Monday, 22 August 2016

Moonbow


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The door to the outside world slid open and a gush of cold and damp air blew into the warm house. It was Saturday night during late winter and the rain was again running along the valley far below the farm. Wet winters are a nice time to be perched high up on the side of a mountain, because up here in hillbilly country, the soil is damp, but well drained. The valley at the base of the mountain range is a whole different story though, because many parts of that valley are beginning to resemble a swamp. Anyway, as the door to the outside world slid open, the editor poked her head inside and said: “You’re not going to believe this, and make sure you bring the camera!”

I have to admit that the outside weather conditions that night were very sub fluffy optimal and I was reluctant to head outdoors to see what possible antics the wombats were now up to in the orchard. On a not unrelated side story, a fierce wombat had been the feature of a news story only a few days ago because a lady in Canberra was mauled by a particularly ferocious wombat: 'I really thought I was going to lay there and die': Wombat mauls woman walking dogs in Canberra. Hmmm, those two rather large dogs in the photo in the article could probably benefit with a bit of Fernglade Farm fluffy canine / marsupial interaction training. And the first rule of fluffy when it comes to wombats is: Don’t annoy the wombats (edit – or do so from a respectable distance).

That night though, I was however completely unprepared for what I saw outside hovering over the valley in the darkness. And no, it wasn’t the mothership which was about to disgorge its payload of rampaging aliens who would obliterate all before them. And no, it also wasn’t one of the local marsupial creatures performing a particularly dexterous martial arts move – worthy of Bruce Lee himself – on one of the fruit trees in the orchard. No, it was none of those things, although they would make for a good story wouldn't they? Although the story would possibly be a bit truncated if it were indeed the marauding aliens. 

It was a moonbow!
A moonbow hung over the Barringo valley on Saturday night
This is serious! It really was a very rare sighting of a moonbow hanging over the Barringo valley. For those that aren’t technically inclined in all things weather related, a moonbow is simply a lunar rainbow, or a night time rainbow. A rainbow occurs when the sunlight during the day refracts light upon the droplets in rainfall. A moonbow on the other hand occurs when sun light reflected off the surface of the moon at night refracts light upon the droplets in rainfall. I never even believed such a thing existed, but apparently moonbows have been mentioned at least since Aristotle's Meteorology (circa 350 BC), so they are rare events, but at the same time, they’re old hat, but also way cool!

A closer photo shows the arc of the moonbow rising up out of the Barringo valley.
A closer photo shows the arc of the moonbow rising up out of the Barringo valley
Who knows why, but for some strange reason this week, my mind has drifted into the distant past and I have been contemplating the old 1970’s television show Kung Fu. That show had some great quotes and the Internet is quite useful in this regard as it provides a list of many of those quotes. In one episode Master Kan advised the much younger Caine (played by the now deceased actor David Carradine) that:  "To suppress a truth is to give it force beyond endurance." That is sage advice!

If I was to slip into the mindset of that particular 1970’s television show for just a short moment, I’d say something obscure such as: “The way of the fluffy is a temple, whilst the dark forces of product crapification are arrayed against one, but be like the sun, grasshopper, and what is within you will warm the earth.” I have to confess to you the reader, that the dark forces of product crapification are pretty strong as I have discovered to my detriment this week.

Product crapification refers to the increasingly shoddy products that we are sold. Every now and then I get stung by this dark and unrelenting force. Long term readers will recall that I have a nose for a bargain and am happy to follow my nose to where it may lead. And a few years ago I purchased a well priced leather couch. I like the leather couch, the editor likes the leather couch and the dogs like the leather couch. Its comfy. The problem is that, over the past year or so, that leather couch has started to crack, and chunks of leather have begun falling off the seats.
The leather couch has started to crack and chunks of leather are falling off it
I had never owned any leather furniture previously and was totally unaware that this cracking of the leather was even a remote possibility. I initially started to wonder whether I had actually purchased a vinyl (i.e. plastic) couch, but after some enquiries with re-upholsterers I discovered the awful truth. The leather coating on the couch is actually a manufactured leather made up from scraps of leather off-cuts which are glued to a synthetic backing and then cleverly joined so as to appear as if it were a single animal hide. Who knew that this manufacturing technique was even possible? Talk about product crapification, and you don’t need to be Einstein to know that the entire leather couch covering will eventually crack and fail. And I am now forced to consider the ethics of having this couch re-upholstered versus the economic realities of replacing it with another couch which is made from a proper leather hide.

To add insult to injury, I recently had a very good idea which was subject to product crapification. Long term readers will recall that the editor and I brew all of our own alcoholic beverages. We brew enough home brew to provide an equivalent of one glass each for four nights of every week. The interesting thing that we have learned from this home brew experience is that in order to age all of that home brew for a minimum of one year, we have to brew and store a phenomenal quantity of home brew. There really is a lot of home brew product either fermenting or ageing around the house.

The problem is that when visitors turn up at the house, they do not appreciate the sheer quantity of home brew that has to be fermented and stored to achieve that level of supply. And because people are people, their minds leap instantly to the wrong impression which they are only too happy to share with us. So recently I came up with the genius idea of storing all of the fermenting home brew product in a cupboard out of sight of the general populace. The problem simply disappears!

To that end, I managed to scrounge a very nice looking second hand solid timber cupboard which can be left open to let the heat in so as to speed along the fermentation process, but also closed when visitors arrive. It was a totally genius idea, except that once we began sanding the solid timber cupboard we discovered that product crapification had struck again and the side panels for some strange reason in that otherwise solid timber cupboard were made from a timber veneer. A timber veneer is a very thin layer of high quality timber glued to a more substantial inner layer of totally rubbish el-cheapo timber. The timber veneer had been carefully matched to all of the other solid timber components too, so that ruse was very hard to spot. I never would have thought to check for that in only the side panels and nothing else. At least if there are problems with sanding the sides of the unit, I will be able to replace the two sides with solid hardwood.
We have now begun sanding a second hand cupboard which will house the many demijohns of fermenting home brew out of the sight of visitors
It is very hard to tell what products are subject to product crapification and what aren’t. The majority of the electrical components that control the off grid solar power system are locally made. I recently acquired a new spare battery charge controller because one of the existing battery charge controllers was having a few very minor issues but which could be repaired. Upon connecting up the new spare battery charge controller, I discovered to my absolute and total horror that it was even more faulty than my existing battery charge controller. I couldn’t believe it!  However, the manufacturer of the battery charge controller is located in Melbourne, so I contacted them and dropped the spare controller off for repairs at their business. After two days and some minor repairs, they returned the spare controller to me and it now works as good as new (which it was meant to be anyway)!
The new spare battery charge controller (in the silver box with the digital readout and the code PL60) was installed after recent repairs into the off grid power system
In other solar power news, a lovely guest on Sunday undertook the work of re-wiring the second and much smaller shed solar powered off grid system which provides power for several garden lights and water pumps. The smaller off grid solar power system had been getting more complex over the years and rewiring was an act of anti-product crapification which may help to balance out the many unjust blows that I have been dealt with over the past week. The way of the fluffy is still strong!
A guest on Sunday rewired the much smaller solar power off grid system used for garden lights and water pumps
In between the many extended bouts of rain the editor and I have continued excavating the new terrace which will provide a place for the soon to be constructed and planted blackberry and strawberry enclosures.
Excavations continued this week on the new terrace which will provide a place for the soon to be constructed blackberry and strawberry enclosures
We have also continued taking out many of the very old tree stumps which are dotted all about the farm.
We have also continued taking out many of the very old tree stumps which are dotted all about the farm
The orchard has yet to bloom but the fruit trees are growing and it won’t be long until the orchard is a riot of leaves, colours and flowers:
The orchard has yet to bloom but the fruit trees are growing and it won’t be long until the orchard is a riot of colours and flowers
The daffodil flowers have continued to bloom this week and I have observed that the older the bulbs are, the earlier they will bloom.
The daffodil flowers have continued to bloom this week
But the daffodil flowers are not a moonbow are they?

The temperature outside now at about 8.15pm is 5.7’C (42.3’F). So far this year there has been 731.2mm (28.8 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 698.2mm (27.5 inches).

61 comments:

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

That is a great strategy, I do the same too. Sometimes it is hard to connect with other people on that level though, and sometimes those same people are so unused to being spoken to like that they consider your act of good grace to be a character weakness when they simply have no basis for understanding. But you are totally on the money, most people simply want to know that there is a level of respect in there - that is an excellent observation.

Oh yeah, the females are the boss, no doubts about that one! :-)! Although that may make for poor hearing for some people.

You sound as though you are having a perfect summer. I had one of those two years back, the weather was just spot on, not too hot and not too dry, with rain at exactly the right time. Last summer was a disaster zone because of the record breaking heat.

Thanks for your experience with the tomatoes. We ate them so quickly that they never had a chance to rehydrate! But wow, did they taste good or what? Sorry about the pressure cooker, to be candid, the things make me nervous too as if it goes wrong, it goes wrong horribly. To my mind it is a bit like the risk in riding a motorbike, nothing may ever go wrong, and that is the case for many people, but the activity does expose you to additional risk of injury.

Yes, it is quite fatalistic isn't it? I wonder how much of our supposed free choice is actually that free. I was remarking to the lovely visitor here yesterday that some people just have the advantage of being taught better lessons at an earlier age, and us mere mortals just have to learn by trial and error.

Hope you like my Kung Fu fluffy talk! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, that figures, I have a couple of preserving books from the 1970's and they are so clear and well written. And they don't give twenty steps when twelve will suffice! So, what was the general gist of the methodology for making apple cider vinegar? I'm really curious as I can see uses for vinegar all the time and am curious as to how to produce the stuff in a low tech manner? Well done going back to the earlier book. ;-)!

Ha! Baking in that heat is something I'd do down here - like I really want my home baked bread loaf although it is 100'F outside. One has to draw the line on compromise somewhere! The spaghetti feed / fund raiser sounds like a great idea and making one for yourself - purely for research and testing purposes - I get that! Nice work. Did it end up cooling down? You'd be surprised to know that tempers fray down here when it is that hot and beyond too. People haven't quite figured out that in those sorts of conditions you just have to slow down. I do that on ultra hot days.

Nah, it takes months to watch a film because there really is a lot going on and sometimes I finish work outside late, or paid work, and you know, life gets in the way. I never really got into the habit of watching television even from a young age and I'd rather go to the cinema to see a film than watch it at home anyway. That is a bit old fashioned, but the cake and coffee beforehand and the gourmet burger afterwards make the experience. Plus there is something exotic about it for me. Dunno.

Is it a crab apple? People make jams and jellies from that fruit and it is meant to be quite good. But as with all unknown produce a small sample just to make sure it isn't toxic is a good idea. Great to read that your supply of garlic has been shored up. Nice stuff. The bulbs are putting some serious new growth here right now. It looks like little stands of thick grass. If you ever smell the soil from a garlic patch, that soil smells like garlic too.

Yeah, I'd never expect that you would make that comment about the booze. I suspect that the comments are about themselves, but I will never get to the bottom of the matter without upsetting people, so I simply don't bother with the question - and came up with an ingenious idea to stop the nonsense in the first place.

Well, that is funny and kind of the point isn't it? It is surprisingly easy to become addicted to things and escalation happens without any awareness on our part. It is really hard to be vigilant all of the time though.

You do rather seem to be enjoying yourself in this life - or from what I can gather. I reckon life is in the relationships with other people. Somewhere along the line we swapped the social aspects of life for the material aspects and we can't really have both can we? But it would be nice to have another life to check it out!

Nice to read that the heat wave has broken and yeah, I hope that it is your last for a while too. I'm not looking forward to summer at all.

County fair and local rodeo are a hard act to beat. At least your crisp went down well and people don't generally make compliments for no good reason so that makes them doubly good. :-)! Never heard of such a thing, next they'll be talking about blueberry allergies.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

I had never heard of a moonbow, fascinating. The spell check hasn't heard of it either.

Crapification: Oh yes it is everywhere. I had looked at the photos first and thought what a lovely cupboard. I would also have been caught out and I guess there wasn't enough crapification for the weight to give it away.

As usual I winced at the sight of nearly vertical ground that looks unsupported.

You probably wouldn't have guessed that the sight of daffodils and fruit on a tree at the same time, looks really weird to me.

I have just read the chapter on fire in 'The biggest estate on earth', the notion of 'cool fire' seems strange to me. The chapter really is upsetting (as is the whole book). How man tramples across the planet in total ignorance of ancient learning! Clearly some of the writers at the time cottoned on but were not listened to. Not that things are any better here now. As far as the woodland goes, I am hidebound by ill informed laws.

Was with son this morning when he delivered sausages to a friend. This was to a very snobby, aspiring street. A smart car came past as son was reversing his truck into a driveway. The ghastly look that was bestowed by the car driver, was unbelievable; I have never before seen a look like it. I admit that son is large, bearded and unkempt. but son says the chap probably objected to the truck and reckoned that he was a burglar/immigrant. I would be tempted to drive that truck up and down that road frequently.

Inge

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Wow, moonbow? Lucky of you to see such a phenomena. I wonder how often they occur, but are blocked by lights... I'm currently in a very rural area, and the nights here are much darker than I'm used to in a city. I've seen a lot of things in the night sky I've missed with the light pollution I'm usually exposed to.

Now, in response to product crapification: This observation is very true. I've found a good way to assess quality is to check age: if something is older than I am, it's worth buying. Otherwise, avoid it unless I need it. It seems weird such a strategy works, but such is the world.

And I wish you luck with the couch! It looked quite high quality, but as I've also found out, that doesn't always mean any thing.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen, W.B, and Annette,

Thanks for the lovely comments and I will respond tomorrow evening.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Moonbow didn't show up in the pictures on my computer. But I see that they can be perfect circles around the moon. That I've seen a time or two, here. When we have our cold snaps and it's clear. Also similar is the sun dog. That I've only seen once. I was driving, and it was so pretty and unusual that I pulled over and just watched it for awhile.

70F, yesterday, and very pleasant it was. But I see it's supposed to warm up over the week ... but just into the low 80s. Then cool down again. There was a sharpness to the air yesterday. And a different kind of smell. Autumn?

LOL. Well. You're surely suffering from "hooch shame." :-). I'm sure with years of intensive psychotherapy, you could get over it. Or, just buy a cupboard and live with the secret shame. :-). Do you sometimes wonder that we, maybe, worry too much about what other people think? Of course, I've just about told everyone to sod off, so there you go.

Crapification just seems to be a fact of life. And, I doubt we'll get past it until life gets a lot simpler. Gosh, I can remember when "new and improved" really was new and improved. Now it's just different and not as good.

I always suffer a little disconnect when you say you're going to plant blackberries. A part of my mind always wonders why ANYONE would plant blackberries when they're all over the place and a real pain in the ... ear. I have to remind myself that apparently they're not as feral in Australia, as they are here. I looked at some pictures of crabapples, and I think you're right. The little mystery fruit is a variety of crabapple. Oh, I don't worry about them being toxic. They're plated in the "domestic" part of the orchard. Clearly something that has been put in with intent. Now why Brother Bob would plant two kinds of crabapple ... well, I just don't know. I've noticed that the orchard, even though it's been neglected for a long time, doesn't have much insect damage. A bit of blight. Nothing over the top. Maybe the garlic helps?

The apple crisp I made for home .... I reconstituted some raisins and added them in. I thought that was quit good, but don't know if I'd include them for stuff for the public. I'm beginning to think that anytime you add anything to a recipe, you just run a greater risk of someone not carrying for whatever you've added. Lew

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I didn't even know a moonbow existed. Thanks for the pics!!

That was interesting about the leather as we are considering leather for our next couch. No wonder the price quoted in ads often seems quite reasonable.

I took a rare three day trip 200 miles north in Wisconsin with two friends and one of my daughters. We stayed at my friend's family cabin on a lake on the Menominee Indian reservation. Coincidentally, We had a conversation about just what you are talking about - crapification of stuff.

Well as I've been gone for a few days it's catch-up time now. It was a lovely relaxing time but time to get back to work. Weather at least has become cooler and we've been getting a decent amount of rain.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Everyone!

In breaking wombat news...

There was a follow up article on the recent Canberra wombat versus lady with two rather large looking dogs mauling incident: Are wombats really that dangerous? Yes, says an expert.

I must say that the expert was not very nice about the average wombat at puberty, but I can agree with the twin observations that: "You can't outrun them, they go like lightning," he said. "They're like little bulldozers."

That Canberra wombat has created quite the minor media storm down here.

I feel that it is necessary to add an additional point that the master tactician Sun Tzu advises to never back your opponent into a corner and always allow them a way out otherwise they will fight more savagely than they otherwise would.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

Crapification, a word for our times no? I wonder what our inflation figures would look like if an attempt was made to at least try and factor crapification into the matrix? It makes purchasing things such a chore, back in the day you could, to a certain extent, trust certain brands to be top quality and long lasting. Nowadays, with so much outsourcing it can all become a bit of a crap-shoot if that more expensive trinket is actually worth the money. I admit, that sometimes it is all too hard and I just get the cheapest item. As WB mentioned, I have almost never regretted a second-hand purchase. New items on the other hand...

The ongoing giant thumbnail saga continues to vex me. I think it happens when I make a full-sized image (straight from the camera with no re-sizing) the header image for a page. I have changed it, and as of 24 hours later it has not propagated through, maybe it is cached somewhere at googles end. I will try a processed image for the next blog entry, I hope that will do the trick.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

That is really very funny, because I was told the exact opposite. You can't win that social game can you, which is why I don't play that game in the first place. The person in question started describing the dogs here as fur babies. I laughed and just ordered the dogs outside and said to the person: I don't think so. People can be difficult. I rather feel that those comments are directed at me, but they are about the person in question. And cats can have sparkling and exciting personalities too! What a great story.

Fair enough, I was always in the city before here and honestly as a kid I did my own thing and don't ever remember it being a great concern to anyone - or at least the fears weren't communicated. I didn't think anything of riding my push bike to visit friends who were many suburbs away. Things are different now though.

Last year was hot wasn't it? Soil can always be improved as long as you have access to the manure in bulk. I don't even dig the stuff in anymore as I just chuck it on the surface around the drip lines of trees. That does seem to work. The geese are a great idea for cleaning up the windfall fruit and stopping many of the pest cycles.

It is satisfying work isn't it? Yeah, I buy in organic matter too and am not too fussy about its origins - economics always plays a role in that decision. Mind you, I don't believe you could source certified organic matter around these parts and honestly I'm unsure that you would notice much difference anyway.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

Yeah it is the great randomiser. Even Sun Tzu recommended seeking the advice of a seer before going into battle. I reckon he used that technique as a circuit breaker on peoples emotions.

That is all very sensible. Sometimes it is hard finding out who to ask and even if their response will be valid for your particular circumstances. Yeah and sometimes some people really need a good kick up the rear to get them motivated. The story of fluffy was basically about how limited our time is here. It would be nice to get another shot at life, but I doubt that is possible or even wise.

Small is good when it comes to houses. Too many people fall for the trap of trying to make a statement or live up to other peoples expectations. When we designed and built this place we didn't care one bit about what other people felt. A lot of houses are constructed with re-sale value in mind rather than practicality or even liveability.

Good luck with the cat shelter. If you leave food, water and or shelter something will end up using it.

ESL is good. Actually it is very good. Have you ever considered learning another language?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Anette,

Greetings, straight back at you too! :-)!

The comments here are moderated which means that once you click on the Publish Your Comment button, the system then has to wait until I physically read your comment at a much later time and then decide that it is OK to actually publish. This is cumbersome, but it keeps all of the unpleasantness - that is the Internet - elsewhere.

I am particularly protective of females as they get a hard time on the Internet and I won't allow any silly business at all to go on here in the comments section because of that.

I do hope that you get to do a master preservers program. And year round flowers are an excellent thing. There is not much in the way of insect activity here during the very depths of winter though, but they provide for a good splash of colour.

Cheers

Chris

Coco said...

Lovely moonbow! We´ve been enjoying the full moon for a couple of nights now, ourselves.

Great dog stories last week too. Fortunately, Breo is on his best behavior with new people coming and going for the last few weeks. Good dog!

Got up to 33 degrees this week, which is hot for me now. Getting some rain occasionally, though, so that helps.

Tomatoes are producing, but still quite green. Tried a plastic covering, but they seemed to weigh the plants down rather than helping keep them warm, so we removed it and will just see how they do on their own.

Your terracing project has almost shamed me into abandoning the idea of renting a rotovator for the veg patch extension and just getting on with spade and fork like before.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

You're in good company because I'd never heard of a moonbow either, and the spell checker still doesn't like the spelling here either. Mind you, I'm not really up for arguing with the likes of Aristotle who was clearly much brighter than you and I because he knew about them. ;-)!

Ha! Well time will tell about that vertical soil, but things are a bit different down here on that front and the soil is very stable. I will plant the batter up though as soon as I can though just in case...

The fact that the citrus grows well here is a real bonus for my winter fruit production. Apart from rhubarb there are no other sweet plants growing. But there is a lot of citrus. Did I mention to you before that expert opinion down here was that citrus would not grow in this mountain range, and they have survived snow, heat waves, and even a tornado. You name it, that family of plants are hardy as. I feel mildly guilty not consuming all of them and am feeding lemons to the chickens now. They're happy those chickens.

Oh yeah, my hands are tied too on that front, and I couldn't even go to the powers that be and present a management plan. Their minds are closed on that subject. Economics will drive the change on that forest front strangely enough. It is upsetting how we throw away the past with little thought or consideration. Cool burns really do work. I replicate that process by collecting all of the fallen forest fuels and then burning them in a pile. It is hard work. Well done you for reading the book.

Oh beware the aspirations of others, they may trample over us! Beards are in. Your son sounds alright to me. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

I don't really know, but they are described everywhere as rare because so many different factors have to line up in order for the moonbow to be visible. Certainly it has to be dark and so city lights would put a stop to that. Have you ever seen a nighttime map of the Earth from space showing how much artificial lighting covers the surface of the planet? Australia is way dark.

I've got no argument with you on that and it is a very useful guide. My solar power system has older gear which is generally very resilient and can operate at full capacity at an ambient temperature of 50'C with no fans and just heatsinks. Try getting one of the newer models which rely on fans to do that trick. It gets hot down here over summer.

There is a word for that: "Showbag" Looks good on the outside, but is full of rubbish on the inside. Honestly, it fooled me, but I learn by trial and error slowly.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, I was wondering about the difficulty of viewing the photograph. The only way to see it is to click on the photo which will enlarge it. The problem was with my night time photography skills rather than the moonbow itself. You could actually see the refracted colours in the bow which looked amazing at night, although it was also duller than it would be during the day. Night time photography is one hard business.

The perfect circles around the moon are really cool too. We get them when there is a full moon and the atmosphere is clear but humid. All this talk of cold snaps, is making me feel a bit chilly... Brrr. Man, it was freezing outside tonight with the chickens in the orchard. I was busy typing away and my fingers were getting progressively number. I hope I didn't type anything too silly! :-)! Oh well.

Wow, that sun dog is way cool. I have never seen that before. What an effect. Cool. It is nice to not be in a hurry so that you can enjoy the scenery. And there is always something interesting going on isn't there?

Speaking of something interesting going on. I reckon someone dumped a cat up here on the road on Monday. They drove up in an expensive looking vehicle and stopped for a while and got out on the road and then drove off again. And later that evening I reckon I spotted a feral black cat. I could be wrong, and I'd like to be wrong, but I just don't know.

Yes, you can sense the change in the seasons can't you. 80'F sounds very pleasant. Did I mention that it is cold here? Hehe! Am I whingeing??? Oh no! Sorry.

That is exactly it. I'd like to tell them not to go down to Copperhead Row as bad things happen to strangers there, but hooch shame is a good description too and possibly less aggressive. Totally, I tell them to sod off too, but it is not a very popular thing to say as you are aware. Best to simply take the problem away from people and then everyone is happy. I mentioned above that those sorts of comments whilst directed at me, are really about them and their relationship but try telling them that. Needless confrontation.

Different and not good, is really not good. I remember when there was less stuff, but it was much higher quality too. I've also heard the marketing slogan: For your convenience - Who asked for that is what I want to know? Are we getting a bit grumpy or what? Hehe!!! There has to be some benefits to this whole ageing thing.

Blackberries are feral here, but perhaps not as feral. And the council really loves spraying herbicides all over them and I'm a little bit uncomfortable with the toxicity of the chemicals - I mean the guys have environmental suits on when they spray the stuff. What does that say about the chemicals?

Plus I get to plant the thornless varieties which I highly recommend to save a bit of pain.

Crab apples are closer genetically to the wild apple stocks is what I believe? It may have been a pollinator for the other apple trees too. You never know.

Yum! That sounds like a really tasty dessert. Yum! Well people can be very picky with food nowadays. Dehydrated sultana grapes are very common down here. Hmmm, I must plan some vines sooner or later. Maybe next year. Over the next few weeks, the activity is going to go into feral overdrive mode as we try to get plants in before it is too late in the season.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Glad you enjoyed the photos. I had absolutely no idea either. It is amazing what goes on all around us that we might miss.

Ha! Yeah buyer beware (caveat emptor) or suffer the horrid feeling of buyers remorse. You need to check whether the coverings are made from a large hide. Once the leather cracked I was able to spot the synthetic backing which was not previously visible and very cleverly hidden by the stitching. Hides generally don't require synthetic backing. ;-)! You can probably also get a feel for brands too that are higher end and then maybe search one out (in good condition) second hand? Dunno.

I reckon the whole crapification of products is a real problem brewing for us in our society. The point that is not lost on me is that whilst I'm writing about a couch, but the larger point is what about if it is the steel used in a bridge for example. What do you do then?

Nice to read that you are getting some decent rain and cooler weather.

I wanted to ask you if you have ever had an egg eating chicken? I got a bit slack at removing eggs from the hen house recently and one of them cracked on the concrete floor and broke open and became half consumed. I was horrified as I don't know who the culprit is. I'm now very strictly removing all of the eggs twice per day and the problem has stopped, but I am feeling vaguely uneasy. Have you ever had any experience with that? Oh, I also increased the amount and diversity of feed that they are getting.

Cheers

Chris

foodnstuff said...

Chris, most of the visible comments seem to be your answers to other commenters, but their original comments aren't visible. Makes it hard to understand what's going on. Is the problem at your end or mine?

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

That is funny. As to crapification of economic indexes, how about calculating GDP less the total amount of accumulated debt used to produce that number? I'd like to see that. Not that it will happen any time soon as I reckon financial chicanery is one of the driving indicators behind many economic numbers that you see paraded around the place. Mate, I really worry about the economic policies being pursued as they are starting to hurt people down here. It is not good. The number of homeless people on Melbourne’s CBD is climbing rapidly.

It is a crap shoot and I can't honestly tell nowadays. I tend to read reviews before committing to an expenditure for a new item just to hear what other peoples experience has been. It seems mostly reliable, but sometimes I dismiss what people are complaining about. Some of my tools have dodgy plastic components that aren't particularly crucial to the operation or the safety of the tool and there are many times that I have to repair them so as to get them back in to working order. Actually a lot of the wiring nowadays in tools seems undersized for the currents and they do fail. I'm getting lots of practice with repairs!

If it means anything to you, I'm enjoying the giant thumbnail. You have to admit that it has a certain presence to it! ;-)! And also let’s be honest, the photos are pretty good too, so it is all good. I'm enjoying your blog story and I really enjoyed Laos myself it is a great country.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

I've never had an egg-eating chicken - that is one that cracks open eggs to eat them. However, whenever I drop one the chickens rush to eat it. I try to grab it quick so they don't get a taste for it as I've heard that they would be more inclined to dine on unbroken ones but so far that's never happened.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

In order to see the moonbow I had to set my laptop at its brightest and then angle the screen just right. What you are referring to sounds like a ring round the moon or sun. I have seen those on a number of occasions.

I agree about blackberries, we spend masses of time getting them out and generally hacking at them.

I have made crab apple jelly and have found it important to use them before they are fully ripe. Once ripe, the result is tasteless.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Since reading your second wombat article, I now have no need to ask why the one in the first article was so mean; puberty, eh? And ever henceforth. There is hope for the poor lady's dogs, though - send them to Fernglade Farm Warrior Training School? Or, perhaps, Fernglade Farm Olympic Sprinting School?

Like everyone else, I have never heard of a moonbow. What a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity - and you guys got a photo of it! Thanks, and an elephant stamp and a gold star to the Editor!

It is hard to conceive how anyone could try to pass off bits of leather glued to a backing as a leather couch. Apparently they were pretty clever about it. My sister once had a really real leather couch and it didn't matter how many big dogs with giant toenails walked all over it, it still held up just fine.

Now then, Chris - I am afraid that I have taken liberties in the past when teasing you and the Editor about your supposedly, umm, large consumption of alcoholic beverages, though I also know that you took it in your usual buoyant spirit. So, I ask your forgiveness and shall probably have to hide in my own cupboard till you give it . . . By the way, I certainly like the sneaky cabinet idea, makes things so neat and tidy, too.

We have replaced parts in our cars and trucks only to find that the new part was faulty in some way, then we have to take it all apart again, go turn the part in to the store and put it all back together again. This has happened more than once. It's kind of scary to think that there are undoubtedly cars on the road with below-par parts.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Annette:

I haven't found out yet if my local extension office offers a class in pressure canning; I can't tell from their website. Thanks for the idea; I will check into that. I'll bet our Community College has something of the sort. They seem to offer classes in everything. I agree that "show and tell' is the best, though Youtube does have some benefits . . .

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - From our "it could be worse department", re: wombats. I just ran across a reference to the extinct Australian mega fauna and it mentioned GIANT wombats. Also, I had forgotten that here we also had wooly rhinos. And, giant beaver.

Well, I won't snigger at your cold snap. It's all what you're acclimatized to. When you had your snow, I read an article and it sure sounded like your antarctic blast was pretty much like our arctic blast ... cold! I've started to think about buttoning up for the winter. We've had two fairly warm winters, so, I'd guess this year we might be back to those arctic blasts that hand on for days.

Sounds like Nell's sister (or, a distant cousin) has shown up at your place. Well, she probably isn't really feral, now, but will be, given time. I suppose the dogs won't let her (or him) hang about. But, you never know. The cat might carve out a little niche at Fern Glade.

I see a lot of crapification in software. My library got a new catalog, over a year ago. It's crap, compared to the last catalog. Interesting. They have kept the old catalog running alongside the new, all this time. The new catalog just has all the titles on the my hold list as "pending" until they actually show up in my branch. The old catalog, when something actually began to move, the status changed to "in transit." Which actually helps me plan my trips to town. The new catalog's search function is also rubbish. Often, I'll search something in the new catalog, and it doesn't show up. But, it does show up in the old catalog. I can't blame the library too much. As per standard operating procedure, these days, they're informed that the old catalog will "no longer be supported." Sometimes they'll stick with the same old company (if they're still in the library catalog business) with their "new improved" version. Or, sometimes they'll move to another company.

Yes. All this "for your convenience" and "our patrons/customers asked for it." I want names. Who are these people? Do they really exist? Or is it just some fever dream out of the IT department? I want to know who these early adapters are, so they can be hunted down and eliminated. And, their progeny, too. It's probably a genetic defect. Same goes for drivers that drive too slow. They should be run off the road, yanked from their vehicles and ... well, insert any satisfying little fantasy, here. :-).

Reviews can be pretty good indicators. If there's a lot of them and only one or two are bad, that's to be expected. From having sold stuff on the internet (and done a lot of retail) there are some people that just can't be satisfied. If I see a dealer on E-Bay that has sold hundreds of items and has a rating of 95% or more satisfaction, I'll buy from them. I figure the 5% or less who were unhappy, are nuts. :-). Years ago, I saw a cartoon that stuck in my head. The scene looks like a department store return window. The customer has returned something. The employee says "We'll replace the item, refund your money and shot the manager. Then will you be happy?" In a small number of cases .... no. It's just not enough. Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Mike and I are constantly complaining about product crapification. It shows up in processed food, among other places. I admit to eating some processed food. But much of it used to be better. Honestly, corn syrup instead of sugar? Ingredients that I, a chemistry major, cannot figure out what they are? That's product crapification.

Another example: houses. Our house has real wood walls (underneath two layers of manufactured siding on the outside and plaster on lath on the inside, but still). And what do they use for walls instead these days? Some baked slurry of pulpwood fibers that outgases who-knows-what. Grrr.

On the other hand, we recently had to purchase a cheap LED monitor for the oldest of our two computers. I was astonished how much better a monitor it is than the cheap, many years old CRT which it replaced (the CRT was going bad, the only reason we replaced it). I could see your moonbow on the LED monitor! On the old monitor I couldn't see many of your photos, not just faint things like the moonbow. I wouldn't have even tried to see the moonbow if we still had the CRT.

Here's an amusing sprinkler story. I got out the low-pressure sprinkler yesterday, hooked it up, and got ready to watch it wiggle out the water onto recently planted cover crop seeds. But no, the water dribbled uselessly out the bottom. Mike wasn't home, so nothing to do but try to solve the problem myself. After taking a good look at it, I saw something sticking up slightly out of the hole where the water enters the moving part. To make a long story short, an insect had somehow managed to crawl into the sprinkler, gotten stuck, and died there, blocking the passage of the water. It wasn't until I disassembled the sprinkler from the quick-connect fitting that I could get a tweezer in to remove the insect. After putting the whole thing back together, the sprinkler worked normally. Granted, it took me about 1 1/2 hours to find and fix the problem, but it was satisfying to do it for myself.

Claire

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Hi Chris,

I'm fluent in ASL, I can understand, read, and write in French (but seem to have lost the ability to speak it), and am currently learning Japanese. I find learning languages to be very useful thing, because whether practical or not, it's a good brain work out and exposure to other viewpoints helps me see things others take for granted.

I've seen maps of Earth from space, and yes, Australia is very dark. Eastern North America... Not so much. And if these are always described as rare, then I suppose they must be quite rare to begin with, but are another wonder of the world we can't see.

Showbag, I like that word! I'll have to start using it, it describes a lot of things.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

Thank you! It was a very unexpected event and was also quite beautiful. Yeah, the full moon is lovely too.

Good Breo, and I hope that he enjoyed the story too. No doubt that he is such a sophisticated and well behaved puppy that he would not require any fluffy training at all as he is already replete with fluffy skills. :-)!

Honestly, I think I'm now over winter so reading about all of the hot weather that everyone is enjoying in the northern hemisphere is quite refreshing really. 33'C would be a moderately hot day here too, but the humidity would be much lower than what you are having to deal with.

The plastic is a good idea, but it does put the tomatoes at risk of fungal diseases in your humidity. You may be interested to know that your tomatoes are running in line with what I'd expect - if the world was upside down. March (your September) is really the big tomato month. If I may suggest that you collect seed from your earliest and tastiest fruit (which may mean that you won't be able to enjoy it) and then grow those next season. It really will make a huge difference - every single year.

Yeah, I wouldn't worry about it too much and if it makes the job easier hire the rotovator. You have to look after your body too. I use an electric jack hammer with a clay spade to break up the heavy clay - but then I have a lot of spare electricity. All the jack hammer does is break up the clods and then I have to break them up into smaller fines and then move them. It is still hard work though! ;-)!

I look forward to reading about your autumn garden.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi foodnstuff,

I'm sorry to read about the sudden end of your lovely blog. If you and the other local readers are interested, I'd be happy to open the garden here just for readers of the blog if we can all mostly agree on a date? Please let me know what you think on this matter?

Well, it is hard to understand! :-)! I'm responding to comments posted on last weeks blog - that is where the original comments are located. I have a simple rule of not responding to comments in previous blogs and all of the comments are mostly in a more or less sequential order. It makes it easier for my mind.

I hope you are enjoying the early spring, although to be honest it didn't really feel that warm to me up here today (it maxed at about 11'C) despite the best efforts of the sun.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks very much for the advice as I believe that is exactly what happened here. One of the downsides of constructing the hen house with a solid concrete floor slab (honestly it is better than most people’s houses) to keep out the rats is that one of the very naughty chickens must have kicked an egg out of one of the four laying boxes and it shattered on the concrete. That may have been when the feast kicked off. I'm now clearing eggs twice per day and that seems to have done the trick as I have found no evidence of egg eating activities since then.

Honestly, I have heard stories about egg eating chickens and I am a little bit nervous about the consequences of that practice as all of the chickens teach each other every good and bad habit that they learn. Talk about picking up fluffy skills!

I agree with your advice as they seem to have no need to dine on unbroken eggs.

Cheers and thank you,

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

The wildlife carer sounded both totally in love with the baby wombats and at the same time in a state of total despair at the wombats teenager antics. I feel a little bit uncomfortable at even mentioning that perhaps I can relate to the feelings of the wombats. Honestly, nobody has a good time as a teenager and it is refreshing to read that wombats are on par with the experience of the average human.

Oh yeah, those dogs need some proper fluffy lessons. And it may have been wise for the lady in question to let go of the leads so that the dogs could do their thing. What kind of dog would not protect their human companion in an animal attack? Let me have a quick look at some appropriate Kung Fun quotes. I do recall one quote about not being able to leave the monastery until the protagonist could walk upon a strip of rice paper without damaging it... Let's see... Oh. No such luck. Anyway, that was the gist of the quote.

Thank you for the gold embossed elephant stamp! ;-)! It was pure luck on our part. You know, the other night the Boobok Owls were kicking up a fuss in the forest and we tracked them down and spotted a family of about four of the birds all enjoying the insects drawn to the up-lit and rather large tree. It is all fleeting moments.

Your sister owns a couch that sounds exactly like the one I'm trying to track down! What did Bob Marley say about not fooling all the people all of the time?

Yes, I do believe that you did tease us on that matter, but we are magnanimous and will simply hide the fermenting product and then the problem will literally disappear along with your well deserved guilt! How easy is that trick and everyone wins? ;-)! We do neat down here, you know! ;-)! Hehe! I'm told by reliable sources that guilt is an over-rated emotion!!! Hehe! It was more the visitors that I had in mind than people commenting here.

Oh! Wow! I would be very grumpy with that outcome. It is no easy job to repair vehicles but to find that the parts themselves are faulty is like a double whammy. Actually that is exactly what happened here with the solar power system. There is definitely something in the water. Welcome to the future.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate those giant marsupials were huge as! Some of those megafauna were estimated to have weighed as much as 3,000kg (6,600 pounds). I've seen the bones for many of them in the Naracoorte caves in South Australia where they unfortunately fell into that cave and died and in the low humidity environment the bones were preserved. If a little cute wombat can do the sort of damage to a human with two dogs, imagine how fearsome a huge wombat would be!

Honestly, I'm not sure I'd want to face down a woolly rhino or even a giant beaver. They sound quite problematic and prone to outbursts of unpredictable and rather violent behaviour. There is still a lot of excitement to be had down here with the salt water crocodiles in the rivers and oceans up north and then there are the sharks right around the coast. I’ve noticed that the sharks have been moving closer into the shore for a feed in recent years and I’ve always tended to believe that this is a direct outcome of the over-fishing of the oceans. They used to say that there are plenty more fish in the sea, but I’m not so sure.

Thanks. We kind of share a phase shifted climate, you and I! It gets hotter here over summer than up your way, but then I avoid the worst of your winters. When it snowed the outside air temperature was 30'F, but wow was it cold or what? Well to me at least it felt that way. Hmmm, I do wonder about the future weather, but I reckon Yogi Berra spoke truly when he said that: "The future ain't what it used to be". I am a bit over winter though now and am looking forward to some warmer weather.

Oh Nell's sister will adapt and then it will be a game of feline versus canine. The dogs won't tolerate the feral cat, but then the cat hunts at night whilst the dogs are restrained. I worry for the birds. Hey, speaking of which the King Parrot (it is good to be King is it not?) turned up this morning enjoying breakfast in the vegetable beds with a really plump and healthy looking offspring in tow. I took some photos so I hope they turn out well. The lesser parrots do not much care for the rather showy King Parrot and unfortunately they gang up and clear off the larger and much more attractive bird.

It does rather make you wonder if the IT people have become bored and/or are looking for jobs to occupy their time. I mean how hard is an indexed database to produce? In my last role in the big bad corporate world I was the gatekeeper for funds to the IT people and they were forever concerned about their remuneration and/or funds for training. It used to drive me bananas that incessant whining. Circling the discussion back to your catalogue: Do you ever wonder what happened to the people working in the old catalogue software company?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Well as an experiment, I rang up one of those companies who made that particular claim about: "for your convenience" and "our patrons/customers asked for it." business. And you know what? I had to speak to a machine and they never bothered replying. In response I factored them out of my life. It does make you wonder who makes these decisions? The decisions are made as if they bear no consequences in the real world... Yes, well it didn't end so well for the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation did it?

Speaking of vehicles, I believe it was you that alerted me to the sad situation where the actor that played the character Chekhov in the re-booted Star Trek films was squashed by his own vehicle. I wonder about newer vehicles as chaos theory starts making special guest appearances because of the sheer complexity of those vehicles. I tend to get my older vehicles repaired if and when they go wrong rather than upgrading. But someone said to me recently that: Doesn't it make you want to upgrade to the latest vehicle. No, no it doesn't. It was quite confronting to have been on the receiving end of that discussion.

Exactly. Elephant stamp for that excellent observation. I have fronted the public so mate I hear you! No matter how good or fast or cheap a job that you do, some people will always be looking for more. And your comment speaks about that lot.

PS: Bob Marley is wailing in the background that he shot the sheriff. Who cares about the deputy anyway?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Oh yeah. When I was a wee young lad and saw the film Soylent Green where the protagonist in one poignant scene was waxing lyrical - where he saw how the other half lived - about the glories of strawberry jam... It left quite the impression on me and I can't honestly say that I know what any of those ingredients are either. Mostly we cook from scratch here using raw ingredients nowadays. But who knows what we are eating once we are away from the farm? I don’t tend to worry about it though. I can't actually say that corn syrup tastes the same as sugar syrup to me. Close but no cigar. We don’t grow a lot of corn down under because of the soil fertility issues. Up north they have quite the sugar cane industry. As an interesting side note, the chickens sleep on sugar cane mulch.

No! Tell me this is not true? Down in Melbourne I have seen houses clad externally in polystyrene over a timber frame which is then rendered to cover it over. I'd like to say that I am making this up...

And so many of the products off gas who knows what chemicals. Oh yeah, I hear you. We try really hard to use natural products wherever possible, but that is also no guarantee that the off gassing won't be pretty nasty too. But it is sensible to reduce your exposure as much as possible. I’ve noticed that white vinyl yellows over time…

Well, things break and that is how life is. I would do exactly the same. Very few of our products will last beyond a few decades at best. I used to repair older houses from the late nineteenth century and they were very sturdy, but also quite simple in their construction and I reckon there is something in that.

Oh, glad that you enjoyed the moonbow. It was good wasn't it?

Well done you for fixing the low pressure sprinkler and it is satisfying to fix these things. That low pressure sprinkler is a lot like an old house in that it works through sheer simplicity and elegance of design. Of course, it probably was never designed to be an insect house though. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

Hey mate, what is ASL? I looked the definition up and found an obscure reference to an abbreviated form of slang English...

Really. I'm impressed with your dexterity with languages. And yeah, other languages do provide insights into a culture and different way of thinking.

NASA has a very cool image of the Earth's surface at night: NASA Image Earth Surface at Night. The interesting thing I noted about Australia was the huge amount of light in central Western Australia. That must be mining operations because there isn't much else going on out there. I live in a dark patch, which I enjoy and the sky puts on a good show on a cool dry night. You can actually see the milky ribbon of the Milky Way Galaxy arm. Plus there is also the little smudge of the - please correct me if I'm wrong - the lesser or it may be the greater Andromeda galaxy. All can be seen with the naked eye.

Go totally hard. It is a great descriptive word isn't it? Showbags are always disappointing, especially after the chocolate was consumed. :-)! I first heard it applied to a particular person, but there doesn't seem to be much point in stopping there, does there?

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Thanks for the tip on the cranberry jelly. I'd better get on it! Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Showbag. There's a saying I hear once in awhile. I think it might be from Texas. "All hat and no cows." Think 10 gallon cowboy hat.

That fake leather. I know it goes back to at least 1900. I often see old mission or arts and crafts pieces with that kind of leather on them. In fact, I have a small rocking chair with that kind of "leather" on it. I don't mind it, if it's not too badly deteriorated on an old piece. Patina. Of course, I say the same about coffee cups that are overdue for a good wash :-).

As the ocean warms up, there are more and more shark attacks, further north up our coast. There's been a couple of great white attacks on the northern Oregon coast.

I often wonder what happens to people laid off from old companies. Bookstore and record store clerks ... library clerical substitutes :-). One hopes they land on their feet, but I bet the works not near so interesting.

Watched an episode of Inspector Morris, last night that was filmed in Australia. Hereford, New South Wales. Supposedly. My computer is acting up this morning, so I can't check and see if it's a real place. Really pretty landscape. Like eastern Oregon or Washington, in spring, when it's more green.

Funny how things come together in the mind. I'm about finished reading "A Short History of Progress". And, I watched a DVD set from Great Courses about America before 1776. The, about 200 years, before the Revolution. There was a lot about the Columbian Exchange. Plants and products from the Old World, to the New. And, visa versa. One thing I was wondering about. Conquest of the Native Americans was fairly easy as European diseases whipped out about 70-90% of them. I started wondering what the world would be like if the opposite had been true. If some terrible American disease had made it to Europe? And, why didn't it?

The populations (with only minor incursions) separated about 15,000 years ago. Not all that long in geological history. So why did so many lethal diseases develop in the Old World. I suspect ... my theory is ... because in the Old World there were many more types of domesticated animals that provided reservoirs for disease. A theory, anyway.

Well, I'm off to the Little Smoke. Sometimes, the gimpy deputy becomes Dennis Weaver :-). Lew

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Chris,

ASL is American Sign Language. I've never heard of the slang before, but it's good to know about. And it's a great language, I find it helpful to know it for use in loud places: it's almost silent, and as long as you can ignore the noise, you can use it to talk to someone on the other side of a very crowded room.

I never had a choice with French, I had to learn it in elementary and high school. As for Japanese and ASL, well, as JMG is fond of saying, a lot of time opens up if you don't watch much TV. I've put over twenty hours a week into learning both ASL and Japanese at some point now, and that's how I can do it, sheer time and effort.

Looking at one of those maps shows a lot about the world that I don't think of otherwise. For example, I saw a patch of bright lights in Panama, which I assume is the canal. The rest of the country is dark as can be... The lack of lights of any sort in Africa also says quite a lot, eh? And I don't know enough about astronomy to say for sure.

Well, I know more than one person who fits that description... But it's a great word for so many other things, it would be a shame to limit it.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Hehe! How good is that word. I really enjoyed the "All hat and no cows" comment too. ;-)! Funny stuff. And haven't we all met a few of them too in our time. Those Texans are a straight talking bunch. :-)!

I didn't know that the fake leather had such a long history. It figures. The problem here is that the seats are rapidly becoming more synthetic backing than leather. I could actually handle the occasional crack in the upholstery. It matters not, but this situation is the whole next level. Now that I know what to look for, I can spot the joins in the leather and you can see the weak spots when pressure is placed onto the surface. Patina is part of the human experience is it not? I've got my fair share of that business for sure - as do we all. Oh well, I have few regrets.

Mind you, age may not be such a good thing. I've long since considered that we down here are in a recession, despite the rhetoric. And now today, the Federal treasurer Scott Morrison is using words like: "banana republic" and "recession" and other very uncomfortable words like that. He also pointed out something that I have been saying for quite a long while now: People slightly younger than I have never experienced a day of recession where struggling to survive economically is a day to day priority. I’ll bet he never had too either…

Oh yeah, those sharks are hungry as and they adapt to whatever food is around and to a shark, a human surfer in a wetsuit doesn't look that dissimilar from a seal on a strange board thingee. The surfers are copping the brunt of the shark attacks and I have been rather surprised at their reactions. It seems unnecessary to point out that surfers inhabit the same country as sharks and they take that risk on board. I have that risk here with deadly snakes.

Mate, I hear you about that. I wonder about that issue too. It is a shame that people by and large don't until their lucky numbers turn up. Mate, I did four years of debt collection in the last recession just to put food on the table and keep a roof over my head. Both you and I know exactly what happens to them. Back in the day it worked on a LIFO basis: i.e. Last in First Out which meant that it was the young who got the chop. Now that the young are accommodating themselves to part time, under employment, internships, and portfolio employment (that is where I fit in) they may find that because they are far cheaper, that the opposite happens and it becomes FIFO: i.e. First in First Out which means that the older staff may be at risk. That is what my gut feeling says anyway. Certainly things won't stay the same. Interestingly too, I've noticed a lot of articles in the newspapers promoting the concept of older people (that's older than you my friend) staying in the workforce. And I'm starting to correlate that push in my head with some interestingly engaging forms of finance fraud which I've been also reading about recently. Certainly we are in for interesting times, no doubts about that.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Unemployment and under employment are slowly increasing. Interest rates are decreasing. Housing prices are going up. Finance fraud is apparently becoming more of a problem. Finance defaults are slowly increasing. Hmmm. Some days I feel as if I am living in the narrative of the “The Big Short”.

Hereford, New South Wales is pretty nice country. I reckon the summers can get quite hot and the winters quite cold due to the elevated position and it being on the western - to central - side of the Great Dividing Range. It is a very fertile part of the world too. Actually it is not far from Jackie French's farm over in the Araluen valley. Jackie is an awesome author and her garden is a truly an amazing place grown up over the past three decades or so. Eastern Oregon and/or Washington sounds lovely if it is like that. Of course, the summers can get pretty hot and dry there too I'd guess?

The same thing happened here of course. It is sort of hard to fight back against invaders when 90% of your population dies or becomes very ill due to disease. That is an interesting hypothesis and it does make one wonder. Most of the people that arrived here were from urban areas. We really lacked people who had any sort of a relationship to the land in the first settlers. They were lucky that they didn't starve. It was a close call. I have wondered whether your point had more to do with the sort of urban environments that the Europeans lived in and also their social arrangements which were reasonably unhealthy. The average life cycle of a disease in whatever form is pretty rapid and so the urban environments In Europe provided an almost perfect place for many cycles of disease on an annual basis to develop and be tested and I'm not sure what if this is the correct term but maybe "improve"?

That major die off in Europe did happen too - look at the Black Plague which came across through the Silk Road. That had a similar impact.

Well "there you go"! Hehehehehehe!!! That was very amusing.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

Ah, thanks for the explanation of ASL. Out of curiosity, why did you learn ASL? There is definitely a story in there. ;-)!

Of course, the Eastern Canadian connection means that French would have been part of your education. That is definitely time well spent. Have you ever considered travelling to Japan? Do you have a large Japanese population in Canada? I would have thought that they would predominantly live on the west coast, but I don’t have any basis for that opinion. Honestly, television can be good, but it can also be very dull. It is no loss. Having a life is far more interesting isn't it?

The problem with so much light at night is that it banishes the natural world and I rather suspect that that is the main goal. Our cities are really like deserts and they are very artificial - at least to my eyes. Many people find that to be comforting though, so it is possibly me that is wrong on that score. I don't have a dog in that fight though as it is what it is.

That is very funny!

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

@lew

Jared diamond, author of guns, germs and Steel shares your hypothesis re: Animal husbandry and disease.

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Chris,

I was planning to become a speech and language pathologist, and since I'd often be working with people who either had trouble speaking or hearing, I thought knowing ASL would help. This plan made perfect sense to me until I found it requires a masters degree, and with my expectation for the future... I think it's better to switch to something I can do right when I graduate.

I have considered going to Japan. I intend to visit the country at some point, and right now it even looks like I might live there for a while: I'm looking into ESL jobs in the country. Since this is the field I want to go into, it makes perfect sense to try it out. And here, there isn't a large Japanese population, I'm not too sure about the rest of the country though.

I see nothing wrong with a little TV. I have a few series I watch, but I'm not nearly as interested in it as most people. I find having a life is much better, also doesn't take nearly as much time as some think.

I find the entirely synthetic nature of modern cities rather unpleasant. I don't plan to live outside of one though, for the pragmatic reason I don't have all the skills I need to be comfortable in a rural area, and historically cities are better places to live anyway. I think it'll be much more pleasant once we can't banish nature the way we do now, but for now, cities are quite unpleasant places.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Gee, time for another Green Wizard get together in Melbourne. Where does the time go? Good nosh on the agenda. We'll expect a full report. Tree Rescue, now? Better watch it. Pretty soon you'll be getting calls. "We have this orphan tree ... " Too long a story, but once I had an enormous ficus. Finding a home for that was a bit of a chore, when I had to move on and couldn't take it along. And now I have a Christmas Cactus that's a good 3 feet wide. Planted in the 1940s. What to do with that, when I move?

Good old Archdruid. I had to look up "obligate omnitarian" and apparently, it's a phrase he ... invented? I must admit it would be a real show stopper when someone inquires as to one's culinary proclivities. :-).

Somewhere along the way, I worked somewhere where my coworkers captured my coffee cup and cleaned it out. LOL. For months afterwards, I'd throw back my head, put hand to forehead and moan, "The patina ... the patina." :-)

Yeah, sometimes I think about going back to work again. But, not very seriously :-). Right off the back, I think about the gas involved. The commute. And, if you make over a certain amount, you're retirement benefits are reduced. Actually, the other night I was at a meeting and two fellows who cook at a small, independent cafe wondered if I'd be interested in being "on call." For emergencies, and such. I think it's fine if oldsters want to go back to work. But, I'm not one of them.

Ah, when I was reading through some of the footnotes in the book, the author also mentioned domesticated animals as disease reservoirs in the Old World. Some of the reading I've done in the past, the recent course of lectures I watched ... yes, about the first hundred years of settlement as horrendous as far as mortality among people coming from Europe. And, your right. Big city populations had to be constantly refreshed from the countryside due to mortality. To keep the population levels up.

ASL use is pretty frequent in the US. Many of the lower grades in schools offer it as an elective. Not required, but a choice. I think it appeals to younger kids as it's almost like a secret language. My friends in Idaho's daughter is fluent in ASL. She works for the US Forest Service and I think it has helped her advance. She does a lot of public relations in schools and also in the media when there are large fires. So, she can sign right along with what she's saying.

Another run of hot weather. 90F (32.22C) today and tomorrow. Then a cool down over the weekend and maybe even some rain. Autumn rains on the way? Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

Fair enough, that makes sense. Out of curiosity, what would the student fees be for a Masters degree? The federal government here operates the loan scheme for students and it is paid back via the tax system when your income exceeds about $54.4k (from memory). But they can take it from your estate if you never pay it back and they are - from what I read - tracking down debtors overseas. I worry about the poor students who's college went bust and the students never got a chance to complete their course - but the debt for the full course does not go away. I assume you are doing an under graduate degree?

Thanks for answering that question. Canada and Australia (as is the PNW) are very similar culturally from what I've seen of Canadians who travel and/or live here.

It is a fine balance and if you enjoy television without falling into addiction with it, then that is great as far as I'm concerned. I recently watched a movie on David Foster Wallace the author titled: "End of the Tour" and that covered the authors addiction to television. It seemed like a very unglamorous thing to be addicted to and the character in the film made that observation.

Yeah, it takes a lot of energy to banish nature from a city. A lot of energy. No stress, there are many different paths to take.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah, how quickly time goes and of course you shall receive a full report tomorrow evening. I may be boring and get the Linguini Funghi again as that was quite tasty. My real regret last time was that the meeting wound up prior to ordering the tira-misu. This is a total disgrace on my part - a real major error! Honestly, I was too busy chatting and time got away from me - I recall having a major wait down at the station too as I missed the early train. Note to self: Tira-misu (check) and Early train (check)!

Tree rescue is a good use of ones time. Ficus trees would grow really fast in your climate. Those trees are really drought and heat hardy too. They may be the elusive triffid? Did you eventually find a good home (or just a home) for the oversized ficus? And yeah, the Christmas cactus plants are really cool. The editor keeps a small succulent collection and some of them are really interesting and very cool looking. And the Christmas cactus is one of the best. You could leave it? I didn't know they get 3 feet wide... Hmmm...

Hey, last night we went out to the films and saw the strangest documentary that I have ever seen. Mate, this film was enthralling and it told a dark story of the trial of destruction left behind by a well to do sadist in your country. It was a New Zealand film and I highly recommend it. Let's see I'll look up the review that got the editor and I to check it out: Tickled. It was very thoughtful of the film makers to show where the guy lived, what car he drove, where he worked, and what he looked like nowadays. Sun Tzu advised never to back your opponents into a corner as they fight with in-human strength. That guy has created a huge number of opponents.

People get really grumpy about that gear. It drives me bananas as I have no dog in that fight. Of course coming up with a confusing description of ones culinary preferences is sheer genius. It confused me.

Dude, that is nasty as!!! Hehe! Well, I applaud your co-workers who were clearly concerned with your well being. It was probably quite good for your immune system to be exposed to that level of bacteria on a daily basis.

The rules for that make it a difficult proposition to be sure.

Apologies, I've got to bounce, but I promise to reply in full tomorrow evening. Had an irrigation disaster today. It is not good...

Cheers

Chris


W. B. Jorgenson said...

Chris,

I'm not sure of the costs to getting a masters here. I know however that most universities offer a job that pays enough to cover the costs and give a little bit to live on, so I wasn't too worried about it. And yes, I'm almost finished an undergrad degree. I'm also very ready to move on to something else...

It doesn't surprise me our countries would be very similar. Our histories are similar enough, about the only difference that's worth talking about is Quebec, and given how much the rest of Canada went out of our way to ignore/marginalize the Francophone population there, it's only fairly recently it's had much of an effect on our culture.

I can't sit still long enough for TV addiction to matter. I'll get bored and find something else to do before too long. Plus, I keep myself busy a lot of the time, so I don't think it's something I need to worry about. I've seen it happen to other people though.

I think it's probably one of the largest uses of energy in the modern world. And yes, there are many different paths. I find it funny how often people forget one path doesn't fit all.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Good luck solving you're irrigation disaster. I imagine a huge gully carved into your hillside ... It's going to be another 90F day, today. But then, low 70s from tomorrow on out. And most days on the forecast have "chance of showers" notation. We can only hope :-).

Ficus trees only grow indoors, here. At least, the ornamental one's. I went to an estate sale, back when I first opened my tat store. The house had been closed up for, I don't know how long, with all the curtains pulled. In the living room was a very distressed ficus. It was a give away. So, I threw it in the back of the truck. All the dirt fell out on the way home and it was so big I had to take a running start at the door to get it through. When I had it in, every withered leaf was off of it. But, I watered it and talked to it and it came back. Actually, I think when it needed a home it went to a library branch that needed a bit of green.

I've always found Christmas cactus to be pretty interesting. And, hard to kill :-). There's the usual bright pink, lavender or red. But, in recent years, there's also yellow and white. Sometimes referred to as Thanksgiving cactus or Easter cactus. They're a slightly different species and bloom at different times. Oh, and a tangerine color. I've had pretty good luck with the standard colors and white. The tangerine and yellow are pretty touchy.

When I first read the bit about the documentary, I thought to myself "Hmmm. I wonder if Chris and the editor trigged to the .... erotic aspect of this movie." The review didn't work on my computer, but the Internet Movie Data Base trailer, did. Well. What can I say. Often, nothing is as it seems on the internet. "There's a sucker born, every minute?" "If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is?" Well, another thing to say about the internet is, it does permit people with special "interests" to be able to contact one another. For good or ill. Depending on your viewpoint and local laws. This being a family blog, and all, I don't quit know where the comment line is. So, I'll leave it at "Different strokes for different folks" and "There's none so queer as folk."

I've been getting a rash of phone calls from some outfit claiming to be our Revenue Service. Robo calls. I checked the number and it's, as I suspected, a scam. LOL. The one yesterday was slightly different and urged me to have my lawyer contact them. Actually, I kind of wish I had a lawyer on retainer. That call could be kind of fun :-).

I received Greer's new book "Dark Age America", yesterday. I'm well into it. I haven't bought all his books, but this one caught my attention. I'm well into it. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Yeah exactly, the town areas way back in those days were cesspits of disease. The old hill station retreats of the very wealthy that were established in the more exclusive western and south facing end of this mountain range were where the wealthy escaped the heat and disease of the Melbourne summer. Typhoid and Cholera were rife in those days because raw sewage used to be dumped - as well as industrial effluent from tanneries etc. - into either the Yarra or Maribyrnong Rivers. Mate the pungent stench in those days must have been pretty ordinary.

I was wondering about an English word and was hoping you could assist? I remember reading a Jack Vance story (The Cadwall Chronicles) and he used the word Chife to describe a particularly pungent stink coming from a settlement. I was wondering whether this was grammatically correct?

Thanks for the heads up on ASL. I have never heard of it before. Down here they describe sign language by the name: Auslan for the Australian Sign Language. It is interesting that you say that about your Idaho friends because I have noticed that the news reports for emergency services announcements are accompanied by people doing sign language - which is a sensible precaution.

Sorry, but I reckon I'm enjoying reading about your warmer weather... Best wishes for the rain. But at the same time I'm really conflicted about this as it is still cold down here! ;-)! Hopefully you understand?

Ha! Oh, it will be the topic of the next blog, plus - no teasers - but I have already come up with a dodgy but amusing title. Honestly, there is 330ft of 3/4 inch pipes and I have absolutely no idea where the fault is because the ground is so damp from the wet winter weather. I lost about 10% of the water tanks from that particular water system. It is a real mystery as I didn't do the system on the cheap. I'd feel better about it if I had.

Wow, what a plant rescue. Yes, removing the tree at speed via a handy doorway certainly was the correct approach. And it is nice to read that the story ended well. Mate, those things get huge too. Whatever were they thinking? Check out this photo from Cambodia (which I have seen) Ficus tree at temple Cambodia. Beware triffids ahead! ;-)! I grow a few of them outside here and they are quite feral despite the wallabies best efforts. They didn't seem to enjoy the recent heavy snow fall but seem to have survived.

Yes, hard to kill is definitely an advantage for plants in my book. That is one of my main considerations - fuss pots can apply elsewhere!

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Oh yeah for sure. Of course the film was documenting a very unusual form of fetish behaviour. Even the poor journalist and his geeky mate caught up in the web of mess - who usually did fluffy pieces, by the way - spoke to that issue at one point early on in the documentary. There was times that I found myself laughing at the unfolding disaster story (as was the rest of the cinema) but it was an uncomfortable laugh. All of your truisms are, well, true. No doubts about them and they do apply. But the guy at the centre of the documentary who appeared to be causing a complete disaster for other people was messing with people who are comfortable cage fighting. I wouldn't mess with those people, in fact they would have my respect. Did he not for one minute consider the consequences of his actions? Wealth can only shield you so far... One consistent problem I have noticed with sociopaths is that they believe they are the smartest people in the room. I would posit that they believe that because they have not yet been tested and found that that hypothesis/belief sits on very shaky ground. Just sayin...

How handy would a pet lawyer be? Hehe! Oh, I used to work for a very wealthy guy - a nice bloke actually - who used to have access to legal resources that to be candid made me a little bit nervous about annoying him. I knew my place and was always deferential. It seemed like a good survival strategy.

Yes, I was wondering about that book. And also I noted the review offer and wondered about your services? I may just offer to do a review for Into the Ruins on that book? Maybe, it can't hurt. I'm not really that good at fiction...

Are you enjoying the book?

The Green Wizards meet-up went very well today and there was a good turn out. It was a very lively - and polite - discussion even when discussing the abhorrent books that were recommended to read just to get a different perspective. It was very civilised even when Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged 1957 novel was discussed. The lovely person that mentioned it (and I mean that description literally) said that they enjoyed the story because the characters were so transparently dishonest. That was a refreshing observation. There was even an inter state atendee! All good stuff, and most importantly, I stopped gas bagging enough to remember to order the tiramisu!

Oh, the train in to the city was packed - although I still got a seat in both directions - as well. It was a real pleasure to see so many people on the train.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

Wow, that is a good system for the masters. But yeah, I hear you about that. I did my under graduate degree part time over eight years and by the end of it, I was totally over the whole thing and I just wanted to finish it. I had to work full time to be able to afford to do the study and eat. I call that feeling of wanting to move onto something else whilst not quite being – but almost - finished: The Eleventh Hour Blues. Still it is always best to learn how to finish things. Not finishing creates many more problems than it solves.

The British Empire cast a long shadow didn't it? And for similar reasons to Canada a lot of the land here cannot support a huge population and is outright hostile to those people that are not well adapted to the more extreme climates. If you are interested, I reckon our New Zealand friends are a bit closer to the UK in terms of culture - although my NZ friends will probably be a bit grumpy with me for observing that point.

Fair enough. I hear you! :-)! My mind is a bit too active to be able to tune out regularly too...

If it means anything to you, working with nature is often the easiest approach, it is just that the yields are much lower on average. That is not necessarily a bad thing as the Pareto principle can be applied and for a modicum of effort, a good yield can be achieved. Unfortunately in the larger scale we as a society tend to be pursing maximum yields, which perhaps is not a sustainable goal. What do you reckon about that?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

A leak somewhere in a long water pipe is indeed a nightmare; my best wishes wing to you.

My one serious experience of a sociopath indicated that he believed himself to be 'the smartest person in the room'. Even though events showed this to be untrue, he clung to the belief. He also believed that what he wanted was so, again even when it turned out not to be.

Weather here still hot and humid.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Chife can mean a gun or a bad feeling ... but, it's mostly just something Vance (and probably the gun and bad feeling authors) just made up.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Chife

I don't have much patience with futuristic novels and short stories that rely to heavily on made up, or speculative language. Sometimes I'll skip a story from "Into the Ruins" just because I don't want to waste a bunch of my time, trying to figure out what in the heck the author is trying to convey. I'm old. Life is short :-).

I'm liking "Dark Age America." If nothing else, I appreciate Greer as an author as he's pragmatic. Not wishy washy. Yes, he can change his mind about some things. And, he can get me to change my mind about some things. But ... well, where I noticed it was when he was laying out the introduction. He pretty much said that he expected people wouldn't agree with some of his points, but that he really didn't care. And, wouldn't bother to defend his position. Such as anthropamorthic (sp?) climate change. He thinks it's "real", takes it as a given, and he's not going to hash it all over again. If you don't happen to "believe" in climate change, go read someone else. LOL. I appreciate his occasional brisk slap in the face. Some authors are so ... weasilly.

Some huge beastie is probably drinking your water. Maybe some mega fauna survivor that has somehow escaped notice in the deep forest :-).

On enormously wealthy people who think they can get away with anything. I don't know if you saw the movie "Foxcatcher" or read the book, by, maybe, the same name. I neither saw the movie, nor read the book, but knew enough about the story to form a few opinions. It was about an heir to the DuPont fortune who was subsidizing Olympic wrestlers. And, he murdered one. I read quit a few reviews of the book and movie. What I found interesting is that, to anyone with any intelligence, it was pretty clear that there was a decided ... erotic aspect to the whole mess. But, a lot of reviewers either overlooked that, or were so squeamish they just didn't want to address that. LOL. "Can't we just talk about something pleasant?"

Climate or Weather Envy is not a good look. But, we all do it, don't we? I'm sure there's a drug company, somewhere, working on a pill to alleviate this dreaded condition :-). The leaves are beginning to turn, here. I just noticed that a maple tree that I can see out the bathroom window is quit gold colored ... and the leaves are beginning to blow off. Lew

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Chris,

I think it's a wonderful system. I've heard though that it's costing the universities around here money. I think the system is good as long as there's resources to spare on it, but when there isn't... And eleventh hours blue, quite a good name. I have quite a severe case of that right now! Of course, I will finish, I'm close enough to be sure I can. I also knocked out all the really tough or tedious requirements to graduate earlier, so it's mostly smooth sailing from here.

I think most empires do. I would say extreme cold and extreme heat are fairly similar, although knowing how to deal with one does not translate well to the other. I will say though, we lack the same level of exotic dangerous insects. On the other hand, we have more than our fair share of larger predators. Bears, coyotes, wolves, all live here in decent number... Maybe Australia and Canada are somehow opposites in some deep, significant way? And I don't know enough about NZ to comment.

I find it easy to tune out to other things, give me a good book and I can finish it quite quickly because I will sit for a few hours and read through it. TV though, is somehow less interesting for long periods.

I don't think it's only on the larger scale. I think it's accepted as a given, even just on a personal level, we should always aim for maximum yield. Since this leaves no redundancy, this always strikes me as a terrible idea. I see so many people who push themselves to the limit, and burn out. Whether it be sports, school, jobs, socializing, it's better to do a lower amount that is sustainable.

Finding that middle ground, between redundancy and output is something I think would help us quite a lot. Even just admitting as a culture that middle grounds exist...

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I had never heard of the Pareto principle and looked it up. I love learning something new and this blog frequently provides this. Thanks.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Thanks for your understanding. The problem is a nightmare as there are 100m (330ft) of 3/4 inch pipe, plus one bushfire sprinkler and seven garden taps... I have a solution, but it is going to be expensive as I have to dispose of some of the existing infrastructure. I am personally uncomfortable with expensive solutions, but there really doesn't seem to be any easy way out of this problem and I lost 10% of the stored water in that system. My thinking is that if something has happened once, it will happen again.

Oh yeah, your experience matches mine exactly and it gives me the chills to read of it. I hope you were OK in that situation? Of course, conceit is a weakness and it makes for many obvious errors on their part, which makes our lives generally easier. I usually avoid those sorts of people - if I can, and I confront them when I am unable to avoid them.

Sorry to read about your continuing hot and humid weather. If it helps at all, the day down here today was glorious with the air temperature at about 17'C (62'F) and the sun even had a little bite to it and I spent all day outside getting the new strawberry and blackberry beds ready for planting out over the next few weeks. Mind you, I have to wear sunscreen now or risk getting sun burnt - in winter. Seriously! I am a bit uncomfortable to mention to you that there is now a little bit more excavated soil on the new terrace. I’m seriously hoping that there are no very heavy spring or summer rain events this year. One year I saw 4 inches fall in under an hour and that was not good. Fingers crossed...

Thank you for saying that. I learn a lot from both you and all of the other commenters here too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That is what I thought too about that word. Clearly Mr Vance, who it must be said is an outstanding author, took liberties with that word. I lack the confidence to try that particular trick and it must also be said that he tried that trick in his later days. I guess it helps having a Hugo and a Nebula award under your belt to shore up one's confidence a little bit. He was good mates with Frank Herbert too and they used to spend time together writing. It would have been quite interesting to be a fly on the wall on one of those occasions wouldn't it? I have to confess to stealing one of their ideas though. Apparently the story goes that when they were writing, they used to physically hoist a flag which kind of indicated that they were not to be disturbed at that writing endeavour. I tell the editor that I have raised the writing flag on a Monday night and so am left in peace to contemplate the work. :-)! Isn't it funny the little things that you pick up in life and adopt as your own?

Fair enough, I get that. Mate, I totally hear you. Years ago, someone told me - and for the life of me I can't recall who it was - that you write in order for other people to read and comprehend your writing. That seemed like good advice and I keep it at the back of my mind. There are some authors that write prose which is unintelligible to me. I mean it is clearly brilliant to be exposed to that level of high thought, but I just can't make heads or tails of the prose, let alone follow the narrative. And then there are those that delve deep into the nearest available Thesaurus just to prove how clever they are. For sure they are clever, but I feel slightly inadequate for not being able to understand their body of work, and then I slowly drift away from their works and sort of feel bad because they may have had something interesting to say. OK, now that I have shared that, who is your worst offender of such literary offences?

Yes, I enjoy the pragmatism too in his writing and also the ability to ignore the dominant narrative and look and see what things actually look like whilst comparing the situation to comparable times in the past. That is a rare talent. Oh yeah, he changes my mind too and has taught me to accept a higher level of civility which I have accepted as a Modus Operandi. He would be surprised to know that in the past several months on two occasions I have had to display a level of graciousness in defeat which would have been beyond my abilities many years ago. Haha! Yeah some authors are very weasily. I mean they want their cake and they want to eat all of it plus enjoy a bite of yours too, if you don't mind? It is best to push on and not get stuck in the endless arguments. I personally see no upside to engaging in that time and energy waster.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

I really hope not. Some of those mega fauna were scary as. My gut feel is that it was a rat sharpening its teeth on one of the buried pipes. They occasionally dig burrows that are quite surprising in their depth and extent when I find them. Like a giant fall out shelter or an escape tunnel...

I'd never heard of that film or the story. "Can't we talk about something pleasant" is an attempt to avoid the simple truth that the entire story was unpleasant. I noticed on the Wikipedia page that there was substantial text devoted to pointing out the inconsistencies between the film and whatever happened at the time. The lady doth protest too much!

Yeah, I guess it isn't a good look. Mind you, I had the first solid day of spring today and it was glorious, although I had to wear sunscreen or risk getting burnt. Yes, the season has turned here and from what you are writing, so too has it in your part of the world. Have I ever mentioned that I know quite a few people down here that suffer from, what do they call that lack of sunlight syndrome thing over winter? It is surprisingly common down here and I have wondered about that.

I ended up digging post holes by hand today and then cementing in about eight second hand treated pine timber posts which I scored from the tip shop recently. The new strawberry bed and thornless blackberry beds are slowly emerging from the excavations. I do hope that the weather holds though as this coming week there are storm fronts about to hit here from both the north west and the south west of the continent. It is going to be a wet week. I noticed a recent article talking about how the bigger storms are leading to bigger surf and the beaches are being washed away and some beach shacks and houses are now at risk.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

I wonder about the longevity of the higher education system as it stands today. There are some courses down here such as journalism that appear to have more current students than there are even jobs for... Glad you enjoyed it. And yeah, everyone gets that feeling of the blues too. In my final two years, I did one subject one semester and two the following semester on a part time basis whilst working full time, repairing houses, keeping up with friends etc. People say I work hard now...

It is good to read that you know in yourself that you can finish. Respect. Finishing things but also knowing when to quit other things is a skill borne of experience and hard yards. You may enjoy this, but when people tell me they went to the school of hard knocks, I say, yeah, I went there too, but I also went to Uni as well. ;-)! They can get a bit annoyed by that though!

Well for a start, you can amaze people by saying that NZ had no large native mammals. At the time of English colonialization, it had mainly bird species, but we have since introduced many other species some of which are total pests. The Australian possum was let loose in the NZ forests to the detriment of their forests and all I can say is that possum fur is readily available there. Over here, the owls eat all of the possums and they are rather nervous creatures.

Yeah, I reckon you totally nailed that comparison. Over here, the unnecessarily venomous and small things will kill you (unless you are unluckily eaten by a shark or salt water crocodile) and then leave you for dead having dealt to you properly. Dealing to you in your part of the world by the local animals seems to generally mean being ripped apart limb from limb and then consumed. It is all rather unpleasant isn’t it? They both share the same outcome though.

TV is a shallow medium. What do you believe about that? In a book you can get inside the narrative and share in the characters thoughts. I have never watched the Game of Thrones for example because the books are deep and intense and huge. How would you even go compressing that into a single season of episodes without descending into sensationalism? It totally baffles me, and so I haven't watched it. Have you read the books or watched the show?

Exactly. Keep a bit of energy in reserve in case something unexpected happens. Burning out does nobody – least of all yourself - any favours. I don't see this strategy being pursued though and the most excellent and now long dead master Sun Tzu advised to not wear out the troops. It is a shame that few people dwell on those matters these days. But then it does suggest to either know or learn your own limits or adapt a slow and incremental approach to experiences.

Totally, we are in denial about a middle ground even existing. It is a bit of a shame really.

Are you spotting autumn approaching in your part of the world?

Cheers

Chris

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Chris,

I doubt the modern education system can survive too. It's set up to require so much time and effort that in order to do it, people need to either take quite a few years (which makes some sense), or invest a large portion of their productive time into it. If the former, it's sustainable, but it'll require changes, if the latter, well once people become poorer and need that time to meet basic needs it'll implode. I wonder about it sometimes too, I know quite a few people who've graduated and have found no jobs in their field...

There are times when irritating people can be most enjoyable... I also find sometimes it helps them to think. Depends on the person, but sometimes a comment like that would get them thinking about things in a new way, which is always a good thing.

Ah, so another case of an island without predators? That sure seems to happen a lot. Ecosystems will grow, or shrink, to the amount of energy available to them, and New Zealand is a relatively small island, so it makes sense. And invasive species anywhere can cause quite a few problems. I don't think it would be so bad, but there's so many being spread everywhere that the cumulative impact is incredible.

Being poisoned and being torn apart are both very unpleasant ways to go. Not that I think there are a lot of particularly pleasant ones...

TV is most definitely a shallow medium. I find, for that reason, that while a TV show or movie can survive the transition into a book, and usually turns out better, it never works the other way around no matter how hard it's tried. I tried reading the game of thrones series, but couldn't get into it, so I found other things to read. It's not hard to do, my parents maintain a small library worth of books in our basement, so I've never had a shortage of things to read. I think sensationalism is the point of the show, to be honest. Which is fine, if you're into that sort of thing.

I find Sun Tzu is a wonderful source of wisdom. The Art of War could very easily form the core of a wonderful philosophy of life. I wonder if it's ever been attempted, and if not, well, now that it has occurred to me, time to fix that oversight! The ironies of a committed pacifist living a life in part according to the principles of The Art of War are not going to be lost on me...

I have a thought: "It's different this time!" Greer so often runs into could easily result from rejection of middle grounds. He does stretch comparisons sometimes a bit far for my taste, but he runs into it far too often to be just that. It's either completely the same, or different, and if it's different, it can't be at all the same. What do you make of that?

Autumn is coming. It's fairly obvious to me, at least. Leaves are changing color, it's getting a cooler, and the nights are getting longer. I'm always surprised the last one doesn't motivate changes to human behavior. I suppose it must've, prior to artificial lighting, and will again soon, but it feels odd it doesn't. Or, at least, if it does, we're trained to ignore it. I'll have to keep an eye on it this year.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Frank Herbert was from Washington State. Apparently, he spent half his time here, and half in Hawaii. I suspect Vance was a Hawaiian friend :-). I knew that Herbert had lived in Port Townsend, Washington.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Townsend,_Washington

Back when I was in college, I used to day trip out to Port Townsend. That was before it was "discovered" and became a kind of artsy colony. My friend Scott goes out for a week, every summer, to attend guitar workshops. Port Townsend is on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which is the water passage between the Pacific Ocean and Puget Sound. It's also the US / Canadian border. Also known as the graveyard of ships. The weather can get pretty wild out there.

Hmmm. Worst offender authors? Well, I tend to just dismiss them and then not think about them any more. But recently? I'd have to say David Foster Wallace. Sorry. There it is. But, I do have another collection of his essays on order from the library. I'm trying, I really am :-).

Rats again?!! First it's your chickens and now it's your water pipes.

Oh, yeah. Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD) which is not to be confused with the other SAD, Social Anxiety Disorder. Which I may or may not have. As I suspect quit a few people with the Seasonal stuff, may (or may not have.) But, to claim it makes you feel all ... special. More interesting? Just silly? Oh, I think in the final analysis both kinds of SAD are probably "real" things, but differ in severity from person to person. From severe to "no, not really." Something I read recently (not the new Greer. Something longer ago) that as we start down the road of descent, those kind of ... indulgences will fall by the wayside.

A pack of coyotes tore yipping and howling through the yard, last night. I realized that a.) Nell was out and b.) I had forgotten to leave the porch light on. But, she scurried in and was ready to go out again, ten minutes later. Beau had stopped barking by then and I figured they moved on. She wasn't around when I headed for bed (which makes me nervous) but was there this morning. That young lady takes years off my life. Lew

Hazel Marchant said...

Hi, Chris

I was reading Lewis's comment about Weather Envy (brilliant term!) and it reminded me of Nik Kershaw's song "Wouldn't it be good". There was a statement of everything envy!

I suspect that SAD in Australia is the result of ridiculous working hours. People get up before daylight, sit in their offices all day, eat at their desks, and then go home after dark. I defy anyone to get enough vitamin D under those conditions. In fact, that sort of life (or lack of life) would be enough to depress anyone, even in summer!

I totally agree about television - it's shallow, and pretty boring. I make a point of never watching movies or TV series adapted from books I enjoy. The end result is inevitably awful. I'd be happy to ditch television altogether, but my other half likes to veg after work. I usually find an excuse to be in another room, with a couple of exceptions- I'll watch Marvel superhero movies!

I hope you find the leak in your pipes soon, and that the mega rats move elsewhere.

Cheers, Hazel