Monday, 4 January 2016

Frog in hot water


There is an old story, which is most likely an urban myth, about a frog in slowly heated water. And people, please don’t try this at home, frogs are alright by me! The story goes along the lines of the frog being placed in a pot of water which is slowly heated. The frog doesn’t appear to notice that water that it is living in is slowly heated, until eventually the water becomes too hot for the frog and it either bounces out of the pot (nice work!) or it may die.

I feel exactly like that frog because the summer is the hottest summer that I can recall and everyday my workload has been slowly increasing due to the need to maintain the food plants that are suffering because of those hot conditions. It was the editor who finally pointed out to me earlier this week just how much of each day that I’d been spending maintaining all of the various plant systems here.

Something had to give.

So long as the plants have adequate water, the heat is making them jump out of the ground and Tomato Cam™ shows just how much growth has occurred over the past week:
Tomato Cam™ shows just how much growth has occurred here due to the extraordinary heat
I still have a reasonable quantity of water stored due to the recent rains, so I’d been watering those tomatoes by hand every single day – as well as all of the other annual food plants (excluding the fruit trees in the orchard which are doing fine, so far) on the farm. There are however, other projects calling for my attention and I can’t do everything. So this week, after a short brain storming session, the editor and I purchased some sprinklers.
A sprinkler now provides a couple of minutes water to the tomato and blackberry beds saving me a lot of time each day
The problem with sprinklers is that when you turn them on, you have to remember to turn them off again. On one particularly hot day this week when the temperature in the shade was pushing 40’C (104’F), I ran a sprinkler in the chicken run to provide some temporary cooling for the chickens. I then forgot to turn that sprinkler off and almost completely drained the chicken’s water tank. Well done me!

The other interesting thing about accidentally dumping so much water (well over 1,500 litres / 400 gallons) into the chickens deep litter mulch is that the bacterial action in that deep organic material is making the litter feel quite warm to touch!

The project that has received the most attention this week is the conversion of the old chicken shed into a much sturdier firewood shed.

I’m mildly embarrassed at how cobbled together and leaky the old chicken shed actually was, but fortunately for the chickens they are now in a very nice – albeit temporarily damp - fully enclosed and completely weather and vermin proof steel chicken enclosure shed and run. They’re very happy – although mildly annoyed because of the damp!

Back to the story of the conversion of the old chicken shed. The first task in repurposing that shed was to build an internal timber frame so that I could attach steel cladding to the inside of the firewood shed. The purpose of the internal steel lining is to stop the sheer mass and weight of the firewood from damaging the external steel cladding. Firewood weighs an awful lot and without the internal steel lining, the weight and mass of the firewood can push the external steel cladding away from the shed frame. If the shed cladding is damaged, then very wet and humid winters will mean that the firewood will get wet and I will be unable to dry it or burn it.
The author constructs a timber frame on the inside of the old chicken shed in order to attach the internal steel cladding
The internal steel cladding was installed onto the timber frame

The internal steel cladding took an hour or so to attach to the timber frame. Observant readers will note that in the corners, I have bent and wrapped the steel lining so that it curves around the corners. This process provides immense bracing strength and rigidity to the shed. Bending the steel sheets was quite a difficult process as I had to attach one edge of the steel sheet to a wall, and then – with a few potty mouthed expletives – kicked and punched the steel so that it fitted snugly into the corner of the shed. Then before the steel sheet had a chance to bounce back and away from the corner, I quickly put a few heavy duty screws through the steel sheeting and into the timber frame behind it.

The internal steel sheets are all scrap sheets from other projects and as such they finish at different heights. The differing height of the internal steel cladding is fine because I generally prefer not to stack firewood higher than my shoulder height. If firewood was stacked higher than my shoulder height and it fell on me, there is a risk that it could lead to serious injuries.
The external steel cladding on the firewood shed was also installed
Once the inside of the firewood shed was completed, I could then complete installing the external steel cladding. Those external steel cladding sheets are also wrapped around the corners of the shed and this not only provides excellent bracing, it also has the benefit of being weather proof.

The next day’s work saw the steel guttering installed (to collect any rain that may eventually fall onto the roof), as well as the pipes to take that rainwater and store it in the small 2,100 litre (550 gallon) dark green water tank on the downhill side of the shed. An overflow pipe was fitted to that water tank so if the water tank became too full, any water would drain away to a nearby grove of Blackwood trees (Acacia Melanoxylon). That water tank also now has a standard garden tap attached to it too!
The rainwater harvesting systems have been connected up to the new firewood shed
I reckon the shed has considerable character and charm! In the photo above you can see that even Scritchy the boss dog approves of the repurposing.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll landscape around the shed and also fill it with split and seasoned firewood.

The summer heat has been extreme and other than the chickens run (edit - due to sprinkler-gate), everywhere else is quite dry. To ensure that the fruit trees in the orchard aren’t too stressed by the dry and hot conditions I brought more manure onto the farm this week. The manure gets placed around the trunks of the fruit trees and all competing vegetation is completely removed. The fruit trees respond really well to the feed and removal of competition and even without any additional watering they are showing new growth. So far I’ve fed about 90% of the orchard trees and there is probably about another days work before this job is completed. Observant readers will note some fruit trees in the background of the photo below and to the right hand side have not yet received this treatment.
More fruit trees in the orchard had manure applied to around their trunks and the competing vegetation was also removed this week
The other day, the editor and I travelled up into a secluded part of the mountain range at higher elevation to enjoy a picnic and escape the midday heat. I mentioned to Pam (a regular commenter here) a few days ago that in this particular picnic ground there was a huge Elm tree, but on closer inspection the tree turned out to actually be a giant Linden Tree which was in full flower, smelled beautiful and was absolutely covered with buzzing bees. Don’t take my word for the size of the tree, check out the photo below:
A huge Linden tree lives in a secluded picnic spot high up in this mountain range
Near that Linden tree there is a truly massive specimen of a Mountain Ash tree (Eucalyptus Regnans). Regnans is Latin for the English word “Reigning” and that is because these are the largest flowering plants in the world and are only beaten in height these days by the Californian Redwoods. There were many credible reports that at the time of European settlement, a few of the Mountain Ash trees were actually larger than the biggest of the Californian Redwood trees, but they were cut down. Anyway, this Mountain Ash tree is still alive, but was left in peace because it has a hollow core and the top had fallen off at some stage in the far distant past:
This huge Mountain Ash tree which I reckon has one of the widest girths of any tree in the mountain range
Observant readers will note the tall grey trunked trees in the background and to the right hand side of the photo. Those are also Mountain Ash trees which are regrowth from the January 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires. It is pretty awesome to consider just how old that huge Mountain Ash tree may actually be.

The extreme heat and constant threat of bushfires has meant that we have been living with the bushfire shutters covering the toughened glass windows.
Sir Scruffy checks to see whether the bushfire shutters are correctly covering the windows
On the veranda further back you can see steel table and a couple of chairs and most evenings after a hard day’s work, the editor and I enjoy a coffee and biscuit while we watch the goings on in the valley below.
The author and dogs enjoying a coffee and biscuit after a hard day’s work
The ongoing heat has produced an amazing quantity of flowers in the herb beds and I’ve noticed that the mint plants are just now starting to produce some flowers. Over the next week or so, I’ll set up a page on this blog (once I work out how to do so!) where I’ll show all of the various flowers that the European honey bees enjoy and at what time of the year. Those honey bees are quite selective in their tastes and they don’t consume from every flowering plant. I’ll leave a note when this project is done and expect it to be updated regularly.
The extreme heat has produced lots of herb flowers
The apricots finally ripened this week and I have been enjoying sun ripened apricots with my breakfast muesli.
The apricots finally ripened this week and were all harvested
The tomatoes are very early this year and over the past week I’ve spotted the first of the many tomato fruits slowly starting to ripen.
I spotted the first green tomatoes this week
Zucchini (courgettes) fruit are starting to swell on the vine and it looks as though it will be a bumper crop this year. There are a lot of other pumpkins and melons growing about the place, but the zucchini plants seem to be way ahead of the pack.
Zucchini (courgettes) fruit are starting to swell on the vine
I always like finding new and interesting wildlife, and this week the stick insects made an appearance. Sometimes, the stick insects are bright green and at other times they are brown like the one below. To put the size of the insect into some sort of context, the timber frame is 90mm x 45mm pine (otherwise known elsewhere as a 2 by 4).
A huge stick insect has been hanging around the house eating other insects this week
Over the past week, on hot afternoons an Echidna has been snuffling around the orchard and the other day I took this photo of the little fella next to a huge tree.
This Echidna has been seen snuffling around the orchard on hot afternoons this week
The temperature outside now at about 6.30pm is an rainy, overcast and very cool 14.9'C degrees Celsius (58.8’F). Although it is raining outside right now, there has been no officially recorded rainfall, but last year ended up with a total of 740.0mm (29.1 inches).

73 comments:

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - Yes, the educational system, here, is quit a mess. Some friends of mine live near a veg packing shed ... and everyone who worked there had and advanced degree of one kind, or another.

What's interesting (tragic?) is that student debt is one of the few things that can't be discharged in a bankruptcy. And, just like mortgages for houses, before 2008, being bundled into securities, for sale, the same thing is happening with student debt. So, you have a financial bubble, forming around those. There is also a bubble forming around used car loans. And, real estate, again.

What's also happened is that what used to be entry level jobs (that previously required only a high school diploma) now demand a two or four year degree. Won't even look at your application, unless you've got the degree or certificate.

There's a lot of ...kind of ... fly by night trade schools and "universities" (a lot on-line) that offer certificates or degrees. Financed by their own in house loan departments. They have very heavy tv advertising. Sometimes, a potential employer will look a bit sideways, at some of those degrees. Sometimes, there's no employment at the end, or, the student washes out, or, has one of those tragic life events no one can plan for.

There's a tremendous pool of debt, floating around "out there" A day of reckoning will come, sooner or later, and it isn't going to be pretty. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Seems like just last week your tomatoes were just hard to see, little sprouts in the ground. They're moving right into the "tomato jungle", phase. :-).

The "new" woodshed looks quit nice. A definite upgrade from the old chicken coop.

The picture of you taking your (well deserved) ease on the veranda, brought a caption, to mind. "The Master of All He Surveys." :-).

The weather here has been all over the place, in the last 24 hours. Right after I talked to you, yesterday, it began to snow. And, it snowed all day. Very fine powder with a few larger flakes mixed in. By the time it quit, around sunset, there was about 1/2 inch. When I brought Beau in, everything was beginning to drip. "Fine", I thought, "Snow will be gone by tomorrow."

Not so fast. Apparently, a bit more snow and some freezing rain moved through, last night. The chook run gate was glazed with ice. Not much snow overnight. Maybe another 1/2 inch. Looks like there's quit a band of snow to the north of us. It's always interesting to check out the snow, to see what animals have been out and about. Not much. The solitary track of the neighbors cat and sparrow tracks.

The ladies were all clustered around the hen house door, taking in the scene. No one seemed very interested in getting out in the stuff. Every once in awhile, the mob jostles out a sacrifice to test the ground. I suppose, sooner or later, they'll reach a consensus that it's safe to venture out and explore around. Lew

Damo said...

Those zucchinis are putting mine to shame (although I have a suspicion a certain chook has been sneaking into the vege garden which probably isn't helping).

That shed does look cute, I like the work you did on the corners, it must have been tricky to do the inside corners! Did you do that for each wall panel (ie 8 times) to give extra overlap or just on 2 panels?

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Fair enough, I can certainly understand that.

I have a great respect for your intelligence and ability to communicate because you have really chucked me a dark and highly emotive conundrum this time. Well done.

You asked me: What if everyone lived like I do, and I now ask you in return what if everyone lived like your two examples?

At the risk of totally annoying you (and sometimes I do annoy people), I'd like to add a few insights to your two examples. Please recall that you did use the word extreme!

"Is ones first concern the fate of the planet?" I've heard of people describing themselves as activists who are primarily concerned about the fate of the planet. I'd personally be far more impressed if they were concerned about their own neck of the woods and were doing something about it. It is not a very grand response and most likely will not be appreciated by many humans, but it would probably mean a whole lot to the animals, birds, insects, plants etc. that we seem to actually be doing quite a bit of harm to. Dunno, really. Certainly things are not good now and they're only going to get much worse as the years go on.

As to your second example: Wow. OK. I have very definite opinions on such matters, so I will share this thought with you - Every technology has a benefit and it also has a cost. That cost may not be shared evenly and neither is the technology for that matter. IVF from memory started down here (please correct me if I'm wrong) and the oldest of those humans are in their early 30's and those would have been the low hanging fruit (i.e. the easy ones to do). In this country I believe that 1 in 7 children are now born using assisted reproductive technologies and my gut feeling says that there will be a cost for such an excessive use of this technology at some stage in the future.

I thought long and hard today about this reply whilst I was placing manure in the orchard. I do hope that I have not annoyed you with those responses as I value our dialogue, however at the same time I feel that I would be doing you a disservice if I dithered and prevaricated over the responses. The world is so full of spin nowadays that I find such a choice of response to be disrespectful. But then I have very old fashioned views on such matters.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I'll have to take your word for that because I've never experienced air temperatures in the 20'F's. It certainly sounds cold to me! :-)! Of course, the weight load on the roof from the heavy snow would certainly exceed the loading capacity of some roofs. A distribution centre would have massive roof spans so it is hardly surprising that it failed. Glad to hear that no one was injured.

You may be surprised to know that we have the reverse problem. I believe that when the original massive Ferris wheel construction of the Melbourne Star was engineered - this thing is huge by the way. The original computations apparently excluded the possibility of maximum air temperatures in excess of 104'F (40'C) and wouldn't you know it the massive construction stared to buckle in the heat one day. Fortunately, they went back to the drawing boards and repaired the construction and I believe that it is all good nowadays - I hate heights though but I can see this thing from the trains...

Ha! That is awesome that you get so much road repair attention during heavy snow storms - I'd be forgotten about - seriously! The local council would tell me to deal with the snow! Hehe! Maybe not, but I do have an amusing photo from a very long time ago of the white Suzuki in the driveway with the message HELP scrawled into the snow on the windscreen. Unfortunately the snow hasn't settled on the ground for many years now... I've also got a photo from way back with the local fire truck all covered in snow during a freak storm one Christmas day a very long time ago.

Yeah, that salt (and other unknown chemicals) on the roads would certainly damage the steel in vehicles. No doubt about it. I've read that collectors purchase VW combi vans from down under because they don't have large amounts of rust in them - true story!

That is really good to hear about the Land Conservancy people having and maintaining the skills of the burn offs in your area. It is not an easy thing at all to do and you have to be able to read the weather and conditions very closely. The government people lost control of the Cobaw's mountain ranges burn off to the north of here in October because I reckon they didn't read the conditions correctly - but that is my take on the matter and an authoritative opinion.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Brrr! Seriously, I'm feeling cold reading about all of those extreme temperatures - meanwhile it was quite a mild day here 25'C (77'F) and I now have all of the doors and windows open to the cool evening air and the birds are calling to each other right outside the door. Just thought I'd chuck in that imagery of a far distant summer. The question that pops into my head is: Are they enjoying the cold winters? I guess the humidity would be low and perhaps the wind wold not be howling so it may not feel as cold as it actually is. I read long ago about somewhere in northern Siberia at elevation where your breath freezes... Not good.

Isn't that interesting that it is already snowing to the south of you? The actual weather can vary so much between one spot and another that it takes a really long time to get to know a patch of land. The funny thing is that sometimes here I can watch the rain run along the valley just teasing me without a single drop falling here. Mind you, there is a large swamp which I've noticed in recent years they've been building houses on down below in that valley. As a fun fact the notorious and eventually hung bush-ranger Ned Kelly eventually go caught because the authorities realised that he was using the full moon to travel around the country side.

I'm seriously glad to read that you made it through the "Big Dip" without incident! Oh my, what a nightmare and I'm glad that the trip to town is OK. How is Chef John, is he slowly recovering from his skiing incident? Hopefully, he is not complaining too much? Whingeing patients often receive short shrift, although I've read on multiple occasions that should you ever be unlucky enough to face a torturer then lots of noise makes things go easier as they feel satisfied that a good job was done. ;-)!

Stretching is awesome and I salute you for your efforts in that direction. I hope that Chef John was not dismissive about stretching? I learned about that during martial arts training as a youth. Good stuff.

Oh yeah, how grumpy are broody hens? Honestly, they peck and peck, but I still retrieve the eggs and don't they give you stink eye or what? No need for an interpreter with that particular bird to human conversation! Hehe!

Oh, how good are seed catalogues? I've been a long time member of the Diggers Club down here and they send out the most beautiful full colour seed and plant catalogues. It is hard not to rush out and buy a lot of their various offerings. They also run demonstration garden not too far from here which I like to visit as they always have such great ideas to rip off and repeat. What was interesting was that I visited them a week or so back and you could see straight away the impact that the extreme summer was having on the garden - but like here they were rapidly adapting.

So are you picking up any seeds for the next growing season?

I do hope that your snow sticks!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Spot on! I'd be an absolute hypocrite if I said that it would be unreasonable of you to do what I myself have done in the past - although it has been a very long time since I've travelled by aircraft anywhere.

Exactly correct - they are predicaments because things are going to progress (in the actual meaning of that word) regardless of what you do personally. That does not alleviate you of personal responsibility, it just means that being aware that hard times are coming, you have to do your best to insulate yourself (and Mrs Damo too for that matter!).

Again exactly - decline is a slow process so insulation from larger events is a good strategy and one I learned after the recession that we had to have in the early 90's. It is not an exciting strategy, but it does work.

I'll tell you this, that back in those days the first property to reduce in prices were the holiday homes - i.e. rural and fringe properties so my gut feeling is to watch for that and let it fall. That process from memory accelerated too but there is an added complication this time around that wealthy foreigners are also buying property. Dunno really, but I bought this plot of land because it scared people and had been on the market for several years. As long as an area has the natural rainfall, soils can be improved, but I wouldn't want anything steeper than this place. Tractors are not good here as the cheapies would most likely tip over - so everything is very manual which is fine by me.

Everything as you hint at, is a compromise - there is no perfect answer and honestly most of the best land is already owned and you and I are unlikely to be able to experience such greatness. Learn the skills so you know what to do when the time comes because I would set up this place differently if I had to do it over again. I'm not complaining by saying that either, it is just that if you read the blog, you'll see that I'm constantly re-purposing and repairing things as I learn what works and what doesn't! It is not easy and only experience will teach you that and that is where the skills and practice come into play. My next meal is not dependent on my activities here either!

It does sound like an interesting book - but I do wonder how much of that advice that Peter Singer follows himself? Dunno, I do donate to charities but it is usually things like the Lost Dogs Home rather than big name charities. Sometimes I get into interesting discussions with collectors on the street (Melbourne CBD...) and I ask them - so what has your charity achieved this year? My gut feel is that it is far too late for big ticket solutions to the problems that society is facing and you just sort of have to do the best you can where you are (or want to go).

Thanks for the blog update and I'll check it out. As to water, I plant tomatoes and zucchini into mushroom compost and they receive a couple of minutes of water per day. The tomatoes watering is usually done by about 5 to 10 minutes at 17L/min - depending on how long it takes me to muck out the chicken enclosure. The zucchini’s are about 2 minutes or maybe less. Look for white marks on their leaves (as well as wilting leaves) to let you know how they are travelling. The white marks may be powdery mildew which eventually does them in anyway.

Clay soil holds more water than sandy (or shale like the west coast Beech forests) soils. So that is a good thing, you just have to work in some manure early in the season but really it is never too late – just chuck some on top and in your part of the world watch for fungus – so maybe keep it in the drip lines but close too but not too close to the trunks.

PS: I’ve seen student loans here up to about $60k…

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, I don't reckon it will pretty either and I wonder about that issue too.

Hehe! Nice one. ;-)! Hopefully there are no mutated tomato triffids in amongst the regular jungle tomatoes.

I plumbed a proper garden tap into that enclosure yesterday and only just finished the job before the heavens opened up. I picked up about 3/8ths of an inch (10mm), but the official weather station that I use shows only 1/12th of an inch (1.8mm). Oh well.

Anyway, lots of digging to get the trench to join up with the old pipe connection. The place smells nice with a bit of rain too as you can smell the eucalyptus and other vegetation smells in the air. It is quite nice and I find it soothing on the sinuses.

Thanks! The shed came up quite nicely and is much better than before. Hopefully the chickens don't notice - they're already angry with me about some avian injustice... ;-)! Honestly, have you ever met a contended and happy about the town chicken?

Hopefully tomorrow, I'll fill the new shed with firewood - but like most activities, who knows how long it will take to do... Fortunately, the manuring in the orchard is now finished. Seriously, and I'm not complaining, well maybe a little bit :-)!, but the wallaby proof cages around the fruit trees makes the whole job a total nuisance. My thinking is the more I feed the trees, the faster they'll grow and then eventually I won't need the wallaby proof cages. It is a theory, but time will tell. I removed a few trees from cages today, so I'll see what happens to them over the next few months...

Brrr! Did the snow turn to ice overnight or was it some sort of combination of ice and snow? I've heard of extreme ice storms up in your part of the world and it sounds sort of unpleasant - a day for sitting in front of the fire keeping your feet and fingers warm and enjoying a nice cup of tea and maybe a biscuit or three. Hey, did all of the cookies get eaten yet and also out of interest, how is Chef John managing his cooking in his damaged condition? Hope it is not too bad?

That is very funny, I did like the bit about the sacrificial weather chicken. :-)! Nice one. They do have their wooly jumpers on so the chickens should be alright. Do your friends in Idaho keep chickens as I was wondering how the birds would cope with such extreme cold conditions? Did they eventually venture forth into the frozen landscape?

Now the chicken enclosure here is all weather they spend most of their days in the enclosure scratching around. However, I did note tonight that because of my error with the sprinkler they were dust bathing outside when they were free roaming in the orchard - I already feel guilty about that error! Oh well.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Yeah, chickens and vegetable gardens are a lethal mix. They'd love zucchini too, although I grow the Black Jack variety and the skins are a little bit too hard for the chickens so maybe you might have a possum eating the zucchini's? Dunno. I have to break the zucchini's open for the chickens and they eat all of the guts and leave the skins.

You might have to setup one of those trail camera's to solve the crime - they're pretty good.

Nah, it was just on any panel that over lapped a corner. There were three corners in the shed - as you may note that this was the first shed that is not symmetrical - the door is offset to the left hand side. So the internal sheets meet up with the door jamb. Hope that makes sense? That old steel sheet is much harder to bend than the newer stuff which I have a sneaking suspicion is a bit thinner than the old stuff.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Sorry man, I just figured out what you meant - The bending was on 7 corners - 3 internal + 4 external, so yeah, you are correct.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I haven't run away, just thinking. Because I had gone to 2 extremes there is a problem with 'family friendly'. As said before, I don't go in for getting annoyed so never anything to worry about in that direction.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

I would have thought that the chickens would have enjoyed the damp during such extremely hot weather?
My son had the same sprinkler idea as we were spending so much time hand-watering and installed them in about 1/3 of the beds. Watering becomes so easy it's scary. Of course, we are on a well and don't (so far) have to worry about using up what's in a tank(s). In those circumstances, overwatering can become a side-effect.

The interior photos of your ex-chook firewood shed are making me wonder just what shape our wooden firewood shed is in. It was a two-stall w/ tack room stable and is pretty large. Still basically just a shed, though. I have a feeling that there are probably some rotten parts in there, if not termites. You have such an amazing array of creatures there - what about termites? Your shed is a beautiful thing. The exterior is so neat and tidy. Scritchy Approved proves it! And I'll just bet that you didn't mind too much the opportunity offered for strong language . . .

Boy, that's a lot of manure, and a lot of spreading! No wonder it seems like that's all you do (besides re-purposing sheds and watering). And what a difference all that work makes over 2 years!

Chris - that linden is one-in-a-million. Thanks! And the Mt. Ash - Hobbits? How old could that tree be?

I love those shutters. Does a bit of light get through them? Sir Scruffy on duty, as usual; he is very devoted to his job. Oh, wait! Next photo has biscuits in it - ah, ha!

Just look at those apricots and tomatoes and you are going to have to come up with a lot of zucchini recipes!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lewis:

Ha! Thank you for sending us your cold weather! It was 14'F (-10'C) when I got up this morning. We had a miniscule snow flurry yesterday. Yuk. Smart you to take tomorrow's shirt to bed with you!

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Meanwhile, thanks as ever for your blog which I look forward to every week. I have told Son that his chickens need to be dry; he is getting no eggs. Here it is still warm and wet; in fact the ground is the wettest that I have ever known it. The sodden leaf litter on my path is about an inch thick. It is on top of water which makes for dangerous walking on a slope, one is liable to aquaplane. I have flagstones to walk on near the shack; they are moving when I step on them.

Spotted a violet flower this morning.

It is supposed to become colder and dryer next week when the wind shifts round and comes from the north. We really need an icy stretch to kill off bugs in the soil etc. Insects are still flying around and biting me, there are even flies to be seen. This is normally unknown in winter.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I love Ferris Wheels! Haven't been on one for years, and even though I have a thing about heights, too, I did enjoy a good ferris wheel, ride. The child in me also likes merry-go-rounds. I once managed a bookstore in a mall that had been built on the site of an old amusement park. They retained the old fantastically carved merry-go-round from about 1900. It was right in front of my store and when it was running, the floor rumbled. And the calliope! Somehow, it never bothered me.

Now roller coasters, are another matter. Won't get me on one. I once knew someone, years ago, who jetted all over the world just to ride extreme roller coasters. How's that for a carbon footprint :-).

Oh, the chickens rode out the snow and cold, pretty well. Worst week, ever, for eggs. 17. Makes sense. I suppose more of their energy goes to keeping warm, than laying eggs. Got 4 yesterday. A good start to the week. None this morning ... yet. My chickens seem to be a pretty mellow bunch. The only time they get peckish is when I go for the eggs ... and, that's just some of them. I think they like me, as much as a chicken can like a human. Maybe they take their lead from Old Mrs. Barnvelder, my oldest chicken and the only survivor of the coyote attack. I'm pretty sure she's the boss chicken (highest perch on the roost, etc..) She'll let me pet her and will even tolerate a good cuddle, every once in awhile.

Mistakes are made. Accidents happen. A couple of times I've forgot to put the chooks water in at night. Or, once or twice, closed the coop door, in thoughtless reflex when they get their afternoon treats. Once when that happened, we had a terrible rain storm in the afternoon ... and even though there is cover in the run, I had some pretty bedraggled chooks impatiently waiting at the coop door when I went out to put them in at night. And 4 of them didn't come in at all. I spent a rather worried night. But, there they were, in the morning. I guess they found a good place to hide and kept their mouths shut, to avoid the night creatures. Speaking of which, I saw raccoon tracks in the snow, this morning. Oh, well. A good dose of guilt makes sure it doesn't happen, again.

Chef John fell a total of 5 times, over his holiday. The snowboarding, the stairs, twice on the ice and tripped on a hole. He seemed pretty intent on paying attention to what I do for my back. I'll nag him a bit, about it :-). But I must admit, it took me a few go arounds, before I quit slacking off on the stretching, from time to time.

Haven't bought any seeds, yet. Still surveying the course :-).

Yup. All the cookies are gone. Should make some more. Or, something else. Still have a small stash of Christmas chocolate. Started packing away the Christmas tat, yesterday. Will tackle the tree, today. Lew

Coco said...

While you are roasting, we´re getting deluged. Rain for a solid week and no end in sight.

Which would be about typical, except we´ve adopted a big dog that needs long walks. That, and he already smells very doggy so damp walks isn´t helping.

So, no gardening for me this holiday. I´ve got lots of organizing to do inside, including puppy-proofing to keep me busy. And I should try making some dog treats. I shall review the archives.

Your herbs, fruit and veg are really leaping out of the ground! Good for you!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for your understanding. I'm reasonably relaxed about things too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yeah I would have assumed that the chickens would have enjoyed the damp, but not so as it interfered with their dust bathing. And the weird thing about the whole sorry incident was that the deep litter mulch became hotter from bacterial activity - so perhaps the lesson for me here is a little bit of water in the chicken run is a good thing - too much is a bad thing! :-)! Oh well, it is slightly drying out and I'm now having to turn all of it to get some air into it which slows the bacterial action.

It is easy isn't it? That is the main problem I have too, but fortunately being on tank water means that I can actually see how much water is left and I sort of divide that by the number of days until the winter rains hopefully replenish the tanks.

Two of my neighbours here have water bores (wells) and they do run dry occasionally. During the last big drought in the summer of 2008/2009, one of my neighbours told me that their well dried up after 7 minutes of use.

The over watering is OK as long as it doesn't bring up the wrong sort of minerals from below the ground. Salt is a serious problem in this country, but other countries have other problems with other minerals such as arsenic for example.

On a serious note, I'm trying to force the fruit trees in the orchard to put down very deep root systems so that they save me the hassle of having to water them - and so far I haven't had to this summer - but the fruit was small (but sweet) as a result. I'm actually unsure what to do about water long term and may eventually have to dig a deep well? Dunno, it is an important issue - right across the globe.

Oh, we are getting very serious here, so lets now talk some fluffy for a second and I'll tell you about the continuing saga of Bone Wars! Forget Star Wars, Bone Wars is much more interesting! :-)! So, the last huge bone was good for the dogs teeth and despite a few dust ups, between erstwhile canine friends mind you, I declared the whole business a success. Anyway, Bone Wars progressed to episode two yesterday. I think we could safely call episode two: Sir Scruffy strikes back. Sir Scruffy is an absolute gentleman, but yesterday he was a right little street fighter. He played dirty once he got hold of the bone and at one point in the afternoon I noticed that the much younger Poopy and Sir Scruffy were having a full on fight over ownership rights. I picked up Poopy and chucked him inside the house and so Sir Scruffy continued his ownership claim. The editor later caught the trickster burying the bone in one of the editors favourite raised garden beds. Sir Scruffy was thoroughly reprimanded and spent the rest of the afternoon in the dog house (covered in good compost too). Do you believe that episode three should be called: Return of the Poopy?

Well you may have noticed that most of the sheds here are constructed from galvanised steel, otherwise they would have structures that like yours may have some rotten components. The stumps that the house sits on are constructed from concrete and have steel ant caps at the very top of them before it reaches timber (which is also treated with much poison).

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

The thing about termites is that they eat damp timber. They cannot eat dry timber. People talk about dry rot, but what they actually mean is that the timber is occasionally exposed to rain and that is when the opportunists strike.

I started filling the firewood shed this afternoon and I found some termites on the timber that was left to season. Firewood is hard work because a few years ago, I didn't cut the lengths short enough for easy splitting on the electric log splitter so every chunk of firewood had to be inspected for size before being stacked in the new firewood shed. An afternoons work filled about a quarter of the shed.

Well Scritchy is a lady of discerning tastes! :-)!

Yeah, it really did produce a lot of growth in the orchard over only two years. It is unfortunate how poor the soils are here now because they used to be amazing (22% carbon in some parts of the continent). You may be interested to know that the entire orchard consumed 10 cubic metres (13 cubic yards of manure) just this year... It is a big job.

Haha! The hobbits all departed here for the nicer climate of New Zealand. At least the summers there are green! That particular tree may be about 600 years old at a guess and it is still growing at the top. I wish it the best of luck. How beautiful is the Linden and the smell is like a delightful background perfume.

Yes, light does get through the shutters as they are a woven heavy duty stainless steel fine mesh. Of course the house is darker, but it is more importantly cooler for the shutters. I have a love - hate relationship with the shutters. It's complex!

The zucchini will be stored for consumption over the winter (and they get huge!) and the tomatoes are going to be eaten fresh, converted to green tomato chutney and also more importantly dehydrated for pizza's over winter and spring. Yum! All being well, I'm predicting over 200 pounds of fruit this season! ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

That is really lovely to hear and I also look forward to your comments too.

You are spot on the money as I don't use lights here for the chickens - but totally understand why you would - and keeping them dry during winter upped the egg production immesurably.

Oh Inge, I'm so sorry. I've read about the persistent rains in the UK and today I noted that a 450 year old Scottish castle was evacuated as it was under threat from rising flood waters. The thing from my experience is that really wet years are much harder on plants than really dry years. Having said that I have to run the gauntlet of the very stupid arsonists that live in and around my area - which is no small matter by the way - whilst managing my water resources. I hear you about the wet.

It is dry here but in the centre of the continent, despite the monster El Nino a miracle is occurring: Birds set to return to Lake Eyre to breed as inland lakes fills with water

Violet flowers are very beautiful and they are an unexpected surprise to find.

The change in conditions should happen soon for you, and yes, the change in the conditions really does break up the life-cycles of the various insects that live in your part of the world. I do hope that it dries up a bit soon for you and your ancient woodland.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate, I dunno because they scare me silly - especially when they stop and the little suspended carriage sort of bounces and swings around. One of the major bridges here - which actually did collapse during construction - has this awful tendency to bounce up and down if you are ever unfortunate enough to be stationery on it.

Oh the calliopes are a whole lot of fun - they're really quite amazing and very old contraptions. In February, I'll probably (all being well) head off to the Seymour Alternative Farming Festival and at one site in prior years, they have a century old calliope playing an unending series of tunes. It is quite amazing to watch and wonder at the sheer ingenuity put into such a machine. It is even constructed on a platform over four giant cart wheels so I suspect that it was originally moved about the place by horse (or a team of horses). It doesn't bother me either - I'm more bothered nowadays by doof doof beats (i.e. excessive base beats).

Oh yeah, it is a big hoof print for sure! You may be interested to know that the Scenic Railway is the oldest continually operating roller coaster in the world and it is down here at the bottom of the world: Luna Park, Melbourne. The whole thing is a timber construction and I've been on it plenty of times, but not so much in recent years.

That is not good for egg production, but then you still have 17 eggs! As the days become longer you may note that the egg production increases. By the way, I'm only getting about half a dozen eggs per day now due to the heat. Yeah, they get peckish at me too, they just don't seem to appreciate that food and board = eggs... Just sayin!

Very astute to have noticed that about Mrs Barnevelder. She is the queen of the coup and clearly maintains a delightful chicken collective. The boss chicken attitude can make quite the difference. Rumpole the ex-boss chicken is still carrying on, despite the gummy eye, but big Plymie has asserted her authorita! And all was well in chicken land. :-)!

What a story, and I'm glad that the chickens survived the ordeal. Those raccoons, well I'm not suggesting that they may be smarter than humans, but from all that I've read about them, they may actually be smarter than humans! Have you been setting the trap for the raccoon recently?

Ouch, 5 times, you'd hear me whining from your part of the world! Hehe! I do hope that he is OK and getting better though. The question is: Has he learned anything from his recent misadventure? That's what I want to know! :-)! No, don't slack off! Hehe! Anyway, I will fess up and say that I'm feeling a bit sore and tired tonight after stacking the new wood shed all afternoon (only about a third full). The stupid thing was that when I put the timber out to season, I was in a hurry for all sorts of legal reasons and I hadn't cut most of the timber to the correct length for the firebox and so today, I had to make up for that haste...

Of course, enjoy your seed catalogues. Do you get them in colour with photos or is it all text descriptions? They're usually full colour down here and I enjoy every minute of them!

Sorry to hear about the imminent demise of the Christmas tat. Shame really. And although you may be out of cookies, I put a batch of chocolate Anzac biscuits through the oven this evening! Yum! The house smells of freshly baked chocolate Anzac biscuits!

I feel a bit off because I believe that I've eaten too many of them... Oh well, they were fresh out of the oven and asking to be eaten!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

It has been a crazy year for weather hasn't it? Up in the north of this continent, they too have been copping a huge deluge too - really massive flooding.

Dogs have no sense of temperature or comportment. Snowing - no problems lets go for a walk! Heatwave - no problems lets go for a walk! Heavy rain - no problems lets go for a walk! It is nice to read that you have a new dog in your life.

Boundaries with our canine friends can be quite a difficult abstract concept to get across - especially when they don't seem to care! Hehe!

With the dog treats I've been experimenting recently with a rice and vegetable mix for their breakfast and they seem to really love the stuff and it is very easy to make. Just watch out for Bone Wars!

Thank you, I enjoy the photos from your place when it is the middle of winter here too.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - LOL. doof, doof beat. Listen to enough of it and you turn into a Doofus. :-).

No, I haven't been setting the trap for the raccoon. Not since I got "skunked", last time. Since moving Beau's food, inside at night, there haven't been any dust ups in his yard. Being put in at night, the chickens haven't been bothered. It was just one set of tracks, moving in one direction ... so, maybe just passing through?

Oh, yes. The seed catalogues here are pretty splashy and full of good information. But, it seems like more and more companies are moving their catalogues on-line, only. Not near as fun. I keep a small collection of old catalogues to help me with identification of mystery plants.

Saw an article that the arctic, for the first time in recorded history, is having above freezing temperatures in December. Not good. The arctic is warmer than points further south.

After what I mentioned to Damo, the other day about for profit, shady colleges ... we have something here called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. There was a bit of an article on all the successful prosecutions they had, last year. Some for profit outfit called Corinthian (which runs dozens of "colleges" and training schools under different names) was pretty much closed down and had to discharge $480 million in private student loans. For over inflating graduation and job placement rates and charging interest rates twice that of the Federal educational loan rates.

Some of the Bureau's other successful prosecutions involved banks, credit card companies, phone companies, etc.. Sometimes, there's a bit of justice, in the world. Off to the Little Smoke. Lew

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

Your tomatoes are looking great. You've inspired me that I need to set up semi-automatic watering. With everything else that's happening I just don't have time to spend 2 - 3 hours watering each week. None of our tomatoes are in wicking beds, so they're all struggling.

I looked at the BOM -- Adelaide had just under 340 mm of rain in 2015 -- very dry... I hope 2016 is wetter, but I'm not too hopeful!

All the best for 2016,
-Angus

August Johnson said...

Hi Chris,

Well, I've experienced temperatures of 117F (47C) in Tucson, Arizona where I grew up and lived until 1993, 122F (50C) in Phoenix Arizona, -20F (-28) in Bozeman, Montana, and 22F here in Sweet Home, Oregon. Not everybody agrees with me but I prefer the "cooler" temperatures. I've always told people that "You can always put more clothes on if you're cold, but you can't take your skin off it's too hot."

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis, Angus and August,

Hope you are all well? I went out tonight with the editor to see the film "Joy" which is about a whole lot of really difficult family members - I mean really serious problem people - as well as a mop. Seriously. It was very good, plus there was the obligatory hamburger - which as a mostly vegetarian - I quite enjoyed. It's all about the beetroot and the panini bun. Well that is my take on the world anyway.

Thanks for the comments and I promise to respond to them tomorrow night.

In the meantime, those rotten and ultra competitive scientists at the Melbourne Museum (Museum Victoria) went and found and bred an even bigger stick insect than the ones here: Discovery of stick-thin Lady Gaga thrills scientists. And then they go around bragging that: we've got the biggest! It certainly looks huge. ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Dry at last but one heck of a wind is blowing.

Now that the leaves are off the trees, I can watch the shipping going back and forth.

Photos of Lake Eyre on the BBC news. I am always fascinated by the arrival and rapidity of the life cycle when water arrives in a desert region.

Because I had given 2 such extreme situations it probably isn't possible to give an acceptable response to 'what if everyone lived with either in mind'. At the benefit to the planet intent, it would have to be total self immolation with all that that entailed. At the other extreme, which would still require a smaller population, how about cessation of the medical profession? But we all live somewhere in the middle. I admit that my partially collapsed life has nothing to do with concern for the planet. I live this way because I like it. I agree with you (correct me if I am wrong) that one can only live as ethical and kind a life as possible, dealing with ones own neighbours and surroundings.

Seed catalogues: I love looking at them but never buy from them anymore. It no longer appears mandatory to have inside what it says outside. We have had packets with no viable seeds at all and also packets with goodness knows what inside. Son had to explain to someone that his chilli plants were actually lettuce. I had spinach seeds from a well known supplier which produced rows of teensy weensy plants not even an inch high. I have no idea what they were and they didn't grow any taller all summer. In so far as is possible we keep our own seeds.

To those who are mentioning zero hour contracts, student loans, degrees (usually arts ones) mortgages, living at home etc. It is exactly the same here in the UK. Oh. I should have added internships and credit card debt.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Sounds like a great movie night, out. I had a great movie night, in. "A Walk in the Woods" was waiting for me at the library, yesterday. Fixed up a big ol' plate of cinnamon toast and a glass of milk and settled in to watch the film. Quit liked it. I think it had a lot to say about men and aging ... how lives go one direction, or another. Nick Nolte's character was quit affecting when he talked about his drinking and staying sober. He got it spot on. And, I want a hat like Nolte's! I must shop in the wrong stores ... I never see cool hats, for sale. :-).

I started reading "The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America" (Cook, 2013). Looks to be an interesting read. Mostly set in the Pacific Northwest. The itinerant mushroom hunters are a pretty wild and wooly breed. It's a rather shadowy subculture ... an all cash economy that forms a large chunk of the "gray economy." For a fictional look at the same group, "Our Lady of the Forest" (Guterson, 2003) is quit good.

Well, the weather here was "interesting", yesterday. Woke up earlier than usual to head into the Little Smoke. A fabulous sunrise and sunshine. When I drove a few hundred feet down the road (down a bit, in elevation, too) I plunged into a fog bank that lingered through my entire trip. Quit thick, in spots. When I came home, I drove up into the sunshine, in about the same spot. I hear Seattle is having unseasonably warm weather. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

I've been thinking about your comments about what a person's position should be in regard to our footprint on this planet and what we should or should not do that affects it, and other people. You mentioned your 2 honorary granddaughters and their salvation by medical technology. I have had several experiences with family members (one was my son) that were similar - lives saved through medical intervention. I haven't been to a doctor myself in years (except eyeglasses prescription); I try to avoid them, but I am so grateful that such things are there when needed, and I let them know that I am grateful. This is true of lots of our modern conveniences. If we don't deserve them, they will eventually disappear, I feel. I am afraid that we humans are as greedy and selfish as dogs, and wretched, ungrateful hypocrites to boot, but I love us! Whose to say we are worse than any other creature? I don't think that it's our judgement to make.

That is very bad news about your ground saturation. It makes me think of the dream sequences that they used to stick in old movies and TV shows, where the scene seems to kind of swim/melt. Very unstable. I think that Chris is right that an excessively wet growing season can be even worse than a really dry one. If one has water (key point!) it can be added, but impossible to take away days and days of endless rain. Even a spot with normally good drainage can have a problem; it's happened here.

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

There have been a few times when roads have buckled during a particularly harsh heat wave. Seriously I don't know why anyone lives around here as, all in all, there really aren't that many nice days. Many years it goes directly from winter to summer and back again though the last year has been pretty nice overall. You take what you can get I guess. As far as our road in winter I actually think it's quite a waste of taxpayer money for the few of us living on our road to get this much attention. When we first moved here 28 years ago the road would be plowed for the school bus but only the curves treated with salt or sometimes just sand. Now there are no children on the road but we still get plowed out early. There is one curve though that drifts over pretty badly and we are appreciative that it's attended to pretty well.

Wow those tomatoes and your orchard look great. I'm impressed with how you handle water. We do have a well and tend to take water for granted. We did put up a water catchment system last summer. It' a 300 gallon square plastic container that had contained high fructose corn syrup. It has a spigot that a hose fits on nicely. We cut out part of the downspout wo rainwater fills it up. there is a bypass when it fills up which it did last summer. We had a lot of rain so didn't need it much and had to empty it out before it froze over the winter. My garden is just downhill from it. There's not much water pressure though and my husband is considering raising it a bit to see if that might help.

We have a few warmer days coming up - near 40 (F). As everything is a block of ice from our sleet storm I'm hoping it softens up a bit so I can dig out my greenhouse door. I confess I don't use the green house much for growing but it's great for drying. I grew some amaranth and sunflowers for the chickens in the winter but they're frozen in right now. Come Sunday we'll be in the single digits and teens for about five days.

Our problem dog, Salve, is off to the vet shortly as she's had diarrhea off and on for two weeks. Of course it'll be $300 I'm sure - what a racket!! - almost as bad as our health (sick) care system. All our usual remedies aren't working this time.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I just lost a comment I was about to send. In case, I DID actually send it I will not repeat myself now. Will wait to see if it shows up later.

Cheers,

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

You are so good to your chooks, no wonder they love you! Ditto for Nell and Beau!

What's with that poor Chef John? Was he imbibing before he embarked on those snow adventures?

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Coco:

Congratulations on the new family member! I see many adventures in your future!

Pam

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris! I enjoyed the post and your photos. We have stick insects here too, really amazing looking.

It's been dry so that has allowed flooding to abate. Usually spring flooding is a concern on both the Missouri and the Mississippi Rivers and would be especially so after damage from this winter's flood, but with the warm winter and less than normal snow cover up north it's likely that the snowmelt contribution to spring river levels will be less than usual. That's good news. It is more like average winter weather here now, with the first real blast of winter due to arrive on Sunday. Think low temperatures around 10-12F at my house, a little warmer officially, and a high in the mid 20sF, well under freezing. We'll have that for a couple of days, then it'll warm a little but still be real winter. It'll be interesting to see how much real winter we get. There are indications it could go warmer than normal again by late in the month.

Jo said...

Chris, those tomatoes look so healthy - I see you are not in favour of staking. I stake mine because otherwise they flop out of their bed all over the lawn and I can't mow there. Every time I see your 'tomato stockade' it makes me laugh. They are some well protected tomatoes:) I have my first ripe tomato this week, which is very exciting.The first is always such a thrill.

How are the chickens doing? All that water, heat and nitrogen must have turned it into a heap of hot compost practically overnight. It must feel very tropical in there for the chickens. I must admit, I was secretly pleased to discover that you do foolish things too, and don't spend all your life being Mr Practical Superman.

The only way I can ever leave a sprinkler on without accidentally leaving it on all night is to set the stove timer. I am vagueness personified..

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Haha! Too funny, don't think I'll ever think of doof, doof music / sounds the same. ;-)! That's a word you don't hear much down here these days. Some friends from New Zealand use the expression "nuff nuff" instead of doofus, but it's all the same really!

I don't whether listen is the appropriate word, because sometimes you can end up feeling that bass beat rather than listening to it. It can't be good for your hearing? I used to listen to a lot of loud music when I was much younger, but I'm very careful with my hearing these days - with all of the power tools and other activities... I don't know about the whole headphone music turned way up loud? Dunno.

Yeah, online isn't as much fun is it? Cheaper maybe for the company, but it is good fun to receive a catalogue in the mail and pour over all of the different photos and descriptions. I don't visit many websites, so I may not even look at online ones anyway? Seed saving seems to be a good idea.

Wow, that is a serious bit of trouble. My understanding with the arctic - and please correct me if I'm wrong - is that if the ice melts, the water will heat up more rapidly due to less reflected sunlight? And winter should be the time of ice consolidation in that part of the world? Certainly the tropical storms down here in the northern part of the continent seem to have far more energy than you'd normally expect?

It is nice to hear of such an agency doing good work. I tell you an un-funny story about student debt down here. It is provided by the Federal government and if you have a debt it is paid along with your taxes after you reach a certain income level. Well, some nefarious individuals working for shady education companies, were signing up people for courses - who have no hope of ever paying back the debt or attending the course - and then giving them a free iPad in return. The company in return receives funding from the government for the course placements. Sharks patrol these waters!

Enjoy your run to the little smoke and I do hope that it is uneventful.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

Thank you and yes it became a 2 to 3 hour per week task here too. You wouldn't believe this either, but the sprinkler broke this morning - how is that for shoddy manufacturing?

Your wicking beds are the exact right response for your area, they look good too.

Yup, 2015 was a very hot and thus very dry year. I wouldn't honestly know what to do with low rainfall such as you've experienced this year and I respect the efforts that you are making.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi August,

Those are some extreme temperatures for sure. The hottest I've ever experienced was here back in February 2009 when the thermometer reached 45.6'C (114'F) in the shade and the wind was howling. That was one scary day.

And, I reckon you are spot on too!

Hey, I spotted a very bright satellite heading in a north west to south east direction a few nights back at about 10.30pm. It was seriously racing across the sky and I was wondering if there was some way to know whether it may have been the ISS? Dunno, it sure was bright. I do hope that you are providing technical advice to JMG about the Kessler Syndrome in his story? :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Nice to hear that the weather is starting to dry up a bit. Those floods were truly awful and I saw a footnote in the article that more rain is expected.

Watching the shipping would provide for a never ending change of scenery. There would always be something going on. Have you ever spotted a ship in trouble from your location? Every couple of days I get people stopping on the road at the top of the property to enjoy the view. Today a couple of tree guys with a truck and a giant chipper from a company which may have been called: "Munch and crunch tree services", reckoned the view was pretty good. They didn't seem inclined to leave their very expensive chipper here - I could make good use of that and produce some awesome soil.

Yeah, it is rapid isn't it. And doesn't it make you wonder how the birds know to migrate there too? I think some parts of that lake are about 8m below sea level. The north west winds that arrive here pick up moisture from that lake, so the effect of the lake is huge. I believe some of it drains into the Great Artesian Basin too (it's the largest in the world).

Exactly, it was a very tough knot to unwind and like you, I live where I do too because it suits my outlook and skill set (plus the editors skill set as well). We both enjoy the intellectual challenge of living in a place like this.

Sorry to hear that and yes, in those circumstances seed saving is ideal. What a disaster. The seed catalogue I receive is from the Diggers Club of which we are both members and they focus exclusively on heritage open pollinated varieties - and their germination rates are very good - but the club is run on a for profit basis, but also mostly for the benefit of the members.

Internships are a total scam and I cannot believe that people are suffering through them. My gut feeling says that it is a form of theft. They have started getting some airing in popular youth media and I note that the US show "Girls" which is wildly popular and influential has shown them in a very unfavourable and negative light.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, it was a good night out, although because of the time that I finished work in the big smoke (I was in a factory for most of the day), I had to go to a mall to watch the film rather than at the little art house cinema which is my preference. It may sound like I'm some sort of film snob, but not so, the small cinema also shows many obscure and foreign films and I feel that it should be supported - I believe that it is financially doing OK.

Anyway, I don't often spend time in shopping malls (actually once in a decade would be too much for me) and I had to track down my afternoon coffee. Don't laugh this is a serious concern! :-)! Anyway, I finally stumbled across a place that did a reasonable coffee, so whilst my senses were assaulted by the shopping mall, I did enjoy a good coffee and hedgehog slice. The theatre was interesting too because the internal space was cavernous and they showed so many advertisements before the screening. I'm not often exposed to high intensity advertising and the editor and I had much to discuss about the displayed memes and narratives on the way home. The film was good too!

I've been expecting to read about your review of that film for a while now and I'm now hanging to check out the film. Thanks for the review - I loved that book and was a bit nervous about how well it would translate. ;-)!

The gray economy. Of course that makes sense. I seem to recall at some distant stage in the past we were discussing the mushroom incident? At a local farmers market, there is a guy that sells locally harvested mushrooms and the editor started badgering him about where he harvests the mushrooms. I just sort of wisely stood back and thought to myself: "I am so not getting involved in this silliness". Needless to say that the market guy was proof against such badgering and his secrets remained intact!

No one really wants interesting weather! On the other hand, that is interesting. Fog normally indicates either Spring or Autumn conditions from my experience, but I don't know your part of the world. As a suggestion, I've noticed that this year in particular the climate has shifted several hundred kilometres south as the tropical zone seems to be expanding. I recall accounts that south of you is quite foggy, but I don't really know for sure. What do you reckon about that?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Oh yeah, the roads can actually melt on hot days and I wonder much the same things myself! ;-)! Who really knows why we end up where we do. Thanks for your story because a few weeks back I was stunned to read over at the ADR that a commenter had their dirt road graded every six weeks. Seriously, it really floored me. The road to my property has been graded once in the past couple of years as it is a side road whilst the main road is usually graded maybe twice or three times a year (if we all complain enough).

And the property taxes (we call them council rates here) increase between 5% and 6% per year. It is outrageous. On the other hand that salt (or other chemicals) would be very hard on steel (or orchards for that matter). Occasionally, the local council will contract some dudes in environmental suits - they honestly look as if they were expecting to enter a nuclear reactor - to spray the blackberries. It works really well until the blackberries grow back two years later. Honestly, they're impacting my berry supplies - what is wrong with them? Sorry, I'm ranting! :-)!

Those containers are very good and a mate of mine uses them for aquaponics systems so he runs both fishies and vegetables. The only thing about them is that they degrade under the harsh UV sunlight here and become brittle. It is a great idea for watering the garden though and fruit trees really don't require a whole lot of water pressure anyway. Thanks about the tomatoes too! :-)!

Brrr! That is so cold. Next week I'm expecting a 36'C day (about 99'F). I'd swap if I could?

I hear you about the vet. A friends dog was bitten by a snake and $1,200 later... They were joking - although I'm unsure about the seriousness - by saying next time, just make the dog comfortable...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Blogger was very hungry and the comment completely disappeared. Anyway, I agree with you totally and just do the best you can for what else can we do? Gordian knots were never meant to be untied in the first place. They do my poor brain in!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thank you and glad to hear that you have a healthy assortment of insects. Did you check out the link in the comment above about the ones that are twice the size of the stick insects here! Queensland is an eastern state in the far north that has a very tropical climate to the east of the Great Dividing Range and a dry and arid climate to the west of the range. There are very ancient sections of rainforest such as the Daintree and they are the most beautiful and diverse forests that you may ever see. It is a bit hot for my tastes though.

Glad to read that the weather has dried up a bit in your part of the world. You have to admit that it has been excessively damp - although your humid summers are conducive to outstanding gardening weather. Great also to read that the flooding has abated and I suspect that you are correct about the snow melt contribution as I have been wondering about that issue for a few years now. It is negligible here so the stream flows become very reliant on rainfall and can be very inconsistent from year to year.

Brrr, that is so cold, although I do hope that it stays colder for you this winter. Have you noticed any plants adapting to the slightly warmer conditions and putting on blossoms or other new growth?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Thank you. Well, and I believe you may relate to this but, time and materials have gotten away from me so the tomatoes this year will remain un-staked and we shall all experience from this lack, what actually happens to the tomatoes. I'm not too worried as they are mostly cherry tomatoes anyway.

Haha! Well, the grass may grow if there is enough rainfall, but till then, mowing is a Spring concept! :-)! The tomatoes have a huge area to flop into so they should be OK. Maybe? I really don't know how it will all turn out.

I'm seriously impressed that you have your first ripe tomato this week. That plant is a keeper. I do hope that it tasted nice?

Too true. It was a disaster, which I'm correcting by having to turn the entire run over every single day. No, whilst it is humid, the chicken house has a concrete slab floor which is far better than what may appear in house construction these days - seriously. The run has a welded mesh screen to stop the rats from breaking into the chicken area, so plenty of breeze keeps the place cool - it is a nice place to be in on a hot day as the flies are kept out too.

Ha! That rotten sprinkler broke today! I couldn't believe it. And one of the bushfire sprinklers also broke... What is going on?

The beauty of this blog is that I can edit out the mistakes! Hehe! Actually the recent conversion of the old chicken shed into a firewood shed is a correction of a mistake, so not to stress, plenty of things go wrong here - that is what makes a person good at fixing them! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I forgot to say that I am in agreement with your view that all discoveries can be used for good or ill.

Distressed shipping usually means that a boat has gone aground. The shipping channel is narrow and I go down to the beach to look if the info. has turned up on the news. Yachts are prone to go aground in the summer, probably because charts are inevitably out of date.

I did say that we were 24 households here. This is now corrected to 18. 6 were thrown out by the planning department, a few days before Christmas. They all lived in caravans. Though some had lived their for a few years, they had failed to reach the 10 years that is required to achieve residency rights. There is a desperate shortage of housing so no joined up thinking here.

@Pam
For good or ill, we are different from other animals because we can think about it before we act. I have always assumed that this is due to our ability to think in language. I think that I have mentioned, before, the man I knew who had been deaf mute until he was 20 and had been left to grow up wild. I remember pointing to a baby in a pram and indicating 'like that'. He pointed to a bird in the sky and said 'No, like that'.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I may not have been clear. The man, I referred to, had no language at all when growing up. Although he was taken in hand when about 20 and was taught an understanding of language he didn't speak until he taught himself in middle age.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Nuffus? :-) .

"Walk in the Woods" had some great lines. Not many appropriate for a family friendly blog :-). But one of my favorites was when Bryson, says ... "You know, books? They're like TV for smart people." :-).

Hmmm. What to say about fogs? Pretty much the whole coast from San Francisco, north is subject to fogs. And, by coast, I mean everything right up to the Cascade mountain range. They seem to appear, just about any time, anywhere ... Except high summer. Sometimes it's hard to tell if it's a good fog, mist, or just ground hugging cloud cover :-). Sometimes, great swaths of the stuff blow across my back pasture. Quit pretty. The atmospheric "look" of this area has often been compared to Chinese ink drawings and paintings. A sign that fall is on the way are the first "autumn fogs." Billowy clouds of the stuff, usually in the lowlands that start appearing around sunset. September into October.

There's been some play on the internet, the last few days, about "The Blob" (Gulf of Alaska) and "The Son of the Blob" (off the California coast.) Huge areas of warmer water (15F, warmer) that are about 60 feet thick. That just kind of stick there. It raises havoc with sea life ... and weather. It was a similar blog that contributed to our drought, last summer.

Well, the whole mushroom thing is pretty interesting. And, actually, it isn't just mushrooms, but a whole "harvesting from the forest" economy. If you approach it as ... business, and don't have too many bad habits ... or haven't made too many bad life decisions, you can actually, sometimes, keep your head economically above water. I think I mentioned I used to know a family of brush pickers ... mom and dad got the five kids off to school every morning, and then went out an picked brush for the florist trade. Up early every morning and worked well into the afternoon, Monday through Friday.

It's interesting that the whole thing really took off when the timber industry, collapsed, about 20 years ago. A lot of ex-loggers ... who really knew and loved the woods, were in the game. Now it's mostly SE Asian and Mexican immigrants. The author of the book takes the view that the mushroom pickers really don't have much impact on the supply of mushrooms. It's more logging, monoculture, climate change. But even when an area is logged off, mushrooms still grow ... maybe different types, but still in abundance.

What I didn't know is that there's a whole truffle industry developing. Sounds all very upscale, like the development of the wine industry. You have to be pretty "well heeled" to be able to put in a truffle plantation. Just out of curiosity, I took a look around on the Net to check out the availability of inoculated seedlings. Oh, they're out there, but most of the websites are pretty cagey when it comes to cost ... "inquire by e-mail" and such. What I found interesting is that most of the seedlings are hazelnuts or oak. Whereas, our truffles, out in the wild, grow mostly around Douglas Firs. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thank you. Yes, every technology has a benefit and a cost and when we try to obtain just the benefits and try to ignore the costs we pay some price in the future. The costs may go away or be redistributed, but eventually they pop up somewhere. My gut feeling about a lot of those technologies in that discussion is that it is a moot point because as the age of cheap oil disappears into the past, well, so too will a lot of the technologies that we enjoy today. If it means anything to you, I quite impressed with the solar photo-voltaic technologies, water pumps and water storage - but then I'm probably a bit biased (as are all of us really in one way or another). Dunno, it is a very complex discussion and there are no answers.

I'm a bit angry right now, so I have to take a deep breath. A couple of guys and a lady on horses rode through the outskirts of the orchard this evening with absolutely no thought whatsoever about asking. And what is worse is that I've told the head rider not to come through this property - without permission - before. It really annoys me because the guy wants all the benefits of access to here, but never thinks to ask or offer anything in return. And I started telling him and he starts walking the horse at me, even after I told him to stop where he was. I would hate to think about what might happen if I'm not here and the editor is alone to face them off. I am livid about it. Deep breath... I am now considering my responses. Does anyone ever just turn up and wander about your place? It is really weird behaviour and arrogant beyond. Most people are usually very polite when asking to look around here.

I do hope that no one gets injured (other than their ego's) when a yacht runs aground? I'm assuming that you have a local salvage crew to sort out the mess - as I'd imagine it would be difficult to leave a submerged wreck in the straight?

I'm sorry to hear that. Things are very weird if that is the case and I'm wondering how that action became instigated? Was it a squat arrangement or did they own the title to the land? Have they thought about doing a big merry-go-round of spots? That strategy would cause some headaches. Housing is short here too - because and few want to talk about the problem, because it is simply becoming unaffordable. I saw the saddest thing on Thursday afternoon when I was in the suburb of Brunswick (about 5km north of the CBD). There was a crowd of people (well over 100) standing around outside a non-descript block of flats and so I went up to some of the people to ask what was going on and they said to me that it was an open for inspection to lease a flat in that block of flats. I'd heard that there is a housing shortage here and know some people who struggled to obtain a rental property and are now living with parents, but this was up close and personal and sort of in your face. Residential leases here are arranged to suit investors and not the tenants and are rarely offered for longer than 12 months.

This wasn't the country I knew two decades ago. Things have changed and not for the better.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

You've just coined a brand new word! Well done. :-)!

Bryson is a very smart bloke. Nick Nolte is almost the perfect actor to portray Bill's mate. Was his mate's actual name Cat? Hey, did they reminisce much in the film about the early years of travel together as his mate was a bit of a wild man? It was a really good story and now I'm hanging to get my hands on a copy of the film! It wasn't shown very long at the cinema here and it definitely wasn't a film for the mainstream mall type cinema complex.

Sorry, I must digress for a second (don't we always seem to anyway? :-)!). But did you by chance happen to read today's horse outrage incident in my reply comment to Inge above? Do people ever just walk onto your property and what do you usually do about it?

Nice! I had no idea what you meant by Chinese ink drawings and paintings. They're very good and the colours are often muted or washed out but the definition is very clear. Interesting stuff and fogs certainly do wash the colours out of the area - as does hard frosts too. I can sort of see what you mean by that. Fogs always remind me of the saying: "There's mist on the moors tonight, Guvnor".

Oh, that's not good. I hadn't heard about that as the only thing that gets reported down here is the Godzilla El Nino. The Blob and Son of Blob are quite disturbing. I've attached a link which has a good map. The interesting thing about the map is that there doesn't seem to be much in the way of normal sea surface temperatures and they only seem to occur in deep ocean away from industrial countries. Move Over, El Niño. There’s a Crazy New Weather Threat Here.

Good for them. It is not really that different a method of earning an income from over a century ago. They just have to ensure that they don't annoy the local land owners - which is not a big ask really. I'm always mindful of your stories of the 19th century hermits down the back garden. They could be quite useful in tough times. Certainly such things happened here during the Great Depression.

Picking the mushrooms actually is good for the fungi because it spreads the spores around which fall from the gills into new areas. Sort of like taking a fungi for a walk in the forest - does that make them fun-guys and fun-gals? ;-)! My understanding is that the mushrooms you see are the "flowers" but the fungi itself is really the whole network of white threads in the ground which are easily disturbed by digging and heavy machinery. Hey, speaking of which I spotted an awesome looking fungi half way up a really big old tree here. It is sort of weird because there hasn't really been enough water from the rain recently to start mushrooms growing. Those naughty fungi got into some of my firewood too which was seasoning outside and the timber turned over three years into - nice looking soil. This is a new experience for me and is possibly a good sign. I've been starting to slowly fill the firewood shed over the past few days. It is a big job, but this is the earliest I've ever started - usually I'm chasing my tail.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Very interesting - and perhaps a complete waste of money? Most forest soils are acidic, but a few are basic because the forest sits on limestone. But if it is full of organic matter, then it is probably acidic. They have a black truffle export industry down this way too and the whole industry is cagey. I met my friends who live in the huge greenhouse at a truffle field day (seriously). Oaks are the preferred species down this way because they survive, but the plantations which are inoculated with the fungi need to have huge amounts of lime trucked into them every year, so I don't know about the economics of the whole industry - it seems like a tough gig. The oaks here where quite reasonably priced at about $40 each as seedlings - remember this was years ago though. Everyone is cagey in that industry!

They produce a fair bit of export black truffles on the south west coast of this continent in Western Australia which does have basic soils and a climate suitable to oaks. However, they also have some serious problems down there right now: WA fire: Bushfire emergency remains in place for South West towns, four people unaccounted for. This year is as bad here as I can recall.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

More rain here and the ground wetter than ever.

Yes I do get people walking through. Sometimes they have been cut off by the tide and are looking for a way out. Some people ask courteously, some don't. I haven't had a problem such as your nasty one, but I don't get angry. Not that I am accusing you but people do pick up the slightest hint of irritation and it is then easy for things to escalate. I have had people who quote 'the right to roam'; they are unaware that it doesn't apply to woodland.

Those chucked out of the caravans: They were all renting them. The owner had been trying to get residential rights for years. He has lost and is only permitted holiday usage.
Renting here is often short term i.e. 6 month contracts. Utterly ridiculous of course. Rents are insanely high and housing hopelessly lacking.

Wild truffles have been found on the Island but I don't seem to have them.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

More rain. I'd read that more was expected for the UK. It was apparently the wettest December in a century. The newspapers here ran articles about the 450yo Scottish castle that is teetering on the edge of the flooded river banks and looks like it will fall in. The rain up your way is like the heat here - expect more extreme conditions as time goes on. By the way, was the castle eventually saved as the flood water receded?

Yeah, I'm pretty cool with most people and usually very tolerant and understanding, but this guy thought it would be a smart idea to confront me with his horse whilst trying to tell me the whole thing was somehow my fault. Horses are big when you're on the ground. He is being dealt to right now and then again I'm going to surprise him next week just to make sure that he understands he did the wrong thing. I have no tolerance for that sort of foolishness as a normal person would have got off the horse and apologised, not escalated the situation.

What? 6 months is a disaster. I thought 12 months was harsh for renters - but we have the same legal system really. The whole sorry mess is set up because houses and properties are considered investments, when they're really just places for people to live. The housing bubble here is crazy and my gut feeling says that it is ready to pop. It is particularly very hard on the young and vulnerable in the community. The planning arrangements are dysfunctional and mostly a reactionary system rather than a representation of the word "planning", which to my mind suggests forward planning - and I reckon they are used as a way to scam money out of people building houses.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

As far as I know, the castle is okay at the moment. Its future looks rather bleak though. It seem to be perched on an eroded edge. In fact the river's edge there looks exactly like the eroding coastline here.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

What that fellow on the horse did is unconscionable. Are you having a post-incident follow-up with him? If I was the Editor at home alone, I think I would just let them go by without acknowledging them. Can you block the path that they come through on? I mean, on your own property, a bunch of brush or something; nothing dangerous. We must consider the horses!

I don't believe I've ever had anyone cross our property that I don't know. When you go through our property you only end up on someone else's property; there is no road back here to connect to. Lot of fences in the way, too. We are also a private road (of 8 households), with a clear sign at the beginning that states this. And we have been a dead-end road since the state (God bless them) let the property owners take over maintenance of this once-state road and shut off the end of it.

Also, local (state?) law says that if you do not have your property posted with no-trespassing signs you cannot prosecute someone for trespassing. Pretty stupid law.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I'd suggest sicking the dogs on him, but a person like that has malice in his heart and you don't want to start a feud. Still, you can't let him get away with it. Hopefully, his friends have given him a tongue-lashing.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Put someone on a horse and they think they're the Lord (or Lady) of the manor. A woman in the mix always complicates things, as Joy Boy doesn't want to look bad in front of his lady friend. Well, you can fence or post (put up signs) or get a good description and call the local constables.

Because of the set up, here, anything happens along the road and people end up on my front porch. Generally, they're pretty respectful, because they want something. When the Abandoned Farm, went abandoned, it was to inquire to buy this or that. My land lord wasn't interested. Hunting season is a nuisance. But, I've got it down to a short response "Unless the owner knows you or your "people", he's not interested." If they seem to have some connection, I sent them up the hill to Don, for try and give him a call. Or, I take their number and pass it along. After telling them (firmly) that if they don't hear from Don (most likely), the answer is no.

I did successfully negotiate the rental of a field for cows with one guy ... and with another guy to haul out some auto wrecks. But it took months to pull that off. With the cow guy, Don (kind of) knew the (extended) family, and had to determine if it was the "good" branch, or the "bad" branch. Sigh.

Of course, the Evil Step Son has real boundary problems. Of course, he used to live in this house ... grew up here. And, he's "family" and I'm just the renter. A well placed word to Don, and it pretty much keeps him in check. But, after Don passes on, he may become a real problem. And, I don't have a good plan B. Once, he was spraying on what I consider my patch, and I brought him up short. He doesn't like to be thwarted.

Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. - Yes, there's a lot of reminiscing in "Walk in the Woods." The Nolte character seems to be puzzling out why his life went ..nowhere, and Bryson became pretty much of a success. From pretty common origins.

Well, Cliff Mass the weather guy, says that right now, through conditions I really don't understand, heavy weather is splitting and pretty much going north or south of Washington and Oregon. He really didn't mention The Blob, though he talked about it, last year. So, we are warmer and dryer, and he sees that trend lasting into the foreseeable future. Oh, a few scattered rain showers. Overnight lows in the mid 30'sF. So, above freezing. Though out here in the boonies, I've been having light frosts at night.

The brush pickers I knew used to, sometimes, buy leases from private land owners or timber companies. Other times, they'd pick on open public lands. But all those are shrinking. The timber companies are closing off more and more of their land, due to a.) liability and b.) the trash left in the woods. There was a big dust up, this last fall, as a timber company closed off a huge tract to elk hunting. Oh, you could buy a permit from them. Very pricey and on top all the other State fees and permits.

From the book I read, a lot of commercial pickers are staying out of Northern California. It's just getting too complicated to figure out where and when you can pick, and how much. A lot of that came about from pressure from the Enviros, but they ended up cutting their own throats. Recreational picking has also been scaled back.

In general, it just seems like everything is getting over regulated. The sport fishing, in this State, is a nightmare. A thick booklet, that tells you when, where, how much you can take of which species, size requirements, etc. Subject to change at the drop of a hat ... which may or may not be reported in the newspaper. It's very hard to "stay legal" as one of the mushroom hunters, observed. So, a lot of them just give up, or, are willing to take the occasional fine and seizure of product. Lew

heather said...

Hi Chris-
Just a quick comment as I am occupied with a sick family member (consuming utterly unsustainable amounts of resources in the hospital, sadly…)

I have also had shameful experiences forgetting to turn off the water (drip irrigation, in my case). I found out that a manual hose timer was just the thing- like a kitchen timer except that it turns off the tap for you after the allotted time. No more self-flagellation needed. Unfortunately I the only ones I've found are made of plastic, but I think mine is 5 years old and still working. I keep a rag tied over it to protect it from the sun.

--Heather in CA

Damo said...

@Lewis

That is welcome news that at least some shady colleges are getting the crackdown. Here in Australia I have heard a few noises in that direction. No doubt there will no rush so the guilty parties can make their well timed exits.

@Inge

re: extreme situations / what ifs / etc
Really, if ones concern was only for the planet then the only logical solution is to kill yourself and as many others as possible! This seems to be a slightly untenable and perhaps impractical solution! Yet it is somewhat similar to the arguments made around Peter Singers books (The Life You Can Save, donate maximum amount to charity etc etc). Clearly one just has to draw the line somewhere and say, "I can live with XYZ".

It is just unfortunate that so many seem to have that line always on the distant horizon.

@Chris

Hopefully that horse guy got his foot crushed later (I have noticed many horses seem great at "accidentally" putting their hooves close to my feet). Only a few months ago I was riding my motorbike home when I turn the corner to see a horse blocking the road (basically in the middle of town). Astride the horse was a man with a toothless grin holding a beer. He thought it was all pretty funny and kept moving the horse closer to me on the bike. I smiled and nodded wondering when he was planning on moving the horse out of my way thinking it was an invasion on my personal space. Eventually the horse decided to wander away and I carried on shaking my head. Such are the people you meet in remote Tasmanian towns I suppose!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

The castle certainly looked as though it needed some assistance as the banks of that river were denuded of any vegetation. Yes, the coastline certainly doesn't sound good. Do you recall that it used to have beaches in the past, or was it always an exposed cliff?

The funny thing was that when I was building this place, the batter of fill below the house was in danger of being washed away in big storms. I always wondered what to do about that batter erosion could eventually undermine the house - which is not good really. I asked everyone I met around here what they would do in such a circumstance and not one person told me to plant it out with thick vegetation and let nature do the work. I'd heard about engineering solutions and earthworks, but the actual solution was really quite simple. The inspiration finally dawned when I took a look at all of the old hill station gardens where they had such resilient, tried, tested and simple solutions involving plants.

On the videos for that castle I did not see a single plant exceeding the height of a blade of grass. The coastline is a whole different issue as it is basically unstoppable, but rivers certainly need to be slowed. Dunno, what do you reckon? The authorities are crazy about removing willows from around streams and rivers down here.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi everyone!

Forgot to mention that there is a new page over on the right hand side called:

Flowers that European Honey Bees Like at the Farm.

Enjoy, and if you have any suggestions for the page, I'd be interested to hear them. I may one day put in a page for a proper diary of all of the "have to do" activities here.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thank you and yes it was unconscionable. It was also mildly unexpected so it took me by surprise. That is a great idea and I intend to follow through with your idea, merely because over the past few years the guy has been escalating on various properties on this dead end road (oh yeah, I hear you). I've told him to clear off before, when he has entered this property in the past, which by the way he always does on his horse.

Exactly, if the editor were alone, she would be frightened to confront the guys. Anyway, it is now a Police matter, but I do intend to discover who the guy is. I tried the easy way yesterday by contacting every single riding club in the area and I reckon I scored a hit with the local trail riding club (what a surprise). This week plan B will be enacted and I'll have to more complex methods. He certainly deserves a visit from me if nothing else.

I've long thought about fencing, but it is expensive - is easily damaged by trees - and more importantly is really hard on the wildlife. Oh, that's except for wombats that are like armoured tanks and can pretty much do what they please.

That is nice to hear. I'm on a public road so plenty of people come up to check out the view and I'm always very friendly and up for a chat (usually so are they too). A few trespass from time to time, but they're mostly harmless and usually simply curious and polite. This guy turned his horse on me and that is not cool.

The stupid thing is that the guy obviously has lots of horse manure. I have a need for lots of horse manure. He wants access my property, wouldn't you think a simple arrangement could be reached? He is clearly a townie: All benefits and no cost.

Yeah, that is inevitably going to happen up here with the roads, but I don't mind really it is probably no bad thing as the council has stuffed the road grading up a few times in the past when it didn't really need grading. Once they turned the road into a swamp and it was very hard to get in and out of - even with low range gearing and four wheel drive!

What do you do to maintain the road? Do you have an understanding with your neighbours?

The same law applies here too and I had to put that exact sign up a few years back for those exact reasons. It certainly doesn't send a friendly message and the majority of people are very reasonable.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for that and no doubt you are correct. Some people display the most unusual reactions so as to save face. It is townie logic really and it probably doesn't translate very well into hill billy country! ;-)! The fence is a good idea, but it is very expensive and has some down sides for the wildlife that shares this place. Wombats seem too able to smash most fencing so I don't want to butt heads with them as we are on excellent terms and they seem sort of formidable. Yes, it is a Police matter now and I have other options I'm pursuing next week. The whole thing is a nuisance and it certainly doesn't have to be this way, but when people escalate their behaviours, then it has been my past experience that it is in your interests to utilise a bit of Sun Tzu logic and do the unexpected and seize control of the situation, but then it is possibly also a bit of my personality coming to the fore. Dunno, but I do have to deal with the situation. It is what I call a time eating zombie problem in that it won't go away and it will keep coming back.

I hear you about that and it is sort of common sense, although you are the unfortunate gate keeper - but then that may also be part of your assigned role, and they know it? Dunno. Yes, hunting can be a nuisance. I remember a long time ago, I was hassled by a guy to give him permission to hunt on the land here and I said exactly the same thing: I don't know you, and I certainly don't know your "people", although I didn't quite phrase it that way. People want all the benefits and none of the costs - and there are costs.

Yeah, things move at a glacial pace up in the boonies and it is for a good reason, I reckon. Someone else's benefit comes at someone else's cost. My gut feeling says that it is that simple and it is certainly a sign of the ongoing decline and the reversion to older ways of doing things from the periphery to the core. Dunno, what do you reckon about that? And yeah, some of them do have a bad branch and a good branch. It is very hard for me as a Johnny come lately new comer to understand who is who in the zoo! :-)! Surely you must take advice on such matters? I certainly have go to people up here. The funny thing though is that my go to people are like the Calabrian’s in the Annie Hawes stories in that they too are the long-time multi-generational Johnny come lately newcomers... What a hard story to negotiate, but we must do our best, I guess...

Hmmm, my gut feeling is not good on that one. Sorry, but some children like to press the boundaries of their lives ever outwards. I don't really know what to write other than that as I don't think there is an easy answer.

Ha! Well, the answer to those questions were covered clearly in the book, although the Nolte character was possibly blind to the details. When I read the book, I couldn't quite work out whether Bill actually liked his mate or whether it was just a history thing. It does make you wonder, doesn't it? Relationships are really complex beasts, but I suspect that Bill Bryson cared quite deeply for his mate and did the book as a bit of a leg up for him, so to speak? Dunno, what is your take on that?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Hopefully Cliff Mass isn't thinking to himself that the Blob and Son of the Blob, as well as El Nino are so last year’s news... Actually the sea surface map was very scary. Light frosts are OK. How is Beau going with the light frosts? The older of the dogs here get a bit crunchy in their joints (as do I!) whenever there is a light frost. This getting older business is a bit over-rated. Really.

Ouch. Even down here we are getting newspaper articles on the whole Oregon standoff. I noticed at one point there was a bit of national laughter at them and I'm truly unsure whether I'd take that approach. One of the problems with centralisation is that it deals with every issue as a one size fits all approach and whilst most of the time that works OK, sometimes it backfires and it is the smart government that knows when to go heavy, when to negotiate and when to back off. I dunno about that one.

I'll tell you a funny story about my immersion into the rural life. When I first moved up here and met a lot of the locals they started telling me about greenie this and greenie that and I was taken aback a bit by it all because I was as green as they come. Anyway, it took me a couple of years to understand that what they meant was that they had trouble being dictated too about land management practices from people who don't live in the area and may have ideological axes to grind. I can see both points of view and there doesn't seem to me to be much dialogue between the two and it is disturbing. I guess it is only a moment in time, so not to worry.

Exactly, the system as it stands lacks that important and essential ingredient: Dissensus.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Heather,

Oh, the whole problem was so easy to occur! Oh well. I do hope that your sick relative is OK? I personally find hospitals to be very sad places, so please keep your spirits up and I'm sending you good energy.

Thanks for the suggestion and you wouldn't believe it, but the rotten sprinkler broke this morning and I didn't get a receipt from the local shop when I purchased it. Isn't it annoying how many things are so shodly made these days, but to last less than a week is a right nuisance.

Wishing you some solid winter rain!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Mate, I hope he did too, although it does seem unlikely. Thanks for the great story, that's a ripper. Out of interest do you have a road or trail bike or a cross bike? I use to ride a Yamaha XV-750, I think it was an '82 and the pipes were straight through and boy that beast was loud. But the starter motor arrangement was such a pain as the teeth continually broke on the flywheel. Grrr!

You did very well with the horse. It is very bad karma indeed to run over locals and their animals.

Back in the mid '90's during a trip to Tassie the editor and I came around a corner near New Norfolk (but the precise memory fades) only to find a guy rounding up his escaped pigs - in the middle of the road, mind you. We stopped to give him a hand but another driver in a Datsun 1200 ute came flying around the bend in the road - and in true World Rally Championship style - wove his way through the pigs without either slowing down or hitting one of the pigs. I'll never forget the huge grin on his face too... The editor and I thought we were going to die as a result of a huge accident...

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

Chris re: Sprinkler

Under Australian consumer law there is no requirement for a receipt to get a refund / warranty. There was a whole segment on that chaser tv show that I can't remember the name :-)

Vicki Ochocki said...

gosh Chris i bet you're chuffed at having added all the extra water storage!

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Probably best to get the law involved. It sends a message. Years ago, when I lived in town, someone nicked my garbage can, out of my alley. I was pretty sure it was a shiftless lot, about 3 doors down. A small thing, but I called the police, made a report ... it was in the newspaper in the crimes column. I never had a problem, after that. I think it sends a message that you're not just going to "shine it on" and let a situation, escalate. Also called when I found a needle, back there.

Who knows what goes on in Bryson's head? :-). Maybe the side kick didn't exist at all, and was a construct of what Bryson might have become, if he had lived his life differently. :-). Two or three months on the trail would probably get you talking to yourself.

Oh, Beau does ok, when the temperature just hovers around freezing. In fact, he'd rather stay out at night, if it doesn't get too cold. So much going on out there in the dark :-). But he's more than happy to come in if it gets in the mid 20sF. He's a bit creeky when he first gets up. Moves pretty slow. But when I feed him, he can still do a bit of a happy puppy dance, on his hind legs. His aspirin a day keeps him limber, or, at least not in pain.

He nipped me, the other day! Boy, was I surprised. I vaguely remember that my landlord said something about Beau not liking people behind him, where he can't see them. He was eating, and I had spilled a bit of dry food on the deck, and was pitching it into his dish... and I was a bit behind him. He didn't do any damage. Heck, my hens do more damage when I steal their eggs :-). Sometimes, I think Beau may be going a bit blind, or deaf. On the other hand, it may be selective. When he doesn't want to put up with my nonsense. Anyway, things are fine between us. No hard feelings.

Now, Nell on the other hand ... The other morning I was getting ready to go out and take care of the chooks, I turned around, and there was Nell, big as life, peeing against the back of my recliner! She got yelled at, hussled into her litter box (which she wasn't having any of). I don't know what got into her. The litter box was spotlessly clean. Maybe she's decided it's haunted, or something. So, I sprayed everything down with white vinegar and some stuff called Fabreeze. That seems to work, for awhile. Also, keeping her out, more, during the day. Also, letting her out for a bit in the late evening ... though I worry about the coyotes. But, she sticks pretty close to the porch. But, I WILL NOT BE ONE OF THOSE OLD PEOPLE WHOSE HOUSE SMELLS OF CAT!!! Thanks, I feel better, now :-).

Oh, I don't know what to think about all that nonsense going on, down in Oregon. I thought it was pretty funny when they sent out for snacks, and PETA (the animal rights group) showed up with vegetarian jerky. I thought it was kind of interesting that a lot of them are members of a renegade, apocalyptic branch of the Mormon church. "Outside agitators" doesn't seem to apply, to any right wing cause. :-). Relations between the Federal Government and some Mormons (not mainstream Mormons) ever since the Fed told them Utah couldn't become a State, back in the 1880s, unless they did away with that multiple wife thing.

Yeah, the whole green thing can be pretty touchy. I'm careful what I say, and to who. This county should really be on the more conservative, east side of the mountains. Actually, western Oregon and Washington, and Eastern Oregon and Washington, should be different states. There's always grousing about how the metro areas (Seattle and Vancouver, Washington) sway elections to a more liberal take on things.

Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. My landlord is always carrying on about "Obama is going to take my guns!" Well, it's almost been 8 years, now, and as far as I know, a Presidential motorcade has not shown up on our road. There was an article in the newspaper, that even with this new Presidential Order, it really doesn't impact the Washington State gun laws, as they stand. We already meet the criteria. But, I'm sure my landlord is all in a froth.

Our local sheriff (a sane and reasonable man) is under a lot of pressure to sign some "oath" to ignore the Federal government when the storm troopers show up to seize our guns and fire on local citizens who object. When he was elected to office, his only competition was some guy whose only claim to competency was that he carried around a copy of the Constitution in his pocket. Our sheriff won by a wide margin, but what's worrying is that over 3,000 people in this county voted for the other guy. So, we have 3,000 crazy (or fearful) people in this county. I try not to think about it, very much :-) Lew

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

That encounter with the horseback riders was pretty disturbing. If I had been here alone and something like that had happened I wouldn't confront them. However, I do have two pretty big dogs and they would most likely would discourage anyone trespassing. Even though both Leo and Salve are big sweeties they do sense when someone isn't "right".

I've mentioned the oak woods at the back of our property. It's owned by several different people and two at least have no trespassing signs prominently displayed. When we first moved here there were no signs so we wandered though the woods pretty regularly. The guy who owns the piece connected to us is, to put it nicely, mentally disturbed and has been known to come out with his gun. He's sent threatening letters to my husband about hunting on his property (which does not happen). Another big parcel is now off limits as the new owners don't want anyone else hunting on it as they are big hunters. One good friend has a good size parcel that we are allowed on and my husband and a few friends deer and turkey hunt there (he did get a deer this year). It's rare that there are any problems with other hunters as everyone mostly knows each other and knows where they can hunt. Funny now they all have two way radios now to communicate with each other. If someone wounds a deer everyone works together to track it (sometimes for hours) so it's not suffering.

At any rate I hope you don't have any more issues with your unwelcome visitors.

On another note, our vet bill was only $100 for Salve (I was pleasantly surprised) and she is back to normal - until the next time that is.

It's pretty appalling how shoddy everything is now. I guess I'm not too surprised about the sprinkler.

Margaret

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

Yes, I'm not sure how we'll do either if mains water ever becomes unavailable (or heavily restricted). I have (semi-seriously) mused about building a system to treat our washing machine and shower/bath water (in a reed bed or similar) and then distill is with a solar still, in an attempt to recover some portion (perhaps 10 - 20%) as pure water and add it back to the rainwater tank. If we could catch 10 L per summer day in this way, we'd have plenty of water...

The wicking beds are great -- I'm going to build some more soon. :-)

I've got the watering system on almost all the fruit trees -- you are right: the walnut is bursting into leaf. It wasn't (just) heat stress -- it was water stress. I'm a bit disappointed to draw on town water, but I'm not going to risk my trees. As they get older, I'll water them less.

Cheers, Angus

latheChuck said...

Cherokee- I think you've only got half of the fable of the "frog in hot water". The first part is, "If you drop a frog into hot water, it will immediately jump right out." So, the advice goes, if you intend to cook a frog (which I agree would be a pointlessly cruel thing to do) you should put the frog into a pot of cool water. Since frog's enjoy cool water, it will feel comfortably at home, and stay in the pot. Then, as the water is warmed, the frog does not get upset until the water is so hot that it has already cooked the leg muscles to the point that it cannot jump out.

To belabor the point: "a frog in warming water" won't attempt to rescue itself until it is too late to rescue itself, even though it could have easily avoided disaster with a little foresight.