Monday, 3 October 2016

One thing leads to another

This blog is now available as an mp3 podcast through the link: www.ferngladefarm.com.au/2016 Oct 3 - One thing leads to another.mp3

It is a heck of a thing to receive a month’s rainfall in just one week. Over the past week 90mm (3.5 inches) of rain fell over the mountain range. Spare a thought for the people of South Australia. It appears that a cyclone formed over the Southern Ocean and dumped even more rain and wild winds in that state than here. I wasn’t previously aware that cyclones could form over the cold Southern Ocean, but apparently it was one of the worst storms in 50 years. The storm was pretty wild and it managed to plunge that entire state of South Australia into a black out.

South Australia is the state to the west and slightly to the north of Victoria (which is the state that I live in). The two states share electricity via a huge electricity cable cleverly called the Interconnector (a truly original name for a massive set of cables, if ever I have heard of one!). And the interconnector broke during the wild storm. It appears that because of this break, the entire state of South Australia was plunged into darkness. I had no idea that huge steel electricity transmission towers could actually buckle and fall over, which is what they appear to have done earlier this week. The photos are pretty amazing. And I wouldn’t have wanted to have been anywhere near either the wild storm, or one of those transmission towers when they failed…


Down here at the farm, the week's weather was just wet and it fortunately lacked the extreme winds. However, the sky did put on a good show at times! And sometimes the clouds were so thick, they almost looked purple.
The clouds were so thick and threatening at times that they almost looked purple
With a month’s worth of rain falling over the mountain range this week, it is hardly surprising that the valley below the mountain range flooded yet again. Fortunately, all of the animals in the various paddocks had been moved to higher ground in the days leading up to the storm.
The valley below the mountain range flooded yet again this week
The normally very placid and sluggish, Macedon River (also known as Riddells Creek) was quite the raging torrent of water this morning.
The normally very placid and sluggish Macedon River (also known as Riddells Creek) was quite the raging torrent of water this morning
Even the creek that begins near the bottom and eastern edge of my property was flowing with vigour this morning. That creek eventually flows into the river in the above photos.
Even the creek that begins near the bottom and eastern edge of my property was flowing with vigour this morning
Earlier in the week, the sun shone strongly and the weather was sweet and gentle. I knew about the approaching storm and so decided to continue with the excavations for the new garden terrace before the rain arrived. The area that had to be excavated wasn’t really that large an area so I didn’t believe that the work would take long.

Unfortunately, nothing is ever that simple and in the process of excavating, I discovered five very old tree stumps, one of which was quite substantial. They all had to be removed, which is a huge amount of work. Fortunately, Toothy was there to assist me with the excavations.
Toothy assists me with excavating and removing five old tree stumps on the new garden terrace
Toothy largely assisted me by lazing around and enjoying the spring sunshine and generally reminding me from time to time, that only foolish humans would be silly enough to waste such glorious spring sunshine by digging! Yes, maybe Toothy is right!

Once the tree stumps were exposed, I was then able to cut them out with the chainsaw. It is important to mention that dirt and chainsaws do not mix very well and even the slightest contact between the cutting chain and any soil will blunt it very quickly. Needless to say, the various tree stumps were covered with lots of soil, and so that provided me with plenty of practice at hand sharpening the chainsaw chain.

Then I could relax as it rained for a few days, and all excavation work ceased. Eventually the rain slowed a bit, and a further day of excavations completed the new garden terrace. This was exciting because I was then able to place the third potato steel raised garden bed. Did I mention before that nothing is ever simple? Oh yes, I believe I did! The largest of the old tree stumps had a very large tap root protruding out of the ground at the exact spot where I wanted to place the new potato bed. Well done!

About a year ago, I purchased a cheapie tree stump grinder. Previously, I had been using an axe to remove any tree stumps. I’m no slouch, but I found that axing a tree stump for several hours – which I’d been doing for several years now – was starting to damage my shoulder joints. And thus, I invested in a cheapie stump grinder. Using that machine is like trying to constrain a wild bronco, with only your arms to control the savage beast as it kicks and bucks, but even that is much easier on my body than using an axe. And best of all, the machine does the job required of it.
The author using a cheapie stump grinder to remove the very old tree stump which was located at the exact location where the final potato raised garden bed was to be placed
Once the tree stump was removed, the potato bed could be properly located and dug into the new garden terrace. Observant readers will note that in the photo below, the very top concrete step of the new staircase perfectly reaches the new terrace. Also, a sloping ramp (closer to the camera) has now been constructed. We had even managed to incorporate several of the local Musk Daisy-bush shrubs (Olearia Argophylla) into the gently sloping downwards ramp. I reckon it looks pretty cool.
The excavations for the new garden terrace are now complete and the third and final potato bed had been established
Each of the three steel raised garden beds contain about twenty five potato tubers, so all up there are now about seventy five tubers planted. I don't believe that we have ever been this organised with the potatoes before! As the plants grow, we will pick off some of the lower leaves and then add additional soil and manure into the raised garden beds. It will be very interesting to note just how productive this method of potato growing is?
About twenty five seed potatoes have been planted in each of the three steel raised potato garden beds
Once the seed potatoes were added to the bottom of the raised garden beds, additional soil and manure were added on top. Now you see them, now you don't!
Once the seed potatoes were added to the bottom of the raised garden beds, additional soil and manure were added on top
We were aware that yet another massive storm was about to dump even more rainfall over the mountain range on Sunday night, and so we applied a cubic metre (1.3 cubic yards) of composted woody mulch onto the exposed soil on the new garden terrace. The composted woody mulch slows the movement of any water and instead causes that water to infiltrate into the ground. This is a good thing because water running over bare ground will cause erosion.  It was very fortunate that we placed all of that composted woody mulch onto the new garden terrace, because last night that massive storm dumped another inch of rain over the farm.
A cubic metre of composted woody mulch was placed over the exposed soil on the new garden terrace in order to combat any erosion from the very recent very heavy rainfall
Not many people may realise it, but the heavy and persistent rain is a really great opportunity to move plants! The rains are providing far more water than I ever could by watering, and transplanted plants require a lot of water to become well established. So this week, we moved the remaining berries into the new berry enclosure. One quarter of that berry enclosure contains marion berries, another quarter is raspberries, whilst the remaining half is devoted to thornless blackberries.
The marion berries were relocated this week into the new berry enclosure this week
Certainly, one activity leads into another here! The marion berries were happily growing in the tomato enclosure and those berries had to move, because the tomato, capsicum (pepper), and eggplant seedlings will be planted out in that tomato enclosure over the next few weeks.

And it never stops here because I haven’t even mentioned that the strawberries are still happily growing where we intend to plant out the pumpkins, cucumbers, zucchinis, and melons… So there is another garden terrace to be constructed shortly, and another concrete staircase will need to be constructed leading up to that new garden terrace… Plus, I need to get a water system up to both of the new garden terraces before summer… The editor even mentioned something the other day about setting aside an area for globe artichokes, and those are definitely worthwhile vegetables… And not to mention… Hehe! Just kidding, well, maybe not…

Despite the rain and cool weather, the orchard is still slowly breaking its dormancy, and this week I observed that the first of the pear trees in the shady orchard had produced some blossoms and a few tentative leaves. It is a snow pear and is usually both the first pear tree to produce leaves in that orchard and also the last to lose its leaves when the season finally comes to close.
A snow pear produced its first blossoms this week along with a few tentative leaves
The herb garden has also started to produce some early spring growth this week and the colours and shapes are really quite pleasing on the eye!
The herb garden has started to produce some early spring growth this week
The temperature outside now at about 8.45pm is 6.3’C (43.3’F). So far this year there has been 998.4mm (39.3 inches) which is up from last week’s total of 909.0mm (35.8 inches).

69 comments:

Damo said...

RE: Holy Holy

Thank for the song link, it was a great tune. I have not being listening to Triple J since I moved to Laos and I am sure the hottest 100 this year will be full of surprises and new music for me :-p It is technically possible to stream, but not really that pleasant, even the odd buffering incident is enough to ruin a song or playlist - no one wants that!

For those who might be interested, what I do is download youtube playlists. Simply search for your favourite song on youtube, then click the 'MIX' link on the right-hand column. This is an auto-generated playlist of similar songs and works pretty well I find. Then, I use a free program called '4K video downloader', copy and paste the link from the web browser and presto - 25 MP3s (or videos if you prefer) are saved permanently to your hard drive. Not legal of course, but so much better then relying on a temperamental internet connect :p

I heard a lot about Quolls whilst living in Tasmania. I never saw one, except for road kill and our chickens were (thankfully) left alone. This was a good thing as my chicken coop was very basic and barely kept the chickens out let alone a Quoll, or god forbid a Tassie devil! No doubt I could learn something from your chicken palace :p



Damo said...

@Lewis

Thank you for your book suggestions! Quite a few additions to my spreadsheet are from you so keep them coming (well, the good ones at least). Right now, I have limited space for books and am trying to read Laos specific books (OK, I did re-read Dune the other week so I am also a liar!).

Right now, I am reading 'Backfire - the true story of the secret CIA war in Laos' by Roger Warner. A movie with Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr was loosely based on it. I am only a couple of chapters in and find it fascinating - I find especially interesting the difficulties westerners have working in Laos - something I can relate with... One excellent quote, paraphrased - "There was a kind of magical perversity about the place (Laos) that turned straightforward attempts to westernise Laos into the purest folly". As true now as then I think..

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - That is some weather you're having. According to Cliff Mass, our weather guy, the warm blob in the Pacific is dying, so, we may have a more normal winter after all. Snow, cold snaps. The ski people are rejoicing. Subject to change, of course.

I'm glad the cattle managed to be moved to higher ground. Here, our last big flood was so quick and unexpected that many cattle were lost. It was a real horror show. I've noticed that they've now built several "cattle pads" in places, in the low lands. Big square berms that the cattle can retreat to, in case of another event. But, I'd guess that the next time around, the bad flooding will be in another part of the enormous drainage. It never seems to do the same thing twice.

Ah, I noticed that you have some rocks sitting on top of one of the stump. Given your peak rock situation, I can see you have uncovered a valuable resource. :-). Wonder where you'll end up using them?

LOL. Your string of tasks remind me of what we've talked about before: You can't do A until you've done B, and can't do that until you've done C ... and so it goes.

You talked a bit about wind generators, last week, I think. I saw a trailer for a documentary about wind generators. The social cost. As near as I can figure out, it's somewhere where wind generators were put in. People with the generators on their land make a bit out of lease costs. But it seems as if no one knew the drawbacks. The noise, etc.. So you have a community where everyone pretty much got along, and now they're in two camps and at each other's throats. I can't remember the title. Our library doesn't seem to have it. But, they may. I think it's pretty new.

I must admit when I went to Idaho and saw the hundreds of gigantic wind generators along the Columbia River ... well, they are pretty spectacular. Of course, there's lots of whinging about spoiling the view, but there's still miles and miles of scenery with no wind generators in sight. How much scenery do you need? :-)

Just a final thought on my Tourettes like recommendations for books and movies. I really don't mind when people don't take me up on my recommendations. I realize that other people have lives :-). Responsibilities. Not as much time. And, people recommend me things that I look into and find I'm not very interested. They just don't "grab" me. So, it doesn't bother me. I'm not "emotionally invested." One time, tho, at the library, a woman was looking for a book on a subject and I knew just the book. It was just what she was looking for. But I couldn't convince her of that! She just want's having any of it. The only thing I can figure out is that maybe it was the searching, and not the finding. Or, maybe she just didn't like me. I'm a pretty shifty character, you know. :-).

Got my landlord to sign some paperwork to get my into The Home. No problems. Happy to do it. But it's nice to have it in hand. A relief. Something else to cross off the list. Lew

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

Yeah, the things we have access too are amazing! We sometimes forget that. Of course, this bounty is not shared very well - and never could be. There is heaps of low hanging fruit. I mean I wrote once about soap making and that can be done anywhere, you don't need to be on a rural retreat to do that. The thing is that you'll learn that soaps ain't soaps!

Mate that comment completely floored me. I was totally unprepared for it. Nowadays, I'd probably respond that: once we used to save up so that our kids could have a better life - isn't that what you want? Extreme responses are sometimes handy to have to hand, but other times there is no point getting into arguments with people.

It should be scary! Limits allow your mind to focus on only a few narrow responses, to try and do anything other than that means failure. There just isn't any easy way to attempt to do more than a few things at most at anyone time.

Nice to hear that you have managed that aspect of that relationship.

Ha! Ah but of course, the reason to make soap is because not only do you end up with a higher quality product, but you didn't have to work as hard in the monetary economy in order to achieve that higher quality product. The trick to surviving any economic downturn is to work out ways to reduce your reliance on the monetary economy. But then if you have a surplus, or a product in demand, then you are onto a safe bet!

Yeah, and the people are generally consuming that product in take away containers. Ceramic is much more civilised and also far more environmentally friendly.

Speed is definitely an issue with computers. I once worked at a place with 100 employees and I swapped them over from paper based systems to computer systems and the same amount of people required to do the processing was the same afterwards. It was just that a new overhead had been added to the process. A computer and software.

That is an interesting point and I find it quite difficult sometimes to know when something will work and when it is all talk. And you just don't know until you implement something and learn from that. Mistakes are cool, you're learning something in that process. Some people can take them pretty hard.

Social capital is still there, but I reckon it is getting used up furiously. And not all of it is obvious either as some people with good intentions are also culprits in that gear.

Cheers

Chris




Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Annie scored a sweet setup with that hill farm. I can't even imagine what that would have felt like. The descriptions of the olives made them sound like they were at least a couple of decades old and very well established. And nobody thought that the place was worth anything! How cool is that? We all have regrets really, and honestly how hard is to know what to do at any point in our lives? And I mean your concept of what an opportunity changes with your age and experience too. Man, far out, how much more do you know about chickens nowadays just for one example? Or if I was being cheeky, what about dodgy water systems? Yeah, so it goes.

Hey, the buried and disorganised stuff is meat for future archaeologists!

Fair enough too, the eggs sound like a good choice. You know just because a place isn't certified organic, that doesn't mean that the stuff wasn't grown with care and attention. Don't you wonder sometimes whether all of this certification stuff is just another layer of beuracracy? Imagine if someone had to certify that all of the books in your bookshop were "good reads" otherwise they had to be sold at a cheaper price? Makes the mind boggle doesn't it? As a disclosure I would never seek to get this place certified as it would be a giant waste of my time and resources and they would only be telling other people something that I already know!

That is a bit of a shame about the diminishing book referrals? Do you ever read book reviews and have you ever put some faith in a particular reviewer (no need to name names here)? A menace!!! That's funny. Nice one.

Annie is a great writer no doubts about it. The thing I liked about her books was that she was able to discuss various people and her interactions with them. Of course because it was an English book, there was little chance of her ever being caught out by that. I rarely talk about people living up my way and my general interactions with them, unless they bring themselves to my attention in an outrageous sort of a way. The editor reminds me not to write about their stories and it is good advice. Annie was far less encumbered by that problem and she really did tell a story about a time and place that is alas now gone.

Sprouted grains sounds like hard work to me too! And maybe a little bit of high maintenance just for good measure! Ah, of course he is a guru and must prove his guru-ness! For us mere mortals just being the apprentice is good enough - or even a dilettante would be good too. Are you considering baking your own bread? It is a worthwhile activity!

Drive through library - what will they think of next? Glad to hear that the hold list was full and that you'll get to enjoy those books. Hope the book on the chef is interesting.

It is still raining here - not all of the time either, but occasionally very heavy. I was caught outside during one of those downpours... Needless to say that I wasn't quite dry after that downpour.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Damo,

Thanks! It is an awesome tune isn't it and they're a great indie band. Oh yeah, Laos isn't known for high speed internet, although it is probably pretty good. Fair enough, I've noticed that you can usually download the mp3 files for the hot 100 after it has aired - it usually turns up a day later. Hey, you may not be aware but after the next hot 100, they are considering changing the day that it is aired. I'm not really concerned one way or another about that.

Thanks for the tip on ripping the audio files. Nice work!

You got lucky with the quolls and the chickens. How cool are the Tassie devils? They're all talk you know. I saw one once growling at a person and it looked pretty fearsome. When the dude picked up the devil, it became scared and wet itself! Oh well.

The rats were getting to be almost as feral as a family of quolls, and I reckon it was only a matter of time before the rats took out a chicken. That was the impetus for the new chicken enclosure.

Cheers

Chris

Damo said...

RE: chooks and quolls

In case anyone thinks me a little uncaring of the chickens, I was informed that Quolls never went into the town of Zeehan. As a result I didn't bother making a strong enclosure since we had a solid fence that kept devils out. A few months later, someone suffered a Quoll attack and lost a few chickens! And, their house was in the centre of town. Meanwhile, our house which was basically on the edge of town never had any problems (except for a large Tiger snake which came into the yard and disappeared...).

I wonder why Triple J is changing the date, Australia day seems pretty perfect at beginning of new year and public holiday..

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

The weather is feral as down here. Hey, that is interesting that report from Cliff Mass. We have been told down here that the Indian Ocean dipole producing the weather is some sort of Pacific Ocean cooling event whilst the Indian and Southern Oceans warmed... I'm confused now. Who is correct?

Yeah, the farm in the valley is very well run. Actually extremely well run and I mean we have weather forecasts and you can tell when there will be a big dump of rain in advance. It is farsighted to have built the cattle pads in the flood zones. It is only sensible. It is sort of hard to pretend that floods don't occur in the same places twice. I have that issue with bushfires and I'm rarely allowed to forget that they reoccur regularly. I just dunno.

Oh my secrets are there for all to see. The answer is to be found in an engineering solution! More on this at a later date.

Hehe! Yup, so true! It really takes slow and careful paces to complete any long walk!

The thing with the really huge wind generators is that a small number of people benefit economically in rural areas whilst everyone there carries the cost and I'm unsure whether the areas use the energy. On the other hand, I've heard a lot of rubbish about turbines killing birds and people will drive to demonstrations and meetings whilst causing bird road kill. I reckon the noise thing is a stress thing for people living near the towers but not benefiting from them. Look, any large scale electrical generating facility is a really ugly business and it doesn't matter what form it takes - it is all very industrial. And people don't tend to live in rural areas to be surrounded by industrial facilities and their wastes. I don't generally have any strong feelings about wind turbines. The brown coal fired generators down here are one ugly business.

Tourettes! Oh my, I hope you don't say anything too naughty!!! Hehe! Yeah, fair enough, I'm like you, other people choose to spend their time the way they do. I check myself if I feel emotional investment in a recommendation as it can be quite off putting for other people. Hey, I'm rather enjoying a book recommendation right now: Ruth Park - Fishing in the Styx. It is a very well told tale of inner urban Sydney during WWII. Well, the lady in question, if she did not know you, probably ignored your suggestion as she did not want to encourage you, sorry mate. I've heard about you!!! Hehe! No worries, sometimes some people just don't enjoy enthusiasm. That is life, there are plenty of people that do.

How are you going on the list? Is the word "on" correct in that context?

Mate, I'll tell ya what. I was totally happy to be finished with the digging. Next week should get all the little bits and pieces finished on that project.

Cheers

Chris

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

Today we saw three deer just outside of our house yard. There was a youngish buck and two does engaged in the rituals of courtship. We rarely see deer here but they are growing in numbers and these three were in very good condition. We think we will keep their visit to ourselves because hunting as a practice is increasing in our valley with generational change and not everyone hunts as responsibly as they should.

The pumpkins have been well received as far as I can tell. Maybe people are too polite to refuse? We tend to have pumpkin in dal, or as wedges with Indian spices and of course roast pumpkin. I used to make a 'golden' muffin with pumpkin too but haven't for a long time. Baking is something I only tend to do for visitors these days and catering for various likes/dislikes, food allergies and intolerances drives those occasions too.

We do have cape weed this year but not a lot. We also have docks that are enormous. The nettles are doing well in certain places too. I have been known to make a nettle risotto but it is a bit of a fiddle and you need really young, bright nettles.

Yes, the rats are a worry for more than their disease carrying. So far we have escaped the worst damage and recladding the old house is almost at the top of the list of jobs waiting.

It's a bright starlight night tonight and we have no rain forecast for the next week. It seems strange to go into Spring hoping for a break from rain.

Warm regards, Helen

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Hi Chris,

I'm still planning to do soap making as soon as I find a source of lye. I'm always amazed when the finished product is easy to find but the materials that go in it are very rare. That always says something. I'm sure I'll be able to find one, if I don't soon I'll look it up online, but trying to track things down without internet is rather fun, in my opinion. And yes, this bounty could never be shared well. But, a much simpler life style could have been both sustainable and globally possible. Now, it's probably too late, but that doesn't mean it's not worth trying to minimize damage.

I still don't know what to make of it. I've been trying to figure it out for a while, but that mindset just doesn't make sense to me.

Well, if only more people agreed with us I think things could be far better now. I've lost count of the number of times I've found people who, upon seeing a limit, start frantically claiming it doesn't exist, and then try to prove it. It's caused so many problems, and I think it's fair to say it sums up our society as well.

I also find money ruins things it comes in contact with, so withdrawing as much as possible from the monetary economy makes abundant sense regardless. The less I deal with it, the happier I find I am, so it makes sense to see if I can leave the monetary economy a little more.

I wonder about how much garbage could be avoided if people just spent a little more time relaxing. Of course, it would be hard to test, since convincing people to slow down their days seems far harder than I'd think it should be...

Having thought about it more, I'm inclined to argue against my earlier statement computers are faster: they are faster if we don't have the skills and tools we used to have before they were invented. They still have advantages, but I'm finding that the more I think about it, the fewer survive close scrutiny. I think the biggest thing they have going for them is they're machines in a culture that worships machines.

I'd much rather not make mistakes myself, but given the choice between not doing something and failing at it, I'd prefer to try and fail. Then, later, if it's worth doing, try again. Sooner or later, either I'll have figured it out, or realized why it won't work, and I can use that knowledge to avoid making similar mistakes later. Worst case scenario, I waste a little time pursuing something pointless, but I get something worthwhile as well.

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions" seems as apt as ever, no? I find it funny that lots of people can't seem to understand something important: good intentions do not guarantee bad outcomes, nor do bad outcomes necessarily indicate bad intentions. It's a lesson the universe seems determined to drill into my head right now, which somehow makes it more amusing to see other people try to ignore it.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yes, I think the certified organic thing does ad another layer of bureaucracy. And, it's expensive to get certified. I really don't expect that from small farmers that, say, sell at the farmer's markets. But, you can ask. Sometimes, it's a trade off. LOL. I just wash everything and hope for the best. If I buy something from the supermarket, and it's labeled certified organic, I feel a little better about it. That's one label that can't be tampered with. But we also have a whole labeling ...laws that are pretty complicated. My eyesight is such now, that I have to remember to carry a small magnifying glass with me to read the fine print!
A lot of products are now marked "No GMOs" or "No Gluten." LOL, even the stuff that wouldn't, in the natural course of things, have those in then, anyway. Marketing. "Natural is thrown about, quit a bit. Usually, with pictures of barns and bounty on the packages.

My veg store is very good about putting on the price signs where the product came from. I did catch them out a bit. When the blueberries started coming in, they were advertised as "local". I inquired, and it was the blueberries from Oregon. Wait another few weeks and the one's from this county started to appear. But, they are very free with the information, so, no problems. Oh, I'm sure even the big blueberry operations here probably spray with something. I just make sure to give them a good wash.

Oh, I get enough book referrals as it is. The library carries a monthly tabloid called "Book Notes." It goes free to libraries and bookstores. I think it's put together by a conglomerate of publishers. I steer clear of it. My branch also carries the New York Times Book review. Once the new copy comes in, the old issue circulates. I steer clear of that, too. Enough stuff crosses my radar to keep me informed (?), enlightened (?) and entertained (?). :-). The libraries online website also has a section of "new" stuff, added to the collection. I usually check it out, daily. Just the DVDs and nonfiction.

I'd say I'm moving in the direction of making my own bread. Not that I haven't done that before. It's finding the time, and I really want to nail down this whole "wheat thing", at least in my own mind. My Dad used to bake bread, from time to time. The chef's bio ... I think he's the chef who everyone likes. An even tempered fellow who's liked by all and isn't all testosterone fueled and foul mouthed. I find these chefs and cooks and want to know more about them. I haven't cracked the cover of the Stephanie Alexander, yet. I see Alton Brown has a new book out. Rhulman. David Lebovitz. Michael Pollan. And, of course, the classics ... Child, Beard, Olney. Rosa Lewis. I just got a copy of Elizabeth David's bread and yeast cookery book. I'll be interested in what she has to say about different flours.

It's funny the cook books that appeal to me. I'm not interested so much in just collections of recipes. I want a bit of a story about the food. The history. I just discovered that one of the women at the meetings I go to is also a cook book junkie :-). So, we'll have a lot to talk about. And, I ran across a local cook, same place, who had read "Soul of a Chef." I very seldom buy ALL the cookbooks put out by one chef or cook. Some "speak" to me, more than others. Cont.



LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Yeah, the drive through at the library is pretty nifty. Especially if I want to avoid temptation :-). They have two lanes, one where you can just shot through and drop off your books in a big bin. The other is a window where you can drop off books and pick up your holds. Chehalis was the first Timberland branch to have one.

Well, the ocean Blob may come back again and we'll be back to a dryer, warmer winter. It was supposed to rain over the weekend, and then be a pretty nice week. Now, the forecast is for rain, all week long. Go figure.

The whole wind generator, bird kill thing is a problem. Which reminded me of a story I keep hearing. I guess somewhere, down in the southwest there's this big solar array / steam electric generator. Something about the mirrors are focused on a tower with water in it. Well, the reflected light is so intense that any birds flying across the area burst into flame and fall out of the sky. There's something very horrible and gruesome about that.

Let's see. I'm "on the list" for a slot at the home. I suppose, "Where are you on the list" or "What number are you now" is ... clearer. I do a look in and talk to The Warden, every mid month. Don't want to be a nuisance, but still want to express interest. That seems to work out fine. Last time (mid September) I was number 12, officially, but she said it was more like number 10, because there were a couple of vacancies coming up, that she knew of, but it hadn't been made official, yet.

LOL. Water's out, again. It disappeared yesterday morning and hasn't returned. My friends in Idaho keep saying it will get better when the winter rains return, and the water table begins to rise. We'll see. Lew

Pam in Virginia said...

Hi, Chris!

Could you burn out a stump of that sort? Are they just too hard and dense? Of course, you haven't exactly had dry weather to work in . . .

The new terrace looks REALLY cool! Counting the "corregations" of from the top of the steel potato bed down to where you laid the seed potatoes, it looks like you covered them with, maybe, 23 cm (9 in) of soil? I don't think that I plant mine deeply enough.

What gorgeous straight rows the berries are planted in!

My son has made a batch of green tea kombucha. It has only been about a week and it is already tasting really yummy, like champagne at this point. It seems kind of a shame to let it develope any further, but I guess one gets more probiotics if one does. I made some myself a few years back. It was pretty good, too, but I didn't keep it up for long.

Pam

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Deer me! ;-)! That's not something that you'd expect to see. The season will have been good for them, although they do prefer the safety of the forest (for good reason as you correctly point out). I leave them alone too, despite the damage to the bark on the apple trees (what is with that anyway?). The damaged trees in question seem to have responded OK to the damage, so I'm not overly concerned. The deer increase the bio-diversity of the forest too, plus they speed up the recycling of the forest nutrients back into soil. I'll tell you a funny story - there is a white goat that runs with a mob of kangaroos up in these parts! They all seem to get along well.

I'm glad to hear that they were well received. How good are pumpkins? There is no way I would have refused them. Bring them on!!! :-)! Yum, dahl is superb. When we were in India a long time ago, all I wanted to eat was a bowl of dahl, and no one could understand why! They kept feeding us incredibly rich food just because we were westerners... Far out. Fair enough, but the golden muffins sound delightful. I have to ask people what their food allergies are too.

Have you noticed that the docks seem to enjoy the damper spots around the garden? I read somewhere once that they are very good for the soil, but I can't for the life of me remember why. I chop and drop them here. Oh yeah, I hear you about the nettles and the nettle risotto. Approach with caution! The leaves are very high in vitamin C I believe and were a traditional spring tonic in Europe...

Yeah, the rats are smarter than I and they adapt faster than I can come up with clever ideas to foil their business. They are a force to be reckoned with. Scritchy caught one the other day which helps a bit - that was why she was covered in orangey clay looking well pleased with herself.

The cold nights are producing the most amazing star shows aren't they? They're promising more rain next week. I saw that Lake Eppalock in Central Victoria overflowed today and there was flooding from the Ovens river up in the north east of the state. Plus Canberra copped a wind storm...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

Ah, lye is actually wood ash mixed with water. It is a caustic compound so treat very gingerly. Mind you, I spread the wood ash from the heater here over the top of the herbage in the orchard and I've never seen any die back of the plants. You may not be aware, but you can swap lye for caustic soda (Sodium hydroxide) which is readily available in supermarkets as it is used as a drain cleaner... True story! Again, just make sure you're buying that compound and not something else.

Exactly, we choose as individuals, but also as a society. And there are costs and benefits to all of those choices.

Yeah, that talk of limits would probably annoy them!!! I'm not so concerned whether people agree with me or not, the thing that troubles me is whether they are able to acknowledge different opinions that do not impose any costs on themselves.

Tackling the monetary economy is a tough school as so much of our lives are defined by that. What do you reckon are the basics that can't be avoided?

Ha! The garbage adds up. I'm unsure what people do to relax nowadays. I enjoy a good book and I find the train trip into town is particularly relaxing - it becomes hard to stay awake after half an hour. They may be turning the oxygen down and the heat up! How about you?

No doubt that you are correct in that assertion about machines. Humans love tools though, that's how we are.

That is a very thoughtful approach to mistakes. They're impossible to avoid, so it is nice to have a useful way to deal with the fallout from them.

Mate, I can tell you that I've done things with good intentions only to have them blow up on me. And you're left feeling: How did this happen? I once lost a friend because I tried to help him with his tax problems, but he didn't actually want the help. That was a tough lesson to learn. Friends and business don't generally mix well.

Cheers

Chris

Steve Carrow said...

We just had a large rain event here in SW Wisconsin, with several roads washed out, and some mud slides. Even our driveway had some damage. At our house, we had 7" plus ( ~175mm ) in one day, and others had even more. Luckily, we had no new exposed soil or excavations, so our gardens and fields are ok.

Your expanding and well organized plantings are good encouragement for me to step up our game. We are thinking of trying raised beds of some sort for our potatoes this next year, to minimize vole damage.

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate, that is so true about the certification of produce. The cost outweighs any benefits for small suppliers and the big suppliers are always pushing at the boundaries. I see the word "natural" applied to all sorts of products nowadays spruiking their benefits and it may be considered a bit rude, but well, uranium is pretty natural too and I certainly don't want any of that stuff around...

Speaking of which I had to go to the doctors this morning and get a benign tumour zapped off the side of my head with dry ice. The growths have the rather unflattering name of: "barnacle of old age". At least the doctor had the social skills to observe that I was a bit young for one of those. He's all right by me. :-)! That reminds me of a funny story from a few months back. I was being told off by a person, who was avoiding paying a debt. Anyway, during the brief conversation, they described me in negative terms as "a young man" and my feelings for them instantly changed. Yes, flattery will get them everywhere - not that they intended that! Hehe!

Yeah, just washing the produce is about the best that can be done for them. I wouldn't worry about it too much as farmers do try and keep costs down so there is little economic incentive to ever overly apply sprays etc. You are pretty lucky with the labelling. I've read that apparently, some produce arrives here from dubious parts of the world via our friends in New Zealand and then apparently it is relabelled as local. The whole thing sounds very weird to me.

Well, those periodicals have to push product and so they are hardly an unbiased source of information. You are clearly all three: informed (?); enlightened (?); and entertained (?). :-). Hehe! I reckon I'd be a bit scared to become enlightened. I mean what if you suddenly saw the world very differently and you didn't like what you saw? A bit of a conundrum that one. The use of the "new" listing at the library is pretty clever.

That wheat story is an interesting one to be sure. My gut feeling is that what we consider to be flour today, may not have past the muster about a century ago. Maybe? Dunno. Certainly it is lower in oils so as to increase its shelf life. And certain vitamins are added into the yeast feed / nutrient too. There is a story there. If you discover what is going on, I would appreciate learning that from you?

Adrenalin - every commercial chef's friend! Not good. I once long ago worked a very stressful job, where the hours were huge and the pressure was immense. I did notice that my body produced a lot more adrenalin than was good for it. It is impossible to keep up such a routine.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Yeah, some of the chef's can tell a story, and alas others... At least they're good cooks! :-)! I've quite enjoyed Gordon Ramsay's shows in the past, but the pace can be frenetic and whilst I appreciate the sentiment and problem solving skills, the delivery sometimes jars. I have used some of his techniques in the world of business though... I was once having a mildly potty mouthed rant at staff (all good natured - they emulated me if it means anything to you - a person has to know how to swear in an accounts department!) and the owner of the business walked in and was quietly observing for a minute or two. When I became aware of him, cool as, I just turned to him and said: Oh, hi!

You know, it never occurred to me that there would be two lanes! Not in a million years... Oh, thanks for the laugh about avoiding temptation too. Yes, lead us not - via two lanes - into temptation!!! :-)! That is an amazing service your library.

My money would be on the blob returning. Although when it is wet down here, it is possibly drier up in your part of the world, being on the other side of the Pacific. Still, evaporation can only increase from warming oceans and atmosphere. That doesn't necessarily mean that it will be distributed evenly though.

Oh that is shocking. But then the road kill is shocking too. Our machines and energy allow us to do stuff that we would otherwise be not be able to do.

Number 10 sounds allright to me. It has a nice ring about it. You are certainly progressing in that queue.

Oh no! Not again, far out that appears to be one dodgy system. If that happened here, I would be having a mild freak out and throwing a couple of days into sorting out the problem. So do your Idaho friends reckon the water table may have been overdrawn? One of my neighbours had that issue back in 2009. Their water bore dried up after only 7 minutes of use...

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

That is a great suggestion about burning the stumps. And yeah we actually tried to do that and the tree stump in question took six fires. Parts of it were still there after those six fires and such a huge amount of fuel was used that we gave up that idea. The stump grinder idea came from the tree guys that help me here from time to time.

I'm not sure what causes them to be that way either. The density of this species of eucalyptus is about 650kg/m3 (1095 pounds / cubic yard) which is pretty dense stuff. The bushfires char the outsides of the timber and then any stumps sit there for the next fifty to a hundred years unchanged. Not much seems to break them down, which is why I take particular note of whether any fungi are starting to break them down. It is a real problem as they started logging here in about 1860 and there are a few stumps and messes left over which I want to clean up a bit...

Thank you. Well, I'm not really sure how it will work so what you are doing may be perfect, but 9 to 10 inches sounds about right to me. Someone told me long ago that with that family of plants you can just heap the soil up against the stems, remove the lower leaves and off they go and they'll set more tubers. Dunno. For all I know the naughty rats may eat all of the tubers. It wouldn't surprise me as they've done it before...

The berries are looking all very ordered aren't they? I'm going to add reinforcing steel mesh above them so that they can climb up it - sort of like an espalier arrangement. I've seen the commercial growers doing that and it will certainly make it easier to pick the fruit.

Oh, that green tea kombucha sounds lovely. I'm with you, I'd probably go for the taste too! Yum! Out of curiosity, how long does it take to ferment completely?

Cheers

Chris

Angus Wallace said...

Hi Chris,

It has certainly been interesting weather. Houses near me were flooded in the first front that came through (we're about 1 - 1.5 m higher, but very unlikely to flood because it's a huge area). I understood academically that there was a flood posibility in the area (I've seen photos of the local area flooding about 70 years ago) but it's very different to see it in front of your eyes!

It reminded me of when we were flooded in Brisbane. That flood was tidal, so the water would come in with the high tide, then recede, then come in higher with the next tide, etc. From the BOM reports, I knew it would come to our house -- but I just couldn't "believe" it would actually happen. I felt like I could "stop" it somehow (tho I knew intellectually that was impossible) -- sure enough, the inevitable slowly occurred. (our ability to comprehend phenomena like these often can exceed our ability to imagine them -- climate change, case in point)

Anyway, the blackout was quite nice. Candle lit dinner, then read using the book lights we got recently in preparation for camping. Listened to the battery-operated camping radio. I went for a bike ride at about 8:30pm -- it was amazing. The streets were deserted of cars and people (I saw 5 people on the ride) and _all_ the lights were out -- so great!

But the blackout wasn't caused by the loss of the interconnected by itself, but by the failure of some high voltage pylons too (about 25 were flattened apparently, up near Pt Augusta). There's a good article about it here:
http://reneweconomy.com.au/2016/caused-south-australias-state-wide-blackout-35394
Of note, is that it had nothing to do with SA's use of wind energy (which was producing just fine at the time of the blackout) -- if we'd had coal power instead of wind it would have made no difference.

The blackout has been a great example of the lack of resilience in our society. Petrol pumps down, hospitals blacked out, embryos lost at a fertility clinic, patients moved between hospitals. It's also going to have significant flow-on effects because lots of market gardeners have lost their crops.

I've finally got around to building a propagation area. It's on a water timer, so that we don't forget to water the seedlings. It rocks!
We've also planted a small citrus grove down the back, and that row of plums I think I mentioned before. I was out the other day between downpours setting up the watering system. Felt a bit silly, but the hot/dry will be here soon (it will apparently be 40C in parts of SA this week!)

Hope you guys are well, and haven't been too affected by the rain/storms.

Cheers, Angus

margfh said...

Hi Pam,
The green tea sounds awfully good. Some years ago I went to some food conference in Chicago and attended a workshop about making kombucha. Found out how easy it was though I remember something about the scoby from green tea kombucha not staying viable for as long as black tea. I've been making it for years but just stick to black tea and ginger. I found that the chickens love scoby. I peel off some of the layers when it gets to thick.

Margaret

margfh said...

Helen & Chris,

I may have mentioned this before but the deer population here is way too high. They often eat too many of the native plants in the woods. We've seen herds of 50 from time to time. Every winter my husband puts up a sturdy wood snow fence around our six new fruit trees as the deer really damaged them for a few years. It works pretty well discouraging them now. There are several hunting seasons but it only puts a dent in the herd.

Margaret

Pam in Virginia said...

Chris:

The White Goat Mob! I never, in 10,000 years, would have guessed that a mob of kangaroos would let a goat run around with them. He must be their leader.

I was going to make a green split pea soup, but you have reminded me how much I love dahl. However, I usually use a sort of yellow split pea instead of lentils.

Are those the barnacles that old - I mean mature - dogs get that we call "tags" (as in dog tags . . .)?

Kombucha usually takes 7 to 10 days to ferment. It's pretty quick. And bubbly if you don't leave it too long. Supposedly it has the most nutritional value at about 7 days. It all depends at what temperature it is kept. We originally had it in a cupboard over the stove, but the temp is very inconsistent. My son has now made it its own cozy box with a heating pad in it.

@ The Editor:

The linen has been put away. I could wear it in the winter, but then it wouldn't be a special thing to look forward to in summer. It's blue jeans and corduroys now.

Pam

Pam in Virginia said...

@ Steve:

This year I tried various potato experiments. The one that produced the biggest potatoes was a plastic egg crate with a plastic garbage bag draped in it. Partly, it prospered because I was able to haul it around to the sunniest spots (sun is a big issue here) whereas the beds, well, they're stuck where they are. And it had less bug damage since it was separate from the main garden. We sometimes have a lot of vole trouble, too, though not this year.

Pam

orchidwallis said...

Hello Chris

Just to say that I am back. An engineer finally arrived this morning and things are now sorted. I can even read a newspaper again! Now to do some catching up as I have had no internet connection at all for a few days.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - So. You got your barnacles scraped? :-). Well, given your outdoor life, where you live and your complexion, it's best to keep an eye on those things. I've got one of those, I think, on my forehead, near the hairline (or, where the hairline used to be) :-). Just popped up a couple of years ago. But, it's not too unsightly and the Doc didn't get too excited about it.

Well, going back to the Middle Ages (I wouldn't doubt, the Romans, too) the upper crust (a pun?) always had a desire for white flour. More expensive because it was more labor intensive. And, you could do "finer" baking with it. According to the Bread Guru, now, even when you buy a whole grain flour, they may have separated out all the parts, and then added them back in. So, it's a hundred pounds in and a hundred pounds out. But, he didn't think it was good to do that, maybe even at some molecular level. In the book "Third Plate" the author made the point that if you use fresh ground whole grains, they should best be refrigerated. More expense.

Well, the water came back on again last night. I quickly refilled my jugs and even got in a shave and a shower, last night. Odd. The water seems a bit fizzy. Tastes ok. Speaking of unnatural things, I noticed yesterday that there don't seem to be as many ... or, really, many birds around, as usual for this time of year. Maybe another indication of a colder winter? The birds may know, but they ain't tellin' :-).

Well. I solved The Mystery of the Missing Mice. Nell often presents a mouse, to me, at the door. But I don't let her in with it. Then the mouse disappears. I figured she was dragging them off somewhere. HA! I went out to the mail box yesterday and when I got back to the porch, there was Nell with a big fat mouse. I went in to get a cup of tea (not make a cup, just picked up the cup from the counter where it was cooling) and headed back out. There was Nell, cleaning her paws and whiskers and the mouse was totally gone! Not even a tail left behind! No wonder her coat is looking so sleek and shiny. Sometimes, she'll just sample a mouse and leave it on the door mat. I wonder what's wrong with those mice? Maybe they're not gourmet mice?

Off to the Little Smoke, today. Lew

margfh said...

Helen & Chris,

I may have mentioned this before but the deer population here is way too high. They often eat too many of the native plants in the woods. We've seen herds of 50 from time to time. Every winter my husband puts up a sturdy wood snow fence around our six new fruit trees as the deer really damaged them for a few years. It works pretty well discouraging them now. There are several hunting seasons but it only puts a dent in the herd.

Margaret

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Hi Chris,

Well that makes it a lot easier! I have the oil, so once I get lye or caustic soda I'm ready to go for soap making. This will hopefully work well the first time, but if not, well then it's a learning experience.

Ah, this is also true. It's an odd thing to see a society pride itself on tolerance seek to force everyone to believe the same thing.

I'm not sure what can and can't be avoided yet. These days, it seems food is a big one for me, although I know it's possible to grow your own. It's hard to say. I think it's all optional, it just depends how much you're willing to pay in other ways.

I find the walk from my apartment to university very relaxing. I also rather enjoy a good book and a cup of tea, finding that very relaxing.

I find it better to deal with them than try to avoid them, since it's hard to avoid them altogether! And trying to do that usually has costs far greater than the mistakes themselves.

Friends and business don't mix well, no. And that is how I'm feeling right now: I know everyone involved has good intentions, and yet the more anyone tries to fix the situation the worse it keeps getting. It's very enlightening to see that good intentions are no guarantee of a good outcome, they need to be combined with knowledge as well.

Will

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

Is the rain still ongoing where you are? We are having a dry spell here. No rain of any significance in nearly three weeks, and above-normal temperatures for early fall besides. I'll need to begin irrigating my garden in order to get the cover crop seeds off to a good start. Those I'd sown earlier, when I was expecting more of a rain after seeding than the tiny amount we got, didn't germinate, best as I can tell.

I'm working on getting the garden area fenced again while I prepare the new growing beds. Today I started setting fence posts and pulling still-good fencing material off the beds where I grew corn this year. I'm happy to say I had a successful corn crop, with almost no critter damage. The fencing material around the corn beds is still in good shape, unlike the older fencing which is rusting at the bottom, which is what allowed the rabbits to get through it. I'll reuse all the good fencing and, eventually, recycle the older stuff once Mike and I burn the weeds off of it.

You might want to check out Hurricane Matthew, which seems a couple of days away from giving the Florida Atlantic coast a pounding. Glad my mom lives near the Gulf Coast, but even over there they might get tropical storm force winds. The weird thing is some of the model runs send Matthew on a big loop to the east and south after it finishes with Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. It may come all the way back around and hit Florida again in a week or so!

Claire

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Angus,

Oh yeah, seeing natural disasters which affect your property and life with your own eyes really tends to take away the academic sort of distant feel that people get. It is very up close and personal.

Thanks for sharing your personal experience of the black out in Adelaide, I really appreciate that. A bicycle and simple things like candles, torches (how good are the new super bright LED torches?), a battery radio - and a bicycle are all good things to own in that situation.

Yes, I read about all of those results of the big storm. All of them should have been both expected and unexpected. I reckon the truth is that we haven't built the infrastructure to that sort of a resilient level because it's expensive to do so.

Down here it has just rained a lot! I visited a local waterfall today and I have never seen it rocking like that before and there is water all across the landscape in all sorts of unexpected locations...

Your citrus grove would have really enjoyed the solid rainfall and damp soil. They love a good drink, but can be quite drought hardy once established.

You are in good company as I am also working towards getting my water system back on-line.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

Yeah, deer in that sort of a number would be a real problem for the local ecosystem. The problem with disturbing the ecosystem as far as I can tell is that you have to then mimic the functions of that previously functional ecosystem. That is a lot of hard work for sure. Hunting is part of all of that as far as I understand it. The trick with that is to understand how much of the herd should be left over for the future - and which ones to take out. That is where only local knowledge can work - everyone else is just guessing.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Pam,

It was such a surprise the first time I spotted the white goat. Who would have thought that they'd all get along just fine? Well, goats are pretty clever though. The white goat has been running with that mob of kangaroos for years too. No doubt you are correct, when other creatures ask to be taken to the mobs leader, the white goat makes a special guest appearance!

Oh, I spotted a koala bear last night too in one of the local trees - which are not their preferred diet, but a wildlife dude told me that they are adapting to that species of tree. They must have cast iron guts to be able to eat eucalyptus leaves. Not good.

Fair enough, split peas versus lentils, they all produce a similar dahl, although there are differences in the taste and consistency. When I was a wee young lad my mum used to make split pea and ham soup (using a proper ham hock). A very cheap meal, but so very tasty and it gets better if left for a few days in the fridge.

Very funny! I'll tell ya what though, that dry ice didn't hurt at the time - but what a sound it made all hisses, crackles and pops, but when I went to pay I almost felt as if my head exploded with a sharp stabbing pain. Ouch! Still, it had to go as it was slowly getting bigger...

The cozy box with the heating pad is an excellent idea. We have something similar for over winter with the yoghurt. But, recent experiments (that is the editor's work) have shown that placing the yoghurt culture directly on a stand facing the radiant heat from the firebox has produced the best Greek solid yoghurt. We need a bigger wood heater and this has been a recent cause for dismay...

The editor it must also be said, is a big fan of linen over the summer time! Winter is the time for flannel or so I have been told! Blue jeans are a staple here too. :-)!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

I'm glad to read that your delightful island has not suddenly dropped off the face of the planet! And I look forward to receiving your next comment.

More importantly, I do hope that the problem with the connection was not on your property?

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

The problem was not on my land thank goodness. I am ashamed to reveal just how much I missed the internet, the list of things that I wanted to look up, grew and grew. I did get a lot of reading done though.

Daughter in South Australia has been okay through the recent weather. She is now off to Mexico which seems a bit ill timed, Cuba a month later. Hopefully the hurricane season is almost over.

I shall be interested in how your potato growing progresses; you have rather more potatoes in each container than I would have expected.

Back to catching up. I am still reading the comments on ADR from last week. Values and interests inspires thought.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Mate, the thing was not so much as scraped as burned off with the dry ice. Because it wasn't far from my ear, the bones transmitted all of the noise in true high definition surround sound dolby something, something, full aural unpleasantness. I was very stoic, but you know I like a good complain about such things!!! Hehe! Surprisingly it didn't hurt at all, but the doc said that it may need a second go at. He was quite reassuring because he said to me that he had had all of his removed. I reckon experience counts with those sorts of issues. I have had a rather dull headache since then though and there was one blinding flash of head pain whilst I was at the reception desk paying for the visit. Oh well, only a few weeks more. On a funny side note, the editor has been suggesting recently that it was time for me to go and get my haircut. To those requests I always reply that the time is not quite right and anyway the haircut would result in a loss of mojo. Fortunately, this whole barnacle episode has meant a further four weeks of delay for the dreaded haircut - and thus my mojo is spared. This is a good thing is it not? Hehe! Of course, I have been going to the same place for over a decade to get my haircut and I can't subject the lovely young lady who has cut my hair for so many years to the dreaded barnacle - and the ugly aftermath. Such things are not for the young to have on their awareness. I actually don't mind getting my haircut despite the whole loss of mojo business because I spend most of the time making the young lady in question laugh at all of the silly and outrageous things that we inevitably end up talking about. Unfortunately, for other people, I also digress in public, much to their amusement.

The hairline is a disappearing act here too! I hear you, bro!

That crust pun was very good! :-)! How much fun is word play? The Romans would have had some very interesting stone grinding mechanisms for the white flour. It would be interesting to know whether they had developed some technique that we are unaware of? In a couple of years I will set aside some land to grow some grain crops just to see what the difference is. I'll bet that it will be an interesting experiment. The thing that I wonder about too is just how much land will be required to produce a useful quantity. The refrigeration thing is to stop the flour from going rancid - as it quickly will if it has the oils in the flour. Flour as it is today is an expression of our ability to preserve the product and not because it is a tasty or even beneficial option. I'm a bit dubious about the adding back bit too.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Oh my! Fizzy water may mean air getting into the system? You never know. I saw that in parts of the central highlands here recently that because of the recent heavy rains, many of the mineral springs were closed as they were contaminated with e-coli. That is not something that you would want to ingest.

Hey, the animals know because they look at the world as it is and not how they believe it should be. They're as good an indicator as you may find. I’ve been wondering recently about the abstract nature of clocks and time. Speaking of which a kangaroo mum with a joey in her pouch was in the orchard tonight having a bit of a feed and showing off her joey. We took some photos so hopefully they turn out. The kangaroos only breed when the conditions suit that activity.

Well done Nell! That cat is a true survivor and may she preen and dazzle all other felines with her glossy and full coat! Hey, can you have a cat in the future abode? The dogs here tend to be rather fussy about their consumption of rodents. But pressed they would eat one. I would hate to think what the rodents were eating to make the dogs fussy about such niceties. They have occasionally eaten them and then regurgitated them just for good measure. Yuk!

Scritchy is a bit under the weather too and I had to take her to the vet tonight. I always try the basic remedies for a few days before doing that. Fortunately it is nothing too serious, other than the fact that she is getting older (15 years now) and had a bit of an infection. Still the vet was well practiced in the "do you want fries with that" guilt trip. I see little reason to put Scritchy through invasive procedures. It is a fine balancing act and I feel a bit more than a little guilty tonight.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

Greetings Will!

My understanding is that you can use most oils or fats for soap making. The thing is really an emulsion for a while before it hardens. Soap is strange stuff and have you ever wondered how the first person came up with the recipe? It must have been a strange set of circumstances?

Oh yeah, that is because we are rarely as tolerant as we would like to believe! JMG writes about the concept of dissensus and that is a good guide on that matter. Of course we also confuse matters of tolerance as it applies in the real world.

Fair enough about the food. Everyone is different on that issue and being in an apartment limits a person to sprouts (very reliable and very fast), herbs, alcohol, bees (if you have a balcony and don't mind annoying your neighbours!) all sorts of preserves. Actually there is heaps of stuff...

Walking is a great way to see things that would otherwise be missed. I applaud you for doing that. I may have more to say about that issue on the next blog - albeit as a side note. You are lucky to be able to walk from your apartment to Uni. Books are great too! Although I prefer coffee to tea (but drink both).

I assume we are discussing mistakes? Yeah learning tools as to how to deal with them is a great idea. Not always easily achieved though and it does also depend on who else is involved. There is a section of the population that does enjoy lauding it over others when a mistake has been made, and I have noted that they rarely apply the same standards to themselves. You may encounter them from time to time and they can be a bit exasperating. I nickname them: Fluffies. The first rule of fluffy is that: It is your fault and not mine... Just sayin...

Yeah, it always goes sour. Best to avoid I reckon. It is best to be on a well understood business like footing whilst the monetary economy has such a sway on the general imagination. From time to time I have made assumptions about peoples intentions and been totally incorrect and it never ends well.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Claire,

Yes, thanks for asking, it is still raining here. Although to be honest, today it did not rain and the sun shone strongly. The upside of all of that rain - as you are already aware - is that the plants are all growing strongly. I tend to flood irrigate seedlings when I start them, but it is very water efficient as I start them either outside and leave them to the weather, or inside in tubs where I can control the amount of applied water.

You may be interested to know that over the past few days, the very first melon has produced a seedling, plus the peppers and eggplant have also begun producing seedlings. What was interesting though was that the beets and radishes which were outside in the rain have far surpassed that germination speed!

The seeds just can't access the groundwater despite your summer rain. The same problem happens here too when it is a dry year. It is very good that you got the cover crops in early given your conditions. A dry year is also a cold year which is a bit of a worry.

Good luck with the fencing and I look forward to seeing some of the fencing on your blog. Hey, this is a strange coincidence, but I'm finishing the fencing tomorrow on the new berry enclosure. Sometimes you have to fence the critters out! And how good is it about your corn crop. Nice work. Plus it is very good to hear that you recycle the old fencing. I do that too as it still has a life in it. Plus burning the dead vegetation off the fencing is a very neat way to go. The tip here won't take the steel for recycling if it has vegetation all over it.

Yes, I read about that Hurricane as it hit Haiti. It did a lot of serious damage there. I had not realised that it was heading north though as it was apparently stronger by far than Hurricane Sandy. Oh my, the maps are sort of suggesting that it is heading north along the east coastline. Glad to read that your mum is out of harms way. Yup, the extreme weather events are getting slightly more extreme which is to be expected as more energy gets added to our atmosphere.

Chris

W. B. Jorgenson said...

Chris,

Yes, it must have been a very odd set of circumstances indeed. I can't think of any believable stories of how it could have happened, but the real story is probably ridiculous anyway. I'm planning to use olive oil, as I have some already, but I've seen recipes that make use of all kinds of different oils.

I have an observation, but in general if someone claims to hold a value without prompting, there's a high chance they're posturing and claiming a value they don't actually have. I think this is true of societies in general as well.

I will agree, there is lots of stuff that can be done! I'm working on it even now: I already make my own bread, I'm planning to barter some homemade soap for peppers and mint, have some soon to be sake sitting in a cabinet, but I lack a balcony so bees are out for now. I also plan to start making jams and start pickling vegetables soon.

I happen to enjoy being on my feet, and have structured my life so that as much as possible would be within walking distance. This isn't always possible, but it worked out rather well for me. And I like tea a lot more than coffee, but I drink both as well. I have very low caffeine tolerance though, so when I drink coffee I get very, very energetic...

Yes, we are discussing mistakes. Lots of people have double standards. I find it's often a sign someone is less self aware than they perhaps should be, which is not a good sign in and of itself. As for the Fluffies, I know several of them, unfortunately. In a twisted way it's fun to watch (from a safe distance) what happens when something goes wrong and the only people who can possibly be at fault are both Fluffies...

I wonder how long the monetary economy will survive in its present, extreme form. And I think it's safe to say almost everyone involved in my current situation (which I won't explain out of respect for my friends' privacy) has good intentions. A couple people may not, but I think most of us do. I certainly know mine were when I created our situation!

TalkingTrees said...

Hello

Margaret, the wild deer are a growing problem in the north of my state, New South Wales. I was visiting friends there and saw a large herd of deer come out of a forest reserve onto a paddock of turnips that had been planted as cattle feed. There are definitely growing numbers of deer in other parts of the state too. I think apple tree bark must taste good? It smells good when it burns. I have had trees ring barked by hares in the past but we see few of them these days. We have wild pigs in our valley and those I find scary. We have seen pig diggings on our farm for the first time in the last year and it is not something I want to see.

Chris, a white goat running with kangaroos sounds surreal! I agree with Pam; that goat is the mob boss of what must be a very cool mob of roos.

Dal is one of my favourite comfort foods. I use masoor dal/split red lentils for my everyday dal. But I have an embarrassment of dal varieties and spices in my cupboard bought in bulk from an Indian food warehouse in Melbourne. My favourite dal dish of all time was a Nepalese one made with split moong dal. It was so lightly spiced and delicate. I try and reproduce it every now and again but I've never quite managed it.

We have roadworks just outside our gate at the moment and big machinery parked inside our gate tonight. Our rural roads have really broken up with the heavy rains. Often what happens is just a series of repair patches but this time they are replacing whole sections. It will be interesting to see how long the road holds up.

Warm regards, Helen


LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - As Claire mentioned, hurricane Matthew is on the way. They've evacuated from Florida to South Carolina. I have a friend in Tampa, Florida, but that's on the west coast of Florida. But you never know what they're going to do. And, what sometimes happens is, everyone evacuates, the storm changes course or blows itself out and the next time around, people loose the sense of urgency. Angus touched on that. I heard an interview with a woman, yesterday on the radio, who is waiting a bit longer to leave as "It's expensive to leave town." I understand what she's talking about.

Well. I used to get my hair cut at the local "beauty" school. It was cheap. And, I don't have any left on top, but it's pretty thick around the sides. So, I'd always get some nervous newby. But I always told them right off the bat "I'm not fussy about my hair, it will grow back. Just whack everything down to about a 1/2." So, everyone was relaxed. But then the prices started going up ... and there was always the tip. Then, at my local hardware store, I saw a kit. A nice German made Wahl. It has all kinds of attachments and a nice little carrying case. I just snap in the 1/4" attachment and go at it until the hair stops falling. I do my beard, too. Then I take off the attachment and carefully clean up around the edges. The trimmers were $25 and have paid for themselves many times over.

Here's a shot of a Roman Bakery in Pompeii. I just Goggled "Bakery Pompeii" and clicked on images.

http://owenrees.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/pompeii-bakery.jpg

Those tall thingies are the grinding stones. They're in two parts and you pour the grain in the top. There were wooden "spokes" that could either be turned by slaves ... or mules. The skeletons of two mules were found in a small stable, next to the bakery. The poor things got left behind in the disaster.

The Home will let you have a cat or a small dog for a small extra fee. But, I really think Nell would be pretty unhappy as she spends so much time outdoors. So, when the time comes, I've found her a good home, out in the country. I thought for awhile about getting another small cat and raising it as an apartment cat. But, if I'm really honest with myself, I don't know how I'd feel about having a cat underfoot 24/7. Nell and I have a nice balance of indoor and outdoor time. Frequent breaks from one another. I suppose I could get a cockatiel. Had one years ago and they're pretty fun. Canaries? A goldfish? Of course, I have my worm box. :-). But not much cuddle factor in that lot. Guess I'll have to break out my old stuffed bears. Little Guy, Ted and Blind Bob. :-) Lew

Hazel Marchant said...

Hi Chris and Will,

The general theory of how soap was invented is that someone was scouring a greasy dish/pot with ashes, when water was added they noticed that it had really cleaned up the grease. I have no idea if this is true, but it would make a certain amount of sense!

Hazel

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi W.B,

Hazel has provided a very likely scenario for how the idea for making soap would have arisen. I tend to concur with that story.

Yeah that is true, plus you can see if they have to get angry in order to hold up their side of the discussion, then they are probably on shaky ground...

Well done with the bread. Nice work. And the sake is excellent to hear. That stuff is so easy to make. You may eventually require a fine filter - they used to use muslin cloth (which is basically cotton - I believe) - so as to filter out some of the sediment. ;-)! I'm not sure your neighbours would be happy with the bees, so it is probably a good thing you don't have a balcony. Jams and pickles are all worth your time too.

Oh my! Of course, everyone is different with caffeine and you may be surprised to know that I could quite happily fall asleep after a coffee as it doesn't have a huge impact on me (a little bit, but not too much). Yeah, walking is very good and it is one of the things that I miss about living in the inner city. Nowadays I walk around the forest which is nice too, but not quite the same. When I'm in the city, I'll walk all over the place. Here walking for me is more meditative and in some respects it is a bit like the people who pit themselves on push bikes riding up and down the big hills here. What a waste of energy, I wish I could somehow harness them up so as to bring rocks up from down below...

The first rule of fluffy - it is not my fault, it is yours! There are a fair few of them around and they do struggle applying fault to themselves. It is very weird to see as you correctly point out.

Quite a while I suspect is the answer. There are still several tricks up their sleeves to go. It is just that each trick is subject to diminishing returns in effectiveness and all of the easy stuff has been tried. I reckon even that road is paved with good intentions - unfortunately, the easy path is often the harder path.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Oh that white goat is the coolest of the cool! It has been running with that mob for years. Speaking of which, there are four wallabies and one kangaroo with a joey outside in the orchard right now. It is definitely night of the marsupials! :-)! The wallabies don't often hang in mobs but they congregate in the orchard in spring...

Red lentils are very nice. Such a great flavour too. Yum! I've quite partial recently to French lentils and they have a very complex flavour, although they don't mash up as much as the red lentils. There are heaps of spice shops in Melbourne. Actually I recommend the spice guy at the Queen Vic Market if you are down this way again. Very good stuff. I picked up vanilla beans from him which I used to make vanilla extract (an unnecessarily expensive product).

Out of curiosity, are your roads dirt, gravel or asphalt? The roads here are the local clay and fortunately the local council graded the main road a few weeks back - as it was falling apart and sounds pretty much like your section of road. It takes a lot of machines to grade a road.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

I was reading about that hurricane. It sounds pretty bad. The news here says it just made landfall 2 hours ago in Florida. The photos of the evacuating traffic are awesome, and I noticed that there was a car going the other way down that two lane freeway... Hurricane Matthew begins to make landfall in Florida after barrelling through Haiti, Dominican Republic. That person has either forgotten something or is a contrarian...

Yeah, that not leaving happens here too with the fires. I may have mentioned it before but: one third of people are prepared; another third are watching and waiting but are generally unprepared; and the final third, well, it's not good. Mind you, the way house insurance costs keep going up here (flood related claims are rising) if I was unable to afford house insurance, I may have to consider staying and defending. This would involve a lot more work before I accepted that decision. Still house insurance is very expensive here and getting more so. Half of all houses are uninsured up here, and it can be surprising to know which are which.

Some people just don't care either and that sort of waiting out the disaster can be a bit of a swan song for them... But if you are homeless and have no access to ready transport, that ain't good either. I reckon there is something in this all about re-localisation...

Haha! You lost your mojo to the nervous newbie! Hehe! That is a very canny solution. I like it. Clippers are good aren't they? I use one on my face too, although I reckon I could use scissors - which I used to long ago. Hey, you know something really strange, my clippers which are a relatively standard garden variety clipper set, has a label on the side saying that the blades have titanium in them. What's with that? And I tell you this, they do not cut as well as the very old Remington model I first had, but alas no longer have. That thing was amazingly sharp. This current one, despite the titanium - well, not so much.

How cool is the Roman bakery. Just to show that a good design lasts a lifetime, that oven arrangement looks like a proper Scotch brick oven. Almost identical. Thanks for that. Yeah, the mules did not fare well, but then neither did the human population either... Which brings us back to the original point today - humans are not much good at predicting disasters.

Well done for finding a good home for Nell! Yes, the worms rarely care for our opinions or our attentions - the little ingrates. I can't let the dogs out tonight as there are just so many wallabies and kangaroos in the orchard and there is a bit of courtship rituals going on with the wallabies, so I'll give them a break from the world of canine!

Did you end up making your trip into the Little smoke? It has been a while since I went into the big smoke, so I may have to do something about that.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Hazel,

Thanks for sharing the story and that sounds really likely to me! The person who observed the effect was quite clever really. The old timers used to use sand to clean their food utensils, so wood ash would very likely have been a substitute. I'll bet they had tough skin.

Cheers

Chris

margfh said...

Hi Helen,

The deer also like all the young branches. We have a Christmas tree farm across the road and they did a lot of damage there a couple of winters ago when the weather was particularly severe. They came right up to our neighbor's window to eat their bushes.

Wild pigs are becoming common and a real problem in a few states but not here so far.

Hi Chris,

There's a goat who's been living with a deer herd for years not too far from here. That's certainly not as unusual as one running with kangaroos though. Goats do bond with many animals though.

Margaret

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - "White Goat! King of the Kangaroos!" Sounds like an idea for a children't book. LOL. My friend in Florida writes and illustrates the occasional children's book. She sent me her latest the other day. "Bad Day for Baby Duck". It's about 12 ducklings in Florida, and the bad ends they come to. It has a disclaimer on the back that it's not to be read to children, unless you want them to cry. :-). "Night of the Marsupials". Sounds like a bad horror film. Which isn't too far fetched. There was a terrible horror film back in the 50s called "Night of the Lupus." Giant ravenous bunnies!

I read that garden book that caught my fancy, "Gardens of Awe and Folly" (Swift, Vivian 2016). It's nine gardens, around the world that caught her fancy. It's illustrated with her really nice watercolors. I was a bit worried about the Wollemi pines, but she mentioned in her bit on Key West, Florida gardens that 20,000 of those pines, available in nurseries in Florida. At $100 a pop. She also mentioned in her section on the Chelsea Physic Garden (London) that they have one, too.

She's a rather interesting writer. Crusty at times. Has decided opinions. In the section on Key West, she did a riff on Native Plant Societies ... and how they may do more damage than good. Apparently, the Australian Pine (Casuarina equisetifloria) are quit well established in Florida. And, the nativists got the Florida government to launch an effort to wipe them out. Because they aren't native.

It thrives in salty soil and was brought to Florida in the 1920s to beautify and stabilize thousands of "mucky" acres. "...in 1997 the noble Australian Pine was declared an invasive species and an enemy of the state." :-). Well, Key West fought back and managed to save their pines. She had some interesting (and raspy) thoughts on "when does a plant become native?". I think someone over at the ADR touched on that, this week. And, maybe with the climate change and shifting eco systems, maybe the spread of species all over the world might not be such a bad idea. In some cases.

Well, I was quit pleased to see an article that a call center in India had been raided and 70 people arrested. The same outfit that has been peppering me with robo calls at 5am in the morning. Among other times. And, since it's a robo call, I can't even yell at them or say rude things. :-). It was a scam where they claimed they were from our Internal Revenue Service and that terrible things would happen if you didn't send them a large chunk of money, immediately. Apparently, it was successful enough that enough people fell for it, that they kept it running for a year. Glad they're gone, but I'm sure something similar will pop up in the future. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Yup. I went to the Little Smoke. Lots of stops. I found the new bakery. The building is well marked, but they need better signage at the road. I had driven by for months and never noticed it. I may give them an unsolicited opinion on that, next time I'm in. I wandered though two parking lots before finding the door. :-).

I picked up what they called a Danish, but it looked to me like a blueberry muffin with a lemon flavor. Is that a Danish? I'll have to look into that. An apple fritter, which was quit good. But what I really liked was the maple bar. Most maple bars you get from the grocery store bakeries are soft, all the way through. This one had a nice bottom crust. About the consistency of dry-ish cornbread, about 1/4 on an inch thick. So, I'll probably drop in on them, again.

Speaking of texture, the cook from Rum Runner's mentioned he liked peanut butter sandwiches with crushed potato chips. I still have a few packs left of chips, so I'll have to give it a whirl.

I stopped by my fruit and veg store and they were just unloading crates of Washington State cranberries! So, I shoveled up a bag and will put them in the freezer til closer to Thanksgiving. Make up some freezer jam, as I did last year. Stopped down at the Grocery Warehouse. You never know what you'll find there. Tuna, chunk white, is getting harder to find at less than $1. Picked up 6 cans at .99 of some off brand. Found two exotic cheese for real cheap. Over a pound for less than $4. And, a Dutch goat cheese. Something called "Hollandse Honey Bzzz Chevre". Well, that's interesting. It says it's made with vegetarian rennet. I bet its cardooons, as that's the only vegetative source I've seen for cheese. But I do wonder what the "natural honey flavor" is. Sounds a bit dodgy. 1/4 pound for $2.50. They're close to the expiration date, so, I guess I'll have to eat them up fast. Sigh. Such an onerous task :-).

Water's out again. LOL. Another date for my calendar. Oh, well. Got all the things I needed to do this week with water ... except laundry. But that hasn't reached critical mass, yet. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

PS: I hope Scritchy is on the mend. Beau's about the same age. I think they give vets a class in school about "selling up" and how to play on the guilt and sympathy of their clients :-). Lew

Hazel Marchant said...

Hi Chris

Yes, the dishpan hands from raw lye would be no joke! I read recently that before commercial dishwashing liquid, washing soda was commonly used. Effective, but equally hard on the skin, I'd imagine.

Cheers

Hazel

TalkingTrees said...

Hello Chris

Our road is asphalt but my understanding from old timers is that made roads are not what they used to be and the bitumen floats when conditions are wet as they are at present. I have no real understanding of road building but I assume shortcuts are taken to save council funds?

I like puy lentils especially in a rocket salad with a French dressing (I may have been guilty of using a balsamic vinegar dressing occasionally too). I enjoy many cuisines but Southern Indian/Tamil and Kashmiri are my favourites. I asked a friend whose family came to Australia from India when he was 11 how he cooked such fluffy basmati rice. He told me he used an Indian method. Yes? The microwave! It was a come in spinner moment. I did learn his method but I prefer others.

It's been dry enough each afternoon for the past two days to cut grass which has grown strongly with all the rain. Leaving it longer would, I fear, require a slasher.

I went to turn out a compost container yesterday and it was just a mass of worms. The trick will be to encourage the worms to move over so I can use the compost without killing them. While I was working in the garden yesterday I was bitten several times by horse flies or March flies. Do you have biting flies? We haven't seen them for several years so I'm thinking it must be the wet season? I generally work in long sleeves but I was trying to soak up some vitamin D....

I hope your weather forecast is for not too much rain this coming week? Colder weather is returning here with a frost expected in the week.

Warm regards, Helen



orchidwallis said...

Hello again.

I forgot to mention how much I am enjoying your photographs. Prior to my internet going out completely, it had got too slow to bring up photos; now I am feasting on them.

Inge

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Margaret,

I can see how a goat could end up with a herd of deer. Makes sense, they really are very intelligent creatures. I've seen one climbing a tree - it was uncanny. The goat is unusual as they are not really feral creatures around these parts. I spotted three deer early yesterday morning too.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis,

Haha! That is very funny. Wombats have the largest brain to body ratio of the marsupials and as such are considered the most intelligent. That white goat may be running mental rings around the kangaroos? Dunno. The goat is clearly using its goat Jedi powers. As a rather strange side note, during the previous census, the number of people in this country identifying themselves as Jedi knights was just below the threshold where it would have been recognised as a religion! I suspect the powers that be were rather angry about the silly nature of some peoples census information, thus the threat of fines etc for false statements. But then, if people believe they are a Jedi, who are we (or they) to question their beliefs?

Hope your friend in Florida was OK with the hurricane - although as you said she is on the gulf coast? Well, it maybe a good way to introduce the concept of bad endings to young children? You know, all those animal films make me cry - I can't help it. I just can't watch them. Everyone knew old yella was going to cop it in the neck for all his good deeds. Horrendous! Night of the lupus sounds an awful lot like "Big Bunny" from the BBC show the Goodies. Very, very silly stuff. The Goodies were mates with the Monty Python crew.

How strange are the Wollemi Pines to be discovered in a remote gorge in the Blue Mountains where they remained unchanged for countless millennia? They sell them here in nurseries too for about the same price. Did you know they collected the seeds by helicopter as they didn't want walkers to introduce soil diseases into that remote gorge. I hate heights so if they'd left that job to me, I possibly would have said: Sorry mate, it looks a bit hard dangling out on a string high up in the canopy and attached to a helicopter... The weird thing about those trees is just how tough they are to extreme heat and cold. It would have been the fires that pushed back there range to that remote gorge.

Ooops, we are in the company of people with somewhat less than fixed opinions (variable, subject to change? Dunno). Crusty can get a bit tiring at times, but writing that crustiness was probably quite cathartic for the author as it was an act of sharing. ;-)! Ah, that Australian pine plant is a she-oak. I reckon the ship has bolted and the horse has sailed on that problem. :-)! The leaf litter seems to suppress the surrounding vegetation as it is a chemical attack. A lot of Australian plants do that, but then so do a lot of other plants. Forests are really a huge battle ground for plant species and some are ahead at times, whilst others gain dominance in other seasons. It is just so slow we impatient humans are unable to comprehend it. Hey, I spotted an interesting story about the Australian Pine: "The legendary miraculous spear Kaumaile came with the hero Tefolaha on the South Pacific island Nanumea. He fought with it on the islands of Samoa and Tonga. As Tefolaha died, "Kaumaile" went to his heirs, then to their heirs, and on and on - 23 generations. It is about 1.80 meters (6ft) long and about 880 years old and the tree was cut on Samoa". Well, it is not as if some Californian's don't tend to feel that eucalyptus trees (which were a gift from the Australian government) aren't a native. Trees are trees to me and I tend to look at the individual tree and see how it looks in the whole of the country. Most people have some sort of cartoonish understanding of what a tree is and how it fits into the landscape. They are definitely not all the same.

5am is an outrageous time for a phone call. Have they no common decency? Of course, they may have been raided for that very reason? No? Probably not. We have a strange belief these days that data is a business. Dunno. The technical word for your mob was "Phishing". It is a surprisingly successful strategy.

cont...

Cherokee Organics said...

Oh yum! A good bakery is a keeper. Well, bakers may understand bread, but they may not be able to push their products, but then good bakery products sell themselves don't you think. Not to be argumentative over an abstract concept but I always believed - and please correct me if I am wrong - that Danishes were sort of pastry like sweet products? And a muffin is a bit of a stretch of the imagination to include as a Danish, but then I have seen tiny muffins fobbed off as Danishes. Oh, this is so confusing! OK, what is it? :-)! Whatever, was it a good muffin, that is the real question that burns in my mind? What a temptation to have a good bakery - and a hidden one to boot - as a secret side trip on your trips into the little smoke...

Your unsolicited opinion on the signage may do them a favour, you never know? Who gives a rats about the Australian Pines when there is the mysterious Maple Bar. Honestly, I'm salivating at the thought of it. Yum!!! I have never heard of one of those before and they sound totally lethal. So good! Stop it! You are now teasing me with all this talk of maple bars... YUM! Hehe! :-)!

OK, you've now lost me with the peanut butter and chip concoction. I enjoy peanut butter, but seriously potato chips?

It is interesting that you mention cranberries (Scritchy is feeling better after a dose of antibiotics). They don't grow well down here, I reckon because the soils are too dry. I grew some a few years back and it produced berries, but the water requirements of the plant exceed my abilities to supply the water. Did you enjoy any of the berries fresh, or are they all destined for the jam? Most tuna and salmon here is farmed in the most amazing setups. As a funny side note, a year or two back a great white shark jumped into one of those tuna nets and proceeded to enjoy itself immensely. The oceans are a changing - if anyone took the time to notice...

The cheese sounds like a great score. Was it very tasty? I don't really know much about cheese making and I have heard of people having issues with rennet... Oh, there is a vegetarian rennet. Who would have thunk it? I was looking at a few fig trees today thinking that I should move them... Thanks for the reminder (vegetarian rennet can be made from fig leaves). OK, what did it taste like? Yes, I'm starting to feel sorry for you, what with the cheese, but seriously Maple Bars at your disposal... Alas we are all but mere mortals!

OK, you started this!!! Hehe! I have to fess up as yesterday I had a hazelnut meringue muffin. And it was awesome. It looked like a small muffin, but the base was something between a muffin and a meringue, but tasted like hazelnuts. And the top had a coating of cream cheese but was slightly sweet, yet still a little bit cheese tangy. It was so good, I bought one to take away too... Yum! It was a hard thing to share this delicacy with the editor - such sacrifice.

Oh no, the water is out again...

I finished the berry enclosure today. Yay, but tired. I added another gate welded up from scrap steel to the far end so that I can now walk through the enclosure and I also completely finished all of the fencing around it. I reckon it looks pretty good. It was a late finish though... Tomorrow I'll sort out the tomato enclosure as the seedlings are almost ready to be planted out. The onto the strawberries and pumpkins and melons.

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Hazel,

Oh yeah, the lye, even in a mild solution would be very hard on the skin. Hey, I accidentally left a galvanised steel container out in the rain the other night with wood ash in it and the steel marked! Definitely one to avoid!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Hazel,

Oh, I forgot to mention that you may recall that I make soap here and one of the reasons for that is that the olive oil soap is very gentle on skin. Having been subject to eczema from time to time is a bit of a nightmare. Washing soda would be very hard on skin too!

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Helen,

Glad to read that you are as cynical as I am! ;-)! Honestly, I don't know enough about that issue either. I have noticed that where the traffic is fairly light, that the clay roads hold together quite well. Trucks can present special challenges to those roads in these sorts of years. You may be interested to know that I have spotted several holes in the freeway between here and Melbourne. The state government has filled them up temporarily, although I did fall into one with a resounding crash the other week in my little Suzuki.

Thanks for the salad tip. I hadn't heard about puy lentils before. It is interesting because the French lentils that I buy are a brown colour. I will try those puy lentils too! Hehe! No worries about the balsamic vinegar, sorry, sometimes, well, you know - embarrassed blush - some foods just aren't the same experience for everyone! Hehe! Oh well... It's all cool! :-)! The microwave is a very clever response. On a serious note, we don tend to only purchase the basmati rice and it cooks very well in a rice cooker - which is an amazing kitchen machine. Although it is worth mentioning that the first one I purchased broke and then I went to a Breville rice cooker and use it every couple of days. It is almost idiot proof which suits me just fine. Double the water to the rice and away it goes...

I hear you about the grass, and I'm also thinking about chopping and dropping it. The problem is that the daffodils are still in flower, and I've never quite understood whether the little green bulbs that appear at the top of the daffodil stems (after the flowers have died back) are actually new bulbs? I've never observed new daffodil plants to grow where those bulbs have fallen. They certainly look like new bulbs though.

Worms are pretty hardy although they would not have enjoyed the sunlight. Hey, it was a superb spring day here today, how is it up your way? The march flies arrive here after New Years Day when the weather really heats up. It is funny, but the march flies bite me, whilst the mosquitoes prefer the editor. Both of which produce itchy bites.

Over January and February, I have to wear a bee hat when working outside as the flies are a nuisance.

No frosts here, but it will rain tomorrow night and into Monday. Frosts are a total nuisance at this time of year. I hope it is a light frost for you?

Cheers

Chris

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Inge,

Glad to read that your Internet is back! And thanks very much for saying that about the photos.

How good is it that problem was not on your land. I read that with happiness for you. Ah, well, I enjoy this aspect of the internet too. It is nice catching up with everyone's news and hearing about their days. The whole comment area here is like a collection of pen pals - albeit at internet speeds. When I was a kid, my mates and I used to have AM 27MHz CB radios which we'd talk to each other on like a giant radio network at nighttime. Gee, we used to talk some rubbish too. :-)! All good fun though.

Well, yes, books are like an old school internet. I am currently reading Ruth Park - Fishing in the Styx and it is an outstanding account of the lives of a young couple (both of whom were freelance writers) in Australia during WWII. It is an amazing book and I recommend it highly. It was referred to me by Jo who is the author of the "All the Blue Day" blog on the list on the right hand side. What have you been reading in your Internet free time? I also read the newspaper this morning over a coffee and fruit toast and it was a bit dismal.

Glad to read that your daughter was OK during the big storm. Hope she has a good time in Mexico. Cuba will be very interesting. Fingers crossed for the end of the hurricane season.

Oh no! With the potatoes, I followed a rough guide as to how to plant them and then, just sort of winged it a bit. Hopefully there are plenty of tubers to dig up at the end of the season? I haven't noticed any green heads poking through the soil yet, but it is still early days. No doubt that you are correct about the placement. The asparagus is going gang busters this year because of the rain, but I have no idea when to harvest the spears? Any suggestions would be appreciated?

The concept is very handy and I hadn't quite thought of it that way before either. I reckon JMG is having a break over the next few weeks and will be slow to reply if at all. He has taken breaks at this time of the year before. It is very nice that he has posted an essay for consideration too. I noticed this week that someone mentioned the Total Perspective Vortex, which was a sci-fi concept from one your countrymen and would be a very unpleasant experience!

Cheers

Chris

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Yeah, I generally avoid those tear jerker children's movies, too. If you want a good sob, hunt up "The Yearling." From a book by Rawlings ... we've talked about her. She's the one who moved to Florida in the 1920s and there was a good movie about her life, "Cross Creek." She also wrote a bang up cookbook. The movie, "The Yearling" is old, and really a classic.

Haven't looked into what constitutes a "real" Danish, yet. What's not to like about blueberries and a lemon flavor? :-). It was yummy. Glad I only bought one. That meringue muffin sounds very good. I have never eaten cranberries fresh, before. I'll have to look into that. Raw? I also do rice in the microwave. I usually cook up a bowl and keep it in the fridge. I add stuff to it, as I go along, and usually get 3 or 4 meals out of it. LOL, it always boils over a bit, and there's always a bit of mess to clean up.

I knew about using cardoons in place of rennet, but didn't know about the fig. But odd you should mention it, as I was reading that "Art of Natural Cheese Making (Asher) that I got from the library. I may have to hunt a copy of that down, for me. Looks pretty good. Now that I know I can get unpasteurized cow milk from the goat/sheep co-op. Any-who, the book talked about using cardoons and figs.

Our library doesn't have a copy of Park's book. Next time my hold list is in the doldrums, I might try and interlibrary loan it. Cont.

LewisLucanBooks said...

Cont. Well, exciting times here, yesterday. I glanced out my bathroom window, late in the morning, and there was a mule grazing in my side yard! So, I called the owner, but he was working out of town (logging, I later found out), but said he'd send someone up. So, I kept an eye on him until this nice old couple showed up. LOL. Wouldn't you know, the huge, noisy garbage truck showed up, right at that moment. What are the chances? He's here less than 5 minutes a week.

The mules name is Willie. They had brought some grain in a bucket, so, even though he got pretty nervous, he didn't bolt. Whew! Then we got him back in his fence. An hour later, the cow guy showed up. The Evil Stepson had screwed up the locks on the gate and he needed the key, from me. Always something happening at Weathering Heights!

Roamie, the mule owner showed up last night. We gassed on the porch for about an hour. I could not get him to come in a settle. Even with the lure of fresh coffee and one of those almost home made maple bars. I think he thought he was too grungy from work. Nice to be concerned, but the coverlet on the chair, washes :-). We talked about how the winter might go. He had observed that the cones, on the trees, indicate a hard, or at least normal, winter.

Water's back on, again. Landlord's wife is out of town, this week end, so I'll try for a couple of loads of laundry, tonight. Nell caught another mouse, this morning. I was working on the porch. I couldn't bring myself to watch. Crunch, crunch, crunch. Oh, ghastly. My, she does bolt those things down. Then I told her what a good cat she was and go out and get another :-).

I'm sure my friend in Florida is ok. No reports of damage from Tampa. She lives outside of that city. The storm is bad, but not as bad as it could have been. Didn't make landfall. So far. Just brushing up the coast. Lew

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

I can't remember when your asparagus was planted. No picking the first year and only a tiny bit the second year. After that you pick it as it arrives, I think for about 2 months (I forget exactly) then just leave to grow.

Oh dear books! This is one of my nightmares, I am trying to divest myself of them. I take a bag of them to the charity shop every time that I go out. I also give them away to people but am not surrounded by eager readers. Am trying only to keep reference books and books that I will read again. I have a considerable collection of SF/fantasy and re-read some that I had totally forgotten They were terrible so am not recommending them. However, I am enjoying 'Emma' by McCall Smith. His modern version of Austen's book. I am much enjoying his digs at modern life.

Actually I am inundated with books, manuscripts, letters and classical LPs, much of it inherited. Manuscripts and letters have in the main been either destroyed on gone to suitable homes. It is not a joy to come from a literate/artistic family when one ends up with the results.

Inge

SLClaire said...

Hi Chris,

The roundish green object that appears on the end of the daffodil flower stalk after the flowers die is the fruit that holds daffodil seeds in it. Daffodil growers suggest cutting it off once you see it. If you leave the fruit, the daffodil bulb will send energy to it to ripen it, which is energy that won't go into making the bulb bigger and more flower-ful next year.

The thing you don't want to do with daffodils is cut off any of the leaves while they are still green, because those leaves are producing the energy that goes to the bulb for next year's show. Thus it's best to plant daffodils in a garden where you can allow the leaves to die down on their own, rather than in a lawn which you will want to mow while the daffodil leaves are still green.

Matthew didn't do as much wind damage to Florida as had been feared, according to the reports I've seen, because the eye stayed offshore. But northeast Florida did get some storm surge damage. Apparently the storm surge was/is worse in Georgia and South Carolina, and South and North Carolina are experiencing flooding rains as well. The hurricane is still in play in the Carolinas, so more info will be coming out. But it's heartbreaking what Matthew did to Haiti. I don't have words to express the sorrow.

Claire

TalkingTrees said...

Hello

We tried using the flowers from thistles as rennet after seeing it on a tree change show. Would this have similar rennet substances as cardoons? It turned the milk a grey/purple colour and didn't set the cheese. We added lemon juice and called it paneer. It remained a challenge to eat it to the end but the unhomogenised or organic milk that we buy is too expensive to ditch even the oddest of experiments!

I use a rice cooker at times too especially when I make lunch for friends. I also use it to make sweet rice puddings. The latest version is made with arborio rice, coconut milk, cardoon seeds, cinnamon stick and sugar. It works for those with food allergies and carb lovers. It's great with poached fruit, which sneakily uses my last summers frozen fruit stash before this summers arrives.

Lew, the Danishes I grew up with were made with a sweet yeast pastry, rolled out thinly and cut into squares and filled with fruit or custard and fruit. The corners are folded in and it's then baked in a glazed parcel. I was a young woman when I discovered a wonderful version in the Jewish cake shops in Acland Street in St Kilda, a famous cake precinct in Melbourne. It sounds like there are other tasty types of Danishes that I have yet to discover.

Inge, I own a large collection of books as does my husband. Both our daughters read but are not interested in reference books or indeed many of the fiction books we own. When my husband retired from academia earlier this year many of his books went onto a table in the common room and what wasn't taken was put into the recycling. Charity shops in our town basically don't want books unless they are current fiction or light reading. We're the wrong generation to destroy books so we mostly hold onto them knowing we are creating a future problem for our daughters. Many of our friends are in the same position.

Margaret, because we live in rocky, boxwood country I have always imagined that deer would have trouble finding browse but perhaps some of our non-eucalypt species are okay. Over the past twenty years we've only seen single young deer passing through our farm but maybe the numbers are building up and maybe it is just the very good season for them. The deer in Australia, according to rural myth were farmed and turned loose when the bottom fell out of the market. Perhaps the deer we see are the result of escapees? I don't know what the most likely explanation might be.

Warm regards, Helen

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Lewis, Inge, Claire, and Helen,

Thanks for the lovely comments, however I am unable to reply tonight. Hopefully if all goes well tomorrow, I will be able to write the blog and respond to your comments.

I had an interesting afternoon as one of the new locals put on a "do" afternoon tea thing for all of the neighbours and lots of people turned up. I was mildly surprised to learn that one of the local kids had built their own forge and was learning blacksmithing skills - as you do! I was an idiot at that age, so total respect and a good thing for the future.

Cheers

Chris

orchidwallis said...

Hello again

Claire is spot on with her daffodil advice i.e. dead head them and leave the leaves to die down which does look terrible.

@Helen
I am lucky that the Oxfam shop in town is solely for books and records. They will take the most erudite stuff and are taking the books I have that are in German. I can read German with a dictionary but the old Gothic script is a pain. Mainly I read the German children's books.

Inge

LewisLucanBooks said...

@ Helen - Yes, I looked into Danish and didn't see anything like the muffin that I got. Maybe the tag on the pastry tray hadn't been changed? I think the bakery is a two person operation and they may be a little run ragged. Looking at the images of Danish on Google, I think it may be a kind of catch all term. My, it sure comes in a lot of versions. Generally, round and flat-ish ... yeast dough with lots of butter and many layered so it's flakey. And then a plethora of different stuffings or gooey toppings.

There used to be a Jewish Deli / Restaurant in Portland, Oregon called "Rosa's". Pastry to die for. The woman who started and ran the business put out two cookbooks that I recently stumbled across. "Grandma Rose's Book of Sinfully Delicious Snacks, Nibbles, Noshes and Other Delights" and "Grandma Rose's Book of Sinfully Delicious Cakes, Cookies, Pies, Cheese Cakes, Cake Rolls & Pastries." Haven't dipped into them, yet.

It was one of those places that, if you were a "sophisticated" young person, you went to after high school dances. :-). A great place to impress a date :-). One of those places with ancient waitresses who always took care of the youngsters, if you behaved yourself. Lew

LewisLucanBooks said...

Yo, Chris - Runaway mule, part II. Late yesterday afternoon, I glanced out the window and there was Willie, heading up the logging road, again. I shooed him back the right way, and gave his owner, Roamie a call. He was here in half an hour, but in the meantime, I had to shoo Willie back one more time. His owner brought me two packs of ground venison and two packs of moose round steak! That will be a first. :-)

When I was a kid, my folks used to make what they called "Swiss Steak." Deer round steak, cooked long and slow with tomatoes and onions, on the stove top. Fork tender. The gravy went on baked potatoes. I'll have to look around and see if I can find a recipe.

Landlords wife is out of town this weekend, so, I managed to get two loads of laundry done. One more and I'll be caught up. LOL, I had to ride heard on the filling part, to make sure the washer didn't run out of water. Had a 5 gallon bucket of water, at hand, just in case. Well, less trouble and bother than a stream and a flat rock. :-)

Oh, the mule owner said there is a bear down in the bottom land, behind my place. He's been dumping apples for the bear and will probably shot it, pretty soon. Maybe I'll get a bear steak? Another first. Lew