibre cement decks
Not all of the house is purely pragmatic, sometimes a hint of whimsy is also to be found. One such example of that is the steel (i.e. non-flammable) staircase which was commissioned from a local artisan blacksmith. Mind you, in days of yore a computer driven plasma cutter would have been not only hard to find and power, but the various moons and leaves the blacksmith cut into the stair stringers (the fancy name for the side bits that hold the staircase together) would have been a very tall order. The steel flowers and leaves that wind through the stairs on a steel vine would have probably been a non-starter too!
A set of artisan made steel stairs was commissioned and installed
I even somehow managed to annoy the blacksmith by painting the entire staircase with serviceable metal primer and black gloss metal paint. He may have even used the word "abomination" to describe my metal preservation techniques, but I sort of glossed over (pun intended) that memory. Why anyone would want good steel work to rust into oblivion, by choice, is well beyond me and it was at that point in time that our company parted – despite having need for further sets of steel stairs.

Visitors were well pleased that month too, because I installed internal doors. The photo below shows Poopy the Pomeranian looking into the bathroom and wondering why there is suddenly a need for all of these doors on the bathroom.
Poopy the Pomeranian checks out the internal doors
There were scraps of the very thick roofing plywood leftover, so that month all of those scraps were absorbed into a brand new dog house. One side of the roof of that dog house is hinged so that I can either chastise the dogs for making a racket (and attempting to hide in the kennel) or clean out their kennel – either way is fine by me. The kennel is lined with scraps of wool carpet (expensive stuff) and also woollen blankets which the dogs distribute around with the weather conditions as they see fit.
A dog kennel was constructed from the scrap leftover remains of the roofing plywood
The temperature outside here at about 10.00pm (working late today!) is 5.9’C degrees Celsius (42.6’F). So far this year there has been 452.6mm (17.8 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week's total of 422.2mm (16.6 inches).

44 comments:

Jason Heppenstall said...

Good work Chris. Speaking of rats, a woodland friend of mine had an old car that he got cheap. Really cheap. It ran for about six months until it wouldn't run any more. No point wasting more money on it, and it costs money to scrap them here so he just left it on his land next to the caravan where he lives. It wasn't long before the roof was half-covered in bird droppings and leaves.

This, of course, attracted the nosy neighbours who demanded he move it (they are forever worried about any unsightliness which may lower the value of their homes). "Car - what car?" he said.

"That car!" said the busybody, pointing.

"That's not a car," he said "it's a rat-proof greenhouse."

And just to prove it he showed them the seed trays on the seats, back window ledge and on top of the dashboard.

Morgenfrue said...

Has your tea camellia survived?!
It's strange, I thought frost was death to citrus - but that is maybe hard freezes?

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Tell you what. I'll swap your frost for the 97F (36.111..etc.) we had here, yesterday. But, it will be cooler here, today, and we may even see rain by mid-week. I suppose you heard that a tropical storm playing out over S. California is producing record rains. Not enough to put a dent in the drought. The main road between California and Nevada washed out, stranding hundreds of motorists. Any hour now, I expect to see coverage of mudslides through suburban neighborhoods and great chunks of the Pacific Coast Highway closed due to landslides. Per usual.

That $25 chicken door was quit the steal (pun intended.) I follow the local auction, here, the stuff they put online. Not near as useful, but something that caught my eye was a custom made, wood drafting table ... with all those nifty narrow drawers underneath ... like map drawers. It originally cost $3,000. And went at auction for $100.

The stepping stones are quit original. Reminded me of the stepping stones across the streets in Pompeii ... to keep the citizens out of the muck. I see you didn't go all Chinese-y and offset the stones a bit. Otherwise, dragons will run you down as they can only move in straight lines :-). Or, some such. Maybe dragons aren't much of a problem in Australia, anymore, as the introduced foxes have eaten them all. :-).

Beau has a girlfriend I call Blanket. She used to hang about in different parts of the yard, but he has apparently drug her into his house or under the deck. For a bit more privacy. OK by me. I don't need to see that stuff. For gosh sakes, get a room!

The stairs are really nice. Your place looks a bit ... spartan and functional, from a distance. And then all these nice bits of decoration pop out at you. Artists can be difficult. Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect, not only designed the houses, but all the interior details. And, if anything was changed, would fly into quit a rage. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I feel for the poor father attempting to set some limits - for very good reasons - on the child. Many years ago I had a heart stopping incident when a small child about 3 or maybe 4 years old decided on the spur of the moment to run from the kerbside in between 2 parked cars and onto the road. It was a miracle that the child wasn't run over and watching the event unfold in front of you is like watching a time lapse film in that everything happens in slow motion. The father did the correct thing in your example by chastising the child, otherwise how else do children learn boundaries? As I saw that day it is impossible for parents to watch children every moment of every day. They can try to do that, but the effort involved will send them loopy!

That makes sense. Incidentally casually ignoring other people is a recipe for disaster, especially when they may just have something interesting to say.

In my final corporate job, a lady reported to me who made quite a bit of decent money on the side casting horoscopes. Now you may not think much about such things, but she had a constant stream of readings which were quickly paying off her mortgage! One day, we were having a chat as she was sort of my right hand person and I said to her: "You're stressed" and she replied: "how can you tell?" and I replied: "Because one of your eyes is open wider than the other". And that was that for the conversation. ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for the info about rabies as I'd always wondered. Not good though.

The crisp sounds awesome. We call them either slices, cakes or biscuits depending on how hard the final product is which all depends on how much you cooked the ingredients. They sound very nice! Yum! Blueberries grow very well here, but I've been a bit slack on watering them during summer, so they don't produce as much fruit as they should.

Yeah, the oil spill, was bad, but not as bad as it could have been.

The guys at the local brigade always used to be a bit fearful of the fire retardant and they're not people to startle easily when it comes to chemicals, so I take that risk seriously. Incidentally, the Fiskville training site for the fire service has become apparently so contaminated that the neighbouring farmers are apparently suing the state government for recompense. The answer may be: nothing good!

Fennel really is good and birds love the seeds, which is possibly how the plant spreads so far. I snack on the ferny fronds whenever I walk past the plant in summer. It dies back here over winter though. It is hard to tell what is bronze fennel, green fennel or dill with the feral seedlings growing at the moment all about the place.

Glad to hear that your eyesight has improved over time and with effort.

What? 6,000 shoes. Wow. Did they ever unearth any unusual styles or anything remotely interesting? It is truly amazing to think that so many shoes could have survived such a long time. I used to work in the footwear manufacturing business when such products were made down under. It was very sad to see all of that wind up and I reckon the rubbish sold nowadays wouldn't last a century, let alone a millennia!

Hang on a second. What is a service animal and why would there even be a kangaroo in Wisconsin of all places? I believe a couple of wallabies or was it kangaroos have escaped in the UK.

It is sort of nice hearing about your hot weather when it is the depths of winter here and threatening to rain tomorrow. The ladies would like the yoghurt in their feed for the extra protein. They get warm milk and oats on very cold days and some of the Isa Browns will fly up into the air to see whether the feed bucket includes that - which can be a bit of a nuisance too, although it is also endearing. 3.5 dozen is a very good week.

Yes, they were very wealthy, mildly eccentric and also obsessive about introducing magpies too into Europe. Ah, the crazy days of the 1850's to 1890's gold rush. Many stunning buildings and mansions date back from that time too.

That story about the green fly and the tea leaves reminds me of a story - and I don't know whether this is true or not - about a coffee bean that is highly valued, but first has to pass through the intestinal tract of a Javanese (Indonesian) cat. Now I'm no purist, but second hand coffee beans sounds like a bad deal...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

No stress, it is all good as there was one of both. What is the chances of that in one life time? It is not like I went out of my way to find them, just sheer coincidence or perhaps it is a more common ailment than I'd consider?

Cheers

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jason,

Your friend was a very switched on individual as it is a very interesting use of an old, mildly unsightly, but still intact vehicle. Very clever.

Down here, neighbours don't really have much say about how a property is kept as long as the local by-laws aren't being offended. Mind you, I left the rental property because apparently it was OK that the previous tenants kept the place like a pig sty (and pigs can be very clean and intelligent animals if given the space - but not in commercial settings), but heaven help me if I let the grass grow beyond two inches...

Thanks for sharing the story and I look forward to your next update of the summer activities.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Morgenfrue,

Thanks for your concern and I am anxiously waiting to see the outcome for the tea camellia. So far, so good as the camellia looks alive and is in a very protected area and a helpful Vietnamese mint has draped itself over the camellia, so who knows? Time will tell.

The old timers used to say that citrus trees would not grow up in this mountain range, but my experience has been that they happily grow and fruit with the occasional frost and snow fall. It is hard for me to understand what is meant by a hard frost. Certainly the ground seemed to have ice all over it for two days (in the shaded areas). There are about 26 varieties of citrus here and they mostly seem to be doing OK.

Incidentally, I also experiment with plants outside of their normal range and have avocado and macadamia nuts here and both seem to survive the frosts (although they are cold selected varieties and I keep them out of the wind).

Do you grow citrus in your area?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Any time the air temperature gets around or beyond body temperature, it become very hard to cool down. Keep out of the sun and keep up the hydration and hopefully you will get some cooler days (and nights) plus some rain!

The photos of the rainfall in SoCal looked pretty full on. One inch per hour is a lot of water and no wonder it took out bridges etc. The funny thing about those sorts of rainfall events is that it is best to try and slow the movement of the water so that it infiltrates the ground, but most engineering works try to speed it away somewhere else. Why do people persist in driving through flooded roads and river crossings? What's with that?

The drafting table is very old school from the days of actually drawing stuff (I remember them and worked with engineers and draughtspeople back in those days). Nowadays, they're all glued to computer screens.

The stepping stones in Pompeii sound very sensible, although the didn't inevitably help the residents. Oh yeah, you can't build things in straight lines. A mate pointed that out to me many years ago in an unflattering manner, so now it is all organic lines! Dragons perhaps are a problem in Australia, but it is not as if we don't deserve those troubles and haven't been courting them.

Thanks. The house is essentially an above ground fire bunker and it was very difficult to build any interest into the infrastructure. The best I could achieve was to build it with that in mind, without it looking like that purpose, whilst giving a nod to the farm houses of yesteryear - although I believe that is apparently an architectural faux pas! Mind you architects seem to be easily bored and I'm not necessarily convinced that anyone ever lives in a design statement!

Frank was down under for a bit and created quite the celebrated designs. Incidentally you may be interested in this house not too far from here: Baker House (Bacchus Marsh, Victoria)

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Haha! Casting horoscopes: My mother used to do it at charity events; everyone thought that she was brilliant. I asked her once how she did it. She said that it was easy, the subjects tell you about themselves but seem to be unaware of it.

So I went once to a really famous one, highly recommended. I told her nothing at all. She gave me back my money. Human beings are gullible because they long for answers.

Greater Woodbind is flowering and 2 different varieties of St Johns Wort also.

Son's 2nd sow has had 10 living piglets, the 1st one was stillborn. So he now has 20 piglets in all.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Correction: I jumped too fast. Not horoscopes but fortune telling that my mother did. It was a fortune teller that I visited also. Mind you I doubt that there is any difference.

Inge

Morgenfrue said...

Hi Chris, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for your camellia!
Actually I realized I didn't know the difference between a frost and a hard freeze either, but I looked it up and according to the farmers' almanac a light frost is when it goes to 0C and water vapor condenses and freezes without dewing, and a freeze is four hours or more with air temps at or below -3,8C: death to seasonal vegetation.
I always thought that citrus couldn't handle a freeze, but maybe that is only in the growing season? I am definitely not a gardening expert by any means, I am only on my second year.
As far as I know we can't do citrus out in the open in Denmark, unless it's some kinds of really specialized dwarf mountain weird stuff which will make your entire body pucker up. So forget regular lemons! You could probably do it in a greenhouse or a winter garden room (ie kept just above freezing year round). We are USDA zone 8a in Copenhagen and typically all cucumbers, peppers, melons and most tomatoes are cultivated in greenhouses here, but you can get a ways if you have a sheltered, massive south-facing wall. My mother in law has a fig tree that is producing under those conditions.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Oh, I suppose all those Roman shoes are someone's dissertation, waiting to happen :-). "Roman Footwear Through 300 Years." Probably make the NYT best seller list. Sure to be a real barn burner. :-) I was interested to find out that Vindolanda went through 6 major stages of construction ... or, six forts. Given the 300 year time span, makes sense. Things get tatty. Function changes. Imagine the archaeological excavation of Fern Glade Farm. "This is the site of the original chicken house, which soon fell out of use for unknown reasons. Perhaps a flock increase. Later repurposed, we think, for wood storage."

Well, originally, "Service Animals" were dogs for the blind. Everybody was happy to see these animals, out and about with their masters, in places you wouldn't usually see a dog. Restaurants, libraries, etc. They were well behaved and friendly. Unfortunately, no one foresaw the necessity of permitting these animals. You didn't have to produce a card, or something. It was pretty obvious. Guy, white cane, dog on a short leash. And, of course, people push the envelope. All kinds of animals for all kinds of reasons. Mostly "mental health." Mostly, self diagnosed. I think more people need to ask for "some documentation, please." I ran into such a situation at one of our library branches. A small dog plopped in a purse. And was given the mental health line, blah, blah, blah. Funny, that was just about the time Paris Hilton (whoever she is .. famous for being famous) made a craze of hauling around small dogs in expensive purses. Recently, at a meeting a dog nipped at a child. The owner was asked not to bring back the dog. Lots of hard feelings, raised voices, storming about. Well, apparently, someone in Wisconsin was hauling about a Joey in a baby blanket and claiming it was a service animal. We've talked about trendy pets, before.

Yes, I've heard about the twice used coffee. Not my cup of tea :-). When I went to the do at the cooking instructor's, he has just about every kitchen gadget known to man .. or chef. Some kind of an electric brewing gizmo that you'd pop in a pre-measured little plastic cup into a port and get a cup of many available type of beverages. The waste wanted to make me cry, but I kept my mouth shut. Had one of those moments where I wondered if I had lapsed into some kind of strange foreign language. It seemed incomprehensible to my host that I just wanted a plain cup of black Joe, or, a plain cup of green tea. After endless negotiation and explanation, I finally got a (very good) cup of plain, ol' coffee.

I think some of people driving past barriers into flooded areas is a bad case of "artificial urgency." The same thing that creates overwhelming cell phone usage. But, I think there's another thing at work. Here, it seems like every time we have a flood "event," some old guy, usually in his 80s, drives into a flooded area, stalls, get out of his car and is swept away. Usually found drowned up against some fence. On reflection, I think old self entitled white guys think when they get past 80, they're immortal. And, all those barricades and signs couldn't possibly be directed at them. They're directed at the timid and less capable. Besides, they've got somewhere very, very important to be.

Baker House is really nice. The atrium is great. Adapted (dare I say, ripped off? :-) from the Romans, and, probably, even earlier cultures. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. - And now presenting ... (drum roll please) ... Aqua Chicken! Along withour cast of thousands (well, eleven) Miss Gimpy, Old Mrs. Barnvelder, Broody Hen, etc. we now have Aqua Chicken. Who may also be Miss Curiosity, the hen who comes rushing out every evening to see what's going on, when everyone else is on the roost. The brown and black Wyondottes are such a mob that I have trouble telling them apart. Any-who. What with the heat, and all, I have three sources of water for my chickens. One is an old roasting pan. I thought the water was going down at a rather rapid rate and seem to be topping it off, every morning. I discovered it's because Aqua chicken jumps in every morning, has a good long drink and than splashes merrily about for a few minutes! I've seen her do it, twice, now.

After I tossed Broody Hen out of the henhouse this morning (again) she flew up on a low part of the fence and gave me this look like "You treat me so mean, I'm running away from home!" Me yelling at her "Go ahead! Leave!" Darned angsty teenagers! The white slavers will probably get her. She'll get off the bus in some far away big city, a pimp will sidle up to her, get her hooked on heroin and ... well, it will be a bad end.

Saw a short bit of footage on Melbourne. The fire shows down by the river (looked wasteful, but really, really cool.). Luna Park. And, your wonderful electric trollies. Portland had them when I was a wee lad in the early 50s. I can remember begging my mother to sit in the last seat so I could tilt my head back and look out the back window, and, given our rainy weather, every once in awhile there would be this blue electric flash. And, I remember how when the bus got to a transfer point, the driver would have to get out, yank down the connections and swing them onto another set of wires so that the bus could go in another direction. They all disappeared, sometime in the 50s. But, Portland made up for it. Now has light rail running all over. Probably one of the best transit systems in the world.

Seattle kept it's electric wire system. Behind the library where I worked, there was a major trolley route where the trolly cars came up 5th and had to make a turn to climb a steep hill. Seattle is all hills. Parallel parking on a step slope into a small space is quit an adventure. Getting out, equally so. But, back to the story. During ice and snow, the buses would make the turn and sometimes slide away from the wires. So, you'd get this pile up of buses in the intersection until a tow truck came along and hauled them back to the wires ... or, wait for the thaw. :-). Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Chook toys? That's a teaser for sure!

Whew! Peak wine bottles averted.

The paddock burn is so interesting. Can we know if they did any fertilizing of that paddock? Could that have added to the greening up? We are having some serious plant disease problems this year because it has been so hot and humid (and probably some bad planting hygiene on my part). I have to completely remove/destroy all of the zucchini plants. Usually we are awash in zucchini by now; we've had one, and I viewed it quite suspiciously as I ate it. I am thinking of burning anything REALLY sick looking in a small bonfire. I was thinking of setting the bed itself aflame (with precautions taken), then I realized that's it's one of the wooden raised beds, not stone. Oops.

What an absolutely fantastic staircase. Did you or the editor design it? I'll bet you smile every time you use it. Is it dog approved?

Not surprising that a dog named Poopy has an aversion to a door on the poopy closet . . .

It sounds like so far you've had more rain than usual this year. Is that a "yay"?

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Further correction. Of course I meant 'Greater Bindweed' not Woodbind. I must have been tangling it up with cigarettes. I had a huge collection of cigarette packets as a child. Don't know what happened to them, expect that my mother threw them out. Some would have been collectors items now.

I used to love trolley buses because of their silence.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Yeah, now that you mention it I'm unsure exactly what the differences are. Perhaps the horoscopes provide a general structure for which talking points can be based around between the reader and the readee? Dunno.

Your mother was clearly an intelligent and observant lady. Understanding the human condition is one of my motivators too and I am forever trying to puzzle out people's motivations for their actions and use that knowledge to predict what their next move may be. It's a hobby.

You definitely would have proven to be an enigma with the reading. I'm surprised that the reader did not engage you in general conversation - but then small talk is a skill too and some people really display that lack... Oh yeah...

I've been trying to collect St John's wort for the herbal garden here, but it is apparently a weed - whatever that means - and people are generally upset about the plant growing in certain areas.

Thanks for the correction.

Your son is having a very good year for piglets. Has he improved the conditions or feed for the sow - or is she of a good background?

Cheers

Chris

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Morgenfrue,

Thanks, and mine are crossed for the continuing survival of the camellia too. What is interesting is that as the fruit trees become better established, they become more resilient as they adapt to the conditions that nature throws at them. I keep the fruit trees a bit water stressed during summer as it forces the tree to put down stronger and deeper root systems. There are some losses following that strategy though...

Thanks for the explanation. I've never seen a temperature as low as -3.8'C here. If you look closely at the Meyer lemon which is in the foreground of the photo you can see that some of the leaves show signs of ice on them. The oils in the leaves lower the freezing point of the plant.

In Europe in the old times, they used to have a glass house for the lemons and the lemons would be in large pots and they would be wheeled out during the day and then wheeled inside again at night. They'd probably do well in a greenhouse in Denmark. Mind you, it is too cold here to ripen peppers and melons. A local guy here who is originally from the south of France and has been gardening in the area for over 30 years laughed at me when I suggested my ambition for growing melons! It was not encouraging.

Do you have a greenhouse? Many citrus trees are on dwarf rootstock and they don't grow very tall. I'm tempted to start growing some seedling citrus trees (and I already have a few of them) just to see how big they can get. I have a memory of my grandmothers lemon citrus tree which was so big you could easily climb it.

Fig trees are strange beasts and it is great to hear of the success that your mother in law is having with her tree. Sometimes, it is too dry for those trees here and I have had to give the fig trees more attention than many other worthy species.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Apologies if the reply goes a bit askew this evening as I'm enjoying a ginger wine whilst cooking about 90 x dog biscuits and some dog breakfast cereal. We shall not digress, although it is always an option! ;-)! I'm still figuring out how to do this cooking stuff for the dogs without it becoming too much of a hassle and every week I learn something new about the process.

Thanks for the new saying: barn burner! That is an absolute brand new one and clearly you are being sarcastic. Very funny. You'd sort of think that most studious thesis would rate very highly on the: this topic is boring me and sending me to sleep category? Yes I can see it now: Roman shoes and their manufacture during the period of decline 200AD. We're both probably yawning already! ;-)!

But of course, and that is an excellent point: Infrastructure can be recycled. You know what though. I had to correct some of the water tank (oh, don't mention the water tanks...) plumbing today and it caused me a mild sensation of both regret and annoyance. More on that though in next weeks blog as I recycled one of the smaller water tanks today and re-purposed it onto the chooktopia project. It was getting a bit expensive purchasing brand new tanks and I really didn't need the extra water (well maybe?).

Thanks for the explanation. I always believed that fads were a bit of a joke. Like who would get conned by a fad. But then there is the "service animal" problem in your part of the world which is neatly disguised as the Chihuahua in the hand bag. They can be viscous little tykes too. Poopy the Pomeranian is of a noble breed and being 40 odd pounds no one is going to confuse him for the sort of dog that a person may be inclined to hide in a handbag. However, I have a soft spot for Pomeranian's having now owned a few of them and the last really small one I had the unfortunate experience of meeting bit me! Dogs bite people and that is how life rolls in the canine world...

Down under a dog must be a "Guide dog" to be allowed entry into the world of humans and there was quite the stink a few months back when a restaurant refused to allow entry to a Guide dog. Needless to say that the restaurant has since closed shop. Seriously. Guide dogs here are a recognised breed (Labrador).

When I worked at the airport I used to sometimes watch the customs people training their Beagle sniffer dogs.

Sometimes it is wise to stand your ground in such matters and you never really know whether your hosts are testing you. My mate that is in the process of setting up a cooking school and is without doubt one of the best cooks that I know also served me one of the worst green teas that I have ever tasted. Not being a wall flower, I pointed that out and suggested that it would be better in one of the vegetable beds.

Oh, I just ate one of the dog biscuits and they're very good. I can see why the dogs are feral for them. It is a bit too good.

Haha! Too funny and of course too right. The same thing goes on here during a bush fire. People demand that a volunteer manned water tanker arrive at their house to save them and their property during any serious event. I actually saw people becoming slightly incensed that such things didn't happen... And yes of course, they're all very important.

Possibly so about the Bakers House. I hadn't considered that aspect of the design and construction, but Roman villa is possibly a very accurate representation. Hmmm. Excellent observation.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Oh yeah, birds will happily go for a swim during the hot weather here too. The frozen water on top of the water storage tank (oh, don't mention the water tanks!) photo is one the local birds favourite drinking and swimming hole. Seriously. A guy I speak with in northern New South Wales has an old bathtub out for the wallabies and kangaroos during the summer and they will jump into it for a splash around during a very hot day.

Well maybe the boss chicken and the enforcer chook sold broody chicken off to the white slave trade? Who knows and it isn't a good look? They're very unhappy with broody hens that do not do their duty and it is often the lower order chickens that become broody here.

Yeah, they always put on a good New Year’s Eve show, although I haven't been to it for years. Luna Park is a fun place and it is so old. The scenic railway is something else to see and the whole thing is made from timber. The tram system is the most extensive in the world and the trams go everywhere. I enjoy them although in the city itself it can become like sardines in a can during peak hours and lunchtimes. They've recently increased the size of both the trams and the stops. Historically the whole thing used to be cable driven and I believe a lot of the workings are still in place for that system.

Light rail is a fantastic thing and I salute Portland for the wisdom of having invested in that infrastructure.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Haha! Yes, it was meant to be a teaser, and I was serious too.

Peak wine bottles was a very serious event here and it disturbed me to have to purchase something that people have been throwing out here.

That is an excellent point and I was also watching for that too. It appears as if they burnt the paddock in late spring and then ploughed the paddock which then turned that carbon back into the soil. It was a risky thing to do because if the summer was very wet then they would have suffered from erosion. It does not appear that they applied NPK to the turned soil, but I'd suggest that they laid seed down. I'm interested to see whether they will be tempted to plough the paddock again this year which would be a disaster. Time will tell.

Yes. Many years ago I happened to mention to some permacultralists that growing during a hot and dry season was easier than growing during a hot and humid season such as the one you are having. They didn't want to hear that message at all.

Sometimes plant diseases can be a symptom of a mineral deficiency in the soil. I've seen both very wet and very dry summers here so I can sympathise with your plight. As a suggestion, what did you last feed the soil with and have you considered applying a different sort of feed stock? It may be that your soil is slightly deficient in a particular mineral. Claire from St Louis who sometimes comments here has had a similar season to yours but she is absolutely methodical about soil minerals. I'm a bit slack and just keep adding different types of manures and just hope for the best. Either way is fine.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi everyone!

I trust that you are all well and enjoying yourselves.

Tomorrow is a massive work day on the chooktopia project so I may or may not be able to reply to comments. It all depends on how late I finish work on the structure and if the weather holds off raining or not.

The water tank (don't mention the water tanks!) and catchment system was installed today, so things are getting very exciting for the chickens.

Hi Pam,

Sorry, I forgot to say that this year has been drier than last year!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I am slap-dash about the minerals I add, tending to "guess" what might be needed each year (and obviously guessing wrong). I need to read through Claire's info again. This year we added wood ash to some areas, magnesium, and (probably not enough) compost; also, everything got a commercial organic "balanced" plant food. The air circulation here, closely surrounded on all sides by forest (except for the south side, the forest goes right up to the 8-foot fence) can be less than optimal.

I so love the stories everyone contributes to this site. We start with the master - Chris - and it just gets better and better as the comments are added. Always entertaining and informative!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

A 40-pound Pomeranian!? I thought they were always about 7 pounds? I had a dog once that looked like he was part Pomeranian. The best dog ever.

Are you having to spend a lot on meat for the dogs now that you are feeding them home-cooking? With the last of our dogs gone on to their reward (and it is undoubtedly a very big, and well-deserved, reward) I have found that we are saving SO much on our grocery bill. Sad, but true.

Ginger wine - yum! Hope it didn't go to your head. I ate part of a cantaloupe (musk melon) recently that went right to my head; didn't realize it until I had eaten a fair amount. I mean, it must have been slightly fermented inside. It was great!

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Ever get that ominous, "things aren't just quit right" feeling? When something in nature is just a bit out of whack? A kind of disquieting feeling? Well, there is very little tansy ragwort, this year. It's a little eeire. I mean, it's so easy to spot, fairly tall, bright yellow. Last year there was quit a bit of it in the back pasture and, across the road. This year, one stalk across the road (full of cinnabar worms) and two stalks out in the back pasture... that I watched for a couple of days and when no worms showed up, I pulled it. My landlord said he had one little bunch up at his place and there is some up by the abandoned barn. His place has worms, I don't know about the barn. Now I'm worried about the gains in cinnabar moth population, crashing next year. I'm sure the worms didn't do such a good job last year, that there isn't any tansy, this year. Too dry? Dunno. Weird. I also don't think my spreading them about, a bit, has anything to do with it.

Ah, barn burner. See also "going like a house afire." :-)

The rest of the chooks do nip a bit at Broody Hen and warn her off. I figured they're just ticked off because she's taking up prime real estate. Or, maybe because she sits on their eggs ... which I wisk away three times a day.

So cool yesterday that I didn't even have to open any of the windows. Really looks like rain today, and it's cool enough this morning I may have to kick on the heater in the bathroom for a few moments when I catch my shower. Time for my weekly trip to the little smoke. Judging from your broad hints about water tanks, I take it next weeks posting will be titled with some cleaver pun on water tanks :-) Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Yes, I agree that horoscopes would provide some sort of base for starters.

I don't remember but guess that the fortune teller did try general conversation + anything else that she could think of but I was determined to give her nothing to go on.

St John's Wort: I guess that anything growing in a garden that happens to be wild would be classified as a weed i.e. wild = weed. I believe that one of my varieties of it is classified as rare and unknown here. Ha ha I have it everywhere.

Both son's sows were having their 1st litter and 10 living piglets each is a lot for their first. I don't know about their breeds, I'll ask. Don't think that there is anything special about their diet.

Inge

August Johnson said...

Chris, I have to also express my amazement at a 40 pound Pomeranian! Here in the USA they run 4.2-7.7 pounds!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomeranian_(dog)

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Ha! No stress as I'm very unscientific about what minerals and nutrients get added to the soil here too, so you're miles ahead of what goes on here. I simply continue to add manures and mulches in huge amounts. Also nothing organic leaves the property as even the sewage ends up in the soil via the worm farm. It seems to work, but time will tell and it is wise to keep an eye on various plant diseases just in case they indicate a specific deficiency. Historically many areas of the planet suffered from mineral deficiencies of one sort or the other and that can impact our health as much as that of the plants.

Sorry to hear about the air circulation and that would make excellent conditions for fungi in your part of the world. The forest here is sort of weird because it could be a closed canopy forest, but the eucalyptus trees encourage regular fires so the forest is more or less kept open and tall.

Does the south side of your property bring in the warmer summer winds? That may be an advantage for your growing season?

Thank you. I enjoy the stories and news from other parts of the globe too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

August has asked the exact same question about Pomeranian's so I will respond to you both below!

As to meat, well the dogs here scavenge every single ounce of meat to be found within the nearby forest so I don't actually to feed them meat at all. The dogs breakfast cereal includes: Potatoes; pumpkin; zucchini; sweet potato; white radish; and carrot. It is a complex process because it occurs over a few nights and I'm often cooking whilst responding to the comments here - which may explain why I occasionally disappear off topic! ;-)!

The process is this: the vegetables are diced and then roasted with a bit of olive oil in the wood oven one night. The next night, I blitz the vegetables into a paste (which takes a few minutes). Half of the paste goes into biscuits and the other half goes into breakfast cereal.

With the biscuits, I crack the mixer out and blend in flour until the paste becomes dry and gluggy. Then I add in organic oats which I purchase by the 40 pound sack. Organic dessicated coconut and unsalted roasted peanuts get added into the mix and then I use a spoon and my hands to form roughly biscuit shaped mushy things. Drizzle a bit of olive oil (local extra virgin oil too) and then cook them in the wood oven until they are brown and crispy. I chuck them onto a cooling tray and then store them in an air tight container.

With the cereal, I add more flour and oats to get the mix drier and then throw it all into a large baking tray. Local honey and olive oil is added to the mix and then it is baked in the wood oven and every 10 to 15 minutes I turn the lots so that it doesn't burn and then bang it back in the oven. When the whole lot is brown (the master chef Gordon Ramsay says: if it is brown it is cooked, and if it is black it is fooked!) I turn the whole lot onto a bench top and every half hour or so whilst it cools I break it up into small chunks.

It has taken me literally months to re-engineer this stuff, but as you quite rightly point out dog food is very expensive. Previously I spent about $60 per week on dog food, but now it is down to about $10 per week and I consider that savings to be akin to sticking it to the man. Nuff said really.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Just forgot and blame the chooktopia project! All fruits with sugar will happily ferment into alcohol if given the chance.

Sometimes I can just visualise how the first people who tasted edible olives uncovered the knack of processing them. I'll bet a branch full of ripe fruit fell into the ocean and a very clever individual said to themselves: You know what? I'm hungry enough to try and eat those olive fruits immersed in the ocean, and thus olive fruit processing was discovered.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Oh yeah, I hear you and am very sensitive to those changes. Have we not discussed previously the motto: If it seems wrong, it probably is?

It is really weird given your latitude that you have a similar climate to here. If you want my advice for what it is worth, my gut feeling is to wait until you are into the latter part of August before breathing any sighs of relief in your part of the world. The plants tell it like it is. Did I tell you that one of the nectarines here did not go deciduous this year, when all of their kin did?

Dunno really. All of those populations tend to find some sort of balance. It is our responsibility to introduce them - if they are suitable - and then not worry about it too much. The Aboriginals used to plant native Cabbage Trees (which have edible heads, but look like a palm) all about the south eastern corner of this continent. In some areas they survive and thrive, but in others they struggle even if well established and that is how life rolls.

I do wish your cinnabar worms the best of luck, but to establish a long term colony, they have to be able to survive the worst of conditions in your part of the world. You are having me wonder about the European bees here.

Thanks for the explanation and that makes perfect sense.

Very wise as I also wisk away their eggs too. I forgot to ask, but do you have a rooster? The racket from those roosters drives me bananas.

Nice to hear that you are having some cooler and damper weather up your way. How is the grass growing with all of your heat and then rain? It is almost perfect conditions for growing you know?

It is absolutely pissing down with rain outside right now. Haha! There will be a little bit about the water tanks but nothing too great as I can't afford to add further tanks right now so that a re-allocation became very necessary. All will be revealed next week!

Hope the trip to the little smoke was good? Just out of interest, do you stop by certain well known places for a coffee or feed, whilst you are in the little smoke? Just asking because I have many places to choose from if I venture off the farm and depending on what is needed I know where to grab a bite or a drink or whatever.

I'm hoping to transfer the chicken collective into their new home tomorrow, but after so many days of continuous construction, I'm starting to feel like I need a break. However, the weather is dictating my activities rather than my preferences!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Nice work and you most certainly are highly observant to have taken that path with the reader. It is hard to mask our inner thoughts as we give ourselves away all of the time and the person that is switched onto the subtle cues is way ahead of the pack.

Nice to hear and thanks for the explanation. It is a divisive subject as it perhaps is a human construct rather than a natural phenomena? Dunno, really. The reason I say that is because after the last Ice Age in Europe, you would have expected that various plants and animals extended their range northwards and then adapted to circumstance, so the only thing I see in nature is constant adaption to circumstances. The eucalyptus trees here are a prime example as they hybridise so readily and are very recent newcomers to this forest. The Acacia Melanoxylon trees which are superb specimens up this way used to be the dominant species and even today they duke it out with the eucalyptus species in remote gullies and sheltered saddles. It is a dog eat dog world in the plant kingdom.

I would really enjoy obtaining some of the seeds for your herbs!

It is really great to hear that your son is having some much good results with both the sow and the piglets. It is a credit to his work as the results speak for themselves. Incidentally, you've got me thinking about cheese kranskies and bratwurst, and oh yum, pork belly! Hehe! I envy you your harvest and well done.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam and August,

You are both correct and incorrect. ;-)! It is a pleasure to be in the presence of people that are intelligent, very observant and constantly fact checking me - I make plenty of errors!

A Pomeranian dog is actually a miniaturised Spitz breed. They're a very old breed of dog which is why they are curious and intelligent - and also very high maintenance. The older breeds of dogs - I believe - have upright ears, so they are easy to distinguish. You can see that with dingoes for example which travelled to Australia via Indonesia and displaced the marsupial Thylacine and Devil's on the mainland. The Bass Strait prevented dingoes from travelling to Tasmania so whilst the Thylacine's were hunted to extinction there due to a bounty for their pelts, the Devil's still survive today (albeit they are in a fair bit of trouble).

Poopy is specifically a Swedish Lapphund, but if I called him that you lot would think that I was putting on airs and graces. Poopy was "free to a good home" and when I saw him and the conditions he was living in I couldn't actually leave him there. My earlier Pomeranian was about 20 pounds and she was a much better dog by far, but we make do with the resources that we are presented with!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I have heard of the Swedish Lapphund. We wouldn't want Poopy to get a bigger swelled head than he already has, so we'll keep it to ourselves. Dogs are dogs, be they little or be they big.

It's funny that you mentioned dingoes as last night my husband and I were discussing how dingoes ever got to Australia, or if they originated there (which I told him would most likely be impossible). Will now go research it. We once had an Australian Shepherd (American actually, aren't they?) and used to ponder if she had dingo blood.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Been playing around with titles for next weeks post. "Choking on Chook Chooktopia" is about the best I've come up with. :-). I need to go to the local poultry auction and get a rooster to complete the set :-). But, I've never been to the poultry auction before ... I fret about getting a sick or mean rooster, etc. etc..

Trips to town. Centralia and Chehalis are twin towns and I have a well traveled "loop" that I make. Just about everything I need is on the loop. Every other week I add a stop to visit a friend and deliver eggs. Anything I need to do, off the loop, is an expedition (from my point of view ... even 3 blocks.) I never stop at any eating or drinking establishments. Every week I stop by the AA club, where, on wednesdays, an old friend volunteers on the counter. If I want a cuppa, I have it there. And, I leave him eggs. I usually leave at 8:30 or 9:00 in the morning and am home by 1;00. I usually have 7-12 stops to make. Sometimes, I get frazzled and start asking myself questions like "Do I really need this now? Can I push this stop off to next week?" If I want to browse our 3 thrift stores, I usually turn that into a separate expedition. The bank, library, two stores I patronize, gas station, drug store, veg store, general variety store/ hardware/clothes store and feed store are all on the loop. The post office is one block off. The feed store is moving off the loop the end of August. I don't like change and I hope they're "in and out" is as easy as their present location. I'm about 20 minutes out from the south end of the loop.

The grass is pretty burned off, by now. Just need to mow the weeds that pop up from time to time. My tomatoes are doing well, but, I think I overwatered one bush and some of them split. Yeah, our climates are similar, but not quit. I wouldn't attempt (and no one else here does either) olives or any kind of citrus. As global warming progresses, I'm sure they will become possible.

Finished watching "Rain Shadow." It starred Rachel Ward. What we would call here, "a great ol' broad." There was a westie in it (West Highland Terrier.) I've had two in my life and they are such nifty little dogs. I'm tempted. But, life in the country ... I think I'd be better off with a big ol' black lab hound.

I finished Bryson's book on Australia. Such a good read! I savored it, a chapter or two a night. Speaking of Bryson, I was watching some new movie trailers at Internet Movie Data Base and he's doing a documentary. Re-walking the Appalachian Trail as he did 20 (?) years ago for his book "A Walk in the Woods." Seems he wants to see how the trail, and America have changed.

Also, a new Simon Pegg movie is on the way! "Absolutely Anything." Aliens are going to destroy the earth ... but they have an escape clause. They give one human unlimited powers to wish for anything they want. If they use the powers for good, planet spared. If for bad ... well, it gets grim. Well, I've got to run. An unexpected trip to the Little Smoke. My landlord wants to pick up to plastic stock tanks for his wife to use as raised beds. I've got the truck ... so .... away we go! Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam and Lewis,

Apologies but I'll respond to your lovely comments tomorrow. I am actually exhausted after finally getting the chickens into their new home, well after dark this evening - but it is not finished to the point that I can walk away from the structure and not have the ladies eaten by the many creatures down here that are hungry for chicken. They're safely locked away in their hen house, but the enclosure is not quite the enclosure it should be - a determined fox or owl could easily get in.

PS: Lewis thanks for the next title and if you are happy with a mild edit I'll use: Choking on Chooktopia? What do you reckon?

PPS: The planet could do far worse than the wisdom of Simon Pegg!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@Lewis:

I do the same loop, minus the feed store and egg delivery (no more chickens). Once a week. It takes a lot to get me into town more often than that In my case, they moved the library branch I used to pop into. It's not that far out of the way, but the parking is horrendous, so it's quite sad.

Your title idea is genius! I like Chris' take on it, too, though.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Of course you can use the mildly edited title!

Rain, last night! Think it was hard at one point. Judging from the drip line off the chook house roof. And, the fennel was a bit beat down. Hope your hens like their new digs. Housewarming party? Any excuse for a party :-). Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Poopy's pride should not be swollen beyond his capacities! ;-)! Actually, I'd never heard of that particular breed before and had to work it back from the general breed of Spitz back to the specific dog breed. There are an awful lot of variations, but they all look the same. On an interesting side note, Poopy was taught to bark by a neighbour - long and sordid story there - and one of the traits of the breed is that they can be very noisy. It has been quite the effort to train him to only bark when there is actually something worthwhile of barking at. On the plus side he would take a bullet for me as he is very loyal.

Yeah, dingoes definitely arrived in Australia via trades between the Aboriginals and Indonesians. No doubts about that one and what is also interesting is that after the arrival of the Europeans on this continent, the northern Aboriginal tribes suffered far less decimation from European diseases than their southern brethren.

Dingoes howl rather than bark. They have also interbred with domesticated dogs so there aren't that many pure bred dingoes left - although there is a dingo puppy farm not far from here. Your equivalents would be the coyotes.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That would be a first for me too. Haven't been to a poultry auction before although there is a regular one in Kyneton which is a small town not far from here. Please let us all know what goes on there? Poultry sales are fairly straight forward as there are a huge number of caged birds and you can simply pick and choose - but beware the sexing of the birds is only mostly reliable.

Dunno about roosters either as they can be a mixed bag and it is very hard to tell how they will react in advance. Two words - good luck! ;-)! I wouldn't worry too much about the sick bit as birds can become sick - like humans - even with the best bloodlines.

Haha! Yeah, I avoid peak hour travel like the plague too. It is nice to hear that you have various stops along the way, although a quality coffee along the way is very hard to ignore. Your AA community sounds very helpful for you in terms of connection. As an interesting side note, I haven't yet found my people, but do actually know and speak with a whole lot of people that I know. Sorry to hear that your local feed store is shifting to another location, but change is inevitable in all that we do. I'm onto my second stock feed shop now and they're very good and everything is on a first name and cash basis which is all cool.

Yes, too much water does tend to split the fruit. And incidentally the same thing can happen with cherries which can bring the fruit season to an early end.

Ahh, Rachel Ward has quite the long and distinguished career. Given your taste for disaster films, I noted that the actor was in the remake of the film: "On the Beach".

Speaking of which, I've begun watching - after a bit of hassle from the editor - a zombie story which breaks new zombie ground: Glitch. The zombies are different because they don't walk around clamouring for brains, but seem relatively normal but with unresolved personal issues. I'm personally unsure which would be worse? Incidentally, the fictional town of Yaroona looks suspiciously like the actual town of Castlemaine which is just north of here (on the same train line too) and in the apple growing area.

I enjoyed many of Bryson's books too as he is an outstanding writer and communicator. Thanks for the heads up and I'll keep an eye out for the release for that documentary. Can you please let me know when it is released as I thoroughly enjoyed that book and felt as if I was walking alongside him?

Given your hot and dry conditions this year, raised beds seem like a very good idea long term. I'm still not convinced about wicking beds yet as they take an awful lot of water to fill in the first place.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Very sensible to include a multitude of stops in the one trip! Respect.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks. Short and snappy seems to do the trick! ;-)! You'd be surprised just how little brain cells I put towards the title each week and the editor seems to throw them at me by the multitude - sometimes it is hard to choose which to go with! Please let me know if I'm repeating myself though? I will go with your edited title this week as you are far closer to the mark than you - most probably though - guess!

Great to hear that you received some solid rain. February is the disaster time here for hot weather and I was wondering whether August was your problem month for heat? The solid rain puts back the threat of brush fire though. Summer rain is always welcome here.

Yes, the chickens were partying hard today! No seriously, they really were. I was working outside on the chooktopia project in the very cold weather today and the chickens were all happily enjoying themselves in the brand new sheltered and protected enclosure whilst I was getting snowed on.

It will be interesting to see whether your chickens can actually reach the fennel seeds? The blue wrens and red robins absolutely adore the seeds.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - Yeah, getting used to a new feed store location is going to be ... stressful. But, the people that work there are so nice and knowledgeable. LOL. The old guy who knows the most about chickens is deaf as a post. So, not much information, there.

To break into the conversation about dingoes ... Bryson mentioned in his book that populating Australia happened at a time when humans were barely human. And, thousands of years before any evidence of boats, anywhere else in the world, at least 25 Aboriginals managed to cross 60 miles of open water. The scientists are still trying to figure that one out. Alien transplant? :-)

Also, recently in the news, a pretty extensive study of the DNA of our Native Americans has revealed slight echoes of Aboriginal DNA in South America. And, in another article, pre-Columbian chicken bones have been discovered in South America. Turkeys are native to the Americas, but not, chickens. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Wow. Snow. LOL. I heard where you said in the video that that was the heaviest you'd ever seen it. Here, that would be a "light dusting." :-). I've had up to 10 inches, at my place. Usually gone in a couple of days.

I'm sure I saw the sequel to "On the Beach." But, it doesn't stick in the mind like the original does. "Glitch" looks like a lot of fun and I hope my library system gets it. Probably will. Just to drive the Editor crazy, there's also a British zombie series "In the Flesh" and a French one called "Revenants". Of course, the grand daddy of them all is the US "Walking Dead". Soon to be joined by a spin-off called "Fear the Walking Dead." Then there's "The Returned" which isn't, strictly, a zombie series. The dead come back, but, apparently, unchanged. Hmmm. French one may be like that, too. I think I'm suffering from zombie overload. Oh! and then there's another series "Z-Nation."

July and August are the hottest months, here. Usually, July. Sometimes, August. There's a phenomenon here called a "Chinook Wind." A warm wind comes in from the east and the temperature can go up 40F, or more, in just an hour. If there's snow, there can be flooding. We haven't had anything like that in years, and I wonder if it's going to be a victim of climate change.

I'll let you know about the Bryson movie. I should get the "Walk in the Woods" and re-read it. Before the movie becomes general knowledge and the hold lists stack up. :-)

Well, I'm 66 today. Going to do the traditional / usual. 2 huge commercial canadian bacon and pineapple pizzas, a half gallon of milk and new DVDs from the Safeway. Something I don't think the library will get, or, the hold lists will be so long I'll never see them in my lifetime. Getting to be a real consideration, at this late date. :-). So, it will be a really lazy day, other than taking care of the animals.

Yeah, community is important, but it's a strain. I force myself because the science is pretty clear that community and longevity are clearly linked. Lew