Monday, 2 May 2016

Wombat with the good hair


Earlier this week the moon was so bright that I remarked to the editor that these were “Ned Kelly” nights. Ned Kelly, of course, was the notorious bush ranger who has achieved status as a cultural icon in Australia. Ned was eventually hanged by the authorities in 1880 at the young age of 25. Despite his lawless ways, Ned at the time (and also since then) had a great deal of public support as it was generally understood that he and his family faced very real difficulties as both people of Irish descent and land selectors (small land owners) at the hands of the authorities who generally favoured the wealthy and much larger land owners (squatters). And nights where the moon showed exceptional brightness were ripe for Ned and his band of bush ranger’s to traverse the countryside exacting revenge for the many real and supposed wrongs done to him and his family. The moon really was that bright earlier this week and the forest was full of moon shadows.

Outside of the well-lit Melbourne Central Business District, Australians generally don’t enjoy walking at night. Way back in the day before our rural adventures commenced, the editor and I lived in an inner suburb of Melbourne which was a mere four kilometres (2.5 miles) north of that city. It was a great area to live in as there was so much to see in and around that area. The old gas works site dating back from the days before the supply of electricity had been converted into a park. One of the local pubs was even named The Gasometer and I wonder now how many people would even realise the origins of that name?

At one stage an old steam locomotive sat alone and forlorn in the park. It sat on a very short section of what remained of the now disused and dismantled railway. There was even an old fenced off timber railway footbridge perched high in the air and missing many treads. Both were removed possibly because of public safety (i.e. liability) concerns and who knows what their eventual fate was?

As an interesting side note, the site adjacent to the old gas works had always been set aside as a large park. In the late 19th century, the gardeners of that park laid walking paths and planted elms which have since grown into huge mature trees providing valuable shade over the long hot summers. At night those trees also provide habitat to the many marsupial possums that call the park home. The possums are only ever active at night and that is when a person can see and hear their activities whilst the possums get up to whatever mischief possums do. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing a full-on possum fight, then you will know that the sounds that they make are truly blood curdling. And should the possum population ever be so unfortunate as to build up to unsustainable levels, then a canny Powerful Owl will leave the forests surrounding the city and take a short trip into those city parks and totally decimate the possum population before moving on again. At night, I’ve seen and heard those Powerful Owls at work in the city parks and all I can say is that they are a force to be reckoned with and possums (and possibly small Scritchy bosses) are nervous.

The housing in that surrounding area was constructed in the 19th century to provide homes along the many tram lines and railways for the people that worked in the old gas works and other heavy industry surrounding that area (the granite quarry and shot tower are both still visible today). Walking around at night, the editor and I used to enjoy the eclectic range of old houses. Many of the larger and grander houses surrounding the park were clearly built to house the owners and managers of the gas works. And as you walked the streets further away from the park, there were smaller houses which had been constructed to house the families of the people who worked in that area.

All of this could be seen by simply walking around and looking and observing.

Nowadays, the editor and I still walk at night. However, instead of observing the hand of man, we see nature. Most of the animals in this corner of the planet are active at night. This may be a result of many thousands of years of selection by the Aboriginals or possibly because it is cooler at night during summer. Whatever the reason may be, night-time is the time to spot the many animals that live here on the farm.

On our walks, the marsupial bats fly around chasing insects whilst making a “zip, zip, zip” sound. Sugar gliders are impossible to spot but you can definitely hear them making "clicking" sounds high up in the tall trees. Possums in fight mode are simply blood curdling (just like their city cousins). Kangaroos usually quietly munch the grass but occasionally grunt loudly as they fight their rivals for a choice bit of green pick. Wallabies rip and tear chunks off our fruit trees. And the roar of an enraged – and possibly quite drunk on toxic leaves – bull Koala bear is awesome.

This week however, one of the wombats that live here has decided to regularly play a trick on the editor and I. This particular wombat hides in a clump of foliage and as we approach closely, without warning she suddenly growls and hisses and furiously shakes the foliage that she is hiding in. And then… Nothing. The wombat – after raising my blood pressure several notches – simply gives me this look which says: “You may admire me now”.
The wombat with the good hair who has been playing tricks on us in recent times
Certainly, she is a good looking wombat, but then other wombats at the farm – as well as most of the other animals – enjoy access to plenty of regular quality food and water all year round. They do cause a lot of damage, but they also convert a lot of that compost fed vegetation into manure, which in turn makes this farm more productive. Letting the animals roam freely through the gardens has a cost, but it also brings benefits.

In the more fashionable western end of the mountain range there are a number of very well established gardens where the wildlife is often excluded by fencing. The difficult thing for those animals is that whilst they live in the forest surrounding those gardens, there is very little for them to eat within the forest itself. Traditionally the animals consume vegetation from the many clearings within the forest. Over in that part of the mountain range I have heard of reports that the local marsupials have the skin condition “mange”, which removes the fur in patches leaving irritated skin. The mange can get so bad that the animal does not recover and eventually die. Despite being only a small distance away, I have never seen any signs of mange on the well fed animals that live here.

Even the small birds (wrens and honey eaters) that live here enjoy full access to the compost fed gardens and they consume most insect pests that are silly enough to attempt to try and eat the various plants.
A small fairy wren and her cohorts consume most of the insect pests around here
I’m shamed to admit it but even Poopy's fur is benefiting from the insect consuming act. Poopy with the good hair? At this time of year, the very large (and edible) Bogong moths turn up whenever I leave a light on outside the house.
A Bogong moth basking in the night-time glow from a light on the outside of the house
Unfortunately, Poopy has acquired a taste for the Bogong moths and consumes them wherever he finds them. Mind you, Poopy does have a very nice coat of fur as can be seen in the next photo.
Poopy has recently acquired a taste for Bogong moths which are apparently a useful source of various proteins and fats
Recently, a new bird has begun to call this property home. Like Poopy it is also enjoying the regular feed of Bogong moths and other insects drawn to the lights. That bird is an Australian Owlet-nightjar and I only noticed its presence because whilst walking outside at night I noticed that the outside lights were intermittently dimming. I always try to investigate odd incidences and it was then that we noticed the bird swooping in front of the lights to catch the unsuspecting moths and before landing in a nearby tree waiting for the next unsuspecting snack.

It rained quite heavily over the past few days and unlike Poopy who is sensible enough to avoid getting wet, Sir Scruffy has other ideas, and after a brief voluntary walk in the rain, he looked like a drowned rat. He most certainly doesn’t have good hair for such experiences!
Sir Scruffy looks quite bedraggled due to his exposure to the recent heavy rain
The days leading up to the heavy rain were unexpectedly quite warm for this time of year and one morning the clouds put on an exceptional display. Maybe they were imitating the famous trademarked ribbon device?
The days leading up to the big storm were marked by unexpectedly warm days and strange ribbon like clouds in the atmosphere
Long time readers will know by now that I grow a huge selection of flowers and this week, despite the warm weather and heavy rains, the Chrysanthemums put on a good show. It was a good thing because we thought those plants had died during the previous summer!:
The Chrysanthemums put on a good show this week
Also the Nasturtiums are providing plenty of food for us, the honeyeater birds and the European honey bees this week.
The Nasturtiums are providing plenty of feed for us, the honeyeater birds and the European honey bees
This week, two of three very rusty steel raised vegetable beds were destroyed as the steel had almost collapsed and was paper thin. It was a surprisingly quick job to cut them up and redistribute the excellent soil. Observant readers will be able to spot Toothy with the good hair in the photo below! Toothy may also secretly be consuming Bogong moths.
Toothy with the good hair watches on whilst I destroy the very rusty raised garden bed
There was surprisingly little steel left over from that rusty raised garden bed.
There was surprisingly little steel left over from that rusty raised garden bed
All of the raised garden beds were pruned and weeded this week in preparation for the winter vegetable seeds which have now been sown. It is looking quite neat and the asparagus has grown massively this year too.
The raised garden beds were pruned and weeded this week in preparation for the crop of winter vegetables
Prunings are valuable compostable material and some of those prunings were dumped into a hole in the orchard. I then ran over the prunings with a motor mower in order to increase the surface area of all of that material. Increased surface area will ensure that the material breaks down into soil more quickly than it otherwise would. Over that mess, I added some compost and then bedding material from the chicken enclosure which is full of chicken manure and seeds.
The prunings from the raised vegetable beds were dumped into a hole in the orchard. Compost and material from the chicken enclosure was then added
That process is an effective form of composting and requires very little further effort on my part. After a few weeks it will look like the photo below which is from an earlier pile.
After a few weeks grass, peas and other plants will quickly grow in the compost mix
The rain was an opportunity to do some indoors activities. After another half a day’s work, the new freestanding island bench in the kitchen is almost complete. The manmade stone benchtop has been ordered and will arrive in a week or two.
The new freestanding cupboards in the kitchen were almost complete, with a temporary scrap plywood benchtop of course
Also, the construction of the new freestanding steel support for the solar panels has almost been completed this week and in another day or so it should be fully painted.
The construction of the new freestanding steel support for the solar panels has almost been completed this week
The temperature outside now at about 8.15pm is 9.5’C (49.1’F). So far this year there has been 190.2mm (7.5 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 156.8mm (6.2 inches).

47 comments:

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I'm familiar with the gas works and the neighborhoods, around them. Thanks to the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries. It is a great stock of Victorian houses and buildings. Be they grand mansions or the smaller worker's bungalow.

Mange is a problem, with the deer, here. Some of them look pretty seedy. And, the elk have some kind of hoof rot disease. That's mostly east of the mountains.

You're nasturtiums are quit pretty. Old lore says that they're good to plant around fruit trees. Beneficial to the tree. I've thought about it here, but I figure the deer and maybe the rabbits would make short work of them. You, it would be wombats. :-)

Well, I'm off to the Little Smoke, this morning to pick up my mower. It's going to be a hot day. Lew

PS: I never wander around here, at night. To many big beasties I might run into. No night flying birds as far as I know. Except owls. Have never seen them, but I sure hear them. Bats, yes.

Morgenfrue said...

I would bet the good hair on your dogs is because of their homemade food!

We were at the zoo this past weekend with the kids and the Australian animals have got a new enclosure, which is pretty nice as far as zoos go. I'm not sure if the wombats are new or if they've just been hiding the last times I've been, but I saw them for the first time. They're very charming! There are also kangaroos, wallabies and Tasmanian devils, the last of which are very odd-looking! As if they have been assembled out of leftover parts.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

The pigs in a roll are called sausage rolls down here although they are usually baked (not convinced about the deep frying) and are generally found in places that also sell pies and pasties. Yum!

Really? Keeping copies of everything seems a bit extreme. I guess it kept scribes in a job... That is very funny that the ancient Egyptian letter was a request for tax exemption status. And "make it so" sounds very assertive (Captain Jean-Luc style!) like the sort of thing that people who are used to commanding others would say. How awesome would it have been if it was Cleopatra? I'm assuming that academic careers have been made on that matter?

Oh, I hadn't realised that there were levels in the fort as the images on the Internet indicated that the many stones had been "recovered" by the many generations since it had been abandoned. Out of interest, was there any indications in the excavations that later war lords had maintained the fort? That would be very interesting and a likely possibility.

The ditches weren't at all clear in the images, but then it was a long time ago. And of course the stakes would have been also recovered.

Never thought of using bleach. I used methylated spirits and then chucked on a bandage. The drill left quite the hole, but it didn't bleed much because the drill was very hot and so I guess the wound was slightly quartered. Yeah, they do tend to bleed a bit if they haven't had a chance to clot properly.

Ha! As an official old guy, I exercise my right to explore controversial topics!!! ;-)! Too funny. Exactly, it is totally out of anyone's control. I've long since stopped worrying about such control matters and sort of just get on with the job at hand. Do you reckon that is the acceptance point? Your suggestion about each meeting having a topic to discuss is a very good one and I will bring that one up with the guy that runs the group. Good stuff. Sometimes, nowadays, I just plant the seed of an idea and then walk away and hope that something grows from that. Dunno. The first step meetings are a good idea. That program has sure been well tested against the real world. I'm not sure I understand the "pigeon" reference, but maybe does this have something to do with passenger pigeons returning to the coop? Dunno.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

You display good leadership with defusing the tensions at those meetings. I hear you. And the time limits are good too as some people can talk overly long and people tend to wander off. I've had a few community meetings that went way over time and it was a pain. It is hard for people to get to that sort of a "Zen" like acceptance state about resentment and anger. We don't seem well wired as a society for that. That doesn't mean that it can't be learned though.

Hehe! We are of one mind with that bit about "art"! ;-)! Well, there is a cost. Sorry to speak about this from my perspective, but some of my friend’s think that I'm completely nuts to be living where I do because of the risk and doing the things that I'm doing. And certainly there is no doubt that they are "winning" so to speak as they enjoy the perquisites of our society whilst doing far less work than I. It is no small matter. The thing is though is that life is a risky adventure and I've looked at how things are and made a decision to pursue the life that I do base on my perspective of the future. You see, I've had the world fall out beneath me with little notice on several fronts usually through no fault of my own. I don't need to be told that things can go wrong, I've experienced it. However, people who are a little bit younger than I were not adults during the hard years of the recession down here and so the whole thing was lost on them. Things are sliding into reverse down here, but it is so unprepared for that people don't know how to adapt. The social side of things is just a reflection of the larger picture, the whole lot seems to be declining to my eyes, and I'd like to be proven wrong. The debt thing is just so wrong as appearances are being maintained, but the future is being sold down the river. The Reserve bank here has just lowered interest rates to the lowest ever. As to acceptance, I don't believe that people are hungry enough yet! Dunno really, but it is a very interesting topic. Benefits come with costs though...

Hmm, the rain seems to be falling less often but more heavily when it does. Poor Cliff Mass, the sheer disappointment of it all!!! Actually, I'm a bit over too much weather excitement personally. ;-)!

That connection is a good thing. And yeah, I'd never thought of it that way before. Makes a whole lot of sense.

You definitely have a dry sense of humour. Good fun stuff. It is good to be able to laugh at oneself and I salute you!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, the stock of Victorian housing is pretty awesome stuff. Some of the streets are like stepping back in time and the quality of the workmanship is good as well, the houses are still around after 125 years! We won't look so good after so much time. The gas works produced piped gas for the local street lights. Some of the old lampposts are still in place after all of these years. Beautiful old cast iron ornate posts.

Ouch, those are examples of negative feedback in the environment. As the biosphere degrades, the cycling of minerals in all its living forms increases which will eventually slow - after a whole lot of drama. Tree diseases are the same, healthy well fed trees tend not to get sick. You can see that in heavy feeding trees like the fruit trees. The eucalyptus trees do that trick with fires. The less managed they are the bigger the fire.

Thanks, yeah, I like those nasturtiums too and they happily self seed so I've been planting them all over the place. Deer and rabbits are quite the challenge for an orchard. Garlic is good around fruit trees... The wombats are generally lovely - albeit in an armoured tank sort of a way! ;-)!

Enjoy your trip into the little smoke and I hope the mower hospital bill is not too scary (and that they fixed it too).

Fair enough, the things here that will kill you are more likely to be out and about during the day like snakes and spiders. I always jokingly say that it is the two legged creatures up here that cause the most trouble. Please keep your bears, coyotes, mountain lions, cougars etc. And especially the skunks!!!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Morgenfrue,

Thank you, those dogs love their home made biscuits! Hey, you may be interested to know that I changed their breakfast from home made muesli to Basmati rice with tomato chutney and pureed vegetables. They love that stuff! They also get a little bit of beef jerky and a tiny bit of olive oil and any butter milk fat that I may have about the place. I read recently that in Italy, the dogs are fed pasta! Lucky dogs!

Glad to hear that the exhibition was good fun and that you and your family enjoyed it. Wombats are lovely and very intelligent creatures and yes, charming is exactly what they are. They wander around the orchard most nights and get up to their wombat like activities (usually eating the garden). Did you notice that the wombat in the photo had greens hanging out of its mouth?

Ha! That is excellent. The Tasmanian Devils are lovely creatures too. All bark and possibly no bite. We once enjoyed a quiet few hours with a farmer in the north west of Tasmania - it is very remote - who set up a little hunting hut which we stayed in for a few hours and watched the activities of the various devils. He had even installed a remote microphone so we could hear all of their antics. It was amazing to see. The spotted Quolls (marsupial cats) are pretty delightful too.

Cheers

Chris

Coco said...

Sneaky wombat! With the time change, it´s light until after 10 PM here so no nighttime strolls. Actually, there´s an argument about changing the time zone. Franco coordinated Spain´s time with Germany as a sop to Hitler and no one bothered to change it since. There´s a suggestion that Galicia should share a time zone with Portugal, which makes perfect geographic sense, and that would put us 2 hours different.

What did you do with the remaining scraps of steel? Do you just buy lengths and bend them into circles for beds? Must find nasturtium seeds.

Finally got the bloody potatoes planted, now on to the onions. All thoughts of aesthetics have gone out the window. Digging and plain rows will be more than enough for me.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

Yes, the wombat is very sneaky and clearly an original prankster! :-)! Oh my, that is very late for the dusk especially for this time of year. Thanks for the history too. I had not realised before that Galicia is an autonomous zone and your climate sounds very good too. Wombats would be most unhappy with all of that rain depending on where you are located. :-)! There are many time zones down under and Perth in Western Australia is at least 2 hours behind Melbourne (on the South Eastern coast).

Generally I take scrap steel to the local tip where they collect it for recycling. What recycling means in that instance is collecting a huge bin (9 cubic metres) of scrap steel and then shipping it off to China where at a huge cost of energy, it is recycled and then converted back into useful products. In this instance, there was more rust than steel and it was paper thin, so I buried the steel in a slight depression in the orchard and then placed compost and soiled chicken bedding on top. I doubt very much whether anything will be left after two years. Is that a good thing, honestly I don't know.

No, a business that makes steel water tanks heats the flat corrugated steel sheets and then rolls them into whatever size raised garden bed that you need. It is very clever and all done to order. I picked up those original rusty steel rings from an rusty old water tank which I salvaged from the tip which then I cut into the specific size which is an easy process and a good use of a waste product. The new ones which I'll pick up in a month or so, will have at least 30 years life span before rusting.

Oh yeah, nasturtiums will grow very well in your part of the world. The entire plant is edible and very hardy to hot and dry summers. The old timers used to grow them for salad greens during the hot summers here.

No worries, a good reminder that we must not let the perfect be the enemy of the good! I'm glad with all of that rain that you can get the potatoes in the ground without them rotting. I've missed the potato season this year, but there is always next year (and there are plans for those tubers).

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

To think that Ned was only 25 when he was sent on to the next world . . . He was such a busy fellow for one so young. Reminds me a bit of our Billy the Kid.

Amazing how inept and accident-prone we the public are. They are always taking away our fun stuff. There is (was, actually) a huge park in the middle of Charlottesville - it even had a 9-hole golf course so that those who could not afford to belong to a club would have a place to golf. My sons often golfed there (with their thrift-shop golf clubs) when children. They had a donation box that you were supposed to put $1.50 in. There was a creek and nature trails and a large wading pool, also a skatepark. The land for this park was donated in the early 20th century a well-to-do local man, as long as the city promised to keep it as a park in perpetuity, which the city did promise (in a legal document). Recently, a bypass was built (completely unneeded, in my opinion) straight through the middle of the park. All of these things are gone now. There were many court suits, etc., but government won out.

So this week we have: Owl-bait Scritchy; Sir Scruffy, contender for World's Saddest Dog; Poopy, handsome and dashing car-rider; and Toothy the Dazzler, he shines so brightly! None of our dogs ate moths, that I know of. They loved cicadas. I think that the sound that they make when caught was part of the fun. A mouse did eat my lifelong moth collection (only collected when already dead, eh?). They were all dried up, so I guess Mr. Mouse was pretty darn hungry. There were some really neat specimens in there.

Those are really strange clouds. They certainly do look like ribbons.

That's quite a different variety of chrysanthemum than ours. In fact, the flowers remind me of passionflower. The nasturtiums look just the same, though.

You can't recycle that amazingly small remnant of the steel bed, except to maybe bury it, where it will soon disintegrate?

The kitchen island is just almost, almost perfect. Soon to be perfect!

It has rained and rained here (Yay! And the forest fire is finally out). A bit slow-going getting everything planted. More days of rain called for. Rather have it than not!

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yeah, corn dogs are dipped in a corn batter and then fried. On a stick. You see them a lot at county fairs ... or, you can buy them out of the frozen food case at the store :-). Must admit they are tasty when dipped, as you go along, into a big pile of mustard!

Yeah, I thought that "Make it so" was a bit Star Trek. As to the authenticity of the inscription, we'll probably never really know. But, we do know from historical records that Cleopatra was a very "hands on" administrator. It's within the realm of possibility.

Ah. "robber trenches." What I couldn't remember. Impressions left in the ground where they can tell stones have been hauled off for other uses. Bits of Roman pieces are always turning up in walls of later structures. The period after the Romans is all pretty sketchy. The "Dark Ages." Life was at such a subsistence level, that there's not too many traces left behind. But, it looks as if some of the Roman ruins (forts and such) were still in use or repurposed. A Roman bath becomes a community meeting hall. Etc.

Mindfulness. Something to strive for. Living in the now, instead of ruminating on the past or fretting about the future. Within reason :-). A certain amount of planning is a good thing. I work at staying in the present, daily.

Meetings are limited to one, or one and a half hours. There's a pretty strict "no cross talk," rule. No back and forth. Everyone has their say (limited to 3 -5 minutes). I mean, you can comment on what someone else has said, but there's no direct back and forth. If someone runs long, or, a bit of back and forth develops, the meeting leader (changes all the time) or another member will guide it gently back on track. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. "Pigeon", in slang, means someone who is a victim or dupe. A person who is easily fooled. You here it a lot in noir films. Given that AA started in the 1930s, it's a language relic from that time. But, I think we use it in a slightly different way. Hmm. How can I explain this. Sometimes, you here people who come into the Program say "It really screwed up my drinking." :-). So, you have someone staggering happily (or unhappily) down the road of inebriation, and they are exposed to the idea that there is, perhaps, an answer to their problems. They can never (perhaps) pick up another drink, again, without that thought gnawing in the back of their minds. I'd say we use the term in a more ... affectionate way, than the definitions of the slang word would suggest.

Well, it was 88F (31.11C), yesterday. Today is supposed to be a more comfortable 70F (21.11C). And, then in the low 60s (16c) through next Monday. With, maybe, a bit of scattered rain. Poor Cliff Mass, the weather guy. Last week, it's "Well, the next three months are going to be normal." Yesterday, he was saying that, as far as the weather goes, May 1st is actually June 1st ... as far as gardening and planting go.

Got the mower back from the mower hospital. The toll wasn't too bad. Got some advice. Don't use old gas (but, old seems to be 3 months!) and use a gas stabilizer. Mowed up a good section of the side yard. Not the whole thing. Want to work into this thing, gradually.

Well, Friday ought to be interesting. I'm going to my Credit Union and seeing what amount I would qualify for, as far as a home loan goes. That ought to be interesting. I've got a pretty hefty down ... but, low monthly income. And then the trick will be to find a place that is in good enough shape for the bank to finance, in my price range .... that I like. Don't know if my age will play into it, not that they'd say that out loud :-). I spotted a place I like in Randle, but I don't think the bank would finance, due to age and condition. But, with the qualifying document in hand, I can at least take a look at the place and make contact with a real estate dealer. He may even know of a seller that is willing to "carry the contract." No bank involved.

Well, I'd better get out there and mow another section and do some hacking back. A lot more comfortable, today. But, first to the stretching, load up on some carbs, and get myself hydrated. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I haven't run away, just ridiculously busy and now falling asleep over the computer. Am out tomorrow but hope to read your blog properly after that and reply to previous question/questions.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Haven't had time to comment lately. Had my MIL's 90th birthday "festival" last weekend with many overnight guests and culminating in a big open house for more friends and family. It was a big success and she was very happy to have almost all her family here. As you might imagine I got very behind in the outside work. It was pretty chilly and damp but that didn't matter to the quack grass which just continued to move in even more into the garden beds. I had to resort to putting down some black plastic to at least smother it somewhat so it'll be easier to dig out.

The bees all seem to be doing well - nice to have them flying around again as well as some other pollinators. There are plenty of dandelions here for them.

With all the possums around here I'm not sure I've ever heard them in "fight mode" though maybe what I thought was raccoons was in reality possums.

Your raised beds look delightful. I must confess my garden looks rather a mess right now.

Poopy does have a very fine coat. Right now Leo and Salve are having a fine time rolling in wild turkey droppings which does nothing for their coats. The turkeys are really out and about lately though in a month or so most will retreat back into the woods.

Well hope to drop back in this week if time allows.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam, Lewis and Inge,

Thanks for the lovely and most excellent comments. I am unable to reply this evening because I had to rewire the battery room today in preparation for the new solar panels. The old fuses were not up to the job of the few additional solar panels which are yet to be installed and most of the wiring from start to finish inside the battery room had to be replaced. It was an epic job and once started could not be left half done. Fortunately, I did actually finish the job - albeit at 10pm - and it is all looking good now with the heavier duty fuses firmly in place.

And can you believe that after such an epic long work day, Poopy wants some of my dinner lentils... Dogs have no shame (or sense of proportion).

Anyway, I look forward to reading the 10 year retrospective tomorrow. It should be interesting. It has been a wild ride hasn't it? ;-)! The Federal budget was delivered today and it is all bad news for the young who appear to be getting a raw deal.

Cheers, and I promise to reply tomorrow evening. It is off to bed for me.

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Wow. That sounds like quit a job. From hauling rocks and scattering compost, to re-wiring. You're probably using entirely different parts of your brain! :-). Fuses and not circuit breakers? Is that something specific to solar?

Well. Strange day. The bulldozer showed up, yesterday morning. I now have a logging road, where my quiet path to the chicken house, was. I managed to rip out the power cord to the coop. A planting bed with the forsythia, is gone. Along with the Sweet William, that was in a barrel container.

Vehicles have been zipping back and forth through the yard all day. I can actually see the trees come crashing down, across the back pasture. The crash of trees and buzz of chainsaws ... it's the sound of money. :-). The eagles look for new digs. The chickens didn't lay a single egg, yesterday.

I was strangely calm, all day. I think, since I've decided to move ... this is all temporary. LOL. I think that even if I can't find a place to move, having made the decision, it will get me through this rough patch. I look on my time here as an ... apprenticeship to country living.

Finished mowing the side yard, after doing a bit of trimming up, around the edges. Beat those blackberries, back! I flushed two baby bunnies, out of a patch of grass. One shot into the blackberries, and one into Beau's yard. Later on, I saw a cat got the one by the blackberries (not Nell). Mixed feelings about that one. I've never seen Beau kill a rabbit. He's had a few in his yard. He seems more playful and curious. Unlike the possums, who, I think, he perceives as just evil :-).

Off to the Little Smoke, today. Lew

susan said...

Coming by here always provides an uplifting experience away from all the horrorshow news I submit myself to daily. The Archdruid provides yet another island of sense for me and, I know, for you. Being in our 70s now we're far too old to make the kind of effort required to begin a project of living off the land. That being understood, it's delightful to read about your efforts and successes (and your serene reactions to those occasional failures).

As for possum fights, there are many of us in North America who can attest to the ferocity of raccoon fights.

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

A spare moment after dealing with belated e-mails to the family. I am hopelessly busy with the arrival of dryer weather. The land being finally walkable again, I am catching up on the veg. and fruit growing. It is wonderful to see everything springing into life.

Walking at night: I love it in the woods, it is very rare indeed for the night to be pitch black. We have no dangerous animals here so all is well around here at night. Town walking would be another matter, our own specie is not so good. I find it interesting that some people cannot walk without a light. At first I thought that it was just nerves, but not so, they really can't see at all.

Foxes get mange here.

I grow and eat nasturtium flowers and leaves. I put the seeds in vinegar.

Hmm, you reckon that curiosity is re-learnable. I expect that it depends on the extent to which it has been squashed; A shame to waste it in childhood though. I wonder whether there is a connection between curiosity and questioning? If you aren't permitted one do you lose the other?

I agree that wisdom is hard won and almost impossible to share. Surprising how often in later life one thinks 'Goodness he/she was right after all'.

Florid writing: In the case that I mentioned, it seems to be caused by an academic trying not to make the book read like an academic paper. I have seen other examples of this when academics try to write a more (friendly?) book.

@Lew I hadn't thought about the problem of a cut avocado turning black. I still haven't seen the packaging in question. Would vacuum packing prevent it?

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yes, Billy the Kid is an astute connection. Apparently just before Ned was hung he was quoted as saying: "Such is life", although there is a school of thought that also suggests that that quote was tacked onto the man well after he was deceased. Interestingly too, the north east of the state was quite lawless for some time after that, but Ned did begin a conversation which ended in change.

The story about the park is quite sad, cut in half it becomes less, unfortunately. It is interesting that you mention the golf clubs because I was at the tip shop today and noticed a huge supply of golf clubs and probably wouldn't have noticed them at all other than for your comment. Wow, the supply was huge! They've got some good stuff there and I'm heading back there tomorrow - although more on this next week. I may add in a photo of the place too.

Haha! That is very funny and thanks for the amusing comments. Sir Scruffy soon warmed up in front of the fire. Poopy has tickets on himself. Toothy, well he was being a work wub in that photo. A work wub is a nickname for a dog that hangs around when you are working. The wub bit came from the noise that a long deceased dog used to make and she was an excellent work dog.

That mouse crossed the line, with that escapade! Naughty mouse.

Yes, it is similar to passionflower - that vine grows here but never seems to produce fruit. Lots of suckers though.

Exactly my thought. Recycling was not possible.

Those kitchen cupboards are not chock full of preserved goodies! Did olives this week. Yum!

Nice to hear that the forest fire is out - sometimes only the rain can do that down here when they get big enough. And good to hear that you received some rain and the garden will soon be growing like a jungle!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I'm a bit frightened by the thought of a deep fried corn dog and I'm not sure why. Usually the agricultural food down here is quite good and I've seen photos of those food items but you'd never see them for sale down here.

Hands on administrators generally run quite tight ships and I applaud that sort of effort. The old timers used to say: watch the cents and the dollars will follow! I'm always surprised at how much ongoing small costs are incurred in business and often they don't notice - but wow do they add up or what?

Don't you find it interesting that with the departure of the Roman's in Britian, the society drifted into a Dark Age? I imagine the decline happened over a few generations which is probably quite quick really. I guess the costs of maintaining the infrastructure exceeded the benefits derived from that activity. What do they call that? Zero sum game? Is that correct? Dunno.

Yeah, that is very true. You have to live in two worlds: Now and the future. I'm not sure about hedonism and I really don't like provisional living and it would be nice if people found some sort of middle ground. I see a lot of that binary in the comments over at the ADR.

That is very wise about no cross talk as the whole meeting could descend into anarchy in moments. Also it tends to keep the focus and control on the chair. Have you ever chaired a meeting?

Ah, of course how dense of me. That makes perfect sense. You brought to mind old prohibition era movies with tough guys in suits packing machine guns and make claims to victims about being a "stool pigeon"! I never understood what they were talking about. Thanks for the explanation.

If Cliff Mass wants excitement with the weather, he should tour Down Under. Records still get broken here every week or so and it has become so commonplace that I don't even bother mentioning it anymore. A few days ago a very low pressure system brought 7m (23.1ft) waves to the coastline. Even the famous Bells Beach surf break received 4m (13.2ft) waves. The photos looked awesome. Incidentally, it looks like 3 separate storm fronts will hit here on Sunday and Monday. It is going to be wet... I like "normal" weather. Things are early here too. I check the grain harvesting dates and they are now far earlier than normal most years. Sorry to hear it is affecting your part of the world too.

Oh yeah, they say that here about the old petrol and honestly, I haven't noticed that much of a difference with the old stuff.

Good luck. I agree with you, sometimes you just have to move as the circumstances spiral out of control. I wonder what may happen if the step dad passes... Deaths and weddings bring out the best and worst in people.

If it is 88'F, hydration is very necessary. Don't cook your head in the sun! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

As they say down here: "That's a good innings" (that is a cricket reference). It is a good innings and deserved of a "festival". The black plastic is very effective and it produces a quality friable top soil. Someone was writing about using a breathable plastic which accelerates the process (Singing Frog Farm - I believe that was the name).

Well done with the bees and may they enjoy a pleasant summer. I'm going to shut down the bees here for the winter shortly. The remaining hive is doing well.

I believe your possums are different to ours. Ours are strict herbivores and I believe yours are carnivores - which is frightening to me. We used to have native marsupial cats down here, but the 1983 fires finished off the last of their local population - more due to habitat destruction.

Naughty Leo and Salve to be getting up to that mischief. Of course, they see the situation very differently than you or I! ;-)!

No worries, enjoy your garden!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate, the whole place is like a giant challenge to my brain. It never stops, there is always something on the go.

Of course, I didn't provide an explanation so here goes: The DC (i.e. battery and solar power) circuit breakers are only rated to 63A (amps) and that is pretty chunky, but not chunky enough. The entire system can pump out 130A (amps) and so heavy duty fuses (called HRC fuses) have to be installed. There are some heavy duty circuit breakers but they look a bit dodgy to me so I've stuck with the old school HRC fuses instead.

The circuit breakers had to be replaced with new high quality high amp ones and so I thought to myself why not? And cleaned up all of the wiring from start to finish using everything I'd learned over the past 10 years mucking around with solar.

My set up is so old school that the off grid solar people tend to treat me as an anchronism. But this stuff works and it is locally made... Oh, don't get me started...

What a nightmare, yes, you are doing an apprenticeship and will be much wiser with the next relocation. Of course, as I find, there are always new and interesting problems to contend with. You have had your share of those over the years though!

Go the clearing with the blackberries. Um, if you are in the area, I'd appreciate a hand with that!!!! Hehe! ;-)! Well done, it is hard work but the patches usually have quite good soil under all those brambles.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Susan,

Welcome to the discussion!

Thank you for saying that, I appreciate it and it is all good. Yes, the news however is not so good.

Hey, by the way, I learn far more from mistakes that I have been able to readily recover from than if I got things right first time around.

Yeah, Margaret mentioned that too. Your possums sound ferocious to me - ours just sound ferocious, but are mostly bark.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for the lovely comment, which I've only just received. I've run out of time again this evening to replay and promise to reply tomorrow evening!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Looked up your possums and yes they are a very different animal.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I thought Ned Kelly's last words were, "The Dude Abides." :-) Pop cultural reference, there.

A corn dog would be what we call an "artery clogger", here. Nice we can joke, here, about rampant obesity and massive coronary events. A long time ago, when I worked in a shopping mall, if I didn't have time to pack a lunch, I'd have to resort to the "food court." One place had battered deep fried zucchini on a stick. So bad, but oh so good.

I can't remember when I developed my interest in Roman Britain. Just, somewhere along the way, a long time ago, I stumbled across the fact that the Romans were in Britain for 300 years and then everything went into the bog. One factor was that a Roman general in Britain, having imperial aspirations, pulled most of the soldiers out of Britain, to go fight what pretty much amounted to a civil war, over on the Continent. All the money to support the military, stopped flowing into the Island. And, the soldiers didn't go back. They were off busy fighting other battles, in other places.

Oh, yeah. Chaired lots of meetings. There's a pretty wrote opening, that kicks the whole thing off. Someone reads the preamble. Someone else the 12 Steps. Another person the 12 Traditions. Ditto the 12 Promises. Reminders to turn your cell phones, off. Announcements. LOL, sometimes, I have stated that I always want to be on time, as I don't want to miss the "magic" part. :-). I've pretty much given up the "service" work. Did my bit. Someone else can pick up the torch. A reading of a daily meditation. Call for a topic. I haven't mentioned how we support ourselves. As, most meeting places are rented. And, there's coffee and supplies. Somewhere during the course of the Meeting, we pass the basket. No pressure. Very low key. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Oh, I think I cooked my head, a bit, the other day. I always wear a hat. I keep so hydrated I slosh :-).

Harvested my first shitaki, last night. It was almost the size of my fist. I went with rice, turkey stock, turkey (from Thanksgiving), peas, green onions and the mushrooms. I usually keep a bowl of long grain brown rice, in the fridge. Enough for three meals or so. So, even though it's pre cooked, the rice soaked the stock up, quit nicely. I nuked it all, and added the mushrooms and green onions, oh, and a bit of garlic, and popped it back in the microwave for another minute. I wanted those cooked, but not over cooked. The mushrooms had a really subtle flavor. It was very good.

Stopped into my bank (credit union), yesterday. My appointment with the loan officer, is tomorrow. I throw all my loose coins in a mug, and when they reach critical mass, I take them in. They have a nifty coin counting machine. It spits out a receipt and you can either deposit it to your account, or get cash. The machine quit, halfway through the process. It needed a bit of emptying, and jiggering about.

So, a nice young woman came and did the jiggering about, and while she did it, we talked a bit. I was telling her about my impending appointment with the loan officer. And, how I was a bit nervous about being qualified. She said the most amazing thing, that kind of horrified me. Something like "Well, we have two or three financial instruments and one of them requires no down payment." I was gob smacked. I said, "Hmmm. Didn't that sort of thing contribute, a lot, to the financial meltdown in 2008?" She either did, or didn't know what I was talking about. Couldn't quit get a fix on that. But, we moved onto another less fraught topic.

I expected better from my credit union. I suppose they'll be offering me no down, variable rates of interest and some ballon payment, down the line. Which is the road to wrack and ruin. They will discover that they are dealing with a very, fiscally conservative person. Years ago, I was offered a variable rate of interest (the interest rates may go down! When pigs fly.) I don't know. It just felt too much like gambling, to me. And, I want to know exactly what I'm going to be paying, each month.

I've got some money in CD's, which are paying a very low interest rate. When I commented (complained) about that, I was told that there were other "financial instruments" that paid more. I inquired if they were connected to the stock market? They were. No thanks. So it goes. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

It is nice to hear that you finally have a break in the rain. It was almost starting to feel as if summer had gone elsewhere up in your part of the world! What sort of vegetables and fruit are you harvesting or planting? Do you have gooseberries in your land?

Autumn is the crazy busy time here and I have been burning the midnight oil of late. Plenty of projects are getting finished though, which is good because next month I'll begin construction of the strawberry / berry bed and attached small garden shed and I don't really want too many other projects on the go at the same time.

You've thoughtfully sent the rain down here! Thanks! An epic storm will hit here on Sunday morning. It should be quite damp...

Yeah, the forest is lovely at night and that is when all of the wildlife is out and about enjoying themselves and getting up to whatever mischief they get up to. Yeah, at night, usually there is nothing dangerous around - other than those two legged townie things which you referred to and they fear the forest. If people give themselves a chance, their eyes adjust to the lower light levels at night so you don't actually need a torch, but of course familiarity plays a part too. I wonder about that issue that you raised about peoples ability to see because apart from one other friend most people that are my age require glasses or contact lenses, I've often wondered whether this is somehow related to food, but I don't really know what it means.

Oh yeah, foxes get mange here too, but I've never seen it on the foxes and fox cubs in this part of the mountain range. Different soils contain different minerals and the plants express that lack.

Yum! The seeds are like a spicy caper. Vinegar of course. Yum! Is that a white vinegar?

Possibly those two are linked and of course, one needs to also chuck in the art of observation too into that mix. I've known some very smart people that were lacking in the area of observation. Dunno, what do you believe about that?

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. But then I believe that we humans learn by making errors and then observing the outcomes and adjusting our ideas accordingly. I've been reading about Ligurian peasant farmers recently and I've noticed that sometimes some beliefs become so entrenched that they become dysfunctional and that is when they need to be challenged in order to adapt to that change. I see a lot of that sort of problem.

That makes sense about the florid writing and are some good examples. I'm not sure how you feel about this, but someone told me long ago that if you are going to the effort of writing about something, then you have to remember to make it understandable not for yourself but for other people. It seems like good advice, not always easy to achieve though!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Oh my! Yours do look like they have some viscous teeth and they always seem to be snarling. Hmmm, don't get your fingers too close to those possums! ;-)!

Down here, they are strictly herbivores and there are two sorts: the smaller ring tail possums; and the much larger brush tail possums.

The owls aren't fussy and they will eat either one of them.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

A very nice quote that one! ;-)! Yes, the Dude was having a rather complex time of it all for an LA slacker. The soundtrack to that film rocked too!

Oh yeah, we'd call that corn dog an artery clogger too! Sometimes, I've also heard that expressed as: Somehow so wrong, but somehow so right. Hehe! Yeah, the food courts can be a bit dodgy, but on other occasions some of the stalls can produce a mean sushi roll. I know it sounds really dodgy, but sticky rice and some sort of fish / poultry / and or fermented vegetable wrapped in algae is far tastier than it sounds. Most of the raw fish is farmed in South Australia or Tasmania and it is actually pretty good. And to be honest, if I close my eyes, the green coloured horseradish makes a pretty good substitute for proper wasabi.

Interestingly enough, people are starting to grow the proper wasabi plant. Unfortunately, it is too dry here for that plant over the summer, but if one had an aquaponics system, wow, they'd make some serious cash from supplying the high end restaurants with proper wasabi root - which is as rare as hens teeth down here.

Deep fried zucchini doesn't bother my sensibilities as much as a deep fried and battered mars bar! ;-)! You have to admit that it is a bit scary sounding?

That is funny reading about the ancient Roman imperial aspirations of the Generals. I don't mean funny in a good way, but in an "that's not good" kind of a way. The only reason that I find any humour in it is because the politicians down here are climbing over one another for their time in the hot chair - but then nothing much changes or happens when they get there.

I assume the Romans soldiers trained the locals? I wonder how much of that training was useful or maintained? Or did all of the local recruits end up fighting in the civil wars during that stage? Sorry for all of the questions, but you have to admit that it is fascinating?

Very amusing about the "magic part"! I was thinking that myself. From an external perspective it looks as though it is a ritual wrapped up in positive affirmations to build new pathways and behaviours. It is a very good idea. The passing of the bucket is a good idea and of course, nothing is ever free and so that is a good way to incorporate that practical aspect. Thanks so much for taking the time to explain this to me as it gives me ideas for group work down here. I've honestly struggled with community groups over the years due to the lack of structure which leads to them becoming hijacked in consensus politics.

Now, speaking of that, I did recently join the local horticultural association as a lovely local person swears to me that it is well run. It was interesting because at the recent meeting they brought in a speaker who was a local guy (north of the range) who had built his own strawbale house which was also featured on Grand Designs Australia, season 5 episode 9. I had a bit of a chat with Dean afterwards and it was a real pleasure to speak with someone who had owner built his own house. Interestingly too, he puts in 100% to the projects that he is involved in and I respect that.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Cooking your head is not so good! On a really hot day down here, I slosh too and after a while, drinking more water doesn't seem like the answer - you have to chuck in salts and some sugar which alleviates the headache which is simply dehydration kicking in.

Go the shitake! Yum. Those mushrooms are awesome tasting. Oh, I had to skip lunch today (but had the freshly baked loaf instead), so all this talk of food is making me way hungry - and wow, that sounds really yummy!

Ha! One of the two local banks has one of those coin machines. Did I mention that down here they are considering getting rid of the 5 cent coin, because it costs 6 cents to produce? And they reckon that there is no inflation...

Ouch, financial instruments is code word for not good. I hear you man! The bank said pretty the same thing to me the other day and I said to them, "Look, I'm an accountant, so I'm fine without a financial planner". And they replied: "We've got these other investments that can provide for a better return." Yup, the exact same silliness is going on here. It is almost as if they learned nothing at all from the sub prime crisis...

Speaking of balloon payments. This one will shock you. Down here, I'm aware of people that have "interest only" home mortgages. The idea behind that is that the people are gambling that there will be an increase in the value of the house. Oh, it is so not going to end well.

Exactly! I manage my own super fund (sort of like a 401K, but a bit different) and I hear you mate.

Finally finished the wiring last night. Mate, this week has been epic for work and now I'm starting to feel a bit tired from it all. Fortunately the rain is going to hit hard here Sunday morning, so things shall quieten down then.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The library got some new copies of "The Big Lebowski," so I decided to give it a whirl. Not really my cup of tea, but it's become rather a cult film and I run across cultural references. Hmmm. Well, it was worth a look in, but I don't think I'll add it to my list of films to re-watch every 3 to 5 years. I thought most of the characters were rather childish and immature. The mystery aspect held one's interest. And the occasional magic realism spiced things up.

Someone asked me the other day what I'd put on that list of things to re-watch, from time to time. LOL. The first films that came to mind were "Galaxy Quest" and "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." I'd really have to sit down and think about it, to come up with 5 or 10. I think "The Magnificent Ambersons" would have to be in there, somewhere. Maybe, "The Little Foxes."

Hmmm. I wonder if wasabi could be grown, here. But, if you have horse radish, why bother? :-)

Oh, it seems like some Roman general, out in the Provinces, was always declaring himself Emperor. Or proclaimed by the troops. After a whipping into a froth by the potential Emperor's lackeys with promises of booty, land and outright cash payments. One of the "Medicus" book's mysteries revolves around training up a group of locals. It could be pretty brutal. The Centurion was like a drill Sargent. We can tell, from soldiers tombstones, that they were shipped all over the Empire. Some of the calvary units in Britain were intact corps, drawn from the horse loving tribes of Central Europe. Mmmm. There was some movie about one of those units, in Britain. Title escapes me.

The bit of "magic" at the beginning of meetings also tends to .... calm the mob. It kind of creates a quiet and reflective mood. Centers one. Of course, there's the old "talking stick" routine (which we don't use.) Co-opted from the Native Americans, the idea is, only the person holding the stick can speak. Fancy beads and feathers, on the stick, optional :-). A few years back, it was the corporate training tool, du jour. Somewhere between "Who Stole My Cheese" and "Flinging Fish." I have a very hard time not rolling my eyes. We also have what we call "Speaker's Meetings." Some one with a lot of years, or, a really interesting story to tell is shipped in. Usually attached to some special event, like a camp out, anniversary or strawberry shortcake social. :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Yes, every once in awhile someone here starts making noises about doing away with our penny. Never seems to get very far as it's a vital coin as far as collecting sales tax, goes. Our taxing system is pretty byzantine. Washington State has a sales tax, but no State income tax. Oregon has no sales tax, but it has a State income tax. Washington has a State sales tax rate, and then incorporated areas can add on a few pence. But, with so much commerce moving to a paperless electronic medium, the coin may fall out of use. Maybe. As far as the gray economy goes, costs tend to be in round dollar amounts. There always seem to be efforts to stamp out those gray market transactions, but, they're never very effective.

Well, when I see the loan officer, today, if I can find an appropriate place, I'll ask if he's seen "The Big Short" or "99 Homes." :-). Talked to my friends in Idaho, last night. They are very real estate savvy. And, conservative. I wouldn't call them hard core house flippers, but, over the course of their lives, they've bought an sold a few homes. And, as part of their retirement income, they "carry the contract" on a couple of houses. If I can't get the bank to finance, I may end up buying something on a private contract. I've bought two houses on a private contract, in my life. No problems, but it was a long time ago.

My friend was reminding me of things I need to check into. Such as, by law, the septic tank needs to have been pumped. And, the water quality from the well tested. Also, as an old person, and since the place I'm looking at is an acre or less, I can apply for exemption from property taxes.

So, when you post this week, will we see lots of fascinating photos of wires and electronic doohickies :-). Bring them on. I really did find it interesting what you had to say about fuses vs circuit breakers.

Well, the ADR is sure interesting, this week. Two other people asked the same question I did, last week. About any change in thought he might have had, or about face. Not really. Except his surprise at the ... popularity ... resonance of his blog. I must say, even though I was aware of the numbers he's getting, it makes it so much more real. All the "long time reader, first time poster" entries. With a bit of their stories. The world is very big, and there are a lot of people, but in his own small way (from the big perspective) there's impact. I don't think he changes his mind, much, as he's had years to ruminate on all this. He has his convictions, and sticks to them. And, has "back up" to defend his ideas and points.

Well, the first loaded logging truck just rolled off my place. Oh, there's been heavy equipment back and forth. But this is the first logs going out. Managed to safely negotiate across my yard and make a very tight turn onto my two lane blacktop road. With ditches on either side of the entrance to the road. I held my breath, a bit. It was a 8 or so, log load. The other day, I saw one, from over behind the abandoned farm that was a three log load. Now, those were big trees! I thought it was interesting that my landlord told me that the big logs bring less money. They're harder to handle at the mills, and the machinery isn't quit set up to deal with enormous logs, as in the old days. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The only stuff that I am harvesting at present is rhubarb, radishes, parsley and French sorrel. I gave up on gooseberries due to the gooseberry sawfly.

I believe that it takes 20 mins to regain night vision after being in the light. If one is out at night and sees a light ahead, then just close one eye. That eye will retain night vision. I don't think that diet makes any difference to vision unless one is grossly lacking something (vitamin A?).

You mention the ability to observe. It is a dying art thanks to the smart phone.

I agree that writing should be in understandable language. There is a ludicrous assumption that verbal complexity shows how clever one is. Useless if you can't be understood.

Our refuse collection is proving to be a complete disaster. The Island council offices received 7,000 phone calls about it in one day according to our local newspaper. I wouldn't have thought yhat that was possible.

Am still reading the book on Baltic amber, it is fascinating. I have visited the amber museum at Palanga in Lithuania, all too short a visit as it was part of a tour. I recommend it to anyone who goes anywhere near the area.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Hmmm, the Cohen brothers films have made more than their fair share of cult classics over the years. They're actually quite prolific film makers. I'm not entirely sure my sense of humour matches theirs and sometimes the shift into the surreal is lost on me. That is an interesting point, in that they do portray the characters as caricatures and that sort of loses me a bit because people are far deeper and more complex than caricatures. Dunno. Like you, the jury is out. The Australian film industry has been very guilty of over using that gimmick. Who am I to argue though? In recent years they seem to have shaken that off - a bit at least.

Ha! That is funny. Where were the rom-coms? Honestly! People don't take them seriously enough... Hehe!!!

You know, if you have a permanently damp area of the garden then wasabi is definitely a possibility in your part of the world. Still horse radish is much easier and far lower stress, plus it naturalises over a few years and will happily self replicate.

The actual Emperor's would be very nervous about their situations given that propensity of the General's to regularly declare themselves Emperor. The funny thing is that a different management regime fails to address the underlying core problems of that Empire. Just out of interest, where the legions at the far flung outposts likely to have received their pay or promised rewards? I imagine that as the Empire declined, that would have been a very touchy subject amongst the rank and file.

Sorry, I'm unaware of that film either? Inspiration may strike at 3am?

The opening discussion seems very sensible. Out of curiosity, how are late comers dealt with - or is that an unlikely circumstance? I imagine the quiet reflection is a reminder as to why the people are actually there and also a bit of a surrender to a larger meme? Dunno.

Yes, I read that book: "Who stole my cheese?" You've touched on one of my personal dislikes which is that of the "management fad". I mean at what point does the fad become greater than the fundamentals of running a business like customers, sales, value, collections, administration etc. Silly, time wasting stuff which I reckon management types use as talking points with which to bore their friends at the next dinner party. Hehe!!!

Hey, do those speakers with interesting stories to tell make a lasting impact on the audience? I'd imagine some people strike a chord, more than others do? Dunno.

That is a complex tax system! You'd end up getting different states vying for industries / companies based on tax freebie give aways... Did I mention that the Federal government wants to offer financial support for companies and individuals taking on interns. Mate, I feel for interns. I mean I realise people need experience, but at what point did we cross the line in that companies no longer provide education (which is being foisted onto the individual) and now experience... It sounds like a system which may potentially be gamed by unscrupulous employers.

The gray economy becomes greater over time as the costs increase and the benefits decrease of staying within the more formal economy. The politicians have to remember to find the middle ground, but alas with their propensity to receive donations they will fail at that task for sure.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

That is very amusing! I don't reckon they'd get the joke anyway... Out of interest what does: "they "carry the contract" on a couple of houses" mean? I'm not sure I understand that. I have to laugh about the whole flipping thing because if I'd used my brain, way back in the day, and just bought houses to flip, I'd probably now be 10 times better off. Instead, I took the slow and steady, buy an attractive dump and repair it with my own sweat equity. Doesn't matter though, as I would have missed out on all of the experience of doing that work. It has been fun.

Isn't that all interesting? Down here, the septic is the buyers problem. Very few people have wells. And the only way to become exempt from property taxes is to permanently sign over the land to the wildlife. Property taxes are an interesting thing here as the local council has been limited to a 2.5% annual increase. So, it appears they are getting around that lack of expected (usually 5% to 6% annually) increase in their revenue by increasing the value of the properties... Give a person a KPI and sooner or later they will game it.

Well, we have a resident electrical engineer (Worm lamp) who has promised to explain the matter. Hopefully we can understand it.

That is an excellent question and I'm going to set aside some time tonight to read the comments. Honestly, the work this week here has been feral. I finally brought back the stone benchtop this afternoon and wow, it was so windy in that part of Melbourne that the benchtop was like a giant sail... It arrived back in one piece and was so heavy that the editor and I could only just lift it into place. Tensions were high and words were spoken... All is good now though.

That is a good summary of JMG's position. I believe that knowledge is something that unfolds gradually and is extended upon or adjusted over time. My take on JMG is that way back in the day he knew and that whilst unfolding and expansion occurs, the dominant themes are the same. Mind you, he does incorporate choice sayings from commenters and illustrative points as well. I respect that as it is an awesome display of his ability to learn. Good stuff, that is why I keep going back.

Blogs have a huge quantity of lurkers. The statistics are interesting. Mind you, I only ever began this blog - sorry to bring the conversation back to here - because I enjoyed our conversations over at Joel's and well, I was using up rather a lot of time on the ADR saying I was doing this and that and it did sound rather a bit much like "all talk" which is not actually the situation on the ground and hasn't been for a very long while (decades, really).

Mate, I don't even know what to say. Your landlord is entirely correct. It is strange how we treat the biosphere as an industrial process and we become flummoxed when the real world of exceeding diversity has to be dealt with. Of course, big trees are a lot of hassle to fell and process in an industrial manner. They're big for a start, but are also often hollow or have hollows and knots (which provides homes for the many denizens of the forest). My gut feeling is that forests are harvested on about a 30 year turn around and those are very small and very young trees.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Rhubarb grows all year around here - and it self-sows prolifically. I enjoy radishes and French Sorrel too. The parsley here which at this stage of the year is the curly leafed variety - rather than the flat leafed Italian variety much later in the year.

I don't even know what to say about the gooseberry sawfly. It looks horrendous. I'm so sorry, as for some reason I've always imagined the UK early summers being uplifted by gooseberry fools - which are really delicious on a warm summers evening. At that time of the year, I tend to harvest the gooseberries and black and red currants, oh plus the jostaberries which are also very tasty. Over the next few months, I may prick out a few more cuttings from those plants which are meant to happily take if cut in late winter. A friend provided me with a huge quantity of elderberry cuttings two years ago and most of which have taken.

Thanks for the explanation regarding the eye. Perhaps another factor plays a part and that is the habit of focusing on technology like screens for long periods of time? Dunno?

It is funny that you mention the smart phone but I was reading an article the other week about Google which was apparently having trouble inserting its presence into the smart phone tech sphere. And what I have observed from users of smart phones is that they have a lot of trouble finding things using the Internet on their smart phone. I've often wondered why that is?

I agree about the comprehendability of writing, but some authors confuse that issue and perhaps don't wish to be understood in the first place. Dunno. The catchphrase: Brilliant, but unreadable - comes to mind.

7,000 calls about a local council service sounds like a total revolt to me! Wow, I'm having troubles getting the local council to grade the main dirt road which is heavily corrugated and full of holes from heavy vehicles. 7,000 calls must be something of a record? You have to admit that it is impressive? How they ever imagined that it could become cheaper is well beyond me.

No worries, that sounds like an excellent museum. Sometimes museums in out of the way corners of the world can be the most excellent experiences. I visited one in Northern India (but honestly, can't now remember where) like that a very long time ago and it was like stepping back in time to the state museum of my youth. Lots of displays and stuff to look at. The editor and I spent most of the day combing through the place.

It was very hot for this time of year today (77'F or 25'C) and apparently it is going to pour down tomorrow. I wonder what happened to all of the little storms that used to make a regular appearance?

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

When we purchased our first house in the early 80's we only qualified for an FHA loan and the seller didn't want that type so he surprised us and offered to finance it himself (is that the correct term?). At the time interest rates were at least 13%. It all worked out very well.

Ah, "Who Stole My Cheese?", the two days before students begin their school year are teacher institute days and invariably we had some popular motivational book or video. That book was one and another was the video about the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle. We dubbed that year the "year of the fish" and some of us spent the year playing fish themed pranks. The principal never caught on and in fact gave some of us fish Christmas ornaments as a reward. One of our fellow teachers was a very fastidious gentleman - nothing was out of place in his room. A few of us got into his room well before school started and filled his desk drawer with gold fish crackers. Then the secretary downloaded the "Jaws" theme and piped it into only his room during his study hall while one of us (well actually me) walked by the the window on his door with a plastic shark hanging off a stick. The kids of course loved it. Those were the days when we had so much fun with the kids (junior high). Education has changed so much here especially in the last 10-15 years. From all reports no fun is allowed anymore.

Margaret

margfh said...

Inge,

Very interesting regarding night vision. The problem I have with driving at night is adjusting to the headlights coming at me. I have no problem if there is little traffic but that's seldom the case. Headlights seem to be getting brighter too. Probably not safe to cover one eye while driving though :).

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I forgot to answer the vinegar question. The nasturtium seeds are in white vinegar but I do use both white and malt vinegar depending on which is to hand. However I do put cucumbers in white vinegar and beetroot in malt vinegar.

My parsley is the curly variety, I prefer it.

@ Margaret. I knew a man with only one eye who drove okay. I suppose that you could experiment on a quiet road at night where just one car is coming towards you. After all one opens the closed eye the minute the lights have passed.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, rom-coms just generally make me sad. :-). Not all of us get a "happily ever after." They aren't our "real world." Every once in awhile, some of them will have a character (before the "...ever after" part,) who lays out how the world really works. I usually cheer, or, at least appreciate the honesty. It's been better (for me) to just set aside hope (in that department) and just soldier on.

My horseradish grows in the chook yard. They are so funny. They alternate years. One year, they totally decimate the horseradish. Eat it right down to the ground. The next year, they don't touch it.

As near as we can tell, there were regular shipments of coin to pay the soldiers, in far flung places. Hmm. There was one story, from late in the empire, of a group of soldiers in Austria (?) whose payroll wasn't making it through. So, they went after it (in a Rome direction). None of them, or the payroll made it back. Veterans or medical discharges were offered cash settlements ... or, land in veterans colonies. A few of our modern cities started out as veterans colonies.

Late comers to meetings usually just slip in quietly and take a chair. Well, I've heard some pretty wild and interesting stories at speaker's meetings. A recent one that comes to mind is a woman, and her brother that had to fly to Siberia. They had been told that their father had died. It was quit a tale of sketchy flights, sketchy people, sketchy roads. And, they didn't speak the language. Usually, they'd just say their father's name, and "AA". Someone would step forward with big smiles and embraces. They were passed from person to person (sometimes in stolen cars). They finally found their father, not dead, but very very sick. They got him out. He recovered, and, I guess is back in Siberia. Oh, there are stories that stick with you.

Yup. Tax breaks are thick on the ground to attract industry. Our county has a few industrial parks. If nothing else, they provide a lot of free infrastructure, to lure them in. The whole intern thing has got quit a bit of media play, here. A lot of the complaining is over the fact that unless you have rich parents, who might support you for years, It's likely that the intern route is closed to you. Deferred property tax for the elderly. I remember a story about my grandparents, who lived in Nebraska. They just had a little house, and were quit poor. The deal in Nebraska was that you could defer you're property taxes, but when you died, the house and land reverted to the State. I remember hearing that a couple of my uncles had to break in, at night, to retrieve some family photos.

Carry the contract. The seller carries the "paper." I've bought two houses, that way. No banks are involved. There's a contract, usually drawn up by a lawyer. You pay directly to the seller. When it's paid off, you get a "deed of fulfillment." That route can yield retirement income to sellers. Instead of the bank assuming risk, the seller assumes risk. Cont.



LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Well, from the point of view of being in the book business, over a long period of time, there are these manias the sweep through. Management fads, diets, psychological programs. We used to refer to every new diet that came down the pike as the "diet of the week." :-). With psychology, it seemed there was always something new rolling in. Popularized, for general consumption. TM, TA, EST, etc. One wave of pop psychology, after another. When I worked for Timberland Regional Libraries, every year we had an "All Staff Day." All the libraries are closed, and we gathered (about 200 of us) in some venue. Some of the stuff was useful. Occasionally, they'd have a semi-hot author. But, there was usually the hot new management thing, that was just going to totally transform the organization. Yeah, sure. We'd go through the motions, roll our eyes a lot, and just get back to living in the real world. Anything involving roll playing seemed the most dreaded. :-)

Well. I was qualified for a real estate loan. According to my friends in Idaho, I got really good terms. I don't know if you've got a credit rating bureau, over there, but, much to my surprise, my credit scores were through the roof. So, now I contact a realtor and start looking at stuff. The fellow at the Credit Union was quit pleasant and a great number cruncher. But I think it was interesting that 1.) he was unfamiliar with the term "Gray Economy." And 2.) hadn't seen (or, even seemed to have heard of) "The Big Short" or "99 Homes."

So. Another resident of Fernglade Farm. The resident electrician, Worm Lamp. A little cartoon character comes to mind. Or, maybe a wombat in a utility belt ... stuffed full of tools :-). Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I had to look up what exactly is an FHA loan. Down here we call those sorts of mortgages by the name: "vendors terms". The FHA seems to be an insurer rather than the actual financier, and of course the insurance is paid for by the purchaser, but protects the financier. Mortgage insurance of that sort is a standard condition of a mortgage contract down here. The lending criteria of the very low down payments are not seen here. I believe the minimum is about a 10% deposit and the government has been pressuring lenders to increase that. Traditionally, a safe mortgage is considered to be a deposit of 20% or more of the value of the house in which case mortgage insurance does not generally apply. I'm glad to hear that the terms worked out for both of you. By the early 90's interest rates here were around 18% which seriously hurt. Ouch. I once recall selling scrap copper from the house so that I had enough money for food that week. Things were very tight financially.

Ah, you merry pranksters! A great story. ;-)! Yup, management fads can should never be taken seriously.

The education system here is broken from my perspective. I mean how can it be a good thing to train more people than there are jobs for? It just seems very weird to me - and not fun at all.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for the information regarding vinegar. Have you ever attempted to make your own vinegar? Many people have informed me that it is a very complex process, which has put me off trying. But, having said that, I really don't know.

Yes, absolutely, the curly parsley is superior, but the Italian flat leafed variety grows well here, so I sort of have to hedge my bets. The curly leafed variety happily self sows and it is now sprouting about the place. During high summer when neither variety grows, I've been substituting nasturtium leaves and it is very hard to taste the difference.

Hi Margaret and Inge,

A long time ago, I had a girlfriend who was blind in one eye. She had trouble with distances and eventually crashed my car (not beyond repair though, which I was grateful for).

The vehicle headlight issue is a real problem. Many new vehicles are fitted with very bright blue based headlights and they dazzle oncoming drivers. Apparently those things are sold on the basis of safety for those drivers. I find the traditional yellow based headlights to be less problematic with my eyes at night. The blue based lights seem like a very selfish improvement to me... It makes a person understand what a deer in the headlights must feel like...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Sorry mate, of course. I understand. If it makes you feel any better, most peoples lives are far more complex than they portray - thus my absolute horror at things like social media. Too often people try to up-sell their lives, when it doesn't take much scratching beneath the surface to find the true goings on. A long time local did one of the meanest and underhanded things that I have seen for a very long while to the editor on Saturday morning and I am filthy about it and am considering my response (a proper thought out plan is good). Life is rarely smooth for anyone.

That is funny about the horseradish. The good thing is that the chickens are probably unable to dig up the root systems (and would probably get a nasty surprise if they tasted them).

Veterans cities makes a whole lot of sense, and they'd probably be up to the task of repelling marauding barbarians, so of course the survival rate was probably good for those towns. It is interesting to read about the payroll generally making it through for the Roman soldiers as I would have thought that the coinage would have been a massive target for raids.

Thanks for the Siberian story, that is certainly some commitment to head off into the unknown and be received nicely along the way.

The industrial parks and zoning thing goes on down here too. The intern issue is another thing altogether. I'm uncomfortable with the entire state of affairs due to the less than 100% conversion to paid work situation, but you seem to be indicating that over there it is more a class divide issue? My previous experience as an employer is that you know pretty quickly whether people are going to work out or not.

I don't know about that deferral arrangement, but then perhaps I am overly cynical about such things. The funny thing is that I knew third hand of a guy that owned an unregistered vehicle over two decades ago which was in for repairs at a shop so that he could get it registered. The shop went into bankruptcy and because the car was not registered, it was taken into possession. The guy had to recover the vehicle one night with the help of a few mates. It was very unjust.

Thanks for the explanation. I mentioned to Margaret above that those are called "vendors terms" down here, but they are very rare. The much spoken about but mythical beast - often heard, but rarely seen! ;-)!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Ha! Exactly and way too funny. All that management fad stuff gets in the way of the important and often overlooked question: Why are we here? I'd hate to think just how much wealth has been squandered on such silliness over the years, but then I'm a total pragmatist. No one likes roll playing under employers scrutiny, well that sort anyway. My mate that moved to Ohio used to join up with groups that did live action roll playing with swords and stuff like that. I'd never heard of it, but it has quite the following and there are the occasional castle constructed around the place. One of my neighbours has crenulations for archers and battlements... All very impressive.

Congratulations and I do hope that you find a nice place. You may be surprised to hear that my last evenings walk was disturbed by someone shooting nearby, although where, I was unable to tell exactly... Mate, problems tend to multiply! :-)!

Well, there wasn't much incentive for change given how few people actually got into any serious trouble for all of the wrongdoings, so that lack was hardly surprising. I do applaud you for having the temerity to ask though! ;-)! There seems to be a general lack of willingness to address the core problems surrounding that industry. I mean, down here, one of the big four banks has the highest market capitalisation (i.e. monetary value of number of shares x share value) and I'm uncomfortable with that... But then plenty of people are comfortable with the situation, so who am I to differ in opinion? ;-)!

Hey. Are you considering staying in the general area that you now live? Or moving interstate or some such thing?

Funny! I'm looking forward to reading up on that topic, as I have no idea, really. None whatsoever. How tough would a wombat with a tool belt be? Scary stuff! Hehe!

It has rained and rained here today, but is still strangely warm. At least the forest is getting a good drink. I spotted a couple of plants putting out their spring flowers. The plants are far more adaptable than we tend to give them credit for.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thank you very much for the info too. I was aware of the tithe process, but the rest of the information was quite new to me. Very interesting and I shall be more circumspect in future.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I forgot to mention, speaking of Roman payrolls, a couple of weeks ago, outside of Seville, Spain, some pipe layers uncovered something interesting. 19 huge amphora, stuffed with newly minted Roman coins. Mostly bronze and silver washed bronze (talk about devaluing the money.) The coin was all from around 400 CE. One speculation is that it's a payroll, that went astray. Probably an interesting story, there, that we'll never know.

Some intern slots have a bit of pay, attached to them. But, the one's with a lot of ... cultural status, are the worst offenders. Publishers, art galleries, fancy magazines, and such. I think there's a couple of recent movies ... "The Intern?". And, something about a cut throat competition for a couple of job slots at Google. Consultants (I have the nagging feeling I've got that term wrong) are also a big money waster. Usually brought in to effect change (not necessarily good for the rank and file) and provide cover for management and leave them with clean hands.

You hear from time to time, of castles being built here. There's a quit lavish one in Idaho. I think one is going up outside of Vancouver, Washington.

Ohhh. Shots are not good. Bull whip boy was at it til well after dusk, last night. That sounds exactly like a pistol shot. But, to add a bit more excitement to my life, I was just getting ready to toddle off to bed, last night, when someone came pounding on my door, raving about a wreck. I called 911 (our emergency number). When the fellow realized what I was doing, he started begging me to abort the call. When that didn't happen, he disappeared. Later on, the fire department showed up ... and then the sheriff and I had to identify the guy. I guess they picked him up wandering down he road, and, I think they later found the wreck.

I'm looking in the same county. Preferably, east county. Just about anything east of Interstate 5. I'm going to take care of my chickens, and then head out to do a couple of drive bys. I don't think bullets will be involved :-).

LOL. I don't know if you remember them, but blogs are kind of like telephone party lines. You never know who's listening in. Lew