Monday, 13 June 2016

The Table Bunch



Here's the story of some lovely tables
Who were discarded as if they were rubbish.
All of them were made of hardwood, like the others,
The recent one was Tasmanian Oak.
The Table Bunch
It is a fun thing to be able see potential in discarded objects. And for connoisseurs with skill, we live in a truly target rich environment. I’m constantly amazed at the sheer quality of useful items that are discarded rather than being repaired or repurposed. And I began thinking about that matter this week as we were applying Tung Oil to the new second hand hardwood dining table that we purchased for $100.

It was the editor that pointed out to me just how many tables we had purchased second hand and were now in daily use! The interesting thing about all of the restored and repaired tables here is that they all have their own story to tell. And it is an interesting collection of short stories which highlights the sheer waste going on all around us and also the sheer opportunity for those that are prepared to put in a bit of sweat equity.

Waste on the scale of today is a fairly new experience for us. Way back in the early 1990’s when grunge and garage bands ruled the airways and the recession “that we had to have” raged on, the editor and I were both working in uncertain employment taking whatever jobs were available. We both studied at University at night and were desperately trying to pay off the student debts that we had been rapidly accruing. In those days we needed a table to study at and so we purchased this bright blue table which was clearly second hand for about $70.
The bright blue table as it first appeared to us when purchased over 20 years ago
Observant readers with good eyesight, may be able to spot the pink velour couch just inside the door. That couch was pretty dodgy and some of the feet were even missing. Being the enterprising sorts that we are, we simply propped the couch on a few bricks and threw a sheet over it (which can also be seen in the photo). You may also notice the new timbers sitting on the concrete, as well as more timber inside the house which were being used to lift up the rear half of the house which had been slowly sinking into the clay and rotting.

Now I’m not particularly partial to bright blue tables as they clash with, well, everything really. That table offended my sensibilities, but it was the best that we could acquire. I should also mention that the vinyl linoleum that the previous owners had thoughtfully tacked onto the surface was a nice touch, but it smelled really badly of a very old and very dirty kitchen, that may have been washed at least once in the past four decades. The linoleum had to go and soon, which was why the table was sitting outside in the photo.

The vinyl linoleum was easily removed and discarded and it was then that we discovered that the table top had unfortunately warped – which was why it was covered over with linoleum in the first place. We could live with the warp far more easily than the stink from the linoleum, and so the table was sanded down to reveal that – we believe – the timber was very old and quite rare Australian teak wood. The table received many good coats of oil and was then used as a desk for the next two decades.

Regular readers will recall that recently we purchased a large downgraded slab of artificial stone for use as a benchtop in the kitchen. That stone was cut to size by the importer and as part of the deal we were required to take the offcut (i.e. the short end) as the importer did not want to go to the expense of disposing of it. That stone offcut fitted onto the old bright blue table base perfectly, and with a bit of additional structure supporting the additional weight of the stone offcut, the table looks like this today:
The bright blue table finally received a new stone top after almost two decades of sterling service
The old timber top from that bright blue table was such beautiful timber that we looked for a way to repurpose it. In such situations the local tip shop comes in handy and yet again they came through with the goodies! For $5 we picked up an old round steel garden table that had a very brittle wicker top. That wicker may have been brittle, but wow, what was left of it was hard to remove from the steel. In the end, we used a gas torch and simply burnt off the brittle wicker.

Over the past week or so we cut a round section from the top of the old bright blue table and attached it to the steel new base. The timber was sanded back and then received lashings of Oil! A garden table for placing ones cider on, on warm summer evenings soon rose from the ashes of a dodgy wicker and steel table.
A round section of the old bright blue table was attached to the steel legs which we purchased at the tip shop
That old bright blue desk had worked hard (like us) over the past two decades and it was previously used as our main work desk, but as the years went on we decided that perhaps it wasn’t a good look for our business.

The editor went on the hunt to find a new table and in only a matter of weeks we tracked down a guy wanting to sell a solid, locally made, handcrafted, European beech table for only $80. We can help you with that problem, my friend! My gut feeling was that the table was sold at a ridiculously low price because down here the only time a person ever sees that particular timber is as a product of a very large Swedish conglomerate – and even then those items of furniture are usually veneers or vinyl wraps over chipboard. This one was the real deal as it was a solid hardwood and it bore the very respectable moniker of the craftsmen, who are still in business today. Again, the table received the Fernglade Farm treatment of a bit of sanding and some oil.
The solid European beech table we scored for only $80
The editor was very wise as she purloined that European beech desk for her own purposes. At that time, I was using the previously bright blue table with its warped top. Clearly change was required in order to restore the balance of the household. The editor as usual came to the rescue and tracked down a table made from Rubber hardwood scraps for $37. Rubber scrap is a great recycled timber because the tree scraps are generally burnt in the plantations at the end of their useful life.

That Rubber tree hardwood table had been knocked around a bit and had many scratches, and so we sanded it back to the raw timber and then oiled it again. And this is the spot where I write and work for most of the year. Concerned readers may note that balance had been restored to the household.
The restored table of Rubber tree hardwood is now used as my desk
This week we began the slow process of applying multiple layers of Tung Oil to the new dining table. The new dining table replaces a much older Depression era (1930’s) table of about the same size which we have had for more than a decade. Unfortunately the veneer on the surface is beyond my skills to repair. Stress not readers! We will find a new home for the table, so all is not lost and it will be soon part of someone else’s story.
The new dining table receives the first coat of glossy Tung Oil
The new table was spotted by the editor for sale at $100. It had been used and abused. Also someone in the past had painted it with an unfortunate coat of acrylic walnut stain, which I reckon looks pretty dodgy, but was probably par for the course at the time. On a positive side the table was constructed locally in 1999 and was made from very solid Tasmanian Oak (the top is over 30mm thick (1.2 inches)) and showed no sign of any structural problems. Tasmanian Oak is a fancy name for a grab bag of local Eucalyptus species and a cynic may say that the “Oak” name was applied to lift the prestige of those local timber species. I believe the timber looks beautiful and has a very fine grain and also lots of features which you can see in the photo below (which was taken after five coats of glossy Tung Oil) such as fiddle-backing.
The finish on the new dining table looks superb after five coats of glossy Tung Oil
Of course sanding the walnut stain from all of the surfaces of that table was a huge job and applying Tung Oil to timber surfaces is a tricky and time consuming process. However, I have seen tables of such size but lesser quality timber in high end designer shops with asking prices in the thousands. It is mildly disturbing that such high quality older locally made items apparently have little market value.

That’s not all though, the next photo shows a small cast iron table which was rescued (from the Lost Tables home!) and is used by the editor and I to enjoy a quiet coffee at the end of the working day.
A small cast iron table rescued from the Lost Tables home for free
Incidentally, the steel chairs were locally handmade, and very solid steel items which we picked up second hand for about $40 per chair. They were made from very strange steel, because despite having been out in the weather for many years and in a black unpainted finish, they show absolutely no sign of rust and leave absolutely no marks. They are uncanny.

A local timber craftsman who sells his wares at the local hippy market produces beautiful items of timber from recycled and otherwise wasted timbers. He produced a round table top made from Western Australian Jarrah timber for $50 to which we attached a steel base which we recovered from the tip shop for $5. The cast iron French Regency chair ($99 from a local 'antique' shop) in the photo below is a favourite of the editors and she always points them out when she sees them, but, well, I am embarrassed to admit that it is not to my taste.
A round table top was produced by a local guy who works the local hippy market from recycled Jarrah timber
And then there was the 1950's steel table base which had been recovered from hard rubbish in the inner city. Who throws these perfectly good things out? Best of all the off cut from the artificial stone benchtop when the original kitchen was being constructed fitted it perfectly. It was a match made in heaven!
The succulent table was constructed from a cast off steel table with an off cut from our original kitchen stone benchtop
And then there was the Aegean 5000 overdrive table which the editor wanted so that we could enjoy coffee outside in the shade over high summer, but for some strange reason was painted a very unfortunate and culturally jarring gold colour ($80 with 4 unfortunately matching chairs - not the chairs in the photo, which are more of the handmade uncanny variety). I was very dubious of that colour but with a little bit of black metal paint, this glass table is the bizz!
The glass table (now black) used for coffee outside in the shade over high summer
Finally, there is the old and very common Australian outdoor steel garden table which was rescued again from hard rubbish. Every single one of those tables that I have seen have had timber planks which were originally painted in multiple bright primary colours, but by now are rotted out or well on their way to doing so. It was fortunate for that table that we had some very unusual and very old hardwood planks which simply refused to rot in the soil and so those planks were added to the table and all was soon good. If you ever receive a comment reply from me and I write that I am sitting in the orchard with the chickens, odds are this is where I will be.
A very Australian garden table has been repaired and restored to better than its former glory
People often ask me how do we do so much and the above stories are part of that answer. But I ask you the question: How do you do so little on so much?

That's the way we became the Table Bunch.

Oh my goodness, I’ve written so much… Here is a quick wrap up of the week’s activities:

A big storm hit the Eastern coast of Australia. It was huge. Completely massive and destructive in New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania. And it produced the most beautiful morning skies here (Red skies in the morning, shepherds warning):
The huge storm which travelled down the east coast of the continent produced the most beautiful morning skies
Spare a thought for poor old Scritchy the boss dog who was very cold during the storm and had to snuggle up to Toothy her frenemy to keep warm during the cold days:
Scritchy the boss dog keeps warm by snuggling up to the long haired Toothy
When the rain finally stopped the excavations continued and they are now almost complete and ready to be turned into garden beds.
The excavations are now almost complete and soon a new garden bed will take shape
One of the garden beds had to be repaired as the shape was incorrect and manure kept falling off before the plants had a chance to get properly established.
An existing garden bed was also repaired with excavations this week
All of the plants in that bed were relocated to garden beds near to the chicken enclosure and the chickens were only too happy to assist with the pruning process.
The chickens assisted by pruning all of the relocated plants from that garden bed
And believe it or not, we even managed to construct another concrete step!
Another concrete step was added to the new staircase this week
The temperature outside now at about 8.00pm is 5.8’C (42.4’F). So far this year there has been 350.8mm (13.8 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 317.0mm (12.5 inches).

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

Tuesday - 7th June Batteries started at 77% full and 4.1kW was generated that day
Wednesday - 8th June Batteries started at 77% full and 3.8kW was generated that day
Thursday - 9th June Batteries started at 77% full and 6.0kW was generated that day
Friday - 10th June Batteries started at 84% full and 6.5kW was generated that day
Saturday - 11th June Batteries started at 84% full and 5.3kW was generated that day
Sunday - 12th June Batteries started at 83% full and 7.0kW was generated that day
Monday- 13th June Batteries started at 85% full and 6.9kW was generated that day

42 comments:

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - The Brady Bunch? Oh, that is quit a stretch :-). More like "The 2016 Table Tour." Buy the t-shirt! :-).

Blue? What's wrong with blue? LOL. OK. I do take it to extremes. I want everything blue, in all it's permutations. Relieved with a bit of black, gray, ivory or white. Is that so much to ask for? I picked up a small (hens egg size) lapis skull, on Saturday, for my Halloween collection. I had seen it a couple of months, ago, and it stuck in my mind. Turns out it's the birth stone of my friend in Idaho, and she tells me it's kind of a little psychic engine. Of sorts. Do I want to mess with that stuff? Mmmm. No. And, it's BLUE! :-).

I really like the look of your place. Everything about it. It's so ... homey, is the wrong word. Comfortable? With a decided dash of ... real feel for ... style. All the tables and chairs ... although you're place isn't "old", doesn't have a long history of heritage, all the tables and chairs give it a sense of history. The Editor and your history. A bit of history before you acquired them. And, even though the scenes look ripped directly from the pages of some upscale "decor" magazine, it's all useful and functional.

I don't know why people toss out such good useful stuff. No sense of imagination? Maybe some of it is tossing out reminders of happier times, gone wrong? Time pressure, storage space ... changing styles. Every piece probably tells a different story.

I headed into the Little Smoke on Saturday to do the rounds of the shops. I have in my mind some pieces of furniture I want for my new digs. Didn't have much luck. I'm really going to need at least one china cupboard. There was one place that was stuffed full of them, but in the $900-$1,200 range. For the past two years, they've been going at auction for $200. Apparently, the dealers haven't got the memo that the bottom has fallen out of the antiques and collectibles market.

Seems like when your not looking for something in particular, they're thick on the ground. When you want something in particular, they vanish. I'm also looking for a smallish, 1950s formica table and chairs. Blue, gray or black. No luck. When I got home, I checked Craigslist (kind of an online flea market) and there were a few. But, at great distances, away. Well, I did discover a few things. They may be listed under "chrome", "mid century modern" or, "formica." Chairs will be a problem. Far more tables out there, than matching chairs. I've checked the expected places, now I've got to expand my search to the unexpected. Out of the way shops, keep an eye on the auctions, estate sales. Luckily, I've got time to round up what I want.

Besides the skull, I stumbled on a (American Art Pottery) Weller (that's the company) pitcher with a king fisher on the side. c1910. $50. When I got home, I checked E-Bay, and there was an identical one, buy it now, for ... wait for it ... $400. Apparently, the on line dealer didn't get the memo, either. Overall, stuff is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. And, it's cobalt BLUE! :-)

Another dreary day, weather wise. Coldish with rain. I know that La Nina can't possibly be effecting us, yet, but it sure seems we've had a run of La Nina weather. A cool, wet late spring, early summer, so far. Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

You are going entirely too far with your references to old TV shows now ;). I could hear the childrens' voices singing the TV theme song as I read the first four lines of your post. Not only am I old enough to have watched the show in prime time, but the actress who played Marcia and I are within a year of being the same age. Yes, that dates me ;).

The high was 98F / 37C the day of the garden tour. It tied a record high for that date. I was outside from 10am to 5pm prepping for, hosting, and cleaning up after the tour. It sounds hot, and it was, but Mike and I have not yet turned on the air conditioning so I am well acclimated to the heat. As I type, I have a fan blowing on me so I am comfortable enough without AC. The St. Louis weather forecasters have not put out a heat advisory yet because the humidity has been relatively low, with dewpoints around 66F / 19C. They might later this week when it is supposed to get more humid. When they do, we might well turn on the AC. It's hard to sleep when nighttime lows don't drop below 80F.

Anyway, the garden tour went pretty well. About 25 to 30 people came through the yard. Considering that I and one other garden were off to our lonely selves up in northeastern St. Louis County, with most of the rest of the gardens on the tour clustered together in St. Louis city and the adjoining central part of the county, and considering how hot it was and that the tour was free, that was good attendance. People asked questions and were interested in info and inspiration, so it was well worth doing.

I enjoyed reading the story of your tables. We too have found it easy to supply home furnishings and personal goods with castoffs and secondhand goods. Like yours, some of our pieces have a story to tell. The computer I'm using, for instance, is secondhand, and its first life was in the university situated in the town in which I was born and raised, according to a label I found on it. Like you, while we profit from the discards, we are also disturbed by the way that so many things with so much life left in them are so readily given away or discarded by so many people. I don't mind a bit being a detritivore (ecologically speaking, that's our niche in reusing these unwanted goods) because it has allowed us to spend much more time doing what we deem important versus what someone else does. But it bothers me that so much energy in the form of goods is wasted so unthinkingly.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Your description of the wildflowers sounds lovely. Orchids are interesting plants in that they wait for conditions to be perfect before flowering and they can wait for a long while. People used to travel to this part of the state to hunt for orchids, but my understanding is that they have a very close symbiotic relationship with the soil life and are very complex to relocate.

Your description cheered me up as I'm feeling a bit sick today and had my second sick day in the past eight years. That is not because I go to businesses sick (presentism they call that bit of silliness), I just rarely get sick.

Yes you are correct. I found a delightful tale on the subject and they undertook solid research to back up their claims (enjoy): Can liquor be used as an emergency antiseptic?.

I approve of such thoroughness.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Great to hear that the mule guy is setting the abandoned farm well. Putting in a block of hay is a good idea too. I see some horses down here that aren't rotated often enough and the ground turns to mud as the horses compact the soil and eat the green pick. I don't really know much about horses but it must be hard on their health.

There is mystery there. I guess that is where the freezers will be staying. Yes, not all staircases are made equal, and after a few uses, you just know. There is a bridge in Melbourne like that, in that it bounces up and down - if ever you are unfortunate enough to have to stop on it. I just hope the designers knew what they were doing...

Of course, the cookie (biscuit) jar. I knew there was another one in those sets, but the memory fades. They were always some dodgy green, orange or brown colour too. They're probably very well made too. Adding to your sets is your hobby, I wouldn't worry about it.

Of course, the only butter dishes that I have seen in use were the glass ones and they didn't suffer from the porous nature of the ceramics - those look a bit like a fat bloom marks every crack in the ceramic and spreads underneath the glazing.

Hmmm, that is a good point. I tend to purchase the unsalted butter as it tastes the closest to what I remember butter tasted like. I really don't enjoy the taste of margarine these days. No doubt you are correct about the salt acting like a preservative.

I'm not well at all today which is a bit of a bummer. Just went outside and had a walk around in the sunny winter. Strangely enough the bees were very active and I spotted that two of the almonds had produced new leaves and swelling buds. They are in for a disappointment those fruit trees when July and August arrives.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I enjoy my little jokes and who knows where the Brady Bunch idea came from? Possibly I found it when cleaning behind the couch! It was a lot of fun. Some clever person had even put together a Brady Bunch true type font for Windows.

All of those tables really do have their own stories and it is nice to be able to rescue and repair stuff that is otherwise unwanted. The dining table must have cost a pretty penny back in the day when the previous owners bought it. The guy that sold it looked a little bit sad, but he still sold the table.

Oh no! It's the blue collective. I've heard about that fearsome crew and have no plans on messing with their business!!! Everything in moderation my good friend. Second hand stuff back in those days was as rare as hens teeth. They used to have the weekly Trading Post for such things which contained a couple of lines per classified advertisement and you simply had to contact the seller and have a discussion with them about the item. The Internet stomped that business.

Thank you. We replicated the basic feel of a Victorian era farm house and just made it suit us. Most houses prior to this one, we'd constructed or repaired with other people in mind. This one is us. On the downside, that probably makes it unsellable as it is anything but what a family would want. And the cultural cringe about any house that is not brick is very strong down here.

Exactly, they do. The guy that sold me the dining table looked to me as if he were letting go of the past - and he didn't seem overly happy about it, but sort of recognised that it had to be done.

Yeah, the bricks and mortar world of retail is doing it tough and niche products are a complex business.

I know of a previously blue table... That is true, I suspect the formica tables have disappeared because of the whole mid century craze thing. They often came with steam pressed plywood chairs which also seemed to be a mid century thing. When I was a kid, those things were everywhere.

Good on ya! ;-)! Well Kingfishers are blue and they are close relatives to the - grey/brown - Kookaburra! That is so true, people tend to get hung up on price, but the stuff is - as you say - only worth what someone will pay for it.

This place has been reasonably unaffected by the La Nina, but I'll tell you what, along the east coast and down into Tasmania. Wow! I read this morning that one catchment area in Tasmania received almost 20 inches of rain over a few days... Wow! I wouldn't want to be there as that is a crazy amount of rain.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

And today's earworm is none other than... Hehe! Glad you enjoyed the story. It was a lot of fun to write. The show was re-run for a very long time and I possibly may have seen some of the first airings however, they probably left no impression. I had no idea that there were so many episodes too.

Oh my, that is quite hot, and it is good to hear that you had a good turn out for the open garden. The fans are a very good idea and it does help you become acclimatised to the conditions. I have ceiling fans in every room and on hot days I can sit underneath them and enjoy the moving air. That is how they used to do such things not that long ago.

Oh yeah, 80'F is a very unpleasant nighttime low and would be far warmer than most summer nights here which usually max at about 72'F. That humidity makes a huge difference to how hot the air feels too.

Yeah, it is great fun to be able to share your garden with others and given the conditions that was an excellent turn out. I always enjoy finding out what other people see and the sort of questions they ask as it can be quite telling to be able to see your own place through other peoples eyes. I'll bet your place looked very neat and well tended. I would have enjoyed the tour.

I like that term: detritivore. Very nice. Yeah it is a tough problem, we benefit from the stuff that other discard, but at the same time other people are discarding stuff. It is not good, and what can't be sustained, generally won't be sustained.

I think I'm going to go and have a sleep.

Cheers

Chris

Coco said...

Well done on the assorted tables! You and the editor have a good eye. We scored another chestnut cabinet from the second hand store this week for less than we´d have paid the Swedish conglomorate.

I´m always a little concerned by what to do with the waste from the refinishing process, be it chemical goo, sanding or what have you. We have some radiators that need stripping and I´m thinking we should find a local car body shop to blast and repaint, figuring they´ll have proper environmental controls.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

Thank you and well done yourself with that score. Chestnut is a beautiful timber. Hehe! I was trying to be tasteful with that reference! ;-)!

Yeah, that is a fair concern. I've never used paint stripper or other such chemicals but have seen those used. I'm a bit old school on that front and tend to stick to sanding as I reckon it gives the smoothest finish. The fine sanded particles of acrylic and timber ended up in the garden beds spread over a huge area.

I tend to agree with you that the local car body shop will be the least worst option. We live on a poisoned planet and sometimes you just have to do your best and cause the least damage.

You may be interested to know that I face that problem every time I bring manures or mulches onto the property. The manures come from horse racing stables and who knows what those horses were dosed up with (worming doses for horses tends to also kill earthworms). The mulches are probably drenched in herbicide. That is life and I accept that risk and I've found that good soils with a rich soil life tend to be able to get past those problems after a year or two. That's life.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Great story about the tables. We are fortunate to have inherited a fair amount of old/antique furniture passed down through past generations of the family. Some could use a bit of sprucing up but overall they look quite good. I have my great uncle's desk and always picture him sitting there researching his investments. Only problem though - it's a bit too tall for a 5 ft person. Sometimes I think I should be practical and get a desk that fits better but then the sentimental side kicks in.

On another unrelated note, a farmer who rents a field down our road had planted winter wheat in the fall. Much to our surprise we found that he applied roundup to almost all the field (it was not ready for harvest) and then planted soybeans in the field. Apparently the dead wheat is supposed to break down in the soil (not a bad thing) and then he'll harvest the soybeans this fall. He did leave an area unsprayed so this must be a test plot for him. It's going to be interesting to see what happens.

Hope you're feeling better quickly.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Sorry your under the weather. From my recent experience, I know what it's like when you're hardly ever sick ... and then you get sick. It's always a surprise. About all you can do is eat well (which you do, anyway) and get lots of sleep. If you feel exhausted and wrung out, sleep til you wake up. And, try and keep it guilt free :-). Enjoy it. You really don't have a good excuse, all that often :-).

Don't know why I have a fixation on getting a formica set. Probably because we had one when I was a kid. And, I remember that they were great for rolling out pastry, and such. The sets here had a "cracked ice" pattern in whatever color. The chairs were also tubular chrome with flexible vinyl covering the seat and back. Matching color and pattern. I wouldn't say the vinyl was fragile, but you could poke a hole in it, or, tear it. I noticed in a sale book catalog I get that there's a book out on the history of formica. Who knew? I might have to get a copy through interlibrary loan.

LOL. I used to go out junking with a friend who was really invested in refinishing high end, antique wood furniture. I'd spot something and go "Oh! Look, look!". He'd go "What?" And I'd say "Genuine Formica!" The eye roll was worth it. :-).

20" of rain sounds like what we get in our rain forests, up on the Olympic Peninsula. It rained here, hard enough last night, to wake me up a couple of times. Puddles on the logging road. Low 40sF at night and low 60sF in the day. Supposed to be overcast and drippy til Saturday. Then a clear off, but not too warm. There's snow in the mountains. Winter weather advisories. I can't say we've never had a wet early summer, like this, but after last year's drought, it seems unusual. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Coco - You might look into heat guns for your radiators. I used them on wooden furniture, quit a bit. The old paint just flakes off in dry bits and can be swept up and put in an old coffee can for disposal. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I hope that you are feeling better.

Thanks for the site showing use of alcohol as an antiseptic. Using it is far more complex than I would have imagined.

It appears that I am way out of date, every time that you gave the price of a table that you had bought, I thought 'goodness that's expensive'! But what would I know, it is 20 years since I have bought any furniture. Most of what I have was given or bought at auction or second hand. My husband often made anything that we needed, I remember a wonderful pair of bunk beds for the children. Son makes some of his furniture also.

Yesterday I and 2 friends checked out the café in that large new holiday site nearby. Two of us had coffees that were fine, but one friend asked for tea. We were stunned by what arrived. A cup of water was placed in front of her, in the saucer was a teabag. I have no idea what the temperature of the water was.

It is cold and raining intermittently here; the summer really needs to try harder.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thank you and lucky you to have so much history in your furniture. Exactly, what is the odd scratch and inexplicable dent when just looking at a desk provides a pleasant journey into your past. Good stuff! The desk was clearly a wise investment on his part.

It is nice to see farmers experimenting with different techniques. It is a very tough thing for them to go against the common wisdom and try a different technique and see what the outcome is. Unfortunately the predatory business practices that they are subjected to force their hand to produce a consistent output.

I've been observing a similar thing from my eagles eyrie here when one of the local farmers burnt and then ploughed one of their fields as a test patch. I should include an update photo soon... I have to be honest, it is far greener now than all of the other fields surrounding it, and about on par with the best patches of soil in the orchard here (which has not been tilled in any way shape or form for well over 6 years, maybe more) and all of that time it has received annual top ups of compost and mulch. I reckon they are onto something.

I'll be very interested to hear how it goes. The herbicides actually work to apparently kill off soil life, so who knows what the outcome of the experiment may be.

The old timers used to allow fields to go fallow for a few years. That is the fancy name for just going weedy. Then they'd chop and drop the lot and plant into that - or alternatively run cattle over it and then plant into it. Either way the outcomes are pretty good for the soil fertility.

Thanks very much for your concern. I feel heaps better today, although I was subjected to about 5 and a bit hours of bureaucracy (more on this in a few weeks).

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for your understanding. Yeah it is a nightmare. Well, I had a bit more than a lot of sleep yesterday and I reckon I was awake to reply to comments and then I was done in for. All up I reckon about 20 hours were spent soundly asleep. At one point I discovered that Scritchy had climbed under the blankets - without waking me up - and was sound asleep with her head on the pillow. This is purely opportunistic and very unusual behaviour on the part of Scritchy. The editor did not have the heart to kick her out after discovering her using her Scritchy sneak factor 11 powers. That's true about not having the excuse often to kick back and let the world go past, it would be nicer though if I wasn't feeling so rubbish.

Hope yesterdays comments made sense, as I'll tell ya mate, anything could have been said yesterday!!! Oh no!

Fair enough, enjoy your formica. The problem is the mid-century and rock-a-billy crazes have pushed up prices for those items. Yeah, I have heard from a guy that deals with all sorts of stone as a professional and for a very long time and I asked him long time ago what the best stone was for domestic use. And no kidding he said: Laminate. I took that to be a rousing endorsement for the stuff. I grew up with that chrome and vinyl stuff with all of the piping covering the joins. It is absolutely true what you say about the brittle quality of that vinyl as it aged – you could simply look at the stuff and it would tear. I noticed that linoleum has the same problem too. Yeah, I've often wondered whether the current stuff that is available is a result of repairs? Back in the day I recall that dashboards used to crack in the summer sun and who could possibly forget the ubiquitous old Cabana vinyl swing chair: image... I really doubt whether anyone actually used the things.

I used to have a café around the corner from where I lived that used to be all mid century fittings, but in a very genuine sort of a way as it was more what they could afford in the early 90’s rather than any particular theme.

I would be interested to hear of the history of formica. Some of those chemical compounds are really quite old.

Haha! That sounds like a lot of fun. Your friend was clearly a purist. :-)!

Wow, that is a whole lot of rain. Western Tasmania is amazingly green too as it bears the brunt of the roaring 40's. They have rainforest up that way too, but it is very slow growing and some of the plants are ancient. It is a strange place, almost untouched by time and man. I'll see if I can dig up a suitable image... ... ... Tasmanian central highlands rainforests. It is a very ancient and untouched part of the world that place and few if anyone has ever lived there.

Yeah it is tough that. With a drought, as long as you have water, things will grow well and strongly, but too much water just slows everything down. On the other hand some years are just perfect - they're rare though.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thank you for your concern. I'm feeling a lot better today, but still was not fit for polite company.

I had no idea that the use of alcohol was that complex either. Some of the times required to kill off particularly nasty pathogens was impressive. It was also pleasant to see a couple of scientists, offering themselves for experimentation.

Well, that is inflation for you! Actually, this stuff is comparatively cheap. Inflation is an unspoken topic down here. You were very lucky to have several people in your life who are handy enough to be able to construct furniture from scratch. You may be unaware how rare that is nowadays, and the funny thing is most people err by considering that option to be a lower quality approach, if they even consider the option at all. It is a bit surreal. Did you know, someone last week asked me, when I told them I had built this house myself, whether it was a mudbrick house... Culture runs deep...

Oh no! Perhaps the people responsible for that disaster don't actually drink tea? Tea is a very high margin product at cafés, even more so than coffee, so you would think that they would put a bit more effort in? You would also believe that at a minimum there was a tea pot and strainer somehow involved? How very uncivilised of them!

I won't mention that it was a superb day down here today 53.6'F and sunny. But there is another east coast low developing. Apparently it is not as strong as the last one. Did you know on the NSW coast a record breaking wave of 17.7m (58ft) was recorded by a weather buoy which broke free of its moorings... Many people were enjoying the big surf conditions…

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

It's the Bunch of Tables! I grew up watching the Brady Bunch . . .

How heavy do you reckon the stone top on the previously-blue table is? The ice cream table top is SO round! Good job! And no easy task, either.

You actually have an indoor forest, of varied species, recycled (though, well, um - dead) though they may be.

Five coats of tung oil is a lot!

When we were first married we purchased several antique oak tables at a flea market that had been picked up at a sale in Manchester, England. They came from a pub (chairs included) and weigh SO much. They are so sturdy and can be used as a full-sized table or the ends can be slid under the middle to make a square table.

The non-rusting steel chairs are fascinating. Something escaped from a Space Program?

I'm starting to get a feeling that opening a cafe could be in your future . . . and you all can cook, too. You're set if all else fails.

I have never seen such colors in a morning sky. Breathtaking!

Toothy looks less than thrilled to have his "companion" so close . . .

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Ahhh. Scritchy was just expressing sympathy and moral support. As you know, animals can be pretty intuitive. Nell's on a long run of perching on my shoulder or side, when I go to bed or take a nap. She always does a few minutes of that kneading that cats do before they settle in. She seems to have a real knack for hitting the sore spots. It's like having my own mini masseur, on staff :-).

They call swing chairs, "gliders", here. Back in the 50s, my grandparents had one in a structure, in the back yard. The structure was open on one side. Concrete floor, wood siding up, maybe 3 feet and the rest open lattice. Covered in a grape vine. A nice shady spot. I can remember Grannie, sitting there and shelling peas or stringing green beans. But, I think the glider was covered in some kind of canvas material.

There's at least one vinyl repair business, in Centralia. One of those businesses you don't think about, til you need it. Looks like they do mostly car interiors. I can remember (vaguely) working in restaurants or bars where the vinyl repair guy would be called in to repair the covering on a booth, or two. A banquet? Could usually do the repair, on the spot and not have to haul it off, somewhere. It was always amazing how undetectable the repair was. The business in Centralia has some before and after pictures on their web site that are pretty amazing.

The Tasmanian Central Highlands do look prehistoric. A dinosaur could break through that underbrush at any minute. :-).

Well, off to my weekly trip to the Little Smoke. We had some truly epic downpours, yesterday. Sun's out, now. Subject to change in the next 5 minutes. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

58ft is one heck of a wave, I hadn't heard about it.

Have spent the afternoon in a state of paranoia. I dug up 7 potatoes from 2 different places to see how they were doing. 2 were large baking size which is always nice. I placed them on an outside table on the decking to dry, something that I have done for years and went to see if I had any post. This only took a few minutes. When I returned, the largest potato had gone. I simply could not think what could possibly have removed it. I rang my son and he suggested that a squirrel might have caused it to roll off. Plausible. I cut down all the undergrowth around and found nothing. Rang son again and he said that it would have been a rat. He continued with information on the capabilities of rats. I had begun to think that a human being must have removed it hence my increasing paranoia.

Some time later I looked out of the window and saw a rat on the decking. Son had told me that when one lives amongst nature one discovers that everything that one had believed about it is wrong. I remain amazed at the capability of a rat, it was a very large potato.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam, Lewis and Inge,

Thanks for the lovely comments and I promise to respond tomorrow evening.

I was actually feeling 100% today, so to celebrate we snuck into the big smoke this evening after a days work to see a very quirky and enjoyable New Zealand film: HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE. I thoroughly enjoyed the film and highly recommend it. It was a very original storyline.

It is nice to be feeling better... :-)!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - A draw leaf table. They're really a very cleaver, simple mechanism. Also, on this side of the pond, you see quit a few "pub tables", from England. Ornate cast iron bottoms, wood tops. On the smallish side and round. Plenty of repros kicking around. Who cares, as long as they're useful and you get "the look." :-)

@Inge - Some friends told a story about when they lived down on the coast. It was Thanksgiving, and they had an enormous turkey that they had baked. Being just the two of them, they put the turkey to cool in a laundry room off the kitchen. The laundry room had a ladder, through a hatch to a crawl space. They heard a sound and discovered that a large rat was dragging the turkey carcass, backwards up the ladder and into the crawl space. Oh, argh.

@ Chris - "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" looks like a hoot! And, I really like Sam Neill. Great actor. I'll have to watch for it on this side of the pond. Just finished up season three of "A Place to Call Home." Wow. What a soap opera! This season's cliff hanger (among many) is that our pregnant heroine Sarah, has probably just taken rat poison, secretly provided by the villainess who's brassed off because the child Sarah is carrying, is really not the child of her dead husband (who has just died on the operating table, during an operation to try and remove WWII shrapnel from his brain.) And, if the husband had had the good grace to die a day earlier, Sarah and the villainess's husband, could have gotten married, and lived happily ever after ... but they didn't know that Sarah's husband had died because the villainess had disconnected the phone on the way to marry Sarah's boyfriend, who seems to be developing a bit of a morphine addiction and may be being slowly poisoned by the villainess. Clear? :-). All this takes place in mid 1950s Australia. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Hehe! It was very unsubtle that reference, but oh it was so much fun to write! I grew up watching that show too, and it may well explain both of our collective and not so secret love of the poo brown Plymouth Satellite station wagon! Hehe!!! ;-)! Oh, sorry for that. :-)! How they could possibly fit so many people into that car is well beyond me. And did they fit Alice in there as well? So many questions... That vehicle was not sold here, but honestly, the local offerings of the time were not that dissimilar.

At a guess, I reckon the stone benchtop on that old/new blue table was about 155 pounds. It was quite heavy, but not as heavy as the other chunk that ended up in the kitchen. I won't mention that I almost dropped the thing at one point when the weight shifted unexpectedly whilst walking backwards up the front stairs. Fortunately, we are quite stoic here.

Thanks for saying that about the ice cream table as the editor cut that circle by hand using a little electric jigsaw. You know what is really strange about that jigsaw? I reckon you can see it on its side on top of the floorboards just inside the house in the photo of the blue table taken over two decades ago. I was looking at that in amazement when I first scanned that photo (which was taken using 35mm film). It is certainly a very old electric tool. The rest of the old table top has been kept and we're not quite sure what use it will be put to.

Haha! Well, don't we all have such things? My favourite is the old Sydney Blue Gum flooring in the house which was downgraded because it had too many features. Yeah, I can help you with that problem! I tend to think of features as character.

Five coats seemed about right for a dining table. I would do less on a floor because the timber is not as subject to the same heat stress as a table. Also, I have to take into account the carelessness of guests who may put a hot mug of liquid (mulled wine?) onto the table top.

I love hearing about the stories of your own original oak furniture (a beautiful timber too). Have you ever wondered if only that furniture could talk, what the tales they would tell?

You may have noticed that a lot of the outdoor furniture here is steel. I'm considering the bushfire risk. ;-)! Hopefully some of it survives.

Yeah, there was an almost repeat of that purple sky this morning, but this time it was a deep blue. Another east coast low storm has begun. Do you get many storms like that one?

Scritchy instructs and Toothy obeys. Although now you mention it, he does seem a bit unhappy with that arrangement. Oh well, he’ll live. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I reckon you are spot on with that observation as animals can be very intuitive and supportive when they see the need. Nell is clearly an excellent cat, amongst all other cats. However, cats can be quite uncanny in their senses and intuition and I recalled an article from 2010 which described a cat in a nursing home on Rhode Island who could accurately predict the deaths of patients even better than the staff could: Cat predicts 50 deaths in RI nursing home. I hope they remember at the nursing home to get the cat a young apprentice so that Oscar the cat can hand on those useful skills? I actually believe that it is quite lovely that Oscar the cat performs a vigil for the dying and that people receive comfort from that. I’ve read a similar account from another cat in Italy.

Yeah, I'd never heard of the term "glider" but most of the photos showed far more elaborate and complex structures than the rubbish sold down here. There were even rush roofed enclosed spaces which looked as though they'd just taken the most recent canoe east from Hawaii. They looked really cool. Grape vines used to be used down here for summer shade, but you rarely see them now and most people grow grapes using espalier techniques. The old timers used to let them ramble up and all over a structure. Grape vines are amazingly long lived too. One grape vine planted today that is well tended will see both you and I out for sure! Thanks for the story of your Grannie shelling the peas and beans in the shade of the grape arbor on a hot summers afternoon. She sounded as if she were happily lost in the work, which is a nice place to be.

You've just reminded me too, we're late getting the broad beans into the ground by a few weeks! Mate, it has been busy this week as I’m trying to make up for lost time whilst sick. Hope I have something to write about next Monday! :-)! Oh well. I had an idea last night and wrote the title, but forgot to put in the rest of the details, and now I’m left wondering…

Yeah repairs like that are a real skill. It is so hard to do those sorts of quality repairs to a difficult material by anyone else. It is good to know people who head out into businesses to assist them with on the spot and day to day problem resolving stuff. Now that you said it though, that is pretty much what the editor and I do for a living though. ;-)! I'm kind of embarrassed for my profession who tend to hide behind their desks in fancy offices and get business people to come to them by appointment. I wonder how long a shelf life such a policy has? Dunno. That policy just doesn't feel right to me.

Totally watch out for dinosaurs - or the occasional Diprotodont! By all accounts they used to have Diprotodonts as well in the big island to the north of the continent which is now known as Papua New Guinea, which is now in the grip of a punishing drought. They have mountains up to about 16,500ft and even some tropical glaciers. It is a fascinating place, which I would not want to casually visit as it is in a lot of trouble socially. A mate once worked there and he said that the capital city was under strict night curfew. But then he was probably a target as he was working in the Oil industry.

Enjoy your epic downpours and trip into the little smoke (nice to see that you survived)! 1/5th of an inch so far here in comparison to your epic downfalls and that is quite gentle.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

It is all the more mind boggling when you consider that wave heights are recorded from sea level to the peak, rather than the even higher trough to the peak. I'll see whether I can rustle up the article for you... ... ...

New map reveals weather buoy journey after recording monster 17.7m 58ft wave

And while we are discussing the recent big storm: Historic 1857 shipwreck uncovered on Tasmanian beach after east coast low

And things get even bigger in Tasmania... Record-breaking wave off Tasmania's west coast 20m or 65.6ft

About a century ago, there was a much reported very ancient ship wrecked Mahogany ship along the coastline of SW Victoria. Some of the reports were from very credible witnesses too. Alas, time, thieves and nature have all taken their toll and the wreck is now not to be found.

Those cheeky rats! But at the same time, I'm sort of impressed with their efforts. You may be unsurprised to know that they have managed to break into the dry firewood sheds here, but not the chicken shed and run, but it is fair to say that they have the run of the place. They seem smarter than I, the editor and all of the dogs combined. Fortunately, Poopy the Pomeranian strikes a blow for the canine and human world against the rodents from time to time, but other than that... Have you considered getting a dog or cat?

I totally understand your paranoia, because if something unusual happens, it is probably worth putting a few brain cells towards. I am more concerned with the two legged creatures than with the four legged creatures too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Sam Neil did a top job as an irascible old bush bloke and the kid in the film really owned the role and also did a great job. It was essentially a buddy film with minor overtones of the Gilgamesh tale. I spoke with a really cool NZ guy today I've known for about a decade and he reckons he used to drink beers with the director of the film, and the NZ guy has never told me untruths before, that I’m aware of so I’ll take him at his word on this one.

Now with this in mind I have to teach you a few New Zealand (NZ) sayings:

NZ bro: "Sucks to be you aye bro!".

English interpretation: You appear to be in a rather unpleasant situation and you have my sympathies. Please also note the subtle conditions on these spoken words as they are a statement and not an offer of assistance. And clearly the words are spoken in a situation where there are no possible consequences and have a slight undercurrent of mocking and yet also humorous quality with undertones of camaraderie.

Well, I hope that makes that clearer! Hehe!!!

Far out! You can only hope that none of the people involved in that saga - most notably the apparently evil villainess - are ever actually involved in your life. I don't believe that either you or I would survive such unpleasantness. Sarah seems to be having a few troubles. On the other hand Sarah appears to be a rather accommodating young lady who is now in a whole lot of 1950s difficulties. Alright, so is there a season four? The intrigue, the plots. I'll bet the villainess husband is somehow revived from a near death experience (or is he a confirmed fatality)?

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

So glad you are well again. It's something how a loss of a day or two can really put one behind in the chore department.

I'll definitely be watching that field with interest. Round up is used around here as a matter of course - there's no getting away from it. I often wonder if the farmers really believe in the current farming practices or are just trapped in a system. One seldom sees a field lying fallow around here. The only farmers rotating animals anymore are small specialty farmers.

Speaking of rotating animals, my "pig garden" as I call my garden in one of the unused pig pens is doing quite well. So nice not to deal with quack grass or bind weed in there. Plenty of other annual weeds in the paths but I'm just using my little string trimmer to wack the tops off.

Harvested the first broccoli this week. Beets, cauliflower and peapods are almost ready too. Only rain here was a 2 inch downpour the other night which was much needed. It came so fast and hard it didn't soak in all that well.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Lew,

Someone has to come back from the dead in "A Place to Call Home" to be a real soap opera haha.

Margaret

Coco said...

Chris,

I think you only have chickens - but while I was looking into hedging plants on permies.com I ran across this link. Just thought it might give you some ideas actually from down under, if you wanted to lure your local wildlife menagerie away from your garden into the woods.

http://www.small-farm-permaculture-and-sustainable-living.com/livestock_feeding_systems.html

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The uncovering of old wrecks is always fascinating. I am astounded at how many there are around the world.

No I have not considered getting a dog or cat. Son says that his rats just sneer at him and the dogs. He is organising a trap, with which he gets a lot of success, for me. Mummy rat has just introduced 2 young. It is interesting to watch the interplay between the squirrels and the rat. On the whole they ignore each other but if a squirrel gets too close the rat sees it off.

The rain is absolutely tipping down at the moment, sufficient to knock out the TV signal.

@Lew That is some rat story.

@Margaret I believe that they are considering banning roundup here.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, youngsters, I was a bit too old for the Brady Bunch. But, it's such a cultural "icon" that I'm well aware of the basics of the program. And, that darned ear worm of a theme song. :-).

I'd heard the stories about cats predicting deaths in nursing homes. When Nell gets too attentive, I check my pulse more regularly :-).

I think things like vinyl repair are occupations that require 1.) the right tools 2.) the knack and 3.) the knowledge.

LOL. Yes, I've heard "Sucks to be you." I've got one for you ... "We all have our cross to bear." :-). That's one you don't hear much, anymore, and I use it to great effect by dropping it into a conversation. I think a rough translation would be "Quit whining and suck it up. Other people have it far worse and have burdens far more heavier than yours, to carry."

There was a break in the weather, yesterday. As I'd gotten a peevish note from the mail lady, about the state of the weeds around the mail box, I got out there with my hedge trimmers and hacked them back. Four households use those mail boxes, but apparently, it's my responsibility to hack them back. Oh, well. While I was at it, I hacked back the stuff on the path to the chicken yard.

Well, an unexpected trip to the Little Smoke, today. Oh, well, it's raining, anyway. I feel betwixt and between. Don't feel like I can put much in the ground, as I don't know how long I'll be here. Lew

@ Margaret - Character back from the dead? Check. Sarah's first husband, the one who died from the shrapnel in his brain, was a French Jewish resistance fighter who disappeared during WWII and was presumed dead. Of course, he turned out to have amnesia, and wasn't rediscovered until Sarah had all her mourning done and had gotten herself "in the family way" with George, the one who may be being poisoned by the villainess ... who, by the way, is the sister of George's first wife who died in WWII.

Then there's James, George's son, and heir to the lavish estate. He's (not so) secretly gay, and several villains use this knowledge in different ways. His wife Olivia miscarried their child, but kept up the pretense of being pregnant until she could make the arrangements to buy a baby. James is about to run off with the handsome doctor, who he met when George was shot (maybe) by Sarah's dead resistance fighter husband, when he was having one of his crazy episodes, due to the shrapnel in his brain. Olivia has taken the child and is about to run off with the hot beatnik (it's the 50s) artist, who was hired to paint the official family portrait, and had a fling with Olivia. Anna and Gino (the very traditional Italian immigrant) are having their problems. Anna is George's daughter ... or, you thought she was until it was revealed that Anna is actually the daughter of George's sister (very much the modern woman, who lives in an "arty" apartment in Sydney) ... and the local well loved country doctor. Who didn't know he had a daughter. Meanwhile, the matriarch of the clan (who was a villainess, but is now a sympathetic character, is getting ready to run off with a, late in life, love interest to explore the archaeological sites of the Middle East, is busy flopping around on the floor of her daughter's artsy apartment, as she has a bum ticker. As her late life love interest sadly walks away, as, he thinks she's decided not to kick over the traces and go with him on this adventure.

Whew! One needs a flow chart. There had better be a fourth season, to tie up all these loose ends. And, I hope the world keeps spinning and I stay alive, long enough to find out how this all turns out :-) Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Yeah, it can be a strain catching up to where you would have been previously before becoming sick. And, absolutely, chores are given a miss. On the other hand I try to maintain a bit of fat in terms of spare time every week to be able to absorb such shocks. But this week I'm totally booked out, and I even have to work Sunday (in the paid sense of that word) in order to catch up.

Wow. Thanks for the excellent description. Most farmers around these parts tend to run cattle for fattening, so fields are more often than not ploughed and then replanted. The round up business goes on here too, it is usually for single crop fields, which are not usually in this part of the country. My gut feeling is that they are trapped into a system that seeks to extract a regular return. When returns are below that expected return, that is when the debt carrot is dangled before the farmers. It is seen as a smoothing tool, but perhaps it could also be seen as a yoke which buys time but places additional pressure on the regularity of the output. Agriculture from my experience doesn't tend to produce consistent outputs as it varies from year to year in accordance with the weather patterns, weather shocks and soil fertility. It is a tough gig.

Nice to hear about your pig garden. I visited some friends today who had pigs and we spoke about constructing an interesting moveable pig house. Oooo! The pigs are delightful creatures.

Yeah sometimes those heavy and fast downpours run off the soil. I still do my best to capture those in swales and soaks, but over summer, have you noticed that the soil pores close if the soil becomes too dry? Your summer harvest sounds lovely. I'm down to citrus (lots of citrus), rhubarb (once my quince supplies run out in the next week or so) and lots and lots of salad greens. My chickens have been producing only 1 to 2 eggs per day for the past month or so. It is getting grim!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

How good is permies.com? I post articles over there from time to time, as they're a good bunch of folks.

Thanks for the link, I'll check it out. As well as the chickens, a whole lot of wildlife calls this place home and there is a huge variety of birds and I try to provide habitat for each of the different types, especially the smaller birds (wrens and robins) who work so hard in the garden eating all of the slugs, snails and pretty much every other insect known to mankind. A dreaded locust plague once swept through the farm and I saw a lot of locusts bouncing around in the sun. The wild birds absolutely destroyed every one of them. Hedging and habitat is so important.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

There are a lot of ship wrecks littered about the place aren't there? Sea travel was an uncertain business. Imagine confronting one of those monster waves we spoke of recently in a sailing ship. Oh my! On a related noted I believe, whilst many convicts died en-route from the UK to Australia, the UK government never lost a single ship. Now passenger and cargo ships were a whole other thing, and the SW coast of Victoria is littered with them. One such was the three masted sailing ship, the Loch Ard. Only two survived from that ill-fated ship. I've seen where they came ashore and the conditions are pretty rough. Interestingly, public opinion at the time suggested that the young couple who survived should marry, but the young lady instead decided to return to the UK to rejoin her more extended family.

Well your son is in good company because the rats pay no heed to either of us or the dogs. Sometimes Poopy is fast enough and agile enough to kill a rat, but most times, the rats are way too clever and they thumb their noses at us all. And you have added a squirrel into the mix too, so I certainly feel that the squirrels are reasonably switched on animals. It is a formidable mix but is nice that they can co-exist.

That is a huge amount of rain. I wouldn’t notice if the TV signals drop out as they went to digital a few years ago and I believe that the old analogue signal which could be received here ceased. Just under an inch fell here last night too! As the climate changes to a La Nina event, the waves of storms seem to be coming in thick and fast. I've now had more rainfall than at this time last year and I notice that on the forecast there is another storm front approaching the continent, but this time from the NW by the end of the week. So far, things have been reasonably gentle here.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Lew,

Well then it does qualify as a real soap opera. I'm going to have to stay away from this one as soap operas can become quite addictive. In college we would try to schedule our classes around our favorite soap operas. I continued to watch them for years. The day we got our first VCR that recorded was a happy day for me as I could finally tape all the soaps I had missed while at work and watch them at night - what a time waster.

Hi Inge,

Everything is soaked in round up here as we are pretty much surrounded by corn and soy fields. I wrestle with using it myself on some of the weeds that I cannot control - all weeds that are spread by long root systems under ground - canadian thistle, field bind weed and quack grass. Right now my goal is to pull 50 canadian thistle but only get a little of the root each time. We have thousands in any unmowed area. A friend says she cuts the thick stem and just puts a little round up on what's left and it seems to be working. What a dilemma!!

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Right now I only have 10 hens and at least half are 3 years old. I'm getting about 5 eggs a day but this is heavy egg laying time here. I've got a bunch of two month old and 3 week old chicks coming up to replace this bunch. I've picked breeds that either lay well in winter, are predator savvy and/or forage well. I've got 36 right now and I expect 7 or 8 to be roosters as the 3 week batch was straight run. I'd like to end up with a well behaved rooster and about 20 hens this fall.

I've got everything mulched pretty well right now which is good as there is no significant rainfall forecasted for the next 10 days.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Well, I was a bit young to take in the Brady bunch, so we both missed (albeit not literally, I was probably plonked down in front of it watching all of the pretty colours on the screen! Hehe!) the original screenings. It is a cultural icon though. Someone even put together a car database for that show and I was amazed at the variety of vehicles included in the episodes. I smell a product placement. They also had a "jumping the shark” moment which was re-labelled under a different name which I'd never heard of before called: "Cousin Oliver" which describes "the addition of a young character to a series in an attempt to save a series from cancellation." Good luck with that one! I thought the Fonz owned the jumping the shark business. Apologies about the ear worm too. Needless to say it haunted me as well. :-)!

Yes, Nell is as good a guide as the best of them and please do be careful! I've also read accounts of canines taking undue interest in skin spots in humans which inevitably turn out to be cancerous. Our friends have a good sense of smell.

Hey! Over at my mates today I got to drive their new tractor. Oooo! OK, I have to totally admit to now having total tractor envy as it was an excellent beast. I've never driven a tractor before but it works very similarly to a loader I used many years ago now. The editor was a natural at the beast too and there were lots of smiles all around. Mind you, I can't justify a tractor, so we'll stick to the old school tried and true methods here. But, I'll tell ya what. It was fun to drive around in - whilst they put us both to good work at their farm today for a brief period before an extended lunch. Yum! It was a fun day.

Exactly, if you lack one of those attributes, then it is possibly not a good idea to apply for work in that role. Hehe!

Yeah, they used to say that down here too, but not so much nowadays, well not at all anymore really now that I dwell upon the matter. I once saw a Kitchen Nightmares US show where the irascible UK chef Gordon Ramsay had to out alpha a chef. The chef eventually broke under the relentless pressure and then started giving excuses. Gordon turned to him and said we've all got problems, and then he pointed at the rest of the kitchen crew and said: "problems; problems; (sic) problems". He wasn’t indicating that the crew were problems, but rather that they too had problems. I didn't enjoy the US series of that excellent show because he had to spend most of each episode out alpha-ing each chef, every single week before they were receptive to asking for assistance from the chef and/or accepting changes. The UK series was more a show about how businesses fail and how to go about fixing them, without all of the unnecessary ego and posturing. The cultural differences were fascinating.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Haha! That's funny about the peevish note and I'm sure you did some good work with the cleaning up. There is no mail delivery to the area that I live at all as it falls into some sort of governmental black spot. Before I moved here, I had no concept that such places even existed. Anyway, it probably suits my personality very well. There is a large island in one of the bays here called French Island which has no local council at all, and therefore no property taxes at all. They used to roast a lot of chicory there and the old kilns can still be seen dotted about the island. It is also a massive koala sanctuary.

Yeah, you must feel a bit unsettled by the future? Is there some part of you that sees it as an adventure? You may have a great time there, who knows?

It is quite cold here this evening so I made a very yummy: rice noodle, mushroom and vegetable soup. The corn kernels had dehydrated on the cob in the refrigerator, so I cut them all off the cob and dropped them into the soup as is and they rehydrated to about their original size. The soup warmed me up too. Yum!

Thanks for the explanation and honestly I tried to follow it too. Your suggestion for a flow chart is a great idea. Who knew such things happened down here in the 1950's? ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - What happened here, when VCRs came in was that local bars would copy an episode and replay it at the "Happy Hour" / getting off work hour. Really, after today, I probably won't give it a thought until season 4 pops up in the library catalog, about this time next year. After a year, sometimes it's a bit difficult to pick up the thread. I "loose the plot", as our host says. Well, for the first time on a DVD set, they repeated the last episode of last season. Sometimes, there's an extended "Previously on..." at the beginning of a new season.

LOL. This is a really bad time of the year for reading and watching DVDs, I get from the library. I don't have cable, so, DVDs, are it. But, I limit those activities, to after dark, after the days work is done. And, there isn't much dark at that end of the day. This time of the year. I've also shifted my meals. The usual light lunch, is now dinner. And, my heavier dinner is now the mid-day lunch. Because by the time I get around to my evening meal, it's 9 or 10 o'clock! Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Jumping the shark. Must admit I fast forwarded through bits of the last two episodes of season three of "A Place to Call Home." There have been series that I just lost interest in. Or, watched an episode or two and just decided it wasn't my cup of tea. I think our library has seasons of "Kitchen Nightmares" but, I've never been interested enough to pick them up. Hmm. How to explain it. Anthony Bourdain has several series out, but I've never found them very interesting. He's soooo much better on the page? To me. What I find interesting is ... histories of different kinds of food or more basic nuts and bolts kind of cooking. But, I can see, given your employment dealing with small businesses that the Ramsey shows would be interesting. Along with the cultural differences.

Stephen King has a new book out. "End of Watch." Which is apparently the capper of a trilogy. "Mr. Mercedes", "Finders Keepers" and, now this one. I didn't even know it was a trilogy. Probably, neither did King when he started out. :-). I also noticed something new in our library catalog. "Doctor Blake Mysteries" which are apparently set in 1950s Australia. Hmmm. I've come to the creeping realization that more and more series (and, not just the mysteries) are being set in the 1950s. Wonder what that's all about? Interest in midcentury modern? Gradual generational shift?

Beware tractor envy! My landlord and Brother Bob were infected with it. They were a bit miffed that my friends who moved to Idaho, wouldn't sell them a tractor that was slated for their farm auction. They ended up buying it anyway. The older crowd just can't seem to get over the (now) widespread practice of charging a sellers AND buyers premium. I don't know how many tractors are moldering away around the place.

I see the dreaded Bike People are making forays around the parameters of the ADR. Testing the defenses :-). They need to be slapped down, and hard, now! :-). If I had the time, talent and inclination, I'd write a post industrial story for "Into the Ruins" about a nasty and horrifying bike cult. Something sardonic. A real send up. :-).

Went to town, yesterday, to sort out something at The Home. I'd gotten my official "your on the wait list" letter, but the box for substandard housing (which gives me an edge in the queue) hadn't been checked ... but it turned out, I've got "preference" as far as the computer is concerned. Any time they have an opening, they start at the top of the list for a placement. People move away, die, make other arrangements. The Warden said that once, she had to run through 10 names before she got a likely candidate. So, even though I'm in the upper "teens" on the list, things could move very fast. Or not. Prediction is still 6 months to a year. Maybe. I'm to check in, once a month. Just to let them know I'm still alive and interested :-).

I entered a bit of a different way and ran across the raised bed gardens. An elderly (even from my point of view) lady was working on one, and I complimented her on her lush veg garden. She said it was her Victory Garden. And, I'm sure not her first :-). Not her first time at the rodeo :-)I was wondering about perennial plants ... could you carry over your spot from year to year. They were in evidence. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Yup. It is a bit of an adventure. I need a couple of pieces of furniture (no rush) so I was out scouting a couple of "used" places. Oh, my. I have never seen so much useless junk. After awhile, it's all quit overwhelming. And, judging from a few comments I heard, the general lethargy and apparent depression among the dealers, I don't think things are going well in the junk trade.

Probably don't hear the "cross to bear" remark, much, anymore, as it has slightly religious connotations, and, sweeping generalization, people are so sensitive to being "politically correct" on a number of fronts. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, if not carried to extremes. As discussed over at the ADR.

Summer is supposed to start, tomorrow. We'll see. Today, there are rain showers, sweeping through. And, I should probably shut down my computer as I can hear thunder in the distance ... moving this way. We haven't had a round of good boomers in a long time. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks for the numbers. Yeah, egg count drops off as the chickens get older. My oldest two are about five and half years now, and all up there are 18 chickens. I usually bring in in between two and three new chickens per year. The older chickens bring stability to the group, and one of those two is a silkie.

Here is hoping for a well behaved rooster. I've had a very gentlemanly rooster in the past and he was an asset to the group, but then I have had rough roosters too and they were a lot of hassle and I quickly necked them before they caused too much damage.

Mulch is great for reducing heat stress on trees over summer - and it is very good to get it on the ground at the start of summer so that the deep soil can retain some winter moisture.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

It is a great term that one, and the Fonz literally did jump the shark!!! Ah, happy days! Hehe. Oh, the Kitchen Nightmares UK version is a show about how to take a failing food business and turn it around. It is very good and he shows a deep understanding of the human condition and how to work with groups of people, so you are correct as it has an appeal to me. He also uses a similar analysis method to myself so perhaps I enjoy that part of it too.

Of course I do not watch cooking shows as if I want to cook something my time would be better spent in the kitchen getting my hands dirty. I'm constantly amazed at how those shows try to make things look more complicated than they actually are and I've often wondered whether they are used as vehicles to flog product. The history of food is interesting. Plants are fascinating too and the old timers used to love transporting plants around the planet. The range of plants that we have access to nowadays is amazing. It is a pity we seem to be letting the genetic diversity of those plants diminish - I grow a huge range of heritage variety plants and let them cross pollinate.

Stephen King is a prolific author. Top work. So, have you got it on hold yet?

Ha! The whole 1950's thing I reckon can be traced back to the show Mad Men, which has been enormously successful. I watched ten minutes of it and it both troubled and repulsed me and so I went off and did something else. A lot of people seem to like it, so what do I know? Probably not much! ;-)!

I was joking around about the tractor envy... maybe... Help, I'm getting this twitchy feeling which makes me want to go out and buy a tractor! Nah, I'm just mucking around, it is too steep here for a tractor, so not to stress and I feel for both the landlord and Brother Bob the Batchelor farmer (may he rest in peace). I haven't felt the lack of having one around the place and the repairs and maintenance would quickly annoy me.

Oh no! Not the bike people. You know, I reckon that the past decade has seen a cultural shift with bike riders. They express a militant and aggressive attitude. A few weeks back I had to overtake some who were riding four abreast on a single lane road. I gave them a little beep to know I was there patiently waiting for them to provide some space, and then one of the bike riders started mouthing off at me. What's with that? That bike story would be dark and cultish. Go on! :-)!

Upper teens is pretty good. Yeah, those systems have to be completed correctly, but I reckon the squeaky wheel gets the oil - as they used to say. Not that anyone realises bearings require lubrication these days... That sounds like a very good strategy to check in regularly.

That was a very sweet answer about the Victory garden. Good on her! I reckon people are quite territorial, so odds on are that the various raised beds and plots are under control of an individual. If no one is in charge then it turns into a disaster. Anarchy in the community garden is not a pleasant experience.

The bricks and mortar junk trade is doing it tough. Actually down here the ones that are doing well have building materials too. Those places are a like an exclusive nightclub as it can be hard to get in the door!

Exactly, everything in moderation.

I had to work from sun up to about half an hour ago to make up for my sick days earlier in the week. It is Sunday here too. Anyway, it is all done now and I can relax this evening which I'm looking forward to.

You don't often get thunder and lightning up your way? It is exciting to watch! I hope Nell and Beau are OK? Scritchy hides under the bed during such storms.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I've been trapped, somewhere, a couple of times and the "Food Channel" was running in the background. Well, I'm just underwhelmed :-). It seems all "food" celebrity, with lots of bells and whistles. And, loud! And, everyone is just so darned enthusiastic, that it makes me tired :-). Can't say it was all bad. There were a couple of shows that were more "farm to restaurant" or "farm to table" kind of shows. So, it covered both the growing end, and the eating end. And, they had a more amateur feel to them. No over the top "production values." And, there were a couple of DVDs, that I got from the library, and then, later, bought for myself. More basic technique kinds of things.

I didn't know King was coming out with a new books. He used to just launch one in the fall, around Halloween. So, it caught me by surprise. The library has ten copies and the hold list is around 100. I won't be seeing it for awhile. But, that's ok. It will be a pleasant surprise, when it does show up. I guess I'm pretty patient about things like that. Waiting for a new movie to make it to DVD. Waiting for the library to get a whole season of some series I like. Maybe because I'm never bored and always have interesting things to do in the meantime?

Well, I must admit I've been curious about "Mad Men." Now that the series is completed, and, the library has all the seasons, coincidentally, I picked up season one from the library, last week. Thought I'd watch an episode or two and see what I think. LOL. Have had it over a week and haven't popped it in the player, yet.

Just out of curiosity, I Googled "Tractor Envy." Lots of listings ... none I looked at. I know there's everything out there from calendars to coffee cups. And, some people collect toy tractors, dating back to the 1920s. Related to the posts on ADR, this week, I wonder if as time goes on, interest will lag as they (along with everything else) is getting so computerized that the Average Joe can't work on them, or tinker with them. Same with cars. The Age of the Shade Tree Mechanic is about over.

I don't know how the whole garden plot thing works at The Home, but I'd guess as tenants leave (for one reason or another) that plots become available. I suppose if I'm successful with one plot, and demand isn't too high, perhaps I can pick up a second? I've already decided to take my worm box, with me. Heck, I've had that thing running for over 10 years and it even flourished when I was camping out in the back of my store. It's time for a new box. The old one is beginning to crack and fall apart. I'll probably set up one that is slightly smaller.

Lots of thunder, yesterday, but I didn't see any lightening. Usually, because of the overcast, the clouds light up, but we don't get much of a show ... the forked lightening. It's pretty rare. Thunder is often in the forecast, but rarely delivered. I have seen some pretty spectacular lightening storms, up on Puget Sound. And, in the midwest, when I was a kid. Doesn't seem to bother Beau, Nell or the chickens, much.

Well, today is Father's Day. One of those kind of made up, very commercial holidays. A nice idea, I suppose. More exciting, to my way of thinking is that tomorrow is the solstice. Longest day of the year. We're over the hump and on the downhill run. We're supposed to have a couple of nice days, 80F, or so. And, then back to scattered showers and a bit of overcast. Lew