Monday, 12 September 2016

Indecision clouds my vision

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Some of the projects undertaken here are borne from years of experience. Those years of experience give vision to a project and in such situations I have a reasonably thorough idea as to how the completed project will look whilst also understanding all of the individual steps involved that are required to get that project to the state of completion.

On some other projects though, I absolutely do not have a clue. In those situations I have a vague idea of what I’m trying to achieve, and so I just begin the work and then hope for the best. The alternative rock band “Faith No More” summed up that feeling nicely in their song “Falling to pieces”:

“Back and forth, I sway with the wind
Resolution slips away again
Right through my fingers, back into my heart
Where it's out of reach and it's in the dark
Sometimes I think I'm blind
Or I may be just paralyzed
Because the plot thickens every day
And the pieces of my puzzle keep crumblin' away
But I know, there's a picture beneath
Indecision clouds my vision”

This week we continued work on the new garden terrace and blackberry enclosure project. We have had only ever had the vaguest of ideas about how the project would eventually look. And this week as the project progressed – despite the heavy rain (more on that later) – inspiration finally struck and the vision for this new garden terrace coalesced into a clear picture.

Firstly before discussing this recent inspiration, we need to travel back in time a few years (that isn’t that hard is it?) where I became rather enamoured with the concept of the “Food Forest”. A Food Forest is a concept borrowed from permaculture which is roughly defined as: “Forest gardening is a low maintenance sustainable plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans”. In the simplest of terms, a Food Forest replicates a natural forest, but includes predominantly edible and other plants useful to humans. I loved the idea of a Food Forest and I still do. However I have discovered by observation and experience that not all of the concepts of a Food Forest are applicable everywhere and in every situation.

The eucalyptus forest in the Macedon Ranges is dominated by one very huge tree species (Eucalyptus Obliqua) which can grow to a height of about 90m (295ft). Those trees are huge. And there are a whole lot of them in the forest. But the thing I have observed over many years now is that whilst the understory contains a huge diversity of plant species (some of which are also massive like the Acacia Melanoxylon) this eucalyptus forest is really quite an open forest. Plenty of sunlight reaches the ground both in summer and in winter, even if it is only the briefest of dappled sunlight. And in amongst that swarming mass of life that that dappled sunlight provides, orchids turn their delicate flowers so as to capture a brief glimpse of the sun, ferns catch organic matter falling onto their leaves and the tree frogs croak their songs as the sun falls below the horizon and becomes out of reach.

We purchased a cheap large block of land in that forest, and I planned to plant myself a Food Forest. How cool is that? Food forests really are an appealing concept because food from tree crops has the potential to provide so much food.

Perhaps in spirit of over-ambition, I under planted many of the diverse fruit trees here with varieties of berries including the thornless blackberry. The purpose of that under planting was to replicate the ideal Food Forest which has an under story of such plants. The concept of under planting was a good idea, but the concept failed to take into account local climate conditions.

Winters here are very wet and humid and this year is no exception. It is raining outside as I write this and Sir Scruffy who clearly needed to go outside to the toilet, went outside, did his business and promptly turned around and retreated back inside to the warm and dry house.

Summers here can be very hot and sometimes even occasionally quite dry where the humidity can drop below 10% on very extreme occasions. Sir Scruffy definitely enjoys keeping out of the hot sun on such days.

Under either situation berries planted underneath fruit trees are a really bad idea. The winter humidity can lead to fungal diseases in the trees. Over summer the combination of heat and dry means that the berries compete with the fruit tree for minerals and water. And that is not to mention that the rats also enjoy secure access to the fruit trees where they are able to perform acts of rodent mischief in the safety of dense berries without fearing the owls which naturally dine upon them. If we had spent more time observing the structure of the surrounding open forest we may have understood that a dense under story of plants was an idea that would not work in this climate, but most likely unless we had had the experience of observing the system here fail, we honestly would not have noticed!

We do enjoy consuming the berries grown here, but they could no longer be grown underneath the many fruit trees. And this week, we removed all of them.

Unfortunately the wallabies that also live here at the farm are happy to eat any thornless or even the thorny varieties of berries. Those wallabies can be a bit of a nuisance… Fortunately, the new blackberry enclosure had its steel gate installed this week in addition to the heavy duty chicken wire surrounding that enclosure.
The new blackberry enclosure had the gate hung and the heavy duty chicken wire installed this week
It was at about that moment in time that we finally received inspiration for this new project and our vision coalesced. Over the next week or so (weather permitting), the blackberry enclosure will be extended one further series of treated pine posts than is currently there and an identical steel gate will be hung at the opposite end of that enclosure. Beyond that blackberry enclosure the new garden terrace will include three large steel raised garden beds for growing potatoes.

Motivation for this project soared after our vision became clearer and we rapidly removed about thirty thornless blackberry cultivars from the orchard and planted those in the new blackberry enclosure.
About thirty thornless blackberry cultivars were removed from the orchard and planted in the blackberry enclosure this week
The thorny varieties of berries will be planted at the soon to be constructed end of the enclosure. A space will be left around those thorny varieties so that we can simply mow or brush-cut the inevitable berry escapees.

The concrete stairs leading up to the far end of this new blackberry enclosure had another step added.
Another step was added to the new concrete stairs leading up to the new blackberry enclosure
After that step had mostly dried, which requires twenty four hours of rain free curing at this time of year, another concrete step was added.
Yet another concrete step was added to the new staircase leading up to the new blackberry enclosure
A few weeks back the timber formwork which we have always used to construct every single concrete step on the farm received a “freshen up”. That freshen up task involved dismantling the timber formwork and ensuring that the timber formwork was square and true, plus adding a few more heavy duty screws so as to stop the poor overworked thing from Falling To Pieces!
A close up of a freshly constructed new concrete step and the timber formwork used to construct that step
The weather here has been crazy wet for spring. Some towns in the south west of the state have even flooded and there is even more heavy rainfall predicted for this week. One evening after a particularly long day of rain, the sky cleared for a brief moment and as I stood in the orchard supervising the chickens I spotted a rainbow which looked as if it originated in the house itself.
A rainbow appeared to have originated in the house this week after a prolonged day of rain
After photographing the rainbow I rapidly left the chickens to the chances of a possible fox attack and ran into the house to see whether a pot of gold could be found. Unfortunately, all I discovered there was a couple of hungry looking dogs promising to play nicely with the chickens and also a couple of shifty looking leprechauns who were rapidly kicked out of the house and whom had most likely thiefed off with the pot of gold which is apparently found at the bottom of every rainbow. A bit of a shame really.

Regular readers will recall the recent water woes, whereby the garden water system had sprung a mysterious leak, somewhere. This week I began the slow process of replacing the water lines with new and more easily accessible water pipes and connections.
The water pipes have begun to be slowly replaced with less permanent and more easily inspected and repairable pipes
After many hours of work, the bushfire sprinkler and the first of the many water taps became operational again.
A bushfire sprinkler and the first of many water taps is now operational again
Both the first of the many water taps as well as the bushfire sprinkler are now mounted on a very solid treated pine posts (the posts had been salvaged from the old chicken pen) whilst the water pipe travels above ground and just behind the rock wall, and as such is easily inspected for leaks. That rock wall, as well as the plants in those garden beds should provide some shading to the water pipes over summer.
Both the first of the many water taps as well as the bushfire sprinkler are now both mounted on a very solid treated pine posts
Speaking of semi-permanent infrastructure, the final adjustments to the many round steel raised garden beds was made this week. Two of the steel raised garden beds had become very low in the ground as we had built the soil up around them over the past couple of years.

Neither of those round steel raised garden beds were easily lifted because they contained so much soil. I had to dig all of the soil free from the sides of the steel before I was able to even lift them out of the surrounding soil.
Before the steel round raised garden beds could be lifted, I had to dig all of the soil away from the sides of the steel
Once the round steel raised garden bed had been lifted, I could see exactly how much the soil had been built up around them over the past few years. Observant readers can make a comparison in the photo below, to the garden bed just to the left of the now raised steel garden bed. That comparison will show how much the soil had been built up over the past few years.
The steel round raised garden bed was lifted to a new height so as to match the other garden beds
All of the round steel raised garden beds now look really good.
The many round steel raised garden beds now look really good
Some of the other berries in the garden behind the kitchen are now starting to break their dormancy and produce good growth. I’m hoping for a bumper crop of gooseberries, jostaberries, elderberries, Chilean guavas, and red and black currants this year, most of which I’ll attempt to dehydrate and thus preserve.
The many berries in the kitchen garden are beginning to break their dormancy this week
Thanks for the many people last week who provided correct plant identification for the hyacinth. This week, I reckon this flowering bulb is a proper grape hyacinth.
A grape hyacinth began to produce flowers this week
Let’s end this weeks blog with another quote from the band Faith No More:

“From the bottom, it looks like a steep incline
From the top, another downhill slope of mine
But I know, the equilibrium's there”

The temperature outside now at about 9.15pm is 5.9’C (42.6’F). So far this year there has been 808.8mm (31.8 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 761.2mm (30.0 inches).

74 comments:

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - "Indecision clouds my vision." To quote an old American saying, cleaned up slightly for family consumption, "You don't know whether to poop or go blind ..." :-). "Travel back in time?" Throw up the road signs ... "Warning!!! Temporal Anomaly Ahead!!!" :-).

Looking back, I think, besides the whole food forest thing not working quit as well as advertised, in your part of the world, for all the reasons listed, there's something else to consider. Maybe. I think the whole food forest thing appeals to a lot of people who are most decidedly bone lazy. Which you aren't. I think there's a little fantasy in some people's minds of lolling about in a hammock and reaching over the side to discover all things necessary, within reach.

I think we've all seen the "No Work Garden Books" or, "Gardening without Work." Anyone who's spent time out digging in the dirt can only shake their head and chuckle. As an example of a "food forest" gone wrong, I only have to gaze across the road at the abandoned orchard. There is the problem of actually getting TO the produce, given the brush that's grown up. And, it seems most of the fruit seems to be pretty buggy. Even with large clumps of garlic growing 'round about.

Are you sure that chicken wire is heavy duty enough to keep the wallaby out? And, I would worry about something jumping the fence from the upslope side. But then, I'm a fretter.

That is shaping up to be quit a stairway. Ever been tempted to build other things in concrete? Say, a small temple on the hillside. :-). Maybe a long roofed colonnade or ambulatory. Something that would catch the sun in winter.

LOL. Yes. That is a proper grape hyacinth. The bulbs are easy to separate and spread around. It's fun to put a clutch here or there. Unexpected places that catch you by surprise. Lew

Jason Heppenstall said...

Ah, good old Faith no More. I swear you and I have the same CD collection!

What's your favourite album? Mine's probably King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime, although Angel Dust might be a close second. I downloaded their latest one, but can't say I'm very impressed by it. There probably comes a point in the life of (most) self-respecting rockers where they should realise that that being successful, middle aged and wealthy is not conducive to writing decent songs about sticking it to the man ;-)

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

I enjoy the garden visuals a great deal. There is so much going on and there are so many pleasing glimpses into your and the editor's hard work. Interesting to see the form box for the stairs. I have peered at it before when it has popped up in a photo. What, if you don't mind the question, exactly is your water fixture for bush fires?

When I am finding it hard to make a decision about something structural on the property I try and think of it as a creative spinning on the spot rather than procrastination. Hah! Sometimes ploughing ahead ends up in even more work and more frustration. Our young, very energetic, next door neighbours have a bobcat. The offer is on the table to shift the large piles of compost/mulch. I can barely think about it. Except for one pile being moved down to the new vegetable garden in one go. Oh and there are the borders I'm building... And come to think of it I want to order more road gravel that will need spreading.

Lew, I was a child who read the cereal box and later in life got caught reading a book under the desk. The only reason I didn't get detention was that it was a philosophy book. I can still dip in and out of philosophy but I'm hopeful that further recovery is underway.

Warm Regards, Helen

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Well done with the chickens. Do you freeze the chickens now that they have been processed? 126 miles is a huge distance for the poor guy to have to travel, at least it is only half an hour for yourself. I have some mates to the west of here about 40 minutes away that have a full on chicken plucking machine. It looks like a stainless steel drum with rubber fingers which strips the feathers from the carcass.

That is so true and I'm not on Facebook either. I often wonder how people drive and text too! It is kind of amazing from my perspective as I lack the competency to be able to do that safely. :-)! Of course, I do drive a manual gearbox vehicle which requires two hands.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

Absolutely, our cultures shine through our actions. No doubts about that at all. Well, I reckon people tell social lies so as to smooth the social wheels and I see a lot of that. Honesty and candid disclosures in social settings can often be met with complete silence and that is usually indicative of over stepping those social niceties! ;-)!

I do hope that your meet up goes well and these things are a lot like agriculture in that you have to plant the seeds, nurture the soil and then hope for the best.

Exactly! Land is now so expensive down here that there is no reasonable way to make money from it other than speculation. And the more speculation that goes on, the less that money is actually worth. I mean it is not as if the land can suddenly multiply or anything like that can it?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

That is a very funny saying. Thanks for the laugh. Mate, it is still raining here and with more to come tomorrow. I reckon the word "feral" is appropriate in these weather circumstances. I'll try and get a photo of the swollen river down below tomorrow. Mind you, I do hope that I can get across the bridge that spans that particular river. They recently upgraded the bridge so fingers crossed. Today about another 40mm (1.57 inches) fell and possibly another half to one inch will fall again tomorrow. There are pools of water in paddocks on the elevated plains below where I have never seen water pool before. It seems OK up here, but it is down below that the water is accumulating. There are some advantages to living on the side of a volcano. The systems here for managing massive rainfall events seem OK so far. Everything is a rich green colour too, just like your PNW!

Yeah!!! Hopefully no aliens burst forth from that temporal anomaly? That would be a real bummer, although they may be friendly aliens… Maybe… What do you reckon about the chances of aliens ever being friendly to Earth life? They did a great episode on one of those temporal anomalies back in Star Trek Next Generation where the Enterprise crashed into another ship at the locus of a temporal anomaly (hey, how good is that use of the tech lingo?) and then the situation reset. It was a good story and the crew sent a message back to themselves via some sort of, who knows what – maybe to Data, to move the ship out of the way of the collision but it was a good story all the same. I saw a photo once of a road sign and I don't know exactly if it was real or not, but the road sign read: "Zombies ahead run for your lives". Very funny! Mind you, facing the zombies probably beats driving to work for some people! ;-)!

I can't argue with you. Makes total sense to me. The appeal for that concept is in the sell. Of course indigenous societies grew and gardened massive food forests with a level of complexity that is possibly beyond our understanding or even our abilities. That effort though would have taken generations of work. It is really quite awesome to consider. I have a hammock, but there is no way I can slack off enough to get to enjoy it. You know the communes failed for that very reason. I really do wonder about that whole meme of "living off the fat of the land" because when there is no fat to be had, you can still turn things in your favour, but how long does it take to turn a container ship around – that becomes the real question and can you survive that time?

No doubt the wallabies and wombats will attempt a break in. I'll keep a close eye on the structure just to see how it performs in the real world. The chicken wire is a very heavy duty gauge, but you never know. And yes, an adult kangaroo could jump over that fence, but fortunately I pay that lot off with sweet herbage and water elsewhere and so they will enjoy less difficult feed. I fret too, a wombat is like an armoured tank so you will note that I installed a one by two inch chunk of steel at the bottom of the enclosure. The chicken wire on its own is not enough. Even the dogs can eventually chew through chicken wire no matter the gauge...

Yes, a small temple on the side of the hill is a great idea for a future project. Clearly as our resident archaeologist, you have a plan in mind for such a structure? Please don’t hold back?

I'm totally busted! Yup, I learn a whole lot from the comments here! And I appreciate all of them. There is a nearby farm that grows and sells bulbs and they are my source for all things bulb. I make an annual trip to their shop. The guy is getting older and I hope he stays in business a bit longer.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jason,

I reckon I spotted your CD collection in a photo on your blog once!!!! Hehehe! :-)!

How good are Faith No More? I'm a bit of a music geek, but I do have to admit to liking them way back before Mike Patton when they released "We Care A Lot" and I won't even tell you about the many missed spent Friday nights slam dancing with the punks down at one of the few alternative nightclubs in Melbourne. Mate, they even used to play REM's "It's the end of the world as we know it" plus the Cure, Tears for Fears, Simple Minds etc... Ah happy days.

You know I recall both the release of Angel Dust and King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime and owned both CD's. How good was the song Evidence? Haunting stuff and I really enjoy that song all these years later. Digging the Grave is outstanding too and I do note that the Foo Fighters (rock royalty if ever there was any) aped that particular style. But then you have to balance those songs off with Midlife Crisis, Everything's Ruined, A small victory and Land of Sunshine. They are both not just good, but very great albums! If I were being cheeky, I would suggest that they are an Epic band!!! ;-)!

Yeah, I watched some of their live footage from a recent festival of some of the songs off that new album and well, I can't say that I was impressed. And I totally second your opinion. One of the band members is now known for growing exceptionally large show winning pumpkins. But then one of the guys from Blur is apparently known for making cheese, and I saw him once on a video declaring that: Cheese is the new rock and roll.

The good thing about never having been cool, is that neither you nor I have yet peaked! ;-)! Hehe!!!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Thank you that is lovely. I enjoy the garden a great deal, and I also enjoy sharing it too. The formwork for the concrete steps is very hardy timber - and it has to be so as to avoid damage. There are a lot of concrete steps here.

As to bushfires, it doesn't look it from the outside, but all of the surfaces of the house are designed to withstand fire. Most of the materials and the combination of those materials were lifted straight from apartment blocks and firewalls between houses in the inner city - even the roof. It is a very strange house design this place! The place is a wolf in sheep's clothing although it is very hard to tell that from a casual visit. One of the reasons we constructed the house ourselves was that - not only was it cheaper - but we could pay very close attention to all of the joins which really are the weak links. The house can look after itself during a bushfire. However, on the off chance, I am caught out here by a bushfire there are five permanently mounted sprinklers facing downhill which can provide additional protection. You can see one of them in the photo in action on this weeks blog after being reconnected again to the water pump.

Exactly, ploughing ahead can be a total time waster and also a whole lot of unnecessary work. I hear you. Sometimes I just don't know what to do about a particular project though and am happy enough to live with a good enough result and that is when I plough ahead and don't worry about the result. I use such projects as a lesson so that I get the chance to observe how this stuff works in the real world. You would be amazed at the ideas we have come up with recently in relation to firewood and heating! I salute contemplation and creative spinning time, we don’t tend to do that enough as a society.

Bobcats are nice, and I would enjoy a free Bobcat, it is just that they work at a pace that is too fast for me. I need a more human and slower pace for some reason. Dunno why.

If you have received as much rain as I have received over the past few days, your mind will definitely be turning to road gravel! Fortunately I sorted that problem out a few years ago with a local crushed stone which contains good quantities of lime. It rolls flat and sets like concrete with the summer sun, but is still permeable to rainfall.

Cheers

Chris

Jason Heppenstall said...

Hi Chris,

Indeed - We Care a Lot has been going round in my head for years!

As for : "The good thing about never having been cool, is that neither you nor I have yet peaked!" Yes. I have a friend here in Penzance who has to deal with this. He's a pretty mean guitarist and is apparently quite well-known in Australia. Perhaps you can verify this for me - his name is Marty and his band was/is "The Church". Although he says they were very successful in Australia they never really made in over here (although his other band "All About Eve" are more well know here, among my cohort/age group/subset). Interestingly - from a peak resources perspective - he's creating a massive archive of music (CD, tape, vinyl) because he doesn't think the digital age will last!

Cheers,

Jason

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jason,

We care a lot! Gee they look like fun! ;-)!

Now way. Alright, here goes. The Church were a hugely influential band down here. Ask him about "Unguarded Moment" or "Under the Milky Way Tonight" which was their biggest song. The editor was quite fond of their song "Reptile".

Here is the band and you can confirm for yourself: The Church (band). Would you believe I heard them playing on the radio today!

No doubts that he is probably correct in that assertion.

What a small world it is.

Cheers

Chris

Jason Heppenstall said...

Aha - thought as much. I have checked them out previously out of curiosity. These days he spends most of his time in Stockholm running a record store - but he still has his archive here so I will ask him when I see him. Pointless comment: whenever we meet we speak Scandinavian together (me Danish, he Swedish) - simply because it's silly and confuses listeners.

BTW, this is his archive. He says it is the largest record collection on Earth, and who am I to disbelieve him?

http://www.indeepmusicarchive.net/marty-willson-piper/

Sorry - I will try and keep my comments more focused on your blog topic in future ;-)

Jason

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

The chickens are frozen on-site and cryovaced and we pick them up the next morning.

On an unrelated note, I went to Chicago overnight last Friday and spent the night at my sister's condo. While waiting to get off at my stop the conductor was telling another rider about heroin users in the washroom on the train and the fact that there is a lot of heroin use in the suburbs along the train line. He said that if the washroom was in use for longer than normal they would check what was going on (and in fact this happened that morning) as they found someone dead with the needle still in his arm. These are pretty affluent suburbs as well. Then my sister was telling me that she and her husband were considering moving from the city due to the crime and shootings going on in the city even in their very affluent and seemingly safe neighborhood.

Margaret

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Very poetic this week. I found your stuff on food forests very interesting. I bet that what grows the best is exactly what the local wildlife likes to eat. Hard work is the answer to everything I fear.

It is 31C here today under thick cloud, it would be lovely if it wasn't for the high humidity.

At the moment I am drowning under paperwork from the Land Registry. An erstwhile neighbour has put in an application for adverse possession of 2 pieces of land. The story is really too long and they are welcome as far as I am concerned. However it does affect one of my new neighbours and I am meeting him tomorrow to see if he wants anything done. I know that I own one of the bits and I may well own the other bit but they are of no use to me at all. The problem only arises because the Land Registry mucked up when I finally had registered everything in 1999. Land registering on the Island, only became compulsory in 1988.

Inge

Jason Heppenstall said...

Okay ... how weird is this???

So, I haven't actually seen Marty for two years as he has been touring the world with his band and living abroad. So, earlier today I wrote the comment above and just went out to the post office to send something. And who do I bump into literally a minute's walk from my front door?

Anyway, once I gotten over the shock I mentioned that you mentioned "Under the Milky Way Tonight"and said you'd just heard them on the radio. He sends his regards ;-)

Small world indeed. Sometimes I wonder who is running this show and what fun they are having ...

Jason

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Helen - I also read in class. I was caught by the teacher, from time to time, but managed the knack of parroting back to her, whatever she had been running on about :-). Then there was staying up way to late, reading books under the blankets by the light of a small flashlight (torch). Lew

Yo, Chris - Yup. Living in the hills gives one some peace of mind when the rain comes down. Just don't take any risks when you head down into the flatlands. Your not old enough to think you're immortal. :-) . Seems like every time we have flooding, here, there's always at least one old geezer who thinks the rules and signs don't apply to him. Usually, they find the body caught up on a fence, somewhere.

"...beats driving to work for some people." When I take the little highway into town, it seems that sometimes there's someone just dragging down the highway. Obviously in no hurry to get ... anywhere. What I've noticed is that the worst offenders usually end up turning into the big industrial park. Clearly, reluctantly heading into work. I really don't know what's down there, other than a large plant that converts natural gas into electricity.

You can go all the way back to Jamestown, Virginia (c. 1600) which was kind of a commune and see that kind of failure. I've been reading about that period, lately, and it's a pretty ghastly tale, the first years of colonization. Way too many "Gentlemen" and not enough laborers. The originally sent out assayers and glass makers ... but no farmers.

Re: temple .... "don't hold back." Be careful what you wish for. :-). When they were getting ready to build the new library in Chehalis, every time I worked at that branch, I'd leave two or three print outs from the net that looked like this ...

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/6a/1c/7b/6a1c7b4a748a61a5496f36ccc9ecb229.jpg

Well, that's pretty much what we got, though none will admit it was my idea. :-). Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Well. No water when I got up, this morning. That's the third time in a month. Oh, well. Silver lining. When I do my monthly look in at The Home, tomorrow, I can mention it to The Warden. No worries. I've got 30+ gallons of water stashed and can make a run over to the old farm to stock up on water to flush the bog, so I don't have to use the "good" stuff.

Speaking of the old farm, I was in the old orchard, yesterday, and made a great discovery. I was down in a corner of the orchard where I either haven't been, or, I just wasn't paying attention. I found a tree of pears that aren't buggy, to take to one of the library ladies. I don't care for pears, myself. But hate to see them go to waste. Any-who ....

You know how I'm always whining about there being no nuts up here? Well, I'm taking a breather from picking pears and I'm looking at two clumps of bushes and thinking "no ... yes ... no". Well. They are hazel nuts, aka filberts, aka cobb nuts. They seem to be all off the tree at this point, but I found several in the grass. I'm going to go back with a hand rake and see how many I can turn up. They've got a very high nutrient value. Some of the things I can do with them is make pralines ... which is a kind of confection usually made with pecan nuts. Or, I could even make some Nutella. There's plenty of recipes for home made on the net.

There was a note on the Wikipedia entry that 2,000 tonnes (2,200 tons) are imported into Australia, each year. Mostly to supply demand from the Cadbury candy company. Lew

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Chris,

It's worth noting I lean more to being honest. I may not be the best Canadian in that regard, but I fit quite well with my New York family. ;)

Ah, yes. I'll see what comes of it. With any luck it'll be something worth while, but if not, well, it's better to try and learn than never try and never learn, no? I'm a little amused at the thought of me leading it though: I think I'll take that role since it was my idea and I've handled communications so far, but for some reason it's amusing since in some social circles I'm still not fully regarded as an adult...

And yes, the value of money is decreasing because of speculation. It's not a bad thing, in my opinion. It has to go somewhere given how much new money is being made!

TalkingTrees said...

Hello

Of course, the limestone, you have mentioned it before but it takes time for information to percolate and become relevant in my own context. I think we have a lime works in our nearby town and crushed limestone is used on a few farm roads locally. We have had a lot less rain than you but our farm and the valley it's in could be mistaken for a part of Gippsland at present - so green. Of course everyone now worries about the potential fuel load for brushfire season.

The house sounds a clever use of existing technologies. A generator of peace of mind in a brushfire zone. Our old cottage has a cypress pine frame and floorboards. The term used for it was 'not defensible' as I recall. When our last brushfire came over the ridge to our SW I decamped into town. Our new house is more defensible because of the change in building codes after Black Saturday, however I do like the idea of your fire sprinklers.

Yes, indeed, we have reservations about bobcats too. The seductions of the quick fix of machine power versus ageing lady with wheelbarrow and shovel. We'll see how it goes I guess and move on from the neighbourly gesture in light of that and given that I enjoy my independence and want to maintain my capacity for hard work.

Lew, ah yes, reading through the night. A rolled up towel under the door blocked my reading lamp light. When you refer to the Warden of the home are you being humorous? It sounds as though your new situation will be more homely and not quite the long corridor - flanked with lounges and private rooms - leading to the funeral parlour that many aged care facilities tend to be here.

Warm Regards, Helen

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Oh, that is all very convenient with the chickens. Nice being cryo-vac packed too.

Yes, drugs are a serious problem down here too. My understanding is that ice is pretty common down here. An "affluent and seemingly safe neighborhood" is a target. There have been a lot of car jackings down here recently and whilst they tend to be economically motivated rather than drug related I've noticed that the crims tend to target high end vehicles - again the vehicles present a rich and easily disposed of target which nets a reasonable economic gain.

If we spent as much effort on reducing housing costs and providing jobs for people - particularly the disenfranchised youth - than policing and detention, then a lot of the problems would disappear. The problem is that in a declining economy, people have to give up wealth and perquisites so that other people can at least get some basic opportunities.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Reading about food forests in permaculture literature one of the benefits is less work - well maybe eventually. Keeping unwanted plant growth at bay takes a great deal of time and effort as you've illustrated here. I have a couple of friends who have their permaculture certification and seem to spend more time teaching than actually doing. One of them is working on a food forest mostly with nut trees.

I was wondering when you were building your house did you have to deal with permits and inspections? When we did the remodeling and expansion of our home and it really slowed down the process.

Margaret

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Yes, the lead singer is quite the poet. He is a prolific musician with many many side projects. Exactly, the animals living here are also a very good guide to what can be grown here. Mind you, increasing the diversity of plants also increases the diversity of animals and other life so there is a big feedback loop going on. Alas, I rather suspect that you are correct and your observation about hard work matches my experience. I enjoy hard work as long as it is undertaken at a sustainable pace.

Oh my! That is very uncomfortable conditions. Remember to take it easy. I don't have air conditioning - which I assume you do not? Dunno. Such weather is survivable, you just have to remember to pace yourself.

It is still raining here tonight too. My gut feeling is that it is about the second wettest rainfall event that I have experienced here. The first dumped 10 inches of rain in five days...

Oh, that is a complex scenario. I had to look up the definitions of both "erstwhile" and "adverse possession" so that I could get a feel for the legal context. Ouch. I assume that before 1988 some sort of old school land title system was actually in place on the island in the form of individual deeds? Yes adverse possession can occur down under too as we inherited the English legal system, although I have not heard of a claim for a very long time - and I believe it requires 7 years of continual occupation which the person has to prove - no easy feat. I feel for you being put into that position and I do note that often other people bring trouble to our doorsteps and this smells to me of trouble. The thing is, I wonder at their motivations for this claim, and from that understanding forwards the correct response becomes clear.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jason,

Wow! It really is a small world. The Church were really huge here and still have street cred today. Respect to Mr Marty! :-)!

Yes, I believe that there are few coincidences and that most definitely the powers that be are having fun.

It is still raining here. I hope I got some good photos of the local flooding.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate, our old geezers are cut with the same cloth as every time it floods some old geezer gets carried away by floodwaters (usually in his vehicle) whilst trying to drive across a flooded ford. The results are usually fatal. I've stood in a shallow fast moving local flood and I was truly amazed at the pressure of the moving water on my legs. Fortunately the local bridge was still driveable across the swollen river so all was good. I have seen that bridge underwater, but they have since repaired, reinforced and lifted the deck. And going back a long time, I once did a competitive ocean swim at a beach called “Safety Beach” and the swells were so huge, that at the bottom of the trough, I was touching the sand, only to get dumped again by the next big wave which were coming in quick succession. Safety Beach was a very big call (I had originally type the bog for some strange reason and perhaps you can take the credit for that typo? Hehe!) and I now do not enjoy swimming much at all.

Does that mean that we have yet to learn the hard lessons? You know the English did exactly the same thing down here with the First Fleet. Lots of urbanites and ne'er do well soldiers and very few if any farmers and fishermen. Of course, farmers and fishermen were less likely to be in trouble with the law and transported to the other side of the planet so perhaps that may have been the reason. It is interesting how little history is read between that original time of colonisation in the US and the civil war. I did note that the cosplay people who came out in force over at the ADR don't tend to want to be involved in the darker side of that early history...

Oh that temple is very cool. Very ancient Greek, if I had to suggest, or is it Roman inspired? Or did the Roman’s rip off the Greek's style? One of the local gardens here (an old hill station) actually has a temple surrounded by a small lake. It is very cool... Temple of the Winds. My budget may not quite stretch to either building. Yeah people can take good ideas and run with them and the credit is never placed where it should be. Life is like that and I did like your methodology in driving the process of design (subtly of course). :-)!

No water, no problems (well glad you have 30+ gallons of drinking quality water on hand for such emergencies). It is a small silver lining to be thankful for that’s for sure. Speaking of water it is still raining here tonight. Absolutely feral. And a few small springs have popped up in various spots about the farm. One of those springs has flooded my firewood shed. Fortunately, I can draw dry timber from the second firewood shed - although I'm probably one of the few houses up here with dry firewood now... I tried to get a photo of the spring as water was just gushing out of the ground, but it may not photograph well. Those springs will teach me to try and redirect all of the running water from the road into my orchards... Oh no! I even spotted an earthworm half out of the ground trying to get a break from all of the groundwater. This week may be a total wash out for work, but we'll see. It may surprise me yet. Some parts of the country are having records broken for spring and we are only two weeks into it...

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Hazelnuts are beautiful and I grow a few of them, although they are still a bit too young to produce hazelnuts. Yes, praline is a delight to taste. Did you end up harvesting many of the nuts? I knew what a filbert is, but not many people down here use that word. I assume you use a food processor to blitz them exactly as one would for peanuts into peanut butter?

Oh yeah, when I was in Hobart a few years ago, the editor and I took a guided tour of the Cadbury chocolate factory. Yum. Delightful. Yum! And at the end of the tour they chuck you in the seconds and factory outlet shop. So much chocolate, so little time... It did not look anything like the Willy Wonka factory and where were the Ooompa Loompas? That is what I want to know. It all looked very industrial to my factory trained eyes.

Are you off to the Little smoke tomorrow? I worked in the big smoke today.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B and Helen,

Thanks for the lovely comments, but I have run out of time and am actually a bit tired after working in the big smoke today. I promise to reply tomorrow evening.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

That's just so much rain! But you can think ahead towards the very hot and dry time to come and appreciate the wet now? I studied the Food Forest concept a bit, and started out trying to implement it here, but I immediately ran into problems, one of which is the one where we are trying to garden on a steep north-facing, forested slope (though, thank goodness, our trees are not so tall as your eucalyptus!). So, like you, we are already gardening in a forest. Our forest is pretty dense; not much dappled sunlight. I can see why our aborigines did burn-offs to get some light in here. And why they ate so many deer (necessity notwithstanding) as the deer leave very little undergrowth. The other problem I found was, like you, the competition among some of the more rampant plants for sun, soil, and water weakened other plants - especially fruit trees. Of course, with an 8 ft. (2 1/2 meters) wire fence, we are not growing in a natural situation. Only small, or climbing, wildlife can get in, where they are safe (somewhat unfortunately) from predators. The birds like it, though. So, I was trying to set up a natural structure in a very unnatural setting.

I still like what appears to be a village, like the photo of the new blackberry-on-terrace bed with a road leading up to the gate, through the village of "houses". Charming!

Thanks for sharing the step formwork. So simple, so sturdy; that's really nice.

As soon as I saw the rainbow, I thought of it having a pot at your house. But what's in it?

The round steel raised beds DO look really good.

Do you have a public gravel road that leads to your property? If so, what shape does it stay in?

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

Your train story, and your sister's concerns, are so sad. Unfortunately, even in our very small city the very same drug issues exist, though the overall level of crime is still pretty low, but rising.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Inge:

All the best with your land issue, and in dealing with the bureaucracy.

@ Lew:

And Jamestown, being built by a large marsh, had mosquitoes, mosquitoes, mosquitoes. Something we have a lot of this year, but they didn't have screens . . .

Pam

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Helen - Oh, I call it The Home, The Warden and the Inmates. Part humorous, part probably trying to defuse any ... anxiety about the change. After my free wheeling life, I'm sure the ... rules will chaff a bit. Oh, actually it's a pretty nice place, I guess (if you like that sort of thing :-). Individual one bedroom apartments. Several common rooms for this and that. You can stay there as long as you can take care of and cook for yourself. Otherwise, out you go!

@ Inge - Consult the Doomsday Book? :-) Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yeah, here it seems like some geezer sails right past a warning sign, stalls his car, gets out and away he goes! Another old guy went down to the end of his property to "check the level of the water" and was never seen again. Of course, I occasionally wonder if he's off on some desert isle, sipping exotic drinks. Probably not. Someone has just come out with a new book on people who engineer their own, supposed deaths or disappearances. Wasn't really interested enough to note the title or author. Funny, I never hear about any elderly women getting swept away. That probably says reams about our sex :-).

For reasons I know not why, I've always been interested in that period of history from about 1600 to the Revolution of 1776. Almost two hundred years of history that no one pays much attention to. I must say I did enjoy that series of lectures I watched from Great Courses, about American History before the Revolution. Lots going on.

Some of our Civil War enactors are so over the top when it comes to historic accuracy that they portray starvation, disease and scurvy. Way more soldiers died of disease than of actual battle wounds. Which brought about the first camp hygiene efforts, probably, since Roman times.

Well, the Greeks developed a lot of architectural methods and forms, then the Romans frosted the cake with more ornamentation and then innovative building materials such as cement and concrete. Some of it waterproof. And, pretty impressive domes, which hadn't been done on a large scale, before. I got another Great Course that I watched called "Understanding Greek and Roman Technology." Pretty complete and full of surprises.

That flooded firewood shed does not sound good. Better the logs than the chickens. Well, I suppose you could use a food processor on the hazel nuts. Or, as is suggested in some recipes, just whack at them with a rolling pin :-).

I got water back, late last night. I'll be happy if there's enough for me to catch a shave and a shower before I head to town. The weather has been pretty nice. 70s in the day and 40s at night. The rain is supposed to come back on Sunday. Lew

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

After planting way too many trees on my property I have learned, too late, that even here in the temperate, well rained on US Midwest (border of the drier prairies and wetter eastern broadleaf forest), the term "food forest" is a misnomer. "Food woodland" or "food savanna" would be more accurate. In these systems tree cover is lower, so there are sunny spots where more sun-loving crops can grow, for a higher productivity than a closed-canopy forest. Eventually I plan to write more about this in my blog, but I have at least one more post on a different topic to write first.

I'm in the middle of changing my plan for the new pollinator garden. I just hoed off the weedy cover and mulched the area, so starting this afternoon I'll be planting seedlings I rescued from other parts of the yard in late spring. When I first came up with the plan I didn't have the rescued seedlings, so I'd anticipated buying most of the plants. In that case I wanted a plan on paper to guide me, to avoid buying more plants than needed. Now I think I'll be buying fewer plants and I have some on hand that I didn't include in the plan, so I'm just going to start planting and see how the garden develops.

We had about 2.5 inches of welcomed rain last week and are looking at a good chance of more on Friday. Good temperatures for garden work too.

I too read in class. My college intro prob and stat teacher hated me for it because I sat in the front row and read openly while he was going over homework problems I'd had no trouble with. Then I'd correct his mistakes as he was working on the blackboard. I got an A, the best revenge.

Claire

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

Honesty is the best policy, but I reckon we can't ignore that we live in a society that displays some deceptive behaviour from time to time. Take guerrilla marketing techniques for example. Best to know about things as a personal armour is my take on that world. That was very funny too!

Ha! Well time will tell. Mind you, I've been in the company of adults who were acting as if they were children! :-)! It does happen from time to time.

Exactly, and that is where that excess money is going - Speculation. I am genuinely unsure as to how this one will turn out because there are social costs to pursuing that policy and those costs are mounting, not that anyone links the cause and effect of that relationship and possibly also it makes for unpleasant hearing. My gut feeling is that it is not really that different this time around and whilst the details may differ, the big picture is set in stone. Dunno. Funnelling the excess money supply into speculation and away from goods and services is an interesting tactic.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Yes, you can add the lime to your existing rock screenings too if you have any on the drive, but I reckon it needs a combination of rolling down (a car will do that trick), sunshine and water to really set a hard surface. The stuff really works. The local earthworks guy got me onto the screenings. Granite on its own tends to roll off the road. The small rocks are best if they are square edged and not round as the round ones act like ball bearings… Not good.

Yup 135mm of rain in two weeks will do that! It would be green in your part of the world too and yeah, Gippsland is rather green for most of the year. When February rolls around and the hot winds are blowing in from the centre of the continent I often wonder why I ended up here of all places. Oh well. It is very green here too right now and a couple of springs randomly popped up in strange locations and the water is very crystal clear. That happens every now and then. Although perhaps it would be better if the resulting water didn’t flow into my firewood shed… That concern about fire in the depths of winter is one of the things that I don't miss about the local CFA fire brigade. It could be 2'C degrees outside, definitely raining and possibly snowing or at least sleeting and the captain would be going on and on about how bad of a fire season it is going to be. By the time the fire season arrived, conditions were very different than anyone actually expected. But yeah, it would be rather sensible to keep the grass down and clean up before the fire season arrived. I plan to mow the place flat by about mid-October. I just use a little Honda 19 inch push mower and it involves a lot of walking (about 3 days), but I do get to observe the entire farm... It is too steep for an affordable ride on mower.

Don't laugh but people have told me that this place is not defensible either... We'll never really know what happens until it happens. The sprinklers are really cheap and quick to put in and you never quite know when you may be caught out and unaware of an approaching fire – like the middle of the night. The thing is you have to be able to power the water pump and supply water to the sprinklers. The power often goes out - for the simple reason that smoke conducts electricity and not to mention water from firefighting efforts - and a petrol generator would be very hard to start as the fuel/air mixture vaporises in the carburettor. Electric pumps are good and diesel is also good but expensive. Just a few random thoughts. Town water tends to switch off or also possibly be over used and I've seen that happen.

A wheelbarrow and shovel are very human tools and I use them all of the time too. Ha! If you can use those, you aren't old at all!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

You betcha - "eventually" - is the correct word! Trees take an inordinate amount of time to grow to maturity too. A macadamia tree takes 10 years of growth before there is any possibility of nuts and here it will probably be 20 years because it is far out of its normal range. You just can't fast track a forest system no matter what you do or want. I read books and articles on the subject and never undertook a course as I found most of the places looked very unappealing to me. That is not to disparage them, but it just didn't appeal to my sensibilities. And the courses do appear to be a bit ponzi scheme like. I'd much rather be out in the world and seeing how this stuff works. Mind you, in the long distant past sometime tried to flog me Amway products under the guise of a unique business opportunity so perhaps I have a streak of healthy cynicism...

Nut trees are really interesting to me as they grow like the spoiled children of the fruit tree world. Down here, they all have to be cared for, fed and watered to get them properly established and even then they are just as likely to keel over and die. I've given up on walnuts after killing three of them and I have no idea why even now. But almonds, chestnuts, horse chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamias and pecans all seem to do OK, but they are finicky.

Oh yeah. The permit system down here could be politely described by the word: Byzantine. To save everyone the hassle of looking up the definition of that word it means: (of a system or situation) excessively complicated, and typically involving a great deal of administrative detail.

I have three folders full of the information required by a whole bunch of different parties relating to the permit. I did that work myself as I can handle pedants and I thought that outsourcing the work would introduce yet another layer of people in an already crazy process. The system here is really intended – from my perspective - to scare you into purchasing a project house because I can't think of any other reason why it would be so mind bogglingly complex. Certainly people under-estimate the complexity of that system and they quickly become discouraged. I managed to resolve everything within 6 months and that is considered speedy. I sweated on the inspections too, but the guy was really positive about the work so it all turned out OK.

What sort of hassles are you having?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

The rain is feral as! 5.3 inches in two weeks is almost too much, and more is expected next Tuesday... Absolutely, I get every drop of water into the ground so hopefully it stays there and helps break down the organic matter into soil as well! The plants are loving it, and the asparagus is almost - Triffid like - jumping out of the ground. I never realised how much water those plants can handle. No wonder they live near swamps.

Exactly, if the sun reaches the soil in our conditions, there is increased life and diversity of that life. Burning the forest in small patches to achieve that aim is the easiest and simplest way to do that. A closed and very dense forest doesn't support that much in the way of bird and animal life. The slope here is south west facing, so that isn't that much different from your north facing land, although south facing land here can be very damp.

That is so true. The fruit trees require less competition in order to grow quickly and fruit prolifically. I see that difference in growth in the fruit trees here by comparing that to how fast they grow in the surrounding towns where competition for light, water and minerals is far less intense in a simple environment.

Sometimes you have to fence. Deer are voracious animals from my brief experience of them and they can be quite destructive. I couldn't believe when they ate the bark of some of my apple trees - which seem to have survived that incident... I would hate to think what herds of them could do...

Thanks! I'm hoping that village can expand between all of the rainfall over the next few days. I enjoy trying to make this stuff look attractive too. :-)!

Probably corn chowder? Maybe, or roast vegetables, maybe even some lentils, but unfortunately no gold. I am taking donations of gold? Anyone??? :-)! Some dude found a massive gold nugget in central Victoria recently.

Yeah, those raised round garden beds are worth their weight in gold during these sorts of heavy rainfall as they never flood. The rain soaks in but the roots never get a chance to rot. The guy that makes them has an amazing business and he was in an old industrial estate in an old country town. He grew lots of example round garden beds too.

Oh no, gravel would be good, but the road is local clay and as winter wears on, potholes form. The local council grades and then rolls the road twice per year as I guess thanks for the $2.5k in council taxes they take each year. There are a lot of potholes in the road right now and it can be quite the challenge to drive it - especially in the editors little Suzuki Swift. Over summer it becomes corrugated and those can shake the teeth out of your head! A few weeks back I noticed that the council filled in a few of the potholes - sort of randomly - and put up warning signs... I'm actually grateful that they didn't grade the road then as it may have become impassable.

What are your roads like?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

We have just had the hottest September day since 1911, sheer heaven. I don't have air conditioning and don't know of any home that has it. I only encounter it in supermarkets and then I wish that I had gloves on.

I think that the adverse possession here is 10/12 years and 60 years if it is foreshore which usually belongs to the crown. It is really just an irritation to me as the claimed land is not adjacent to my land anymore.

I now realise what we have in common here, it is our reading habits. I used to read a book while walking home from school. It was a time when I could guarantee that I wasn't being requested to do something else. Surprisingly, I never collided with anything.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

It does make you wonder why those individuals would do that? The last time the bridge here was completely flooded over about five years ago, I took one look at the water where the road and bridge used to be and said to myself "No way" and despite it being near midnight and I wanted to get home and to bed, I drove the long way around the mountain range and made it home safely. Up in the far north of the continent, I've seen people cooling off in rivers where there are signs warning people about possible crocodile attack, and yet every now and then I spotted someone ignoring the signs. If you have the internet bandwidth there is some footage of cars crossing the crocodile infested waters of Cahills Crossing on the East Alligator River. I mean, they didn't call that river, the East Teddy Bear River... Those Teddy Bears can be vicious nasty things - look at Pooh Bear for example, he might look all smiley and stuff, but get between him and a pot of honey and you are complete toast! Hehe. Oh sorry, I digress, where is this video link... Crocodiles, Cars & Trucks At Cahills Crossing .

Yup, I seriously can't argue with you about that at all and certainly the numbers are stacked against the male of the species. Although to be fair, I recall a year or two back that an elderly lady accidentally ended her life by throwing petrol on a bonfire down this way... Not good. Same, same, but different... I used to read the Darwin Awards but it became a bit distressing…

Engineering their own, supposed deaths or disappearances is a bit creepy. Earlier in the year I went to the comedy festival to see the comedian Greg Fleet, who let's be totally honest about it, he has or had a problem with serious drugs, but his dad actually did that disappearing act - and the family eventually found out about it years later after mourning the guys death. Mate, things like that would mess with your head. At least I knew my dad was a dirt bag - there was little room for possibilities on that score. :-)!

Well it is an interesting period of time. And some of it would have been total anarchy. It is fascinating how people tend to ignore that part of your history and I have wondered about that matter. You may be interested to know that it has only been probably in my lifetime that discussions about the convicts here could even have been had. Before then it was treated like a dark family secret which was sort of hard to ignore, but ignore it they did. Bill Bryson noted that we were very law abiding down here for some strange reason and I've often wondered whether the two matters were linked in some strange way? Dunno. Certainly US history before the Civil War would have been like the wild west and the movement in culture towards the Civil War would have heralded a certain sort of rise in central governance of your affairs and culture.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

It was interesting that with the Civil War, the Europeans were all too happy to drop by and check out how the war was playing out. I always thought that that was odd because it does seem a bit weird, but then they were there as observers. Dunno.

I reckon germ theory may be lost in the far future.

Ah of course, the Romans were wealthier so they added more bling to their architecture. Don't laugh, but I love cement and concrete and I facetiously call them: Liquid rock! The waterproofing of that stuff can be improved by adding more general purpose cement powder to the sand and aggregate/rock mix. The mix of the three ingredients determines the final product qualities and I have an unfortunate weakness for over engineering wherever economically feasible. The domes are very cool. Mate, those structures would have been fiendishly difficult to construct. I could replicate one, but far out it would be a lot of work and very complex formwork and sloooooow too. I mean how do you stop the wet cement mix from slumping down from the peak of the dome whilst ensuring that the finished dome had few if any cracks? I once had the pleasure of learning hard plastering skills from an old dude that repaired old houses with solid plaster for a living. The guy had incredible skills and it was a pleasure to learn from him. Of course, I never quite achieved the same finish, but most people would be unable to notice the difference.

What other technologies did they have? I recall that Monty Python had a thing for the Roman aqueducts.

Thanks. Fortunately the firewood shed was nearing an empty state so it is not so bad, although the bottom layer of timber is now very wet and it will take some seriously hot days before the shed and firewood becomes dry again. The springs were amazing to see - water was just gushing out of the ground as if someone had turned a tap on at that point. I suspect that the orchard won't require any watering for a couple of months...

Yes, the rolling pin will probably do the trick, although there may be some splatter... That will give something for the crime scene investigators to wonder about? ;-)! I can just see them now looking in the kitchen at that the hazelnut splats saying: We've found some trace and we're unsure what the substance is, it may be blood spatter... Hehe!

Your weather sounds lovely. We should organise a swap over for the weather? Glad to read that the water is back on again at your place. That system would drive me bananas - you on the other hand are very stoic. I hope you get a place at the home.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Exactly, your local conditions mean that your "food forest" has to be a "food woodland or savannah". You are so correct as the savannah sits between the wetter forests and the drier prairies (or grasslands). A lot of drier oak species love living down under and in the past week I had the pleasure of being introduced to a 100+ year old cork oak which had a beautiful weeping habit. I look forward to reading your thoughts and experiences in relation to this topic. The local forest here is very tall, but it is also an open forest, so little wonder my "food forest" has to replicate that arrangement. The competition by the various plants for sunlight, water and minerals is more extreme than I even guessed.

That is awesome to read. How good are rescued seedlings too? And a dollar saved is a dollar earned as far as I'm concerned. It is amazing how many of the seedlings appear in all sorts of spots and the interesting thing about them is that they've naturalised to your environment so they should be really hardy. I'm interested in your thoughts on this matter as I was concerned about the long term genetic viability of those volunteer plants, but to counter that, I've still been bringing in new seeds every year. Do you feel that this may be a problem? I wish you all the best for the pollinator garden and I do hope that you get to observe an increase in productivity – or even disease resistance - of all of your plants in return for the work.

Your weather conditions sound almost perfect for gardening. I'm hoping to get outside tomorrow... Maybe... The reason the rain has been so extreme here is that our winters are warmer than your part of the world, so they are much wetter and the rainfall occurred at the end of winter when the groundwater table was already high. I'm unsure whether you are aware but there is one massive storm bearing down on Taiwan and China...

Good for you! I love reading too. And well done with the statistics result and top work too with the corrections. And yes, teachers are putting themselves out there, so they should be able to stand a few corrections as they can't realistically be expected to know everything. Statistics was the only form of maths that made total sense to me, although that may have been something to do with the practicalities of the subject and honestly in year 9 maths I had the most annoying person in the school sitting next to me. What a nuisance. That's life. It was not meant to be.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Highest September temperature since 1911 as 34.4C recorded! Wow. The photos in the article looked like most people were having a lovely time - although too bad about the torrential rain in the north...

I must apologise because I was chuckling to myself about the heat wave claims, but then all things are relative and need to be put into context. Yes, 34.4'C is a lovely temperature a nice summers day. I'll bet your forest is enjoying soaking up that warmth, what with the ample supplies of groundwater too? Have you noticed any changes in the forest with the heat? English Oak are very tough trees and they are very drought and heat tolerant down here. The Elm’s are very drought and heat hardy too. It makes me wonder at the climate over time that those trees have faced given they have such wide adaptions?

Thanks for the explanation. It is 7 years down here, but I don't believe a person could try that on waterways and coastlines which are most often crown land down here. I did note few years ago, a very wealthy dude attempted to annex off part of a very exclusive beach and he was met with late night chainsaw operators and later legal challenges. I suspect his grasping nature took things too far.

Fair enough, only you will be aware of the complete situation but I am always a bit weary of people who appear to be avaricious or making claims that can be construed as that behaviour. Dunno.

Haha! We are all bookworms! :-)! Lovely!

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Pam,

Our town is also quite small and we have, like most towns now in the area, have quite a gang problem and of course drugs go along with that. When I began teaching here in 1988 there were no gang issues but they began shortly thereafter. There is a lot of influence from the big gangs in Chicago and other large cities. They get to the kids when they are really quite young. Many, but not all, are Hispanic. A lot of the Mexican families here started out as migrant workers on some of our large farms. There are no more migrants now but many families stayed. The families mostly come from very poor parts of Mexico and are lucky to have a 3rd grade education. The kids run circles around the parents who often don't speak English and are working several jobs to get ahead. On a good note many of the families who have been here for some time are becoming much more active in the community when before they tended to have their own separate culture. The kids are much more involved in leadership roles and sports at school too. Many of the gang members or wanna bees were my students as I taught in a drop out prevention/at-risk program. I got to know them quite well and their families and almost all were very respectful to me and nice kids but just ended up on the wrong path.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Old guys offing themselves: hubris and nemesis. There are some words I just like the sound of. Never mind the definitions. :-).

East Teddy Bear river. That is funny. When I was rooting around looking for nuts, it occurred to me that the "fluffy woodland creatures" may have gotten some of them. And, I was reflecting how that sounds all Disney and all. But, from my point of view, they are just ravenous beasties stealing food out of my mouth :-). Actually, probably not. I didn't see any shells lying around. Off of two rather immature trees, I got 5 or 6 inches in the bottom of a two gallon bucket. That includes husks. I'm say I'm going to get a very small batch of nutella, or a smallish batch of pralines. Probably not both. I was curious as to if dearly departed Brother Bob the Bachelor Farmer had actually planted the filberts, for it they were wild. There was old twine on one of the clumps. So, intentional.

I also found another mystery fruit. A small tree I noticed with large, light yellow fruit on it. Very solid. Knobby. I'm pretty sure it's quince. Yup. I don't get out much. Quince is outside my area of experience. Also found some Nashi pear.

Engineered deaths of disappearances. When Mt. St. Helens blew, there was some guy who they thought was a victim. LOL. He turned up three years later. He had several ex-wives and numerous children that the support payments were getting onerous. Oddly, the thought crossed my mind when the mountain blew. I think there was a case or two after 9/11. Stephen King's dad went out for a pack of cigarettes and never came back. Agatha Christie disappeared for a few days. Cont.

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

The problems we had were when we were remodeling/adding on for the arrival of my three brothers. First it was the septic field which had to be enlarged due to the number of bedrooms. Never mind that the same number of people lived in the house when we bought it (though 4 were children) it was all based on the number of bedrooms. The new enlarge field took out trees we had planted and part of my garden.

Then after the plans had been approved by the county an inspector would come at various times. First we had to take out a drain in the garage which had been approved. Another time the stairs to the basement were 1/4 inch too short which meant the entire staircase had to be reconfigured. There were more I'm sure. This delayed the project each time. One brother lived with us during the construction and the other two were with two separate sisters - one was not in an optimal situation either as he had my sister wrapped around his finger. We had to change many bad habits once he moved in with us. All in all it was the most stressful time of my life but we did find much humor in the situation. My sisters and I would exchange emails which turned into very humorous "Brother Updates". Some of the subject titles included "Handcuffs, canine unit and the IRS" and Toads, sweaty sleeping bags and medical miracles" I remember one quote from one sister "When I heard the familiar sound of police radios downstairs I knew Patrick was in trouble again." We often talked about writing a book and how it could be turned into a made for TV movie. I had dibs on Sally Field to play me.

So glad you have some dry wood and those great raised garden beds.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Yes, why don't we hear much about that 200 years before the Great and Glorious Revolution (tongue firmly in cheek)? Well, the Pilgrims get center stage, and the Great Courses lectures speculated that this was because most of the major Victorian historians were from New England. And, from the lectures I watched, things were VERY complicated. Politically. You had the major players, the English, French and Spanish. Occasional walk-ons by the Dutch and even the Swedes. The Native American tribes were shifting alliances. The European powers were playing off the tribes against each other, and other European powers. The Pilgrims and local Native American tribe got on well for the first 50 years as they had a kind of mutual defense pact.

I hadn't really thought much about the European powers and our Civil War. I'll have to look into that. I know there was a bit of dithering, because European powers wanted to remain fairly neutral until maybe a clear winner became apparent.

It's been awhile since I watched the Greek and Roman Technology lectures. I'll have to consult the book that came with it, for other technologies. I know the Romans had pumps to empty water out of their mines. There were water wheels. Surveying was a high art.

Stopped by the Home and I'm number 12 on the list. Probably more like number 10. But, officially, number 12.

Well. Got to run. My friend Scott is cleaning out a freeze and there may be goodies to be had. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The warm weather has made no difference at all to the woods. The big difference was the mild, very wet winter which has caused phenomenal growth.

Hazel grows very happily here. Far from planting it, we keep removing it or it would be too thick to walk through. At the moment the squirrels are hiding the nuts in the soil where my veg's are growing.

Inge

TalkingTrees said...

Hello

Our farm consists of valley floor lined with rock shelf, hillside made up of tumbled rock and rock shelf and some small patches of very sweet topsoil. Our tree canopy, where it exists, is fairly open, box-wood country. Food forests are hard to imagine when the sweet spots are better used as annual vegetable growing areas or too far away to be usefully managed. I dream of a Yeoman driven dam system but then the reality is those rock shelves so we are grateful for the dams we have. Hazelnuts definitely need more water than we can manage, although just a few nut trees do well here. We have two very large and fairly prolific walnut trees, Chris, and the birds thank us for every harvest they collect!

I did a PC design course nearly 20 years ago and whilst I learned a lot what was most enjoyable was the mix of the group. Very diverse and interesting. It was in that group setting that I met an open-mindedness that I think is rare enough. The teacher was an exemplary permaculturist in her home setting, the house she used to teach from and who also worked hard in the local community gardens. Perhaps those who don't teach and do permaculture well find it hard to create something meaningful out of permaculture? Those who have some success at it work very hard and seem to build out from permaculture rather than do it by the book.

W.B. I have to say that I have always found those amongst the younger generations who are mature and thoughtful. I'm often surprised by young women and men who have the confidence and capacity to act outside of or maybe in spite of, the presumptions of a the social worlds we live in. Less surprised and even more delighted the older I get though.

Lew, I've always hoped for an at arms length slightly communal old age with some room for a little bit of order but not too much. I'm learning to curb such wild ideas. Hopefully your home allows the best elements of continued independence plus a more comfortable living situation. You're right. Treating such serious stuff lightly is the only way to go.

Warm Regards, Helen.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Those are great words. One of our ex-Prime Ministers famously quipped that: "the only thing we have to fear is hubris". After about a decade, he eventually lost his seat in the election. My gut feeling about that loss has always been that he failed to oversee a proper succession of power and held on until it was dragged from his hands. Do you reckon that is hubris? A prime minister losing their seat in an election is almost unheard of here as they are usually planted in "safe seats". Thanks for the word: "Nemesis". I'd only ever used that word in the context of "a long-standing rival; an arch-enemy." eg. Star Trek covered that story! ;-)! But I was not aware of the context: "a downfall caused by an inescapable agent." That word is a good metaphor for our current situation as a society, don't you think?

I'm mostly cool with the ravenous fluffy beasties that inhabit this forest (I include myself in that category as well!) and it is hard but I try to produce enough of a surplus so that the whole situation becomes a moot point. That is easier said than done though, and occasionally I would like to enjoy some Asian Nashi Pears which really do taste great off the tree. You’re also competing with all of the soil critters too with those hazelnuts. They would be onto that business for sure! Brother Bob was a long sighted bloke to have thought so far ahead into the future. From what you've told me in the past about him, I reckon he would be pleased that you are harvesting some of those nuts. And I am personally very curious to hear how the nutella or praline tastes? Yum! You rarely see hazelnuts for sale down here which is why I grow quite a few of the plants. They are slow growing it seems and have many, many trunks...

Ha! Lucky you finding the ultimate fruit - quince. Yum!!!! That is not one for fresh eating though and they are best consumed stewed with a bit of sugar and a few cloves. I tend to wash the furriness off the fruit too, but stew the skins, and dice the fruit into small cubes. The cores can be quite hard too, so I chuck them into the worm farm. Yum! I'll be very interested to read what your opinion of them is? Of course you may find the taste not to your liking and that is all cool.

Yeah, those natural disaster situations tend to encourage that sort of thing. I wasn't aware of Stephen King's or Agatha Christie's personal stories. Some people need time to go "walk about" and there is not really much of an opportunity for that down time in our culture. During the Great Depression, the swagmen hit the country roads looking for work or lodgings and feed for work. A “swag” by the way is a small canvas sleeping tent that you can carry on your back or on a horse. It was usually oiled canvas so it was reasonably water resistant. I suppose nowadays they would be called Drifters in your part of the world which has an unpleasant connotation. Do you ever see Drifters?

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Divide and conquer sounds like the strategy in those days. I'm curious as to how the English managed to become the dominant power in your part of the world in those days given all of the different European players? Of course they appeared to have had the edge on the open waters, but still there is only so far that that tactic can take a country. Of course the Revolution changed all that.

My understanding is that the European powers were observing how the war was progressing and also how the technology and tactics were being employed in that war. No doubt that there were financial considerations too for the Europeans.

Water wheels are a handy technology for a constant source of energy and I can see that surveying would have been an important cultural artefact for the Romans as people argued incessantly about who owned what bit of land. A bit of accuracy never hurts in such situations. I once had to have a modern surveyor re-survey a Victorian era house which was built in 1890. Unsurprisingly they found that everyone on the street had built slightly off their allotments and I had the choice of purchasing a small sliver of land off my neighbour for a truly crazy amount of money - or don't build on that land. I chose the latter option as the situation had become mildly surreal and I lacked the resources to purchase a small sliver of land for a huge sum of money... The property was about only 16.4 feet wide to begin with... Insanity.

Your lucky numbers may turn up soon! You are certainly progressing (if I may use that word) up the list at a rapid rate.

Lucky you! I hope that you score some quality goodies from the freezer.

It didn't rain at all here today. What's going on? Fortunately, rain is predicted for tomorrow evening. I saw this article on the weather website. Poor bloke: Body found in Victorian dam where farmer went missing in floodwater.

Poopy is in total disgrace today as he bit the dog grooming lady today, whom he has known for at least seven years. It is not funny at all and he is lucky that nobody is demanding that he be put down. We are all in a bit of shock about it.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Of course, they use that particular metric of number of bedrooms too down here when determining the size of the leach field of a sewage system. It is so weird because as you quite correctly point out, a person could have twenty people living in a one bedroom house or one person living in a four bedroom house. Exactly, the whole system appears to me to be a legal response rather than anything approaching a common sense solution. The health inspector here from the local council did not make a good impression during installation of the system either and he demanded that we double the size of the leach field on a whim and I had to pay for it. Why anyone would believe that I would waste 1,800 litres of water per day is well beyond my understanding. He was also very disparaging. Still, his silliness gave me a couple of cards up my sleeve to play should push come to shove - as I suspect it will. The council you see has had their annual tax increase of 5% to 6% limited by the state government to 2.5% and so I sort of suspect that they will be looking for new sources of revenue shortly to fund their ever expanding avaricious inclinations... The previous increases are unsustainable for the local population. It is too much.

Your brothers are lucky to have such caring sisters who are concerned about their welfare. Of course life is rarely perfect and most often it twists and turns in unexpected ways. And yeah, Sally Fields would do very nicely for that role! :-)!

Thanks, today the rain has stopped, but there are a few more rain events to come over the next week or two. Still, we survive and the orchard is loving the additional water.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

That is interesting to read. I wonder if your winters will become milder and as a consequence of global warming, and thus more damp, as the years go on? Certainly, I am seeing that here. The winters are milder and thus much wetter. The old timers used to say that a cold winter is a dry winter and I have no reason to doubt their wisdom.

Ha! That is funny to read. It reminds me an awful lot about your concern about me growing fenced in blackberries just for the berry harvest! Oh, what I would give for wild hazelnuts growing in the surrounding forest. Yum!

I'll tell you a funny story about hiding produce in soil: This evening I removed two wheelbarrow loads of deep litter from the chicken run. As I was pouring the litter from the wheelbarrow into a garden area a small egg bounced out as it had been buried in the deep litter by the chickens. The egg was warm to touch which was very odd. As I had no idea how long the egg had been in the litter, I took it into the kitchen and cracked it open and put it into a dog bowl so as to feed to the dogs. Well, I had a total surprise because the egg was hard boiled... The heat from the bacterial action in the litter (a mix of chicken manure, used straw bedding and a little bit of rainfall) had cooked the egg. I took a photo and will put it on next week’s blog! Who would have thought that was even possible?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Thanks for the clear description of your country. Box-wood country can really come alive after rain! And it is nice to hear that all those rocks have produced some quality and rich top soil here and there. Unfortunately nature rarely takes our considerations into account on that front. Did the minerals accumulate at any point in your valley? Yes, a yeoman's style of one dam filling the next would be a good outcome anywhere. Water will not remain on the soil surface here for very long without dam liners and/or bentonite clay brought in at great expense.

You may be interested to know that even here, I planted the hazelnuts in the afternoon summer shade of the forest. They get a bit of morning summer sun and then that is it. They require less water that way, but on the other hand they are very slow growing... The chestnuts are very hungry for water too during summer apparently until they are well established. And the pecan looks like it may be enjoying a drink from the worm-farm leach fields... The almonds are very low stress and are just happy to do their thing but will lose leaves if they become too water stressed. Lucky you getting two large walnut trees established. Those are beautiful trees. Huge and shady, like a giant horse-chestnut or oak tree. Out of curiosity, can you tell me something about how you got them established, or what conditions they grow in? I'd be really grateful for any advice with those trees.

Yes, the local parrots (Rosella's and King Parrots) consume all manner of summer fruit. I feed a lot of wildlife. But I don't begrudge them their share as they live here too and they provide a lot of manure. With 300 diverse fruit trees there is always something they seem to miss. Plus in the past few years I've been using the birds to let me know when a particular fruit is just about ripe. The birds you see, seem to want to consume slightly under ripe fruit for some strange reason. I leave lots of safe water out for them all year round too. They teach me and I learn.

Thanks for sharing your experience about your PDC course. I am very positive about those courses, but of course I have a strong feeling that the PDC course is a beginning and not an end point and I have known people to be rather confused about that matter. There is truth in what you say about "Perhaps those who don't teach and do permaculture well find it hard to create something meaningful out of permaculture?" Exactly, it is a tool for the toolbox and a person has to learn to use that tool wisely and not try to replicate an ideal situation. No situation I reckon is ever ideal and you simply have to take everything you have ever learned and apply it to that situation and then be prepared to learn a whole lot of new stuff. This growing of things is one complex business and it is right up there with some of the most complex things I have ever undertaken. I enjoy the challenge, but sometimes it can be very challenging, but also rewarding. I am forever learning new things here. It never stops.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

I, too, am shocked at Poopy's behavior, though I suspect that there is a valid reason behind it. Could it be that he has a pain somewhere that no-one has discovered and that the groomer inadvertently aggravated it? My parents' dog - always a very gentle dog - bit my dad once when he was putting a harness on her; no-one had known that she had a sore shoulder. She was heading into doggie old age at the time, too; perhaps some arthritis there, also.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I agree with the old timers. Here, a dry winter is cold and a warm one is wet. Rain and thunderstorms last night causing floods and a train derailment. We were lucky here as we just had rain and the thunder could be heard in the distance but never came close.

Hazels will produce nuts 2 years after being coppiced here.

Inge

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Margaret:

Your description of your town sounds very much similar to my town, even down to the Hispanic agricultural workers - many still actually do work in the chicken farms and processing plants in the Shenandoah valley. Like your place, the Hispanic people have become much more involved in the community recently. And Black people have been community leaders here for a long time now. We are a refugee resettlement center, too, and have an amazing number of people from a huge number of different countries who now live here. It is really fascinating to try and guess where people have come from (I always have to ask). The big city that influences our area is Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, it's a fairly short ride down the road for gang members up there to visit their comrades down here, and recruit new, young members. Many years ago, D.C. used to be a pretty fun place to visit. Not so much any more, though 9/11 is a large part of that, not just the criminal activity.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Lew:

"Old guys offing themselves: hubris and nemesis." The laugh of the day!

Pam

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Hi Chris,

I have a personal approach of honesty, and I assume people in general, in a one on one interaction, are honest until I see otherwise, but I feel groups are where honesty goes to die. I also pay attention for when people lie to me so I know for future reference, and I also know people can be completely honest, and still wrong. I do it myself a fair bit.

I volunteer with children a fair bit, and I honestly think it's not far wrong to say most adults are about as mature as the average ten year old. This is both because kids can be far more mature than people generally give them credit for, and also adults far more immature. This is obviously a bit of an exaggeration, but it's far closer than most people think!

The green wizards group turned out far better than I had thought possible: there were five of us, which is a great start up, and we spent over two hours chatting and discussing a wide range of topics. We scheduled our next meeting, and I feel this is a complete success. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact one of my professors showed up though, quite the coincidence, isn't it?

I personally prefer that the excess money go into speculation, hyperinflation is a nasty state of affairs. The costs are mounting, which is a bad thing, once they grow high enough the set up may collapse. I fully expect to see hyperinflation in the near future, but for now, to my knowledge this tactic has never been tried, so we're in uncharted waters, which is more worrying to me than dealing with something with historical precedent.

Helen,

Thank you for that! In most circles I'm an adult, but there are still a few people who refuse to recognize university students as adults. I tend to avoid those people, but it happens. And I think it's easier to challenge norms when younger, because right now I don't have a whole lot invested in them, while I'm sure it would be far harder if I were older and more invested in society. I'm not sure about that though, but I suppose I'll see.

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Helen - Well, The Home has all kinds of activities going on. Everything from a weekly potluck to bingo. But The Warden made it very clear that The Inmates can participate ... or not. Lew

Yo, Chris - Nemesis was an actual Greek goddess. You could visit her temple and leave a little something to buy her off :-). Hubris was also Greek, but more a concept, than a personage.

Yeah, the hazel nuts are "many trunked." That's for sure. That's why I hesitated to call it a tree. More of a bush, but not quit. I bet they make great hedgerow plants?

LOL. About the only time I hear the term "drifter" is in some old western movie or tv show. What I do hear is hobo, tramp or bum. People use them interchangeably, but they actually mean distinctive things. A Hobo, travels looking for work. A Tramp travels, but avoids work when possible. A Bum neither travels nor works. Then there's "Bush Vets", which may, or may not really exist. The politically correct catch all, these days, seems to be "homeless."

It's really hard to tell who's homeless and here for the long haul, or, just passing through. Sleeping bag and back packs are a tip off. There's one old guy I've seen around for years. Don't know what his story is. I never see him at rest. He's always on his way ... somewhere. A man on a mission. There is a homeless camp or two, between Chehalis and Centralia, up in the hills.

My Dad left home at 14, during the Depression and "Rode the Rails." As with so much of his past, he never really talked about it, at all. Just those bare facts. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. There was so much involved in Roman surveying, besides property boundaries. City planning, straight roads .... the gentle,
imperceptible "fall" of and aqueduct over long distances, to keep the water flowing. Ah, here it is. "City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction" by David Macaulay. Macaulay did so many marvelous books full of marvelous pen and ink drawings. "Castle", "Pyramid", "Cathedral." Ah, I knew Public Television had done a film based on his book. Macaulay is the presenter. It's about an hour long.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eexThHquNmk

Inch by inch, foot by foot, the English claimed the Eastern seaboard of the US. It seemed to play out a bit differently in different places. A look at what happened in New Amsterdam (aka, New York City) is instructive.

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

Well, I got some pretty good swag :-) out of Scott's freezer. A bit of sausage and bacon. Some nice looking white fish, species unknown. Lots of frozen strawberries. And a dozen plus jars of freezer jam. Looks to be raspberry and strawberry. And, when I eat them up, I'll have a good clutch of pint canning jars.

Notice the age on the guy that ended up in the drink. 84. Yup. Thought he was immortal.

I wonder what got into Poopy? Sometimes, I think for one reason or another, like us, animals just have "bad days." Or, maybe her teeth were bothering her? Not long ago, I came up behind Beau when he was eating and he nipped at me. Didn't connect, but like you, I was pretty startled. It was just so out of character for him. Now I make sure if I'm behind him that I make a noise and let him know I'm there. Nell occasionally take a nip at me. Usually, it's being playful, sometimes she irritated. Lew

orchidwallis said...

@ Lew

I have hazel hedges and they are bushes really, not trees.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam, Inge, W.B and Lewis,

Thanks for the lovely comments. The rain stopped today and the sun shone, so I got up very early and spent all day digging. Until it started raining again at about 5pm... What's going on?

I'm absolutely hammered and promise to respond to your comments tomorrow night.

Cheers

Chris

Pam in Virginia said...

@ W.B.:

I have your same approach, I think, of "I have a personal approach of honesty, and I assume people in general, in a one on one interaction, are honest until I see otherwise", except that I might also call it "Trust and verify". It goes back to respect again. How can one respect a person if one automatically assumes the worst of them, instead of the best? When I was young I used to lie like a dog. My parents were very strict and it seemed (to me, at least) that I got in trouble for absolutely everything. So, I told them whatever I thought that they wanted to hear. When a good bit older, I eventually learned that lying can get one into even more trouble (that tangled web, eh?) and, I hope, gave it up.

I am so happy that your meet-up went well. The appearance of your professor is interesting. Did he/she say how he/she heard about it? Perhaps you made a comment in the past about the Archdruid's blog and your professor had been reading it?

Pam

margfh said...

Hi Chris,

Glad it finally stopped raining so you could catch up on the outside work.

Regarding my brothers, I grew up watching family take care of family. My great aunt and uncle had another uncle who was an alcoholic living with them as well as their father who was quite ill. While they were at work (they owned an auto parts distributor in Chicago) my grandmother would come to their house to watch over my uncle and great grandfather as well as me and my brother while my parents went to work. When my father died suddenly at 46 they all came out every weekend to support my mother (who still had seven kids at home) for six months. I guess we're pretty lucky because even though there's a lot of dysfunction and interesting personalities we do all seem to pull together in times of need - each doing whatever we can. If I hadn't taken on my brothers I would have never gotten to know them as well as I do. They are pretty interesting and fun despite their problems. My mother was very over protective of them. We have allowed them to broaden their horizons significantly even though there's often some risk. It's been fun to watch them grow and makes up for much of the frustrations.

Weather here has cooled down some but we're in for a stretch of humid days again. Definitely looking like fall though. Pigs go in on Wednesday. One of them has laminitis and we are concerned that he won't be able to get into and out of the trailer. The place we take them said they'll take him as long as he can get in under his own power. One of the possible causes is high humidity.

Margaret

margfh said...

Hi Pam,

Sorry to hear you have similar problems. That's unfortunate about DC though Chicago is getting a bit dicey as well even in good areas. I will be thinking twice about walking long distances alone when I go there to visit family.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Inge - The winter weather is pretty much the same, here. If it's clear and sunny, then we're in the middle of a cold snap. If it's rainy and overcast, it's warmer. After our big harvest moon, last night (but, it wasn't orange or red) the rain has moved in. Really, the first fall rain. Solid gray overcast and anything at any distance looks vey "misty" due to the rain coming down. But warm. I haven't even had to kick the heat on, today.

When I was a kid, my uncle bought a small farm, in what was then the far outskirts of Portland, Oregon. He had five kids, so it made sense ... They always had a cow, and usually one calf to raise for beef. A huge veg garden. But, what I remember is that the place came with a small hazel nut orchard. He did keep it up, but I don't remember what they did with all those nuts.

@ W.B. Congratulations on the kick off of your Green Wizard group. Sounds like a good start. I wonder where your prof heard about the group?

Et All: I reread the second chapter of Greer's "Dark Age America." It's called "Ecological Aftermath." Throughout history, humans have sometimes thought of themselves as being at the center of the natural world, and that the natural world is a static background. Or, that natural catastrophes are the sole cause of this or that major historic change.

Greer just about lost me on the next bit and I had to reread it several times, to figure out what point he was making. I think. That human societies actually respond in complex ways to nature's actions ... it's systems theory. Our background ecology is ecosystems, not the individual as a basic unit. Writing that out, it still doesn't make much sense. To me :-).

So. This chapter outlines the things going on around us, over the next three hundred or so years. Climate change and sea level rise, of course. How oil and peak oil play a part in all that. Nuclear and chemical waste. Top soil and fish stocks depletion. And how all this determines where populations can settle. And, how large they can be. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

Yes, I'm shocked by it too, although I will probably never know the full story behind how it happened. Whatever happened, it is not good. Unfortunately, Poopy grew up in a family that clearly used to yell at him and possibly also beat him. He has a nervous disposition and I am careful to be very consistent and gentle with him. I have never known him to bite anyone and the lady that does the grooming is really lovely and has known Poopy for years. Dunno.

That can happen can't it as every dog has different reactions and or abilities to mask their discomfit. Old Fluffy was a very stoic dog and never once complained. But then people can be pretty spontaneous and unexpected too!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

It does make you wonder whether the colder winters leads to a lower overall humidity and just less rain? Dunno, but I have heard - when I used to write for the Permaculture people - various accounts from people living in previously very cold parts of the world that are now experiencing warmer, but much - I'll drop in a technical word here - sloshier winters. Out of curiosity, where your winters previously quite dry but much colder or do you feel that it is variable?

Thanks for the info about the hazelnuts. I haven't coppiced them yet as they are only about two years old themselves, and last summer was hard on them.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

That is definitely a sound strategy and I also pursue a very similar strategy. Groups are an interesting issue as you have to be able to "read" peoples motivations i.e. Why are they there? Not always easy. There was a link last week in the ADR comments to a Permaculture article on group dynamics which is of interest to yourself and I recommend it.

I recall when I was young thinking that the way adults talked and lied to me that they must have considered that I was an idiot. That isn't a mistake that I see that you make. Sometimes kids can be quite perceptive too as they haven't had the social filters installed that goes hand in hand with learning socialisation skills and they may see through to the heart of a matter.

Five people is a good number. And it is a coincidence, isn't it? Well, it can also be a very small world sometimes. In such a situation, I would be alert for changes in behaviour, but not overly concerned. Dunno.

Excellent summary of the situation. I'm very interested in your thoughts on a related matter, if you would oblige me? The property market both here and in your part of the world is insane. However, people keep asking me how I did what I did to get a house here. Which is why I posted the full story on the blog showing the amount of effort involved. That is clearly not a path for everyone, however, all the same people still keep asking me questions about obtaining their own property. I would be very interested to read any and all thoughts you have on the matter?

Thanks

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for explaining that about Nemesis. Paying her off sounds like a wise strategy as nobody wants either form of nemesis as far as I can understand the situation. Some people may enjoy the mental stimulation that comes with a nemesis, alas I am of a gentler sort and it would be a total nuisance. Ah, so do you believe that the ancient Greeks felt that Nemesis was a far more dire situation than Hubris?

Hazel would definitely be a good hedgerow plant. Not to mention Elderberry which seems to be a bit Triffid like. I may grow a hedgerow once the immediate forest surrounds are sorted to my (and the native animals) liking. A hedgerow would be such a good thing as I've noticed that in the thick parts of the garden the place is full of life. Hey, I picked up a few more blueberries, another tea camellia (which looked very sick), and some hellebores too today. Fortunately the rain held off for a short period of time for me to be able to plant them.

When I parked the car in the more remote car park for the garden and nursery (as the main car park was full being a Sunday) someone pulled donughts in their car which ripped up the ground in wide circles around my little dirt rat Suzuki. I tend to drive very small and very dirty looking cars but keep them running in top mechanical condition. Flash cars down here have become a target for theft and car jackings... In such situations looking poor and uninsured, plus having a manual gearbox is a good strategy. Plus as I told someone once - and this really got up their nose - I don't need a big car as a phallic extension. Oh boy, did that annoy them, not that they could do anything about it! However, fortunately the donught pulling thrill seekers didn't smash into my dirt rat as that would have been an expensive nuisance for me. I could hear them doing that stupidity when I was in the gardens but didn't let it ruin my visit to the gardens. The funny thing was that the car park was full, but the editor and I had the gardens mostly to ourselves in the rain. I believe people were in the cafe and not in the gardens...

Oh! Well, we are behind the times down here and possibly not up with the latest lingo! Hehe! So a swagman would be a Hobo. Got it. The thing about Bums is that I read recently a serious article about a pool of people that were put out of work in the recession we had to have down here in the 90's and apparently for some, they never returned to work. We're sliding into recession down here, not that anyone notices. It is a bit surreal really. Well, if Bush Vets were good, you wouldn't know about them would you? Such a person, I believed, lived up here in this quiet part of the mountain range after WWII. He was the only person living up here too. Apparently he used to perform regular burn offs and the official reason was that he was afraid of snakes, but I have always suspected that that was what he told people who asked what he was doing. The homeless camp, or two, up in the hills is better than nothing. I'd bet that they have an interesting social structure - perhaps like the pirates? Dunno.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

That is a shame that your dad didn't share his story. I can sort of guess why he didn't but was wondering if you had any thoughts on his past?

Of course, surveying is a very practical art. I've seen old school surveying device which were like a long trough of water with levels drawn onto it. It is interesting that you mention the imperceptible fall of water, but I tend to construct the terraces here with that in mind. More on this on the next blog though as one incomplete system failed when a spring popped up with no warning. Straight roads are a good thing and Melbourne was originally surveyed by a proper surveyor general Robert Hoddle and most of the very old roads are in a magnificent grid pattern. Other cities with less attention to detail confuse my poor brain as I'm used to the grid patern. I believe he too suffered the fate of many early intellectuals and fell from grace before his eventual demise. That has been a recurring theme down here for some strange reason. It is not good.

Thanks for the link for David MacAulay and I've added it to the list of things to watch!

Ah, thanks for the history on the Dutch-English war for New Amsterdam/New York. fascinating stuff. Reading between the lines, I almost felt as if defense of that far flung outpost outweighed the revenue. One quote stood out to me: "On August 27, 1664, while England and the Dutch Republic were at peace, four English frigates sailed into New Amsterdam's harbor and demanded New Netherland's surrender" . I believe that sort of thing goes on even today, as I noted recently in the news.

You scored very well from Scott's freezer. I'm personally a bit dubious about the white fish species unknown, but you never know it could be a winner.

Or maybe he no longer cared?

Mate, I have bad days, you probably have bad days, even JMG has bad days. Poopy definitely had a bad day that day. Sometimes thing go wrong despite everyone's best intentions. I once tried to help a friend, who asked for help, but I was too young to realise that they didn't actually want the help. For some reason I recalled that today. It is hard to learn wisdom as often it is honed by pain and loss.

Cats are toothy, no doubts about that. My last cat used to roll onto its back and bite and scratch at the same time, although I'm sure she was playing.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Thanks very much. I used to feel that I got more work done over winter, but really wet winters are a nightmare to work outside. My shoes kept accumulating mud yesterday so I kept getting taller as the day went on and towards the end of the day of digging, water started oozing out of the ground...

Oh, thank you too for the story regarding your brothers. Yes, that would have been fun in between all of the drama. Risk is also part of life and it is hard to know where to draw the line in the sand on such matters. Total respect.

Nice too to see that fall has arrived in your part of the world. Have you cooked any of the chicken? The high humidity is not good for most domesticated farm animals. The bees suffer here too with the high humidity, not to mention the chickens. It is hard on them all. I do hope the pig makes it into the trailer under his own steam.

When I was out and about off the farm today, for some reason, a bloke stopped the entire country road as his pig was wandering around the side of the road. What was weird about the situation was that rather than him trying to capture the pig, he was just standing around whilst a lady from another vehicle tried to capture the pig. It was like a scene out of a keystone cops story...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Thanks for the review of the book. Ouch. It does not make for light reading...

My take on your description is of a more pragmatic bent. You see from what I've noticed, soil fertility and rainfall patterns tend to set the bar for the maximum quantity of life in any given location. Both variables can be addressed and are also subject to change. It is just that if one form of life dominates any given ecosystem, then unless it can introduce energy from an external source and it continues to expand its influence, then soil fertility and rainfall will eventually decline as resources are directed towards that dominating life form. Eventually, a new equilibrium will be reached, it just may not be a very pleasant process, although it doesn't have to be that way and the variables can be increased again...

Ouch!

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Honestly I have not noticed any climate trend over my life, it has been variable. That may be due to the UK being an island. I reckon that climate change would be more noticeable over a large land mass.

That adverse possession attempt has become interesting, this is the 3rd person who has attempted it. My new neighbour who is that wonderful thing, an honest person, has paid the land registry for all the paper work and brought it to me. I OWN THE LAND! New neighbour would like to buy it. He is more than welcome. Value is a problem, neither of us has a clue. How do I get him to make an offer?

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ W.B. If I knew then, what I know now .... I think I'd print out the permaculture article and Mr. Greer's post from 8/24/2016, "Learning from Failure". And give them a quick scan before attending any kind of meeting. Also, beware the sociopath. They might not do you any physical harm, but can leave a lot of psychic wreckage, behind.

Yo, Chris - Going to use a very scientific term here ... I don't know if the ancient Greeks had a preference as to Nemesis cooties or hubris cooties. :-). A lot of the definitions seemed to link them, hand in hand. Though hubris was never (as far as I could see) personified.

Yup. I always feel pretty secure leaving my truck around. For all the reasons you mentioned. Old, not flash ... manual transmission.

Ohhhh! And then we have vagabonds! :-). I haven't looked up the definition to see how it all fits into the Kings of the Road universe. But then, I think a lot of writers use hobo, bum and tramp interchangeably, without reference to the nuance. "...for some that never returned to work." I think it was a very long time ago that Mr. Greer talked about decline and how it's a stair step process and every time there's a economic bump, people fall off the edge and not all of them make it back to their previous level of prosperity. A slow eroding of the status quo?

I was always a bit irritated that Dad didn't talk more about the more interesting (to me) bits about his past. He's usually throw out a tidbit and then clam up. Or, more likely, loose interest. I could only come to terms by telling myself that maybe, he lived to such a ripe old age because he never looked back, always looked forward.

For instance, he joined the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp) and worked on building a game preserve in South Dakota ... among other projects I know nothing about. And, that's all I know. Sometime between leaving home (at 14) to ride the rails and landing in Portland, Oregon, circa 1940.

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

Mysteries that will never be solved. Oh, well ... Lew

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Hi Pam,

No, it turns out we both independently discovered the blog. He was quite surprised to see me, as I was to see him. It was, frankly, one of the weirder coincidences of my life so far. He's been a reader of the blog longer than I have, and I found it myself by complete accident, so pure coincidence. And "trust but verify" is a good approach.

Lew,

He reads the ADR. Considering I rather liked the class he taught, I see no reason to complain. He's a historical linguist, specializing in late Latin/early Romance, so the fall of the Roman Empire, and thus noticed historical patterns, which may be why he likes the blog. In any case, he did not hear about it from me! I wasn't reading the blog when I took the class, and hadn't really spoken much to him since.

Chris,

I've been reading over a lot of these, and I also notice it a lot in a wide range of things: groups attract people for a wide range of reasons, and it can be hard to tell why someone is there. And yes, I'm keeping an eye on both my and my professor's behavior, but it appears we both are approaching this separately from our role as teacher/student.

Children are interesting in many ways. One thing I've noticed is that honesty comes easier to them than adults, as a general rule. Of course, I also take an approach of "I'll say exactly what I think, and I won't be mad if you do the same." One thing I've noticed is they rise, or fall, to expectations. If you tell them they can do something, and give them the chance to, they can do far more than most people think. Likewise, if you baby them, then they can't do what they could in other contexts.

There are quite a few coincidences around this, but this one is the one I remember most because it directly involved me. In any case, if future meetings work this well, I think we have a pretty good group.

I'm not sure, I'll have to think about it and get back to you on it. If I think of something, I will let you know, but for now, I'm not sure. Is it the same people, and do they just keep asking?