Monday, 6 June 2016

Shooting stars



Last Thursday during the day both the editor and I worked in the big smoke of Melbourne. The evening was warm for this time of year and the sky was clear. As we were already in the big smoke, we headed out to our favourite stomping grounds of the inner northern suburbs of Carlton and Collingwood and walked to various spots where we enjoyed a well-deserved coffee and much later a delightful Po’ boy dinner of 12 hour slow cooked pork in a tasty spicy gravy over a bed of chips (fries).

The great thing about being winter down here is that only the true die-hards can sit outside on the street at the tables provided by restaurants and consume their meals. Most people in Melbourne consider the winter weather to be too cold for their comfort to sit outside at night and so they seek the warmer spaces inside the restaurants. As the editor and I have acclimatised to a much colder environment up here in Hillbilly country, Melbourne feels positively toasty to us!

So we sat outside on the street and enjoyed our most excellent food and watched the spectacle of the human condition pass us by. The inner northern suburbs of Melbourne can be a real mixed bag. The food is usually very good and affordable. The hipsters mix with the high stress folk who have come down for the secret thrill of eating out with the commoners. The young are heading out to wine bars and pubs with their friends. One cheeky bar even advertised itself as being the perfect place to take your failed tinder date (whatever that meant)! And amongst all of those people, the beggars, homeless and what appears to me to be junkies all cruise up and down the long streets trying to score a buck or two. As I said, it is a real mixed bag of people.

We live in the forest, and it is a quiet life by all accounts, but we always remember to not forget the social currents of the big smoke, and so we regularly immerse ourselves in them. And at the same time we can enjoy some good coffee and even better food.

So on the long walk back through the streets which are filled with the old Victorian era housing, which have so much character and charm, I happened to look up into the clear night sky in between the neat rows of those historic houses. And I marvelled at what I saw there. I could only count about a dozen stars in the entire clear night sky.

It was quite the shock to my senses, as for years if I was to walk outside at night up here in cold Hillbilly country, I could see the stream of light that is the Milky Way and the sky is full of stars. Yet, in Melbourne those stars were much diminished and less than a dozen were visible.

One of the benefits of having a night time sky full of stars is that you quickly realise that there are a lot of shooting stars. Shooting stars, is really the fanciful name for rocks and other space junk falling through the atmosphere towards the Earth’s surface. Woosh, a small bright light quickly speeds randomly across the night time sky before completely disappearing. Some are much faster than others as if they were somehow in a hurry to burn themselves up completely in the friction generated by the dense atmosphere of the planet. I doubt very much that shooting stars are even visible in Melbourne.

Winter always produces the clearest night skies here. Some nights I stare up into the sky hoping to catch a glimpse of one of those shooting stars. In the old days people used to say that spotting a shooting star would bring the viewer good luck. In today’s more enlightened times I certainly don’t believe such superstitious nonsense, well maybe I don’t… Whatever! The problem is that shooting stars skip to their own dance and they rarely appear when convenient. Some nights are full of shooting stars whilst other nights they will be elsewhere and nary a one will be seen.

Energy from the sun is a lot like a shooting star. It can be intermittent and unpredictable. Some seasons, the sun supplies too much energy down here, whilst at other times of the year, the sun can be low in the sky and the clouds and mist can move in and it can feel as if the sun is elsewhere. Winter is rapidly closing in on the farm and the sun is getting lower in the sky and some days you can’t even feel its slight warmth. 

Some mornings you can awake to find that the cold air has dropped from these mountain heights overnight and has settled in the valley below.
A thick layer of frost forms in the valley below the farm
Sometimes clouds blanket the mountain range here and the orchard looks very eerie in its winter nakedness and the humidity rises to 99%.
A thick cloud descended over the farm this week
Long term readers will recall that the house is supplied with electricity entirely from 4.2kW of photo-voltaic (PV) solar panels. At this latitude of 37.5’S, there is generally enough electricity generation to supply on average at least one full hour of strong sunlight on average per day. What that means in practice is that on average, I can rely on 4.2kWh per day for about 3 weeks either side of the winter solstice (June 21st 2016) from the 4.2kW of installed solar PV panels. That isn’t a large amount of electricity per day, but with a bit of care, living in comfort with that limitation is very achievable. In fact, most people who visit the house at this time of year really wouldn’t notice the minimal use of electricity.

An unusual feature of photo-voltaic panels is that over a very long period of time the glass understandably abrades in the weather and the output slowly drops.

With that concern in mind, I added an additional two x 200W PV solar panels to the system this week.
Two additional 200W PV solar panels were added to the house system this week
Observant readers will note that the trench for the electric cable revealed the most beautiful chocolate brown volcanic loam. The soil was absolutely full of witchetty grubs blinking in the unfamiliar light of that day. Most of those grubs were reburied in the cable trench. The local birds on the other hand were not shy about cashing in on an opportunity and the Kookaburra’s and Magpies have taken to using the solar panels as a grub look-out spot!
The Kookaburra’s and Magpies have taken to using the solar panels as a grub look-out opportunity spot
This week the new concrete stairs gained another step before the very wet weather moved in and put an end to that project. Concrete will still cure in the cold winter conditions here, however the very real problem is that the rain can pock mark an otherwise smooth concrete surface.
The new concrete staircase gained another step this week before the rain moved in and put an end to further excavations
The getting of culture
Sometimes, I’m completely unaware that I should be considering a project or system on the farm. At other times, I’m aware that the system is not working as well as it could be and don’t yet have either the ideas or resources to deal with the problem. But at rare times, conditions change for some other reason and I begin to consider the problems that have arisen.

For years, we have been making yoghurt. Before that time, I used to purchase tubs of yoghurt which were inevitably sweet and very tasty. I stopped purchasing the tubs of yoghurt because they started becoming ever more expensive. Thus began our journey of the getting of culture and making yoghurt from culture sachets. It is a very simple process that just involves a few basic ingredients, time and heat.

Recently the cost of the culture sachets increased and we started wondering about making yoghurt using even more basic materials. That is when we made the horrific discovery that 97% of the culture sachets were comprised of milk powder. Oh the horror of discovering that we had been paying good dollars for many years on a product that was mostly milk powder! The sachets produced 4kg (8.8 pounds) of yoghurt for about $5.

Something had to be done to avert this dastardly situation! So we researched how yoghurt is made and then bought a bulk supply of culture which was enough to produce 100kg (220 pounds) of yoghurt for about $15.
This week we purchased a bulk supply of yoghurt culture
This week we produced our first 1kg (2.2 pounds) batch of yoghurt. That’s winning, that is!
Our first batch of now much cheaper yoghurt was produced this week
With the now colder winter weather, the citrus has really started to ripen on the fruit trees this week. Most mornings we are enjoying fresh limes, mandarins and grapefruit. Not to forget the many lemons which we will soon juice and then freeze for use over the next summer.
The many citrus fruits are starting to ripen this week as the weather turns colder
Tufty head is the chicken who was featured in last weeks blog as she had a late moult. She wants to send everyone a big thank you for their concerns over her rather un-ladylike appearance last week. Tufty head also wanted me to add an update this week to let all who were concerned at her plight know that she is now rapidly regrowing her feathers!
Tufty head the chicken is now rapidly re-growing her feathers after a recent late season moult
The temperature outside now at about 9.00pm is 5.6’C (42.0’F). So far this year there has been 317.0mm (12.5 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 297.6mm (11.7 inches).

Solar PV Statistics 

Tuesday - 31st May Batteries started at 78% full and 9.0kW was generated that day
Wednesday - 1st June Batteries started at 79% full and 7.4kW was generated that day
Thursday - 2nd June Batteries started at 85% full and 5.7kW was generated that day
Friday - 3rd June Batteries started at 91% full and 4.4kW was generated that day
Saturday - 4th June Batteries started at 96% full and 2.3kW was generated that day
Sunday - 5th June Batteries started at 92% full and 4.8kW was generated that day
Monday- 6th June Batteries started at 89% full and 2.7kW was generated that day

63 comments:

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - It's the opposite, here. Summer is the time for stargazing. We're socked in, most of the winter, unless we get a cold clear snap. In fact, much of the winter it looks, here, like your picture captioned "Thick cloud descended..." I know exactly what you mean by the winter sun. Sometimes I think in winter "The sun shines, but does not warm." Don't know where that comes from. I don't think I'll be able to look at a falling star without thinking "Hmmm. Shooting star, or Kepler Syndrome?" Thanks to the ADR.

Wow. Your solar panels are BIG! I don't think I've ever seen a picture of you standing next to one, so I could get a sense of scale. I always thought they were, oh, about knee high.

Maybe the rain pock marking the concrete stairs isn't a bad thing. Will provide traction, in wet slick weather. Cracking a knee on one of those concrete edges, would not be fun.

Very smart to figure out a way to cut your costs on the yogurt. Some things are just less expensive and less stress to stock up on from the Internet. My drugstore, here, drives me to distraction. It's a large, well stocked place ... or, appears to be. Several years ago, I got tired of them either running out of, or, charging outrageous prices for the two kinds of floss I use. I think it's the fault of their "just in time" inventory system. So, I got on the Net, found the identical stuff I was using and ordered a small case of both. I'm still dipping into them, four years later. A bit pricey, at one go ... so, I have a separate "fund" in the savings section of my bank account. I throw $5 in, every once in awhile. So, when I have to make a bulk purchase, the money is there.

My last trip to the drugstore, the other day, they were out of: 1.) Beau's aspirin 2.) my aspirin 3.) my usual brand of toothpaste. And, the vitamin C wasn't on sale and was very pricey. Time to get on the Internet, again, and take a look around.

Was 97F (36.11C) yesterday. Down to 55F (12.77C) at night. House really didn't cool down, much. Supposed to be cooler, today, and, maybe, rain by Wednesday. Went to the abandoned farm yesterday, to fill up my water jugs. The water in the house was pretty nasty, but the hose for the mules yielded clean, cold water. Well, got to get myself cleaned up, as best I can and head to town to try and drop off my paperwork at The Home. :-). Lew PS: Got interested enough to order up some David Foster Wallace, from the library. Not the fiction, just the nonfiction. :-)

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

It is always a glorious experience to see the night sky when there is no light to spoil it. The view from a ship at night used to be wonderful, I suppose that those modern cruise ships are too lit up for this.

Methinks that you protest too much. Vegetarian! The friends I have who are vegetarian, never eat meat. You might be surprised to note how often you mention a meat meal in your blog. While I admit to being a carnivore I certainly eat vegetarian meals as well.

Yogurt making: I don't like yogurt but used to make it when I had a family. Very simple, I started my first one from a bought yogurt and after that just used a bit of each successive one to start the next one.

Inge

foodnstuff said...

I did the same as Inge for yoghurt....just start with a commercial brand containing live cultures, then use each successive batch to start the new one. Can't imagine why you'd bother to buy cultures!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Oh! I've never known anyone who suffers from psoriasis, it looks very similar to eczema and is probably just as bothersome. Yeah, stress is no good for anyone.

I suspect you know the answer already. :-)! The dog clearly understands that you would reprimand it without the owner around. Most dogs understand that there are degrees of behaviour and they can read the social currents pretty quickly. I try not to let dogs jump up on people as most people don't appear to appreciate that sort of thing. They may do that whilst I am not watching though.

Yay for summer! It really is summer now for you. I hope your forest is full of flowers.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Nice to hear from you and I hope the family stuff and the summer is going OK for you.

I try to mow as much as possible, but anything larger that is not firewood has to be burnt as it is a hazard. Yes, it is very green here at the moment. Things are upside down here! :-)!

Yeah, it is hard to make peace, but that is life in a small community. The funny thing is that I need them and they need me, so we had to make peace with the past and move on.

Hey, that steel is worth tracking down. That was the editors grandfathers rake and it shows little sign of wear, although it has enjoyed quite a few new handles over the years.

Thanks, the steps make access up and down the slope really easy. I'm not sure what I'd do without them. It was complex before the construction of them.

That is interesting to hear about your worms versus your ants. Down here, the soil type tends to determine which species dominates. The ants really love the lack of top soil and dry conditions.

Well, Tufty head asked to have an update in this weeks blog.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Those seem like some hot days for this early in the summer, or does your summer arrive early? Down here from spring to summer the weather can be all over the shop, but after New Year’s day it is all hot.

Fair enough about the beach. I hear you. How did you go with the application? Hey, you might have too much in the way of interaction soon, and a quiet day down the beach may be just the thing to fix that! ;-)! Hehe!

Well, all these new words are becoming a bit too much for my poor brain! That is a fascinating word too that you've added to the discussion here. It seems to me to be about a very short story that tells a meaning (idiom). Finagling was a goodie wasn't it? It sounds to my ears as if it has an Irish origin, or possibly from another Celtic culture, but I could be totally wrong too.

Glad to read that you are feeling better. Some colds and flu's are worse than others, that's for sure. I'm no expert, but your skin condition perhaps may not be possible to treat with antibiotics as it is systemic by its very nature and you may not even be aware of what the root cause is. Seriously, prolonged stress for me causes small patches of eczema, so who knows what your triggers are. The antipuritic seems to be a fancy name for a drug to relieve itching, but that perhaps treats symptoms again rather than the root cause. Dunno, these things are very complex.

Thanks for the images. Ha! They have them down here too, but they have been in the news for all of the wrong reasons lately. A well known chain of that thing has been apparently under paying foreign students. The foreign students are - I believe - limited to 20 hours of paid work per week by their VISA’s. The scam allegedly involves making the students work greater than those hours for less money per hour than they are entitled too. If the students complain to the authorities about the alleged scam, they face deportation. I am shamed to live in a country that has these sorts of practices going on. Needless to say that I do not shop at such places.

There are several common features with those shops which are evident from the images. They are very brightly lit and the lighting uses a very unfriendly blue/white lighting. The packaging is very brightly coloured and stacked in such a way as to display huge contrasts between one product and the others which are all packed very closely on their shelves. Also the packaging appears to be quite small, almost as if it were saying: "I'm only a small wee thingee and won't harm anyone". The display racks were also not very tall, and by and large there appeared to be very little in the way of spare space and there is certainly nothing beyond eye level. Also most of the packaging appears to be deliberately designed to fit within a hand - did you notice that no items were very large or cumbersome? The colours were also strangely bright primary colours which you rarely see in nature in those particular arrangements.

Yeah, there were the classic slacker films: Clerks and Clerks II for such silliness. I will say no more than this: Kelly is the donkey! ;-)! If you know, then you know…

Oh no! No water is a serious problem. It does not help, but it does prove that the larger point that the immediate past is not a useful guide for predicting the future.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

Your post has reminded me I that I should look into cheese and yogurt making in the future. I was surprised to hear that in Laos they do actually have dairies, to my mind it is far too hot and humid for a cow to be truly productive. Further questioning revealed I was sort of correct - the cows they breed are quite small compared to the typical jersey or fresian you might be familiar with. They also get milk from water buffalo and in rare cases, goats (most goat breeds here are not really milkers). In all cases, the real problem is good quality feed. Dairies in the western world are kept productive by truck loads of fertiliser which can grow high protein grasses. In SE Asia, and Laos in particular there is none of that, so the grazing is actually quite poor and milk yields are low. As a result, almost all the cheese in Luang Prabang is imported from Thailand.

RE: solar panels. I had a second dinner last night with the lady again. She opened the conversation with a, "sorry to reopen old wounds, but I heard yesterday that Norway is mandating all cars to be electric." Apparently that meant I was wrong and solar/wind is the answer to all our prayers! I just smiled and nodded. I didn't feel a comment was necessary :-)

In other news, Mrs Damo produced some excellent copy. If anyone is interested in how Laos people ask the gods for rain, check out our post (with many excellent pictures and a video) here:
Bringing the rain!

Time for dinner now, we are still in a hotel so unfortunately we cannot cook for ourselves :p

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That is great your line: "The sun shines, but does not warm." That is exactly the experience here too. The nights alternate between cold and clear and socked in. The clouds help retain the heat so those are the warmer nights. It is sort of funny that people go on about sunny winter days, because those are the exact same conditions that produce the coldest nights. Brr!!! Busted. Well he did get me wondering how much of this stuff falling from space is rock and how much is space junk and honestly I can't tell. The interesting thing is that when we were discussing the meteor shower a few months back, those little rippers positively shot across the sky and most of them were so fast that if you hadn't given me the heads up on the meteor shower, I would have missed them. The usual Fernglade farm shooting star is closer to a leisurely drop out of the sky, whereas that other lot were more like laser beams from some sort of sci-fi.

Yeah, those things are huge. The sun provides about 1kW for a square metre (1.2 square yards), but the conversion rate of the solar panels is somewhere between 13% and 17%, so they have to be huge! Each of those panels is only rated to 0.2kW (200W each). Yes, stories of a renewable future are exactly that, stories.

One must attempt to produce the best finish! :-)! Actually the concrete has never felt slippery. Steel on the other hand is not good and requires a non slip coating, when it has a small checker pattern. Larger checker patterns are fine in wet weather.

And you know what? Buying in bulk saves money. It is just cheaper regardless of all other considerations. Respect for the floss. It is good stuff.

Those mules are very lucky to have clean and clear water. Oh, I'd be very interested in your opinions on the David Foster Wallace books and may be up for a recommendation. Although, I must say that you are a bad influence on such matters! Hehe! :-)!

The editor tells me that she was in a post office today in town and had to wait in queue to be served. Anyway they had cook books lining the queue and apparently, our usual food stuffs of lentils and other basic vegetable based meals are now apparently considered to be student housing food. Lucky them! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Yeah, the star field at night is something amazing to behold. I often wonder how many children grow up never having seen that sight. Many years ago a comet drifted past the Earth (I forget which one) and it was particularly visible from here and was the most awe inspiring thing. I didn't mention that the many satellites in orbit look like fast moving stars too, but they require a clear night sky, with no moon before they can be seen. Plus there is the Andromeda galaxy can also be seen as a small blob of light.

I have heard that argument before. We are mostly vegetarians, which means that when we are here at the farm we eat only vegetarian food a lot of which is grown here. But off the farm, we eat whatever is on the go, but usually with an eye to quality. I find most vegetarian food sold at vegetarian restaurants to be a disappointing experience usually because they add too much cheap fats to the food - which tastes rancid to me. Anyway, most people have some sort of problem with vegetarians and we simply don't want or need those issues. With some things there is no upside.

Yeah, I've heard of that, but I've found that the cooking process nowadays for commercial yoghurts seem to be delivering a biologically dead product. This is clearly not the case with all yoghurts, but at $5+ per kilogram, I'm simply not going to attempt the experiment any further than previous when the dried bacteria is much cheaper to purchase in bulk. For me, these things have to make economic sense too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi foodnstuff,

Thanks for the information. Can you perhaps suggest a brand? I'm also curious to understand how the bacteria is not killed by the heating process. I've tried what you are describing and I found that the resulting yoghurt became increasingly runny with each successive batch. I'm probably doing something very wrong.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

hello again

I have seen the international space station pass overhead on more than one occasion and find the awareness of people being up there extraordinary.

I just bought a tiny carton of yogurt which claimed to be alive and went on successfully from there. Many years ago now so don't remember much about it. I raised the new lot in an airing cupboard.

I don't think that I have heard the word 'finagling' since childhood.

Have finished the Bryson book. It is an excellent travel guide; someone could enjoy following in his footsteps while leaving out the places that were poor. He is an irascible fellow with a sense of humour. I got a bit fed up with the swearing and his passion for the f word. I couldn't really disagree with much. All the deterioration that he mentions, is indeed so. I am less fond of the National Trust than he is. They are known to sometimes sell off places that they have been gifted. He seems to be unduly proud of British universities; I thought that they were seriously deteriorating. Heaven help other countries if theirs are worse.

The British countryside is indeed gorgeous and I have always loved the way in which the view keeps changing even when only walking a short distance i.e small can be beautiful.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

and hello again

There was (maybe still is) a stunning vegetarian restaurant in London called 'Cranks'. What greater accolade can one give than that this carnivore used to eat there. I am mentioning it because they brought out what I regard as the best vegetarian cookbook ever. 'The Cranks Recipe book' by David Canter, Kay Canter and Daphne Swann. Publ. J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd. 1982. It was also reprinted the same year which is the copy that I have.

Forgive me if I annoyed you.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Idiom. I like that. The idea that they're a short story. Idioms are also the bugaboo :-) of language studies. Direct translations make no sense. But, if everyone is on the same page, they convey a lot of meaning in a small space. The example I usually see is "beating about (or around) the bush." There are spots in the Satyricon where there is, perhaps, a Latin idiom that has fallen out of use. The meaning has been lost. Lots of footnotes with "well, it may mean this ... or that ... and Cicero used it in this way or Tacitus in that."

As far as skin problems go, I tried a 20 day gluten fast ... and a 20 day dairy fast, but it didn't seem to impact the problems. I have taken massive amounts of antibiotics, at different times in my life, and, those didn't seem to help, either. Oh, well. Just a small problem in the scheme of things.

I think you're analysis of convenience stores is spot on. Retail at it's finest :-). It's truly frightening (to me) that people eat entirely, or a large part, out of those places. Which was very much on display at The Home. More on that, later.

So, judging from some of your commenters, yogurt sounds a bit like sourdough. Another pet to feed :-). The cheap store brand I buy (live cultures) is a bit on the runny side. But, I adapt. There is a more expensive brand that is more ... solid. But, it's expensive. A lot more. It's a bit difficult to find the plane, unsweetened stuff. And, I've got to watch the expiration dates.

I watched "Margin Call", last night. Not near as "fun" as "The Big Short." Nor quit as informative. On one hand, a lot of amoral people, who really have little clue as to how amoral they are. On the other, an excuse I've heard throughout my life. "It's only business." Like an excuse. Never mind the bodies piling up.

You may be interested in Dimitry Orlov's post, today, over at Club Orlov. It's about zero interest rates and there's a couple of paragraphs about Australia.

I'm reading a book now, "Home Fires" (Summers, 2015). It's about the Women's Institute, in Britain during WWII. Ran across a term I'm unfamiliar with. "Oast House." It's a hop dryer. Learn something new, everyday. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Well. I dropped of my paperwork at The Home, yesterday, and spent about a half hour talking to a very pleasant woman. She's worked there 20 years. I do qualify and am "on the list." I get a slight edge as I live in substandard housing, due to the water situation. But, it will probably be 6 months to a year. She said there's more turn over in the summer. Don't know why.

http://www.providencesupportivehousing.org/find-a-place-to-live/chehalis-providence-place/

You can't see from the picture, but off to the right are extensive, lavish gardens. It's kept up by / is used as a training ground for the Master Gardener's program which is sponsored by a University / County Extension partnership. And, the Inmates can have garden patches. It will be interesting to see how much I can produce from my patch, and in my apartment.

Without my asking, the nice lady said that I could participate as much ... or as little as I please. The local Food Bank runs in ... something, weekly. How to describe the Food Bank. A charity. Government surplus and local donations of foodstuffs from farmers, etc.. From what I've read in the paper, the local Food Bank has been very hard pressed, of late, due to the economy. Especially around the holidays.

I think the possible six month wait is a good thing. I've got so much to sort out, around here. I was rather in a haze, last night (more than usual) as it finally began to sink in that my life is about to profoundly change. Time to "wrap my head around it." How's that for an idiom? :-).

Oh, the Inmates. Well, I didn't see any men, in evidence. All women, of the morbidly obese, motorized chair, variety. Sigh. I try to be charitable and non-judgemental. But, it's all so ... unnecessary. "Digging their graves with their mouths." Another, not so nice idiom.

I have partial water, today. Well, still don't know what the problem is, but have been told to use it in moderation. Even though we had the new well, I've kept up my 20+ gallons of stored water. So, I initially wasn't caught short. Losing power, three times in 2 months, this spring (along with the well, eventually) was a good object lesson. Lew

Jason Heppenstall said...

Hi Chris - nice reminder of Melbourne. I once spent a day there - yes only a day - during my rather unpleasant couple of months living and working in Mooroopna. I enjoyed being in the city and spent some of the day lazing in the sun on the grass near Captain Cook's house. I have to say, it's a far nicer city than Sydney, where I had been holed up looking for work previous to my pear-picking adventure in Victoria.

Speaking of Victoria, as if by coincidence a certain video was recommended to me a couple of days ago. Entitled "A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity" it follows the lives of a bunch of young people living in a new intentional community for a year. It's well made, and if you have an interest in making natural buildings from mud and bits of old scrap wood then it's well worth a watch. I was struck by how thoughtful the people were, and their general lack of bitterness towards the big old evil world. I enjoyed it and it even inspired me to saw up some old planks this morning to form the basis of a new shed at the woodland. Anyway, you can watch the whole thing for free and make up your own mind at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUwLAvfBCzw

Cheers,

Jason

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I bought a five cup yogurt maker at a garage sale years ago. Still working fine but is electric. The last time I tried to start a batch using store bought yogurt it didn't work so I get the culture packets but one will last over many batches before it gets a bit runny. I have this device that strains the whey out which can be used for lacto fermenting vegetables and you don't need as much salt. Depending how much is strained out you have either Greek yogurt or yogurt cheese.

We are lucky here to live far enough away from a town that we can still see quite a lot of stars though it's better in the western sky. In August we watch the Perseid meteor shower if it's not cloudy. Unfortunately it often is.

Very cool today - mid 60's (F) but will be mid 90's on Saturday. Saturday is our recycling drive - bad timing for such hot weather. Still fairly dry so I continue to water. Seems every time rain is forecast it fizzles out.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Lew,

Best of luck with your move. I have a friend who moved to subsidized housing a couple years ago. She is really into native American spirituality and drumming. She managed to get a drum circle going there and she could bring her cats. She had to move after she had cancer and could no longer continue providing services to her massage therapy clients. It was a big adjustment for her but she seems pretty content there now.

Glad you are on the mend too.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

What I believe to have been the International Space Station passing overhead through the night sky looked to me as if it were a particularly bright star moving very fast. It does give one a thrill doesn't it to know that there are people up there in the hard vacuum of space.

Thanks for the feedback. I was asking searching questions because I've tried that process and it didn't work very well. I've been wondering whether the yoghurt had been heat treated and it wouldn't surprise me at all if it had been as the culture seemed deceased.

It is a goodie isn't it? We'll have to find an appropriate point to drop it into a conversation so that we can sound very knowledgeable. ;-)! It is fun to discover new words because the book, 1984, always left me feeling rather uncomfortable. I sometimes wonder whether some people see that book as a How To guide…

Oh, I'm surprised that Bill Bryson swore that much, although to be honest, sometimes a choice swear word can be delivered with force. It is a technique that can be overused though. I didn't know that about the National Trust, obviously the organisation down here is a different one, but my understanding is that they won't take on a property, unless it also comes with a fund with which to pay for the ongoing repairs and maintenance. Years ago, I used to have a girlfriend who volunteered her time for one of those properties and it was a beautiful old building. That is funny about the Universities as a few months back I tried to look up a quote from an also irascible state premier who said (from memory, and I could well be wrong) that he wouldn't trust a University to administer anything (or that was the gist of the quote, more or less). I couldn't find the quote though, so perhaps I err in the memory department!

Yes, well Kevin McLeod is always going on about delightful pastoral views and honestly I am unable to argue with him. You live in a beautiful country. Even your droughts are green! :-)!

That sounds lovely. It is hard to find good vegetarian food, and that is not to say it doesn't exist, I just don't believe that it is worth the effort and so don't undertake that effort in the first place.

No stress, you and I are good. Well, we have had a long and complex dialogue about all sorts of issues, and the written English language can be a complex beast and ideas are sometimes very hard to communicate. I rather enjoy our long and winding discussions and there is plenty of understandings and misunderstandings along the way as there will be in the future.

If you are interested or curious the only comment that has annoyed me was the first time commenter a few weeks back that suggested that I could make the blog more useful if... I did realise that perhaps he had failed to grasp what he had just said publicly, and as I said the English language is a difficult tool at the best of times... Oh well.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Haha! This is funny: I had to obtain the definition of the term: bugaboo. It was defined as: "an object of fear or alarm; a bogey". That all sounds very reasonable until you discover the unfortunate other use of that word by a company. Would you believe they make high end prams... Surely, they must have known? Maybe something that started off as a joke had to be taken seriously. At least the scholars who translated the book made the effort to interpret the lost idiom. Language is full of that sort of thing. The funny thing that I've found with language is that I can learn it by practice, but the repeated attempts to hammer a structure onto it after the fact tends to make my mind start dwelling upon other matters. I'm always impressed how easily some people seem to pick up languages though. I have no talent in that area.

Fair enough. These things are complex matters. That doesn't make it less of a nuisance for either you or I!

Really? I've heard US references to purchasing food at the deli and I often wondered what that meant. Down here a deli is short for “delicatessen” which is a place that sells a variety of cheeses, cured and processed meats (salamis etc.) and olives and all sorts of other odds and ends – basically stuff. But no complete meals. Are you kidding me that people would consume whole meals from a convenience store? Down here if people want a prepared meal to take home, they usually pick up a frozen dinner at the supermarket or take away from a restaurant (or other place like a fish and chip shop, or BBQ chicken place). I don’t do either of those things and generally cook from raw materials.

Thanks for the yoghurt info. Yes, Anthony Bourdain had something to say about feeding yeasts whilst the baker was on holidays!!! Oh, the world of kitchen is probably a bit too rough for me. Over the past few years, I had to retrain myself to enjoy the less sweet yoghurt. It took a few weeks and a bit of effort, I can tell you. It is not really sold much down here either. Greek yoghurt is the best of that lot I reckon. Most of the bacteria cultures come from eastern Europe I believe.

That excuse has had some serious travel over the years. And sometimes it is true too and I hope that we never get to face those sorts of circumstances ourselves. The whole financial thing looks to me like a giant ponzi scheme with no solid fundamentals which kind of scares me at the same time because so many people rely on that fiction to continue. I certainly have no level of excitement in its demise or possible demise. All things end though.

Oh, thanks very much for the heads up. I shall check out the works of the dark writer! :-)!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

They've still got those buildings in Tasmania where a lot of hops are grown. They're very beautiful timber buildings. And very old.

Working in one place for 20 years is an endorsement for the place for sure. That is a real achievement. Well, I guess you would become inured to pragmatic issues such as turnover - whatever that means... Maybe it is the heat? Go on, you have a theory, I can tell! I would have thought the cold would produce more turn over as peoples blood pressure goes up in the cold weather. Dunno.

Gardens are a good sign and courses are a very good thing. The place looks very neat and well kept. Let's hope that nobody with dementia starts digging up your garden patch. Hehe! ;-)! I'd be pretty annoyed by that, and it wouldn't help that they would forget that they'd dug it up in the first place.

That is not a good sign. Interestingly too, I spotted a food van a week or so back in the big smoke and some of the people who were receiving food didn't look to me as if they were the usual types to receive assistance. I was wondering what their stories were.

A solid use of an idiom. Tidy! Well, it is a big leap. I don't really enjoy moving that much either and there will be the complex social orders to navigate. They're always there though.

Some people can turn any activity into an addiction. It is quite common really and it is hard for people caught up in that cycle to even see what is going on. I don't reckon our brains are wired that well to see things as they are.

Oh yeah, I'd be keeping that water barrel full too. It is not good that the system failed after only a short period of time. I do wonder about the energy requirements for wells as lifting water to heights can require quite a lot of energy.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jason,

Far out man, you were in Mooroopna! No disrespect to the good people of Mooroopna and Shepparton, but there are certainly more interesting places to visit in the state. If you are ever down under again, you need only but ask! Far out! I hear you.

Oh yeah, the Fitzroy gardens are beautiful. The city has many gardens with lovely old trees and that garden is very nice. I like the Exhibition gardens too and some of the old London Plane Trees are massive, whilst the old Victorian era Exhibition building is awesome looking (I believe it is world heritage listed). Melbourne is a bit more relaxed and easier to get around than Sydney too. Plus there is the cafĂ© culture and cheeky laneways of the city. Sydney was settled around the harbour and waterways and the roads and tunnels go all over the place, whereas Melbourne was deliberately laid out by a surveyor who appreciated a proper grid lay out for a city and they invested very early on in a tram network which still functions today – it is very good (I was on a tram yesterday).

Thanks for the link and I'll have a watch tonight. Yeah, you are spot on about the sheer lack of bitterness in the young. It is a good thing. My gut feel says that people hoping to tear down the "system" are smoking their shorts because mostly the "system" is what keeps them afloat and able to talk about such nonsense. It is always better to work with what we have than move to something which could be even more easily gamed. ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

That sounds like a great little appliance. I’d never heard about an electric yoghurt maker before. The warmth is the hard thing to manage with yoghurt making as I have to keep the temperature constant (more or less) over a long period of time. Just for your information, the container I have sits in a hot water bath which sits inside a thermos which is an insulated outer container. I then sit that in front of the heater or wrap the whole lot in a large towel or blanket.

Yeah, that is exactly what I found too - and I used several brands before giving up and simply buying the dehydrated bacterial culture.

Thanks for the idea, that would never have occurred to me at all. Wow, great ideas. Elephant stamp for you. Mr Poopy the Pomeranian has been enjoying the whey for many years now... He may shortly be disappointed…

The meteor showers are really lovely to see on a cool clear night and that lot moves through the sky very quickly.

I do hope you get some decent rain soon. How is the garden going? Is there water deep in the soil? It disappears here during prolonged periods of no rain, but it is still found deep in the soil, unfortunately that is often out of reach of most of the annuals and some of the smaller shrubs. You can observe the lack of rain as various plants in the forest become water stressed if rain does not appear regularly. It is tough to watch.

Cheers

Chris

Jason Heppenstall said...

"My gut feel says that people hoping to tear down the "system" are smoking their shorts because mostly the "system" is what keeps them afloat and able to talk about such nonsense."

Oh yes. Over here in Britain at the moment we have an upcoming referendum on our membership of the EU. The rage-and-angerometer has been turned up to 11. Interestingly, I have noticed that those of my associates who consider themselves to be the most radical anti-establishment types are now vociferously lining up behind our neoliberal prime minister and his big business cohort. Certainly a head-scratching state of affairs if one isn't versed in the psychology of collapse.

Yeah, Mooroopna ("Fruit Salad City") isn't the most exciting place is it? Neither is the 'big city' of Shepparton - where I would escape at weekends and go to the cinema. I was working on a fruit farm that was - according to the owner - the size of London. It was quite an interesting experience and I camped the whole time. There were plenty of alcoholics and druggies there as you only got paid for what you picked. You could pick a half-tonne crate of pears in a couple of hours and then take the 20 dollars and hit the bottle store in Shepparton. That's what they did, I believe. The pay wasn't too bad, if you worked hard, and it enabled me to save up and travel to New Zealand. The main hazards were falling off ladders, snakes (I never saw one though), pesticides and the gun-weilding aforementioned drunks driving around the campsite at night. The maximum I ever managed to pick was five crates in one very long day - but there was a Fijian man called Joe there who picked 10 crates a day, 7 days a week without ever having a day off. He sent 90% of the money back home to his family and lived off bread, water and fruit himself - I'll never forget his sweet and gentle personality.

As for the film, there's a moment in it where they show a bookshelf and - naturally - I paused the video and zoomed in (I'm very nosy, when it comes to books). JMG's "The Long Descent" was right there - and I'm sure he'd be happy to see it there, despite his distaste for intentional communities' (or 'communes' as they used to be known). Dissensus, as he says.

Cheers,

Jason

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

The garden is doing quite well. There is still moisture in the soil and mulching helps a lot but can't mulch too heavily in some areas until plants are bigger. Been harvesting greens, radishes, dill, thyme,strawberries and chamomile. The broccoli and cauliflower are just starting to head. Today I'm debating whether to drag out all the hoses to the garden in the unused pig pen. Rain is forecast for tomorrow but it's getting quite dry in that garden area and I'm not sure if I should trust the forecast.

All the new chicks are doing well (two different batches) and I think I've found purchasers for my excess ones. The meat chicks and turkey poults arrive in early July.

I read somewhere that with the popularity of Greek yogurt the manufacturers don't know what to do with all the excess whey.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Thanks for your thoughts on the Bryson book. Nice to know it's a pretty accurate snapshot of Britain, now. Irascible. Now there's a good word. I see it in print, but don't think I hear it much, in speech. I really didn't notice Bryson swearing, much. But, I did notice it. Probably a "guy" thing, on my part. I've really got to watch my mouth, at times. Especially in mixed company. I think Bryson forgot that that's his readership. Mixed company.

@ Margaret - Thank you for the kind thoughts.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - English can be a tough language ... to get true meaning across in written form, especially. Outmoded, I know, but that's why I use so many ... :-). I want it to be clear when I'm teasing, or making a joke. I noticed right away, with my real estate agent, that she just really didn't get many of my jokes. I'd often get a blank look, and have to go, or preface with "This is a joke, Chris." I wouldn't say she was humorless. Now, on the other hand, the woman taking me on the Great 2016 Cemetery Tour, got all my jokes. :-). And, I do realize that I run on. A lot of that is, I don't want to be misunderstood or offend. Neurotic, I know.

Deli - Delicatessen. We have them here. Stand alone in big cities ... often found in large grocery stores, here. Here, you can usually get sandwiches made from those specialty meats and cheeses. New York City Jewish delicatessens are really famous. And, seem to be the gold standard.

Turn over of the Inmates at the Home. Hmmm. Yes, I'd always thought more elderly passed away in the late winter. It's a pretty well known fact that a lot of people pass away after the holidays. It's as if they want to enjoy one more holiday season, before checking out. So, I don't know what that comment was about. Maybe they drop like flies in the summer, from slaving away in the gardens? :-). This place? Well, you have to pretty much be able to take care of yourself to live there. Get your own meals, and such. And, of course, if you have a partner, who's in better shape and can help you out, that works too. Maybe the summer heat brings down the morbidly obese ... who were very much in evidence.

I noticed that you get to jump the queue a bit, if you are coming from substandard housing. But, also, if you're coming from a more intensive care situation. Say, you had been in a more intensive care situation ... a long recovery from a surgery or maybe a busted hip. And, could again take care of yourself. Then you could move back into the place I'm going to. The Providence system runs a more intensive care facility, over in Centralia. And, another one like the place I'm trying to get into, in Centralia. The nice lady asked if I was going to also apply at the Centralia facility. I thought not, as I'd hate to get in there, and then have to move again in a month or so.

Big change in the weather here. For at least the next week, the temperatures are going to be in the mid 60s F, during the day, and mid 40sF, at night. Maybe some rain. I can't figure out how to do that in celsius. Mid 18s C and mid 7.2sC?

Well, off to my weekly trip to the Little Smoke. Lew



orchidwallis said...

hello again

The problem with written conversations is that one can't see the body language. I assume that creatures/us had body language before speech so it must be an integral part of our communication. If I am with someone I can tell very fast if I have been misunderstood and can quickly put things right. I wonder now at all the disasters through the ages caused by the advent of writing.

The Sydney floods were on the news reports here.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

What a lovely contrast between town and country life. Both of your recounts were so pleasant to enjoy vicariously. I know which place I will always choose . . . The forest so closely surrounds us that we cannot see very many stars without walking down the road to a neighbor's field, which also has a view of the valley below, though much different than your view. Those are really eerie photos that you took; sort of a feeling of time warp.

I tell you what - you have made it clear, once again, that an off grid dependence on solar power is not for wimps.

So - you've nailed making yoghurt cheaply and - I feel sure - well; now all you need is a cow (can one make yoghurt from goat's milk?). What tasty delicacies do you throw in when you serve it up?

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jason, Margaret, Lewis, Inge and Pam.

Thanks for the lovely comments. I am unable to reply to your comments tonight and promise to reply tomorrow evening.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Oh, something I didn't address, from yesterday. You mentioned seeing people using your food banks ... that didn't look like they belonged. Well ...

There's been stories I've read, and on the internet, of people who have slid out of the middle class after the housing debacle of 2008. One that stuck in my head was the woman who "used to live in the house on the hill." She pulls into the food bank in a very pricey and high end car. That she is now living out of. Through a lot of subterfuge, she manages to keep up appearances. Her friends, and even some family members don't know she's living pretty rough.

There was the college student who was bound and determined to get his four years of college in, and acquire no debt. So, he lived in his van. Think of all the families in "99 Homes" who ended up living in the "by the week" motel. There are tales of children, who are essentially homeless, who manage to keep up appearances as far as their schools and friends are concerned.

Just by chance, when I was sitting around the 12 Step Club yesterday, My friend Scott, The Other Chicken Goddess and I got on the topic of how we had lived rough, at one time or another, and how we coped. We're all in our 60s. Mostly tips and tricks revolving around personal hygiene. What got us on this riff is that The Other Chicken Goddess had run across the wife of a fellow doing a few odd jobs, around her place, whose wife ... a woman with a degree in social work, and, has been a social worker before, feels that lack of personal hygiene options, are a bar to her being reemployed.

Well, the Chicken Goddess was having none of that. :-). She sat her down and imparted a lot of "living rough" wisdom. Now, if the woman picks up the ball and runs with it, is entirely up to her. The Chicken Goddess also is of the opinion that these days, there are more options. Any visit to an outdoor store will, pretty cheaply, yield items which were unavailable to us (in such quantity) "In Olden Times." :-). Solar showers were mentioned.

I guess it all depends on gumption. With all my water problems, I just think of it as muddling through. Or, "The Drill." I'm just thankful that I can usually figure out where to get water from, that I'm in a warm space when I perform my ablutions, and that I can maintain a level of hygiene that I (and, the people around me) are comfortable with.

I haven't heard the final word on what's going on with our well. I was told that there is water, now, and that the well people are going to show up, today. But to go easy on the water. I really think my friends in Idaho are right, and that it's all going to boil down to too many households on a pretty low flow well. I managed to get a good shower, and even ventured doing a big load of laundry. But, it's a bit stressful. Worrying about running out of water. And, a bit of feeling guilty for using water. Even though I know, rationally, that I use less water than any of the other households. But, I muddle through. Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Where I live (an inner suburb of St. Louis) I see about as many stars as you saw in Melbourne. It makes me sad sometimes that I miss so much nighttime beauty. On rare occasions I have been fortunate enough to camp far enough away from St. Louis to see the Milky Way. At those times I have also seen satellites and meteors. Here I can see the Big Dipper, and Orion and Cassiopeia at the right time of the year, but that's about it. I can also see the planets, and it looked as if two of them were out a couple of hours after sunset the last two nights.

It sounds like you did not plant a large enough block of corn to fully pollinate the ears. Depending on the source, either four or five rows are needed. I have heard it claimed that a block of sixteen corn plants, arranged four by four, is the minimum for OK pollination. More is certainly better. I grow in rows rather than hills (several plants close together separated by a much larger distance to the next group of plants). I'd like to do a rows-versus-hills experiment someday but it's not for this year.

Today I planted six rows of corn, each row two to three feet apart, with spacing between the plants in the rows of two feet because that's what the seed source recommended. That's many fewer plants than I've planted before, but each plant is supposed to be very tall and make two ears, thus needing that space. Corn needs a lot of fertility to grow well. It'll be interesting to see how this variety does since it is new to me and how it responds to the wide spacing.

Sunday is the garden tour, so the next two days will be sprucing up the garden to the extent possible. Time to hoe the vegetable beds!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jason,

That is a great point about the upcoming UK-EU referendum. I enjoyed the anecdote too because I also scratch my head wondering about other people’s concerns versus their vocalisations on such matters. All I'm seeing is that incomes are stagnant whilst costs are increasing and there is an ongoing squeeze and that doesn't seem to be slowing down or reversing anytime soon. Perhaps some may blame the southern Europeans for the current circumstances without recognising the wealth pump which took place. It is an unpleasant prospect that future of slowly declining wealth, but perhaps your associates also forget that with benefits come costs? It is a complex matter.

Shepparton is gritty, no question - no disrespect to the people living there though. A young hip hop artist (Briggs) from there released an album recently called: Shepp Life. One line in one of the songs asked a hard question along the lines of: What if they're all bad apples? I do not believe that his words were meant to be taken as a negative concept either as he was rapping about his extended family.

Yeah, it is funny how different people respond to the same situations. That is very common too. I respect that drive to succeed regardless of the situation, whilst keeping the long game in the forefront of their mind. Too often we tend to ignore the long game, but that is the one worth focusing on. Dunno.

That is an excellent trait. I wish people read more. I watched about 20 minutes of that video. I hadn't quite made it to the winter part of the experiment. Should be interesting - if the outside weather here is anything to go by (rainy, cool, wet and very dark). They seemed to be a little bit light on for heating. I know that area of the state pretty well.

I believe JMG has done time in a commune and that perhaps was where he learned his forthright opinions on the matter. As you say, dissensus rules the day! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Lovely to read about your garden harvest. Oh, how good are radishes? Yum! The mulching is a great idea too to retain soil moisture. I find that it takes about two years to break down fresh composted woody mulch into a rich black sandy/loam which anything will grow in. Is that the case in your part of the world? It produces some spectacular mushrooms as a side effect too!

Ouch. Have you noticed just how much weather lore you accumulate as time goes on? The Bureau of Meteorology down here produces very accurate rainfall maps for the continent up to four days into the future and of all of the tools available that is one that I rely on. Life would be interesting without weather forecasts, don't you wonder?

So did you drag the hose out to the pigs? Just for your info, at this time of year (December for me) I would definitely have to water the greens for at least 10 minutes per day.

That is a great idea finding the purchasers for the excess chickens. The locals down here sell them at the local farmers markets and after a while you get to know who is who in the zoo (so to speak).

Really? Wow. Did you know that down here that whey is being added to the ultra cheap fresh milk to bulk it out (anyway, that is what I've heard and it may not be true). I tend to pay four times the cost of that stuff to get a quality milk product instead - it even has butter milk fat in it. Yum! Mr Poopy enjoys some of that stuff too.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

No, I ended up just hand watering the seedlings just coming up. We got some nice gentle rain yesterday - about .3 inch and some more last night. Haven't been out to check the rain gauge yet. More mulching is the order of the day today. I'm using the manure/straw from goats and poultry from last fall and some hay bales I have left. It breaks down fairly quickly so needs to be re-applied with regularity.

Interesting about the whey being added to milk.

Going to be over 90 (F) and humid for the next two days - ugh. Everything should really shoot up though.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

It is a tough language to communicate in, and sometimes I find that a single word which means absolutely nothing at all, but at the same time can mean a whole lot, dropped into a sentence can really zing up a dialogue. Anyway, I read years ago that the best horror films and stories often hinted at scenes rather than describing them in the flesh (a tedious task to be sure). I use that technique, but not here on the blog. My gut feeling is that people's imaginations are far worse than anything that I've said and from there they entrap themselves. ;-)! I used that technique this week on someone who was giving the editor a hard time, and mate did it work well or what! It certainly got a reaction and put an end to the silliness before it escalated. I’ve been fighting a lot of fires recently…

Well, some people don't have a solid grasp of the language. And other people misuse that language because they are unable to empathise with their audience. Still, other people are unable to even listen when having a conversation and hear only what they have the perception to hear. Dunno. I see that the continuum of communication is quite massive. Yesterday, I had to deal with a young lady who was saying: "yes, I understand what you are saying", but her face said something else altogether, so I just called her on it and said: "you did not understand a single word that I just said". Sometimes, I have to smash through communication blockages and it is neither easy for me to do or for them to receive that, and it takes a toll on me. But we get there in the end, and the end goal is what becomes important in that situation. It is complex, because people are taught very strongly not to trust, and I have to build a bridge over that ingrained habit and build a rapport. That is the hard bit, and those people that you were speaking with have little incentive to bridge that huge gap in understanding because they fear that you will return or hold them to their promises. Such things bind me as much as it binds them.

I don't actually feel that what you described is neurotic at all. To me it is an expression of the awkward gap that exists in people's understandings. It is a complex matter to make a connection with others as we are taught to avoid such things as a default reaction from day one.

Offend. Hmmm, well sometimes you can do the right thing and you can still manage to annoy people. You can never really know what their agenda's may be anyway. I spend an inordinate amount of time pondering those issues as I like to look into people’s souls and see what motivates them as it makes my life easier. Most people are really quite lovely, but some carry with them a dark cloud and I am alert to that lot.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

I'm salivating dwelling upon all of that yummy food which you described! The deli's down here usually sell very good quality stuff, even if they are found in supermarkets. That is generally where the more specialised items are found. Sandwiches are generally made in cafes or bakeries down here, although pre-made ones can be found in convenience stores, although it is a mystery as to where they were made in the first place and how long ago that may be. It makes one wonder!

Ha! After the holidays, may be a stress thing! I've always read that holidays are quite stressful for many people, but can't comment from experience on that matter. Yes, perhaps the gardens over summer are quite warm. Or maybe Triffids are lurking in the gardens? You never know... On a serious note, it may be worth looking into what the site of that building was used for previously before its current existence?

Yeah, I'm with you. Moving around in quick succession is not good for anyone. And the vibe of the Centralia place would be just a little bit off - although I have not experienced that place myself.

Ah, well that is the same temperatures as Melbourne at this time of year - albeit in the high 50's low 60's. It feels cold to me. Although last night, I enjoyed Chinese dumplings and was happy to sit outside on the street, although few other people seemed to want to share the same experience.

Hey, the new table was finally finished this afternoon in the epic sanding job and is now inside with a good coat of Tung oil, although I can taste the stuff in the air... It is looking good.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Exactly, body language provides a huge amount of information during a conversation. All we have to go on here at the blog is the written language (and I’m learning how that works as we communicate). Some people are really good at that language too, but I appreciate as many inputs as possible so as to uncover the deeper currents.

Wow, what an outstanding thought! How obvious too. I'm like you, in that I can tell if people are saying: "yes, I understand you", when they actually mean: "I don't have a clue what you just said". Although, I tend to call them out on that lack and then restart the conversation from a different perspective. Working with graduates taught me a lot about communication. I was particularly surprised at how willing they were to lie to my face about such things – it is not a useful tool in adult environments. Your thought makes the mind stagger too... No doubts about it, but you are correct, some people are simply oblivious to others. That isn't meant to be a judgement either, because that is simply how they are wired, I get that and try to pitch my conversation so that they can understand it. I've known a few people on the autism spectrum over my life and I can see when they have troubles understanding communication. Life in some respects must be very hard on them.

Did you see any photos of the in ground concrete pool that had fallen into the ocean? I made a rather tasteless joke after seeing that which went along the lines of: "Oh, that's not good, I hope they remembered to take the dog out of the backyard?". Oh no, I'm going straight to Hades for that one!!! ;-)!

I'm getting some reasonable rain over the past few weeks. It looks as though the climate has shifted imperceptibly again?

Cheers

Chris

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

That's awesome about the dry yoghurt culture! We've just been making ours by buying a small container of natural yoghurt and putting some in the milk to seed it. You can usually do that several times (ie. use your home-brewed yoghurt to seed the next batch) provided you are careful about contamination (I try to use the first bit of yoghurt taken from a new batch as the seed for the following batch). But the dry culture sounds even better. Where did you get it? Also worth bearing in mind that if you seed the next batch of yoghurt from the previous batch your culture will last even longer. Do you keep the dry culture in the fridge/freezer?

ps. I bought an electric chipper this week (2.4 kW) -- it's not as gutsy as the petrol ones, but we had loads of prunings and it has mulched most of them (it has a 40mm max, and really anything larger I want to burn anyway ;-)

Cheers, Angus

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Lovely to hear from you! Yes, I really enjoyed writing that contrast and am glad that you enjoyed it too. Going into the big smoke these days is like stepping into a whole different world. Do you feel that too nowadays?

It is pleasant to hear of all of the differences in the land in the various parts of the world. Your part of the world sounds very beautiful. I'm not sure whether I'm entirely comfortable with the fog. The winters are very humid for months on end here and it is sort of weird, and as you say, a little bit eerie when a cloud descends over the farm. It gets very quiet too as all of the sounds are muffled.

Ha! Well fortunately there are no wimps here!!! Hehe! Actually I seriously wonder how people would go at a higher latitude than my very mild 37.5'S? At a lower latitude you get more winter sun and less summer sun.

Imagine a goat in the orchard. Oh my, I've seen photos of those cheeky animals climbing in trees... Maybe I could arrange to milk the neighbours goats? Have you ever had a cow or goat? Sheep milk is very tasty and sheep cheese is really outstanding, they’d just cause so much damage here.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks very much for the story, and no doubt you are correct. I do not doubt it at all. People maintain appearances way beyond their use by date. I feel that is an important issue in relation to our current mess as it builds inertia for change into the system.

Thanks for the heads up about Dmitry too. Hopefully, I didn't scare him too much. It is perhaps rude to speak about him whilst he is not in our presence, but from his writing I detected that he needed a bit of assistance, so that is why I chose the path I did.

Well, you may be surprised to know that we have inadvertently run that same experiment. For about six months back in the late 90's we travelled around Australia living out of the back of a small hatchback car. We visited many out of the way places and got a good feel for the country. The old saying: There's no place like home is very true too. The funny thing we noticed was that there were not many Australians our age travelling around as most of them head overseas instead. I've wondered about that as it seems to me to be some sort of strange cultural cringe. Dunno.

Oh yeah, anyway, during that time we found that we required very little "stuff" to get by on a day to day basis.

I had to laugh as the preacher on Monday at the funeral promised that the deceased was going to get "stuff" in heaven. Now that sounds like a spurious claim to me... I noticed that Tolkien used the word "Stuff" in a scene about leaving Lothlorien and it always struck me as a slightly slacker word.

Gumption is everything, I reckon. The simple act of trying and seeing what happens. There seems to be a lot of fear peddled these days, and I don't understand that at all.

The house smells like poached quinces as I just pulled a big Pyrex dish of that "stuff" ;-)! (apologies for the poor humour) out of the wood oven fire box.

Mate, you well problem is my summer nightmare. I don't even know what to say and the whole problem is outside of your control.

PS: In Nepal, I once had to go 18 days without a bath or shower and I certainly didn't smell. It did help that it was mildly cold and so I didn't sweat much.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thanks for the comparison story. It is tough that lack, but at least you are strongly aware of what is there. I wonder how the many people that are entirely oblivious to the difference feel about the night sky. It is not a blame or ridicule thing either, because many people would simply grow up without ever having seen the night sky and wouldn’t even know massive it is.

Venus and Mars are usually really easy to spot as they are so bright in the sky. Mars actually looks slight red here, whereas Venus is the bright blue spot in the sky and usually the first star to be seen. Glad we're not at either of those inhospitable locations. I reckon we'd last a few seconds longer on Mars than Venus, but not by much! ;-)! I can't believe that people want to travel to Mars, the whole project sounds hopelessly underfunded to me and the hard radiation outside low Earth orbit will probably finish them off reasonably slowly. I always wonder if they've considered that aspect?

Absolutely. You are 100% spot on about the corn planting quantities and spacing’s and I have to spend far more time in the future learning about that plant. Four by four sounds about right given how they pollinate. Thanks for that. I would be fascinated to hear about that experiment. There is so much to know, so I hear you, you have to pick and choose which plants you experiment upon.

When I was very young, older people than I people used to tell me that I could do anything I wanted. I wish that they had said earlier on, that it is better to pick and choose among the many options as time on this planet is limited. Alas for that story! ;-)! Lost opportunities probably fell behind the couch, along with all of our lost youth! Hehe! ;-)!

Good luck for the garden tour and I wish you all the best for it. It is lovely sharing a garden with other people!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Oh, we're almost in real time communication here! That is a good quantity of rain for summer and it saves watering for a day or two which is a good thing. Hand watering is a good option for young seedlings. I'm always wary of watering them too strongly so that some of the leaves fall back onto the soil as it tends to promote die back in the new seedlings. Misting seems to work better, although it takes far longer.

I've been trialing misting hoses over the past year or two and they work so well. They are like a dripper hose but shoot a fine spray / mist which covers a larger area. 10 minutes per day - even on extreme heat days (100'F+). I tend to run them in the morning, and maybe if it has been really hot, then again in the evening.

That is outstanding mulch (have you got any extra?) and it would be absolutely chock full of manure from the various animals. No wonder it breaks down quickly.

Yeah, well people down here want 1L of milk for $1 and I can't see how the milk is supplied for that price. If it makes no sense, it is probably because it doesn't. I pay just under $4 per 1L of milk, but it is good stuff. I just don't drink much of it as a consequence.

Try and keep cool and out of the midday sun. Those conditions are unpleasant. I won't mention that I've had the wood fire going all day here, and cooking yummy bread, dog biscuits and stewed quince in the wood oven too. The house smells quite nice, apart from the Tung Oil on the table.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

Yeah, you achieved a better outcome than we could here with the yoghurt made from commercial product. It was very runny. Hey, I just checked with the editor and the culture was purchased from Green Living Australia. They also sell Pro-biotic culture to add to it too. The savings are huge from that yoghurt. The dried culture is kept in the freezer. Just for your info too, I keep the dried bakers and champagne yeast in there too. The freezer here may look a bit odd to people who are accustomed to seeing large chunks of frozen meat as there are small bags of unusual products (yeast and bacterial cultures) in there. I can tell you which freezer produces the more interesting foodstuffs though! ;-)! Champagne yeast is amazing stuff.

Wow, what a great purchase. Those are really useful bits of kit. Would you mind sharing a bit more information about it? I have an electric chipper chopper here which has a rotating blade - which is easily sharpened, but it is good for green materials only.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Tung oil on the tongue? :-). I know what you mean. Odors so strong (good or bad) that you can taste them.

Steady gentle rain, most of the night. Temps low enough that I had to kick on a bit of heat last evening.

LOL. Now I'll have to go over to Club Orlov and see what you said to poor Dmitry. :-). Oh, I think he's a tough old bird.

Well, stuff. I'm sure I've said it here, before. It's an immutable law of the universe. Junk expands to fill the space allowed (tm,Lew). George Carlin (he will be missed) had a great rant on "stuff." Might not be suitable for family consumption.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDkA59e2_yU

Have to confess, I did a quick look up of "immutable" to make sure I was using it correctly :-). And, spelling it correctly. Of course, I'm beginning to think about winnowing my stuff down, as I'll have less square footage, where I'm going. "Downsizing" as they say here. I've been considering retiring the old futon (soooo good for my back) and getting a "real" bed ...with under bed storage. Most of the apartments are one bedrooms, and are about 540 square feet. I'm going to figure out how big that is, in relationship to here. Gives me a better idea of what I have to work with. I lived in a house once, that was 365 square feet. And, didn't feel cramped. Once I know exactly where I'm going to be, I'll fool around with graph paper. I'm also hoping that the kitchen is big enough that I can maybe put in an extra small freezer.

What was on the site of The Home, before? Well. It used to be that both Chehalis and Centralia had their own hospitals. Both run by the Sisters of Providence. The Chehalis hospital was closed, and the building is now used as a "for profit" alcohol and drug recovery center. For hard core offenders. If they wash out there, it's back to the pen. I don't know if it's leased and still belongs to the Sisters, or if it was sold. It is next door and across the street from The Home. Given that The Home is called Providence Place, I'd gather that it's still owned by the Sisters. I'd guess (but, I'll find out) that it was probably support buildings for the hospital, or housing for the staff. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Well, today's exercise in idle language speculation is ... the difference between larder and pantry :-). I finished up "Home Fires", the book about the Women's Institutes in Britain, during WWII. There were several mentions of larders and pantries, sometimes in the same paragraph, but it wasn't really clear as to the function of both, and if they were one in the same. So, Inquiring Minds Want to Know ... :-).

I've heard both terms, most of my life. Pantry, more than larder. In fact there was a comment that pantry is often found in descriptions of new housing. A closet or small room off the kitchen for storage of canned or dried, often bulk foods. I can see (from my point of view) that pantry just sounds "nicer" than larder. Odd, that.

But, originally, pantry came from Old French ... from pain (bread) Larder also comes from Old French ... from lard (bacon.) So, I'd say that larders are generally, cooler. There was some reference to them being underground. Just to confuse things more, there were stone shelves, mostly slate (called thraw ... plural thrawis ... but the word was mostly used in Derbyshire and Yorkshire) but they seemed to be used in both pantries and larders.

I'd say, that by WWII, in some parts of Britain, the two terms were already getting a bit interchangeable.

When I was a kid, I can remember seeing, in both older homes we lived in, and my grandparents home, a cupboard in the kitchen that had screened openings to the outside. Can't remember they were called anything in particular. Or, what was stored in them. Vague memory of covered butter. Maybe, eggs. Bread? Haven't seen one of those cupboards, in years.

And, we won't even get into butteries and cellars. :-). I'd guess, pantries were for food stuffs that needed to be kept cool, and larders were for things that needed to be kept cooler. Up to the householder to decide what went where, and it maybe changed at different times of the year. I'd guess that the cupboards with the screened openings developed during that period between the tail end of the "ice box" (well insulated, usually oak ice boxes ... where the ice man actually delivered a block of ice to go in it) and the beginning of electric refrigerators. Both were rather small and had limited storage space. So, an ice box would serve the purpose of a larder ... and the screened cupboards, a pantry. Pure speculation.

Bryson has a book on the home. Kind of a history of spaces in a home, and how they changed, over time. Might be worth a look, again, to see what he has to say about kitchen spaces and food storage. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Yes I saw the photo of the swimming pool that had gone down. I imagine that all those houses have lost a lot of value.

The first half of 'The Keiser Report' episode 925 commented on Australia (finance/economics). Available on the internet.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, the off gassing as the oil cures is quite pungent! Mate, it is raining here again and the chickens are cruising around the orchard and just sort of ignoring the rain as if it were not a problem. They definitely seem to have woolly jumpers on. I've read a few articles now saying that we've shifted into a La Nina condition, which may mean that it gets wetter down here - for a brief interlude anyway. The solar has been struggling the past few days due to the cloud and rain. And I'm rugged up like the Michelin Man!!! I can even see my breath the late afternoon is that cold. Brrr!

Nice top hear that you are getting some rain during your summer. Is it looking very green now? How is the water situation?

Glad to hear your opinion, I kind of felt that he needed a pep talk. Dunno. He lives on a boat doesn't he? I'll bet he has some experience with rough weather?

Yeah, stuff can be addictive to obtain. We must stay strong and not turn into hoarders! Thanks for the link.

Haha! A confession is apparently good for the soul. One may even be cheeky enough to declare that an immutable truth! Seriously, paring back the amount of stuff one has can be even better for the soul though. Hey 540 square feet is about 50 square metres and honestly many city apartments are no larger than that. It sort of depends what a person wants to do, really. Yes, the frozen blueberries are a great idea for the dark of winter. I tend to bottle apricots as they are early fruit and like the blueberries they keep their shape and taste well through the preserving process. A lot of fruit doesn't really. Is your freezer a chest freezer with a top lid that opens?

Thanks for the history. It is a good thing to know the history of a place as it can often tell you what the future looks like. I was sort of hinting at whether the soil had been contaminated in some way, but your history doesn't really reflect that land use.

Yeah, what is the difference? My gut feeling says that the larder is much larger than the pantry, which used to sit in or next to the kitchen - well at least that is how it rolled down under. Did they mention, the much larger again, butlers pantry? I was going to mention the lard connection too. When I was a kid, people used to store lard in the refrigerator in a mug and that stuff makes the best tasting chips. Yum! Pity it is probably not all that good for you. I wasn't aware that it specifically referred to bacon as most meats produce animal fats.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Hey, that word pain has sometimes been applied to bread, but I've seen the spelling pane (with a little accent over the e as in pane di casa loaf of bread. Yum!). It is pretty clever to have made shelving from flag stones and slate. Those were probably much hardier than timber in cold damp climates.

Hmmm, I wonder if the larder was closer to the northern Italian "Cantina"? My grandmother used to have a room set to one side for storing bulk supplies of root vegetables such as pumpkins, potatoes and onions etc... It was a very dark room and honestly from memory, it looked a bit grotty!

They had those screened cupboards down here too. They were the meat safes and the meat was put in there to keep the flies and other bugs off it, but also allow the air flow over the meat. You'd be amazed at the butchering practices I've seen in third world countries. Refrigeration... It is a beautiful thing. We called those meat safes: The Coolgardie safe and it had a reservoir of water on top of it with hessian drippers which slowly fed the water down onto the screens which acted with a bit of breeze like an evaporative cooler. Pretty sweet technology huh?

Ha! I remember a small inland town that back in the 70's used to have the old ice factory where people would get their supplies of ice. It looked pretty old to me but at the time still worked. The building looked like an old school dairy.

That Bryson book would probably be quite informative. Hey, last week, I forgot to mention that I've watched about half of "A walk in the woods". I really enjoyed the Nick Nolte character and now have a suitable role model with which to aim for as I get older. He really owned that roll. :-)! It is a fun film.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Out of curiosity, what is the reaction in your part of the world when ocean cliffs collapse taking with them peoples houses? I've seen photos of houses making their way into the ocean over in the UK. People here are in a bit of a state of disbelief - remember that that was northern Sydney, I believe, and I noticed in the photos that rocks had already been placed against the cliffs to reduce the oceans energy. Not that it did much good.

I believe one of the owners lost an urn containing their mothers ashes to the ocean... Not good.

Thanks for the link. Yes, the economics here are completely bonkers. No doubts about it. It stopped making sense to me a fair few years ago. The mantras about jobs and growth sound very strange to me, as so many people are left behind in that rush.

Cheers

Chris

Yahoo2 said...

Hi Chris, yes I do think your kwh number is too conservative. I think your potential is in the 6-6.5 range. 31st of May shows what is possible with some clear weather, consumption and space in the battery. There is no easy way of measuring it with your system unfortunately. Not that it actually matters, as long as it is working for you its good. incidentally the same 6 weeks based at my place would have a potential of 11.5 kwh per day with your setup.
Here is my submission to the yoghurt debate, not exactly how I do it but the general idea is close enough, I started with paris creek swiss, no powdered milk, heat pad in an esky, thicken with cheesecloth hanging over a bowl in the fridge. I like the dry cultures but prefer this one.
Down to Earth: Yoghurt - make it yourself surprisingly the hardest yeast to activate and multiply and keep the strain pure is BEER!
I struggle with the wording in blog comments, most of mine get written and not posted, looking through the binned file there is a couple I should have posted. For Example Margaret, I did enjoy the "year of the fish" themed pranks thank-you for sharing that.
there is a website called Heavens-Above that will list the satellites that are visible after sunset and before sunrise and where to look. the printed list needs to be viewed with a red light as not to ruin the night vision. Most moonless clear nights here are spectacular but occasionally, maybe once in 5 years I get a night that is exceptional, 12th of May was one of those nights I spotted a galaxy cluster that is not supposedly technically possible to see with the naked eye.
Steve

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yup. I had been reading, here and there that we're shifting to La Nina. One article mentioned that Australia, and, here, the Pacific Northwest, will get more rain. Yup. Our weather sounds like you're weather. We've had about a week of mostly overcast, with scattered rain. Never very hard, but, prolonged. Supposed to be nice, tomorrow, so, I better do a bit of mowing. And, then back to another week of rain and overcast. It IS very green here. Not like last year. We may have more flooding, next winter. The Home, by the way, is well up slope. No chance of flooding. But, if I'm on that side of the building, I'll have a great view of the flooded valley.

I really don't understand all that financial stuff, but did check out you're post over at Club Orlov. That was a bit of a cheeky sign off :-). Maybe, even a little prat-ish? :-). Oh, well. Your house, your rules.

The freezer chest here, is enormous. A top loader. I'm glad it's not mine and I won't have to move it out of the cellar. When I was looking at the house in Morton, there was a small freezer. Rather cute, actually. If I have the space, I may get one of those. If not, I'll be doing more bottling and drying. Speaking of hoarding, yesterday was "Garbage Day" and there was room in the dumpster, so, I did a bit of sorting out. My pantry / closet (canned goods, WAY past their use by dates), the fridge. A box of papers. So the process, begins.

Read a bit of "The David Foster Wallace Reader", last night. What a doorstop of a book. Fiction excerpts. Essays. Even his lesson plans from when he was teaching. From the film, he touched on TV and culture. I found that essay and it was very long and very deep. I may have to reread it. At this point, I couldn't even begin to unravel what he's driving at. But, several times, he says that he's really trying not to criticize or get all paranoid over TV ... but just try to impartially observe how it impacts our society and writers and literature. Cont.







LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Yup. My grandmother kept a can of lard / bacon drippings next to the stove. Well, as Julia Child says, "Everything in moderation." And, I suppose one could make the case that back in Grannies day, the meat, hence the lard or drippings, was of better quality. Back in the 1920s - 1940s there were "stove sets". Some came with the stove, some were premiums from flour companies, or whatever. They were usually glass with metal or glass lids. Salt, Pepper, Flour and Drippings. Really nice art deco lines with deco lettering. Picture ... picture ...

http://thumbs4.ebaystatic.com/d/l800/pict/171184903314_1.jpg

Yes, I'm familiar with the Coolgade safe. I think there was quit a discussion of those when JMGreer was talking about hay boxes. I'm more familiar with pie safes, than meat safes. There was a craze for country decorating a few years back (still ongoing, but more a low roar, now) and pie safes were a popular bit of tat for your country kitchen. Original, if possible. But, plenty of reproductions floating around.

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/3b/de/ee/3bdeee005d610398bc730872d6cd3987.jpg

The big deal was the patterns on the pierced tin. Some of it was pretty patriotic.

Of course, later, the pie safe was shrunk down to ... the bread box.

https://img1.etsystatic.com/059/1/7556034/il_340x270.739814365_p67e.jpg

I have one in my kitchen, probably 1930s or 1940s and painted with blueberries :-). They usually had holes in the ends for air circulation. If you have a few idle moments (HA!) Google "Pie Safes" or "Vintage Bread Boxes" and check out the images. Very cool.

I'm familiar with the term "Butler's Pantry." LOL. Great houses stuff. But, even 1920s bungalows had, occasionally, a small passage between kitchen and dinning room, often with cupboards, small counters, etc., labeled on the floor plans as "butler's pantry." Delusions of grandeur? A bit hoity toity? :-). But a useful area for storage of dinnerware, silverware and linen. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

When you asked about reaction here to crumbling cliffs... My immediate thought was that I have no idea. Obviously it hits the media and then vanishes as something else takes its place. There are often insurance implications for the future where flooding occurs. People still buy houses on cliff tops with fabulous views or on river frontages. Remember 'it can't happen to us' seems to be a conviction firmly held by many people.

Inge

Hazel Marchant said...

Hi Chris,

Just wanted to chime in on the food comments. Lard specifically refers to pig fat, while meat fats generally are dripping. And the latest science seems to say that animal fats, particularly from pastured critters, are better for you than seed oils (less inflammatory). Oh, and the point of the stone shelves was to keep specific foods, like butter, cool in warm weather, as stone takes a long time to heat up. Good use of thermal mass!

Cheers,
Hazel

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

Awesome, thanks for the link. Yeah, we've had success with yoghurt using Paris Creek Organic Natural yoghurt, but I don't know if they distribute outside SA. I've heard that some makers pasteurise their yoghurt to stop people from making their own. (Incidently, I've heard that you used to be able to make homebrew Coopers pale ale using the bottle as a starter, but they now pasteurise to prevent that -- not sure if it's true or not). The culture powder will be handy (and cheaper!), even though we've only been buying a small tub every ~3 weeks.

Yeah, the shredder works well. It's the "Ozito silent shredder". It was pretty cheap and cheerful, and I don't know how well it will last, but it is working well so far and comes with a 2 year warranty. I'll hit it hard in that period and see how it goes...

Hope you're enjoying winter! :-)

Cheers, Angus

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Yahoo2 / Steve,

Yeah, you are absolutely correct. The numbers don't reflect the potential because of weather related conditions (i.e. cloud) which reduces output to about 20% of the rated panels output and also the simple fact that batteries cannot store all of the energy generated by the solar panels once they are above about 85% full. The technical concept is that beyond that point, the voltage begins to rise too quickly and so the charge going into the batteries has to be restricted – that is the main job of the controllers. You'll notice this in the reported times required to recharge an electric vehicle as it takes many hours. Batteries are simply chemical reactors and they skip to their own dance. Electricity is a difficult beast to generate and store in any quantity.

On the other hand the electricity grid is massively inefficient as I believe about one third of all electricity generated disappears in the form of heat between the generators and the end consumer. It may be higher. With a small grid like here the losses aren't anywhere near as high as that. Good observation! One of the things I enjoy with the comments is how alert most of the people are here.

Winters are cloudy here, thus the clouds reflect (or absorb) a lot of solar energy back into space. Out of curiosity, where are you located on this planet?

I would recommend doing the on the ground experiment with solar panels over a period of time during winter before being too certain about real world output. There are a number of variables that impact the results - including cable sizing, over shadowing issues, air temperature among other factors. I'm wary of claims about winter production of solar electricity and for good reason. My concern is that best case scenarios are often touted so that retailers can flog products.

Thank you for the link and I will check it out tonight. I've never made beer, thus the experiments with the bees (for the sugar in honey). I may next year try sugar beets which will grow well here. Respect for doing the experiment. I like the frizzle's too. I'm very fond of frizzles after having owned a couple of Isa Brown frizzles in the past few years. They are very hard to find. Unfortunately, my final frizzle was killed by Poopy when a visitor accidentally let the chickens out of the run and dog met chicken in an ultimate clash. It was not a good visit.

Thanks for the link about Heavens Above! Good stuff.

Not to stress either, I say stupid stuff all of the time! ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That is really interesting to hear that you may get more rain up in your part of the world in a La Nina. I worry for the more southern parts of your west coast in a La Nina. On the other hand I'd be kind of scared to see more rain in your part of the world! :-)! Exactly, the weather has been more or less about the same here. Lots of cloud, and on again and off again rain. Most of the rain falls here during the winter, but it is usually quite constant throughout the rest of the year due to the roaring forties.

Ha! Enjoy your mowing. The sun shone brightly today and so we excavated a little bit more and built another concrete step. I'm starting to think about the sort of materials I'm going to use for the strawberry / blackberry project. Such concerns are complex as I really try to do them for the long term, but also on the cheap. Your last summer was very hard, so it is nice to hear of greener pastures. How are the mules going, I hope they have enough to eat and possibly also a good salt lick?

Thank you. Well Dmitry is Russian and he has his biases and beliefs (which I don't necessarily agree with), but on that occasion I went with my gut feeling which said to me that he was floundering around. His words were interesting, but it was almost as if he was lost at sea without an idea of where he was actually at, and where he wanted to go and so, my rather undiplomatic prod, was an attempt to get him out of that funk. Look, such things are not easy, but I believe it was worth the attempt. It certainly does not make friends, but then I tend to take the long view.

That makes me wonder how they got the freezer down into the basement in the first place? I recall the day that we moved the wood heater into the house here and it weighed over 450 pounds and so we had five guys lifting it into the house and then onto a trolley - which broke in the process... You really are preparing to move aren't you? Your garbage day, sounds an awful lot like my fresh milk day - which didn't happen this week for some unexplained and unknown reason, perhaps due to the Queen's birthday public holiday tomorrow. 90 and still going strong is a thing to be celebrated. I do hope we do as well.

Yes, he was the earliest person that I can recall that made that particular observation. I would have enjoyed a quiet ale with the guy, but alas, he is gone. It seemed to me that he had a vague sense of unease, but could never quite grasp what it meant and pretty much had nobody to talk to about it. I feel for the guy.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Well Julia Child was onto something with that observation. I believe the French are very rigorous about portion control in relation to cooking and eating! I quite enjoy French food. Yes, those sets were available down here too. You know the other thing that used to be seen in kitchens were the rather large storage steel bins with labelling to indicate coffee, tea, sugar etc. Those were ubiquitous and indestructible.

Yeah, I mentioned the Coolgardie safe over at the ADR many years ago. It is an elegant technology after all, and one that I have seen in operation, albeit back in the 70's as a wee kid.

I was meant to go the pub tonight which apparently is haunted and it dates back to the 1850's you see, and I'm sure a good pint or two would have resolved the mysteries of that ghost problem, anyway they cancelled because they have the flu, so I hope they feel better. Being self employed means not enjoying sick leave benefits so getting sick puts a real damper on activities, so I'm not entirely unhappy, although the beer may have brought them back to good health? Well, alcohol is a steriliser you know! Anyway, I'm here in front of the wood heater cooking some muesli. Yum. It smelled a bit burned a few moments ago though. Maybe the addition of sultanas was a bad idea?

Those bread boxes were down here too. Plus there were the old glass butter dishes which had a saucer and lid combination. Back in the day people used to leave butter in the pantry and I never noticed that it tasted rancid or anything like that. Dunno.

You have to love peoples pretensions! The house that my first girlfriend lived in had a small window between the kitchen and the dining room so that food could be brought through that small space. I'm sure they believed that it was the latest in fashion trends or some such rubbish! Hehe!

Tomorrow morning is meant to be a bit frosty they reckon. Brrr! And the house still smells a bit of Tung Oil so the editor has been most firm about not opening the windows... Oh well.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

No doubt you are correct about that. I worry about the fires here which is why I asked the question. Studies have consistently shown that one third of people have no idea of the risk, another third are aware of the risk but do not actively do anything about it, and the remaining third tend to attempt to reduce the risk.

The statistics on that issue here in relation to the fire risk have been amazingly consistent over time too. It is a little bit uncanny.

I do hope your wildflowers are putting on a good show in the forest? Has the ground dried out yet?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Hazel,

Thanks for the information about the difference between lard and dripping. I had heard both of those terms used back in the day when such things weren't washed down the sink (little chance of that here!) as they are now. I once saw footage of that lot collecting in the sewer systems where it cools and solidifies. Not good.

Well done about the stone shelves. Of course, how obvious a strategy. It was so obvious, I would never have thought about it. Nice work for pointing that out - Elephant stamp for you! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

I've never heard of that brand, but I wasn't looking for it either (Yahoo2 mentioned it above as well). Yeah, I'd heard that too about the pasteurising process - which incidentally extends the shelf life of the product too. I've also heard stories of irridation being used to kill off biological activity, but again I really have no first hand experience so don't know what to make about such claims.

Thanks for the info. The little sander I used on the tables was an Ozito brand tool. That stuff is pretty good for a cheap and cheerful product. I tend to start with the most basic of tools so that I can see whether there is any potential benefit before then committing to a quality tool when I know what I'm doing, so they're a really good option.

Mate, the nights have been quite cold here over the past week or so! Brrr! I hope you and your family are staying warm too.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Yes the wild flowers are looking wonderful. At present there are wild orchids in bloom in their hundreds.
The ground has dried i.e. the water table has dropped below the surface. It rained hard last night but that was fine.

I saw a reference above to alcohol as an antiseptic; yes but what percentage should the alcohol level be? I have only thought of spirits as having an antiseptic use.

Windfarms on land are being discontinued in England, not enough wind.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The mules have a lot of green to eat, this year. Yup. I noticed the Mule Guy put out a salt block, for his mules. He's got the land he's leasing divided into three parts. Two parts, he moves the mules back and forth. The third part, after a lot of work he's got in hay.

There are actually two large chest freezers, in the basement. One's dead, and like so much around here, just remains in place. Getting those freezers into the basement must have been quit the scary job. The stairway down is attached at the top ... and the bottom, but otherwise just kind of hangs in space. No other support on a fairly long run. I wouldn't want to put a lot of weight on it. I suppose you could do it in pieces. The lid ... the body. Pull out the motor / compressor (always a weighty bit.)

Quit a few of those old steel storage bins, flowed through my hands when I was bringing in containers of tat from Old Blighty.
Here, they're called "cannister sets." The old one's are metal, glass or pottery. The usual flour, sugar, coffee, tea ... and sometimes, cookie (biscuit) jar. :-). I could get a set like that, to match my pottery dishes. But, I'm kind of at the point where I've got all the dinnerware, plates, bowls, cups and saucers, etc.. Sugar, creamer, salt, pepper. A few good sized serving bowls and a platter. A basic useable set. So, now it's do I want to go beyond that, or not. Probably not. There are serving pieces out there, in my pattern, but they're kind of exotic and expensive. I could put together a cannister set. There's a huge soup tureen in the shape of a chicken ... that usually runs around $450. Given my age and the way I live, it seems a bit silly to keep adding to the set. Besides, the expensive pieces ... give them a good knock or drop them, and it's a lot of money down the drain. The stuff I've got so far, pretty cheap to replace.

Butter dishes. I had to decide about something. OK. I've got all the pottery dinnerware stuff ... and, my Pyrex serving / mixing/ casserole dishes. They look well, together. Same color scheme. A decorating scheme that works together. Slightly Amish looking, farm scenes. Lots of roosters, farm houses, corn, sheaves of wheat etc. So, when it came to a butter dish, I was looking on E-Bay at the pottery stuff. It all looked pretty rough, as any flaw in the glaze and the oils from butter soaked in and it looked pretty nasty. But it turned out that they also made a covered butter in my Pyrex pattern. So, I went with that. Pyrex, being basically glass, doesn't soak up the oils. I would guess that butter tends not to go bad, as fast if it's the salted kind? I remember my grandmother always left her butter "out" and it never seemed to go rancid. But then, I think they ran through it a lot faster than we, or at least I do. Lew