Sunday, 15 November 2015

In Your Dreams



I’ve been thinking this week about technology. It is good stuff, until it no longer works. On Friday the modem that I use here to connect to the Internet via the 4G mobile phone network blew up! Actually, that is a bit of an exaggeration as the modem didn’t quite blow up, it simply died with a whimper part way through replying to comments.

AM (after modem) has meant that I do have access to the Internet, but it is very slow and I am unable to provide the usual level of photographs that the regular readers of the blog may have become accustomed to! Hopefully, over the next week, things will return to normal, whatever that means! Hehe! Maybe…

IAM (immediately after modem), I spent an hour and half trying to work out what exactly had gone wrong with the Internet connection. The next day, I spent about the same amount of time on the phone with the helpful people at the telecommunications company who finally determined what I already knew – the modem had unexpectedly died. A replacement modem has been organised, however living in a remote spot means that it will take between 3 and 5 business days for the new modem to arrive in the mail at the local General Store. I now suffer from AODMD (acceptance of delayed modem delivery).

Have I ever mentioned that Australia Post refuses to deliver anything to my house as it is in a remote location (60km from the Melbourne CBD post office – go figure)? In my previous incarnation as a mildly naïve urbanite (otherwise known as a townie) it had never even occurred to me that there were locations that the postal service would not deliver mail to! I’ve adapted to this reality although it sometimes causes difficulties and I now enjoy regaling people with horror stories of living in an official postal black hole (PBH?)!

Meanwhile life goes on and the situation with the modem started me thinking about how the infrastructure that we all take for granted every day is actually quite fragile and brittle. And from that thought, the editor and I discussed how we work through the process of deciding upon the extent of time and resources that are given to any particular infrastructure project here.

Before starting any project, the editor and I agree on the full scope and eventual outcome of a particular project. Projects here are generally divided into three categories:

  1. Undertake the project with the resources and infrastructure that we have on hand;
  2. Undertake the project so that the eventual outcome meets the minimum agreed needs; or
  3. Chase a dream outcome for that project.

Gordon Ramsay, the very talented and successful UK chef, was part of a television series a few years ago titled: “Kitchen Nightmares”. As an established chef, Gordon Ramsay was invited into failing restaurant businesses by the owners of those businesses to help them correct many of the apparent failings of those businesses. It is fascinating viewing because Gordon Ramsay dissects some of the problems of the businesses and commences the long and slow process of correcting those problems. It is entertaining too because Gordon Ramsay is a straight talking kind of guy (and a bit sweary).

What fascinates me about Gordon Ramsay’s approach is that he utilises the first strategy and quickly reviews the resources in a failing business and then utilises their strengths and works with the weaknesses to achieve a reasonable outcome. I too have utilised this strategy in the world of business and can report that it is very effective.

Back to the farm, that first strategy was used to produce the original chicken house and enclosure. Both time and resources were scarce when the original chicken house project was constructed. It was decided by the editor and I to utilise an existing timber frame structure that had a roof over it which was used to collect water for a small water tank providing water to the orchard and for the house construction, as the base structure for the old chicken house and enclosure.

However, readers with excellent memories will recall that an entirely new chicken housing structure was constructed from scratch a few months back – which was the Chooktopia project. The first strategy which utilised the resources and infrastructure that we had on hand, turned out to be a temporary solution to the problem of where to house the chickens. This is because it didn’t work very well.

The recently completed Chooktopia project however, displayed the second strategy in action. This meant thinking about what the chickens needs were based on the lessons learned from the previous structure and then working backwards to identify what the new project would look like once completed. And after a few hard weeks of construction, the new project for the chicken housing and run was completed. It is a superior chook enclosure.

There is virtually no Internet connectivity this week at the farm, so instead of performing a Google search for the definition of the word “Abstract”, I had to go and grab my trusty hardback version of “The Concise Oxford Dictionary” Third Edition dating back to 1934 from the bookshelves! This week is very low tech (and a bit leather bound)!

The word “Abstract” is defined in that trusty book (as an adjective): Separated from matter, practice, or particular examples, not concrete; ideal, not practical; abstruse.

The third strategy mentioned above of chasing dream outcomes for projects is neatly defined for me above in the word Abstract as: Ideal, not practical. Examples that I can think of are: Dream house, dream wedding, dream holiday, dream chook pen etc (you get the idea). It is useful to note that whilst any ideas that fall into that third strategic category would be nice to have, sadly we usually have to discard those ideas out of hand due to economic constraints.

It may be hard for some readers to believe, but there are now even more flowers this week. A few years ago, a local beekeeper advised me that I did not have enough food for the bees on the farm, so I took his advice on board and just kept planting more flowers and creating more flower beds.
There are now even more flowers this week at the farm
Over the past few years I have been trialling what flowers easily and reliably grow here and so the diversity increases with each year. Observant readers will notice in the photo below that there is a black long haired Dachshund (aka Toothy) stalking through the vegetation.
The diversity of flowers increases with each year on the farm
The garden beds are continually increasing in size, and this week I completed the garden bed below the recently constructed fire wood shed. The small green splats in the new garden bed are some of the many tomato seedlings that I have been planting. Over the past few years I’ve been experimenting with growing vegetables, herbs, fruit trees and flowers all in a confusing mass of vegetation and the experiments seem to be going well.
The garden bed below the recently completed fire wood shed is now completed and will slowly grow and develop over the next year or so
Before that garden bed could be completed, I had to install a pump, tap, water tank overflow and bushfire sprinkler all connected to the 4,000 litre (1,000 gallon) water tank that is fed from rainfall collected from the fire wood shed.
A pump, garden tap and bushfire sprinkler were connected up to a small water tank this week
The observation window into the new experimental bee hive has been an outstanding success and I’m able to observe what is happening in the new bee colony most days and haven’t yet been stung by the bees!
The observation window into the new experimental bee hive has proven to be a success so far
I may have next to no Internet access this week and these few photos took over half an hour to upload, but the editor and I do have the first of the ripe cherries. The cherry variety in the photo below is an Early Burlap and we ate those fruits faster than the birds ever could have!
The first of the Early Burlap Cherries ripened this week
The temperature outside here at about 10.15pm is 10.1’C degrees Celsius (50.2’F). So far this year there has been 686.0mm (27.0 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week's total 682.6mm (26.9 inches).

56 comments:

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Haha! That's funny because it is the same thing here. You spot a Georgian sandstone mansion and go, wow, that's so ancient... Ahh, the arrogance of youth. :-)!

Still no sign of the new modem, so the internet is spotty at best, so I hit the publish button early today on this weeks blog just in case...

The Star Gazer pie sounds truly awful. Do you get uncomfortable when your food is staring back at you? Fish heads and tails make a great stock though. Exactly right though, it is a chancy meal to prepare. It reminds me of the triple stuffed bird meal: Chicken in a duck in a goose. It is probably a bit rich for my tastes.

Nice to read that the well is progressing. How did the water testing go? Is the water clear?

Cheers.

Chris

Damo said...

I like your new garden bed, it flows with the driveway in an agreeable manner.

In an unrelated note, I see that the imminent house price ' correction' may be upon us with prices and auction clearance rates falling across Sydney. As someone who wishes to buy a moderate patch of land in the near future this excites me. Previously, I was thinking I had to limit myself to places with good agricultural soil, but you seem to be making a pretty good show of it on relatively poor soil (and a sloping block as well!).

Cheers, damo

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - All those acronyms! I think I'm suffering from EOG. Picked it up from a comedy sketch (Portlandia) a couple of weeks ago. Early Onset Grumpiness. Although, given my age, maybe I'm right on schedule? :-). Of course I KNOW I'm suffering from CRS. Can't Remember S***. :-).

No news on the water quality, yet. Dunno.

Oh, there are several postal black holes, around our county. Now, before my friends moved to Idaho, they had box delivery ... but decided to get a post office box, anyway. They were worried about mail theft. We have a big box, out front, and get mail delivery in it for 3 households ... plus the two deceased relatives from the Abandoned Farm. It is a rare day when there is nothing in the box. Those days, I think we're left off the route for one reason, or another. Not that the post lady fesses up, to that. All delivered boxes seem to end up on my front porch (UPS, FedEx). So, I'm kind of the mail guy.

What I can't figure out is the Chehalis Library. It's two blocks from the Chehalis Post Office. But, it doesn't get delivery. Every day, and employee has to hike down the hill and pick the mail up. Asked once. Didn't get a straight answer. I guess the reason is lost in the mists of time, and no one has raised enough hell to fix the situation.

When working on problems, I often find that I can't do A, until I do B. And B won't work out unless I do C. Flow charts scratched on bits of scratch paper, help.

Where's Waldo? Where's Toothy? Reminds me of those puzzles you used to see. "Find the 25 hidden objects in this picture.
Speaking of dogs, Beau really mixed it up with something in the back yard, last night. Then everything went dreadfully silent. I was a bit worried about him, but, there he is on the deck this morning. All parts intact and no blood in evidence.

Not to rain on your parade (or, your flower bed) but the new bed on the slope below the woodshed? That's shaped like this ) ...are you going to have problems with erosion? Maybe the plants will hold everything in place?

The weather here has been interesting. The barometer and thermometer has gone down and up ... and up and down. No sign of frost, this morning, but there was a chunk of ice in the tub I've been using to dip out the chicken water.

No, I don't want my food staring at me. Not even my eggs. No "sunny side up" for me. I want nothing moving as far as my eggs are concerned. Reminds me of an old Dennis the Menace cartoon. Having breakfast with his father and the caption is "Dad! Dad! Doesn't that egg look just like a big ol' yellow eye, staring at you?" Clearly from the expression of his father's face, he has never considered the optical aspects of eggs. :-). Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

You have done quite well on the photo front considering the difficulties. There must be something malignant in the air, your modem, my drier and the neighbours, who I visit on Saturdays, had just had their oven pack up.

I actually use a dictionary quite a lot, not so much for the meaning of a word as for spelling.

The woods have lost their beauty. The wind arrived and the oak leaves came down (most of them. I walk on a glorious carpet of green, yellow, orange and brown though. It has never looked quite like that before.

Son has been asked whether he could deal with a tree that has come down by the church. He was told that no-one else had anything more than a nail file. While clearly an exaggeration, it still doesn't bode well in a rural area.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis, Damo, Pam and Inge,

Just got back late last night from the funeral up in Canberra - it's a long way from here to there and back again in two days...

I'm planning to respond to all comments tonight, although there is still no sign of the new modem (it is only early days yet though).

The next day or two look like they're going to be hot down here.

Cheers

Chris

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

I see I mistook the poppies for tulips on one of your previous posts. Shame on me! I'll just blame the CRT for that however. It's old and low resolution. If I'd seen the flowers in person, I would have known they were poppies.

Speaking of flowers, those in this week's post are as gorgeous as always! Glad you were able to get them up despite the modem issue.

Hope it doesn't get too hot where you are. It looks like we'll get the first freeze of the season this weekend, and perhaps even a bit of snow mixed with rain.

Claire

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,
No worries, your story was a pleasure to read. Thanks for the info on the eastern grey kangaroos, as I hadn’t heard about that. The kangaroos seem to be reasonably inoffensive – if somewhat large bouncing around the orchard.

Hey, did you see that there is a program which may release a group of Tasmanian Devils into the Barrington Tops National Park in NSW? Good stuff. I’d welcome a few of them here – it is not as if they weren’t on the mainland until recently anyway.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thank you for your thoughts. The funeral was yesterday morning and the service was lovely. Loss is a funny thing though because as people get older, everyone gets more exposed to it. I don’t really travel far these days and it was a massive drive to Canberra from here (almost 9 hours including stops). Thanks again for the kind words.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate, I reckon those moats were put in place with only a day or so to spare before the ants destroyed the new bee colony. Certainly the ants had the advantage of numbers on their side. Fortunately, the game is up for the ants and the bees killed off the remaining ants in the colony. The outsides of the colony were covered in ants! That was part of the reason I lifted the colony off the ground in the experimental hive.

The bees would certainly enjoy a crenulation or two for the bee archers or for the bees to pour hot oil on the advancing ants (an effective strategy, mind you) plus a super nifty draw bridge would be advantageous for bees trapped in the waters of the moat… Thanks for the laughs.

How did you survive the storm? It sounds truly massive and hopefully the weather has moved on or dissipated by now. Was there any damage from the storm anywhere else in the state? Sometimes, I’ve noticed that some areas are more affected by storm fronts than other areas and you never quite know until get to experience them.

Treading the boards sounds totally feral! ;-)! Actually, I have no idea what you are talking about and can’t look it up on the Internet to find out. What does that phrase actually mean?

You have actually lead an interesting life and I salute you for not submitting to the dominant paradigm. The force is strong with them, my master! Hehe! Seriously, it is really hard to do anything that is different from the dominant narrative and I’m not joking around about that one.

Well, there are a lot of crims in that area – I just don’t happen to be one of them. It probably wasn’t the wisest of decisions to meet them half way, but sitting in the car submissively didn’t gel with me as I was unaware that I’d done anything wrong. Dunno, there have been a lot of underworld shootings recently down here – quite a few in fact.

Exactly! Winter is the best time for the ocean as you see nature in her full force and the beaches are so quiet. Even on that week day, we were the only people walking along a stretch of sand that went on for a couple of kilometres. It was such a beautiful day and I can see that the ocean is slowly reclaiming the single dune that stands between the town and the ocean – it is a bit of a losing battle and I feel quite fondly for the area. We got the news about the uncle when we were down that way.

Sorry for the loss of your Uncle Larry. Years ago I had an acquaintance that was a really interesting friend and a great conversationalist (he was in a mildly successful rock band as a late teenager, although he downplays this now), until like you said he got on the cups and then he was a not very nice person, although I’d never had a bad experience with him. The funny thing was though, I met him again a few years back – and the years have not been kind to him – at another mates leaving party and the guy was the only one to hang around talking whilst everyone else at the party went off to watch a movie. That movie business at the party was mildly surreal from my point of view and we instead just sat around and talked rubbish for a few hours and I’ve wondered ever since whether I should drop him a line to say hello. Dunno.

Two weeks without water! That is feral!

The way things are going here, it maybe two weeks without the usual high speed Internet that I’ve become rapidly use too, so that is feral too! I hear you about technology. !

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Yes definitely, go feral planting flowers and you will also notice that the productivity of your own garden increases, plus you will have far fewer pests. I took a photo of a ladybird on a lettuce leaf the other day whilst she was hunting down aphids and other pests, but was unable to upload it due to the very dodgy Internet connection that I have to use now…

Well, I don’t rightly know what sort of agricultural practices that your local farmers follow. The thing is though, if they spray their crops with insecticides for pests, then it basically kills off the honey bees as well as all the rest – they are insects, but then as I said, I don’t really know what sort of techniques they’re following.

That is an excellent observation and you get the elephant stamp for that! Yes, the bees don’t like every flower and I have spent the past couple of years observing what they do and don’t like. What is interesting though is that the flowers that the European honey bees don’t like are actually enjoyed by the native bees who forage in more difficult conditions for far longer than the European honey bees – they just don’t build big enough hives to collect the honey from…

People believe what they believe and if they are able to throw enough resources at it, you can end up with destruction. Sorry to hear about that. You may be happy to know that a greater diversity of plants = a greater diversity of insects and birdlife. But you can only really influence the area that you have control over.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks. As Lewis said technology is great when it works…

No problems at all, I love hearing the diversity of opinions and I seriously don’t burn a candle about that sort of thing. You know, when I was in Canberra yesterday the birds sounded different to me than here, despite having a few of the same species. The calls were all slightly different in tone, rhythm and volume. It was interesting.

That is lovely to hear about Rye and I sometimes wonder about the homogenous nature of our culture as I reckon it is a weakness. Look, I must confess, I’d probably do that too, because, well, like it is impressive! Blush… Hehe! The oldest pub I can recall in Melbourne is the Mitre Tavern and it is certainly full of actual real Ye Olde charm (I’d provide a link to photos, but alas the Internet makes it text only for me…)

Maybe, but I have a sneaking suspicion that what we think of as rich soil nowadays is not really that rich at all from an historical context. The wildflowers here love rich soil. Just got a nice photo of a frog at night next to a borage leaf.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That is hysterical. Yes, of course our sense of deep time is a little bit less than for other cultures and I was trying to explain exactly that to Inge. Very amusing.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Thanks very much. Yeah, I try to make all of the infrastructure as organic as possible so everything has curved lines and can be easily repaired. You may be interested to know that it takes about two years for the soil to establish itself in one of those garden beds. After four years, the thing is like a jungle!

Mate, I am 100% in support of you. The current economic arrangements are a disaster and they are breeding massive wealth inequality. The bill will come due eventually, it always does.

Soil can be repaired and enhanced (In parts the top soil is now about 20cm to 30cm deep and it started from nothing), so I’d worry more about rainfall and frosts if I were in your shoes. The occasional frost is not really much of a drama, but without regular reliable rainfall – not too much and not too little. Mind you plants are very hardy and driving Melbourne to Canberra, I noticed lots of fruit trees all the way along and some of the peaches and nectarines on the side of the road looked like they were doing better than the cosseted ones here – go figure as it gets much hotter and drier up that way than down here. Dunno, but I suspect that we don’t actually know how much tolerance our food plants actually have.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Beware the CRS and EOG. I’m a bit scared right now! Hehe! I’ve never watched Portlandia – is it funny? I’ve heard good things about it. The editor tells me that she worked for a business that used a lot of TLA’s (Three letter acronyms) and they once had one for a AMD which stood for Air Movement Device – otherwise known in English as a fan…

Good luck with the water quality, I’ve got my fingers crossed for you.

That makes sense and is sort of what goes on here, except that the post office to the north of here gets any letters for this street address and then sits on it for a bit and then returns it to the sender and you never even knew that there was a letter waiting for you. Some government agencies refuse to deliver anything to a PO Box too… It’s confusing.

Your system has the advantage that you get letters and parcels for all of your neighbours so it is probably a bit like Christmas every day with all of those packages? It is weird though when nothing gets delivered for anyone for a few days – you start to wonder what is going on with the system?

No way. Wow, that is not good. It is funny the little demarcation disputes that you come across in your existence. Two blocks is no real excuse at all. The other post office here is a long way north of here. What is strange though is the postal black hole is actually quite a small zone between two postal delivery routes. It is just weird and when I asked about it the paperwork walls were thrown at me and I never had the mental space at that time to fight them – for that is what it would end up being.

Well, that’s exactly how project evolve here too. Sometimes you just have to wait for A and C to be completed before I’m even aware that B exists, let alone started. This place starts getting more complex as time goes on. Incidentally the tomatoes are growing well in their new home in the stick fence enclosure – so I’m pretty happy with that.

Where’s Waldo! Too funny. Fortunately Toothy has quite the black coat so he is easy to spot lurking in amongst the green vegetation. Respect for your top dog Beau too. I’ll bet he was looking smug as well. He’d be looking you in the eye all cocky and stuff and saying: “What?”

Nah, it will be fine. Flat land is in short supply here so all of the garden beds are built on slopes. The hardest one is almost 45 degrees from horizontal – that one is a bit slow to take off. If you’re interested, I can add a photo of it next time to show what I doing with it?

Wow, do you get ice without the frost? Hope the ladies are OK with the cold weather and have regrown their feathers?

Yeah, I can’t unread that one. Thanks for that, they’ll never be the same, you know! Hehe! The editor feels the same way about eggs, although I enjoy them a bit runny with the yolk and totally cooked albumen. Speaking of chickens, one of my Isa Brown chickens which are a really good layer got into a punch up with one of the Golden laced Wyandottes and came off second best and was injured enough that she died this morning. She was a very cheeky bird with a inquisitive personality – perhaps a bit too into other chickens business…


Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

It is not good, but I’m managing. How are you managing without your dryer? Sorry to hear about your friends oven too. They are crucial here so I can cook using any of three different fuels and I’m thinking about down the track a bit installing a larger electric oven as funds allow. The strange thing is a mate of mine had their oven pack it in too (and it wasn’t that old). Ovens used to last for decades, in fact I’d never heard of one breaking until very recently.

Exactly, have you ever wondered how it came to be that people’s vocabulary has shrunk in recent decades? Sometimes, I can be a bit verbose, but I do like the English language.

You’ve swapped one sort of beauty for another. The carpet of multi-coloured leaves sounds lovely. I never see anything like that unless it is a particularly hot and dry summer and the tall trees drop leaves in order to survive. I’m working on that problem as it doesn’t need to be that way.

What? No way. Wow. I get called upon from time to time to help out with the chainsaw as it is a very valuable tool to use – even a small very sharp chainsaw can perform wonders. Mostly it isn’t in the size of the chainsaw, it is in keeping the chain ultra sharp and knowing how to use the tool. That is very troubling to hear, but people do want to outsource their responsibilities and that is the outcome…

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Apologies, but I will get to your latest post once my Internet access becomes better than text only. No worries anyway, the Californian poppies are really lovely plants and they sell the small ones here which happily and reliably self-seed all over the place. You can also get the much larger shrub sized poppies.

I do not doubt that at all. I thoroughly enjoy the photos from your place too and I’m in awe of the coneflowers which I have had no luck at all with and have killed a few Echinacea’s which there were high hopes for.

It is very hot here even at 10pm (over 22'C still) and they reckon tomorrow is going to be bad fire weather too. Snow is really lovely and I hope that it is a pleasant snowfall.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi everyone,

I forgot to mention that tonight the sky was almost red because of the serious bushfires going on over in Western Australia (which is a long way away).

Not good and my thoughts are with the affected areas.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I am managing fine without a dryer though being a one person household helps. I would like another wooden clothes horse but am assured that they don't exist anymore. Whenever I want something it seems to be only available in third world countries.

I hadn't noticed a smaller vocabulary these days but I am sure that you are correct. What I do notice is an inability to pronounce words correctly on the radio and television. Of course! Newsreaders are reading but don't know the word. This happens so often that I start to doubt myself, have I been wrong all these years.

Regarding loss of loved ones, I seem to have become inured to the deaths of friends and family; there have been so many now. The only exceptions are the young and the suicides. Not sure that I know how to explain this.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

You're still struggling with your retro internet, eh?

What a long drive to Canberra for you and the Editor. I'm glad the service went allright.

Maybe Lewis and I need our eyes checked? I couldn't find the Stalking Toothy either.

As always, the photos of your place, especially the ones including the buildings, reminds me of a delightful mountainside village. Perhaps you will open it as a vacation destination someday? Hire your own shaman (perhaps you could fill the bill?) and offer mystical experiences as an escape from the outside world?

I am going to take your flower planting advice as far as I can get away with - within sun/space constraints. I have already started, but I have a long way to go.

I'm sorry to hear about the fires. Just a never-ending cycle?

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lewis:

Your Dennis the Menace reference brought back a lot of laughs. It was a funny comic strip.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Damo:

I certainly hope that you can get a break and find a spot of land sometime soon. We also have been keeping a close eye on land prices around us in case we could buy a small piece for family and some other projects, but the prices just aren't coming down around here. We do have our mountainside five acres, and it is a great blessing and may have to do.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I can't remember if I mentioned (yeah, Lewis - CRS followed by EOG, and watch out Portlandia fans: it may drive you loony) that a few weeks ago I got a batch of sourdough starter going again. For years I used to bake bread from one. Boy, I'd forgotten how temperamental it can be: feeding it and making sure the temperature is just as it likes, and you can never, ever rush the process. Much patience needed as I get used to working with it again. But yummy delicious!

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, the worst of the storm passed north of us. Around Seattle, over 300,000 households without electric. 2 people killed. We had some power outages, out in the boonies, in the east county. Our rivers are very high, and there are flood warnings, out. Hwy 12, a major road over the mountains, to the east, is closed, due to flooding. Looks like I can get to town, today. Last night (Monday) the moon came out and the sun is shinning, today. But, I must say I spent most of the weekend feeling wet. Taking care of the chickens ... hauling water. Three weeks today, without water. But, the tank is in ... they were working on the electric. Doing some trenching for pipes.

Treading the Boards = being in theatre. Did a year of theatre in my first year of college. Did some community theatre in the mid 70's. Got it out of my system :-).

Yeah, I'm the package guy. Sometimes, a pain in the .... elbow. I call my landlord ... "I'll be right down." Three days later ... and, in the meantime, I'm kind of on edge. The Evil Stepson has no cover on his porch ... so, I have to try and catch him. And, I'd rather have as little to do with him as possible.

Murder in the Chook Palace! My birds mix it up, every once in awhile, but it's usually short and sharp. But, last week, one grabbed a wattle of another one and held on! 5 eggs on Sunday, 1 on Monday and 6 yesterday (!).

Oh, I find Portlandia, quit amusing. But, then I'm from there. But, they make a lot of fun of the "more politically correct, than thou, and the more eco-sensitive, than thou. Once your computer is up to snuff, I'll have to send a couple of links to a couple of the sketches. Most are under 2 minutes. Quit a few from older seasons are on YouTube. Carrie Brownstein (from the band, Slater-Kenny) and Fred Armisen are genius. Playing multiple parts with a lot of gender swapping. They portray "types" ... and then push it a bit further. And, there are a lot of guest stars. Jeff Goldblum, etc..

Well, I'm off to town on a turkey hunt. See if I can find an inexpensive, smallish bird. 10 or 12 pounds. Lew

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I definitely will step up the planting of flowers. I've added a few additional native plants each year but clearly that's not enough. This year I planted flowers among the vegetables for the first time attracting even more pollinators and butterflies as well, especially Monarchs who are in extreme danger now.

Unfortunately it's all conventional farming around us and lots of round up and pesticides. As my husband's hives are registered with the state he is supposed to be contacted whenever anyone nearby is spraying so he can at least close up the hives for the day. Sometimes it happens and sometimes not. There is much more aerial spraying now than in years past as well. When we first moved here 28 years ago the farmers applied their own chemicals and in general waited until a calm day. Now most contract out the service so they show up when they show up. A couple years ago a couple guys arrived to spray fertilizer on the field just south of us (and very close to my garden). There were very high winds so I asked them why they would be spraying as it most would just blow away and it was then I discovered about the contracted service. It was a couple of really young guys who were basically clueless. Last year a caught a different service getting ready to spray pesticides on hay no less (most don't spray hay). I told the guy that he was supposed to contact us. He actually was very nice and said he hadn't been contacted himself and said he'd come back the next day. The tricky thing is most of the farmers are neighbors leasing the land around us and they truly don't understand the risks. The Upton Sinclair quote always comes to mind: "It's difficult to convince a man of something if his livelihood depends on him not knowing."

Wanted to also say how much I enjoy all your pics. What a beautiful area. Can't imagine what it's like to live with the threat of bushfires though.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge, Pam, Lewis and Margaret,

What a bummer... No new modem yet, so I'm still suffering from Internet withdrawal and a patchy connection. No ADR even... No fun... Hopefully, tomorrow's mail at the post office may bring a surprise package from the big and nice telecommunications company.

Thanks for the lovely comments and I do hope that I can respond to them tomorrow - all being well.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - I seem to remember the one time I tried getting sourdough started, it turned into evil smelling gray sludge. :-). When I've looked into it, it always seems like taking on another small pet. And, being single, it's difficult to do enough baking, to keep it all going. But I think I'll give it another whorl. Lew

Yo, Chris - Re: Sending links to a few Portlandia episodes? After this weeks ADR, I think I'll pass :-). I feel like I'm just perpetrating the madness. I still toy with the idea of getting rid of the internet. 14 months left to go on the contract. On the other hand, if the penalty is anything less than $1,400, I'd be money ahead. I'm beginning to think instead of waiting it out, just shoot for a January 1st end date.

Not to worry. A weekly trip to the library to use their equipment, my first stop would be Fern Glade Farm :-). Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi everyone!

WE'RE BACK, BABY!!!!!!!!!!!

YAY!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Nice to hear that you are getting by OK without the dryer in your humid part of the world. I can't believe that timber washing horses are unavailable in your part of the world. Mind you, mine have been in more or less constant use for decades. They also sell much smaller plastic coated steel washing horses too. They're not as large as the timber ones, but they should be available? It is as weird as people not having a chainsaw (or even any other sort of handy saw) available in a rural area...

Oh yeah. One example I hear all of the time is people pronouncing the word schnitzel as snitchel. That one really annoys me no end. I doubt many people would even know the word moribund... No, I do not doubt that you are wrong at all in that observation, but I generally don't watch the news. As an interesting side note I generally listen to the radio station JJJ which is the ABC youth broadcaster and is usually a music only station. One of the newsreaders there is a very well spoken young lady who is blind and occasionally she loses her place in reading the news of the hour, but she rarely misses or mispronounces a word.

I reckon you explained that quite well and I feel much the same as I have also experienced much loss in my life too and whilst it is never easy to experience, an accumulated experience of such situations makes it easier to accept. Sometimes, I wonder whether we as a society are doing ourselves any favours by limiting peoples exposure to grief? Dunno.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thankfully, not any more, but that is a story in itself which I'll share in the comments in a bit! Three cheers for broadband! Still, I do clearly recall the days of the old BBS (Bulletin Board System) which operated pre-Internet and that was fun too. Plus before that most of my mates had old AM CB radios (27MHz AM band) and there was also the old school telephone which worked pretty well too. Mostly, I just rode my push bike around to their houses and we just sort of hung out - and that was fun too.

You know, it took 9 hours to drive to Canberra (with stops) and another 9 hours to return again (with stops) after the funeral. If my brain had been working correctly, I would have stayed up in Canberra after the funeral, but brains not working properly is part of the whole grief process and so the editor and I decided to drive back. The editor suggested that I write the next blog on all of the strange things that we spotted on the road trip - one town had an Australian made submarine in one of the local parks which we climbed all over for example. But alas I resisted the urge to take the camera - again my brain was probably not in the right gear for clear thought.

Toothy can be found as the black lump in the top right hand corner-ish of the photo.

That is a fascinating concept and I'll have to meditate on it... I enjoy sharing this place and you may be interested to know that I kidnapped the editor this afternoon (who was feeling a bit down in the dumps because of the funeral) and took her to the local plant nursery and picked up a couple of very colourful Salvia plants which we planted this afternoon whilst the clouds drizzled a gentle rain on us. That is some good healing stuff. I don't know whether other local people have an eye for the beauty of nature?

Those fires were very large and I'll rustle up a link down below.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks for the Portlandia warning.

Great to read about your sourdough starter - yes, I've read that too about them, but totall 100% respect for getting a new starter going. You know, the yeast gets better and more complex with time - as I understand it - and it may even last for many human generations to come!

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

re: sourdough starter

Maybe it is just beginners luck, but I the two times I have started a culture it worked fine. It did feel like having a pet, needing to feed and stir it daily! My problem is that I still have not gotten close to making a decent bread loaf. I really don't know what I do wrong but it always turns out too heavy. Sometimes yummy, always filling but just not bread. Doesn't matter if I use my own sourdough starter or bakers yeast (the sourdough usually tastes better). Do I knead too little or too much? These are deep and mysterious questions that various 'foolproof' recipes have not illuminated.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That storm reads like a total disaster film. Did the power go out in your part of the state? It is great that you have received so much rain though - notwithstanding that you personally were very wet which is tough. Did any of the storm deliver snow to the higher peaks? This may sound counter intuitive to you, but in those sorts of conditions I try to slow the movement of water across the land so that it can seep into the aquifers and the ground water table.

The Esperance fires in Western Australia have now killed four and cover an area of about 290,000 acres (117,000 hectares). Not good for this early in the year. Esperance fires: 'Race against time' before worsening weekend conditions 19/11/2015

Incidentally, I'm glad to recall that you recently gave your chickens some rocks to climb on so that their feet don't get too wet in the storm conditions. How did that all work out in the recent storm? I'm noticing down here that the weather seems to go from one extreme to another and I reckon that is a good indication of the future climate. Dunno though as I reckon Yogi Berra summed it up nicely when he ironically said: "predictions are hard, especially when they're about the future".

Glad to read that the tanks and electrics are going in. Wells and water bores are such complex beasts. Years ago, I had this childish notion of wells being a rock (or brick lined) hole in the ground with a hand cranked bucket which dropped into the abyss to collect the water and was hauled out again full. The Aboriginals used to maintain wells across the country. However, with the ground water table so much lower these days across the globe, that description above is a total fantasy. You might be interested to know that I've been giving serious consideration to such old school technologies and may do something about that over the next couple of years - water is everything here, but I reckon it is the major limiting factor for human populations.

Hehe! Fair enough, you are a better man than I because one year would even be too long for me. I'll bet you have some interesting stories from those days? I don't recall mentioning this before but musicals in particular grate on my nerves like nothing else. Years ago, I went to see the musical theatre production of "Hair" and whilst I enjoyed some of the music, the rest of it just left me feeling cold. Dunno why at all and I only mention this because I'm interested to read that you lasted a year and was hoping that you had some insights? Did you bruise any egos along the way? Hehe! Perhaps the whole thing was lost in translation for me? Even the Blues Brothers and the Rocky Horror Picture Show were a struggle to sit through...

Speaking of films, I'm hoping over the next few weeks to watch the film: The End of the Tour about the author David Foster Wallace. Should be interesting. The editor has other plans though and wants to go and see: The Dressmaker which is a film based on a gothic novel set in a small town in outback Australia in the 1950's. The film has been acclaimed by reviewers and people that I know that have actually seen it.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Ha! I now think of you as the package guy! Hehe! Avoiding the evil step son is a learned talent for sure. You do realise that I have the same problem down here with a couple of the more colourful locals that inhabit the local general store? Some of them I really enjoy talking too and swapping news, some of them I wish they were somewhere else altogether! Ah, community is such a wonderful thing that most of the developed world runs from it screaming! ;-)!

Mate, I could have used your most excellent package services this week, because the telco company sent the new modem to my street address which incidentally has no postal delivery service (being a tier one location ;-)!). Anyway, I went to my usual post office this morning and they had no package at all for me, so I rang up the telco who informed me that they'd sent it to the street address, despite my instructions, and then they tracked the parcel down to another post office nearby. I went down to that other post office this morning and retrieved the modem and YAY! I'm back on the Internet. Honestly, I was starting to get withdrawals from our daily musings on the world and other minor incidents. ;-)! Just for your interest, the telco delivered the new modem in two days which is pretty good really - just not quite to the correct address.

At least going to the other post office gave me the chance to visit the tip shop and I picked up a whole lot of materials for a new project which will hopefully sort out all of the various materials I have stored about the place (yes, my dirty little secret which I don't show in the photos :-)!) Hehe!

You are doing really well for eggs at this time of the year. I'm impressed, there must be something in the feed? The land of chicken / bird can be a brutal world though.

Thanks for the review and please do send the links when you get a chance?

How did your turkey hunt go? I have to head off for the regular 5 to 6 weekly shop up over the next few days... It is getting cheaper every month as I work out ways to get around the various purchases. You may be interested to hear that vanilla extract (the real deal) is really easy to make and I'm considering putting together a large jar of it for a foodie mate for Christmas.

Oh hey, it’s been a few days so here is a book recommendation that the editor is currently reading: Cooking Dirty by Jason Sheehan – the editor assures me that it is a better read than Kitchen Confidential and that seems like High Praise to me. I’ve almost finished Conan – it is massive.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Yes, the pollinators and predator insects need all of the help they can get. Glad to read that you are planting more flowering plants every year. I reckon it is a bit late to worry about the whole native versus introduced plants issue and just sort of recommend planting whatever the birds, insects and animals enjoy - and if you can score some nice flowers out of it that is good too! :-)!

I accidentally mentioned to the local plant nursery guy that I'm starting to like flowers and he said to me that was because I was getting older... Some people lack decent inter-personal skills... But they do have a good selection of flowering plants. I put in a few salvia's today as well as a couple of extra jostaberries.

Wow, what a story and I feel for you. The same thing goes on here too and a guy I speak with in the state up north of here said that the local council came and sprayed the weeds along the roadside of his organic farm on a windy day and didn't think anything at all about the spray drifting into his certified organic orchard. You're so right though, irregular contractors are paid to do a job and then go onto the next job without the least thought for what mess they've left behind them. I reckon our natural systems are best managed with long term relationships.

Thank you. It is tough living with that risk, but going on and living here anyway. There are things that I can and am doing to reduce the risk from the threat of bushfires, but it takes a huge amount of time and effort, but I undertake those tasks anyway because it is best for the land and animals here. There is a huge amount of wildlife that is dependent on the farm.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Top work with the bread starter and I've never tried it, but understand how to go about starting one. Hey, you may be interested to know that the rough as guts but very talented chef Anthony Bourdain wrote about a very old bread starter in his excellent book: Kitchen Confidential. It is not family friendly so I'm unable to repeat the story here, but mate I seriously enjoyed it.

Strangely enough I was considering writing about bread next week. I make a loaf of bread here most days from scratch and may put together a video of that process too.

Incidentally I forgot to mention to you about house and land prices a weird contradiction: If you are in the house or land market you describe an increase in prices as a return on your investment. And if you are looking to buy into that house or land market then an increase in prices is inflation. What do you reckon about that?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

What is going on over at the ADR? Hmmm, I'm intrigued and now that I've caught up with the comments I'll pop over and have a look.

Thanks for saying that too.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

You are in a tough spot with the spraying that goes on around you. All of the farmers around us are "gentleman" farmers who keep beef cows or horses. As far as I can tell they never spray; in fact, they all hire farm managers who seem to have a rather casual approach to livestock raising, except for the one who raises event horses for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Since we live deep in the woods, I suspect the poor trees would catch some of the spray before it gets to us. Aerial spraying would be a different matter, though.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Chris:

Yay!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Chris:

So, you DO have a dirty little secret!

Your local plant nursery guy's comment about you and why you like flowers will probably keep me laughing all day!

I am borrowing a car since my old truck broke down (mechanical son is in Boston for a bit). The license plate reads : ADR-xxxx. Isn't that funny?

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Damo:

The starter recipe that I use behaves best when it is kneaded about half as long as regular loaf of packaged-yeast bread. It also doesn't like as much flour as a regular loaf. The sourdough has to be more spongey and a bit more liquid when left to rise the first time, though the dough must still pull away from the bowl when you are kneading it. It should still be stickier than a yeast dough, though.

In this colder weather I give it 24 hours (in the bearded dragon's room; that's the warmest spot right now. No, it does not seem to have picked up any dragon flavor) to rise the first time, in the bowl. Twelve hours is usually enough in the summer. It is left to rise in the pans for 4-6 hours. I barely knead it before putting it in the pans to rise. Sourdough just seems to appreciate a more gentle, leisurely approach.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lewis:

You are of the pioneers! Three weeks+ without water - egads!

You do have to be attentive to your sourdough starter (see @Damo), with its food, temps, etc. I have recently read that there are probiotics in it since it's fermented, though I don't see why they aren't killed off when cooked. It also eventually developes a sort of fresh vodka (mine is a potato starter) on top. I skim it off and have a nip, obviously for the enzymes in it.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Welcome back. Had to buy eggs today! Son's chickens are not laying at all. Our weather is about to become extremely cold, nice if it will be dryer though.

I am not so keen on ADR at present.

@Damo

I bake my own bread (baker's yeast). It is much sturdier than bought loaves. Commercial loaves are normally steam baked and this makes them soft. I am guessing that your bread is fine just different from the bought stuff.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Winter wonderland! First hard frost. My truck looks like it's covered in tiny diamonds. Won't last long. Sun's out. Will have to watch the road, in the shady spots, when I head out to Chef John's, this morning. The storm did dump a lot of snow in the mountains. Just a few power outages in the east end of our county. My lights flickered once, and then held steady.

The chickens seem to enjoy the rocks. Old Mrs. Barnvelder and Gimpy don't have such a "hop down" from the hen house. The rock seemed to perform pretty well in the storm. Not much moving around. The apple wood and large rocks held back a bit of water and created a bit of a muddy lake.

Oh, always a bit of drama and ego around any theatre. But nothing over the top, that I remember. As far as competitors go, and old Drag Queen taught me a secret. Just a little ground glass in your rivals make up .... :-). She was real low key about it .... I was in a couple of plays with a woman and she finally revealed her awful secret. She was Van Heflin's daughter ("Shane! Come back Shane!) Sad if we all liked the same things. I like most musicals, especially the one's you mentioned. There's some real "toe tappers" and lyrics that stick in your mind. But the newer stuff? Blah. Can't think of a single tune from Andrew Lloyd Weber.

Speaking of films, "A Walk in the Woods" popped up in the library catalog. They're getting six copies, and I'm number 14 on the list. So, I'll probably be seeing it, pretty soon. I'll keep an eye out for the two you mentioned. Forget the name, but I've got an Australian horror film, on hold.

Doesn't seem to be any work done on the well, the last two days. Maybe the tank is filling?

I saw an ad for "Cooking Dirty". Either the library hasn't gotten it yet ... or, it hasn't hit the catalog, yet. "Alice Water's Pantry" is in transit to me. I'm still waiting on the Alexander cook book. It was supposed to be "in stock" at Amazon. Maybe I missed the bit where it was in stock, but in Australia? Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - OK. Here's two Portlandia sketches....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYey8ntlK_E

You can pickle that....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAlWrT5P2VI

The chicken sketch ....

Damo said...

Hi Chris,

I would go further and say house price increases are only a paper gain for the owner. After all, if you sell, you still need a roof over your head. Therefore the price rise only benefits people who can move to a different, cheaper area. Of course they could have done this before anyway, so it really is a zero sum game. Factor in the higher stamp duty, real estate fees, kids staying home longer because they can't afford the outside world anymore etc and the extent of Aussies stupidity when it comes to cheerleading house prices is shown.

Remember those 'equity mate' ads years ago? It really just boiled down to taking on more debt but people thought they were genius to do it. I guess in a way they are, for the last 20 years anyway.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yeah - blush - I have some materials lying around which need organising and so in due course they shall be organised! :-)!

It was pretty funny wasn't it? Actually, I seriously annoyed someone the other day, doing my job and they wrote a complaint letter and among other nasty things that they said, they called me "this young man". Totally 100% made my day, aren't they unitentionally nice. Who cares what the rest of the letter said! Hehe!

Oh yeah that is weird isn't it? It is a bit spooky.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Isn't that the worst situation: having chickens and having to buy eggs! One year I tried storing them up for that time and the flavour deteriorated and now I just sort of cut back on my consumption of eggs and not worry about it too much. Is this early for your sons chickens to go off the lay? Like Lewis, I get some eggs all year.

Fair enough. I'm enjoying the retrotopia story, but I reckon JMG has some surprises up his sleeve that will really annoy people! The comments are enjoyable too. What specifically is it that you aren't enjoying?

More mowing today and there was a surprise purchase of a second hand timber desk.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Doesn't the frozen water look cool on the windows of a vehicle - all crystalline and stuff. I have to use cold water to wash it off the window. Do your pipes freeze in such weather? I started wondering about frosts because this year I'd saw more frosts than I can recall previously.

Nice to hear that the power stayed on. Do you get black ice on the roads or is it snow drifts? Black ice can be a bit of a hazard here and I've noticed that quite a few of the bridges on the freeway even have heating units for such days. Who'd have thought it?

Isn't it funny how some chickens can jump and fly about the place and others are a bit more of the ground dwelling bird type? You'd sort of expect the rocks to be at least well drained which would keep the chickens feet drier in such conditions. Did they ladies enjoy the muddy lake? The chickens here would have splashed around in it and taken a drink too - just for good measure. It is nice for them as they have permanent woolly jumpers on.

Oooo, that's a bit nasty. :-)! Ego's would run amok in such an environment and perhaps none would be more expansive than a drag Queen in a huff. I guess it would be something like sand really? I had to look that up. Who was Van Heflin? Yes, I guess being of a well known theatre family would make for some serious high drama. Just for your interest, the editor's side of the family had a bit of a musical background and before that there was even a bit of the carney lifestyle. Who'd have thought that, but they were all talking about it at the wake.

Please let me know what you think of the the film - a Walk in the Woods? Nick Nolte wasn't meant to play the side kick character, but apparently the first choice died before production was complete. It should be very interesting and I really enjoyed the book.

Hopefully, that film is not Wolfe Creek? Yikes!

Great to hear. Cooking Dirty came from a library clearance sale - thanks for the tip off that such things go on. So many books, so little funds and space to store them. I reckon, you and Inge would understand that minor dilemma?

Thanks for the sketch links and I'll check them out and let you know what I reckon. The series receives high praise.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Exactly, it makes no sense at all and no one seems to be better off from my perspective. By the way, that is one reason I jumped ship on the whole mess. You may be interested to know that in parts of Melbourne back in 1991 (from memory) house prices dropped almost 40% and I recall that interest rates were about 18% at their highest - it killed me financially. Nothing is destroyed though other than paper wealth during those occasions, unless of course you're left holding negative equity...

Unfortunately, if you are not in the market the barriers to entry become harder with each price rise.

Have you noticed that there is a whole lot of talk about increasing the GST from 10% to 15%? I can only imagine that this is a response to rising inflation, but I'm not privy to those discussions. Either way, it's not good.

Yeah, I recall those ads and they are still going on today - if you listen to prime time radio (as I have to in some work places). It is a total disaster that people can borrow money in self managed super funds and it was never originally intended that that should happen.

The whole thing makes me wonder, but we do live in interesting times for sure.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Got down to 27F (2.777, etc. C), last night. Beau spent is first night in the laundry room. Such a good dog! Per usual, if it's clear here, it's cold. If the clouds roll in, it's warmer. Possible snow forecast for later in the week! We don't worry too much about the pipes, unless the temps get down into the teens, F. Then you just leave the taps dripping, a bit. Black ice can be a problem. You just have to take it slow, especially in the shady spots. I have to start remembering to bring chicken water, in at night, so I don't have to use the "good" stuff. That comes from Chef John's. The chicken water comes from the rain water tubs in the yard.

The Australian horror film I have on hold is "Strangerland." Hope it isn't one of those "found" video things. Cheap and irritating. Pass the motion sickness meds. :-)

The turkey hunt turned out quit well. There's another market I use, from time to time. They carry stuff the Safeway doesn't. Like mixed nuts at a decent price and bulk rice. They had Butterball (a good brand, here) turkeys for .99 a pound. A little larger than I wanted. 14 lbs. Oh, well. More leftovers for me! :-). I have to remember to take it out of the freezer, and into the fridge, tomorrow morning. So it will be thawed by Thursday.

Van Heflin (no relation to Van Helsing :-) was a pretty famous actor in the 40s and 50s. I guess his most famous role was in the classic western, "Shane." His daughter, Vanna, told me that she had a pretty normal upbringing. They lived a bit away from Hollywood proper and didn't buy into the whole party circuit, thing.

I happened to notice on one of my archaeology sites that there's going to be a 4 month dig, starting in January, at the Port Arthur penal colony.

I was thinking more about this week's ADR. About how some people react badly when you "don't go along with the program." That they take it as some kind of personal affront to their tech choices. I think it's, perhaps, a human trait. Some of the American pottery that Chef John collects ... I wouldn't have it in the house. But, I keep that, to myself :-). And, I think some of it is misdirected anger. Deep down, most people these days have a history of .... being a bit betrayed by technology. You look at all the stuff that a lot of time and money went into, and now it's all just junk. All that treasure and resources down the drain. I think the same applied to collecting manias and bubbles. People end up feeling a bit "had."

I think that's also related to hoarding. "How can I throw this away, when I paid (sometimes a lot) of good money for this? And the cycle from useful to not useful grows ever shorter.

The little woodpecker has been really working over the apple trees. I hope he's fleet of flight. He works the trunks pretty low down, and Nell shows an interest. She often races up and down the apple trees, just for the pure fun of it. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - You may be missing a bet, there. "Pam's Sourdough Vodka." Artisanal! Available in Whole Foods stores, everywhere! Well, if you use it in baked goods, I suppose the alcohol just bakes off :-). Probably worth remembering that Come The End of Everything, that stuff might make a good antiseptic, in a pinch :-). Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I don't really like to comment on people's fiction writing as they tend to feel deeply personal about it so I should have shut up. It is Retrotopia that I am not enjoying. Let's just say that I dislike reading a weekly instalment. A book is something that I immerse myself in for a good long stretch at a time.

I'm not sure about Son's chickens usual egg lack behaviour. I know that he reckons that he needs some fresh chickens. He usually gets a few eggs all the year round but I lose out when the number gets too low.

We have just had one heck of a storm though the sun shone throughout. Too dangerous to walk out amongst the trees. It is very cold at the moment due to the wind having come in from the north.

We are probably over protected from encountering the process of death and therefore tend to be frightened of it.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Brrr - that is some cold weather! You can enjoy spring and summer vicariously though as the weeks go on. Nice to read that Beau is happily inside and enjoying his cold weather perquisites. How is Nell coping with the colder weather? At that temperature the outside dogs get to sleep inside in front of the wood fire. Is it still cold there? Good thinking about saving the water for the chickens. Man, three weeks is a true indicator of your gumption. It is strange how sometimes the winters can be very dry. The previous editor of the permaculture news website who lived in the Czech republic (he was a Kiwi ex-pat) told me that the winters there were usually dry, but the recent warmer winters caused the whole snow pack to turn to mush for weeks on end which caused no end of day to day problems. You are lucky to have a good friend in Chef John. Speaking of which, how is his cooking going these days? Is he exasperated by teaching the youth of today or does he revel in it? Rain barrels are the only choice for water here - and it is very good - the conclusion I can draw from that is that your chickens are spoilt rotten! Hehe! :-)!

I'm unsure whether I could do Chef John's job because I recall a story from a while back where someone told me that their child thought that money came from ATM's (aka - holes in the wall). It sounds like a fair observation on the part of the child, but still the disconnect would be tough to work with. I've noticed down here that school groups are often conducted through the Queen Victoria Market just north of the CBD. My shopping jeep contains such strange products that it is like a magnet for them. Yeah, those are vanilla beans which I'm going to steep in vodka for a mates Christmas present. They've never seen such things before - let alone understood their use. I'm still trying to work out what to think about such things. What do you reckon?

Mate, hold onto those motion sickness pills (or the ginger and mint tonic!). Good luck and please report back on the reality? After the Blair Witch Project which I sat too close to the screen in the movie theatre to watch comfortably, I've sort of steered away from the hand held cam videos for that very reason. Hey, did you ever see the Blair Witch Project. The soundtrack rocked, but the movie not so much! Honestly, getting lost in the forest for city folk is no big deal... :-)!

Yum. Your turkey is making me want to convert to the world of all things carnivore. Yum. From your account that sounds like quite a meaty bird. Do you traditionally cook turkey for the mid winter feast that is Christmas?

Pah! That was my first thought. Van Helsing! The party circuit would have stolen both your wealth and your mind so good for them. I was wondering though whether their German sounding name was an impediment for them during the war years? Dunno. It would have been a problem for them down here. I noticed that a local old timer family dropped the Von from the surname Von Mueller after World War 1.

Wow, I'll bet they discover some interesting relics at Port Arthur. It is such a quiet, out of the way and somber place that I found it to be quite disturbing.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Man, I totally agree with you. The bad reactions and anger that you mention tend to reflect the deep uncertainty that a lot of people have with their own choices. I occasionally imagine them wondering about their choices in the middle of the night. I sleep reasonably well, but plenty of people tell me that they don't.

Well, I reckon you are spot on because they have been "had". On the other hand it is very hard for people to extract themselves from the dominant narrative and take a look around at the world. It is like waking up and finding that you live on a different planet. I reckon part of the lies of belief in things like technology making life better for everyone is that you get to ignore the real costs of that stuff - and it is unpleasant to think about.

I have a surprise for you then on the next blog! As I mentioned to Pam, it is not all low quality stuff being thrown around for not much cash.

I'd bet quite a bit that the woodpeckers are all too aware of Nell's activities! Hehe! Actually the birds here tease the dogs mercilessly. It is fun to watch. The birds are frighteningly intelligent and they keep look outs whilst the others enjoy a good feeding, but the ones feeding know what is going on too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Fair enough. I completely understand your point of view and you may be surprised to know that I never read (that I can recall) any of the novel Stars Reach when it was published week to week for that same reason, but bought a copy when it was available to read at my leisure in paper form. There is only so much electronic reading that I can deal to and good books are best enjoyed with a cuppa and/or a muffin or even a ham and cheese toastie!

If I were being entirely honest, I would say that I have no idea about the actual egg laying capacity of each of the birds as they age. People claim a whole lot of nonsense, but other than Jackie French, most people talk rubbish on such matters. I have a feel for what the birds are capable of, but it is at best a gut feeling. You may be interested to note that I usually bring in between 2 and 3 new birds each year so the whole flock is quite staggered in age. It would be interesting to hear your sons perspective on that matter, nothwithstanding that he indicated that he needed some new chickens?

Sorry to hear that you are losing out on the eggs. I tend to share the produce here and offered some eggs to the neighbour the other week - who knocked back the offer! I take produce around to clients and picked the first batch of strawberries this afternoon. Total yum!

Does that mean that it was a wind storm (because the sun was shining throughout)? I tend to steer clear of the trees during heavy wind storms and after heavy rain - that is good common sense - the trees don't mean you any harm, they are merely pruned by nature and it does help to know when and why.

That is so true. It does us no good at all to be sheltered from that sort of pain, because people become accustomed to the sheltering - but it is only ever a short term shelter as there is no avoiding it. I often wonder about such things in relation to dividing farms up in a will as sometimes the decision that is made beforehand is the decision to make no decision. Does that happen up in your part of the world? It is pretty common here.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - 28F, last night. It may snow here, Tuesday night. So, I'm in a dither as to if I should go to town, tomorrow, for last minute things ... or, risk my usual Wednesday trip when the roads may be bad. Cliff Mass, the weather guy had a post on why it's so difficult to predict low land snow, here. Sounds like more of an art, than a science.

Oh, I think Chef John is a pretty good teacher. Just judging from little things he drops in passing. He has a suspicion that some of his students take the class for the food ... that they don't get enough at home. Problem students in other classes, aren't a problem in his. Recently, at a staff meeting, he and another teacher were singled out as the best teachers at the school. I think he's pretty no nonsense, and demanding ... but also takes the time to listen to, and explain things.

Well, lets see. When I was growing up, it was always turkey for Thanksgiving ... and Mum would do a beef roast and ham for Christmas. Mostly to slice up for the sanies on an informal buffet for the massive amounts of relatives that would thunder through the place. She'd hit all the bazaars in the fall, to round out the table. Ham at Easter.

Well, I'm in a quandary. While my back was turned, apparently, it's no longer considered correct to stuff the bird. Alton Brown, the foodie, makes it sound like a crime against humanity :-). Taste of Home, magazine. Julia Child ... no stuffing. But I love stuffing! I consulted my old (circa) 1965 "Betty Crocker Cookbook". Stuffing is just incorporated as part of the recipe. No big deal. I think I'll go with that ... see how it turns out. Brining seems to be all the rage. Don't think I'll go there. Nail down the basic bird and go from there.

Van was his first name. It was rare, back in the day. I seem to remember one kid in my grade school who had that as his first name.

Money comes out of a hole in the wall and meat grows in styrofoam trays, covered in plastic :-). Funny what kids think. When I was learning to read, when we'd take trips, I'd read signs. I burst into tears, one time, because of the signs on the front of taverns ... "No Minors Allowed." Well, I knew that Grandpa had been a coal miner, at one point. I just couldn't understand why anyone would be so mean as to not allow him in those places :-).

Oh, yeah. I know all about getting pricy stuff for cheap. I think I mentioned a custom made, wood drafting table ... originally $3,000 ... that went for $100 at a recent auction. But it seems that when I want something in particular, I have a hard time finding it on the cheap. After looking for a year for a plastic silverware drawer divider ... had to be blue ... I finally threw in the towel and ordered one off of E-Bay. Looked for a good hand held zester ... a year of pawing threw piles of kitchen utensils at the thrifts ... and finally ordered one from Amazon.

Well, time to move the turkey from the freezer to the fridge. So, the fridge will get a good clean out. May slaughter and bake the pumpkins. Might even get to the cranberry freezer jam. Lew