Monday, 1 February 2016

Breaking the rocks on the chain gang


Last summer I manned one of the stalls at the local Sustainability Festival in the nearby town of Woodend. That day, I met a whole bunch of lovely people. It was a really fun day and it was also great to talk with so many people that were interested in local produce and also growing your own foodstuffs.

A few days ago, the editor and I were picking free sun ripened apples from various wild apple trees located in secret spots known only to us. It was then that I was reminded of the Sustainability Festival. The reason for the reminiscing was that one young couple who approached me at the festival demanded to be told of gleaning opportunities (this is the fancy word for fruit picking free fruit) for any free and wild fruit within the mountain range. It was a surprisingly pushy demand given that I didn't know them and that they had offered absolutely nothing in return for this precious and hard won knowledge.
The author gleaning wild dessert apples from one of the many feral apple trees within the mountain ranges
I decided not to disclose the secret locations of all of the wild fruit that I knew about in the mountain range. After all, that information is secret and hard won! However, it was also late summer and the young couple expressed the belief that much of that wild fruit was ripe and ready to glean. It was at that point in the conversation, that I had a lot of difficulty getting across the concept that different plants and fruits ripened at different times of the season. They just didn't seem to believe me.

The demand for my secret information took me by surprise, however it kick-started my brain into thinking about how humans relate to nature. When humans consider the surpluses provided by nature, they somehow seem to have developed a just-in-time mentality and I wondered how that happened.

Just-in-time refers to a manufacturing process whereby minimal supplies are kept on hand for use by the manufacturer and items are usually only produced as they are ordered by customers.

The whole point of adopting the process of just-in-time for manufacturing is because it reduces costs for the manufacturer. The parts used and stored finished goods are kept to an absolute minimum. I'm tight with money, so I understand that.

Alert readers would already have noticed that I deliberately wrote: “it reduces costs for the manufacturer” and that is an important consideration because the policy usually results in increased costs for the suppliers (to the just-in-time manufacturer) of parts used in that manufacturing process. The suppliers of the parts carry the cost of storing the parts used. The suppliers also have to be ready to deliver those parts to the manufacturer at a moment’s notice. Even though I am tight with money, I feel that this is unfair to the supplier. After all they might be tight with money too.

Humans may want to operate on a just-in-time basis, but Nature certainly doesn’t. When nature produces a surplus, you have to harvest and store that surplus. Very few wild fruit trees have their fruit left untouched. The animals, birds, insects – even the soil life all wants a bite of that yummy fruit. That also applies to other surpluses that nature provides, including: sunlight; heat; water etc.

Here at the farm, I store all manner of natural surpluses. So, this week found me converting the free dessert apples into apple cider/wine for later consumption. In this case, later consumption refers to about six to twelve months into the future. Plus there was a yummy apple cinnamon cake. If those apples were left on the wild fruit trees waiting for a just-in-time need, the birds and insects would have consumed them instead.

Another surplus stored this week were the various ripe plums. They were processed using the food dehydrator. It is interesting to note that both the dehydrating and cider making processes require lemon juice. Unfortunately, citrus fruit are a late winter fruit here, and regular readers may recall that last winter I froze the juice from dozens of lemon and lime fruit for this exact purpose. Oh yeah, the citrus is added as it assists with preservation of the fruit in the drying and cider making as both these processes need an acidic environment. The acid from the citrus makes the processed fruit more toxic for any stray bacteria to consume. Thats not getting tricked by the just-in-time business fad!
The various plums have been sliced and pitted and are waiting to be processed in the electric dehydrator for about 10 hours at about 60’C (140’F)
I wouldn’t want to be operating on a just-in-time basis with water either as I’d probably die of thirst. However, the extra rainfall over the past few days has started the slow process of refilling the water tanks.
The author pointing at the water level indicator attached to one of the two water tanks used for the household and immediate garden
Earlier this week we continued the long and slow process of cutting, splitting and stacking the seasoned firewood in the original firewood storage shed. The process of storing firewood will continue each week for the next few months. Stacking seasoned firewood in the firewood shed slowly over a few months allows for increased air flow over that stored firewood which in turn assists with the drying of that firewood. Running short of firewood means operating on a just-in-time basis, and in the depths of winter when the air is at 99% humidity for weeks on end, and it is almost impossible to source any dry firewood from your property. Need I add that this is another example of storing a surplus from nature for later use?
The original firewood shed has begun to be filled with seasoned cut and split firewood logs ready for use in the winter time
In breaking tomato news: Forget about all else because on the very last day of January, I spotted the very first ripe tomato on the farm. We haven’t yet tasted that particular tomato, but the editor and I are hoping it has an excellent taste, because not only is this particular plant the most heat and dry hardy of any of the tomato plants grown on the farm, it is also ripe one full month earlier than any other tomato plant that I’ve ever grown here! There are also plans to store the excess tomato harvest, which will be revealed in a few months time! Take that just-in-time.
Breaking tomato news: The very first ripe tomato was spotted on the final day of January 2016
Speaking of breaking things, over the past few weeks all of the rechargeable batteries that I use in various small devices (eg: camera, torches etc) seem to have lost their zest and vigour! Seriously, they all barely hold a charge anymore which means they run flat in minutes.

As many of you would be aware, this house has an off grid solar power system which provides 100% of the household power all year long. The off grid solar power system uses huge expensive batteries and I treat them very gently and carefully and have had to gain a solid understanding about their chemistry and care in order to gain the longest possible life span possible for them.

On the other hand I hadn’t given a second thought to all of the little rechargeable batteries that I use. Given that I’m tight with money, I’m constantly driven to obtain the longest life span for all of the technology and tools used here. This week I had to research those pesky little batteries, and to my shame I now realise that I have been mistreating the hard working little batteries. However, I now know far more about their chemistry and care and am making up for my past dodgy ways. They are very complex bits of technology and need almost as much care as the huge household batteries in order to achieve the longest lifespan.

To this end, they now get to enjoy TLC in a new high end recharger.
The rechargeable batteries are now getting some tender loving care in their new high end charger
One thing that I wish nature wouldn’t supply in excess, is the extreme UV over high summer. If you haven’t felt extreme UV burning your skin, you might not appreciate my concern! I’ve now noted that the extreme UV rating here seems to occur four weeks either side of the summer solstice. And it burns your skin even through solid cloud layers. This week is now more than four weeks past the summer solstice and the UV is now mostly being rated as only "Very High" rather than extreme. I have now noticed that in the orchard in the shade of the fruit trees, the grass is slowly beginning to turn green again. I’ve long suspected and observed that the extreme UV dramitically slows and/or stops much of the plant growth for many of the short lived annual plants.
This week marks the beginning of the transition from extreme UV to merely very high UV and the herbage underneath the fruit trees is slowly turning green again
The many bushfires burning around the continent are still continuing to produce the most spectacular sunsets over the farm, and again this week was no exception.
The many bushfires burning around the continent are still continuing to produce the most spectacular sunsets over the farm
Some people may believe that all of my talk about reaching the dreaded time of Peak Rocks was in jest. Au contraire my friends! Peak Rocks is the time where all of the easy to obtain rocks used in the many rock walls here have been recovered. The reality of Peak Rocks means that I now have to travel ever further afield just to maintain the rock supply for new rock walls. What a disaster!

This week, using technology, I have dodged the dreaded Peak Rocks for a while at least, as I have begun cutting up some of the many larger previously unmoveable rocks into much smaller and more easily managed rocks, which are just perfect for the many new rock walls.
The author using a diamond tipped cutting blade to score the rock
The rocks here are very hard and dense, so producing smaller rocks from much larger rocks involves scoring the surface of the rock as deeply as possible with a diamond tipped rotating cutting blade on an electric (solar powered) grinder which you can see in use in the above photo. Observant readers will note that part of the original rock has already been cut away into a rock wall sized rock.

The next photo below shows how deeply I’m cutting into these dense rocks (about 25mm or 1 inch):
The rock is scored to a depth of about 25mm or 1 inch (if possible)
The next step is to use the electric (solar powered) jackhammer to dig into the scored cut in the rock and then hopefully sooner or later a section of rock breaks away. The jackhammer has to be worked along the entire cut in the rock for the rock to eventually break. In the photo below you can see that I use my leg to support the weight of the jackhammer which saves me straining my lower back.
The electric (solar powered) jackhammer is worked along the entire cut in the rock
After about fifteen to twenty minutes work with the jackhammer, the rock eventually splits and another useful rock wall rock is created! Yay! Peak rocks, averted again, for the time being…
After about twenty minutes work with the jackhammer, the rock eventually splits
As a fun fact, the largest of those three rock chunks weighs nearly as much as I do!

I spotted this rosella today eating some of the many seeds from one of the lettuce plants:
A rosella eating some of the many seeds from one of the lettuce plants
The temperature outside now at about 6.30pm is 25.5'C degrees Celsius (77.9’F). So far this year there has been 40.4mm (1.6 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week's total 23.8mm (0.9 inches).

92 comments:

Damo said...

That rock breaking looks like hard work! At the mine we use explosives of course, but not before a dozen or so 82mm holes, 3.5m deep are drilled at terrific expense. Then explosives are pumped in and detonators connected. At the end of shift when everyone is back on the surface a lucky bloke (it is almost always a bloke!) gets to push the button. If everything went well, the 'tunnel' (we actually call them headings) is extended by another 3.5m. The rubble (hopefully ore) is removed and the whole process starts again. It is slow going and I shudder to think at the energy inputs required to make the whole thing work. I was told that in cold climates you can also break rocks by putting water in the cracks and let the ice break it overnight.

Your comments on just-in-time and shifting the costs struck a chord. Almost no one bothers to think about that sort of thing do they? Oh, it is cheaper, we have made the process more efficient, more goods for everyone! It doesn't take much searching to find horror stories of how suppliers get slammed to the wall by the Wal-marts and Woolworths of the world. And of course the suppliers push that downhill and outsource production, encourage 'relaxed' regulation etc etc. I believe Mr. Greer talked about this 'problem' with externalities recently. The company that can shift the most costs onto others is the one that wins.

My first garden bed is starting to produce in earnest now, for anyone interested I have put some photos here:
What lurks in the shrubbery?
Tonight I am using the fruits of that harvest to make a quiche (also my first). Hopefully it delivers!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That makes sense about the landslides. Of course. If heavy rains falls here then that is usually when trees topple over - but only if they have shallow or rotten tap roots. Sometimes trees here can become very dependent on water flows and if for some reason that flow should change (either through human or other means), then the tree gets stressed and may eventually fall over. I have to put a lot of thought and consideration into changing water flows as everything is linked.

For some reason I always think of your part of the world as really damp, so it seems mildly surreal for me to read about the forest and grass fires in your neck of the woods. Or droughts too for that matter. Are people generally surprised up your way when these events happen? If it means anything they seem to be surprised here too.

Hehe! Well some are more full of junk - and dirt - than others. One religious group in particular seems to attract more of those two than the others. Most of them are very clean and organised and the very best provide employment to people on the margins.

That sort of reminds me of this cafe I used to visit that was surrounded by rented out garden beds and chickens and the whole thing looked as if it was unchanged since 1973. The food was mostly grown on site or entirely organic and it was awesome. The place was run by an interesting collection of staff and I'd known them for years. In summer the place was incredibly hot and over winter is was quite cold, but everyone seemed to enjoy it - it was sheltered but not closed in and was surrounded by fruit trees. And then the powers that be built a huge, brand new looking restaurant nearby - it is a huge site and they closed the cafe down because I'd assume it competed with the brand new construction which clearly would have cost a fair bit of cash to construct and probably needed to financially justify its existence. I often wonder what happened to the staff that worked in that cafe. And I never made the change to the new building.

Yeah, they say that down here too! The intermission was a good short break in the film and they used to screen the double bill too. I distinctly recall seeing the film Blazing Saddles and maybe it was Clint Eastwood’s Every which way but loose film as a double bill as a very small child. It used to take up the Saturday afternoon and was good fun. Oh yeah, the old Warner Brothers cartoons always got a look in at the start of the film - I still can recall the "That's all folks!" screen. Ah well the drive in has suffered considerably and down here we have only two now: Dromana and Coburg. I recall going to the drive in as a young kid, but haven't been to either in decades.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Intermission...

Thanks for the ear worm!!! Hehe! The eyes glowing red would have looked very cool. A lot of the old art deco style theatres still operate down here, but they tend to be a very inner city thing. Out in the suburbs most cinemas now are the big multi-screen things - usually attached to shopping centres. A decade or so ago those cinemas used to run a greater diversity of films, but now I find myself heading into the inner city to enjoy the smaller cinemas. Still, the big blockbusters are usually only screened on the big multi-screen thingees. It's all good though.

Great stuff, you've painted an excellent image. On a serious note, I've never seen the Phantom of the Opera. The organ and player rising out of the floor would have been something else! Haha! Very funny! ;-)!

I didn't know that. Yeah, Jay and Silent Bob rock and the stories are generally very, very wrong, but very enjoyable! I even enjoyed Chasing Amy and that film got slammed by the critics. Ha! We can but do our best to solve the problems of the world. The real problem when I was a young adult, was that we often forgot what those solutions were the next day. ;-)! Hehe!

Ouch! My personal tolerance for televised sport is low these days and television is not possible here due to a large mountain between here and the transmitter. I believe the neighbours use satellite which is subsidised because there is no reception, but I was never interested to find out more about. Back to the sport though and this will freak you out. When I was young I could happily watch a five day cricket test match and it could be riveting viewing! Seriously and I used to go and watch the cricket, but life got too busy and then...

Ah! That is interesting, because ground beef isn't added to nachos down here - they're like a vegetarian dish. Yeah, look I'm seriously unconvinced as to the benefits of adding mangoes to nachos. Dunno at all about that one...

Probably not! Those are as bad a television screens in restaurants and pubs...

Nice to hear. Didn't Detroit file for bankruptcy - or am I imagining that? It seems sort of not good that a county could actually go broke, I would have thought that they spend tax payers monies on behalf of the tax payers, but that may be a naive view. I guess they may have over committed? What do you reckon the possibility is that they may cut back expenditure? I'm far more interested in what people spend rather than what they earn, it's a subtle difference, but I reckon quite telling.

Your chickens are super chickens! I get about 7 or 8 per day from the 14 chickens, but I also have 3 silkies which are there for entertainment value as they lay very few eggs. Plans are afoot to add to the layer variety of chickens over the next few weeks.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Thanks for the good advice regarding computers. Just for your info, my old Win XP machine never connects to the Internet.

It is good to hear that about Linux as I often wonder about it. It does have some GUI's from what I've read, but as you say Windows does far more than most operating systems.

As to the motherboards, I've noticed that mine claims it has Ultra-durable capacitors and I've wondered about that. As an interesting side note, the renewable energy people tell me that the capacitors will be the first thing to go in my DC to AC inverter for the off grid power system. I wonder if I should have a spare set here to swap into it? I keep the inverter quite cool - rarely as hot as 29'C - and reasonably dust free. Many off grid people keep their inverters in sheds and I wonder about that.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Mate, it is hard work and I'd love to blow some of them up! How much fun would that be? Alas, the jackhammer must suffice for now. Far out those holes in granite are hugely wide and deep - I'll bet they're expensive too. But how much fun would it be to blow them up? :-)!

I've noticed in Melbourne they attach rock breakers to very large excavators and that is hard work too, because granite rocks from nearby volcanoes sit under most of the city. One very large rock here is incorporated into the garden bed. The local earth-moving guy who is a really good bloke suggested blowing it up at the time of the site cut when we were building the house but the editor put the stomp on the idea. I'm not quite certain that she would not blow it up today. I'll have to ask. Ha! What a difference a few years makes. I got the thumbs up. If we had to do this place over again - that rock would be total toast! :-)!

Yeah, it is a very difficult concept and I do worry about that. Whenever you hear the words: It is good for consumers, you just know that it is not good for the suppliers. It has become a code word for that practice. I believe the supplier Bega cheese got dumped today... Honestly, I buy as local as possible and for everything else I don't stress it out, and I try to buy with the aim of quality and longevity in mind. That battery charger is a good example of that. The solar battery chargers here are actually locally made in Melbourne, but no one makes AA and AAA chargers locally... Everything is a compromise. Do the best you can and don’t worry about it.

I spotted your latest garden exploits and noticed that you are running at about the same growing stage as here (which makes sense because I'm at 700m altitude): What lurks in the shrubbery?

Enjoy your quiche! They're very good, I completely fail to understand why they get a such a bad rap... It is a total mystery to me.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

@ Chris (from last week)

You are lucky regarding apple pests as we have many as well as common fungal diseases. I can't say I am very knowledgeable about non chemical ways to prevent them. It's something now that we have a new small orchard and have decided not to move that I'm going to have to research. My husband consigns his honey to a local apple orchard and they spray all the time. They give us a lot of apples but as you can imagine I'm hesitant to eat too many. Of course their customers expect pretty perfect apples. I think they sincerely believe that much of the residue washes off. Too bad as they raise many old varieties. They were helpful when we picked some of our varieties and said that if we sprayed just once (and I've forgotten when that was) that it would make a big difference in the damage. They are very nice people and know that we don't use chemicals so we just agree to disagree.

Congrats on the first tomato!!

I'm always on the lookout for rocks. Sometimes I use them as a border around flower beds. I've always had in the back of my mind to build a rock wall. There's always a lot of rocks in the farm fields as the freezing and thawing brings them up to the surface.

Regarding television - my husband enjoys quite a few sports so it's often on our TV. He does place small bets with friends and family and I actually think he enjoys that better. When my MIL lived with us she would watch too so I was definitely outnumbered. This is a time when a big house is handy. We have satellite with hundreds of channels - mostly junk. Televisions are everywhere - doctor's offices, grocery store lines and even in cabs. Drives me crazy!!

On the chicken front, my 13 hens are producing six eggs a day on average. Four are young hens so I expected them to lay well though I'm getting one or two a day from my 4 Barred Hollands and they are three years old. I will be keeping them as one or two go broody and are good mothers. I don't know if I mentioned it before but last summer I thought one was missing (they are on the small side and easily escape from the outside pen) and three weeks later she showed up with ten chicks.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Damo - Thanks for the explanation about computers. I understood most (some) of it. :-). I run an Apple, system. Much of what you said, still applies. And, I think you're right. Why upgrade the software, when the hardware is about to fail? I'm probably at around 6 or 7 years, so ... my at home computer days may be numbered. Probably, no great lose.

Another method of splitting rocks, that I've heard of, is to drill holes, tamp in a wooden plugs, slosh water over the whole thing, and as the wood expands, it cracks the rocks.

Recently, I ran across and interesting little bit about quiche, that I didn't know. Traditional French quiche comes in 3 varieties. Quiche Lorraine (bacon, potato and onion), Quiche Florentine (Spinach) and Quiche Provencal (tomato and onion.) If you cook like me, throw in anything you want and call it Quiche Damo. :-). Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

'Just in time' is interesting. I am still thinking about it. Money is thought of in the same manner.

Shocked at the young couple who 'demanded'. Not the way to go about things at all but very common today.

The wind is ferocious outside at the moment. Neighbour's roof should be okay as it was re-done, for the previous owner, by my son. The building is wooden so it won't be rigid and no doubt that is why it creaked. They should be worrying about the land underneath though.

My son is all man but he both eats and makes quiche. Much the best use for goose eggs.

Remember that someone mentioned French sorrel a while back. It appeared that it got chomped by the wild life. I grow it and nothing touches it at all other than myself.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, that couple sounded like self entitled ... whatever. Family blog, and all :-). Mushroom hunters, fishermen, cooks..tat hunters, all have their secret patches. To get that kind of information, you need to carefully cultivate the person, over a long period of time. And, have something to exchange in return.

Yes. Timing is all. Windows of opportunity. Some are large, some are very narrow. And, the whole "just in time" method of stocking stores is, maybe efficient, but not very resilliant (sp?). I remember when one of our local stores, went to that. Everything pulled to the front of the shelf, and nothing, in behind. I've read, that in the normal course of things (never mind disasters) most stores have a 3 day supply of food.

That's a lovely tomato. Given it's good traits, I hope it tastes good and is a keeper.

I'd wondered about rechargeable batteries. I use so few batteries, around here. But, it always irritates me, that when I need a battery, it seems like I can only find packs ... and some go to waste.

Well, humans being humans, "threat" seems to be somewhere "out there", unless it's right in your face. Yes, this is a very damp and green land. But, we have our moments. Last year, drought and fire was pretty much "with us." But, soon to fade into memory as a kind of "one off."

Same with the junk/thrift stores, here. They can be clean, well lit, and organized. Or, absolute pits. We have some national "chains". Goodwill. Been around, forever. Then, there's some that are religious specific ... St. Vincent DePaul, Salvation Army and Deseret (Mormon). Some support specific causes. Animal rescue, comes to mind. We have a local thrift (one store in each Centralia and Chehalis) that supports Hospice.

Drive in movies ... aka, Passion Pits. :-).

Around here, you can get nachos with beef, shredded pork, chicken ... or shrimp. Also, all veg. At home, I make what I call my "gourmet" nachos. Broccoli, tomatoes, sweet basil, garlic, skim milk cheese. Topped off with plane non-fat yogurt. A bit labor intensive. I've done shrimp, at home. And, sometimes, tuna and peas! I was thinking about that mess I make that I call my vegetable potage. Well, I put cubed firm soy in it, and a bit of soy sauce... So, I suppose I could call it "Veg Potage a la Oriental?" Making fusion cooking, and I didn't even know it! :-).

Yes, Detroit is, kind of, in bankruptcy. I think they're in a stage, now, called "reorganization." I really don't know the ins and outs of the laws. But, there's a lot of outrage, right now, as the governor of Michigan appointed an (unelected) official who has sweeping powers to try and get the finances, right. I think the same thing happened in Flint, Michigan (which is very close to Detroit) and you've probably heard about Flint's "lead in the water" problems. I was a bit miffed when I heard that Detroit was thinking of selling off it's art museum. It's world class ... stocked by the auto barons in the early 20th century. All those wonderful things would come off public view and vanish into private collections. Cutting city pension payments, has also been mentioned. To great uproar.

As far as locally, I was surprised that something like 75% (according to the newspaper) of the county and city budgets goes to law enforcement. Everything from jails to courts. A high profile trial (and, we seem to have a lot of them) can run to hundred of thousands of dollars. Seems like lately, a lot of the crimes committed are by people from "outside." From Portland or Seattle. Being on the Interstate I-5 corridor, it's easy access for everything from bank robbery to burglary. And, perhaps, career criminals think the "hicks" are an easy mark. Not so. I suppose it's all part of the general Decline. But, the newspaper reports that, generally, crime statistics are not on the rise. It's just steady background noise. Lew

foodnstuff said...

Chris, I take your point about the acid environment being good for drying/dried apples, but my aim is just to stop the chemical browning reaction that occurs when the fruit is cut. I'm a bit short on lemons so don't use that method. What I do is to have a pot of water simmering on the stove; slice my apples and drop the slices into the water. When it's come back to the boil (small batches, so less than a minute) I take them out and drain them, then they go into the dryer. Added advantage is that they're already warm, so not using extra energy to heat them to drying temp.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Well, maybe for now, but perhaps not for long. Australia lost a fight in the WTO to keep out imported apples due to bio-security concerns. So the future is perhaps not looking so bright. Fire blight is unknown in Australia and that is a very common apple problem elsewhere. I'm thinking longer term and am starting to try some seedling apple trees - it is not like I don't have the space. But yeah, it's not good and hearing about your experience certainly worries me.

I understand that fungal diseases can be prevented organically - chamomile tea comes to mind as a spray - but I don't reckon anything beats heavy feeding and air movement in an orchard, and sort of keeping the place neat and tidy. It is all hard work though, but the sooner we all get into it, the better established the fruit trees will become when chemical sprays will obviously become more expensive and unavailable.

By consigning to a local orchard, does that mean he keeps a few hives of bees in that orchard to assist with pollination of the fruit trees? I know it is hard to believe, but the smaller, skin blemished fruit is often the tastiest - mind you, I usually buy seconds apples (which wouldn't even get close to a market, let alone a supermarket - and the export crops here are the real firsts and they're flown off to Japan - I believe).

Yeah, they're probably correct although I'm not sure exactly what they mean, sometimes one spray early on in a fruit trees life may make all the difference - Peaches and Nectarines are totally prone to curly leaf here (a fungal disease) and a single spray in their first year with a copper solution allows them a bit of breathing time to get established. The problem really comes down to this - and this is purely my opinion - when the fruit trees are so molly coddled that they require spraying every year and perhaps on multiple occassions. And usually I reckon we make that burden for ourselves because we want productivity out of the various trees when they're too young. Most fruit trees need a really long time in the ground undisturbed as well as being very well fed to get established. Take a copper spray for example - which is a fungicide - it doesn't just kill the fungus on the leaves, it also drips off the leaves and kills the fungus in the soil and many of those feed the root systems of those same fruit trees. A tiny little bit may be a good thing, but as usual we humans take things to extremes. Dunno, what do you reckon about that?

Thank you. It was tasty. You may be interested to know that the fenced off tomato bed has turned into a total jungle...

Yes, go hard with the rocks, they will definitely outlast all of us!

They drive me crazy too, and I have to concentrate just to ignore them. I know of no other house that does not have a television on in the background. My compromise with visitors is to play some background music, otherwise I've noticed they look a bit jumpy. It is all very strange.

Lucky you! The Barred Hollands are a good looking chicken - very similar to the Plymouth Rock variety in that they are a good all round bird.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for the tip in relation to the rock splitting, but you know how the timber is from the local trees, the rocks for some strange reason are also very hard. I was very disappointed too on that score. Seriously. I was reading about Stone Henge which was constructed from dolerite stones dragged out of Wales and I thought to myself that rock name rang a bell with the local volcanic cores of which there are three (Camels hump, Hanging Rock of the film fame, and the Monument), but alas they are volcanic trachyte rock so I guess that isn't quite the same...

Hehe! Quiche Lewis is probably very appropriate! Heck, I put potato, zucchini, carrots - honestly whatever is growing or can be dug out of the ground... On a serious note, I cut down the volume of cheese in the quiche and it tastes better and cleaner to me now. Dunno.

Exactly, they came to the table empty handed, expecting to be fed. What was worse about the encounter was that they managed to look disappointed as if somehow it was all my fault. It was like meeting aliens and noticing that they perceived the world completely differently! :-)! I have no great desire to meet any aliens by the way – unless they were like Paul – and I'd probably be very scared that they may reveal an awful truth and wouldn't that be uncomfortable for everyone listening?

Well you never know when you are going to stumble upon an opportunity - and I've let a few slip through my fingers over the years. I'll bet you have too? Who knows what anyone means by the word efficient? Honestly, every time I hear it, it makes me feel a bit unsettled. Efficient for who is the real question? Yes, I've heard that statistic too and I see little reason to doubt it. Makes you wonder what 28 days later would look like doesn't it? :-)! Those fast moving zombies always give me a bit of fright! On a food front, I'd probably be fine now, but very bored with the selection and there is no way extra mouths could be supported. That realisation is very disturbing.

The tomato was a chance seedling and it has been very hardy to heat and dry so it will get a very close look in over the next few weeks and months. The editor discovered some ripe yellow tomatoes yesterday too! Yum.

Batteries are very wasteful. It was the smoke alarms that finally gave me the push to start looking into those pesky chunks of high tech. Nothing annoys me more than throwing out manufactured batteries after only a few months of use - it is so wasteful, I don't even know who came up with that idea. I mean - alright you've started me :-) - how could anyone design a smoke alarm that has access to mains power and not insert a rechargeable battery into the design with a built in charger? The mains power could easily recharge a small battery, but no that would be too sensible wouldn’t it? It totally offends my sensibilities enough that I started doing something about it recently.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Ha! One off is one point of view and fair enough too, but my take on that is that if it has happened before, it will happen again. And if you chuck in the fluffy adage: if it seems wrong it probably is wrong... Dunno, memories fade here too. That really troubles me because if we manage the forests the same way and expect a different outcome, well I dunno - it does seem a bit weird to me though.

I enjoy cruising through those stores looking for a total bargain, but I'm a bit put off by the really dirty and messy ones. Mind you they have to be very grotty for me to be put off. The funny thing is years ago, I would have hesitated to venture into a remote place selling all sorts of local food stuffs, but nowadays I'm not that fussy. You should see one of the places I buy honey from! Oh, but their honey is so very good. I end up having a chat too and I used to work with a lady who would have described it as a bit: How's your father? :-)

Ah yes of course, passion pits! Very amusing!

Really? Wow, they're all veg down here plus cheese and corn chips of course. I like Mexican food - it is fun and you can use your hands to eat it! That cinches the deal for me. Yes, that definitely sounds very yummy and also very fusion – nice work. Hehe! I'll bet it tasted good too. YUM!

Call me suspicious but the Governor set the administrator up as the bad guy. What a job that would be. Everyone would be in your ear all day long and no one would be happy - of course that is the reason they're in the mess in the first place. If incomes decline, someone has to take a hit and I've seen nothing to convince me otherwise.

No, I had not heard about that. Water is the Liebig's law of the minimum which is the fulcrum around which all other problems will eventually revolve - anyway, that is my gut feeling. Lead is not good at all and the size of population affected there is not good either. It sits in your bone marrow until you get a break or fracture you know...

The funny thing about an economic downturn is that whilst entropy is nipping around at the edges all of the time, a downturn most certainly doesn't destroy capital. What occurs, I guess, is that the ownership or title to the income from that capital changes hands and the art museum is one example of that. Sorry, it is a bit of a bummer.

Really? That is quite a lot. In the long distant past I read an explanation that the legal system is best understood as a system that seeks to administer itself. Don’t seek justice there was the underlying and unspoken message. My view on that is that if you give some people unfettered access to a cheque book then they may very well take you for a ride. I’ve cleaned up one mess after that happened and that was enough for my life.

I'm starting to sound very cynical...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Very good, you scored the elephant stamp for that observation. Exactly, hard currency is exactly like that. How are your local bank problems going anyway?

Alas, it is sadly common these days. I despair a bit about that level of expectations in people I meet. Still, it is surely just a moment in time and it too shall pass.

Yes, your son being local would be better versed on local conditions than many an outside builder! Timber buildings are inherently flexible. The ones that worry me are the ones that have no flexibility at all and seem timeless until an unexpected weather event knocks them for a six. The roof is everything in a house frame as it ties the walls together. I once remember the story of the big bad wolf, and I reckon they got it wrong, but it is very fixed in our culture, so who am I to differ in opinion.

How did your cottage hold up in the wind? I'll bet you are relieved to no long have the venerable old dead oak tree looming over your roof?

Good for him! I like quiche too and I never understood that strange perception.

Ha! Too funny, I shall one day gift you some wallabies and wombats and you shall no longer enjoy the very summer hardy plant: French Sorrel. Those two animals will travel any distance to eat the leaves. It is very disturbing as I also enjoy the leaves in small quantities (I believe it has minor traces of Oxalic Acid and so shouldn't be consumed in quantity).

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@Chris

Capacitors are tough ones. They will fail eventually, and temperature cycling hastens that process along. On the other hand, they are reasonably simple to make if you have the inclination (a simple one is literally two plates of metal with a tiny air gap). Not sure how feasible this would be for an inverter, but it might be worth keeping at least some spares? On the other hand, there will be plenty of warning before you can't buy this stuff anymore. I reckon even Australia could manufacture them again when push comes to shove :p

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi foodnstuff,

Welcome to the conversation and I must say you have a delightful blog yourself.

Those excellent pickled vegetables looked like the Gardenia of old that I used to eat (or was it called Gee-Vee?) Dunno.

Of course, thank you for your advice and experience. There are a lot of different ways to preserve foods. Just out of interest, how did you first get started in that and who taught you?

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@Chris

Yep, quiches are terrific. And I can report that the "Quiche Damo" was a roaring success. Even Mrs Damo (who is only somewhat partial to my cooking) thought it was lovely. My only criticism is that I would like a way to more evenly distribute the grated zucchini throughout the egg mixture. Most of the 'heavy' stuff had settled towards the bottom. Minor quibble though.

Today we went fishing near Strahan. Mrs Damo got three cocky salmon on the one line, so it was all very exciting. Sun was shining, water was warm. I even went for a swim without a wetsuit! On the way home we picked a kilo of ripe blackberries from a bunch of vines on the side of road (they don't spray here). The fish are on the BBQ coals and a blackberry sponge is in the oven using a recipe from the late 19th century (equal weight eggs/sugar and half-weight flour is her suggestion). The timer just rang, fingers crossed it has turned out OK!

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

My place was fine in the wind though the noise kept me awake. I was oh so glad that the oak was no longer there.

I have begun to deal with my banking problem which is rather more complicated than I care to explain. The bank in question was chock a block with people closing down their accounts. It has occurred to me that a computer programme might be used to decide which branches to close. A programme which just looks at the distance between branches and is unaware that there is an expensive ferry crossing involved here.

Oxalic acid does appear to be in many green leaves. I think that it is in spinach. So everything in moderation.

Forget (without going back to look) who made the comment about rocks coming up to the surface due to freeze and thaw. I knew that rocks come to the surface of fields here but don't understand the mechanism. An explanation from someone please.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Thanks for the info on capacitors. I'm totally ignorant as to their manufacture, but I could replace one on a circuit board, if someone else told me that it was malfunctioning. :-)! Don't laugh, but I recall the days when most television sets were from AWA (Australian Wireless Association) and they were - I believe - assembled in Perth. The spares are a good idea for urgent repairs anyway. I have a 2kVA Honda genset which I barely use anymore and the capacitor packed it in many years ago and it took two weeks to replace. I used the genset to feed power into the batteries over the depths of winter. It was at that stage when the batteries got lower and lower each day that I decided to stop mucking around and go the full 100% solar route. It has been a challenge - but the charge controllers and invert still have the capacitors.

Well done! Great to read that it worked out well. Anyway, Mrs Damo may be surprised to know that commercial kitchens are very masculine places from everything that I've ever read. I don't reckon I'd last long in a commercial kitchen. Try reading Jason Sheehan's book: Cooking Dirty and argue otherwise... :-)! As a bit of a confession the Editor cooks the Quiche here and my brain is too full to recall the details. I can ask her opinion on the subject as we do add zucchini to the mix of veg?

Fresh salmon. Yum! That is an outstanding haul too. Well done. Yeah, it was warm today, the editor tells me that it was 35'C in Melbourne today - but humid, I didn't see past about 29'C here though. The swim would have been awesome you have some of the nicest beaches that I've seen in the country on the west coast. Ah, the blackberries are a bit sad here this year because of the very hot October, December and January - it wasn't the rain this year. At least I made plenty of blackberry jam last year. One kilo is a very good haul and I do hope that the sponge works out well. Yum!

The council spraying the blackberries is a nuisance because they just grow back. It is like a never ending job and it is like doing the same thing every year and expecting a different outcome. Who would have thought that these here blackberries would grow back - we'll have to spray them... It is a lost cause.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Spotted your link over at the ADR. That is incredibly interesting. It does make you wonder why there was no clear cut method listed in the constitution in the first place. My gut feeling says that the original intention was that if people wanted change, they had to work for it, otherwise why make the process so obscure? Dunno, what do you reckon?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Nice to hear. It is sad, the loss of an old tree, but still one must be practical and not have the oak tree fall on your head. I've noted that few seem to survive the experience - at least not down here anyway.

Maybe, you never know? Certainly statistics would have come into the equation. Sometimes in the race to make a profit, some organisations forget that they are there and have a license to serve the community? Dunno. There is a similar situation here in that there is a fire station located not very far from here, but for some reason the head honchos think that the fire truck is located somewhere else off the mountain and so I wonder about those computer models. JMG is often saying the map is not the territory.

Is your ferry not part of your road system? I would have thought that local get cheap (or free) rates on the trip? That happens down here with some ferries (most are pay for use though).

I didn't know that about spinach. Thanks. Exactly, everything in moderation.

I'm not sure. Rocks are called floaters here and they actually float and move through the clay - but honestly I don't understand either the time scale or mechanism. Where is a geologist when you need one?

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

You have such fabulous tools and equipment and I can tell from comments that you make every now and then what good care you take of them. What a joy! You seem to have exactly the most appropriate tool for any job. Do you plan well ahead, run out and buy one as needed, or are you just incredibly lucky to have collected a variety of stuff here and there?

We have had great results with the rechargeable batteries that we use. I feel that we have saved lots of money because of them (4 people sharing them). I think our charger is pretty low-end, though I may be wrong. What do you specifically do to care for them - besides the high-end charger?

I get you about the peak rocks. It's why I can hardly go on a walk without lugging some rocks back home. Sometimes I wear a backpack for the purpose of carrying smallish ones; sometimes I pretty much drag a large one back. Maybe that's why I'm a bit off taking walks. It's not an easy obsession to satisfy.

Your green is back, and "Hello!" large, handsome chicken! Your extreme UV is quite serious. That's one of the things that I like about Virginia - the air and sun is "softer" than it is where I have lived in the western U.S. The sun is like yours in the high, desert mountains.

That's the purplest sunset ever! We had the brightest, biggest red sunsets for several days after our blizzard. I have no idea why, but they were great.

As you stand by your water tank to give us an idea of its scale, it makes a me a bit uneasy (though envious!) to review how really huge just that one tank is. That's a lot of water - yet is it really?

Hey if apples can grow "ferally", then why don't my apples grow? I know, I know - I don't care for them enough. I think my point is that Mother Nature is smarter than I . . . in which case, I ought to be able to leave it all up to her. It rather seems that sometimes she does not have my best interests at heart . . .

As for timber structures being flexible, I have wondered if that applies to our log house. When we were first building it we heard the story of a log house on the side of hill that, in a torrential rain, was washed down the hill into a river and was later found completely intact and lodged on a bank. The owners were eventually able to resite the entire, intact house. That may say nothing more than that they used mighty good nails! You should see the monsters that hold our house together.

Overcoming that "just in time" mentality has been a hard slog for me. Growing food, making yeast breads, and allowing myself only one trip into town per week has down a lot to reverse that way of thinking. Storing adequate future supplies of everything from food to firewood to spare parts is key to it. I try to think (maybe; I didn't know them . . .) as my colonial forebears did - always be prepared (actually, that is the Boy Scouts).

The firewood shed is looking good and so are the tomatoes. Yellow ones are some of my favorites, but they sure do make a funny looking sauce!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Damo:

Thank you very much for the computer info last week. I am pondering your advice. It is always something with those things.

What kind of mine is it? My husband is involved in mining in the state of Utah.

That's a lovely bowl of harvest! I had forgotten that you have chickens. I love quiche. I am glad that yours turned out well. I wonder if the grated zucchini were sprinkled on top of the pie once all the other ingredients were poured in, if it would at least settle uniformly to the bottom? I've had that work with a pecan pie.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ foodnstuff:

Good idea, the boiling water! I might call it blanching - what I do to broccoli and green beans before I freeze them. I've never tried it on fruit before drying it. Sometimes I sprinkle the fruit with a bit of ascorbic acid powder before freezing (haven't tried it on fruit to be dried), but your method would be cheaper.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

I have a feeling that you can out-cook Chef John . . .

I was glad to hear how your pensions are set up. I think that you are good to go!

That was one scary road "trip" story last week! You must get a lot more rain than we do since we have lots of hills and cliffs and such, but I have never heard of a landslide here.

Pam

margfh said...

@Chris,

Your thoughts regarding coddling the fruit trees makes a lot of sense. I'm going to do more research during the rest of the winter. Yes people do go overboard on many things. If a little is good a lot would be even better - not so most of the time. I've always felt that if Round Up had not been so overused there could have been some benefits to very judicial use of it i.e. in natural area restoration where from my observation great care is usually taken when applying herbicides. It is frustrating when the apples are so damaged that it's basically unusable. Luckily that isn't the case most years.

When my husband consigns his honey it means he supplies the orchard with honey for sale and both he and the orchard owners share in the profit. They have a good product to sell along with their apples and my husband is assured of selling all of his honey without too much effort. This year he has decided, however, to just supply a limited number of pounds of honey as he's built up quite a customer base and also doesn't want the pressure of supplying them with honey throughout their season - including may sizes and types of jars. He does bring a hive over in early spring for a couple of weeks to pollinate their trees.

@orchidwallis

I brought up the movement of rocks. Here's a pretty good explanation that I found.

Rocks work their way up in the ground due to a number of effects. Is your area prone to frost that penetrates into the ground? If so then the principle lifting action is most likely the frost heave. Frost heave happens in fine porous soil. It does not happen in sand or clay since neither allow capillary action of water to create water lenses - the main action in the frost heave. The soil also exerts pressure on the sides of the rock which once raised will tend to hold it there for a while. As the ice melts and drains away it leaves an empty void below the rock. Soil will likely erode into this void from the sides and before the rock settles back down although a little higher than before, thus lifting it permanently. Otherwise you think that the rock would settle back down to its original position. I have this problem a lot on our property and even huge 500 lb boulders get lifted by this action. What is interesting is that in one case there is a sink hole next to the rock about the same size as the amount of rock protruding above the soil, so this soil is evidently creeping under the rock. BTW frost heave does not occur due to the expansion of water due to freezing but the capillary action as described above.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - "Holistic Orcharding" by Michael Phillips. There's a DVD and book. A bit pricey, but worth the price of admission.

@ foodstuff - As I process my apples, I throw them in a bowl of salt water. Keeps them from discoloring. But I take you're point on the hot water launching them on their way to a good dry.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yup. I think a lot about what I eat ... and, what makes it palatable. It's down to the old sweet, fat, salt component. I'm reading a couple of books on foraging. And, I really appreciate the honesty. "Well, it filled my stomach, but it was pretty bland and tasteless. Of course, if your starving ....

On top of efficiency, there's the old "well, the public has asked for it." Yeah, who? I want names! I want numbers! I often think the "public" is limited to the bright young things in the IT department. Wanted to watch a video ... The Great Fire (of London). It's in our library catalog ... as a streaming video. Sigh. Oh, well. I'm sure I'll live without seeing it, and I probably watch too many DVDs, anyway. It's not like there's not other interesting stuff, around.

Yes, the whole "one off" complacency is complicated by an attitude of "the Government will (or is) taking care of it. We had something like 3, 500 year floods in ten years. Some people seem to think things are being done to mitigate that. From what I see in the newspaper, there are so many municipalities involved, along the Chehalis river, so much wrangling, that not much is being accomplished. Cities, counties, the State, the Tribes. Even if they finally settle on a dam on the upper Chehalis, it's going to take years to get the thing up. Funding, environmental impact statements, etc.. More progress has been made on plans to do something about China Ditch and Salzer Creek. They drain valleys, through Centralia. And, always flood. Catchment ponds, dams and restoring wetlands are on the table. Only two government entities, involved. The county and the city. But, will a spade be turned before the next big "event?" If the storm that stalled and did so much damage, out in Boisfort, had stalled over the Hannaford valley, Centralia would have been under 3 feet of water. Happened once before, in 1933.

Well, our Constitution was pretty vague in a lot of areas. When you read about the hammering out of the thing, it's a wonder we got what we did. The delegates had come from distances and traveling being what it was, in those days ... and everybody antsy to get back home and get in the crops. Each State had it's own agendas. Since it was such a new thing, there really wasn't a template to work from.

Had a frost, last night. The first in well over a month. Saw a honey bee and a wasp, a couple of days ago. The Forsythia is beginning to bloom. Otherwise, it still looks pretty bleak, out there. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

I am always impressed at how you've coped with your family situation. I can't imagine anything harder.

Dandelion wine sounds so strange. I've heard of it in connection with elderly maiden aunts . . .

I hate satellite TV. Unfortunately, my husband loves it.

We have the saddest apple trees. There used to be some old varieties in a neighbor's yard and they let us pick them when they were out of town (it was a second home). Wonderful fruit, never cared for, and a bit ugly. A couple of the trees died (they were really old) and the new owners cut down the rest. I had gotten one small tree started from seed, but some caterpillars completely devoured it.

What a great story about the disappearing/reappearing chicken and her 10 chicks!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

I'll bet your ferry is different from the ferry in the southern part of our county, on the James River. It is called Hatton's Ferry. It is a flat-bottomed boat, can hold 2-3 cars (depending on their size), and is propelled - manually - by cranks, cables, and poles. It is the last ferry in the U.S that is pole-propelled (volunteers always encouraged). It is run as a non-profit organization that asks for "donations" from riders. Unlike your case, there is a highway bridge further up the river, if one does not wish to pay, or pole.

Pam

Damo said...

Yeah, the swim was nice. Although I suspect you might be mixing up the east and west coast beaches :P Having said that, a mediocre beach in Australia still trumps almost any other beach in the world.

Damo said...

@Pam

The mine I work at is an underground tin mine. There is also a little bit of copper, but the mill is 'tuned' for tin and anything else tends to up as tailings. Fun fact, the tailings dam is the largest tin reserve in the world. This is because no mill ever gets all the tin out of the ore. In over 60 years of mining, quite a few valuable minerals are now sitting in a sludgy mess. There are plans to build a plant that will extract all that goodness up, but it needs 300-400 million dollars and metals prices are in the dumps. It will be harvested one day, but only at great expense (something the anti-peak types tend to overlook).

Good suggestion to sprinkle the zucchini. I will give it a go on the next one!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thank you, I do look after them and am constantly performing small repairs and maintenance on them. The available tools dictate the jobs that I can do rather than the other way around. It is sort of like this: So, I've got this job, can I do the job with this particular tool? I rarely purchase new tools and always start with the very cheapest (or hire one) and then see if the tool has any potential. The jackhammer works hard for breaking rocks and digging clay which saves my back and shoulders. Tools can be risky too though as you can get more work done - but when things go wrong the disaster potential increases exponentially. I've been working on houses for a couple of decades, so after a while you know what you need - and to build a house requires very few tools despite what some people may tell you.

They are a great way to save the additional stress on the environment whilst saving yourself some mad cash too! :-)! Not all chargers are the same. The cheapie chargers may or may not be smart and they may simply charge the batteries based on a timer. The more high end ones can tell you about the state of the battery and also condition the battery by charging it, then discharging it, then giving it a proper slow recharge. Some of them can also test for capacitance which tells you exactly what state they're in and how much charge they can hold. Batteries are complex beasts. My little rechargeable batteries were no longer holding a charge for very long, so I knew something was wrong.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Oh yeah, you can never have too many rocks - so many projects, alas so few rocks. Your backpack is a good idea. I use the wheelbarrow, but sometimes it gets a bit heavy bringing it back up the hill.

Chloe the Australorp says G'day from down under! The hot summer days can be a killer here and if anything the climate is getting hotter. You can feel it can't you when the sun is softer.

Wow, I wonder if your blizzard stirred a lot of pollution up and into the atmosphere? Dunno, I've never experienced a blizzard. It sounds unpleasant. After rainfall the air here become crisp, clean and distances become quite sharp in their focus.

Big water tanks are a nightmare to handle and that one is as big as I'd ever purchase again. Do you recall the story of losing one of the water tanks down the hill - they roll quite a long way and stop with a resounding thud.

There are two of the tanks next to each other and they contain 24,000 litres (6,315 gallons) each when full. The biggest tank here holds 33,500 litres (8,815 gallons) and it is full and looms over you when you are next to it.

Ha! Mother nature is smarter than I too. My best guess is that mother nature chooses to grow those fruit trees in fluffy optimal conditions and we don't.

Wow, that is one scary story. You certainly wouldn't have wanted to have been in the house when it slid down the hill. My thinking is that they went a bit on the cheap side with the foundations... Logs would have to have massive nails to hold the whole lot together. Wow! Just for my interest, were the logs milled in half or have a flat edge because I was wondering how they seal in the overall structure?

Absolutely! Be prepared for anything! Oh, it is usually the things that you weren't expecting that catch you out. Buying in bulk is a great way to build relationships with suppliers, save money and become more resilient all at the same time. I'm always surprised when people don't do that.

Cheers

Chris



Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Just forgot too. I 100% agree, the yellow tomatoes are very tasty. Just for your interest, I've made a batch of tomato wine, but won't know how it goes for at least about half a year from now.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Maybe a way of looking at them all is that they are tools and as such can have benefits and costs? Dunno. People just never seem to be able to arrive at the middle ground with such things. Plenty of people pointed out to me the newfangled "Flow Hive" which was bee frame made from plastic that split and the stored honey could be drained and collected. Is it a good idea? Yeah, of course. But the problem is, people will inevitably over harvest the honey from the bee hive just because is so easy and then the colony will starve over the winter. I dunno.

A lady that I know sprays the competing plants around her fruit trees with round-up and whilst that is something I would never do, her fruit trees suffer less competition than mine and they grow that much faster. I personally feel as it may kill too much of the soil life so I'm a bit iffy about using it that way, but I can't deny that her fruit trees grow quicker than mine by a significant margin. The other thing is I'm not a chemist so I don't know how much of those chemicals are taken up into the plant and fruit and what the long term effects of that is. Mind you, I bring in a lot of manure and mulch onto the property and certainly some of that will be contaminated with who knows what. It is a complex situation to be sure.

Nature can really test fruit trees, no doubts about it. They do get hardier though as time goes on as long as they don't run out of minerals and get stressed.

Thanks for the explanation about the consignment arrangement. That is a good win-win arrangement. Just out of interest, I was wondering how long your husband leaves his hives to establish before harvesting some of the honey. My experience has been that it is just not possible to harvest honey in a first year hive as they just don't seem to have enough workers to do that easily. I've been keeping my plastic tubs and lids for honey for years as they seem quite hardy.

Thanks too for the explanation re: rocks. The mechanism here must be different as water does get into crevices in the rocks and can cause them to crack, but frost has a minimal impact here, so I just dunno.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Nice. They're certainly in a lot of foods, although I sort of make a lot of food from scratch using the basic ingredients which means that I keep the salt, fat and sugar to an absolute minimum. The honesty in that sentence is palpable! Still, I reckon it takes about three weeks to adjust your palate to a new taste. Seriously about two years ago, I gave up sweet yoghurt and now make my own yoghurt which is anything but sweet and I like it now - although it was a trial when first encountered. If you're starving you'd probably consider dandelion roots as a vegetable. They're pretty bland, I tried them. Fortunately carrots have gone feral here and they turn up everywhere. Need to get a potato bed going. So many jobs.

Exactly, who is this public and why is it good for them? Down here, plenty of companies and politicians have been doing things that are not in the public’s long term interests and claiming: It's good for consumers. It is an affront. They must think that we are all stupid.

Computers are great when they work, but wow are they a headache or what when they stop working. I've noticed articles in the paper discussing apples share price fall and the analysts seem to be also discussing the real problem that growth is not an infinite exponential and that apple appears to be unsure about how to sell the next generation iphones to consumers who may be a bit dubious about the possible benefits. Who'd have thought it? Marketing people call that the product life cycle and strangely enough it sort of matches the Hubbert curve. It is weird that it does.

The Great fire of London impacts my life even today. That's true. The house design used many fire resistant wall systems based on commercial systems. And all of that lot came about because of the Great Fire of London which convinced people that maybe a continual and unbroken fuel load is perhaps not a good idea for fire suppression? Didn't it also wipe out the rats which were carrying the Plague? A minor consolation... So, do they carry the film on DVD at all? I reckon you maybe missing out! :-)!

Yeah, it is a faith based statement that sort of thinking. It's very much like your previous comment: Who is this public / government looking after the problem. It all comes back to Simon Pegg though and I recall a scene in Sean of the Dead when Simon becomes the store manager for the day and gives the staff a pep talk. At one point one of the guys takes a phone call mid-way through the pep talk and has an inappropriate conversation and Simon later takes him aside and says in all sincerity: "I've got plans you know" and the young bloke says: "Yeah, like what?" :-)! Very amusing. Meanwhile zombies walk past in the street outside.

This may interest you, but I spotted this article on the ever increasing insurance premiums in cyclone prone areas: Cyclone Yasi: Action urged to address skyrocketing insurance premiums in wake of disaster. The government should do something about that! ;-)! I reckon Taskforces are often plans to make a plan, or look like you're doing something when it is a predicament rather than a problem. The quote from the article was that: insurers spend $1.40 for every $1.00 earned in that area and the premiums are often above $4,000 per year per household. If it can't be sustained, it probably won't be.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Thanks for that, I would never have thought that would be a problem, but I guess so. Beware being the trailblazer. Still, it will be very interesting to see what happens with that. The thought that I had reading the linked article was whether people understood what they were actually asking for and the implications of that request? Dunno. The constitution here was written in the 1890's and basically my reading of history is that they looked around and pinched the best bits of everyone else’s with their own unique spin! Changing the constitution here is by referendum which goes to a general vote and given that voting is compulsory for the adult population at risk of a fine. I recall the last referendum asked about the possibility of becoming a republic (the Queen is the head of government here and bills still gain Royal assent and the Queen even sacked the government back in 1975) and it was voted down. I voted it down because the model produced looked shonky to me and seemed like a bit of a job for the boys from some aspects.

Hard frost. Stay warm. I do hope Beau and Nell are enjoying their winter inside perquisites? It is like winter here today. Grey skies, rain 5mm (1/5th inch) and cold winds. I'm not looking forward to letting the chickens out into the orchard tonight. Brrr! I've gotten soft and used to crazy summer heat and am a bit slow to adapt to cooler conditions.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Yeah, I've never swum on the west coast but the beaches are very scenic. The east coast is a bit more gentle! That rain seems to have hit the north east coast harder too than your area. How are the fires going, I hope the rain helped a lot?

Rain, cold winds and grey skies here today. 5mm so far.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

@Lew

That was the first book that came up in my search. Then when I was working on my seed order from my favorite seed catalog, Fedco I found not only the book but the the orchard spray kit based on the book's suggestions.

Margaret

margfh said...

@Pam

I grew up with the example of my mother's extended family and how they took care of each other so I guess it seems natural to me though having such a big family (I am the oldest of 8) does make it pretty challenging. For example, my father died at 46 leaving my mother with seven children at home (I had only recently moved out). My great aunt, uncles and grandmother came out to her home every weekend for six months to give her support. When my mother died all the sisters pulled together to help with our brothers and getting her property ready to sell. My husband has been amazing, taking in all three of my brothers and helping out other family members as well. He's the oldest as well so his parents moved in with us. Interestingly they were more of a challenge than my brothers. What I resent the most is that there is almost some situation that needs attention so it's really difficult to follow through on my Green Wizard projects. I just need a clone or two. I visit the detainees at the immigration jail in the county and hearing their stories of families pulled apart and what many go through or went through in their native countries really puts my problems into perspective.

A friend of mine made dandelion wine a few years ago and it was really good so we thought we'd give it a try. I had picked the dandelions last summer and pulled out all the petals and froze them. Not really sure how many but I think I had about a 1 1/2 gallons of frozen petals. I would just do some each day and pop then in the bag in the freezer.

Re: Satellite TV - same situation here.

We started a new orchard a few years ago - only one of the old trees left. I'm hoping to do it "right". It's only six trees so should be manageable.

Yes, those chicks were quite a surprise.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I have to agree with you about Round Up. More and more research is indicating that it's not as innocuous as once thought. I use a very small amount but rarely.

Everyone is losing so many hives around here that most do harvest honey the first year, my husband included. You just don't get as much. If the beekeeper doesn't treat for Varroa mites, which he does not, the loses are even higher. My husband has been a beekeeper for 12 years and getting the hives to overwinter gets more and more challenging and this goes for very experienced beekeepers as well. He's taking a class this spring on raising queens. As the queens in packages come mostly from California they are not acclimated to this climate and raising your own queens here where they will live is thought by many to be helpful in combating all the issues now.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Ah! Got it about the difference in chargers. Thanks.

You are right; the logs were milled in half - round edge outside, flat edge inside, 6 in. (15 cm) by 7.5 in. (19 cm).They are tongue-and-groove so that they will fit closely. The timber is Southern Yellow Pine, so beautiful, and after curing all these years, as hard as any hardwood. The nails used are 9-10 inch nails ((Nine Inch Nails, anyone?) (23-25.5 cm) with a screw-like spiral and are galvanized, I think. I couldn't find an example at the moment as the basement is being reorganized and I don't know where They have moved them.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

I can't get over to the ADR comments as much as I'd like, but I saw yours and read the article. Very interesting, and I hadn't heard that the constitutional issue had even gotten that far. There was another article on the same alternet site about Donald Trump. The best I've ever read.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

BT broadband went out nationwide yesterday, don't know why. I had no internet for hours.

@Margaret Thanks for the info. on rocks. It makes sense but still seems weird.

@Pam Ferries: We have a catamaran, a hovercraft and a fast jet thing which I think comes up on legs. In addition there are 3 car ferries from and to different destinations. There is also a chain ferry across a river, it takes vehicles as well as foot passengers.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - I think, overall, Chef John's a better cook. Maybe. Probably. :-) In most areas.

@ Damo - One of the Ruth Goodman "Farm" series (Victorian Farm?) had an interesting bit as to how rural Victorian's picked up an extra bit of jingle. Find an abandoned tin mine (this is in England) that has a bit of water dribbling out of it. Build a trough to run the water through. Throw in bits of scrap iron. Check back in a couple of months, and you'll find copper nuggets clinging to the iron. Some chemical reaction, or, another. :-)

Yo, Chris - "The map is not the territory." Interesting observation. I bet many a military campaign has been won or lost on that bit of wisdom.

There are large chunks of the coastal US, where you can't get insurance, at all, any more. Florida, in particular. Or, it's so expensive that no one can afford it. There's a Government flood insurance program, but they recently tried to raise the rates to a more realistic level. They were tired of replacing structures, two and three times. Hurricane Sandy, around New Jersey, caused the insurance "write off" of several areas. The outcry was so great that they decided (last I heard) to raise it a bit at a time. Even here, the flood maps have caused a lot of uproar. I don't think a final map has been settled on.

My chickens laid 6 eggs, yesterday, and 6 on Sunday. 2 on Monday. Another record breaking week? Too early to tell.

Off to the Little Smoke, today. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Ouch! I honestly don't know enough about the chemistry behind the stuff, but I have read a bit about its impact on the soil life - which is how it works really. One off applications, probably OK. Dunno though, as whilst the environment is quite resilient the addition of wildcards like that chemical adds additional pressures. Mind you the council sprays the blackberries here every single year – and they just grow back.

The problem as I see it is when we become dependent on the chemical and utilise it as a major method of reducing competition with crops. In that situation, we're really selecting for plants and soil life that can withstand the chemical and that reduces the overall diversity of life forms within a system and basically makes it less resilient to system shocks. Dunno, really.

The funny thing is that we add a whole lot of chemicals to all manner of food products because they make the production process easier. I've found that in purchased alcohol which I rarely consume they often use sulphides which gives me a mild hay-fever reaction, but the sulphides kill off the yeasts which stops the fermentation process continuing in the bottle giving a more consistent product, but also importantly stopping the bottle caps from popping off the top of the bottles as the pressure in the bottle increases from fermentation. Is it a good thing? I really don't know, but it does give me a mild hay-fever reaction that is reasonably consistent with being stung or bitten by one of the many bitey critters down here. Sorry, I'm rabbitting on! Anyway, people expect consistency, whereas nature rarely provides it.

Wow! Alright, that is scary. As a comparison, the bees over winter here OK - although they do expel the drones, which is normal. I can't harvest from a first year hive though - but then conditions (i.e. soils) are less fertile in this part of the world and so everything is slower as a result. Respect to your husband for doing something different than past practices by starting to learn to raise his own queens. The loss rates for hives in this country are I believe about 40%. Ouch. Bees are very complex.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

You are a remarkably quick study! Batteries are really complex bits of technology and I wonder about them here long term. It is possible for me to obtain Nickel Iron batteries for the house system and they're much more resilient and longer lasting than the current ones, but far more expensive. Everything is riddled with compromise and that is probably how it should be...

That is a very attractive tree and also a nicely grained timber. Thanks for the music reference! Nice one. The tongue and groove connections are very tidy too. I love timber homes as they have such character. Most new homes down here are timber, but with a cladding of brick, but really the timber frame stops the single skin of brick wall from falling over. I suspect people down here think they're getting away with not painting the house which is why they add the skin of brick, but even new houses require maintenance. Did your timber logs weather to a nice grey on the outside?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I hadn't heard that about the troubles at BT. I checked out an article in the Guardian where some cheeky wag was suggesting that perhaps it was the instantly recognisable Big Kitten of the Goodies fame taking out the BT tower in London? Goodies Big Kitten takes out BT tower. Alright, maybe it was some sort of strange technical problem, but how cool would it be to see a giant kitten stomping across the London cityscape? Hehe! I'm not sure you ever watched the Goodies, they were just so very wrong and even as a young child I could recognise that... They were very funny though.

There must be a huge volume of traffic to support so many different ferry services? Wow.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That bit of alchemy is sheer genius.

Thanks, but unfortunately I can't lay claim to that excellent observation. I read it over at the ADR and it is true. A bit sad for people who have come to rely heavily on a GPS system though. ;-)! I don't trust those things. Did I ever tell you that the only people who have ever turned up here without getting lost, followed the written instructions and map that I provided them with beforehand. It has become something of a spectator sport for me because most other people ignore that advice and rely on the GPS - and then get lost despite the fact that they know in advance that they'll get stirred up about getting lost. Such hubris! They were warned.

Hmm, that is an interesting perspective. I'd never considered the military perspective on maps before. No doubt you are correct. Makes you wonder whether that objective drives the availability of quality maps?

Oh my! Yes, rationing by price is most certainly an option that will be pursued. I'm assuming that your flood maps determine the cost and/or availability of insurance? I'd imagine that the county or state would come up with one flood map and the insurers would perhaps also develop a more realistic looking map? Yes, the outcry is pretty loud here too.

No doubt you have observed the many bushfire sprinklers here over time? They're tested regularly because I expect that with the way things are travelling over time, maybe insurance will become unaffordable? Dunno really, but it is nice to have options because no insurance means that I have to stay and defend this place in the event of a fire. Interesting times. I wouldn't know the first thing about preparing a place for survival against a major flood - it would be an engineering challenge. Up north - the crocodile areas - they construct houses on steel stilts which are way above the flood level for good reason.

Your chickens most certainly know that the days are lengthening. Aren't they clever? I only scored 6 eggs this morning. Some of my chickens are now over five years old and so they probably don't lay as much as a younger chooky. I'm planning to add to the chook collective over the next few weeks.

Enjoy your trip into the little smoke!

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@Lewis

I love the Ruth Goodman series, I think tales from the Green valley was my favourite. Although the Edwardian or Victorian Farm was a close second. They recently did a special at that castle in France that is being built entirely with 12 century techniques. Very interesting. From memory they didn't have much luck with that dripping water/copper idea.

RE: maps/territory and insurance.
Back in my earlier days I briefly worked for Brisbane City Council. During my downtime I would idly browse the various programs and databases. Of particular interest to me was the flood maps. Back in the 70's Brisbane had a once in a century flood event. Think metre deep water lapping at the footings of skyscrapers, entire suburbs flooded etc etc. After the floods they built a large dam 50km inland to capture floodwater and minimise/eliminate downstream flooding. They also made very accurate and detailed flood maps so property owners could see their risk if such an event happened again.

Fast forward to 2011, another once in a century flood event happens (hmm, might have to call them something else if this keeps up). However, due to underinvestment in water infrastructure (and water over-consumption by suburban gardens and golf courses) there is pressure from above for the engineers to let Wivenhoe dam fill up so they can use its water later. After a few days, the rain keeps coming and the engineers have to open the gates completely or the dam will wash away. The city gets flooded again, almost as bad as the 1970s flood.

After the fact, there were recriminations flying left right and centre. I think there was a major enquiry into the poor engineers who just did what they were told (and no doubt under great protest). Home owners got upset at council because they were forced to buy a house under a well known flood line. It was all a circus and I don't think anyone publicly stood up and acknowledged that maybe it is your own stupid fault if you buy a house on a flood plain.

Anyway, flood insurance is very expensive in QLD now.

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Fraid that I have never seen the Goodies

We have appalling amounts of traffic and main roads are frequently in gridlock. Our local paper 'County Press' has a wonderful cartoonist who deals with it at intervals. You can look up his cartoons under his name 'Rupert Besley'. He sometimes uses the old Island accent; Not many people around now who use more than a few words of it.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

That kitten on the "BT" tower just killed me! Since I'd never heard of The Goodies I went to this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitten_Kong which is a synopsis of that episode and is even more completely hilarious than the picture!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

Thank you for more insight into the workings of your family structure. As we get older, and family members get older (who'd of thought it?), I see a lot of advantages to having a larger family rather than a very small one like ours, especially since most of our relatives are scattered all over.

Green Wizard projects are great priorities! Except that, as you pointed out, they can't always be priorities.

I would love to hear more about the detainees at the immigration jail. Besides the many people who have immigrated here from Latin American countries, Charlottesville is a refugee resettlement center, small as this place is, and you would be surprised at the many different nations represented here. I have read that there are 79 different languages spoken in our city/county schools.

Your husband's perspective on queen bees sounds brilliant!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

The timber logs did weather to the same grey as the trees in forest around us and our roof is grey, which causes us to blend nicely into the woods. Except that our window frames are white and our front door is bright red! Every 8-10 years my husband likes to power wash the whole outside of the house to remove the mold and mildew and the logs go back to a lighter, more yellow color - but only temporarily! This is a power wash year. It is really great on all the wooden outdoor steps and stairs; keeps the slipperiness away.

Pam

Tom said...

A better and more efficient way to split rocks is the way that has been used for centuries: drilling, then splitting with metal plugs and feathers. Drill in 4-6 inches deep every 8 to 12 inches (depending on rock type) and put in the plugs and feathers. Then tap each plug with a hammer, rotating along the line to keep the pressure more or less even.

You peak rock concept illustrates why all materials should be judiciously used in ways that will last for decades to centuries so that each built thing becomes heritage - be it a wooden chair, a wool sweater (a few decades of use), a house, or a stone wall.

In such a society tradition has to overshadow fashion.

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - Glad to add my vote, for the Holistic Orcharding, book. This guy knows what he's doing, and he's been doing it for years ... Vermont, if I remember, right.

@ Damo - I do not envy the dam, engineers. Damed if they do, and damed if they don't :-). Hold too much water, or not enough? I'd say they skate a very fine line. There's been some water releases, around here, that caused minor flooding ... but nothing like the story you told.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - There was some government money to raise some houses. So, around Centralia, every once in awhile you see a house that has been raised, and another story built underneath it. Storage, or a garage. Usually, concrete block. Wonder how earthquake ready, they are. Well, never mind the hard facts, no one wants to be included in the flood plane ... drives property values down, and insurance rates up. Oh, I'm sure eventually, it will all sort itself out ... but not in a nice way.

Well, if you have to stand and fight fire, I'd feel better if you had a "last redoubt" fire shelter. Might double as an extra food storage, root cellar. In your spare time, mind you :-). The book "Fire Monks" had quit a bit to say about facing the flames. Saw a small article after our big fires in eastern Washington, this year. Some guy living in a concrete dome home, and how the fire swept right through his place. He made it through, intact ... but you could tell he was still breathing hard.

A rainy, nasty night, and still coming down when I went out to take care of my chickens, this morning. The chooks did not want to come out of the hen house. I looked at them and said "I didn't want to come out this morning, either, BUT I HAVE THESE CHICKENS TO TAKE CARE OF!" Hope I didn't sound too bitter. Libel to curdle the eggs :-).

Mixed up my trip to town and totally lost the plot. Sailed right past the veg store, and had to double back. And, forgot to pick up the oatmeal, for the birds and me. Should have gotten two heads of broccoli, instead of one. When I got home, I realized I hadn't swung by the bank, to get my rent money. Sigh. I think another trip to town, today, is called for. Oh, well, I have a long overdue trip to the drug store, that keeps falling off the stop list. But, not all is gloom. The Pegg movie "Man Up" is in transit, and may be waiting for me at the library.

And ... when I stopped by the feed store, to inquire about ordering some roosters, I ran up against the usual minimum order ... and, they're not even sure if they are going to get Wyondottes. BUT, I got to talking to one of the clerks. She raises heritage breeds and will be ordering Wyondottes (and other birds) direct from the breeder and will order, for me, what I need. We swapped names and numbers. I think two roosters (heir and spare) and maybe 3 hens. So, with luck, I'll have chicks in my laundry room, again. I intend to handle the roosters, a lot. See if that gives me a mellower bird. Worth a shot.

And, from our "even the Romans had problems", department. The big news in the archaeology world is the discovery of a good hunk of wall painting in Britain. The oldest discovered, so far. Apparently, it was probably in a reception room of a grand house. When Londinium decided to enlarge their forum, they leveled the site. Knocked over the wall and it had the good grace to fall face down. So, preserved a 2.5x1.5 meter section. The subject? Deer nibbling on trees :-).

Also ran across a nifty CGI animation of 24 hours (compressed into 8 minutes) of the destruction of Pompeii. Noticed the watermark on it, was the Melbourne Museum (Museum Victoria.) If you search "Pompeii" at their site, it pops up 5th or 6th down the list. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - Yeah, I quit like the alternet.org news site. I check it, at least once a week. Scan the headlines and read anything that catches my fancy. But, I must say (now), after The Ex-Archdruid's (retired) post, week before last, it's pretty overloaded with SJW (social justice warriors) (aka: the professionally offended) :-). But, even so, it has enough articles, that I don't see anywhere else, to hold my interest. I just keep in mind their "slant" and don't take everything at face value.

If we do have a Constitutional Convention, I'm sure it will be long ... and lively. Besides the balanced budget, I'm sure a whole array of special interest groups (both left and right) will attempt to drag in a laundry list of grievances. It ought to be quit a show. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Thanks for the view on the ground. Well the flood and dam issues continue even today. It is warm, dry and sunny down here, but up in central Queensland today and for the weekend: Driver rescued from floodwaters, Callide Dam opens gates as Central Queensland braces for rain. 300mm of rain is 30cm or 11.8 inches. That's wet!

Yeah, I've heard that flood insurance - which was mandated by the Federal government to the insurers - can sometimes reach upwards of $34.5k per year. I couldn't pay that, no way. When that came in my insurance policy went up considerably as the risk was spread around the community. As a comparison, the Black Saturday bushfires damaged or destroyed 2,000 structures, but those Brisbane floods damaged somewhere in the order of about 40,000 structures. And some buildings were flooded multiple times in a single year. I dunno, people say I live in a dangerous place, and I do, but I dunno...

Cheers

Chris




Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Fair enough about the Goodies. It was a BBC comedy show from 1972 which was very quirky and often just outright silly. As a young child my poor brain was exposed to them. The episode is on YouTube: Goodies - "Kitten Kong" (complete episode, Part 1 of 3). Parts 2 and 3 are also available. Kitten Kong creates quite the lasting memory!

Thanks for that! Lewis may enjoy this one in particular: Oi Gruntfig - Emperor Hadrian would like a word! Very funny.

I've read about the different accents in different counties and locations within the UK. You know, I reckon television may have a lot to with the demise of that trait, but also - even down here - 40 or 50 years ago people just didn't travel that far from near to where they were born. There are different pronunciations of words here between the different cities. Melbourne people pronounce many words with quite flat intonations whereas Adelaide people can put on quite toffy (apologies, Angus :-)!) pronunciations.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Imagine growing up watching that show! Hehe! It does strange things to your brain, but certainly most of my friends watched it too, which of course that may explain something. :-)!

Glad you enjoyed that bit of silliness. I put a link to the episode above which is on YouTube.

Funnily enough the BBC I believe threw out the tapes for that show and people have laboriously remastered the show from surviving fragments.

As a fun and interesting side note: Bill Oddie was at one time - I believe - the head of the twitchers (bird watchers) organisation in the UK, but he himself does not describe himself as a twitcher.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Absolutely. Grey is a forest colour - the grey kangaroos are very hard to spot if they don't move, they blend seemlessly. Just out of interest, the roof here is steel (dark grey), but I assume that you have a shingled roof? If you do have a shingled roof, how do the shingles weather over time, do they become brittle?

Power wash - I hear you! Molds, lichens and moss all love the house here too despite the heat and dry. Have you ever been tempted to seal the timber logs with oil? The timber would have its own natural oils anyway.

Down here, people sometimes put a flat layer of chicken wire over the timber steps to reduce the slipperiness. With the steel steps that I made, I added a bit of fine sand to the paint and they have amazing grip no matter how wet the winter.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Tom,

Welcome to the discussion.

Thanks for the information on that process. I never would have thought of doing that. It strikes me that cold chisels (which I have a few of) could also be used in that process. Very interesting.

Exactly spot on! All materials are carefully selected and utilised here in the various projects and very few of them are as hardy as rock walls. I've been repairing, restoring and extending older Victorian era houses (you may be able to tell that by looking at the design of this house) for a bit over two decades and I've always found that the materials used in those houses are of a much higher quality and resiliency than the sort of things constructed nowadays. I worry about our collective housing stock. My gut feeling is that it is: Up for a good time, not a long time. ;-)!

Again exactly, we seem to be pursuing fashion over resiliency.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret and Lewis,

Just enjoyed a lunch of a couple of eggs and a freshly baked roll. YUM!

So, over lunch I checked out some of the many YouTube videos of Michael Phillips of Holistic Orcharding fame, and wow, he's good, actually he's very good. What an internet rabbit hole! Thanks for the reference. On an interesting side note, the mild winters here means that there is a very significant difference to say, Vermont. The leaves fall from the fruit trees in late autumn and then they are eaten and absorbed by the soil usually within two weeks. I'm wondering whether this reduces the prevalence of many fruit tree pests and diseases here that would otherwise over winter on the fallen leaves in your part of the world? And an interesting side effect of global warming is that perhaps those pest and disease cycles may be broken in your part of the world too? I'm not for a single moment suggesting that global warming is a good thing, but perhaps it may be worth noting whether the fallen leaves break down into soil mass before the freeze of the winter weather brings a rapid end (or major slow down) to the biological activity in the soil? Dunno.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Ah, of course. It would be an extremely expensive and complex undertaking to lift a house and place it on steel supports. Wow. Up north here, the owners generally set out to build the houses that way in the first place, few would deny the floods reoccurrence in the first place. Yeah, the storage rooms underneath is a feature of those houses too, but seriously nothing much is kept in there from my understanding. I've read that sometimes the flood damaged vehicles get sent down here and rebirthed and sold as second hand vehicles. Exactly, the whole mess will sort itself out, but there will be a lot of heartache in that process for the people involved.

The house is not your ordinary run of the mill house, but it is another thing altogether to risk your life on the chance that I made no errors in the build. I was careful, really careful, but nothing is ever error free and entropy is always lurking in the background eating away at things. This might sound strange, but if I constructed a last resort fire shelter, the authorities for all sorts of reasons would come down on me like a tonne of bricks. And I'm really serious about that. I could make one - a very good one too - and bury it in the side of the mountain, but the legal system here is very weird about those shelters.

The guy in the concrete dome home that once concrete has heated up from an external heat source, it is quite difficult to cool down and it would have been like hiding in an oven. Not good. He most likely burned his airways and the inside lining of his lungs - breathing super-heated air is pretty nasty. Buried shelters are the way to go because they have much greater thermal mass and are very hard to heat up even for the biggest fires. Insulators work more like a phone book and if you've ever tried to burn one, you will know how hard that is. I'm not naive and I do have plans, but I'm also hampered in many ways. ;-)!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

No, not at all. I feel for both you and the chickens. You live in a very damp corner of the planet. If I were a chicken there, I doubt very much I would have wanted to leave the hen house either. Has it flooded again recently?

Yum! How good is broccoli? It is almost impossible to grow here for some strange reason. Oh no! I rarely head off the farm without a huge list of things to do. And then it is massive job to unpack and sort it all out. A true hunter gatherer experience! :-)! Hehe! Enjoy your trip to the Little smoke!

I went to the little smoke this morning too: Checked the mail; grabbed a coffee; picked up the milk; dropped off Poopy to have a haircut (he has way to much fur and overheats); visited two banks; picked up a bone for the ever continuing bone wars (good for their teeth - but not their flatulence); picked up a Medlar tree at the local plant nursery; and picked up a bale of sugar cane mulch. Phew! I'm having a slack day today which is nice - the Michael Phillips videos were welcome, I've been working way too hard lately.

Well done with the Simon Pegg film. I hope it was at the library? So, what's the review on it?

What? A minimum order on chicks? Wow, that's rough. How is that for sheer chance. Isn't that how opportunity works? Good stuff. I do hope that you get some chicks in the laundry, I'll be interested to hear about your experiences and the handling of the roosters is a great idea. I would never have thought about doing that.

No!!!! Those rotten deer. Does that mean that old habits die hard? :-)! I couldn't find a link to an image, but wow, that forum was huge: London's Roman Basilica and Forum.

Thanks for mentioning that. Here's the link: A Day in Pompeii - Full-length animation. Nice CGI work. A good day to be elsewhere. Did you see that two of Australia's only active volcanoes were erupting over the past few days? They're on islands much closer to Antarctica than this continent.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I think I'd rather drown than burn up, but who knows?

My father is a twitcher. I would be one, too, but bird calls always throw me for a loop. I spent way too much time the other day trying to figure out if I was hearing crows or ravens. They look alike, also.

Our roof is shingled, with composite shingles which, I think, are made up of fiberglas, asphalt, and some other stuff.They do become brittle, all that freezing and thawing, and with ice and snow sometimes on them for days or weeks. I am beginning to worry a bit. This (original) roof was put on almost 24 years ago and I see a couple of leaks on the long front porch roof, so I have to assume that there may be leaks elsewhere, like on the 3-stories high back side. The logs were sealed with boiled linseed oil (outside and in) when the house was built. I think we applied it once again a few years later. Do not use straight linseed oil on the interior of your house! It attracts dust and hair like nothing else, even all these years later. I have heard that we should have cut the linseed with turpentine. I intend to find out sometime.

I have heard about adding sand to paint - good for you! Our steps are treated wood and not painted.

Wow! I didn't know Australia had volcanoes! More heat!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Tom:

I like your observations!

What is the point of the feathers?

@Inge:

Thanks so much for the Rupert Besley alert - he is so very funny! And talented!

@ Lew:

I am on tenterhooks anticipating your future chicken adventures . . . "Deer nibbling on trees" - some things never change. It occurs to me that Constitutional Conventions held in each state might do a lot for the economy.

Pam

margfh said...

We have a very low power radio station in my town. One of my friends does a show twice a month, "Speaking of Nature" and she invited a couple of us to talk about our latest book club selection (she is also a book club member). The book was "Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind" by Gene Logsdon. We got into a bit of trouble discussing human manure at the beginning of the show. Apparently it's a big FCC no-no to discuss human manure at all. The producer was clearly worried about it so we had to move on to animal manure. Pretty ironic because one of the big take-aways of the book was our culture's attitude towards manure of any kind.

Margaret

margfh said...

@Pam

Our county houses one of the Federal detention centers and it's a big money maker as the Federal government pays I believe around $400/day per detainee. While the majority are from Mexico or other Central American countries I've meet people from all over the world. Many were brought here as children and their parents never applied for citizenship for some reason. Some of their siblings are citizens and sometimes they weren't even aware they weren't citizens. They are sent back to a country they don't know and often have no relatives there either. Meanwhile their spouse and children (most are men) lose the income and then need public assistance. Others are legal residents but have committed a crime - sometimes decades ago. They had served their time and moved on with their lives when years later they get picked up by ICE and often deported. If they fight their case it can often take years. I've been told by some who have served time for their crime in a federal prison that the conditions there are much better than the immigration jail. They have only a tiny workout room and no access to the outdoors. The cells have very small windows. Some definitely deserve to be deported and they readily admit it as they were involved with gangs and drugs but often they sit in jail for many months rather than just be sent back. Here's a link to an article that Aljazeera America did awhile back about the program and the nuns who run it. As I said it has been an eye-opening experience and makes my problems seem insignificant.

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/8/3/deportation-immigrantsice.html

How do your schools deal with all the different languages?

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Have now watched all 3 episodes of Kitten Kong and laughed a lot. I wonder why I missed them. I left the Island in 1971 and embarked on a very busy life; guess that there wasn't much time for television. I'll ask my son if he watched them.

It is very warm and I spotted my first ladybird; the weather is really quite ridiculous.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Oh, that was a funny cartoon. Well, as the dark ages settled in, there was a lot of recycling. :-). Hmm. Some novel I read had a plot point where very bad guys (pirates?) come to Britain from the Med, to pry the very choice marble cladding off abandoned buildings. Archaeologists have a term ... ghost trenches? ... where they can tell a foundation wall has been, but the stones have vanished.

Well, the guy in the dome rode it out pretty well. He was in grasslands, and the fire had a pretty good wind, behind it. It swept through so fast, it didn't heat up his dome. Well, you build your fire shelter on the sly :-). Camouflage the entrance.

No flooding, of note, in the last go around. Yes, the unpacking isn't near as interesting as the buying :-). I throw a cup of tea in the microwave when I get home (after hauling the first load in) and then it's refrigerated stuff in the fridge, library stuff on the incoming library shelf ... library bag back on it's hook. Damp veg into the drainer, for awhile, change my clothes, check the mail, etc. etc.. Change in the change jar, truck keys and wallet into the drawer ... glasses on the shelf next to the library stuff. I only wear my glasses to drive, and find them irritating to wear, at other times.

The Pegg movie, "Man Up", was pretty good. A comedy, but he got to pull his dramatic chops out of the bag, from time to time. Co starred Lake Bell ("In a World..."). Watched some of the extras, and found it interesting that Rom-Coms are a set formula ... The Seven Beats of Rom-Coms." The set up is that Pegg is going on a blind date ... through some improbable accidents, Bell is mistaken for his date ... and doesn't let on for quit awhile.

https://michaelhockney.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/seven-story-beats-to-help-outline-your-romantic-comedy/

You've got a template, and just plug in the bits. Got me thinking, I wonder if you could write an apocalyptic Rom-Com? :-). Saw a review for "Pride, Prejudice and Zombies." Reviewer thought it was ok, but a bit light weight.

Here's a link to the recently discovered wall painting ...

https://news.artnet.com/art-world/roman-wall-painting-discovered-in-london-419891

Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

You know, it took me a pretty long time to feel comfortable with the humanure concept, even though I understood about composting and even though I had read long ago of other cultures who practiced it. One of those taboos in our culture. I'm a long time fan of Gene Logsdon. My father gave me a copy of his book, "Two Acre Eden", when we first bought this property.

Here's what our school system does, in their words: "In both the City (Charlottesville)and the County (Albemarle), English language learners are simultaneously integrated into the student body and given support in smaller, ESL-only settings designed to help students acclimate to life in the United States.

“When students come in and speak no English at the high school level, typically about half their day will be in an ESL class with an ESL teacher and other ESL students focused specifically on learning English,” said Russell Carlock, Albemarle’s international and ESOL program coordinator.

“The other half of the day is going to be in electives,” Carlock added. “They have an opportunity to participate fully, and then also create those social relationships with the native English speakers that are important to feeling a part of the school.”

In both County and City schools, students move fluidly between specialized ESL classes and traditional classes such as homeroom, physical education, art and other electives.

“In general, the younger the child, the better they do,” Kuhr said. Students who have more time to progress through the English Language Proficiency (ELP) levels before high school graduation experience the full scope of the English language learner programs.

ESL is English as a Second Language
ESOL is English for Speakers of Other Languages

I think they are pretty much the same thing. Every place I've lived has offered ESL classes, even if only in Spanish.

Thanks for further insight into the immigrant detainee situation where you are; really sad. Thanks also for the Al Jazeera link. I hear they are going off the air April 1?

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

Loved your "unpacking" anecdote. So cozy!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I couldn't find a satisfactory translation of heussawr?

Always, always - contrition and atonement. Why not?

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam, Margaret, Inge and Lewis,

Thanks for all of the lovely comments, but Waitangi Day celebrations are calling this evening. The editor even prepared a very unusual New Zealand traditional dessert for the occasion - it looks pretty feral to me and I'll put a photo on the blog on Monday's entry. It will be interesting to see the reactions of the Kiwis and anyway if they are unhappy about it, I'll just tell them that Crowded House is an Australian rock band and that seriously never fails to get them properly stirred up! Hehe! :-)!

I promise to respond to all of your lovely comments tomorrow evening.

Hi Lewis,

As a completely unrelated note to the total Kiwi silliness above, I finally stumbled across the abode of the one of the local hermits this morning whilst hunting for blackberries. Seriously. So the story starts a few years back when I spotted this book: Shack in praise of an Australian icon by Simon Griffiths. It is a beautiful book and the shack on the cover was particularly photogenic. You know I like sheds! :-)! Anyway, that shed on the cover just happens to be in Cherokee of all places. I mean what is the chances of that? The story in the books tells that the shed is inhabited by a hermit who lives there seasonally and does odd jobs for the land owner in return for access to the shed.

Anyway, I went past a shack this morning and went - no way - that is the shack in the book. Wow! It's in a very remote location.

How cool is that, you and I were discussing hermits a year or so back too and here is one in my own backyard. Very cool. I'm aware of a few hermits living in odd spots up here in the mountain range.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Thanks for reminding me. I almost missed Waitangi Day.

Pam

Steve Carrow said...

Not sure how it happened, but my comment ended up over under your hugelkulture post!

I have noticed in the past that some comments seem to be about prior posts, but thought maybe the software was confused about the international dateline or something. Anyway, I think this one was on me.

carry on.

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - Unpacking ... and that wasn't the half of it! :-)

Yo, Chris - I think it looks pretty plush, for a hermit's abode. :-). Bigger than I would have imagined. But, what a cool thing to stumble on. It reminded me ... here in the Pacific Northwest, in the early days, People would burn out, or hollow out one of the enormous tree stumps, and live in them. Hmmm. Pictures ...

https://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=AwrTHQyONLZWIRwAvBRXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyYjduN2o5BGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjExNjBfMQRzZWMDc2M-?p=Historic+Tree+Stump+Houses&fr=aaplw

Well, that's a rather long url. Just Google "Historic tree stump houses", for pictures.

Heading to John's tomorrow. His package SHOULD arrive, today. I talked to him last night, and he said he was going snow boarding, today. Usually, he goes Sunday. I trigged to the fact that he's going today, because tomorrow is Superbowl. (football). I could care a fig. I told him if I had to be bored out of my mind, he should at least provide the traditional munchies. :-). I think nachos (without mangoes) or pizza will be on offer. I may take part of a loaf cake. Newspaper had a recipe for a orange / ginger pound cake that sounds good. Might give it a whirl. Lew

PS - Wonder if the hermit was observing YOU from the woods?

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

It is a complex question and I'm unsure how we'd perform a proper control experiment to find out the results for sure. I haven't really noticed that too many people come back from either experience... ;-)!

Is there a difference between crows and ravens? I didn't know that, so you're miles ahead of me. Down here there is an Australian raven and to be brutally honest, it doesn't look any different to any other raven that I've ever seen as images from overseas. I've read that sightings and lists are the key drivers in the life of a twitcher, sort of like trading cards as a hobby. Honestly, I just sort of hope that they aren't too quick so I can identify them and observe what they're actually up to. I spotted a honey eater with a long snout the other day poking that snout into the agapanthus flowers clearly enjoying the nectar. I'm thinking of doubling the number of those hardy plants as the bees enjoy the flowers too. I'll update the bee / flower tomorrow evening too with some February photos.

Thanks for the explanation about the shingles as I have wondered how they'd weather over time. Out of interest, does anyone in your part of the world use steel sheets for the roof, or even slate / flint stone tiles? That is a pretty high roof. I've never used linseed oil so will keep your warnings about dust collection at the back of my mind. Turpentine would probably thin the linseed oil? Dunno, really, down here we use that to clean brushes that have been used for painting oil based paints. The plastic paints tend to wash up in water.

Ah, yes treated pine is quite hardy. Down here they use CCA for Copper, Chrome and Arsenic which was specified for the sub floor timbers due to concerns about moisture and termites - which are both fair concerns. It is a toxic brew, no doubt about it. Some of the local timbers here are full of natural oils such as Cypress Pine which smells beautiful - like a nice soap - when cut, but mostly those are used for fence posts as the lengths are not good enough for housing timber.

The sand really does work - the steel chequer plate was very slippery in wet weather without it.

Yeah, we get earthquakes off the coast too and in some parts of the country, but those volcanoes are halfway between the bottom of Tasmania and Antarctica, so its a long way away. The island is called Heard Island. It looked pretty cold down there! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Oh that is totally ironic, which would probably have been lost on the producer. Bit of a shame really. Did you enjoy the show, it would have been a lot of fun to do? Were you able to discuss the difficult relationship that people have to manure before the shutdown?

I sometimes joke to visitors when they ask what to bring, and I tell them: manure. Although, I'm not really joking! Hehe! You would be amazed at how effective humanure is at keeping the grass and herbage green all year around for the many marsupials that eat that grass and herbage every single night. And the worm-farm does not smell at all, maybe a slight earthy sort of a smell. I always dare the more adventurous visitors to gaze into the worm farm sewage system as it isn't that scary - unless of course a person had some sort of phobia about compost worms?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I'm so glad that you enjoyed the absurdist humour of the Goodies! That episode was a classic too. My understanding was that they were contemporaries and friendly with the Monty Python crew so that may explain a thing or two. Yes, I guess whilst you were busy, some others were having a very strange time of it all.

I'd be very interested to hear whether your son had seen that show, it has a bit of a cult show down here?

Ladybirds are a sure sign of spring. Aren't they great little creatures too as they work so hard for you in the garden and they look very beautiful. I get a few of them here, but I see them more during November and December. I wonder where they go over winter? I wish people wouldn't spray insecticide so much in their gardens as it is very non species specific. I do hope your winter isn't over yet.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, it was very funny wasn't it? ;-)! Now you are clearly better versed in Roman history than I, so I was sort of wondering whether after Caesar, did any Roman Emperors actually visit the UK or was it all presided over by Vice Roy's or their equivalent?

There is a sort of grandeur to recycling materials into something practical and aesthetic at the same time after the original purpose is no longer feasible. Especially if no one notices where those materials came from in the first place. Alas, down here there are few if any free materials lying about. It is a bit of a shame really, but one can dream! :-)!

That piratical occupation has a very long and possibly quite profitable history. Actually, speaking of which, I recall seeing at the Taj Mahal that all of the precious stones were retained in the ornate marble walls and I often wondered why they had not been plundered in the long distant past. I mean it is not as if there wouldn't have been people with an axe to grind against the Persian's in that part of the world. I believe India was the source of the word Thug which was derived from an irate group called the Thuggees - may you and I and all of the readers and commenters here never meet their like.

Of course, and we shall say no more on the matter - which is a bit sad, but that is unfortunately the world that we live in.

Speaking of which, today has been one hot day. I reckon it was well over 35'C (96'F) and I visited my mates that live in the greenhouse today - it has been a most social week for me - for a birthday and it was just hot. My mates have the most amazing place as it is just so unexpected and it mostly works, but being an artificial environment makes it a whole lot more work than here - and that is not a criticism as their plants and trees are like turbo charged! It was a very fun day too, but I do enjoy my quiet time at the end of it though.

Glad to read that there was no flooding in the last round. You may be interested to know that the incidence of fires around here has gone down considerably since the local arsonist has been locked up - what a surprise.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Well, the buying is like a good hunter gathering fest out in the savannah of suburbia! ;-)! Who knows what lions we'll have to skewer in the process? The unpacking as you described it is sort of like the whole making order out of the chaos. It is a good idea to wear glasses whilst driving. I'm assuming that you don't require reading glasses? The editor and I are the only people that I know my age that don't require glasses, but having said that I wear sunglasses outside of the house all year around. I kind of figure if the sun can damage your skin - and it is very hard down here - then it must be doing damage to your eyes too? Dunno though.

Excellent! I'll have to nab the Simon Pegg film somehow - it didn't even make it to the cinemas down here... Thanks for the review and I look forward to seeing it.

You know, that link makes it sound as if the genre was a formula? Like boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back? Hehe! Alright, deep down I'm a softie but honestly, it is a form of programming isn't it? Fortunately as a deeply cynical individual I can enjoy the story and just tune the messages out (well mostly, anyway). So I hear you about the rom-coms and will raise the stakes a bit and share a little confession at the same time. One of my favourite films is: Forgetting Sarah Marshall. OK, it's a rom com, but it's a bit different because the story line goes like this: Boy loses girl, boy meets another girl, boy loses that girl too. On a serious note, it is a very good film and very funny.

Yeah, the book was a chore to read and I was also under an obligation to read it. Fortunately, there were zombies in the book, otherwise I just don’t know what I would have done. The thing I didn't like about the central story was that it was a rescue fantasy pure and simple and I just see a lot of that in the working out too well in the real world. Dunno, they kind of grate on my sensibilities...

Thanks for the link. It was very impressive and did I note parrots in the fresco too?

It is 75'F in the house now at almost 10pm. I'm seriously over summer, you can have it, please come and take it away. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

No worries, it's all good. I've read your excellent post about the black walnuts and thought that it was great and will post a comment there over the next day or so.

Yup, spot on! Preservation techniques are everything as nature rarely provides consistently. Funny you should write about that but...

I'm totally jealous of your walnut harvest! Chestnuts are the same here, they just go to waste, but so many are on private land...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

It was pretty flash wasn't it? The story was given in the book and apparently the shed is not that old, but has been constructed to look old. It certainly uses many aged and recycled materials and it looks the biz!

Mate, those stump houses must have originally been huge trees! Oh my. This one is a photo from Clallum County, Washington up in your neck of the woods. Do you reckon that may have been a Redwood?

Oh, football, yeah, well, the traditional munchies would certainly have been a positive inclusion. Ok, what is with the mangoes in nacho's? It just doesn't sound right to me. I mean I get jalapeno chillies that makes sense. Cheese, yeah. Corn chips, yeah of course. But mangoes? Dunno. Dare I say that it is like pineapple on a pizza? ;-)! I'll bet the loaf cake was good. They make them down here too and they're round like a cylinder - usually. Very old school, you don't see them much anymore.

Too funny, I'll bet he was - I do that to passing cars... Who are these people and what are they doing here? I would have stopped to say hello if I'd actually met him, most people don't though here, which is a bit weird really. When they spot me, they scurry away - unless they were like the Jehovi's I trapped on the driveway once! Hehe!!! That was a very amusing entrapment.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Very funny! I almost did too! Hehe!

Merlin's tale is sad. To cut a very long story short, from what I gather he had lived a life as a soldier, wizard and man of refinement under the auspices of a northern pagan King. The King and all of his retainers were killed by a cabal of Christian Kings in the battle of Arderydd. It was a particularly fierce and long battle for those times and reading between the lines I get the feeling that some sort of previously understood ritual of engagement had been abused and/or broken. The surviving retainers were put to the sword and buried in a mass grave.

Merlin on the other hand managed to flee the devastation and was hunted and persecuted by one of the Christian Kings who may not even have been present at the battle. Anyway, Merlin lost the plot completely and for a long while removed himself from contact with other humans in order to live in a remote wilderness where spot near a sacred well (the Well of Galabes is one name) near Harts Fell - which was a mountain where I believe three rivers rise from. Heussawr is a Welsh word which roughly indicates Merlin to be Lord of the Animals. The original Welsh story implies that the poet - who is apparently Merlin - was formerly a soldier and man of refinement, but is now at once bard and custodian of wild animals. Merlin lived - by most accounts - quite a rough existence during that time, but was at once befriended by many wild animals and he also had one or two familiars.

Now I certainly don't claim such greatness, but well, I do live in a remote spot and I'll tell ya what, I'm up to my eyeballs in wild animals - they love this place! ;-)! And I haven't always lived this way either and that is how I understand about the contrition and atonement.

Hope that makes sense!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I think that everyone around here would have a slate roof if it wasn't so extraordinarily expensive, both the slate itself and the skill and labor required to install it - even though some of the very best slate that exists is quarried 2 counties south of us.

Our "barn" and sheds are roofed with corrugated steel sheets. Our pine house logs are not treated except for the linseed oil. They sit on a concrete basement foundation. Actually,the beams directly on top of the foundation may have originally been treated with an anti-fungal, anti-termite concoction; I don't remember. Our timber fence posts and steps are treated; don't know if it's CCA.

Thank you for the Thug blessing! And thank God the arsonist has been put away.

And thank you especially for the Merlin history. I had a very vague, school-girlish notion of his background and you have given me a much clearer picture. It appears to me that you are indeed the Heussawr of the Shire of Macedon Ranges!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Chris & Inge:

I know where ladybirds go in the winter - into my house! They live in here with the stinkbugs. A few from both groups woke up in this last warm spell. Do your ladybirds bite? Ours do. Dare you to ask one.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Steve:

I entirely agree with your misplaced comment at "Hugelkulture"! And, I too, had planned to comment about your walnut posting, but haven't done so. We have plenty of black walnuts. Everyone I know agrees that they are the hardest nuts ever to crack.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Oh, lots of Roman emperors, in Britain, besides Julius. Claudius showed up for the last little bit of the major conquest ... so he could claim the Triumph. Riding an elephant, no less. Hadrian did a tour and thought a wall might be a good idea. From there on, I get a bit hazy. I know one emperor died there ... and the next was crowned. I think it was a father / son act. One fellow proclaimed himself emperor in Britain, swept across Gaul and Hispania, and managed to hold onto it all, for awhile. Ah, here we go .. http://www.funtrivia.com/askft/Question112455.html

Britain had an overall Governor, and was divided into 4 (sometimes 5) administrative districts. There's actually a pretty solid list of the Governors, based on the odd inscriptions, here and there. Not that we know lot about most of them. Nothing much left, but names on a list.

No reading glasses, yet. But I keep a magnifying glass handy, for small print.

Yes, I noticed the parrots. Romans in Australia? :-). The deer look like a border pattern, to me. I bet the main panels were some kind of hunting scene. Or, the mosaics on the floor. Both probably, long gone. The Romans tended to "theme" their rooms. Interesting that similar borders show up on the continent. There seemed to be "schools" or "workshops" that traveled around. In Pompeii there's a "House of the Unfinished Mural." Apparently, a group of guys were working on a mural, when the volcano went off. An unfinished mural, lots of painting equipment scattered around. Looks like they beat it, early on.

No, we don't (or didn't) get redwoods, this far north. Those stumps were probably cedar (which can have enormous butts) or, maybe, even an old growth fir. More likely cedar.

LOL. Well, wouldn't you know. I'm not really all that partial to pineapple, in general, but my pizza of choice is ... pineapple and Canadian bacon. :-). Often referred to as a "Hawaiian," here. And, I like it with milk, just to make it really ghastly.

Well, if the Hermit sees you often, enough, he might reveal himself. Maybe leave him a little gift? Blackberries, maybe?

Well, the pound cake turned out ... ok. Maybe a bit overdone, but the darned toothpick just wouldn't come out clean. The recipe seemed a bit fiddly, to me. After taking the loaf out of the oven, you put it on a cooling rack, over a shallow baking tray. Poke the top all over, with a toothpick. Mix up orange juice and sugar, over heat, and soak the top. THEN, you take more orange juice and confectioner's sugar and drizzle a glaze on the top. I wash as I go along, and by the bitter end, was quit tired of washing up. :-). I think my pallet is dying. Even with the vanilla, orange zest and grated ginger, it seemed a little bland, to me. Maybe after sitting over night ... Will be interesting to see what the Expert has to say about it.

John's package came, so, I'll be heading that way. Turns out one of the players on the team is from Council, Idaho. My friends know his mother ... who teaches at the local elementary school.

Chickens produced one more egg, last week, so I'm up to 30. A solid 2 1/2 dozen. Broody Hen is up to her old tricks, again. So, there's a chicken flying out the hen house door, twice a day. When I pulled her out of the box, this morning, one of the other hens ran right between my legs and went at her. Separating squabbling chickens really kicked off my day! Lew