Monday, 16 May 2016

Back to the caves



The heat was surprising north of the border. Of course up north it is arid land and you can smell the red dust in the air. That dust got onto (as well as into) everything. This was the place where my friends had decided to celebrate the New Years in style. There were countless hippies in that hot and huge campsite. I was surrounded by a sea of colourful tie-dye shirts, cheesecloth pants, the sound of bongo drums, long hair and unkempt beards. I calmly strolled in wearing jeans, leather boots and a t-shirt. I quickly felt like I was an alien who had just dropped down to Earth for a quiet ale or two at the local pub, but instead ended up in the Manson Family commune.

It probably didn’t help that one of the boxes full of camping stuff which I had been laboriously lugging back to the campsite in the heat and dust had the inscription in large lettering: “Australia Post”. It was a very handy and useful box, but the derision that I received because of that particular inscription from the multitude of hippies was almost constant as I made my slow way to the far distant campsite. I heard every comment imaginable from “hey, look there’s the postie” and “have you got any mail for us, mate?” Some of the comments were quite imaginative and not fit to repeat on a family friendly blog. Needless to say by the time I eventually arrived at my friends campsite, I was angry, hot and very grumpy.

Maybe I’m just contrary, but the activities held at the campsite like mud-bathing, bongo drumming into the wee hours, fire stick twirling and lessons on peaceful protesting just didn’t appeal to me at all. I’m hardly the sort to consider peaceful protesting anyway. Once long ago, I re-blocked a house which involved a lot of crawling around in mud, so I’d seen enough mud for one lifetime, thanks very much. At least the predominantly vegetarian food sold at the campsite was very good, although I had vague suspicions that one of the suppliers was apparently a cult. I don’t particularly like cults, so that was something else to be unhappy about.

I continued to wear my leather boots, jeans and a t-shirt (much like my current look - hey it works, don't knock it) whilst at the campsite. Everyone else wore their tie dye, cheesecloth tribal gear which clearly said to me: “I’m a hippy because I look just like everyone else”. And I was still the alien circling in and amongst the hippy brethren.

Fortunately, the tides of chance turned in my favour. After a few days of the unrelenting heat and dust, it eventually rained. And then it rained some more. Actually, it rained a whole lot that day! And then the huge campsite flooded. I even witnessed a mates tent slowly float away whilst we all stood around and watched on in amazement. My mate had set up his tent in a dry billabong which rapidly filled up with water once it started raining. It really rained a lot and everyone got quite wet.

Then a funny thing happened. The hippies disappeared within a few hours. There was no more tie dye or cheesecloth anywhere to be seen. Apparently, tie dye is not colourfast and the dye runs in the rain. And cheesecloth is just see-through when it gets wet and you may as well not be wearing anything at all in those conditions. What replaced the hippies were what looked like normal everyday people to me, wearing normal everyday clothes. And within a space of about 24 hours, the entire huge campsite emptied.

Those events were less than two decades ago. Nowadays, I suspect that most of the people from back then that were wearing the tie die and cheesecloth, now live quiet lives in the suburbs with their families. With one notable exception, most of my friends now also choose to live that that life. That quiet, suburban, 1/4 acre, family oriented existence is the mainstream Australian narrative.

The Great Australian Dream is a belief that in Australia, home ownership can lead to a better life and is an expression of success and security.

This mainstream narrative accommodates people looking differently, as long as they live in the expected manner.

Nowadays, the I feel that the hipsters play the role that the hippies once did. A person grows an impressive beard, wears uncomfortably tight pants and puts on certain affectations. To me it looks the same and I wonder whether those same hipsters in twenty years time will look back to their hipster days and recount the once impressive facial hair?
 
I wonder to myself what happens when the mainstream narrative that is being pushed no longer provides as it once did? What actually happens to the hippies when it rains?

From my perspective the mainstream narrative does not appear to provide for its adherents as well as it once did.

The median house price down here is insane with the Melbourne median house price currently at $713,000. I speak with a lot of people and I know that for the young, home ownership is a real difficulty because of the huge costs involved. There are other complimentary costs relating to achieving the mainstream narrative such as expensive weddings, student loans, car leases, consumer goodies etc.

The push to conform with the mainstream narrative is quite strong too. One of the more colourful politicians down here Senator Jacqui Lambie was quoted about a year ago as saying:

“The people from the UN would be better off listening to the average person from north-west Tasmania than the environmental zealots and alarmists like the Wilderness Society's Vica Bayley – who will never be satisfied until we're all living in caves, burning candles and eating tofu"


I hear similar claims quite often from all corners, and they appear to me to be used to support the mainstream narrative, because alternative narratives are made to look unpalatable. And yet I still wonder what it all means when I see that that narrative is failing to deliver for some members of our society – particularly the young.

Long term readers will recall that I am tight with my money and that is related to my contrary anti-mainstream-narrative outlook. And because I am tight with my money, I built the house here myself providing all of the labour other than the plumbing, electrical and original excavations. Often when people learn that I built this house myself, they inevitably ask the unusual question: Is it a mud-brick house? That seems to be a common perception. I haven’t checked, but I don’t believe that this house is built from mud-bricks!

So, the other day the editor spotted the following article: Living off the grid isn't for everyone, says young couple

My favourite quote from that article was:“It's a little bit stone age”

No disrespect to the couple that recently purchased that home referenced in the article, but I fail to see how that house is a stone age house. However the article appeared to me to be written in such a way as to make the couples existence look quite unappealing. An unappealing look can only serve to increase the appeal of the mainstream narrative.

An alternative doesn’t need to look that way at all. It doesn’t need to leave you with see through clothes when it rains. It certainly doesn’t need to involve smelly composting toilets that you need to empty manually. It also doesn’t need to cost the Earth. It doesn't need to cost a lot to live in either. And that is what this blog is about – someone needs to tell a different story that isn’t one of the all too familiar going back to the caves scary story of fear, but it isn't the mainstream narrative either. It is time for a different narrative, and one that works. I say people: Celebrate your tightness and keep away from the tie dye and cheesecloth!

With that out of the way, let’s get onto more serious stuff.

The editor and I moved lots of large rocks this week. The rocks are being used to extend the new garden bed.
More large rocks were moved this week
Even more large rocks were moved this week
In the middle of that new garden bed was a very old (and burnt from the 1983 bushfires) and also quite large tree stump which I cut down using the chainsaw. All of the bits of dry timber were harvested for firewood.
The author using the chainsaw to remove the very large stump in the middle of the new garden bed
A couple of cubic metres (2.6 cubic yards) of mushroom compost (that is the fancy name for composted horse manure and bedding straw) were added to that new garden bed. The garden bed was then planted out with many different varieties of ferns as well as musk daisy bushes (Olearia Argophylla). The shrub is a very ancient variety of tall, hardwood and long lived daisy. All of these plants are very common in this area.
The chickens approve of the new garden bed, although they don’t enjoy consuming the leaves of the various toxic plants
More ferns and mushroom compost were added to the new fern gully which captures water from the road.
More ferns were added this week to the new fern gully
Observant readers will note that this farm has a lot of ferns, hence the farm name!

The herb beds received a massive prune this week. Most herbs appreciate being pruned annually (they originally evolved to heavy browsing by animals). In the foreground of the photo there is a strange looking plant which received a very heavy pruning. It is a Roman wormwood. The plant now looks to me like a scary alien from the movie of the same name, and had branches so hard that the pruning required the chainsaw.
The herbs beds were pruned hard this week. Watch out for aliens
All of the cuttings from the pruning job were placed underneath the mushroom compost in the new garden bed in the photos above. Over time, that plant material will compost into very rich soil.

The new free standing solar panel mount has neared completion. It now only requires a top coat of quality metal paint which should happen – if the sun shines for long enough for the paint to cure – over the next week.
The new free standing solar panel mount nears completion and only now requires a top coat of paint
I spotted this amazing collection of fungi which are clearly enjoying breaking apart this old tree stump. The fungi are doing a great job breaking down that plant cellulose into minerals and rich soil.
An amazing looking collection of fungi is eating this tree stump


This month, I note that the average maximum temperature for the month of May (which is late autumn) in Melbourne is 20.5’C (68.9’F) whilst the long term average for May is usually 16.7’C (62’F). It is unseasonably warm. I noticed a Rhododendron shrub was beginning to put on a good show of flowers at this unusual autumn time of year.
A rhododendron shrub has put on an unseasonable display of flowers
As the season is cooling towards winter, the citrus fruit is beginning to ripen. At the moment I’m harvesting: grapefruit; limes; lemons and mandarins. Yum! Many of the fruit trees are still young or recovering from previous years wallaby damage, so I hope that in future years the crops will be even larger.
The citrus fruit is starting to ripen as winter becomes closer
The tomatoes are still giving, even though it is only a mere two weeks from the official start to winter. Readers can also play the game – where’s Toothy In the photo below?
Toothy appears among the field of still ripening tomatoes
I planted a huge selection of cuttings from summer berries including: Jostaberries; gooseberries; and red and black currants. By planting, I mean just shoving the cuttings into the ground to see what happens. And they all seem to be taking root and producing buds… Perhaps these are the fearsome triffids?
A huge number of summer berries were planted recently as cuttings and they all seem to be taking


Some evenings I sit outside and look up into the sky and see the spiral arm of the Milky Way. Mars shows as a bright red star here, whilst Venus appears to me to be the brightest star of all in the sky. And they move in amongst the myriad other stars in the night sky. All the while the Boobook owls call to each other in the distant depths of the forest, the frogs croak from their hiding places among the vegetables, the sugar gliders dart from one tree to another, and the bats chase the – apparently tasty – moths. And I am struck by the sheer wonder of life on this planet.

The temperature outside now at about 8.45pm is 11.3’C (52.3’F). So far this year there has been 262.2mm (10.3 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 210.0mm (8.3 inches).

62 comments:

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Fascinating! You thought that the article was fear inducing and I thought that it was the reverse. How did we manage to view it so differently? They made it sound such easy fun and it isn't. How many people have your capacity for hard physical work; not many suburbanites I reckon.

I never wanted to fit in with other's views or ways of life. I don't know whether I was born that way or whether it was caused by circumstances. It has the advantage that one can think for oneself. What do you think?

Have had one of those mornings when the phone keeps ringing and people keep turning up unexpectedly. Fortunate as it turned out. Son is without transport and had run out of animal feed (last minuteish, tut tut). So one phoner offered to get the feed and one visitor will take me shopping later in the week. Help that I give is paying off. Why on earth don't people realise this? We have one neighbour who resolutely does nothing for anyone; a mistake.

A glorious hot, sunny day today.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ yahoo2 - Well, Ryderwood has been a retirement community since the early 1950s. And, given the mortality :-) in those communities, I bet my house (if I get it) and others have had many, many owners. A bit gets added ... a bit gets subtracted. You're right, not much left of the 1920s. The kitchen "feels" very 20s. Those cabinets may be original to the house. And, that little trash burner may have been sitting, right where it is, from that time. The general lay out feels about right. Made quirky by the addition of two (why two, in a house that size?) bathrooms.

The public buildings in town are more to the period. The community hall, post office, library and church. I'm sure when I get a chance to look around, there will be homes that are more in keeping with the original period. Passed from one preservationist, to the next. And, maybe if I have the money and time, I can bring back a bit more of the original "feel" to the place. At least on the inside. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - LOL. "Chris Goes to Woodstock on a Anthropological Expedition." :-). It rained at Woodstock, too. So I've been told. Well, at least you didn't "go native." That was a great lead in to the subject at hand. Before I even clicked on the link, I wondered if reference to "The American Dream" would be in evidence, and it was.

So, what happens when the narrative doesn't provide? Well, you get a new narrative or meltdown in various unhealthy ways. And, there doesn't seem to be many alternative narratives on offer. At least, none that are very appealing to the rank and file. Some of our most successful, recent politicians are successful because they promise a return to the (mostly mythical) American Dream narrative. And, there are social costs for not sticking with The Program.

The new garden beds look smashing. Ought to have lots of good things coming out of those. Fern gully still needs a garden gnome or three :-). Or, maybe a Green Man, peeking out of the soon to appear dense foliage. That ought to give the casual stroller a turn. Toothy is just too cute. Fierce jungle beast stalking ... whatever.

It's 9am and I still haven't heard from my real estate agent. Antsy? Who's antsy? :-)

Well, you know how I like "food" movies. Watched one the other night, "East Side Sushi" (2014). A young Mexican woman, living in Oakland, California is quit a good Mexican chef. Through a series of coincidences, she ends up working in a sushi restaurant. She is fascinated by this cuisine, and decides she wants to become a sushi chef. Lots of road blocks. It's also a bit of a rom-com. But, by the end, the "happily ever after" isn't a slam dunk, but more a tantalizing possibility.

Reminds me of another movie, I saw several years ago. Sorry, name escapes me. Young American woman living in Japan a.) looses her job and b.) boy friend abandons her. She gets a job in a neighborhood sushi restaurant. Aspires to be a sushi chef. Etc. etc.. Both worth a look, particularly the fist one. Lots of kitchen and cultural lore slipped in, without a heavy hand. Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

It's raining again here - a late spring rain as opposed to your late fall rain. Roses are blooming and I will soon start work on the beds in which I will plant corn, as well as planting sunflower and squash seeds in other beds. But I also have to mow the lawn, no small job at this time of year. Gasoline lawnmowers have their place, as much as I prefer reel mowers.

I think I spotted Toothy! Your tomatoes still look lush. In mid November, the time of year here that corresponds to mid May for you, in nearly every year my tomato plants would have already been killed by lows well below freezing.

Looks like you are not at Peak Rocks yet. Enjoy the new garden beds!

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

Great post! Ahh the stone age. It's a lot like the 1950s really -- just a hideous bugbear in the past ;-)

I've been going to WOMAdelaide for the past 20 years or so, and also marvel at the sudden appearance of thousands of hippies -- rarely seen in every day life in Adelaide. It's particularly amusing to see them emerging from their immaculate, black, BMW SUV in their tie dye (I confess I've made that up, but I'm sure it has happened ;-) Still, it's a lot easier and less confronting to play dress-ups than actually reinvent one's life, isn't it?

Regarding the walnut tree, ours was looking very sad late spring last year, and I think it was water stressed. I finally got around to installing an automated dripper system, and found that it rapidly perked up and started growing. Apparently, young walnuts need good water -- perhaps that could be it?

btw. I spoke to Anne-Marie from the Food Forest -- they irrigate all their orchards -- even the nut trees. It's needed here...

I think your comment about being tight is so important, and so under-appreciated. I am very careful with money too, and often have friends comment about my clothes, etc, and my tight spending habits. But most of my friends have lots of debt, and by wife and I recently became debt-neutral. We're pretty lucky in Adelaide though -- we bought a 1/4 acre block + house about 3km from the centre of the CBD. Because the block can't currently be subdivided, it was "reasonably" priced (though I think its long-term value is about 1/2 what we paid for it!). We really need to make frugality part of our national narrative again!

How did Australia go from being simple and low-key to being a place of conspicuous consumption?



Cheers, Angus

Damo said...

Those Australia post boxes are great. I managed to *ahem* liberate a dozen from an office I worked in years ago. Over the years they have come with me across the country. So good for moving! Now, a few days from the big move, I only have 3 left, they will have to be left behind :-( Such good boxes!

I traveled to the Clarence Valley the other day with mother. Just a quick overnight trip to look at a few potential blocks of land and to visit the grand-folks. Not for myself, mum is potentially interested in building a house in the region. It is a lovely part of the world (I wouldn't mind buying in the area one day) but very expensive, even though it is hours from the nearest capital city. Oh well, I can dream :p

I quite liked your introduction, a good mission statement for your blog! The creation of a new narrative will take some time and involve a good deal of soul searching for many people. The turn to politicians like Trump and even Lambie here in Oz show the beginnings of a sub-conscious acknowledgement that things are not working. Exciting times.

Damo



Jason Heppenstall said...

Hi Chris - an amusing tale at the start. I might have crossed your path as I found myself staying in the hippie nirvana of Nimbin precisely 20 years ago - I can still hear the bongo drums late at night when I shut my eyes! It's funny, but I've been hanging around with people who look and act like hippies for the last quarter of a century but - like you - I have never looked like one myself (apart from a very brief period in which I had long hair and wore a kaftan, but we won't mention that). I guess I'm just not comfortable with exhibiting myself and would much rather just blend in, in terms of appearance at least.

One thing I have observed is that in all this time I have invariably been mildly ridiculed as being 'straight' or 'stiff' and yet I appear to be in a very tiny minority who can actually have at least some claim to be living up to their principles. A good friend of mine, for example, was an archetypal hippie for years. He had very long hair, refused to own motorised transport, ate only lentils and tofu, and ... well, you get the idea. Then in the mid nineties, like many others like him, he changed radically. The 'left' hitched its wagon to the corporate/capitalist caravan (led over here by Tony Blair) and suddenly it was okay to be a conspicuous consumer. These days my friend (yes, we are still pals) works for a high-end web design company in London, drives a BMW, eats in Michelin restaurants and flits to and from Dubai on both holidays and business. I met up with him last year and showed him around my woodland and - jokingly - said that he'd sold out. He wasn't at all comfortable with my throwaway comment and made excuses before rapidly leaving.

Anyway, this is not to pick on my friend, just to point out how deeply influenced we all can be to conform to whatever the current zeitgeist is.

Over here in Cornwall I'm busy planting up a forest garden, having been on a course recently with the formidable Martin Crawford. I shall update my Fox Wood blog soon and show some pictures of what I've been up to.

All the best,

Jason

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Ha! Auctions are like the "Cloud" - nobody understands the cloud, and a lot of shifty behaviour goes on in auctions. They're a bit stressful, aren't they? Now, I'm writing this from the future (Tuesday night) so I suspect you may have some news by now?

The photos looked quite frightening, as I suspect the radiant heat and embers from one house ignited the one next to it. I hope the town pulls together. People can often display quite remarkable acts of civility and community in the aftermath of such things.

Thanks! Rather than being any one smoking gun, there are a number of factors that impact on whether a house goes up in flames. And you can never be too sure.

They reckon the compulsory wearing of seat belts, was the single biggest road safety advancement. The rest have had diminishing returns and I'm personally rather concerned about the latest fad for autonomous breaking... The blue screen of death comes to mind and computers are infallible. I'm very uncertain as to what sort of person would even entertain a conversation with a car. You have to admit that it is a bit frightening. I saw a film last year called "Her" about people becoming addicted to artificial intelligence machines. As a spoiler, the machines left the humans because they became bored.

The freeway was a total surprise to me too. They now have number plate scanners which hook up to databases. I've often suspected that number plate thefts will increase sooner or later.

Weeding is fun! Let's reclaim that idea! Honestly, it makes a whole lot of sense to do that job en masse. And really we do ultimately have an obligation to involve community.

Your descriptions are very amusing, but I can tell that you are smitten with the place - notwithstanding the floral wallpaper! Hehe! I do hope that you have secured that house.

Exactly, keep your cards close to your chest, until the papers are signed and the transfers enacted. I've heard such claims about trees before you know? It amazes me that the evil step son (and other people I have interactions with down here) can be so tone deaf to the consequences of their actions. Mind you, he is displaying what looks to me like fear.

Ah, I hadn't realised that. The land here tends to eject things rather than incorporating them. You'd be amazed the strange objects I occasionally stumble across. The other day, I found an old soft drink bottle in a distant part of the forest which looked as though it predated my life. And there it sat through rain, hail, snow, fire and sunshine. It was made from incredibly thick glass.

Don't laugh, but there are people that scour the land down here using aerial photography over the internet and occasionally they uncover something interesting like remote meteor strikes in far out of the way places like Western Australia. Those people obviously have more time and better Internet bandwidth than you and I! ;-)!

No way! So it was a tourist destination. I recall that JMG wrote at the end of Twilight's Last Gleaming that the White house had become a tourist destination (a tidy way to pay the bills too). Maybe they may reinstall the solar panels at such a fictional point in the future? ;-)!

It may sound a bit strange to you, but I have never seen a twinkie in the flesh. I must get out more. However, the mental association for me for twinkies is the film: Zombieland which was written with that product in mind (plus no beginning or end).

The easy answer to that question is that preservatives appear to be a poison. I mean that is what they actually do. Otherwise any biological activity will take down whatever organic matter is put in front of it. Eventually even the poisons become food for something else. That is life on this planet.

Enjoy your nice break. I was inside for most of the day so have no idea really what it was like outside...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

Enter into commenting temptation, my friend!!!! :-)!

Exactly. You may recall that I was in the local volunteer fire brigade for a few years? Embers start fires in either the dry leaves caught in guttering or they ignite the very dry timbers which comprise a house roof. On really crazy hot windy days a house can burn to the ground in 4 minutes.

That house in the video was possibly burning from the roof down, but if you watch the video again you will notice that super heated air also entered the room once the window broke. Many houses are fitted with 3mm or 4mm single glazing windows. Not good.

You have a good mind for detail and if you are interested, you should possibly go back to the house construction updates of the blog and have a look at the roof construction details for this house. You may find them to be very interesting. This roof incorporates steel sheets, 15mm plywood, steel flashings, mineral wool (used around blast furnaces!) and a fire blanket. It is rated to 30 minutes of direct fire contact at an energy level of more than 40kW. It is not perfect, but it is way better than standard!

Oh, the cheeseburger story is horrible. Well done, you! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I salute your lack of fear! I never really explained it well, but I agree with you in that there is little to fear, however, I tried to put both our minds into the average person and interpret how they may view that article. I always felt that you were correct, but it is only because you are more experienced than the intended audience for that particular article. I hope that makes sense?

Oh yeah, I wonder about that too and I'm not reassured? I wonder what your son may have thought about the concerns expressed in the article had his sow given birth in the dead of night (as is usual)?

Absolutely! To be contrary allows for a greater diversity of views on subjects, I reckon. I wonder that too about whether it was the circumstances or the wiring that caused that. It is nice to be able to look at representations and form your own opinions, and you have to admit that it does make for a more interesting read of the newspapers? As a possible suggestion, I reckon no one ever got around to telling me otherwise as my single mother was perhaps a little bit too busy and so I thought my own thoughts. How does that compare with your background?

It can be a mixed bag here too and it is nice to see the concept of benefits and obligations of community slowly starting to stir. I have no idea how much of the lack of asking is based on pride and how much is based on other factors such as fear of having to repay the debt? Dunno. I wonder what motivates people to isolate themselves so?

Am I having a bad memory day or did your son get one (or some of his piglets) processed?

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Like Lew, the first thing I thought of was Woodstock though that was over 45 years ago. I had just graduated from high school. My husband and some of his friends had an old school bus and made a trip out to the "hippie scene" in California around that time as well. He reported that they thought they were so cool that they thought they would "get lucky" but in reality not so much. Of course they all eventually ended up in suburbia - most with corporate jobs and for the most part are pretty main stream today. My husband probably is the farthest from the mainstream as he actually fixes things, raises bees and brews his own mead/wine etc. and only golfs a little and that at an inexpensive 9 hole course nearby.

Being tight with money is a virtue that unfortunately too few have. The book, "Your Money or Your Life" was quite influential. Interestingly, one daughter lives quite frugally and the other can't seem to keep a dollar in her pocket. I keep track of all our expenditures on quicken and sent a monthly report to my husband so we can see where our money goes. One thing we did early on in our marriage was set up an allowance for ourselves. It goes up and down according to how much income we have. This is ours to spend on extras - no questions asked and has prevented many an argument. When our girls were at the age when clothes were important and a status symbol to their peers we also gave them a monthly clothes allowance and they soon learned how little they could purchase if they wanted the designer labels.

Well time to feed the chickens and get moving. Doing scavenger hunts at Gateway Park this morning (the restored oak savannah nearby) with 3rd graders this morning and then back to planting for the afternoon. Oh yes, took a minute but I found Toothy.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That was very nicely summed up. Oh, I was so angry by the time I managed to settle into a seat and enjoy a hot beer... Hot beer is not good and does not add to anyones enjoyment! :-)! Ha! You avoided Woodstock too? Back in those days they had the very nearby Sunbury festival which had some amazing bands in the line up. I once read that the band Queen turned up in 1972 or 73 and well, let's say it was a strange brew that crowd.

Ha! Plenty of people went native, but you know once the rain hit! Well you know the story! Hehe!

I just had to interrupt the reply to check on a loaf of bread in the wood oven - it is a bit cold outside here tonight, but you would probably laugh at the lows here.

Exactly, it is the same dream. That is an outstanding summary of the consequences too. I never proffered any solutions either, because...

Yeah, you are right about the social costs too. But there are benefits too. It is complex and I guess it depends on what a person considers to be of value to them. You reminded me of your tat story from back in your trading days.

Ha! That is funny and I'll see what the elves are doing in the depths of the forest. Although it is unwise to mess with the business of the faery folk. Thanks and I do hope that the garden bed grows strongly and looks nice.

Toothy is an ace for the camera. He always seems to be in the right spot at the right time posing for the photo. I wonder about his past lives?

Oooooo! Go on, don't hold back. What happened?

Those sound like excellent films. The sushi apprenticeship is a grueling process from what I've read and it is an amazing skill to develop. Sushi is yum!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

I suspect that we are having similar weather patterns at the moment. You can have the summer batten though! :-)!

Sunflowers are a good idea. I assume that they are fast growing? I consume the kernels in my toasted muesli, so growing them is a good idea. Out of curiosity, did you start you squash seedlings inside the house?

Yeah, no worries I use a fossil fuel powered lawn mower too (although mine uses steel rotating blades). Fortunately, it is a once per year job as the animals generally keep the couple of acres under grass well tended. If I could, I would loan you a wombat or two?

Top work! Toothy loves posing for the camera! By early June, I'll be considering mowing the tomatoes flat and then planting the entire area to mustards which are a bio fumigant.

Thanks, yes peak rocks is always being pushed back through one trick or another. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Son processed 7 pigs which was one heck of a feat.

My mother was also very very busy but she combined this with being extremely dogmatic. I think that I was pre-wired to question but I did accept her views; no one dared to question her. However as I grew I slowly disagreed with her views, possibly because they sometimes put me into embarrassing situations. I did keep my disagreements to myself though. Thank goodness one thoughts can be ones own.

I will try to re-read that article as if I am someone else reading it.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

Yeah, that's funny. I believe Lewis pointed out a few weeks back that it looked like the Flinstones, which oozed that sort of social context.

Yeah, WOMAdelaide attracts some pretty cool bands. You rarely see any hippies in Melbourne either. Where did they all go? Exactly, but you are bad!!! Hehe! Nice one.

Thanks for the advice about the walnut trees and no doubt you are correct about the water. I may have to give up on that one as I can't risk the water system going wrong during high summer.

Oh. Thanks very much for asking them. Wow. They have an excellent orchard / food forest. I'm a bit in awe really. There is a bit more ground water here. I'm actually a bit worried about chilling hours this winter as they seem to be absent.

Well done. I salute your efforts and attitude. The thing to remember with debt is that: whomever controls the debt, controls the asset. That is a far deeper concept than may appear at face value. I worry, seriously, about the massive household debt levels down here. It makes no sense whatsoever.

Well there I can tell you that I distinctly recall when the first credit cards (the old Bankcard - which still has customers I believe) were sent to households in the mail. They were much discussed and treated at the time like the evil that they were. And then time wore on, and suddenly we find that one bank is the biggest corporation in the country. I wonder what they'll do next?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Good luck with yours and Mrs Damo's journey. Respect.

Liberate, is an excellent word to describe the saving of those boxes from the rubbish bins. What a total waste. I use them to haul manure and rocks and all sorts of things. One visitor used to work for that service organisation (some people are attempting to call it a company nowadays for nefarious reasons) and they waxed lyrical about how good the old boxes were. They looked at them with envy in their eyes! Hehe! Save those 3 boxes somehow, you never know what the future may hold.

Oh yeah, house and land prices up that way are as feral as the sharks in the water! Mate, I couldn't afford up that way either. It has a great climate, rain and soils though.

It is exciting times and I'm glad you enjoyed the mission statement. I felt that obvious was the way to go. It is hard to communicate complex ideas and I'm glad that something different is happening in the political sphere. They need a shake up (as the Herd quite rightly sang).

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jason,

Mate, we were closer than you may have imagined. I'm sorry to say that Nimbin drove me bananas and did you get a chance to visit the hippy museum? I did enjoy the hemp embassy and of course there is the awesome Rainbow Power Company who are great advocates of solar and wind energy products.

Well done for picking up that thread in the story. I was wondering how many people would understand that. Elephant stamp for you dude!

Yeah, exactly, there do seem to be very few of us about the place. And I've often wondered whether the friendly jibes are a message that somehow we are not acting out the correct narrative? Dunno. It is uncomfortable for them. I get that. And I hear it all of the time too. I suspect that deep down, they know.

Of course, I understand that you are providing an illustrative example. I mean how else can we communicate ideas? It is very hard to fight that narrative and it is actually a mental resistance of sorts to stick to your principles.

I look forward to reading about Fox Wood and am particularly interested in your forest management techniques. Forests are fascinating and hideously complex environments.

All the best to you too. And I really enjoyed your book.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thank you for a lovely story and those are great memories. Yes, well, they all think that at that age too! Hehe! Funny stuff, and they would have had such a great time. Those are all good skills and my favourite exercise (other than moving rocks...) is walking around, so golf would provide lots of opportunity for that.

I salute your good work in recording your expenditures. I did exactly that too. It was crucial during the hard recession here of the early 90's and I call the allowance a buffer with which to play with. Quicken is very good too. Everyone is different in relation to money matters and I reckon I could see two different people running the same business with completely different results. The old timers used to say: watch the cents and the dollars will follow. That is also true for many other concerns in life - like energy. The editor and I have recently cut our fuel bill in half - with a bit of, you guessed it, hard work.

Nice to hear that you found Toothy! He loves the camera.

Enjoy your oak savannah and I hope that the wildflowers are putting on a good show. Hope the chickens are growing strongly too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Yes, that is a feat. It is quite impressive. You know, you are starting to get me thinking about smoking techniques for the meat. Yum! Does he have any idea yet how he is going to process it all? Oh, has he ever tried to cure the pork in a salt bath. That produces very tasty meat.

A friend of mine recently bought a proper steel smoking cabinet for curing. Oh, it is good.

Ah, of course. Do you believe that you were gifted a good work ethic, but were able to somehow turn the dogma into a more flexible outlook? Sometimes, I've felt that dogmatic people are more fixed in the principles when they are applied to other people? I don't really know, but have wondered about that.

Flexibility of mindset probably arises when a person experiences the mental jolting of having principles running headlong into the lived experience. Dunno. That is complex.

No stress, about the article. It was never written with you or I in mind!

Hope the warmer weather continues in your part of the world. The sun is getting lower in the sky each day as we move closer to the winter solstice.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, it's Tuesday morning, here. I'm just living in the past :-). No news, yesterday, but my real estate agent, did touch base ... to tell me there was no news. LOL. She's, at least, on the ball. I think in a lot of "the world", Mondays are a wash out. The Monday morning meeting ... a long lunch ... a gutted afternoon. I've noticed that even our library system ... nothing new hits the library catalog on Mondays.

Oh, that's funny about the film "She." I think I must be part machine. I've pretty much left humans, too. It's the boredom ... and, the irritation. :-). I have a friend in Cleveland, I talk to, maybe once a week. He's just left barbering and is on his way to retirement. He's still raving about his "life with the public." I advised him to write it down, and let it go. Or, use it as the last chapter of a "Great American Novel." :-) LOL. But I know from experience, that it takes a bit of time to get over "public life."

Oh, satellites have really enhanced archaeological discoveries. Seems like there's always a Mayan temple or unknown Egyptian pyramid popping up. Of course, nailing down the funds for an expedition is always difficult. And there seems to be a whole mob of people hallucinating signs of civilization on Mars. I must admit I was a bit let down when it finally sunk in that about all we were going to find on Mars, as far as life goes, is maybe a few fossilized bacteria.

I was never able to pull off the full bore hippie thing. Although, like Damo, I've also got a kaftan, lurking in the closet of my past. :-). Well, I headed for Southern California in the early 70s, but, I think it was more of a Beach Boy hangover, than a hippie thing. Well, there were some pleasant surprises, but over all, it did not live up to "The Dream." LOL. The first three days I was there, I visited a friend up in Hollywood. Hollywood has slums! I was shocked, I tell you, just shocked! :-)

Like Inge, I really don't know why I've always run counter to "The Narrative." Maybe because I was such a reader, at such an early age. Which, even back then, was a rather subversive act. Still is. Somewhere, recently, I read about a fellow (a wrier?) being attached verbally, in a public place, for pulling out a book. It's happened to me, a time or two. I can think of two times when a friendship cooled, because I wasn't sufficiently enthusiastic about someone's new car. I thought I made all the polite, appreciative comments, but, apparently not. LOL. I once had a room mate, with a very fancy car, and he went through this big routine, about how I could never use his car. Don't even ask. Fine by me. Then he starts nattering on, that I should really at least learn to drive the car, "in case of emergencies." I wasn't the least bit interested, and he was miffed.

Sigh. I think it was one of the commenters on last weeks ADR that mentioned he had 5 forms of social media, and attempted to drop one and all his "friends" were wailing that he'd be hard to reach and out of touch. My friend from Vashon Island, has dropped off the radar, and I think it's a similar situation. I have a cheap cell phone, and do e-mail. That's it. E-mail seems to have become a bit passe, but then, so am I :-). Oh, well. He's out of the will :-).

Well, maybe there will be real estate news, today. If not, there's always tomorrow. LOL. Over the last two days, I've caught myself, a couple of times, just standing in the kitchen, starring off into space, without a thought in my head. It's rather disconcerting. The onset of dementia? Just plain old overload? Oh, well. Plenty around here to keep me occupied. Life doesn't stop. Chickens to take care of, a bit of fooling about in the yard if it's not too damp. Interesting things to cook. A bit of a clean out and sorting, in case I do move. So it goes. Lew



heather said...

Hi Chris and all-

I read the "off grid" article and have to agree that the tone the author takes is definitely discouraging- just look at the headline ("Not For Everyone", meaning "Us Normal Folks"), and the last line about still having jobs linking the couple to "normal" life. Something seriously abnormal going on here, folks. I didn't get the fear tone so much as ridicule and disgust- Ew, toilet products! Yuck, they will eat poor Piggy! Biophobia, anyone? The lives of these people, which marginally more resemble the living conditions of most of humanity, throughout most of history, to this very day, are Way Too Gross for you, dear readers. Smirk at them, and then go back to your tv program or your social media updates.

I don't blame the subjects of the article at all for either its content or its tone, though- the paper, or website, after all, just writes what it expects will sell. The poor man may have been quoted completely out of context. He's just a character in someone else's narrative.

That is one reason I like this blog and its comments section so much. I am hearing your stories, unfiltered by anyone else, about what it's like to live your life. (The same is true of your commenters and their lives.) Your mission statement is coming through loud and clear. Thanks.

On a marginally related note, I wanted to thank Lew for the heads-up about the new Ruth Goodman book. One of the things I appreciate about her as a writer and historian is that she is able to make the lives of people from the past seem so very real and plausible and livable. She doesn't shy away from the difficult, or dare I say, gross, but she puts it in the context of a full, complex, and engaging narrative about what real life was once like (and might be again someday?). Can't wait until the Tudor book gets to my library!

--Heather in CA

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate, are we time travelling here, or is some sort of temporal anomaly? It is Wednesday afternoon here - we could have hours of fun with that joke! It is nerve wracking not knowing. I do wish you well. Ha! The days of the long lunch are long gone here. Unfortunately, we have to work quite hard. I saw those days very early on, and they disappeared. Good for them!

It was quite a good film that one and the sentiment wasn't lost on me. Actually, AI was a theme in quite a few films that year. There was Ex Machina (or was that Deus Ex Machina?) Dunno. One of the interesting issues raised in those films was that how do we know whether AI wouldn't pursue its own agenda - and I reckon that is a fair call. None of the animals seem to concern themselves with my agenda, and I sort of have to take all of them into account and somehow we all find a happy balance.

I reckon that is hard and many of the digital forms of communication build walls when there are simpler ways (and much better tested) to communicate. Yeah, fronting the public can be quite an interesting experience. It can form a crusty outer coating to a persons personality? Maybe you barber friend enjoyed the social aspects of his job and may miss that constant human interaction? Dunno. It would be hard to come down from that experience?

Exactly, who wants to pay for the hard yards of the actual dig? I would have thought that discoveries unearthing wealth would be few and far between. I often wonder how many of those old timer excavations were driven by the immediate goals of wealth and/or fame? It does make you wonder.

Mars seems like a reasonably unpleasant to live. We'd die there pretty quickly. Hey, I don't believe that that planet has a magnetic field so the solar radiation would be pretty intense. Those fossilised bacteria were probably some pretty tough customers. I read once about a theory that bacteria were able to hitchhike on asteroids through the frozen vacuum of space - but can't recall whether that was rubbish or not. It sounds like a pretty cool theory though, doesn't it?

Ah the kaftan!!! Few places do live up to The Dream(TM). What? Hollywood has slums? No Way. Well, that has ruined that vision. I've heard unusual references to South Central which sounds pretty full on, but I'm mostly ignorant of such things. I have seen slums in the third world and they are pretty real and gritty. There but for the grace...

Well, that someone recently would have been perhaps Jason Sheehan - the author - who inadvertently ended up in a punch up because someone took offense to him reading a Michael Moorcock book at a bar. I often read books at cafes and occasionally people can take umbrage with that - which happened recently and I stomp the daylights out of the rude individual.

New cars are boring, so I'm with you. I reckon vehicles have passed the easy and economical engineering developments. Most new cars are old cars with layers of additional toys - any that is what I reckon. The recent VW scandal was not a good look.

No way! That is funny. You know email is more a less a form of business communication nowadays. I have friends who seem to believe that I'm mildly difficult not joining in on social media. It just doesn't float my boat. I mean how does one discuss complex matters and swap news and stories in 140 characters or less? I don't get it.

Dementia! Hardly, it sounds more like to stress to me. ;-)! Your mind is elsewhere. Hey, seriously best wishes and I'm crossing my fingers for you.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Heather,

I really enjoy reading all of the different perspectives. It is quite the learning experience for everyone here. Yeah, you are right too, and I never picked up on those points. Good observation. Nothing to see here folks, move along... And the biophobia is quite a point. We live on a world where everything is trying to eat something else and that is just life... Interesting. Thanks.

Exactly, I believe that it is unreasonable to blame the couple too and they would have had no control whatsoever on the tone of that article. And at least they are starting on a long journey. I hope they enjoy that journey too.

Oh thank you. I'm genuinely touched to read that and am also glad that you are enjoying that aspect. Also importantly, I'm not trying to sell anything or even offer any solutions to the present. This is just the world as it appears through my eyes and I enjoy sharing the beauty of nature. Plus there is the "no idiots" policy in the comments! ;-)!

I hope that you have a lovely and productive spring / summer too!

Cheers

Chris

Robert Scott said...

I would like to know about how you did something more than what you did, like you did with mentioning the 2 way level for posts. I'd never heard of that before. Another example - building the new chook shed. How did you cut the steel for that and other projects? This would make your blog a whole lot more useful. It's turning into a diary.

margfh said...

Hi Robert,

While I get what you're saying I kind of like how this blog relates the day to day life of someone who really is "walking the walk". It illustrates how difficult, but often rewarding, it is to choose to live in this manner. Often articles about living off-grid romanticize this type of lifestyle. Just my opinion though.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Robert,

Welcome to the discussion.

The post and pipe level is a little ripper!

Books are a good starting point. Down Under there are quite a few good books on the introduction to building in Australia (all of these should be available from your library or ebay on the cheap):

- Building your own home by George Wilkie and Stuart Arden;
- How to be a successful Owner Builder & Renovator (subtitle: Step by Step Guide to Building or Extending your own home) by Allan Staines; and
- The Roof Building Manual (subtitle: The easy step by step guide with tables and bevels) by Lloyd Hiddle and Allan Staines.

I tend to use old school methods here which are usually slower, but more easily understood, generally require less tools, and you are less likely to have an accident (because it is a slower paced activity). You also need to ask people questions, and then ask more questions.

The steel was cut by hand using an electric angle grinder with a steel cutting disc. That tool is one to be very careful with! ;-)!

Fair enough, I avoid many of the technical details and the reason for that is that whilst they may interest you, other people would fall asleep. It is a tough balance. If you have questions, I suggest you can ask, but I won't increase the level of technical details in the blog text.

You may be surprised to know that the blog is actually a diary of sorts, and that I could have started the blog 20 years ago as I have been doing this sort of stuff for well over that length of time. ;-)! I used to regularly write for actual printed publications.

I'm glad that you find the blog to be interesting.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

No worries, I tend to avoid many of the heavy technical details and just sort of introduce concepts and stuff. I'd fall asleep reading the blog - let alone writing it - if it was all technical details! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

The kids really enjoyed the walk through the nature park. It's clear that most never spend the time to observe nature. It's particularly interesting what they focus on. Galls are a big hit and luckily there are lots of them right now. Some deer tracks were found and one boy didn't even know what a deer was. We'll be leading the 2nd half of the 3rd grade Thursday morning.

One of my responsibilities as guardian of my brothers is the annual accounting of all expenditures on their behalf to the probate court. Every penny must be accounted for and all must balance with the bank statements. Receipts must be available as well though I've never been asked and doubt I will. Still just in case I keep them. Quicken comes in very handy there as well.

Finished digging quack grass out of an area and got the natives plants in yesterday. Today it's the tomatoes but at least that area is prepared so it should go fast.

I also got up the small temporary outside pen for the chicks up yesterday and they enjoyed their first time outdoors.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I have just read that ridiculous article again and was unable to feel anything except acute irritation. It has been aired sufficiently.

Am just back from shopping courtesy of friend. We also collected sufficient feed for son's animals as he is to be without a vehicle for 2 weeks. He will only hire one if he has no option.

Saying that all the pig meat was processed was of course incorrect as a lot of it was just cut up into various joints. Son does cure and smoke the stuff as well but I am really not acquainted with the details; he keeps me in bacon.

I agree with Margaret about keeping accounts. I have done so since I left home at 19. I still had the old books and read them before discarding (I am trying to dispose of old stuff like this). It was fascinating to see items only costing pence.
We have the saying 'look after the pence and the pounds will look after themselves).

Have just got hold of a copy of 'The road to little dribbling'. I think that I have read most of his books. Oddly enough I didn't like 'A walk in the woods' I found it tedious. Too much is piling up for me to read and Summer is not ideal for this.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Heather - And, I love Ruth Goodman's laugh! She's got the greatest laugh in the Western World. :-)

Yo, Chris - Oh, those pesky temporal anomalies. :-). In the Star Trek world, they are either the cause of, or solution to, every problem. Bog backed up? Use the temporal anomaly plunger! :-) .

Oh, I think some archaeologists are in it for the bling. Or, the scholarship points. One more brick in that Ivory Tower. There's always a bit of lively discussion, on the archaeology blogs, around Indiana Jones. Doesn't follow Standard Operating Procedures, as far as archaeology goes. The man doesn't even publish! :-). But, he's so dashing, handsome and finds such interesting things. Never mind Laura Croft, Tomb Raider. Which I haven't seen, but the title tells it all. Especially now, when there's so much hoop-la around illegal antiquities coming to market. In the meantime, everyone up on Hadrian's wall are in a froth, because they uncovered a rather sad looking and broken box wood comb.

Ah, of course. I remembered reading that bit about reading in public, but couldn't quit place where I'd read it. Sheehan.

LOL. Ah, e-mail and business. My real estate agent needed something financial and I sent it. But, she didn't get it. I ended up sending it to 3 different e-mail addresses. Well, she ended up getting them all, eventually. When it comes to e-mail, mileage and travel time may vary. :-). Speaking of which, no news on any front, yesterday. I fantasize (because I really don't know what's going on) that the bank is unhappy with the amounts of the bids, coming in. Or, the interest shown. They could just yank the whole process and begin again, hoping for better results. Let's see ... one definition of disfunction is to do the same thing over and over, and expect different results. :-). Maybe today.

Although I'm distracted enough, that I shouldn't be operating heavy machinery, it's a trip to the Little Smoke, today.

Nell, The Mighty Mole Killer! On my last trip back from the Little Smoke, I pulled in the yard, to see something crawling down the logging road. I leaped out of the truck, radio blaring, door hanging askew, emergency brake set. It was a mole. First I've ever seen. I grabbed the closest thing at hand, which was a big piece of bark that fell off one of the trucks, whacked it as hard as I could. In fact, it broke in half. I raced to the porch to get a shovel (mere feet) and when I got back the mole was gone! I gave Nell a stern lecture on slacking off on mole duties. Later, I saw her hanging about in the general area of the disappearing mole. Last night, at the bottom of the steps was the corpse. Clearly a cast aside kitty toy.

Got my copy of "Into the Ruins", yesterday. Looks good and reads well. I'm dipping in, here and there, whatever catches my fancy. I need to sit down and read it from cover to cover. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Taking the kids through a woodland is a great idea and glad to hear that it went well. The galls - on the oaks (I assume?) - are interesting aren't they? They all tell a story.

Exactly. It really is a good bit of software. Mind, you I can do the whole lot on paper and once worked for a firm of 100 employees in 3 sites that did everything on paper. It wasn't that much slower, but the database software like Quicken are pretty good!

Good luck with the tomatoes. You may be interested to know that at about this time of year (albeit upside down) was the traditional tomato planting time too. I'm finding it is now about a full month earlier than that nowadays (early April for you).

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

That was beautifully written. If you are not offended I would like to borrow that phrase for use in the future (It has been aired sufficiently)?

Nice to see community in action. Stock feed is a very important resource and I was wondering about it whilst in the chicken enclosure this morning after reading your comment.

Fair enough. I've never performed that work either. It is a good skill and I envy you your top notch bacon.

Yeah, exactly. It is a real skill and if you don't know how much you use, how do you know how much you need - versus how much you want? I approve of good record keeping.

I can see what you are saying about a walk in the woods. It was a buddy and redemption tale - well, that was my take on it anyway. I enjoyed it. I'd be interested to hear your take on the road to little dribbling (nice town name too). He is an outstanding author! Winter is sort of mild here, so it is the busy time... There are big plans for tomorrow I'm told.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate, that is funny. I mean how often did they blame a "and then I woke up and couldn't figure out how to finish off this intricate plot line and ran out of time, so them temporary anomaly thingees worked before, so how about we bring one out again?" I wonder if anyone will notice? Hehe!

Tomb robbers following standard operating procedures. Well that's just not cricket is it old chap? Hehe! Are you kidding me with that or are they mucking around with those discussions about Indiana Jones. I really did enjoy those films - they were good fun. Papers make the academic world go round don't they? There seems to be some sort of push to write copious quantities of papers. Actually, I've read anecdotal accounts that that pressure has led to a bit of plagurism, so it isn't a good thing.

I've never watched Tomb Raider, not sure why really. Just never watched it I guess.

That broken comb would be quite the find. It is pretty old really.

;-)! The authors name caused offense to the rather aggressive person who took umbrage. I didn't really enjoy those stories and have read a few a couple of decades ago.

Bummer about the no news. Best of luck! You are absolutely correct about that definition of dysfunction. I see a lot of that gear going on. At the end of the day, banks want to own tokens, not property, so we'll see what happens.

Be careful! I don't even have the heart to make a joke about the machinery...

Go Nell! I would have imagined that a mole would be a fearsome beast given their strong earthmoving efforts. Are moles bad things? I don't know anything about them at all.

I hope you enjoy the read. Joel did a fantastic job. The editor here was very impressed with the quality.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@Lewis

I also find myself staring off into space sometimes, so hopefully it isn't dementia as I feel I might be a bit young for that! Mrs Damo says I am dreaming about buying a boat whenever she sees me with the 500 yard stare. That is a bit of an in joke which calls back a meme from a few years back:
Cat wants a boat meme
And also the lovely view we had in Hobart where you could watch sail boats every afternoon from our living room. Really cold house with frayed carpets from the 70s, but a great view!

@Chris
Hmm, it might not be entirely accurate to suggest those post boxes would have ended up in the trash. I guess it is possible they might have though! :-)

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

My laptop has just upgraded itself (without permission) to windows 10 and I am struggling. Teeny weeny print and far too bright. Can't reduce the light anymore and don't know how to alter the print size. I managed to get google and then you but am not so quietly going nuts.

Of course you can use the 'aired sufficiently'.

Inge

Damo said...

@inge

Pres the window key, type font size, or text size. The first result should take you to the right area too adjust font size, etc. Good luck!

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

I would say that you were "something else" in your younger days (as in marching to the beat of a different drummer) and then I would say that you are still something else . . . Actually, I am pretty sure that "contrary" will be one of the inscriptions on your tombstone, should you have one.

I was going to ask you about the chickens, but there they are, hale and hearty. And who put Toothy right in the middle of the tomato patch?

That still looks like a lot of citrus, even after all the wallaby visitations.

Your weather sounds a bit like our weather. We are still raining and still rather cold. The veg is beginning to look rather shivery and unhappy. We even have some of the youngest plants still living in the house.

I've always loved the name of your farm. It inspires a feeling of peace.

Pam

Steve Carrow said...

Looks like your observations on mainstream views on off grid, or other alternative arrangements confirms how deeply engrained binary thinking is in our western societies ( can't speak for other cultures). I wonder if it is all a reflection of our tribal nature, where our busy primate brains MUST categorize everyone as either friend or foe? How hard is it to have more than two labels or responses to what our minds take in?

I'm still jealous of all the great rocks you have for terracing and landscaping. I thought you had reached peak rock?



LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - I'll be interested to see what you think of "The Road to Little Dribbling." When you get the time. I know what you mean about one's reading, at this time of the year, in the Northern Hemisphere. As far as the book goes, you're our "observer on the ground." So t speak. Lew

@ Damo - Those are really funny pictures. What's that old saying? The two happiest days in a boat owners life, is, when he buys a boat. The second it, when he sells the boat. :-).

I discovered a good rule of thumb for diagnosing dementia or Alzheimer's. If you loose your keys, not a problem. If you can't remember what a key is, or what it's used for, THAT"S a problem. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Chris - Re: "It has been aired sufficiently." Also heard as "That's beating a dead horse." :-)

Speaking of horses, the big news from the Vindolanda dig, up on the wall is ... "Amazing how Roman horse manure can retain its' atmospheric qualities after 1,800 years." :-). Picture of archaeologist with his hands full of horse pukie. Yes, but the question is, does it still make good compost? :-). Yup. They argue over stuff like Indiana Jones. Well, you know the Internet. Throw out anything, and someone will have a contrary opinion.

The whole illegal antiquities trade is a pretty hot topic, right now. ISIS is raking in millions. If they can't blow it up, they're shoving it onto the antiquities market.

Moles can be pretty destructive. Besides making mounds that can trip you up, they'll eat just about any root crop. I've got several sources of water for my chooks, and one sits on the ground. A mole has decided to upend the thing, on numerous occasions, by burrowing up from below.

Well. I didn't get the house in Ryderwood. The auction process is not very transparent. My real estate dealer couldn't even tell me what the final price was, or, which bank holds the paper. No more bank owned houses. She said the deal may fall through (it happens), and then it would be back to me. If my bid was the next highest. Not that we know :-). So, I got back on the Net, last night, and started hunting around.

There's a real estate site that has good maps and has not only their listings, but everything that is available. Well, everything on what we call here the MLS (Multiple Listing Service." I pick an area and scroll down to the bottom, in the cheap seats :-). Most of that is vacant land, so I scroll through that, until I start seeing structures. I stop when it passes out of my price range and move onto the next area.

Right now, I'm looking in and around mostly eastern county areas. Ryderwood, Vader, Winlock, Toledo, Morton, Randle, Mossyrock, Onalaska, Chehalis, Salkum, Mary's Corner, Packwood, Mineral and Glenoma. Of course, my friends in Idaho are plumping for a move there. Oh, argh. But, the properties sure are cheap, there. What looks like a brick (or, brick veneer) ranch style house. In good shape, as far as I can tell ... 3 bedrooms (more room than I need) $38,000. Spotted something in Morton, last night. But, it's a manufactured home. I have an e-mail into my agent, to see if a.) will the bank finance it and b.) can I get insurance on it.

Well, the agent seems confident that we'll get me into something. Just might take a little time. I do like her. Down to earth country / horse woman. Very comfortable. Some of the agents here look as if they've escaped from a fashion house runway. :-). Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Nice one! Not sure about your lot, but these ones really were thrown out every single day - and the company received one per day and nobody cared enough to collect them. I couldn't deal with waste on that scale. Mind you, this was the mid 90's when Greed was Good and all that gear...

Hope the packing plans are going smoothly. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Ouch. I spotted that tricksy upgrade being loaded onto my computer and then promptly turned off all updates and deleted that particular one which caused the mess that you are now living with. Yes, I agree with you that the font size is very small for that Windows 10. I thought the earlier product was quite good and didn't see the need for any upgrade... Upgrades for upgrades sake are to be avoided.

You can always reinstall the previous version, but that is a lot of hassle. I tend to keep full back ups which I can restore to within an hour or so. Such advice is a bit late now though. Because of the bush fire risk I am very careful with maintaining back ups.

Thank you. It was a lovely turn of phrase!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thank you! I suspect that you may have an interesting story too. ;-)!

I reckon I'd enjoy one of those green burials where they plant a tree and you're not embalmed. Feeding a tree sounds like a good thing. I reckon we consume more than our fair share of preservatives these days anyway.

Hey, the chicken enclosure is working very well and the chickens are happy and dry and running around their enclosure despite the worst conditions the weather can throw at them. And the health of the chickens is much better. One sick chicken who I was about to neck for fears of the other chickens becoming sick - made a full recovery... I have never seen that before.

Toothy was hunting frogs believe it or not, but he was vain enough to pose for the photo opportunity!!! Hehe!

Yeah, I have about 20+ varieties of citrus and about four produce well, and the other ones are still growing. In another year or two I should hopefully have more than I can eat.

Wow, that sounds quite cold for this stage of the late spring. Mind you, spring can be a very mixed bag here too. The weather has been very strange here of late.

Thank you! I did have a nice visitor recently who said they really enjoyed the sense of peace that they received when they visited. Nice! They're welcome back.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@Chris

Thank you, Overall, I am pretty happy with my packing effort. The real test will be in a week or so when I realise there was something I should have packed that isn't there....

It is a bit of a blur to be honest. Tomorrow is farewell party day (starts at lunchtime), Sunday we leave. There is a two week introduction and induction program when we arrive, I probably won't have time to catch my breath or take bearings for a few weeks lol! I haven't even read this weeks ADR yet!!!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

That is a good observation. I didn't think of it like that at all, but yeah, I reckon you are spot on. Now that you mention it, it is a bit: You're with us or you're against us... I'd never considered the problem from that perspective before, but no doubt that you are right about the tribal brains. It is a survival instinct. Too bad if the people railing about difference are exhibiting maladaptive behaviours themselves.

Oh yeah, peak rocks is here all right. I have to travel further and further away just to maintain the supply. They're good rocks though and the terracing works really well on a slope.

There'll be more terracing over the next few weeks too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I've heard that one too, although down here they say: There's no point beating a dead horse. Do you reckon that arose from Nietzsche. He had an impressive mustache too! He definitely would have required one of those old timer mustache cup thingees.

No way. How does pony poop retain any sort of semblance of smell after 1,800 years? That soil must have had no oxygen or light - or any other sort of energy for a very long time. I mean even the anaerobic bacteria would have given it a bash to have a quick bite? Still, they must know what they're doing.

Ah, well wars are expensive beasts. It makes a weird sort of sense...

Ha! Moles sound quite horrendous. Wombats are sensible creatures and whilst they dig, they don't tend to upset the surroundings. Now the rats on the other hand would do exactly like the moles, except the exit would be right next to the water bowl, but hidden, for their sneaky convenience. I suspect us humans will be replaced by the rats one day!

Sorry mate, that's no good. Well, there's always other places. Some agents quote low so they can gain more interest, so you don't know what games they were playing. Seek elsewhere sounds like a good strategy.

What do they say: If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Doesn't help though.

Hey, what is a manufactured home? They sometimes build houses off site here, but moving the end product is a major operation and I once saw a house like that getting stuck in the low hanging trees on the road. Eventually a guy sat on the top of the house at the front with a chainsaw and just cut the trees away from the house whilst the truck drove slowly down the road... It did seem to work and I don't know where it ended up.

I don't believe that those houses would be a problem down here.

You are in good hands then. Agents are a pain, so you are very lucky.

I started bringing firewood in from the shed for the first time today.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@Damo

Wow! Thanks. I haven't managed the font size yet but thank goodness I have reduced the screen brightness with your helpful info.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, there's something about the soil up at Vindolanda, that stuff that usually doesn't get preserved in other parts of Britain, get preserved there. Wood, leather. I think they've got a collection of something like 4,000 Roman shoes. :-). Maybe they can sell off some of the horse poo as fertilizer to raise a bit of money for the excavations. The Portland Zoo sells (or used to) "Packy Poo", from the elephants. Supposed to be really good for roses.

Hmmm. What is a manufactured home. Well, it's neither fish nor fowl. :-). They're prefab and put together, on site. Usually, the quality of material and insulation is higher quality, than a trailer. But, I think the big difference is that they're usually put on a foundation. No wheels. The one I'm looking at has a part concrete block, part poured cement, foundation. If things firm up a bit more, I'll post a link. Depends on if the credit union will finance. Well, sure is a far cry from the "little cabin in the woods with a sunny spot for a garden and no neighbors." :-). Well, got to stay flexible and beggars can't be choosers. :-)

Nell nailed another mole, yesterday. Left it as a gift at the bottom of the stairs. Ahhh. She wants to share :-). Now that she's zeroed in on moles, she seems to be having pretty good luck. Should have saved the pelts for slippers :-).

The hummingbird population seems to have really bumped up, here. Darn, the apple trees have leafed out, and I can't see the two feeders, out there. Next time I fill them, I'll have to see if I can find spots where I can get a good view. A little touch, as the pruning has left few spots that are in view, and high enough that Nell can't get at them.

The feeder on the back deck, just out the kitchen window, is in clear view. There are enough hummingbirds around, now, that they squabble over the feeder. There's plenty for all, but they're very territorial. We have varieties, but I find them hard to tell apart. In color, the males differ from the females, and the younger birds differ from the older. And, within each category, there's quit a range of color. And, some of them have the whole iridescence thing, going on. Look at them from one angle, and they're one color. From another angle, another color. I spotted a little fellow, yesterday, who was a brilliant orange / red.

One curious little fellow came right up to the kitchen window, yesterday. Hovered for quit a long time, just checking out the kitchen and me. Sometimes, when I'm on the front porch, they come in quit close. I usually shoo them off, as Nell's generally hanging about. I've lectured her sternly, about leaving the hummingbirds alone. So far, this year, she hasn't nailed any.

The weather here has been another round of light rain. Scattered showers. It got quit nippy, last night. Not freezing, but cold enough that I kicked on a little heat, for just awhile. Looks like we're having a cool, wet spring. Lew

orchidwallis said...

hello again

I think that moles are great; they don't give me any trouble at all. Whenever we have a long dry spell an occasional dead one appears on the surface. Their coat is fabulous to stroke.

It appears that the red squirrels here have leprosy. Photos are shown of them with nodules on their ears and swollen feet. We are told that they have been getting it for 25 years. The ones around here look okay. People are being assured that it is probably not possible to catch it. Doesn't encourage one to look after a sick squirrel does it! We are also told that they don't have long enough lives to succumb from it.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Ha! Ooo, that will be a bit late by then wont it. Oh well, there is always the postal service. Anyway, you wont be short of good food - from memory and make sure you travel to Luang Prabang which I reckon rated as one of my favourite spots in Asia.

I hope you both had a nice farewell party and I look forward to reading about your adventures. Thanks for taking the time to drop a few comments here. By the way, don't be a stranger in the future! :-)! I reckon you will learn heaps there, and I hope you both try and pick up the local language too. Best wishes!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Doesn't it make you wonder whether the researchers and archaeologists learned anything from those 4,000 shoes. I mean it would have been quite cold and the shoes must have been manufactured somewhere else and they were all hand made. Also, I'm wondering whether the shoes are left overs from the Roman rubbish dump at Vindolanda. It is such an amazing insight into how the actual people lived day to day.

That is funny about the "Packy Poo", from the elephants. Down here the zoo packages and sells manure which is labelled as "Zoo Poo". I've often wondered what the effect would be on the local wildlife here if I brought some of that manure back here. I suppose that there wouldn't be much in the way of lion poo, but even a small quantity may strike fear into the hearts of the more determined marsupial vandals?

Speaking of which, they used to have lion safari's down here but they were eventually closed down. How nervous would you be as a neighbour? It puts a whole new spin on concerns about fencing... The government now runs a huge outdoor open range zoo at the Werribee Open Range Zoo. I'm constantly amazed by my fellow humans because a very dense hedge was planted in a hurry around that zoo because apparently some nefarious people were taking pot shots at the animals...

There is nothing wrong with pre-fab homes. Down here back in the gold rush days (1850's) the English used to sell pre-fab kit homes and some of those are still standing today. I travel past a few of them every week or so and they have been restored and are still even lived in.

Well, I enjoy my quiet enjoyment, but despite that, I still get intruded upon more than you'd think. I read a book by Dr Bill Bryson who mentioned in notes to a big country that Daniel Boone looked out from his cabin window one day - in a remote valley - as he had seen a wisp of smoke from a homesteaders cabin on a distant mountain and he then pronounced that the neighbourhood was getting too crowded. That does sound to me like a rather extreme point of view, but nonetheless, the quote was attributed to him.

Yes, those slippers from the moles pelt would be quite toasty warm come the next winter! It is good to hear that Nell is getting her back into the task at hand.

I do hope that you are getting a solid covering of blossoms too on those apple trees?

Yeah, I've noticed that birds tend to be either transient or territorial. They're very adaptive. How good is it that the hummingbirds have finally discovered the feeder too? Birds are funny with the colours and the same thing happens here too. The dominant local parrots are generally blue/red, but the younger members of that flock are green/red. And as they age, they take on different colours.

Wow, that orange/red bird would be quite something. Down here a small one of that colour would be either a honey-eater or a wren. Out of interest, do you have a bird identification book in your collection?

Nell clearly has taken on board your stern lecture. ;-)!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Nice to read that you are receiving good rain with a cool spring. I reckon that is a pretty good spring all things considered. It will be interesting to see how it changes as you go into summer as down here they are predicting a La Nina. But given how much ground water you have stored, I reckon you may just be in for a bumper summer - with a bit of extra heat.

Autumn down here is just wacky warm. And I can't claim that it has been dry either. Two Antarctic cold fronts will arrive this week - one of which may dump another inch of rain on Thursday.

I spent today digging, and then digging some more. My digging is a bit like your house hunting. You don't actually want to do it, but if you don't... So today I dug soil and then moved it. And built another concrete step. I can't commence the strawberry enclosure until I've finished the garden beds around last years machinery and wood sheds... Honestly, I must have done something bad in a past life to have to face so much soil excavation work - by hand. Sometimes it would be easier to get a huge machine in and do the job, but the cost of such a thing is huge - and the damage they do in that process... Oh well, mustn't grumble...

Hey, forgot to mention but tomorrow I pick up a dodgy second hand large hardwood table that I'll try and restore. It was exactly like you mentioned because for some reason in the late 90's people had stained it with a dark walnut colour - in an acrylic finish too - what is with that? But the underlying structure and timber looks really good. Still, I'll see how it goes after half a day of sanding I may be singing a different tune... The soils here would not preserve it as well as Roman timber artifacts from Vindolanda! ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

May has been pretty cool here but I did get the tomatoes in this week. Last Saturday it was in the mid 40's and we had a frost and today is forecast to be 76 (F) - what a difference a week makes. Ten day forecast is high 70's to low 80's (F) and fairly dry. I should be able to get the rest of the planting done by mid week.

Speaking of digging I've spent many hours digging out quack grass so I can actually plant the seedlings. I feel your pain :).

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Nice to read your more positive experience with the moles. Out of interest, why does the prolonged dry spells affect a moles health? I've always felt that such creatures serve the purpose of aerating the soils. You may be interested to know that the Echidna's which look like spiny ant eaters, but are actually closely related to platypuses and are something of a missing link and the wombats burrow under ground and leave tunnels. I have never had a moments trouble with either of them. Mind you, you wouldn't enjoy patting an echidna!

Probably not possible does not reassure a person. Back in the late 90'd I visited Varanasi in India and saw Lepers first hand. Travelling to some of the rougher parts of the world as a western tourist quite changed my perspective on the world. I must be a bit stupid because I never travelled to first world developed locations - the real reason was that I was probably broke and they were the only places I could get too!

A very long time ago, I recall that there was a problem with non native grey squirrels in the UK and I was wondering whether there are grey squirrels on your island? And what are the impacts of those squirrels?

You may be interested to know that possums here fill the same ecological niches, but the owls destroy them here so they never really get much of a foothold. It is quite brutal out here in the forest at night.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Lew,

We only have Ruby Throated Hummingbirds here and I've only seen a male so far. Our feeder is right next to our front porch where we sit out all the time. The become very used to us after a week or so.

We also have several different feeders near a maple tree. One of our cats especially has taken to sitting under that tree. Rarely does she go after a bird and to my knowledge she hasn't caught one but it does discourage the migrants anyway. The regulars, downy woodpeckers, chickadees, white breasted nuthatches etc. often just come to the feeders anyway. I've got a feeder for the orioles with oranges and cups for grape jelly. Even they are getting used to Annie, the cat.

Best of luck with the house search, btw.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The moles are defeated by our appalling clay. The fact that they can't cope when it turns to concrete gives an idea as to how bad it is.

No grey squirrels on the island.

I bought some cake the other day, how shocking! I didn't have any at home and my kind driver does like cake. I bought something that I make and it did taste the same. The list of ingredients was daunting along with 'best before the end of July'.
My real reason for mentioning it is the following:- There were 2 equal sized cakes in the packet and the label on the packet said '9 portions'. I despair!

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - I've always envied that you have orioles and cardinals, back east. Such beautiful birds. Last night, two of the hummingbirds seemed to have reached detente. Quietly sitting on each side of the feeder, chowing down.

Yo, Chris - Yes, I think most of the shoes were found in tips, down wells, in the sewer system. Yesterday, they found a wooden tablet. It's a hinged, oblong shallow box with wax. They used a funny stylus to write on the wax. A pointy end, to write and a blunt end to rub out or correct what you had written. The wax on this one was all gone.

There was a safari park near Laguna Beach, when I lived down in S. California. One time, one of the lions escaped and they caught him strolling down the Laguna Canyon Road. I suppose the lion scent might keep the wildlife off. I know here, you can buy all kinds of scents from predators, to scatter about. LOL. I had a friend once, who had a place further out than mine. He had a really nice garden, surrounded by deer fence. One time, he heard a commotion, and went out to discover that a cougar was rooting around in his garden. He had used some fish fertilizer and the cougar was digging around trying to find the fish!

Elbow room. I think I'd heard that story about Daniel Boone. Westward, ever westward. It's always amazing to me that I drive through miles of forest, and then come upon clusters of houses, all packed in together. Not the way I'd want to live. Maybe it's a "circle the wagons" complex?

Oh, the apple blossoms have come and gone and there's a bumper crop of apples developing on the trees. Not that I'll, with luck, be here to harvest them. :-).

A friend suggested if I make mole slippers, I should put a mole head on each toe. :-)

LOL. Well, I do have quit a few different bird identification books. But, I tend to just do Google searches ... "yellow and black bird, western Washington State." Lazy, just lazy.

Well, if you want to see damage to the soil from heavy machinery, take a look at my logging road. Hard as a plate, in spots. Nothing will grow there, for years. Oh, well. Less to mow. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. 123.8F (51C) in western India. It boggles the mind. Rainy and overcast here, today. Very dark.

Well, I looked into the Morton municipal codes. No chickens allowed. You can even get a fine of $1,000 and 90 days in jail. But, I think that could change. Ryderwood also didn't allow chickens, but I think they're less likely to change. More hidebound. Packwood just altered their code to allow 3 or 4 hens, per household. My first civic crusade? More likely, find someone who feels the same way (and, has been there longer), set them on fire and let them do all the heavy lifting :-). I'm sure "Art of War" says something about that?

Well. Looking at Morton, it might be a good fit for me. They have a renovated theatre, that does live shows and first run movies. An arts center and gallery. They've renovated their train station and run steam trains around Mt. Rainier. Heck, they even have a yoga studio (!). I also spotted this on Wikipedia "Morton has voted Republican in the past, although less so than Lewis County as a whole." In the last presidential election, it went 46% Democratic party.

Watched the documentary "Amy", last night. About the singer Amy Winehouse. I liked some of her music and was curious about her life. The usual script. Hounded by the media (you wouldn't believe the feeding frenzy of the paparazzi). Poor personal choices. Toxic people in her life, that she didn't have the gumption to get rid of. She had Daddy issues. As so often happens, Dad disappeared from her life, early on. Once she was successful, he oozed his way back into her life and exploited her for all his was worth. Quit a piece of work.

It will be interesting to compare this film, with "The End of the Tour," which I should get pretty soon. The fame aspect. Let's see. I'm number five on the hold list, there are five copies in play, each checks out for one week ... a train leaves a station going 45 mph, another train leaves a station going 50 miles an hour .... etc. etc..

Well, I'd better get on with my day. On the list is to cook up a batch of hummingbird food and restock the feeders. See if I can find a place to move the feeders in the apple trees, so I can get a better view of the action. The honey suckle is also blooming and the hummingbirds are all over it. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Oh my! I never thought of clay that way before, but of course it makes an awful lot of sense. I have total sympathy for your moles when the clay becomes as concrete.

The reason for that sympathy was that back in 2006 when the very first holes for fruit trees were dug here... The clay was like concrete and I had to smash the mattock into the ground for hours just to break up a small quantity of clay with which to plant a bare rooted fruit tree. Composted woody mulch was then mixed into the clay and then the tree was planted into that hole. Those fruit trees struggled in their first few years. Rainfall ran over the surface and the hard clay was visible just by walking around.

I hear you! And good to hear that there are no grey squirrels on your island. The old Celtic tribes used to understand that there were serious benefits to be gained from living on an island. I also live on an island, it is just really big. ;-)!

Yeah, that is not good. I am unsure how to keep cake fresh for that long a period of time. You have to admit that it seems very weird! On Thursday I heard a medical doctor saying that all drugs are poisons and it is the specific dose that is crucial and I thought to myself that that was an interesting admission. Preservatives are a form of poison too, because their role is to slow down the biological activity. The soil gets all of us in the end!

Well, a clever person can obtain as many portions as they would care to make of that cake! That portion instruction was a good laugh. :-)!

I picked up a very high quality hardwood table today for a throw-away price and have been slowly sanding it for most of the afternoon. I constantly live in some sort of amazed state with the high quality items that people just discard. I'll put some photos up on the blog tomorrow. Unfortunately I had to rise before the sun (the unforgiveable sin!!!!).

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I thought so. You know, I was wondering whether only the rubbish shoes had survived because they were discarded by their owners as being unsuitable for the conditions? Dunno. Since moving to hill billy country I have become a staunch adherent to the leather boot for purely pragmatic reasons and I have wondered whether the archaeologists discovered any good serviceable boots in their digs?

Ha! The wax tablet is a great idea. Please don't be put off by my irreverence, but when I was a kid, they used to have a toy called an Etch a Sketch and the Roman wax tablets sounded to me as almost the same sort of a technology. It is funny how everything old is new again! :-)!

I guess cougars make a solid argument for not walking around the surrounding forest and fields at night? Seeing a live cougar in the garden at night would make me wet myself in fright!!!! Or perhaps I'd start walking around at night with a loaded rifle, but cougars are pretty fast and display some solid cunning so it would make for a very interesting walk! The wombats have an extraordinary sense of smell and they mark out the boundaries of their territory exactly and even leave calling cards, but they seem to have shown only disinterest to manure applied to the garden (thankfully!). They can easily disrespect the dogs as the wombats are akin to armoured tanks.

Most probably thosee houses are settled around a reliable source of water. Daniel Boone appeared to have quite an extreme point of view, but at the same time I do understand his issues. Some strangers were up duck hunting this afternoon in a neighbours dam (pond) and I didn't know who they were (or their people) and even if they had permission to be shooting there. Dunno, they made an unfavourable first impression and left after I did a drive by to see what was going on.

Well, I do hope that you are soon planting your own apple trees. ;-)! On the other hand, take your time and find the right place and like you wrote, you end up where you do. I like that philosophy.

The moles are now dead and their deaths may as well go to some good use! ;-)!

I never even thought of doing an internet search for bird identification. Mind you there are less species down here and the bird book is very comprehensive. Incidentally, I find that the photographic bird books are easier to understand than the old plates of the paintings which are subject to interpretation. What do you reckon about that?

Exactly, heavy machinery does as much harm as it does good. It can be used for good though and I got the excavator dude to deep rip the orchard area, but then after he left I hauled in by hand in a wheelbarrow, compost and seeds over the entire area (which was quite huge).

Yes, the drought and heat wave in northern India has not escaped my attention and I have travelled there and seen first-hand during winter and know only too well how the destructive impacts of such climactic events are. I don't travel far at all anymore as I understand the impacts that such things have.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

That is very Sun Tzu of you! Yes, the old dead guy was really onto something. I would have enjoyed a quiet ginger wine or two with him and I incorporate his teachings into my worldview wherever I can, much to other peoples distress. ;-)!

Hmmm, I saw a review for that documentary and honestly apart from her big hit "Rehab" I didn't really know her work. She has a great voice! That song though always had a melancholy atmosphere to it. Some people use to forget or to cope and Amy appeared to be on that level. Dunno. It is interesting that you mention the father as I don't get the whole daddy issues phenomena but the first thought which popped into my head was: Sharks patrol these waters! I found it incredibly liberating not have a father in my life, so I can think and feel my own thoughts and have done so from a very early age.

Yeah, I hope you do enjoy that film. Dunno. I could see in the film that the David Foster Wallace character was struggling to find his people and place, but had little defences against the greater world (as represented by the journalist). And viewing the world through uninitiated eyes as it appears in that story would have been quite difficult. Dunno. It was a complex story but worth watching.

Mate, that sounds like an IQ test and well, all I can say is that one of those trains is sure gonna get somewhere faster than the other one! Hehe! I'm no brain slouch but those sorts of test are better dealt with by the editor! Hehe!! Oh, we've dropped into the land of silly again!!!

Very cool. Out of interest what are the hummingbirds consuming that you are baking? And what do you use to hold all of the mix together? I'm guessing either: egg; sugar; or honey?

I picked up an awesome second hand table today for a total throw out price. And you know what? It is about 17 years old now, locally made, but at some point in the past someone stained it with a walnut (red-ish) coloured polyurethane finish which has taken about six solid hours this afternoon to sand off. It is now looking really cool, but won’t be finished sanding and staining in natural oils until next week. I live in a state of constant amazement at the sort of high quality items that people discard thinking they no longer have any value... It is crazy! It sure does make my life easy though! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris ... Great minds ... :-). I actually thought about the Etch a Sketch when I mentioned the Roman tablet. LOL. I just thought you either a.) wouldn't have them down under or b.) they'd be before your time. I had one when a wee small lad in the 50s.

Cougars are rather solitary and have a huge range. 600 square miles? Always on the move, unless they make a kill and hang out for a few days.

The author Conrad Richter caught that westward itch, quit nicely, in his trilogy "The Awakening Land". "The Trees", "The Fields", "The Town." It's about the settling of the Ohio River Valley in the 1700s. The last volume won the Pulitzer prize in 1951. Issue in separate volumes, and also, under one cover. By the way, you may find a copy of Michener's "Kent State" in your second hand bookstore wanderings. Easy to overlook. Unlike his usual door stops of books, it's a rather thin little book.

Oh, I think I like the photo bird identification books better than the illustrated ones. But, the illustrated ones can be nice ... art pieces in their own right. Bird ID can drive me crazy. There can be so much variation, within a species. I still don't know what one of my chickens, is. Maybe a partridge Wyondotte ... maybe not. :-)

I got my hummingbird feeders cleaned, restocked and hung back up. In the constant drizzle we had yesterday. The entire time the hummingbirds were swooping around and giving me "what for." I cut a few small branches out of the apple trees, so I'd get a better view of the action. In the drizzle. I've been seeing several small hummingbirds, so, I guess the first hatch is out. They can have two settings a year. One or two eggs. I feed the birds a sugar / water mix. 4 cups of water and 1 of sugar. I use cane sugar. Get the water to a rolling boil, dump in the sugar and keep stirring for two minutes. "One thousand one, one thousand two, etc. etc.. :-). Did I mention it was drizzling? :-)

Polyurethane, I'm embarrassed to say, was the "thing to do" back in the 60s. I refinished quit a few pieces of nice walnut burl, Victorian furniture, with that stuff. It is a .... well, it's hard to get off. But, I did it right. Four coats of the stuff and then rub it down. Back then Turtle Car Wax was just the right consistency and the right "grit" to get the job done. The trick was to work up enough friction, to melt the top coat or two. With a light enough touch to not "break through." If you did that, it was back to square one. Then "the fashion" changed. More original finishes, varnish and such.

Watched a pretty good movie, last night. "Driftless Area." A different kind of ghost story. Rather philosophical. The scariest thing about it was one of the most fascinating and repulsive psychopaths I have seen in the movies, in a long time. The madness, so casual. Takes place in the American Midwest, present time. Worth a look.

Weather is still rather feral here, so, I think it's a good day for laundry. I'm also feeling the pressure to start sorting through and tossing stuff in case I have to move. Haven't heard from the credit union (as to if they'll finance) but may take a look at the place in Morton, on Monday or Tuesday. Up to my real estate agent. Lew