Monday, 9 May 2016

Best for Less

I only began to worry when the guy in the van that I was instructed to follow flagged me down and asked me to pull over and park. The story he told me was that he’d forgotten to bring the keys for the companies second factory and so he had to return to the original factory. I was instructed to patiently wait in my car on the side of a very busy road until he returned. It was at that point that the realisation kicked in that he had all of my paperwork and I’d already paid him in full. I simply had to wait patiently whilst pondering the potential error of my trusting ways.

Regular readers will recall that the kitchen has been expanded recently because we’d completely run out of space to store preserves and the food preparation space was becoming increasingly limited. The situation had become feral! Food was being stored all over the house, but for some strange reason the office where I work – and the editor swears this was not intentional – had far more than its fair share of preserved food in various states of storage. As an interesting side note, those new kitchen cupboards are now completely full of: ginger wine; bottled apricots; jams; potatoes; onions; olives; chutneys; and passata (tomato purée).

Unfortunately, it had been many years since I had constructed a kitchen and the artificial stone benchtops which I had previously used had become very expensive during that intervening time. Also most of the companies supplying those artificial stone benchtops also wanted to conduct two site visits at my expense. Firstly to perform the measurements and finally to provide delivery and installation services . I didn’t really want to pay for those additional services because I can competently use a tape measure, and for delivery nothing beats the trusty bright yellow trailer, which also happens to be the cheapest option!

Financial tightness is celebrated here! Whilst waiting to source a cheap benchtop for the new cupboards, I simply placed two scrap bits of plywood, which were otherwise lying around outside in the rain, on top of the cupboards. I don’t actually recommend using scrap plywood as a working surface in a kitchen because it is almost impossible to keep clean.

After a few enquiries, I finally tracked down a company who was happy to sell me an artificial stone benchtop cut to size which I could pick up directly from their factory. The editor and I took a trip into the big smoke of Melbourne and checked out the business, met the owners, agreed on a price, paid for the benchtop in full, and then simply waited a week for them cut the stone to our specified size.

On Friday, I received a phone call from the bench dude letting me know that the stone benchtop had been cut to order and was now ready to pick up. Unfortunately, at that time, the bright yellow trailer was full of manure for the garden. Maybe it is just me, but I'm guessing that manure and a clean artificial stone benchtop is a bad mix.
The cubic metre (1.3 cubic yards) load of manure had to be rapidly placed in the garden
The manure was rapidly moved out of the bright yellow trailer and placed in a new raised garden bed. Observant readers will be able to see in the excavated area, a thin black line which is the layer of top soil (no more than an inch / 25mm) which has naturally formed over the past decade.

Now that the bright yellow trailer had been cleared of manure, I recalled that the bench dude had issued firm instructions for us to transport the benchtop in an almost vertical position (glass is also transported in this manner so as to avoid breakage). The editor and I had decided to construct a timber frame which would be used to transport the artificial stone benchtop. Unfortunately, we didn’t have nearly enough scrap timber on hand to build the timber frame.

So, off to the local tip shop we went! We had to hurry because the day was wearing on and the tip shop closes at 3pm sharp.
The local tip shop in all its glory. Good stuff!
The local tip shop is full of building materials and other interesting stuff. I took down an old table saw which was in working order, but which I had not used for many years and would be happy if someone else could make better use of it. In turn I found an old bed base which had more than enough timber for the timber frame. A reasonable price was agreed upon, there were smiles all around, and we were on our way home again.
The pine recovered from the recycled bed base was brought back to the farm from the tip shop so as to be converted into a timber frame for transporting the benchtop
After another hour or so of construction, the timber frame had been completed and was tied onto the bright yellow trailer.
The timber frame used for transporting the benchtop was completed and tied onto the bright yellow trailer
The next day I met up with the bench dude at the factory as agreed. The benchtop was located in another factory where the cutting took place. And this is where todays story began.

Fortunately, the guy soon returned as he really had forgotten to bring the keys for access to the second factory! The entire episode smelled of a scam to me, but no, it was a genuine mistake. This was a relief for me, because not only would I have had to pay another person for yet another benchtop, but extracting retribution for falling for the scam by throwing a brick through their plate glass window late one night would be counter to my ethos. I like to do projects as cheaply as possible, and bricks are expensive you know!

Once the benchtop was loaded into the bright yellow trailer, then began the unpleasant return journey. That day was very windy and the benchtop, which was placed in a near vertical position, was like a giant sail. Eventually, I arrived back home safely with the benchtop. As an interesting side note, when a person buys a stone benchtop cut to a specific size, the original item is much longer and you pay for the full length regardless. In my case the original length was 3,200mm (just under 10ft) long, but my benchtop was cut to 1,850mm (72.8 inches). This also provided me with a second smaller benchtop of 1,350mm (53 inches) which will be used in a future project. Canny readers may quickly realise that there are a lot of smaller stone benchtop off cuts being sold (or disposed of) about the place for not much money at all!
Poopy and Sir Scruffy admire the panache with which the benchtops were brought back to the farm – on the cheap!
That benchtop was heavy. It weighed in excess of 100kg (220 pounds) and it was a credit to the editor and I that we carried the benchtop up the stairs and through the house. I have to “fess up” because I almost dropped it once when the weight shifted unexpectedly as I was walking backwards up the stairs! Anyway, the benchtop was soon fixed into place and the kitchen upgrade was complete. The editor was happy that the new bench and cupboards matched the original finishes, although I have to admit to being rather fond of the plywood benchtop look, despite its many practical downsides! And best of all we completed that project at a relatively low cost.
The completed kitchen island bench which is now full of preserved goodies
With the kitchen upgrade now complete, we continued preserving foodstuffs for use later in the year. This week the olives were pitted using a very old stainless steel hand operated olive pitter / garlic press. This older unit is far stronger and more effective than a recently obtained olive pitter which may be recycled.
The author using an old olive pitter / garlic press to remove the stones from the olives
We preserve olives by keeping them in fresh water for four days (completely replacing the water every day). At the end of that period, the olives are then placed in salt water for four weeks (completely replacing the salt water once every week). You can tell if not enough salt has been added to the salt water because some of the olives will float. You can also tell if too much salt has been added because the olives will eventually taste very salty. I use a plate in a bucket to weigh the olives down so that they do not come into contact with the air – which may cause the olives to mould. Observant readers will also note in the photo below that this variety of olive changes colour during the preserving process from bright green to a drab olive green and you can see that happening with these olives.
The olives are being processed in a bucket so as to remove the very bitter taste
Over the next few weeks, depending on the weather which can be challenging for outside work at this time of year, I will hopefully install a few extra solar photovoltaic panels.

However, before I could even consider adding a few extra solar panels to the power system, I had to replace most of the circuit breakers in the battery room. A circuit breaker is a device that automatically cuts the power if something goes wrong. As the system had expanded over the years, the original circuit breakers had less margin for error. Because of the real risk of fire if a problem develops in an off grid solar photovoltaic power system, I decided to err on the side of caution and replace all of the circuit breakers.

Whilst I was replacing all of the circuit breakers, I also decided to completely rewire all of the major components in the battery room so as to neaten up all of the wiring. The solar power system had been developed over a number of years and so a complete rewire of the battery room for neatness was probably due. I did underestimate the amount of time that it would take to complete that project which ended up being about ten hours over two late nights. With these sorts of occasional projects, it can be very hard to know how long it will take to complete. The results look good, although they may be incomprehensible to most people!
The battery room was rewired this week
For the past two days it has rained. I’m very happy to see that wet stuff falling from the sky. So much rain has fallen, that the very large and empty 33,500 litre (8,850 gallons) water tank has even begun the long process of refilling.
The rain has fallen heavily over the past few days and the water tanks are filling rapidly
The swale which collects any and all water runoff has filled this week. A swale is the fancy name for a ditch which collects water and allows that water to infiltrate into the soil. The two willow trees in the swale were very happy to receive a good drink.
The swale even began to fill this week with water running off hard surfaces
In preparation for the new solar panels I also cemented the steel post into the ground and unfortunately, it rained before I could complete painting the dark grey top coat.
A steel post to the left of the existing solar panels was cemented into the ground over the past few days
I thought that it may be useful for readers to see how I can quickly tell whether any post is exactly vertical. For about two decades now, I have used a yellow plastic post and pipe level. It is a very handy tool as it has two spirit levels both of which indicate whether the post is exactly vertical.
A post and pipe level with two plastic spirit levels is used to ensure that any post is installed in a vertical position
With the heavy rain, the concrete pipe / culvert which directs water onto the newly planted fern gully flowed today!
The concrete pipe / culvert which directs water onto the newly planted fern gully flowed today
And that flowing water travelled exactly along the line of the recently planted ferns.
The flowing water travelled exactly along the line of the recently planted ferns
The temperature outside now at about 5.30pm is 11.5’C (52.7’F). So far this year there has been 210.0mm (8.3 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 190.2mm (7.5 inches).


Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Ha! The rain as so heavy today that I had a quiet day inside, the wood heater was bubbling along (lots of cooking in the oven) and I finished the blog early! :-)! Maybe about an inch of rain fell today and that should show up on next weeks rainfall statistics. It is nice to finally see some solid rain, but wow, that storm was huge and covered most of the continent which is no small feat. Cliff Mass may have described it as an atmospheric river?

It is interesting that you write that about the Roman coins. And yes, there definitely would have been a story behind that. I can imagine someone stashing the coins in that spot thinking to come back later and retrieve the wealth only to be waylaid by some nefarious individuals who may have looked rather a lot like barbarians, but in a strange twist were originally Roman soldiers out looking for personal gain - which clearly they missed completely - like the scruffy amateur archaeologists in that UK show you mentioned where they missed the gold coin! ;-)!

Just out of interest, do they have much value for collectors today? And you know, you totally preempted me because Roman coin debasing was the next line of thought. I guess these questions have been asked for a long time. I'm always fascinated that the Roman games played with the money supply eventually led to such stringent religious strictures in the Dark Ages that followed Romes fall. That story would make for an interesting essay for sure.

Yes, I saw the previews for the film, "The Intern" which had Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway both of whom are most excellent actors. There is a long history with the status issue surrounding interns. You may recall that I ran a graduate program for a big corporate a long time ago. The graduates that came via the very large accounting firms appeared to be... burned out. You see those firms apparently worked them huge hours (longer than anything I've ever done) on audit jobs. Some people can thrive in such an environment, most others not so much. I had a nickname for them - cannon fodder. They may have been paid, but they appeared to be working two jobs for the price of one and without exception, the ones I came across required a lot of healing and special care and attention. They used to say strange things early on like: "we know more about a clients accounts than they do." - I had to let them down very gently. They were hard work.

Good for them, we all need the occasional castle built by some eccentric!

Mate, I feel for you with that bull whip. You reckon he'd get bored by now. At least he is doing some exercise and developing a skill, I guess.

Exactly, if it seems odd, it probably is odd! And you deal with those circumstances using the normal routes. Of course, one must be flexible and have a plan B up their sleeve (not always easy on the fly of course).

Very wise. I read that in Chehalis the "historic downtown and most of the city's amenities lie on the east side of the freeway, nestled at the base of a small range of forested hills". I would opt for that choice too. The west side is perhaps less to my liking from the descriptions. I really do wish you well in your great property hunt (TM). That is very funny about the drive bys! ;-)! Nice one. I don't believe I was at peril, but it was more what the people were doing to the wildlife which makes me sad and angry at the same time. This side of the mountain range is quite surprisingly well kitted out in such matters, but generally the folks up here are quite respectful of their neighbours - for good reason. That evening was unusual and slightly unsettling. I do hope that you find a good place.

Exactly, I try very hard not to defame as some people become rather annoyed by such legal matters and have far more resources than I do. The statistics - even if they are incorrect by a goodly percentage - are still rather interesting. We're on a public forum after all! Lest we forget that.



orchidwallis said...

hello Chris

Vinegar: No I haven't tried to make it. White and malt vinegar are so very cheap. If I had to make it, then verjuice from the crab apples in the woods here would be the thing to do.

I am becoming puzzled by, what seems to me, to be the complexity of your life. Slam me down by all means. You are indeed off grid and off everything else but seem to be trying to lead a 21st century life. Having myself lived away from everything in the past, it was hard work but also very simple. Are you saving food for a siege? Is there a point at which you will feel that you have enough? Are you just a driven man?

Oh dear, forgive me please.


LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, I suppose the manure could have cushioned the counter top? :-). Sounds like one of those jobs where A can't be done, until B is done, and B can't be done until you've done C. Often happens, around here. I just make a list and push forward. Your kitchen really looks nice.

That's quit a feat with the olives. How Italian. How "Extra Virgin." :-). I'm glad you're water tanks are filling up. Don't know if it would be considered an atmospheric river. When we get those, it really does look like a river, or, long streamer stretching from about Hawaii, to our coast.

You're power room looks well organized. But, I don't see the wombat in the tool belt :-).

I've got to spend more time just browsing around the hardware store. That post and pipe level is wizard. I'd never seen such a thing.

Roman coins. Debasing the coin. That's the term I was fumbling for. We debased our coins in the US in 1965. What used to be silver coins, are now a copper core with a copper/nickel wash. There are places where you can buy the old, circulated silver by the pound. I've got a small stash. I figure if the bottom drops out of everything, I might get a loaf of bread, or two, for a "real" silver dime. :-). The recent coin hoard from Spain weighted 1.300 pounds. 600 KG. As with modern coin collecting, some Roman coins are quit cheap. Depends on condition, rarity. There are modern counterfeits floating around. As there were in Roman times. The penalties were VERY severe. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Well, even though I was up til 3:30 am, dealing with fire, police and drunks on my doorstep, I headed out to look at houses at 9am. Up Highway 12, which, leads to Mt. Rainier, White Pass Ski area and, ultimately, Yakima. It was about an hours drive. I was heading to a town called Randle.

I first looked at something my realtor wanted me to look at. No. Double wide trailer, neighbors too close. And, really, way more than I need. Rather fancy on the inside. Then I went and looked at one I had found on-line. I got totally lost, as the map quest directions were totally ... bogus. But, finally found it. Right in the town of Randle, but kind of off by itself on the outskirts. On-line, it look like a pretty good prospect. And, it was. Except for the huge, steep slope looming over the house. I had to squeeze around one back corner just to get a look at the backside. The lot may be 1/2 acre, but it's mostly steep slope. Postage stamp back yard. Not much in front. I just don't think I could sleep in that house, in fear of landslides. Sure, it's been there since 1940, but I noticed there were some slippage problems, in the lot next door. There were also at least 4 good sized trees, on that slope. Not enormous, but if one came down, it would do serious damage. And the slope is so steep, that I don't think they could be logged off. Pity. The house was about what I was looking for and I think could have stood an inspection. Oh, well. Early days. it was a beautiful day for a drive. Traffic wasn't bad and the land looks like the Columbia River Gorge ... only green. :-)

There is an interesting community called Ryderwood, Washington. it was originally purpose built to house the employees of a logging company. A company town. Quit a bit of the housing stock is renovated company houses. About three of them are within my price range. You have to be over 55 to live there. I wonder what other restrictions they have. There's really nothing there, anymore, except for the houses. But, I guess there's a kind of volunteer run cafe. I might have to go down and hang out there. Get the lay of the land. I just wonder how "clubby" and "gregarious" the residents are. Something I wouldn't care for. But, it may be a fall back option, if nothing else appears. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Ray Mears has been doing a series on Wild Australia which I am watching. It has just supplied me with the astonishing information that it takes a koala 200 hours to digest eucalyptus leaves!


SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Getting back into commenting and, I hope, blogging now that I have cleared up other obligations.

You seem to live much more interesting stories than most people I know. ;) I'm glad the story of the benchtop worked out all right in the end!

Mike and I wrestled a similarly heavy piece of equipment up a few steps onto a deck off the back of the house a few years back, preparatory to getting it into the house. Thank goodness Mike knows his simple machines. A pulley, in this case. I don't think we could have done it without that pulley, though I am in good enough shape to haul 50 pound (about 20-25 Kg) bags of soil amendments on my own.

As soon as it stops raining, I'll be planting this season's tomato, pepper, and eggplant seedlings. Then on to the squash, cucumber, dent corn, sunflower, and pollinator pasture plantings. So much to do ... and trying to keep up with enough lawn mowing to keep the code cops from bothering me.


Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Of course! How could I be so dense? I'd never heard of verjuice before and there is Maggie Beer producing it locally... I make apple cider vinegar, but it never occurred to me to use crab apples (mind you, I use lots of lemons in the preserving process to increase the acidity levels). Thank you!

Well, firstly - elephant stamp for you. That goes without saying, of course, because you asked the most interesting question that I have received yet. Respect for your intellectual credibility. The editor and I have been sitting outside enjoying a coffee and a couple of Anzac biscuits (it is about 10'C outside - a little bit chilly and slightly windy!) watching the world go by in the valley down below and discussing your interesting and many faceted questions.

In all honesty, I can't answer your questions in the space available to comment here. Instead I've decided to respond in long form (and story form) for next weeks blog. It is a fascinating series of questions that you have raised and I reckon it gets to the core of a lot of problems in our society. I have no intention of slamming you down, so not to stress. That would be a malicious and unfriendly act and you have certainly not earned that sort of a response (I save that response for people who do display malicious and unfriendly acts and then I tend to deliver such messages in the real world where they achieve some substance). I do hope that eases your mind?

However, in the mean-time, I'll give you some homework (if I may be so cheeky as to request that!).

I would like you to read the following article about a lovely young couple living off the grid in New Zealand: Living off the grid isn't for everyone, says young couple.

Then, I'd like you to provide me with three quotes from that article which are patently absurd.

For example, I'll provide one quote here: "It's a little bit stone age". This can be a fun game for us to play because to my mind, that article displays a house that is anything but stone age. I definitely can't see the flint knapping going on, can you?

There is a point to this game. The article is a morality tale which was written in such a way as to engender fear. I urge you to closely examine your emotional states as you read the article. The article is a target rich environment for fear driven emotive states.

You are of course under no obligation to take the Fernglade Farm challenge, but it does get to the heart of your questions which we'll explore in the next weeks blog.

I'm genuinely impressed that you asked those particular questions.

I believe the name Koala was derived from that creatures’ ability to not have to drink. Unfortunately the diet of Eucalyptus leaves (and they only enjoy certain species which are generally located near to water courses, dry or flowing) are so toxic that they tend to leave the beautiful creatures in a bit of a drunken angry stupor, and they sleep for most of the day. I'll tell ya what though, when they want to move, they can move pretty fast! I see Koala's infrequently, but can hear them far more frequently. The local wildlife rescue people were telling me that the Koalas are adapting to eat the local species of Eucalyptus tree - which is quite an amazing feat - as nothing much else can survive on a diet that toxic. If I have the time, I'll try and check out the footage.



Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, how funny would that have been? Oh my, but the editor would have been annoyed with the stains on the new benchtop which was a seconds item anyway and took a fair bit of cleaning to remove the many stains anyway! Hehe! Do you know what though? The manure really would have provided a soft blanket for the transport back. Such suggestions probably would not fly here though... ;-)! But it would work.

Exactly, so many jobs are like that process. Once A is done, B can be done and then C becomes a possibility. The truth is, that sometimes, I can't even see option C, until B is done. I'm a bit in awe of people who can play chess and see the moves so far into the future, although I often wonder if that is an expression of their abilities to learn the possible outcomes? Dunno.

Haha! My friend, you know me only too well! I love that book and my nose was buried deeply into its text this morning at a cafe whilst enjoying a large cappuccino (my second for the day, no less) and a muffin. How on Earth is one's digestion meant to cope with such trauma? Hehe! You have to admit that it was a lovely tale, which was told very well?

Hmmm, I had to look that distance up as I could point the island out on a map, but didn't know that it was almost 2,500 miles to California and is quite a lot closer to the equator than where you are! Perhaps a whole lot closer to be correct. ;-)! It is fascinating that the ocean currents and wind can actually collect so much moist air and drag it into your part of the world. And I hadn't noticed it before - but was told recently and forgot to check - the UK is actually at a latitude further north than you! Wow. I believed the person to be exaggerating that claim.

Thanks, I tend to think of the battery room as "Merlin's cave!". It is a big call, I know, but one must aim high! ;-)! The wiring really did need a tidy up and I can't believe that long ago, I was sold the wrong type of fuses... And once I started the job, well, it was impossible to walk away from it as the batteries would be without charge the next day - and also who knows what might have happened...

I haven't thought to ask the wombat if he'd like to be included on the blog? I'm trying to get other people interested in this stuff. :-)!

Oh yeah, that post and pipe level is awesome and I treasure that device because it is simple and shows the level on two separate axis all at once. I used it on every single post or house stump (all 115 of them...) and the device simply works. The technical name for it is: A post and pipe level.


Cherokee Organics said...

Interesting about the debasing of the coinage. I've often felt that such acts mark a shift into the abstract, but then the whole notion is abstract to begin with. Notes down here are plastic and I believe that there are very real problems with counterfeits in circulation and I have seen articles on that issue recently. Hehe! Yeah, a bread loaf is probably not a bad idea. Those workers dug out quite the stash of Roman coins. It would have been a very arduous task to move all of the coins about the landscape to the far provinces. I'll bet the penalties were severe for all involved. Ouch!

Yakima, sounds like a good option, and there are the nice soils and fresh apples! Yum! Plenty of other fruit trees can grow in similar conditions to apple trees eg: The medlar, pear and the quince! Yum!

On a serious note, I was wondering about landslides too when you mentioned the serious slope. When we were thinking about buying a block of land, saw one 70 acre block that was cheap with river frontage. And I thought to myself, this sounds amazing! When we visited the flat site was about half an acre along a busy forest road and the river frontage was at the bottom of a near halfway vertical drop into the valley below... I hear you man about that risk, I wouldn't sleep soundly there either!

That Columbia River gorge is pretty spectacular! And huge too!

Maybe, but I'm with you about the "clubby" and "gregarious" concerns and residential restrictions. You've left me with a mental image of zombies clamouring for new brains!!! I'm sure they're fine though and the place may be pretty awesome. I was born with an unfortunately strong streak of independence, so I don't know how I'd go there. But yeah, it is a backup plan and it does have a cafe - you can judge them by the quality of the coffee (or tea).

Hey, speaking of which: How is the tea camellia going? Has it put on any spring flowers? I do hope that you haven't consumed all of the leaves in a tea?

What is a double wide trailer? I really like the local earthmoving guy, but I wouldn't want to live next door to him (early starts with heavy machinery)... Beware fluro high visibility jackets and overly large machinery sheds!!! :-)!



Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

I look forward to reading your excellent garden updates and appreciate your perspectives and I always learn things from you.

Thank you. I see stories everywhere. Yeah, I was seriously relieved when the guy reappeared and everything ended up being legitimate! Sometimes, you can never tell.

That is a great use for a pulley and respect. Did you know that when I'm walking around the old parts of inner Melbourne, I can still spot bricked up sections high up in old houses where a timber joist used to stick out and a pulley was permanently in place? Especially double stories where the stair treads and wells were too narrow and the occupants may have run a small business in the second story. 50 pounds is quite heavy! It is interesting, but I noticed a few years ago, that sacks of stuff were originally sold in 40kg (88 pounds) sizes, but reduced to half that weight - which was a good thing.

Those are some excellent vegetables. And I'm amazed at how much rain falls in your part of the world. All of the work that you do on increasing the fertility of the soil would really pay off in those conditions. Are you finding that you have to water less as the years progress and the soil quality improves?

Sorry to hear about the code cops! A very amusing name too. And I've had troubles with that lot too in the distant past.



Coco said...

Well done on the completed kitchen island! And so useful.

Your solar command center does look impossibly complicated. We simply don´t have the funds to install an off grid system. Especially now the gov´t has slapped a tax on all solar installations to help pay for the grid! We´ll be using candles if the big collapse ever arrives.

Glad you´re getting rain. A few of my seeds have now sprouted, so we need sun more than anything. I´m out digging between the showers. The first iris bloomed today.

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I have read the article and watched the little video. The whole thing struck me as completely ludicrous. It appears that they only bought the place in January of this year and the article is April, so they have done nothing at all. Everything awaits them haha. 'The bit of Stone age was certainly the best'. I follow this with 'playing with Piggy and the hens'. Then the fact that their jobs give them a bit of normal life! If he has only been there for 3 months how does he know what the toilet products will be like in 6 months? I bet that all the wood that they have already burnt was there awaiting them when they bought the property. In fact everything was there. Death and decay will follow as they fail to do the required work. There was something odd about the price that they paid versus a bit more causing a 30 year mortgage.

Anything else?


I didn't get the intended fear element that you mention.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yeah, manure might not be a good option, as a cushion. Probably get in the pores of the bench top and you'd have a problem with a very, maybe subtle but still there, smell in the kitchen.

It's interesting to look at latitudes, and how they compare, place to place. About the only thing keeping Britain warm-ish is the gulf stream. Which is why the slowing down of the gulf stream is a concern.

That series of books by Annie Hawes is lovely. Would make a good movie.

Yakima is over on the dry side of the mountains. And there are poisonous snakes! :-). Very cold in winter and hotter than heck in summer. My friends who moved to Idaho, are from just outside Yakima. Where they live in Idaho, is very similar. I need my green and wet!

If you're curious about Ryderwood, check out "Street Scenes" will give you some pics of the historic buildings. Including, the library. Oh, I don't know. Maybe it's time to "move to town." I'm closing on 67, you know :-). Like Claire, I can still wrestle a 50 pound bag of chicken feed, down to the run. But for how long?

Well, as I was telling my friends in Idaho last night, "I just hope it's not like being trapped on a cruise ship, with an over enthusiastic activities director." :-). The place has a population of just over 200. But, I think I'm going to be linking up with a new real estate agent. If it's like the rest of my life, I'll end up where I'm supposed to be, even if I think it's not where I was supposed to end up. My friends are real estate savvy and a great help.

I finally found the CC&Rs, for the place. Not too onerous. Basically, keep your grass cut, the weeds out and no junk lying about. No compulsory morning calisthenics in the town square or telling you what color you can, or can't paint your house. Only dogs and cats, though. My chickens would have to go :-(. But, maybe after I've been there a few years, I can get them to permit 3 or 4 hens. I've got a potential good home for my ladies, so, no worry there.

Well, the tea plant is booming along, still in the kitchen. And, a good thing, given what's gong on. It flowered, last fall. Covered with tiny white blossoms. It's throwing out the leaflets that would otherwise be harvested. But, I'm leaving them alone ... I might try pinching back, two or three, just to see how many "flushes" I'd get. The strangest thing is, apparently, two of the flowers pollinated. I have two, quarter sized, round globes along one branch. Seed pods? I'm letting them dry out, and then we'll see.

A double wide trailer is two residential trailers slammed together to give you twice the space. Here's an example ...


orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I made a mistake from the Northern hemisphere. I did feel surprise that the NZ couple had kept that high roofed room warm; of course they didn't, it was summer. So they have done even less than I thought i.e. nothing.


Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

Thank you! Storage is everything and I'm in a little bit of awe at just how much produce would have been stored and preserved in the old days.

Hehe! I think so too! Not to stress about the off grid thing. I never received any rebates or incentives for the system either. It has been cobbled together over the years and like most systems here gets a freshen up when I have the time and resources. It is uneconomic to connect to the electricity grid here and the power companies can cut the power on high risk fire days, which are the sort of days you really do need some electricity for water pumps etc.

Excellent work and thanks for the feedback. I was wondering about your seedlings. Nice! How good are irises? Great plants.



Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thank you for taking the time to contemplate that article.

I agree with you wholeheartedly! It is indeed ludicrous. And incidentally the "snappy title" for next week’s blog just popped into my head whilst reading your reply about the stone age quote.

Well, you were very perceptive and it would be rather cheeky of me to ask for more from you. You picked up the main points. Well done! And yes, they are in for a rather rude surprise, but who knows, the couple may rise to the challenge? Your additional observation is absolutely correct.

Of course, I should have mentioned that you would probably not feel the fear in the article. I certainly don't feel fear, but if you were able to put yourself in the shoes of someone else (for a brief moment, anyway) and imagine that you lived in a very urban environment and then read that article, you probably would feel fear and revulsion.

From my perspective - and of course, I may well be wrong - the article is a sort of modern morality tale of what could possibly happen to people who are considering not supporting the large urban experiment. If I was being amusing, I'd suggest that the article is similar in some ways to the works of Euripides but dressed up with the myths of the 21st century. ;-)! Perhaps that is not funny though? Dunno.

Anyway, the larger issue was that you originally asked me the big questions (perhaps it no so few words): Why? and also If I'd had or done enough, how would I know? Those are big questions and I'm sort of thrashing out a response to you in our ongoing dialogue on this interesting subject. Let's call it a work in progress! Hehe!

So, continuing on from those points, if neither you or I feel the fear when reading the article, and yet others may, have you considered why you may not feel any fear from that - what I'm referring to as a morality tale - article?

My brain is a bit fried tonight after having had to use it all day long, so if I'm unclear, I do apologise.

I do hope this is not a painful mental exercise for you?



orchidwallis said...

Hello again

There has been a huge rush to leave urban life here 'back to the country and nature'. So putting myself into other's shoes here, would be 'wonderful, we must do it'. So no fear. Having said that, a few people who have tried it are giving up and returning to urban life. I believe that this is due to lack of their own kind and the sort of surrounding stimulation that they are missing. This has not really hit the media yet.

As to fear in general, I am too old and have lived through too much to feel it. Had a discussion about death with a couple the other day. In which I said that it didn't worry me at all only its manner. I vaguely remember that it arose on ADR and it was said by some that everybody feared death. No!


Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

You're in good company because I considered that manure option, but had to reject it as it just wouldn't have flown with the editor - but I do like your thinking! ;-)! And it would have worked.

Actually, you may be interested to know that the artificial stone is not porous at all and doesn't stain easily. Natural stone is absolutely full of pores and they stain really easily with all sorts of normal kitchen items such as olive oil - or beetroot... If I had to grade natural stone I'd say: 10 out of 10 for aesthetics, 2 out of 10 for practicality. Believe it or not, but the most practical of all are the laminate benches with a composite base. They are very hardy to wear and tear.

Oh, I wasn't aware that the gulf stream was slowing. That is not good at all. I haven't been keeping abreast of the latest research because the weather is crazy enough down here. Are the Pacific currents in your part of the world changing? Tasmania had snow down to 700m (2,310ft) yesterday and today after the wild and rather massive storm ripped through this part of the continent. Yet, 84% of the state of Queensland has been drought declared after 4 consecutive failed wet seasons... I try really hard to channel my energies into the practical side of things and sometimes that means that the news of the globe flies over my head.

Yeah, I'd watch that film! How good would it be. Still haven't had a chance to watch a walk in the woods yet, but will hopefully get there soon. I'm at the point in the story where Annie and her sister have just realised that their unkempt wildflower garden which has died back hard in the dry has suddenly become a massive fire hazard with an inferno burning nearby.

No one seriously wants poisonous snakes. They make for poor company... And who really needs to conjure images of Set? Best left well alone so Yakima is out. I get that totally. Not sure why I mentioned Yakima... Yeah, I totally get the love of the green and wet forests and fields. Totally. I reckon their is a bit of your ancestral Finn blood urging you in that direction too? Dunno. An awful lot of people with Scottish and German heritage descended on these mountains.

Ryderwood is quite close to a massive inlet. And wow, it is sort of surrounded by folds in the landscape and forests. Yes, it looks very green too. My brain has become unaccustomed to real estate prices like those. I noticed there were a few "pre-foreclosure" sales too whatever they are. It does sound rather ominous. The houses look quite nice too. Very neat.


Cherokee Organics said...

I wonder that issue of ageing too - and we're some of the younger ones up here. I often wonder whether the area will empty out one day, leaving only the very hardiest of souls living up here. Dunno. That happened after WWII.

That's genius funny. I love it! What a mental image - and the true stuff of nightmares. Hopefully the locals aren't too bored either? I hear you about that. You are where you find yourself.

Compulsory calisthenics in the town square. Oh my, that is another goodie! You could write a stand up comedy gig with those lines. Nice to read that you are considering your faithful hens. It is a shame they can't have chickens, but one can't ask for everything.

Yes, those are camellia seed pods. I spotted them here for the first time last year and asked the local nursery folk about them and they confirmed that. I'm unsure what you have to do to germinate them, but perhaps there may be a bit of stratification. I'll check my references and see what turns up as it is a very interesting question.

Thanks for the link. My internet ad muncher ate that website... Had to disable the muncher. Ah, I see. Of course. Such housing gets around many of the town planning restrictions in this part of the world.

I wonder how resilient such a place would be to a big wind storm - or extreme cold weather? Mate, it has been both windy and cold down here for the past week or so. Such things are much on my mind... One night, the wind gusts slammed into the side of the house and you could hear the house frame resisting the wind and lift and but the roar of that gust... It is not usually windy here at all, so I'm hoping this is not some sort of new normal experience... Dunno.



Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Of course, I apologise, I forgot about the cultural differences. Of course, River Cottage did start in the UK after all and it has become a bit of a phenomenon! But that show was expressing a long held cultural narrative which is absent down here.

We are a surprisingly urban people down here. You'd be amazed at how quiet it is here, as it is everywhere outside of the larger inland towns (and there aren't many of those) and also outside of the urban areas - which generally hug the coastline.

That failure happens because the people simply don't have the skills or knowledge required and possibly they have an unrealistic relationship to the land. Urban people are often used to commanding or demanding - and that just doesn't work well in these situations. The failures are remarkably common historically too and that was one of the things that I intend to write about - but not in the way you expect. ;-)!

No doubt you are correct about the stimulation. A good observation. Many people are uncomfortable with the insides of their own heads. That seems a bit sad to me.

I read that too and stopped reading further comments relating to that matter. It was a very grand and sweeping generalisation. All things pass and that is how it should be. I salute your pragmatism. My fear is: failing to live; and I reckon that either of our philosophies would be lost on those commenters.

One goal of my life is to provide a different narrative and I try to communicate that through my actions. And you may see that meme in the blog. Mind you, I have been on this path for over two decades now and that itself may be a hard concept for some people to grasp. Dunno.



Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

My heart stuck in my throat for a bit there, until you finished with your tale. Good use of suspense. And so good that you didn't need to invest in a brick! That was the tidiest set-up that you all constructed to hold the bench top on the ride home. We knew that you have mighty muscles, now we know that the Editor is no slouch in the muscle department either (though I was pretty sure of it already). In my view, you have created an ideal kitchen.

I have been wondering how olives are commercially pitted. I always have a bit of a guilty feeling when eating them as I imagine a line of unfortunate factory workers hunched over, knocking the pits out all day by hand. Nah! Probably it's robots now . . . It is great to see how you process them.

Incomprehensible is hardly the word when viewing your battery room! I am completely awed that you can deal with all that wiring and still come out unfried. I find the electrics to be the scariest part of home construction/maintenance. Even the generator, which is nothing but plugging things in, scares me.

I am so happy about your rain. We have had rain, too, and rain and rain. Your swale appears to be working as planned.

That level is the neatest thing! Why on earth have I never come across one?


LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I haven't heard anything about the Pacific Current (The Japanese Current?) slowing down. But then, it doesn't have Greenland dumping enormous amounts of fresh water on it.

Oh, you probably mentioned Yakima, as I had mentioned Yakima, when I related scouting property up Highway 12 ... which eventually ends up in Yakima. Probably. Maybe :-). Could be my Finn roots, not to forget that Laplandic branch, but, more likely because I was born in Portland, in the wet and green. Imprinting, more likely. Tolkien's books were based on a lot of Finn mythology. He spent some time, there, and even spoke Finn. There's a National Geographic film, exploring those roots of his work.

I was trying to figure out what the massive inlet, close to Ryderwood is. I think you might have been seeing the mighty Columbia River. That's the only large body of water I can think of that's near by. But, you're right. The place doesn't strike me as very resilient. I think it's the mob that just sits around thinking "I'm old and will be gone soon, so I don't have to worry about all that stuff." I don't intend to fall into that trap. And, I might find a like minded soul, or two. I'll just look for the lavish veg gardens. A lot of the town maintenance is done on a volunteer basis. What's funny (I think) is, I was down there, quit a few years ago. The road ends in Ryderwood, and right outside of town is a very official highway sign that says, "End of the Road." I think there's some, maybe not so good, magic in that.

LOL, I think there's probably a YouTube video, showing exactly what to do with tea plant seed pods. I think there was one on taking cuttings. Or, maybe you run them through an animal, of some sort and drink or smoke it, or something. Like that coffee I heard about.

Well, the new normal weather seems to be the abnormal. it sure was windy here, for a couple of days. We had our first wildfire, over by Adna, the other night. It was smacked down, right smart.

I took a look at the article about the couple "roughing it." Couldn't get the film to run, on my browser. What I thought was funny was and ad popped up for Seattle U. Organizational Leadership BA. "Leadership Skills for the Modern Workplace." Well, that will have a lot of use in the Decline :-). Maybe "Talking Sticks 101" or "Fish Throwing Skills." Being the internet, your ads and mileage may vary. :-)

I thought parts of the article were quit funny. "...and manual coffee bean grinder." Oh, the horror! Oh, the humanity! To have to grind your own coffee ... by hand! Having the vapors, here. :-). One of the comments trotted out the old "living in trees or caves." Which makes me soooo tired. I think that expresses real fear. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Well, I found out more about my Saturday night mystery guest. Failed to negotiate a turn and hit a tree. DUI (driving while intoxicated), suspended license and, no insurance. Which is mandatory in this State. 24 years old. Well, usually, after charges like that, once he does his jail time, he'll have to attend 2 years of AA meetings. So, I suppose I might see him around the tables.

There was a home invasion, in Chehalis, that I didn't know about, when all that happened. Not the same guy, but you can see why I don't open my door, at night, to strangers, no matter how harrowing a story they tell.

Never a dull moment around here. Yesterday afternoon, the delivery guy who brings the very expensive, pre packaged food (Blue Apron) to the Evil Step Son managed to end up with one of his van wheels in my ditch. We couldn't get it out, and Stepson was nowhere to be found. Then, a FedEx truck happened by and suggested the driver really crimp his wheel and back out, while we pushed. Popped him right out. Brotherhood of Delivery Drivers? Handshakes, all around. Luckily, that all happened between log trucks zipping in and out.

Saw two little yellow birds this morning. Some kind of finch, I think. A rare sighting. Off to the Little Smoke, today. Real Estate tire kicking, tomorrow. Lew

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

The benchtop looks good!

I'm very impressed that you've done all the DC wiring yourself. I guess that's a freedom when doing low-voltage. I'll have to look into that -- I'd quite like to set up an off-grid circuit in the house and have a bit of an experiment. If I DIY it, I can probably set up something small (but extensible) and (relatively) cheap (compared to a professional installation). Could be a fun project sometime!

Something I don't think you're written about (correct me if I'm wrong), is how often you'll say "hmm -- battery power is pretty low -- won't be cooking tonight" or "not enough hot water for a shower today -- it's a sponge bath only" -- is this something that happens, or does your use of the wood-stove with wetback mean that it's not a problem?
I ask because I have thought about what it would take for me to go off-grid. Most of our electricity use is for cooking (or occasionally heating/cooling), so if we could reduce that load in winter, it would really help. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

We've had some rain too, which has been great. We've had about 15mm, which means about 4 kL -- another 10 showers like that over winter and the tanks will be full ;-)

ps. I got "the work" comment yesterday from one of my students: "how do you work so much? I just want to lie down" ;-)

Cheers, Angus

SLClaire said...

Hi again Chris,

That was really interesting about the provisions made for pulleys on the older houses in town. I've been in century-old houses around here with the narrow staircases that you mentioned but I don't recall seeing provisions for pulleys. Maybe it was because they were residences. Still, that's such a practical use of the pulley that it seems like that sort of provision would have been more common, especially for places built when people did more of their own labor and, I suspect, knew their simple machines much better than most of us do now.

I was lucky and got all the tomato, pepper, eggplant, and basil seedlings planted after yesterday (Tuesday) morning's rain. We've had considerable rain so far this month at our house. It was at least 1.2 inches/30mm through yesterday's rain (maybe more as there was rain overnight April 30/May 1, but I was not data-driven enough to get up at midnight to read the rain gauge ;-), so I didn't include that rain in the total). Then we had another roughly 0.8 inches/20mm a few hours ago (early Wednesday afternoon). At least we only got a little pea-sized hail out of it, not the 3 to 4 inch/76-100mm diameter hailstones some places 20 to 30 miles west of us received. And we might get more severe thunderstorms yet this evening.

You mentioned tea camellias in a comment. It'll be a blog post someday (not the next one, I'm at work on that one now), but the short form is that not only did my two tea camellias survive the winter with nothing more than 2 foot thick oak leaf mulch, but they have already put out plenty of new leaves. I will have to pick a few and dry them, to see how they perform as a beverage. However, I must point out that we had a warmer than normal winter, with the lowest temp at 5F/-15C. I know that sounds really cold to you, but that's life in the middle of a large continent at 39 north latitude. I won't feel fully comfortable about the tea camellia's hardiness until it proves itself to survive -10F/-23C. Then again, I'd be just fine with it not getting that cold again so not having to prove itself. ;-)

Damo said...

Well, that article about the NZ couple was a lovely bit of faffing around wasn't it? As Inge said, they have done less than nothing, not even eaten one of their pigs yet! Good thing they still have exposure to a 'normal life' with jobs, otherwise who knows what might happen!!

In all seriousness, the house does look nice. Mind you, I can't throw too many stones in this glass house being still very much on 'the grid'.

Preparations for the OS move continue. To be honest, I kind of thought the past couple of weeks would be relaxing. How naive I was! There is always various social obligations to attend, some crucial item to purchase (although to be fair, I haven't bought any clothes for years, so was probably due some items) or some form to be filled out.

Damo said...

I should add I don't think the people in that article should be mocked - they have done more (or is that less!) than most. It is just the tone of the article and some of the quotes that rub me the wrong way.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam, Lewis, Angus, Claire and Damo,

Thanks for the lovely comments. Unfortunately, I had a bout of unexpected work this afternoon and was unable to reply to all of your comments. All work and no fun... Musn't grumble!!!!

I promise to reply tomorrow evening.

Damo has raised a good point about the article too. Of course, that is a fair criticism and I agree, it is the underlying message that troubles me, rather than the individuals involved.

Hey Lewis, I have to confess to being a total book tragic. ;-)! A copy of Michael Lewis's book the Big Short arrived in the mail today (it being fresh milk day today and thus a trip to the local post office was in order). Yay! I love a good story and I do hope that the book - which is apparently meant to be an excellent read - shares even more insights than the film. I'm going to have a quieter couple of days over the next few days which should be nice, but there is still tomorrow to get through first! What do they say about idle hands being the Devil's workshop? :-)!

Hope everything is going well in your part of the world. It was quite warm here today.



margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Not too much time to comment lately due to planting in between rain and many family obligations. We've had a fair amount of rain but nothing like Claire who is quite a bit south of me. Lots of cloudy days though and some pretty cool ones as well. We are forecast to be in the mid 30's F over the weekend. Gotten all the spring plants in and seeds planted despite the rapid growth of quack grass and bindweed.

The new chicks are doing well and are about 3 weeks old now. I'll put up their outdoor fencing next week.

Very impressed how you and the editor got that counter top in place. I don't think my husband and I could have done that (well I know we couldn't). We are a bit older than you - that's my excuse and I'm stickin' to it. I can still handle 50 lb bags of feed but it sure is getting harder. I work out with weights 3x a week just to keep at least some of my strength.

Looking forward to your blog next week.


LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - A bout of unexpected work? Never happens here. HA!

Speaking of books, I see my library has a new one by Ruth Goodman ("How to Be a Victorian.") It's "How to Be a Tudor: A Dawn to Dusk Guide to Tudor Life." For those unfamiliar with Ms. Goodman, besides her books, she also had a series of wonderful programs on tv. Mostly also available on YouTube. "Victorian Farm", "Edwardian Farm", Medieval Monastery Farm", etc.. She and two archaeologists live and work (that word again!) as people would in those situations. I always pick up some little bit of craft or lore that is useful.

Well. My real estate agent and I are heading for Ryderwood, this afternoon. To meet with the real estate agent who represents the house I'm interested in. It was off the table, for a few hours. Wouldn't pass inspection, for the lender. Some problem with the electrical box. Probably, fuses, where now they only finance circuit breakers. But, there may be a work around. I finance changes and then it's Bob's your uncle. She was also going to talk to my loan officer ... who she already knows. I noticed something interesting last night. I had stumbled across that listing on THE day it was first listed. Kismet? Getting the cart before the horse, but I'm doing things like lining up a truck and a couple of strong backs, for the move. And, looking into appliances. I will try and not bore every one to tears, with my real estate saga.

I've been spending too much time with Nell. When I read the article, I also thought "Well, that young fellow has the whole "Out back fashion statement, thing" going on. When you spend too much time with a cat, sometimes you get catty. :-).

Read the ADR, last night. Got most of it, I think, by reading very slowly and moving my lips. :-). Contrary to rumor, I am not a deep thinker or intellectual. In an ordered world, JMG's ... method of working through things would be wonderful. Unfortunately, most people just react to this and that, based on upbringing, experience, class, etc. etc.. Wishful thinking. It's interesting to see how his mind works, after years of study and reflection. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Glad you enjoyed the suspense. And how bad is it when you get ripped off? It happens rarely, and only from time to time, but you never know when. Fortunately, they were really on the level and had done the work and were very good to deal with. Mind you, they were happy to be rid of a seconds item - take the scrap too whilst you're at it!!! ;-)!

Hehe! I was chuckling to myself about the brick joke as I was writing it and glad that you also enjoyed it. :-)! Fun stuff.

Yeah, hard work has that effect. And the editor is not quite as strong, but as you say, she is no slouch either. On another note, I often find the very heavy projects to be the most problematic because things can go wrong very quickly and injuries can happen, so we really plan them carefully. That benchtop was as heavy as we could physically lift and move, plus it was quite awkwardly shaped too. Tomorrow we'll bring some rocks back up the hill, which should be fun!

Ha! That is funny. No, they've got machines which can pit huge quantities of olives so no need to worry. On the other hand, those machines are out of our affordability range so we'll be all manual here. We were discussing the possibility of a small olive press for olive oil (yum!) and also maybe planting out a proper grove of olive trees. Dunno when, but it will happen. The trees are real givers - even the birds can't manage to eat all of the fruit! Can you grow olives in your part of the world? They're very cold hardy.

Thanks. I have zapped myself once or twice, but the voltage is very low so it is more of a surprise than anything. It is sensible to be concerned about the possibility of something going wrong and that is what motivated me to rewire the entire battery room. The possibility of rats chewing through the insulation on the cables is no laughing matter and that was one of the reasons I upgraded the circuit breakers and fuses.

I have had mixed experiences with generators which is why I worked so hard to get rid of them. The ongoing maintenance became more expensive than the additional solar panels. Just for your interest, I never asked the editor to get involved with them.

Yeah, how good is that post and pipe level? I reckon on a per use basis, that tool cost less than 1 cent! Good stuff.

How is your place going as the spring weather is starting to gear up for summer? Glad to hear that you are getting some good rain. The forecasters are saying that over the next few months we may swap over to a La Nina event, which means more summer rain here. I can only hope so as I am nowhere near ready.



Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Ah, of course, well that would do it, wouldn't it? The reports of fresh cold water flowing under the ice in Greenland in massive quantities were not good and should have rang alarm bells. But alas, I suspect most people that heard that said to themselves: "That's interesting" and then went about their business. The winter is reasonably mild here and I can grow stuff outside all year round, but in those very far northern latitudes they have neither the soil, nor the light to be able to usefully grow plants all year - even in a much warmer climate. You know, if I was theoretically in say Iceland, Siberia, Alaska or Northern Canada, mate I'd be getting every single scrap of imported organic matter into the soil. Dunno, that is just what I'd do.

Yeah, probably that was how it occurred. Anyway, Yakima is out! :-)! Yeah, I love the green and damp too, so I hear you about Portland (and you hadn't mentioned the Lapplandic connection before). Unfortunately, the rainforest areas of Victoria - and there are a few - are just so far from any economic base that the local property taxes would eventually take me out. It would be like a zero sum game, and the local council would eventually take the property. Down here, like the Ryderwood solution is the least-worst option. Don't you reckon life is a lot like that anyway?

Incidentally those rainforest areas here would give you a run for your money in terms of the average annual rainfall which I believe can exceed about 78 inches per year. Mate, it is wet there! They do a bit of dairy farming there - surprise, surprise! Poor cows...

Don't laugh, but I had an elderly neighbour once who used to flood her garden during the middle of severe droughts and told me in all seriousness: "I don't worry about that as I'll be dead soon". It had never occurred to me that people thought that way until then, so you may well be right. At least she was honest. Of course, I reckon you are too clever to fall into that trap, because well no one really knows how long they'll be around, so one must always exercise a level of caution! And there may be all sorts of people there, you never know. Although my mum - who clearly appeared to be something of a sociopath - gave me one good bit of advice: Be very careful with the people that approach you first in a new environment. She would know! Anyway, I mention that advice, because I have had a very strange incident this week involving exactly that advice - which I ignored - and have since had to resolve in a problematic manner, so those words have been on my mind of late. If you were wondering, she would probably have laughed at me, if she were told the details, but possibly would have approved of the solution? Dunno, don't want to find out either! Hehe! Oh well, life is easy, if it weren't for other people! :-)!

End of the Road is funny. We all get there in the end. ;-)! Hey, speaking of which, did you ever get a chance to watch the End of the Tour film?

Ah, well, that would make the seeds civet tea. Although the Indonesian cats would probably not enjoy life in the PNW. But you do have cougars - or some other such fearsome feline - so maybe you could persuade one of them to ingest the seeds. You may be onto a new concept. What about coyote tea? Mate, that there is the mortgage lifter concept!


Cherokee Organics said...

Ad muncher protects me from those advertisements, but yeah, those courses... I dunno, I paid out my student loan - and the editor and I had a very long, deep and meaningful discussion about what is and isn't debt over two decades ago. And yup, student loans are debt, no doubts about it. I paid every cent of that sucker off - even though it crippled me for years. Mate, I work with people much younger than I who are well into student debt and I wonder about that, and it makes me feel sad for them. I'm unsure how they can recover financially from such a huge blow for such a rubbish investment. Ouch.

Yeah, it was the living in the caves bit that really - annoyed - me as I was thinking to myself where are the flint knapping tools? I mean seriously, it is a well worn meme that one which is well past its due date. It was just silly. Thank you, I believe that the article was engendered to spruik fear. Not good.

Muesli is cooking in the wood oven, so I have had to keep bouncing backwards and forwards to ensure that it doesn't burn. It is funny, just how much cooking I do now, but not just for one meal, but for many multiple meals or preparation for future meals etc. I'm starting to get a bit in awe of commercial kitchens...

Well, as I often say, it is a small mountain range, and yeah, you probably will meet him in the future. I'm assuming that attendance becomes mandatory for the young bloke with the DUI?

That is sound advice. And treat strange circumstances through the proper channels and the consequences seem to be less severe.

Oh my! That truck incident is something else, all the while waiting for the loggers to traverse. As they say down here: Mate, the road is so busy, it's like Bourke Street (i.e. An extraordinarily busy city road).

Yes, yellow breasts tend to be favoured by finches.



orchidwallis said...


You are much nicer than I am, mockery of that article is fine by me. Of course the danger lies in the suggestion that it is all easy and great fun.


Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

Thanks very much. When you cook a lot, you need a lot of preparation space and storage space. :-)!

Yeah, I know of people that do exactly that with extra low voltage DC wiring. Just be careful with the cable sizing and err on the side of caution. It is easy and cheap enough to do and provides electricity when the mains cut out in big storms.

Ha! Well, the batteries hold 30kWh of electrical energy, so getting low on charge is not so much of a problem. During the depths of winter I switch to using a laptop and cook on the wood oven - which is going anyway, so it is a waste not to use it. I cooked toasted muesli whilst I was replying to Lewis for example. And the hot water was being heated with the same energy + the house is reasonably toasty warm - especially compared to outside - it is much colder here than where you are. Think the Adelaide Hills and then take off a few degrees!

As to the hot water. The solar hot water panels capture sun (even today) for about 8 months of the year. The wood fire does about 6 months of the year. I've only ever suffered for lack of hot water when the timber was overly damp.

Of course, with electricity, if I don't have enough, I just don't use more than I generate. If it is the winter solstice and it is sunny, I vacuum the house or use the electric oven. If it is cloudy, I wouldn't dream of doing that. You have to move with whatever nature provides you. It isn't much different to the vagaries of a garden - but people are really spoiled rotten for energy which is on tap 24/7 - 365.

Does that make sense?

Top work with the rain and I do hope we both get more over the next few months. Another 100mm (4 inches) of rain should do it here. Already all but the reserve tanks are now full.

Oh no! Not the work comment. It is a tough one to answer because I often wonder whether they are making a judgement (which is what I suspect) or merely curious. I suspect that people have evolved to spot differences and that may also be an issue.

Hope the walnut is going well too. Mine died... If you have any secrets to share about them, I'd be very interested to hear?



Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Yeah, they were very clever. Often nowadays the opening where the timber beam extruded from the house has been bricked up. Sometimes, you'll see the timber beam extending out from the brickwork. And in very rare cases, the little block and tackle (sans rope) is hanging still from the timber beam in a sad and rusty state. I'll keep my eye out for a photo over the next month or so when I'm walking around the old parts of Melbourne. I do have a passion for the older houses. Yeah, that is absolutely true about knowing how simpler machines worked. Unfortunately, I wouldn't have a clue as to how to rig up a block and tackle.

Yum, so many good plants. Good stuff. I'm inspired to try capsicum and eggplant again this year, and the basil should benefit from the better watering systems and regime. I hope that your plants grow well this season. Those are massive hailstorm - which I hope never to see either. Was there any wide spread damage from that event? Often down here, but closer to Melbourne at lower elevation (and thus warmer), the hailstones can write off cars and damage external glass etc...

Well done. That is inspirational to be able to get tea camellia's to survive outside in your much colder winter conditions. I really look forward to reading more about that achievement. You may not see such cold conditions again - or very rarely. It once used to get that cold here over winter, but not lately, that I can recall, anyway.



Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

That is an awesome choice of words. It was the overall tone of the article that I took offense too. It was written in a manner that said: Look, if you do anything differently - this is what the results will be. And the results are in and they're not good...

Mate, the politicians have been swanning around talking about housing affordability and maintaining house price increases. Those are two contradictory outcomes and they can not both be pursued at the same time. I hear those reports and I worry, because it ain't going to end well and something has to give. I just picked up a copy of the book: The Big Short and am looking forward to reading it... sometime in the future when I've got a bit more free time! :-)!

Ha! Yeah, that sounds about right. What did Douglas Adams write in the Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy? You may think that it is a long way to the chemist, but that's peanuts compared to: Laos. Make sure you enjoy your time too! :-)!

That is excellent advice. Thank you.

PS: I don't receive any updates from your blog, so will check in from time to time. Blogger does not play well with Wordpress!



Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Both planting and family obligations are very important, and I do hope that both go well for you. Brr, that is way cold for this time of year and the quack grass sounds like a triffid (or triffid like plant).

Actually, reducing grass competition with fruit trees and/or vegetables really does make a huge difference to the growth. I plant really dense garden beds which eventually outcompete grasses which like a whole lot of sun.

Awesome! Great to hear about the chicks. Has it been 3 weeks already? Wow.

I hope that you enjoy the digression into the realm of the philosophical wrapped up in folksie stories. Plus there is always the rocks, manure and I may even commence the strawberry enclosure over the next day or so. It is a big project.



Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate, being woken up in the middle of the night by a DUI sounds an awful lot like unexpected work to me! Life can be a bit too exciting sometimes. Well, even the weather throws unusual tasks in your direction. The other week a huge air dried branch fell from one of the very big trees in a very strong gust of wind. I didn't really mention it, but because it was air dried, I cut and split the huge branch and it has burned for about three weeks supply. Life is kind of like that.

Oh, Ruth would be so handy. I should read one of her books soon. I have noticed that they are readily available in hardback form the second hand book shops down here. Hey, what would you recommend: Victorian or Edwardian? Medieval Monastery sounds interesting doesn't it? I would have loved to have seen how they managed the bees in those days as they seriously could have taught something that us more modern and enlightened folk, probably don't want to hear - although I would like too.

No. Are you serious? Wow, down here, fuses can be swapped for circuit breakers in minutes. They all fit the same plugs. When I was a kid, the fuses had to be pulled out from the circuit board and you'd thread the rated fuse wire between the two lugs. Being the only male in the house (does that mean expendable? Hehe!) that ended up being my job.

No, this is not boring at all. And it sounds as if your mind is made up already. Just be careful of the advanced yoga classes. Actually they run a mens yoga group down here and it is consistently full.

Hehe! I get catty too so you are in good company, but perhaps it is nice if someone comes along occasionally and puts that out. :-)! Cats are intelligent creatures too.

Very funny, I have no doubts that you would understand that. I'm more focused on the practical applications of the thought processes: i.e. How does this relate to the real world and all of the interactions. It can be very useful and I see the threads and memes playing out in peoples lives all of the time. If you understand the context, it can be helpful for surviving the currents! I'm often flippant and glib, but I put a lot of thought into all of this stuff. As I suspect you do too. ;-)! Well, learning is a journey.



LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - "least worse option". LOL. What that reminded me of was, sometimes, someone natters on about "choice." It could be health care, or political candidates. Whatever. All the options are bad, but, by gosh, you have choice :-). And, I guess that is part of life. Well, I have certainly gone through a lot of changes in the last couple of weeks. From "little cabin in the woods, with sunny spot for garden" to "small but rather densely packed community." Given finances, age, abilities, etc.. Woody Allen said something like "The trick is to seize the opportunities, avoid the pitfalls, and be home by 6 in time for dinner."

That whole "sit on my laurels, cause I'll be dead soon" is something you hear from time to time. I know JMG has no patience for that kind of thing. He seems to think that it's important what you leave behind. Works for me.

Joel lives in a very rainy part of the coast. And, he's close to Tillamook, which is well known for it's cheese. Lots of cows ... lush grass. I toured the Tillamook cheese plant, once. If you're partial to cottage cheese, you do NOT want to watch it being made :-) Wonder if my copy of "Into the Ruins" will show up, today. I'm looking forward, to it.

That "Be careful with people who approach you first", is quit wise. I had never thought of it that way. But, if I'm moving to a new community, that's some very useful information to have. I'm also very aware that anything that comes out of my mouth will be grist for the grapevine. :-). Gee, I could totally reinvent, myself :-). Seems like a lot of work.

I have "End of the Tour" on hold, from my library. The hold list is a bit longish, but I'll probably get to see it, in my lifetime. If I don't fall over dead, tomorrow.

Oh, I cook the same way. Even when I make oatmeal, with all the bells and whistles (apples, berries) it's usually enough for two meals. I sacrificed another shitaki mushroom, the other night. And did the turkey and turkey stock thing, again. Those came from last November. I suppose the concept is the same with even a loaf of bread. You bake it, and eat off of it for days.

Well, I found out, last night, that these days, part of your "punishment" for DUI's is two years of 12 Step Meetings, or, church. That's a new twist I hadn't heard of, before. One of the fellows from my group, visits the jails. He'll keep an eye out for our boy. A possible pigeon :-).

There's been this talk about tea plants and climate. I had heard of a Siberian Tea plant, so, I looked into it. Now, that would be cold hardy. But, it's kind of a wash out. Not a true tea. Bergenia Crassifolia. As near as I can tell, it doesn't have any caffeine in it. But, it does have some medicinal uses. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont: Well, I met with my realtor, for the first time. Down home country woman. Comfortable. Has horses and grand children.
So, we headed to Ryderwood. We didn't meet with the other realtor, who has the listing. So, my list of questions went right out the window. But, that was ok. We got to wander around the place, on our own, and poke about.

Ryderwood is small and compact. Yes, the houses are a bit close together, but the one I'm looking at has clearly defined boundaries. Mostly 4' cyclone fencing. The front yard faces east, and the back, west. There's a deck (needs paint) and sun room. Very warm, in there. There's a laundry room / sunporch, and a deck off the back. LOL. From the laundry room, there's a weird little Hobbit stairway, down to a weird little Hobbit door that leads to a good sized work room, behind the carport. Also doors from there, to the back yard, or carport.

I'd say, half the housing stock in town is the old company houses, which this is. Half, newer construction. With her expertise, my real estate dealer thought the only things that might not pass inspection are the electrical box, and, maybe the water heater. The electrical box WAS circuit breakers, but very ancient ones that don't meet the new codes. The roof is new.

Two surprises. In the corner of the kitchen is, what we call a trash burner. I had one in a house that I once lived in ... I laughingly called it my "wood stove." Let's see ... picture .... internet acting up. Later

LewisLucanBooks said...

Ah, here we go ...

The other odd thing was a little room off the kitchen (or, maybe back porch laundry room ... the mind goes) that we couldn't figure out what it was used for. I had my "Oh, duh!" moment, this morning. I think it's a pantry. Without the shelves, it just didn't "click."

Bidding begins, today. I think I might have a shot at it. I was thinking about it, this morning. It's a quirky place. Odd little rooms, in slightly strange configurations. If I were an upper middle class couple, with a bit of jingle, I'd opt for one of the more conventional houses. Due to the CC&Rs, the "buy it for a rental" mob, is off the board.

Well, I can't say (or, haven't let myself) become overly emotionally invested in the place. As I told my realtor, today, plan B is I keep looking on the Net, and, if she runs across anything that she wants me to take a look at, to let me know. I'm not staking all on this one place. But, the oddest thing happened last night. I went to my usual 12 Step Meeting, and mentioned to someone that I hadn't seen a meeting, as far as I could tell from the Net, in either Ryderwood or Vader (the next little town). Well, I was told there IS a meeting in Vader. It's fairly new and hasn't shown up in the listing, yet. And, then later on, the guy who RUNS the meeting, showed up. Talked with him, for a bit. So, either the omens are good, and things seem to be falling into place, or, the Cosmos are just screwing around with me. :-).

Well, if I can find a decent link, I'll post it, so you can take a look, if you're curious. What I found odd about the pictures, is, that they make the place appear a lot more spacious, than it really is. Click on the photos thingie, and there's a slide show. Oh, and the house is blue! :-) Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate, it is all happening up in your part of the world! I hope that the bidding goes well for you. I assume that it is some sort of auction process? Down here those are conducted on the street with crowds and you can generally see who you are bidding against. It is quite the spectacle. And also a very nerve wracking process.

Yeah, I'm with JMG as I have little patience for such outrageous claims either. I mean don't they wonder about the sort of world that they're leaving behind them? It is a very strange conceit that statement.

Didn't you once mention to me about the Tillamook burn? Which sounded quite horrendous. Speaking of which, those wildfires in Canada are massive. I would have thought that it would be too cold / wet in that part of the planet to have such huge wildfires.

Yes, you will be a figure of public interest for a while... and then something else may come along to entertain the locals. Go slowly.

Hey, are the shitake mushrooms developing more fruit now that things are warming up? Out of interest, are you applying water to the log? I spotted a huge fungus colony on a stump today and I remember I'll try and get a good photo of it.

That sounds like a fair enough sort of a punishment for DUI's. I hope nobody was hurt in the incident - other than ego's of course?

Thanks for the tip for the Siberian tea plant and I might check that out. I do grow Russian Sage here and it is very hardy and produces lots of flowers for the bees. What no caffeine? I don't know about that... Hehe!!!!

Cool. A new roof is an excellent thing as buildings tend to fall apart from the roof downwards (or from failed footings upwards), so a new roof is good. Is that steel, tile or shingle that roof? Circuit breakers are easy to replace, but can you include their upgrade as part of the contract? Dunno?


Cherokee Organics said...

A trash burner! Nice one. You learn something new everyday. ;-)! Out of curiosity, do you have any idea where the fumes vent? There may be a flue or something like that. Plastic burns with a huge amount of embodied energy. Scary stuff - which is why most of the external surfaces here are non flammable. The water tanks may be a problem as they are made from food grade polyethylene. However, from what I've seen they tend to melt to the water line during a fire.

Quirky is a good thing for you! People don't tend to be excited much about quirky houses. I once had a real estate agent make an off the cuff comment about a house that I was trying to sell and he said it was a quirky layout - and then he refused to expand upon his comment. Alas, the damage had already been done! It did eventually sell though.

Yeah, keeping a cool tool is a good approach to such matters, although you do rather a little bit emotionally invested in the house. Personally, I hope it works out for you. Bull whip boy would drive me bananas... You on the other hand are something of a saint. :-)!

Those photo dudes really know their business. Down here they've been busily using drones and all sorts of tools to make the photos look better than the real thing. Photo-shop anyone? Blue is cool. Hey, are those weatherboards timber or a fibro-cement product? The chickens and roosters are very nice too - and possibly vinyl. The barn looks like a very decent size. And watch out for that deer eating your garden. I had a heart stopper when I first saw it as it looked like a kangaroo lying down on its side! Seriously.

So, how is the bidding going? Fingers crossed! :-)!

Maybe, the hallucination was because we've been moving big rocks all day? Who knows?

More manure got thrown around too and I planted up a whole lot of ferns (thus the name of this place). Tired.



LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, the "auction" ends Monday. Maybe some news by then. My real estate agent sounds hopeful. But, that's her job :-). Here, when the property taxes haven't been paid, there's a sheriff's sale on the court house steps. Never seen one. But, they do have them and they are posted online, and in the post office.

Yes, we did talk about the huge Tilamook forest fire. 1933 and others, later. Well into the 1950s, they were still trotting out school children, myself among them, once a year to replant. Usually around 10 years old. 4th grade. That's when we studies local industries such as forestry and forestry products. I must have looked cute, wielding my miniature Pulaski :-). Yes, that fire in Canada was really something. It's faded from the news, here. I hear "the town is gone", "parts of the town are gone", "the town survived." I see by the website that Ryderwood takes it's fire suppression, very seriously. Good thing. They're surrounded by forest and there's only one road in or out. My "go" bag will remain packed.

Funny you should mention the shitake. I sacrificed up a second mushroom, night before last and did the turkey / rice thing again. Quit tasty. Looks like this first flush will only yield 4 mushrooms. So far. But, there's a song and dance to recharge it.

Drunks are like wet noodles. Sometimes. Maybe the kid was using his seat belt (ticket if you don't buckle up, in this State), maybe his air bag deployed. Low rate of speed. He didn't look like he had a scratch on him. Lucky he didn't pitch through the wind screen and make a mess of some poor innocent tree with his head.

Well, my thinking on coffees and teas that didn't have any caffeine in them used to be "why bother?" But then I discovered chamomile. Still expanding my horizons, even though I'm closing on 67. :-)

The roof is composition shingles. Kind of a tar and flakes of asphalt pressed together into "tabs." Sold in "bundles". Sometimes, you hear roof jobs described by the number of bundles it will take. The trash burner vents into a brick chimney. The chimney has a new "cap" on it. My agent wondered if the bank had replaced the roof, and, put the new cap on to make the place more saleable. The laminate flooring in the living room looks new, too. I didn't look too closely at the shake on the walls. Sigh. So much to take in. I don't "think" it's real painted cedar shake. Probably, some sort of composition.

Oh, yeah. I'm such a saint. :-). Yesterday I was mowing under my apple trees (my? Hah!) and got whacked in the head several times and had to do bits, all hunched over. I had to tell myself to not go at them yesterday, but wait until today when I've cooled down and have a more measured perspective. :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Ah, the wonders of photography. That "barn" at the new place? Shed, is more like it. It might hold a lawn mower and a tank of gas. :-). The place in Randle I looked at. I absolutely could not tell from the photos that a huge cliff loomed up behind it. I suppose deer may be a problem in Ryderwood. I don't think I'd deer fence the whole place, but a section or two to keep them at bay. The town is very green. Lots of trees and foliage. It looks like there used to be enormous trees, that have been taken out. I've got one in what I hope will be my front yard.

The line of trees across the pasture behind my place is just about gone. Now, out my kitchen window, I can see for miles. Literally. Rolling hills and then a line of taller hills, off in the distance. No mountains. I really think I'm looking at Oregon. It must be at least a 50 mile view. The thing that occurred to me this morning is that any storm coming from the south will have a good 50 mile run before it slams into the back of this house.

Bull Whip Boy was not in evidence this week, but, I see he's back again, this weekend. My chickens egg production went back up, to four or five a day. Still, my landlord and his wife look at me skeptically, when I mention this fact.

I checked this morning and I'm number 8 on the hold list, for "End of the Tour." There are five copies ... they check out for one week ... maybe The Editor can do the math :-). I certainly can't. But, soon. And, to wind things up, Britain has a program called "Injured Vets." Part of it is working on archaeological sites. I saw a reference that they were going to be helping to excavate a Roman fort. Saw another article that a previously unknown Roman fort had been discovered in London, under a bank building. Don't know if it's where the vets will be working. Roman forts are rather thick upon the ground (or, perhaps I should say, thick UNDER the ground :-), in Britain. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Monday shall reveal all then! Seriously good luck. The auction process here is over in under half an hour at most - rain, hail, or shine, so three days is somewhat bending my mind. Out of sheer curiosity, how do you know the other bids are legitimate? I mean, when it is out in the open, you can see the other people bidding and, well, vendors may participate incognito, but they then run the risk of pushing the price up beyond what anyone can actually pay - and that sort of feedback defeats the very thing that they are trying to achieve.

Wow, that sheriffs sale is a brutal public process. I reckon it would bring out the sharks. Down here, they have mortgagee auctions (or sales) where the owner has defaulted on the loan and the bank has seized possession. The bank is only interested in recovering the loan balance, so beyond that, the theory goes that they don't really care about the sale price and the owner gets the balance (that is some sort of punitive fine). During the recession in the early 90's I saw plenty of those auctions and they drive prices down.

Any unpaid property taxes form part of the sale process and the local council gets their money that way. I haven't heard of the local council seizing possession of a house for late property taxes, but there will always be a first somewhere I guess. My thinking on that process is that the amount owed has to exceed the cost of the legal expense required to seize the property. It is a complex matter.

Well, that was both frightening and interesting. Firstly, my sympathies go out to any Canadians affected by the Alberta fires. The reports weren't encouraging from my experience, that the fire is actually out. I reckon it may continue to burn until heavy rain puts it out which may be many weeks and months away. From my perspective, I noticed that the temperatures which led to the high fire risk days were what I would describe as a cool summers day here (I believe it was around 31'C (88'F), and that was a bit scary. On the other hand, pine tree fires burn very hot because of the resins and the fine needles which provide a great deal of surface area. It is sort of like a gorse fire which is virtually unstoppable. The damage to buildings was immense, but the area was about half of what burned here during the 2009 Black Saturday fires - mind you the temperature was around 46'C (114'F) that day... I take fire preparation very seriously. Here are a couple of links:

ABC Australian Government Broadcaster - Canada bushfire spreads, more residents evacuated

Fort McMurray fire: What’s happening now, and what you’ve missed

If you can handle the video footage, what you'll notice is that cars are driving around whilst trees are wildly on fire and the winds are blowing embers (little sparklers) everywhere. The first thing to take from that is that gas (petrol) powered internal combustion engines fail to work when the air temperature becomes too high as the air and gas mixture vaporises and the engine can't work. Diesel engines are much hardier to this problem. Anyway, trees are on fire, but people aren't dropping dead and cars are still driving around.


Cherokee Organics said...

The question which should interest you, is why then did the houses burn down? Well, from what I've seen here, all of the little embers (sparklers) being blown around by the wind - and you can see them on the video - get caught on any flammable material around houses and that causes them to ignite. So the first thing to do is:
a) Don't have flammable materials around the house;
b) Don't have flammable materials around the house; and
c) Don't have flammable materials around the house.

If there is nothing to burn, nothing will burn...

And dried leaves which the summer heat has crisped to perfection are flammable fuels just waiting for a sparkler to land in them and ignite them. The lesson here is to:
a) Keep your roof guttering clear of dry flammable leaves (or pine needles);
b) Keep your roof guttering clear of dry flammable leaves (or pine needles); and
a) Keep your roof guttering clear of dry flammable leaves (or pine needles)!

What was interesting too is that one of the videos showed the inside of a person’s house burning down (how, I have no idea) but on several occasions I spotted several sparks and that is because smoke conducts electricity - although most people are unaware of that.

One road in or out says to me get out early - in your case - as a tree that has fallen across that one road may make the road impassable (unless you have a big chainsaw and know how to use it). A go bag is fine, it is what I do here.

Sorry to sound like a parrot!

It is early days yet for the shitake mushrooms, so who knows what may be possible? I reckon once it warms up in your part of the world, you should see more fruit.

Wet noodles is funny stuff and that was a true tea spitter! Hehe! Yeah, car crashes are ugly stuff. Hey, are you legally required to wear a seat belt? That is a legal requirement down here and people if caught not doing so will be fined. Mind you, they have a policy of random breath testing down here too and you never quite know when you are going to be tested. It always ends up in the newspapers when someone is nabbed on the school run for DUI with a bunch of kids on board. On a serious note, sometimes they stop the entire freeway and the number of vehicles caught for all sorts of things is huge. It is a bit scary!

German chamomile tea is really quite nice, so I agree totally! We all learn stuff!

I've never seen a house with a shingled roof before. All the other things sound more or less what you'd expect. Heck, I once purchased a house which had a floor in only one room and only one power point. Fun times! The shell of that house seemed ok. Most things are fixable.


Cherokee Organics said...

Hehe! Yeah, well, nobody likes being smacked in the head, do they? Naughty apple tree! Bad apple tree! Perhaps it is nature’s way of catching up with you for something you have not paid a proper penance for? ;-)!

OK. I only called it a barn because I thought that was the word that you used in your part of the world. It would be a shed down here too. Well, let's hope you can afford to buy a smaller mower and tank of gas then? ;-)! Actually, it didn't look too small to me and is probably quite usable? Maybe?

The location looks a bit closer to the coast than where you are so maybe the place will get more rain? Big trees are nice and usually a sign of a lack of ecological disturbance.

That is a pretty good view. I'm always in two minds about logging. The forests nowadays need to be thinned because we ate the megafauna that used to manage that job for free. We use timber products all of the time. But clear felling is a total disaster because in doing so we transport the soils elsewhere - I mean it is not as if trees grow out of nothing... Dunno.

Ha! Of course they do, they don't want to deal with the problem as that would bring other problems into clearer focus. Ryderwood is looking good. Actually, it is looking very good. Hope it turns out well.

Hey, did you just outsource your brain (as well as mine) to the editor? Cheeky! The injured vets program is an excellent idea. Did you know that down here during the Great Depression the government employed vets to undertake large civil construction works - such as the Great Ocean Road? Just the job for an explosives expert - given the sheer cliffs, I reckon anyway!

OK. Now this is something I don't get at all. Why are the forts now underground? Or are the archaeologists simply digging up the foundations and any midden heaps? Makes one wonder.



LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I don't really understand the ins and outs of auctions. There seem to be many different kinds, with different layers of complexity. Hence, my real estate dealer. LOL. I say a lot of "what happens next?" and "what do I do next?". I would guess that E-Bay or my local auction house are the simplest kinds.

Interesting articles on Ft. McMurray. I did a little looking around, yesterday, and the report is that 85% of the town was saved. The fires burn on. But Ft. McMurray probably has a pretty good fire break, around it by now. No, you're fire prevention tips are not over the top. Fire is a serious threat ... everywhere. The composition roofs are pretty fire resistant. At least, to stray embers. There used to be a lot of cedar shake roofs around. They looked great and lasted a long time. But when they dried out ... like having a big pile of tinder, on your roof. Not so popular, any more.

Mandatory seat belt laws have been around for quit awhile, now. Here. The fines are steep. Even if the young man was in a blackout, he probably buckled up. It's automatic. He was raised with it. And, a lot of our cars "ding" at you, if you don't buckle up. LOL, they also ding at you if you leave your keys in the ignition or leave your lights on, with the engine off. :-). I guess there are cars out there, with which you can have whole conversations :-).

Oh, they have mass traffic stops, from time to time, here. Usually, around holiday weekends. But, I've never heard of them doing it on the freeway. Commerce must continue! And, yes, they pick up all kinds of other wrong doers. Outstanding warrants, driving without a valid license, no car insurance.

Well, I've decided if I get into Ryderwood ... well, I really like all aspects of gardening, even weeding! Except the lawn part. I'd rather be planting and tending to plants than whacking back the lawn to please my neighbors. So, if Ryderwood has a lawn service that isn't too dear, I'll go for it. I did that once before in a place I lived. Wasn't too expensive, cause all I wanted was for the guy to show up once a week, during "the season" and whack back the grass.

The road into Ryderwood is lined with farms, large and small. I saw several signs for eggs for sale. I bet later on in the season, there will be regular farm stands. Well, if I get the place I'm looking at, some of those roosters in the kitchen, will have to go. It's kind of rooster, overkill. And, the room with the ghastly floral wall paper and the stairway up? That's actually one of the bedrooms. The stairs lead to the rather useless attic space. Oh, it's finished off, but I don't know what I'd do with it. LOL. Bumped my head on the way up. It's an open stair, so, it will also rob heat from the first floor. Needs to be inclosed or capped off.

My landlord came to pick up a package, yesterday. We had a long talk. I haven't mentioned the potential move, and won't, until I have keys safely in hand. That IS Oregon I can see, out my kitchen window. And, if it's clear enough, I might see Mt. Hood. He said something that makes me wonder how honest the logger is. That the trees had to come down because they had rot in them. Every log I've seen come out of here looks pretty healthy, to my eye. But what do I know? Evil Step Son also stopped by. Something he had done, before asking. I noticed that if his step-dad or mum isn't around, he stands well away from me :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Well, everything above ground, usually ends up below ground. It may take 2,000 years, but there it is. Stones get robbed. Walls fall down and scatter. Plants grow up and deposit layer after layer of soil. The land may flood bringing in more sediment. I've seen pictures from England of what looks like a perfectly flat wheat field. An aerial view discloses a whole different thing. The footprint of an entire town ... a very big villa ... roads. It's due to slightly different levels of fertility of plants, over stones as to not over stones. Slight dips or rises that you don't even notice "on the ground." Best time for pictures like that are sunset or sunrise (when the light rakes), after a harvest. And, now archaeologists use ground penetrating radar and computers to get a "picture" of what's down there, before a shovel full of soil is turned.

Apparently, Hadrian's Wall was a Roman tourist destination. Several small, bronze enamel cups have been found scattered across southern Britain, and into the Continent, that are souvenirs of the Wall. They have a brick work and crenalation design and have the names of some of the forts, around the rim. How cool.

I saw an article that GMO mushrooms have been approved and are on the way. They got approval as they aren't putting any DNA in, they're leaving some out. The "browning" gene. Sounds dodgy to me. Unintended consequences? Oh, well, they'll have the shelf life of a Hostess Twinkie. Which is kind of a joke, over here. Hostess is the company, and a twinkie is kind of a sponge cake with a cream like filling. They are so full of preservatives and artificial stuff that they never seem to go bad. Come the end of the world, armageddon or the apocalypse, there will still be hostess twinkies, floating around :-).

I think it was Michael Pollan, the food guy, who made the point that it's not "natural" for things to not rot ... eventually. That stuff with a supernatural shelf life might be a bit dodgy, and one should have a care.

Yesterday and today were a bit rainy. Slow, scattered. It's very gray here, today. Misty. But, we're supposed to have two nice days, and then back to a bit of overcast and, perhaps more rain. Quit a nice break, actually. Lew

Yahoo2 said...

Hi all,
I was going to lay low and say nothing this week. Oh-well! sigh

Nice looking place Lew, I am a big fan of compact weatherboard houses, less is more I say. I searched the photo's for some evidence of the 1923 build but couldn't even pick an original door frame or skirting board.

FIRES. Chris, the houses burning from the inside are lit inside the roof from the ember attack. The embers are not from the immediate surrounds, the fire creates its own wind and drives the embers from miles away into small gaps in the house. after cleaning up combustible litter, managing the roof space is the most important to get right, you need to be able to get in the roof, and put the fire out as soon as the fire front has passed. Most people fail this one, hose does not reach, no torch, no ladder, no buckets, no sand, no wet rags, no tools, extinguishers empty the list of stuff ups is endless. try it yourself, have a training run and see if you could pretend extinguish two pretend smouldering patches in your roof inside 10-20 minutes.Hint, sometimes removing some roofing iron or tiles is the only way to get in without killing yourself.
Evaporative aircons burn, external roof access covers blow in. Also if you want a firetruck to save the house it has got to be able to get UP CLOSE TO the house AND behind the house. trucks are taller and wider than cars.
ps longlife twinkie mushrooms. I know someone with a "cheeseburgers through the ages" collection, still in their wrappers in a steel cabinet they still look good 25 years on, I kept a dozen sugar free yogurts in my fridge and ate one a year to prove a point, the last one was just as disgusting as the first but it still had not spoiled.