Monday, 26 September 2016

Consider the wombat


This blog is now available as an mp3 podcast through the link: www.ferngladefarm.com.au/2016 Sep 26 - Consider the wombat.mp3

Wombats are sensible nocturnal creatures. A wombat could be defined as: “a burrowing plant-eating Australian marsupial which resembles a small bear with short legs and cute little pink feet and ears”. Wombats are sensible creatures because they stay in their burrows when it is raining, just like a proper little hobbit. Here is a photo of a wombat at the farm:
Wombat with a wallaby friend at Fernglade Farm enjoying the grass and herbage
Unlike the rather pleasant fictional hobbits of Tolkien’s imagination, wombats are rarely friendly, and they mostly keep to themselves as they go about their wombat like business at night on the farm. The dogs as well as the editor and I are all beneath a wombats contempt and they simply ignore us. To be honest though, having wombats in your orchard is like having an armoured tank ploughing its way through whatever obstacles it encounters. If a wombat encounters steel fencing, no worries, it just squashes the fencing to get at whatever tasty morsel of food was behind the fence. And if a wombat has had to wait out the rain in its burrow for a few nights, then I’d have to suggest that their demeanour is not improved with hunger.

There are upsides to having wombats roaming through an orchard at night. The wombats constantly graze all of the grass and herbage and convert it into manure. That wombat manure is then consumed by the birds and soil life and it all helps build fertility in the soil. Well, the soil life and birds don’t quite get all of the wombat manure because I’ve caught the dogs snacking on what can only be described in polite company as: “steaming vegetarian samosas! At least the dogs have the common decency to look ashamed of their horrid choice of food – when they are caught in the act. What was I writing about, oh that’s right, grazing. So the grazing efforts of the wombats save me the hassle of mowing which is something I only have to do once per year.

So, if the wombats suddenly disappeared, I’d miss them. Plus, they’re really cute, when they’re not destroying the infrastructure here. Wombats actually could disappear. You see, wombats live in burrows located in the forest, but there are many large trees competing for sunlight so at ground level there isn’t much in the way of grass and herbage for wombats to eat. So every night, wombats head out of the forest from their burrows in search of their favourite forest clearings. This farm is located in a forest clearing and there are no fences to inhibit the movement of the wombats so I get to enjoy the company of wombats most nights of the year.

People may believe that there are a lot of wombats in the forests in this corner of the world. That impression may possibly have been formed because you inevitably see a lot of wombats dead by the side of the road. Wombats are akin to an armoured tank, but they generally come off second best when they meet a speeding vehicle on a country road at night. And the reason the wombats are anywhere near the country roads at all, is because the sides of roads through forests are to the mind of a wombat just another forest clearing full of fresh green grass and herbage. Better yet, country roadsides are often regularly mown by the local authorities or landowners. Regular mowing is merely a mechanical way to replicate the grazing activities of herbivores. So instead of having manure being deposited onto the soil surface by herbivores you use fossil fuels and end up with chipped and mulched plant material, all of which is food for the soil life. It is a fair thing to say that either side of a road through a forest or rural area can contain a surprising diversity of plants and high levels of soil fertility.

If you are ever lucky enough to ask a wombat as to its preferred landscape, the wombat would look you right in the eye and say: “Mate. I want diversity in the landscape (and just because the average wombat is a grumpy beast), now piss off!” The Aboriginals used to maintain the entire continent as a patchwork of diverse ecosystems and this work benefited them as the ecosystem as a whole became exceedingly fertile and full of life.

Of course in such enlightened times as these, we are far more cleverer (sic), because we prefer to kill wombats with our vehicles whilst simultaneously pursuing forest strategies which starve the wombats of food. Well done us! Earlier this week, I was considering the wombat because the sheer strangeness of beliefs centred around forests and trees was rudely thrust into my awareness. I innocently happened to mention to someone else that I use local trees from the forest in which I live to provide firewood to heat my house. Apparently, because of that act I’m a very bad person / not an environmentalist / and an environmental rapist. I was surprised to learn that I was viewed that way.

I believe that our societies relationship to forests and the trees is dysfunctional and I’d be happy to take criticism from anyone who was living in an un-heated house made from any material other than timber (unlike the person I was speaking with). Regular readers will recall that from time to time on the blog, I’ll show the digital weather station and anyone can see that on some winter mornings, when the snow is falling thickly and the air itself feels frozen, despite the massive insulation in the walls, floor, and ceiling, the inside temperature of the house is about 11.5’C (52.7’F) so as you can see, I’m not over using the local firewood resource. The hypocrisy of the situation would not be lost on the average wombat either, as that intelligent creature would know that the people making the judgement about my behaviour are generally heating their houses with electricity generated from brown coal in one of the dirtiest power stations on the planet. And the grumpy wombat would then probably try and bite their ankles just because it felt good… Ah, I feel much better now!

Enough ranting!

In between the bouts of rain, the sun shone strongly and the editor and I were able to work outside. The excavations for the new garden terrace continued. And we dug and moved a huge quantity of clay by hand.
The excavations for the new garden terrace continued
As the terrace (a fancy name for flat land cut into the side of a hill) appeared, we decided to increase the size of the new berry enclosure. And the next day, we cemented in the various treated pine posts which the steel fencing will be attached too, and constructed the final cement step leading up to the new garden terrace.
The berry enclosure was enlarged and the final cement step in the staircase leading up to the new terrace was completed
We’d already moved about thirty thornless blackberry cultivars into the new berry enclosure last week. Now that the enclosure itself was much bigger than previously anticipated, we decided to relocate the many raspberries and marionberries which had become established in the tomato enclosure and had to be moved. I had no idea how prolific these plants were… Fortunately, Scritchy the boss dog was there to assist me in that task.
I removed about fifty raspberry cultivars from the tomato enclosure this week whilst Scritchy the boss dog assisted
The Curse of Cherokee struck yet again and as I was moving one cubic metre (1.3 cubic yards) of manure into the new berry enclosure, the heavens opened and it began to rain. What a surprise! After walking all of that manure up the stairs in crates and being rained on, I looked filthy! But at least, the raspberries were all planted out. Unfortunately the marionberries are still in the tomato enclosure.
Moving a huge quantity of manure combined with heavy rain left the author looking rather dirty
The next day, the sun shone strongly again. The cement surface of the final concrete step had hardened whilst the berries were happily enjoying a combination of the sun, the water and a solid feed from the manure. We’d also finalised the locations for two of the three very large round steel rings which were filled with local soil, manure and seed potatoes. Very observant readers will note that the berries plants have been enclosed with a temporary fence of chicken wire. That temporary fence is not wombat proof (a tough ask of any fence), but it should keep the nosy wallabies off the berries.
The sun shone on the raspberries and potatoes on the newly excavated garden terrace
Everyone here pitched in on this week’s work. Even Scritchy the boss dog lent a paw with the digging!
Scritchy the boss dog lent a paw with the excavations this week – and is proud of her efforts
The far side of the berry enclosure requires a gate and over the past few days we cut the steel out of various bits of scrap that we had lying about the place. I hope to be able to weld the gate together over the next few days (if the rain stops and we can capture some electricity via the sun).
The scrap steel which will end up being turned into a gate for the far end of the new berry enclosure was cut this week
A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was considering writing about some of the products that fail here. I’m not sure whether the wombats are working too hard here or the products are just rubbish… Anyway, this week a tyre on an old but favourite wheelbarrow finally failed…
This week a tyre on one of the wheelbarrows finally failed
I have a special place in my heart for that wheelbarrow as it has faced so much punishment here and still it keeps going. This wheelbarrow is where I mix all of the cement and I have been doing so for over a decade. Yes, it is an unnatural attachment! Did I also mention that the tyre in the above photo was about one year old which is a total product disgrace. Anyway, after a bit of research (i.e. eBay) I found out that for about $10 more than what I paid for the one year old tyre (4 ply) which blew up, I could obtain a 6 ply tyre which will be much stronger.
A new 6 ply tyre was fitted to my trusty old wheelbarrow this week. Happy times. This must be wheelbarrow love!
Replacing tyres takes about fifteen minutes, but the difference between the old tyre and the new tyre is marked and I expect a lot longer life from this new wheelbarrow tyre.

My recent water woes have been addressed this week too. Regular readers may recall, that a recent failure in the water pipes (somewhere?) caused one of the water pumps to become damaged and fail and wasted a whole lot of stored water in the process. The part on the pump that became damaged and failed was the pressure switch. Fortunately, I keep a few spares for some important things and that pressure switch was a spare part that I had readily to hand. I replaced the pressure switch on the water pump and for some reason, the water pump then produced a lot of water hammer in the water pipes. Water hammer is a fancy name for the pipes making a sort of continuously banging sound. The reason for the water hammer was user error, because I had not calibrated the pressure switch so that it worked properly. Calibrated is a fancy name for just tightening a screw on the pressure switch until the water pump works properly…
I re-calibrated the pressure switch one of the faulty water pumps this week and the system now works perfectly
Ooo, I better rush… The garden bed behind the kitchen now has dozens of species enjoying the rain and spring sun. The very lush patch of bright green near the top of the garden bed which looks like grass is actually all poppies and it should look pretty cool in a month or two.
The garden bed behind the kitchen is looking very lush and green and contains dozens of species
We ate out first home grown Swiss brown mushrooms this week on a pizza:
We ate out first home grown Swiss brown mushrooms this week on a pizza
The tomato seedlings have germinated this week and the tub on the very left is our tomato seeds from last season. The next tub along is commercial tomato seeds. And the other seeds for other plants have not yet germinated.
The tomato seedlings have germinated this week and the tub on the very left is our tomato seeds from last season
I spotted the first of the blueberry flowers this week:
I spotted the first of the blueberry flowers this week
The peaches and nectarines have produced blossoms this week:
The peaches and nectarines have produced blossoms this week
The apricots are appearing to be showing signs of stress from too much water due to the rain…
All of the apricots are appearing to be showing signs of stress from too much water due to the rain
But the almonds have gone feral and the trees are covered in almond nuts. I may net this particular tree:
The almonds have gone feral and the trees are covered in almond nuts
And speaking of nuts, Toothy the long haired dachshund assisted me the other day to plant this native nut bearing tree – A bunya nut. It is a very close relative of the Monkey Puzzle tree from South America which were in fashion early last century.
Toothy the long haired dachshund assisted me the other day to plant this native bunya nut tree
The temperature outside now at about 9.45pm is 3.7’C (38.7’F). So far this year there has been 909.0mm (35.8 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 894.6mm (35.2 inches).

70 comments:

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

My internet connection keeps cutting out and this is my second attempt; I'll keep it short and if it sends, I'll try to write another comment.

Your work continues apace I see, you are an incredibly hard worker.

I think that our relationship with the entire natural world has become dysfunctional, very sad. It is getting worse as older generations die, they were the ones who could run wild as children, myself included of course.

I so envy you your home grown mushrooms, one of my favourite foods and all my attempts to grow them, have failed.

Inge

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Wow, that seemed to go through easily, I hope it did anyway.

Now to comment on bits from last week. I am not going to worry about which individual I am replying to so it is to all.

I have never noticed an unpleasant smell from quinces.

Am fascinated by the novel use for potato chips. Not something that I have ever bought so may have to change my mind.

I never knew that you have locusts in Australia, is that anywhere in the continent? Not nice.

Neighbour and I have reached an approximate agreement on price for the land; outside advice would be hopeless. If you wanted to sell a miniscule part of your hillside, would it be easy or virtually impossible to value? As my son says 'something is only worth what someone is prepared to pay for it'.

Ah, raspberries, they come in many different flavours; yellow ones are nice.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Wombats and Wallabys ... who knew? :-). The Fern Glade Farm Wombat and Wallaby Preserve? A car went by very late last night and honked a couple of times. I wonder what if was shooing off the road? Deer? A bear? Loose cattle or mules wandering about in the dark?

There must be 7 or 8 wheelbarrows scattered about this place, mostly buried and abandoned in deep blackberries. I have one that I use all the time, and it finally developed a "soft" tire. Me, I'm fed up with fooling about with wheelbarrow flats, so, I sprung for a rather pricey solid tire. But, given my age, I'll never have to deal with a flat on the wheelbarrow, again.

I wondered what the steel tubs on the terrace were going to host. Potatoes! Oh, those will be good.

Except for the poor apricots, it's looks like your plants are going to be banging along. A bumper crop of all kinds of stuff from Fern Glad Farm. It will be interesting to see how all the rain impacts the wildlife and bugs around your place. Funny what you notice when you think of it. For some reason, there is a total lack of the wooly bear caterpillars. Most years, there are plenty about but this year? Nadda. And, what's really strange is there has been no flea infestation, this year. Most years, for a coupla three weeks, I have to put down a bowl of water with flashlight, at night, to get rid of the fleas (Thanks, Nell!). This year, not a one in the house. What changed? What's different. I can't figure it out. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Just got through reading "New Hunger" which is a prequel to "Warm Bodies" (the zombie book and movie by author Isaac Marion.) A sequel to "Warm Bodies", "Burning World" is coming out in February. There will be one more book after that, and then Marion says he's through with zombies and will move onto something else. LOL. One of Marion's interviewers referred to his hero, "R" as "a wandering philosopher zombie." I thought that was a rather good twist of phrase. :-).

I also unknowingly watched a documentary that is part of my First Chehalis International Australian Film Festival. A good deal of the film was filmed in and around Melbourne. With a bit of a jaunt to America to talk to "experts." Of one kind and another. Let's see if I can explain what it's all about. Food, naturally :-). It's kind of an experiment, similar to Morgan Spurlock's "Supersize Me." Any-who, the film is "That Sugar Film" by Damon Gameau. There's also a book "That Sugar Book."

Let's see. The processed food industry would like us to believe that a calorie is a calorie. Doesn't matter if it comes from a piece of broccoli or flavored yogurt. Gameau is a pretty healthy 30 year old, who isn't an over the top foodie, but, he does eat pretty sensibly. Not much refined sugar. So. For 60 days he's going to eat the same number of calories that he usually does, but different kinds of calories. Mostly calories from sugars. And, not what we would perceive as junk food. Just food, a lot of it presented as a healthy alternative. Well. In 60 days, his body has pretty much gone to hell. Weight gain, a pot, liver problems and insulin resistance. Never mind the energy and mood swings.

Well, it was a pretty interesting film and one thing that became obvious is that the process food industry has pretty much taken a page from the tobacco industry as far as misinformation and funding bogus "scientific" bodies to produce the kind of experimental results they want to see. Anyway, it's a movie worth taking a look at, if you run across it. Oh, it does have a rather harrowing 5 minute segment where some poor 17 year old kid in Kentucky is having all his teeth extracted, due to his addiction to Mountain Dew soda. Lew

Coco said...

Wow, spring has really sprung at Fernglade! And kudos to the canine contingent for pitching in to help.

I have very mixed feelings about forestry. I stumbled on a new clearcut walking the dog the other day and it made me very sad. But on the other hand, local farmers do need pasture space and many of the forested areas are abandoned pasture. You can tell from the remains of walls and gates. And now that I´ve read about Peter Wohllenbehn's book The Hidden Life Of Trees, it pains me even more to see them cut. Apparently, trees are actually very social and community oriented. Maybe we´ve gone from emotionalizing animals to trees? I was just starting to get my head around permie tree-management.

I was thinking about planting some almonds, even though they´re probably going to get frosted. Do you find they as delicate as they say? This year I´m determined that we really will plant some fruit/nut trees and do some long-overdue pruning on the old ones.

Cheers

Damo said...

I wonder if your critical friend has spent much time in a typical Australian temperate forest? IMO they are not the most inspiring of places, choked thick with dry undergrowth and weeds, relatively low biodiversity and productivity, oh and an enormous bush fire hazard! He probably also thinks man is separate from nature...

Australia's previous inhabitants understood. With a few tweaks and nudges the land could be bountiful, but only if you were not greedy! I sometimes wonder what social change or cultural meme kept the Aboriginal population from typical overshoot/crash dynamics.

There is not much forest management here in Laos, at least from what I can tell. If you squint it all looks very green and jungle-like. But, pay attention and you will see that most of the greenery are weeds and choking vines, the trees are very young and animals almost non-existent. There are protected pockets scattered about, and the trees there are spectacular.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Point taken! I like your style too. That was a very funny - and also a cautionary - comment! I was merely considering Wallace's penchant for snappy titles for his essays. You have to admit, they are pretty good? Shame about the content though. All the footnotes confused my poor brain as the style tends to be rather distracting. If it means anything to you, I've reconsidered the wisdom of reading his book: Infinite Jest. It does make you wonder whether the book was so acclaimed because everyone reviewing it felt intellectually inferior under the sheer weight of the footnotes and, well it must good? Maybe? :-)! Yeah, maybe it is!

1) Probably. It may be sealed with nitrogen which is also a possibility?
2) Technically, that practice has been described as double dipping... ;-)!
3) The perils of the availability of stuff! Were you by any chance referring to pumpkin ice cream? Is that a real thing? If not, then we could be onto something big here?
4) Well it is almost berry season down here. Did I mention that the big supermarkets down here are apparently selling strawberries below cost... How is that sustainable?
5) Ah, the magic of the metric system... 90kg! That ain't heavy. I'm about 175 pounds but then I am a tall sticky chicken...
6) It is a wise policy to follow the money in such circumstances. Those organic grain boards are heavy hitters. Down here, an organic grain grower lost his organic certification because his neighbour planted non organic big seed varieties. He tried to sue for the financial loss of the certification and... lost...

Writing this way is doing my head in... :-)! No wonder the reviewers didn't get the book. Hehe!

Yeah, the monkey puzzle was a signature tree for the good Sir Baron Ferdinand Von Mueller (an impressive name and series of titles), he of the original botanical garden in Melbourne fame. Alas the poor bloke failed to bend with the wind and the public turned against him...

A wallaby must defer to a wombat, but not the other way around. It is marsupial central here at night, the place is crawling with them - and they are all about as happy as they could be expected to be which is not much. However, they certainly have luscious looking coats. Mate, there are so many creatures walking around your part of the world at night that want to rip you limb from limb that it would be mildly unnerving to go for a night-time stroll.

I'd be very interested to hear how that solid tyre goes? I often wonder how they get those things onto the rims. Some cars have run flat tyres now...

The potatoes are all heritage varieties, so I'm really looking forward to them. One of them has striking looking purple flesh, which may be mildly disconcerting but as someone once remarked about lobsters - it is only the first one that is challenging.

I ended up digging all day today so as to get the final round potato bed in. It is going to rain a lot over the next few days… However, nothing is ever simple and I had to first remove five very old and very large and dense tree stumps that were hidden in the ground. These things just don't break down into soil. Tired. Hope I'm making sense...

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

It is worrying when bugs that you are used to seeing, simply vanish. No doubt the bees will be like that story one day. Hopefully it will be a bumper crop of fruit this year. I will net a few trees this summer and leave the rest of the fruit for the birds and animals that live here. Last year at about this time we had the hottest October on record. It is strange how the seasons vary so much. Just for your info, there are no fleas here as the soil is clay. Fleas enjoy a sandy soil for some reason and probably dislike wet years. We have some ticks though...

Warm bodies was a lot of fun. Hey, I thought you didn't do rom coms? R is a good character though - the thinking persons zombie? That was a funny description though. Someone badgered me to read Pride and Prejudice with zombies a long time ago. All I can say is thanks be to the zombies...

Yes, I recall seeing previews for that film at the cinema, didn't get around to watching it though. All of what you wrote makes perfect sense. The delightful thing about industrially produced food is that you don't know what is in it. I recall telling you about a tomato at a friends house that was pre-sliced (or was it an egg?), anyway, that thing had a shelf life of about a week and I was fascinated by the thing. It was very weird...

Oh yeah, no doubts about it. That marketing is an investment. It is a business after all and they are there to make a profit. I've noticed that supermarkets are currently reducing the number of items that they carry and so many of those businesses will be losing their customers shortly. Not good.

Hope I made sense?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Many thanks for persisting with the lovely comments. :-)!

Oh thanks for saying that. Today was the only day over the next week with no predicted rainfall (and Thursday may be epic!) and so despite getting rained on, I continued digging on the new garden terrace. Hard work. I still have one potato bed to get installed so I can plant out the many seed potatoes. They are all producing shoots at the moment, so there is a bit of reason for hurry.

Yeah, running wild - as long as they keep out of serious trouble - is a good experience for a kid. I certainly ran feral as a kid and thought nothing of riding 20km on my push bike to visit distant friends. Yes and it is the older generation who know of what we speak. It is very sad. People think urban areas are natural places when they are mostly deserts. I once had to stop a neighbour from shooing off a powerful owl who made the mistake of announcing its presence late one night and disturbed his sleep. I engaged the neighbour in a discussion about what the bird was and what it was doing.

Dunno about the mushrooms myself as I have had a 50/50 success rate with them. Over the next year, I'm planning to put some brain cells towards how to grow mushrooms here more reliably. Till then it is all a bit of a mystery.

I'm with you on the quinces and have never noticed much in the way of smell from that fruit. Maybe other cultures blet the fruit like they do to persimmons?

Oh yeah, the locusts start in the warmer, drier river country if they have a wet year (like this year) and they head south. It can be quite feral the sheer numbers of the insects. When they arrived here, all of the native birds happily ate every single one of them. Even the chickens chased them down in the orchard. It was a bloodbath for the locusts.

Well done. That is the spirit and I totally 100% agree with your son.

You know, I have never had a single fruit from the raspberries so here's hoping. Yes, I've seen the yellow ones and thanks for the tip, I'll see whether I can get one of them for the berry bed.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Coco,

Autumn has arrived in your part of the world too. Spring here is really quite lovely, despite the weather being so extremely damp.

Yeah, the whole blog essay was intended to get people to think about forestry as a whole system. As usual it is when us humans go to extremes that the real damage occurs. Timber products are everywhere - even toilet paper (although I do use a paper which is manufactured from 100% waste office paper - and I have contributed to that problem over the years, so that is more or less my penance!) Even urban areas were once forests of some sort, we just forget that.

Maybe? I tend to thank the trees for their resources when I harvest any. So much falls anyway here, that there is plenty on the ground. Some of my neighbours have funny ideas. One of them told me a long time ago, and quite proudly too: We don't cut down trees (the inference being that I did therefore I’m a bad person). And I said to them, you live on a cleared block, someone else did that job. Relations were somewhat strained by that comment... I didn’t even mention their fencing and the impact that has on the wildlife.

Nope. Not at all. Do you recall when it snowed here in July? One of the almonds had leaves and blossoms on at the time and it now has leaves and developing fruit. The almonds are interesting because they break their dormancy so much earlier than any other deciduous fruit tree. I do not know whether that is the varieties that I have planted or what? Dunno, but they all seem to operate around a similar timetable.

Almonds would be a great addition as they don't appear to be very large trees - yet.

I have a pecan which also survived the snow, but dropped its leaves which are now regrowing. The macadamia's are worth a shot too, but I reckon your winter maybe a bit too marginal and cold. They would love your summer weather though. I'll be very interested to hear about your pruning efforts as I am a bit slack on that front and need to get better at it.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

That's a score for you! A very astute observation. He has been up here three months. I said to the dude that he'll be singing a different song in five years time. But also offered my assistance should he get into any trouble with the trees - which will happen. I once saw a big tree fall across his driveway. Exactly, he thinks humans are separate from nature.

Oh yeah, they would have gone through some very tough times to have come to terms with that understanding and then hardwired it into their culture. The soils in some parts of the continent used to have 22% organic matter. Nowadays people are excited by 1% organic matter...

I reckon that is a path that every culture has to travel in order to obtain the understanding of taking the environment seriously. Some of the forests here are solid mono-cultures they have been logged for so long.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - Well, I keep as little commercial "snack" stuff around as possible. But the packages of potato chips (crisps?) were free, so... Well. I made the casserole, last night. Needs work. Very dry. But, I can salvage this lot by just throwing some plane yogurt under and over it. Also, I don't think whoever posted the recipe every made it. It completely filled my casserole bowl with plenty left over for another, smaller dish. Well, the whole thing needs tweeking.

My mother, who was not much of a cook, used to cut things out of the newspaper and magazines to try. Mostly, pretty ghastly stuff. But, occasionally, she hit a winner. There was a casserole that was quit good. Ground beef fried up with onions. One can of condensed cream of chicken, two of mushroom. Celery? Then topped with "Chinese" noodles and baked. The noodles were dry, brown and came in a can. One of those 1950s, early 60s retro recipes. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - LOL. Yes, pumpkin ice cream is a "real" thing. Actually, I don't think it has any pumpkin in it. It's the spices. And, some brands have small chunks of crisp pie dough. This time of year, I keep my eye out for anything that's 'pumpkin" flavored. Have to be a bit careful. A lot of the Halloween candy is pumpkin shaped, but not flavored. Seems like every year, there's one or two ice cream manufacturers that have pumpkin ice cream for a short window of time. I buy up as much as I can find and afford and throw it in the freezer.

There are other things, but not being in "a major market" we might not see here. I finally got to sample pumpkin Oreo cookies (biscuits). Ghastly. Hersey does chocolate / pumpkin kisses. Sheer bliss. Very small packs and expensive. I understand that M & Ms do a pumpkin flavor, but I've never been able to find them here. I figure I'm probably addicted to the nutmeg in the pumpkin pie spice :-).

Strawberries at below price. Might have been about to "go over." Or, just a plane old "loss leader." Something to get you in the door. I really don't buy all that much "stuff" from the grocery store. Compared to other people. So, I shop the loss leaders. Really stock up when whatever I usually buy goes on sale. According to what I've read, just about everything and anything goes on sale on a 12 week cycle. So, my trick is to keep an eye on what's on sale and hopefully have enough money to stock up enough to make it to the next sale cycle.

No, I do not go strolling around in the dark. The other night when whatever was out there, i didn't leave the well lit porch. it was bad enough dodging the bats. :-). Nell wanted to bring in a new buddy, last night. A very dead mouse. Think "Weekend at Bernie's" or "Swiss Army Man." :-). I wouldn't let her in with her new friend, so she went off to sulk for awhile.

Speaking of weather. Last week when I was driving to town, a very chirpy news reader on the radio announced that August was the hottest month on record, summer was the hottest summer on record and 2015 was the hottest year on record. It made me feel VERY bleak and I'm thinking "And what am I supposed to DO with that news?" Sigh.

I've begun collecting "Epitaphs for the Industrial Age." Mr. Greer gave me a new one, last night. "It seemed to make sense at the time." Gee, maybe if I can collect enough, I can turn it into a small book. One of those impulse items to be sold at the cash wrap / POS (point of sale) in stores? A little stocking stuffer for the holidays? Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I liked Damo's comment about nature being bountiful as long as one is not greedy. On further consideration I think that the need not to be greedy applies to many many things apart from the natural world.

You mention purple potatoes, I have grown them, they were the ones that the rats didn't touch; I wonder why! I found them to be resistant to blight which was good but invariably some got left behind because they looked like lumps of soil or even stones.

Perhaps you should have told that neighbour that the owl was catching rats.

My phone and internet connection are both playing up. I spent one and a half hours hanging on the phone this morning to get to the telephone company. They said that the waiting time would be half an hour; one could go completely nuts. They are sending an engineer out on Friday. This information was accompanied by dire warnings as to the cost if the fault is on my land.

Inge

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Wondering how you responded to the guy? Sometimes when groups are doing restoration work trying to either restore a prairie or oak savanna people get upset because so many trees are cut down in the process especially if it's a forest preserve or conservation district. The woods in back of us is pretty high quality but much is overgrown with box elder and buckthorn trees. Subsequently there are few young oaks. The guy who lives at the end of the road, however, seems to be clearing out too much. The crops will be down soon so I may just take a walk back there and check it out. As he tore out all the tree line where his property meets the road I can guess his mind set.

Last weekend I volunteered at our Land Conservancy's big fund raiser - "Art of the Land". They've been doing this for about ten years and unfortunately I think it's a few years too long. Also it's moving more towards crafts than art. Where is the line between art and craft anyway? At any rate I had a good time and an easy job, selling raffle tickets with four other people. I had plenty of time to catch up with a good friend while supposedly working.

Still toying with the idea of a Chicago area Green Wizards group. I'm somewhat apprehensive due to what's going on with the book club I started here. All was going well until this summer when attendance fell off though in summer that's expected. More frustrating is not getting much input from members as to new topics. We actually only read three or four books through the year as so many people claim they don't have time to read that much. Sometimes it's topics or essays from a particular author.

Weather changed overnight from rather humid and 80ish to mid-60's and windy. The last few nights have been in the mid 40's (between 7-8 C).

Interesting about the wombats. Are there too many as there are deer and coyotes here?

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

I wonder why nothing grazes our bit of lawn? I'll grant you that there is not much grass in it, but there are some dandy weeds. “Steaming vegetarian samosas” - hee hee! I had much trouble with our dogs and that particular snack. That's a nice, full shot of the terrace. I love the bench fixed to the top step. Though maybe a little uncomfortable for relaxing and watching the view. Hi, Scritchy! What a help you are. Never afraid to get her hands dirty! Hi, Toothy! Let me see your hands . . .

We have a wheelbarrow that my husband brought with him from his father's construction company 40 years ago. It has been so great, but recently the wheel on it went, um, bad - I guess? Anyway, it doesn't work and no-one has found a replacement. Luckily, we have another wheelbarrow.

We have a water woe this week. Perhaps this is a worldwide phenomenon? A connection to the water line next to the stable was found after much digging (not me) to have a leak and has been temporarily sealed with JB Water Weld. I also use it to fix shoes and mend holes in screens, and I just fixed the toolshed roof with it as well . . . My grandmother would have said, "Lazy is, as lazy does."; I have never figured that one out. A new connector and heavy-duty faucet have been ordered.

The "hammer" after you replaced the pressure switch is interesting. We get a hammering in the pipes in the winter. I have assumed that it is the difference in temperature (cold pipes, hot water suddenly going through them) that causes it. It does not happen in the summer.

What beautiful mushrooms. Where are they living? In the kitchen? The bathroom?

Don't bunya trees grow to the size of skyscrapers? And with nuts that cause concussions?

I planted some cucumber seeds in pots a couple of months ago and put them on the front porch to keep them away from the diseased ones in the garden. I didn't expect them to do anything, but they have flowered all over the place, and then I didn't expect any fruit to form as there seemed to be no reason for pollinators to head to the porch, but they are covered with tiny cucumbers! I sat by them for awhile the other day and there was one tiny bee climbing all over the flowers. What a nice fellow!

We have clay soil and have - had - many fleas. Even the mice have them. I had a doozy of a time getting rid of them when we had the dogs and cats. And we have ticks. And chiggers.

Answer to last week about tomatoes: I could't tell if our tomatoes were smaller this year as every year our crop is quite different due to us saving seeds which have cross-pollinated. We get all sorts of sizes, shapes, and colors. They're all good! It is a bit of Russian roulette, but I guess it doesn't matter as we are not selling them and only care about hardiness and flavor. We still have fresh ones and are also enjoying soaking the dried ones in just a bit of water overnight and then adding olive oil to them the next morning. It reconstitutes them really well, and easily.

I think that our raspberries are really good, though not as strongly flavored as the blackberries. This year the deer ate all the blackberries, bushes and all, as we only grow (when lucky) wild blackberries. The raspberries are inside the fence.

Last week also: We have always had a rocking chair on the front porch. The other day my dad reminded me that a family heirloom rocking chair from the Civil War days (1860's) is somewhere in the back of their rented storage unit. In Colorado.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

"I've begun collecting "Epitaphs for the Industrial Age." Mr. Greer gave me a new one, last night. "It seemed to make sense at the time." Gee, maybe if I can collect enough, I can turn it into a small book. One of those impulse items to be sold at the cash wrap / POS (point of sale) in stores? A little stocking stuffer for the holidays?"

What a fantastic idea! My brain runs out of them just when I need to pull one out. I'm tired of using "It's different this time!".

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

Fellow sufferer! Our internet is mostly working, though with problems. We spent 45 minutes on the phone with the phone company two weeks ago about it. "A man will be out Monday to look at it." Monday (over a week ago) came, but no man did. We called them back - 30 more minutes. "A man will be out Thursday". That will be in two days. We shall see. I hope he doesn't expect a cup of tea.

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for clarifying that important issue about the pumpkin ice cream. Pumpkins here aren't sweet, but I understand that they can develop some sugars, but still I can't quite get my head around such a dessert. Pumpkin candy!!! Oh my, that is just like those banana lollies that taste absolutely nothing like bananas to me. Hey, I've noticed that gelato shops seem to be all the rage down here - despite the cold weather - and people are lining up out the front of them... I tend to avoid queues. I do have a thing for frozen yoghurt though! Yum!

No! Tell me it isn't true? You'll get a laugh out of this one. I add roast pumpkin mash into the dog biscuits, and they love the things. Just sayin... Hehe! Fair enough about the stuff on sale, I hear you. I've always had a nagging feeling that the low prices had something to do with fudging official inflation statistics, I know it sounds weird, but I can't shake that thought and those sorts of items are used in the basket of goods for the calculation. It makes no sense to supply to supermarkets below cost. None at all.

What an image you've written about your night-time adventure. Do your bats bite? Mate, I wouldn't go walking around in the dark in your part of the world either. I heard a radio program the other day about someone talking about re-wilding in the UK. Re-wilding means introducing top order predators (other than humans) into the UK landscape. They were talking about wolves and lynxes too and apparently the person enthused about the idea. I do recall that you and I were discussing wolves the other week and the general consensus was that facing a pack of wolves could be a disconcerting situation. Nell has found a new toy!

I think that doing nothing is the point of the emotions conferred on you by the report. Hey, did I mention the landslides due to the recent heavy rain?: Victoria floods: Residents brace for more landslides and flooding as rain sets in. Get this. A cyclone is forming over South Australia today. It sounds epic, but we'll see when it works its way here. I'll post a link to the article about the cyclone in the reply to Inge. Maybe Angus who is a semi-regular commenter will give us an on the ground report?

He has a way with words. How good is the understated everyday sort of nature of that comment too? Please continue to share the insights from that book too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

It was a good observation wasn't it? Greed expresses itself as a desire to extract more from something than one would reasonably be entitled too. I see a lot of that.

I do hope your daughter is OK today as a cyclone is forming over South Australia: South Australia weather: 'cyclone' expected to smash South Australia. Smash may be a touch of hyperbole, but the storm certainly looks big. It will lose some of its energy before it works its way down here where I am, apparently anyway? Dunno. Tomorrow shall tell all.

Thanks for letting me know about the purple potatoes. Yeah, rats can be a problem and they actually ate quite a bit of the previous potato growing efforts. You can see their burrowing holes. They are very smart! I've never seen potato blight here, but a lot of different species are grown locally.

Oh, that is good! Of course, the funny thing about the inner city is that it is very expensive and people can be a bit uppity about location, but the place is chock full of rats, if only the people knew where to look. The dogs used to enjoy catching them, but the problem is that the rats are smarter than the dogs!

Ouch! Good luck with your phone and internet connection. And I hope the problem is not on your land.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

That is a great question. You know that you are dealing with an entrenched belief system when the person repeats memes that they are comfortable with. And those memes fly in the face of the persons lived experience and their reality. It was all very strange and unexpected. Still I offered assistance to him if there is an emergency, should he need it. I rather suspect that it is a journey he has to travel. He may also move out. Some people last only a year or two up here and it becomes too much for them – especially the winters for some reason. Dunno.

Oh yeah, I hear you about that. Oh, do I hear you. A chainsaw is just a tool and it can be used to positive effect in a forest. Forests are really quite interesting places and the trees really are slugging it out with each other for supremacy. Yeah, and humans really struggle to find any middle ground on such issues and the laws and memes reflect that base reality. Restoration work is so very important though. I mean nobody leaves an orchard unpruned and an orchard is basically a mini forest ecosystem.

That sounds like great fun! And it is nice to be able to catch up with people that way. It is funny how so many of the social interactions in rural areas are like that. I was meant to be running a local seed stall at a local plant fair recently, but the stall was cancelled as there were political problems... I reckon I missed out.

Yeah, I'd go with your gut feeling on that matter and iron out the bugs with the Book Club first. Sorry, you didn't really ask my opinion, but that is one of the issues that I find fascinating as I have contributed to quite a few community groups and I'm still trying to get my head around the issue.

Ha! We have the same weather! I shall now pass you the winter baton and we shall pass it back again in six months time!

Nope, the wombats live in massive burrows (many of them are very old burrows which the wombats renovate as they feel the need) so that sort of limits their numbers a bit. Plus vehicles are a real problem for them, and there just isn't enough for the wombats to eat so that too puts an upper limit on their numbers. Plenty of people fence the wombats out of their gardens and that is very hard for a wombat, who do their very best to break in.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Who knows? You know dandy weeds could be Dandelions? The funny thing about the dandelions here is that I rarely see the bees collecting pollen from the flowers and there are a lot of the flowers. How hard is to stop the dogs from doing that act? At least they look guilty...

Ha! That is hysterical. Yes, the bench would be very awkward to sit on. I picked that one up at the tip shop recently. Good stuff and I can even see Blue Mountain over in Trentham way now from that terrace (I can't see that mountain from anywhere else). Yesterday, I continued to dig, but it was very slow going as there were five huge old tree stumps in the clay. It would be nice if the tree stumps turned to rich soil, but no. I've almost created enough flat space for the final potato garden bed.

Toothy sits around enjoying himself, whilst Scritchy is far more active - despite being about five years older. Youth these days...

That is an heirloom wheelbarrow for sure. 40 years is an impressive effort. With the wheel here, the rim is made from some sort of solid plastic and also the bearings looked a little bit dodgy but still serviceable. Who knows how long these things will last?

Thanks for the product tip. I may get myself some of that stuff. I reckon it won't stick to polyethylene though (I once had a leaking water tank - what a nightmare to repair). It sounds like a very versatile product. Your grandmother was a very wise lady! No it is probably best not to dwell too long upon that saying. It is multi-faceted.

It was the water pump here causing the water hammer as the pressure switch was not properly calibrated. What that means is that the pump was switching on and off again rapidly so that it still looked as though it worked, but it just didn't sound quite right and the rapid switching caused the vibration. Honestly, the freezing process could replicate that problem, no doubts about it. Your ear should be able to determine whether the pump (if you have one in your water system, you may be on town water) sounds right between summer and winter. On the other hand it may be as simple as the pipes expanding and contracting with the temperature? Dunno really. They sell weights to attach to your copper pipes (it will fit plastic ones too) that reduce the hammer. The hammer is a long term problem as one of the joins could possibly eventually fail. I’ve noticed that the old school galvanised water pipes are more prone to hammer than either copper or plastic.

The mushrooms are in the kitchen where it is warm. We have been misting the peat every day.

Oh yeah, Bunya Trees get as large as a Monkey Puzzle tree and put it this way, if a cone fell on your head, you would not be feeling very well!

Nice to hear about your cucumber seeds. Top work! The bees do a great job don't they? And they love cucumber flowers.

Thanks for the correction. I don't know why we don't have fleas here then. Sorry to hear that you do have them and the clay too. Ticks are a minor nuisance here, but they can be quite problematic further north and also in your part of the world too. Chiggers look like a nightmare! Please keep them, and also sorry to hear that they are a minor pest for you.

That sounds really lovely about your tomatoes. Yeah, I'm with you, who cares what they look like, it is all about the taste, hardiness, and the reliability with tomatoes. Yum! Nice to read that you still have fresh eating fruit.

True words, raspberries are nice, but they don't taste as strongly as the blackberry. So true. The wallabies can consume the blackberry canes too if they are of a mind to do so. Like your deer, anything that can eat those canes with all of the barbs on them is one tough beastie!

:-)! Excellent work! A nice warm spring afternoon, a gentle breeze, and looking over ones domain from the pleasure of a rocking chair. Life is good.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

As for wolves in the UK - I wouldn't want one next door. I was reading about Canadian wolves the other day. Apparently, they fairly often weigh up to 200 lbs. (91 kg). I would send a photo link, but the very best ones show a contrast between a human and the wolf (the wolf being dead) and I thought that it might not be family-friendly enough?

We get water from our own well, so we do have a pump, which goes off when the power goes out - so no water. I have been restocking our bottled water stores in case we have an interesting end-of-hurricane-season. Which said - I love the photo in the cyclone article, but the landslide one is very unpleasant.

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge & Pam - Welcome to the wonderful world of rural telacommunications. These days, if you live outside a town of any size, it's not "cost effective" to provide you with phone or internet. I finally gave up on getting the land line that went out, a year and a half ago. Only so many calls and e-mails I'm willing to put up with. Which is what the companies, hope, of course. That we all just go away. I never could get a guy out to look at my problem. They'd set a date and I'd just get an e-mail. "We checked the line from our end, and it's fine." Well, no it wasn't. That was the end of my patience and their interest.

Here, there's been a lot of media coverage about even rural small towns not getting adequate internet service. Towns of 1,500 or so. Here, we also get that "it will cost you astronomical amounts of money if the problem is on your side of the "box." Once when I was in town, there was a problem. It was on the companies side. The repair man was very clear about that. Then I got billed for it being my problem. Lots of phone calls. I was advised to pay the bill as they'd make an "adjustment" on the next bill. I told them no, as I knew how that worked. I'd pay, and it would be like pulling teeth to get the money back. Medical billings also seem to work that way, these days. Anyway. I'm surprised I got away with it. Usually, they just turn you over to collections and ruin your credit. I'm ranting. :-).

@ Pam - Then there's the classic "There is no brighter future, ahead." :-). Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, the people who supply to supermarkets don't take the cost hit. It's the supermarkets that mark something down below cost. Of course, the week the strawberries are on sale, the cost of the short cake to put them on and the canned whip cream us probably double the usual price :-).

I think re-wilding large dangerous mammals is a pretty dumb idea, in most cases. Here (the US, not here, here) there's been places where they've reestablished wolf packs and there's some interest in bringing back the grizzly bear in areas where they used to roam. Maybe it was also lynx that they want to bring back? All I remember is that it was something very fast and toothy and some kind of a rodent like creature.

Oh, forgot to mention I saw a trailer for a new documentary. I think it's called "Chicken People." It's kind of a "Best in Show" only not fiction.

Well, it's off to the Little Smoke, today. Not many stops. Lew

W. B. Jorgenson said...

It really would be a shame if there were no more wombats. It's a shame whenever any species dies out, but to know it was because of human actions would somehow make it worse. Oh well, I'm sure our descendants will do things better, if for no other reason than they won't be able to afford our disregard for so many things.

In response to your response on the last post: I'm glad your clean up project is going well. And this whole "it's different this time!" idea seems very dysfunctional to me. I've seen people who do it in their personal lives as well as thinking of it on a grand scale, which I suppose means they are consistent, even if this tends to cause a lot of misery for them and people around them. And yes, if you want to continue to live a lifestyle that is unsustainable, then you can't admit to it being part of nature with all her limits. I think that's why conscious living is so rare these days, as it has a huge cost: admitting your life is unsustainable and either dealing with it or choosing not to.

I found that as soon as the idea of noblese oblige was pointed out to me, the fact I've never heard of it, and that it could be so controversial seemed a very bad sign. I still think it's one of the most concerning things about our present situation. I also wonder if I would have figured it out myself or not. I think eventually, after a few more crashes because I didn't realize it. And as for taking it well, I think it's because I value finding something that works over what is popular. It works, it will save me and others pain, so the question becomes how best to implement it, something I'm still trying to sort out.

I've been meaning to look into marketing techniques at some point, and thank you for the book recommendation. I'll have to see if a local library has a copy.

Well... Yes, blunt is good. It's obvious as soon as you pointed it out to me. Oh well, I know I have issues with these things, and I figure as long as I manage it I'm okay. I'm also lucky in that most people I know are willing to be more blunt with me than other people as they know otherwise I'll miss things. Absolutely, we do give ourselves away in lots of subtle ways. It's not a bad thing, I rather enjoy seeing what people give away about themselves without trying to. And I'm thinking of something JMG wrote on his blog now, something like, "Knowing no stories is ignorance, knowing many stories is wisdom". I think it's a very good thing to keep in mind.

Ah yes, status can be very ephemeral. If you can keep it, it's great, and I haven't yet had to battle to keep it, and since finding out about JMG's work, and with the implications it has, I don't think I'll bother trying when it comes up. I'll just quietly let it go.

I noticed that as well. My first thought was "Who's consciousness do I change?" followed by a decision I should only change my own, and let the effects go from there. Simply because it both looks easier, and I figure if it works then the effects will spread from me to others. And from what I've already seen, meditation is wonderful! It is a little surprising, but makes perfect sense once it's pointed out that much of you work is meditative.

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

Your terrace is looking splendid indeed. It must feel good to extend your growing area just as Spring arrives and the urge to plant descends on all gardeners. We have yet to buy our seed potatoes but we tend to put them in a little later here because of the potential for late frosts. Mind you with the continuing rain frost seems unlikely, however it is another month before tomatoes are safe to be planted out.

I find beliefs, however they are arrived at, are often unshakeable and disconnected from experience. Perhaps it's the modern version of a leap of faith? On one hand there is an intense dislike/fear of trees and bush areas with many farmers in my area. Trees are believed to suck the life out of productive land, prevent pasture growth, drop limbs, burn too easily and so on. They are seen as useful only as solitary, mature shade trees, perhaps a windbreak. Any regrowth is seen as 'wicked' mismanagement. On the other hand, because this valley is a prime water catchment area trees are vital for erosion control but beyond that they are part of the living system. We see regrowth on the valley sides around those very old mother-trees, which we think of as the last act of the living dead. Leaving some dead standing trees is part of habitat protection for small species like sugar gliders, some fallen trees for insects, microbial life and so on but there's got to be some balance? In the face of beliefs achieving some kind of balance seems hard? Some form of management that's beyond the garden/bush binary?

On the question of rats I have to say that I have a strong aversion to them. The latest black mark against them is that they have invaded one section of our old house (after removing asbestos cladding from external and some internal walls) excluding them and cleaning up is a nightmare. A friend has done bird rescue for many years. Her speciality is Tawnys and apart from road accidents they are largely affected by rat lung disease which is carried in rat urine. The disease eats away at the organs, including the brain. Of course with this knowledge I feel like suiting up in hazmat gear when I'm cleaning.

Steady rain here today.

Warm regards, Helen

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Those re-wilding people appear to have more romantic notions rather than practical responses. They don't appear to be considering the entire ecology which is quite human dominated and probably wouldn’t enjoy the competition... As a suggestion, the people promoting that scheme should have to live with wolves and lynxes first before foisting them onto others? Dunno... People hunted the Tasmanian Tiger (a large dog like carnivorous marsupial) into extinction. And the continual outcry over shark attacks down here is quite loud.

Of course, a small generator may provide power for that well pump? Yeah, the photos are great. The entire state of South Australia lost its power grid due to the storm. Some of the main transmission lines blew over - I didn't believe that those giant steel towers could bend that way: SA weather: Worsening conditions cause more blackouts as BOM warns of more storms.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Unfortunately down here, two main supermarket chains I believe control about 70% of the market, so the suppliers take the hit and the supermarket apparently retains its margin. The technical word for that system is described as: Cliffing. Suppliers are asked by the purchasers to stare over the cliff and see their future - or so I have read - and face the lower prices paid for their goods. I've read that process described as apparently being good for consumers. The problem as I see it is that consumer economies won't have consumers if the consumers don't have jobs or any free spending money. The other thing that I have read is that suppliers have to re-stock the shelves in those supermarkets themselves with their staff.

Oh yeah, it was the lynx alright. That is one powerful looking cat with long loping legs. I reckon the average lynx would forage over a huge area? No doubt that it can work in some areas and not others. You could re-introduce the spotted quolls here again (a marsupial cat) for example. It is not as if they weren't here before and the foxes fill the same niche, but a quoll could probably hold its own against a fox. They disappeared from here after the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires due to lack of feed and destruction of their habitat after the fires ripped through the area. They live in hollows in the big old trees you see. Fast and toothy is a great description of a lynx!!!

Oh my! Yup, the ending was great: Look at you, you're a warrior! Thanks for the tip, I'll keep an eye out for it.

Hey, the cyclone formed over South Australia and it took out the power grid over most of the state. That is a big effort. The main transmission lines between this state and South Australia actually buckled and collapsed (there is a photo link in the above comment to Pam)... They source about 40% (I believe) of the power for that states grid from wind turbines. And with the grid knocked out the wind turbines can't really work. People forget the technical side of these devices. You see the resistance from the electrical grid when applied to the wind turbines helps to slow the blades from rotating too fast. When the grid goes down, the resistance on the turbines motors disappears and the blades can spin much faster (i.e. because it is so much easier with no resistance) and then the turbine may possibly self destruct. They avoid that fate by turning the blades out of the prevailing winds and keeping them out of the severe winds. I had to build that sort of fail safe into the wind turbine here back when I had one and the fail safe device actually caught fire and it was one of the reasons I got rid of the wind turbine. Anyway, a lot of that state still has no power, although they are slowly bringing it back on line in places. This is the second time in under twelve months where states relying heavily on renewable energy sources got to find their upper limits first hand. The other was Tasmania last summer which relies heavily on hydro power and because of the drought the dams got down to as low as about 12% to maybe 14% full. The interesting thing there is that the cable link between Victoria and Tasmania broke and took about five months to repair (it was under Bass Strait) so they lost access to our brown coal fired generators...

It rained pretty heavily here (about one inch over night), but it looks like the cyclone is moving well north of us now and it loses energy the more it is on land. Still, I had no idea that cyclones could form in the Southern Ocean - I always thought that they were a tropical thing. A disturbing weather event.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

Yeah, our descendants will have to get their act together because they will have little choice to do otherwise. It all gets down to the ready availability of Oil. That is the one thing that allows us humans to expand beyond their usual resource base.

You know, I wouldn't mind if people were honest and said something like: I'm going to fly in an aircraft from one country to another and honestly I couldn't give a stuff about the environment. I can respect that sort of honesty and it is an option for people. But when they do things like flying between one country and another and yet sprout values saying what a great person they are and how their personal choices are good for the environment, mate I just don't know. I feel that people are rather alert to hypocrisy and they never look good to me. Exactly, conscious living is more like the former than the latter and so there is a cost to that stance.

Most likely you probably would have got there anyway with that concept. Having a wider world view comes with having more of your basic needs being met - at whatever your comfort levels are - and being aware of that fact. Yeah, the trick is ignoring what you are told and instead looking at what works. I don't reckon that is as easy to do as it is for me to type that sentence!

Please do, it may explain some things to you and also expand your understanding of interactions. I’m not suggesting to replicate those stories, just use it to expand your understanding. Those guys never understood that their techniques were a starting point and not an end in itself, although for many that was their end point. Relationships are built on longer term interactions and those guys never understood that.

Ha! Yeah, well that was exactly why I used blunt language with you. Having a whole lot of tools in your mental toolbox is not a bad idea either!

Let it go, and here are some words which may be of assistance to you one day. If ever you are confronted and backed into a corner say either: I respect you; or You have my respect. And then try some way to display value. That is why skills are important.

Exactly, work on yourself. All good thoughts. I have a concept of a defensible base which I worked out from playing games against my mates. Before you go forth in a game and attack your mates, you have to have your own gear in order, otherwise you inevitably over reach.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Thank you, that is very sweet of you to write. Did you end up getting much of the rain? What a storm! One inch of rain here last night with more to fall tonight I reckon.

Yeah, it is good to extend the growing space. Do you find ways to increase the productivity of your place most seasons? There are obviously diminishing returns to that continuous improvement though. I had an awesome idea today for the materials storage area which may be implemented over the next few months. Of course, your frost season is a bit longer than here. It is a bit nerve wracking really worrying about frosts as you just never know and it has been a very cold and damp spring so far...

How bad is South Australia copping it? Wow, my heart goes out to those affected. The local rivers and creeks are flowing here like I can't recall for many a year.

Your tomato experience sounds like the old adage of get tomatoes in by Melbourne Cup Day. I'm probably about two weeks ahead of you in that regard as they will be planted out by early to mid October. I have to get the watering system working by then.

Yeah, I'm with you. It is a binary isn't it? There is middle ground between all of these extreme views and people are on either side of that argument shouting past each other. It all appears very strange to me. I like you, also tend to look at what works. It would be nice if they took the time to have a chat about their concerns whilst listening to my side of the story, but alas… And with the high water tables this year, trees are a really good idea. The sugar gliders are lovely aren't they? I had one a few years ago who used to break into the chicken enclosure every single night over winter and enjoy a solid feed of the chickens grains. The poor little things have such high metabolisms that they need to eat a lot. It is a shame that many people form their opinions without taking the time to observe the world around them.

Oh no, you don't want rats in your house walls because they eat plumbing and wiring. Not good for you or the rats. You know asbestos is in lots of things. They stopped supplying in goods in about 1985, but the editor once showed me an ad in old magazine extolling the virtues of asbestos garden edging... Tawny Frogmouths are lovely birds.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

Ah - but I, though not ritzy, live in a ritzy area, and they used to hop to it when there was a plea from those of us out this way (we were thus able to ride on the coattails, as it were, of the moneyed people here). I don't think that these monopolies care anymore.

I had forgotten the "no brighter future". Thanks!

@ Chris:

My goodness - what a terrible situation in SA! Thanks for the link.

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,
Glad to have your opinion on community groups. I remembered that you had mentioned them in the past which is why I brought it up. The book club was going very well until recently and I'm hoping we'll pick up again but it can't all be me.

Monday night I was out so my husband locked up the chickens but didn't count and in the morning I found I was missing one. This was distressing as I thought our predator problems were over at least for a time. I looked all over for any signs but found nothing. Well yesterday morning (Wednesday) Salve was acting like some animal was in one of the empty outdoor animal pens and there wedged between some wire fence panels was the missing hen. The grass had hidden her and she made no sounds. She had been there for a day and a half but except for a small limp she is fine. Salve earned her keep that day for sure.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Pam,

I would definitely get a generator if you can. However sometimes wiring has to be changed to run a water pump. That was the case for us. We had an unexpected derecho storm a few years ago and lost power for over 3 days. We had a small generator so saved our food but no water which was not so much an issue for us than it was for the animals - especially the pigs. We couldn't hook up the waterpump to that generator. Fortunately we were able to haul water from a neighbor as he could run his water pump but it was a pain for sure. We bought a bigger generator and got things wired so we just have to plug it into an outlet and it'll run the sump pump, water pump, one refrigerator, furnace as well as a few outlets. The next time the power went out having water made all the difference. Power outages were kind of hit or miss in that storm but were widespread over the Chicago area. The gas station nearby and town had power. Of course we would have a limited amount of gas if an outage was widespread but keep the gas cans full at all times. My daughter lives in another suburb almost 2 hours away. Her side of the street had power but across the street was out for days so there were many long extension cords running across the street to those houses.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Here, it's mostly Safeway stores. There is a Walmart Superstore (huge grocery section) and something called "Grocery Outlet." The Grocery Outlet is kind of an odd retail concept. I mean, they look very clean and tidy but their main stock is from closeouts and bankruptcies. They have a VERY small veg section and no meat (except prepackaged) to speak of. And, you can't depend on them to consistently stock certain brands or items. But, the prices are very low and sometimes there are interesting surprises. Often, they have exotic foreign cheeses. Which I like to sample. :-). Oh, and then there's a couple of local outlets called "Shop N Kart." But I did some comparison shopping and although they appear to be a cut rate place, the prices (at least of the stuff I checked) were higher than the Safeway. Mostly.

Of course, I don't go to the Walmart as a ... philosophical thing. But the Walmart and Grocery Outlet are on the other side of the freeway, and it's a huge concentration of big box stores. The traffic is a nightmare. Yes, a lot of the suppliers do their own restocking. You can tell who by the trucks in the loading docks and parking lot. But what I've noticed is it's mostly the snack-y / drink-y stuff. I've heard those outfits fight hard for prime shelf space and display space. Eye level, end of aisles placement. Fists have been known to fly, though I've never seen it.

I imagine is something like when I worked for the chain bookstores. Every week, we got a "placement" plan for pretty much every inch of the "Golden 20 Feet" of our stores. And, cash wraps. The company got better discounts or advertising kick backs if they had certain items, in certain places, at certain times. Theoretically, the publishers could check to see if there was follow through. Usually, it was the district managers who were the enforcers. :-). But, it really wasn't as heavy handed as all that. Actually, you wanted your store to keep having a "fresh" look. It was really a low stress (from an employee point of view) way of achieving that.

Seems like most people that want to reestablish predators live in cities and don't have to deal with the livestock or domestic pets losses. The Evil Step Son got a third cat, about 6 months ago. Could have been Nell's much younger twin sister :-). Well, I heard the stepson tell my landlord that little Audrey disappeared about 3 weeks ago. Sigh. I suppose something got her. Probably coyotes. I worry about Nell, but so far she seems pretty sharp. She showed up with another "friend" in her jaws last night. She loves "show and tell." :-) I bet if your "More Ecological Than Thou" neighbor needs help getting a tree out of his driveway, you'll have to allow some extra time for a little ceremony. Moment of silence. A small drum may be involved ... :-)

That was some storm. The pylons brought to mind the phrase "crumpled like paper." One wonders about the quality of the steel. See Cherokee's dissertation, "The Crapification of Everything." But it looks like someone over at the ADR had some suggestions for your firebox problems. A 50 year storm? You may be hearing that a lot. For awhile, here, it seemed like every time we turned around, we were having another 100 year flood. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont.
Back to food outlets, here. When I went to lunch with my friend Scott last week, we also checked out the Goat / Sheep coop. I had been there, before. The soft cheese I like is only available in spring, so, no joy there. I did notice that they carry raw milk, though they were out right then. Nice to know if I ever get around to giving home cheese making a whirl. We also walked through our local farmer's market. Not very big, but some pretty nice stuff on offer. Mostly food. This is the Chehalis Farmer's market, which is on Tuesdays. Not a day I usually go to town. It's a lot better than the one in Centralia, which seems to be mostly crafts and bedding plants. :-(. Oh, I almost forgot the Fruit and Veg store. Locally owned. They have really nice stuff and the prices are good. Lew

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Chris,

I really do wonder about something a little odd with regards to getting our act together: if almost every spiritual tradition values asceticism to some degree, and if there are any that don't I'd love to hear about them, what does that say about what all the stuff we have in the present is doing to us?

I think the best answer when this sort of thing comes up is honesty. However, saying "I don't care about the environment" is often a lie used to justify actions as well, when the truth is, as I'm often finding now, "This is what I value, however I'm not able to live by these at present." From this approach, of course, figuring out what you truly value, and how to live those values, is a good idea. It also means admitting to being a little hypocritical, but I think most people are. In any case, I know my actions and values sometimes differ, and rather than stressing over it, it's better to reassess things.

Figuring out what works is far harder than it should be! I can even think of certain circumstances in which knowing the truth would be worse than believing a lie in terms of outcomes, and I personally now think it's more important it works than it's true. Of course, even identifying truth is rather hard given the weird nature of our minds and brains, but that's a whole different issue.

It looks like a good book, however I'm finding it hard to find a physical copy. I find it hard to read a book online, so perhaps it'll be a while before I can read it. I suppose it depends on what they want out of it: in many contexts relationships are not high on people's priorities.

Well, I think the metaphor is a fairly good one, since just like a physical toolbox needs many tools, so does the mental toolbox. It doesn't matter how good your hammer is, if you ever need to screw something in place, it's no help!

Those sound like good words to use! I find that if you respect someone, regardless of who, they are more likely to help you and cooperate with whatever you're trying to do than if you don't. And I believe what I'm going to do is trade status for friends. I'd rather have an equal relationship with people than one where I'm in charge.

Ah, overreach is so very easy to do if you're not careful. I find the hardest part of it is that it's often only possible to recognize it in hindsight, or by taking things slower and more carefully than is popular these days. After all, there are far more ways to break things than fix them.

Damo said...

RE: predators

That is true that you see very few people (any?) who actually live in the rural areas advocating for the re-introduction of predators. It seems to me there might be a little bit of privileged guilt driving the motivations of those who do. The sight of a large wolf or lynx can fool those not paying attention that the environment might actually be healthy. Then they can go home to the city with a smug glow and continue consuming products supplied by those who have to live the consequences!

I have also wondered about the shark attacks here in Australia. A few years ago I would have replied that the numbers are too low to draw any statistical conclusion, and at any rate the surfers are in their habitat. But now, it seems pretty obvious to me that something has happened to drive the sharks inshore - either there is more of them or not enough traditional food. I still feel the surfers understand the risk and culling is not an answer (I say this as someone who occasionally surfs and swims in the ocean), but clearly something is amiss.

@Lewis
Love the small drum comment. You are on fire the past week, great humour :-)

@Others
I think I fixed the enormous thumbnail problem that my blog imposed on Fernglade! This morning, after being awoken by a thunderstorm and deluge I felt the urge to write something. So as a shameless bit of self-promotion I direct your attention to my latest post with musings on water and economic justice. Also, pictures of elephants, because..reasons:

The Water of Life: Pt 1

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yeah, it is pretty bad there. There are some more photos and stories here: SA weather: Thousands without power, flood warnings issued for Barossa Valley and Onkaparinga.

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks for saying that. It is a pet topic of mine.... Fair enough too. You know, my gut feeling is that people have to have a reason for going there to a group, but somehow you have to also put limits on any disruptive influences. It is a fine balancing act. Sometimes with the GW group, I carefully but firmly change topics if people talk on overly long or on strange topics - like their personal health matters, as happened once - it was strange. It is not like I don't care, but the person concerned was at their first GW meet up and had not yet earned enough social credits from my perspective to do so. One thing I noted with other community groups was that you were only ever as good as your last visit or interaction. On the other hand I tend to weigh up what peoples social credits are worth which is a much harder path and involves a little bit of discernment and judgement. I respect you for doing your book club, it is a good idea.

Well done Salve, he has earned his feed for the week (maybe an egg or two for him?)!

I'd be interested to know whether your chickens are slowly coming off the lay as they regrow their feathers after the summer? Some of my lot do that in early spring which must make for a hard winter for them... Each of the breeds are so variable.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That is funny, because they used to be called Safeway stores down here too and many still are, but I believe that lot is all owned by Woolworths nowadays. When I was a very young lad, the two major chains were Coles and SSW. And the funny thing is that the dude that setup the SSW chain purchased a massive old hill station up in the more fashionable western and south facing end of this mountain range. I remember as a really young kid my grandmother used to take me - walking by the way, with a little vinyl and steel shopping jeep - to the local SSW supermarket and she used to buy the weeks groceries. Back in those days, my mum used to drop me off there with my grandmother for weeks during the school holidays. It was all good fun and the area even had an old school fresh fruit and vegetable market - which is still there today too, albeit a bit less crusty than back then. I even recall the change from imperial measurements to metric measurements and the impact it had on the many stall holders who all profited nicely from the confusion inherent in that arrangement! You may also be surprised to know that we walked there too. I don't recall that they ever owned a vehicle and it didn't seem to be much of a drama.

Yeah, there are parallels to the Grocery Outlet down here too, although I've noticed a rather unusual attachment when people talk about them. Dare I mention cult like fetishism? The exotic cheeses sound cool. Hey, have you ever tasted sheep cheese? We may have discussed this previously, but I once visited a sheep cheese dairy and the owners were sort of apologising that the strangest looking sheep were often the best milk producers. And the cheese was superb! Much better than cheese derived from cow milk. The sheep did look funny though, and I politely declined to comment on that observation by the owners! :-)! The sheep may have been offended!

It is almost as if the big box stores are like a prize heavy weight fighter going in to battle the smaller retailers, but I wonder what will happen if they win that bout? Honestly I just don't know and I hear you about your philosophical concerns. Product placement is as much a science and an art. I've heard of many tousles going in with that issue too. It isn't good.

That makes a lot of sense with the book store and giving it a fresh look. I'm curious as to why you eventually went and worked for yourself in your own book store? Did you enjoy that time in your life? If it means anything to you, I work for myself because of the flexibility it gives. It is not remunerated well though, and I'm not complaining about that, it is just the trade off that has to occur to get the flexibility. To be honest, I can't even imagine the trade offs that a writer (for example) would have to endure in order to become successful?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

La la land, it must be said, is a beautiful place full of unicorns and elves! :-)! As with everything there is a middle ground and we really seem to swing from one extreme (kill them all) to the other extreme (every predator is precious). I do wonder about that issue, because about two decades ago the editor and I travelled up north and we did a lot of swimming. Nowadays, that would be rather unwise as the salt water crocodile (tastes like chicken, if you were at all interested?) and human population have both exploded up there. I dunno at all about that.

Yes, I am rather curious as to your opinion on that matter of assistance with the trees? What is the right course of action? It will happen sooner or later, of that I have absolutely no doubt. In the past, I have assisted neighbours for hours with tree problems and they sort of end up almost saying, thanks for that, we're done here and that is that. I should have played my cards better, but naiveté in new and interesting situations is not unheard of. Nowadays I'm a bit more cynical and I negotiate up front! Oh well. Of course the trees and the forest are to be thanked for their gifts, that is only to be expected. I also feed the soils and infiltrate massive quantities of water in the forest too. Hopefully the trees aren't complaining? You haven't heard anything, have you?

Oh yeah, questions are going to be asked about those massive pylons breaking for sure. I used to work in the steel industry and imports were becoming an issue because they were so much cheaper than the local stuff. Of course the imports came with certification, blah, blah, blah. There is a bit of steel in this house frame, and the local supplier rang me up to apologise that they were only able to supply me with locally produced steel. It was a bizarre phone call that one for me... Far out, what do you do?

Thanks very much for alerting me to the ADR comment from eagle eye. I would have missed that one completely and that would have been a bad thing because it gave me an awesome idea. Thank you! High tensile steel plate... Yeah, I could do that. And there is a supplier in Melbourne. Maybe a few chunks of 10mm steel cut to size will do the trick? Dunno. I will thank him for the suggestion. I mentioned to the editor that I could manufacture a firebox from scratch, which would be reasonably easy to do, but she was unconvinced.

Mate, I have never before seen a cyclone develop from the Southern Ocean. Apparently it is the worst storm in fifty years there. The king tide washing over the coastal properties is one of those things that people don't tend to concern themselves with. I'll see if I can rustle up some photos: Photo 34 shows the king tide and storm inundating coastal properties. Not good.

Oh yum! Yeah, home cheese making would be a good thing for you? Especially once you move. Plus yoghurt, jams, preserves. Mate, you are going to be busy! The farmers markets can really vary in quality down here too. The stupid thing about them here is that they are held only once a month in each of the local towns and so people - I reckon - don't get a feel for what is in and out of season. My favourite local one is the Lancefield farmers market, but that now competes with the Green Wizards meet ups, so hard choices had to be made... Hey, are your farmers markets for prepared food, or the ingredients?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

Hmm, that is a good point about asceticism. Maybe as a suggestion, because what you own ends up owning you? There is real depth in that observation. Certainly you may be interested to know that I rarely take on new tools without first considering the various further expenditures of time and resources that go into their ownership. It is not as easy as it appears. Plus, people inevitably end up with conflicts of interest which are usually politely ignored. Ha! I'm unsure how much stuff one needs to enjoy life? Dunno, really.

Maybe, I don't mind people saying that they don't care, because it is an honest response and reflects their actions. As you say, figuring out what has value and what is of value to you are really difficult, but worthy tasks. The hypocrisy is just part of existence I reckon, I mean your life comes at the expense of other lifeforms and I wouldn't worry about that issue too much as we all fit some higher purpose, although we may not realise it. You should consider how much free will you have over your own actions instead.

Ha! Well, it is probably a well read book. Hehe! Oh well. I don't read books online either as it just doesn't feel right to me, and I certainly don't take a screen of any sort to a cafe for a coffee... I have done that from time to time, but I am in the minority on that score though. A bit of a shame really. At my local cafe / general store, many people sit around reading the newspaper in the mornings and that is a real pleasure to see. About the relationships, well people have confused monetary relationships with social relationships and so of course they appear very confused on that front to me. What is your take on that?

Very good! I had the mental image of the boy with the hammer who thought everything was a nail. Sun Tzu advises never to wear the troops out on day to day activities otherwise they will be useless when push comes to shove.

Well done. It is wise to realise that you are rarely in charge anyway and as someone once told me a long time ago, "you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar". A wise saying that one.

Yeah, I'm guilty of that over reaching, as perhaps you are as well? The signs are there if you learn more about yourself. And it is very wise not to over reach and know your limits - or at least approach things gingerly until you know what you can do. :-)! Glad to be of service!

That is funny that you mention that, but I have consistently found that the demolition process is far quicker than the construction process. There is something in that?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Yeah! Too true! You know a few weeks ago, I heard a band talking on the radio. It was the very talented indie rock band: Holy Holy - Darwinism. A very good song too. One of the band members said that they lived in Tasmania and they were talking about how a spotted quoll ate their chickens and how they had to build a new spotted quoll proofed chicken enclosure. I was sort of laughing to myself about that and thinking, mate I hear you about that and maybe can show you a thing or two with the chicken shed here.

Yup, you would be totally surprised at how much of the management advice comes from people who don't even live here. What's with that?

Exactly, the sharks aren't stupid, they know we are trouble and the only reason they can be in so close to shore, is because there may not be plenty more fish in the sea. Either way it is not good. And sharks have been around - unchanged - for about 300 million years. Time is on their side.

Feel free to self promote, you have earned your stripes! :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

Thank you for the advice. We do have a modest generator which will run the fridge, freezer, a couple of lights, Bearded Dragon's heater, and a couple more things. We haven't sprung for having anything set up for the water pump yet. We can't flush toilets in a power outage, but, well, we do live in the woods, and kudos to you, Ancestors, for always having lived that way. I have been replenishing our drinking water stores in the basement. I loved the vision of extension cords running across the street as the neighbors helped each other out.

Salve gets the gold star for sure! Poor chicken. They can be so tough sometimes. What breed is she?

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Damo - When I'm hot, I'm hot. When I'm not, I'm not :-). Lew

Yo, Chris - I have a small chunk of sheep cheese in the fridge, right now. Sigh. Not as nice as the soft stuff, but I bought it anyway just to spend a few bucks in a local business. The Safeways here seem to have been bought by a chain called Albertsons, which has also been around a long time. I'm kind of curious. Safeway was owned by the Mormons and I wonder why they divested? They are nothing if not savvy business people. Oh, I think people are rather defensive about where they shop. It's sort of a ... one upsmanship kind of thing? That they're getting real bargains and feel very smart. A smart shopper is a term you hear a lot, here.

LOL. My friend in Idaho always gets really defensive when I ding Walmart. And, I always have to sit through the story about how when they moved here, they were sooooo poor that Walmart was the only option. Ha! Those people are hard working and have never been poor in their lives. Oh, she gets wound up because she thinks I'm judging her, or thinking less of her. Which really isn't the case. In reality, I think she just shopped there because she wanted to be perceived as a "smart shopper." I finally told her I'd heard the story enough, and was tired of it. :-).

I wonder if humans taste like chicken to crocodile? Or, to great white sharks? :-).

Well, if you're neighbor's tree comes down, I'm sure he'll be standing there all mournful and useless. As I would be. The useless part. (I hear geese flying over ... heading south). Yeah, just tell him you want all the wood, upfront. But, it sounds like you have that covered.

There seems to be more and more articles about fair weather flooding and king tides on the east coast. Florida, mostly, and some in the Carolinas and Virginia.

The farmers market in Chehalis has both prepared food and ingredients. Probably heavier on the ingredients. The fruit and veg. I saw one egg guy ... a honey guy ... and a guy that you could arrange with for different kinds of local meats. A fairly local bread baker. Lew

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

The chickens seem to moult late summer to early fall. Interesting not much going on this year so far which is odd. Still not getting too many eggs but the new girls are just beginning to lay.

Btw Salve is a she and she definitely deserved some extra goodies.

I've got a couple people who get off on tangents in the book club. I let them go on a bit but then try to get them back on track. It's pretty tricky as I've know both for years and consider them pretty good friends. One in particular talks non-stop in general but she kind of lives her life that way. She has ovarian cancer though doing very well so far. I wonder if she's just trying to fit as much into life as possible. Her mother died of ovarian cancer at about the same age. There's usually a reason people are the way they are - I think you've said that yourself.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - PS: LOL. My work history and personal life are soooo convoluted. My CV (?) is a nightmare. One of the things I really like about retirement is that (hopefully) I'll NEVER have to do a job application, again. :-).

But let's see. I left the world of corporate books because my entire history at B. Dalton's I'd been with one regional manager. A very sharp business like lady, but also a "book" person, who I really liked and got on well with. She was eased out the door. And, replaced with a corporate creature who was quit proud of the fact that the only book she had read in years was something on how to house train your dog. She also had very wacko ideas about the book business. The arrangement of the store, etc. As an example, instead of the usual arranging of a biography / autobiography section alphabetically by who the book was about, she thought they ought to be arranged by color ... And, when she started spouting pap about "Empowering the employee", I knew that sooner or later I'd either be fired, or the job would become so intolerable that I'd bail, without much notice. So, I decided on an orderly retreat (kind of like getting it together to move out of here.)

At that point, I'd already begun to get into the tat trade. And old interest I picked up from long ago. I had spaces in several antique malls and slowly closed those out and opened a store front in Centralia. At different times in my life, I've come into small inheritances or, sold a small house that came at just about the time I'd be crazy enough to launch a business venture. The antique store ... the book store. All were failures and, although I didn't have to go the bankruptcy route, all was lost. Sigh. Water under the bridge.

Ups and downs and ins and outs. When the tat store failed, I was camped out in the back. After that is was a year as a security guard and then the cafe for a year and a half. Then the Timberland library gig that lasted 12 years. Another small inheritance, the bookstore. Another failure. That took me up to 62 and I decided on an early retirement as I'd just had enough. So, embittered and generally cranky, I retired to this hermitage in the country, about 5 years ago. Which I thought was going to be the end of it. Well, apparently not :-). So, that is a brief (believe it or not) overview of my CV from about 1981 to present. Lew

W. B. Jorgenson said...

I know it's less than most people think, because I lean towards asceticism by "normal" standards, although I still have far more than the vast majority of people who lived had. I'm slowly trying to adjust towards a more normal life historically, even as it pulls me away from normal by present standards, it's a quite odd thing in any case. I find that the less I have the happier I am, but maybe it's just me. I also know that if my stuff was taken away, it would be quite different. So it depends on too many factors.

Saying "I don't care" is absolutely a valid response, however I wonder about that little bit. I've met too many people who convinced themselves they didn't care about something instead of dealing with it, so it can be fake. I also wonder how much free will we really have, probably some, but not infinite. I'm not sure where we fall between the extremes though. I may never have an answer I'm happy with, but life will go on.

I'm not alone! I have a laptop, although I don't take it very many places. In fact, I'm not sure it's worth having a laptop rather than an actual computer since I'm not moving it much. However, I'm finding computers in general are worth far less without internet, so I likely won't bother replacing it when it dies. Now, phones.... Ugh..... In response to confused relationships, I will get back to you in a couple days, I need to think this through before I can give a proper answer.

Sun Tzu is very wise, yet again. Absolutely, leaving some slack in things is a good idea, this way when the fan gets messy, there's enough left to handle things.

Of course not, to be in charge the other people need to follow you, and for that you have to give them a reason to want to. I find it amusing how many people forget that step. And I have another good one: "while a rotten piece of meat calls the flies, a flower calls the birds". I'm not sure where it's from though, but it's a pretty good proverb whatever the source.

I'm guilty of overreaching. I know I am, and so I'm consciously trying to avoid it now. However, I'm not sure how well I'm doing at it just yet. I will see in the future how I'm doing and go from there.

I think it's one of the few rules that applies to everything in human existence: it's easier, quicker, and takes less energy to break something than it took to build it in the first place. This is true of physical things, but also such intangible things as trust, and social groups.

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

Thoughts on who - or what - is now a "radical"?

I saw something over at ADR about radicals, and I have been trying ever since to figure out if there is even such a thing any more.

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Pam,

If we didn't have pigs the water wouldn't haven't been nearly the issue. As you can imagine they drink quite a bit but more importantly if it's really hot they need their mud pond to stay cool and keep flies off. We usually add to it daily if it hasn't rained. Luckily for both the pigs and us temperature was pretty comfortable during that multi day outage.

The chicken is a Welsummer.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That is a nice thing to do with the local business. Do you find that the sheep cheese is less acidic than cheese made from cows milk? Hey, how is your reflux going? Is it getting better? The sheep cheese I ate was a soft cheese which was meant to be fried before being consumed. Honestly, it was some pretty tasty gear. It came from a dairy which I visited on Kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia - it is a big island: Sheep dairy Kangaroo Island. The island was so quiet, that I really enjoyed it. The ferry ride between there and the mainland was pretty bad (fortunately I don’t get sea sick, but the editor passed out – it was feral weather!)…

I didn't know that. It is fascinating how some religious organisations get involved with big businesses in order to - I guess - fund their activities. Interestingly enough, I have noted that the businesses often don't reflect the ethics and teachings of the particular religions, but then I may be mildly cynical on that front. I wonder if they ever tend to forget the reasons for running the business in the first place? I don't really know much about the Mormons, apart from gate-crashing their temple during a wedding. The insides looked like a scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey as everyone was wearing white and the place looked very strange to my perceptions. Rather than engaging us, they kicked us out... And how rude, they never invited us back! Outrageous!

Of course, I have no doubts about the whole smart shopper thing, it is just that I sort of believe the producers are much more clever than the consumers. I have heard that trope that it is: Good for consumers - whatever that means, I just don't believe it. I read an article by a well known economist this morning who was writing about the economy of ancient Greece and about how productive most of the people were. The economist in question may be having a road to Damascus moment, but he did forget to mention how it all ended up for the ancient Greeks and I sort of felt that that was a major oversight. At least he is looking in the right direction - the past.

Ha! That is funny. Yeah, everyone believes different things. I have actually been very poor, and it is an unpleasant experience. I once had to explain to a friend - who's parents used to provide him with lots of money (he was well financed) - that I was unable to buy a pair of socks to replace the many pairs that had holes in them until I had saved up for that purpose as there was no spare coin for a few weeks. Of course, if I had had half a brain - which I most certainly did not at that age - I would have darned the holes...

That is very clever to have set some boundaries on that particular story. It would have been tiring to listen too. I tend to stop people from lying to me too much if it annoys me too. There are limits to everyone's tolerance and some people just push that gear.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

I dunno about crocodiles, but I'll tell ya what. They can extract 97% of the minerals from whatever they ingest. Of course, that does require a whole lot of sleeping to do so, but it is pretty awesome you have to admit? The sharks most likely think people are seals (because of the usually black wet suits), but I doubt that the average Great White Shark is a fussy eater. 300 million years of existence tends to breed such niceties out of the shark gene pool.

Thanks very much for the excellent suggestion. Nice and elephant stamp worthy! :-)! I may also teach the dude how to harvest his own firewood and look after his chainsaw just for good measure and then drive away with the windfall booty. That should be a rather confronting experience for him. The really bizarre thing about it all was that he was bragging that he had three to four years of firewood left from the previous owner (where did he reckon that came from I wonder?). Now, I've been living this way for a fair few years now, and I am only now getting a good grasp on how much firewood is required for a years supply. I was rather curious and intrigued as to how the dude came up with that statistic?

Oh my! So not good. People are in la la land about that issue and when I visit the coast, it always surprises me at just how much the hungry ocean has eaten. And I feel sort of strange for even mentioning it because everyone seems to be pretending that it is not happening.

Honey, bread, eggs, and meat, could all be made into a most excellent meal. How are you going now that you don't have your chickens? Do you miss them? I'm getting about ten eggs per day and there are just so many that I'm feeding a few of them to the dogs each day (they really love eggs).

I ended up digging again today, so am feeling rather tired. Fortunately, for this terrace project, the digging has now come to an end! I did get the final potato bed in late this afternoon, so hopefully tomorrow I'll plant the remaining seed potatoes out. Yay! But then, it is daylight savings time changeover tonight, so I will lose an hours sleep (not good for anyone, that loss of an hours sleep! :-)!)

I may even move the final berries into the new berry enclosure tomorrow too. There is a bit of incentive to get them in because apparently another half to one inch of rain will fall tomorrow night... It is feral down here.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Yeah, that is what I usually expect too. The moult happens between late summer and fall. However, this year for some reason, some of the breeds moulted and the re-grew their feathers in early spring. It was very strange and I don't quite understand how they managed the cold weather of late winter / early spring in that condition?

My apologies! I do hope that Salve is not offended by my assumption and comment? Of course, Salve may be of a forgiving nature?

Oh, what a conundrum for you to have to consider. Honestly, I would do the same as what you are doing in that group to manage what is a potentially a difficult situation. I'm sorry to say that that form of cancer is quite aggressive. None of us ever really know what is in store for our future. I wonder if the other people in the book club feel uncomfortable with being faced with their own mortality? Yeah, I have said that, I sort of reckon you have to live for today, but you also have to put away for the future and there is no getting around that.

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ W. B.:

I think that you may have answered my "radical" question above:

"I know it's less than most people think, because I lean towards asceticism by "normal" standards, although I still have far more than the vast majority of people who lived had. I'm slowly trying to adjust towards a more normal life historically, even as it pulls me away from normal by present standards . . . "

Being radical is being outside the norm.

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for sharing your story and it is worth pointing out that one persons nightmare, can be another persons broad range of experiences?

Applying for jobs is a pain, but then I run a small business so perhaps am not the best judge of that matter...

Oh yeah, that one was doing what is known as: Making their mark - whatever that means. Like you, I just wish that they'd make their mark elsewhere and leave well alone! :-)!

Running a successful shop front business is not an easy business. Mate, I totally hear you. And the recurring overheads and red tape eat into your margins and cash reserves.

Thanks again for sharing your story. If it means anything to you, you hardly sound bitter and cranky to me. I once read about a guy in business who said that at any one time he had ten things on the go. Usually eight of those things were working well. The remaining two took up all his time, money and resources. That sounded like a good analogy to me as to how things work.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

"I wonder if humans taste like chicken to crocodile? Or, to great white sharks? :-)." Hee hee!

That is a clever thought of yours, for Chris to demand all of the wood for firewood for clearing the neighbor's fallen tree, should it happen.

@ Margaret:

I had never heard of a Welsummer chicken, and googled it. So handsome, and Dutch.

@ Chris:

It was years before we realized just how much firewood we needed to have cut and cured to not feel worried that we would not make it through the winter. It will probably take your neighbor awhile to adjust. We were dumb bunnies from the city (though, luckily, very practical-minded) when we marched forth on this rural adventure. At the moment we have half a barn full of firewood. We're finally past the stage where we have to ration it in the winter. When the leak in the water line next to the barn was discovered recently, the others here (they who have to fix it . . .) queried if we really needed a faucet over there? I pointed out that FIRE might occur and that we would lose all of their hard work of woodcutting . . .

I enjoyed the Holy Holy videos.

Pam_

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

We command perquisites that Emperors five hundred years ago would have only dreamed of! No stress, fortunately for all of us, asceticism is a relative concept and honestly even a few minor changes to our lifestyles can be very beneficial to the environment (not to mention your wallet too!). The low hanging fruit has barely been picked. It would be interesting to read up on what asceticism meant to, say, one of the people living at a convent during the dark ages?

Of course it can be fake, and it is very sad when people say to me - as I have heard - I'm old so I'm going to die soon and don't particularly care. Mate that one floored me when I first heard it over a decade and a half ago.

Only you can tell whether you are happy with the answer I reckon. You have a little bit of free will, but perhaps not as much as we would all like to believe - that is what I reckon anyway. Every time I try to step away from the work here, circumstances draw me back to it - so I don't fight it much nowadays.

Fair enough! Hey, speaking of alone, I am more than happy to lose a bit of time with a good book and a coffee and muffin in some of the excellent cafes in Melbourne. Good books can take you places! :-)!

Computers haven't been around all that long and many of the things that we all do now on them can be done easily without computers.

Exactly, Sun Tzu knew not to over stretch his resources. He was quite the successful general.

Thanks for the very cool saying.

Yeah, who knows? You just have to learn. I had a mate that used to work really hard for a brief period of time and then burn out. He then spent time recovering, only to go back to his previous work strategy. It was kind of strange to see. I tend to pace myself and have a good handle on what I can and can't do. It is not as easy to learn that though and you just have to go easy on yourself if you over do it.

Oh yeah. Mate, we are in the process of using up social capital like there is no tomorrow. It is really weird to see that process of decline and it has to hit rock bottom before it will improve, so remember to enjoy the ride. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

What a question! Wow. A second elephant stamp tonight! Far out.

You know, I read last week's ADR where JMG mentioned SF hippy chicks (and you can chuck the SF hippy blokes into that as well) and I thought of all the people that I've met over the years who used to clothe themselves in that hippy gear. And most of them ended up living lives that conformed to the accepted narratives in our society. I wrote once about the fascinating experience I had going camping with the hippy hordes!

Even the people who are actively hostile to our society - and those people are around for sure - and engage in acts are all part of a play for power and economic resources - despite what they say about their ideology. They want stuff...

Who then are the radicals? A top question.

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ W.B. & Chris - I think I've mentioned the book "Material World." It's a big photo book where they traveled around the world to, I think, about 130 nations. They figured out what the "average" family in that nation would look like. Then they went out and found a family that matched the profile and had them haul EVERYTHING out of their houses and did some photographs. Some people had so much, and some so little. But everyone looked happy. I could spend hours just looking at the pictures.

Yeah, that whole "I'm old and don't want to bother thing ..." Mr. Greer commented on that a few weeks ago, but I don't remember exactly what he said. I think it was something along the lines of you have to think in terms of those who come after us. Well. Pushing 67, it's a thought that crossed my mind from time to time. And, having to kids or nieces for nephews ... Well, what is it all about? Well, I think I'll live longer and be more healthy, if I'm engaged. But, about the best I can do is be encouraging to youngsters who are following a right path. Whatever that is.

Last week when I was in the veg store, the young man checking me out mentioned he was pretty excited as he had just finished his degree. I asked him what it was in. "Automotive mechanic." I praised him highly for getting a degree in something "useful." That can't really be off shored. This is not a put down of your degree, W.B.. So relax. :-). Your degree helps you communicate with people and that may be very important to getting helpful ideas across, in the future. Plus, you're expanding you're "hands on" skills as you go along. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Speaking of darning socks ... well, I found a good source of some pretty well made socks that are cheap and ... American made! Plus, I got a whole bunch after Brother Bob passed on, still in the wrappers. So, I tend to just toss them when they get holes. And, feel guilty about it. I do try and use the ones with holes for dust rags, and such. But my point is .. a book. Well, a couple actually. :-).

What I got from the library is "The Useful Book: 201 Life Skills They Used to Teach in Home Ec and Shop." (Bowers, 2016). I don't know about other parts of the world, but here, the schools used to have those classes. Where I went to school, we had two half days for two years. Girls to Home Ec, boys to shop. Later when the schools became more "liberal" in some places, the sex barriers came down. But, they've mostly been discontinued, from what I gather. Also see "Shopcraft as Soulcraft", (Crawford.) I think I mentioned that one, awhile back.

Well, I still tend to try and spread a few bucks around the local businesses. Even though they didn't support my local business. But I tend to shop the big box stores with a clearer conscience these days :-). Time has taken a bit of the edge off, but my hackles still go up a bit when I run across people who didn't support my business. While I supported theirs. I try and not ruminate on all that. It's not healthy.

I have never really though of cheese as acidic. I know I like a sharp cheese, the sharper the better. But I think that may be as I think about half my taste buds are dead :-). The reflux seems ok. Smaller meals and nothing too close to bedtime.

Well ... the Mormon Church. It occurred to me this morning, that they're rather like a 21st Century mystery religion. Only initiates can enter the inner sanctum. And, their stores did sell all the things forbidden to them. Smokes, coffee. I think I had mentioned that I read something about their vast food producing empire. Everything from farms, to factories to warehouses. I think it was in "Blue Zones." Which I was surprised at. I didn't realize it was so extensive. And, of course, the Seventh Day Adventist church makes, markets and sells a whole line of vegetarian products. They were pioneers in that business. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. I'd guess the firewood was a selling point to your neighbor. Either the owner or the estate agent said something like "And it comes with a three or four year supply of firewood!" It would give your neighbor a pretty good idea of how much he uses, every year. Not that he's probably keeping track of that :-).

Yeah, I miss the chickens. At certain times of the day, I have a nagging feeling that I have forgotten to do something ...and it is usually chicken related. I haven't found a good source of local eggs, yet. So, it's supermarket stuff. And, I'm not eating as many.

Our daylight savings time kicks in the end of October. And I'm about as unhappy about it as you are. :-). I don't like driving at night, and already, coming home from Meetings at 8:00 it's pretty dark.

We're in for a rainy weekend. And, it's pretty breezy. Typical fall weather. Lew

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

We had over an inch of rain last Thursday and Friday. Heavy intermittent showers with light falls in between. I like rain and I know this is replacing groundwater drawn out over the last long drought but surface catchments are full to overflowing here too and there are frustrations with day after day of wet weather. The valley floor is sodden making movement around the farm difficult even on foot. And as for you there is more to come but we are not getting those frightening events as the southern states and now West Australia. So many people are sadly unprepared even for minimum length power failures but when it's a whole state it raises the bar. The floods here are very slow moving too so no scary middle of the night evacuations.

We have had the odd Tawny farming Bogong moths from our lighted windows when the moths are in season. We can stand right on the other side of the window and watch without seeming to disturb their hunting.

I dream of a productive garden once again. Enough water, temperatures that don't fry and stew plants and fruits and yes, healthy soils. I'm determined to enjoy the process of constructing a new vegetable garden. We do always have some surprises with self-sown plants. Earlier this year we harvested 146 pumpkins that grew from compost. This has been a winter of pumpkin. We try to remember to take a pumpkin or two wherever we go. I'm working towards a surplus in all of the things we might eat from the garden but all too often life and nature intervene.

I'm envious of your annual mowing. We mow more frequently, especially with a wet season. Our grass and weeds are racing away at the moment but they will have to wait. As for firewood we are hoping to get next years wood over the summer and autumn but it will depend on the seasons. We don't cut wood up in the property using a chainsaw when it's too hot and dry. I have to say I thought we would have more time for wood getting when we retired but there are always pressing, competing projects.

Warm Regards, Helen

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Those pictures from the book are worth looking at as they can tell a very interesting story. I've wondered about that issue too, because often the built environments that we all live in reflect the need for different material stuff. I mean, if I walked onto a farm that had everything sorted correctly for a low energy - albeit high manual labour situation - I would need vastly different "stuff" than what I value today. I often think of Annie Hawe's purchasing a well setup small holding with two wells, multiple terraces (oh, to dream the impossible dream! - thus my interest in the subject) and existing established fruit trees. What a massively different experience to what I live with here.

Exactly, encouraging people to follow a path that doesn't lead to a possible dead end is a very good thing to do with all of our time! As to that comment about: "Don't care blah, blah, blah"; the person was flooding their garden with water during the middle of one of the worst droughts that I can recall. There was so much water, that I initially believed that the person had left the tap on accidentally - for several hours. But no, I was informed that the tap was on deliberately and this was a new watering technique for their garden and they said they were old and didn't much care about the future so it all didn't matter... Apparently, it didn’t matter. I’d never heard of a concept like that before.

Absolute respect for the automotive mechanics. It is an extremely useful and marketable skill. Plus they would learn an awful lot about problem solving. I totally agree with you, it is an excellent choice.

Yeah, those are useful skills. When I was a young lad, they used to provide courses at school in woodworking and metalworking. They were good courses too as you got to make things and see how things were put together. All good stuff, plus if I recall correctly, in the early days everyone had to give it a go. Ha! That is funny, the hippy dippy school sent me to home economics to learn how to cook, as well as sending the girls to shop to learn how to make stuff. The latter school I went too which was an all-boys grammar school, never dared send the boys to home economics! Oh the horror for them! Cooking is a real skill and most commercial chefs are male – if anyone bothered to think about it. Honestly, there are some tasks that I am better at, but the editor is no slouch and is much better at other tasks. And you never really know which ones you'll be good at. Thanks for the book reference for that book again. The to-read book list is long and getting longer... Tomorrow I shall begin a referred book: Ruth Park - Fishing in the Styx. Does anyone ever give you book referrals?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Yes, a local economy would look very different to the very strange monetary economy that is currently in existence. Shop free of guilt, as from my perspective, you don't seem to be going overboard in that area (and neither am I).

Well, sorry to say, but smoking does tend to dull a persons taste buds, and sense of smell too. Did you find that either improved after you quit? Nice to read that the reflux is more controlled nowadays. I've had that and it is unpleasant. Mine was stress related though. Stress is not good.

I'm often very deeply cynical about religious taboos that tend to keep money within a particular faith based group. I mean, what would any God or Gods care about money? Well, they may care if the basic tenets are being subverted for that purpose and diverting attention away from the raison de entre?

Of course, how obvious, someone fed the dude the idea. I mean how else would it be possible to form an opinion without experience on that subject? Mate, I've been using this stuff for years and I'm only just now in a position to quantify that annual usage. I'm very excited about getting back into bringing in the firewood for next year - seriously. It is ready to go, it is just a bit wet at the moment...

Oh yeah, I hear you. That's not good. I'd miss having the chickens too. And supermarket eggs aren't really the same, sorry to say. Plus many of the chickens have such delightful personalities. Speaking of which the enforcer chicken - Fluffy Head - is now broody and I reckon she pecked me about ten times today as I attempted to sneak the eggs out from underneath her! Just for good measure, I chucked some clean straw under her guts after grabbing all of the eggs. ;-)! She is not a happy bird!

Exactly, for you it is dark, and for me one whole hour has simply disappeared! We are finely tuned machines you know!!! Hehe!!! Did that one hour fall behind the couch? And where did the light go? :-)!

It is raining right now here, and I’m glad to hear that autumn is kicking in for you. Rain is nice, although too much can be as much of a hassle as too little... I moved the marion berries today so they are getting a good drink right now. I cannot believe just how many of these cane berries there were... Triffids...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Haha! You knew the answer! To be able to choose is the correct answer. The system is well setup to deal with all other responses, but not that particular one.

Thanks for saying that. Me too! It was a nightmare of a problem and in the process, I have damaged the steel in the combustion chamber of the firebox. There doesn't seem to be any easy way to learn how to use firewood without first hand experience as it is a really complicated problem. I agree with you in that it will take him a while to adjust. That was the reason I offered assistance despite my misgivings as the adjustment will happen sooner or later, it is only a matter of time.

Hehe! Dumb bunnies! That is funny, but we were dumb bunnies too. We are all in good company here! Don't you reckon that the rationing side of that equation comes as part of a natural extension of the harvesting process? I mean the stuff is hard to process, so you don't waste it and so you never really know whether you are rationing it or not. The usage just becomes second nature.

I hear you about the faucet over near the wood shed. I get that and that sounds like a wise thing to keep. I have a different problem in that my seasoning logs (two years minimum) are in danger of being burnt during a bushfire... That is part of the reason why I want to get out and fill up both sheds (one of them is mostly full) before anything happens. Mind you, it is a lot wet outside right now.

I'm very pleased to hear that you enjoyed the music. They are a very talented band and that song has an ethereal quality to it.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

I totally hear you! It is raining outside right now and the next four days all look like they will deliver more rain. The aquifers are certainly starting to replenish - thus the springs. But the groundwater table is just so high. The frightening events seem to be missing here too - glad to hear that it is just persistent to heavy at your place too.

Yeah, I read that about Western Australia this morning, and did you see the photos of the lines of traffic waiting for petrol in Port Lincoln in South Australia? They were out for about three days? As you say, taking out the entire states power grid was the whole next level. The photos of the twisted pylons from the inter connector between Victoria and South Australia were something else. I didn't even know that that was a possibility as the construction of the pylons look pretty strong to me. There have been quite large landslides along the Great Ocean Road to the south west of here with the heavy rain - and it is in both the fire affected and non-fire affected areas. Parts of that road are apparently closed off to large vehicles…

The moths and owls are great aren't they? I use a small bit of power from the small shed solar system to light up a very large tree and the owls love it. I spotted a mum and two baby powerful owls a week or so ago up in that tree just hunting the moths. The little powerful owls were very cute as they were glued to each other whilst mum sat a bit off to the side on another branch.

Well done you for the pumpkins! What a harvest! I do hope they were gratefully received? Roast pumpkin is a favourite vegetable. Yum!

Exactly, plant twice as much as you need, and you'll never go hungry! Well, maybe ten times for some things though, like strawberries...

Do you get much capeweed in your area? It is in flower here at the moment, but only in small patches. Fair enough about the firewood cutting in the summer. I tend to do that in the mornings before retreating from the hot afternoon sun. Summer is really the season for bringing in the firewood. Isn't it funny how you start to get into a routine with all of these things?

Cheers

Chris

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Hi Pam,

I'm glad to (accidentally) be of service! I think that is a good definition of radical, although I feel it's a little lacking, for some reason. If I figure out why, I'll let you know.

Chris,

Absolutely asceticism is a relative concept, and even my very ascetic life by modern standards would, if a medieval king heard of it, be considered ridiculously luxurious. I have still yet to even finish finding all the low hanging fruit, let alone started picking them, so very true there. And I have too many things to look up already! I don't care what asceticism meant to a medieval convent dweller! Although, it would be fascinating...

"I'm old so I'm going to die soon and don't particularly care." Wow, I don't even know what to say to that. I've never heard anyone actually say it, but then I'm still young and don't spend a lot of time with a lot of elderly people. It's a very sad thing to say or hear on so many levels, I don't know where to start.

See, I'm actually hoping I have less than most people want. Limits comfort me, while the idea I can do anything, I can decide anything, scares me. So less free will is good. And I'm sure it differs depending on what it is you want to do. And if life keeps bringing you back, then I figure you're in the right place, for what it's worth.

I have given it some thought, and confusing social relationships for monetary ones is something that is worth a lot more consideration, however I have a few thoughts on it to share: first, money can easily be measured. It isn't always, but it could have been tracked easily. For an example, I have no clue how much money I've spent on my best friend over the years, or how much she's spent on me. If we really wanted to, we could've kept track, but we don't know and don't care. We think it's about equal, but have absolutely no idea. We do it in a social obligation way, where we alternate who pays for stuff when we hang out together, neither of us is really counting and sometimes it's more sometimes less, but we both think it roughly balances out. We just know we get enough out of support from each other and enjoy spending time together. However, how do you measure that?

Second thought: it's very hard to do things without money. Thus, money metastasizes into everything. Once it's in things, because it's easy to track, it displaces things that are important to social bonds but harder to track. I'm not sure why some relationships are immune to it but others aren't, which is part of why more thought is needed.

Cont

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Cont,

Give me a good book, a cup of something warm, and a snack and I'm happy too! Honestly, I'm always amazed at the number of people who walk into coffee shops, grab stuff and book it out of there. If I don't have time to enjoy myself, it's really not worth while as far as I'm concerned.

About the only advantage computers have is speed. I still can't think of anything that can't be done without one, in a slower fashion. That's not necessarily a bad thing though, I find modern life moves at a far faster pace than I like a lot of the time.

Well, the only way to learn is to do things and see what works and what doesn't. It's a messy process, it isn't perfect, but it works well enough. If there's an alternative I have yet to find it, but even so, it's just part of life. People make mistakes, but ideally get up, look around and see what happened, fix it (if possible), and then continue on. I figure it's always better to mess up now than later, so when I realize it happened, I try to learn from it and I usually an avoid being too hard on myself.

Yes, the rate we're burning social capital is absolutely incredible, especially considering it took centuries to build it up. This is at a societal level though, a level where my influence is so small the effects are almost null. At a personal level, I'm building a fair amount of it now, which is nice. I just need to be careful to keep it sustainable.

Lew,

It is very interesting to see the wide range of what people have and their happiness levels. I'm willing to bet than ten years from now my brother will have at least ten times as much as I do, but be miserable, well I think there's a good chance I'll be quite happy. Now, yet another book to try to track down... Not a serious complaint, I'll actually be disappointed if I ever run out of reading material. It'll mean that either there are no books left, or I've lost interest in or time for reading, any of which would be a very sad outcome!

I think the right path is different from person to person. It depends on who, but it is hard to tell. I think the best you can do is encourage people to take their lives seriously, and figure out where they want to go, and maybe if you know something about it, help guide them.

Had I known then what I do now, when I was picking programs I probably would have chosen something like automotive mechanics. However, I'm almost done, and can't stand the thought of more schooling, so I will have what I have. In any case, I think being an English teacher is a good career, not one we'll do away with here any time soon with the large French population in Quebec, so I think I'll be okay. My classmates, however, are a different story. I think a lot of them will have problems, because a lot of them have no plan from here! And a degree in linguistics is only really good in a small number of fields, most of which require higher commitments than many people are willing to give.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Well, I think Annie Hawes really "lucked into" a perfect situation at a perfect time. And, sometimes I wish I would have "settled" somewhere, earlier in life. But, my life didn't really work out that way. So it goes. But in hindsight, things really developed in a manner that they were, I think, supposed to. For me. Moving out here ... well, I certainly developed a lot of skills I
wouldn't have had, otherwise. And, there certainly is a lot of useful "stuff" laying about this place. Disorganized and buried thou it is.

Oh, I think my taste buds and smeller I minimally better since quitting the smokes. But those things fade a bit, with age, too. I've always liked strong flavors and have to be a bit careful when I cook that I get too many things going in one recipe. The eggs I've been picking up at the store don't claim to be organic, but they're a cut above the factory farmed eggs. I think. A little more expensive, but I don't eat as many of them and, overall, they're not as expensive as having my own chickens.

No, I really don't get many book referrals, these days, from people. I really don't know anyone that reads as much as I do, or in the same areas. But I also realize that most people I know don't have as unencumbered a life as I do. I often warn people that I'm a menace. "You've got to read this! You've got to read that!" Luckily, we're coming up on winter, here, so there's more time for me to read. Sometimes, I might have some DVDs kicking about, but feel like "I'd think I'd rather just read, this evening."

I really need to thank Annie Hawes, as, I think, you recommended her books and I think that's where you and I really "bonded". :-). I pick up referrals from the ADR. I get frequent book catalogs from a book remainder company called Hamilton Books. I browse through those and if I see something that sounds interesting, I see if my local library has it. If not, and I'm REALLY interested, I might order it through Interlibrary Loan. And if I think it's something REALLY worth having, I might hunt up a copy for sale.

I got a book from the library called "Bread Revolution" by Peter Reinhart. He was someone I was unfamiliar with. Apparently, he's the real go-to bread guru. I found that book to be a little "out there" for my uses. Sprouted grains and all that. But, I don't think that book, though interesting, meets my needs. But I WOULD like to take a look at his book called "Bread Baker's Apprentice." Which my library doesn't have. I'll Interlibrary Loan it, and see if it meets my, I wouldn't say needs, I'd say interest. How many baking books do I need? :-). But from other books (Third Plate) and other stuff I've read or watched on DVD, I really want to know more about the grains and flour we make our bread from.

LOL. Here's what happens. The other day I stopped by my library. Usually, I just use the drive through to drop off books and pick up holds. For reasons that will become apparent. I had to go into the library, as my hold list is full and there was something on the shelf that I wanted to read (Essays by a guy named Ronson. He wrote the book that the movie "Men Who Stare at Goats" was taken from.) But I ended up picking up four other books that I hadn't planned on. One on home cheese making, a couple of gardening book, and the autobiography of a chef, Eric Ripert. I don't know who he is, but the dust jacket sounded interesting. So, not only am I a danger to myself, but also to other people :-).

Well, the sun has come out and I need to get out in the yard and do something. Anything. There's still a lot to button up before winter. Lew