Monday, 4 July 2016

Repo Man



The life of a gardener is always intense.

I was not born with a green thumb. My first foray into growing vegetables was a complete disaster. I originally believed that planting a punnet of purchased seedling lettuces during the middle of a hot summer down under, into composted woody mulch and without additional watering, would be a smart thing to do. The lettuce seedlings in question promptly died. Since then I have learned that lettuce is a winter and spring crop down here, it is required to be grown in manure, and if spring weather is at all hot, those lettuce plants require additional watering.

Way back then, I was quite surprised by the death of those seedling lettuces because people down under traditionally consume lettuce over the summer as a salad vegetable. So many unanswered questions were raised by the death of those seedling lettuces such as:

  • Who is consuming all of the lettuces grown down here during winter and spring (Aliens anyone)?
  • Why do we consume lettuce in summer when they grow during the winter and spring?
  • Where do the lettuces that are available on shop shelves during summer come from?

But mostly, the death of those lettuce seedlings made me aware that this whole agriculture business is much more complex than I'd even begun to consider.

As an interesting and related side story, a few weeks back, I heard an amusing story on an ABC national radio youth news program (Hack on Triple J) about people who describe themselves as preppers – whatever that means. Apparently the preppers hold a rather strange belief that the end of civilised society is nigh and so they have equipped themselves with stores including plant seeds sealed in air tight nitrogen filled bags. The preppers apparently intend to feed themselves – once civilised society has crashed and burned, of course - from plants grown from those stored seeds. Needless to say, I have some very bad news for preppers, and that is that I would expect that they would share the same fate as those lettuce seedlings in about the same time frame – unless of course they are miraculously saved by aliens who may or may not be driving repossessed Chevy Malibu’s. Agriculture is a seriously complex business and requires a lot of practice, experimentation and observation.

And so it is that this week that I have to admit to a failure. I planted onions in a raised garden bed of manure. It all seemed like a good idea at the time. The various onion species initially grew very well. And then disaster slowly struck. I rarely get insect pests here, however a small black aphid seemed to flourish on the onions. The fairy wren birds which spend most of their days consuming pest insects in the garden beds could not keep up with the sheer number of aphids, and the onions slowly wilted and looked very sad as they were covered by a mass of black insects.

After a bit of research, I discovered my error and it soon became clear that growing onions in a manure rich bed was a very bad idea. The manure encourages a lot of green growth in the onions which then becomes a magnet for all sorts of insects. The lesson here is that onions are best grown in beds compromising more acidic composted woody mulch rather than manures. This also tells me more about the onion story in that they were originally a forest (or forest edge) dwelling plant, much like garlic, because those are the sort of soils that you would expect to find in those locations.

Long term readers will recall that way back in February during the late summer when the sun was shining strongly and the days were hot, the editor and I travelled to a farm expo. At the farm expo we met a guy that manufactured round steel raised garden beds. Today we ordered a number of steel raised garden beds from that guy and all being well we should have them in place for the next blog entry.

Now, the steel raised garden bed which was used for growing the aphid riddled onions was full of manure. That steel bed was also too large for its location as we were unable to walk behind the raised garden bed without falling off the edge of the flat ground. Needless to say that falling down the slope and into a mass of solid vegetation would have been an unpleasant experience. So, today, we cleared all of the remaining vegetation in that raised garden bed and either fed the plants to the chickens or the worms.
The old raised steel garden bed had all of its vegetation removed today
Nothing goes to waste here and the manure in that raised garden bed was spread over the flower gardens and also on the recently excavated new garden beds. Manure is very handy on slopes as it can be caked onto a slope and it will stick like a render. Observant readers will be able to spot in the photo below the many white roots which the onions had left in that manure. The soil even smelled of onions. Once the manure was removed the steel could also be repossessed(!).
The manure from the onion bed was spread about the farm
A much smaller steel raised garden bed which had also been removed from another location was used to replace the previous (and much larger) raised garden bed. Onions are not the only plants that do not appreciate being grown in rich manure. Broad beans are a winter bean and they also prefer more acidic forest like soils (more woody compost than manures). It is possible to grow broad beans in rich manures, however they tend to grow very rapidly and then lodge. Lodging is a fancy word which means falling over! In the new and smaller raised garden bed, we filled the bed with a mix of about 80% composted woody mulch and about 20% manure and then planted about 50 broad bean seeds into that mix.
The new and much smaller raised garden bed was filled with about 80% composted woody mulch and then topped up with about 20% manure and planted with about 50 broad bean seeds
The smaller raised garden bed had been repossessed (!) from an existing location next to the original asparagus bed. That left a mass of manure, which will be used to fill a new and much larger second steel raised asparagus bed which should be in place by the next blog entry.
A mass of manure was left behind after removing the smaller raised garden bed which was used elsewhere
The asparagus crowns for that yet to be installed raised garden bed were purchased earlier this week. Asparagus grows as either a male or female plant and they can be purchased as either one to two year old crowns or as much smaller seedlings. Asparagus crowns are supplied to plant nurseries by commercial asparagus growers and they are generally the female plants which produce smaller spears which are not favoured by commercial growers. The growers are paid by weight of produce and fatter spears which are produced by the male plant provide more income than the thinner spears produced by the female plant. If you want to breed asparagus plants you require both the male and the female plants and so you will have to acquire seedlings. However, if all you desire is to grow and eat asparagus spears then purchasing crowns will save you a year or two of growth. The existing asparagus bed contains plants that are a mix of seedling and crowns so both sexes are present. The second raised garden bed will compromise only crowns.
The author holds up two of the asparagus crowns purchased this week to display just how much growth a crown already has when purchased
So you see, years after commencing this adventure, I’m still learning so much about agriculture and how it applies here, and also more importantly I'm learning what am I intending to eat from the garden. It may make you feel good winning the local best in show for the best looking Romanesco broccoli, but to my mind there is little point growing vegetables if you do not intend to eat them. Unless of course you are feeding it to aliens, who may be rather uncertain in their choice of favourite vegetables and then perhaps the Romanesco broccoli may impress them!

Winter rainfall is normally quite gentle, but persistent here. I often joke that it rains a lot, but not much rain falls. However, earlier this week the rain was torrential!
Last week the rain was torrential
Finally, the rain eventually went elsewhere and I had an opportunity to move a fruit tree. For about five years I have grown a white sapote fruit tree in a shady location nearer to the older citrus trees. And the white sapote after all of those years looks like a bonsai. Lewis who is a regular commenter at the blog always reminds me to talk to the trees which seems like good common sense. Today, I was reminded of an amusing quote from Bill Mollison – the Tasmanian co-inventor of the Permaculture principles – who when asked whether he spoke to the trees replied that he did, and then went on to say that he told the trees: “Hurry up and grow you bast$%ds or I’ll pull you out!” Needless to say that white sapote has been given a strong talking to and has been removed to a sunnier location on the farm.
A white sapote fruit tree was moved to a sunnier location on the farm today
Some of the manure from that dismantled onion bed was used in the new fern gully to feed an additional three fern trees which were planted over the past few days.
Three more tree ferns were planted in the new fern gully over the past few days
I have heard the opinion expressed that winter gardens are dull places where colour is lacking. I’m unsure what those people are talking about because there are a huge number and diversity of flowers to be seen in the winter garden and I thought that I’d take you on a quick tour of the winter flowers that are growing here right now:
The hellebores produce brightly coloured flowers in deep shade at this time of year
The tea camellia is about to produce a show of flowers and I also spotted that the ginger root just below the tea camellia did not die off in the recent frost. The coffee shrub did die in the frost
The echiums are beginning their long display of flowers. The bees adore this plant
The borage are also still in flower. This one is Anchusa Sempervirens
The geraniums flower all year around here
Rosemary is still in flower
I suspect that this is the flower of the Colts Foot herb which is apparently a major ingredient in herbal tobacco
The pineapple sage produces an enormous amount of nectar for the honeyeater birds
The African daisies and pentstemon flowers bravely defy the frost
It is with regret and much sadness that I announce the recent demise of my favourite bakery product supply business. It took five years of custom before the ladies at the shop even recognised me as a regular customer. I realised that that threshold from a nobody to a regular had been reached one day because their treatment of me changed abruptly and without warning many long years ago from a sort of surly truculence to a state of grudging acceptance. Last week however, I was on high alert as the shop was looking decidedly empty of product and the ladies cheerfully announced their immanent retirement. I had the chills because of the cheerful treatment, however this was a sad day for me as not only had several years of my charm and wit been thrown down the drain, but I now only have about one month of bakery supply products remaining in my stores. The difficulty for me is that most bakery supply outlets want to supply very large quantities of product, whilst the supermarkets want to supply only very small quantities (at high margins) of bakery supply products. It is a predicament which I have not yet resolved but am currently investigating. Anyway, perhaps it was time for retirement as this morning I discovered what looked like weevils in my yet to be opened and soon to be chicken feed (previously bread ingredients) seed mix. Alas, there is now no one to complain to about it!
This morning I discovered what looks like weevils in my unopened bread seed mix
The temperature outside now at about 8.30pm is 5.2’C (41.4’F). So far this year there has been 465.0mm (18.3 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 443.4mm (17.5 inches).

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

Tuesday – 28th June Batteries started at 56% full and 8.9kW was generated that day
Wednesday – 29th June Batteries started at 66% full and 6.8kW was generated that day
Thursday – 30th June Batteries started at 72% full and 1.4kW was generated that day
Friday – 1st July Batteries started at 65% full and 4.2kW was generated that day
Saturday – 2nd July Batteries started at 63% full and 4.6kW was generated that day
Sunday – 3rd July Batteries started at 68% full and 4.9kW was generated that day
Monday- 4th July Batteries started at 67% full and 2.8kW was generated that day

65 comments:

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

That was very interesting and useful. Agriculture is definitely a continuous learning process. My son has been having trouble growing onions and I bet that he has been making the soil richer and richer in desperation, I shall give him your info. I don't grow them as I only use about 3 or 4 a year.

Have just received an invitation to the opening of the large holiday development close to us (it has been open for a while). This is in thanks for co-operation during the works. Cocktails, canapes and sundowners. I don't know what the difference is between a cocktail and a sundowner.

Inge

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

I think I learn more from mistakes in my garden than I learn from successes. Condolences on the loss of your onions. We joke that it isn't food if it doesn't have onions in it, but it really isn't a joke, as many onions as we eat!

This summer is adding to my knowledge of the vegetable plants that rabbits like to eat (peppers, sweet potatoes, eggplants, peas, sunflowers, strawberries [the green plants, not the berries]). I'd noticed some rabbits getting through the fence that was supposed to keep them out over the past couple of years, so I decided it would be OK to remove the fences around two of the three vegetable-growing areas. How much more could the rabbits hurt? Answer: more than I guessed or wanted. I also learned that a large pile of woody prunings near the vegetable bed makes an excellent place for rabbits to live and raise their young, who are then delighted to have a garden nearby for their eating pleasure. Who knew? ;-) Eventually we'll get the prunings chipped.

Another thing I learned is that even with rabbit feeding, I have more area in vegetables than we need and than I want to continue to maintain. So I have plans to recreate the garden as a single fenced-in area a little more than half the size of the current growing area. Then I can slowly add flower beds for the bees, butterflies, birds, and so forth near the garden.

You are fortunate to have a mild enough winter to still have flowers blooming!

We received 1.7 inches / 4.3 cm of much-needed rain over the past three days. It became delightfully cool for summer here as well. No worries though, the heat is set to return tomorrow. ;-)

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Ah, adventures in Veg gardening. Your right about those prepper packs of seeds ... unless you're already an experienced gardener, they will come to naught. Well, I couldn't begin to tell you about all my ups and downs with "growing stuff." Everything seems under constant attack, from above and below. I finally threw in the towel on asparagus, as it eventually became clear that the bed would have to be as well fortified as the chook run. The sweet basil was a wash out this year, after doing really well, for quit awhile. Why? Well, the seedlings were looking just fine until some insect or another completely did them in. What was the problem? I figured out that I had planted them, just a bit too late. If I had plated them earlier (and, at my usual time) they would have been well established before the bugs, showed up.

You're right about subjecting anything you grow to the "Will I eat this?", test. :-). I quit like the idea of eating carrots, but not the actual consuming. Unless they're in a carrot cake with lots of cream cheese frosting :-). And they also have to be defended against every rodent, that walks this little patch of earth. The last batch languished in the crisper until they were so far gone that they were unfit for human consumption. The mules liked them. When I have the occasional attack of "You should be eating more carrots", I'm a lot better off just buying a couple from the veg store, which is usually enough until the fever passes. Or, I make a carrot cake.

I think I mentioned Michael Pollan's (the food guy) older book "Second Nature: A Gardener's Education." Not only veg, but gardening in general. And, funny. Worth a look. You're right about soils. It seems the seed packets never give you much information on what are the best kinds of soils to grow stuff in. And, if you check a number of books, it seems like there's always conflicting information.

I'm glad your tea plant and ginger are doing well. Sorry about the coffee plant. Looks like my tea plant is about to bloom, too.

Oh, that's bad about the bugs in the seed mix. I usually run anything (flour, rice) through the freezer, for a few days. And, do a lot of storage in the fridge. Space can be a problem.

Well, it's the 4th of July, here. There have been nightly explosions, for a few days. But, due to the trees, nothing I can see. Maybe tonight I'll be able to see something. Given my new view of miles and miles, to the south. Centralia usually puts on a pretty good show, but I know I won't be able to see it, due to the trees. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi to all of the readers over in the US,

Happy fourth of July!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That cake sounded awesome. However, curious minds want to know whether it tasted good or not? But then the whole point of the cake was to look good. The editor had a saying which I haven't heard for years which basically goes along the lines of describing something as a showbag: Looks good on the outside, but is usually full of poo on the insides! Hey, you may not have showbags at your state fairs? Dunno. They're a bit of a thing down here at the big shows and are usually full of chocolate and lollies and unidentified plastic stuff. They also make outrageous claims about their supposed value - but that is part of their charm, I guess.

Oh, perhaps the author had to go into such detail because there may not have been anything else to say of any interest? Dunno, it would make for a dull biography. Like where is the dirt and the charming anecdotes?

The Wyeths are good, really good artists. It is amazing that you can be on the other side of the world and pull up art works from now deceased artists to examine and appreciate! I appreciate realists and the artists really captured the drama and mood in those works. They had a really good eye. Thanks for the continuing art education. You were very lucky to have seen a few of those works in the flesh so to speak. And I can't really imagine you creating a scene at an art gallery and then getting thrown out on your ear? Maybe? You could have claimed that your scene was part of a performance art work? That would have fooled them for a little bit at least?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Sorry to read about your dry year up in your part of the world. I'm looking out the window right now in the morning and it is raining quite heavily. I suspect that we are in for a very wet year. Everything seems to be getting slowly more extreme. I liked your reference to the K-factor too, we've all met one of those.

A lot of animals here do a lot of damage in the search for water during summer, and over the past few years I leave more and more water systems for all of the various critters out all year around. I read once long ago that many of the birds take fruit in the orchard during summer as they are looking for a drink, and the claim was made by a reputable observer of wildlife. I have noticed that the water supplies tends to reduce, but not eliminate predation. We live in an ecosystem where there is a lot of eat or be eaten going on. Did the three remaining chicks arrive home? The predators can't stay around for very long as they eat all of the feed in an area so they have to move on. I'm really sorry for your loss of those chicks. Did you have any luck with the traps? Some of the neighbours leave out fox traps, but I suspect that the foxes are too smart to be caught up in them.

Those are all excellent strategies for bugs and it is especially pleasing to read that you feed them to the chickens. Yeah, it always surprises me too what some chickens want to eat and what they won't. Some of my lot are real home bodies and they just want to consume a bit of greens, but mostly grains. Two of the smaller silkies hang with the tougher chickens, but the oldest silkie who is almost 6 has just been very low energy from day one. The interesting thing about her is that she is a much larger chicken than the other two silkies. They all have very different and distinct personalities. I tend to not get too attached to them as occasionally I have to deal to them and it helps to be involved but not attached in such circumstances. Dunno, but you get pragmatic when you deal with livestock.

That sounds lovely, and you are lucky to have an ability to sing in your genetics. Out of interest, can you sing, or is this something that the daughters have in their blood?

Thanks for the thoughts, last week was crazy busy for me!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Haha! No stress and thanks for the link. I had to avoid politics for very practical reasons rather than personal inclinations, but certainly I am interested to hear your opinions from your part of the world on such matters.


Oh wow, it has been very interesting down here over the weekend. I heard a report this morning claiming that a minor party formed by someone who was described as Australia's most trusted politician, now possibly holds the balance of power in both houses of Parliament. It appears that there has been a bit of disaffection with the two major parties as the vote for anyone else compromised almost a quarter of all votes. And voting is compulsory down here.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

It is amazing how much salt and/or other preservatives are in all sorts of products. One the of the reasons, I'm so annoyed about the loss of the bakery product shop is that the supermarkets all seem to offer bread mix, rather than large sacks of flour. Now the bread mix has all sorts of products in it that I'd rather not consume. But that is life nowadays isn't it? They used to supply me with fresh peanut butter too crushed from roasted peanuts, but with nothing else added. I'm now looking into obtaining a peanut crushing machine, but those things are expensive. Your plain non fat yoghurt dip sounds very good. Yum!

Nice, and you're not far from the next blueberry season either. Are you going to stock up again on frozen blueberries given your impending move?

Fair enough, I have no idea at all why your election process takes so long? I mean haven't your politicians got anything better to do with their time?

Hmmm, hung parliament. OK. Well here goes:

Voting is compulsory for the adult population and the voting system is preferential which means that voters preferences also determine the person nominated to an electorate. Rather than first past the post systems, this is an attempt to get the most preferred candidate.

There are two houses of Parliament here:

The lower house is compromised of politicians that represent a specific electorate. The electorate boundaries change in line with population. So there are some huge electorates, just as there are some very small but very densely populated electorates in the big cities. All of them have more or less the same population and the boundaries are determined by a government agency. Whichever party holds the majority of the 150 seats in that lower house forms government. So you need at least 76 seats to form the government of the day.

Now, in the election this year, a number of individual campaigners or smaller parties (such as the Greens) have such a large local following in a particular electorate that they have managed to score seats in the lower house. Thus one of the two main parties may have to form an alliance with the independents in order to form a government.

The role of the Prime Minister is not even mentioned in the constitution, and that person is usually the head of the party who forms government (i.e. 76 seats or more). That is why we can change Prime Ministers so often. I always enjoy the joke: Don't worry about them, we've got plenty more where they came from! Naughty, Chris! Hehe!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

What can be meant by the term hung parliament is that the two major parties didn't get the outcome that they were after (i.e. 76 or more seats) and they are now in the process of complaining about it and spruiking the idea of another election in the near future. My gut feeling is that the population is in no mood for that and they expect one or the other parties to form a minority government and just get on with the job of governing the country. We have had a minority government a few years back and it seemed to work OK. Although they like to pretend that the idea of compromise is a bad thing.

My gut feeling is that people feel that the policies being pursued are no longer working in their interests and as such they are making their voices heard. Democracy is messy, that's life. I also suspect that the cultural meme of the individual has had its use by date, but that is merely an opinion.

The upper house is based on state lines and there are 12 senators for each state and a lesser number for territories. All legislation must be passed through the lower and upper house before it can receive Royal Assent.

Glad to hear that you enjoyed the film. There was an amazingly haunting scene of the Christmas dinner where the guy sang the old folk song. Great stuff. I have had some firsthand exposure to Italian culture and well, not to be rude, but Jupiter defeated the Titans and all, and that meme still floats through Italian culture today. I struggle when personally confronted by that meme as I sort of work on a co-operative model and that is a little bit different. Honestly I feel like a deer in the headlights when confronted head on by it. OK so what are your thoughts on the matter? Yes, the young lady in question would have had an interesting life, but then the point was made in the extras that that is how life works. By the way, who decides who is "good" or not? Hehe! Good in that context sounds like it means acceptable to me! Hehe! Oh my.

Peppery tea sounds good. Glad to read that you are enjoying the tea. With a name like Stinky Bob, it wasn't promising.

Did you hear that Juno is now in orbit around Jupiter?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

It is a complex business isn't it? That is why I was making fun of the preppers as they have such strange beliefs in their skill set. Alas, I was over confident once, but time has worn that weakness down. Nothing teaches as well as failure.

Glad to have been of service! Yes, if your son adds lots more acidic woody matter to the onion beds, he may well be surprised at the change in the health of the onions. Over the next few months you should see some onion and potato beds go in here. I've sort of missed the window to plant potatoes, but then there is always the next season isn't there? I always assumed that onions were a staple crop over in the UK? Has you summer warmed up a bit? The rain was torrential here again today and there was even some thunder. Go figure that out. Lightning and thunder is almost unheard of at this time of year.

Aren't you lucky to receive the invite? They sound like OK neighbours to me. I have no idea what a sundowner is either. You will have to experiment and then hopefully report back on the difference?

If you are interested, I wrote a sort of explanation of what is meant down here by the term hung parliament to Lewis above. What fascinating times we live in!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thank you for your condolences regarding the onions. It was quite sad because there were even golden shallots and all sorts of other varieties of onions in those beds. You are in good company because I eat a lot of onions too in my diet. They have huge quantities of Vitamin C in them, but I reckon they just taste good.

Oh no, the naughty rabbits! I hear you, the more you grow, the more the wildlife is delighted to assist you with the job of harvesting the produce. It is very considerate of them after all, isn't it? How people managed to co-exist with wildlife in the days of yore is well beyond my poor brain. I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to work who is eating what and when. This whole agriculture thing is like trying to unravel a complex problem where the goal posts are constantly shifting.

Growing more than you require so that there is additional produce for the rabbits to consume is an excellent strategy. Your plans are a great idea. I use fencing here to protect very valuable crops as sometimes it is the only option. I mean what else can you do? The flower beds for the bees, birds and other insects is an excellent idea and you will notice that your plants become more productive as they are better pollinated and have more seeds. It really does make a difference. I noticed the change in the orchard within two years of planting large quantities of flowers on the farm.

Yes, you are totally correct. Despite the whingeing from me from time to time about the cold, it is pretty mild. I even have plenty of citrus fruit on the trees right now. Certainly it would be hard to starve to death here, but of course, you'd have to be partial to consuming the grubs as a protein top up. They look unappealing to me, but there are certainly a lot of them in the ground!

Lucky you, to receive so much rain at this point of the year. When the sun shines again and the heat comes back, your place will grow like a jungle! I'm coming to terms with the fact that plants grow on a boom and bust cycle in that when the nutrients, sunlight and water are all available together, they'll grow. Those three factors don't all happen together down here all of the time, just like anywhere else.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That is a nice way to put it: The New Adventures in Gardening! It is complex and that is so true because I mean, we live in an environment where something is always trying to eat something else. Sorry to hear about your asparagus as nothing really touches it here. Hey, you are doing better with sweet basil than here, I can't stop the plant bolting to seed in the heat of the summer - despite the better watering systems. It almost has to be grown in the full shade here. Planting times is only really indicative, I reckon with global warming things like that are becoming a little bit less than meaningful. Like tomatoes, I can have them outside a full month earlier than when I was a kid. Last spring the October was feral hot.

Ha! This is a new side to you. I had no idea that you didn't like carrots. Now that you mention it though, carrot cake is pretty tasty stuff. Don't knock zucchini cake either. It more or less tastes the same. I eat carrots all of the time as they grow like weeds here and turn up all over the place.

Michael Pollan is a switched on sort of a dude. Yeah, you really have to know where the plants originally grew and that more or less tells you the sort of soil that is required to grow them, although some plants are unfussy and others can adapt. It is complex. There is a talk on truffles I'm meant to be going to tonight, but the soil here is very acidic and so truffles are just a waste of time here, despite the fact that some people continue to give them a go. You can buy oak tree seedlings that have been inoculated with the fungi. I might give the talk a miss, anyway, I have to work tonight. I reckon I've done something bad that I'm not wholly aware of and my punishment is lots of work! Hehe!

Your tea camellia is living a blessed life! Nice to hear that it is about to flower too. I'm scared to try some of the leaves as it is outside in the elements and I just don't want to disturb it. I may get another tea camellia for that spot. The coffee was a long shot, it hung in there for about a year which was pretty good really. I just don't want the hassle of a poly tunnel as it is an artificial environment and it has costs as well as benefits.

Thanks for the advice about the seeds. I may try that.

Happy fourth of July!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,
Thanks for the 4th of July wishes. We attended my sister's annual party which consists of our family and her Libertarian friends. They first march in one of the parades close by. She is a very active Libertarian and has run for state comptroller 3 times. She has gotten the highest percentage of the vote of any Libertarian candidate. It is always a pleasant time and even more so this year as the weather wasn't blazing hot as in most years. Many libertarians are sort of preppers. They emphasize self reliance rather than being part of a community though there is a wide range of opinions there too.

This particular sister has been working on raising some vegetables for about 5 years now and learning a lot per your post this week. Deer are a huge problem for her as there is little habitat and no hunting allowed as she's in a heavily populated suburb.

I've had my share of gardening disappointments over the years. So far this year everything has done amazing well but who knows what the rest of the summer will bring.

Sorry to hear about the weevils - how disappointing with your supplier going out of business.

My three missing chickens never returned. No weasels trapped but one of the traps was sprung. Haven't been out to check yet this morning. Egg production is down as I imagine all the hens were a bit traumatized by what was going on in the pen next to them.

As Claire mentioned this is a big rabbit year. Having dogs outside has been a deterrent for them as they are nearby but seldom visit the garden. The gardens are all fenced but that's more to keep the chickens out and dogs from bounding through. There didn't seem to be many coyotes this last year so I expect their population to boom and there will be only a few rabbits next year. I've seen this cycle many times.

Thank you too for the explanation of your political system. Does seem to be a revolt of sorts in many lst world countries - understandable so.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Lew,

I like carrots but they are a pain to grow so I seldom do. Interesting about the asparagus as it's mostly problem free here and even grows along the roadsides. The Japanese beetles seem to like it but, unlike their other favorite plants, they don't seem to do much damage to it.

Margaret

Steve Carrow said...

Loved that movie- wacky, fun, a bit off kilter, just the sort that reminds you that the monotonous line up of action blockbusters is such a narrow slice of the potential of the medium.

Gardening failures- yes, we all continually learn, or in my case, guess as to why things went wrong. This is why we grow such a variety. This year, for the first time, our shelling peas had a fabulous year, so that is what we'll be eating this coming winter. ( no complaints). Spinach- not so much this year.

New pests this year- first year we have had colorado potato beetles. We are hand clearing. They are gross little grubs to squish, but the infestation is not too bad, so we are staying ahead of them.


LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Memory jogged. The movie "Repo Man" (which I just loved. So weird.) has a sequel. "Repo Chick." (2009), same director, Alex Cox. Not near as good. Mostly filmed against green screens with tons of CGI. Has an almost "Alice in Wonderland" feel to it. Maybe worth a look if you can get it at a buck, rental.

Well, the cake wasn't bad, if you like that sort of thing and don't have much comparison. As in, homemade. The frosting was over the top sugar, the cake part, very sweet and light and the strawberry filling, ok. I wouldn't want to look at a list of ingredients. :-).

The E. M. Forster biography was pretty good. Among all the date book stuff was plenty of "dirt and charming anecdotes." The author pulled no punches. Forester stopped writing after "Passage to India". Everyone thought. Actually, he was writing and stashing stuff away, to be published, after his death. He didn't feel, given the social climate (and, Mother) that he could publish during his lifetime. So. A couple of months after his death, Christopher Isherwood (a long time friend) gets this extraordinary package of manuscripts. "Maurice", et all. That was then published.

Well, I've never been thrown out on my ear, but pretty much the same thing happened at the Portland Art Museum. After paying a pretty hefty price to get in, I discover my two favorite galleries (Impressionist Paintings, and North Coast Native American Art) are closed for renovation. The Frye Art Museum in Seattle, also has a nice clutch of American Regionalists I'd love to see. All in storage. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. We have a couple of commercial brands of peanut butter here that are just ... peanuts. Maybe a little salt. I watch for them to go on sale and then stock up. Oh, I'll probably stock up on blueberries. I run through them pretty fast :-). And, if I move into the senior living place, I plan on getting a small chest freezer, besides the fridge and freezer, I'll have. I'm moving forward on that, but things are a bit ... unpredictable right now. See if I have cancer, in how many places and try and estimate how fast it's going to move. I may be looking for a slot in a hospice, instead :-)

Our political system, here, is similar to yours, but different in places. Well, once our politicians get elected, it seems like they're already planning ahead to the next election. Raising money, etc.. Our election cycles are pretty set. No one "calls an election." The number and territory of representatives and senators is shuffled a bit, every ten years after the census. It's done on a State level, with every one "gerrymandering" to get the most impact. Fiddling with the boundaries. We have "hung" houses, all the time. But, we just call them "majorities." In our national House and Senate, there are no (or, none that I'm aware of) third party members. The two parties have it all sewn up. There have been parties die, and new parties appear, but I don't think it's happened since the Civil War. Theodore Roosevelt tried to launch "The Bull Moose" party, but, it failed.

I saw some of the pictures from Jupiter. The Northern Lights were unexpected and spectacular. I COULD see fireworks out my back window, last night. 4 or 5 places, way off to the south. They just barely cleared the horizon line. There isn't much, south of here til you get to Portland. So, I was probably seeing fireworks, 90 miles away.

Getting back to the movie, Brooklyn, I think most immigrant cultures are insular. A lot of it has to do with trying to maintain a culture under pressure to assimilate. Some of it is a reaction against prejudice. Well, I think "good" is whatever the young lady wants for herself ... given the expectations of people around her.

All this talk about onions reminded me that all the stuff I've been reading about the British home front during WWII. Onions were mostly imported into Britain, and that stopped. Attempts to grow them in the Victory Gardens was ... difficult. There were stories of single onions being raffled off. Want to impress a young lady? Skip the nylons and gift an onion. :-)

You might have to buck up and prune your tea plant, a bit, so it bushes out. There's probably instructions or videos on the Net. Well, I better pull myself together and get off the the oral surgeon. Just consultation today, I think. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Second attempt at this, blogger ate the first one.

Daughter found the following site: fungimap.org.au I had a look, it is interesting. I am pleased that efforts are being made to research Australia's fungi.

I am not to sure that the invite neighbours are good. Too many managers who don't seem to communicate well with each other. A typical big business.

A glorious day I even took my pullover off.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

That sounds like a fun party and it is nice to hear of people who are politically active. I've been interested in the libertarians for some time now, their worldview - and this is not intended to be a criticism - is such that I agree with about half of what they say, whilst the other half tends to annoy me. I read an interesting concept in one of the Grimm brothers fairy tales the other day and it more or less said that those that want justice for others tend to want mercy for themselves. Justice as it was represented in the stories tended to be a rather brutal and generally unpleasant outcome. I wonder about that concept in relation to the libertarians. Dunno.

I don't believe that I am enjoying reading the fairy tale book as the constant hammering on of certain narratives that serve a particular function in that society and time tends to really annoy me. And every character is an extreme version of a person. The Grimm brothers appear to have cut and pasted at will in those stories as the narratives are very consistent.

Good to hear, and I wish you well with the remainder of the summer. Your soils had a good drink over the winter so that puts you in good stead for the next month or so. Yesterday and today have been feral wet and windy here (about 40mm 1.57 inches so far).

Yeah, I may have come across a new supplier, but I now have to pay for transport costs and the delivery has to go to my post office and they may not be so excited by the heavy sacks of flour... I'm looking around still.

I really feel for both you and the chickens as it would have been very traumatic for everyone. I reckon the mink may be too smart for a trap? Not sure though.

Yes, the dogs will kill rabbits on sight here too - thus there are no rabbits - although I spotted a small rabbit a few days ago which had worked its way up the nearby fern gully. The odds of it surviving for long are not good. It does go in a cycle doesn't it? The population builds up and then something moves in to consume that population back to a lower level. The owls and eagles do a good job of that here too. Did you know that the coyotes are akin to the dingoes? Unfortunately, there are no dingoes around here at all.

There is definitely something in the water. They are still counting postal votes and will do so for days to come so know one really knows what the outcome is here. It is very exciting really.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

Well done, both yourself and Lewis picked my little bit of humour correctly! How much fun was that film? It was pretty wacky and I reckon Tarantino sort of borrowed the concept of the alien in the car boot in the film pulp fiction when they had the mysterious light shining from the leather suitcase. All good fun! :-)!

Don't you think that it is very weird just how many super person action films are being produced nowadays?

Exactly! How many do you believe that you'll need and then take that and add ten more! Great to hear about the peas. I've struggled with peas in previous years, but I reckon the fault here lay in the poor watering regime over summer. I'll be onto that particular problem this next summer. What sort of soil are you planting your peas in? Sweet pea (which is not edible) is a feral plant in some of the garden beds and I cut it back and let it form a surface mulch to feed the soil in early summer. It can choke plants here if it is allowed to die as a vine.

Yuk! Good luck with those beetles they sound pretty awful. Still potatoes are to be treasured. I add a bit of woody compost to the soil I grow potatoes in too (but about 20% rather than the 80% ratio).

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, it was a pretty funny and off beat film wasn't it. Imagine trying to get a cult film like that past investors looking for a bankable product in the film industry these days? You can imagine the people spruiking the film saying: So there's this vehicle repossession agency, a Gen X slacker, the girlfriend, some crims, a mysterious alien and a car with a bounty on it. Hmmm, it sounds like a hard sell to me. :-)! Hey, well done for picking up on my little joke. Nice one. Yeah, I don't know about sequels to cult films as it is a tough sell. Speaking of which I believe that a new Ghostbusters film is almost about to be released. How good is Bill Murray? Heck, I even liked him in Zombieland which was a film centred around a product placement with no discernible beginning and/or ending.

We must maintain standards, I guess. I won't tease you by saying that I picked up one of the best (sour cream based) lemon and coconut muffins to have with mine and the editor’s coffee tonight. This sharing thing is one tough business when it comes to quality baked products! Hehe! In St Kilda in Melbourne, there are a number of streets that have long been tourist traps, and they have continental cake shops and I have a rule of thumb whereby I try to pick the less visually appealing cake as it is usually the tastiest because less effort went into the visuals and more effort went into the taste. Dunno if that is a universal rule, but I was wondering whether that was applicable in your situation?

Glad that you enjoyed my display of silliness! He was a very clever author to have played the long game. Of course, a celebrated artist’s work always appreciates after a good death. Very clever. Also the artist gets to express themselves without all of the messy feedback of critique which can be a bit of a bummer sometimes. Who would have thought that in the early 20th century there were haters? It is funny that you mentioned the "Mother" bit. I read an account of the Australian entertainer and prolific musician: Tim Minchin. He really is extraordinarily talented and I must confess that once I was presented with the opportunity to go head to head with his wits as he is an ardent proponent of the philosophy of science and I quietly slunk away in fear of that confrontation. Anyway, what were we saying, oh yeah, he acted in an entire season of the TV show Californication and did a superb job of acting in the role of a narcissist rocker. Apparently the story went that when he told his mum that he'd decided to take on the role, she replied something along the lines of: "well, if you think that is the right thing to do!". Oh my, I'm now doubly scared thinking about that!!! Hehe!

I reckon you would be deserving of a refund in such a situation at the very least. It seems rather unreasonable of them to renovate those displays and to purchase so much material that they lack the wall space. I mean are they investment houses or for the benefit of the public? I once applied for a job at the National Gallery of Victoria and I believe that I scared them a bit. They got me back for a second interview but occasionally I can be rather forthright in my opinions which doesn't gel well with their culture! Too bad for them huh?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...


OK, so what did the oral surgeon say? I'd buy the blueberries regardless of the outcome. I'd rather enjoy blueberries on my death bed than some hospice rubbish food.

That was my point exactly. Your process is so long that the potentials and incumbents are so busy campaigning that they can't possibly be doing their jobs, unless of course they are sending high level emails from unsecured personal email servers... Seriously dude, what is going on over there? That gerrymandering process has been taken out of the hands of the politicians - because it was abused - and placed into the hands of faceless bureaucrats. Down here, the third option is feral as because voting is compulsory for all adults - and that occurred because we were so apathetic as a population originally - and the upper house was intended to protect the states interests against an expansionary federal government. I saw some rather funny comments and drawings and faced some very angry punters I can tell you!

Speaking of which I spotted a commenter in a newspaper which I occasionally link to here opining in an amusing way about the current state of affairs in politics and I'm almost certain they ripped off two of my lines that I wheel out occasionally and what was even worse, they used them together whilst also utilising one of my favourite rock bands. Seriously, what are the chances of that? It defies my belief in coincidence that those three concepts could be otherwise linked. Still, stranger things have happened.

How good did those northern Jupiter lights look! Awesome and also very huge. How do we know that we are not looking at the planet upside down? ;-)! Nice that you could see fireworks nearby. Very cool and it was very considerate of the people.

That is a fair analysis of the situation. The problem with expectations is that they can be rather arbitrary and subject to change at short notice and without warning. The other consideration that pops into my head is whether the process of maintaining a culture in a different environment is an appropriate thing to do. Not many people ask that question because it is a loaded question, but it is worth asking all the same? Dunno.

Have to get that onion bed going... Hehe! The additional composted woody mulch (i.e. more carbon material) helps improve the drainage in the soil. Bulbs are prone to rotting in waterlogged soils. ;-)!

Good luck with the oral surgeon. But having said that I'm fearful of pruning the poor tea camellia...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for that. The fungimap people also produce an identification book which I purchased long ago and have here. The group is an excellent project which values observation and co-operation.

Oh my, what did they used to say about such organisations: Too many chiefs and not enough Indians? I identify as a free thinking worker bee, so such an organisation would not be to my liking.

Nice to hear that you are finally having some glorious summer weather. Clearly, you must have sent the wet and windy weather down here as almost 40mm (1.57 inches) of rain has fallen in the past 24 hours here and the wind gusts have been out of control. I have a photo of a very large tree that fell over nearby (unfortunately onto someone’s water tank) in the recent storms.

If it continues like this, I will eventually run out of power in the house! So if I disappear off the air, over the next few days, please do not be surprised as I am having troubles...

Fortunately the house and hot water is toasty warm. Thanks be for firewood!

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I hope that you get some sun for your power, a shame if you go off.

Any sight of a Colorado beetle here has to be reported.

The Chilcot report is out; everyone thought that it would be a whitewash, it isn't it's damning.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for your thought and I hope so too! Yesterday the winter weather was so rough that the system barely covered its own needs (the entire system uses about 0.5kW/h per day just by being switched on and doing nothing in particular). And today wasn't much better at about 0.9kW/h for the entire day. I didn't mention that I am sitting here replying on a laptop with a single light on - at least the fire is putting out a nice glow. The editor used the power hungry microwave oven to warm up the lemon and coconut muffin and the battery low voltage warning light started flashing... Not good.

Oh my, some bugs are treated as seriously as the Colorado beetle here too. Like the dreaded varroa mite. We are the last inhabited continent without it...

They have had similar inquiries here and they were basically ignored. I reckon most people realised at some point that our major strategic ally basically told us to jump - and we did. I mean it is not as if we haven't done that particular act for well over a century or more. That is what we do, we are predictable. It is an obligation!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I always thought the Grimm Brothers tails were cautionary. Basically, stay out of the woods and don't talk to strangers. :-) I really liked "Zombieland." But, more for Woody Harrelson. I've liked him since the old "Cheers" days. He had a great cameo in "2012". A demented pirate radio talk host, generating and spinning conspiracy theories out of his caravan. :-). Which of course, turned out to be true.

Only one muffin between the two of you? You can carry thrift, too far :-). On the other hand, I just finished up a book called "Mindless Eating" and the author stated that it's just the first two bites of any desert that elicits any kind of intense pleasure. After two bites, it's "same old, same old." But, I think you've stumbled on another immutable law of the universe. Right up there with "Junk expands.... etc." Chris's Law of Baked Goods. Something like: "Taste declines in direct ratio to visual appeal." :-)

I got the first series of "Californication" from the library, watched an episode or two, and decided it just didn't "grab" me. No reflection on your choices. Just didn't appeal to my rather eclectic interests.

Gerrymandering. Here, politely called redistricting. All the states are different, but I seem to remember from the last go around that a panel or commission is selected (can't remember by who) that is made up of equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. Then there's lots of wrangling. Apparently, the point is to do it in such a way that no one is happy. :-)

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Well. The oral surgeon. Extensive detailed x-rays were taken. There seems to be a large hole, or crater, right behind my chin. Full of stuff I'd rather not think about. So, it needs to be opened up and cleaned out, with a bit to go to the University of Washington for biopsy. But, he doesn't think it's cancer. In his considered opinion. Maybe a 15% chance. He says the shape is to regular. This can be done in his office, but I have to round up someone to take me, get me home and maybe spend the night.

But, first we have to figure out why I've been having throat and chest problems for about a year and a half. Nothing too alarming. Discomfort, rather than raw or painful. So, I'm being referred to a throat guy and will stop into my local clinic, to check out my chest. At the same time, the .... whatever has intruded into my jaw bone, and it's very thin in spots. There were several warnings to eat only soft food, as, if it breaks, the whole process will be a lot more complicated. A hospital stay, bone transplanted out of my hip, jaw wired shut for weeks. So, now I'm totally paranoid. LOL. I went to bed early than usual last night, as I started yawning with such vigor that I became worried about shattering my jaw. I woke up this morning and I'm thinking "Do my teeth feel funny?" I hope this wears off in a few days. If it hasn't shattered by now, lets hope it holds on for a few more weeks. Most of the stuff I eat is pretty soft anyway. When I think about it.

Well, I suppose you could look at the newspaper maybe ripping you off as flattery. But one likes to be credited.

I think it's kind of interesting, at least here, up until recently it was all about assimilation. The melting pot and all that. I think every family has stories of assimilation. Learning the language, changing names to more "American" versions. It all seemed to be a delicate balancing act. My old dentist (retired) had a young Ukrainian assistant. Well, since my grandparents were from that part of the world, we got to talking. Boy, she didn't want to have anything to do with anything Ukrainian. Both the dentist and I urged her to at least preserve some knowledge of the food. Grannie's cooking. She looked rather dubious. We tried to convince her that years from now, she'd really miss some of those tastes. On the other hand, maybe Grannie was a rubbish cook? :-). I happened to know that my dentist is very involved in ... ethnic festivities. In a local small town there's a "Swede Hall" that has occasional cultural events and a big Scandinavian Festival, every year. The usual. Scandinavian food, music and dancing and native costumes, are in evidence.

Well, off to the Little Smoke, today. Not too many stops. Lew

Damo said...

Hmmm, this Repo Man movie sounds interesting - and a soundtrack by Iggy Pop to boot! Added to my list!

Has everyone seen the latest Star Trek trailer? Some very interesting shots of the Enterprise. It must be hard to try and film such an iconic shape in new and interesting ways. Trailer can be found here.
As I am quick to point out, was not a fan of Star Trek Into Darkness at all. Fingers crossed for this one. Mind you, might be difficult to watch as I need to fly on a plane to get to the nearest cinema. What would JMG think about that? :-)

I must have missed that Into The Ruins has a digital version available now. I have gone ahead and downloaded it (postage to Laos is not a thing you can count on..). I am expecting all stories to be of exceptional quality. After all, if my (amazing) story was rejected.... :-)

I am not sure how I stumbled up this book, The Retreat of the Elephants by Mark Elvin? It might have been Lewis? Anyway, whomever suggested it, thank you. I am only a quarter through, but it is full of very insightful commentary on the cyclical nature of civilisations, progress and mans relationship to nature - especially after the development of agriculture. Great stuff! I just wish I had the hardcover version instead of the kindle, but alas I was already in trouble for the number of books I carried with me.

Mrs Damo and I have developed some cynicism this past few weeks. You get affected when there is so much visible self-interest and cronyism (NOTE: I think western nations are just as bad, perhaps worse, but the average citizen is protected by a large wealth buffer). Then, the next day we meet people who are lovely and clearly trying their best in difficult situations and we get inspired again. It can be a bit of a roller-coaster. Anyways, I never really thought we would make a big difference, but hopefully after a year there will be some difference. We did get invited out for a lovely lunch at a small farm though, and it was very nice!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

You could add keep away from wolves too. They seem to have cast quite a long shadow over hearts back in those days. Surely the wolves are getting a bad rap, don't you think?

Woody, is a great actor. I liked Cheers too and I can almost hear the cry of "Norm" in my minds ear. Woody did a great job in the True Detective TV (season 1) show which was about one of the last things that I watched on TV. I also remember him in Doc Hollywood about a doctor (played by Michael Fox) on his way to LA who ended up stranded in a small country town. I enjoyed the film immensely. Yeah, I don't really buy into the conspiracy theory thing, but it seems to have a rich life of its own that beast.

Ha! It was a good muffin, but sharing is best. I reckon that observation about the first one or two bites is very true. I had Indian food tonight: Rogan Josh and a Spinach curry on a bed of rice and peas. Yum! Really good stuff and the place serves organic produce too so it is excellent. The place has not changed in over a decade, which I quite like too. Yes, that sounds about right, those continental cakes can be very dodgy tasting! Hehe! Very funny!

Fair enough, I get that, the show had shock your momma value, but by that season with Tim Minchin they'd worked out that they had to tell a coherent - if somewhat shocking - story. It was a lot of fun!

Yes, if no one is happy then a compromise has been reached. No doubts about it.

Ouch, well that is positive to hear. It could be a pretty nasty abscess too, which inevitably will need to be drained. Oh, in the meantime be careful with your jaw. Perhaps it puts a whole new slant on the theatre saying of break a leg... I knew a guy years ago that broke his jaw in footy. It seemed like a very unpleasant business and the pureed food bit just kind of turned my stomach. He discovered the broken jaw after a very heavy nights drinking session following a successful footy game where he'd received a nasty knock to the jaw... Apparently his mum had a major freak out about the jaw the next morning... Try not to be too anxious about it.

Well, you did smoke, there is that little problem. Sorry mate, not to be blunt, but it is not much good for people. I once used to work with a guy who had a tracheotomy because of smoking and he wore a cravat over it and all of the smokers avoided the guy, but I still spoke to him even when he tried to scare me by showing me the hole in his throat. He was just happy to be alive, he was a nice bloke.

It was slightly weird. I posted a YouTube video years ago when it snowed up here one day a year or two back and that was used in the news. A mate spotted the footage, and rang me up and said that your place was on the telly. Pah, where are the royalties, that's what i want to know? :-)! No credit either...

Grannie may have been a rubbish cook, you never know? Still the loss of a culture is a massive problem. I discussed your opinion of the most likely future for the lady in the film with the editor tonight and we were quietly thoughtful about it. You know, back in the day there were costs and benefits to such an arrangement, but I rather suspect that somehow people by that time in the film had moved to extreme positions on the matter. I sometimes wonder about that issue and I also wonder about whether we get some sort of distorted memory highlighting the very worst (or the most extreme) aspects of the past rather than how it actually was. I mean if all the future was provided of this time and age were a couple of sit coms, mate, they'd think things were pretty bad indeed? Dunno, what do you reckon?

Enjoy your trip to the Little Smoke. My crazy busy time came to an abrupt end this evening thankfully. So back to normality from here on end, whatever that is...

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

I don't agree that that the first 2 mouthfuls are the best. I am one of those people who saves the best for the last, so my last 2 mouthfuls are the best. I have to be careful as, when I was young, someone might say 'Oh don't you like that?' and grab my best. Actually it only happened once after that I kept an eye out.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Clever you to question the Big Picture of gardening and sustainability and to start breaking it down into manageable segments. Actually, I know full well that you have been working at this a long time as I used to read your permaculture articles well before you started this blog.

We have a Chevy Malibu!

We have indigenous wild onions here. They grow right IN the woods. And the top soil, formed by leaf mold, is very thin there, on top of clay. They like it best under the pine trees, though our whole forest is quite acidic, actually. No wonder I did better with onions when I just stuck them in the garden and didn't feed them. Have a bit of trouble with them now.

We haven't done any planting on slopes beyond ground covers. All of our garden beds are terraced with stone or wooden (temporary until made into stone ones) retaining walls. We are in the midst (does it ever stop?) of another Great Stone Gathering Era. Our garden is a lot smaller than yours, though we have made plans this summer to expand it, but some big, 100 foot (30.5 meters) trees have to come down. Sad, but ever more firewood.

The potato harvest was good. The best ones were grown in a plastic box which I hauled around all spring, tracking the sun, which proved to me that potatoes appreciate sun, as the garden ones (same variety) did not grow so big. They were planted at the same time; same soil.

I never knew asparagus was sexy! That accounts for our, mostly, skinny spears - they're girls.

I love your Bill Mollison quote.

We have flowers in every month but January, and occasionally in January if we get a really warm spell, and this in a climate that has a lot of below-freezing temps in the winter. Bees come out in those warm spells and there is Mother Nature with a bit of extra nosh to accommodate them should they need it. Brilliant!

Your charm and wit were not thrown down the drain.You brightened many a day for the bakery ladies, just as you always brighten ours.

I am having all four of my wisdom teeth extracted at the end of the month. Much soup to be made and frozen!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@Inge:

I heard about the Chilcot Report on the car radio yesterday and I was so thrilled that finally some of the truth has officially been recognized. I remember lamenting with an Afghan friend, when it appeared that the U.S. was going to go into Afghanistan and start the usual trouble (the U.S. has been there almost 15 years now) about how bad things were going to get over there, and we both just cried. I haven't seen her in a while or we'd be crying about Iraq and Libya and Syria and Ukraine . . . the list is endless.

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Lew,
As I mentioned earlier I had a cyst removed from my jaw. When I asked what would happen if I did nothing as I had no pain the oral surgeon said it would keep growing and eating away at the bone. Obviously what you have going on seems much more advanced. We were lucky until recently to have dental insurance so always had regular dental appointments and even without insurance we still do. I guess I was fortunate that it was found early. Sure hoping the outcome of all the tests is on the positive side.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Glad to see you have enough power to be online at least so far. We did receive just under an inch of much needed rain the other night and more in the forecast for tonight. I just may not have to water this week. Humidity has been very high most days. It was uncomfortable working outside today even though it was only 75 F (23.9C) and overcast.

As for our continuing predator issues. We haven't caught anything in the weasel trap yet but no other signs of one either. However a couple night ago a raccoon by passed my trap with cat food and proceeded to pull a couple of the larger chicks out from the bottom of the chicken wire. We had just decided to get hardware cloth for the coops as its small enough that weasels can't get in and strong enough to keep a raccoon out but hadn't gotten it yet. Needless to say it was purchased and installed the next day. That evening we trapped two raccoons one right after the other. That makes four trapped so far this summer. Good thing too as the meat chicks and turkey poults arrived yesterday. All good for two nights now. We have a neighbor who has had raccoons getting into his attic and has trapped eleven so far.

Last night I was the featured speaker at our local Green Drinks meeting. Don't know if you're familiar with Green Drinks International. The topic was Backyard Chickens. The speakers at these meetings have only about 20 minutes to speak with 10 minutes for questions so kind of tricky cutting my 2.5 hour class down to such a short time frame.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, we'll see if you still think wolves get a bad rap, after you run into one up in the fern gully. :-). Hmmm. What were all those Russian stories about wolves chasing sleighs and someone being thrown off the back, to throw the wolves off the hunt? :-). Seems there's always a hoopla going on over here, when predators are reintroduced to areas where they haven't lived in decades. Grizzly bears, wolves ... some kind of fierce rodent who's name I can't remember, right now.

LOL. Well, maybe your muffins over there, are like some of our muffins over here. As big as your head. Seems to be an ever escalating muffin arms race ....

Oh, I take full responsibility for my poor choices. No argument there. "You pay your money and you take your chances."

Oh, that is rubbish about your snow video. Credit where credit is due. On the other hand, keeping a low profile isn't such a bad idea, either. That your patch can't be identified from any info attached to the news video. Your video was probably used by some gormless young twit who couldn't bestir himself out of the studio.

LOL. Why did I suddenly get a vision of a road sign? "WARNING!!! Quietly thoughtful ahead." :-). But I had an interesting little thought experiment, a few minutes ago. Annie Hawes books about Italy. Marrying into an Italian family. Separated by a bit of time, but a similar situation. As the tests in past English classes used to state, "Compare and contrast..." :-). My, we have gotten a lot of mileage out of her books. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

The movie is a real trippy laugh. I enjoyed the absurd humour in it too, plus the whole premise and overblown emotions exhibited by the actors is just funny. Hope you get to pen a review at some point in the future? I noticed a new blog post for your continuing Laos adventures which I'll read once I've responded to everyone here. Mate, it has been as wet as down here since you departed the continent. I reckon the mining activities over on the west coast would be struggling with the water now. The elevated plains below the mountain range looks in some parts like a swamp - which is what it was in the far distant past.

Oh yeah, I'm looking forward to that new film as Simon Pegg (the Engineer in the film) wrote the screenplay and he is one funny guy (Sean of the Dead and Hot Fuzz to mention just two of his films). Hmmm, I suspect he may have a dim view on that one, but honestly, I don't have a clue, but I recall that he is not much of a fan of Star Trek and that may put your response in some sort of context. I will refrain from making any judgement as I have to use a vehicle all of the time, and you are probably living quite close to where you are working, so the whole thing is swings and roundabouts as they say and we all do what we can. Incidentally, how are those teak trees growing?

Oh, was that the Jack Vance inspired story? I enjoyed it as it was a lot of fun. Seriously though, I've been rejected on every occasion so perhaps I'm not the one to ask? I'm cool though about it and have sort of given up on fiction as I just don't have the time to put in the practice to get good enough at it. It is hard.

Hey thanks very much for book reference and review. It does sound like good stuff! I'll add it to the growing list. Yes, it probably was Lewis who recommended it, he is very well read and I respect that. Yeah, an electronic book in your situation is actually a pretty good idea. Can you back them up at all? And out of sheer curiosity, how do you charge the batteries in the device? Is it standard AA batteries or a lithium battery? So many questions, but you're right too, so little luggage capacity.

That is so true, the dollars going into that rat-hole are bigger here too, by a huge margin. Hey, did you get a chance to do a postal vote at the election? What a result. We live truly fascinating times. It's 5.30pm now and the sun has well and truly set and the chickens have just taken themselves to bed. I reckon it about 7'C. The frogs are going off tap too in the orchard because off all of the rain. Sometimes the chickens discover a frog, but usually they're pretty clever and keep out of harms way...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Thanks very much, the whole project is to me like unravelling a giant puzzle one segment at a time. I'm very impressed that you recognised that that was what I was talking too. Actually, I'm really very impressed. I unravelled a little puzzle today regarding potatoes, but I won't speak about that here for a few weeks yet. Yeah, I really enjoyed writing for the permaculture people, but the comment moderation process and delays between writing and posting did my head in and so I simply stopped that and did something different. It was very dispiriting to slowly commence a thoughtful dialogue with the commenters only to have the haters turn up and all dialogue ended abruptly. It took me about a week of absolute shock - as I was not exposed to the nastiness of the Internet back then - to absorb that horrid experience into my worldview. Then I moved on.

Well, owning a Chevy Malibu earns you an Elephant Stamp. Well done. As a little suggestion which you may feel free to ignore, I strongly urge you to check the boot every now and then for radioactive aliens! :-)! Hehe!

Yes, onion weed which is totally edible is a bit of a weed along waterways down here. They really love the undisturbed and acidic soils. Of course, if you understand the story, you can adapt (or gain an understanding of the requirements of) most plants. I tell you what, I was really bummed out when the coffee shrub succumbed to the most recent light frost.

I reckon rocks are best as a retaining wall as the logs eventually rot out and the terrace collapses. A 100ft tree is still to be treated with respect. And I reckon that such a fall is free firewood in the future. I took a photo of a similar sized tree which fell over locally and hope to put it on the next blog. The tree even took out the road marker next to it which is now sitting high in the air. Oh it has rained here so much this week. Have you noticed that it is very hard to predict when a tree will fall? The weather can be very calm following an extreme weather event and down here, and that is when I notice that they fall over.

Yeah, that makes total sense. I did the exact same experiment here too with the tomatoes and those that received more sunlight matured at least one full month earlier than the others which received less sunlight. Your idea of moveable beds is very clever.

Haha! That is funny! Of course, the commercial providers supply the girlies. Have you noticed the little red berries which are the seeds? I'd suggest tracking down some seedlings in order to mix up the genetics a bit.

Yup, he is an irascible old so and so but every movement requires a promoter.

Your description matches here exactly about the flowers. You inspired me today - given that it was finally sunny, thankfully – because the bees ventured out of their hive and so I took a photo for you.

Hehe! Glad to hear it. There may be a guest post on the next blog... Hopefully, my guest can maintain the charm and wit bit? As a general rule, I don't do guest posts but this writer has pester power. It should be fun!

Oh! Not good. I assume you are going under a general for that procedure? Ouch. I went through that particular procedure for three (one of which was impacted) wisdom teeth under a local and I must confess that I was a bit woozy afterwards. Of course the sedatives may have had something to do with that feeling too. They fed me something called mersyndol and honestly it knocked me out cold. Pam, I absolutely 100% feel your pain, but it is better in the long run. I hope that someone is there at the end of it all to pick you up and put you to bed and then look after you for a day or so?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks for your concern. It was really touch and go here this morning as I switched the coffee machine on (yes, yes, I know it is a luxury item but I believe I am addicted to a morning caffeine hit) and the battery voltage dropped to 21.3V which is only 0.4V above the point at which the inverter switches off to save the batteries from being damaged... It was a very close thing as the batteries were only about 38% full this morning. The coffee machine uses a huge amount of power as it is boiling water just like a kettle, but under pressure. Fortunately the sun shone strongly today and the panels generated 9.0kWh for the day. I'm not out of the woods yet, but today really helped.

An inch of rain during summer and particularly as you are heading into the very hottest month is a great thing to receive. It is a good thing not having to water for a few days over the summer and you are very lucky, but I totally hear you about the humidity as it is exhausting to work outside in that humidity and not many of the animals like it either. 2.8 inches has fallen here this week - it has been feral wet and windy and the elevated plains below look like the swamp that they actually are. I took some photos today of what happens when the vegetation is cleared versus the opposite land management which was only a few metres away. Hope the photos turn out?

Wow, those raccoons are awesome and slightly scary in their intelligence. My mates who raise chickens for meat by breeding had a similar problem with their dogs. The dogs were able to grab any chick foolish enough to come close to the strong steel mesh which met near to - but not close enough - to the bottom of their chicken run and then drag them through. It was devastating and the dogs took a few during the middle of a Christmas lunch which was a bit of a bummer, but changes to that scenario have been implemented since then. Glad to hear that you have made the purchase. I buried the steel mesh and sheet into cement trenches so as to thwart the activities of the rats, but that has a similar advantage at reducing the activities of any predators which work at the fencing at its lowest point which is also sometimes the weakest as it is subject to the greatest moisture. I'm in the process of thinking about the future strawberry enclosure which is a few weeks away from commencement so these problems are much on my mind. What breed of chicks did you get for the meat birds? My mates swear by the slow growing but meaty Indian game birds - they're quite stompy chickens.

Oh, thanks for the heads up with Green Drinks International. You know they have one in Warrnambool and another Ballarat, but is there one in Melbourne? Nope. What a great idea. My mate used to go to the one in Ballarat which also went under the moniker: Permies at the Pub! That is a really good idea, and I do hope that your talk went well, although it is hard to know how to compress such a large topic into something more manageable. How did the talk go?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Well I guess that puts a whole new perspective on the matter of wolves. They look like big dogs to me, but clearly from all of the images, you can tell that they co-ordinate their activities in a pack. The Latin name is interesting too as that shows that they are in fact closely related to the domestic dog. Who would have thought that I co-exist with the descendants of wolves? Some of the husky like dogs have the same eyes as wolves, but are clearly of a different temperament as I have never heard anything bad about them, unlike some other breeds of dogs - which can have a hair trigger response involving very aggressive behaviour.

Too bad for the people on the back of those sleighs... Well, I guess the hard decision was made and things were looking rather grimm for the people at the back of the sleigh. Surely that is a joke? Yeah, I once read an impassioned essay by George Monbiot the English journo - who I believe and I may be incorrect started spruiking the nuclear industry? - for the re-introduction of high order predators into the UK forests. I must say that it was a good idea, but almost possible to implement without tragedy. You can see down here what is happening with shark attacks along the coasts - which I believe are a direct result of over fishing. The sharks are clearly adaptable and don't really see much of a difference between a surfer and a seal.

Oh, I do hope my head doesn't ever get that big! This place keeps me feeling very humble as no sooner do I believe that I have overcome a major complexity, that the next problem in line springs up daring me to tackle it. On a serious note, the muffin was quite small as the cafe makes them using the inevitably broken cups. You know I have never purchased a take away coffee in a cardboard / plastic throw away container. I'd rather go without. I generally prefer washable ceramics, but plenty of people disagree on that matter. Generally we share the muffin as I don't want to purchase all of their limited supply of what are truly great sour cream based muffins. Maybe that is a silly conceit of mine. I dunno, they bring me a lot of joy those muffins and I wish other people were as easily pleased. Dunno.

Speaking of which, picked up the new raised steel garden beds this morning and on the way back, I spotted a place in the middle of nowhere but was actually next to a microbrewery, a place proclaiming that they sold gourmet pies. Well, I was a touch sceptical, but the beer and beef pie was awesome. Life is made of such fine eating experiences. A pity it is a little bit far from here. The steel garden beds are looking good too! I'll try and install them tomorrow.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Fortunately, the sun shone strongly today. It was a real relief as I was totally running out of power. I was very worried this morning about the system as one more day of low power generation would have knocked me out.

Yeah, I hear you about that and wasn't being preachy or anything. I mean, I live in an area subject to some of the worst wildfires you can imagine on the planet, so in no way was I judging you, I was trying to point out pretty much what you said which was: "You pay your money and you take your chances." You know, it may have no effect on you, and that is the thing about risk. It is really an unknown unknown.

I reckon that the standards of journalism has dropped incredibly over the past decade. I mean, I keep reading about how x number of jobs are being eliminated and they expect to maintain service as usual. I have been wondering whether this is at the heart of recent reporting efforts on thing like BREXIT and even the recent federal election - still no result by the way - in that the newspapers are merely printing paid pieces. I mean how could they get the vibe on the ground that far wrong? Does that happen in your part of the world? The news does not set the opinion, it merely shapes and reports on it and I reckon that many people have lost that thought. Dunno.

Oh yeah, the insights have been huge. All I know is that that particular culture would be very hard on me personally. It really would take a toll on me. One of my favourite lines that I have heard is: I don't do compliments which would annoy me no end. Well, that and the use of negs too.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Just checked the Malibu boot. There was only one very small radioactive alien, which I shooed out. Hopefully he won't take up residence in the garden. There are enough of them in there already. . . .

I will be out cold, but will have a chauffeur and will be well cared for once home. No worries. Since anesthetics and I have only met once before, decades ago, I don't know how I react under the influence and so am practicing a phrase to have ready in my subconscious for when I come out of it. How does "Gor Blimey!" strike you? Not too strong, not too weak, and American doctors would probably be stymied.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - First a couple of things ADR related. "Product Life Cycle." LOL. The easier, softer way of saying "planned obsolescence". Which I've heard for years, and not in a nice way. Lipstick on a pig. Sow's ear. We're having a measles outbreak in Arizona, right now. Totally eradicated from the US in about 2000, and now, it's back. I couldn't resist looking at the Brown University sculpture, "Lamp / Bear." Kind of looks like he's wearing a Roman helmet. And, what's going on in his ... nether regions? Don't think I want to know. What's truly alarming is that the picture I looked at called it "The Yellow Version." You mean there are more of them? Now that's truly frightening :-).

I think my favorite scene in "Repo Man" is when the thug is dying on the floor of the convenience store (there's those stores, again) and starts gassing about how he's a victim of his upbringing and society, etc. etc.. On and on. It's one of those situations where you maybe shouldn't laugh ... I mean, he dying and all, but it's just so funny. :-)

Every once in awhile, on the archaeology sites, there's a bit of a flap about wolves and dogs. Where, when and how they were domesticated. Some bright boy with too much time on his hands advances some new theory. Seems to be a seasonal phenomenon. :-)

There's been a lot of articles in the food magazines (and, I presume on the food channel) about cooking or baking all kinds of stuff in mugs (cups). Whole books about it. I've pretty much ignored it all, as I figure it's a flash in the pan (pun intended). Also hot right now is some kind of spiral cutting tool for veg. Hmmm. I think I may have discovered that cooking has a normative space, also. And that it bumped up against the boundaries, years ago. Nice you found the brewery and pie shop. Make a nice "special" trip when your tired of staring at, and fretting over the solar output dials. :-). Not that I blame you. I'd do the same, or probably be worse. LOL. When I apply the term "gourmet" to anything I cook, it's with tongue firmly in cheek.

News doesn't set public opinion, but it sure tries hard. :-). And, now that people, are in general, suspicious of everything they see in the news (rightly so, I think), it's even tougher. I think some of the surprising outcomes are almost Black Swan Events. Lew

Jo said...

Those garden beds in the tanks are just so easy on the eye. I can't wait to see more of them:) I love to see a beautiful garden full of food. Garden porn. The best.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam, Lewis and Jo,

Thanks for the lovely comments. I am unable to reply tonight, but promise to reply tomorrow.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Yes, the Husky people will come out of the woodwork . . . My parents always had Siberian Huskies once they moved to Colorado 40 years ago. They were always the sweetest dogs (except where cats were concerned - yum!) and smart, and low-key, but quite stubborn - as in: They always know best. Here in the eastern U.S. our coyotes supposedly crossed with wolves as they migrated out here from the West. They are certainly bigger than out West and there is at least one fairly recent incident where a pack of coyotes up in the Northeast killed a person. Imagine animals - the wolf - even bigger and stronger and also in a pack. And a lot of pets are lost to coyotes in this country.

I have always contended that any time even just two dogs get together, you have a pack. I've seen it happen too many times out here in the country, where some serious havoc ensued.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Pam - My oral surgery is on the 21st. Early in the am. Yup, I'll be out too. I had general, back when I had my wisdom teeth out, about 1970. Everything fades out from the edges to the center, pretty quickly. I have imagined that a nice, quiet "good" death is something like that. I made the appointment, yesterday, so there's no escape now! There's a pre surgery get together on the 13th. LOL. I noticed that they have a drive to the back of the building. When you're done, they sneak you out the back, shovel you into your divers's car. Guess they don't want to scare the folks in the waiting room. :-).

I'm having two extractions and ... without going into too many gory details, there's a cyst under about 7 teeth, right behind my chin. So, that has to be cleaned out. Doc doesn't think it's cancer. Shape is too regular. But, a biopsy will be taken. I have a friend lined up to take me to and from ... and spend the first night.

Only one tip I can think of from when I had my molars out. Keep your teeth closed. Not clenched, but just closed. I had a tendency to keep spitting, and they kept bleeding. Finally figured out that to properly clot, they've got to be together, in their normal resting position. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - Yeah, I just don't stay on top of my teeth unless they bother me. So, this got really out of hand. I was raised in a place where they started fluoridating the water about the time I was born. (A Commie Plot!) So, I've never had much problem with cavities. My cyst is so far into the jaw bone on one side, that the doc is worried about it breaking ... which would mean hospital, bone graft and having my teeth wired shut for a few weeks. So, he must have said about 8 times to eat only soft food and do NOT bump my chin. Guess I'll have to steer clear of bar fights, for awhile :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Stopped into the oral surgeon, yesterday and got my dates. See above. Also paid half, up front, as requested. The whole thing is going to cost over $3,000. Over half of that is going to the anesthesiologist. Well, since that's where things can go wrong, I guess they have to carry some hefty insurance. I'm just glad I've got the $$$ to cover it.

The doc at the clinic seems to think my chest and throat problems are acid reflux. So, I picked up some generic Zantac at the chemist, yesterday. Two a day. Not bad. $10 for a months supply. But, I'll have to turn in my Union card for the "I don't take any medications", club. Sigh.

Darn. I'm going to really have to take a look at what I eat. There's a lot of stuff I eat for one kind of health, that's not good for another health area. I shouldn't be eating as much raw garlic, as I do, but that's what I use to control blood pressure. Chocolate is on the banned list. The two small squares of the darkest I can find I eat for the antioxidant effect. Tomatoes? Too acid.

Well, without getting too crazy, I'm going to have to work at an altered diet and different way of eating. The goal is to get the reflux under control and get off the pills. LOL. Don't get old. It's not much fun. But the alternative ... :-). Lew

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

We have the Cornish Cross (aka Frankenbird) meat chickens. My husband likes the size and there is no denying the fast growth rate - 8 weeks and you have a 5 lb dressed bird at the minimum. However they have lots of health issues. I would like to try Freedom Rangers next but we'll see how this year goes. I had good luck with them last year - didn't lose any. We've been getting them in July so they definitely don't get cold but by the last couple weeks when they're really big it's usually cooled down a bit. I also cut back on their feed last year and put the feeders outside of their chicken tractor which forced them to move. Well we did lose 4. The neighbor and I were talking in the driveway and her old beagle took out 4 in short order. My neighbor was horrified and of course offered to pay.

Well your coop and run is definitely a fortress!! All's quiet here predator wise for 5 nights now. Hopefully the girls will start laying a little better soon.

The talk went well though the organizers were a little disappointed in the attendance as it had been publicized quite well. They did say the July meeting was always had the lowest attendance as so many were on vacation.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

@ Pam

It is not just 2 dogs that make a pack, a dog includes human beings in the pack. Hence those confounded dogs whose owners let the dog lead the pack. Perhaps I should say confounded owners.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Hehe! Those radioactive aliens are an awful lot like the Gremlins in the garden! They get hungry and will snack on your potatoes and tomatoes whilst your attention is elsewhere. I do hope that you have had some time to get into the garden this summer, but family stuff takes precedence.

Gor Blimey sounds about right! Have you considered trying to test your strength of will against the anaesthetic? I've only been under a general anaesthetic once in my life and because I was a young adult - and thus prone to bouts of stupidity - I thought that I'd test my willpower against the general anaesthetic by seeing how far back from 100 I could get before completely losing consciousness. I believe I made it to about 98 which is a very unimpressive effort (100, 99, 98...). At a guess, I reckon you may make to 96 (two more than I) and I wait eagerly to hear of your efforts! Your mission should you decide to accept it...

Seriously take it easy after the wisdom teeth are removed and give yourself a few quiet days to recover. Non chunky soup and rest are good choices in such circumstances.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for taking the time to enjoy the ADR comments. ;-)! So many ideas get thrown around there. I explain to people who have not read it, that the blog is a philosophical discussion group, and people seem to be happy with that. It is a bit more than that because complex ideas take a long time to work through and the long form of that particular blog takes suits many people including myself. I try to provide a form of thanks for that forum by inserting as many ideas as possible. I certainly am sometimes very far from the mark, but at other points uncannily prescient if I may say so myself. I have noticed a severe decline in the number of gold stars being awarded of late. That is not a criticism, but merely an observation.

Yeah, planned obsolescence sums it up pretty nicely, but I reckon the product life cycle also includes unplanned obsolescence as well. Things sometimes fall out of favour with the public much like the Fonz physically jumping the shark in the television series Happy Days. A number of marketing people spend an inordinate amount of time trying to re-invent existing products that are falling out of favour with the public. One recent example that springs to my mind is the rather strange enthusiasm in the public for pod coffee and pod coffee machines. Now, I'm a coffee snob and will happily admit that, but pod coffee tastes to me like instant coffee, so I rather suspect, but do not know for sure, that pod coffee is simply a form of instant coffee which retails at inflated prices (and solid margins). The individual packaging for each pod serving is to my opinion very wasteful. But on the other hand it has apparently re-invigorated the market for that particular product (which must not pass my lips).

The sows ear comment I've heard down here as an old saying which goes along the lines of: Making a silk purse out of a sows ear. That very much describes my outlook on life.

Yeah, measles is returning from overseas (thanks be to globalisation!). As far as I understand the issue, when immunisation rates drop below about 85% to 90% of the population then minor outbreaks can occur. In a few areas down under that is now the case and the demographics of those areas are quite telling. I believe that the great Russian author Leo Tolstoy who had very impressive facial hair had something to say in relation to that particular matter of thaumaturgy. When people tell me they are making an informed choice on that particular matter I have a quiet chuckle to myself. The various pathogens etc. will inevitably mutate due to the increased pool of availability. That is just how nature works. The long beaked Corella birds down here have spread their range far and wide because I suspect they have adapted to consume something that was not previously edible, but was available in bulk and ready to be consumed. Nature has teeth!

The yellow bear was funny as! Urs Fischer is taking the piss as they may say down here. Mind you, it seems like rather a waste of good stainless steel, but I must say that I rather approve of using such an enduring sub structure - although it would have been hideously expensive. Yes, I was rather wondering about the black box near the nether regions too, but perhaps a structural engineer had to provide certification for the artwork given the size and thus the compromise?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Oh, I don't recall that particular scene, but the film was so absurd from start to finish that that would have certainly occurred. Is the films like being made nowadays? Dunno. That film was hysterical.

Of course, writing thesis's on the breeding of domestic dogs from wolves is probably not a path to academic and financial success! Hey, have you noticed whether there are certain paths in archaeology that are better funded and better academically received than others? I visited some friends last night and they had the television on in the background, which I really find hard to ignore. Oooo, look at all the pretty colours! I did my absolute best to ignore it. I only know of one other house that I visit where they do not have the television on when guests are visiting... Anyway, at one point the television displayed some footage of the Roman baths in the UK and they looked amazing. Have you ever travelled to the UK?

Too funny, it was the food channel too - who would have thought that there was enough footage and stories for an entire channel! You can tell that I watch very little television. That is funny about "flash in the pan". Incidentally, did you know that flash in the pan was a 70's band that performed quite a memorable song known as "down among the dead men". I still recall it as it was a bit spooky, but cheery at the same time with strong overtones of the sea shanty. Oh no, you discovered my ulterior motive - are there no secrets here?!! Hehe! No the trip was very pragmatic as you shall discover tomorrow. Yes, I'm very un-gourmet and very positively peasant. You just reminded me of a rather strange story from years ago. I went to purchase some wool house insulation and I was just about to sign the order, when the guy brought out a vegetable cutting tool and started doing the hard sell. It was very weird and I walked away from that deal.

Yeah, I agree. If the shapers of public opinion don't get their way, they end up sounding like churlish two year olds stomping around demanding this and that. It is very unsightly!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Thanks for saying that. I say to you: Ask and ye shall receive! There will indeed be more on those raised garden beds tomorrow. As well as some other funny stuff from a special guest post.

Yeah, it is an awesome thing to be able to walk out of your door and pick a meal from whatever is growing in the garden. And there are still loads of citrus hanging from the fruit trees.

Now that you are in a new place, has your mind drifted to thoughts of a future garden? I understand if such thoughts are on hold for the next month or so as the weather is shocking.

I do hope that the rain has spared your town from further indignities? It is absolutely feral up here tonight with the wind blowing strongly and the rain being driven by that wind.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Oh, I hope the husky people don't come to get us!!! I have only ever heard good things spoken about the Spitz family of dogs and my personal experience matches your description. I like to think of the term "stubborn" more as "free independent thinkers"! Hehe!

That family of dogs takes a few years (often as much as five) before they get with the program. I read somewhere long ago that that particular trait was described as "wilful" and I reckon they were spot on in that observation. Some people are not up for a dog with a complex personality, but then there is space here for that here and clearly there was space at your parents place in Colorado for that trait. On the other hand, once they get a feel for you, they are incredibly loyal. When I'm feeling cheeky, I often suggest to the editor that we may one day have five of that breed here!!! Hehe! I once saw a photo of five of them on a small canal boat in the UK.

I do not doubt your stories about coyotes and wolves. Dogs are vicious in packs and they can egg each other on to new bouts of stupidity. It does help being the boss in such circumstances and I work hard to ensure that such silliness does not begin in the first place. All of the different personalities have different trigger points and obsessions and you sort of have to know them to be able to control an escalating situation.

You are absolutely correct. It happens and trouble ensues.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Best wishes for the oral surgery. That is not too bad a price for such a procedure. And I'm most impressed that you are getting the cyst seen too. It must have been a difficult decision to come too? At least the surgeon seems fairly optimistic that it is not the big C. You have not mentioned whether the infection is causing you any discomfit? I assume that it is because you went to see the surgeon in the first place. It is also quite good that they can see to you quite soon. Well, these are the sort of things that savings are kept for. Buffers are kept to keep the black swans at bay!

Acid reflux is not good and also quite uncomfortable as I have experienced in the past. I changed my diet to include more leafy greens and less acidic food stuffs, reduced stress and the whole problem went away. Common mint and spearmint is particularly good at reducing acidity. Just sayin...

Rice with very high sugars (which is why I eat Basmati rice which is low in sugar), pasta, bread all are high in acid and will not assist your system. Hey, weren't you fond of telling me a favourite quote from Julia Childs? Something, something about moderation!!! Hehe! Oh, I believe I have just nagged you over the internet! What an unpleasant thing to do...

Didn't Michael Pollan write a book about historically consumed diets? Lots of plant material and small quantities of meat seemed to be the general conclusion. I sometimes suspect the readily available quantities of meat nowadays are our bread and circuses, but what do I know. To mention anything beyond that story is to invite trouble as I have discovered in the past. The funny thing is that in the fairy tales they describe that as the land of milk and honey (as distinct from the land of meat) and that is quite telling.

Yeah, I'm with you, the alternative seems rather final...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I wasn't aware of the fast growth rate of those birds. Interesting, well I guess it is an example of where there are benefits there are costs, but for meat birds it probably is not too much of a problem, although someone has to breed them. It is really interesting that you mention that growth issue as my friends that raise jungle game birds (which are a more traditional species of chicken, but with very stompy legs) tell me that those birds are very hardy, but very slow growing.

Did I mention to you that over one hot summers night I picked up a take away roast chicken and this was the first meat that I had purchased in years. The thing that shocked me was how scrawny the bird was. It really shocked me as I'd read that birds were being culled at younger ages, but as I hadn't had any experience with that I just didn't understand what it meant.

Oh, the Freedom Rangers are very similar to the Isa Browns that I swear by down here. They really are good birds, a lovely personality, but very inquisitive and they produce a huge quantity of eggs. They seem to be very hardy too.

Sorry to hear about the old beagle and the four chickens. That can happen very quickly. I let the chickens out yesterday whilst I was nearby filling up the firewood bay from the stores and it is always a risk. It was lovely of your neighbour to offer to replace the chickens.

Thanks, a lot of thought went into that coop. It was a very complex build and was built with the rats in mind - who are much smarter and sneakier than myself!

Good to read that the predator appears to have moved on and I do hope that your chickens recover from their shock soon.

Glad also to read that the talk went well. I reckon all such events ever require is one other person who is inspired by your spark to delve into the world of chicken. Certainly the chicken will benefit from that outcome. I reckon the depths of winter would be harder to get a good turn out for a talk! ;-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Sorry to add to your comment to Pam, but dogs appear to me to be unable to discern that I am not a part of their pack. They see me as pack. If you do not exercise the alpha role in such a situation, the pack will run feral.

But then I see peoples children leading the household too and I do not believe that that is appropriate for much the same reasons.

The alpha role can set the boundaries of the packs behaviour, but it certainly doesn't have to be authoritarian, it can be based on fun and mutual respect which is earned and I do that with the dog pack on the farm. It seems to work and they seem happy enough.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

Best of luck to both of us! My date is the 29th, so you need luck first! I, too, noticed that half the bill is the anesthesiologist. My oral surgery clinic also has a covered drive-thru at the back; no need to unnecessarily disturb those waiting in front for their turn!

Thanks for the teeth-closed tip. Better to swallow a bit of blood than to hamper healing. I get you with the pills. I've been taking an occasional aspirin (will not do so near surgery because of the anti-clotting properties) and even that irks me. I'm pretty sure that they are going to give me an antibiotic prescription (I do have an abscess under one tooth, but nothing like yours) which I am pretty sure that I will not take. I, too, have had really good luck with raw garlic and a host of herbs.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

Hey! Lew!

I only developed digestive problems when my teeth got so bad that I couldn't (can't) chew thoroughly. The human digestive system (oh, to be a dog!) just isn't meant to digest big chunks of food (I refuse to eat mush, except for breakfast). So - I am hoping that both of us will eventually feel better all around once the teeth are out. Also, with the infection gone. Here's looking at brighter days ahead!

Pam

P.S. I remember being told once to never use a straw for a few days after tooth extraction.

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I accept your challenge, unless I get nervous and forget it!

Will be using a stick/immersion blender on any soup I make.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yes, I think the whole pod coffee thing is pretty silly. Kitchen gizmos seem to be a pretty target rich area for crazes and fads. The aisles of opportunity stores are full of past manias. I think a lot of the market is "easy" gifts for brides, or other gifting occasions. It's kind of a running joke, about the bride who has to return 3 electric carving knives or 4 fondue pots. Of course, when my landlord's mum died, I got to raid the kitchen. And, took on a lot of gizmos that I haven't used. When I move (or before) I'm really going to have to take a long look at some of that stuff and decide what ought to go to ... the opportunity store. :-)

Hmm. Movies like that. Well, if you want to just stick with the alien theme, there's "Paul". And, "The World's End." Both Simon Pegg movies. LOL. A lot of movies that are pretty outrageous and appeal to me, aren't very family friendly. Just about anything by Kevin Smith. Almodovar. Altman ... Christopher Guest. James Franco, once in awhile. I guess the one's that appeal to me are what I call "Equal Opportunity Offenders." No one comes off looking very good (in a humorous way) and there are no sacred cows.

Gee. Archaeology that's better funded and better academically received. Hmm. I'm not really privy to that information, but there are hints. I think in general, other than high profile sites, funding can be a problem. It's pretty complex. What gets dug up, how it's funded. Academically received? Well, it seems like you trot out a theory and someone's going to throw stones at it. :-). LOL. That momentary cheap thrill of superiority? And, a lot of the time, it all boils down to "well, we just don't know."

Some technology has really improved archaeology. Ground and air radar ... not so many dry holes. The publishing of results used to languish ... for years. Now, with computers, it's pretty cheap and easy to publish. But, it's usually behind pay walls. One thing I disagree with, is that EVERYTHING has to be saved and stored. Once it's been studied, turn some of that stuff lose. Fund more programs and digs. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I've never traveled beyond the western and central US. And, since about 1980, not out of the Pacific Northwest. Ah, well. Next time :-).

Funny how the mind works ... you mentioned a music group who came out with a sea shanty kind of thing, and I thought about Procol Harum's "Salty Dog" and the Door's "Horse Latitudes." Two favorites of mine. Ah, "Horse Latitudes". Can remember parties where if that came on the stereo, by the time it hit it's climax, we'd all be screaming and writhing on the floor. Truly demented, drunken times. :-). Oh, I think the Food Channel has built up a pretty big backlog of footage. I think they still trot out "The Two Fat Ladies", on occasion. And, a lot of their broadcast time, especially late at night, is infomercials.

Strength of will against the anesthetic? No. I will be fleeing into the arms of Morpheus. :-). They may have a hard time getting me back. :-). The cyst has no outward signs, at all. It was only discovered because I had a bit of an infection in two teeth. Cleared up by penicillin. And, they're coming out while I'm under. it was just luck that the sharp eyed dental tech spotted something in the corner of the one x-ray she was supposed to take, and followed up with more.

The oral surgeon was a little exasperated that I didn't just "go with the program" and immediately set dates, and such. Well, I wanted to think about it. A little quiet time to wrap my head around it. That, no matter what else is going on, due to the danger of the jaw breaking, this has to be taken care of.

The acid reflex was kind of a surprise. When I started paying attention, yes, I do burp quit a bit. I'm not the kind of a guy that pays an inordinate amount of attention to his ... health? Body? Thanks for the information. Any is welcome, as once I get past this nonsense, I want to get off those reflux pills. Unlike some people, I'm not willing to just go merrily along, not changing anything and depending on the pills. I think one big change is going to have to be several small meals, instead of the usual two substantial one's I eat, most days. Gosh, I'll be cooking and washing up from dawn to dusk! :-).

LOL. Fairy tales and the Land of Milk and Honey ... which launched another ear worm in my overly fertile, composted noggin. "Big Rock Candy Mountain." Which was an old folk tune, that was standardized and recorded in the late 1920s. And, became really popular during the Great Depression. A hobo's idea of Paradise. Lew

Hazel Marchant said...

Hi, Chris

I feel your pain about the bread supplies - both the suppliers leaving, and the weevils! I love homemade bread, but finding good flour, etc that doesn't make cost the earth can be hard.

@Lewis - I had reflux for over 10 years, and my doctor put me on a version of Zantac. Be very wary, as long term use can lead to mineral deficiencies. I have learned that reflux can be caused by too little stomach acid, rather than too much, so that the closure at the top of the stomach isn't triggered. You could try digestive enzymes, which are pretty effective. Good luck with the oral surgery!

Cheers

Hazel

Damo said...

Heh, I am pretty sure JMG would be aghast, but perhaps not surprised. Due to paperwork and bureaucracy we will both need to fly on a plane at least twice just to get the right stamp. Madness. Seems pointless to worry about it when there is so much wastage surrounding us.

I am actually further from work than I was in Tasmania, it is a bit of a commute and all rather inconvenient to tell the truth :p I ended up purchasing a modest motorcycle (Honda XR250 - 2004 model) to take me to work. It cost $2700US, but even at that rather shocking price, it was the best buy by a long shot. Not much of a market in motorbikes over 100cc here. (My commute is 30km, so wasn't very keen to get a tiny bike). With some luck I can sell it for much the same money to another falang when I go.

RE: fiction, I just started writing another short story in a post industrial future - not a contender for any spacebats challenge, just writing it for my own sake. I also have it at the back of my mind to try and shop the other story around to a few sci-fi periodicals. I figure it is very different from most 'sci-fi' so it can't hurt. I can deal with the rejection - I accepted long ago my tastes are pretty eclectic :-)

RE: Kindle. They are not terrible. For a year or two I loved it, but have now swung back to preferring the real thing (and for reference books I think the kindle is useless). It comes with a lithium battery which means it probably wont work at all in 5-10 years, but it does go a month or more before it needs a recharge (reading every night). I suspect in a year or two my traveling days will be mostly over and it won't get any more use.

The election was quite interesting and we did get to vote. I am very happy with how the senate is turning out. I mean, it is full of RWNJs but I prefer them to a house full of only liberal and labor. Occasionally one of them says something useful (e.g. Katter and Hanson calling for foreign ownership and immigration restrictions). I see that Turnbull finally got his win, but only just. I would be very surprised if he serves out the term...

There are lots of frogs here, but they are grown in ponds and sold at the market for $4-5 a kilo. They look almost exactly like a cane toad, but the locals swear to me they are frogs!