Monday, 18 July 2016

Feels like we’re only going backwards


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Sometimes rock bands are so good that they can produce a feeling and an emotion in the listener. The listener is then able to grasp, feel and then hold onto that feeling, before the emotion once again disappears to wherever it came from. The highly acclaimed Australian rock band, Tame Impala, produces dreamy vocals and melodies. In their highly awarded 2012 “Lonerism” album, the band included a song which describes the feelings of only going backwards. The song was on my mind this morning as I made my morning coffee.

I freely admit that I am a coffee snob but can appreciate that not everybody shares my views in this matter. At home I have a proper Italian espresso machine and more importantly I know how to use that machine to produce a quality coffee. When I am away from home, coffee must be made on an espresso machine or I will refuse to consume it. To my mind, instant coffee is a wasted food opportunity and I can vividly recall both of the situations where I have consumed – with absolute horror – instant coffee. Yes twice! Life is too short for such food outrages and there is no place in my life for such things.

The problem is that coffee when consumed in the form of a latte requires milk. Long term readers will recall that I celebrate my tightness with money, however where a product represents true quality over the standard offerings I will support both that product and the producers with my hard earned cash. Milk is one such product and I will happily pay almost $4 per litre (that is almost $15 per gallon) for quality certified organic milk. It is good stuff. Now, I do appreciate that many other people will happily pay $1 per litre (that is slightly less than $4 per gallon) for milk.

Out of curiosity I tasted that $1 per litre milk product and have noted that when the product is heated in an espresso machine it appears to me to consistently have a very sour and acidic taste which I personally do not appreciate in my coffee. And I also wonder what this $1 per litre milk is doing to the dairy farming business because I have read many reports that the dairy farmers are now being forced, because of many different local and global issues, to sell their milk for less than the cost of production: Dairy farmers facing a tough year with new milk prices below cost of production

Then I stumbled across the very worst agricultural news that I have read for quite a long while. The varroa mite which has devastated European honey bee colonies in all other inhabited continents other than Australia has only a few days ago been discovered in the north eastern part of this continent: Varroa mite discovery in Townsville could put the bite on northern queen bee breeders

I believe that the guy in Melbourne that supplies me with bee colonies, sources his bee colonies and/or bee Queens from that corner of the continent and so the discovery of the very destructive varroa mites may change my future plans in relation to the European honey bee hives here.

The possible loss of the European honey bees here will be a disaster for future honey production. On the other hand, there are many species of native bees and other insects present on this farm which can pollinate crops. However, none of those species at this location can produce a surplus supply of honey for their winter stores which humans can harvest. The European honey bees are unique in that regard and their loss will be felt; although I also feel that some of the claims made in the media in that regard have been exaggerated.

And so this morning, I consumed my coffee, looked out of the window into the paddock below and wondered about the future of the dairy and apiary industry. It really felt to me that, we as a society are going backwards, and I wondered what it all meant. And the song looped over and over again in my head as I contemplated the decline of those two industries in Australia.

When products are in decline I often choose to become more self sufficient in relation to those products. For example I do have bees. However it is fortunate that I don’t have a few Jersey cows (for milking purposes) free roaming around the lower parts of the orchard and paddock because last night a huge branch fell off a very old tree. There have been very heavy wind gusts which have followed on from the recent very heavy rainfall. The main branch of that fallen limb now on the ground is well over 1m (about 4 feet) across and it would certainly have squashed a cow or three. In the photo below observant readers will note the huge scar left on the old tree that the branch fell from.
Very heavy wind gusts ripped this huge chunk of a very old tree overnight
As sometimes happens in very heavy wind gusts, a branch from one tree can also fall high up into an adjacent tree and there it hangs. The unfortunate thing about this situation is that you never quite know exactly when that branch will fall to the ground. You can be certain that the branch will inevitably fall though.
A very large branch has become detached and lodged high up in an adjacent tree due to heavy wind gusts
With the weather today and yesterday it feels to me as if the Spring has arrived early. The skies are blue and the air is warm. But only a few days ago, it snowed more heavily than I have previously experienced at this location. The outside air was very cold that Wednesday morning at -0.6’C (30.9’F), whilst inside the house it felt toasty warm at only 13.3’C (55.9’F).
The weather station here shows cold temperatures on a very snowy Wednesday morning
A solid dusting of snow covered everything that morning! It was a real pleasure to experience as it is such a novelty. All of the colours of that morning were completely washed out except for the warm and inviting yellow light coming from inside the house (and the bright yellow trailer):
A solid dusting of snow covered everything that morning and washed out all of the colours
Even the nearby mountains (Mount Bullengarook to the left and closest and Mount Blackwood to the right and further away) which are slightly lower in elevation than the farm were covered in snow and I felt as if I were living in some sort of alpine area!
The nearby mountains of Bullengarook and Blackwood where also covered in snow that morning giving the Central Highlands an alpine feel
All of the plants in the many raised garden beds were covered in snow that morning too:
All of the plants in the raised garden beds were covered in snow that morning
None of those plants have shown any signs of being damaged by the snow in the days since. The courtyard behind the house was also covered in snow and it just looked nice.
The courtyard behind the house was also covered in snow and it looked nice
The ferns from which this place gets its name also put on a good show in the snow and it is possible to see how the ferns collect rainwater and nutrients in their core trunk through the shape of their leaves.
A tree fern puts on a good show in the recent snow
None of the fruit trees showed any damage from the snow fall and even this avocado tree has survived unscathed.
An avocado tree has not shown any damage since the recent snow fall
The most showy of the fruit trees were the citrus as they displayed their snow catch along with their showy winter fruits.
The citrus trees put on the best display with their snow and showy brightly coloured fruit
The chickens however were not quite so keen on the snow and despite having an all-weather run, they hid in their attached chicken house.
The chickens were unimpressed with the recent snowfall
Regular readers will be happy to note that Poopy the Pomeranian (who is actually a Swedish Lapphund) reached far back into his genetic heritage and revelled in the cold and snowy conditions.
Poopy the Pomeranian enjoys the recent heavy snowfall
Poopy took time away from enjoying the snow to munch on a bone that had been recovered by Sir Scruffy, but discarded due to the unfavourable (for him) weather conditions.
Poopy enjoys munching on a bone in the snow
Poopy who is an intelligent canine was also quick to point out to me that solar photovoltaic panels were very unlikely to produce any energy at all if they were covered in snow!
The solar photovoltaic panels were covered in snow on Wednesday and produced very little energy that morning
I was aware of the impending predicted heavy snowfall for that day. With that prediction in mind, on the previous day I ran the petrol generator for a few hours for the first time in three years and put about 4.4kWh of charge into the house batteries.  That decision was made because the charge in the batteries had become low enough due to the very heavy winter cloud that had hung over the farm for many weeks and I had become concerned about damaging the batteries and/or shortening their lifespan.
Fortunately the snow melted by mid-morning and the solar photovoltaic panels once began to produce some energy as the sun peered through the heavy clouds.
After the snow eventually melted, the editor and I could get back to work on farm activities. All of the screenings were repaired around the recently installed new steel round raised garden beds. Screenings is just a fancy name for small white rocks and these come from a local quarry and those rocks have a high quantity of lime which means that with a little bit of rain and some sun they will set hard like rock and provide an all-weather surface.
Rock screenings which contain good quantities of lime were placed around the new steel round raised garden beds this week
The editor and I also constructed another concrete step on the new stairway up to the future strawberry and blackberry beds.
Another concrete step was added to the new stairway leading up to the future blackberry and strawberry beds
Observant readers will also notice that the screenings leading up to the new concrete stairs were also repaired this week.

I mentioned before that despite the snow fall, the sun and warmer air of the past few days makes me feel as if Spring has arrived early. And that feeling is also shared by some of the plants here:
An asparagus bravely pokes its head out of the soil during the middle of winter
The first of the many jonquils planted in the orchards put on a flower show this week
An almond tree began to produce its first blossoms this week in the middle of winter
Maybe despite the snow, we are actually going forwards into an early Spring?

The temperature outside now at about 8.30pm is 10.1’C (50.1’F). So far this year there has been 570.4mm (22.4 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 557.4mm (21.9 inches).

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

Tuesday – 12th July Batteries started at 37% full and 2.9kW was generated that day (and 4.4kW from the petrol generator)
Wednesday – 13th July Batteries started at 44% full and 7.6kW was generated that day
Thursday – 14th July Batteries started at 50% full and 5.1kW was generated that day
Friday – 15th July Batteries started at 57% full and 5.2kW was generated that day
Saturday – 16th July Batteries started at 67% full and 7.3kW was generated that day
Sunday – 17th July Batteries started at 69% full and 8.5kW was generated that day
Monday- 18th July Batteries started at 73% full and 6.2kW was generated that day

70 comments:

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I would call that 'a light dusting of snow'.

Summer arrived 3 days ago and the temperature indoors is 27%C. This is fine by me but I could do without the 85% humidity.

I love coffee and dislike the instant stuff. I simply buy strong coffee and use filter papers. Have to admit to buying cheap milk though. Naughty of me as our dairy farmers are going out of business. I don't remember the figures but they are drastic.

Inge

Damo said...

Your beautiful snow pictures are making me miss Tasmania a little bit! It has been 36 and muggy the past few days here and it gets a bit of a struggle 2-3pm in the afternoon. They tell me in winter you can get the odd 5 degree day and even snow higher up in the hills! I remain skeptical... :-)

Coming from a family of dairy farmers I have strong feelings on what successive governments have done to the industry. In fact, the town I grew up in, Dorrigo, now only has 4 or 5 diaries. Even 20 years ago there would have been 50 or more. We are rationalising our society into one that can't make or do anything of value. I am told there are now mega-dairies in the middle east with thousands of cows living in a shed. Imagine the antibiotics and energy requirements for such an enterprise.

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

You received the best kind of snow IMHO - pretty and short-lived. ;-)

Now that Mike and I are old (62 and 59 respectively, and yes, I know some of you are older, Lew ;-) ), we often remark on how we now understand why the old people of our youth always seemed to be so cranky. It's because things really used to be better than they are now, for them and for us. I could go on for quite awhile about all the examples I have experienced personally. I try to avoid being cranky about this since I don't think that adding that kind of energy to a bad situation helps it any. But I understand why someone else might put that energy out.

The local weather service office has a heat advisory out for the next five days. I'll be surprised if they don't upgrade it to an excessive heat warning within the next couple of days. It's quite humid, and the highs will be in the mid to upper 90sF (pushing 37C), and lows in the mid 70sF to 80F or more in the city of St. Louis. Little if any rain before the weekend unless we are lucky enough to be under a stray thunderstorm that can pop up. At least they are talking about a cold front pushing through late in the weekend. Hope they are right about that!

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - LOL. "STAND BACK! I have an Italian expresso machine and I'm not afraid to use it!" :-). Oh, we all have quirks. Little set points in our little universes that if adhered to and maintained, give us a feeling that all is right with the world. I have a plethora, or those. Witness the recent need for a short sleeved shirt for surgery. Not a single one in the closet. Because I just don't 'do" short sleeved shirts. Never mind getting into the whole issue of color :-).

When my grocery store, Safeway was sold to Albertson ... well, the product mix changed ... some of my "tried and true" (and thrifty) foods disappeared. I'm still a bit miffed by that. In general, it seems that they don't have as many of the usual loss leaders I bought and stocked up on. The cheaper two pound bags of frozen peas and corn disappeared, replaced by pricier once pound bags. I started picking up the two pound bags at another store. Maybe I wasn't the only one that "voted with my feet." Now the one pound bags are on sale, from time to time. Solid white tuna was under a dollar, on sale, before the change over. Ditto a good brand of chili. That hasn't happened, recently.

I use a bit of milk, but am not much of a purist. If you want to contemplate truly awful milk, there's always the powdered stuff :-). I had an aunt with a big family who used the stuff. But to get her kids to drink it, she at least had to mix in half regular milk and half water. You know, you can use that powdered stuff to make milk paint :-). If you're milk production is heavily regulated like here, you may have to put out feelers to find a local small producer. They're out there. But it's all a little black market / gray economy. A goat?

The honey is really going to be a problem. Maybe. There's nothing like it for some uses. But, you might have to contemplate other forms of sweetner, that can be home grown. A cane patch? Sourgum? Stevia? Raiding wild hives? Sugar beets take a lot of processing.

Going backwards or "nostalgia for the present." I think I read that over at the ADR, years ago. LOL. And, I think maybe you've got a bit of mental displacement going on. Fretting over non existent cows? With those widow makers, I think I'm more concerned with you, the Editor, your pack ... even the chickens. Maybe because that's all too horrible to contemplate, it's easier to think about imaginary cows? :-)

Oh, your snow was really quit pretty. Going to be hard to pick a couple for the Fern Glade Farm Calendar :-). But not colorless. Maybe shades of white and gray ...blue tints. Maybe reflected pinks at sunrise and sunset ... other things that show up in photos as black and dark brown.

Well, I'm picking away at a bit of house cleaning. Since my old buddy Scott is going to keep an eye on me for 24 hours. Nothing too over the top. He's Mr. Mellow. Did a bit of mowing, yesterday. Probably shouldn't have, but pruned up the apple trees a bit more, so I could get under them and maybe not whack myself in the head. Most of the branches I took off had been stripped by the deer, anyway. Haven't been sleeping very well. My mind isn't particularly busy, and I'm not really all that frightened, but there's probably stuff going on under the surface. Nell started whining around the place, very early. Let her out and couldn't get back to sleep. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Too good not to PS: The NEXT Star Trek film is in the works.

https://www.yahoo.com/movies/paramount-plans-fourth-star-trek-film-and-160149630.html

Will the immortal lines "I'm you're father, Kirk" be in play? Will Simon Pegg be in play? Inquiring Minds Want to Know." :-) Lew

Yahoo2 said...

RE Varroa. there is an old kids joke.
Why did the elephant paint her toenails red?
A. to hide in the cherry tree.
Have you ever seen an elephant with red toenails in a cherry tree?
No!
SEE! IT WORKS!
That sort of logic is what drive a lot of our paranoia these days.
I think the port ship inspections find at least 10 asian bee colonies a year on ships on the east coast, there is always a chance of a wild bee colony having established with varroa jacobsoni anytime in the last ten or twenty years, if we dont look we will never find them out in the wild even if the are here. Varroa destructor is the specific mite that has jumped host to the European bee at the present and is killing colonies overseas. That could be here as well. This outbreak will be good practice for the next one.

I was reading an explorers journal once and he described and waxed lyrical about their journey into the total unknown..... with their team of indigenous guides and stops to trade items for fresh food with local farming families! WHAT! Exploration is not about being the first apparently, it is about being deemed credible.

This sort of thinking is all through science and agriculture, "if I didn't see it, then it does not exist (or its not actually happening)"
It is also almost impossible to prove the absence of something even when we are looking for it.
MILK
I find as long as the cows milk is not homogenised it keeps its taste and sours very slowly over time, the pressure blasted stuff is a real lottery, it might last a two weeks or a day . The highest price I see for biodynamic unhomogenised full cream is around $2.50/litre
regards Steve

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

We use a stove-top moka machine, which seems to make pretty good coffee. Probably not quite as concentrated as a true espresso, but quite short.
Your milk is dear! We buy Paris Creek organic milk, and pay $4.50 for 2L containers. That is direct from them at a farmers' market though -- it's more like $6 at the supermarket.

Sad news about the bees. Bananas are also looking vulnerable, and I love them -- I wonder when we'll eat our last banana?

Snow looks nice. We had snow in the Adelaide Hills last week, but my family and I were at Falls Creek, where we had 35 cm in one night. It made for great skiing!

Cheers, Angus

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks for trying again and good to see that the comment made it through this time. :-)!

Your part of the world is clearly very much alive. The loss of chickens is quite hard, but on the other hand it is good that your area is fertile enough that it can support so many high order predators. On the other hand it is a nuisance to have to monitor the chickens whilst they are free roaming. I often wonder when my numbers will come up on that front. Sooner or later a fox will strike whilst my back is turned.

Yeah, I find that pest infestations are more common with the younger fruit trees too. I have wondered about that issue as I have heard many accounts that well fed fruit trees tend to avoid insect pests, but on the other hand, I suspect that fruit trees take many, many years before they are adequately established and have good root systems, so the whole issue may be just time? Who knows why the insects do what they do? I have noticed that disease infestations such as red pear mites seems to be localised to a particular tree, but as time goes on, the tree seems less affected. The same thing happens for curly leaf with the peaches and nectarines too.

It is wonderful to see how readily the chickens teach each other. That is one of the reasons I leave the older chickens (now approaching 6 years) to train the newbies. It does seem to make for a more relaxed and orderly flock. Out of curiosity, how old are your oldest chickens?

Oh yeah, I hear you about vandalism. Some numpty dumped two desktop computers, a laptop and a screen on the road this week. Oh yeah, I reckon as the economy deteriorates, such activities are on the rise - but this is not a local phenomena either as I see it all over the place.

That is really good to hear. Plus alfalfa has really huge root systems and will do wonders to the soil - and it self seeds prolifically. A truly great plant, may your bees enjoy the easy feed!

Oh, I chucked in a small bit of champagne yeast, but you could use bread yeast too. You may be interested to know that we are currently making rice wine: sake and it is awesome and so easy to make.

Enjoy your bee club picnic/pig roast. What a great thing for you to do. Plus, I do love roast pork, it is my favourite roast meat - and I'm a mostly vegetarian too, you know! Pity it is roast lentils for dinner... Of course, you have to accommodate everyone, that is how life is. I'd be reasonably certain that most people who comment here use far less than the average household and it is far more important to get people interested in the bees at this point in time. They really need as many people on their side as they can get! Plus there is the roast pork. Yum! ;-)!

Please don't laugh! :-)! It was a very heavy snow for us, and the chickens did not appreciate it. I reckon the nasturtium died back a bit, but it usually does over winter and then regrows in the thick straw left over from the dead plants.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

Well, you are clearly not in the Mount Lofty ranges / Adelaide Hills as they were in serious trouble of breaching the dreaded snow-ibition legislation last week?

The prosecution of that dreaded legislation certainly would have put an end to all of the insidious and subversive bratwurst and sauerkraut cooking activities of the good folk of Hahndorf. :-)! Yummmo! Oh sorry, I'm not meant to agree with such recidivists!!! Who would dare think to flout the snow-ibition? What is a decent person to do? Oh, but the sausages... Forget the sausages!!! Hehe!

Yes, I agree with you: One can never be too careful! Watch out or snow may arrive in your area. Just sayin...

Hope you enjoyed the photos from here. It was nice.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Would agree with Inge that is indeed a light dusting of snow but beautiful non the less. No surprise about the chickens reaction to the snow. I've mentioned before that the chickens here are not fond of it at all and I have to shovel out an area so they'll even consider venturing out of their coop.

I'm very sorry about the appearance of the varroa mite as it's been quite devastating here. At the bee club picnic here on Saturday someone is going to do a demonstration of a mite count on one of my husband's hives. It'll be interesting to see what is found though all the hives are new this year as none made it through last winter. The honey production is going gang busters this year though. A big help is the fact that neither of the farmers have cut the alfalfa fields to the south of us and on our property to the west and the bees are definitely using it to their advantage. The increased production will help offset the cost of the new bees. The last boxes of the year will be pulled shortly so the rest of the summer the bees can produce honey for themselves.

There are a few small dairy farms around here but they are disappearing quickly as the farmers get older and retire. We get our milk at the grocery store which is organic but ultra pasteurized. It's from a big cooperative of smaller farms at least. I can still make yogurt from it fortunately but something less processed would be so much better. I used to have dairy goats but I was the only one who enjoyed the milk and I'm not that much of a milk drinker anyway. It was my youngest daughter's 4H project so when she was too old for the 4H I sold the goats gradually as it's way too much work for the little milk I used.

The area around here was known for it's dairy farms in days past. In fact we have a big festival in June, Harvard Milk Days and they used to call it the "Milk Capital of the World". They still have a milk drinking contest but it's sponsored by Deans, a big dairy corporation.

We did finally get 1/2 inch of rain and have had a few nice days interspersed between hot and humid days. Our weather pattern is similar to Claire's and we have a heat advisory for the end of the week as well. Forecast to be 93F (34C) here on the picnic day.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

It does sound obvious that a person is under no obligation to finish a book, but I'm not sure at all that it is obvious to a reader. One can feel a certain obligation to read a book. My grandfather left me a book, which I was never comfortable reading as a child because I knew the subtleties of the message would be lost on me. Instead I put it aside and decades after his death took the book down and read it with a more mature mindset. Sometimes, you just know and I was in no hurry to learn the lesson in that book. I'll bet JMG put down his ongoing reading and translation of Joséphin Péladan's book once or twice over the years! :-)!

Trolls are numpty's and as such they shall receive no air time here! They can't say they weren't warned...

Yeah, but the question that surfaces in my mind is: why were the ledgers considered to be of special importance and of equal weighting to the epic of Gilgamesh. And also curious minds are interested in why the tale of Gilgamesh was so ripped off in later times? You have to admit that it is a bit weird. Nowadays there would be copyright suits being waged by well funded rock bands or rights owners seeking an easy ride via the court system. Maybe, I'm a bit cynical? Dunno. ;-)!

Of course, still I reckon an anti nausea shot really saved me a few years back from a very uncertain future, so I have a special place in my heart for such things. It surprised me at how quickly I descended from full health into the badlands in such a short period of time... Yes, salmonella and other nasties will have that affect.

Yeah, the bee hive monitoring at Australian ports and airports has been going on for years. It is a very dedicated bunch of people looking into that problem. Most of the people are either employed to do so, or it affects them in one way or another. There are some benefits to be gained by living on an island.

Ha! I was thinking to myself when I read that very funny comment of yours. Stand back or the espresso machine cops it! :-)! Hehe! Yes, I did wonder about that shirt, but of course I was too polite to ask about the colour, but now that you mention it... What was the colour of that short sleeve shirt? My gut feeling and please don't take this the wrong way, but short sleeve shirts are a bit public service for my tastes. Who was the mailman in Cheers for example? He would have had a short sleeve shirt... Pah, we're almost into welcome back Cotter territory here!

It is a big night of cooking here in the toasty wood oven. Did you make some food for your recovery? How are you going anyway as it is only a few days now? Fingers crossed for you.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

It is very strange that you wrote about that experience as that will be the subject of the next blog. We are in a parallel universe here with maybe an occasional anomaly chucked in for good measure!

Well, I reserve the powdered stuff for the chickens when the morning weather is a bit cold. They get that milk mixed with oats. They were so greedy for the stuff the other day that in the ongoing fight they knocked the container over and the contents spilled before I could right the container... Did they learn a lesson? No, not really, what they learned is that I'll put the container the right way up again. The chickens really weren't fussed at all. I may look for a small local dairy. I don't know about goats milk as it tastes a bit goatey for my liking. Sheep milk is very good though. And sheep cheese is awesome.

Sorghum will grow here of those choices. I tried Stevia and it died to a light frost over the winter. Sugar cane is a big ask given the light frost which killed the coffee shrub (the fourth no less). I don't really know much about processing sugar beets, but that is what they did back in the day. Do you know much about that process? I mean the sugar beets are only 20% sugar compared to rice which is about up to a max of 80% sugar (equivalent to honey, no less).

Well, it would be an ADR theme, but I very doubt that JMG is a fan of the band Tame Impala! Although I could see JMG quietly enjoying Pink Floyd's epic album Dark side of the Moon.

I'm concerned about the widow makers too and I treat them with due respect. None are within dropping distance of the house, but the sheds do not have that luxury.

You are most observant to notice all of those subtle hues in the photos. I see them too, especially in the photos of the courtyard. There was just enough light to capture the scene. The good thing about digital cameras is that you can take a lot of photos (although the mechanism has a finite lifespan which people are generally not aware of). The unfortunate thing is that whilst I have photos dating back from WWI, I doubt any of the digital photos will be around a century in the future. A bit of a shame really.

You are lucky to have an old buddy - especially one who is not easily startled - looking after you. Of course you should clean up. Did you believe for one moment that you might not do that? Hehe! Of course, I probably wouldn't sleep well either under your circumstances. To my mind it is like facing an exam, but with a potentially more unpleasant outcome. The exam can't be avoided, and you were unable to study for it. Life can be very uncertain, but I still do wish you the best.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

It very much is the elephant in the room. And yes, we as a species sometimes do worry far more than the outcomes merit. It is interesting how we treat uncertainty and probabilities as we are not very good at it. My gut feeling is that varroa will inevitably destroy 90% of the bee colonies before the bees eventually adapt - and then things will not be like they were before. That story has repeated itself over and over again in the ecosystem. I mean something here (a local nematode) consumes Portuguese millipedes - and who would have thought that that was possible? Those insects are background here now and part of the environment.

That is very funny about the credibility. I reckon the explorers were looking for opportunities too. That seems to be part of human nature, and I read recently a story on the interesting characters who bet against the US mortgage bond market before it crashed in 2008. The same curiosity to see what was around the next corner and hopefully there is an opportunity there too was in their mindsets.

Yes, I have unfortunately seen that thinking that "if I didn't see it, then it does not exist (or its not actually happening)". I just don't know what to say as it annoys me no end. A friend who holds a PhD in biology stood in front of a lemon tree laden with fruit and told me that Australia had the wrong climate to grow citrus therefore we had to import citrus fruit from California. I'd like to say I made that up but it really happened...

Leo Tolstoy wrote: “The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.”

Ah, well you are lucky to be able to purchase unhomogenised full cream milk for a price far cheaper than I can get it. I also tend to shop at the local general store and also the local independent supermarket just to support those two worthy businesses so that is also an issue. I feed the milk cream to the dogs and they love that stuff.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

Oh yeah, the stove top coffee unit is a very good choice too. And some of those units are beautifully made. It is more the instant and pod varieties (oh the plastic waste...) that I take issue with.

Yeah, $6 is about right, plus it does help that transport costs are lower for you over in SA. If you know of a Victorian dairy, I'd be very interested to hear about it?

Oh yeah, no one seems to have heard about the long term issues with bananas and they face a similar problem to the bees plus I believe that fungus is now present up in the north east.

Good to hear, and glad that you enjoyed Falls and the skiing. Fun stuff.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Yes, no doubt you are correct. It was a light dusting of snow, but it was so nice as it is such a rare thing here nowadays. Did you know they used to tell me that the winters here were so brutally cold that citrus was unable to be grown here out in the open? The old timer hill station gardens ran beautiful glass houses with boilers underneath them to keep tropical plants going over the winter. The fuel costs...

That sounds nice, although as you say, the high humidity would make the summer days feel far hotter than they actually are. I would feel that that temperature over the summer with that sort of high humidity would make for unpleasant conditions. Is the forest growing nicely though?

Well, you are on good company as good coffee is a treat! Well, I guess in the future we can enjoy tea and there are a huge number of herbal teas to choose from in the garden here - as no doubt you would have the same choice there? Well, the milk is part of an ongoing attempt to gain the official inflation figures because it is good for consumers. I see no other point to the charade - unless of course all of the milk is exported?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Mate, 36'C and muggy is very unpleasant and I salute your stoicism! No way, that would happen down here or in Tasmania as such a temperature would have low humidity. Mate, keep out of the midday sun. I'll bet Tasmania received even more snow than here. The central part of that island is stunning.

Oh yeah, the ongoing debacle is horrible to watch, and I put my money where my mouth is on that score. Did you read that the answer to this whole mess for the dairy farmers has apparently been the provision of concessional loans. What a total joke.

I can't even begin to imagine such a crazy agricultural venture? Some parts of the middle east have run their aquifers dry through such activities, so who knows how long the whole charade will continue?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thank you, it was my kind of snow too! :-)! Pleasant and rare enough not to be a nuisance.

I read a book which I mentioned to Lewis tonight that my now long deceased grandfather gave me as a young boy. It told of the story of the central eastern part of the US from the eyes of a young boy and his relationship with his grandfather. They liked hunting, no doubts about it. However, there were all sorts of interesting snippets in the book and one was an account of how when the "old man" was young the public bars used to provide free feed for the patrons as long as they drank at the bar. The old man lamented that that practice no longer took place as the land was less fertile than it had been in his youth.

No, I don't believe that it is cranky at all.

Well, your July and August would be the most unpleasant parts of the year for such weather. The humidity is a killer and I avoid that and the hot afternoons by getting up earlier than I otherwise would over winter. I must also add that getting up in the dark during winter is some sort of torture for me as I just don't like it.

I hope you get that cold front and can refill your rain barrels at the same time - which may shortly be drained and for a good purpose no doubt! ;-)! Best of luck with that.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Your light dusting of snow is my snow-mageddon! Hehe! Just kidding, but it was really so much fun to see all of that snow here. The plants have been mostly OK too in the following days. It is now strangely warm here over the past two days. Go figure!

I wasn't aware of how the chickens would respond to the snow, but I appreciate your opinion too. I have seen video footage of chickens in much colder UK conditions and they seemed to be OK with the snow, so I wasn't really sure. I thought that it may have been my pampered chickens. Thanks for the clarification.

Oh my! I'd be very interested to hear how the mite count goes with your husbands hives. That would be fascinating. Do you reckon they'll take a sample of the bee population and then extrapolate the count to the hive? At the very least, it should be interesting. The bees here are over wintering OK so far, but numbers and activity are down - which is what I would expect. If the sun appears and the weather is warm, they make an appearance.

A big co-operative is a great idea to purchase from as they need support. I tend to purchase from the locally owned independent supermarket (the market here is controlled by two competitors who get 70 cents in every dollar spent!) so clearly I pay a higher price for that support. Yes, a lot of older farmers are retiring as land costs are so high that younger farmers can't break into that market and make a profit under the load of debt they have to take on. It is a vicious cycle no doubts about it.

Thanks for your dairy goat experience. My concern here is that living on a slope would be a problem for the soil with hard hoofed animals.

Ouch! That is not good to leave such fertile ground unused for dairy. That farming asks a lot of the soil and climate - not to mention the farmers themselves.

I hope the weather on the picnic day is not too hot and humid. Best wishes for that.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I really should have said that your snow photos were lovely because they were.

The forest is growing far too well, due to the rain that we have had. It is trying to overwhelm me. Son had to cut back where it had overtaken one of my greenhouses.

I don't like herbal teas, give me a strong urn tea any day.

Someone has just asked me how often a sow comes on heat. I haven't the faintest idea. I'll ask son but I bet that he doesn't know either as usually a sow is put to the boar then.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - There used to be a lot of dairies on this side of the mountains, but most of them are gone. The kind of semi-large family dairy farms. Those that could moved to the east side of the mountains. Oh, the easy answer was that they were forced out by "the environmentalists." But, I think the whole issue was a lot more complex than that. Some of them switched to other aspects of agriculture. Raising calves or beef cattle.

OK. You used it twice. Numpty. Obscure Australian slang or a Chris-ism :-) ?

Well, a lot of the clay tablet financials were taxes or temple offerings. Gilgamesh was an ... archetype. The Hero's Journey. I read (somewhere ... sometime) that there are only so many plot structures. All stories are just variations on a small number of plots. Everything else is just window dressing. Plug and play :-). I suppose "love triangle" would be another one. Time period, location ... even gender doesn't make any difference. Maybe they don't even need to be human? There's always the story of the girlfriend who's miffed because she suspects her boyfriend likes his dog, better than her. Or, his pick up truck :-).

Here, they are constantly monitoring for the Gypsy Moth. You see discreet little traps tacked to trees along the roads. They check them, from time to time, to see what turns up. If a Gypsy Moth turns up, they spray the heck out of the surrounding area.

The short sleeve shirt I got from the opportunity store? Blue and white check, of course. :-) The postie from Cheers? Norm!!!
Don't know why I have such an antipathy to short sleeved shirts. No biceps to show off? Some deeply buried, subconscious religious prohibition against showing too much flesh in public? I barely know what makes other people tick, let alone myself. :-). Maybe years of intensive psychotherapy ... No. :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Yup. I have all kinds of "food for recovery" all laid out on the kitchen table, for easy access. Will do a final top off, tomorrow. A lot of Googling "What to eat after oral surgery." Lots of stuff I don't usually eat, or, very little of it. Puddings and ice cream. Apple sauce. Instant everything to begin with, for ease of use. Wonder how much weight I'll lose? Could do with knocking off a few pounds :-). it suddenly occurred to me that the area the doc is dealing with is only the size of the end of my thumb. Never mind the two extractions. Somehow, that was very ... comforting. It's not like they're super sized, super hitchhiking thumbs :-) (See Sissy Hankshaw, Tom Robbins book, "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.)

Finished up mowing the yard, yesterday. It looked like rain, all day, but not a drop fell. First I patrolled the perimeter to hack back the ever advancing blackberries. Don't want to be dragged into the brambles. :-). I was almost done and got a bit of the shakes. I was fully hydrated, but didn't have enough carbs in me. So, I immediately left off, went in and had a sandwich and banana, let it sit awhile and then finished up. I noticed the blackberries are ripe in a couple of spots. Darn. Won't have time to freeze some up. Oh, I'll probably catch the end of the harvest. Some of the plums are ripe, too. Probably won't get to those. I did freeze up 6 pounds (2 gallons) of blueberries.

The sunset was quit nice. Just as it dropped below the cloud cover, it lit up all the tree tops in a golden light. The clouds went all pink and violet. Will probably go to the Men's Meeting, tonight. Last meeting I'll be able to attend, for awhile. I did a lot of cleaning, last night. The end is in sight. Only 48 hours to go, til surgery. Lew

Yahoo2 said...

posting a reply that slipped through the cracks Apologies for lateness.
INSECT ID IN BREAD GRAIN BAG I am leaning towards moth rather than weevil, cant say if its a pantry moth or just blundered in by accident. Any seeds with holes?
SINE WAVES They show acceleration and deceleration on a graph, in physics usually from objects that rotate or orbit. In the financial world and nature they tend to get called "bell curves" or something similar. Think compound interest, worlds oil use, plant growth, mouse plagues, bacterial growth I'm sure there are hundreds of examples. Usually environmental conditions overlay the underlying growth potential and skew the graphs into strange shapes. I guess that is the trick to predicting a trend, spotting that compounding growth early. Or the impending decline as JMG does.
TREE DENSITY and FIRE
I will have to get back to you on that one, I guess I could have a rant and leave it be, but there is not much value in that, I was pondering if it could be used as a rule of thumb to document and justify some selective tree felling around rural assets.

Inge,things happen pretty quick once the piglets are weaned, with the boar through the fence some sows will stand after only 4 to 5 days, if you miss that one you have to wait about two and a half weeks and start checking again. it is supposed to be a 21 day cycle but that is academic interest rather than practical.

Chris, yes your biologist friend certainly fits the mold. I find it very funny these days. I babysat scientists on outback field trips in my youth, the brief was "let them have a taste of the real world, just enough to dent their egos but not enough to do any damage".
Lew, it sounds like you are expecting a bit of a stay in recovery, I thought the might turf you out pretty quick.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thank you for writing that. The snow is lovely. I assume that you being at the southern end of the UK and having an island climate, that you do not get much in the way of snow?

Yes, your description of the weather brought images of lush jungles full of rampant vegetation to my mind which is why I asked about the forest growth. Have you ever been to the tropics? The few times that i have been there, I can smell the mass of vegetation breaking down and decomposing. On the other hand, I can smell that here too after a big rain followed by some heat. The dry hot weather brings the scent of eucalyptus oils.

Fair enough about the herbal teas. I enjoy lemon balm tea the most of those, second only to peppermint and then maybe chamomile. Although I have it on good authority that some people consider chamomile tea tastes a bit like compost...

I look forward to reading what you have learned about that subject as I have no idea either.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I haven't heard that claim before. I suspect that economic factors play a large part in that decline down here as the dairy industry profits appear to be siphoned off down here by large buyers of the product. Small dairies can't compete financially against those sorts of interests. Honestly, people don't even tend to get upset about the veal issue, and let's be totally honest and video footage of the masceration process of unwanted day old male chicks was released today. I was listening to a news program which covered that matter and they more or less suggested that there was very little that the consumer could do. They even supply many of the free range egg farms with day old chicks too. That is the price of cheap eggs and cheap chickens. The spokesman for the chicken industry was very well spoken but apparently new technology will soon be implemented at some point in the future which will sort the whole messy business out. My chooks are now up to about 4 eggs per day, which is good. ;-)!

Numpty is actually a New Zealand slang term which more or less means: Foolish person - or that is what I have been led to believe.

Ah, that is fascinating. Of course, I guess we communicate in the mode of stories so do you believe that our worldview is shaped by those small number of plots? I'm always surprised when people discover that their repetitive actions are indeed rituals undertaken to further a particular narrative that they hold to be true. I mean if people are really pressed on the matter, they have little idea as to why they go to work or school or whatever at the same time each day, other than a sort of vague notion that by doing so, it will ensure that they are able to continue to do so the next day. The problem I have with such thinking is that at a very young age, my world fell out beneath me on several occasions and so I know that no amount of ritual can achieve a certain narrative. And the interesting thing about waking up to that realisation is that you can imagine different narratives. One of the interesting things that I learned by reading the Grimm brothers tales is that it was considered a very bad thing to have to get out of bed before sunrise in the depths of winter - and this is something that we tend to expect nowadays in these more enlightened times. You have to admit that it is a bit more than just a little bit strange?

Those gypsy moths sound truly awful. Oh my!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

The short sleeve shirt sounds very dapper, despite being a little bit short in the sleeve department. The old Victorians used to get a bit hot around the collar over the sight of the occasional ankle. It does make one wonder what they were doing with all of those ankles? They did seem a little bit uptight!

Ah, here I beg to differ as I recalled "norm" as the rather large gentleman at the bar. I had to cheat though and look up the internet to discover that the postie was indeed none other than Cliff Claven.

Who knows what other people are thinking? I tend to believe the worst and then I live in a state of pleasant surprise if peoples motivations are better than that. Sometimes I freak the editor out by guessing the motivations and actions of very bad people and I'm correct far more often than not. It can be a burden that one. It is a good thing that very bad people believe they are smarter than everyone else because they often make elementary errors which makes life easier for the rest of us.

No doubt you will be totally sick of blended food by the time you are fully recovered? I reckon brushing and flossing will be on the agenda too - after a respectable time period of course. All surgery is stressful because it is invasive and risky - no one goes there for the fun of it. Mate, I really wish you the best for the surgery and for a speedy and full recovery. :-)!

Nice to hear about the blueberries. Yum! Yeah, I get the shakes too if I work too hard without a proper breakfast. It really does make you feel slightly unwell, but it does pass, although I don't personally appreciate the feeling and would do exactly as you did. Plums are excellent!

Yeah, sunsets are lovely when they do that. The clouds really bring a nice yellow hue to the trees. Enjoy your meeting. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

You get the elephant stamp for that one. I was leaning towards a species of moth too, especially once I'd posted the blog entry that night and then proceeded to look at images of weevils on the internet and discovered that the insect in question looked nothing at all like a weevil. Your guess is better than mine and the bag in question contained a grain mix so who knows where the moth came from.

As an interesting side story, the bag in question had been unopened and was sealed. The bread ladies - who have now shut down their business - were reluctant to have me return the seed mix bags for replacement as there was more than the one contaminated bag to return, although the odd thing was that only some of the unopened seed bags were contaminated and the moths and larvae were unable to escape from those bags. Now the ladies strongly suggested that the moths had infested the seeds in my pantry here - and this may have been the case because I do not understand this particular insects life cycle, although no other product has shown any sort of insect infestation and there are all manner of grains, legumes etc. in the pantry. The infested bags also had some sort of webbing inside the bag on top of the grains which was not there when I originally purchased the grains.

Now the reason I am aware that the moths and larvae could not escape the bag, was that the very first time I became aware of these insects, I placed the seed grains in the chicken bucket at night to feed to the chickens the next morning. This was an error of judgement because in the morning, there were larvae everywhere and I cleaned the cupboard (a different one from the storage) out thoroughly and completely - not wishing to have them escape into the kitchen.

Thank you for the excellent description of sine waves and you have provided much for me to consider. I expect that you are correct in that assertion too. ;-)!

Yes, it would be very useful to have a rule of thumb. However, in this particular case, I believe that the social and legal considerations trump all other considerations - even historical accounts and evidence based research. In such situations I'm often reminded of the historical figure of Baron Sir Ferdinand Von Mueller who established the original Melbourne botanical gardens and ran them on a scientific basis. He certainly made many friends among the wealthy and powerful in his time and he left his mark on many old gardens in this particular mountain range. Unfortunately the tide of public opinion turned and the population demanded that the botanical gardens include follies and other pleasurable aspects. The good Baron apparently refused to bend to this new worldview and he was replaced and from all accounts he never quite recovered from that grievance.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

I sometimes suspect that our view of Australia's forests is similar to that story. The population at large - even those living up here - see the forest as trees and trees are surely a good thing. But they really fail to see the collection, individual specimens, health and arrangement of trees and how all that relates to the climate, location and the other residents of all types above and below the soil that live in and around the forests. As a society we really have a one dimensional view of the forests that sees them as some sort of cartoonish caricature and every now and then we get wildfires and seem somehow surprised at that extreme response from nature. I dunno.

Even if I went to the local council with a plan to manage the forest here based on the observations of the 1983 post Ash Wednesday research, I'd be laughed out of the council chamber. I do know the likely outcomes of the present management though, and it is the wildlife and older trees (which provide housing for the birds and animals) that will really bear the brunt of that particular worldview. Spotted quolls used to inhabit this forest before the 1983 fires... Just sayin...

Last night two wombats were cruising around the orchard whilst a barking owl was sitting in the fruit trees hunting for rats and I hardly had to go far to see them, as they were right outside the front door!

Thanks for the info regarding the sows.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

That's a mighty big branch! I hope a cow doesn't wander along and fall asleep under it. My son cut down two dead trees the other day. Unfortunately, one fell on a live maple and broke it, and is now hung up. The maple turned out to have a large ant colony living in the heart of it, so its days may have been numbered anyway. The hung-up one is the worrisome part. I offered to help him by pulling on a rope; this gave him a horrified look. I am allowed to help work a bit on the cars, though . . .

Your house looks so beautiful in the snow. Thank goodness that you are so on top of taking photos. Fernglade Alp! Your Jersey cows will fit in there.

The citrus looks like a Christmas tree!

Change his name to Poopy the Swede. Everyone will think that he is an 88 lb. (40 kg) Viking dog . . . until they see him.

I was going to ask if you had to sweep the snow off of the solar panels, but then you mentioned that it melted off. Nice!

They don't seem to sell any screening around here that will set up when rain is added, but our local bluestone gravel (it seems to be a form of either limestone or sandstone, but it's actually really hard) does pretty well when spread on roads on our clay. When walked or driven on it becomes a pretty solid surface.

Jonquils and asparagus appear in mid-spring here.

The varroa mite situation is unnerving. It's kind of like watching a horror movie. I have a tiny patch of sorghum this year. I'm not treating it very nicely. It will have to manage on its own. One year I got a bit of syrup from some sorghum. It was tasty!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

Is Friday your big day? Best of luck to you! I'll bet you feel yucky for one day after, sore for three days, and then you're right back on your game.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Steve:

You just about did me in with your "snow-ibition" last week, and your elephant joke this week!

Pam

Damo said...

RE: forests, thinning and fire management

This book might be of interest, I suspect it has already been discussed on this blog, but just in case I will post the link:
The biggest estate on earth
In the book, Bill talks about how early European settlers of Australia found not a wilderness, but what they described as 'park like' conditions. Management techniques including careful use of fire were utilised to create an ideal combination of sparse forest cover and grass that minimised out-of-control bush fires whilst maximising grazing opportunities for large, tasty mammals such as Kangaroo. I have not read it yet, but it sounds fascinating and it is at the top of my list to get when I am in more permanent accommodation.

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I have had moth + webbing in flour, but a long time ago and I don't remember (if I ever knew)how it got there.

Rising before sunset is a real pain if you can't just press a light switch.

I have been in the tropics and remember the scents. Tend not to notice them here because so used to them but I remember returning from 6 weeks in the dry, dry Mediterranean, it was drizzling here and I have never forgotten the fresh scent.

@yahoo2 Thanks for porcine information, I shall pass it on.

@Damo 'Chris has mentioned 'The biggest estate on earth' as a result I am half way through it. It is fascinating. There has been a summer lull in my reading though.

@Lew All best wishes for your op.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - Tomorrow, Thursday. Yes, that's about the recovery arc, I figure ... hope for :-). I've got two types of pain meds, an anti-nausea pill and antibiotics. For a guy who prides himself in not taking any meds, it's quit a line up.

@ Steve - They do it in the oral surgeons office. It will take about an hour and a half. Then they shovel you out the back door and pour you into your driver's car :-). Don't want to scare the pedestrians in the waiting room. I'm stocked up to stay home for two weeks, if I don't want to go out. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I think chamomile tea smells and tastes like fresh straw. Of course, when I drive in the country, I even like the smell of cow manure. :-). Maybe my smeller is a bit off?

Hmmm. Small number of plots and world view. Hmmm. What I wonder is if different cultures have different amounts of one plot or another. Say, more Hero's Journey and less Lover's Triangle in India, compared to some other culture where the ratio would be reversed? LOL. There's probably a Master's Thesis in there, somewhere. :-).

Oh, I'm pretty aware (sometimes) of the ritualistic repetitive actions I often fall into. I usually just write off my own as neurotic weirdness. :-). Most of it is pretty harmless. Usually (I'd like to think) I can change narrative or figure out a new narrative ... if given a day or two. Or, more. From "little isolated cabin in the woods" to "senior housing" ... well, I still feel a bit of whiplash from that one :-).

Well, in 24 hours I'll be checking into the oral surgeon. Might go dark for a few days. Or, maybe just a short note. Imagine that :-).

I'm reading Ruth Goodman's new book "How to Be a Tudor: A Dawn to Dusk Guide to Tudor Life." Pretty interesting. You know, I always worry about keeping up my teeth if everything falls apart. Well, apparently the best stuff to use for teeth in "olden times" was soot from a candle. You hold the candle to glazed ceramic, or glass and get a good amount of smudge. Then rub it in with a cloth. Polishes, cleans and deodorizes. The thing I like about Goodman (besides her great nasty laugh) is that she's tried all this stuff. And, not just once or twice, but over a good period of time. Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

I was prepared to begin using the water in the rain barrels and tank, but we have received 2.5 inches / 7.3 cm of much needed and appreciated rain in less than 24 hours! On the flip side, as the water transpires back out, it will make the next two days very hot and humid indeed. The high is predicted to be 96F/35C tomorrow with a heat index up to 110F/43C. The actual high may hit 100F/38C on Friday with a heat index about the same as Thursday. But we're supposed to be back to normal summer weather by Monday.

Anyway, I'll be ready when the garden needs watering again. Wouldn't be surprised if that happens in the next couple of weeks. :-)

Lew, may your surgery go very well, and enjoy eating ice cream during your recovery!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Oh yeah, the branch was huge, but the tree itself is much huger (!) and lives to face another year. I must confess that I'm not looking forward to chopping the branch up as at this time of year the impact drove the branch into the soil and so the timber is dirty which will quickly blunt the chain on the chainsaw.

What a disaster with your trees! Yes, such things happen quickly and without notice. Just for you interest, what I would do in such a situation is to either let nature take its course, or wrap a very strong flat nylon vehicle recovery strap and proper dog chain (not the canine variety! :-)!) around the base of the tree and then use a vehicle to pull the tree out from the maple tree. Of course it goes without saying that it is probably wise to have a recovery strap that is longer than the height of the tree itself, just to be on the safe side. I leave felling trees to people that do that task for a living as they seem to know what they are doing, whereas I can end up in trouble very quickly at short notice and without warning... Good luck with that, and I do hope that a strong wind gust takes the tree down to the ground.

Thank you for writing that. The snow was so much fun as such a heavy fall is very rare here. I was speaking this morning with some other locals who were also remarking about how rare the snow was. Nice!

Yeah, the citrus are great winter fruit and there are a lot of varieties too. I had grapefruit and limes in my breakfast muesli this morning. Yum! The trees themselves are very hardy and will survive down to -9'C (16'F) apparently, although I personally would not like to see them struggle under such conditions. Oh, in those conditions, they must be out of the wind too as the wind chill would not be good for them. If it is a bit marginal, I would reckon that the seedling trees would be the way to go, although people may be a bit scared by a 50ft lemon tree (you wouldn't want to be underneath it when the fruit let go!).

Poopy has a big enough ego already without that going into his head. He enjoyed a trip to the post office, bank and feed shop this morning. He was very well behaved, although he did score some raisin toast.

Yeah, I wonder about what happens in much colder conditions than here with the solar panels too. Have you ever seen anyone raking the snow off solar panels in winter? It does make a person wonder.

That is interesting about the bluestone. They call that process rolling in down here and if the particles have a mix of small (fines) and larger rocks it forms a hard surface here too. Hey, did you know that bluestone down here refers to a common form of blue-ish volcanic granite? The old timers used to use bluestone blocks to pave streets with and in the inner city there are many old lanes with cobblestones still in existence.

Ah! Interesting thanks for the comparison. It may be a bit warmer here, thus the earlier times. Hey, did you see that this year has been the warmest so far recorded? Not good.

Thanks very much for that info. I may try sorghum, but will have to set up a patch of the plants. Yeah, grains contain a lot of sugars too. I hadn't considered that aspect. Thanks very much. And yeah, many plants have to make do with little care and attention here too.

The varroa mite situation is unnerving.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

That book is excellent and I too recommend it highly. Yes, the management practices are far different from what we practice or what we are allowed to practice today. The funny thing is that didn't some ultra clever bloke say something or other about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.

I see you have a new blog entry and I'll drop by and check it out today.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for the comparison. It is a bit of a mystery isn't it? I tend to keep those sealed bags in the dark in a cool cupboard where the temperature doesn't fluctuate to markedly, so who knows what is going on.

Of course, I hadn't considered that aspect of the predicament. Artificial lighting really does come with benefits and costs doesn't it? Personally I dislike getting up in the dark - unless it is because it is snowing! One can be flexible in such matters. ;-)! But then snow is very novel here.

Isn't it interesting how you acclimatise to the background scents of the part of the world that you live in. I find that the tropics assaults my senses, but then other people probably would say the same about the places that you and I live in.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Fresh straw sounds about right to me!!! Now that you mention it, I may just go and get the kettle warmed up for some tea. It is cold here today but sunny and a little bit breezy. No doubts about it, this is the year of wind here. There may be a flatulence joke in there somewhere but right now it escapes me.

Hey, I just wanted to say thanks for putting me onto the Empire Falls book. Did you realise that the narrative in the book is one of societal decline - although the characters seem oblivious to it all? Anyway, that metaphor looms over the whole story and the author tells a melancholy tale - although that is probably my take on the stories. And some of the memes he slips in without anyone noticing... The characters speak to a level of bitterness and peevishness that is quite confronting to myself, but it is nice to read how others think and feel as you get to put them in some context. It is quite interesting.

Ha! Yeah, there definitely is a thesis in there somewhere. It would take a brave soul to take the big stick to those stories and point out the narratives and then point out that we're really rather all limited by our senses and thus we see a lot of the same things. I quail in fear of the possible backlash. It would be massive and I doubt that I am up for that! On the other hand I had an interesting idea which I may post over at the ADR which speaks to one of the commenters who outed themselves as a YEC. Now I personally don't care much for that YEC point of view as it makes for such a small world. Did you read that the recent radio telescope over in South Africa, I believe, discovered 13,000 new galaxies in an otherwise previously thought of as quiet corner of the universe! Wow! That universe thingee is way big! ;-)!

Oh well, yeah, we're all a bit mostly harmless, and possibly slightly quirky. That is good fun stuff! Hmm, I do hope you are OK with the impending dislocation of your residence? It is not an easy thing to navigate, but time really does work wonders at adjusting our worldviews. As a child I was transferred from a full on hippy dippy high school to a full on all boys grammar school. I hear you about dislocations.

Well, I look forward to receiving the next comment from you! Best wishes for the surgery and I do hope that you have a speedy recovery.

Oh yeah, the Aboriginals as well as the old timers down here used charcoal to clean their teeth. It makes for very bright and clean white teeth. Many people that I am aware of still use that today. Haven't tried it myself though.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

That is a huge and very useful amount of rain for this time of year for you. Oh yeah, the humidity over the next few days will be very unpleasant for you. Still, the place will grow like a rampant jungle! I hope that you have lots of peppers and chilli's growing this season? Plus the tomatoes! Yum!

Nice to hear that the rain barrels are full too. That is the perfect summer.

Cheers

Chris

Yahoo2 said...

the teeth cleaning thing is like a little dance.

On the one hand acidic food and drink, like fermented foods, can be good for our gut, yet it will soften tooth enamel, so the tooth surface is easily removed for a few hours afterwards, exposing us to dental problems if this process is happening all day everyday. There is also something in saliva that can redeposit calcium on our teeth given the right conditions.
Ideally toothpastes should minimise the enamel softening during the day and allow the calcium buildup to happen, I assume at night, not just be an abrasive polish.

Sounds great in theory, in practice it melts a few braincells, my chemistry is not up to the task. I am thinking of something that is a protective film and a very slight buffer to acid in the morning and a standard commercial paste at night provided it has been a few hours since the last acid food or drink.

A glass of white wine or cider in the late evening will blow that idea up in smoke!

Any thoughts?

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

You are correct, snow is rare here in the south. The great exception was the winter of 1962/3. It began on Boxing day and we couldn't open the front door because of the amount of snow that had drifted into the porch. Drifting had caused snow to pile up across the road up to the top of the hedges and it was 3 months before we could drive out. We were living off grid with no neighbours and 2 children aged 4 and 2. My husband managed to walk out, across the fields, after 5 days. We needed milk but otherwise we were as usual well stocked up. It was longer before I could get out. I had tried by walking in my husband's footsteps but it was too exhausting. Someone built a snowwoman along the road later, she was very curvaceous.

Sledging was fantastic; I had only done this in the previous great winter of 1947. I was living in south London and my mother and I took a sledge on a train out to friends in the country.

Kurt Vonnegut gave a hilarious lecture on the 7 subjects used in novels. I heard it on youtube.

Inge

margfh said...

Lew,
Best of luck today (though I'm guessing you won't see this until it's over).

Claire,

Jealous of the rain. We've had only 1/2 inch in weeks so watering something is a daily chore. Here in Northern Illinois it will be quite hot with heat index over 100 a few days but not quite as bad as your area.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

In answer to your question my chickens range in age from 3 months to 4 years (Barred Hollands). Unfortunately the varroa mite count demonstration will not take place according to my husband. No one from the club stepped up to do it. There will be a few other demonstrations though and a guy is bringing his trailer that he's set up to be a traveling honey extraction business for those who don't have their own extractors. Unfortunately the heat and humidity will put a damper on the day. House will be closed up through Sunday. This morning the humidity level is 97% and it's already 72F (22.2 C). Getting out to do the outside work by 7 AM will be the order of the day for awhile. Luckily I am a morning person. I've got to say the older (will hit my medicare bday in a few months) I get the more draining this heat and humidity is. We've been spoiled the last two years with quite pleasant summers.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

A bi-plane just flew over and then back again, nice to see. There have been 2 spitfires overhead recently.

@yahoo2 Tooth cleaning is indeed a problem, must not brush them too soon after any acidic intake. Both bi-carb and soot were/are used but are really too abrasive. Soot is carcinogenic. I assume that it is our diet that makes our teeth the most fallible part of our anatomy.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Best wishes!

Chris

Yahoo2 said...

thanks for the link to the biggest estate on earth. I have been thinking about this a lot lately, maybe ten years. I will qualify this and say I have not read the book yet. The modern narrative suggests that before European colonisation burning was directly responsible for the open treescape. I dont buy that.

I think the locals used burning to recreate what the large herbivores did in the system before their extinction, that is smashing old dry growth and to mulch and composting soil and then have a recovery period to have new fresh growth. They done the best they could with the tools they had. I think the trees and undergrowth were controlled by the little critters feasting on the young seedlings.

Sure if a patch of trees got a bit thick, the fire would stop creeping around and leap into the canopy and kill the whole patch. Might take 100 years to get to that stage, what we have now is a situation where the whole landscape is 1000+ trees per hectare or winter annual grass in the open country, winter grass is dead and tinder dry in summer, rather than less than 100 trees per hectare and perennial grasses that are green in summer. Now the lot burns.

I know it sounds like a small difference of opinion but bear with me.

If burning is not the primary control of tree numbers then we get into a vicious cycle of burn, thicket, burn, thicket, burn, and ultimately no more landscape.

If we dont recreate the small mammals and marsupials effect. Thin the trees and open some of this dryland canopy and build a perennial ground cover on the open areas with short, high density, long rotation grazing (or cold burning if we dont have large herbivores and portable electric fence available).
Then the plant and animal species we have now will be gone very soon.

Chris,
Baron Von Mueller fought public opinion and tried to bypass it, rather than influencing it, and that's what you would be doing with a direct approach to the local council with an application to thin trees. Its better to play the long game and ultimately get them to change their policy.
Someone said to me once, dealing directly with bureaucracy is like grabbing the back end of an animal, it usually results in a kick in the face or some bite-marks on your arms, if you need to restrain an animal you hold its head, not its ahem other end.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

Ha! Well you are indeed miles ahead of me, because neither my brain nor my chemistry skills are up to the task of unravelling the mysteries of toothpaste. Actually I forgot to mention in my previous reply to you on this very important topic of toothpaste that pharmacies actually supply a form of charcoal for tooth cleaning known as "activated charcoal". You may be able to confirm whether this is actually merely another form of charcoal or whether indeed it is a marketing claim. I wouldn’t recommend using soot as that may contain known carcinogens and all sorts of other nasty chemicals.

I'd imagine a change in diet towards a more diverse source of foods would have an impact on tooth enamel? A lot of preserved goods and also industrially produced foods are highly acidic for the practical reason of having to slow biological activity which may otherwise break the food down or provide an environment where bacteria producing toxic chemicals will thrive. On the other hand, I have loads of fresh greens in my diet and they lean towards the basic end of the pH spectrum so that would possibly make a difference too? Dunno, what are your thoughts on that matter?

I have no doubts that the issue of trees is very much on your mind given your background and events in recent years. This issue is on my mind too and it absorbs an awful lot of my interest. Burning was one of the tools that the Aboriginals used to maintain the mixed density woodland and grassland environment. The book really is worth the effort of reading. Of course, I have no doubt that the Aboriginals ate the Australian megafauna once they arrived on these shores. It is not a new story for humans and in fact we are doing a similar thing even today. The URL link is an interesting short article on the subject of megafauna. Once the megafauna were removed from the landscape - for whatever reason (it does not actually matter) - humans had to then face up to the huge task of maintaining the landscape in a manner that supported a mix of both animals and forests. And to their absolute credit, they did exactly that and then maintained it.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Exactly about the summer green landscape. We ignore that at our peril. Have you noticed how green the very well established garden beds are here over summer? I could continue that way down the mountain if I was able to. The grass and herbage here is unfortunate as I have to totally chop and drop the lot - which then dries out in the strong summer sun - due to the incessant risk of fire from arson. I don't live in isolation... There are plenty of deep rooted perennial plants that could reproduce a green summer landscape down under and I grow a lot of them. Think Lucerne for one. If you are ever in Melbourne over high summer, take a look at some of the deliberately planted meadows: Gardening Australia - A Meadow in the City. The link has a short video which is nice to look at. I grow all of those species here and they are as hardy as and they would all do very well in SA too.

Exactly, no one wins from wildfires. Neither the trees which die due to extreme heat stress, nor the animals, nor the soil life. Nothing wins at all as everything dies in such a massive event. Even the seeds in the soil die - along with the soil life as the soil burns. I sometimes take a trip up to Kinglake to see what has occurred over the past seven years since Black Saturday. It is very interesting and I am surprised that few people want to research or review the ongoing changes. It is a quiet forest.

I hear you about the good Baron. He took a combative approach, which I am disinclined to repeat. There are other approaches to consider too. The problem with confronting a legal system is that it can absorb an inordinate amount of personal energy which can sometimes be its unstated goal and there is a certain amount of inertia built in to the entire system. Look at how Peter Andrews is rendered ineffective because he enjoys the biffo so much. We must employ many tools in the toolbox and some of those may be totally unexpected. That is life. Fighting is not necessarily the correct response. Have you ever read Sun Tzu's treatise on the Art of War? He had something to say on that matter to be sure.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for sharing that story! Wow, that would have been challenging, but fun too - especially if you were prepared. Like you, I could wait here months and it wouldn't be too much of a problem. As it is now I barely go to the shops once every six weeks or so and even that is becoming less frequent.

Your walk would have been arduous in that deep snow and I respect you for even having tried that. Milk would be a problem for me too! Out of interest, how did your children enjoy that experience given how young they were at the time? Did they even remember it? It was very thoughtful of the unknown artist to include some curves on the snow-woman and I personally appreciate such attention to detail! :-)!

Yeah, sledging in the snow would be fun! Did you know that down here we call that activity tobogganing? Thanks for the Kurt Vonnegut reference and I found it here: Kurt Vonnegut on the Shapes of Stories . My grandfather was a bomber pilot during that bombing of Dresden - he never spoke of it in any detail.

Oh! I went into the big smoke today to perform a whole lot of administrative matters, but my last stop this afternoon was at a shop which imports all manner of European made items for home preserves and I'll tell you that the shop was a massive temptation. Unfortunately, I was not prepared - or even equal to the temptation - to be confronted by such temptations and so walked away with a beautiful hand made steel and timber apple press. How did that happen, I ask you? Hopefully over the next few days it will get put to good use squeezing the juice from many of the now ripe citrus fruit. I have little use for lemon juice at this time of year, but over summer - when the fruit is not usually ripe - I need lots of lemon juice.

Has the warmer weather continued?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Ouch, that is not much rainfall for you at this time of year. Your summer is a lot like here in that it can be very changeable. I have been experimenting with the various types of watering systems over the past few years and I have noticed that the most effective so far seems to be the flat-ish hoses with many holes pricked in them that spray a fine jet of water across the entire length of that hose. It does take a lot of time to water by hand and I noticed that the previous hand watering arrangements took so much time that sometimes I was not thorough enough and the water failed to infiltrate far into the soil. It is a very complex business and I'll see what happens over the next summer. Every year you learn more. I linked to a short video above in my response to Steve about a meadow planted within the Melbourne CBD area and it is very hardy and you may be personally interested to see the sheer density of the plants and flowers.

Oh, fair enough. I would be uncomfortable opening up a hive in such hot and humid conditions too. The travelling extractor business is a great idea, plus it allows someone else to have a look at the health of the hives. You never quite know what they may point out to you. Down here, extractors are usually shared within a club or are available for short term hire. I'll be very interested to see how the bees recover from their over wintering here as I just don't know from one year to the next how it will go.

Getting older is a bummer to be sure! I do the same thing over summer too and get up early, but fortunately the sun rises well before I'm usually awake. The past few weeks have been very hard to work outside here as even last night over one inch of rain fell. It has been an absolutely crazy wet winter here. It would be nice to see a normal weather year too. I hear you!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The warmer weather is continuing, gorgeous.

Don't know whether my elder daughter remembers that winter (son would have been too young). My husband put my daughter up onto the snow on the road and took a photo of her standing there above the hedges. There was a later winter with enough snow to sledge and I have a photo of them all on a sledge together. She would remember that and might have consolidated the 2 in memory.

We do say tobogganing as well ( that spelling looks wrong but the computer has not complained. We also have the word 'numpty' meaning foolish person.

Not surprised that your grandfather didn't talk about the fire bombing of Dresden, it was horrific. Vast numbers of people fleeing from elsewhere, were in the streets with nowhere else to go. I heard the story from my mother who had relatives caught in it.

Thanks for the lead to the Kurt Vonnegut. I had tried to look at it again but had failed to find it. You are way more competent with the internet than I.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I'm doing ok. Up every 4 hours to take some meds, have a bit to eat and drink, ice my face and back to bed. Zzzzzz. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Steve:

I've been studying about teeth a bit (better late than never) and it seems that most of our mouths stay rather too acidic (as I believe you said), because of the naughty things that we eat, and that is very hard on teeth and gums. So, I would suppose that alkalinizing the mouth to give it a more neutral pH would be good (and I think that's what you were posing, too)? I see that green tea and chamomile (yay!) are both rather alkaline. And baking soda, of course. It should help some just to swish baking soda in one's mouth, maybe before bed? Maybe drink a cup of chamomile (nice choice before bed, anyway) before bed after one has brushed? I've heard of using charcoal, too, but once I had to give one of the dogs some activated charcoal because of a digestive problem and she hated it and foamed at the mouth in resentment, and the foam was all black. She looked really scary! I wouldn't want to repeat that with me as the recipient . . .

Pam

Damo said...

@Yahoo

Your comments strike a chord with me. I have also not read the book yet, but it is definitely on my list when I am in a position to permanently keep a nice hardcover book.

A few months ago I did a drive from Tasmania to Brisbane, plus a fair bit of back and forth around the north coast of NSW. I had these topics at the forefront of my mind as I drove past the drought ravaged terrain north of Melbourne. I wondered at what we have lost as I drove past thousands of hectares of thick, tangled dry eucalyptus, ready to burn at the drop of a hat.

A lot of the country is still beautiful of course, but so much seems to be in pretty poor condition. I don't think the population is ready for a robust debate on active management either. Such a discussion would be hijacked by 'left' and 'right'.

Damo said...

@Chris, Steve, etc

RE: megafauna

I always found it interesting that a certain subset of academics were adamant the Aboriginals were not responsible for the loss of our megafauna. I think it has become a political statement for them, maybe with a whiff of noble savage type thoughts.

In my mind it makes perfect sense (not that this makes it true of course). The Aboriginals arrive on the Australian continent to find an abundant, easy to harvest resource. They proceed to do what every other human society in history, and today, has done and exploit said resource. The population booms and the resource collapses, followed soon after by the now very hungry Aboriginals. But afterwards, something different happens. The collapse leaves such a lasting cultural memory that new, sustainable practices are developed and maintained. Subsequent population overshoot and collapse is avoided. The culture is so successful that they are still around 40,000 years later when the Europeans arrive and wipe them out.

I dunno, who knows how it went down? So little gets left behind, especially from a predominantly hunter/gatherer culture that almost any narrative could be made to fit I suspect.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Your weather sounds really nice – especially to a person that is in the depths of winter! Out of curiosity, has the water table dropped yet? Oh, and also are you getting a lot more wildflowers now that the weather and soil is warming?

It has been very complex trying to get some outside time to work here over the past few days due to the continuing very wet and cold winter weather. It slightly snowed here late this afternoon whilst the chickens were in the orchard. The chickens rapidly retreated into their enclosure and went to bed early tonight! You may be interested to hear that the farm in the valley below this point in the mountain range looks as though it has reverted to the swamp that it occasionally is. Most of the area of New Gisborne (which is actually the old part of Gisborne) is a major groundwater replenishment area. Anyway, it is a very well run farm and they have moved their sheep and cattle to higher ground a few days ago well before it became a problem for the animals. I took some long range photos this evening so it will be interesting to see how they turn out.

In the meantime, I have juiced about a quarter of the lemon harvest and also frozen about four and a half litres of lemon juice which will be used for preserves and jams when summer finally rolls around again. I have absolutely no idea what to do with all of the other perhaps fifteen litres of lemon juice which is still in fruit on the trees and I am now wondering about the wisdom of planting so many lemon citrus trees. I wonder if there is a market for fresh lemon juice?

Wow, snow above the height of your hedges is an amazing tale and I appreciate hearing about it as it is so far outside of my experience. You know I often suspect that such events as you and your family lived through in that heavy snow year are a lot more interesting and - perhaps fun? although that may not be the right word - than people let on. Of course, it probably helped that you (like myself here) were more than prepared for such a circumstance. I wrote about peoples reliance on "just in time" supplies a few months back because I suspect that this is a weakness of our society that few people want to discuss.

Nice to hear that you also use the useful word "numpty"! There is a bit of that going on - even here from time to time! ;-)!

Dresden was horrific. I understand the strategy of that night, but at the same time, the Allies response on a civilian target seemed a bit extreme to have created that particular fire storm. It was the equivalent of a major wildfire down here and nobody needs to experience that. I am sorry that my relatives caused your relatives suffering. I have a suspicion that tensions are slowly escalating and the lessons of history have been forgotten or are being ignored. Dunno.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Nice to see that you are still with us and I send you best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Not to make you smile which may hurt your jaw, but you may recall the Monty Python and the Holy Grail scene of the plague... "'ere, he says he's not dead yet!" :-)!

Mate, I'll be you are glad that you are not here as it is only about 35'F outside right now. Brrr!

Enjoy your sleep - and puddings and ice cream. Yum!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

I travelled to Canberra late last year too by car and saw the same thing. We have as a society some sort of strange inclination to want to remove water from our area as fast as we can make it happen. And it does not rain often enough or even regularly enough for it to make sense pursing that particular strategy. I tend to get every drop of water into the soil where it is much harder for it to evaporate in the summer heat. However, this place is only a small drop in that much bigger story and everyone else is pursuing a different game – not to mention planting annuals that die during the summer.

Absolutely! The whole issue offends our sensibilities and preconceptions. And imagine the sheer task for us with our concerns nowadays of managing every acre of land on the entire continent. It is an awesome task, no doubts about it. Also pretending that nobody was gardening the entire continent before our arrival fits our preferred narrative.

Exactly, that is the same story of humans which has occurred over and over again in our history in all sorts of parts of the world. The Aboriginals set strict limits on their population numbers and they also connected their spirituality to the actual landscape itself and all of its life therein. That is a massive worldview.

That is possibly so. The early explorers weren't interested in the Aboriginals and 90% of the population would have died because of introduced diseases in the southern part of the country. And land was what the settlers wanted most of all and they got a very fertile environment and proceeded to drain it and convert it to wool. I saw a lot of sheep and cattle today in my travels to pick up some olive oil. Dunno.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The water table has dropped but I don't know how far down it has gone. my guess would be not much. No, I don't get a surge of wild flowers now, the main surge is in the Spring. I am going to guess that, because it is old woodland, it is geared to producing before the canopy closes and that this tendency remains even in my cleared areas.

Your lemon planting does sound excessive, should you not have more varied food trees? I expect that you have them but the proportion needs to be good.

Of course snow is fun as well. I reckon that people make some fun wherever and however they are living. Perhaps less so nowadays; it appears that the more people have, the more disgruntled they become. Very strange really!

As far as relatives causing other people's relatives suffering, we seem to be all far more interrelated than people realise. What is that thing, I forget, about six stages before one finds a link? Well something like that.

I agree about escalating tensions. I really hope that I don't live to see WW3

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lewis:

Good for you, Lew!

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Still in the land of the living. Heck is other people. And, if other's would just leave me the heck alone, I'd be fine. Oh, and also, the doctor's office called (the day after surgery, when I'm still rummy from the drugs) to announce that it was more complicated than expected and they'd like another $560 please ... at my soonest conveinience (sorry, can't be bothered to look up the correct spelling) but the WILL be happy to take payments ... That's a little more than half my monthly imcome.

Your blogger is looking rather bright, these days. Lots of oranges and tourquoise. Something or other on offer that I really don't understand ... and, probsbly don't need. :-). Lew

orchidwallis said...

@Lew

I am so pleased that you are safely back home after the op. and shocked that they can ask for more money afterwards. The speed of the request is quite disgusting, knocking you while you are down.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for the info on your water table. The water table has certainly risen here - and I'll put some photos on tomorrow nights blog. Have you ever had a spring rise up from the ground during a particularly wet year? I had that here once, although that year was much wetter than this year.

Of course, the canopy of your forest has oaks which provide very dense shade, so that makes perfect sense. I noticed an oak way down below yesterday which appears not to have gone fully deciduous this winter, and I often wonder whether they are adapting to the warmer winters here? It was very wet today as we worked outside on the tomato beds which had to be cleaned up of the now dead vines but it was very changeable with sun one minute and then heavy rain the next.

Yeah, there are 300 various fruit trees here of all sorts of different varieties. It is very diverse. Perhaps that may be a bit much, but the wildlife are more than happy to take more than their fair share. The funny thing about the lemons was that in Melbourne the trees have a lot of problems due to insects (gall wasp in particular) and heat and water stress. Unfortunately, those problems don't occur here and I planted a few lemon trees with those problems in mind... The other citrus trees were knocked back a year or so ago by the wallabies but they too are now starting to produce this year and the limes, grapefruit and mandarins are all quite tasty. I wonder if someone wants to purchase pure lemon juice - it is used a lot in cooking? Dunno.

That is very strange isn't it? I see that having too much as being expressed as a certain dissatisfaction which pervades peoples lives. It can't be a good thing? I set limits on what I want to do, own or achieve and that seems to work for me. I am in total agreement with you.

Thank you. I believe the term is six degrees of separation and yes, you never know who is related to whom.

I've read that a similar rising tension was felt before WWI and also WWII. The author Jack Vance (one of my favourites) - who was in the American navy during WWII - often wrote about the tensions in society sometimes requiring a catharsis and that is an underlying theme in some of his books. I can't say that I would argue with his views.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Nice to read that you are feeling better, and I hope they supplied some sedatives before announcing that particular scam. I suspect a payment plan is the way to go. Sorry mate, that sort of thing is unheard of down here. I quoted on a job last year and for all sorts of unexpected reasons, it was a disaster from one end to the other, but I stuck by the quote and finished the job. That is the whole point of a quote - it is a sharing of risk.

Anyway, it is nice that you are more coherent and don't stress about spelling and all of those sorts of niceties, of course we can cut you some slack in your hour of need. :-)!

I hope you have some good books? How is the pudding going too?

Really? I don't see that here. I might check into it - it might explain a thing or two. You use an apple OS don't you?

I found today that most of the blueberries survived being covered over by tomato vines. Oh, what an error it was not limiting the growth of those plants. Incidentally one of the blueberries may have tapped into the worm farm trench because it grew five feet in one summer. That is a bit much I reckon...

Hope you are feeling better soon!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Well here's the report on the bee club pig roast. The day was forecast to be hot and humid and it certainly was but just as the event got underway the skies opened up so umbrellas were the order of the day. We have a large garage and covered front porch so people congregated there. Due to the heat, humidity and then rain we think about 60 of the 110 planned guests arrived. There were a few breaks in the storms but then it really started to pour - lots of thunder and lightning as well and this was just when the meal was served. We received over 2 inches of rain in a pretty short time which was much needed here but definitely poorly timed. Out of all the bee related demonstrations only the traveling extractor trailer took place. Under the circumstances it went off well and people seemed to have a good time. My husband was totally stressed though. I don't think he'll be volunteering to do this again anytime soon which is alright by me. The dogs, particularly Leo who is older, were quite exhausted (and wet) as well. Leo wouldn't even get off his bed to get a scrap of pork that I offered the dogs and he lives for food.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Lew,

So glad to see you back and on the road to recovery. Terrible about the extra charge but I'm not all that surprised. When I had my oral surgery they quoted the amount for the procedure and the biopsy which was paid to the oral surgeon. A few weeks later a received a bill from the hospital that actually did the biopsy for over $400. When I called the oral surgeon's office to inquire about it their response was "Oh yes, we should have told you about that." Anyway so sorry about the unexpected expense.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

I think you are well back on the road to being your old self. Blimey, what is that oral surgery that you went to - a car repair shop? I'd go with payments, too - the smallest possible. Maybe a 5-year plan, since they wish to act like a car dealer. Well, the most important thing is if they did a good job.

Can't wait to hear what you've been eating . . .

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

Our woodland really only gets wildflowers in the spring, also, There are certainly some along the edges of the woods in the summer, but they are mostly done now. Along the verges of the roads, however, they are plenteous - as long as the state (they maintain all public roads out in the county) tightens its belt, which it has some, and doesn't mow.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Thanks for the kind thoughts. They are appreciated. So much for our health "care" system. Lew

Yo, Chris - Well, the whole bait and switch ... what really sticks in my craw is that you feel so powerless. Not a darned thing I can do about it. If I don't pay the bill, it goes to collection and (as you well know), my credit rating plunges. When I finally am in contention for a place in the elderly housing, the first thing they will check is my credit score. The amount of your utility deposits are based on your credit score. House and car insurance ... ditto.

I suppose I could sue :-). For $560. As the bill winds it's way to default ... Same outcome.

Feeling a bit better, today. Not so much swelling. Still a lot of bruising. Look like i've been in a bar brawl. Switched off the heavy duty pain stuff, last night. To the light stuff. If 800 MG Ibuprofen plus something else I cant spell is considered light stuff. So, I'm a little more clear headed, this morning. Plenty of books to read and they may even make sense now that my head is clearing out a little.

Books - "The Mandibles: A Family 2029-2047", the new Joe Hill book, Ruth Goodman's new book. The Mandibles started out being very iritating ... irratating ... irritating ....The first couple of paragraphs, I can't tell who the narrator is talking to/about. The son? The boyfriend? For gosh sakes, take your narrative in hand and get the she said / he said, sorted. Life's short and I don't have time to reread the first paragraphs three or four times to try and make some sense out of the mess the author has created. I skipped four or five pages, and the narrative seems to have settled down. But, the author better dazzle me with something exciting, as I'm likely to throw the whole thing aside as I'm still miffed by the opening. Did I mention I used to do book reviews? Some of them were just as mean. Pity I didn't get paid for them.

DVDs? Manhattan, season two. Inspector Morris, season 2 and 3. Inspector Lewis, season 1 and 2. My Name is Earl, season 1. iZombie, season 2. More books. The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson. Something on collecting post cards. A bio of Hadrian. "How to be an Artist without losing your mind, your shirt, or your creative compass" (Promises, promises). Another, "oh ain't it awful" book on American food.

Yup, I'm now getting two pages of blogger ad when I sign on. Yes, I use Apple OS. Oh, I don't mind. I just think it's silly. There are these bright primary colors and shapes of all kinds of cooking utesils, utensils ... scattered about. Pie crusts and such. They're behind the times. I think the graphics are meant to convey that I should be photographing everything I cook and eat and posting it to blogger. As if that hasn't been done to death, already.

I once had a Wisteria that put down roots to close to a leaking sewer line. Instant Wisteria jungle.

There was also some psycho drama in my front yard, the day after surgery. I really can't put it all together, but it involved some very large, red faced woman .... something about bulls and cattle being out ... did I have a large dog, would I sick it on her ... phone numbers of cattle people produced .... me yelling very loudly that I had just had oral surgery (in case they didn't notice the swelling, bruising, etc.). Somewhere in there, the evil step son showed up, looking like a very dirty trailer park Jesus with weird son/child with his bright pink framed glasses. Precedes to complicate the whole narrative ('cause, he has a better idea ... always) and wanted to bring me something ... that I had no interest in ... and, had to tell him forcefully that I had no interest in what ever it was. Much quieter around here, today. But, it's early. Lew