Monday, 20 June 2016

Bean counting


As I write this, I can look out the window and see, well, not much at all of anything, really! The clouds have dropped low over the farm bringing with them a thick mist which has hung around all day long. The wind is blowing strongly and outside is just wet. Winter is officially here! About 50mm (two inches) of rain has fallen this week over the farm and the water tanks are about 95% full as of today. All things considered it was a good week to become ill and spend a few quiet days asleep in front of the wood fire. And that is what I did!

As I was feeling rather unwell earlier in the week, combined with the heavy rain, it was impossible to continue any of the larger outside projects that the readers of the blog have become accustomed to reading about. Instead, in this weeks blog we’ll remove the mystique and provide a warts and all account of all of the little things that go on in the background every single week which keeps this juggernaut of a story afloat!

So without further ado, we shall take a sneak peek into the backrooms and quiet activity of life here.

I’m not the only one at the farm who has spent their days asleep in front of the wood fire. Scritchy the boss dog has decided for herself that the weather is sub optimal for the usual outside activities of: patrolling the borders; harassing the other dogs; issuing instructions to the other dogs; and generally harassing the wildlife. Instead Scritchy the boss dog this week was to be found in front of the wood heater, toasting her head. Scritchy’s other favourite sleeping spot is the old vinyl bean bag which is conveniently located close to the wood heater.
Scritchy and the bean bag
That old bean bag is made from marine grade vinyl and it is over a decade old. Unfortunately for the bean bag, Scritchy is much like the princess in the story of the Princess and the Pea. That story is about a rather demanding and eccentric young lady who proved her princess credentials whilst at the same time earning the hand of a prince in marriage by complaining about a pea which was deliberately hidden (as a test) underneath 20 mattresses. Nice work! Now as an objective outsider to that Princess and the Pea story, I’d have to suggest that the young lady in question would probably be very hard work, and whilst I don’t generally provide advice to the readers of this blog, I would have to suggest that the young princess would make a poor choice for a partner, if on the first evening the young lady felt comfortable enough to commence complaining about the quality of bedding. If I was to put on my Agony Aunt hat, then I would also suggest that this complaint would be the first of many!

Back to Scritchy and the beans. So every time Scritchy wants to sleep on the bean bag, she jumps up and prior to settling herself in for a solid sleep, the boss dog digs and scratches at the vinyl of the bean bag until it is just right. This technique of Scritchy's can take quite a long time and it is slowly damaging the vinyl of the bean bag. A few weeks ago, the occasional bean escaped from the confines of the bean bag. Since then, it has rapidly became a rout and there are now beans everywhere.

The editor came to the rescue this week and rather than disposing of Scritchy’s favourite bean bag, the editor sewed up a double layer internal bladder made from old painting drop cloths. The bladder was then filled with the beans from the old bean bag and then that internal bladder was stuffed back into the old bean bag. There were smiles all around as we were no longer having to contend with escapee beans everywhere, and Scritchy could continue with her destructive tendencies.

That isn’t the only place that Scritchy sleeps on cold winters days. The tiled hearth in front of the wood fire retains a huge amount of heat and that dog can toast both her stomach and her back all in one sitting!
Scritchy the boss dog enjoys the wood heater on a cold wet winters day
In the photo above, the wood heater is on its lowest setting and slowly burning the firewood. It has taken six years of experimentation in order to understand the entire process of firewood from taking the living trees to burning the firewood in the wood heater. The main lessons that we have learned over that period of time are:

  • Cutting down trees is a dangerous business and not one for the inexperienced;
  • Store fallen trees as saw logs because that reduces the surface area of the timber and slows the process of fungi turning those logs into rich black loam;
  • Store logs for at least 24 months as this reduces the moisture and sugars in the logs which would otherwise cause the log to burn slowly and very inefficiently;
  • Cut and split firewood from those logs so that they are of a size so that they can be readily and easily inserted into your wood heater; and
  • Store that cut and split firewood in an area that is not subject to rainfall and/or ambient moisture.
Firewood is an excellent resource so if you are going to burn firewood to produce heat, you may as well use that heat for as many different purposes as possible. In the above photo, Scritchy the boss dog is enjoying the heat from the wood heater, however observant readers may also notice that there is a glass pyrex dish of muesli baking away in the oven as well. And just in case anyone has forgotten the recipe for this simple breakfast meal the next photo shows: rolled oats (4.5 cups); pumpkin seeds/pepitas (2 cups); roasted unsalted peanuts (1 cup); and some honey.
Toasted muesli prior to mixing and baking
The wood heater also provides heat to the entire household and the combustion chamber also has an 8kW wet back cast iron water jacket. The water jacket keeps the hot water supply for the house toasty warm over winter when the solar hot water panels on the roof produce absolutely no heat at all.

Then in the photo above of the wood heater there is also a mysterious glass jar with the metallic lid which Scritchy is keeping a close (yet apparently soundly asleep) eye upon. Inside that glass jar is a rather unappealing and very strange looking white substance which is a close match in colour to Scritchy’s hair. Alas, we had not considered the benefits of converting Scritchy’s excess hair into wine, although that is technically possible, but probably not very pleasant tasting. What is actually slowly bubbling and brewing away in that glass jar is our second attempt at making rice wine which is otherwise known as: Sake. Honestly, the contents of the jar sure look disgusting to me, but the contents smells like proper sake which has a slightly sweet and banana flavoured aroma.

Despite feeling ill, the editor convinced me to assist with moving the newly sanded and oiled dining table into place this week. I reckon it looks pretty good and I challenge anyone to obtain a better table for the $100 we paid for that one.
The new dining table is in place and in use this week
I actually enjoy extreme weather conditions such as this wet week because I can test many of the systems that are implemented here to see how they actually operate in the real world when conditions are less than optimal. Despite receiving two inches of rainfall this week, the chickens who have been in their new housing for less than a year, still enjoy playing around in their dry and all weather run for most of each day. Last year at this time, the chickens would have been huddling out of the weather and looking very miserable in their hen house whilst in the previous chicken housing project.
The chickens enjoy their all-weather run despite the recent heavy rainfall
To the right hand side of that chicken enclosure, observant readers may spot a very leafy large shrub or small tree. That tree is a Tagasaste (or Tree Lucerne) and the leaves are great animal feed as they provide about 20% protein. The tree is also one of the fastest growing trees here and it is a very drought and heat hardy. You can tell that the tree is clearly used to a tough environment as it produces flowers in the depths of winter. The local honeyeater birds have discovered this source of winter nectar and they love these trees.
The Tagasaste or Tree Lucerne is currently flowering. The leaves are excellent animal feed as they are very high in protein
The cold and wet has just about finished off the tomatoes and I will soon clear out this bed by simply mowing and mulching the organic material flat to the ground. Once that has occurred we will then place woody mulch over the resulting mess. Over the next few months, we will then bring in more manure and plant the next seasons tomato crop which will be started from seed inside the house in late August. Next summer, we will also experiment with eggplant, capsicum and chilli plants in that tomato enclosure. It may also be worth mentioning that the dehydrated tomatoes stored in olive oil from last summer were a total success, but now almost totally consumed and we have been considering ways to increase the volume of that stored produce in future summers.
Tomato Cam™ reveals a sad tomato story as the winter solstice nears
The weather here can be confusing for the fruit trees. Almonds are one of the very first fruit trees to produce buds and leaves. It is still way too early to produce leaves and blossoms for next spring and I spotted this poor confused tree this week.
A confused almond tree produces new leaves and buds during the depths of winter
On the other hand, some fruit trees don’t even notice the winter conditions and this five year old loquat tree shrugs off the worst conditions that winter can throw at it. Loquat fruit is a tasty treat. Many years ago, I once owned a dog that consumed far more of that fruit than was good for her. The editor and I then took this greedy dog for a long walk. During the walk we stopped to watch a local real estate auction which was being held on the sidewalk. At an appropriately quiet moment during the tense auction, the greedy dog proceeded to vomit up the entire contents of her stomach which unfortunately smelled strongly of the tasty loquat fruit.

A young loquat tree shrugs off the cold and wet winter conditions here
As winter deepens, the many citrus fruit trees also shrug off the worst of the winter conditions and produce ripe fruit. Home grown citrus is the only way to go as many citrus fruit on sale today has very little taste to me.
A mandarin citrus tree has slowly ripening and very tasty fruit
Despite the occasional light frost, there are still many fresh greens to be picked every single day. It is hard to see in the photo below, but some of those raised garden beds are being cleared in readiness for replacement of the currently rusty steel rings which provide them with structure. As part of the purchase of the new steel raised garden beds, we will be assisting some friends with constructing a half rounded steel house for their two piggies!
The raised garden beds are producing many greens despite the occasional light frost
Regular readers will recall the production of soap many months ago. The soap has long since dried and became usable and it is now slowly curing to a white colour.
The home-made olive oil soap is slowly curing to a white colour
Winter conditions are a total disaster for generating electricity from the solar photovoltaics and today the 4.6kW system produced about the equivalent of a very loud mouse fart!
Some of the many solar panels look sad and forlorn at midday in the misty winter conditions
And at the time of the above photo which was about midday when the system should have been at peak production, the 4.6kW of solar photovoltaic panels here were producing about 5.2A which is approximately 187.2W, which is about enough electricity to run a few lightbulbs.
The 4.6kW of PV panels produced enough electricity at midday today to run a few lightbulbs
My main source of energy at this time of year is actually firewood – which itself is a form of stored sunlight – and fortunately the firewood sheds are still absolutely full of the stuff. Those sheds have also become full of rats too which for some strange reason prefer the toasty dry conditions inside the shed to the outside world. Fortunately, Toothy willingly provides me with a hand and will happily hunt rats for hours if given the chance.
Toothy lends a hand by hunting rats who are over wintering in the firewood shed
And those are some of the many activities that go on each week in the background! Hope you enjoyed the tour.

The temperature outside now at about 7.15pm is 6.7’C (44.0’F). So far this year there has been 400.6mm (15.8 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 350.8mm (13.8 inches).

Solar PV Statistics (from 4.6kW of installed PV panels)

Tuesday - 14th June Batteries started at 82% full and 7.6kW was generated that day
Wednesday - 15th June Batteries started at 82% full and 7.6kW was generated that day
Thursday - 16th June Batteries started at 81% full and 5.9kW was generated that day
Friday - 17th June Batteries started at 88% full and 3.6kW was generated that day
Saturday - 18th June Batteries started at 85% full and 1.4kW was generated that day
Sunday - 19th June Batteries started at 81% full and 6.3kW was generated that day
Monday- 20th June Batteries started at 78% full and 1.1kW was generated that day

67 comments:

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

No doubt they are probably flogging product and/or personalities. I tend to avoid that stuff, although as you say, the paddock to plate shows are usually very good as it is a hard school to flog paddock products when you have to grow and/or raise them yourself. The River Cottage series is the best of the lot I reckon, especially the earlier series which weren't - like you also say - as flashy and slick as the latest offerings. I've read recently about people who are heavily into social media, how they look for genuine voices among all of the PR and spin on social media. I tend to feel that social media is a form of anti-social media. I much prefer this sort of long winded and rambling dialogue. Imagine if we were limited to 140 characters in our daily missives, rather than the 4,096!

Yeah, good luck working your way to the top of that King book hold list. He is a very popular and prolific author. Patience is definitely the way to go. Out of interest, how did the other people in the queue get ahead of you?

Oh, well, the review I provided of that show was just how I felt about it. Other people rave about the show, but honestly it was completely lost on me. I just didn't get the appeal. You may feel totally different about it, and if you do I would be interested to hear of your opinions.

Mate, I used to do all of the work keeping my first few cars on the road. Those tricky diagnostic and engine management computers nowadays are great things and cars definitely seem to be more reliable to me these days (touch wood) but they make it an absolute pain for the hack (or shade tree mechanic - nice term, I like it) to work on. I'm wondering if my current beast dies, whether I should go backwards to a simpler Suzuki vehicle without all of the computers. It is not like they don't have them around the place still. Dunno. Your Ranger would be about as complex as my Suzuki given its age which is about the same as yours.

I must say that your description of leaving for one reason or another has a rather final and ominous tone. ;-)! It is funny how we have a taboo on the subject of death. We're all rather strange about the subject, given how much it impacts every single one of us.

Two garden plots would certainly keep you entertained. It is amazing how small a space is actually required to grow the sorts of things that keep us in vegetables. Yeah, that worm farm would seriously eat organic matter by the tonne. Hey, out of interest, what do you do with the worm tea which is inevitably left over and has to be drained for the health of the worms?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Lightning storms are very common here especially when the warm fronts from the north collide with the cold fronts from the south. They put on a huge show. I should get a tripod for the camera one day and show you just how common the lightning is in a big storm in the valley. It would look pretty cool. Unfortunately the lightning puts on a good show, but it can also ignite tall trees which are often the targets of the bolt. I wonder why Puget Sound would get so much lightning. I get the mid-west. I never realised that you grew up in the mid-west. The PNW would be a very different place compared to that. Was there a bit of cultural shock when you moved? Speaking of which, how are your friends in Idaho going with the summer?

Nell, Beau and the chickens are clearly smarter than Scritchy who is completely frightened by thunder. You can get hours of notice of an impending storm – in another state.

Speaking of which, there was a mini-tornado up in Queensland which ripped the roofs off some apartment buildings. The photos are pretty amazing and it was good that no one was killed:
Strong winds tear roofs from unit blocks, trashing cars in Mooloolaba. The city has a similar climate to Miami.

Ha! I never keep track of those two! Sorry. Yeah, the solstice is going to be interesting down here too. Hopefully the wind dies down a bit. It is nice that you appear to be having a reasonably gentle summer. That's a good thing. With all of the recent rain down here, the water tanks are at about 95% full. That's a lot of water! There is not much power though. Today was very sad and the rest of the week looks like it will be much the same.

Cheers

Chris

Jo said...

Chris, the productivity at your place is exhausting even when you are asleep in front of the fire! All systems go. That's very permacultural of you really.

Your table really does look very beautiful. Mine could do with a few more coats of oil due to children and their tabletop projects.. I absolutely love to see what people can mend and make do with - usually far more beautiful than anything you can buy from a shop floor, certainly more interesting.

I am slowly getting the hang of the wood fire and have worked out how to keep us all toasty warm. Now I need to think about extra wood storage. Your sheds are amazing, mine might look more like shelters than sheds but we will see.

Question: How much sun do your chickens get? The part of the yard I am thinking of keeping the chickens in won't get much winter sun. If I keep them dry under a snug roof like your chicken run, do you think that will be enough? How much square footage of run do you have for each chicken?

Questions, questions! Thanks for providing such a great homestead advice service:)

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

What really caught my eye in the photo of the oiled table, were the chairs; I liked them a lot.

When I was a young child, my mother called me the princess and the pea. I kept complaining about my bed and finally something miniscule was found.

Rain, rain and more rain. This is not good, the summer is beginning to resemble last years.

The first rat was caught last night but there are many more. I could solve the problem by ceasing to feed the squirrels but this is the time of the year when they most need help. I'll stop in August. At least I have a wonderful potato harvest and am getting them up ahead of the rats.

We vote in or out of the EU on Thursday and nobody has the faintest clue as to which way it will go; interesting.

Inge

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Glad you are feeling better! Sleeping in front of the fire on a cold day is a pleasant thing to do. I don't like feeling sick, but I do like the feeling of being able to relinquish responsibilities until I recover.

Mike and I finally turned on the AC for the last two days of the five day period St. Louis was under a heat advisory last week. I think by the time I turned it on, the heat had gotten to me enough that I had to take it easy for a couple of days. Then I felt back up to my usual energy level, just in time for a two day respite from the heat. The heat's back again today but so far I'm managing well since I have nothing strenuous that needs doing.

With little rain so far in June and lots of heat, the soil is drying out. I have municipal water feeding out to a sprinkler to keep the vegetable garden watered. I'm trying a soaker hose (you may call it a leaker hose) to feed rain barrel water to shrubs. But it isn't working as well as I'd like. I'll probably end up attaching a regular garden hose to the rain barrel and allow the water to trickle out so I don't have to move it very often.

Happy winter solstice to you and others in the southern hemisphere, and happy summer solstice to all of us in the northern hemisphere!

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Late to the party, today. Teeth are kicking up. Swelling. Finally broke down and got an appointment at a clinic ... either tomorrow (if they have a cancelation,) or the next day. Pain managements not bad. 3 or 4 aspirin a day and external ice pack. Got up at 8am to take care of Beau and the chickens, went back to bed and slept til 2! My teeth are rubbish, and I think I'm looking at a long haul in "the chair." Extractions are the cheapest way to go. I see a future with lots of butterscotch pudding and oatmeal. :-). Not a bad way to go.

Well, Scritchy obviously leads a dogs life ... with nice humans to look after her and attend to her every need. :-). Dog hair wine, would truly be, "hair of the dog" if you over indulged :-).

The table, chairs and rug make a really nice combo. Ripped from the pages of your latest home decor, magazine :-). I'm with Inge. Bet there's an interesting story attached to the chairs ... and rug. I've got an eye on the auctions for something similar. Once I get the measurements of my new digs. And, yours is BLUE(ish)!!! :-).

I have no use or time for all the current permutations of social media. I get quit irritated when I check out a commercial web site, or something else that sounds interesting and discover it's all facebook or twitter. I find better things to do with my time. Hopefully, I can keep my truck on the road til "The End." :-). But, if I do have to invest in another vehicle, it will be the simplest and least expensive I can find. Not anything I'm going to rush into, but the move to town ... I'm wondering how vital it is to have any vehicle at all? Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Don't know how I missed the new Stephen King and how the queue got so long. Well, I do, and I don't. Luck, mostly. I just didn't stumble across any articles about, or, announcements of, a new book. Other people did. I didn't notice it til it was "out" and had hit the NY Times, best seller list. Which I don't look at, but the library has an "all singing, all dancing" cast of thousands, string of book covers, splashed across one of their catalog pages. That's when I noticed it. LOL. I guess you could say, I'm interested ... but not invested. :-). If I were a real "fan boy", I'd haunt King's website ... and all other King websites, ferreting out the least vague rumor of a new King book, and then haunt the library site til it popped into the catalog. Or, better yet, pre order it from Amazon. Paying astronomical amounts of money for same day delivery. Mmm. No.

Speaking of being a fan boy, I see that the fellow who plays the Russian Chekov, in the new Star Trek series, was killed in a freak accident, a couple of days ago. Smooshed between his car and mailboxes, when his car, which was parked on an incline and in neutral (apparently), rolled. Life's a crap shot. A sad and strange end.

What I do with the extra worm tea is keep it bottled up in gallon plastic jugs. Then I use it as needed on sick plants and potted plants that need a bit of a fertilizer, boost. Cutting it with water, half and half, seems to be about the right ratio. I've been combing through my gardening books and there's plenty on small space gardening. If your fairly disciplined (not my strong suit), you really can get a lot out of a small space.

Oh, I never lived in the midwest. Dad was from Nebraska and Mum was from Minnesota, and just about every year when Dad had his vacation, we'd head back. Seems like there was always at least one spectacular lightening storm. One year, one of the spires was blown off Chimney Rock.

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

I didn't witness the actual event, but remember the storm. They found pieces of it, miles away. Don't know why the lightening is so spectacular on Puget Sound. Other than it seems to be attracted to any large, open area. Puget Sound, golf courses .. exposed hillsides. That tornado in Australia, was quit something. Years ago, I saw a picture of a tornado, merrily winding it's way between the high rise buildings of downtown Miami.

Well, "Mad Men" is kind of interesting. Don't know if I will watch much more of it. LOL. I had forgot how everybody smoked, all the time, everywhere, in the 1950s. And, as an ex smoker, I had a few moments of wanting to rush off into the night and pick up a pack. :-). Strangely, all the booze sloshing around had no effect. Lew



Sherri said...

I really liked your photo of the all-weather chicken run. Chooks are included in our permaculture design but we are not up to that stage yet. As we experience torrential rain through summer (and now winter too apparently!) we will need to ensure that the chooks can remain high and dry during heavy, and prolonged periods of rain.

Coco said...

Glad you´re feeling better!

Your table (and chairs) look fabulous. Well done.



Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Oh my, you've discovered my secret that I never actually sleep - and so the work must go on 24/7!!! Hehe! I actually enjoy all of these smaller tasks that go into making a house a home.

Your story about your table was the exact same story as the one that was told to me about this table. It certainly looked that way. Quality products can always be repaired. Anyway, I read once a quote from Jackie French the author: Life is too short for matching cutlery and crockery. I reckon Jackie is onto something with that observation. The repairs also bring you into the story of the thing in question. I'm sitting at the table now and the house is mostly dark because it has been soooo cloudy the past few days.

Yes, firewood storage is everything as dry firewood is much easier to burn and puts out much more heat - the combustion process loses energy in the drying process and so you get less heat. Brown coal has the same problem. Incidentally, I noticed that Basslink has been repaired. Flat pack sheds are cheap and can be put onto a concrete slab and that will sort the lot.

Those are excellent questions!

Qu: Sunlight and chickens: Chickens are derived originally from jungle birds and so they always prefer dappled sunlight. Mine are mostly in the shade all year around. People from other countries may have different preferences, but imagine wearing a woolly jumper in the full sun on a hot Australian summers day and you will get an idea how a chicken may feel in the full summer sun. I wonder about those chicken tractors that people stick in paddocks out in the full sun in Australian summer conditions.

Qu: Keeping dry: I've noticed that damp conditions are far worse for the chickens health than dry conditions. Chickens like to clean themselves by having dust baths which are not possible in the damp. They also like to dig and scratch so you can't really rely on grass to keep them dry as they'll eat it. The other thing I noticed over the years is that chicken manure can rapidly produce anaerobic bacteria if the soil becomes too damp - you can smell it. Maybe you can get two sheds cheaper than one, and some shed makers produce aviaries which is what my shed actually is (although it is a custom build from scrap materials).

Qu: How many chickens per square foot: Well, the poultry industry has a lot to say about that. On the other hand, the chickens here are happy with a 2m x 2m hen house attached to a 3.8m x 2m all weather enclosure. That houses 18 chickens and they interact very well. I could easily add another 5 and they’d still be happy. On the other hand unhappy chicken will kill each other. I keep the roof height high enough so that one does not clop their head when walking around inside the chicken house or enclosure. Ouch. That hurts!

Incidentally, and this is entirely up to you, but one thought bounced into my over active brain when I mentioned the bit about chickens killing each other. You can tell if a bird is an ex-battery hen because it will have a flattened beak. They cut the beak because it stops the chickens from attacking each other in any meaningful way. Now, this is just my perspective on the world and I am very happy for you to ignore me, but I do not purchase ex-battery hen chickens, despite the feel good vibes one can get from that act. The reason for this is because in effect buying an ex-battery hen appears to me to be assisting the poultry industry in dealing with a waste product and providing them cash for waste. It is my opinion that my money is better spent with a small time quality local poultry breeder, who may also be far from perfect, but you will be supporting a small time producer who is probably treating their birds better than the industrial process. If you are really keen and want to save some money, at the risk of getting the odd rooster or four, buy day old chicks. Otherwise, I generally buy 18 to 22 week chickens which are described as point of lay. If you are feeling brave have a look at the age of the average roast chicken in the shops!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Oh thank you, that was very nice to hear. I really like the table too.

The editor spotted that table for sale and it must have cost them a fair bit originally. I often wonder at the strange world we appear to live in, when such quality items are considered to be scrap. I do realise also that I benefit hugely from the scrap of other people, and if that scrap went away...

Haha! Glad to hear that you are of Royal descent! When I was sick, I fell asleep on the couch under a blanket in front of the wood heater only to find that Scritchy had climbed under the blankets. She is hardly miniscule!

Wow, you are in the warmer part of the UK too. Have there been any reports of flooding up north again this summer - or is it too early yet? All of that rain must be impacting agriculture? It is now very damp here too, although it is still very green and the ground can be walked upon, although I try to avoid compacting the soil too much. La Nina looks to be in full force.

I understand about feeding the squirrels. Everything we do is a least worst option. I could poison the rats, but then last night (I got a photo for next week) there was a barking owl out in the rain hunting the rats, and if I poison the rats, I poison the owls. That is why I finally destroyed much of the rat habitat and then fenced them out of the chicken area (still no sign of rat activity in there). Hopefully that takes away many of the rats advantages and makes them more vulnerable to predators.

It is interesting that issue. I wonder why the choice was made to decide the issue by a referendum? Most of the articles down here in the media appear to me to have been written by the banks, so I stopped reading up on the matter as it was all fear based. Some of the claims made were outrageous and it is not as if the UK hasn’t run a vast trading empire before. We've sort of proven that a change in management, really doesn't fix the underlying problems (5 Prime Ministers in 5 years...). Anyway, we are back to the polls on 2nd July!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thank you for your kind words. It is nice being able to let go and watch the world pass by when you are not feeling up to getting involved. The wood heater was nice too during those couple of days. It generated a huge amount of ash, which always ends up in the orchard.

Yeah, it takes a while to adapt to the weather conditions. I hear you about the humidity too as a high humidity day where the air temperature is only 77'F, it can feel very oppressive. It is much easier to deal with higher temperatures and lower humidity - except for the extreme fire risk.

Oh! I've also found that those soaker hoses don't work very well from low pressure water sources. I have 12V 60psi 4.5 gallon / minute pumps on most of the garden water tanks and they are outstanding pumps. However, on the couple of water tanks with only gravity feed we have a low pressure sprinkler. It is an Australian design, I believe and works very well. I'm a member of that gardening club, so if you want me to send you one in the mail?

Happy summer solstice to you and may your garden grow strongly!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Ouch, I'm feeling pain sympathy reading about your tooth problems. Ouch. I go to the dentist regularly because I hate going to the dentist (hope that makes sense)! The local dentist in the little smoke closer to Melbourne is actually pretty good. Did they manage to squeeze you in for a look? Cloves are a natural anaesthetic that the old timers used to use to numb tooth pain. Seriously, I've tried them and they do numb your mouth. You may want to check out any possible side effects though.

Hey, you know I read somewhere that said something about dental health affecting your heart too and that there was a more than causal link between the two.

Hehe! I was far less concerned about Scritchy than the very real fear of having a house full of beans. Those things have a static charge and they go everywhere! The editor dropped a pile of them during the creation of the internal bladder. That is funny about "hair of the dog" - honestly there was no pun intended there, but it is a goodie isn't it? ;-)!

Both you and Inge are very observant! Yeah, the chairs came from a shop clearing sale and they're very comfortable (I'm sitting on one right now) and the rug is an old 100% wool Persian rug. I won't tell you that I picked up that one and another one at this hoity toity house in Sydney where they were so embarrassed that their divorced mother had to sell the rugs for cash that they were making fun of the editor and I to cover up their discomfit. We had to drive up to Sydney to pick them up because the freight cost due to the weight was out of control. I hate long drives too. Oh no, they were both BLUE!!!! Hehe!

Yeah, I'm with you as there is very little in the way of ongoing dialogue. I won't even mention that most people tend to text me nowadays, when I would prefer to actually speak with them on the phone. Maybe it's just me? Nah, it is probably them!!!

That is an interesting point about the vehicle. Who knows how you will live your life when you are in town? Dunno, it is interesting to wonder about it though. I tend to be a strong believer in preventative maintenance too, so costs are rarely low in relation to vehicles here.

It is good that Mr King is getting the recognition as an author that he so thoroughly deserves. I mean he puts in the hard yards and produces the pages.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Oh, that's awful. What a horrid and unglamorous ending: Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin killed by Fiat Chrysler that had been recalled. The statistics are mind boggling too. I would have to suggest that this a possible example of the crapification of products. Thanks for the heads up on that.

Haha! I see your future will be one of discipline and hard stances taken against unruly vegetables! :-)! I used to be a bit soft with the plants and now I'm a bit more pragmatic in such matters. I've recently been moving a whole lot of green mustard plants (yum!) and I just yanked them out of the ground and replanted them elsewhere. It was rather unceremonious for the plants, but they honestly didn't seem to notice the process - no doubt due to the rain. Thanks for the info about the worm juice. I have a couple of citrus trees which are newly in the ground and are looking a bit sad.

Ah, Minnesota appears to be the edge of the green with lots of lakes. Nebraska would have been quite the interesting comparison for a young mind. Thanks for the link too. That rock, which appears to me to be the much harder remnants of the core, looks like a total lightning rod!!! Ouch.

Yeah, the tornado was pretty damaging. There was one in Sydney too in recent years and it also tore the roof off the building. The insurers apparently didn't cover the replacement of the roof due to apparently faulty workmanship. The owners of the apartment block had to borrow - I believe - $2.4m to replace the roof. That may be the future of insurance right there, I reckon.

Hold back on the smokes as they're no good. :-)! I've never smoked but known many people who did and they always tell me what a social habit it was. And I have noticed that they do tend to congregate together. How long ago did you quit?

It is absolutely raining and raining down here. I let the chickens out tonight into the orchard – it being the winter solstice and all – and they enjoyed their time despite the drizzle. I was sort of huddling out of the wind and rain. Two of the chickens are night owls and they stayed outside until about 5.25pm when it was getting very dark.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Sherri,

Welcome to the discussion!

Thank you very much. Lucky you to be commencing your journey! It is a lot of fun.

Yes, the chickens really appreciate being kept dry in all weather conditions. I reckon their health suffers more in the wet than in the extreme cold. There are a couple of blog posts on the construction of chicken enclosure and they will give you even more details. Chooks – the next generation

I also run a very deep litter mulch system which receives top ups from their used bedding straw - which is sugar cane mulch. The chickens turn it over an manure into it and it makes a great compost / mulch for the orchard and garden beds.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

Thank you for your concern, I really appreciate that and am feeling much better now.

Yes, I love that table and it is amazing at how well it came up after the sanding and oiling. The chairs are great too and I picked them up years ago at a shop clearing sale. They're very comfortable!

Hope you are enjoying your summer conditions!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Leo and Scritchy would get together famously as he too loves to sit in front of the fire and does the same arranging of his bed as well. He also has a spot on the couch closest to the fire as well though as I have a great dislike of dog hair on furniture his spot is covered with a sheet. Couch time is not until after dinner though.

The table looks great!! Do you and editor do much entertaining?

We often use our wood burner for cooking too - especially stews and soups.

Do you have any issues with blight on your tomatoes? It's becoming more of a problem and while I get plenty of tomatoes the plants don't look too great by the end of the summer. This is why I remove my plants from the garden. This year the tomatoes are in the pig garden where no tomatoes have been grown before so I'll be interested to see if there's any improvement.

Night before last a raccoon got three of my chicks. My fault as there was a space between the door of the pen and floor that needed to be addressed and I procrastinated. That pen is usually used short term when things get crowded. The cats have dug out a hole under the door and a coon or possum occasionally find it and that was the case the other night. I blocked off all openings now so all was well last night though the same raccoon I believe took down my suet feeder and finished it off. The live trap which was last used for the skunk a few months ago is ready to be put out tonight. We need to get him/her before the meat chickens go out into the chicken tractor at the end of July.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Claire,

I live up by the Wisconsin border about 75 miles NW of Chicago. Our weather has been similar though not quite as hot as yours. We put our AC on yesterday for just a little while to lower the humidity in the house. I've been getting out to do the outside work at 7 AM before it gets too oppressive. I have a feeling it's going to be a challenging summer heat and precipitation wise.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Oh, that is a good rug story. So ... keeping up appearances. Did they make you use the servant's / tradesmen's entrance? :-). Did they have Delusions of Downton Abbey? Which I understand is a read affliction these days. Oh, well. Those great families always seem to come to a bad end ... usually sooner, rather than later.

Yes, I try and keep my vehicle well maintenanced. Driving so few miles, I don't need to run it in, very often. Mine's due for a factory recall .. airbag, or something. At the same time, I'll have them do a tune up, oil change, and they have this checkup thing, where they check out anything else that may need to be done. Think I'll wait til I move to town. It's always such a hassle. They want to keep it, not have me hanging around the showroom. I live too far out for their taxi service, so it's always a hassle rounding up someone to pick me up and take me back. I hate to be a bother. Sigh, back when I had a couple of VWs, in the 70s, I did all that stuff, myself.

I've seen the worm juice perform miracles on plants. Be sure and chat them up, at bit, too. People don't talk to their plants, enough. :-).

What I remember about Minnesota and Nebraska is that my mother came from the western border of Minnesota. Where the trees and lakes start petering out and the prairie picks up. Best of both worlds. She came from a tiny town called New York Mills. Population, 1,000. Of course we made the mandatory trip out to the family plot in the local cemetery. What I remember is they had this long earth covered building that looked like a potato cellar. It gets so cold there, that if you die in the winter, they have a service at the church ... but pop the body in the cellar. Come spring, when the ground is workable, they bury all the folks who died during the winter. Now, Nebraska was just stark. Other than a few features like Chimney Rock and Scott's Bluff, it's pretty flat. Always made me feel like I was going to be blown off the face of the earth. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont: Well, insurance ain't what it used to be. :-). Instead of paying up with dispatch and good grace, like the old days, now it seems they reject any first claim, out of hand and begrudge every penny of payout. And, the customer spends hours on the phone and has to produce reams of documents.

OK. My dirty little secret. I quit a month ago. Well, I really cut back about 10 years ago ... maybe a pack a week. But with nicotine gum as a back up. But it all may have been, too little too late. We'll see.

I went to the dental clinic, today. It's part of the clinic where I went last year for my "free" first Medicare check-up. It's where the poverty stricken (like me) go. They do the basics, there. Anything else and you're referred to the high priced specialists. Really, I was fishing around for some antibiotics and maybe line up an extraction or two.

So. The dental tech was supposed to take one x-ray of the problem tooth. Then, she took another. Then she trotted me into a special x-ray machine that takes a pretty extensive picture of your head. Then it was back to the examining room. The dentist came in. I really had a hard time keeping a straight face. He's Chinese, less than 5 feet tall and looks about 12. Maybe 10. So, we're looking at this x-ray, and there's a large black mass under my teeth in the general vicinity of my chin. Lots of verbal waffling around and I'm the one that came right out with it. "Or, it's cancer." Everyone takes a step back. I suppose they thought I might throw myself on the floor, do a lot of wailing and a good impression of the funky chicken.

So, anyway. I'm supposed to go see an oral surgeon, which will be pretty pricey. There will probably be a little biopsy. Over the years, I had a lot of infections in that general area ... and, the teeth above it, eventually, all had root canals. So, I'd like to think it might just be a lot of scar tissue. It's either that, or the Big C. If it's cancer, well, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I didn't rush home and call the oral surgeon. I'll think on it for a few days. Want to talk to a few people.

From our "why can't people do their darned jobs department", I stopped by the drug store on the way home, and, apparently the fax for the prescription for antibiotics hadn't come through. I called the clinic ... they're resending it. But, decided I'd come home, as I'd already planned to go back to town tonight (two trips in one day!) to hit the Men's AA meeting. I haven't been to that particular meeting in a number of years ... and, it's right in the neighborhood of The Home.

Had some left over rice/broccoli/peas/garlic from last night. Whopped (that's the past pluperfect indicative of "whipped" ... or something :-) a couple of eggs into it and fried it up as patties. Ought to be good with a dollop of plain yogurt on it. Life's simple pleasures. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

It is very wise to set boundaries on Leo's behaviour. He sounds like a sensible dog. I don't much like dog hair on furniture either. The green couch has a doona cover on it so that it can be taken outside and shaken from time to time. Scritchy tends to get along well with other dogs as long as they accept her alpha-ness. She is easily offended due to her diminutive size, that dog.

Thank you. Yeah, the table looks good too. We do a bit of entertaining, but my friends are an eclectic bunch nowadays and I keep everyone separate for good reasons. It is interesting that you mention that, but years ago my friends used to be a large group. It was good fun and very social and stayed that way until about my early to mid 30's. Then about half of the people in that group became addicted to the online game World of Warcraft. And I use the word addicted literally. They simply disappeared into that game regardless of whether they had partners or children. I have no patience for such things. Anyway, after about 3 years of that, the tensions rose within the group and eventually – and I played no part at all in that business and can still speak to most of them - the group simply fell apart and there was a great deal of resentment all around.

I'd decided after about 2 years of the addiction and before things hit the proverbial, that I'd had enough and this was now the new normal. I then had to head off into the world and find new friends. That was a very challenging exercise for a person in their mid 30's – especially a guy with no children. Anyway, to cut a very long story short, I now have a firewall between all of my friends and none of them shall ever meet - despite their repeated requests. So, in answer to your question, we do entertain, but dinner parties are a rare occurrence! I bet you never thought that such an innocent question would lead to such a complex answer. I have very strong feelings about those online games and life can be occasionally complex.

Oh yeah, stews and soups are excellent in a wood oven. Hey, I also bake bread and biscuits in the one here too. Yum! The wood oven is a very gentle heat which surprised me. It is far more forgiving than an electric oven for example.

No, I have no issue with blight anywhere. I have heard that blight can be an indicator that you may be short one or more minerals in the soil – it only takes one. I realise it sounds like a cliché but well fed plants rarely become sick. I tend to grow most plants in the same place year in and year out, but I can bring in bulk manures which may be the difference. Dunno. It will definitely be interesting to read of your experience. Pigs produce a huge quantity of manure and they are great at aerating the soil. My mates pigs were digging themselves into the straw at night time the other day and I had no idea that pigs could put themselves to bed just like chickens. I know people who have processed pigs, but I have no experience with such matters – and my friends have given their pigs names…

You know, that happens and it is part of life. Some of my mates that raise chickens had the chicks dragged out by dogs from a small gap at the bottom of an otherwise very sturdy steel mesh wall. It made for an interesting experience, but I don't judge such things as it is hard to know where things are going to go wrong - until they do!

Please keep your skunks to your part of the world. I checked out videos of what they do and they are fearsome and very accurate. Oh my!

I made peace with my neighbour too today. It seemed like the right thing to do. Not the easy thing though. It was uncomfortable all round and well received, but that is bloke speak for you! ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

When I went to close up last night well before dark I scared a raccoon that was eating the cat food. Husband was able to take care of that one. I put the live trap out anyway next to the now blocked off cat hole and this morning there was a 2nd one. Raccoons are our most frequent predator and most difficult to deal with as they are so smart. Still can't figure out how ones this size could get under that fairly small opening under the door unless it was a baby. Some years, like last year, there are none and others quite a few - this may be one of those years.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Lew,

I don't know if this is similar to your case but late last year I had a dark spot under one of my molars as well. Went the same route as suggested for you and after extracting the tooth the oral surgeon removed a cyst. The biopsy was 4 times more the cost than the actual procedure. Anyway all was fine but it was costly. Hoping yours has the same outcome.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks, and what was worse was that they were sitting around their backyard in a very posh house drinking wine with their friends. And I'm pretty certain that we were a social embarrassment to them. They actually had the cheek to suggest that we cut up this old hand woven Persian rug - which has been signed by the weaver - into squares as if that was the done thing in Melbourne. Honestly, I felt that such an act would be disrespectful to the maker who probably spent months or years of their life making this work of art - which the sellers considered to be total rubbish as it was too large. Sometimes I am embarrassed for my fellow human at their callousness. The house they lived in was very old - early 19th century in a gothic style and very close to the Sydney city centre.

The editor and I stayed in a hotel that night in north Sydney and walked around the suburb - I'd had a gut full of the car by that stage - and found a delightful little locals only Italian restaurant and had dinner there. It was very tasty. Sydney is a beautiful city as it is centred around the harbour and the famous bridge and opera house and all of them combined are very aesthetic. We got to walk through Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden. Wendy was the wife of a famous and now dead (heroin, I believe) Australian artist who lives next to an old tip on the shore front. She converted the tip into a beautiful sub tropical garden. You can just walk through at night and given we were staying around the corner...

You are spot on though. Wealth rarely survives three generations. There was something in the old habit of farming wealthy kids out to do the work of pages and grooms.

What, a factory recall? Wow. That would never happen here, unless the car in question was only a few years old and still in warranty. Well, it does take a few hours to service a vehicle! And they have to schedule your work in around all of the other work that keeps a mechanics business busy and afloat! Hehe! Anyway, I have the same problem here too and so it becomes a major exercise to organise a service and/or repairs.

I liked the layout and ease of working on a VW. They were very simple devices. And the surprising thing about them was just how efficient they were. You know, I harboured a secret desire long ago to put a fibreglass kit car over a VW chassis and engine. Oh, that would have been a lot of fun. You don't see that thing much anymore these days though. The plant couldn't make a profit and so they eventually closed local production.

Well, I shall have a good chat with the unhappy citrus trees.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

What I noticed about that Chimney rock was despite the fact that it was quite small, it was at a very high elevation, so I suspect that all those flat lands are an elevated plain. No wonder it is a prairie. Out of interest have you ever seen a prairie dog? They have a baneful reputation. The cemetery people sounded like a good pragmatic sort of people. It leaves me feeling cold though. Imagine things being so cold that the very ground is frozen. That is outside my experience.

Yes, well, the same thing seems to be going on here, and despite it all, I'd rather know the score so that I can know when to not play the game. And the game that I was playing with them was a total farce. I suspect that the insurance problems are a real indicator of the underlying economy.

YOU ARE TOTALLY BUSTED, MY FRIEND!!!! Hehe! I thought so, given your reaction. I've known a few smokers and ex-smokers over the years and they all tell me the same story that it gets easier to not partake as the years go on. You never know what the outcome may be.

Who knows what the black mass is? It may be an abscess too. Some people don't confront the big C and get killed driving to work. Life is very uncertain from my perspective and you just never when your numbers are up. What does speaking to a few people mean? I liked the funky chicken!!!

Fair enough too, sometimes things don't work out. Incidentally, down here the doctors write the prescription on the spot and you get to then go to whatever chemist you choose too. I wouldn't trust the people at the doctors to send a script.

I assume the Men's AA group is a men's only group? Do you reckon that makes much of a difference to the tone of an AA meeting? Nice to see it is close to the home.

Hehe, yeah that is funny. Whopped down here usually means getting clopped by your parents after having been caught doing something naughty... An unpleasant experience to be sure. That sounds quite nice. I ate French lentils with rice and greens tonight. Yum!

Hey, given it is the solstice and all, I've been out spreading the love around and doing good deeds. Spreading the love around sounds a bit dodgy doesn't it? But I meant it in the metaphorical sense of the saying. Mate, it is cold as down here and the forecast is threatening snow on Friday, so we'll see how that goes... Brrr! At least it is warm in the house.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

That is a terrific table Chris, very nice looking wood! Even in the small photo you can tell it is a quality product. Laos has a lot of teak (the reason Mrs Damo and I are here) which is also quite nice. Unfortunately, most of it ends up trucked to Vietnam as logs with no value-addition done in country. There seems to be widespread outrage by the locals (and it says a lot when a Lao person volunteers that opinion to a stranger - Laos is very hierarchical one-party state) and recently the new Prime Minister announced a total ban on raw-timber exports. From what I am told, the trucks keep going. In unrelated news, the road to Vietnam has at least 1/2 a dozen permanent police checkpoints.

Somewhat related to this blog - I had a lunch at a smallholder farm/market garden the other week (blog post and pictures will be coming!) which was very nice. This time of year they were growing cucumbers and eggplants on a small alluvial plain (last flood was 10 years ago, due to dam construction there may never be another). From what I can gather, they are using marigold co-planting and some chickens for pest control. A small amount of land was fallow and I suspect they rotated between corn - eggplant - cucumber. Considering the amount of waste vegetables not suitable for human consumption (rot etc) they produced every day, I was surprised to not see any animal husbandry. They could have very easily supported 3-4 pigs (more with some supplemental feeding) which may not sound like much, but each pig is worth about an average months wage. I have been asking around, but have not received any real answers about why such a seemingly low-cost/low-risk approach to extra income is ignored. As time goes on, I hope to learn more and am trying to avoid falling into the trap of 'they don't do it because it is too hot to work hard' or 'no education, it is tradition to do things such and such a way' which you hear a lot.

Some things are hard to explain though, for example slash and burn is still very prevalent in the upland areas. Very, very steep blocks are cut and burnt just before the rainy season for rice and bananas. As you would expect, the topsoil is essentially non-existent.

Cheers,
Damo

orchidwallis said...

hello again

Pigs making beds: I was amazed when I first encountered this. We were living in a cottage surrounded by fields and a huge sow came past. In the early evening she began to tear up grass. She made herself a comfy bed and then started to throw grass over herself. Finally there was just a grass mound, no sight of her at all. But, poor thing, the farmer came looking for her. He had to do a lot of prodding before she deigned to get up and go home.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - Beau, the dog, was visited at night a few months ago by a raccoon. Quit the row. It suddenly occurred to me, that if I brought his dish inside, at night, that might not be a problem. So, it goes out in the morning, and in at night. Haven't seen a raccoon since. I was putting out a raccoon buffet. :-). You're right. They are so smart. Unlike the possums, I could never catch one in a trap. The "spot" on the x-ray extends under 7 teeth. But, you're right. Until I get a biopsy, no freaking out. Lew

@ Chris - Addict gizmos. Well, I saw something rather hopeful, I'd never seen before, yesterday. I was waiting for my dental appointment, quietly reading my book and there was this family. Mum, Dad and teenage son. All had the dreaded gizmos, in their hands. But they were all interacting with each other! Showing each other, this and that, exclaiming on whatever. Quit a lively group. Maybe it's the next .... level. There may be hope, yet?

The winters in the midwest can be ghastly. Unbelievable temperatures and windchill. Then there was this .... also known as "The Children's Blizzard." I think it was used as a couple of chapters in the Little House on the Prairie, books. And, a couple of episodes on the tv show.

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

A.A. has "closed meetings" and "special purpose meetings." Closed meetings are only for the afflicted :-). Special purpose meetings can be ... well, back when every one smoked, a non-smoking meeting could be a special purpose meeting. Lewis County has one men's meeting, and I think there's a woman only meeting or two. In the big cities, you're likely to find gay only meetings. I've heard of old timer's meetings ... only for people who have a lot of years under their belts.

Before I checked out the men's meeting, I thought, "Oh, it will be a bunch of guys sitting around complaining and kavetching about their wives, girlfriends, and old ladies." Not like that, at all. Oh, a little bit, but not a great amount.

LOL. Lost the water, last night. I'm standing at the sink thinking "Oh, this is too much. I've got cancer and I've got to put up with this too." :-). Life in all it's ups and downs, continues. Water was restored just a few minutes ago.

Spreading the love around? Soooo. You were pitching a lot of compost? :-). Off to the Little Smoke, today. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I feeling your raccoon pain. Raccoons sound like they are inordinately clever creatures. The problem is that they - like the rats here - are exceptionally focused and they learn. The rats learn probably faster than the speed at which I can outwit them and like Alaric I, they're constantly testing the boundaries. Plus the rewards of a free feed make our systems very tempting targets. I was very glad for the presence of the owl in the orchard the other night. I've long suspected that the rats climb the fruit trees and consume some of the fruit at night, but I haven't caught them in the act.

The wind is howling here today and the rain is being driven by that wind. All up it is a pleasant day to be inside! They're forecasting snow tomorrow here, but we'll see as it feels a bit warm to me. How is your summer?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Thanks. Yeah, that Tasmanian Oak (which includes the local specie of eucalyptus tree) is a beautiful and very hard timber. If you were technically inclined you might be interested to know that it is rated at a density of about 650kg/1m3. Not the densest eucalyptus species, but it is up there. That makes fallen trees very difficult to deal with!!!

Teak is a very nice timber too, and I've seen it in use all round Asia. The Thai people build with a lot of teak as well. Sorry to hear about the saw logs, but it isn't as if the same thing goes on down here. There are few saw mills in operation. Most pine these days arrives here from NZ. And I always find it to be funny when people go on and on about their brick house, when the structural elements of that house are actually made from pine and the bricks don't do much other than keep the rain off the pine...

Yeah, the museum in the capital is well worth the visit, and it can provide an interesting reflection of how we are seen by the authorities.

Pigs are quite common in Asia from memory, but now that you mention it, Laos was a bit light on for that particular animal. Maybe there is some sort of cultural memory of erosion from pig farming? Dunno. A lot of Laos from memory was quite mountainous and that affects the sort of animals that you can keep. They sure do cause a whole lot of damage through digging. Wow, can they dig or what! I had to help some friends over the weekend putting down woody mulch over a large area that the pigs had been digging in and with the recent rain, it was a bit of a mud bath there... The pigs are lovely creatures too, very intelligent. Out of interest, have you seen any alpacas? They have soft pads on their feet so don't tend to compact the soil as much as animals with hard hoofs.

Hope you and Mrs Damo remember to do a postal vote for next weeks election?

Slash and burn works from what I can see, but the land has to be cycled and left fallow over a long period of time to recover. That seems to be the difficult bit of it all.

Thanks for the stories of your life on the road! I liked the rocket festival particularly. Great fun!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for that, it was a lovely story. The poor sow had probably just gotten comfortable too! Actually the two pigs that I met last weekend snuggled up together for warmth and by the end of the process there were two snouts sticking out of a mass of bedding straw. They looked pretty cosy to me!

Good luck with the BREXIT vote today too. I rarely wade into the murky world of politics, purely because I do not believe that a change in management can address the underlying problems, but more importantly everyone has their own opinions and some of them can induce a state of mind that outwardly can possibly exhibit quite a lot of emotional heat. Most of the arguments from what I gather, revolve around the issues of immigration and economics. And there seems to be a lot of fear being pedalled and I'm always a bit cautious when I hear that sort of language used. Anyway, I reckon I'm rambling now, but the larger point is that I'm glad that the UK is an island separated from the mainland and well, whatever works out, will more or less muddle through somehow. And we’ll all somehow learn from the experience.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

No doubt that you are correct. The funny thing that I have been reading and hearing about recently is that as the parents and extended families have been delving into the world of social media, the kids have moved on to elsewhere within the social media world. I've long suspected that the ability to dominate the social discourse will eventually be social medias downfall, merely because the kids don't really want the adults involved in their business. I call that strategy, losing through success! Hey, we could trademark this, make our fortunes, important papers will be written etc. Sounds like a lot of hard work though, doesn't it? Anyway, whilst we are at it, I believe that the development of the gizmos has peaked and is now in the decline phase. There's hope for sure, I reckon. It is just a phase or a moment in time.

Wow! What a storm to be caught out in. And the death toll was huge. Incidentally that Wikipedia page had an image of an illustrated pictorial and the artists work was excellent - for such a grim series of images. I've never seen a blizzard. Have you ever experienced one? The fogs can get pretty thick here, but I can still see a few feet in front of me with an appropriate light so, there is not much chance of getting lost. The ropes used in that blizzard were a great idea.

The closed meetings and special purpose meetings sound like a good idea. Have you found that they are any more or less productive (that is a poor word to use, but I'm not sure how else to express it)? I'd imagine the emotional energy of those particular meetings would be quite different to the other more usual meetings? Dunno.

Mate I feel for you having to sit through such an experience. That would drive me bananas and I'd probably end up saying something unfortunate like: "Is this why you are here, to blame someone else for your issues?". And well, that probably wouldn't go down too well with the group and then everyone would get grumpy and blah, blah, blah... Nice to read that they didn't subject you to too much of that nonsense.

If the water systems here were that dodgy, both the editor and I would drop everything that we were doing and put our brains and backs into sorting out the water supply. Mate, your description of the water is a total nuisance of a system. Now, let's not get too melodramatic - although, if it is the big C, totally go hard - until you find out what is going on. Until then all it is is anxiety. Yay! You've got your water back on!!!! Woo Hoo!

That is very amusing. Well, I do enjoy a truck load of manure. Such stuff can work wonders on the soil. Enjoy your trip into the little smoke. Did you end up getting the script filled at the chemist?

And, don't think of us down here shivering away in the cold, whilst the wind is howling and the rain is being driven by the wind. And tomorrow they reckon it just may snow here. I'll keep the camera handy just in case. Unfortunately I have to do some paid work here, so hopefully people are understanding? Maybe?

Cheers

Chris

Jo said...

Chris, thanks so much for your very comprehensive reply to my question. Of course, I knew intellectually that chickens are Asian jungle birds, but hadn't applied that knowledge to on the ground reality. Der.

Next question - do your chickens also get outdoors time, in the gardens or orchard? I am thinking of making lightweight chicken tractors that I can move around the garden when I need a garden bed cleaned up (obviously not in the hot summer sun though).

Hoping for some snow for you. Here there is rain, rain and more rain. Very soothing.

Damo said...

Yes, in some aspects Australia is similar to Laos. We also just export raw materials (along with the profits). Luckily for Australians, the sheer volume of exports (plus the vestigial remains of a wealth pump) have kept us rich.

There are pigs in Laos, but I am told at a medium scale with concrete hutches and what have you. Smallholder farmers don't seem to have any although I have seen the odd pig or two waddling around a village. There is no doubt it involves extra work (fencing to protect crops would be the big one) but if you already have land and waste crops...

I have not seen any alpacas yet, but there are a lot of goats. Usually tied up to graze on the side of the road. Even our neighbour (in a dense urban street) has at least one goat. I can hear it making goat noises most days!

Slash and burn works I guess, and there is also a pest control aspect. But 45-60 degree hill slopes with bare, exposed soil and 3 months of monsoon...? I admit I know nothing, but that seems like a bad way to do it. Maybe just cut and mulch? I dunno..

I just got an email re: postal vote. We will be traveling to Vientiane to meet important embassy officials and vote at the same time! Democracy in action.

Oops, my Lao counterpart just walked in, it is time to go home apparently :-)

Cheers,
Damo

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

I'm sorry that you've been ill, but glad that you timed it well, and are better now.

Oh, my goodness - you just about did me in with a vision of Scritchy and the Great Bean Escape! Inconsiderate of her to make you have to step over her to tend to the stove. For some reason I never realized that your stove has a water reservoir, and that is very fluffy optimal!

Nice, concise firewood tips!

The new dining table is just brilliant. Literally! That's a lovely rug, too.

I am happy to see that the Chook Palace is still offering accommodations as the luxury resort it was meant to be.

I can't believe that you have already eaten all of the tomatoes in olive oil. There were so many of them! Perhaps Scritchy ate some of them?

The soap appears to have turned out perfectly. Do you ever wash the dogs with it?

Toothy is performing just as I would expect, since he looks to me like an ideal sort of rat dog. I am glad that he enjoys his work so much!

The lack of solar power is not so good, though to be expected, I suppose, from your previously posted data last winter. You seem to have your backs well covered, though, as long as you keep up with the firewood. A lot of work, that!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

I haven't had time to read the comments here for quite awhile, as this past spring several different family members decided, all about the same time, to try to go off the edge of the earth, in various different ways, and the pieces still aren't all picked up yet. Must have been something in the air . . .

Anyway, I skimmed through the comments this week, finally, and it sounds like you might be moving? I will try to go back a bit and read some past postings. Apparently, as so often, your water seems to be on the fritz. Sheesh. That's plenty good reason right there to move. I just went to the dentist myself this past week - first time in 10 years. There is much work to be done! Though I don't believe I have the issue that you may have run into. All the best with that. Chris is so entirely spot-on about maintenance being the way to go. Shame on you and I!

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I have always understood that pigs are very intelligent (more so than dogs)it is their physical structure that makes it difficult for them to demonstrate the fact.

Fear has certainly been thrown at us over brexit, someone said that we have had everything except flood and pestilence. I'll now keep off the subject.

I have seen a blizzard where there is no visibility at all and have also been out in a fog when I couldn't see my hand in front of my face, I had to feel my way up a street by the front gardens until I felt the wall that I knew to be my mother's. That was one of the old London polluting fogs; if one blew ones noses the resulting exudent would be black.

It is raining at the moment. Yesterday evening we had rain as heavy as I have ever known in my life. There was thunder and lightening but the rain was noisier than the thunder. Incredible, I kept expecting it to blast through the roof.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Ooops. Forgot the bit about prairie dogs. When I was a kid, and we were on vacation, we'd occasionally stop to take a look at prairie dog "towns." Some of them could be quit large. And compact. There were always two or three little fellows "on watch" as the other prairie dogs went about their business. If danger threatened, they give a warning whistle, and everyone would dive for their holes. A trope of western movies is the guy who's horse stumbles in a prairie dog hole, breaks a leg, and causes all kinds of problems. Prairie dogs can also be a reservoir for plague.

Back when the logging industry here was on the skids (pun intended) a lot of things were blamed ... spotted owls, etc.. What a lot of the problem REALLY was, was that raw logs were being shipped to Japan because ... we didn't have any mills in this state that could cut to metric. Well, one small one. Dumb. Just dumb.

Well, here we really don't have blizzards, as in the midwest. But, I have been caught out in some where the visibility was VERY low. Don't know why, but here we call them "white outs", rather than blizzards. Don't know why. When I lived here and worked in Olympia, I remember one night that was a nightmare trip home.

To me, closed meetings and special purpose meetings don't feel much different. Maybe a little more relaxed. You don't end up sitting next to a five year old kid, which happened to me, recently :-). LOL. There's an old AA saying that runs something like "What do you need to create a new meeting? Two drunks, a coffee pot and a resentment." :-). New meetings start, some die, some go on for years.

Oh, come on. Allow me a bit of melodrama. As long as I do it in the privacy of my own home. Or, truck. :-). LOL. When I was headed into the Little Smoke, yesterday, as sometime happens, the traffic was just dragging along for no apparent reason. So, I'm pounding on the steering wheel and yelling "PEOPLE! Can we show a little dispatch, here? I have CANCER and not a lot of TIME." And, then I laughed at myself. Not exactly what I said, but this being a family friendly blog ... :-).

And, from our "you can't make this up" department, when I didn't get my prescription at the chemists yesterday, I go out to the parking lot and my truck is completely blocked in by a UPS (United Parcel Service) van. When I stopped in at the chemists, to get my prescription on the way to the men's meeting, yes, they had the prescription, but it would take 20 minutes to fill it as they didn't know if, or what kind of insurance I had! I didn't say anything, but my look must have been enough, as I had it in under 4 minutes.

Oh, it's just the universe telling me that whatever is happening to me, the universe will just keep shoveling out the usual poops and giggles. :-). Called the oral surgeon when I got home and I have an appointment for the 5th of July. The practice has three or four surgeons, and I told the receptionist "Look. I'm a fairly sharp, well read guy, so pick me out a surgeon that I can have a dialogue, with." I think she did a good job. I'm matched up with an older, ex-military surgeon. So, he's probably seen and heard just about everything. I should probably be writing this stuff down. Think I'll call it "My Big Fat Cancer Diagnosis: All Singing, All Dancing, Cast of Thousands." Soon to be a NY Times best seller. :-) Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Well, it's not like I haven't thought about this possibility, before. Forget where I read it, but according to reports, 1 in 3 American men will have some form of cancer, sometime in their lives.

The weather here today, sounds like yours. Lots of rain and wind. Pretty cold, too. No snow in our forecast, but I bet they'll get some up in the mountains. Going to my usual meeting, tonight, but if called on, will pass. Until I can get that unpredictable blubbering under control. Soooo embarrassing. A mystery. Can't say I feel particularly sad or frightened. Maybe if I had a good wail in the "privacy of my own home", it would pass. Lew

Damo said...

Well, well well. I am surprised at the BREXIT results. The cynical part of me thought 'they' would never allow it. I am sadly not surprised by the reactions of my social crowd (highly educated, white and mobile). It seemed to mirror almost exactly the anti-trump rhetoric with arguments basically boiling down to something-something racist. The sad fact is (at least in my opinion!) that well-to-do-westerners (JMGs salary class) are ignorant of the economic reality which supports their lavish lifestyles.

I have occasionally tried to ask questions which might lead someone towards that information, but have not got very far. As you said earlier Chris, emotions seem to run very high and I have resisted the urge to comment at all anywhere. Hence my minor rant here :-) If we are lucky, this might mark the start of winding back neo-liberalism. In other news, we burnt nearly 100 million barrels of irreplaceable and priceless oil yesterday, but I think we can still put it in the win column no?

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Well, you are in good company as it took me a while to twig to that fact too. The penny dropped the day I heard a story on the radio about a young electrician who had accidentally turned off the fans in an industrial chicken factory. Needless to say that the results were not good.

It is very hard to make the leap from an abstract concept into the actual reality of something. I struggle with that and there was a bit of a discussion about that problem last week over at the ADR under the fancy term of "friction".

Of course. Outside right now it is about 0.5'C (brrr!) and even so, the chickens still had about an hours supervised run in the orchard before they headed back into bed. It was very cold and I was dressed up like the Michelin Man with a woollen jumper underneath my sheepskin jacket, plus scarf, woollen hat and very necessary Ugg boots - which were made in Melbourne and you can even pick them up at the factory shop in Brunswick.

The trick with the chicken tractor is that it has to be light enough to be able to easily move around whilst at the same time heavy enough so that your dog can't tip it over or dig underneath it so as to eat the chickens. The chickens will love clearing and fertilising a garden bed for you. I don't have much experience with chicken tractors - and I reckon they're a good idea - so maybe someone else may be best to assist you with that?

Just on a related side note. Over the past year or so, I've added a few of the more very standard Isa Brown variety chickens to the collective (am I repeating myself?) and they have very good and pleasant personalities and are exceptionally good layers. The three of them here are currently on the lay right now. Next year I may add another two or three to the chook collective.

How good does rain on a tin roof sound? It is a very soothing sound and it puts me to sleep. It is nice also that your dams are slowly refilling.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Yeah, well they have a term to describe such an economy. The fancy name for that is: "banana republic" and Paul Keating used it quite liberally many years ago as he reduced trade tariffs which essentially killed off manufacturing. You know, I knew that our society had completely lost the plot when the powers that be removed the subsidies for the vehicle manufacturing industry in Victoria and South Australia. Apparently we can't afford $1b over 10 years, but we seem to be able to afford something like $30bn over 3 years for tax free superannuation concessions to baby boomers. And I'm not suggesting that baby boomers are inherently gaming the system, but there does come a point where someone needs to let go, so that the widening wealth inequality begins to reverse. There are a lot of homeless people in Melbourne these days. Seriously, the car industry currently employs about 250,000 people and Ford is shutting down the plant in October. Mate, there is no way this will end well. I looked into your short position too. Thanks for the suggestion.

The exports, I believe, are iron ore, coal and gas, and then agricultural.

I hear you about the pigs and am wondering about it too. Mind you, I'm on about a 14 degree to 16 degree slope and pigs would do a whole lot of damage to the soil if confined to one area. On the other hand wombats and echidnas scratch the soil and aerate it like there is no tomorrow. Goats have hard hooves too, but they can consume very marginal plant materials so they actually are not a bad option. However, I've seen a lot of footage of goats being over used and they turn an area into a desert. On the other hand, pigs are forest dwelling animals that range over a large area, but people generally want to constrain them. They're actually quite lovely and very clean animals - it is unfortunately our farming of them that doesn't quite suit the animals nature. Dunno.

Yeah, absolutely. Slash and burn simply wipes the slate clean and presents agriculture with a very simple and well fed mineral rich environment with which to plant edible crops. Insect predators have no chance of surviving such a strategy as they require woody long lived plants to reproduce in and those will be gone. I did say that the practice produces a simple template. Such a template works well in the short term but is a disaster in the long term. It depends on what game you want to play? Mate, you are asking the hard questions! :-)!

Cut and mulch is what I do here on a slope and it offers many benefits as well as food for the fungi in the soil - which inevitably provide minerals for the trees. It certainly a slower method than slash and burn and leaves root systems in the ground, but I reckon it builds deeper soil. It is fungi season here and there have been some very strange varieties which I took photos of this evening.

Yes, the election process here is incredibly fair and honest. Please do take the time to vote - it does matter. Out of curiosity, I've worked in that capacity and it is a very good and very honest system.

Well, I'm generally of the opinion that a change in management can't fix the underlying issues facing industrial society, so I don't generally talk about things like BREXIT. On the other hand, I believe that the UK has shown incredibly good common sense to yet again walk away from a dying system. Yes, I've heard all of those arguments too. What really interested me the most was a comment from Jason Happenstall (22 Billion Energy Slaves) who remarked that referendums aren't generally held over in the UK. They displayed an inordinate amount of common sense today to pull away from that edifice. Perhaps there is a good reason that they ran such a large empire in the past?

No, I appreciated your minor rant because I wonder about the same things.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Sorry to hear about the family problems and you have my sympathies. And thank you too for taking the time to comment as I enjoy our dialogue.

Oh yeah, Scritchy gets what Scritchy wants. For such a small dog she is one mean tip rat! Hehe! But then, once the other dogs are elsewhere, like outside in the cold with her inside, she can be very sweet natured. The wood stove is very fluffy optimal and it is the main source of energy during this time of year. It is a nice thing to be warm when it is 32.9'F outside. Now that may not be cold for you, but none of us here are adapted to such cold conditions. Brrr!

Thanks very much for writing that. It was a real gamble how that table would end up and the result is very pleasing.

Luxury resort! That's funny. Actually, since I've reduced the exposure of the birds to the rain, their health has been remarkably improved. The oldest chickens here are now 5.5 years old. Spare a thought for the poor Kookaburra birds hiding up in the trees today whilst it snowed.

I recommend the dehydrated tomatoes with fresh greens, fresh eggs and shitake mushrooms in a omelette on a cold winters day to warm ones innards! :-)!

The dogs have never been washed, unless they roll in something offensive - and then they get the soap and hose treatment (which is sort of fun over winter - for them, well not really). Their coats are generally very clean feeling unlike a lot of city dogs which seem to be quite greasy and I have wondered whether it is the home made feed that they eat or their access to fresh grass to roll around - or maybe a combination of the two? I really don't know, but years ago I got into a lot of trouble with a neighbour when I looked after their dog and the neighbour became a little bit obsessive with pestering me with questions of whether we'd washed the dog or not. They did not believe me that I had not and I've never been asked to look after the dog again. It was very strange as their dog gets along well with my lot. Oh well.

He is a rat dog! I believe they were bred for that purpose. Mind you, Poopy seems to be the best rat killer I have and that is unexpected. Toothy could hunt rats for hours on end though, whereas Poopy gets bored after half an hour or so...

Thanks. Yeah, the firewood is far more important than the solar. That was a good observation and not many people would pick that up.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Yes, the pigs were very curious and totally aware of their surroundings. They even took a short while to check us out before deciding that we were mostly harmless. It never occurred to me that the pigs would take themselves to bed too. They were very lovely. If only I could figure out some way to get them to free range but not stray too far...

Thank you for that observation and it matches what I have read here. I was quite surprised at how biased the reporting of that matter was down here. It is very strange. Anyway, I just wanted to say how proud you should be of living in a country that has twice extricated itself from a failing empire. It displays an inordinate amount of common sense and pragmatism and I applaud that.

I would be very interested to hear of your perceptions of the view on the ground? My gut feeling was that the imbalances within Europe could not be sustained for much longer without escalating civil strife. But that is pure conjecture on my part.

I've experienced that sort of a fog here, but a blizzard would be horrid. You were lucky to be able to find your way without getting lost. And that London smog. I'd heard of those as they were legendary. You may be interested to know that I get the same thing here when there are large bush fires even when they over in the next state. The very air that one breathes tastes of smoke and ash and as you say, blow your nose and the results will be unpleasant. Don't look too closely! Not to mention the dust storms where huge quantities of top soil take to the atmosphere.

That is a serious concern. A bit under an inch fell last night here in very short succession. I was in Melbourne though at the time and I actually spotted roofs leaking water through them and onto the street. Sometimes, I rather suspect that we are heading into a warmer and much wetter future. I've found that the heavy rain is much harder to deal with than drought (as long as you have access to water during such a time).

It snowed here this afternoon. Lots of flurries drifting from the sky. Nothing settled on the ground. Although a bit did settle on Poopy’s head, as he had foolishly decided to check out the snow with the humans. It is way cold here now. 0.4'C or 32.9'F. Brrr...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I'd read that recently about the plague over in the US in that the lice on the prairie dogs carry the bacteria. I assume that the prairie dogs are quite clever if they set watch on other animals activities whilst some of the pack eat. The native birds here do that too and they will call to one another: Intruder Alert!!! That was a dodgy Star Trek joke. Hey, that is released next month too.

The trope is similar to the horror stories where the disposable female character sprains her ankle and everyone is thus put into peril. I suppose it happens, but still it is a cliché!

I was in Melbourne yesterday and it was raining so much that we went out to watch the film: Everyone wants some, by the director Richard Linklater (him of the classic Gen X film: Slackers). It was a very fluffy film and it felt like watching a time warp of the late 70's to early 80's... Not a recommendation, unless you were after a fluffy and entertaining film, which I was - one can't be too serious all of the time, can one? The other choice was a film called: Me before you, and that sounded a lot like hard work to me based on the reviews and I am unsure that I need the emotional load from that film.

The film was set in a college environment and we don't have that sort of culture down here as people don’t tend to live on campus so it is a mildly surreal experience to watch a film about it. As I was watching it, I was asking myself how heavily in debt the various people were. University was for me a part time, at night, quite expensive and very hard process involving a lot of sacrifice and work. Dunno, the whole message of the film was fun and I could enjoy it, but it was completely lost on me as it was alien.

Really? I've heard comments before about your lumber being cut to imperial measurements. The saying two by four comes to mind. That is about 50mm x 100mm, which we cut to 45mm x 90mm as a standard. Honestly most of our timber goes to Japan as far as I know, although I believe they have put a ban on wood pulp from Australia due to its apparently dubious sources. Mills have been shut down left right and centre and it is not as if demand for timber has been reduced. I often wonder whether it is a local labour cost problem and wages arbitrage with cheaper countries is what is actually going on? Globalisation is a short term policy.

I don't know why either, but we call fogs white outs here too. Dunno. Yeah, and you are totally correct in that it can be a real problem, no matter how well you know the road.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

No? OK so what was the kid in AA for? Hehe! It is hardly an appropriate place for a five year old. I wonder what the parent/s were thinking? That saying is very true. Groups can occasionally run their course, but it always depends on what the members get from participating within the group. I reckon a lot of leaders within groups easily forget that point. Why do you reckon the groups wind up? Do people ever simply stop coming to meetings or is it something that wanes with time (much like addiction to cigarettes - from what I've heard)?

Of course, you have plenty of social credits and can well afford the moment of sheer melodrama! :-)! Mate, I feel for your uncertainty and I get it. Mate, I've heard that people in New Jersey speak like that when they drive! Or have I picked the wrong area? Yeah, I'm sure you could trash talk it up with the best of them. :-)!

Chemists make me feel uncomfortable for some strange reason which I've never really identified. You know, I won't say that 4 minutes would be about normal down here. The government bulk buys medications and then on sells those through something called the pharmaceutical benefits scheme, so drugs are not outrageously priced as long as they are on the scheme. I've noticed recently that they are beginning a long slow re-education process down here in relation to anti-biotic prescriptions for minor infections. They really over did it down here and there are a few anti-biotic resistant bugs. I guess one has to expect that.

I'm really glad to hear that you have an appointment. That was a wise decision and an astute suggestion - I would never have thought of doing that. Top work. OK, so what is your favourite film that deals with the topic of cancer? Hmmm. I'm going to get in early and suggest 50/50.

I hear you about the poops and giggles. Well, we've made it this far and I've often wondered just how lucky anyone is to actually make it past the age of 40...

Pah, I've heard that something like 90% of males end up with some form of prostate cancer at the end, so those odds are not good.

Mate that is tough. Do your friends in Idaho know yet? A good wail is a healthy thing to do, people - particularly males - often feel very constricted and are so busy acting a part, they forget to be themselves.

Well, it did snow a bit here today. Nothing settled - except a few snow flakes on Poopy’s head who was stupid enough to be out with us dancing humans mucking around in the snowfall! Mate, it is cold as though. Brr. The wood heater is going strong.

PS: I enjoyed your comments over at the ADR.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I am so happy that we voted to get out. The powers that be still don't seem to get it at all. Europe seems to be equally surprised. Mind you it is going to be two and a half years before we are out; I wonder whether the EU will already have collapsed in that time.

My sister in the US thinks that I have lost my mind as do my other US contacts.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Pam - Well. The moving thing. I had a pretty good down (I thought) and what I considered a hefty pre approved loan, from my credit union. Found a good real estate agent, and then the hunt, began. Well. There is just nothing in this part of the country that is a.) within my price range and b.) that will pass an inspection so that the credit union will finance. And, at least in this part of the country, credit unions and banks will flat, not finance any kind of manufactured homes. So, from "isolated little cabin in the woods", I kept revising my expectations. And, finally arrived at "government subsidized senior housing, in town."

Yeah, my idyllic little place in the country has become pretty untenable. Besides the water problems, the Evil Step Son is a constant thorn in my side, and one of his spawn, Bull Whip Boy, is constantly popping the darned thing, from the time he gets off the bus, til well after dark. The child ain't right :-). Oh, and a logging road was run through my place to get at the back 40 and now I can see Oregon. Well, you get the idea. :-) Oh, and my landlord is not doing well, health wise, and when he passes, I think the struggle over the estate will be a real horror show, and I'd rather not be here for the event.

Yeah, tooth maintenance would have been nice, but besides the usual reluctance of most people to go to the dentist, as you know, here in the States the medical, dental and drug systems are one vast wealth pump. At one point, I actually had some dental insurance. When it came time to collect a bit, they kept "loosing" the ex-rays, the hours in phone tree hell. We do have an insurance commission in this State, but, they have no power over insurance companies outside the State. And, since the dental insurer was in Texas ... I could never get a handle on those people to squeeze the $400 or so bucks, out of them. I finally took pity on my poor dentist and just paid the darned bill. Oh, well. Enough kavetching. All water under the bridge. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Snow. How cool. Even if it didn't stick. There's something about the first snowfall.

Yeah, who'd drag a five year old to a Meeting? LOL. When I first moved here, I remember complaining to a friend back in the big city that here, people had apparently never quit grasped the concept of "baby sitter" and drag their kids, everywhere. Sigh. I got pretty used to it. And, I must say, at least when I moved here in '82, ... well, this County was about 10 or 15 years behind the times, and kids were pretty well behaved. Then the world came crashing in, via the internet and a video store on every corner.

Mmmm. Let's see if I can explain this. The meeting I go to is an "open" meeting. So, people who don't have a problem with alcohol can attend. Usually, it's people who have friends or loved one's with a problem. Or, husbands or wives tag along for "support." Kids? Well. As long as they behave themselves and keep quiet, not a problem. If they are a problem, the parent is asked to take the kid out of the meeting. And, even though the language in my particular meeting isn't particularly "blue" (mixed company, and all), some of the situations and experiences talked about, aren't really "family friendly." And, we're not going to reign ourselves in. So, if you don't want you're precious little snowflake to get an early introduction to the rougher edges of life, don't bring them to a meeting.

Which reminded me that the very tight, little cafe I worked in in Centralia. Well, the owner wasn't "kid friendly" and made no bones about it. It's not like we could put a sign up, or anything. But, we didn't have high chairs or booster chairs. Which pretty much took care of 95% of the problem.

LOL. Gee. Favorite cancer film. Oh, I am chuckling. That just sounds so ... funny. Well, generally I steer away from anything labeled "heartwarming" or "inspirational." So, I don't watch many cancer films. I really can't tell you if I saw 50/50, or not. I really like Gordon-Levitt as an actor. And, I think, what may have happened is that when it hit the library catalog, it had a very long hold list and I just never got back to ordering it. I'll have to look into that. Oh, I just happened to think, I have watched several documentaries on cancer. "Cancer: Emperor of all Maladies." That was pretty good. The whole history of the disease and treatments past and present. There is a lot of promising treatments, out there, and breakthroughs on what makes the disease tick. But, nothing I could ever afford. Saw a trailer, yesterday, for a "food film" called "Bella". Looked interesting enough, and, my library system has it. So, I put it on hold. Old enough that there wasn't a hold queue. Should get it next week. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Yup. My friends in Idaho know what's up. They're very supportive and have the attitude of "you do what you want." LOL. Unlike a friend of mine I called in Florida, yesterday. She's of the school of, do everything under the sun, spend every dime you have and go into bankruptcy. Anything to give you an extra, probably miserable, six months. Well, she'll come around. She's "younger". She's beginning to loose a few friends, here and there. And, she doesn't like it. Or understand it. I had to break the bad news that it's her cohort. It's the time in her life when those things start to happen, and that the process will accelerate. She'll come around.

Well, this weeks ADR is interesting. My friends in Idaho ... well, sometimes I wonder how we became, and manage to stay friends. They are VERY conservative, Fox watching people. Hmmm. Maybe it's that in some ways, they're like me. Conservative in some areas, liberal in others. And, we have enough overlap (though, not much) to make a viable friendship. And, there are some things we just don't talk about. When they moved to Idaho, one of the last things I said to them (begged actually) was that, not all the time, but every once in awhile they take a look at news from NPR ... check out Alternet.org on the web or pick up a book that doesn't quit fit their political perspective. They are both readers. Don't know if I had any impact, but they did ditch their cable tv, about 6 months ago. :-). LOL. Last night she mentioned that although she didn't care much for President Obama, she sure did like the subsidized Obamacare. It pays a large chunk of their medical insurance ... insurance they couldn't afford, otherwise. As I mentioned on ADR, I read a lot of conservative stuff. Stuff that I don't like. Because a.) I like to know what makes people tick and b.) I like to keep tabs on what "the enemy" is up to. :-).

I wouldn't comment much on politics, here, but after the vote in Britain, yesterday, I did get online and read a few articles. There was one in the Atlantic Monthly online magazine that was pretty interesting. I don't know how "tongue in cheek" it was, but the premise was that the whole vote was "tribal" and went waaay back. That the people who wanted to stay in the EU were Normans .... and the people who wanted to leave were Anglo-Saxsons. :-). So, the author didn't quit put it this way, but it all boils down to the Anglo-Saxons being butt hurt, over the Conquest, for about 1,000 years. Seems a bit of a stretch. :-) Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I'm with you, in that I do not believe that they get it at all. There was an "in-depth" analysis of the vote in today's newspaper and it devoted only a single paragraph in an otherwise long article as to the possible reason why people would want to vote to leave. Even then, no one seemed to be able to hit the streets and simply ask people the hard question: Why? Either side of that paragraph were endless fear stories about the potential downsides of the vote to leave. I sometimes wonder at the sheer lack of objectivity in the newspapers. And this afternoon, I couldn't believe it, when I read that there are calls for a second referendum on the same question with a different set of metrics. It was mildly surreal, but it also smelled to me of school yard taunts by the losers calling for: "two out of three!"

That is a fair concern. Perhaps the proverbial kick up the pants is just the thing that is needed in order to address the ever widening inequality of wealth and concentration of wealth in the EU? Dunno, sometimes a reality check can be a wonderful thing.

Well, the US has its own share of problems on that front so, no disrespect to them, but they would be wise to look to their own backyard. ;-)!

The problem that I see is that sometimes the leaders of groups can often forget why the members are actually participating in that group. Most groups appear to be based on abstract concepts and if the leadership fails to acknowledge the needs and wants of the members, then things can get pretty ugly. What do you believe about that analysis?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Oh my! A dental check up and clean (no x-ray) will cost about $125 here and be done in about 15 minutes. $400 is a pretty hefty bill for a dental check up. Actually, I kind of feel sorry for the Bull Whip Boy as he appears to be displaying some sort of obsessive compulsive disorder to indulge that whip quite that often. A lot of mental health issues are indulgences and bad habits taken to extremes and I sometimes wonder whether the parents know what is going on and are just quietly grateful that the kid is focused somewhere else on something else and they don't have to manage or interact with him. I don't expect you to reply to that, but from my perspective, nobody is winning out of that arrangement - even the kid is losing to it. Julia Childs was on the money when she wrote: Everything in moderation. And I reckon there are few guides for parents when things go off the rails. I've often suspected that most parents believe that their kids will be all smiles and cuddles, but reality can be very different.

Yeah, the snow was really nice. You know it was cold enough this morning for a heavy frost (which is probably a light frost for you) and there were even frozen snowflakes on the window of my car and solar panels. You don't see that often here!

We had the Green Wizards meet up today in Melbourne and I had a really good catch up with the other Green Wizards. It was good fun and everyone has different stories to tell.

Yeah, the same thing happens too down here and you can count on being harassed by unknown children in all sorts of unexpected locations. Actually a bar in northern Melbourne banned all children from the premises and there was no end of whingeing about it, but why would you take children to a bar? When my mum used to go the pub with her friends she used to give me and my sisters a couple of dollars and tell us to come back in a couple of hours. We used to go and play the pinball and Space Invaders machines. I certainly don't feel that anything was missed by not hanging at the pub!

Thank you for the explanation of an open meeting. Of course, connected people would attempt to understand the world that they have become involved in and I never understood that they may attend AA meetings so as to gain a wider world view. That makes sense. Well, sometimes life isn't particularly family friendly, and I don't believe that pretending to children that it is that way does them any favours. Certainly, and not to bring this discussion back to myself, but in my youth I had to confront the problem of the double bind, and the only way out of that double bind problem for a child is to accept that adults lie to children and then as a child you have to tell them what they want to hear to smooth the day to day pragmatic problems that inevitably arise in such a scenario. Some people are able to make that adjustment and accommodation whilst other people are unable to cross that bridge of understanding.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Now, of course you may say that I am acting hypocritically with that assertion about family friendly and you would be correct, and I'd be happy to trash talk with you face to face, but unfortunately, a whole lot of people read this blog who may be less tolerant than you and I and unfortunately I have to take that into account.

One of the things about those meetings which I'm quite impressed with is the sheer structure of the practicalities of the meetings as well as the good chairmanship processes. The people that set up the process understood the human condition and I did note with interest your reference to Carl Jung.

That is a very clever strategy. I recall a story from many years ago that one very high end restaurant was shut down by two lawyers with a young child who were refused entry. It all comes down to procedures with those people.

Hey, I've also heard of special child prices to discourage parents. Especially if the kids make a mess which requires cleaning and puts a table or several tables out of action. I once had a small child try to wedge himself between the very small space behind the back of my chair and the wall. It was really weird and slightly surreal moment, and I looked at the kid said: "what are you doing? Go away".

Haha! Gordon-Levitt writes a good film too and I recently saw a film of his called "Don Jon" which was about a guy who had an addiction to porn which I believe from listening to youth radio news is a rather common, and not something that you want, problem nowadays. Scary stuff. Thanks for the references and I'll check out the reviews for the Bella film.

Well, I'm glad that your mates in Idaho understand and respect your position. I've had a bit of exposure to death and I've also noticed that people who have not had any to experience the inevitability of it all tend to believe the strangest of things. We are largely unprepared for that inevitability and I personally reckon we'd live better lives if we acknowledged it. Your Florida friend is scarily common and I've seen pretty horrific things done to other people under that view point. But it is not my place to tell them, they have to experience the circumstances themselves before they gain any level of empathy. Was that a rant? She'll come around in time.

I thoroughly enjoyed your comments there too. They were very insightful and I appreciated reading them. I reckon the whole message from the UK referendum vote is that people need to feel that there is more benefit to staying than leaving and most people outside of London felt that there was no benefit for them in staying. Small groups and large groups suffer from that malaise and that is what it looks like to me...

I saw your comment about the Anglo-Saxons versus the Normans and thought that it was pretty funny! We spoke about the whole BREXIT thing at the meetup today and honestly most of them could see the benefit of leaving. It really depends on what your vested interests are and whether you can empathise with the consequences of those interests on other people. Not everyone can.

Wow, we covered some massive ground today!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

Well, that is very sad news. Things may take a better turn; you never know. I always figured that if I couldn't live in the country I'd just as soon live right smack in the middle of town; at least I'd be close to everything. Does Centralia have decent bus service? Interesting things going on in town, too. JMG lives in town. Way more interesting than suburbia (been there). I wonder about being way the heck out here when I am a lot older and can't drive. That's not water under the bridge, however, so I'll cross that one if I come to it. One family member is also considering getting on a government subsidized housing list. There may be no other option at the moment.

We saved up the money for the dentist. Our (mandated) health insurance doesn't cover dental anyway. So, I'm probably ok there, though I realize that it will probably cost five times what I expect.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@Inge:

Our household was as thrilled as you at the Brexit results. Pah! Who wants to be a part of some gobbletygook consortium of squabbling countries?

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Summer here is warmer than normal but not too bad - not much rain though. Just south of us there were severe storms with torrential downpours but we only received .2 inch of rain. I spent hours the last two days watering the gardens and adding more mulch. Often in summer the thunderstorms are really hit or miss. Some parts of the Chicago metropolitan area (we are in the far northwest part) have had too much rain.

Interesting story about entertaining. My husband loves to entertain - too much sometimes. When we do we invite different groups of friends that would relate to each other. Then there is my family which is a party all by itself. When I had my husband's 60th birthday party a few years ago people from all the various groups as well as family were invited. A good friend who surprised him by coming all the way from California commented on what an eclectic group it was.

A few years ago on the east coast if I recall correctly, there was a serious outbreak of light blight that started from infected plants from some big box store. Carol Deppe has written that light blight is threatening the survival of heirloom tomatoes.

Regarding blizzards, I've experienced a few big ones and while exciting at the time dealing with the aftermath not so much. Of course when I was teaching everyone looked forward to big storms so we could have a snow day. Schools build in 5 snow days a year and if they aren't used school ends for the summer that much earlier.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I thought you'd be going in to the Green Wizard meeting. Go ahead and torture me. Talk about the food :-). I made a big three bean salad, last night (well, 5 bean, actually) and a batch of hummus. Beans, folic acid ... kills the cancer bugs. According to reports :-).

I just noticed, today, when I came here ... on your home page that you're up above 2,000 feet.That had never really sunk in, before. I'm about 600. It is just so odd, that in a lot of ways, our weather is the same. Taking into consideration the reversed season. And, you're a lot more "tropical." I just think it's so interesting that so many things play into weather. Elevation, geography, ocean currents. I think we've talked about how odd it is that some places in the same latitude have so wildly different weather. Most times, it seems our snow falls are on a par.

Oh, yes. Bullwhip Boy is most decidedly obsessive compulsive. I think I mentioned that before he got the bull whip, it was chopping away at a downed log, with an ax, for hours. Wish he had gotten onto something more quiet. Rocking in a corner ... washing his hands compulsively. :-). At least for now, he's just frightened enough of me to stay out of my way. Gah! Some parents seem to think you should be just as impressed and interested in their precious little snowflakes, as they are. And, they don't seem to quit believe that you don't feel that way. In so many areas of life, it's the old "Oh, you REALLY don't think / feel that way." Well, yes I do, otherwise I wouldn't have said it.

I think kids, early on, realize that there are certain areas that are best not to "tell the grownups" about. Everything just goes smoother, all way around. :-).

Oh, I don't think you're hypocritical at all. Your blog, your rules. And, I must say I certainly like a well moderated blog, as here or the ADR, than an unmoderated blog. If I ever step over the line, feel free to delete my post, no explanation or apology necessary. On reflection, I generally know when I've been bad / naughty / stupid. LOL. I did see "Don Jon." Most decidedly NOT family friendly :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. There are also groups / organizations such as Al-Anon. That's a group that's just about as old as AA and is for the families of alcoholics. Then there's Alateen. For teenagers that have parents who are alcoholic. Then there's Adult Children of Alcoholics. Not as many of those groups around as AA, but they are there, and available, if a person feels the need. Ah, America. Land of the 12 Step Program. ;-). Oh, well. Whatever works.

Given a few days, this is what I think about the UK vote. Keeping in mind JMG's very wise disclaimer that I don't live there, so I'm basically talking through my hat. :-). I think worldwide, a lot of the "little people" (and, I don't use that term pejoratively ... I'm one of those little people) are pretty fed up with the status quo, in a lot of different areas. But, everyone's got a slightly different agenda, but all the agendas are reaching critical mass. Some areas may jump Left, some areas may jump Right. Lots of Black Swans are coming home to roost. But what do I know. Not a deep thinker .... :-)

Oh, I'm sure my friend in Florida will come around. She's younger, and maybe hasn't had much experience with death and dying. I have. A good chunk of my cohort was wiped out in the early 80s, due to The Plague - AIDS. I lost friends, sat at deathbeds, did a bit of hospice work. That kind of thing gives you ... perspective. I'm just glad I live in a State that allows physician assisted suicide. When things get too bad, when the pain management fails. Of course, it's pretty new, here. So, finding an institution that will allow it, a doctor that will prescribe, a chemist that will fill the prescription. But, you ask around and can get the information you need. Ah, well. That's a bit down the road.

Yup. We do cover the ground. Pack light and travel fast. "We cover the waterfront." :-) Don't know where that comes from. Just floated in from somewhere. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I am afraid that I think that the leaders of groups are often only interested in their own aggrandisement; though I am sure that they are not aware of it.

I have heard discussions today during which some facts were finally being given. It does seem that the powers that be were so utterly arrogant that the idea was:- lets just terrify the poor saps, that should do it.

Still raining ferociously here.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Summer can be a real mixed bag of weather. It is annoying when the storms are localised and they slide past your property. During summer, I experience quite a bit of that as the westerly winds funnel the local storms through the valley below and it can be heart breaking sometimes to watch the rain being so close but so far. Watering takes such a long time every day during summer and I reckon the requirements change with the weather. You may be interested to know that the water storage tanks here are now all full and overflowing when it rains, but it has been very frosty clear mornings with cloudy afternoons this year.

Thank you for reading that story. It was a surreal experience to discover that people could disappear completely into those games. Many of the people I'd known for over two decades. Anyway, as they say, all things are subject to change at short notice without warning!

That is nice to hear that you both entertain - although perhaps like me you may enjoy some quiet time to recover! That is really nice to hear and it sounded like an excellent party and it was really nice that people travelled from far distant places to attend.

Oh my! Wow. That is not good at all. The only thing you can do in such a circumstance is to feed your soil heavily and hope for the best. My understanding is that some blights can travel remarkable distances. I tend to purchase seeds from the Diggers Club who have excellent processes in place for their seeds, but blights are not good. A local guy I know with a lot of experience in the area suffers a lot of rust in his crops and I suspect that his soil needs feeding. Liebigs law of the minimum readily applies to plants. Your mulching is very good. Thanks for the reference, I'll check that out tonight.

Hehe! I reckon I'd enjoy a snow day too! You may be surprised to know that they do the opposite down here over the summer with schools on extreme fire risk days.

Today seemed sort of dry, so we did more digging and I ended up having to remove a huge tree stump which was near the top of the new concrete stairs. It was massive and the bar of the chainsaw - and it is no mini saw - couldn't cut all the way through the stump and when it did, despite cleaning the stump it hit the dirt and the chain instantly became blunt. It was a big job, sort of like rolling rocks uphill! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Hmmm. Torture, I can do food torture. Hehe!!! ;-)! That's funny. Well, I started with a ginger beer (non alcoholic) and then progressed to Linguine Carbonara with lots of chilli! Oh, it was good. Are you salivating yet? It had a side serving of sour dough bread to mop up the excess parmesan cheese sauce. And dessert was tiramisu in a glass. Total yum. The restaurant for the meetup is very good and the food is cooked in front of you to order.

I respect the multi bean salad and it is very nice leaving it to mildly ferment over night. That is the secret to those salads – they really do require the mild fermentation. Ha! I've heard those same claims for Herb Robert which grows like a total weed here and probably would too in your part of the world.

Yeah, it is interesting isn't it? So much goes into the weather and climate is a very local phenomena. You may also be interested to know that the ridge slope that I'm on faces South West, so over summer I do not get as much direct sunlight as the west facing slopes which are much drier and far harsher than here (remember the sun is in the north here). The other thing is that whilst the farm is located at 37.5'S latitude, because I'm 700m above sea level, that is equivalent to a climate a further 7 degrees south (1 degree S for every 100m elevation - is the general rule here). That puts the climate here as an equivalent of the bottom of Tasmania at sea level - or in your part of the world: Oregon; Idaho; Wyoming; South Dakota; Minnesota; Wisconsin. Obviously it is only comparable if those locations are at sea level and some of those aren't, but then on the east coast New York is; Vermont; New Hampshire; and Maine are. That is the reason I went for altitude despite the bushfire risk. I reckon you and I are talking apples and apples! ;-)!

I thought about as much. It could be worse. A guy I used to work with a long time ago, who doesn't live too far from here, told me that he had a kid living next door to him that used to sit on a trampoline positioned as far away from the parents house as possible (which was unfortunately right next to his) and the kid used to moan all day long. It was sort of like a droning sound and the guy was totally filthy about it. Really, very angry actually. So yeah, things could be worse. If I was responsible for that situation, I would try to channel that energy into something useful but then my gut feeling tells me that people rarely want to acknowledge a situation as being different or unusual because that inevitably leads to some sort of blame game for them. It doesn't have to be that way, but our narratives fail to account for situations where things go horribly wrong.

Exactly, a problem shared can be a problem halved but with parents for some strange reason it can be a problem doubled or even quadrupled - and no one really wants that... Hehe! I made the mistake once of asking my mum if it was OK if I went into the city on school holidays. Mate, I'd been doing that for years, but for some strange reason, I thought I should check and it ended up being a total disaster. Lesson learned.

No worries, it is all good. I naturally feel very protective of females as I reckon that despite the talk in society, they get a very hard time. Well, to err is to be human and honestly I say and do stupid things all of the time. Life is rarely perfect, so I cut everyone including myself some slack and just try not to worry about it.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Oh yeah, that one was definitely not a family friendly film at all. I had no idea that such things were going on. I listen to the youth station news and current affairs daily program and the things that young people are subjected to makes me feel sad for them. Back in the day all there was a little bit. But nowadays, people are over supplied and over indulge and that leads to some serious life long problems for them. Not good. They probably need a 12 step group for that one, no doubts about it.

Actually, I reckon it is good that there are so many different groups available to support people in that situation. I rarely mention the home brew activities here or elsewhere because people inevitably draw a rather extreme conclusion, but the reality is that it is really hard to produce an amount that one could over indulge with in the first place. I wonder whether the incidence of over indulgence is a factor of modern manufacturing and over supply processes. Certainly it would not have been an easy option in the long distant past - on many fronts. Dunno. What do you reckon about that?

JMG is quite correct in that assertion and I don't live there either. Certainly, it is an ugly mess now that they've looked underneath the ripples of discontent. Exactly, I'm a little person too. I actively chose and cultivated that path as the other path seemed like a road to perdition - in the biblical sense of that word. It is fascinating to look back at those people who have chosen otherwise and they are blissfully unaware of how their actions affect other people. They have no idea whatsoever. None. Ha! You are quite the perceptive individual despite your claims. I suspect that it was my travels to other parts of this country which were outside of the cities, as well as the travels to the third world which forced me to acknowledge the whole do unto others reality and something or other about whatever, something, something least of you do unto me or something like that. It is hard to push through to that stage though.

No doubt, in time your friend will come around to the reality, even if you are gone. Sorry to be morbid, but some people forget the realities of existence. Mate, I so feel for you reading that. It must have been so hard on you to lose so many friends and acquaintances to that nasty virus.

That is a bit down the road and you have a path to travel yet. You sound very certain of your prognoses. Hey, make sure you don't just disappear off the radar too. When the time comes, I'll plant a tree here for you - you may choose the species of course - and I'll light a candle for you in remembrance when all others have forgotten. I do enjoy our winding and digression filled conversations.

The wonders of modern databases. It apparently comes from a 1933 movie of the same or similar name. But your point still stands.

Did you ever get a chance to read any of the David Foster Wallace books?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I reckon you are spot on with that observation. The temptation to hold onto the abstract concept and perquisites of status is strong with a lot of leaders. I don't understand that particular desire as it can be such an ephemeral goal or achievement. Status is not a motivating factor to me much to the dismay of some of my previous employers! The funny thing is that I've seen a lot of those problems in small community groups right up to the top of the food chain. It is the rare person that can walk away from a leadership role before they over stay their welcome.

Oh no! That is awful. I really believe that it is a good thing to take the hit now so that the inevitable pain down the track is not worse. That the EU as it stands is already failing member states and worse is yet to come, doesn't seem to be a very clearly understood possibility. Do you wonder that the fractious nature of European history seems to have been swept under the carpet and sort of forgotten?

Nice to hear that you are getting some summer weather. Too much rain is a bad thing for the forest. I hope the oaks are producing a solid canopy of leaves?

The past few mornings it has been lightly frosty here, but at least the weekend has been mostly dry and it will be for the next few days (until Thursday at this stage). This was fortunate as I could excavate a bit more clay and construct another concrete step (I love using concrete as it is sort of permanent) today.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Sorry, I forgot to mention this, but well done and top work mentioning the term: bowdlerized, a few weeks back. This definitely places you squarely on the zeitgeist!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - Well, I figure I just had to wind my way through the whole real estate thing, to get to here, which is probably where I'm supposed to be. :-). Does that make sense? Based on life experience, several times my life has careened off in unexpected directions .. to get to somewhere that makes sense and is, ultimately, good for me. Not what I want, but what I need?

Chehalis and Centralia are "twin" towns. My mailing address is Chehalis, but I lived / worked quit a bit in Centralia. The Home, is in Chehalis. It is halfway between the Safeway I usually shop at and the library I usually go to. Less than 1/2 mile. There is a good bus service between the two towns. Also, a good weekly farmer's market, in Chehalis, close to the library. I may be able to finally get rid of the truck, but I'm not going to rush into that.

Some advice on your relative getting into Government subsidized housing. Decide on specific places and apply to them. Put in an application at each place. The initial sign up is not arduous. The Warden was telling me at The Home, that if you go on a general list, you may never work your way to the top. I'm around number 18 on the list, and the estimate is 6 months to a year. But, it can go a lot faster than that. When they have an opening, they start down the list. A lot of times, in the meantime, either people have died, changed their minds, moved, or need more care than a particular place can provide. She told me that one time, she had an opening and ran through 10 names, before getting to a candidate that still wanted (or was able) to move in. The Warden told me to check back about every month. LOL. Kind of like applying for a job. Keep checking back.

At this time, they don't care about any assets you have .. but your yearly gross income (from all sources) has to be under ... around $22,000. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Ohhhh. Linguine. Yum. Now I have a craving for Italian. Maybe some kind of Alfredo? So many things taste better the next day. I had to resort to my BC (Betty Crocker) cookbook to jog my memory as to what went in the sauce. Which, I of course tweeked a bit. I had to laugh. Being a cookbook from the early 60s, there's a lot of "take a box of this, or a bottle of that." The recipe called for "a bottle of Italian dressing." But then, had a recipe for Italian dressing, from scratch, in another part of the book. I had a nice lemon, so, half of it went in the bean salad, and half into the hummus. Unlike SOME people I know, I can't just step out my door and pluck a lemon off a tree. :-). Well, part of the year.

I'll have to look into Herb Robert. Probably called by a different name, here. Been going through my herb and spice book shelf and looking up things that fight or prevent cancer. LOL. I have 3/4s of them in my diet, already. But, there's a few things to add and quantities to step up. LOL. Have also picked out a couple of saints to pray too. :-). And, I'm not even Catholic. Not that I expect any of this to change the eventual outcome ... but we all come to the eventual outcome, sooner or later. I've never expected to live forever, but hope I'm spry to the end.

Oh, yes. There are 12 Step Groups for Jon Don's little problem :-). A friend of mine had to join up for awhile. Going where he shouldn't go, on the Internet, at work. Had to nip that in the bud. Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club) had that as a bit of a side story in his book "Choke." Screamingly, hysterically funny. But not family friendly. There was a movie made of that with Angelica Houston, in it. I have a new book by Palahniuk sitting on my shelf. Short stories. Speaking of movies, "Independence Day, 2" opened here, this week. To underwhelming reviews. But, I still may sneak into a nice quiet afternoon matinee. Maybe.I took the David Foster Wallace, back to the library. It's just too ... dense for me to tackle, right now. Maybe in my next life? :-)
Cont.



LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Hmmm. Alcohol in the past. I think the lush, like the poor, has always been with us :-). Back to prehistoric times. You look at historic records, and someone, somewhere is always getting into trouble, either with their community, or the law. Like the Village Idiot, the Town Drunk goes way back. Access and quantity has never seemed to be a problem. Where there's a will (or a very active addiction), there's a way. :-). And, often given the water could be bad, alcohol consumption was a necessity, in a lot of places. Strip away the Disney from the Johnny Appleseed story, and you get a guy who was spreading around apples so apple cider and apple jack could be made in quantity.

AA had some forerunner organizations. In the early 1800s, there was The Washingtonians. Thousands of men joined up. it fell apart because they got ... political. The early founders of AA really looked at earlier attempts, what worked and what didn't and why. There's a preamble to the 12 Steps that's read at every meeting (ie: The Magic Part :-) In part: "AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes."

Oh, I don't think you're being morbid at all. Just realistic. Oh, a tree! I'll have to think on that. Just make sure and give it an occasional shot of worm juice and talk to it. Oh, yes. Being the control freak I am, I've made arrangements for notification when I finally shuffle off this mortal coil. :-) And, that includes my friends on the internet. In Mexico, they have a three part bit about remembrance. I'll have to look it up. It's quit interesting.

Well, to wind up. I was watching a couple of episodes of Grantchester, a BBC mystery set in the early 50s. A character said about another character that he was "a few threads short of a jumper." Which I thought was very funny. And, the major characters are a vicar and a policeman. The same character said "A vicar and a policeman walk into a bar ... sounds like a bad joke I don't want to hear." :-). The State of West Virginia seems to be washing away. Terrible flooding. Of course, they're referring to it as a "1,000 year flood." Well, we had 3 500 year floods in 5 years. Lew