Monday, 4 April 2016

Twelve monsters



Did you hear that rustle in the garden? What could possibly be lurking in there? There are plenty of large, overgrown and menacing-looking plants poking their leaves out from that mass of vegetation. And they're all hungrily seeking out the sun. Hopefully, I never encounter a Triffid (a fictional tall, mobile, prolific and highly venomous plant species) in the peaceful surrounds of Fernglade Farm as they seem to be extremely aggressive and also highly poisonous. A Triffid in the garden would certainly make for very poor company. What was that noise? I’m almost certain that I heard a rustle in that garden bed! What could it be?

And never mind that noise you heard
It's just the beasts under your vegie bed
In your kitchen, in your head.

(with apologies to Metallica)

Way back in time when I was a very young child, worrying about monsters hiding under the bed or in the cupboards seemed like a reasonable concern. It was worth peering under the bed before the lights went out as you would never quite know if there was an actual monster hiding under the bed. It probably didn’t help that my pet cat used to sleep on my bed and she was constantly up to mischief and certainly wouldn’t have hesitated stashing her latest kill under the bed. That cat also exhibited a certain disdain for computers as I distinctly recall waking up one night to sparks leaping from the power supply for the trusty old Commodore 64 computer, because she had decided to urinate on it! It is worth mentioning that she didn't try that particular trick a second time.

I was rather fond of that cat and despite all of the mischief and adventures, she lived to a very old age. It wasn’t all fun and games though, as she used to keep her own hours and wouldn’t hesitate waking me up in the middle of the night so that she could have a run around outside and get up to whatever feline mischief cats get up too. She was a little monster herself! That cat was rather fortunate, in that my bedroom in those days was a rather sturdy old shed in the backyard of the house. In the 19th century that shed was most likely the old wash house. Seriously, for me (and the cat) that was the absolute best situation, because I could keep my own hours as well and head off with friends into the night to get up to whatever mischief that teenagers used to do back then. Honestly, from hindsight it appears that I’d been heavily influenced by one very naughty cat!

Nowadays, I’m far more sophisticated. No one seriously believes that there are monsters hiding under the bed. That’s because everyone knows the monsters are hiding in the garden!

The other day, the editor began harvesting the zucchini (also known as a courgette or marrow in other parts of the world). It wasn’t until the editor brought the third arm load of zucchini into the kitchen that I cracked the sads and said: “Not another lot of” (insert choice expletive here) “zucchini!” But the zucchini kept coming in the door. Those fruit are monsters as some of them are 0.7m (2.3 feet) long and they are really quite weighty.
A dozen massive zucchini (courgette) are now taking up most of the kitchen
Over the next six months those fruit will be converted into useful things like human, dog and chicken feed. Plus we will save some of the seed for raising new plants next summer. But until that fruit is completely consumed, I have a dozen massive zucchini monsters taking up most of what was left of space in the kitchen!
Those other monsters, the tomatoes, are continuing to be stored with salt in bottles using a hot water bath
The other monsters this year seem to be the tomatoes which are now being bottled with a pinch of salt using a hot water bath (also known as canning). Over the next few weeks, we may even try preserving the tomatoes using a similar process to that of jam making.

Anyway, the kitchen has finally reached critical mass and we have completely run out of storage and benchtop space. The solution appears to be to expand the number of the kitchen cupboards and preparation space. That process will begin over the next few days, but til then stay tuned and seriously, be careful people, watch out for monsters!

Regular readers will recall that at the alternative farming expo in late February, I met a guy that manufactures very heavy duty galvanised steel round raised garden beds. I use many raised garden beds here, but some of those are now very old and have been attacked by that monster of steel: Rust! And those rusty garden beds now have almost paper thin steel walls and are displaying many holes and jagged rusty edges in spots. Not good.

Over a previous summer one raised garden bed was located as an experiment in a very shady out of the way location. Unfortunately, combined with the shade, that location was so dry that nothing actually grew in it. The technical description for that circumstance is: Total and absolute failure! This week, I emptied that garden bed of soil and relocated it where it would be used to replace an existing garden bed next to the top of a set of concrete stairs. Unfortunately, that garden bed (which will be repurposed in a few months) also had to be emptied of soil.
The round raised garden bed next to the concrete stairs was emptied so that it could be replaced
Observant readers can play the game: Where is that little monster Toothy?

I was amazed at how much soil was stored in both of those raised garden beds. All of the removed soil was spread through the garden beds. Spreading soil through an existing garden bed is a fancy description for simply throwing the soil on top of the existing plants and then washing the soil off the leaves using water from one of the nearby hoses. The replacement raised garden bed was soon put in place. 

It was about that time that I noticed that the rear of the highest concrete step was finished very roughly. That rough finish was hardly surprising because that was the very first set of concrete stairs that we had ever constructed.
The relocated round steel raised garden bed is now in place and the rear of the top concrete stair was looking a bit rough
It was such an easy thing to fix, I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of fixing that concrete stair before? Most likely monsters were involved somehow, and perhaps they were eating all of my spare time? The editor quickly drew a line using a carpenters pencil across that concrete step and then I cut into the concrete using an angle grinder.
A small angle grinder with a stone cutting blade was used to remove the rough edges from the concrete step
The stone cutting blade cut through the concrete and various stones set inside the concrete and the whole thing ended up looking like some sort of fancy Terrazzo finish.

The cut edge of the step ended up looking exactly like a fancy Terrazzo surface
The relocated steel garden bed was filled with up with many wheelbarrows of mushroom compost. Winter greens (red and green mustard, lettuce and rocket) seeds were thrown onto that mushroom compost and I look forward to enjoying the harvest from those later in the year.

The landing to that concrete stair received a top up of the small rocks and lime (referred to down here by the name “toppings”) and before too long the whole area looked as if it had always been like that. Incidentally, Scritchy the boss dog approves of the work!
Scritchy the boss dog approves of the newly relocated raised garden bed as well as the correction to the concrete step
And whilst I had access to a load of “toppings” I repaired the path along the recently planted out citrus path. The path required repairing because the downhill side of the path had settled and slumped slightly. That path is very useful because it descends down through the garden and provides easy all weather access to the very large water storage tank below the house.
The recently planted out citrus fruit tree lined path to the very large tank below the house was repaired this week
And the garden bed below that pathway received an enormous quantity of mushroom compost (that is the fancy name for composted horse manure and bedding straw) over the past few days. From memory I believe that three cubic metres (3.9 cubic yards) was thrown onto that existing garden bed. That garden bed had not received fertiliser before and many of the plants in it had struggled through the very hot summer which has only just finished.
The garden bed below the citrus fruit tree lined pathway was fertilised this week with huge quantities of mushroom compost
The next photo shows that at a guess, a further four cubic metres (5.2 cubic yards) of manures will be required before that garden bed is completely fertilised.
At least a further four cubic metres (5.2 cubic yards) of manures will be required before that garden bed is completely fertilised
The Cape Gooseberry finally produced ripe fruit this week. The ripe fruit forms inside a lantern like papery covering and you can tell when the fruit inside is ripe because the lantern turns yellow. I’ve never tasted that particular fruit before and it is quite sweet and enjoyable. A recent visitor to the farm informed me that the plant is considered to be a weed in some parts of the world, but that the fruit also makes an excellent jam. We’ve collected some seeds from the plant (which is of the Nightshade family and includes potatoes and tomatoes – but also the very similar looking fruit of the native Kangaroo apple which also grows prolifically here).
The prolific and sweet Cape Gooseberry fruit finally ripened this week for the first time
In case anyone was concerned, the tomatoes are continuing to ripen this week. However, as autumn progresses the sun is now lower in the sky and the fruit is ripening far more slowly.
The tomatoes continued to ripen this week
That steel rust monster has continued its quest to consume further parts of the wood heater. That rust monster is very hungry! Anyway, the baffle that protects the flue (which is a fancy name for the steel chimney) from the fire, rusted this week and fell into the fire! Fortunately, I keep a pair of welders gloves on hand next to the wood heater in case there are any emergencies involving the wood heater. Welders gloves are very good at protecting your fingers, hands and forearms against the serious heat from the burning timber as well as the very hot steel.

I always keep a supply of various chunks of steel for such emergencies and this afternoon I rapidly cut a new and much larger steel baffle and placed it in the firebox.
A new steel baffle plate was cut and placed in the wood heater today
I often wonder what the monsters will decide to do next to that wood heater…

The temperature outside now at about 9.00pm is 13.7'C degrees Celsius (56.7'F). So far this year there has been 115.4mm (4.5 inches) of rainfall which is up from last week's total of 114.8mm (4.5 inches).

89 comments:

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

It's been raining again here. The clay is so wet at my son's place that he is having to be very careful. He can sink up to the knee in some spots. He can't let the pigs out and this is becoming difficult.

The wild flowers seem to be blooming within a day or 3 of last years dates. This must mean that light is all and weather has little to do with it.

I completely agree that people dream of a rustic life and haven't the slightest clue as to the work involved.

Hope to get back to continue reading 'The biggest estate on earth' I became distracted by some other reading.

@Lew Thanks for the advice about prints and use of a magnifying glass.

Inge

akl said...

What you call Cape Gooseberry is the plant known in the USA as Ground Cherry. Interesting, since it is neither a gooseberry nor a cherry! Tasty nonetheless!

Finally got the solar system enabled up on Sunday (after most of a year of working on bits and pieces of it while relying on a generator) and now I get to see how badly I underestimated our energy requirements. We have nominally 1040W of PV array and 225AH (at 48V) of battery storage. From your history, I expect to be ordering another pallet of panels soon enough!

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The only other thing I would add to Yahoo 2s most excellent instructions for hand pollinating pumpkins is how to tell the male from female flowers. The female flowers have a small sphere, under the bloom. Which, if successful, develops into the pumpkin.

I really think the comment that zucchini would make excellent companions for the elderly is worth exploring. Paint a cute face on them ... :-). I also had the thought that ... well, I don't know if they do it there, but here some school districts have "Family Life" classes (I really don't know quit what they call them) where a young high school couple have to drag around a small sack of flower for a couple of weeks and "tend" to it. To give them an idea of what it's like to be saddled with a kid. I think a zucchini would be a better option. Why waste all that good flour?

The only other thing I can say about Zucchini, is to be VERY careful the the tiny spines on the dried stems. They have a nasty habit of migrating to ... tender parts in one's nether regions. Happened to me, last year, and I was on the verge of a trip to the doctor when I suddenly remember ... a circle of scotch tape, rolled sticky side out. Also works for any berry spines one might pick up.

Do you put screens in the bottoms of your raised beds? I have to do that, here, due to the moles and gophers.

Your gooseberries put me in mind of an ornamental flower called Chinese Lanterns. Sure enough, they are related. The Wikipedia article talked about the Lanterns medicinal properties ... probably also shared with the gooseberries.

Well, I'm rather despondent, today. Cracking the sads. My landlord's wife told me the Evil Stepson has lost his job. He was barely tolerable when I could depend on him to be gone, Monday through Friday, for a good part of the day. He has very little ... sense of boundaries. Having my landlord around, keeps him in some check ... but my landlord is not doing well. Well, we'll see what happens. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Thank you and those date and glace ginger hot cross buns sound outstanding! Just for your interest, you can swap over ripe Medlar fruit for dates and I can't honestly taste the difference. How good is ginger? It is such a great plant, I have a tuber of the stuff sprouting on the kitchen bench (what is left of the bench anyway) and I am sorely tempted to plant it in the frost free zone...

That is a fascinating observation! The genetic stocks of our fruit and vegetable plants is diminishing so such a situation is entirely plausible. The fruit is still growing so I haven't had the heart to cut it open and see exactly what it is, but your description of your mystery fruit sounds awesome! Melons are very hard to grow in such southern climates as ours.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for that link. You learn something new every day. Who would have thought that: Bird Migration shown on Weather Radar. Really interesting stuff and yeah, that is a whole lot of birds. Do you believe that the relatively low numbers of the hummingbirds are because it is still early days for them at your place? We get migratory birds nearer to the coast (and in the inland lakes if they fill up with water as they have at the moment), but the bird diversity and residents here are generally relative to the amount of feed and water available. There are a couple of permanent bird families living here on the farm, but the others come and go.

That is good advice. You started me wondering though and I went and had a look at the ingredient list and it didn't seem to be on the scary end of the industrial food spectrum. I don't purchase the cheapie puff pastry though because I just don't use much of it.

How funny was that clip of the Crimson Permanent Assurance? Beware of trivia! And yeah, the editor and I often joke about about sailing the wide accountant-seas. Oh we've descended into the land of silliness again. :-)! That film was very amusing.

I don't actually know of anyone with Tourettes. Mind you, we are a clever bunch of primates and one of our main survival skills is spotting differences and making comparisons (little wonder memes have such a strong currency) and so the guy at the library with Tourettes sort of stands out a bit to our senses. It was very nice of the library staff to take the time to get to know the guy and make an objective assessment about whether he was harmless or not. I knew the guy on the train was harmless because he was a bit smaller than me and he didn't seem to be escalating or threatening other people.

It was nice to have a lovely visitor. So many people are in lala land and whilst it is a pleasant place to be, it is clearly an unsustainable proposition. A bull whip of all things. That is the gift that keeps on giving - like giving a kid with obssessive tendancies a drum kit. Not good. The chickens would most certainly go off the lay under such circumstances, but eventually they'll absorb the new noise into their chicken worldview. That bull whip is quite physically demanding and perhaps over exertion will lead to some sort of muscle or joint failure (of some sort) and then the excitement of the new toy will be well and truly over? Dunno.

I hear you about the pyrotechnic. Burn off restrictions were eased off yesterday and the weather is set to reach 29'C (84.2'F) today, but the wind is very strong and gusty today, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed today because yesterday there were a whole lot of fires lit.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Ha! The ingredients list didn't look that scary to me, but palm oil (which tastes disgusting to me) was probably used as a vegetable oil (although I buy the reduced fat sheets). The stuff is in all sorts of foods. Your bread looked fine in the photos. Practice, you must, young Jedi (Yoda speak!) Hehe!

The smaller fruit is much tastier than the monsters, but the monsters really keep well for a long time in the kitchen. I look forward to reading about that.

By lazy breakfast, I assume you are going to skip the food on the ferry? If you make a dash into the inner Melbourne suburbs I seriously recommend Cafe Cavallini at 354 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill for excellent coffee and food and great ambience (park a one or two streets back to avoid the parking inspectors though). Beechworth is a good lunch stop and I assume you are going to stop in Canberra over night? I'm not big into long distance road trips.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the outstanding instructions regarding the pollination of pumpkins. That is interesting about the ants as they do like to harvest pollen and sugars in the orchard. I've been slowly building the top soil, because ants hate humic acid (whilst the worms seem to enjoy it). It is the edges that the ants enjoy.

Those are all great and entertaining suggestions. The zucchini class submarines would look good sitting in dry dock too, whilst the powers that be work out how to actually crew the monster zucchini submarine! ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

How much more can it possibly rain? That wet clay sounds horrendous and I do hope that your son stays safe - although he probably doesn't need to be told that. Oh yeah, the pigs would sink into that wet clay too - or even worse, dig it up completely. What a mess that would be. And how would a person possibly remove a pig stuck in deep wet clay. I would be throwing huge quantities of straw into the pigs enclosure so that the area doesn't become anaerobic - the dry woody organic matter will really help to slow that process down a bit.

That sounds about right to me, from what I see here. The light, heat and water here all really determine when plants grow and how fast. The thing I've taken from the recent success with the tomatoes is that the plants prefer as many hours of daylight as they can get. I'd previously read in a book about tomatoes that the plants prefer the heat, but that is part of the equation, but it is not the whole story. Ah, we learn! Nice to read that you have wildflowers blooming and it is also interesting that they seem to be able to cope with the very damp conditions.

Oh yeah! That misunderstanding never fails to amuse me. I reckon it comes back to that every benefit comes with costs. And rural living is no different. I get to work less in the "normal" economy, but I have to work here otherwise the place becomes very un-productive and importantly even more work in the long run. I reckon as a society we are running down our infrastructure right now just to keep prices low and that worries me. Picasso, could make it sound easy because he was probably full of money! ;-)!

I have been wondering about your views on that book. Many of the chapters were quite dry, but others were fascinating. And I sort of feel for the author, because he had to belabour many of the same points over and over again and support them with evidence because they are considered so "controversial" for some strange reason (which is beyond my understanding).

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi akl,

Ah! Thanks for that, as I've heard references to a ground berry but never understood what the plant actually was. The fruit is very tasty and the plant itself is very hardy.

Haha! Sorry I shouldn't laugh, but welcome to the solar off grid journey! 48V is a good start and if I re-did the system from scratch again I would use that voltage. Hmmm, another pallet of panels is a good idea... I'd be very interested to hear about your experiences for a month either side of the winter solstice. Remember to enjoy the journey too - this stuff is fun.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for the extra information on hand pollinating the pumpkin flowers. I didn't know that. There is a feral pumpkin growing in the orchard which seems to have somehow pollinated and produced fruit without any thought on my part. I do try and follow the process which produces productivity with minimal intervention.

Yeah, that zucchini comment was funny. Oh, no more zucchini please... They're still growing too...

You know, if you'd left me to ponder that concept for a decade or more, I never would have dreamed up that practical exercise in the Family Life classes. Seriously. Exactly zucchini would be much more difficult than a sack of flour - and you could tell if the zucchini had been accidentally dropped too as the skin is tough, but not that tough. That is a bit of a waste of flour. I wonder what they are trying to achieve with that exercise. Certainly the poor couple would understand that sacks of flour can be a nuisance to carry around, but they would have the benefit of being less prone to unexpected bursts of lung exercising noises. Moral calls to abstinence are rarely successful - the declining economy will do a much better job of that situation.

Ouch! Note to self - be careful around zucchinis.

Part of the problem with low soil fertility down here is because we don't have moles and gophers. On the other hand, they would be a total nuisance. The rats and mice can dig, as can foxes, wombats, and echidnas. But none of them would live in a raised garden bed that I'm aware of. No, the bed simply sits on top of the ground, which is good because the worm teas and compost teas that are generated naturally in the raised bed soak into the surrounding flower garden beds.

I don't doubt that at all. It is amazing just how many plants have medicinal properties - whether we are aware of them or not - and the benefits decline after picking them. That, I reckon may be part of the problem with increasing rates of allergies and other behavioural issues in children because they're simply not eating fresh vegetables and herbs because the stuff in the shops was picked days and days ago (it has to be, just to be in the shop) and then treated to stay fresh.

Mate, I feel for you - especially speaking about behavioural issues. Watch and wait is as good a strategy as any, and remember that in a relocation things could always be worse - although most of the time problems are new and interesting. My gut feeling - and you don't have to comment about this - is that the parents don't correct the kids behaviour because that would bring other problems in the social dynamics to the fore, so everyone tip toes around the issues not trying to buck the relationships as they stand. Controlling other peoples behaviour is a difficult proposition at the best of times and my method usually involves getting the message into their head that it will be more trouble to annoy me than any pleasure they may personally get out of the process of annoying me.

Cheers

Chris

Coco said...

Alas, I have no recommendations for using a zucchini glut other than soup, bread, chickens or maybe dog food. Breo likes it stewed in with his other veggies. Perhaps dehydrated into chips/crisps?

I envy your ability to find and transport quantities of fertilizer. I have to make another run to the horse place, last time no one was around.

Enjoy the bounty!

Damo said...

@Lewis

Your Landlord/son situation sounds somewhat similar to mine a few years back. When we rented a house in Hobart, it came with a stipulation that the granny flat underneath remained with the landlord for storage. Furthermore, the landlords son would visit occasionally to pick things up. It didn't seem to much of an imposition so we agreed, and proceeded to get on well with them both for the next few years. But what we found amusing was that the son just came over to play old records and smoke weed. I chatted with him sometimes and I think it was his childhood bedroom. Now, in his late forties he retired with some sort of compensation payout and spends his days planning expensive holidays and 'dropping stuff off' at the granny flat.

@Chris

Yeah, no ferry food in the morning. I have visions of getting something delicious from the St Kilda strip. Beechworth could be a good lunch stop - I did visit once years ago and from memory the bakery is pretty smashing. No doubt there would be a variety of quality establishments.

Funny, I never thought of Canberra as a place to spend the night. Some sort of smallish town with a heritage pub fits the bill I suspect - might have to look over some maps...

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

Those are all excellent suggestions to utilise a zucchini glut! Fortunately, they will keep quite fresh until early spring, so they should provide plenty of food.

I noticed that you have a new blog entry too where you share photos of your lovely garden, so I'll bounce over soon and check it out.

A local business supplies me as much of that stuff as they can sell and I can afford. It is a good arrangement and it helps that they're open most days of the week. In all the years I've been dealing with them, they've never run short of supplies - but there is always that first time!

Well, quality manure in bulk is worth a bit of hassle. I can't even begin to imagine what they had to do in the days of yore to obtain the quantities that I get my hands on.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Fair enough about the ferry food. I've never had any complaints about the food on the Spirit, it has always been reasonable. Mind you, I always opt for a cabin as on the first trip we thought to brave the night on those seats and you know what? Once I saw them we tracked down the purser and upgraded to a cabin (at a significant discount) and then all was good. Bass Strait can get pretty rough, but the bay is usually very pleasant. The editor gets sea sick if the seas are very rough, but I've never suffered from that. And once on the Cook Straight ferry in New Zealand the seas were feral as and we sat in the front of the ferry and watched the massive waves break over the bow.

Sorry, I digress. Yes, St Kilda should provide plenty of food options, although I haven't been there for years. The tram from Fitzroy used to travel to St Kilda so we caught the tram out to dinner there on Fitzroy St. Acland St has more cafes though. Beechworth is definitely worth the side trip and you can head north out of the town and join up again with the Hume so you don't have to back track.

Canberra is a good stop as there are plenty of places to stay and eat. I enjoyed some of the finest mushroom risotto (with truffle oil) at a small place in Kingston. It was a superb meal. The Chianti was quite tasty too.

Goulburn is probably not a bad option if you want to avoid Canberra, but as I said, I get cabin fever on long car trips. Just think about the Donkey in Shrek 2: Are we there yet? Hehe! That film was Eddie Murphy's finest moment.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

It does look as though the flowers are avoiding the wettest bits of ground at present.

Zuccinnis (can't spell) I have usually hand pollinated them by picking the male flowers and putting them into the female flowers and just leaving them there. It is aggravating that the male flowers always come first and sometimes die off before a female arrives, ditto with cucumbers.

Puff pastry: I have only made it once, in a school cookery class. I decided then that it wasn't worth the effort. Have always been happy with short crust since.

Palm oil seems to be in an awful lot of things here e.g. chocolate; very annoying.

My reading has been dominated by my wish to read better in German. I have inherited a vast number of German books from my mother and having to keep using a dictionary becomes irritating. I have been using Duolingo to improve my knowledge of the language; it is a very addictive site. Am not helped by the fact that most of the books use the German script and it makes me realise how easily one skims while still getting all the words. I can't do this with the script. Some of the books are for very young children and these are not easy as one might expect. Many of the words are not in a dictionary so I am left wondering whether there is an infant language and whether this is so in all languages.

Over to you Lew

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yeah, I shouldn't fret about the hummingbirds. Maybe more will show up later. But, I wonder if the drought hit the hard, last year.

I just fell out when I first saw that Monty Python sketch. When the venerable old building in London's City, hauls anchor (up sticks?), sails down the Thames, and across the Atlantic. And lays waste to Wall Street. Wishful thinking. :-)

Oh, library staff is pretty tolerant of patrons ... weirdness. I could tell you stores ... :-). We had a saying ... "Unaccompanied children will be given a latte, a puppy and a tin drum." I used to add "massive amounts of sugar", in there.

Re: the bullwhip. Maybe the little blighter's arm will fall off? Maybe he'll take it to school for show and tell and all kinds of problems will ensue? I'm sure the powerless little sod, feels powerful, with the bullwhip by his side.

Well, let the zucchini ripen, until it yellows. Then you'll have the Yellow Submarine. Crew it with mice :-).

Reading the Wikipedia entries on vinca and Chinese lantern brought something into focus, for me. Both articles mentioned how some substance had been isolated in the lab, patented (probably) and recreated through "modern living through chemistry." There's never much discussion (except, in maybe herbals) about how the hundreds of other trace elements might work in concert, with the primary ... chemical. To greater effect.

Working my way through the Bryson. He devoted a couple of pages to The Lost Gardens of Heligan (which I've mentioned here, before, usually in connection to Victorian pineapple pits). He quit liked them. LOL. I also noticed that some of his stories sounded a bit ... familiar. I think he's repeated himself in a couple of spots, from his first book. Well, as one gets older, one tends to repeat themselves. :-)

Taking Chef John out to lunch today, in the Little Smoke. Chinese! Yum! It's to a restaurant that he once took me to, so, I'm sure it will measure up :-). He was feeling a little down in the mouth, as last week was his birthday, and he wasn't very well remembered. There's also a new store across the street, we want to check out. Several goat and sheep farms in the area have co-oped, together, to open a retail space to sell goat cheese, wool, etc.. Ought to be interesting. Lew

margfh said...

By the time I get all those big zucchinis we have pigs and turkeys in addition to the chickens so none goes to waste. They do preferred them cut up - spoiled animals.

Last week the morning after my husband left for a three day trip I found a skunk in the live trap in the barn. About a month before I had smelled one in there and set the trap and was about to put it away. Disposing of a skunk in a trap is quite tricky and I was relieved that a neighbor who's done this a number of times to help out. Even though I was quite a distance away when it sprayed I still brought it into the house. Of course the next day Salve had to roll in the spot where the body laid briefly before I disposed of it.

Weather has been quite uncooperative lately. A few warm days among mostly cold, windy and wet ones. The rain has come in fast heavy downpours and the winds have been quite extreme. My husband needs to replace some posts in the outdoor pen before the pigs arrive in a few weeks but it's been too wet. Just a few hours south of us temps have been in the 60's and 70's while we struggle to get out of the 30's (F).

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Of course, I was wondering about that. Really extreme weather years always tend to show the good and also the difficult spots that things grow. I've noticed that when it gets very wet and cold here, the onion weed (which is edible, I believe) takes over very damp spots. The farm received half an inch of rain today!!!! Yay! I'd actually forgotten that that wet stuff actually can fall out of the sky from time to time. Speaking of wildflowers, you've jogged my memory and I may have to do a trip to the bulb farm this week. So many different bulbs, so little time... Do you have any favourite bulb plants?

That is very funny! I had no idea that the Cucurbit family of plants were so difficult. Honestly, I've planted them every year and never given them a second thought, until the monster triffid-like fruit arrive and I have to do something with them. It does make you wonder why that may be the case? They seem very reliable here from year to year. I've had to begin expanding the kitchen today which is a total nuisance - and I'm not complaining - but the cupboards are very easy, but the bench tops are a total nightmare to order and transport as there is a very high probability of breakage when moving them from A to B.

Well, you are in good company with the puff pastry as I've heard Gordon Ramsay (the potty mouthed UK chef) say exactly the same thing. The ingredient list didn't look that scary, but who knows what goes on in other parts of the world? Have you heard about Oregano-gate? The stuff grows like a total weed (and I mean that in a good way) here and I harvest it every few days. Apparently, commercial preparations may contain Olive leaves. Who even knew they were even edible?

Palm oil is disgusting tasting but because it yields so much oil relative to other plants (eg. Canola) it is eating rainforest in tropical locations.

Total respect. German is a tough language to learn. An old friend who was quite fluent in German used to tell me that (and I have no idea whether he was talking himself up or not) speaking German was like pronouncing square words from a round mouth and that many people reached a point at which it was hard to progress further. Dunno, it was an intriguing hypothesis, but honestly he picked up languages easily and I reckon he displayed some of the traits of people with aspergers syndrome. I struggle with languages, but tend to pick up concepts fairly easily and progress from there.

That is exceptionally funny! Nice one... How is the rain going? Has it dried out at all? If you are feeling generous, you could send a bit down here? :-)!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

No, I have no thoughts on bulbs!

I was bi-lingual until I was 4 years old (it was stopped with the outbreak of war). The result is that I retained the ability to pronounce the language while totally forgetting everything else about it. I think that it is correct that it is difficult to pronounce as there is no equivalent sound to the German 'ich' in English who end up saying 'itch'. I am actually lousy at learning languages and envy people who find it a doddle.

We have an outbreak of vandalism in the area. I have never been able to understand why anyone could find this fun. The windows have been smashed in an 'Airstream' caravan. This is owned by a Londoner and goodness alone knows whether he has been informed. Someone next door to that has had glass windows smashed in another antique item. It is always a worry when someone is running around doing this in ones surrounds.

Description of grass in tussocks in 'The biggest estate..' is identical to what I have here. The ground has become soft and lumpy to walk on while covered in varied green growth. Mind you I currently avoid walking on it if possible. Anyhow I tread gently on the earth. My paths remain horrendous. Son has the problem of livestock and dogs hence the mud bath.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That is a very good point. Sometimes, the weather conditions knock different species back in unexpected ways and you never know. Sometimes changing conditions favour other species and they boom - I see that down here all of the time, but then I'm probably in a bit more of an ecological knife edge than you.

Oh they're so good. I wonder where their like is today? I'm interested to see that inequality between the generations is starting to get discussed down here. It is fascinating to watch and I seriously wonder when the hammer will fall on various perquisites? It is still an unmentionable topic. I did offer to go on national radio to talk about exactly that, but I suspect that that particular subject is not fit for polite company yet. It is wishful thinking those pirates sailing the wide accountant-sea! :-)!

I reckon you could well tell me some interesting stories of patrons at the library... Mental health issues are swept under the carpet, although I suspect things are easier nowadays than in previous decades. Before that time though, I reckon people knew of the village idiot and everyone more or less looked out for them and curbed the worst of their behaviours. Oh yes, I've seen that very sign in a ukulele shop in Melbourne which said that unattended children will be fed red cordial and given a kitten! Same, same, really! I respect the massive amounts of sugar addition!

Haha! Yes, we all live in a yellow submarine - whatever that means. As an interesting side note, I really enjoyed the Len Deighton spy novels set in the UK and East Berlin. The main protagonist who was English but grew up in Berlin post WWII and spoke fluent German was an excellent character, but always mildly down in his luck due to a lack of formal education. I loved those stories and they used to refer to the intelligence area of the UK as the yellow submarine. A truly great read! One of his bosses was inept, but always managed to uncover the best food in any part of the world that they ended up in! Anyway, apologies for the digression, but over the past two days I have spotted both rats and mice...

Well yeah. Liebig's law of the minimum is at play in that. The scientific method is quite good at identifying individual variables, but it really struggles with whole systems. Food and herbals are a good example of that problem in the real world as the interactions may be so complex that it is beyond our understanding. I tend to take a step back from all of that and ask myself: What works? I don't for example generally add individual minerals to the soil, but instead use a scatter-gun approach and just apply loads of manures and mulches and simply stand back and watch things grow, knowing that they can look after their own business. I have total respect for people who can know that their gardens using the scientific methodology and can know that it may need a bit of boron or maybe some gypsum because that detailed understanding is beyond me and I appreciate reading their works as many areas of the world suffer from mineral deficiencies of one sort or another.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

But, again digressions aside, it is really hard to know how complex systems interact, other than by a sort of feeling and observing process - which is what I do here. Do the wombats look healthy and are there plenty of them seems like a good question to ask? ;-)!

Apologies, I'm ranting... :-)! Hehe!

Those Lost Gardens of Heligan are something else! Wow! Impressive stuff. I can't recall whether you've mentioned them before. The images are amazing. I quite like them too!

Well, we all tend to repeat ourselves over time and that is life. Fortunately, few of us seem to have a photographic memory (which would be a true burden) and many things need to be repeated over and over again! I read a series of books once by the author Gene Wolfe who wrote the Shadow of the Torturer series and that protagonist had a photographic memory. I'm unsure that it would be a good thing as sometimes it is useful to forget things. Bryson is no spring chicken! :-)! Neither are any of us really!

Was the Chinese food good? I'm a real fan of Chinese dumplings which are excellent. Xiaolongbao is an awesome dish. Total 100% yummo! Nice to read about the co-op shop too. Very interesting. I commenced the long process of joining a new local horticultural group yesterday. Of all of the gardening groups in the area, they have the longest history so I thought that I'd give them a go (plus I knew a few people in there). I'm a bit reluctant to join local groups due to the difficulties arising from consensus politics...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I liked the photo of the chicken with the goats looking on wistfully. The goats are probably thinking to themselves: Those spoiled chickens get all the best stuff! :-)!

Absolutely, the chickens are unable to peck through the thick skin of the zucchini, so slicing it open is always the best approach. I chuck the leathery skin into the orchard and it disappears reasonably quickly. Are the pigs unable to consume the skin - or do they simply prefer not too? Your animals are clearly in farm paradise.

Oh, yuk. Wombat funk is pretty strong (as is male koala) but the skunk takes it to the whole next level. I had to watch a short video just to understand what you were writing about: So not very good. How skunks spray. I always enjoyed the old Warner Brothers cartoon of Pepe Le Pew and his unfortunate feline companion! Naughty Salve!!!! Yes, Sir Scruffy, who is usually a gentleman, has a rather unsociable habit of rolling in wombat funk, and he finds that this habit leads to a bath with strong smelling soap. I feel for you. Naughty Salve.

Wow, that is still quite cold for spring conditions. Brrr! It is 43.8'F outside right now, and thankfully half an inch of rain fell today! I do hope that it dries up a bit so that you can get the new posts in for the pig pen. The weather has been getting more extreme, and I'm glad that I've brought in the firewood for this winter early. Burn off restrictions were lifted Monday morning and the entire mountain range looked like Mordor because there were so many individual fires (pent up demand, I reckon)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Hello again! We're not far off real time - although it is about 9pm here and I'm eating dinner (gnocchi and vegetable sauce)!

Fair enough, I'm not really sure either which is why I asked. The daffodils and jonquils seem to be my favourites and the wildlife leaves them alone because they are so toxic (I suspect).

Isn't that interesting. The opposite was true down here as I recall hearing about the editors uncle who was encouraged to learn German (he picked up languages and music very easily). I'm lousy at picking up languages too, but I've found that when travelling overseas, I started to pick up the language and local pronounciation through sheer usage and necessity. I've often felt that we learn languages in very strange ways as adults and it is a very different experience to how you would learn as a child through usage. Dunno, but there are a lot of theories about that. I struggle working backwards from the grammar to the spoken (or written) language as that seems a bit abstract for my mind. What are your thoughts on that?

Vandalism is an expression of youth angst at the inequalities. Sometimes, I reckon, they just want to be noticed. If it is adults, then I reckon those are the sort of people that just want to see the world burn. It is troubling. I try not to be a target and my stuff is generally fairly old and un-posh (as someone unceremoniously pointed out to the editor this week in an unfortunate loss of an opportunity - a sad thing that one).

Yes, the tussocks are very interesting aren't they? Down here, little marsupial mice live under the foliage. They lead interesting lives too. I wish I could keep the foliage in the herbage taller during summer, but the arsonists are a real problem. From the sounds of it, you sound as if you are adapting to the extremely damp conditions. I feel for your son though with the livestock in that situation.

I supervised the chickens tonight for about an hour in the orchard whilst the rain gently drizzled down. The chickens didn't seem to notice or care about the rain.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The trip to the Chinese restaurant was good. It's an unusual set up, for here. Many steam tables with lots of different things. You pay a flat rate, extra for drinks. You can go back as often as you want. There's some Western things, too. It's great to sample a bit of this and that. The sodium was a bit over the top. But still, a tasty experience.

Then we went to the goat/sheep co-op. Sigh. I seem to zero in on the most expensive skeins of yarn. The cashmere and angora. $5 to $16 a skein. No thanks. I'll stick with good old fashioned wool. Picked up a couple of cheeses. A soft garlic cheese and a hard sharp cheese. Made from goat or sheep milk.

Went to a big factory outlet mall here. Not what it used to be. I was talking with the manger of the Corning store ... I had worked there, briefly, when it first opened ... 27 years ago! Business is very slow. I think factory outlet stores are becoming a thing of the past. And, so much is online.

Stopped at one of our local, national thrift stores ... Goodwill. They have just about completed a massive rebuild. The book section is now half the size it was, and very "tight." All the collectible stuff is now online.

Well, I'm off to the Little Smoke, today, for my weekly normal trip. A few days of rain, and now the sun is back. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Ha everyone is busy reading ADR, I thought it somewhat repetitive.

Still raining on and off. I have decanted the sloe gin and am now nibbling on gin soaked sloes; they are otherwise, quite inedible.

Here is a recipe that I use for zucchini. I devised it to use up my own garden produce.

Take a casserole dish and slice up Zucchini in it. Add tomatoes, runner beans and those fingernail sized potatoes that one gets lumbered with. I only peel potatoes when roasting them. Some cayenne pepper can be added. the zucchini and the tomatoes provide all the fluid that is required. Place in oven. Once cooked, take lid off and grate on a goodly amount of strong cheese. Place back in oven without lid for about half an hour. Obviously one can make it with what ever one has; the main aim was to use zucchini.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I think that I said cayenne pepper, I meant chilli pepper; not that it probably matters.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

I'm still tempted to look under the bed before climbing in - oh, it's only Little Mad Dog!

I have never seen such zucchini; it's amazing! With your tomatoes - it looks like you didn't sieve out the seeds before canning? I was going to ask you about that. To me, tomato jam = ketchup.

What terribly hard work moving steel garden beds must be; so heavy, so unwieldy. Hi, Toothy! That's a much nicer step now. Hi, Scritchy! You could name, and put up signs, along all of those paths, like - Citrus Lane, Zucchini Avenue, Triffid Alley . . .

The gooseberry reminds me of the tomatillo (Mexican Husk Tomato) which is a nightshade, also, and makes a heavenly green sauce.

Pam

P.S. I have family matters to attend to and may visit infrequently for awhile. C'est la vie.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That is a good way to try different dishes. The thing I want to know though, is if you like a particular dish - how do you know what it is called? Yes, MSG can be a nightmare, but it does make things look more colourful. Down here they do a Yum Cha where different dishes are presented to the table and you get to choose which ones you want and then pay accordingly. It is all very civilised and absolutely tasty.

Cashmere and angora are awesome materials. Very soft and very warm over winter. If I had your winters, I ditch the wool in favour of that stuff. Incidentally alpaca is to kill for too. I have an alpaca red scarf which is quite jaunty with the tweed hat. A few weeks back the morning temperature was a few degrees above freezing and some dude at the local cafe - who was wearing a t-shirt of all things - started telling me that it wasn't that cold. I can assure you and him that it was indeed that cold - he probably uses natural gas to heat his oversized house and drove down to the cafe in his oversized car with the heating going full steam ahead!!!

What is a corning store? Is that a kitchen thing? The factory outlet shops are closing down here too. They used to do these massive bus tours to those shops (I didn't live too far from them at the time) and it was certainly something to see. I always used to wonder where all the people came from? Many of those shops relocated to land on an inner airport for light aircraft not far from the city centre, which is outside the normal council planning and building conditions and the place is a monolith! Actually, I find it to be a bit visually jarring and don't really enjoy going there at all.

Ha! Well, they've combed through the goodies and packed them off over the net. Thrift shops (opportunity shops in the lingo down here) are having something of a renaissance. Still, people get a bit weirded out if you tell them you've bought something there, but there are a lot of people buying stuff there all the same.

Hope the trip into the little smoke was fun. I finished late in the big smoke tonight so went out to pick up a coffee and some yummy slow cooked beef with chips + a lemon ice box pie! Yum!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Yeah, it is funny that. I prefer the more intimate conversation that we all share here and really look forward to reading and responding to the comments. I think I'd have a melt down if I had 582 comments!!! Fortunately, I have a plan for that unlikely situation.

Really, sorry to hear about the continuing rain. It has to stop sooner or later (maybe)? The sloe in gin sounds very nice. Some of those fruits are a bit inedible without treatment. Some of the plums and prunes are a bit tart for my taste and it probably doesn't help that I don't water them enough, but then they are great tasting when dehydrated. It is sort of like apples as every single apple tree produces fruit that has some sort of use whether it is: fresh eating; cooking; and/or cider. Plus there is cider / vinegar too. Yum! Do you have many apple trees in your area, I reckon they'd grow quite well - although with all of your rain, the pears would be superb (but very tall).

Thanks for the zucchini recipe. I showed it to the editor and we were discussing it at length. There are a lot of fruit. We reckon it sounds very much like what we call a bake. We rarely peel potatoes too. The skins taste quite nice to me, but they do need a bit of a wash down before using! The recipe has been transferred into the kitchen and we shall make it over the next few days. Thanks. It uses many of the things that we have here including virtually free oven heat!

Has it warmed up yet? It is cooling down here and most nights are into the single digits (that is Celsius though).

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

That is funny! Watch out for killer rabbits too hiding under the bed (look at the bones!!!).

Well, we're now hoping to plant even more next year in more appropriate conditions. The problem is that the overload of produce is stressing out all of the support systems...

No, I don't mind the seeds, but now that you mention it, the commercial canning process for tomatoes you don't get seeds. They get rid of the skins too using something the editor calls a mouli process - although I haven't pronounced that correctly...

Actually, the steel beds are quite light - it is all of the soil that goes to waste and it takes several weeks to months to get the soil to stabilise again before things start growing properly in it.

Toothy and Scritchy say hi and request that you watch out for Little Mad Dog! :-)!

Thanks and naming them is a good idea. I like the sound of triffid lane (what lurks at the end of the lane - find out if you dare!)

Yes, it is closely related to that plant. Isn't it amazing just how many of those family of plants are around - there are quite a few native ones down here too.

No worries, we'll still be here!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I had shut down my computer, for the night, when I remembered ADR was going to start up, again. So, I fired up the computer and had a good read. Oh, moan. Oh, sigh. My country is so weird. And, sad.

Here, any kind of buffet or salad bar where you help yourself has a glass "sneeze guard" between you and the food. The Chinese restaurant has little plaques, telling you what's in each of the steam table containers.

The veg store didn't have much of a selection of mushrooms, except the boring ones. But, great big portobello mushrooms were $5 a pound.

Corning Company has been around for 160 years. They make glass, ceramics and related material for industry. But, they also had a consumer wing that made Pyrex and Corelle dinnerware. Almost indestructible stuff. Looks like it's been spun off to something called "World Kitchen". A lot of it's made in China, now. The Corning corporate offices, back in New York State have a killer glass museum.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corning_Inc.

A Foley food mill will also take out the seeds from tomatoes. I generally eat the whole vegetable. Even broccoli, I'll cut off the very end, but dice up the stem (after a light peeling) and toss it in whatever I'm cooking. I figure there's probably something good in there.

Speaking of "youth angst", I, by accident, continued the (almost) First Chehalis Australian Film Festival. I picked up something from the library that turned out to be made in Auckland, New Zealand. The stuff I watch :-). "Deathgasm." Bored and disaffected high schoolers in a small town, form a heavy mettle rock band. They find some ancient sheet music that summons demons. Much blood, gore and chainsaws, ensue. The director was shooting for something between a comedy and a horror film ... and, it was. I'm sure it will become a cult classic, among the young. Not family friendly.

As far as the thrift stores go, it's always worth a look. Stuff slips through.

The goat and sheep co-op store also has classes, and provides a comfy area for knitting. Several venerable ladies were hard at work, when I was there. The clerk also showed me the weaving room. There were several floor looms and a couple of spinning wheels. Some very old and lovely. Lew

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

The picture I had was 10 years old so figured it was time to change it. I've been working on a class that I'm presenting at the community college, "Introduction to Goats". I had my sister (of the newest i-phone to take pics of some my old goat pictures to put in the PP and that was one of them. Haven't had goat kids for some years and in fact I sold my last three pet goats last year. When my MIL moved to the Care Center I inherited her desktop computer which is good as my laptop is pretty old. However most of my pics on on the laptop which I wasn't using when it occurred to me to change the pic. Anyway I always thought that was a really cute picture. I miss the goat kids but not the work.

The pigs are able to consume the zucchini skin but when I toss a whole one in it often ends up pushed into their mud hole.

Yes skunks are over the top. Many years ago one of our dogs found a skunk in the road culvert and got sprayed full on in the face. This was in January, first thing in the morning when we were all getting ready for work/school. I hear the doorbell ringing which was odd and open the door to find my husband and the dog which he is pushing away with his foot. Anyway the dog never came inside but we all ended up going to work/school reeking of skunk. Oldest daughter who was 15 at the time was mortified. I was teaching then and tried spraying perfume but the kids all agreed it made it worse. Funny now but no so at the time. Poor dog had to spend the cold day in the garage and it took many baths until she was tolerable.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Inge,

Have to agree with you about ADR this week - was a bit disappointed.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Pam,

Hope the "family matters" aren't too serious. All I can say is "been there, done that" and good luck.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Forgot to mention - and apologies for that, the reply was penned very late last evening (which is no excuse really) - but I do hope that the family matter is not too stressful and that your assistance is gratefully received.

Hi Lewis and Inge,

Both of you have been mentioning the "repeat" factor of late and I have been wondering about that issue myself. At this stage, I am at a loose end on Sunday evening and will pen up some thoughts here for discussion / consideration of the subject matter. It is an interesting discussion and so far I've blithely (or deftly :-)!) avoided discussing the subject - but you have had me wondering about it too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Well, it makes for interesting, if un-fun reading. I hear you too man. Gridlock reigns supreme down here too. If only they could somehow shake the addiction to political donations. John Kenneth Galbraith remarked once that no one donates to a political cause without the consideration of a return on that investment. Wise words. The weird thing we've got going down here is that voting is compulsory and I believe the turn out is about 94% (or maybe 96%), so the politicians are in a classic double bind as a result. The turnover down here with political leaders almost makes us look like a laughing stock.

No way! A sneeze guard is a totally new concept to me. Mind you, I rarely see self help buffets (other than hotel breakfasts) - which I've always considered to be wise to avoid. They just have the food in stainless steel serving trays with maybe a self help toaster. Usually it isn't bad food either.

Speaking of sneezing though, cases of measles have been on the increase down here in recent years. So, maybe we may get those sneeze guards after all?

Yeah, that's about what I pay for them down here at the markets. How is your shitake kit growing? It might be a bit early yet to see some fruit, but you never know with your climate? Shitake mushrooms are the best for soups, rice dishes and noodles. Yum!

Ah, thanks for that! Of course, corning cookware. That museum would be very interesting to see. Especially the changes over the years. Have you noticed that glassware feels more brittle these days?

I do realise that you dislike vegemite - no accounting for taste! Hehe! - anyway, when I was a kid, the stuff was sold in these glass jars with a metal lid. The interesting thing was that the glass jar which was very strong was always used as a glass for drinks, obviously after the vegemite was consumed (and the glass was cleaned too). I still remember those glass jars clearly.

Yeah, I eat all of the vegetables too. Broccoli is the best vegetable and the stalks are quite edible as long as they're cut up. As a funny side story, I've noticed that some people tend to peel Kiwi fruit (Chinese gooseberries), but a friend from New Zealand told me that they eat the fruit skin and all and to be honest, I've never looked back.

I read somewhere that a lot of the nutrients for fruit and vegetables are actually in the skin of the fruit/vegetable, so I reckon you're onto a winner with that strategy. Actually, now that I think about it for a bit, I've read of people peeling mushrooms which just seems weird to me.

Oh yeah, the editor has been reading the blog recently of a guy in Canada that makes his living comb through rubbish and / or second hand stuff looking for gems which he then resells. Business is booming for the dude too.

They do some good films along those lines. Brain Dead and Bad Taste spring to mind! (that was a bad pun...)

That is good to see such nana technology in action. Total respect. On Thursday night, I passed by a cafe and noted a sizeable women's group in there chatting and all quietly knitting. It seemed very civilised - with coffee.

I had to do some hunting around the industrial wastlelands of middle Melbourne today (after a job in the inner city). It is a bit sad to see the empty boarded up factories surrounded with post war housing. Do you get a lot of that in Portland?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

It is a lovely picture. Those goats look quite inquisitive and they have an eye for mischief - no doubts about that. Livestock is work isn't it? I reckon I'm sticking with chickens as they seem to be quite low stress once a person gets the hang of their routines and requirements. I'd like to report to you that the new all weather chicken enclosure has seriously improved the chickens health and happiness.

I haven't mentioned the three new leghorns, but they are very attractive birds and have these floppy wattles on their heads. It is quite endearing, really.

Yeah, the chickens can turn the zucchini upside down too, which can be a nuisance. Pigs would be a whole lot of fun as they seem very intelligent and curious creatures.

Oldest daughter was definitely correct to be mortified at that prospect!!! Funny. Glad you can all laugh about the skunk situation now. :-)! From my perspective it is quite funny. Mind you, I wash any of the dogs with strong smelling soap that have developed a habit for wombat funk. Is your dog more careful with skunks since that day? It would leave a lasting impression.

I enjoyed the post, but have been considering the difficulties of the repeating problem and I reckon I'll chuck some thoughts out there on Sunday night and we can all have a think and a chat about it. Dunno, really. It is an interesting issue though.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

I agree with other comments re: slight disappointment at the latest ADR. On the other hand he has been writing for a few years now and I guess repetition is unavoidable. Perhaps he should dial back to 1 post a month now? I dunno, they are free after all so I can't really complain :-)

Packing and moving has gone into high gear. We leave in two days. I spent today moving mattresses, fridges and various knick knacks and small furniture items to buyers around town (and in a neighboring town). We also moved the chooks to a new home. I hope they will be happy. We see them again on Sunday before we head out for good.

Now time to clean the oven :-(

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Eat the skins of kiwi fruit!!! Sounds like an April fool to me. I do agree about eating skins where possible though.

I have noted the info. on salt rising to the surface of the ground in 'biggest estate'. 30 years ago when flying from Adelaide to Perth one could observe this from the air. In fact the land looked as though it was covered in great sores; I don't know what the other colours were but it looked chemical.

I don't get salt here but where water lies above ground, it gets a bloom of algae; very colourful resembling the appearance of oil on water.

The weather is cold and we are being threatened with some coming Arctic chill.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Ah! I just thought of another use for your abundance of tomatoes. An old remedy for skunk smell is tomato juice. Would probably work on wombat smell, too? Dedicate a few quarts and keep it on hand. We have skunks, in this part of the world, but so far, none around Casa Withering Heights. A good thing. They can go after chickens.

I can't for the life of me figure out what the "repeat factor" is. Oh, well. All will be revealed, in time. :-).

No action on the shitake front, yet. I have it set up on one end of the kitchen table. The indirect light, end. it does, to me, have a nice earthy smell. Kind of like my worm box. I thought they'd also be nice in omelets or scrambled eggs. Chickens set a one day record, for eggs, yesterday. 7! Probably won't get many, today.

I've never tried Vegemit, so, have no thoughts on the matter. I haven't tried that other stuff, either ... oh, what's the name? Nutella!

Portland never had any really big, noticeable industries. It's more about being a port ... agricultural and logging. So, I never really saw much industrial "blight." When Chef John and I were on our little excursion, the other day, he commented (and I've noticed before) how many commercial buildings are empty, and "to let."

The barn swallows returned, day before yesterday. I was almost run down by one on the front porch. After the robin incident, maybe I should take out bird strike insurance? :-). A crow flew over the yard, the other day. Low enough that I could hear the "whop, whop, whop" of his wings. The hummingbirds are kind of a wash, this year. So far. The back deck feeder has had a little female show up, a few times, during the day. A male comes (sometimes) around sunset. I worked most of yesterday in the front yard (where the apple trees are) and only heard a hummingbird a time or two. No action at those feeders, at all. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Ha! Another satisfied customer! ;-)! We shall speak more tomorrow night in the comments section about such matters (a mini blog, really). I don't really write about ideas and concepts, but this one seems worth talking about.

That is very exciting. Good luck with the move and nice to hear the chickens were rehoused too. Yeah, cleaning ovens is a nightmare. Again, good luck and may the bond be with you!!!!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

No, no! I was totally serious. And to tell the truth, a NZ friend gave me the idea. You'll never look back - but then we may get fresher kiwi fruits than where you are? Dunno.

Yeah, it is bad, and actually, over that part of the country, it is extremely bad. Sometimes the salt looks pink to me, but then it probably isn't just salt leaching to the surface. There are many theories about why it is there, but disturbing the vegetation doesn't seem like a good idea. Are you enjoying the book?

Wow, I'd never heard of the algae growing like that on the surface. You may be interested to know that there have been massive (actually huge) outbreaks of blue-green algae this year in the Murray-Darling River system. I feel for people at the end of that river system (Adelaide / South Australia) as they get a raw deal.

You may have a very cool and damp summer in your future, if things keep going that way? Predictions are difficult though. I hope you stay warm. I've been keeping the wood stove going on low for a little while now.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks, although to be honest, I'm really uncomfortable about ever meeting a skunk in the person (so to speak). Soap seems to work quite well on the wombat funk and Sir Scruffy seems to dislike soap as much as I dislike wombat funk, so the cosmic balance is maintained. It is funny that tomato remedy, because I've read about a similar situation to Mulberry stains in that the unripe fruit can remove the very strong dye in the fruit.

Actually, they do look pretty viscous and are ready to defend themselves against much larger hunters. They are a bit honey badger like really in that regard.

Yeah, tomorrow, in the comments, it should be an interesting discussion. Well maybe, you lot might just write back to say: I already knew that.

Oh yeah, omelettes and scrambled eggs would be perfect for shitake mushrooms. I've been chucking in huge quantities of the dehydrated tomatoes into omelettes and they have a very sharp taste. Plus a touch of fresh greens, chilli flakes, and ground black pepper and that is one yummo dish. The supply of shitakes down here is very small and they're frequently not even available at the market.

7 eggs! Your chickens are the best. Mine are on egg strike today. Nothing at all, but it is a hard time of year for them. One of the Plymouth Rock chickens has moulted quite late and she doesn't look very good.

Nutella! Very amusing. That stuff had a strange surge in popularity earlier this year (or maybe late last year). I don't like the stuff. The English and NZ version of vegemite is called marmite and it actually does taste different to me, although it looks the same.

Are you having a property price bubble in Portland? Sometimes it is hard for businesses to get started because there are just so many parasitical bodies waiting for their ill-gotten gains... The mayor of the fire affected region along the coast said some very poorly chosen words in the media a few days back to the residents (blithely dismissing their concerns) and then I have it on good authority that he repeated them at a meeting. Not a smart move, I reckon, but then what do I know?

They'll get there (maybe) as a free feed for the birds is rarely overlooked.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Yes I am enjoying the book and the fabulous pictures in it. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Vegemite/marmite: Isn't one vegetarian and the other not? They taste completely different. I like marmite and don't like vegemite.

Went for a walk yesterday at the far end of my woods and encountered a number of chicken egg shells. Rang Son to tell him. I don't think that he quite believed me; he will check today.

Hmm, I reckon that our kiwi fruit are probably ancient and gas ripened. But the skins are furry!!

Re ADR: Almost certainly a problem with the high expectations of his fans after the drought, but I am uneasy about what he delivered to them.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,
That dog who got skunked did it (or let it happen) again. In fact, and I know I am tempting fate here, is the only dog of ours that got skunked. She is long gone though and I would say was the best dog we ever had. The was a pit bull too though one of the smaller breeds - English Staffordshire Terrier. At the time I was doing day care in my home for five children between 1 and 2 years old (mine youngest included). When we went to the shelter to pick a dog she was the only one they almost guaranteed was good with kids - and was she!! She'd let all those kids poke and climb on her and when she had enough she just left. She would rough house with adults and older kids but if a baby was around she would was as gentle as can be.

Pit bulls really had a bad name at that time and well still do. Now pit bulls or pit bull mixes make up 3/4 of shelter dogs. Our dog, Leo, is a pit bull mix. However, depending how they are raised, one has to be careful. Leo had been at the shelter for a long time as he looked intimidating but when we questioned the staff they recommended him strongly. He had stayed at some of their homes from time to time.

On another note, I'm getting some brown leghorn chicks soon (along with some other breeds). Supposedly they are good layers, foragers and are predator savvy which is why I want to try them. I may be crazy but I'm also getting some Guinea fowl as well. The tick situation is getting out of hand and they have a reputation for eating tons of them. Supposedly they don't do a number on garden plants like chickens do either. The downside - they really can't be contained and are very noisy but also warm about predators.

Last night I went to the bee club meeting where we heard a very good, but depressing, presentation from the University of Minnesota. She talked about all the issues with bees but particularly the Varroa mite. It sounds like a beekeeper has to treat in some way if they want their hive to survive. More beekeepers are using formic acid as a treatment though it can be dangerous for the person applying. Here's a link regarding varroa mite treatments. http://scientificbeekeeping.com/the-arsenal-natural-treatments-part-1/

Margaret

margfh said...

Lew and Chris,

We did bath our dog with tomato juice when she got skunks and frankly it doesn't work very well. A better option is hydrogen peroxide + baking soda + dishwashing detergent. I keep the recipe in my recipe box for cooking.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Has been 80F (26.66C), here, the last two days. Nights are still cool. 40F (4.44C). But, we're due for a round of cooler weather, overcast and scattered showers. It's overcast this morning, and the dew is dripping, everywhere.

Oh, I think I figured out the repetition, thing. I think you worry, too much. :-). But, maybe I've missed the details. As I've said before :-), people sign on and off the Good Ship Fernglade Farm ... a little repetition of the valuable, or interesting, can't hurt. To quote Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz, "People come and go so quickly, here!" :-). Well, all will be revealed ...

Well, the chooks surprised the heck out of me, yesterday. After the 7 egg day, they plopped out another 5, yesterday. Even if they produce no eggs, today, I think we have a record ... or, at least a tie, for all time weekly production. I do have a bit of a mystery. I think, it's just one of my birds, but someone has been laying some odd eggs. Every elongated, kind of chalky, with very thin shells. They get more than enough calcium. The feed, the oyster shell, the yogurt. I think, maybe, one of my older ladies just isn't metabolizing calcium, the way she used to? Made scrambled eggs, the other night, and ended up with one egg all over the counter.

Speaking of eggs, a package came for the Evil Stepson that wouldn't fit the mail box, so, I walked it over ... along with a dozen eggs. Got to do something, with them.

Trying Nutella and Marmite are on my bucket list of things to try. Next time they go on sale at the market ...

I don't know about the Portland property prices, but, I think (from my point of view) that all the property is pretty overpriced. Every once in awhile, the newspaper will run an article, along the lines of ... "Happy Days are here again! Home sales were up .0001 percent, last month!" Well, break out the champagne. :-).

Some of the posters had touched on "signs that your 'getting on.'" :-). Well, a few years back, I noticed "young folk" we're breaking their necks, trying to hold doors open for me. Young men (judging from the haircuts, probably military or ex-military) started referring to me as "Sir." Last year, I was dumping some brush at the dump, when a young woman rushed over to help me, unload. Well, my back was up and I just wanted to tell her to "get off" and let me be about my business. But, through clenched teeth, I was gracious and thanked her :-).

My friend in Idaho refers to her doctor as "Doogie Howser, MD." Which is a cultural reference to an old sit-com, from years ago. Doogie Howser was a genius 17 year old, who had become a doctor and worked in a large metro hospital. Police men look to be in high school, to me. :-)

Off to Chef John's for the day. I'm going to help him identify, photograph and catalog his tat for insurance purposes. Maybe there will be something good to eat! No self interest here :-). Haven't been over there, in awhile, so will have to remember to take biscuits, for his hounds. Grease the skids. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thank you, that book is an absolute treasure and I enjoyed it immensely. It is interesting that you mentioned the pictures, because they really are good, and when I first looked at the pictures of the very early paintings, my mind recoiled at the depictions of the trees by those early settlers as they just didn't seem to be right (somehow). So I meditated on why that was my reaction and then simply looked at the trees here in the forest and I saw that the early artists had depicted them as they grow in reality. It was a bit of a shock to my mind. The concept of the template was eminently sensible too. It was excellent that so many people took the time back in those days to describe and paint what they were seeing in this alien landscape that I inhabit. It is actually quite an interesting place.

Well of course, I'm unaware of the differences, but marmite does taste differently to me. It is more popular in NZ too (and my NZ friends pester me with the stuff – in a good natured sort of a way, which I enjoy). Honestly, I enjoy both of the products, but it is hard to shake the feeling that you are somehow consuming soylent (as some crazy people actually do nowadays. What a horrid thing to do)!!!!

Ha! It does seem like a remarkable find and I have no reason to doubt you. Strange things can happen in forests and if your climate warms just a little bit I see no reason that escaped chickens won't become part of the fauna in your part of the world. I once read a Jackie French story about a tribe of roosters - which had originated from people too soft to eat their pets - which had established themselves in an isolated spot near her where many local people were dumping them.

Of course the skins are furry! Hehe! Your response is very amusing to me! :-)! Apologies, but I really do eat the skins on firm kiwi fruit. Now, you may notice that I used the word "firm" and that was because I find the taste of over ripe kiwi fruit to be rather unusual and a little bit chemically tasting (much like over ripe feijoa's).

I feel sort of sad about the recent ADR posts. More on this later - look for the comment further down this list... I would appreciate your thoughts on the matter?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Well, Staffordshire terriers are actually very lovely dogs (with massive heads which may house quite large brains), but I don't know about teasing skunks as it seems like the consequences outweigh the enjoyment from that act. ;-)!

Yeah, that breed of dog is really high energy, but from my experience it depends on just how much the previous pack (i.e. humans) had revved that particular dog up and people can be quite stupid with them. I didn't know that they were related to Pit Bulls, but I've never heard a bad word about the Staffordshire terriers down here and in fact, they are quite loyal - if overly energetic - dogs.

I once owned a large Pomeranian bitch and she was a little monster. And the dog hated every other dog she would ever come into contact with. When the previous old boss dog died, she changed virtually over night into an ultra serious boss dog. It was her that gave me the Monika "fluffy" because she absolutely loved people, but hated dogs. Children could turn her upside down and pull her ears and tail roughly and she would simply look at them and give them a look that said: "I love you, and you are soooo much fun". Once I was walking her and her pack of two much larger subservient dogs in the local recreation reserve and a random single very large dog ran at us in a menacing way. It was a hunting dog and the owner (sort of) apologetically explained to me that his dog saw my dog as prey, except that the oversized Pomeranian had bailed up the guys so called very large hunting dog effectively utilising her pack of two other dogs which were strategically in tow. It was amazing to observe. I came to understand that it is true that it is not the size of the dog, but the size of the fight within the dog, and people fail to understand that. And Staffy's are really lovely dogs but my take on them is that they have to be calmed down quite a bit before they are reasonable. That was very wise to listen to the advice from the people at the shelter on their experiences.

Nice to hear. The black leghorns seem to be very happy birds here with good common sense. You know, it is interesting that you are looking at the brown leg horns because I've been moving closer over the past few years to chickens that look closer to jungle fowl, but are good layers at the same time. I mean they're all legs and feet. The roast chicken that I purchased a few weeks ago now (on a ridiculously hot night) couldn't have had much more meat than a jungle bird anyway.

Yeah, I've heard that too about the guinea fowl and I wonder about that noise complaint issue. My mates have guinea fowl and they seem OK to me, so I have no idea what people are actually talking about. Mind you, the chickens have learned now by watching the dogs to kick the steel door to their enclosure when they see me, so as to vocalise their dissatisfaction with not free roaming enough through the orchard...

Well yeah, formic acid is pretty nasty to the skin. The bull-ants here inject and spray your skin with that stuff so I can assure you it is a pretty nasty chemical and leaves me with serious burns and irritation. Having said that though, if that is what you have to spray to keep your European honey bees alive and working hard, then perhaps that is just the way it is. That mite really worries me as whilst it is not on this continent, it is only a matter of time. I reckon the best and only thing we can do is provide the bees with as much natural (i.e. flowers) food as we can. I'm struggling with the bees down here too, although one hive here should over winter quite well (maybe?).

Cheers.

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Your weather sounds almost perfect. The funny thing is that the weather down here at this time is almost exactly the same. 80'F is pretty nice, you have to admit?

Of course I worry too much, and am glad to hear that you put some thoughts towards the subject matter! Hehe! You of course realise that life is full of cycles and that it is how the matter is. ;-)! Yeah, I'd be happy to discuss the subject below! The thing that amazes me is that I haven't annoyed too many people commenting and reading the blog here. I mean, you have to admit that on the Internet such a thing is not hard to do? I only really started the blog because I enjoyed having a chat with you so much and I was taking up too much space on the ADR talking about the things going on down here – and without the photos it did sound a little bit made up, but I have been doing this sort of stuff for over two decades now.

Melbourne is having its comedy festival (it is a truly massive international event) on at the moment and last night I went with the editor and some friends into the big smoke to see the comedian: Greg Fleet, who has been very successful, but has been quite the junkie in the past (for a few decades on some very strong stuff). It was fascinating to spend a bit of time in his head at his comedy show. I'm not sure whether I found the show to be funny, but it was very interesting. I did notice that he had a lack of humility as he saw himself as the smartest guy in the room - no doubts about that one, and I wondered whether deep down in his darkest days - which he spoke amusingly about - whether he hung onto that assertion? Dunno.

Your chickens are the total best! Yeah, sometimes I've found that the first egg shells from a hen which has become point of lay can be a bit soft. It usually passes and then they simply get on with the job of laying eggs. The scrambled egg / bench situation was not good - Beau or Nell could have assisted with that small matter! Hehe! Do you have any borage or comfrey (or even almond grit) to feed to the hens? That might help, but the oyster grit is a very good idea. I get that grit crushed to quite a fine material and was wondering what your lot was like? I remember when I was a kid, people used to comb the beaches for cuttlefish (hard bony squid bits which they outgrow and discard) and then put them in the bird enclosures. I still see them on beaches down here still (when I'm near a beach anyway).

A very wise thought. Out of interest, how were the eggs received? I was trying to explain to my mate last night over dinner that social things in rural areas are very complex and are handled delicately. It is a very different experience to urban areas or even country commuter towns.

Ha! Yeah, I could probably see you enjoying nutella as it is a hazelnut based product. My mate, who is now over in Ohio (actually he is doing an internship at Quail Springs right now - which is in California I believe) used to eat the stuff from very huge jars. Dunno, about marmite... ;-)!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

It is crazy down here too. Talk about property prices is one thing that can make me feel sad. Yeah, the papers are talking up the ever rising property prices up too. Mind you, they've just sacked another quarter of their staff (I noticed in the past week or so) and the strangest thing of all is that the paper seems to be printed on slightly thicker paper so that a person gets the impression that despite the reduced content, the paper is the same thing as before. It is such weird times that we live in.

Ha! That is totally funny, I love it! Sorry for finding amusement in your comment. Mate, I'm going to tell you that someone that linked to this very blog described me as an old dude too (in a nice way which I understood and am totally cool with) so we're both in very good company!!!!! Someone said "Mam" to the editor the other day and she was far less gracious about that one. Entropy gets all of us in the end.

You've got me laughing tonight. Yes, Doogie Howser was a great show. Actually that actor (Neil Patrick Harris) has done very well for himself in the intervening years and he played a role in one of the funniest - and most totally wrong - films I've seen out of the US in many years: Harold and Kumar Escape from Guntanamo Bay. Seriously, I would not have thought that I would laugh so hard at such a silly film, but it was just so very wrong from start to finish.

Not to stress, everyone looks young to me too!!!!

Of course, I have foodie friends and they always put on a good feed - and it is often a surprise to discover what they've been up too. So self-interest with Chef John is OK by me! :-)! Feeding the hounds is an excellent idea.

Was the food good? I'm baking a basic focaccia tonight for dinner as the editor has ventured out on a girlie night with friends in the big smoke. I'm not sure what to put in the focaccia though. Ordinarily, I'd boil an egg and chuck that in with a bit of greens and maybe some cheese, but with the egg strike going on due to the prevailing autumn conditions, I've had to hold back on egg consumption. Complex times.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi everyone,

Just for comments following this particular comment, and on this particular blog entry only I've decided to remove the usual prohibition relating to keeping things family friendly in the comments section. However, the usual prohibition relating to personal attacks and other general silly social primate nastiness stuff (and I get to decide what that means in practice) still applies.

Without further ado, here goes...

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi everyone,

A number of regular commenters, whom I all have a great respect for, have commented recently about their general disappointment relating to the most recent essay over at the ADR and this has inspired me to discuss things and ideas that I generally stay out of. The reason for that distance on my part is because mostly I'm far too busy doing stuff to become concerned with such things. But if I see enough comments though, I know that there may be a festering sore that needs lancing (ouch and a little bit messy! Yuk!).

So, gather around the bonfire over at Fernglade Farm and settle in for story time. Oi, you! Over there! Stop lurking outside the firelight and move in a bit closer. Right. That's better. I don’t want to shout, you know! We all seem to be here now and attentively listening and better still keeping warm in the warmth from the bonfire. Did anyone think to bring the marshmallows?

Sorry, I digress. Toasted marshmallows are very good though.

Way back in the 1970's there was this guy. He was a bit of a dork (I’m a bit of a dork too, so I can say that). Being a dork he liked fantasy and science fiction books and like me at that same age, he dreamed of flying around the solar system in bright and shiny spaceships whilst visiting exotic and far away distant planets and having amazing and exotic adventures.

That wasn't an unreasonable expectation either, because I mean, like, well, in his life men had actually, stepped onto the Moon and then returned to the Earth again safely (well, one of those Moon trips was not quite so smooth, but they did actually make it back).

Unlike me, that guy as a young man, came across an old school primer in magic. And I'm not talking about the sort of magic shown in television shows like: The tomorrow people; I dream of genie; or bewitched. But proper magic which has been used for millennia - the art and science of changing consciousness in accordance with will.

I was an idiot in those days and it didn't help that I'd read Alfred Bester's book at school: The Stars my destination (my copy was called Tiger, Tiger for some reason)! I used to think that if I just concentrated hard enough I could literally teleport (or jaunt as the author described it in the book) to somewhere else which at the time was not a bad idea because anywhere else would have been a preferable place to the rather strange home existence (well, maybe the Pol Pot era in Cambodia would not have been a good idea, but then if you could teleport…). Anyway, 10 out of 10 for effort, but 0 out of 10 for effect. I didn't need to be told a second time, as I'd learned my lesson, magic does not work on material things.

Still, I'm not referring to me in this story and that was a weird digression.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

So this guy had a strong interest in the sorts of nanna technology that was being refined back in the late 1970's. You see, the OPEC supply shock during those years, in addition to the US reaching its own peak of conventional oil extraction meant that there was a lot of economic, personal, and energy pain in the western world.

You guys know that story well enough by now.

That guy that we were speaking about earlier believed that the nanna and home scale technologies which would be employed to cushion the fall into the inevitable lower energy future. Hand made wind turbines, no worries. Organic gardening, fuck yeah!

But then a strange thing happened. The large oil fields in the North Sea and the North Slope in Alaska were pumped - hard.

Everyone then breathed a massive sigh of relief and said "stuff it" to the nanna technology. I get that. They said: “We don't need it” and wouldn’t it have been a hassle anyway?

But you see, that guy that we were speaking about knew deep down - and it probably didn't help that he had studied ecology - that no oil field lasts forever and that eventually we would return to the same situation, but with even less resources, an even greater population and an even more despoiled ecosystem.

I don't like being left out of a party either whilst all of my mates are pissing it up having a totally good time, but that is probably how that guy felt. Can you even imagine what dark thoughts he would have had to live with during that time, not to mention the derision of his peers, who were probably partying hard?

So he kept to his occult studies, but also widened his fields of interest into history and the cycles of civilisations whilst also employing his understanding of ecology. All that long while he lived his life, loved, suffered, and continued his studies into both the occult and nanna technologies. He also had ambitions to become a writer, which in time he achieved and has been extremely successful at.

Does this sound familiar to you people sitting around the bonfire? Well, it should, because I'm writing about my understanding of JMG.

I've been reading the ADR for a very long time now, and I recall that many years ago, he cast a spell using magic. That spell, was quite simple and it was this: There is no brighter future.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

The amazing thing that I found fascinating at the time of that spell casting was that JMG did not dissemble about his purpose and simply said this is what I am doing. It was an impressive feat. No, seriously, it really was impressive.

Now, I need you lot to gather in a little bit closer, because I'm going to share something with you (and I respect the fact that you may have made it this far in a very long winded story). Get a little bit closer and don’t stress as the fire won't burn you, you know.

So, here's a guy that studied ecology, walks the talk, makes no bones about being actively involved in the occult traditions, and has also studied the rise and fall of civilisations and historical cycles. And he says: We're screwed and wrote about that point extensively.

And then he goes on at length to point out that we are not facing an apocalypse, but merely the sad and slow unwinding of civilisation - and then just to make sure we understand, he points out the difference between the two perspectives and the reasons why people would think such craziness. Just to make really sure he writes not one, but many books outlining his very unpalatable, but historically extremely reliable perspective.

So, I'll whisper this next bit - so you'll have to get even closer to the bonfire: If way back then, he casts a spell to let you know that he thinks we're screwed, and that was way back then, and the years have continued, then if he is writing about politics, do you not wonder whether he is furiously attempting another dispell (i.e. a spell) to snap people out of their collective apathy?

Remember that magic is the art and science of changing consciousness in accordance with will.

People who scoff at the previous sentence might want to consider just how often politicians, the media, marketing people, and heck, even pick up artists, use that understanding of magic to change your consciousness for their own benefit. It really happens all of the time and our society stinks to me of magic and it offends me deeply.

My take on the situation is that JMG believes that we are reaching a turning point in the political decline. And that is really shit. He is using his arts to attempt to change consciousness, because it really is a giant bucket of shit. Fortunately, his writing is reaching an ever larger audience. And magic on that level needs to be repeated over and over again, so when you lot sitting around the bonfire write of repetition and are bored by the message, clearly you understand the message. But the next question you need to be asking of yourself is: what next then? That is a question you need to ask of yourself and please don’t go searching for a leader to show you the way.

This blog shows you what my response to that knowledge is, and I have been on this path for well over two decades having arrived on this path after a bunch of economic troubles in the recession in the early 1990’s. I've felt the world fall out from underneath me over the period of a few weeks and it is a really crap feeling to be left scrambling for survival in a world that largely doesn't give a shit.

I hope that explains the repetition and puts some of your minds at ease. Know that you may see more of it too, as things escalate - as they are from what I can see down here.

Over to you, and be careful with that bonfire!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

A magnificent defence and I wish that I was close to that bonfire, it is really cold here.

Do you want comments on this to remain on this section of your blog?

It sounds as though you are equating magic with brain washing, if so, I disagree.

I do think that ADR's blog has got out of hand, far too many comments, most of them from adoring fans. What think you?

More later.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Well, first things, first :-).

@ Margaret - Thanks for the skunk recipe. I also keep things in my recipe box that I don't want to loose track of. I'll put this, in the back, right next to the borax ant killer :-).

Yo, Chris - I think it really takes a lot of ego, to be a stand up comic. To let the "slings and arrows" bounce right off of you. Sometimes, I get on a very funny roll (judging from the reaction of people around me.) When I'm hot, I'm hot. When not, not. But, I sure wouldn't want to try and make a living of it. Well, now you (maybe) know a bit more about addictions (of all kinds.) I remember sitting in a group, early in my recovery. Someone told a "funny" and everyone laughed. At that point, I never thought I'd laugh, again. And, you learn (new or rediscovered skill) that it's ok to laugh at yourself. I do. Quit frequently. :-).

Well, not near a record for eggs. 33 last week. I checked my calendar, and last early August to late September, I was getting 34+. Last July, I had one week where I hit 42. But, I think I had one more hen, at that time. Eggs are precious! :-). The bench was clean, and the egg broke near the edge. So, I just picked out the shells and swept the mess into the bowl. A pre-scrambled egg? :-).

Well, going to Chef John's was a wash out. I showed up and he wasn't home. I hung out for about a half hour, went home, and left a hot message on his answering machine. He called later, and said he thought it was for an hour later, than the agreed upon time. I told him I was "out of the mood" and had already moved on to doing other things. I am reassessing our friendship. But, I'll give myself a few days to cool off. Left the eggs, anyway. Cont.

margfh said...

Thanks for this, Chris.

You and JMG certainly do "walk the walk" which is by no means easy. He has really influenced changes in my world view. When I said I was a little disappointed in his last blog entry I guess I was being a bit selfish. He gets new readers all the time and judging from comments from those readers he does have to keep answering the same questions.

It appears that the editor and you are on the same page which, if that is indeed true, is very helpful when choosing one's response to the question "What's next?" When your partner is not quite where you are there are many compromises to be made.

Probably have more to say but have to move on to other things right now.

Again thank you for your thoughts.

Margaret

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. It warmed up and got sunny, yesterday afternoon. My 5 apple trees are now in full blossom flush. So, I decided to do an informal bee census. Not good. I only saw 4 or 5 bees, working the blossoms.

Months ago, I saw something about a book that I wanted to read. "Neurotic Beauty: An Outsider Looks at Japan." Morris Berman, 2015. Tried to get it on an interlibrary loan, but was told it was "too new." Then, the library ordered a couple of copies for their collection, and, it was put on my hold list. Where it languished for months. If there are fewer than 12 holds, it winds it's path through processing. It's been months. But, I finally got it. There was a bit in the introduction, that really caught my eye.

"These sensibilities, as already indicated, antedated the epiphany of my English class. As a pre-teen, I watched the destruction of my hometown with bewilderment and dismay. First there was the ripping out of the trolley tracks to make way for the ugly Interstate Highway System. Shortly after came the paving over of our red-brick streets so that cars could tear through it without having to slow down. Step by step, anything that had craft or character attached to it got dismantled and replaced, until the town became just one more boring, homogenous American city. (Italics (I hope) mine). Everything was rush, rush, to no human purpose. "They made a wasteland and called it progrees," to paraphrase Tacitus."

That's pretty much the way I've felt, most of my life. And, it was, I think, what Bryson writes about ... but he didn't put it in near so clear terms.

James Kunstler rattles on about Japan, being the first modern country to "go Medieval." In an orderly fashion. I used to be a follower of his blog ... back when he was mainly concerned with towns and planning. Now, it's mostly flogging his view of politics and economics. So, now, I just read his weekly posts and the first couple of dozen comments. I don't contribute, anymore. The unmoderated comments got onerous.

Your blog, on the other hand, is a daily joy. Over a cuppa. I almost always learn something practical that is new, or, different ways of looking at things.

I also picked up a new to the library DVD "Inhabit; A Permaculture Perspective." (2013). Will be interesting to see if it's the real blood, sweat and tears of permaculture, or, another la-la "You can just wander through the forest and meet all your nutritional needs, and never lift a finger." :-). But, onto the topic at hand. I'm in danger of using up the internet. :-) Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Dorks of the world, unite! Joined the union, got the t-shirt. It takes a strength of character, as it can be a very lonely and unfashionable place to be. I started off with "Spaceship Under the Apple Tree" and "The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet." And, moved on to more adult sci-fi fare. Bradbury's "Martian Chronicles." James Blish "Cities in Flight." "Pilgrimage: Book of the People" by Zenna Henderson.

And, tonight, I'll sit down with a big bowl of popcorn with lots of melted cheese and spend an hour and a half watching "Star Trek: First Contact. And, I will be absolutely thrilled when the aliens march down the space ship ramp, throw back their hoods and you see "the ears." :-). The "Magic Carpet Ride" sound track, helps. :-). And, then I'll feel a little sad, as it isn't going to happen. Having seen two UFOs (please, no comments on that ... ) I try and keep an open mind. Besides, I'm beginning to fall in the Stephen Hawking's camp. Alien contact might not be benign, and we'd best keep our heads down :-).

But, to the topic at hand. You cannot believe the "political fatigue" we are feeling, over here. Luckily, I haven't had tv in years, and have stopped subscribing to the local newspaper. What I see on the internet, is bad enough. The media just flogs every possible scenario, when we just ... don't .... know what will happen. In the meantime, I'll fret about my lack of bees and how many eggs my chickens lay.

As far as ADR goes, quit frankly, I'm a little bored with the latest fiction installments. I know. Heresy! I don't pay near as much attention to the comments, on those weeks. But, I still learn practical things from the ADR and also different ways of thinking about things. Someone may have referred to the Berman book, on ADR. And, I did, and will continue to throw a chunk of change, in the tip jar, usually around the winter solstice.

Judging from the comments, JMG has woken up the "inner bullshit detector" of a number of people. I think, perhaps, he hopes (at least) to slow down the inevitable decline. To keep it on track as a stair step movement, and not falling off a cliff. But that we may be approaching one of those steps, at least, politically.

"There is no brighter future, ahead." At least, as most of the world sees a brighter future. But, I think JMG also holds out a ... alternate view of the future, that may be hard and difficult and filled with sorrow, but, also, will have it's moments of joy and beauty.

But, I'll stop there, as, as far as I know, I've lost the plot. And, I'm using up the internet. So, do I have this right? Comments on this topic, will continue here. Tomorrow's post will be "back to our usual scheduled programing?" Kind of, dueling banjos? :-).
Lew

Damo said...

Very well written comments Chris. I can't say that I really have anything insightful to add. I have been reading the ADR for a few years, and have read highlights from his earlier years. I am pretty much on board with his world view, perhaps it is a bit much to expect new and fresh insights every week? Maybe, at some point, it all just becomes a bit of a circle jerk and echo chamber?

As for myself, I admit to deep uncertainty in financial matters. Do I buy USD? Gold? Deposit on land? Spend it all on beer and drugs? We can point to all the signs of catabolic collapse and agree on the long term outcome of business as usual, but do we have another good 2-3 years, 10? The answer could mean the difference between a hardworking, but comfortable existence on my own plot somewhere or living under a bridge (or even worse, working in insurance!).

I was planning on typing up and publishing to my blog an old Settlers' manual, c.1890. Does that count as knowledge preservation? Is anyone here interested? It has recipes, home remedies, livestock care etc.

Yahoo2 said...

I guess I will weigh in, reluctantly.

First, Hi to Akl if your listening, and extra 12 x 260w panels on a 60A controller would make that AGM battery happy and content at 50% discharge, in all but the depths of winter (at least winter where i live) but that might be overkill for your storage needs. I fluked 60 quality panels at 62 cents/watt in January last year, keep your eyes peeled there might be a grid kit going cheap or something.

OK, on with the show.
Chris, we all know the drive to JMG's writing, yes he is upfront about it ALL, however as you have reminded us,
quote
"Remember that magic is the art and science of changing consciousness in accordance with will".

On behalf of us oldies, who have looked over the cliff into the darkness several times AND have had a first-hand taste of real community, we know a thing or two about feeling of helpless in the face of cold, relentless and all-consuming decline and inhumanity. We also know the finer points of influence, planting an idea as a seed and shaping its growth to smother competition.

There is plenty of science in "the end of ordinary politics" but a severe lack of art and perhaps subtlety. "Decline of Hillary" was posted 6 weeks ago, I assumed that was deliberate and the next post would be the third in a trilogy of posts.

This last month has been a cornucopia of current affairs, more than enough material to find some juicy tit-bits to weave a thought provoking narrative on conventional wisdom, something that fills you with an uneasy feeling of emptiness or dread that you can’t quite put your finger on. The next instant you see a crystal clear example of flawed logic that makes the morning coffee jet from the nostrils, something that can be recalled and held up to ridicule with no effort.

To me it feels like JMG has been blinded by the overwhelming glare of US politics as it grinds its way to a crescendo. I think, despite him saying, This time it's different! He himself has not quite believed it and slipped into a distracted and cluttered mentality for this week.
Given the increased readership and reposting, I was expecting, just for this one window of opportunity, something with a little bit more soul than a list. The 5 paragraphs around where he said "May I please be frank?" and "it really is as simple as that!" fleshed out with a lead in, links and good examples could have been this week’s post and it could have been jaw-dropping-ly stunning.

In My opinion the post just needed a spring clean and a prune with the offcuts saved for next time. I count 17 concepts or points raised in a 3000 word post.

Just one example of something that America has missed while they were looking into the sun. Mossack Fonseca, exposed tax havens and their advocates for all to see and exactly how jumpy governments are getting as "Vanessa the voter" stands there with her arms folded and daggers in her eyes, waiting for a coherent explanation as to why she can’t negotiate an "agreed settlement" with the Tax Dept and pay less than 10% of what she owes like the big boys.

For your consideration Steve

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge, Margaret, Lewis, Damo and Steve,

Thanks for the lovely comments - and yes, comments are open here for a while to come. This section was only ever intended for the regular commenters.

Hopefully, if there are not too many comments on the tonights blog (which I hope you enjoy!), I'll respond tomorrow night. Otherwise, I will respond over the next few days as time permits.

I reckon what we are discussing here is quite important and you've all raised fascinating issues and questions which are worthy of discussion.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Steve speaks a lot of sense above.

I have read ADR because I love extreme intelligence. I have always been wary of his intent though; I think that it is far more complex than you believe. Someone once queried whether his real intent was his other blog and I think that he did not answer this. I avoid the other blog because he has mentioned with admiration people whom I have known in the past or friends have known. These people are now long deceased so I am happy to describe them as vile. Beware the esoteric aspects of ADR.

Having disciples may be fine for a while but they become a burden and I suspect that this may have happened.

You are, of course, welcome to totally disagree with me.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - A phrase (or, paraphrase) occurred to me this morning. "How many politicians can dance on the head of a pin." :-). That's pretty much the situation, here.

Sometimes, JMG (I think) lets tangents get out of hand. The great 'y'all' debate. Almost as bad as the bicycle people :-). But, all that is just a minor distraction. Luckily, I know how to skim.

I think Damo touched on something. I think even the most obtuse people know that some great change is in the wind. We are afraid. And, we look for information (prophets?). A timetable. A map of what to do. I accurate prophecy a part of magic? The magic JMG talks about? I think not. Even though the filters are off in this part of the blog, I think I'll paraphrase an old American saying, so I won't scare the horses (another old American saying. Thank you Alice Longworth Roosevelt.) I don't know whether to poop or go blind.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming. :-) Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

You would be very welcome at that bonfire. There is one ready to go and I'm waiting for a night that has no breeze before igniting it. It was a rather spirited defence - and it was the truth too, as far as I see it.

Well, as to brainwashing, that is an interesting question and I reckon attempts to change consciousness work best when everyone is aware of what is going on. The advertising industry for example does not care on bit, and in fact would prefer if you thought otherwise - but they're certainly hard at work in that area.

I can't really speak about that issue, because I have no idea how many comments JMG is capable of replying too. Certainly I prefer to maintain a more intimate and lengthy discussion, but then that is me.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thank you for saying that. Yeah, he does get new readers all of the time and as such has to repeat things and work over ideas and change and adapt as new information comes to light. 300,000 hits a month is a big responsibility and way beyond my capacity to deal with.

I often reckon that JMG utilises the blog as an excellent two way learning process. He puts out ideas which are refined by the readers and commenters which he then gets to pick and choose from. It is a very clever process. And speaking of which, you lot also give me ideas and correct me when I'm wrong and I really appreciate that.

Mostly we're on the same page, but not totally either. Incidentally that is the A-bomb of questions! Well done for asking it. :-)!

Start small is my advice and show that there is benefit to be gained in your partner becoming involved in your hobbies and activities.

For example, plant a small garden of hardy flowering plants (and include catmint) and then when the bees visit over the summer to collect pollen and nectar get your partner to watch the bees activities (for a small bit of time) and he may get a taste of your enthusiasm and before too long you may have a huge flower garden (or be planting other areas). Lead by example and start very small. Enthusiasm is infectious and if people can see benefit for themselves! What do you reckon about that?

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,
Yes, totally agree about leading by example and small steps. As you can probably tell DH does many Green Wizardy projects - beekeeping, mead making, building and repairing. He has come a long way but it's taken awhile. The bees had a lot to do about with that as he's realized how interconnected things are. I have changed my thinking too over the years. I do plan to ramp up the flower planting. By the way, the speaker at the bee club really emphasized that as well.

Margaret

akl said...

"First, Hi to Akl if your listening, and extra 12 x 260w panels on a 60A controller would make that AGM battery happy and content at 50% discharge, in all but the depths of winter (at least winter where i live) but that might be overkill for your storage needs. I fluked 60 quality panels at 62 cents/watt in January last year, keep your eyes peeled there might be a grid kit going cheap or something."

Hello there! I have 4 x 260watt panels now, hooked to a 45A MPPT controller. The batteries are flooded lead-acid, not AGM (they are 8 x Trojan T-105 in series). It has been doing fine in the past week of sun to bring the batteries up each day, though I had to abandon my attempts to power the grow lights over the seedlings with them during the day and just put everything out into a cold frame (which I can do now that the days are longer). I am going to buy at least 2 more panels here soon (and probably 2 additional beyond that by winter) but mostly upgrade our generator so I can use it to bulk charge the batteries and power the little house in a pinch. While I'd love to fill the whole rack with panels, our needs are modest and at this latitude that is way too much array during the summer and won't ever be enough during a winter blizzard.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Your comment was epic and so please forgive me if I've accidentally missed a point or three in our discussion. :-)!

Dorks of the world - United we shall stand tall! Whatever that means anyway! Hehe! Those are all worthy sounding books, but unfortunately I haven't read them. Speaking of Mars, I really enjoyed Kim Stanley Robinsons Martian Trilogy (Red, Blue and Green Mars). It was highly implausible, but lots of fun. I've read that the author has had something of a road to Damascus moment which has changed his outlook considerably to a more realistic mindset. Mind you, it helps to have a manned space program in the first place, if one wants to get to Mars...

The bread loaf is baking very well and the house feels quite toasty.

Having two threads going consecutively is stretching my poor mind a little bit! Hehe!

Funny you mention that Steppenwolf song and you may not believe this, but you probably planted the idea for the title a few weeks back when we were talking about that film. How good is the scene where he turns the volume up on that song and they all sit around wincing and looking uncomfortable.

I've got no thoughts on UFO's one way or another and absolutely zero experience of them or any understanding of the subject either. Mind you, you've probably completely fucked me with the various Internet search engines and now someone is going to do a Google search which will now display something stupid like: Fernglade Farm a blog about UFO's!!!! Hehehe! Oh no, we've descended into the land of silliness again. Oh, I do hope that that does not happen - what a total Internet disaster.

Hmmm, yeah political fatigue is a very good description for the feeling. We've changed leaders so many times in recent years that it has become a national joke - not that anyone is laughing about it. You know, I reckon we are incorrectly making the assumption that our leaders are actually governing for our benefit and that is a rather unwise assumption to make. Gridlock is rife down here too. One must look back to the zen masters for an answer: Before political solution to fatigue and gridlock: Clean out chicken pen and assist bees; and After political solution to fatigue and gridlock: Clean out chicken pen and assist bees. Seems like a sound suggestion.

That is heresy. Aren't you the naughty one? It is nice to see how things cold be and I can sort of see what the point of the story is. Those stories receive very few comments and I honestly don't know how JMG gets the time to respond to so many comments in the first place?

The BS detector installation is a good thing. Try doing debt collection for many years and over the phone I can almost tell within a few seconds of the phone call how the call will go. JMG gets honed and sharpened on his forum. I reckon that is a good thing. I agree with you entirely that we are reaching a point at which the establishment is losing its legitimacy and two contenders (Trump / Sanders) are openly discussing that and receiving a groundswell of support. If they don't get in, then they are certainly showing future contenders how it can be done - and they will have an even longer time period to campaign too.

Absolutely, so what if we lose a few trinkets here and there. I'm not sure the trinkets bring much joy to peoples lives and I've seen a recent example of someone I know of, via a third party, clinging to a materialism that is breathtaking to behold.

Of course, comments here can continue, but the recent blog gets the attention and this is secondary. There was a metaphysical festering boil that needed lancing, that is what this is about.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

No worries and I appreciate the feedback.

Maybe? I dunno, really. There are always new readers and the concepts need to be repeated and expanded, but I've often suspected that the core ideas were understood by JMG many years ago.

Ha! That is the H-bomb question. Thanks for asking that one... All I can say is that it takes at least a decade of dedicated learning as well as hands on trial and error before a person can confidently state that they enough to feed themselves. And even then, mistakes will be made.

Look, I reckon the answer to your question all depends on what sort of risk and uncertainty you want to live with. I mean it is like Russian Roulette in that would you get on an aircraft knowing that there is a 100% certainty that the aircraft will crash - but you don't know when it will and therein lies the uncertainty factor. I mean for all I know a bushfire may take me out next year. It will happen at some point. Knowing the risk and accepting it is an act of living consciously. And is not that a good outcome?

Dunno about the long term probability of the cloud. Other brains may answer that question with less baggage about the subject than I do.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

I disagree with you. I don't feel "helpless in the face of cold, relentless and all-consuming decline and inhumanity." and in fact I've never felt that fear. Mine is a different experience to that in that I get angry and then turn that heat into action. But then I had a rather unusual childhood and was allowed to think my own thoughts and make my own decisions - out of a lack of oversight more than anything else. Stepping to one side is not a bad idea, but it involves letting go and making sacrifices which is a different strategy to that being pursued by the majority. From my perspective they seem to want to accumulate instead and the fear arises from the loss of that accumulation - whether it is real or perceived.

As to the planting the seed of an idea, I totally agree with you. Change must come from the individual or be applied evenly across a society for it to be effective.

Again, I disagree with you. I don't believe that he sees the politics as a this time it is different. My take is that he is discussing the turning point or beginning of another turning point in an ongoing cycle of decline in a society. My take is that as a student of history and its cycles he tends to consider that cycles in civilisations repeat. In fact, I've noticed that he scoffs at claims that "this time it is different" - and I see that story being used to promote questionable investments.

Yes, he does enjoy a rambling style in a similar vein to Thoreau. As to the 17 concepts, well, we do live in a target rich environment.

Well, the tax one is very hard to explain and all I can say is that: A fish rots from the head. We're in an economic time now where common garden variety corruption is ill afforded and that is another step on the long road down.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

It is nice to have a different perspective from the paid flunkies in the media. That is why I go back and read.

No one can really know his intent though, but you can deduce motivation by looking at how a person conducts their own life over a long period of time. My take on the matter is that it is not a quest for power - as many people like that trip - because he stepped down from the AODA and handed over the reigns to another. People who quest for power hang on far too long, and that is their downfall. Dunno, what do you reckon?

Thanks for the warning, I appreciate that.

The other thing is that magic as it is understood here, is often employed against our best interests, so it probably a bad idea to be at least mildly aware that such actions occur and the form they take. I mean the advertising industry for one uses that tool very heavily and companies expect a return on their investment.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Oh! Don't mention the bicycle people!!! I hope they don't come to get us...

Exactly, the search for a leader to point the way in an uncertain future will be a total disaster. The limits to growth are not a negotiation as far as I can understand them. The future is risky and you just have to adapt to where you are with what you have. That doesn't make for particularly pleasant reading?

Thanks for the quote, it was very amusing.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I never doubted it for a minute. I mean who could not appreciate nature when looking after bees - and those little creatures force a person to think in terms of a whole system.

I've changed my thinking over the years too and absolutely, it is a very slow process.

Flowers are good. If you can sneak some catmint in the bees will enjoy it!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I probably agree that ADR is not after personal power. However there is something about which I remain uneasy.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - As far as the internet goes, suddenly, it seems that whatever website I visit, ads for kitchen counter tops, pop up. Wonder where that came from? :-). I tend to turn on my "private" setting, from time to time. Seems to cut down on the dross. But, also seems to slow down an already slow machine.

"...our leaders are governing for our benefit." I haven't thought that in years. :-)

Speaking of Zen, Berman has a (lengthly) analysis of that, in his new book. Don't ask for details. Beyond me. Skimmed over most of it. Ditto the chapter about something called "The Kayoto School of Philosophy." Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Questioning the dominant narrative is an uncomfortable process, no doubts about it. If you put a finger on your uneasiness, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Touché my friend! :-)! Sorry about that benchtop problem. I use a program called Ad-Muncher and that gets rid of the worst of that lot, but you run an apple so I have no idea what ad blocker software is good or otherwise. Would you believe some of the ad blocker programs apparently make money by allowing certain paying ads to get past the filters?

I was a bit more naive in my outlook. Certainly last weeks business section of the newspaper was full of articles about corruption this and that and calls for Royal Commissions into the banking sector. It seems as though we can't afford such things at this stage of the game?

Oh my, such things are probably way over my head too! There is so much to learn sometimes it can be hard to know where to start.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

No I can't put a finger on the reason for my uneasiness. It is a prickling in my spine which I learnt to trust a long time ago.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, here, the head of some big coal company, was just sent to prison for two years. Due to a mining disaster. And, they've been pushed into reorganization and bankruptcy. "Australian operations will not be affected." Usually, the "big boys" just get a slap on the wrist and a fine in the range of "small change." Goldman Sachs (I think) has just been slapped with a 2 billion dollar fine, for their part in the housing disaster.

Well, the ADR, last week it was class and this week it is race. My, he's hitting all the hot buttons. Can gender be far behind? :-)
Oh, I really think JMG has an agenda (no, that's really too much of a loaded word ... lose schedule of talking points, is probably more like it). And, often, his topic of the week flows out of the previous weeks comments. Not a bad thing, at all. Lew

Yahoo2 said...

Thanks for the reply Chris,
I am not sure that we disagree it is more about perspective and time scale.

My comment about the difference in American politics is just referring to what I would call the modern era, Bush senior to Obahma has been dominated by on set of tactics, Bernie and Donald have broken those basic assumptions and set things on a different path. For me, and I suspect JMG in the long term view, politics as a concept has almost nothing to do with politicians and at that level and time scale, the cycle does repeat.

Looking "over the edge" is trickier, I dodged one particular decline through sheer luck and it is only empathy with my fellow man that lets me learn that lesson so I dont ever put myself in that position.
I can give you a basic example of cause and effect, a rural person has a car accident after a few drinks while they are financially vulnerable, charged with DUI, charged with other driving offenses, a written off car with no policy pay out, no car insurance for 5 years, no drivers license, car payments still to pay, no way to get to work leads to no job, no money and a very hard life. I have seen this pattern repeated endlessly, If we take away any one of the factors that shapes this situation in the first place, the effects are less severe.
A period of sharp decline is exactly the same, one persons glancing blow that can be brushed away will hit the next person full impact, I have often used the term "pole-axed" or kicked in the head by a mule to describe the result, there is no recovery.
I am about to read Allan Savory and Jody Butterfield's book, Holistic management: a new framework for decision making. I have been told that the decision making section is superb. I am hoping it will give me the tools to answer the questions about financial stuff and what next? (just like Damo and Margaret) both at a personal and community level.
One of the things that really interests me is, Reducing the work needed to get a return, if I can achieve something in an hour (or have no need to do it at all) that takes someone else 8 hours, then I am more resilient. What happens if I can influence my community to use the same strategies? Hmmmm!
cheers Steve

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Like you I get gut feelings about things and people and I don't ignore them either. Some strangers walking past me in the street leave me feeling a little bit unsettled or with goosebumps creeping up my back.

A few weeks back I walked past three rather aggressive looking dudes who were clearly using steroids, and one of them leaned ever so slightly towards me just to exercise his aggression. It was not an overt act, but rather an undercurrent. Lots of things go on without us being aware of them. I try very hard to learn to read people and situations and guess at possible outcomes. It is a useful skill to exercise.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yes, common garden variety corruption is being flushed out of the system. I sort of see that as a similar situation to a business collecting its long overdue debtors. i.e. We can't carry you anymore. Mind you, the government fining GS is a bit amusing because I was under the impression that they got a bailout of government money? Dunno.

Absolutely, and I reckon he did cover the gender issue last week too, as part of the larger class debate.

Exactly, it isn't a bad thing at all to have an agenda, but maintain a fluid program. I mean, nobody that I've ever met has all of the answers. :-)! Well, present company excluded!!! Hehe! OK, I was just kidding around... Agenda is a loaded word too, because so many assumptions get loaded onto it and nobody thinks to ask the question: Well, what are the underlying assumptions - and I was trying to respond to that here, in my own small way.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

Exactly, perspective and time scale changes much and I appreciate your explanation.

The cycle does repeat. That is very true. At the moment, the ancient Greeks would suggest that our democracy has been captured by the plutocrats and from there it will go back and forwards until a charismatic leader takes control from them (and that may go back and forwards for a while). But ultimately, a change in management does not address the underlying problems of: Pollution; energy and resources and the intersection of those variables on the biosphere. I read a funny observation that the word revolution also can be used to describe a turning wheel! Very amusing.

Exactly, that is an excellent observation and example. And from my own experience of recession in the early 90's I bounced back and despite 10% unemployment just did whatever job I could find (debt collection) to put food on the table and keep a roof over my head until things had recovered somewhat. Everyone responds differently and some situations are harder to recover from than others. And what is worse is that during those times, some people are completely oblivious to the unfolding dramas. Decline is - as they say - a fractal process.

If you uncover interesting insights, please feel free to share them. Alan Savory has quite the reputation. My understanding - and please correct me if I am wrong - is that the management involves replicating natural systems including better rotation processes and lower stocking rates. Down here people often tend to stock for average years, when I reckon you have to stock for the worst year and go from there.

Ha! That is achieved by building and maintaining appropriate infrastructure. That is what I do here, it is a cycle of continual observation, searching for opportunities and implementing those lessons into the landscape and infrastructure.

Cheers

Chris

Yahoo2 said...

I will tell you after I read the book. I have seen a video where he describes the basic idea. it goes like this.
the human mind has an upper limit of things it is capable of focusing on at any one time, around six-ish. Beyond that we revert to our instincts or old habits. Military battle planning is used to circumvent this situation. From what I understand it starts with writing down the ultimate goal then working our way back to the present and writing down the process and paths to get there. Then there is stuff on testing our decision making,our assumptions and progress and reworking stuff along the way.
if we read the words, it is in the title of the book. I gather it was written for rangeland managers, so the working examples will be in that field. I wish I could find the post to place here. It is a comparison of an old ladies technique of making skinned, crushed and reduced tomatoes as opposed to what most people do. Now that is a lesson in time management.

The Savory controversy is not simple, on the face of it it sounds like he advocates higher stocking rates or short rotation grazing, which he does, but only under a specific set of circumstances to achieve a specific outcome. I guess the extra layer that he offers us is techniques to test flawed logic and a way of working through complex situations.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

I will be interested to read your opinions and also to read how successfully his techniques translate into the world. I've seen videos of the systems and they do look good.

It is important to recall that few battle plans survive engagement with the enemy and it is important to keep a flexible mind open to new information. Funnily enough, I intend to write about this - in a round about sort of way - in the next blog entry.

I'm still very much unconvinced as to why anyone would spend the time skinning tomatoes. The larger tomatoes have less taste than the smaller tomato fruit anyway... Honestly, the mater is beyond my understanding.

Exactly, testing logic against outcomes has become something of a lost art in our society, so if he has insights, it will be very interesting to read your perspective on that matter.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

I also wonder about skinning tomatoes, but then who am I to question the Italians? I still don't skin em, but I assume I am missing out on something :-)

The drive from Tasmania to Brisbane (2300km + Bass Strait) passed in an uneventful 3 days. Circumstance and fate conspired to prevent any particularly yummy food stops, although I was surprised at the economic health of at least some small towns we passed through (west wyalong and Glenn Innes come to mind). Unfortunately, most towns looked a bit sad, and most of the land looked a bit over grazed and very dry.

In finance news, I did buy some gold the other day (electronically, although apparently redeemable for the real thing). I now hold 4 different currencies, gold and a low risk short on the Australian economy. Hopefully, such diversification will protect me against any road bumps ahead for the next few years. I would prefer to be investing in my own land, solar panels, farm equipment and nice hardwood timber but such things are not possible right now, so I do my best and cross my fingers.

Re: Cloud and old book transcribing. I don't trust the cloud either, but my idea is a formatted and clean pdf, which anyone can cheaply print or download, might be interesting and occasionally useful.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

It does seem like a waste of time to me to have to skin tomatoes before preserving them. But you do make a good point in that a millennia or so of tradition, can't be lightly brushed aside. Still, I can't taste the difference...

That is a massive drive. I've travelled down the New England highway through NSW which is the inland route back in the late 90’s. It is a pleasant and very quiet part of the world. I enjoyed Glenn Innes too and that may have been due to the elevation above sea level which gave it a mild climate for agriculture. I do recall a good bakery stop there, and let's be perfectly honest, you can't have too many of those!!! You will soon be in French stick heaven. It is good stuff.

Diversification is an excellent approach when it comes to investment. And I'm impressed to read of the short on the Australian economy. I mean it is not as if we aren't shutting down the car manufacturing industry from October onwards... What were they possibly thinking? I mean, I'd keep that industry going just for strategic reasons more than any other. I've read that it cost $1bn over 10 years, which is chicken feed compared to the tax free superannuation giveaways going on right now (Super tax lurks deliver the wealthy $35 billion — and rising from what I've read, although it is possibly much higher) which are going to only a very small proportion of the population, unlike the 250,000 people employed in the car manufacturing industry. Why people aren’t rioting in the streets about this is beyond my understanding because we’re picking up the tab for that with debt. It certainly appears to be the biggest heist in Australia’s history and no one seems to notice. Oh well.

No worries, I didn't intend to discourage you and I would be very interested to read the pdf once it is on the web. It should be very useful.

Cheers

Chris