Monday, 8 August 2016

Ant Music


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There are many benefits to living high up on a mountain side in the forest. One benefit is that it is a quiet life, and I enjoy that. However, one thing that you can’t find up here in the forest is a cinema or a restaurant. That lack does seem to me to be a bit of an unforgiveable oversight on the part of the authorities and I suffer these indignities stoically! But if I do want to watch a film at the cinema or eat at a restaurant, I can travel into Melbourne by train.

Travelling into Melbourne is a fun activity, as the country trains are very fast (130km/h or 81miles/h) and usually run every hour. The trains also manage the neat trick of dumping you into the middle of the city in less time than it would take for me to drive there.

The train journey itself is really quite scenic. As the train speeds towards Melbourne, the mountain range recedes off into the distance. The train performs the other neat trick of deftly sticking to the high ground as the journey into Melbourne skirts around deep gorges cut by the local creeks and rivers during past geologic times. To the observer inside the train, farm land scoots past the windows in a blur and I get to sample the state of the seasons and country all from the comfort of the insides of the train.

Sometimes, when the train reaches the outer suburbs, and the sun has been gently streaming in the window for a while, a feeling of lethargy falls over me and I cradle my head in my arms and lean against the window and have a short and refreshing disco nap! Hopefully during that important intermission, I don't snore, and upon awakening, I am always careful to check my fellow passengers for signs of extreme annoyance directed towards me!

Once the train journey has deposited me in the city, I can head towards my favourite haunts. Often this involves a walk of about an hour to get there. I could take the excellent trams, but I enjoy the long walk as I get to sample the state of the city and its people, all from the comfort of the sidewalk.

On those long walks, I could travel anywhere within a 5km (3 mile) radius of the city, but instead I have chosen to limit myself to a small area of the inner city. To be fair, that area was chosen specifically because it has a huge array of food and entertainment options – even a cinema! If for example, my stomach was telling me to consume: chili dumplings; Xiao long bao; slow cooked pulled pork; or perhaps even an awesome hamburger, I’d know where to go.

The downside of accepting the limitations of that small area of the inner city means that if a food or entertainment option isn’t available in that particular area, I accept that fact as that option is not available for me. This is not a problem because I then enjoy something else that is available in that location. For me this is no hardship. However, other people faced with that dilemma may suffer from a feeling of discomfit described as: the fear of missing out (FOMO).

The fear of missing out is a real fear, which speaks to a person’s sense of having regrets or anxiety about making the wrong decision, whilst fearing that other people may be making better decisions. Worse, still is that the people who made the better decisions may be enjoying experiences and life more than yourself. And the only way that I’ve found to address that fear and anxiety is to accept limits. Accepting limits reduces my choices down to a more manageable number.

But the unspoken question always remains: Why are limits considered to be bad?

The orchard this week has suffered from a number of daring night time raids. Something has been digging holes on the boundary that marks the edge of the forest and the lushness of the orchard.
Something has been digging holes at night at the outer edges of the orchard
On Saturday, I had a good look at many of the holes and noticed that there were a number of very unhappy looking bull ants in most of the holes. I also noticed that at the bottom of the hole was a deep slender snout imprint. This can only mean that the culprit of this night time hole digging activity was none other than one (or more) of the Echidna’s that live here. The Echidna was apparently digging up ants nests at night and then consuming the outraged ants who were silly enough to try and discover just what was happening to their otherwise quiet winter ants nest.
An Echidna on the prowl for a tasty meal of ants
The bull ants here are quite aggressive and will happily inject and spray formic acid on your skin causing unpleasant chemical burns which take a week or so to heal. With that in mind, I can’t honestly say that I am unhappy about the Echidna’s ant consuming activities!

The UV rating has this week increased from low to moderate, and now on a sunny day you can feel the warmth of the sun. With the additional solar radiation, the plants are all starting to slowly grow. I discovered a strange herb in the garden bed the other day which was clearly enjoying the warming late winter sun:
Scritchy the boss dog enjoys the now warmer late winter sun
The bee colony appears to have over wintered well and they too are enjoying the slightly warmer conditions. There are plenty of flowers for the bees to harvest pollen and nectar from at this time of year too.
The bees appear to have over wintered well and are now starting to slowly emerge
One of the four battery charge controllers for the solar power system has recently been having a minor intermittent problem. Fortunately the manufacturer is in Melbourne and so I’m hoping they will be able to repair that unit. Whilst that unit is off being repaired, this week I installed a spare battery charge controller in the system.
The spare battery charge controller replaced an identical controller with an intermittent problem this week
Every now and then I get an urge to clean up the mess that the loggers left on the edge of the forest here. It is a big job as the loggers have been active in this area since about 1860. I believe at one point in time the loggers may have used a bull dozer and steel cables to pull the trees over and drag them to another area for processing. This processing usually meant that the tree stumps were left half buried in the ground, caked in clay, and also for some reason they are usually upside down so that the roots face the sky.

This week I pulled two of the old tree stumps out of the ground using hand tools and then burnt them off. The hard baked clay that was attached to the tree stumps was used to fill in nearby depressions in the ground.
Two large tree stumps were removed from the ground this week using only hand tools
Observant readers will note the large steel wrecking bar used to lever the tree stumps free of the ground. These tree stumps are really heavy as the timber for this species of Eucalyptus Obliqua has a density of around 650kg/m3 and they weigh far more than I do.

I still had some energy left over and so I pulled an even larger tree stump out of the ground and then rolled it up hill and burnt it too.
Another very large tree stump was removed from the ground this week
After that, I didn’t really have any energy left so I called it a day. Reader’s who are overly concerned that the job of tree stump removal may be finished, may note that there is still one more tree stump left in that location! Not to mention the other ones, in other locations…

Then the next day, we commenced constructing a new terrace above the house. A terrace is merely the fancy name for flat land dug into the side of the otherwise sloping land. Construction of a terrace involves digging soil from the higher side of the “cut” and then depositing it on the lower side of the cut. Hopefully, in that process you have enough soil so as to produce flat land.
A new terrace has begun to be constructed this week above the house
Observant readers will note that the dogs are enjoying this new flat land! They may also notice how rich and chocolatey brown the soil was that was excavated.The soil ends up being quite stable as I plant many long lived and deep rooted plants into the sloping side and it seems to work.
 
This is the beginning of new terraces above the house for new garden beds which will be individually constructed for specific plants.This first terrace, which is not yet complete, will be used for a fenced off thornless blackberry bed. Future terraces will also provide a site for two potato and one onion dedicated raised garden beds.

The temperature outside now at about 9.15pm is 7.0’C (44.6’F). So far this year there has been 682.4mm (26.7 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 654.8mm (25.8 inches).

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

Tuesday – 2nd August Batteries started at 66% full and 7.0kW was generated that day
Wednesday – 3rd August Batteries started at 70% full and 4.5kW was generated that day
Thursday – 4th August Batteries started at 65% full and 9.8kW was generated that day
Friday – 5th August Batteries started at 80% full and 5.0kW was generated that day
Saturday – 6th August Batteries started at 78% full and 5.2kW was generated that day
Sunday – 7th August Batteries started at 82% full and 6.8kW was generated that day
Monday – 8th August Batteries started at 78% full and 7.4kW was generated that day

85 comments:

Jason Heppenstall said...

Hi Chris - a couple of quick comments. I get the sense that we may be tuning into some kind of etheric music channel together. A couple of months back something jogged my memory and reminded me that when I was about 12 years old I was a big fan of the London-based band Adam and the Ants. I wondered how the music had fared over the years and got hold of a copy of their album "Kings of the Wild Frontier", which includes the track 'Ant Music'. I have to say, the music still sounds fresh and original to my ear and I've been playing said album almost every evening since then (I tend to put it on while making dinner). Ant Music indeed.

Incidentally, can you imagine a band such as Adam and the Ants becoming popular today? I read a description of their music recently as (paraphrase) "Burundian-drumming inspired percussive rock music featuring wild yelps and themed around English highwaymen, native American Indians and sex, and whose most successful chart hit (Prince Charming) opens with the sound of a pair of old women issuing vomitous yodelling noises." Hardly X Factor material.

The other thing you might find funny is that tree stumps are worth a pretty penny over here in the UK. My local garden centre sells them as decorative features and they go for a couple of hundred pounds a piece. It's amazing (to me) that people would pay that much money for one, but then there are plenty of things I don't understand about folks.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Re: The disco nap. I don't mind the snoring, so much. But, the drooling ... :-).

The Echidna is really interesting. He looks like what I imagine a hedge hog would look like. Not that I've ever seen a hedge hog. We don't have them, here.

Yes, I see a burnt snag in the background of where you're rooting out stumps. I don't know. Maybe you could do something artsy with it?

Rain, the last two days. On and off, never hard. Quit a nice summer, actually. It gets a bit warm for a couple of days, then cools down and there's a bit of rain. Then it clears off and warms up again. Wednesday, the sun is supposed to come back. Then, late in the week-end, more clouds and rain.

Here's something interesting I ran across. Probably makes more sense to you, as an accountant. But, I get the jist of it. It's basically how banks are covering up their smelly assets. Apparently, rule 157 has either been repealed or suspended.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark-to-market_accounting

Very concerning, I think. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

LOL. And, today's ear worm is ... "Davey, Davey Crockett, king of the wild frontier!" :-). Where did I put that coonskin cap? Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

What an enjoyable train ride you took us on; pretty scary, some of those drop-offs, though. And speaking of drop-offs - I didn't hear anyone snoring . . . Apparently I missed my disco nap, probably because I don't know what one is. I hope that I don't have to put on my disco dress - I still have one - to partake of it?

Ah - FOMO! That is one of the few diseases actually worth being inoculated against. Think of all of the joyful experiences that a person who does not carry FOMO antibodies misses out on. So much worry about what they are missing out on, that they don't see the wonders right in front of their eyes. Anyway, I am glad that Dr. Chris is busy at work in his laboratory searching for a cure.

And limits . . . well, it takes time to recognize your limitations. If we were born completely knowing our limitations, there would be no risk taking, and many interesting things would never have been discovered. But it is a most peaceful thing to know one's boundaries and to learn to live happily within them (see FOMO, above).

What an interesting creature is that Echidna. I wish that he might meet up with our garden Monster. It would be an even more interesting encounter than the ones that our neighbors' cats have with the Monster in the middle of the night. Our latest indoor ant infestation has been of very large black sugar ants. I finally traced them to a box of sugar in the pantry. Every morning I send dozens of them out into the woods, and the every morning I find less of them. I think that I am the Echidna here, though I don't eat them . . .

Herb Scritchius Bossius! I noticed other wild herbs of the Herb Canis group on the "chocolately brown soil". I think that they grow there as they think it actually is chocolate . . .

I am impressed at the "using only hand tools", and at the "rolled it up hill"! Grrrr - Lord of the Jungle!

You have had a lot of rain this year! Hope the solar widget comes back properly sorted.

Pam

Steve Carrow said...

You've just reminded me of another tool I need! I've heard it called a digging bar or a rock bar, but it is a long, very stout steel bar for prying and digging. I've used them when doing trail work as a volunteer, but I find more and more I need one here on the farm. Next time I'm in town..........

Now that we are "retired", we have more time flexibility, and take the train much more than we used to. The experience is so much different that driving, and we like it. Unfortunately, the passenger train system here in the states is not very good, so it's only a good choice for certain travel needs.

Boy that is some nice looking soil you have. We are slowly terracing our hilly yard areas for herbs, some fruit and veg, but much of the soil is a heavy clay, with need for more organic content.

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

oh yes, FOMO is such a hard feeling to deal with :-) can totally identify with that!

We've ordered a bee hive, and I need to assemble it and get a colony.

Regarding solar, Linda Woodrow (author of the excellent "Permaculture home garden") had an article about Imbolc this week, which is the turning point between the winter solstice and equinox where the days get rapidly longer:
http://witcheskitchen.com.au/maybe-i-should-should-i/

The sun is noticeably warmer. At the winter solstice, a sunny day would yield 35C air (measured at the duct) from our solar air heater in the middle of the day. On the weekend it was up to 40C. It'll be summer before we know it!

Happy Inbolc, :-)
Cheers, Angus

Damo said...

I hear you about accepting limits when making a choice. For myself, I find it soothing to narrow my choices down - usually via sets of cascading criteria. For example, 2 years ago when we wanted a 4WD I used this method to restrict and simplify what would otherwise be a daunting array of options:

- Must be japanese (ok, call me a racist :p)
- Must be economical (ideally, <10L/100km)
- Must be capable off-road (otherwise, whats the point right?)
- Must be good on sand
- Must be under $5k

And after applying all those sensible criteria I ended up with exactly one choice, a Suzuki Sierra or Jimny. Easy. And we ended up with a great car, no FOMO :-)

RE: computer discussion from last week

Warcraft 2 was very fun, although I still remember the first time my harvester was swallowed by a giant worm in Dune. The golden age of video games no?

Yes, no moving parts generally means longer life but it can be easy to forget that electrons are a motive force working against a resistive medium (the old school term for volts was EMF or electro-motive force I think?). At the nano-scales modern circuits operate at, it does not take a lot of degradation to render a block useless. Indeed, your operating system is constantly monitoring for this sort of thing and automatically sections off any bad blocks it discovers. For all that, I suspect a modern SSD will outlast a HDD all else being equal, but die it will.

Nice work cleaning the dust out - it would seem to have helped. At 8 years you are definitely on the other side of the bell curve!

RE: Antivirus - yeah, your strategy is probably sound all things considered. As a counterpoint, when I ran a small IT shop, 90% of the computers we got in for virus/malware removal had an updated, paid AV program so I dunno... Things are a lot better now in one sense (Win7/10 much more secure by default than XP), but worse in another (NSA / Russian Mafia / High-end cybercriminals can gain access to almost any system with laughably little effort).

My advice, for whats it worth to anyone reading (and this applies to Linux/Mac/Windows) for computers on the internet - in order of importance:
- Keep the OS updated - this can be made automatic
- Use a modern browser (Firefox, Chrome or Edge are all good. Safari and Internet Explorer are only OK)
- Keep your browser updated (most do this automatically)
- Install Adblock OR ublock extensions for your browswer (and if you like, a flash and scriptblocker)
- On Windows, install Microsoft Security Essentials (free, might already be there)
-And last, maybe, if you want, install a paid AV program, but IMO these often cause problems and don't always stop anything of substance
- YMMV of course etc etc

Good luck with the red cedar! Might be a little nest egg for you in 20 years time :p

Damo said...

And, if anyone is interested, the other day Mrs Damo and I visited a nearby waterfall. Nearby, setup on a crystal clear stream was a working, demonstration hammer-style rice mill. There are nice pictures and a video of the mill in action on my blog (where I also muse on the benefits of eating dog):

My blog entry with a rice mill video

Or if you prefer, just the video:
Youtube link

Sorry Chris, on my browser I have noticed the link to my blog has grown fat and turned into an enormous picture :p Not sure how that has happened, it is meant to be something the magical cloud computers do automatically. I might try changing the header image and see what happens..

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

That would be a great quote. I read a short story about a young lady who went to lunch with him (and her father), and the author spoke quite highly of him. He even drew on the paper table covering and then signed it and ripped off the paper for the young lady to keep. There is an entertaining website which has many of his quotes, but alas not the one that you seek (although it may written differently, but with the same meaning).

Pablo Picasso Quotes

My favourite is: "I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money." It is very Yogi Berra, is it not?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I love train journeys and yours sounds like one of the best. We have only one tiny line here which is of no use to me. it might well be discontinued.

Awareness of limits: Not sure that I pay much attention to these. When I was young I was endlessly told that I couldn't do this or that because I was a girl; on the whole it wasn't true.

Have never considered that I could have made better choices and certainly not that others had better experiences. In fact I find these thoughts weird. I seem to be nauseatingly content, perhaps it is old age. Having said that, my life has been varied, some of it unknown to even close friends!

Son is about to clean his shower. It was the coolest place for meat and he says that it looks like something from Psycho.

@Jason

Must ask son about tree stumps, it had not occurred to me that they might have value.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

They do blood plasma donations down here too, and they are quicker - apparently. I personally lacked the commitment to the cause. As I read your story about the commune surviving on the financial receipts from blood plasma donations, I started getting an idea about why communes failed. I really enjoyed your story too about the big guy feinting at the sight of the blood donation needle! Very amusing and you can never pick in advance who is squeamish. Honestly, I just looked elsewhere and put up with the momentary discomfit which soon passes. On the other hand, whilst no money changes hands down here, they do give you a microwaved party pie and a milk shake on completion. Have we had the whole microwaved food conversation thing? I seem to recall a vague memory that you (and alas the editor!) are happy to consume microwaved pizza for breakfast? Now being a bit of a food snob, I have to draw a line in the sand at such food outrages! And microwaved party pies are no incentive for anything to my mind. Would Joan of Arc be handing out microwaved party pies to stir up the troops I ask you? A few years ago, they changed the legal definition of what constitutes meat in those things and I'm personally a bit dodge on the whole matter.

Would those microwaved party pies be enough to bring the end to that long established commune? Probably! On a serious note, what eventually happened to them? I'm always mildly curious about such enterprises as it is always a story about people.

I'm very glad to read that your jaw is feeling slightly better as time progresses. Thanks for the information about the Vitamin D, I wasn't actually aware about how that worked in combination with the minerals. Nature is rarely simple is it?

Yeah, I had wondered about that. And if it means anything to you, the new building looks like a monstrosity, almost as if a giant building monster vomited up its guts everywhere and the materials sort of settled where they landed with no thought as to the human scale. Of course, we are speaking about a giant monster after all, and these beings are quite unpredictable. I mean look at Gigantor!

Oh, that isn't good. Nobody really wants to see land slippage. That bank building is completely out of scale with the rest of the city. Just sayin. What were they thinking? To my eyes, that office block is a very uninspiring building. Someone’s pyramid…

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

It is interesting how those times (1950's and 1960's) produced many interesting examples of brutalist architecture. That 1960 library looks an awful lot like many of the same style of brutalist buildings down here. It is funny to consider that building styles have fazes and can become faddish? On the other hand, the instance on vertical walls, long windows and rooms with 90 degree corners can have a remarkable effect on the usability of the insides of such a building. The most recent incarnation looks at best - to me - unusable. And I’m trying to be nice.

What a disaster and I'm glad that nobody was injured. Does the roof leak is quite an amusing observation, and also probably a fair question!

Yup, been there and your Julia Childs quote about everything in moderation is as apt here as it is elsewhere in life. One must learn the fine art of deciding when an existential crisis has tipped over into an indulgence which will soon become a mental health issue... Not an easy balance, but it is there.

Those statistics are horrific and can only be the portent of major future trouble. Certainly it is a rich feed trough for those that seek such things. On the radio this afternoon they were having a discussion about whether a student was required to pay off the student loan if the dodgy college had unfortunately failed before the course was completed. I can guess the answer, but failed to listen to the radio news show due to more immediate concerns. When I discover the answer, I shall let you know.

I enjoyed your sparring over at the ADR this week and I look forward to being educated by you about subjects that I know very little about.

The wind is feral here today. This year has been the year of wind! Your autumn will begin to accelerate shortly. Have you heard anything about the new place?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jason,

That review of Adam and the Ants is a total classic and so true! And I'm glad that you are enjoying the album too. It is good. I recall its release back in the day. Did you know that punk music is now almost 40 years old, I mean, Never Mind the Bollocks is almost 40 years old now. I used to enjoy the Clash and I quite enjoyed their Big Audio Dynamite phase too (rhythm and melody, my friend!)

There is still quite a bit of punk music being released today. It lacks the shock your momma value that it had back in the 70's, but still. The Smith Street Band - Ducks Fly Together is a good example and they are actually better musicians than some of the earlier bands which had punch, but probably in all honesty lacked a bit of finesse! :-)!

Not quite X factor material is hysterical. Very, very funny stuff.

What? No way! They're welcome to come up here and remove them. Honestly, what are people thinking? I'm not doubting you, it is just that as art work, the idea of dead tree stumps, sounds surreal to me.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Well, yeah there is that risk of drooling too. I'm reminded of the scene in Ferris Bueller's Day off when there is a sleeping student and a puddle of drool...

The Echidnas are epic digging beasties, no doubts about that. They are sort of like a marsupial ant eater.

Yes, Jason (above) suggested that there is a market for such tree stumps, but I'm dubious about their value. Although they bear the authentic marks of the January 1983 wildfires. Maybe that is a selling feature? Who knows!

Your summer sounds almost perfect to me.

Apologies, my brain was not up to reading the full text on that article. Asset revaluation reserves are used to prop up the equity side of a businesses balance sheet. It goes like this: You have an asset that you as a director reckons is worth more than it is reported on the balance sheet (generally cost less accumulated depreciation). So you revalue the asset so that the assets get a solid increase and the other side of that equation has to be equity (i.e. the owners financial interest in a business).

There can be all sorts of reasons for doing that - which I have no experience with at the level of businesses I work at - but one possibility springs to mind and that is using the increased value of the assets to beef up the asset side of a businesses financials in order to attain additional debt. I may be wrong, but that is what my gut feeling says. Small business rarely mucks around with that sort of thing.

As an interesting side story, I personally lost money on property trust unit investments as a young 'un due to directors revaluation of assets so I have a personal distaste for such accounting activities.

But of course. I'm not sure what a weary and tired emoticon looks like!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Didn't he die at the Alamo?

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Glad to read that you enjoyed the journey. I will add a photo from my next trip too so that you can see as well as imagine. Thanks for being polite about the snoring too, I did it quietly and didn't think that anyone noticed? Anyway, I could blame it on Poopy, he snores as befits a Pomeranian. Nothing like a pug though, those things can really rattle the windows. Well, a disco nap is very similar - if not the same as - a nanna nap (which is its alternate name)!

It is rather unfortunate that there is no real cure for people who suffer from FOMO. It is a sad disease and the people suffer so. Although I suspect that you are immune to this dreaded condition? Maybe in the future there will be a peak FOMO? Who knows? :-)!

Peace is an admirable objective. I respect peace. People grasping for the fleeting FOMO tend to upset the peace though. Naughty people. I was never taught limitations, I, like you, had to learn them by trial and error. Our culture on the other hand is in total denial about them. That land of denial is a pleasant place to be though.

The Echidna would be in heaven with all of those sugar ants, especially if they were carrying ill gotten gains of sugar. Yum! Have you tried lime as a deterrant to the ants? It does work.

Scritchy is one happy boss dog being able to cook her head during the day in the sun and then again at night in front of the wood heater. Happy days for Scritchy! Over summer, she is not so happy as I only allow her out in the morning as she can become very woozy and unwell if out in the hot summer afternoon sun. No one needs to see that.

I hope so too. I am concerned that the replacement is showing some strange behaviour, but nothing too drastic.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Steve,

That tool is the business for levering heavy objects. You can really get some serious leverage into whatever you need to move. And they're really cheap tools too.

Good to hear that you use the train, but sorry to hear about the state of the network. Down here they have put a lot of money and resources into the country rail system with tracks and rolling stock, but it is certainly nowhere near as extensive as it used to be. At least they are maintaining it and there are some extensions and road crossing removals.

Yes, absolutely 100%. Organic matter is everything here too. Have you tried digging in green manures? They sell kits for them down here with all of the seeds for various seasons. One or two of the local farms ran an entire paddock once to broad beans and it was awesome to see. I must put in a photo update of the paddock that they burnt off last year as it now looks far greener than the surrounding paddocks, despite my misgivings...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus and Damo,

Thanks for the comments, but I have run out of time to respond to them tonight and promise to reply tomorrow night.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Loosely related to tree stumps. We have a wood carver here who (for a price) will carve the tree trunk that one has left standing. He sometimes asks people if they have any fallen trunks to give him.

If you google Paul Sivell you can see many images of his work; some of them are outstanding.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - What's a party pie? It's ok if you can't appreciate the joys of microwaved pizza for breakfast ... with a big glass of milk! More for the editor and I :-).

At the time, the big bank tower was built by the Sea-First Bank. Which was a large regional bank. They were later bought out by Bank of America. Other large buildings have been built in Seattle, since that time, so, it looks more in scale, these days.

We'll see how the art discussion plays out on ADR. I may say nothing. If other's say what I think (and, usually in a more clear and coherent way) more power to them. And, I don't have to go to the trouble of signing in :-).

I usually check with The Warden at The Home, mid month. So, probably next week.

I don't know. I think asset revaluation can be a good thing. Maybe. In some cases. It's like in the antique biz. Something is worth what it brings in the open market. It's worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. It's always interesting at E-Bay to click the little "completed" button, in whatever collecting area I'm looking at. A piece of pottery may be listed for $200. Then you look at the completed listings, and, the identical piece has been selling for $30. How much is it worth?

Last week I picked up a piece of Blenko glass at the opportunity store. Still had the factory tag on it. $12. So, I took a flyer on it and when I got home checked the completed listings on E-Bay. The identical piece (without factory tag) had sold, several times for between $25 and $30. So, I feel pretty secure that I got a "deal" on the piece. Or, at least didn't pay more than the current going market rate. And, it's blue! :-).

But, back to revaluation. When the bottom fell out of the real estate market in 2008, everyone (in this county, at least) thought their property taxes would go down. We were always under the impression that those taxes were based on value ... what the land would sell for in an open market. Well. No. The few times the assessor could be caught in public and squeezed into making a statement about why the property taxes didn't go down ... well, mixed in with a lot of verbage, what she seemed to be saying was that there is a county budget and property taxes fund it, therefore, the property taxes are not based on resale value (which everyone thought) but on covering the county budget. Surprise!

Yup. Davy Crockett was killed at the Battle of the Alamo. Along with several other American "icons." Or, maybe they became icons because they died at the Alamo. They're doing some new archaeological work at the Alamo, this year. Not much of interest, so far. Lew

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

The train ride sounds quite nice though much faster than mine to Chicago. Are there many stops? There are 19 stops between my town and downtown Chicago though during rush hour there are several express trains. Lately it seems the train is late more often than not. We also have long delays due to the train hitting either a car or a pedestrian. Sometimes it's just an accident usually due to someone in a hurry going around the tracks but in the case of the pedestrians it's often a suicide.

An interesting animal, the Echidna, and apparently a very useful one too!!

The bees are looking good. We have tons of honey this year. With the news plants this year we've been attracting a wide variety of pollinators and butterflies. Interesting to observe which ones visit particular plants.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

It is a hard feeling to deal to isn't it? The application of FOMO in marketing and culture is actually quite interesting because it is subject to diminishing returns over time, so eventually that meme will not be able to be delivered upon. Anyway, that is my longview. But in the meantime...

Well done you! Keep the entrance pointing away from where the kids play as the bees sometimes fly in straight lines into the opening of the hive box. Oh yeah, keep it in the shade too somewhere out of the way as your summers are like mine and I lost a two colonies to melt down a few years ago after three days of 40+ temperatures (mine were in the full sun). The bees were not happy campers and they decamped into the surrounding cooler forest, leaving me with nothing at all.

Happy Imbolc to you and your family too. Linda lives in a truly stunning part of the country. I once visited Kyogle and it set the standard for a green, humid and sub tropical environment for me. I've honestly never seen so much green in my life before. Plus they have the very excellent Daley's tropical plant nursery there too (my tea camellia comes from there). Thanks for the blog reference too.

Nice to hear that your excellent solar air heater is working well. It is a great idea. Things are still quite chilly down here, but it is noticeably warmer too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Mate, total 100% respect. I love Suzuki vehicles and have owned many bikes and cars from them. How good is the Jimny too - plus the transfer case provides for low range gearing? That and the Vitara are the last of the (Mohican's!) small and cheapies with that option and I use low range gearing all of the time to bring heavy loads of poo back up the mountain on the dirt roads.

I now feel that we have man bonded over Suzuki vehicles :-)!, so I will recount how I learned to drive like a total nanna by embracing the Suzuki vehicle. At a young age I was an idiot on the road and owned a hatchback SS Torana which I hotted up. I chucked on a performance head on the motor, plus after market carburettors, plus extractors, shocks, wheels and tyres. Mate that thing went fast as. It was the biz. Seriously, it was a hand full though. Anyway, as you may expect, I eventually wrote it off in a head on car accident - which may well have been my fault, but which I had the good fortune to walk away from with nothing other than a bruised ego. After that I purchased a one litre four speed Suzuki Sierra. Mate, that thing could just about get to 110km/h, as long as it was downhill with the wind behind it. I learned that driving like a hoon was for other people and on country roads and highways, I just pulled over and let other people go past and then went about my business at a very sedate pace. If the Vitara ever dies for some unknown reason, I shall avail myself of a Jimny. ;-)!

The rain here is absolutely torrential tonight. Like me driving a hotted up Torana, it just isn't right for this particular season.

Absolutely, one does not feel FOMO in a Suzuki. I get people telling me how much they would love to drive one of these, but they always add an: if not for...

Yeah, you got me on that one too. You are totally on fire with your precise observations. Of course I loved Dune too... One always needs a harvester... Alas, I recall when they first arrived on the scene and I was in total geek land up to my eyeballs. Much of my early income from three jobs fed the local pinball / arcade game amusement parlour, but wow did I have some fun or what? Of course the later games were the golden age when people physically met up to play. I can not under estimate the amount of hours lost and beers consumed just trying to establish a network amongst all of the individual machines back in the day. And there were always those who chose to start playing despite the fact that some machines had compatability issues with the local network... There is always some of them in every group! Hehe!

Thank you! I'd like to think so too. You may be interested to know that the air compressor is rated at 150psi and is powered by the much smaller 12V off grid system here. I once mistakenly put my face too close to the initial puff of dust and wow did I seriously regret that business or what. The air compressor has a fine needle attachment that is usually used for pumping up footballs too so it really concentrates the air flow. Wow, it is very effective.

Your advice is very sound. I use admuncher which I would happily pay for. In the now very distant past I used Lavasoft adaware, but would you believe that apparently a marketing company bought the rights to the software... After that I read up every year when the renewal for the virus and firewall software comes around and then pick the best of the best.

Mate, have you heard the rubbish assertions coming out of the Australian Bureau of Statistics about protecting the census data? They came under a cyber attack last night... Lucky you not being involved in that business and having plausable deniability too.

The Acacia Melanoxylon's provide for beautiful furniture timber too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Yes, the thumbnail has grown rather weighty has it not! Hehe! Not to stress, there must be a good reason for it. I thought that it was some sort of ad when I first spotted it last night... I'll pop over and check it out.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Honestly, I'm impressed that on your island there are any active trains at all. I do hope that it is not discontinued either, because so many lines down here were dismantled when it would have been much cheaper to simply maintain them, even if unused. The underlying assumptions on that front were wrong, but time will show the truth of that story.

Of course, you are totally correct with that assertion in relation to limits and that is one of the reasons that I wrote last week story about parents lying to children. There is always middle ground between the many extremes and we as a culture are really bad at finding that place. I heard someone on the radio this morning decrying a royal commission and saying that the entire system needs to be chucked out. The Russians have a lovely saying about not letting the perfect be the enemy of the merely good. And they are correct in that assertion too. :-)!

Ha! Well, you are not the only one that is content too. :-)! You are a long distance swimmer and so understand the idea of the goal. Many people are scared and confused by that concept and that perspective. I was once a long distance runner and you may empathise with this next point, because when asked about my performance, I always told people: I run my own race and set my own goals, other people run theirs. Like you, I rarely tell the full story of the activities here, mostly because I have no desire to alienate people. There is no upside in that activity, but I understand and respect your point of view.

Watch out for potential Norman Bates characters! Hehe! I didn't find that film to be very scary at all, but a lot of people did. I would have gone with my gut feeling and travelled on to the next town.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Yes, the local agricultural shows down here do chainsaw carving too of tree stumps etc and they are very good. Such art is a constant temptation to me, but it is also complex on my wallet. I'm quite partial to art work done in steel too, even if plasma cut.

Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

You know, I figured that you would have seen a party pie, but it may be a down under thing. A party pie is exactly the same as a normal meat pie, but has been shrunk in size. They're often served exactly the same as finger food. You even get small sized sausage rolls too, and they're both good as long as the meat filling is of reasonable quality, which is not always guaranteed.

I did notice that history of the bank. Down here, the government more or less backs the banks so the risk profile can be interesting to say the least. If I were a gambling man, which I'm not, I'd say to them: I hope you guys know what you are doing? Not that I'd probably receive an honest reply in return. There is the big tower in Seattle too. I always am left with the impression that it rains a whole lot there?

Ha! That is funny, that is. Well, I understood every single word that you wrote. Your arguments seemed rather coherent to me. I must add that I am not sufficiently knowledgeable to comment on such areas. I mean, like you, I know what I like, but I am unable to critique art work that I just don't understand. Abstract works can be displayed before me, and I'll say something diplomatic, like that is nice and all, but I'm thinking, please take it somewhere else. Alas, I am a barbarian on such matters.

Well, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you and hopefully the Warden takes your enthusiasm as a solid commitment. I would interpret it to be that way.

Oh yeah, in those cases it makes sense. I was talking about massive property write ups which are a whole 'nother story!

That is a great score. Of course the colour blue makes it all much better. I scored an identical pyrex dish to an existing one about two weeks ago for about $5. Honestly, I'm mildly shamed that the second hand stuff is that good and that cheap, plus it was less burned looking than my current pyrex dish which is exactly the same.

Yeah, I asked you about that matter a year or so ago and the answer sort of disturbed me. I see flat lining incomes and increasing expenditures which means that people are ultimately poorer. It is the off the books liabilities that are the unspoken problem in that scenario.

Interesting to hear about the digs at the Alamo. I wonder if they find anything of any interest? I actually wonder why the individuals even went down there in the first place. The episode was not wise on everyones front. That often happens though as interests take precedence over common sense. Sometimes people are expendable too...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

There are exactly six stops between here and the city (including both where I get on and then off again in the city). It is hardly epic, but the country trains bypass the metropolitan tracks and stick to dedicated country lines so the second half of the journey is spent speeding past all of the outer, middle and inner suburbs. The rolling stock is fairly new too and made in Melbourne which is a good thing. Plus there are toilets on the train and that is a good thing!

19 stops isn't too bad really. I mean it isn't the Trans Siberian railway is it? ;-)! Have you ever been on a long distance railway journey? It sounds mildly romantic doesn't it? I have been trying to talk the editor into the Melbourne to Sydney over night rail journey and then back again for some time now.

Yeah, when I was in the local fire brigade, one of the guys was a train driver and he was very matter of fact about the subject and said that it was only a matter of time. It is a very unpleasant matter, and I reckon death by train would be messy and I wonder about the horrid possibility of surviving? That would be worse, don't you think? The state government has been busily removing road and rail crossings for just that reason.

The Echidna's have a special place in my heart. It is rather unfortunate that there are not more of them as the ants are just feral!

Thank you for saying that. I'm wondering whether I should split this colony or purchase a second colony and would appreciate your thoughts on that matter?

Well done you. Elephant stamp for planting a greater diversity of plants in your garden. It really does help and I too enjoy seeing what the insects are consuming too.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Your comment to Damo on the subject of youthful car driving was fascinating. It was a wonderful description of the journey from youth to adulthood.

One of our old railway lines here has become a private steam train line for tourists.

At the moment the mainland is in crisis with rail strikes.

Inge

W. B. Jorgenson said...

If I may add to the travel by train discussion, I too love trains. It's an easy, enjoyable way to travel. No need to worry about the roads, or turbulence, just enjoy a trip. The scenery is wonderful, and if the trip lasts long enough, sleeping is pretty easy.

Sadly, the trend in Canada matches that in Australia, the train tracks are being dismantled. Trains are the past, and have no relevance for today. I have never understood this logic, especially when applied to routes that still make enough money to cover their costs, or why it means we need to spend money to dismantle infrastructure, but it's something lots of people believe.

Also, in regards to letting insects enjoy gardens too, my grandmother recently found some flowers growing in her vegetable garden, and was going to take them out until she saw the bees loved them. She decided to leave them, and when I was visiting the bees seemed quite happy with that decision. There was at least one there every time I went outside, and despite concerns people had, no one got stung. I find it funny that so many people oppose letting bees in gardens because they think it'll lead to someone getting stung, when it doesn't happen unless you give the bees a reason to sting you. If you respect them, they won't hurt you.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I forgot to mention the new terrace. Looks like you'd have quit a view from up there. Maybe throw in a garden bench at the high end?

The Seattle tower ... the Space Needle was built for the Seattle World's Fair in 1962.

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

Let's see. I was 12 in 1962 and living in Portland. By selling enough newspaper subscriptions, I ended up winning two trips to Seattle to see the Fair. Seattle's fair was fairly well planned and a lot of the major buildings were meant to be used, after the Fair. It's pretty close to the downtown core and connected by a monorail. Seems like when I was growing up, there were a lot of world's fairs and expositions. Wonder whatever happened to those?

Seattle had had an earlier exposition. The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in 1909. Some of the buildings were reused and became the University of Washington. Watched a DVD on the exposition, about 6 months ago. Portland had the Lewis & Clark Exposition in 1905. You run across souvenir tat from the old expos. And, yes, it rains a lot in Seattle. LOL. It's a given. Anywhere in western Oregon or Washington ... it rains a lot.

Good score on the Pyrex. I don't know if you have it down there, but here we have this stuff in a round tin called "Bar Keepers Friend." It's a slightly acid powder that's great for cleaning up Pyrex ... and, a lot of other things.

Got a medical bill the other day, for the clinic and yearly check up end of things. About $1,400. My Medicare paid all but about $70 of it. Oh, plus I had a $30 fee for walking in the door. I doubt that will be the only bill from that go around.

What I've noticed is, reading "Culture Crash" and "Walden on Wheels" ... the constant refrain of people not having health insurance or, calculating life decisions based on having or not having health insurance. I've known that's the case, but reading these two books back to back ... it's a constant refrain. Maybe it's because I didn't have health insurance for so long. 15 years? Flying without a net :-). I just decided ... not to think about it. And, had also settled in my mind that if anything serious happened ... well, I'd just die. :-). Always an option most people would rather not think about.

Off to the Little Smoke, today. Lew

margfh said...

Funny you should ask about the long distance trip. Five years ago today my sister and I left on the train to visit a friend near Seattle. It was a two day, two night trip and we loved it. We got the smallest sleeper car - a roomette which was fine for us as we are both small though a taller person might have been rather cramped at night. Included in the fare are all your meals and coffee and paper in the morning and your own porter who sets up the room for the night and back again in the morning as well as taking care of any other needs you might have. Our room did not have a bathroom/toilet but there was one just down the hall. You could also go up to the observation car with is a big open dome though the window was very large. The only disappointment was missing the view of Glacier National Park in Montana as we pulled in just as it was getting dark. We were supposed to see it (and apparently there are great views from the train) but the train was running several hours late. The Amtrak trains are seldom on time it seems. You can, of course, do without the sleeper car which is much cheaper and for one night that might be fine. Those cars have large comfortable seats with plenty of room for personal items. We did find it interesting that there was no checking of luggage of any kind for security reasons. Anyway I would highly recommend a trip like that and hope I can do one again sometime.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thank you. All things considered the episode taught the important lesson of human fragility in an otherwise uncaring world and it was an excellent initiation into the world of adult-hood. Honestly, I was an idiot and I am genuinely grateful that the lesson was provided so cheaply. Did you ever experience any life lessons similar to that one?

The old steam train lines are quite delightful and it is a real labour of love for the people involved in their maintenance. Those people have some fascinating skills too. There are a couple of those lines down here and they are maintained and run regularly. One of them is further north and up the train line from here at the town of Castlemaine. The enthusiasts often run their old trains up and down the current line so as to keep up their drivers hours. It is always fun to see the various different machines they use to do that.

Puffing Billy is another one which travels through some stunning bush just outside of Melbourne.

Well, sometimes a strike is a necessary thing, as long as the demands don't exceed the ability of the public to pay for them?

Down here we are having the census, and wow, the government has really stirred the pot up on this one by introducing unannounced and mildly scary changes, and I heard one of their employees on the radio suggesting that the data will be used to data mine and data match. They were very flippant about data security too, but I do note that the authority has been under cyber attack recently which apparently has forced them to shut down their website. The internet is no place for census data. Also it is no laughing matter for people who may be working under cover, for ASIO, for the military... I don't know what they were thinking, they certainly didn't sell the idea to the public and there has been a serious backlash.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

That was very nicely summed up! Yes, it is an enjoyable way to travel.

That isn't good to hear about dismantling lines. That stopped down here in the early 1970's, but by then the country rail networks were gutted. In recent years there has been an expansion, plus a lot of investment in station upgrades, electrification to outer areas and even one or two new lines.

Thanks for the great story about the flowers in the vegetable garden attracting bees. Yeah, the bees are pretty harmless as long as you are not foolish enough to annoy them. Even then, the hive memory of your smell only lasts a day or two and then they get on about their business again. If you get stung and you haven't annoyed them, then it is an accident which causes them far more pain than you. I once accidentally put my finger on a bee which had been hiding under a water bowl and it stung me, but killed the bee...

I'm finding that my reaction to bee stings is getting less with time.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Hmmm, that is a good idea. Did you know that garden bench seats are valuable items at the tip shop and they get snaffled away very quickly... I still haven't quite got my head around tree stumps as art, but they may make an interesting seat?

Yeah, that Space Needle is an iconic building. I hope they knew what they were doing when they built it as it seems like an engineering marvel to me. I'm not entirely comfortable with heights, but was wondering whether you have actually gone up to see the view from the balcony way up on that building?

Actually, I was wondering that too! The Melbourne Exhibition buildings were constructed for the Melbourne International Exhibition in 1880–81. I often wonder whether such things are a sign that there was more real wealth sloshing around the system back in those days? Well done you for selling the newspaper subscriptions too. That was a very enterprising move.

Maybe it was a form of old school tourism and spectacle? Ha! Yeah, I've heard that about it raining a lot in your part of the world.

Thanks for the cleaning product tip and I'll check it out. The editor mixes up some sort of wicked looking chemical with bi-carb and vinegar which cleans glass in very dirty places like the window of the fire box. The chemistry is way over my head though.

Far out! Mate, your medical industry scares the daylights out of me. Everyone down here pays 2% of their income towards health costs which is collected through the tax system. When I go to the doctor down here it costs about $30 a visit which is about the same as what you got, although I could hunt out a free doctor, but then that would mean having to travel further in towards the city than here. Someone is making money somewhere in your system!

Well, it is a valid option. Insurance is really about risk as far as I can tell. And how much risk you are personally going to take on board is a serious question. Plenty of people down here take on additional private health insurance too. It is an expensive option. You'd be amazed too, that after the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009, it was discovered that over half of the houses in that area were uninsured, and that alone gutted the towns, because if there is no money to rebuild, no one rebuilds. Then there was the problem of under insurance where the costs for rebuilding were significantly greater than the amount covered by insurance. Insurance apparently does not pay for upgrades.

There have been a number of interesting developments in that industry recently, and I am watching what is going on from afar. Ultimately, that industry may change how I live here.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks for the lovely story. That sounded like fun and was probably very relaxing. It is all very civilised isn't it?

I tend to feel that I'd rather have a train run late and actually arrive than stick to unrealistic timetables and introduce a level of risk to the journey! The trains down here tend to be usually on time, but that wasn't always the case with the country trains and a few short decades ago, it was terrible. Really, really bad. They seem to have a better culture nowadays.

Hehe! Yeah, I don't know about those seats for sleeping in. They have them on the over night ferry between here and Tasmania too. But then I struggle sleeping on planes for example, as there is just so much noise and activity going on all around me that it is not very restful. A friend told me about a flight-mare that they had a year or two back on a long distance flight...

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

RE: trains
I quite enjoy the short train journeys around Thailand. If you take the overnight trains staff come around and fold the chairs into proper bunk beds. Very cosy! I am told they also got some new rolling stock recently so it is probably even better now.

RE: network games
Yes x1000. There was always a couple of guys (lets call them neckbeards) who would just set up their PC, plug into the network and start doing their own thing. Often they preferred to just browse the network and grab files then actually play games with fellow humans. And of course they would never help anyone who was having problems beyond a short grunt about serves them right for using the wrong version of windows. LOL, good times.

RE: ABS and census data
Yes, even putting to one side the questionable motives for a Government requesting all that information, the security problem is enough of an issue to make the whole proposition DOA in my opinion. Anyone who pays even a passing glance at security bulletins and conference papers knows that *every* system is vulnerable, not just internet connected systems, or poorly patched out-of-date systems, but *every* computer system.

The short answer is, it is difficult to defend against a motivated attacker and impossible to defend against a motivated and well-funded attacker. Just yesterday I read about a newly discovered piece of malware which has infected the computer systems of large companies and government departments around the world, is almost impossible to detect even if you are looking for it and makes use of currently unknown zero-day exploits (which means there is no patch to stop it). It is almost certainly the work of a shadowy government department (NSA perhaps), but thanks to the way computers work it will be in the hands of individuals in the near future.

The TV series Mr Robot is a very entertaining look at some of the ways these hacks take place (the shows creators tested everything before they put it on screen) and is probably one of the few TV shows or movies that realistically depicts computer hacking (hint: most attacks are social). It also has the advantage of being actually good. Recommended!

RE: Cars
I was lucky enough to avoid that phase in my youth, maybe it was because growing up on a farm I always had access to various tractors, beat up cars and motorbikes so I never really felt the need to go overboard? Or maybe I was just boring :-)

Cheers,
Damo



Jo said...

I would vote for anyone who would put a passenger rail service on here in Tasmania - especially between Launceston and Hobart. Hope you travel on your train a lot to keep it in business!

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Oh agree about late trains though that particular time was disappointing. The Amtrak trains on some lines share tracks with freight trains which is a reason for many of the delays. Also there had been major flooding along that track earlier in the summer which also accounted for the delay.

Regarding splitting a hive. I check with my husband as he's really more of an authority on the subject. He has never done it but said the bees should be flying well when you split the hive. You should find the queen obviously before splitting and can either get a new queen for the 2nd hive or take a frame from the original that has lots of eggs and the bees can make a new queen themselves.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi WB,

I have what most would consider a weed, Ladies Thumb, growing all over my garden. I have found it to be an excellent trap plant for Japanese Beetles and attracts bees too. Another plant I've added this year is Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia). It's an annual and three small seedling which I started from seeds under lights have grown into six foot tall plants that span at least 8 feet in length. They attract tons of pollinators and butterflies. I do deadhead them every day or two to keep them blooming. Zinnias are also great nectar plants for butterflies. The Mexican Sunflowers will be a plant I'll have every year from now on.

Btw I've been stung exactly once by a bee and that was when my husband was working in hives nearby and it got stuck in my hair.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

This comment of yours I liked very much: "One must learn the fine art of deciding when an existential crisis has tipped over into an indulgence which will soon become a mental health issue... Not an easy balance, but it is there." One must always be wary, but even so, sometimes it is impossible to see some things coming. Balance is indeed the goal.

I do already see signs of autumn here. How scary; our main crops have only been producing for a couple of weeks. We've been preserving mightily, however.

We have a giant, heavy tool for moving rocks and stumps called a "pry bar". I was going to look back at your photos and see if yours was in one, but was afraid I'd lose my comment. It seems to weigh about 25 lbs. (11kg.)? About 4 ft. (1.2m) long.

We grow some green compost. Also, my son has recently built a concrete composting system that supposedly the Monster can't get into, except that He has. It looks like a rectangular watering trough, divided into three sections each with a wire door (over a wood frame) on top. Originally the wire did not cover all of the wood frame and the Monster promptly chewed through the wood. He also dug under the whole thing to get inside. More concrete has been poured around the base as discouragement. All this, just to make a bit of our own compost. I have actually gotten to the point where I put out a nightly sacrificial offering of bread (His favorite thing) to the Monster in a spot away from the bins to distract Him. It has made me wonder if this isn't how the ritual of sacrifice didn't originally start . . .

I love cold pizza.

Question: If I should see you driving towards me on the road, should I pull over and bolt from my car? Or, perhaps, will the Editor have you under control?

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@Lew:

Our property values have gone down the last two years. Our property taxes have gone up. Apparently, our county uses the same financial planner as yours.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ W.B.:

My sister lives in a small town in New York state. They have turned a 20 mile (32km) stretch of railway line into a walking/biking path. Very nice, recreationally speaking, but as this has been done all over the U.S., it seems to not bode well for the future of rail service here.

We never pull up an unknown plant until it has had time to bloom and be "bee tested" to see if they like it. The other day I stepped on a bee (I almost always go barefoot in the summer) and it was so sad because, while I only suffered for a little while, he - of course- died.

I will be very interested to hear if you get any indoor composting going as we have (see comment to Chris) terrible trouble doing so out of doors.

I think somewhere you might have mentioned soapmaking? Somewhere in this blog Chris has a simple recipe for soap (with photos).

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Re. the journey to adulthood. I don't think that I had any lessons like yours. Perhaps because, from the age of 6, I was always looking after others. This made me extremely careful and conscious of risk. I know that people think that I have done crazy things but I had always thought carefully beforehand.

Have spent the morning picking, blanching and freezing runner beans and cooking and pickling beetroot. Thank goodness the latter don't need the freezer, I haven't an inch of space left.

Would the editor consider providing her vinegar and bi-carb recipe? I do use both in cleaning but not combined, so I am curious.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - On the roundabout sculpture you mentioned over on the ADR. Looked more like a pair of lungs, or maybe, kidneys, to me :-). There's a website that features ugly and outlandish condo design, mostly in the Seattle area.

I also love train travel. But, the last two times the trip was spoiled by people who just could not shut up. An elderly lady on her cell phone, chatting away the entire trip. A young woman with diarrhea of the mouth haranguing her boyfriend the entire trip. He looked like he was heavily medicated and had an expression on his face that said "Someone. Please. Just kill me." If I ever take a longer trip, again, I'll spring for the small compartment.

Garden benches are pretty popular, here, too. Some are repurposed out of old lumber. I've seen some interesting ones made out of old wooden bed steads. There's a lot of pictures on Google. The URL is too long to post here, but a search for "wooden beds turned into garden benches" turns up some interesting examples under "images."

The lines were way to long to go up in the Space Needle, during the fair. But, years later when I lived in Seattle, a cousin came to visit, so, we did the tourist thing and went up ... at night. It was pretty spectacular. And then got more so. It began to snow. We stood for hours watching the flakes fly past the windows and slowly fill up the streets of Seattle.

I am not a happy camper. A couple of days ago, I started getting robo calls from someone claiming to be from our IRS (Internal Revenue Service.) I knew it was a phishing scam. I'd read about those. And, sure enough, when I Googled the number, it's clearly a scam. The call came in at 6am ... Well, as long as I was up .... Turns out it is quit a song and dance to either 1.) block the number on my little flip phone or 2.) report the bogus calls to the IRS. So, I guess I'll just be shutting off my phone if I want a nap, or, when I go to bed. Lew

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Well, having seen the discussion on world fairs, I decided to look it up, and based on the list here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_world%27s_fairs, it appears that the most world fairs happened between about 1870 and 1920. I haven't done any math on it or anything, but that is roughly what JMG has said was the peak of our civilization, isn't it? It's actually quite striking to look at... The decline is quite evident in this regard.

And I'm glad to hear rail dismantling isn't happening in Australia too. It's a shame it's happening here, but then lots of Canadians are getting a little crazy on environmental issues, not in productive ways though. I think it has to do with the Alberta tar sands, but I'm not sure.

And I think this is true of most insects: if you don't give them a reason to hurt you, they'll just go about their business. Bees, wasps, hornets, all hurt when they sting, but all are also less willing to do so than people think. Well, maybe it's lack of exposure: I know quite a few people who don't go outside enough to actually know much about these insects.

SLClaire said...

I too love trains and have experience with sleeping on a train seat. A few years back, on the way back home after helping my mom following my father's death, I took three trains over a three day time span to get from Orlando, FL to Alton, IL (the stop before St. Louis and closer to Mike's and my house than the St. Louis station). This consisted of one train from Orlando to Washington DC which lasted from one afternoon to the next morning; several hours' layover in Washington till I boarded a train from there to Chicago, arriving the next morning; and a few hours' layover till the train on which I traveled to Alton. That was two nights of sleeping on a seat since I didn't want to spend the money for a compartment. The seats fold back almost flat and have knee and foot rests. I slept pretty well.

As others have pointed out, the US passenger rail service, Amtrak, isn't well funded and service declines rapidly outside of the Northeast corridor. But if you aren't too far from a metro area in about the eastern third of the country and have enough time and money, it's a good way to travel, much more pleasant than flying or driving.

Mike and I picked 9 pounds / 4 Kg of elderberries which Mike has fermenting into about 3 gallons / 12 liters of wine!

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Margaret,

Honestly, that's one of the appeals of gardening to me: I want to attract bugs. I figure it can't hurt, and if I make a goal out of it, then I won't be annoyed when it happens anyway. Plus, I happen to rather like most of them.

And I've been stung a few times, but almost always after giving the bees a reason to. I used to be quite clueless. I probably still am, but not about our tiny friends anymore!

Pam,

They've done the same thing in Canada with the CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway). It's a shame considering that it was important for bringing BC into the country, I'd think for that reason alone the government should've been hesitant about letting it fall apart!

Bees die whenever they sting someone, so I think it's always sad when they do. I suppose this isn't a common thing, I haven't heard very many people express sympathy for the bees, but then again most people never think of them.

I will let you know if I get indoor composting going. It's not high on my priority list right now though. I'm planning to get to it in September, once my intensive Japanese class and moving are both done.

And yes, finding plain soap is rather hard, and since I don't think the antibiotic soaps are a good idea, it's something I'm planning to start doing. I think I'll see if people are interested in buying it/gifts, but mostly it'll be personal.

And I should look through this entire blog at some point for ideas. Anyone have suggestions on which posts would be most helpful for someone looking for ways to reduce dependence on industrial society?

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Btw, I've found the soap making post: The Early Bird Gets the Worm. I'll see how well it works, come September. It doesn't look too hard. However, I wonder how many people know how to do it these days...

margfh said...

Lew & Pam,

My husband is our township's tax accessor and has a difficult time explaining why the tax bill does not decrease when the value of the property does. Now if someone appeals their assessment the tax increase won't be as much. He says the taxing bodies will always get what they need as the state will just change the multiplier.

He has on several occasions offered evening programs to explain this but gets very few attendees. Rather when the assessment notices come out they all come out and want individual explanations. Today is the last day they can try to get their assessments changed by him. It's been a crazy time the last few weeks making for a crabby spouse.

Margaret

margfh said...

Inge,

"Re. the journey to adulthood. I don't think that I had any lessons like yours. Perhaps because, from the age of 6, I was always looking after others. This made me extremely careful and conscious of risk."

I found this statement of yours interesting as I too had/have the same experience. As the oldest of 8 children with a mostly non-maternal mother I did a lot of care taking of my younger siblings and still taking care of my brothers and mother-in-law. Careful and conscious of risk would pretty much describe me as well.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Yeah, I loved Thailand and the people were great! Mostly though I've only been in Bangkok a few times. Once the editor and I met up with a mate that was working over there and we had an awesome time, but getting around is so easy anyway. And Khao San Road was just good to sit in a cafe reading a book and watching the world go by.

If you get a chance, try the train trip from North Vietnam (Hanoi) to Saigon along the coast. That is a great trip. I enjoyed the north better than the south there too.

Oh yeah, those goateed friends never helped anyone... Pah! And oh the troubles with network drop outs and just no signal. Honestly, half the fun was trying to get the stuff to work in the first place and all of the dramas that went on with that! :-)!

I heard them on the radio, where if I understood them correctly, they were claiming that they were going to data match with other government authorities (although the data matching is apparently done by the ABS staff and not the other way around) and also data mine. Wow. And I believe both major parties are agreed on this change. The guy on the radio pointed out to the ABS person that the Pentagon got hacked and then he asked if their internet defences were as good as the Pentagon's? It seemed like a fair question.

Man, that is not good reading, but I appreciate the Mr Robot recommendation. Thank you!

I was trying to get over to your blog tonight, but the new regulator in the solar power system packed it in and I can't risk damage to the batteries...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

That would be an excellent use of a vote. They run rail freight backwards and forwards on that line anyway. There is quite a bit of vehicle traffic between Hobart and Launceston, although the road is actually pretty good all things considered.

I'm loving how your garden terraces are growing and can't wait to see what gets planted in them. I picked up seed potatoes and onion seeds today!

The country rail lines get plenty of commuter and freight traffic, so no fear about that! Plus there is even a new line going in which is very good.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Yeah, I would have been seriously disappointed by that loss too, so I hear you. Of course, the country passenger trains also share the same rails as the freight trains, but generally freight is only run late at nights and on weekends. They've only just split the country train system onto separate rails from that of the inner electric system. The holds up just outside of the Southern Cross railway station in Melbourne waiting for platforms to clear of electric trains used to be legendary. But the recent upgrade has really made a huge difference.

Floods and trains don't mix at all. Back when the 2014 fires swept through this area, the old red gum timber sleepers on the train tracks burnt. The government replaced them all at night with concrete sleepers. Given the tracks are in the valley, I could see all of the goings on at night as the whole train system was lit up and I could see their daily progress.

Thanks for asking about splitting a hive. It sounds like a complex procedure and I am a bit nervous about upsetting the colony... I'll sit on it for a few months (or I may just order a new colony). Dunno.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

I absolutely 100% agree with you. Events can sometimes just overtake a person, and everyone has their limit - whether or not they have reached that yet. I tend to watch out for warning signs and then take evasive action. That seems to work for me. Out of curiosity, what do you do when confronted by those signs? But I do agree with you that balance is the goal, not always achievable though.

Great to read about the preserving activities. Yum! Did you end up making the passata?

Yeah, the pry bar is exactly what I use, except it is about 6 foot long so I can really get some leverage into it. The editor has squashed my fingers once or twice with that tool and I tend to shoo her away from it on safety grounds (that and the chainsaw) as things can happen quickly and without notice.

Please keep your monster up at your place! :-)! What a nightmare, and yes, the ritual offering is probably the best approach. I hear you about the concrete too, and that is why I put so much concrete and steel into the chicken pen to keep the small (but lots of) monsters (rats) out of the chicken housing and run. It does seem to work, but the economics of it all is beyond me. Interestingly though I haven't yet had a chicken death from ill health this year and if I were being brutally honest, I did use that to introduce new hens into the chook collective...

Yes, you and the editor can keep your cold pizza! I seem to be very much in the minority on this most important food matter.

No, the whole lot is controlled by understanding the consequences of my stupid actions and I drive like a total nanna - and that isn't a nanna driving on the World Rally Championship finals either! :-)!!!! On the other hand, I may be distracted and looking out the window at some animal or other thing. The editor calls this driving with one's ear, and apparently I do a bit of that! Hehe!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

I wonder if your Ladies Thumb isn't the same as our Smartweed/Pepperweed (Persicaria longiseta)? It grows everywhere in our garden. We learned in 4H that one could make a slightly peppery tea of it. Interestingly, I have not seen Japanese beetles bother it (darn), but they do love the zinnias. Also, the butterflies, as you said, love the zinnias. I have never tried Mexican sunflower. Thanks for the idea.

I like the chickens and goats in your thumbnail.

Your husband has a most difficult job! Ah - so there is more to this mystery than meets the eye. I will take his word for it.

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Early responsibility does tend to make a person more thoughtful imputes the ability to assess risk. That makes a lot of sense. I do not doubt you when you write that you considered the risks before taking action.

It is lovely to read of your preserving efforts. You may be interested to hear that the broad beans are sprouting now, even though we put them in about two months late. Also I picked up some sugar beets today (20% sugar content apparently). I love beetroot and I can almost smell the beets preserving. Yum! Out of curiosity, how did you preserve your beetroot?

I just asked the editor and she said (quote): "I'm a bit casual about that cleaning chemical". So, no gloves (the editor is less affected by chemicals on her skin than I) the editor pours a small amount of bi-carb on a sponge. Then vinegar is added to the bi-carb. It fizzes, so try not to get any on your skin... Then rub onto the glass. We use that on the oven glass for the wood fire box (obviously when it is cold). Give it a try and let me know, but perhaps wear gloves until you are comfortable with what seems like a very potent cleaning agent.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

We are getting the IRS scam also. Ours says "Internal Revenue Services"; note the last "s". My parents in Colorado are getting these calls, too. The calls come in on the landlines, not cellphones.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

I have been doing a lot of reading about the British Home Front in WWII and was astonished to read that some of the Channel Islands had been occupied by Germany; I was never taught this in school. Was this the case with the Isle of Wight, or was it perhaps just too close to the main island? I guess I of W is not actually a Channel Island?

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, onething over at the ADR mentioned that option too. But the kidneys... Maybe it was a pair of dingo's kidneys? Something about that tickled my brain and then I had an ah-ha moment as perhaps the sculptor was a fan of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy as Douglas Adams was rather fond of using that description: Urban Dictionary definition Dingo's Kidneys. Yes, the sculptor was definitely a fan. On a related side note, I actually typed that description on the interweb search engine and it came up with that image first. How good is that and other people were asking the same question too. I just hope I'm not now on some dodgy government database somewhere for people asking strange questions on the interweb? Dunno...

I suspect we shall never find out the truth, but that can be a relative concept!

Those are definitely the signs that you have been hit by a smooth TRAINMARE! It happens from time to time here too. One night some guy had a mental health problem and he sat in his seat a few seats up from where I was and he was swearing at a considerable volume for the whole trip in. The poor lady on the seat opposite from me looked to me for support, so i winked at her and told her that she'd be alright because the guy looked pretty small to me and he was more of a nuisance than a real problem. I was trying to type out some responses to comments too at the time! It was very distracting. They have quiet carriages down here and always make a bee line for them. No one wants to be the most hated passenger on a train carriage.

Anyway, the guy probably needed the medication to deal with the noise. See there is always a simple answer (well, sometimes anyway). Hehe!

Thanks for the link and I'll check it out over the next few days. I was meant to have a relaxing evening tonight, but the new solar battery charge controller / regulator packed it in and started doing very strange things. I got in contact with the guy that sold it to me as the thing is meant to be brand new. We'll see, but it took up about maybe four hours and the chickens did not get to enjoy the orchard tonight either... I'd probably enjoy a coffee or a ginger wine, but alas it is too late for such indulgences now!

Had paella for dinner too tonight. Yummo! Also picked up seed potatoes and onion seeds today for the new garden beds that will go in shortly. I'm really looking forward to getting back into the digging tomorrow for the new garden terrace.

Thanks for the story, that would have been amazing to see. Awesome! Especially at night. Your timing was excellent. Don't you reckon that is the stuff that life is made up of?

That is really annoying, especially at that time of the morning. I would have been rancid about it. Did I ever mention that back in the day, people used to just do random prank calls. In my first night after moving out of home, someone rang me up to tell me they were coming around to get us as apparently we had someone staying at the house. This was at 2am mind you too! Fortunately there were four other people in the share house digs and so I went back to sleep. I wasn't at the front of the house anyway...

As a confession, I and my mates used to go nick knocking on peoples doors at night and then run away before they had the chance to catch us! Fun times. We almost got caught a few times too. The water balloons at cars was probably not such a great idea either and my time will come sooner or late for pay back...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

Elephant stamp for you for working that one out! The economy crashed in 1929 and after that there were so many dramas that such activities were put on the back burner. If you get a chance check out John Kenneth Galbraith's book: The Great Crash 1929. It is quite a short book and very readable and entertaining. Between WWI and WWII the UK lost its grip on the world economy. They were in decline.

The thing with the Alberta Tar Sands is that apparently it uses a whole lot of fresh water, but I may need correcting in that, and I did read that it uses a whole lot of natural gas, but again I could well be wrong. Dunno. I'm unsure whether the production of that stuff is even making a profit with low oil prices...

That is true about insects and yeah, it costs them a lot to bite, sting etc. But bull ants are an exception as they are just aggressive for any reason. We don't have a pleasant relationship going on... I'm just glad that they're not bigger and they are not small ants in the first place. I read at a wildlife sanctuary once that if those ants were the size of a dog, you'd be dead. That is a cheery thought. :-)!

I dunno really about your question. That is sort of why I mentioned the task. I try to mention stuff rather than providing a list or even a how to. There is just too much and I don't want to get bogged down. As a guide, if the old timers were doing it, it is probably necessary to learn.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Thanks very much for sharing your story about the long distance train travel. Those seats sound very comfy! Don't you find the gentle rocking motion and the rythmic sounds of the train travel itself to be quite comforting?

I travelled by train across northern India once and had a great time. The trains were very old, but very clean and I always met interesting people in unlikely places and if we had nothing else to talk about, we spoke about cricket (especially once they knew the Australian connection). The platforms were packed with people though. I loved that experience. You could watch the sleepers pass by underneath the toilet!

I believe that they may have sprinkled calcium over the sleepers on a regular basis to break down the results of that toilet, but someone may correct me on that belief.

Well done with the elderberries and I look forward to reading about your fermentation works in the future! Aren't those bushes particularly productive. The birds love the berries too.

Cheers

Chris

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Chris,

I think, based on a number of factors, that it isn't just UK that went into decline between the wars. I have a feeling that aside from our highly advanced technology (much of it of dubious value to begin with), by most measures our civilization began collapsing long ago. Thus far, we've avoided dealing with it by throwing energy at everything, but that's not a solution with a long shelf life...

It uses a lot of fresh water, natural gas, and resources of all kinds, and is highly damaging to the environment. It's primary purpose seems to be to let North America pretend to be energy independent (by ignoring the fact we have to import a lot of the resources to work it), but it's turned into a wealth pump, transferring money to Alberta. How long that continues now that the Prime Minister isn't Albertan remains to be seen,

I'm glad Canada doesn't have bull ants! I suppose we have our own annoying critters, but Australia sure seems to have more than its fair share sometimes.

Well, this is a fair, there is quite a lot to do. I'm trying to sort out what is worth doing based on need and urgency, but it's a little hard sometimes. Since I'm starting from a fairly wasteful spot now, I think it's going to be easy to make some big improvements very quickly, but figuring out where to start, and what to do next is always a little tricky.

In any case, doing something that is less than perfect is better than doing nothing while trying to figure out what the perfect thing to do is!

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - Yup. I'm not a computer guy, but I sure enjoyed "Mr. Robot" last year and am eagerly waiting for season two.

@ Margaret - I don't envy your husband his job. I think, just my observation from the ground, that a lot of people feel like the "rules of the game" were changed without notice. If the public won't show up to get a little edumacated, well, that's their look out.

Fennel is a great plant for pollinators. I've got a well established patch of it. It grows very tall (so, is great for anything that needs to be shaded) and you can eat the root. The seeds (they taste like licorice) are used a lot in baking. I did an informal count one time, and the fennel, when it was in flower attracted two kinds of wasps and three kinds of bees. All at once. Everyone seemed to get along with every one else.

@ W.B. Ah, here you go. Expos and World's Fairs. New York had fairs in 1939 and 1964. Montreal in 1967. I don't know if this site has state or provincial expos, listed. In Oregon, we had an Oregon Centennial exposition in 1959.

http://expomuseum.com/history/

I just watched a National Geographic DVD, last night. "Bill Nye's Global Meltdown." It had a pretty big section on the Alberta tar sands. It takes two barrels of oil to produce 3 barrels of bitumen, from the tar sands.

By indoor composting, do you mean a worm box? I've had one going for years. Right now, it's on the front porch. But, it was in the back room of a store I camped out in the back of, for a long time. I never had any problems with smell or rodents.

A good place to pick up skills ... a good overview is John Michael Greer's book, "Green Wizardry."

@ Pam - There was a good tv series (BBC, of course) a few years ago about the occupation of the Channel Islands. I believe it was called "Enemy at the Door." Here's a good Wikipedia entry ...

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

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, after a long hiatus, the Chehalis First International Australian Film Festival, continues. I started watching the Doctor Blake Mysteries, last night. They are set in Ballarat in 1959. They're pretty good, as mysteries go. And, of course I get to see parts of Australia I haven't seen, as yet.

Mr. Greer is always banging on about how cheap property is in Cumberland, Maryland, where he lives. I finally got around to checking out the real estate listings. Well. It certainly was an eye opener. Wish I were a younger fellow. There were several really great looking houses listed for $20,000 or less. I spot checked the property taxes, and didn't see anything more than $25! Cumberland is a rust belt town that used to have a lot of industry, but, doesn't anymore. The population took a big hit since 1990. It looks like a great place to live ... if you have an independent source of income.

We're going to have two really hot days, and then get a bit of on shore flow, on Sunday, so the temps will come down a bit. Lew

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Lew,

I will have to look through that site. I'm curious to see what it includes though. When I have some time, I will take a more thorough look.

And yes, that sounds about right to me. The tar sands are very inefficient. I doubt they're making us any money, but I also doubt that'll stop them from continuing.

And having taken a look at the options, I do think what I'll set up is a worm box. It seems the safest option available at the moment.

orchidwallis said...

@Pam

Correct, the Isle of Wight is not a Channel Island. Churchill announced that he would not defend the Channel Islands. I didn't live on the Island during the war but understand that the inhabitants were pretty much stuck there. An ex vicar that I knew, used to put on his clerical collar because it enabled him to go on and off the Island.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

That sounds about right. Energy is the dark horse in that story. You may or may not have heard about: White's Law, which states that: "culture evolves as the amount of energy harnessed per capita per year is increased, or as the efficiency of the instrumental means of putting the energy to work is increased". Of course, some areas of the planet have enjoyed increased energy per capita, whereas other parts have seen a decline. Basically, it is all over the shop. But with conventional oil peaking in extraction back in 2005, one countries gain, is now another countries loss. And if the population increases anywhere at all, and all else remains the same, then there is less energy to go around and thus we are poorer. People always start yelling about unconventional energy supplies taking up the slack, but those unconventional supplies - as you quite correctly note - require conventional oil in order to even be an option. Imagine trying to smelt aluminium for the frames for solar panels without fossil fuels? Yes, I am aware that Iceland has geothermal sources for their electricity as does New Zealand, but the energy to make the steel to make the turbines etc. etc. came originally from oil.

I wonder about that issue too with the Alberta tar sands. The problem is that low oil prices make extraction uneconomic and the industry gets shut down, which in turn reduces supply and so the price of oil goes up and around and around it goes and where it stops nobody knows. I read somewhere recently that Australia now imports 91% of its oil - the refinery operations were shut down in the state to the north of me and shipped off to Singapore which incidentally has much lower taxes than here.

Yeah, I could send you some bull ants? They wouldn't survive your winters though. It is a dangerous place down under. In the cooler Southern part, it is the small things that will kill you, with the exception of the oceans which are just dangerous because of the rather large and very hungry sharks (due to over fishing is my guess). Up North, in the warmer parts, you get the small stuff too, but there are also the sharks and other assorted ocean nasties, plus huge salt water crocodiles which live in the river systems as well as out in the ocean.

On the other hand the bull ants may be attracted to the food in your campsite, and they may bite you, but up your way some of the animals will tear you limb from limb and then eat you - all because you wanted that perfect selfie with a huge bear in the background... ;-)!

Exactly, that is the Pareto principle at work. I save a huge amount of money by doing a lot of cooking, so the kitchen is a good place to start. I'm making a batch of toasted muesli in the wood oven right now. What do you eat that is processed and how can you produce it yourself? That will also guide you eventually as to what to grow. If you are heating your apartment, why aren't you also using that very same heat - at no additional expense to yourself - to brew a batch of fruit wine (or rice wine) for that matter?

That is very true, the Russian's have a saying about not letting the perfect become the enemy of the good.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I hadn't heard of that show, but I do know something about Ballarat. Incidentally, I'm unsure how they pronounce the name of that town in the show, but in my best Aussie lingo, I pronounce it as Bal-a-rat, even though it is spelled with a double "ll" which would suggest Ball-a-rat. I have a soft spot for that inland city and in the past I was a regular visitor. The city is an old but very large gold mining town and it has a reasonably large population for an inland city down under. The climate is very similar to where I live and the soils are quite fertile as they have a few extinct volcanoes dotted around the place. One of those extinct volcanoes even has a castle on it (Kryal Castle, so named after Kevin Ryal who built it). I visited that castle in the 1970’s and I recall that it was a lot of fun.

The town also has a huge lake which was originally a swamp called Lake Wendouree. It is quite pretty and I enjoyed walking around it in the past. The name Wendouree is apparently Aboriginal for "go away" which was what one Aboriginal lady quipped to an early pioneer who asked her as to the name of the swamp.

Anyway, my mate that moved to Ohio about a year ago, and who is now in California used to live there in Ballarat. In a really strange incidence of six degrees of separation, my mate who is staying in California on a farm called: "Quail Springs" where one of the originators apparently used to comment over at the ADR. And even stranger, he and I used to have ongoing conversations in the comments section way back in the day. Mate, it is a small world sometimes. I said to my mate over there, that I hope I didn't annoy the guy, and that my mate talked this place up! What a small world it is.

Those are very affordable prices for both property and property taxes. An independent source of income is the trick really isn't it? Mate, I pay 100 times those property taxes here every single year and still my costs are much lower than pretty much anyone else. Have you considered shifting and would your pension travel with you?

I am absolutely horrified to report that I have now heard of the third interest only loan for a house in Melbourne – and I am not seeking people out to discover that fact. These are all indirect people that I have only fleeting knowledge of too. I believe I read somewhere recently which said that a home with no equity is like a rental with debt. This situation cannot end well at all.

Last night I had to face up to about five hours of re-wiring in the battery room here, so I appreciate the shorter comments tonight. The replacement spare battery charge controller and regulator unit which was connected up last week was in worse condition than the existing one that I had. I contacted the bloke that sold it to me as a brand new item and so far there has been no resolution to the matter.

Oh, enjoy your warmth whilst you have it, winter is coming... Hehe!!!

Hey, I got the stump grinder out this afternoon and ripped up a few tree stumps. Wow, that machine is hard work. It is like grappling with Gigantor who is moving around an awful lot. I'm unsure whether the editor and also my own predilection for neatness is a bad thing, but I do appreciate neatness and it makes the place ultimately easier to live in.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for the WWII information on the channel islands. That is fascinating to read.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

It is getting harder to keep up, so apologies if I miss something that I should reply to. I entirely agree with the living like a poor man while actually having some money or at least that is how I read it, there is potential ambiguity there.

Yogi berra means nothing to me, don't know it.

I'll read through again this evening.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

What do I do when confronted by the signs that a limit is approaching? I analyze, to see if it is indeed a limit. If it is, then I strategize to see if there might be a way around it - after first scrutinizing to be sure that said limit might not be a good thing for me to accept. If I choose - or must - accept the limitation, then I do so, as all things happen for a reason. If all of those things fail I have - ahem - coping strategies . . .

Your chickens are still enjoying their earthly paradise, a missed frolic in the orchard notwithstanding.

Now I know who used to throw water balloons at our car! I ought to make you wash and wax it, you young ruffian!

I think that I have figured out our Monster. It is the long-presumed extinct North American Wombat. Eeks!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

Thanks for the Channel Islands show link.

@ Inge:

Thanks!

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Damo:

I love that swollen thumbnail! It makes me laugh every time I check in here. I shall be sorry to see it go. Aren't you glad that it is such a lovely photo that you chose?

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Evening now. I was in a very happy mood until I opened my post. I had filled in a complicated form for the bank and all should have been well. Oh no! They have sent me a letter apologising for having sent me the wrong form and enclosing a different form to fill in. Bank inefficiency here, seems to get worse and worse.

I have never eaten cold pizza, it doesn't sound like an appetizing idea.

Bites/stings: Initially I thought that stings were for survival and bites were for food but this idea didn't quite work as there seems to be overlap. As a martyr to the mosquito and the horse fly (march fly) I certainly dislike some insects.

Our NHS (national health service) is completely free and I do think that it is wonderful. I pay for nothing except the dentist and that is my choice. Son has to pay between £8 and £9 pounds for a medication prescription but I get that free as well because I am an old age pensioner.

Beetroot pickling: I cook the beetroot and then slice it. Then it is boiled gently for 10 mins in salt water (1 tablespoon salt to 1 pint water). Packed into jars and covered in malt vinegar or pickling malt vinegar (I don't think that there is much difference. It probably would keep for ever but doesn't get the chance.

Thanks for the bi-carb/vinegar info. Actually I believe that you can do the same with lemon juice and bi-carb. Perhaps the editor would like to do the scientific experiment of finding out whether one is better than the other. Another use for your lemons.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, Kryal Castle is quit a hoot, and sounds like a fun place to visit. I want to go to the public flogging! :-). Lake Wendouree figured in about the first scene of the mystery series. They were busy fishing a young ladies body out of the lake. A young woman from "the bad girl's school, up on the highway."

Boy, it is a small world when your mate can shuffle off to California and fall over a fellow who not only used to post on the ADR, but carried on a conversation, with you. That goes beyond coincidence.

Oh, yeah. My two small retirement payments would travel along, just about anywhere I'd go. It just ... sticks in my craw that there's all that reasonable housing stock in other places, but nothing even remotely resembling it, here, west of the mountains. Oh, well. Life on life's terms. I don't think I could have shifted house, before I turned 62 and the retirement payments started coming in. Interest only mortgages sound rather daft. And, an invitation to trouble.

Oh, I forgot to mention, when I was on my way back home from a meeting, the other night, I noticed someone had taken a stump about 5 feet tall, hollowed out the top of it and planted it with flowers. It really looked quite nice.

I'm just about finished with "Walden on Wheels." A pretty interesting read. What I found interesting was that he finds himself in all this debt and decides to pay it off as quickly as possible, by just about any means possible. Short of crime. :-). So he takes some unusual jobs and lives in unusual ways and just gets all kinds of flack from a lot of people. His mother was particularly irritating. He wants to hitch hike from Florida to New York (with a friend). For the experience, to see the country, to save money. Mom freaks out. He hitchhikes from Alaska to New York ... to save money. Mom freaks out. He lives in his van while going to school. Mom freaks out. She's constantly harping on why he can't just be "normal." Mom really got on my nerves and after all these years, I still think I made the right choice to move away from home ... on my 18th birthday.

Was 93F (33.88C) here, yesterday. Feels about the same today. Temp is supposed to go down, tomorrow. Will be welcome. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

No worries at all, if you miss a thread of a conversation or even decide to drop a particular thread. I enjoy our ongoing dialogue all the same. It is kind of fun, you have to admit? There is something about my personality that guides me to being probably the only accountant on the planet that wants to get out of the office and visit clients at their businesses and so I keep my costs very low to accommodate that choice and everyone benefits. But in doing so, I discovered that I enjoy catching up with everyone's news whilst at the same time assisting them with the various issues they are being confronted with. The thing is, it occurred to me one day many years ago that the world is full of stories and I get to know and help so many different people, but at the same time I have to recall so many names, their children, staff, and even pets, but I discovered that I had a knack for that and enjoy it. I would never have discovered that if I had not decided to leave the safety of the desk and office.

Of course, with that particular ambiguity, we can fill in the gaps on that particular story. My gut feeling was that Picasso was speaking from experience of meeting people who had wealth, but lacked the desire for material things. What do you reckon about that?

Yogi Berra was an exceptionally intelligent baseball player who enjoyed "obvious tautology or a paradoxical contradiction, but often with an underlying and powerful message that offered not just humour, but wisdom". He had some good sayings such as: "The future ain't what it used to be".

Oh no! Banks are apparently a law unto themselves and I personally wonder about them. Sorry to hear about your bank form silliness.

Cold pizza is a travesty of ingestion, but then I do note that you and I are in the minority on this most important and pressing issue. All I can add is: Yuk! The editor will argue with me endlessly on this matter and agree with most of the other commenters here, therefore in the interests of household harmony I will keep my mouth closed! It is not good though! Yuk! :-)!

That is quite interesting to hear, and I am with you on this subject. March flies and mosquitoes are horrid insects looking for a free dinner, which I am disinclined to provide. I'm very glad that few of the farmers around here raise cattle as the dung pats are a breeding ground for such insects (except for the mosquitoes which happily raise their young in stagnant farm dams etc.)

Lucky you. That is a good system. Especially the prescriptions. Down here the government purchases all pharmaceuticals on behalf of the population and then supplies them to the various chemists. That says a whole lot about the pharmaceutical industry doesn't it? A visit to the dentist can cost, but it is very reasonable and I am happy to pay for that

Thanks for the recipe for the pickled beetroot. White vinegar is very cheap down here, but sooner or later I'm going to have to learn how to make the stuff. Strangely enough, I have found that fresh beetroot has a similar flavour to pickled beetroot.

Ah, of course acid and basic. I have suggested this to the editor and we'll do the experiment. Thank you! I may write about the lemon trees tomorrow night (indirectly of course and in relation to limits)

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Oh, we are of one mind on that issue. I reckon you are absolutely correct in that all things happen for a reason, and mostly those reasons can be traced back to our own actions, but then sometimes out of the blue people bring the fight to ourselves too despite our best efforts. It is all rather unfair when that happens, but then people try to game you all of the time for their own advantage and I suspect that addressing that issue has huge implications for the future. Dunno. It is certainly a complex matter. I have coping strategies too, and also experience lends me the understanding as to whether any particular situation or event is a long term or a short term matter and each is treated differently. Dunno, what do you reckon about that?

Ha! The chickens are spoilt rotten, but I do like to get them out into the orchard for at least an hour per day. A good friend who also keeps chickens told me I was a bad chook owner - when they were in their old enclosure due to the very damp conditions - and I took that criticism on board and started off the new chicken enclosure with all that was learned. They seem happy enough now. :-)!

It was a bit naughty wasn't it? I reckon I've had my pay back for that bit of public nuisance. Maybe? I just hope the windows aren't down at the time...

Your monster situation is starting to sound a little bit scary. Maybe you need to go all CSI on the monster and setup a motion sensitive night time camera? Hehe! It may even be the mysterious Bunyip? It is night here and I just had to scare off a wallaby who had decided my vegetables made for a tasty dinner. Strangely enough the wallabies don't enjoy green mustard. Who would have thought that?

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Pam,

Your Smartweed looks very similar to Ladies Thumb but doesn't have the thumb like imprint on it's leaf. It's easy to pull out the excess in the spring and just leave what you want.

My husband actually likes his job pretty well. Some years ago he lost his corporate job due to a buy out - he was the VP of dining for what is now JP Morgan Chase. He finally ended up a job in the county assessors office which he hated (and at 1/4 the salary) as it was well below his capabilities. He took all the necessary classes to become certified and then ran unopposed for the job. He really takes time with anyone who comes in to talk about their taxes so while they may not leave happy they at least understand. The job is very flexible and close to home and he is his own boss.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Lew,

I actually planted fennel from some hybrid seeds I found in my seed container. It has produced great bulbs but so far has not flowered.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, Kryal Castle was very amusing. I was only a young lad and I recall vividly the actors who earned their keep in period clothes via a public flogging (and the flogger). The screams... I'd never seen such a thing in my life and I reckon I was about 10 years old! It all looked very real to me at the time. It was a cold and grey day too and the castle looked awesome, and everything was dirty and slightly dodgy in a 70's sort of an theatre restaurant entertainment way, I seem to recall. They even had a display setup for all of the torture implements used way back in the medieval period. It certainly made me think twice about being naughty again - but for only a short period of time, I guess! :-)! Hehe!

Lake Wendouree is a shallow lake in the middle of town - or near enough too - so fishing a body out of the lake would have been a massive event. I’ve seen that lake in a drought and it produces quite good grazing fodder. It would be full now with all of the recent heavy rain. I've never heard of the "bad girl's school" out on the highway, but then that town is the commercial centre of the area so there are highways leading in all directions. It is interesting, but I have heard of some government schools that are more or less a "last resort" option for bad students, but mostly kids are integrated nowadays or they exit school early at year 9 or 10, I believe. School is not for everyone, I guess. I did quite well academically at school, but it appeared to me to be an artificial and regimented environment which doesn't seem to be repeated anywhere else in our society. I have wondered about that. Heck, I even had to do cadets at school where we dressed up in army gear and paraded around a lot. Sometimes we used to go on bivouac camps and they were a lot of fun. They even took us to a rifle range. Imagine the insurance and parental concerns about that nowadays... ;-)!

Yeah, it was an amazing coincidence. Well, beyond anything that I would expect. My mate is having a great time over there too and learning lots of stuff. His calling is for the land, although he prefers animal raising and butchering and has skills that I cannot match. He cooked the best roast pork that I have ever consumed and I went back for three servings. Yum!

It is hard to move, I hear you. As a child of a single mother we moved all over the place. Virtually every year, at one point. But, like you I am over moving. Still, in your situation, I would take a peek just to see what the options are. ;-)!

Yeah, when I hear people crowing about how they have a large interest only mortgage, I get a feeling of dread coming over me. It really does scare me as it is like living through a scene in the book: The Big Short.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

What a great idea. I'd never thought about doing that with a tree stump. It would certainly work. I'd like to inoculate one with fungi too...

Mate, I was not far at all behind you on that score and have zero regrets. Mom freaking out can be a cultural form of control too. Ha! I'm almost finished reading "Empire Falls" and things are going from bad to worse for pretty much all of the characters. The story is almost a parody of the claim: "Don't upset the social order”, or otherwise expressed as “Mom's Freaking Out". Such claims work when the benefits outweigh the costs, but in most cases, it tends to be the other way around - if it is being raised as a concern that is.

Oh! 93'F is quite nice as long as the humidity is low, but in your part of the world this is not necessarily the case... It made it to 55'F here today, but the sun felt as though it had some bite to it so I still had to wear sunscreen. I did some more digging on the new terrace for the blackberry bed and in the process we discovered a whole lot of different options for the site. I often wonder about claims made by some groups who claim to be able to provide a whole of farm plan before any soil has even been dug. It just doesn't seem like a valid claim to me as options unfold with time and experience in that area. What do you reckon about that?

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I find that I generally view most circumstances rather ambiguously - as neither long term nor short term - as who can say what any given event will turn into? Which does not mean that I don't plan for the future (anyone who gardens knows that the future is ever lurking), it's just that life is so fluid, so changeable, from moment to moment that it is hard to predict what may actually come next. I think that adaptability may be the single most valuable human asset.

I don't believe that our spot is appealing enough for a bunyip, though he might be coming up from the neighbors' pond . . .

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Margaret - I think (might be wrong) that you have to let a few fennel bulbs "go". Let a bit of the fennel go feral. :-). The plants can get to be 7 feet tall. The flowers are bright yellow and look a lot like dill.

@ Pam - Maybe it's the elusive Mountain Beaver? But, I don't think you've got those in Virginia. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - I wonder if lemon and bicarb is as fizzy as vinegar and bicarb? That fizzy bit can be a bit of a bother. Hard to see what you're doing.

"Bad girl's school" used to be a euphemism for a home for unwed mothers. When I was a kid back in the 50's, we had one in a tucked away corner of our neighborhood. It was this large, rather gothic building entirely surrounded by impenetrable laurel hedge. You never saw anyone coming or going or in the grounds. It was always spoken of in whispers. To a youngster who didn't know what in the heck was going on, it seemed very creepy. It was run by the Catholic church, I think, and staffed by nuns. The Dr. Blake mysteries, being fiction, there may not even have been such an institution in the town, in 1959. Krayal Castle shouldn't make an appearance, either, as it was built later. But, you never know. What writer could resist working a building like that into one of the plots?

Hmm. "New optons for the terrace." That sounds rather exciting. An outdoor dance floor surrounded by paper lanterns? :-). I agree that when you arrive at a place, it takes awhile to figure out what's going on, with the land. At least a round of spring to spring. And things change. I just noticed the other day that the blue jays have disappeared. They used to come regular and raid Beau's food dish. I don't think I've seen them in quit a few months. Maybe because they cut so many of the trees down?

Supposed to be cooler, today, by about 10 degrees. 80 is so much more tolerable than 90. And a good stiff breeze would be nice. Lew